News feeds

Heightened Trade Secrets Restrictions Could Chill Global Speech - Tue, 15/09/2015 - 02:42

Trade secrets are seeing a resurgence of attention by policymakers at home and around the world. While there can be legitimate reasons to keep commercially valuable information secret, particularly amongst those with whom it has been shared in confidence, the latest trade secrets push goes further, potentially entangling whistleblowers and journalists.

In the United States, most States have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), which codifies the offense of trade secret misappropriation as “acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means”—whether or not that person was directly involved in that impropriety. This goes further than the laws of many other countries, which require the person who discloses a trade secret to have themselves behaved improperly in obtaining it.

One reason why the broader scope of United States trade secrets law has not become a major problem before now is the existence of the First Amendment. For example, in the case of DVD-CCA v. Bunner, where an injunction was sought against multiple defendants for republishing the source code of the DeCSS DVD-descrambling utility, their First Amendment rights were a factor in the ultimate dismissal of the injunction (along with, more fundamentally, the fact that by then the CSS algorithm was no longer a trade secret).

But because other countries do not have the safeguard of the First Amendment, it is potentially much more problematic to extend a duty of confidence to those who are innocent of any impropriety of their own. Yet two parallel measures to extend strict U.S. rules throughout the world would do exactly this.

One of these measures is a proposed European Trade Secrets Directive, which would harmonize, upwards, the continent's mish-mash of national trade secrets laws. This week the proposed Directive heads to a “trialogue” meeting in which the three institutions of the European Union—the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission—will seek to bash out a draft text, which will then formally go back to the Parliament for a first reading vote.

A significant controversy in the Directive proposal has been over whether it should include exceptions for the disclosure of trade secrets in the public interest, for example by journalists and whistleblowers. Back in June, the Parliament's Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee recommended that it should. But pushback against these protections is very likely to emerge during the trialogue process, and their prospects of survival in the final Directive are fraught at best.

The second measure to heighten trade secrets protection around the world is by the inclusion of a tough new trade secrets provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Mirroring U.S. law, but at odds with that of some of its partners, the TPP's trade secrets obligation “includes the acquisition of undisclosed information by third parties who knew, or were grossly negligent in failing to know” that it had been obtained in “a manner contrary to honest commercial practices”. In cases where the trade secret is accessed or disclosed over a computer system, it even becomes a criminal offense.

The TPP contains none of the public interest safeguards that the JURI Committee promoted for the EU Trade Secrets Directive. There is a proposal that would allow (but would not require) countries to provide an exception for whistleblowers who reveal a violation of the law. But this is far narrower than the equivalent exception proposed by the JURI Committee, which would also have allowed whistleblowing of misconduct, wrongdoing or fraud—as well as providing a separate guarantee of media freedom and a “general public interest” exception.

The lack of constitutional protection for the rights and liberties of citizens of many of the EU and TPP countries makes it is absolutely essential that if new trade secret rights are to be recognized, these come with robust and broad public interest exceptions. We oppose the TPP outright, for this and many other reasons. As for the EU Trade Secrets Directive, we remain to be convinced that a fair balance will be struck, and will be closely monitoring its progress through the European policy machinery.

Related Issues: InternationalTrans-Pacific Partnership AgreementRelated Cases: DVDCCA v Bunner and DVDCCA v Pavlovich
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Netanyahu Escalates War on Palestine - Mon, 14/09/2015 - 23:01
Netanyahu Escalates War on Palestine
by Stephen Lendman
Israeli desecration of Islam’s third holiest site continued for a second day. Soldiers and police attacked Al Aqsa Mosque worshippers, terrorizing them - on the phony pretext of conducting a security operation, to let Zionist zealots enter where they don’t belong.
A longstanding agreement with the Islamic trust in charge of Al-Aqsa permits Jewish prayer only at the neighboring Western Wall, the Second Temple’s last remnant.
Israeli authorities systematically breach all agreements it makes. Heavily protected extremist settlers are escorted into Al-Aqsa’s compound regularly, ignoring Palestinian and overall Arab street anger.
Clashes, injuries and arrests follow every time. Al-Aqsa director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani accused Israel of “impos(ing) sovereignty over it by the power of (brute) force.”
It decides who enters or leaves Islam’s third holiest site. Anyone challenging its authority is brutalized, including Islamic Endowment personnel in charge of administering and maintaining the compound.
Two days of clashes left scores of Palestinians injured, including 11 journalists covering the incident, nearly two dozen requiring hospitalization.
A Palestinian Journalists Syndicate statement denounced Israeli brutality, saying soldiers and police stormed Al-Aqsa, deliberately assaulting Palestinian worshipers and journalists.
Netanyahu issued a duplicitous statement, saying Israel will “maintain (Al-Aqsa compound) status quo and order. It is our responsibility and our power to act against rioters to allow freedom of worship at this holy place” - excluding Muslims when extremist Jews wish to enter where they don’t belong.
Zionist zealots want a new Jewish temple replacing Al-Aqsa. A Knesset measure proposed dividing the compound into Jewish and Islamic sectors. Muslims worldwide denounce both schemes.
Palestinians justifiably resist Israeli ruthlessness. Outrage is palpable. Children and youths throw stones - a symbolic act of resistance.
On Monday, Netanyahu said he’ll hold an emergency Tuesday evening meeting to discuss “the war on stone throwing and fire bombs in Jerusalem and its vicinity” - ignoring why Palestinian rage erupts, responding to longstanding Israeli state terror.
He “intends to fight the phenomenon with all means, including harsher penalties and enforcement,” his office said.
Israel calls legitimate Palestinian resistance and self-defense “terrorism,” including symbolic stone-throwing. Knesset legislation already mandates up to 10-year sentences for defendants not accused of intending to cause harm - otherwise, up to 20 years imprisonment.
Up to five years for anyone ‘interfer(ing) with the policeman's performance of his duties or to prevent him from performing them.” How much stiffening of these draconian measures Netanyahu and his racist ministers have in mind remains to be seen.
On Monday, an Israeli driver died in a Jerusalem car crash. Two passengers were injured. Netanyahu is using the incident to enforce greater harshness than already on longtime persecuted Palestinians - citing a police report suggesting stone-throwing caused him to swerve, with no verifiable evidence proving it.
On average, Israel experiences near daily car accident fatalities. Blaming Palestinians for Sunday’s incident gives Netanyahu a convenient excuse to further brutalize millions of defenseless people.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Bashing Jeremy Corbyn - Mon, 14/09/2015 - 18:37
Bashing Jeremy Corbyn
by Stephen Lendman
British Prime Minister David Cameron called Corbyn a threat to national security. More on what he said below.
For the first time in decades, British politics got interesting. Whether Corbyn’s astonishing rise from longtime backbencher to near-overnight Labour party leadership makes a difference remains to be seen. 
One man with perhaps a handful of party supporters trying to change an entrenched system run by powerful monied interests is a daunting task and then some.
Blairites, Thatcherites and media scoundrels oppose him. Labour party supporters are tagged with the pejorative “Corbynista.” “Corbynism” is called isolationist and anti-British.
A hostile London Observer editorial denigrated him, claiming undefined “evidence to suggest voters will resoundingly reject Corbynism in its current form if he makes it to the next election.”
Observer editors claim “lacklustre campaigns of the other candidates” paved his way to victory. Blairism represented by Liz Kendall was resoundingly rejected - getting an embarrassing low 5% support.
Corbyn’s leadership represents “the greatest challenge the Labour party has ever faced,” claimed Observer editors. They’re right saying he’s yet to prove he can change anything - given entrenched monied interests running things unchallenged in all Western societies and most others at the expense of everyone else. 
If Corbyn can shake things up a little, perhaps there’s eventual hope for driving a stake through the heart of Thatcherism and Blairism - for sure no time soon.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is an unindicted war criminal - complicit with Obama’s imperial agenda, threatening world peace. 
Corbyn wants humanity saved from the scourge of endless wars. Who’s the real threat to British and global security? For sure not a peace and stability advocate, provided his actions as Labour party leader don’t stray from his high-minded rhetoric.
The whole civilized world hopes he’s the real thing. War-mongering criminals running Western countries and Israel deplore him. So far, no congratulatory phone call from Obama - or likeminded rogue leaders.
During his London visit last week, Netanyahu snubbed him - deploring his forthright support for Palestinian rights, including vocal opposition last summer to Israeli naked aggression on Gaza.
Cameron’s twitter comment was duplicitous and then some, saying “(t)he Labour party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.”
Judge for yourself. Corbyn chairs Britain’s Stop the War Coalition. He’s for nuclear disarmament and against US-led NATO’s killing machine.
He wants force-fed austerity ended, harming ordinary Brits to enrich wealthy ones more than ever, as well as reversing welfare cuts to help people most in need.
He urges quantitative easing for ordinary people. Money injected responsibly into economies create growth and jobs. When consumers have money, they spend it. A virtuous circle of prosperity is possible. Western policies benefit monied interests exclusively.
Corbyn supports investing in vital infrastructure projects, public transportation and renewable energy - to end reliance on fossil fuels.
In an August Ecologist article, he said “(o)ur collective aspirations must lie with a greener vision of Britain. And we must reach out to those voters who care deeply about the environment if we are to build the electoral alliance we need.”
“Break up our energy cartels.” “(N)o TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) with the US.” Yes to “clean air to breathe.”
“We are fighting for the same thing: for society to be run in our collective interest (as well as) protecting our planet.”
Corbyn opposes fracking and other environmentally destructive practices. Whether he means what he says has yet to be tested.
Despite over three decades in parliament, he was always a powerless backbencher, never holding a ministerial position, let alone Labour leadership like now.
Britain’s Defense Secretary Michael Fallon repeated Cameron’s offensive remark calling Corbyn “a serious risk to our nation’s security, our economy’s security and your family’s security.”
“Whether it’s weakening our defences, raising taxes on jobs and earnings, racking up more debt and welfare or driving up the cost of living by printing money, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party will hurt working people,” Fallon blustered.
He ignored Britain’s participation in endless US wars as well as enormous harm to millions of ordinary people under Tory and previous post-Thatcher Labour governments, absurdly saying Conservatives will continue delivering “stability, security and opportunity.”
Brits lacked it since the 1970s. No matter how sincere, Corbyn alone can’t change things. A sustained groundswell of mass support is the only chance, a slim one at best.
Years, maybe decades, are needed to undo the enormous damage done. Most world governments follow the same destructive path as America and Britain.
If Corbyn’s sincere about working for real change, hopefully a strong grassroots majority of Brits will support him - the only chance for anything positive ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

US Drones Attack Syria's Military - Mon, 14/09/2015 - 01:29
US Drones Attack Syria’s Military
by Stephen Lendman
On September 11, a publication called Russian Spring reported US unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks on Syrian military positions - “disguised as an airstrike on ISIS.” 
Syrian journalists learned details of what’s happening. Numerous civilians were killed. According to Syrian military sources, covert US drone strikes against its forces and positions happened before, part of Washington’s phony war on ISIS.
On September 1, the Washington Post headlined “US launches secret drone campaign to hunt Islamic State leaders in Syria,” saying:
CIA and US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) operatives “are flying drones over Syria” - conducting targeted air strikes. WaPo lied claiming it’s against “senior Islamic State operatives,” citing official US sources.
Obama’s stepped up bombing complicit with Britain, France, Canada, Australia and Israel heads thing closer to full-scale naked aggression - to destroy Syrian sovereignty, eliminate an Israeli rival, and isolate Iran ahead of perhaps inventing a pretext to attack the Islamic Republic.
War plans were made years ago, updated as needed. The Iran nuclear deal did nothing to change longstanding US hostility toward Tehran. 
Regime change remains official US policy - wanting Iranian sovereign independence destroyed like what’s ongoing in Syria. Maybe Washington has an Islamic State invasion in mind, perhaps aided by US air power.
America targets all independent government worldwide for regime change - wanting subservient US-controlled vassal states replacing them, a nightmarish scenario for endless conflicts, mass slaughter and destruction and possible nuclear war threatening everyone, everywhere if launched.
Previous articles explained Washington uses ISIS terrorists as US proxy foot soldiers. Obama’s Iraq and Syria bombing campaigns support them, targeting infrastructure, and  apparently Syrian military positions.
In September 2014, Sergey Lavrov said if US and other Western forces bomb Syria, “(t)here are reasons to suspect (the campaign may attack) government troops…on the quiet to weaken the positions of Bashar Assad’s army.”
He commented shortly after Obama announced US plans to allegedly bomb ISIS in Syria - a ruse, part of Washington’s plan to oust Assad.
On September 13, on Russia’s Channel 1 Sunday Times program, Lavrov said “Russia has information that the US knows the position of the IS, but does not bomb them.”
Its actions don’t reflect its publicly stated objective. “Analyzing (them), one cannot but suspect…ulterior motives beyond the stated goal of fighting the Islamic State,” said Lavrov.
“Some our colleagues among the coalition members told us they sometimes knew where certain ISIL regiments were stationed but the coalition’s command - which is, obviously, the US – did not give them the permission for an airstrike.” Washington “conspired towards goals that were not declared ones.”
Its war on Syrian sovereignty continues despite Western nations saying “they clearly understand (ISIS) is the main threat in the Middle East and North Africa,” not Assad. 
“If everyone realizes that, but many whisper it, fearing to say it out loud, it is necessary to implement that in action.”
Lavrov explained Russia will continue fulfilling its contractual obligations to Syria - supplying arms, munitions and training, as well as humanitarian aid. “These are no mysteries or secrets,” he explained. “Our military-technical cooperation seeks to” defeat ISIS. 
Washington uses mercenary terrorists and its military might to advance its imperium - by crushing fundamental freedoms wherever they exist, including at home, complicit with rogue partners.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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 Desecrates Islam's Third Holiest Site, Again - Mon, 14/09/2015 - 01:28
Israel Desecrates Islam’s Third Holiest Site, Again
by Stephen Lendman
No crime is too outrageous for Israel to commit. Genocidal aggression is longstanding policy. So are many forms of daily persecution - ruthless police state brutality against defenseless Palestinians.
On September 13, ahead of the two-day Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah period, extremist settlers led by racist agriculture minister Uri Ariel, protected by soldiers and police, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem - Islam’s third holiest site where they don’t belong, on the fabricated pretext of conducting a security operation.
Dozens of worshipers were attacked and forcibly removed, including children, Israeli forces using tear gas and stun grenades, as well as indiscriminately firing steel-coated rubber bullets against helpless victims.
Last week, defense minister Moshe Ya’alon illegitimately banned two Muslim groups responsible for protecting the Mosque.
Israel lied claiming no Sunday injuries. A Palestinian child named Anas Siyam was hospitalized after being struck in the chest with a rubber bullet. Reports said his condition is unknown. Dozens of other Palestinians were injured.
Palestinian Ministry of Endowment (PME) overseas and maintains Al-Aqsa as well as other West Bank and East Jerusalem mosques. Its director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani and other PME personnel were assaulted.
After the incident, the Fatah Raafat Ulayyan movement urged Palestinians to defend the holy site from Israeli rampaging and ongoing “process of Judaization.”
Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi was in Al-Aqsa when Israeli forces attacked, saying what happened is part of Netanyahu’s intent to divide the mosque, desecrate it further by designating daily hours for extremist settlers to worship where they don’t belong.
He urged resistance to protect sacred Muslim holy sites. Netanyahu’s regime includes a rogue’s gallery of fanatical Zionists and vicious racists.
Desecrating any religious holy site is a high crime, a far greater one attacking Al-Aqsa. Numerous earlier incidents occurred. Expect many more to follow.
Separately on Sunday, Israeli forces attacked Palestinians in Gaza. Witnesses said they willfully opened fire. Two arrests followed.
Similar incidents occur often. Scores of Palestinian fishermen are attacked at sea - for the crime of fishing, causing injuries and deaths. Vessels and equipment are damaged and confiscated.
Palestinians on their own land approaching too close to Israel’s border barrier risk being shot and killed, even young children.
On Rosh Hashanah eve, Netanyahu delivered a provocative, outrageous rant, calling legitimate Israeli critics “bigoted and prejudiced,” accusing them of making “slanderous charges.”
He ludicrously called Israel “a beacon of progress…of democracy and of human rights in a region plagued by fanaticism, by terror, by unbelievable savagery.”
Racist state terror is longstanding Israeli policy, Netanyahu its leading exponent - an unindicted war criminal belonging in prison, not high office, along with numerous other hate-mongering zealots in his coalition regime.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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 Denies 1,500 Sick Palestinian Prisoners Medical Care - Sun, 13/09/2015 - 21:21
Israel Denies 1,500 Sick Palestinian Prisoners Medical Care
by Stephen Lendman
Israel arbitrarily arrests, detains and tortures Palestinian men, women and children for wanting fundamental freedoms on their own land in their own country. Thousands of political prisoners languish in its gulag - denied all rights including essential medical treatment when ill.
Over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners are sick and/or disabled, scores in serious condition. Israel denies them vitally needed healthcare. 
Except for aspirin or other largely ineffective pain killers, detainees must either buy their own medications, if permitted, or go untreated. They’re left to suffer, slowly wither and perish, usually after release when they’re too far gone - to save Israel the embarrassment of many prison deaths.
The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs calls Israeli detention and mistreatment of sick prisoners “deliberate murder.” 
They face delays or denial of badly needed surgery and/or other essential treatment, no access to medical specialists, appalling prison hospital facilities, unsanitary conditions leaving them vulnerable to illness and disease, as well as beatings and other abuses while ill.
On September 12, Palestinian lawyer Hanan al-Katib explained political prisoner Salah al-Din al-Titi’s ordeal. He suffers from congenital birth defects causing kidney failure, bladder and genital problems.
He underwent 10 surgeries before imprisonment. Despite constant pain, dizziness and vision problems, he’s gotten no medical treatment except largely ineffective pain killers.
In February 2013, he was sentenced to three years in prison. Israeli military courts refuse to release him for health reasons. He badly needs treatment denied him in prison.
The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) said appalling prison conditions cause deteriorating health for large numbers of Palestinian detainees.
The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association says the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) follows “a systematic policy of medical negligence in prisons and detention centers housing Palestinian detainees.” 
“Long delays in providing substandard medical treatment are typical. Although all prisons include a medical clinic, physicians are on duty irregularly and specialized medical healthcare is generally unavailable.” 
“Prisoners are not treated outside the assigned clinic hours and typically must wait for long periods of time before being examined” then most often only given largely ineffective pain killers, denying them proper medical treatment. 
Hospitalization, when permitted, is only after weeks or months of delays - inflicting punishing pain and suffering for political reasons.
Prison conditions hugely affect detainees adversely - from lack of sunlight, proper sanitation, nutritional food, health and dental care, as well as limited time outside their cells for exercise.
Many prisoners develop skin diseases, extreme fatigue, anemia, kidney deterioration, rheumatism, heart disease, cancer, dental problems, ulcers and other health issues - left festering from inadequate or denied treatment.
Prison doctors serve state interests, not incarcerated human beings they’re mandated to treat as physicians. They’re complicit with brutalizing physical and mental torture.
Appendicitis Muhammad, aged 18, developed in Ofer prison went untreated. He explained his ordeal, saying:
“I was arrested on 25 February 2009 from Katana after clashes erupted around the Wall in the village. A group of four undercover forces arrested me and started beating me.” 
“Then the army came. They took me and transferred me to the police station in Atarot. There again, two border police beat me on my legs, head and stomach using their rifles.” 
“They were beating me in a room called the ‘container,’ after which they took me to Atarot. It was in the evening at the time of the Maghreb prayer. I was left there until 4:00AM after which I was transferred to Ofer prison.” 
“There, I was immediately placed in section 11, room number 4, specially used for detaining juveniles. I was held there for two months. Then they transferred me to the tents where I stayed another two months.” 
“I was sentenced to four and a half months of prison and a 500 shekel fine. Although I was supposed to be released on 25 June 2009, there was a delay and I was released only on 2 July 2009.” 
“A week before 25 June, I started feeling pain in both sides of my stomach. It started hurting more and more, so the officer of the section called the nurse who was on duty that day.” 
“He came with a urine container and took a sample. Then, he asked that I go the clinic and the next day I was allowed to go. A doctor was there who performed a routine examination to check the pressure on the both sides of my waist.” 
“Then she told me: ‘drink more water’ and gave me an envelope filled with blue pills the size of lentils. And they brought me back to the section. Every time I would feel the pain I would take one of the pills.” 
“At first, they were working for 10 hours. Then, they stopped. When I went back to the clinic, I was told that I am dehydrated. This was the case until my release on 2 July 2009.” 
“I took two pills before I was released on a Thursday. They worked until Saturday noon. Then I felt a sharp pain and immediately went to the doctor in the village clinic.” 
“From there I was immediately transferred to the hospital in Ramallah and then to the operating room. After a few X-rays and tests, the doctors performed surgery which lasted an hour and a half. It turned out that my appendix had burst and an infection spread throughout my abdomen. I had to stay in the hospital for 16 days.”
Muhammad was lucky. Release in time for vital treatment saved him - denied by prison authorities and complicit doctors. Infection from an untreated ruptured appendix quickly spreads and can cause death.
Hundreds of other Palestinian prisoners endure similar mistreatment. Israel denies them proper care no matter how ill.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Irresponsible Western Media Russia Bashing - Sun, 13/09/2015 - 20:59
Irresponsible Western Media Russia Bashing
By Stephen Lendman
Western media irresponsibly blame Russia for high crimes against peace committed by their own nations, namely America, key NATO allies, Israel and rogue Arab states - notably in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen and Syria, ignoring Moscow’s consistent efforts to resolve conflicts diplomatically, the only way to restore peace and stability.
World attention on the gravest refugee crisis since WW II caused by US-led imperial wars affects Syria most of all. Half its 23-million population is internally or externally displaced.
Nothing is reported about Obama’s full responsibility - a proxy war he launched in March 2011, complicit with other rogue states - using imported death squads to topple Assad’s popularly elected government.
Instead of laying blame where it belongs, Western media bash Putin. Hysterical Fox News misreporting claims he’s “co-leading” war in Syria.
Citing unnamed intelligence sources, Fox claimed “(t)he Russians are no longer advising, but co-leading the war” with Iranian help.
A “Russian buildup in Syria,” is underway with “1,000 combatants” currently on the ground ahead of more to come - including “members of the Airborne Rifle brigade, the equivalent of US Army Rangers.”
Not a shred of evidence supports these hysterical claims. Fox News anchors, pseudo-reporters and guests feature state-sponsored demagoguery, propaganda, hype and outrageous Big Lies. 
They’re not alone. Other US cable and broadcast news outlets march to the same drummer - reporting managed news misinformation, suppressing hard truths, especially on issues mattering most.
Claims about Russia building its military presence in Syria have no basis in fact. Western media scoundrels aren’t deterred from claiming otherwise - spreading malicious Big Lies, willfully deceiving viewers and readers.
On September 11, New York Times editors headlined “Russia’s Risky Moves in Syria.” A litany of Big Lies followed.
Claiming Russia is “a major enabler of Mr. Assad…(now) expanding (its) involvement in the conflict to a new and more dangerous level.”
Saying Putin sent “a military advance team” setting up “prefabricated housing units for hundreds of military personnel…” No corroborating evidence supports this or related claims. Reporting them is irresponsible propaganda, not legitimate journalism.
“The United States is carrying out airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State,” said The Times.
Fact: US airstrikes support IS terrorists, attacking Syrian infrastructure targets.
The Times: Washington is “train(ing) and arm(ing) moderate opposition groups that could secure territory taken from the extremists.”
Fact: No so-called moderate forces fighting Assad exist, nor are any being trained. Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other takfiri terrorists are US proxy foot soldiers, doing its killing and dying - to secure another client state by destroying Syria’s sovereign independence.
The Times: “Russian officials add to the tensions and growing suspicions (by) play(ing) down or l(ying) about what they are really up to, as they did in Ukraine.”
Fact: What they’re “up to” is working forthrightly for peaceful conflict resolution - polar opposite Washington’s war on humanity in multiple theaters, responsible for millions of deaths, countless disabling injuries, mass destruction, the largest refugee crisis since WW II and appalling human misery.
Times editors outrageously insist “Assad (must) be replaced as part of a negotiated political settlement that includes a transition to a new government” - ignoring his June 2014 overwhelming popular reelection judged open, free and fair by independent international observers.
Vladimir Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other Russian officials forthrightly insist Syrians alone may decide who’ll lead them - never meddling foreign powers like America and complicit allies, or irresponsible New York Times editors.
Their London Guardian counterparts are no better - earlier publishing some of the most outrageous anti-Russian propaganda over its role in Ukraine, wanting conflict conditions resolved diplomatically, having no involvement militarily, despite Big Lies claiming otherwise.
Guardian editors are at it again, saying “Russia has a lot to answer for” - shamelessly blaming Putin for supporting Assad’s nonexistent “large-scale killing of civilians…”
Despite no Russian military buildup in Syria, claiming otherwise irresponsibly, as well as denouncing Moscow’s legitimate right to supply its ally with contractually agreed on weapons and munitions along with vital humanitarian aid.
At the same time, Guardian editors barely acknowledge takfiri terrorists’ atrocities, entirely ignoring their use of chemical weapons wrongfully blamed on Assad.
“(W)hen the UN general assembly gathers (later this month), Mr. Putin should not be given the chance to bask in anti-Isis solidarity with the west as if he had no role in Syria’s killing fields,” Guardian editors blustered. 
“Strong pressure must be brought to bear on him, because he is Mr. Assad’s chief patron, and Mr. Assad is the number one cause of deaths in Syria.”
Putin responsibly supports his Syrian ally against US enlisted, funded, armed, and trained Islamic state and other takfiri terrorists - deployed cross border from Turkey, Jordan and perhaps Israel, waging proxy aggression to destroy Syrian sovereign independence.
Obama and complicit allies bear full responsibility for endless Syrian mass slaughter, destruction and mass displacement. 
Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other Russian officials are the best hope for resolving conflict diplomatically - never as long as Obama and whoever succeeds him want endless war, in Syria and elsewhere.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Kiev's Yalta European Strategy Forum - Sun, 13/09/2015 - 04:31
Kiev’s Yalta European Strategy Forum
by Stephen Lendman
The September 10 - 12 event featured a rogue’s gallery of speakers - including sacked former US General Stanley McChrystal, former European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, coup d’etat Ukrainian oligarch president Petro Poroshenko, illegitimate prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, US presidential aspirant Donald Trump, and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.
Poroshenko opened the forum, suggesting escalated war on Donbass, saying:
“(N)ow it is high time to discuss the possibility to deploy an operation in the Donbass to support due implementation of the Minsk Agreement” - ceasefire terms he violated straightaway after agreeing to observe them, mobilizing 90,000 troops for escalated war, refusing to withdraw heavy weapons from frontline positions as mandated, and shelling civilian communities multiple times daily.
Since Kiev launched naked aggression on its own people in April 2014, it military continued daily attacks, including deliberately targeting civilian areas and committing gruesome atrocities. Poroshenko takes orders from Washington. Obama wants war, not peace. Conflict continues unresolved.
Yatsenyuk called for keeping maximum pressure on Russia - outrageously accusing Putin of “fighting not only against Ukraine (but) against the free world.” He demanded thousands of nonexistent Russia troops withdraw from Novorossia and return Crimea to Ukraine.
Donald Trump delivered a video-linked address, his typical rant, bashing Obama, displaying embarrassing ignorance about Ukraine, the ongoing conflict, its people, economy and severe self-inflicted and US-led Western-caused problems.
It’s a tossup whether he, Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, or Victoria Nuland was the event’s lowlight. They all deserve discredit. Nuland arrogantly said Yalta one day will return to Ukraine, nonexistent “Russian aggression” continues, and sanctions will stay in place as long as Washington says so.
She praised Ukraine’s so-called success in “stabiliz(ing)” its corruption-ridden, bankrupt economy heading toward collapse - at the same time blaming Russia and Donbass freedom fighters for US-orchestrated aggression, using Kiev forces as proxies.
As long as US policy remains unchanged, war on Donbass will continue,. Russia will irresponsibly be blamed, and flashpoint conditions could spark East/West confrontation risking unthinkable nuclear war.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Syrian Refugees Call Israel Their Main Enemy - Sun, 13/09/2015 - 02:30
Syrian Refugees Call Israel Their Main Enemy
by Stephen Lendman
If views expressed by some Syrian refugees represent majority sentiment, Israel is the region’s main enemy. According to some polls, it’s the world’s most hated country along with America.
On September 12, Times of Israel contributor Rossella Tercatin said despite their hazardous journey and cruel treatment en route to a Milan, Italy refugee reception center, they “view Israel as their real enemy.”
One arrival named Adman said he respects all races and religions. “(W)e are all brothers, but Israel is the ultimate enemy…But I want to stress, Jews are not my enemy. Zionists are my enemy.”
He expressed surprise to be interviewed by a Jewish publication. “I’ve never met a Jew before,” he explained. “Why should an Israeli paper be interested in stories about Syrian refugees,” he asked?
He warned Tercatin not to tell other refugees she’s Jewish. They might “react badly,” he said. Another refugee named Inaia called Israel a “colonial power, that’s it. They stole the Palestinians’ land.”
Her daughter Mais explained why they left Syria, saying “(o)ur house was bombarded three times and the road my brother and I used to take to go to university does not exist any more. There was no future in Syria.”
They preferred living in another Arab country, but were mistreated and had to leave. An Italian NGO Arca employee named Rima moved to Italy from Syria.
She called Palestinians “our relatives, our friends, our neighbors.” Israel is “Palestinian territory.” Jews are “a religion, not a people…(A) Jewish state has (no) reason to exist.”
Syrians and Palestinians have good reason to hate Israel. Its 1967 Six Day War stole Syrian territory never returned. Its warplanes terror bomb Syrian targets unaccountably. It aids Islamic State and other takfiri terrorists. It brutalizes Palestinians daily.
On Friday, an extremist settler attacked eight-year-old Zaid Abu Qweidir in East Jerusalem’s Silwan community. Its Wadi Hilweh Information Center said clashes followed.
Other settlers pepper-sprayed Palestinians, including a five-year-old boy. Israeli police refused comment. Settler security guards and Israeli soldiers arrived to protect aggressive settlers - forcibly entering Palestinian homes, firing tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades indiscriminately against justifiable protesters.
Scores of moderate to severe injuries were reported. A pregnant woman was wounded. So were young children aged seven months to 13.
Israel’s regime under Netanyahu is its most extremist in history - a lawless, racist, fascist rogue state, waging war on defenseless Palestinians daily, rampaging through their communities, aggressively stealing their land, bulldozing their homes, expelling them extrajudicially.
In August alone, B’Tselem reported its Civil Administration and military conducted “a demolition rampage in 29 villages and communities” throughout Area C, comprising over 60% of the West Bank.
Scores of homes and other structures were destroyed, hundreds of Palestinians displaced, part of Israel’s maximum Jews and minimum Arabs policy.
Along with multiple daily terrorizing pre-dawn community raids, Israel does everything possible to make life miserable for Palestinians. B’Tselem explained Jordan Valley Palestinian woman Khadiheh Bsharat’s anguish, quoting her comments after Israel demolished her family home, saying:
“We live in a single-room mud hut with a ceiling made of plastic sheeting and tin. In the winter, our house turns into a pool and all our belongings get flooded.” When that happens, we have no shelter.” 
“My husband and I decided to build a house next to our mud hut, which was practically falling apart. With difficulty, my husband managed to borrow some money, and we managed to build a structure from cinder blocks and tin with very little money. We were hoping to finish construction and move into the new place.”
“We make a living farming and shepherding, but our situation gets worse day by day. The military won’t let us take our livestock through the pastures in the area.” 
“I finished a degree in art at the university and I was hoping to find a job to help bring in some more money to give my daughters a better life, but everything went wrong.” 
“On the morning of the demolition, I was on my way to a job interview in Jericho. At 9:30, my husband phoned to tell me that Civil Administration and military bulldozers were demolishing everything we’d built and there was nothing left.” 
“I just froze where I was and began crying. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t think about anything else. I didn’t care about the job interview anymore and I went home.”
“When I got there, I saw my daughters sitting by the rubble, and my husband just standing there, confused and at a loss. The whole family just looked at the wreckage, heartbroken.” 
“I felt as if my whole world had fallen to pieces and that I was living a nightmare. Instead of having our lives advance and move a step forward, we slid several steps back.” 
“I had hoped to free ourselves of that room that was set to topple right on top of me and my daughters, and where snakes and scorpions constantly come in. I had hoped to live a more normal life, like other people. Now every morning when I wake up, I see the ruins and my heart breaks.”
Khadiheh Bsharat’s anguish repeats multiple times daily throughout Occupied Palestine. A ruthless Israeli regime bears full responsibility.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Jeremy Corbyn Elected Britain's New Labour Party Leader - Sat, 12/09/2015 - 23:10
Jeremy Corbyn Elected Britain’s New Labour Party Leader
by Stephen Lendman
Longtime British Labour party MP since 1983, Corbyn was considered a 100 - 1 shot for its leadership after declaring his candidacy in June, on an anti-war, anti-austerity platform, saying:
“This decision to stand is in response to an overwhelming call by Labour party members who want to see a broader range of candidates and a thorough debate about the future of the party. I am standing to give Labour party members a voice in this debate.”
He promised a “different economic strategy, particularly opposing austerity” - calling other Labour leadership candidates cardboard cutouts of each other - failing to offer “a clear enough alternative on the economic strategy and austerity, and our attitude to welfare expenditure.”
London’s Guardian called him one of Labour’s “most rebellious” MPs, defying its former leadership 238 times. According to the Financial Times, it was over 500 times.
As new Labour leader will he make a difference, or is he Britain’s Bernie Sanders and Greece’s Alexis Tsipras - a real or phony populist? Will he run ahead for prime minister on a progressive, anti-war platform?
Will he stand forthrightly and unequivocally against business as usual - or simply support cosmetic changes too insignificant to matter? 
He’s a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Amnesty International, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and chairs Britain’s Stop the War Coalition.
He calls himself a democratic socialist, advocating renationalizing Britain’s utilities and railways, making business pay its fair share in taxes, ending austerity, reversing public welfare cuts, abolishing higher education tuition fees, nuclear disarmament, and quantitative easing for ordinary people, vital infrastructure and renewable energy projects.
He said “(w)e need to strongly challenge NATO supremacy and oppose its exercise in Ukraine.” He opposes Britain’s membership in the US-dominated Alliance.
His web site says “(o)ur timeless task in the Labour Party is to stand up against injustice wherever we find it. That notion has driven me throughout my political life - and it’s what drove me to stand for Parliament in the first place.”
In mid-August, he said “(s)urely it is high time that we had a serious debate about Britain’s overall defense and foreign policy. More than 60 years of Nato membership has brought us enormous levels of military expenditure and by our close relationship with the US through NATO and the Mutual Defence Agreement involved us in countless conflicts.”
“In a world beset by conflict, often around the grab for natural resources and fueled by the greed of arms and defence manufacturers, surely it’s time to reassess our priorities for a foreign policy based on human values, peaceful development and not exacerbating military aggression.”
In late August, Britain’s Stop the War coalition discussed “10 reasons” UK neocons oppose Corbyn for Labour party leadership.
1. He opposed US/UK et al war on Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. He wants individuals responsible for illegal wars held accountable.
2. He’s a “dangerous leftist” - supporting policies benefitting ordinary Brits for the first time since pre-Margaret Thatcher’s anti-populism.
3. He’s critical of US and Israeli policies - supports long denied justice for Palestinians.
4. He has undefined “extremist links.”
5. His policies make him “unelectable.”
6. He wants 1970s policies reinstituted - when the gap between Britain’s rich and poor was the lowest in UK history.
7. His anti-militarism agenda “would leave Britain defenseless and open to invasion.”
8. Earlier, he praised one of John Pilger’s articles - condemning the devastating human cost of US-led NATO’s rape of Yugoslavia.
9. He “opposes austerity.”
10. He enjoys increasing popularity. He says things people want to hear as well as voting on the right side of important issues.
It’s one thing supporting populist interests as a powerless backbencher, quite another as party leader. He’ll face enormous pressure to bend, perhaps too much to withstand, maybe enough to make a possible transformational leader into a largely business as usual compliant one.
As Labour leader, it’s up to him to stand forthright for principles he rhetorically supports and against Britain’s devastating domestic and foreign policy agenda - using his bully pulpit to rally Brits against an overwhelming right-wing parliament.
He won a smashing victory with around 60% support - compared to 19% for his nearest rival (Andy Burnham), 17% for Yvette Cooper, and 4% for Blairite Liz Kendall.
Newly elected deputy leader Tom Watson called for party unity, saying he “promised to back the new leader 100% and I plan to do exactly that.”
The Financial Times said he “filled (Labour) with division and dismay.” He’s “an unlikely figure to try impose discipline upon the ranks…”
The New York Times said he ‘promis(es) radical approaches to longstanding problems.” The Washington Post called him “a left-wing rebel…a grassroots phenomenon.”
The Wall Street Journal said his leadership “could herald a realignment of British politics. (His) anti-austerity, anti-war and egalitarian message has resonated with supporters…”
He faces a daunting task against majority right-wing pro-business, pro-war, anti-populist Labourites masquerading as democrats - besides sure to come enormous bipartisan business as usual pressure from Washington.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Western Media Ignore US Responsibility for Refugee Crisis - Sat, 12/09/2015 - 20:16
Western Media Ignore US Responsibility for Refugee Crisis
by Stephen Lendman
Post-9/11 Internal and external human floods followed Bush aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq, then Obama continuing his wars and his own on Libya, Syria, Donbass, Yemen and complicit with Israel on Palestine, as well as other turbulent hot spots caused by Washington’s imperial agenda.
Major media explain nothing about why people flee countries of origin for safe havens elsewhere. They ignore millions of Palestinian refugees, forcibly displaced internally, in neighboring countries and elsewhere by Israeli aggression since 1947-48. 
Or the millions of Mexicans and other Latinos forced north to America by economic, not hot wars. Or over a million Ukrainian refugees Russia accepted following Obama’s war on Donbass, most remaining - humanely treated, given proper food, shelter and medical care.
Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner, Pavel Astakhov, and its Federal Migration Service head, Konstantin Romodanovsky, said large numbers of Syrian refugees will be accepted on condition they violate no laws.
Moscow responsibly treats refugees and asylum seekers humanely, aiding them through a transition period until able to become self-reliant - getting no Western praise for its efforts, in stark contrast to deplorable policies by America and other European countries.
Western refugee crisis media coverage ignores its root cause - a made in America disaster, from endless wars of aggression, murdering or displacing millions, countless numbers fleeing abroad for safety, trying to stay alive, adjust to new surroundings and create better futures for themselves and loved ones.
New York Times editors focused on a woefully inadequate European plan to address the problem - leaving the only viable solution unexplained, ending imperial wars, humanely treating its victims through a transition period to rebuild their lives, holding Obama and culpable allied officials fully responsible for their high crimes, and paying the full cost of rebuilding ravaged countries.
Instead Times editors endorsed a deplorable European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker plan to accept a mere 160,000 refugees distributed among EU member states by mandatory quotas - ignoring many millions desperately needing help, likely millions more to follow with endless US wars continuing.
Washington Post editors called the Obama administration’s refugee crisis response “woefully inadequate” without explaining its root cause.
White House officials saying America will accept around 10,000 Syrian refugees in fiscal year 2016 ignores millions of other desperate asylum seekers - or their ability to survive up to a two-year US screening process designed to reject, not accept them.
WaPo editors called Obama’s disgraceful effort a “progressive policy,” while ignoring his full responsibility for creating crisis conditions in the first place.
In 2015, Washington accepted only a few hundred Syrian nationals seeking asylum, ignoring millions it harmed in need, desperately requesting help not forthcoming - not in America, woefully little in Europe, blaming victims for Western-caused misery and Putin for Obama’s Syrian and Donbass wars.
US immigration and asylum policy is a travesty of injustice - ignoring America’s full responsibility for floods of people seeking safe havens, disfavoring people for racial, ethnic and religious reasons, interning unwanted refugees in virtual concentration camps, maintaining an 18 - 24 month visa vetting process disqualifying most applicants.
US and European policies favor rich, well-born and privileged nationals and emigres. Others aren’t wanted, or at best, deplorably tolerated.
WaPo editors ignored appalling human rights abuses, against unwanted refugees and citizens of offending nations - official policy in Western countries, mainly America.
Wall Street Journal editors absurdly called the refugee crisis “what the world looks like when the West abandons its responsibility to maintain world order” - meaning greater US-led EU military intervention, escalated wars and carnage, devastating ravaged countries more than already.
“Committed to withdrawing from the region, President Obama chose to do almost nothing,” they said - ignoring his genocidal wars responsible for human floods of desperate people.
Journal editors urged “world order built on Western ideals,” - “militarily” as needed, assuring greater crisis conditions than already.
US/Western solutions to everything involve endless wars, carnage, mass displacement and human suffering - a policy of genocide for wealth and power.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

EFF Provides Evidence to Courts of Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T Participation in NSA Spying - Sat, 12/09/2015 - 10:10

This week EFF presented evidence in two of its NSA cases confirming the participation of Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T in the NSA's mass telephone records collection under the Patriot Act.  This is important because, despite broad public acknowledgement, the government is still claiming that it can dismiss our cases because it has never confirmed that anyone other than Verizon Business participated and that disclosing which providers assist the agency is a state secret.  This argument was successful recently in convincing the D.C. Circuit to reverse and remand the case of Klayman v. Obama.

EFF filed requests with the courts in two lawsuits, Smith v. Obama and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA, asking that they accept as evidence and take into account government filings in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that were recently made public. The filings confirm that AT&T, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint participated in the NSA’s programs since they report on a "compliance incident" involving those companies.

One of the documents was released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the New York Times. It is a letter sent from the Department of Justice to the FISC describing how the agency failed to comply with an order the court issued in 2010. The subject line of the letter references that the order was for records from AT&T, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint. The other document is one that had previously been made public on the website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that confirms that the spying program referred to in the letter is indeed the mass collection of telephone call detail records.

The government's shell game tactic has delayed both cases, diverting the courts’ attention away from EFF’s argument that the mass surveillance of customers’ communications violates the First Amendment right of association and the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. The government has used the same tired argument to delay EFF's Jewel v. NSA case against the tapping into the Internet backbone at AT&T's facilities, which was the subject of a recent New York Times/Pro Publica story. 

EFF believes it’s long past time that the NSA come clean about the major providers like AT&T and Verizon involved in its various mass surveillance programs. The American people deserve better and the courts deserve not to be forced to contend with what, at this point, has become largely a charade.

Files:  Smith Request for Judicial Notice First Unitarian Request for Judicial NoticeRelated Issues: NSA SpyingRelated Cases: Smith v. ObamaJewel v. NSAFirst Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

OKCupid Still Dragging Its Heels On HTTPS - Sat, 12/09/2015 - 09:18
Popular Dating Site Has No Love for Strong Security

Back in 2012, EFF first called out OKCupid for failing to safeguard user data by not implementing HTTPS site-wide.

Three years later, OKCupid still hasn’t fixed the problem. For users who haven’t upgraded to paid accounts, their emails, chat sessions, searches, clicked links, pages viewed, and usernames are transmitted over the Internet in unencrypted plaintext, where they can be intercepted and read by anyone on the network.

"HTTPS" is standard web encryption that ensures information sent and received online is encrypted. OKCupid enables some HTTPS encryption on the site—for example, for paid users and during initial log-in. But OKCupid does not enable HTTPS across the entire site. This means that while OKCupid doesn’t leak passwords entered during log in, it does leak a lot of other data about most users.

This data can be extremely sensitive. OKCupid includes survey questions to help match users with likely mates, and those questions can delve into deeply personal territory. OKCupid regularly asks users about illegal drug use, sexual preferences and history, religious beliefs, and much more.

Infuriating? We think so. And so do our friends at Fight for the Future. They just launched a new campaign to pressure the company into doing the right thing. They’ve got a public petition demanding the company protect users by adopting standard security practices like HTTPS encryption. Add your name to their petition. (See privacy policy).

Related Issues: Encrypting the WebSecurity
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Mistreating Refugees in Europe - Sat, 12/09/2015 - 04:21
Mistreating Refugees in Europe
by Stephen Lendman
US wars with complicit NATO nations bear full responsibility for thousands of refugees and asylum seekers flooding into European countries daily.
Instead of providing humane treatment they deserve, they’re abused most everywhere they go. Human Rights Watch accused EU states of “doubling down (on) border management.”
“Along the Baltic route,” refugees experience police abuse and “pushbacks,” said HRW. Temporary camp facilities are hellholes, unfit for human habitation.
Desperate scenes in Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and elsewhere in Europe show refugees’ pain, hardships and suffering continue on European soil - denied adequate shelter, too little or no food, water and medical care, treated abusively, not like desperate human beings in need.
Amnesty International’s Kondylia Gogou said refugees arriving in Greece “fled war and persecution in countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. They include children, some with their families but others traveling alone. The hellish conditions the refugees are now forced to endure and the official indifference to their plight are appalling.”
Local thugs attack them. Police do nothing to intervene. Arrivals unable to afford accommodations sleep in tents under appalling conditions. Even public toilets are closed.
AI’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Gauri van Gulik, said “(t)he arduous odyssey faced by people fleeing conflict does not end on Greece’s shores.” 
“Forced to walk long distances in searing heat and stay in squalid camps or out in the open, refugees and asylum seekers see little alternative but to continue their journey, contributing to the disaster we’ve seen on the Macedonian border in recent days.”
“This is not just a Greek tragedy, but a Europe-wide crisis. It is unfolding before the eyes of short-sighted European leaders who prioritize securing borders over helping survivors of conflict.” 
“The world is seeing the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. What Europe’s borders need is not fences but safe entry points for refugees, and facilities to receive them with dignity.”
Conditions in Hungary are especially harsh. AI’s Barbora Cernusakova said she “witnessed a new low” in appalling refugee treatment. People are fed like animals, food thrown to them, refugees struggling to catch what they can.
Some Hungarian trains go nowhere. People stuck for days in dire conditions rush to board one they believe is heading for Germany. Around 30 km from Budapest, a Syrian refugee explained what happened, saying:
“The train stopped. The police announced that we have to disembark otherwise they would use force. So we complied, opened the doors and started walking to the platform.” 
“Outside the station there were buses. The police were shouting and we saw smoke. I decided to escape so I walked away and continued along the railways hoping I was heading in the direction of Austria.” 
“But I was walking back to Budapest instead! Eventually I gave up and took a taxi back to the” train’s point of departure, a devastating end to a hopeful journey.
Refugees call Hungarian facilities “prisons” and “Guantanamo.” Police are abusive. Conditions are deplorable, lacking food, water and sanitation.
“They are treating us like animals, worse than animals,” said one arrival. New Hungarian laws target refugees and asylum seekers - mandating prison sentences for illegal border crossing or damaging fencing and other barriers to keep them out.
US wars caused floods of refugees and asylum seekers. Obama, Britain’s David Cameron and France’s Francois Hollande’s solution is escalated war, assuring greater than ever numbers of desperate people fleeing for safe havens out of harm’s way - enduring hazards  throughout their journey, finding no solace nearly everywhere they go.
Obama claiming he’ll admit around 10,000 Syrian refugees in the fiscal year beginning this October 1 on the one hand ignores his responsibility for causing the human flood in the first place.
On the other, expect this promise to be broken like virtually every other important one throughout his tenure. He consistently says one thing and does another.
He’s responsible for murdering hundreds of thousands of Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Ukrainians, Yemenis and others, displacing millions, an endless human flood increasing daily.
Accepting a handful of Syrian refugees is duplicitous tokenism - on top of ignoring the greatest refugee crisis since WW II, victims of US imperial wars.
The only solution is stopping them, their mass slaughter, destruction, displacement and appalling human misery. As long as they continue, millions of desperate people will keep fleeing for safe havens - an endless struggle to stay alive.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

US Petition Drive to Arrest Netanyahu - Sat, 12/09/2015 - 03:46
US Petition Drive to Arrest Netanyahu
by Stephen Lendman
On Friday, Netanyahu left London and headed home. He met with Prime Minister David Cameron, British MPs and Jewish community leaders.
A petition to arrest him got over 110,000 signatures so far. His longstanding record of high crimes demands accountability. Instead he was treated like an honored guest - an appalling display of indifference to Palestinian suffering.
A US petition to arrest him began circulating - ahead of his scheduled UN General Assembly address in New York later this month. It aims for 100,000 signatures or more before his arrival - sending a message saying his genocidal crimes can’t be ignored.
Sign the petition. Take a stand for justice. Let We the People mean something. Demand Obama, Bush, Cheney and other past and current US war criminals be arrested, put in the dock, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned longterm.
Obama and Netanyahu will address the 70th annual General Assembly meeting later this month. Vladimir Putin is coming for the first time since 2005, China’s Xi Jinping for his first visit along with scores of other world leaders.
On Thursday, General Assembly members overwhelmingly approved displaying the Palestinian flag at its New York headquarter by a vote of 119 to 8 with 45 abstentions.
America, Israel, Canada, Australia and four US-controlled Pacific islands voted “no.” Germany, Britain and most other EU nations abstained. France, Italy, Spain and Sweden among others voted “yes.” So did Russia and China.
PA UN representative Riyad Mansour called it “a symbolic thing, but another step to solidify the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena.”
Flying the Palestinian flag at New York headquarters in New York accomplishes nothing. Occupation harshness persists. Ruthless persecution remains official Israeli policy - with full Western and rogue state regional support.
Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi called the gesture “meaningless. What the Palestinians need from the UN is an acknowledgement of its historic role in dispossessing the Palestinians.”
“Our quest is not for another failing Arab state with a meaningless flag and useless institutions, but for a homeland that was stripped from us...We need the UN to atone for its sin(ful) (1947 Partition Plan) by recognizing the legitimacy of our struggle” and holding Israel accountable for decades of high crimes.
In 2012, instead of going for easily attainable full UN membership, Abbas betrayed his people by settling for meaningless non-member status - like being a club member deprived of most rights.
Non-member states have no say over anything. They can’t vote. Full de jure status alone matters - attainable by following simple procedures Abbas avoids doing, concerned more about Israeli interests and his own than Palestine’s.
In London, Netanyahu called the solution to Israel’s conflict with Palestine “a demilitarized (defenseless, subservient) Palestinian (puppet) state that recognizes a Jewish state, the nation state of the Jewish people” exclusively.
He rejects Palestinian self-determination. He deplores peace and stability. He lied saying “(p)eace is infinitely preferable, so the notion that the people of Israel, or I, prefer conflict to peace, or that we are not ready to take the steps for peace, are absurd.”
His notion of peace is unconditional Palestinian surrender, relinquishing their fundamental rights, remaining subservient to Israeli dominance, keeping 1.8 million Gazans imprisoned by blockade.
On Friday, he concluded his London visit and returned home, ahead of his upcoming UN address in New York featuring phony peace overtures and Iran bashing.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

More Closed-Door Meetings, a New Chief Transparency Officer, and Growing International Opposition to the Deal: What's Going on with the TPP - Sat, 12/09/2015 - 03:38

Over the past month, trade officials have been frantically working to resolve outstanding disagreements over provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the midst of speculation that the deal is in deep trouble. At this late stage of negotiations, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has pretty much abandoned all remaining pretense of transparency in its consideration of these remaining policy issues. Since the failure to conclude the deal at the meeting in Hawaii over the summer, the USTR has held several closed-door meetings between high-level officials to finalize the agreement and it is under intensifying pressure to finish it off as soon as possible.

Trade Officials Continue to Meet Secretly

In mid-August, there was a week-long meeting in Mexico to do a "legal scrub" of the TPP text, in order to have the text ready to go for an eventual signing. Toward the end of August, officials from Canada and Mexico went to Washington to continue discussions, likely around auto trade issues. And this week the USTR met with Vietnam's National Assembly along with corporate representatives of one of several trade advisory committees, with some other meetings taking place between Japan, Canada, and Mexico, also regarding auto trade.

U.S. officials seem confident that they can conclude before the end of the year. Undoubtedly, they are under mounting pressure from the impending federal elections in Canada, Japan, and the United States' presidential election season looming on the horizon. The Japanese trade minister claims that it will need to be concluded before the end of September, stating that otherwise it will be difficult to continue talks as Canada heads into its general election in October.

The latest reports say that the U.S. is seeking another high-level ministerial meeting in late September, on the margins of a session of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. Though it seems slim, there is a possibility that they could announce the TPP's conclusion at that meeting. If the USTR does, President Obama would need to give 90-days notice to Congress before he could officially sign it—a provision stipulated by the Fast Track trade legislation that passed this summer. From there, he would still need to convince Congress to actually ratify the agreement in order for it to become binding on the United States. So even if they're able to come to full agreement on the TPP the end of this month, it's legally impossible for them to get the ratification they need to completely finish the deal by the end of this year.

And all the while, the U.S. is still trying to convince the public of the TPP's merits and repair the USTR's image as being a secretive, corporate-captured agency.

USTR's New 'Chief Transparency Officer'

The USTR has appointed one of its own leading lawyers, Tim Reif, as its new chief transparency officer, a position mandated by the recent Fast Track bill. According to the USTR's Michael Froman, his role is to make "trade negotiations more accessible and transparent to the public and their representatives in Congress." Some lawmakers have raised concerns that this official will only act to worsen the agency's public engagement practices with more bureaucratic obstruction. “If it desired, USTR could grant greater access immediately, without fancy titles,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas.

We share Rep. Doggett's skepticism, and have strong doubts that this officer will bring about meaningful reforms to the trade negotiation process—but of course, we hope to be proven wrong. At the very least, it would be a welcome change to see the USTR regularly disclose accurate, specific descriptions of its policy proposals. However, that would hardly be enough. Anything short of mandating the full publication of draft texts of the agreement following each negotiation round, providing ample opportunities for public participation into the process, and introducing transparency to how the USTR arrives at their policy priorities, would be inadequate to produce the kind democratic, public interest-driven policies we need to have in the 21st century.

Public Opposition to the TPP Still Grows

Civil society groups and advocates have meanwhile continued the fight against the TPP. In New Zealand, thousands of people went to the streets to protest the TPP, as other leading advocates have filed a legal challenge over the government's refusal to release documents relating to the agreement. A group of Japanese health advocates, including eight lawmakers and 157 lawyers, are also suing their government, on the grounds that the deal is unconstitutional and a danger to public health. The TPP's Copyright Trap, which is an EFF campaign to fight back against the agreement's 20-year retroactive copyright term extension, succeeded in directing hundreds of messages to TPP negotiators to resist the United States' copyright maximalist demands. Our U.S. action to petition the Register the Copyrights to reaffirm its commitment to balanced policy has garnered thousands of signatures.

It's hard to tell what's next for the agreement. We know that trade officials are determined to conclude it as soon as possible even as public opposition has grown worldwide. In the meantime the Asian TPP nations have shifted their focus to another atrocious trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which may contain provisions that are even worse than the TPP. The fact that RCEP contains terrible copyright rules, even though it isn't U.S.-led (and therefore not captured by Hollywood), goes to show how opaque trade agreements are a bad way to decide digital policy, regardless of who is behind them.

As the shape of TPP's future comes into focus, we'll maintain a close eye on any new developments. If the USTR manages to finalize the terms of this deal, that's when we're going to have to do everything in our power to stop it from getting signed or ratified.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceInternationalTrade Agreements and Digital RightsTrans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Library Suspends Tor Node After DHS Intimidation - Sat, 12/09/2015 - 02:06

The Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is not unusual in its commitment to the freedom to read in privacy. That commitment is shared by libraries all over the world, and written into the basic character of librarianship through documents like the American Library Association's “Freedom to Read Statement.” What's exceptional about Kilton, though, is it was selected by the Library Freedom Project and The Tor Project as the pilot location for a program to install Tor relays, and eventually exit nodes, in public libraries all over.

Libraries and Tor are a great match: Tor's software can help provide the technological underpinnings for the privacy and intellectual freedom that libraries seek to foster, and libraries can provide the institutional support that can make long-lived high-bandwidth nodes possible.

But that effort has attracted some powerful critics: just days after Kilton announced its participation in the program, a regional Department of Homeland Security office contacted the local police to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Tor. The police got in touch with the library board, who suspended the program until they could vote on it on September 15.

Nima Fatemi, a Tor core developer and one of the originators of the libraries program, explained why libraries should stand up to that kind of law enforcement intimidation: “Libraries are one of the few entities around the world that actually care about freedom of speech and it's one of the core values of Tor.”

Fatemi is right about the link between libraries and freedom of speech—librarians have consistently been at the forefront of many important First Amendment battles. It's one reason EFF took the unusual step of honoring “Librarians Everywhere” with a Pioneer Award in 2000.

It's important that the library board hears from people who actually understand and value those qualities in an important privacy-enhancing tool like Tor. To that end, EFF joined a long list of signatories on a letter of support to the board, encouraging them to stand up for librarian ideals and reinstate the Tor relay.

And they need to hear from you, too. We've set up a page to allow members of the public to sign a statement of support, which our allies in the Library Freedom Project and The Tor Project will deliver to the September 15 meeting. Over 1,500 people have already signed—please lend your voice to that effort today.


As Fatemi puts it, “We respect whatever decision the library makes but are optimistic that they will make the right one with the support of the community and keep their relay online.”

We're also seeking more information about how and why the Department of Homeland Security is discouraging the use of Tor—and undermining the privacy and security of people who rely on it. EFF has filed a FOIA request seeking more information, and will publish news when we get it.

Share this:   ||  Join EFF
Categories: Aggregated News

Senate Fails to Block Iran Nuclear Deal - Fri, 11/09/2015 - 21:56
Senate Fails to Block Iran Nuclear Deal
by Stephen Lendman
It was a done deal days earlier - though Republican machinations may delay its implementation. Obama got enough Senate Democrat support to block a Republican opposition resolution. 
The procedural motion fell two votes short of the 60 supermajority needed to invoke cloture - the process to end debate and bring a measure to a vote.
Senate Republicans won’t quit. Majority whip John Cornyn (R. TX) said “(i)t will be all Iran next week. There are going to be more votes. There will be other opportunities for people to change their mind next week, hopefully after they hear from their constituents.”
House Republicans declined to vote on a disapproval resolution, intending new schemes to undermine a done deal, maintain sanctions on Iran and impose tougher ones.
They passed a measure declaring Obama out of compliance with the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) - giving Congress final say up or down on the deal, stating the 60-day clock on approval or rejected didn’t start because of alleged noncompliance with full disclosure of all deal documents, a thinly veiled stunt to obstruct and delay.
Anti-Iranian hostility continues. “This debate is far from over, and frankly, it’s just beginning,” said Speaker John Boehner. “We will use every tool at our disposal to stop, slow and delay this agreement from being fully implemented.”
Legal action is “an option that’s very possible. If you read (INARA) provisions, it’s pretty clear that the president has not complied” - despite no corroborating evidence.
After Thursday’s Senate vote, AIPAC issued a duplicitous statement, warning about “a dangerous moment for America and our allies.”
“Congress and the executive branch must now maintain constant vigilance concerning Iranian compliance with the deal and be ready to move quickly against any Iranian effort to advance its nuclear quest,” it claimed.
Its multi-million dollar anti-Iranian propaganda campaign fell short. It failed to get enough Senate support. Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks shamelessly said “(t)his vote shows that most Democrats (stood) with Obama over the American people and Israel.”
“The sad reality is that a dividing line has opened showing that too many Democrats can no longer be counted on as stalwart defenders of Israel.”
Republican hardliners may take legal action as Boehner suggested - a stunt with virtually no chance to succeed, claiming Obama violated INARA’s Section 2.
Within five days of reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, it requires him to “transmit to Congress:
  • the text of the agreement and all related materials and annexes;

  • a related verification assessment report of the Secretary of State;

  • a certification that the agreement includes the appropriate terms, conditions, and duration of the agreement's requirements concerning Iran's nuclear activities, and provisions describing any sanctions to be waived, suspended, or otherwise reduced by the United States and any other nation or entity, including the United Nations; and

  • a certification that the agreement meets US non-proliferation objectives, does not jeopardize the common defense and security, provides a framework to ensure that Iran's nuclear activities will not constitute an unreasonable defense and security risk, and ensures that Iran's permitted nuclear activities will not be used to further any nuclear-related military or nuclear explosive purpose, including any related research.”

Republicans claim nonexistent Iran-IAEA side agreements weren’t disclosed to Congress. INARA stipulates the 60-day congressional review period doesn’t begin until all documents related to the Iran nuclear deal are transmitted to Congress.”
On Thursday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said “we’ve been clear that the documentation (sent to Congress) included all the documentation that was in the possession of the United States government.”
Deal or no deal, longstanding anti-Iranian hostility continues. Regime change is official US policy, Washington wanting puppet governance it controls replacing Tehran’s sovereign independence.
Its struggle for normalized Western relations continues. It justifiably wants all sanctions unconditionally removed, its legitimate rights respected, its full acceptance into the community of nations - an end to 36 years of unacceptable ostracism.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 

Legacy of 9/11: Endless US Wars on Humanity - Fri, 11/09/2015 - 21:03
Legacy of 9/11: Endless US Wars on Humanity
by Stephen Lendman
A year ago article called 9/11 the mother of all Big Lies - the grandest of grand deceptions, state-sponsored criminality, the most heinous ever false flag changing everything. 
Each anniversary is a time to remind people of the evil intent behind the incident. What happened wasn’t a tragedy. It was criminality on steroids against peace - perpetrated by America against humanity, a duplicitous scheme to convince people to wage war on terrorism, targeting designated bad guys invented out of whole cloth because US officials say so.
Endless wars against nations threatening no others followed that fateful day - continuing with no end in sight, combined with homeland police state terror targeting Muslims, African Americans, Latino immigrants and organized labor.
Fundamental rule of law principles were discarded - considered quaint and out-of-date. Washington rules alone decide things.
America is more militarized than ever in history - despite having no enemies except ones it invents. US streets are battlegrounds. Thousands of political prisoners languish in its gulag - at home and abroad. Torture is official policy. So is state-sponsored mass murder.
Independent nations are targeted for regime change. Illegitimate fascists are installed to replace sitting governments. Media scoundrels regurgitate state propaganda. Misinformation and Big Lies substitute for hard truths.  War is glorified in the name of peace. 
Invasions and colonizations are called liberation. Plunder is called economic development. Raping nations is called democracy building. They’re destroyed to free them.
Might justifies right. Open, free and just societies aren’t tolerated. Human and civil rights are violated for our own good. Patriotism means going along with what harms us - sacrificing fundamental freedoms disappearing in plain sight.
Terrorism is what they do, not us. Global mass slaughter and destruction are small prices to pay. Whistleblowers are imprisoned for exposing government wrongdoing.
Monied interests alone benefit. Humanity’s survival is threatened but who cares. Endless wars for power and profit matter most - no matter the body count and cost in human misery.
No nation in history caused more harm to more people over a longer duration than America - on steroids post-9/11, launching 14 years of endless war on humanity, risking possible nuclear mass destruction able to end life on earth.
Bipartisan lunatics infest Washington. Obama wants congressional authorization for unlimited war. He has lots more death and destruction in mind - perhaps confronting Russia and/or China belligerently before leaving office, an act of madness if initiated.
America’s culture of violence glorifies wars in the name of peace -  reckless imperialism Michael Parenti calls “the process whereby the dominant investor interests in one country bring to bear military and financial power upon another country in order to expropriate the land, labor, capital, natural resources, commerce, and markets of that other country.”
War is America’s longstanding strategy for dominance - duplicitously claiming exceptionalism and moral superiority, forcing its will on others globally, spreading the Big Lie about democracy building.
The business of America is war, endless aggression for wealth and power. Obama is the latest in a long line of US warrior presidents. His successor will continue endless wars.
Money controlled duopoly power runs America. Names and faces of key officials are interchangeable. The outcomes of next year’s presidential election and key congressional races are predetermined. Voting is a waste of time. 
Business as usual always wins, post-9/11 more than ever before.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
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. 



Advertise here!

Syndicate content
All content and comments posted are owned and © by the Author and/or Poster.
Web site Copyright © 1995 - 2007 Clemens Vermeulen, Cairns - All Rights Reserved
Drupal design and maintenance by Clemens Vermeulen Drupal theme by Kiwi Themes.
Buy now