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Balancing Profits and Human Rights: How ICT Companies Can Lift Their Game

eff.org - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 08:31

This week EFF attended a meeting of the Human Rights Working Group of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), a global industry forum that includes many of the world's largest IT and communications companies, including AT&T, BlackBerry, HP, Microsoft, Telefónica, Verizon, and Vodafone.

Responding to both global and regional calls for industry to share more responsibility for the human rights impacts of ICT products and services, GeSI's human rights project aims to enliven greater vigilance amongst its members as to the human rights impacts of their activities throughout the supply chain.

GeSI members themselves are the best evidence of the need for this project. The most proximate example is given by the meeting's host AT&T, which a few days before the meeting announced that it had ceased to secretly track its mobile Internet users with unblockable super cookies. Frankly, a company with annual revenues exceeding a hundred billion dollars should not be making this kind of glaring obvious privacy mistake to begin with.

The new human rights projects which GeSI members are discussing, and which EFF broadly supports, aim to provide them with a clear road map of possible human rights impacts across the ICT value chain, with particular emphasis on the possible unforeseen impacts of new technologies, and drawing on case studies from GeSI members. We made the clear point that external stakeholders—and not just customers, but also other affected communities—should also be an integral part of that conversation.

Whilst we were grateful for the invitation and happy to contribute our views, we remain to be fully convinced that large ICT companies have yet given enough priority to addressing the human rights impacts of their operations. Too much of the industry discourse around human rights—as the GeSI working group actually acknowledged—revolves around how human rights impacts affect stakeholder perceptions and contribute to business risk, rather than placing the severity of those impacts on vulnerable stakeholders front and center.

This is not to doubt the sincerity of the corporate representatives who participated, many of whose jobs are dedicated to fulfilling their employers' corporate social responsibilities. Even so, there were some grumblings about “budget limitations”, about how activists “love bad news and ignore good news”, and how GeSI should “not be too ambitious” with its human rights projects. These point towards the need for a more fundamental cultural shift within industry boardrooms to ensure that human rights concerns receive priority attention.

It also underlines that we should not rely too heavily on self-regulation and corporate social responsibility to protect users' rights. This lesson was reinforced by EFF's experience with the Global Network Initiative (GNI, a representative from which was also present), which manifestly failed to prevent its corporate members from becoming complicit in the out-of-control NSA spying program.

Even so, we appreciate that GeSI (and the GNI) are conscious of industry's need to improve its sensitivity to its own human rights impacts, and to respond more proactively when vulnerable communities are exposed to harm. The latest planned GeSI human rights projects are a positive indication of this awareness, which we hope will be well supported by participants and will produce outcomes of value. For our part, EFF will surely continue to hold these ICT companies to a high standard should they ever slip up.

Files:  Presentation on Human Rights and Corporate ResponsibilityRelated Issues: InternationalThe Global Network Initiative
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Categories: Aggregated News

America: The Real Evil Empire

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 08:27
America: The Real Evil Empire
by Stephen Lendman
On March 8, 1983, Ronald Reagan coined the term. He did so addressing the National Association of Evangelicals.
He called communism "the focus of evil in the modern world." Don't "ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire…and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil," he said.
Cold War politics returned. More venomously than earlier. Putin is targeted. He's public enemy No. 1.
Doing so turns truth on his head. Paul Craig Roberts justifiably calls him the world's moral leader. 
A previous article said he shames his Western counterparts. He makes Obama look buffoon-like. 
He does it with straight talk. Telling it like it is. Explaining what people most need to know. Unambiguously. Truthfully. 
Polar opposite US politicians. Featuring Big Lies. Scorning vital truths. Supporting wrong over right. Making the world safe for monied interests.
Permanent war is official US policy. So is mass extermination. Begun centuries earlier. 
Doing so reduced America's indigenous population to a tiny fraction of its original numbers. Millions were slaughtered in cold blood.
Centuries of slavery were horrific. Black Africans were captured, branded, chained, force-marched, beaten, encaged, and stripped of their humanity.
Around 100 million were sold like cattle. Millions perished during  deplorable Middle Passage conditions.
Genocidal US policy continues in new forms. Technological advances facilitate it. America's killing machine knows no limits. 
One genocide follows others. Countries are ravaged and destroyed. Tens of millions perished. 
Winning hearts and minds don't matter. Stomping on people remains ongoing. 
Death squad diplomacy eliminates nonbelievers. Madness defines US policy. Police state harshness criminalizes right over wrong defenders.
Making the world safe for democracy is pure fantasy. America tolerates it nowhere. For sure not domestically.
High crimes are rewarded. Upside down reality endangers everyone. Popular needs go begging. 
Conquest, occupation, colonization, and exploitation are prioritized. Ordinary people are on their own sink or swim. 
Wars are considered peace. They rage without end. Things go from bad to worse. 
Propaganda works as intended. Minds are manipulated to support war. Truth is suppressed. Fear is stoked. 
Patriotism, national security, and democratic values are highlighted.
Longstanding US policy prioritizes militarism, wars, homeland security, and related operations.
Doing so has nothing to do with external or internal threats. Nor humanitarian intervention. Nor responsibility to protect.
Nor spreading democratic values. It's about advancing America's imperium.
What Michael Parenti calls "the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries."
"(T)he dominant politico-economic interests of one nation" over others. "(F)or their own enrichment…"
"(S)tealing land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people." Dominating other economies and political systems.
Accumulating enormous amounts of wealth in the process. Using money to make more of it. Increase power. Gain market control. Exploit resources and labor.
Societies are destroyed and remade. Nations are pillaged for profit. Populations become disenfranchised. Workers become serfs. Local cultures become mass-market consumer ones.
Agribusiness replaces local farming. Competitive industries are eliminated.  Foreign investment crowds out local capital. 
Dominance legitimizes capital's divine right. Plunder assures obscene profits. Capital accumulation demands more. Profiteering becomes a be-all-and-end-all.
Democracy is pure fantasy. US elections are pre-scripted. Secrecy and back room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process.
Candidates are pre-selected. Big Money owns them. Key outcomes are pre-determined. Voters have no say.
Both major parties share blame. They're two sides of the same coin. 
Not a dime's worth of difference on issues mattering most separates them. Americans get the best democracy money can buy.
Independents are shut out. Media scoundrels ignore them. Voter disenfranchisement is rife.
Millions can't vote because of past criminal records. Mostly what civilized societies call misdemeanors. Excluding prison. Assessing small fines or warnings.
Half of eligible voters opt out because their interests aren't addressed. Losers are declare winners. And not just for president.
Electoral democracy is pure fantasy. America is constitutionally flawed by design. 
We the people aren't served. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Tom Paine called voting "the primary right by which all other(s) are protected."
America's corrupted process makes it impossible. Democracy is a figure of speech. A four-letter word. A sham no just society would tolerate.
No country in world history did more harm to more people over a longer duration than America. None match its ruthlessness.
Its shameless human and civil rights records. Its pariah state status. Its genocidal high crimes against peace.
Its global gulag. The world's largest by far. Filled with thousands of political prisoners. 
Supplemented by global torture prisons. In dozens of countries. Operating out of sight and mind.
Crime bosses make policy. Monied interests control them. New World Order ruthlessness is official policy. 
International, constitutional and US statute laws don't matter. Washington rules alone apply.
The Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) is one of nine likeminded UN bodies. Each responsible for overseeing a particular treaty's implementation. 
UNHCR documented US human rights abuses. Assessing its noncompliance with International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provisions. 
Fundament human and civil rights. Signatories are required to respect free speech, assembly and religion.
Electoral rights, due process and judicial fairness. Self-determination and other universally accepted rule of law principles. 
UNHCR condemned grave US human rights breaches. Citing institutionalized torture, drone killings, and failure to close Guantanamo.
Mandatory immigrant detentions and mass deportations, as well as lawless NSA spying, among other issues.
It criticized Washington's failure to uphold human rights standards worldwide. It cited whitewashed CIA renditions, forced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. 
Excessive secrecy was raised. Torture victims denied redress. Permitting torture-coerced confessions as evidence. Despite America's Supreme Court banning it.
Enforcing guilt by accusation. Denying habeas rights and judicial fairness. Substituting kangaroo court justice for the real thing. 
Police states operate this way. America is by far the worst. At home and abroad.
Disturbing death penalty imposition disparities adversely affect America's most disadvantaged. African-Americans, Latinos and other people of color.
Justice is a four-letter word. Excessive force is used with impunity. Including beatings and gun-related deaths.
Dissent is criminalized. So is homelessness. Juveniles sentenced to life without parole. For homicides based on flimsy evidence or none at all.
Adults can face life imprisonment for alleged "non-homicide related" crimes. Abusive prolonged solitary confinement persists. Doing so constitutes torture.
Mandatory immigration detentions are reprehensible. Mass deportations deeply troubling. 
Obama disgracefully expelled more immigrants and others than all his predecessors combined.
Murder, Inc. is official US policy. Death squads operate in 130 or more countries. So do CIA agents licensed to kill. 
US citizens may be targeted at home or abroad. No one anywhere is safe. Summary judgment means no arrests. No Miranda rights. 
No due process. No trial. Just a bullet, bomb or slit throat. It's official Obama policy. Diktat authority denies justice to anyone ordered killed.
Obama self-appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. He decides who lives or dies. Who's lawlessly indefinitely detained.
Equity and justice don't matter. Fundamental freedoms are disappearing in plain sight. Tyranny replaced them. It's almost full-blown.
Anyone anywhere may be thrown in military dungeons. Indefinitely held without charges or trial. Based solely on suspicions, baseless allegations or none at all.
Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness are null and void. Presidents may order anyone arrested and imprisoned for life without charge or trial. 
Abuse of power replaced rule of law protections. It's happening in real time. Obama abuses diktat power. Unitary executive authority.
The late Chalmers Johnson called it "a ball-faced assertion of presidential supremacy...dressed up in legalistic mumbo jumbo."
Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. He usurped the power of life and death. Including against US citizens.
Prioritizing killing drones, death squads, or other means. Eliminating America's enemies alone matters. Real or invented makes no difference. 
Waging war on whistleblowers. Nonbelievers. Muslims. Latino immigrants. Environmental and animal rights activists unjustifiably called terrorists.
Anti-war activists. Global justice supporters. People associated with so-called "undesirable groups."
Presidents have public emergency powers. Enabling them to declare martial law. Suspend constitutional protections.
For so-called national security reasons or none at all. Deploying US troops on US streets. Militarizing state and local police forces.
Doing it to suppress whatever is called disorder. Including free expression, the right of assembly. petitioning government for redress of grievances publicly.
Opposing imperial lawlessness. America more than ever is unfit to live in. Unsafe by any standard.
Ruthless. Repressive. Cruel. Malicious. Vicious. Violent. Lawless. Criminally culpable of high crimes against peace.
Legal protections don't help. No one is safe anywhere. Advancing America's imperium matters most. 
So does serving wealth, power and privilege. America the beautiful benefits them alone. Others take the hindmost.
Humanity is ruthlessly targeted. Battlefields shift from one theater to others. Gangsterism is official US policy. It's the American way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Israel: Human Rights Abuser Writ Large

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 06:55
Israel: Human Rights Abuser Writ Large
by Stephen Lendman
Israeli policy is longstanding. Reflecting anti-Palestinian state terror. Institutionalized racism writ large. Vicious repression.
Brutalizing Muslims for not being Jews. Enforcing militarized occupation harshness. Denying Palestinians rights everyone deserves.
According to Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) director Jeff Halper:
"…(T)he 'Zionist answer' to the downward cycle of senseless violence in which Jerusalem finds itself" includes:
"house demolitions, mass arrests, revoking the 'residency' of native-born Jerusalemites, closing Palestinian neighborhoods with concrete blocks, arming Israeli Jewish vigilantes and cheap shots at the last person who believes in a two-state solution, Abu Mazen (Abbas)." 
"Everything, that is, except an end to occupation and a just political solution." 
"This is what happens when a powerful country forgoes any effort to address the grievances of a people under its control and descends into raw oppression."
Netanyahu lied. He's a serial liar. Everything he says lacks credibility. Big Lies substitute. Claiming Israel locked in "the grip of a terrorist onslaught." 
Palestinians face brutalizing Israeli state terror. Police state barbarism writ large. Provoking justifiable Palestinian anger.
Inciting violence. Able to boil over uncontrollably any time. Perhaps into a third intifada. Or pretext for Israeli all-out war on millions of Palestinians.
Risking carnage and displacement matching Israel's so-called War of Independence. Western leaders able to intervene responsibly turn a blind eye. Ignore Israel's worst crimes.
Palestinians isolated on their own. Defenseless against Israel's onslaught. Its killing machine.
Palestinian human rights group Al Haq reported PA forces abusing civilians. Instead of defending them against Israeli state terror.
Targeting peaceful protestors. Demonstrating against IDF and police brutality.
Longtime Israeli collaborator Mahmoud Abbas unleashing PA forces against his own people. Imad Addin Jamal Amro one of many victims.
After Friday, November 7 prayers. Accosting him. Beating him viciously. Until no longer able to stand. Preventing bystanders from helping him.
Arresting him. Beating him severely at Preventive Security headquarters. An officer shouting "die, die." Accusing him of offenses he didn't commit.
Al Haq expressing outrage. Citing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Articles 7, 9 and 14 prohibiting arbitrary arrests and mistreatment.
Article 19 affirming freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Without interference. Prohibiting coercing practices denying them.
Regardless of views. Respecting those of others. In writing, print or orally.
Article 20 prohibiting incitement, discrimination, hostility, violence, and state-sponsored propaganda for war.
Article 21 affirming the right of peaceful assembly. Prohibiting any restrictions.
Article 19 of Palestinian Basic Law affirming free expression rights. Mandating criminal punishment for violators.
Article 11 affirming personal freedom as a natural right. Article 13 stating "no person shall be subject to any duress or torture, and that detainees should receive proper treatment."
Israel violates ICCPR and other human rights laws unaccountably. So do PA forces against their own people. 
It bears repeating. Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator. Abusing his own people for special benefits he derives.
According to an unnamed PA source, he ordered no public discussions of Tuesday's synagogue attack.
Canceling media appearances. Issuing a statement following John Kerry saying:
"The Palestinian leadership must condemn this and they must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement." 
Abbas then "condemn(ing) the killings of worshipers at the synagogue in Jerusalem and condemn(ing) acts of violence no matter their source."
Equating Tuesday's incident with terrorism. Ignoring Kerry saying:
"To have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement, of calls for 'days of rage,' of just irresponsibility, is unacceptable."
Kerry turning a blind eye to daily Israeli state terror. Brutalizing millions of Palestinians.
Murdering them. Torturing them. Including young children. 
Incarcerating thousands in gulag prison hell. Unaccountably. For demanding fundamental democratic freedoms.
Dominating Palestinians through repressive control. Kafkaesque and then some.
Physical control through land theft. Home demolitions. Settlements. Checkpoints. Ghettoization. Agricultural restrictions. 
Permit permission for virtually everything. Military zones. Jews only development. Resource theft.
Borders, air space and offshore waters control. Jews only public spaces. Separation Wall repression. Harassment and intimidation.
Diaspora Palestinians prevented from returning. Claiming Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital.
Gazans locked in the world's largest open-air prison. Bureaucratic/legal/militarized control. Including hundreds of restrictive policies. 
Covering virtual all aspects of Palestinian life. Imposing politically motivated conditions virtually impossible to live with. Including:
  • allowable home and village construction; 

  • building permit restrictions;

  • home demolitions for any reason or none at all;

  • land expropriation designated for Israeli "public purposes;"

  • agricultural restrictions;

  • crop destruction for violations;

  • licensing and inspection of Palestinian businesses;

  • closures anywhere, any time, for any reason; and

  • movement and travel restrictions within and outside Israel and Occupied Territories.

Denying fundamental international law guaranteeing human and civil rights. Brazenly ignoring dozens of UN resolutions. Going back decades. 
Condemning or censuring Israeli lawlessness. Deploring its actions. Demanding state-sponsored repression end.
Israel flaunts rule of law principles with impunity. Arrogating to itself the right to do what it damn pleases.
Law or no law. Because Western leaders able to change things do nothing. Turning a blind eye to Israel's worst crimes. 
Washington partnering through military aid. Political support. Mindless of fundamental Palestinian rights. Horrific Israeli mistreatment.
Using violence. Other forms of repression for political, economic and social control. 
Flagrantly violating core international humanitarian and human rights laws. Police state harshness writ large.
In November alone, lawlessly arresting nearly 400 Palestinians. Including young children. In largely pre-dawn raids,
In West Bank and East Jerusalem communities. Around two dozen detained on Thursday alone. Collective punishment writ large. Mass arrests and detentions continue.
Following Operation Protective Edge. Premeditated naked aggression. Murdering over 2,200 Palestinians. Injuring about 11,000 more. 
Affecting hundreds of young children, women, the elderly and infirm. Unrelated to Hamas rockets. Or Israeli national security. 
Launched to prevent Palestinian self-determination. Maintain occupation harshness.
Continue Gaza's blockade. Sabotage Fatah/Hamas unity. Facilitate longstanding Israeli slow-motion genocide. 
Get away with mass murder and then some. Violate international law with impunity.
Academically lynched University of Illinois Professor Steven Salaita calling Israel the only nation able to murder hundreds of Palestinian children and claim victimization.
Western leaders able to make a difference turning a blind eye.Horrific Palestinian suffering continues. 
Widespread Israeli crackdowns followed Tuesday's synagogue incident. Responding to longstanding Palestinian mistreatment. 
Especially vicious under Netanyahu. Exceeding the worst of Sharonian evil. 
Including extremist settler violence. Notably against children. At play. To and from school. Running errands for parents.
Targeting Palestinian communities. Farmers in fields. Committing vandalism. Mistreatment. At times murder. Unaccountably.
Israeli security forces able to intervene responsibly do nothing. Facilitating wrongdoing.
B'Tselem calling Israeli punitive home demolitions "fundamentally wrong." Ineffective. 
Contravening "basic moral standards." Punishing "people for the of misdeeds of others." Without just cause. Flagrantly violating human rights laws.
Following Tuesday's incident, Israeli security forces are everywhere. Harassing Palestinians. Intimidating them. 
Ignoring settler provocations. Helicopters and drones monitor things overhead. Police violence against Palestinian women in Jerusalem increased.
Dozens of children arrested. Brutally interrogated. Detained without just cause.
Tuesday's incident a pretext for escalated Israeli repression. Its ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, equating Palestinian resisters with Nazis. Terrorists.
Ignoring decades of occupation harshness. Longstanding Israeli crimes of war and against humanity. Slow-motion genocide.
Dermer outrageously suggesting Palestinians intend targeting America. Hamas no different from IS.
Neocon US Senator Ted Cruz (R. TX) expressing "unequivocal support as the Israeli people continue the fight against the terrorists who have declared war on both our nations."
CNN shamelessly giving him air time to express outlandish views. Other media scoundrels operating the same way.
Reporting one-sided views. Proliferating Big Lies. Burying hard truths. 
Ignoring Israeli high crimes. Vilifying Palestinians unjustly. Equating Tuesday's incident with terrorism. 
Indicting all Palestinians for crimes of the few. Turning a blind eye to Israel holding entire communities hostage. 
Collective punishment. State-sponsored terrorism.  Mindless of international law. Palestinians isolated on their own. Victimized for not being Jews.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

When the Time Comes We'll Need to Step Up the Fight Against TPP's Secret, Anti-User Agenda

eff.org - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 06:44

If you missed our live teach-in yesterday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and its restrictive, anti-user provisions, you can still check out the video of our discussion. It's embedded below. We invited experts from digital rights groups from several TPP countries—all members of the Fair Deal Coalition—and we discussed the various ways this massive, secret trade deal threatens our rights on the Internet and over our digital devices.

A recent leak of the TPP's Intellectual Property chapter confirmed that the provisions on anti-circumvention, copyright terms, ISP liability, and criminal enforcement has further deteriorated. But it also revealed new, dangerously vague text on the misuse of trade secrets which could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who reveals or even accesses information through a "computer system" that is allegedly confidential. This language could have alarming consequences if nations are obligated to enact new laws that could be used to crack down on journalists and whistle blowers.

We held this teach-in because things are moving fast now. President Obama and the US Trade Representative are determined to conclude this agreement, organizing dozens of meetings with TPP delegates to resolve some of the longstanding disagreements in the text. On the US front, Congress is likely to introduce another Fast Track bill in January that would tie these representatives' own hands from debating or modifying the terms of this agreement after the White House has secretively negotiated it for years.

When the time comes, we’ll need to step up the fight against this agreement on a coordinated, global front. So watch this video, share it, and continue to spread the world about this secret, Hollywood-driven agenda to chip away at our digital rights.

Privacy info. This embed will serve content from youtube-nocookie.com

var mytubes = new Array(1); mytubes[1] = '%3Ciframe src=%22//www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/YifI1tn1aJI?rel=0%22 allowfullscreen=%22%22 width=%22560%22 frameborder=%220%22 height=%22315%22%3E%3C/iframe%3E'; Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceInternationalTrans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
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Categories: Aggregated News

Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance

eff.org - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 02:45

Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users' computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, Digitale Gesellschaft, and Privacy International have all had experience assisting journalists and activists who have faced the illegitimate use of such software in defiance of accepted international human rights law.

Software like this is designed to evade detection by its victims. That's why we've joined together to support Detekt, a new malware detection tool developed by security researcher Claudio Guarnieri. Detekt is an easy-to-use, open source tool that allows users to check their Windows PCs for signs of infection by surveillance malware that we know is being used by government to spy on activists and journalists.

Some of the software used by states against innocent citizens is widely available on the Internet, while more sophisticated alternatives are made and sold by private companies and sold to governments everywhere from the United States and Europe to Ethiopia and Vietnam.

Detekt makes it easy for at-risk users to check their PCs for possible infection by this spyware, which often goes undetected by existing commercial anti-virus products.

Because Detekt is a best-effort tool and spyware companies make frequent changes to their software to avoid detection, users should keep in mind that Detekt cannot conclusively guarantee that your computer is not compromised by the spyware it aims to detect. However, we hope that the availability of this tool will help us to detect some ongoing infections, provide advice to infected users, and contribute to the debate around curbing the use of government spyware in countries where it is linked to human rights abuses.

We hope that members of the open source and information security communities will contribute to this important project.


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Categories: Aggregated News

Kiev Plans Full-Scale War

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 00:42
Kiev Plans Full-Scale War
by Stephen Lendman
Ukraine is the most serious post-WW II geopolitical crisis. At risk is escalated East/West confrontation. Possible global war.
Obama bears full responsibility. Complicit EU partners share it. America goes all-out to advance its imperium.
Millions of corpses attest to its barbarity. Replacing independent governments with subservient pro-Western stooge ones is longstanding US policy.
Washington-supported Kiev putschists staged the most brazen coup d'etat since Mussolini's 1922 march on Rome.
Ukraine is the epicenter of European fascist reemergence. Hardline rule masquerades as democracy. Elections are farcical when held. Illegitimate by any standard.
Donbas freedom fighters reject fascist rule. For good reason. For democratic rights everyone deserves. Ones Kiev rejects.
Naked aggression launched last April continues. Violating core international law. Geneva and Minsk ceasefire terms. 
Heading toward escalated confrontation. Oligarch president Petro Poroshenko vows "full-scale war. (B)etter prepared than five months ago," he said.
At the same time, ludicrously claiming he wants peace. While waging genocidal war. Murdering his own citizens in cold blood. Non-combatant civilians.
Governing illegitimately. Extrajudicially. Established by force. Run by ultranationalist neo-Nazis. Banning opposing views.
Substituting fascist dictatorship for democracy. Obama's new friends are thugs. He and Putin met in Brisbane. On the G20 sidelines.
Calling his interaction "businesslike and blunt." Shamelessly telling Putin "to take a different path…(T)o resolve the issue of Ukraine in a way that respects (its) sovereignty and is consistent with international law."
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland admitted Washington spent around $5 billion sabotaging Ukrainian democracy over the past 20 years.
Lying. Calling it "democracy promotion…We stand with the people of Ukraine," she claimed.
Caught red-handed on tape. Months earlier. Urging regime change. Discussing it with US Ukraine ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.
Circulated widely on You Tube earlier. Damning evidence of Washington's dark side. 
Its quest for global dominance. No matter the human cost. Regional instability. Greater conflict. Possible war with Russia. Potentially catastrophic if happens.
US-led NATO risks the unthinkable. On Thursday, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visited Estonia's Amari airbase.
Stressing Alliance solidarity. "NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our Allies," he said. "And NATO is here to protect and defend Estonia." 
From nonexistent threats. Lying about "a growing number of Russian flights near our airspace. Including here in the Baltics."
Calling them "dangerous and provocative." Saying NATO is "resolve(d) to defend all Allies against any threat."
Separately lying about Russian troops massed on Ukraine's border. Including "troops, material, artillery and very modern air defense systems."
Saying what doesn't exist is "a serious military buildup…(Calling on) Russia to withdraw its troops."
Earlier accusing Moscow of invading Ukraine. Citing no corroborating evidence. None exists.
On November 19, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Kiev uses banned weapons in Donbas civilian neighborhoods. Chemical and incendiary ones. Cluster bombs.
"The Russian Investigative Committee continues a criminal investigation into the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare in the conflict in Ukraine," it said.
Stop NATO reported Alliance "Train(ing) (a) Strike Force for Article 5 War-Fighting In Europe."
High-intensity combat drills. Testing "NATO's ability to coordinate and execute (its) Collective Defence operation in a multinational environment."  
At the behest of any member, Articles 4 or 5 can be invoked.Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.
Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all. Calling for collective self-defense.
An earlier article said waging war is easy. Instigate provocative incidents. Blame them on targeted countries. 
False flags work as planned. So do Big Lies. Repeated enough times to get most people to believe them.
Fear-mongering persists. Nonexixtent threats are hyped. So is claiming good v. evil. Mix well with misinformation and duplicity. 
Sun Tzu was right. Wars depend on deception. Big Lies. Modern technology makes it easy.
Churchill said lies get halfway around the world before truths get their pants on. Global communication today is instant. 
Proliferating hawkish information is as simple as ready, aim, fire. US-led NATO threatens world peace. 
Encroaching on Sino/Russian borders. Surrounding both countries with US bases. Pentagon commanders call NATO an "effective tool for the projection of US force worldwide."
Imagine if Russia had bases in Canada and/or Mexico. Patrolled America's Gulf with warships. Its East and West coasts. 
Provocatively overflew border areas. Washington would consider it a cause for war. The unthinkable could follow.
America deplores peace and stability. Wages one war premeditated war of aggression after another. So-called "long war" according to Pentagon strategists.
Post-9/11, Dick Cheney warned of them not ending in our lifetime. GWH Bush's New World Order notion.
Attacking, ravaging, destroying, colonizing, and pillaging one country after another. Without mercy. Might justifying right. Monied interests alone benefitting.
Terrorism is what they do, not us. Reasons for imperial wars are suppressed. Sacrificing human lives and freedoms are small prices to pay. Humanity is at risk but who cares. 
Media scoundrels aid and abet US crimes. Marching in lockstep with what demands condemnation.
Big Lies substitute for hard truths. Peace a convenient illusion. Democracy pure fantasy.
Ukraine is in the eye of the storm. Washington wants all former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries co-opted into NATO.
Ukraine its crown jewel. Eastern resistance threatens Obama’s imperial project. Preserving it requires crushing it. 
At risk is spilling things cross border. It bears repeating. The unthinkable could follow.
Russia's OSCE ambassador warned about Kiev troops mobilized "along the dividing line." In Donbas.
Separating forces from both sides. Raising "the suspicion that the Ukrainian side is preparing a large-scale lightening attack."
Kiev's war tax raised $93 million. Used for weapons and munitions. Supplementing what Washington and other countries supply.
Moscow has reason for concern. Putin spokesman was clear and unequivocal, saying:
"We want our counterparts to know we have our red lines and they can’t cross these lines.”
He accused Western countries of ousting Ukraine's legitimate government. Replacing it with fascist putschists. 
In late October, Putin said Washington supports "dubious" Ukrainian groups.
Ranging from "open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals." IS, Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda and likeminded groups. Using them as US proxies.
"Why do they support such people," he asked? "They do this because they decide to use them as instruments along the way in achieving their goals, but then burn their fingers and recoil."
America's goal is unchallenged unipolarity, he said. Serving its own interests. At the expense of others.
Rejecting peaceful conflict resolution. Kiev operating the same way. Poroshenko and putschist prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ruling out negotiations with Donbas freedom fighters. 
Opting for continued war. Heading toward full-scale. Greater mass slaughter. Poroshenko threatening Russia with "total war." 
Fascists operate this way. On Wednesday, Kiev's deputy UN envoy, Andrei Tsymbalyuk, ludicrously claiming its Donbas military operation complies with international law obligations. 
Calling premeditate naked aggression "an anti-terrorist operation. (F)ully compl(ying) with the United Nations Charter and meets Ukraine's liabilities under international law, including human rights norms, refugee rights and international humanitarian law."
At the same time, wrongfully accusing "one of Ukraine's neighbors (with) violating its obligations in the sphere of anti-terrorism fight."
Triggering Donbas destabilization. In response, Russia's deputy UN envoy Yebgeny Zagainov criticized "inappropriate intimations and interpretations."
Calling on Security Council members "for constructive participation in the discussion on the agenda but not to replicate such fabrications."
Russia's Foreign Ministry information and press department deputy head, Maria Zakharova, accused US-led NATO of demonstratively ignor(ing) Russia's consistent efforts to stabilize the situation in Ukraine…"
"(W)orsening social and economic situation in the southeast of this country and its de-facto blockade by the Kiev government."
Ignoring Kiev high crimes against peace. Lying about Russia's involvement.
"We are convinced that responsible international players should avoid making statements and estimates that are not based on facts, even if they are guided by timeserving and narrow geopolitical interests," she added.
Last week, Stoltenberg lied about Russian involvement in Ukraine. Deploying troops cross-border. 
Planning full-scale invasion. Citing no corroborating evidence. None exists.
On April 1, US-led NATO suspended cooperation with Russia. Over Ukraine. Maintaining minimum ambassadorial and other high-level contacts.
Blaming Moscow for Kiev high crimes. Washington's direct involvement. 
Previous articles saying swarms of CIA, FBI and other US elements infest Kiev. Directing policy. Supporting naked aggression.
Moscow categorically rejects claims of involvement in Ukraine. Including supplying Donbas freedom fighters with weapons and munitions. 
It doesn't matter. Big Lies persist. Putin bashing is standard practice. Ignoring his overwhelming homeland popularity.
For good reason. Defending Russia's interests responsibly. Straight talk on Washington's imperial ambitions. Refusing to succumb to its influence.
Washington Post editors lied. Accusing him of "graft, cronyism, paranoia and resentment at Moscow's diminished post-Soviet stature."
Relying on "propaganda." For "control, influence and intimidation." Claiming "Western-style journalism and the free flow of news are anathema."
WaPo is a lying machine for the manufacture of Big Lies. Like other US media scoundrels
Burying hard truths on issues mattering most. Substituting managed news misinformation. 
Repeatedly. Consistently. Disgracefully. Putin is public enemy No. 1. No matter his championing peace and stability. Going all-out for them. 
Stressing mutual cooperation with all countries. Observing rule of law principles. 
It doesn't matter. Media scoundrels bash him relentlessly. Anti-Russian propaganda rages. Relentlessly. Shamelessly. Irresponsibly.
Neocons infest Washington. Hugely influencing policymaking. US wars on humanity persist. Threatening world peace. The battle for Ukraine's soul continues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Keystone XL Pipeline: Down but not Out

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 20/11/2014 - 07:40
Keystone XL Pipeline: Down but not Out
by Stephen Lendman
On November 18, Senate Democrats derailed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline plans. For now. 
Republicans controlling next year's 114th Congress vowed to continue fighting for passage. It remains to be seen what follows.
Obama is veto-shy. Twice only so far. Compared to GW Bush's 12. Including pocket vetoes. Clinton's 37. Reagan's 78. 
Dwight Eisenhower's 181. Truman's 250. FD Roosevelt's astonishing 635. Overriding presidential vetoes seldom happens.
Throughout US history, presidents vetoed legislation 2,564 times. Overridden 110 times. Around 4% of the time.
Tuesday's Senate roll call fell one vote short of passage - 59 to 41. One additional vote approves construction.
A nearly 1,700 mile, $7.6 billion project. Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, TX pipeline. Transporting around 830,000 toxic tar sands oil from Western Canada to refineries on America's Gulf coast daily.
Risking enormous potential environmental pollution. Passing through hugely ecologically sensitive areas. In six states. 
Including the Missouri and Red Rivers. Other important waterways. The Ogallala Aquifer. 
One of the world's largest. Supplying about 30% of America's irrigation ground water. Vital for human consumption.
Friends of the Earth commented earlier. Saying KXL "will carry one of the world's dirtiest fuels: tar sands oil." 
Its route "could devastate ecosystems and pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health."
Spill damage potential is enormous. Tar sands oil sinks. It doesn't float. Making cleanup tough. Extremely costly.
In summer 2010, a million gallons of tar sands oil polluted Kalamazoo River waters. Costing nearly $1 billion for cleanup.
Dozens of miles of river water remain contaminated. Imagine exponentially greater damage from larger spills. Virtually guaranteed.
KXL will double America's dirty tar sands oil supply. Increasing environmental toxicity exponentially. What most people don't understand.
Canadian tar sands oil lie beneath the world's largest intact ecosystem. Alberta's Boreal forest. An important carbon sink.
Biodiversity rich. Unspoiled bodies of water. Supporting large populations of numerous species. 
A buffer against climate change. Food and water shortages. Extracting tar sands oil destroys forests. Endangers indigenous populations.
It doesn't matter. Big Oil wants it. So do Republicans and conservative Democrats. Congressional passage virtually assures Obama's approval.
He's beholden to Big Oil. Throughout his political career. Strongly pro-business and then some.
His Senate voting record supported strip-mining on public and private land.
Backed secretly drafted Bush administration energy policy. Rhetorically opposed it. Saying one thing. Doing another. Consistently throughout his career.
Supports vastly expanded nuclear power. Lax industry regulations. Billions of dollars in subsidies. Other handouts demanding rejection.
Biofuels production. Other agribusiness interests. Harmful to human health GMO foods and ingredients.
A corporate stooge and then some. Ralph Nader calling him the greatest "con man (ever) in the White House." A corporatist "from A to Z." 
An earlier so-called State Department Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) lied. Claiming no risk to health and safety. More on this below.
TransCanada Corporation will build KXL if approved. Spill-prone and then some. Assuring trouble. 
Earlier promising Keystone I would leak at most once every seven years. In year one, 12 leaks occurred. One a month on average. Unprecedented in US pipeline history.
NASA scientist James Hansen calls KXL "a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet."
All pipelines spill. Avoidance impossible. Large-scale environmental damage too great a price to pay. 
TransCanada said up to 700,000 gallons of tar sands crude leak without detection. Safeguards are weak. Pathetically ineffective.
Corporate officials intimidate landowners. Along pipeline routes. Apparent in previous construction. 
Contractually abusing eminent domain. Stealing land. Forcing owners to accede to their demands.
Expect more of the same for KXL. Water contamination certain. Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer (CWA) threatened. 
In March 2011, water resources & environmental engineer/consultant Lawrence Dunbar called CWA spillage  environmentally disastrous. 
Hugely impacting human and natural resources. Contamination making water resources unfit for human consumption. 
CWA "is one of the greatest assets of the East-Central region of Texas," said Dunbar. Providing "water for agriculture, industry, and human consumption."
Far too valuable to contaminate. KXL assures it. Remediation hard to impossible to achieve.
Destroying more jobs than it creates. Claims otherwise lacks credibility. At best, less than 5,000 temporary jobs created.
Disappearing as completed construction progresses. Insignificant in putting Americans back to work.
Green investments are job-creation machines. Potentially millions when most needed. Over an extended period of time.
Exporting tar sands oil won't reduce US dependence on foreign supplies. Prioritizing them is planned. At issue is selling at the highest possible price.
KXL violates tribal sovereignty. The Indigenous Environmental Network's "Mother Earth Accord" opposes tar sands development for good reason. 
Protecting tribal lands matters more. Safeguarding them from toxic contamination. 
TransCanada won't disclose an analysis of chemical dilutants used. Facilitating transport of tar sands oil through KXL. At issue are human and environmentally destructive substances.
The Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration said pipeline regulations weren't crafted with tar sands oil in mind. 
They're woefully inadequate. Require strengthening. Don't expect it. Business as usual persists.
On January 31, the State Department released its EIS report. Its analysis rigged to deceive. Methodologically lacking credibility. 
Falsely claiming minimal potential environmental contamination. KXL's southern area "Gulf Coast Project" failed to conduct its own environmental assessment. 
Issues related to the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, wild fires, droughts, and others weren't examined.
Friends of the Earth (FOE) saying:
"The State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline is a farce. Since the beginning of the assessment, the oil industry has had a direct pipeline into the agency." 
"Perhaps most frustrating, is the apparent collusion between the State Department, oil industry and the Canadian government."
"In what could be perceived as eagerness to please the oil industry and Canadian government, the State Department is issuing this report amidst an ongoing investigation into conflicts of interest, and lying, by its contractor." 
"It is unacceptable that the oil industry and a foreign government are better informed than the American Congress and its citizenry."
"By letting the oil industry influence this process, Secretary Kerry is undermining his long-established reputation as a leader in the fight against climate change." 
"President Obama can end this charade; sufficient scientific data exists to justify denying the Keystone XL pipeline." 
"It is a simple matter of having the political will, and courage, to stand up to the oil industry. This decision is a defining moment in his environmental legacy."
Last September, FOE said:
"(F)rom day one, the State Department's review of the pipeline (was) polluted by conflicts of interest, insider lobbying and the heavy hand of Big Oil."
State Department officials relied on TransCanada contractors for their report. Doing so represents egregious conflict of interest writ large.
Relying on Big Oil/TransCanada interests excludes responsible analysis.
Obama has plenty of credible reasons to reject KXL. So far ignoring them.
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) saying:
"Thousands of people around the country (reject) dirty tar sands oil…(F)rom farmers and ranchers…to families…concerned about (safe) drinking water…"
"To Americans everywhere" wanting clean energy. NWF wants KXL blocked. It's too dangerous to allow. 
Urging ordinary people to speak out. Petition Congress. Demand KXL's rejection.
The Sierra Club urged "no more Big Oil pipeline spills that endanger our water."
KXL "threaten(s) (it for) two million Americans." TransCanada's environmental record is deplorable.
Last November, Public Citizen published a report titled "TransCanada's Keystone XL Southern Segment: Construction Problems Raise Questions About the Integrity of the Pipeline."
Highlighting safety issues. Documenting problems. Including "excessive bending or sagging, and pealing patches of field coating applied to cover damage on pipe about to be placed into the ground."
"Anomolies" in pipe "buried for months include "dents, sags, and other problems that could lead to spills or leakage of toxic tar sands crude."
Public Citizen saying "government should investigate…" Shouldn’t let "crude flow until that is done."
"Given the stakes - the potential for a catastrophic spill of hazardous crude along a pipeline that traverses hundreds of streams and rivers and comes within a few miles of some towns and cities - it would be irresponsible to allow the pipeline to start operating."
During Keystone I construction, TransCanada made 50 special conditions pledges. Violated 47. A virtually unprecedented record.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) urged stopping KXL. Constructing it alone risks enormous potential environmental damage.
Transporting the world's dirtiest oil assures it. Uncaring about public health concerns. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter.
Rising Tide North America confronts corporate power. Called Tuesday's Senate defeat a "hollow victory." 
Real ones come from people power. Committed activism. Supporting safe, clean renewables. Over drill baby spill.
Including solar, wind, tide-power, geothermal energy, biomass non-food energy crops, wave power and other eco-friendly technologies. A windfall waiting to be used.
Freeing societies from oil, gas, coal and nuclear. Environmental  pioneer Lester Brown calls hydrogen "the dominant (eco-economy) fuel."
Easily stored for use as needed. "Perfect support for an energy economy with wind and solar power…the main pillars."
Hydrogen from water is limitless. So is solar power. Producing green hydrogen. Safe, clean renewables prevent ecocide.
No shortage of renewable energy resources exists. Struggling for eco-sanity continues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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