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A Thanksgiving Day Open Letter to Donald Trump

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 23:55
A Thanksgiving Day Open Letter to Donald Trump
by Stephen Lendman
On January 20, you’ll succeed Barack Obama as America’s 45th president, an awesome responsibility as you admitted.
You’ll have the power of your incumbency to use for good or ill - at a time I call the most perilous in world history.
Bipartisan neocons infest Washington, a powerful, destructive force. Allied with Wall Street, war profiteers and other corporate predators, they want endless wars; wealth, power and privilege served exclusively; not peace, stability and governance of, by and for everyone equitably.
While campaigning, you made lofty promises. Were they empty or real? Will history remember you as just another dirty business as usual leader or a force for positive change?
Will you renounce perverse notions of American exceptionalism; the indispensable nation; US moral, ethical and cultural superiority; its divine right for dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations?
Will you end US imperial wars against nations threatening no one? Will you halt support for ISIS and other terrorist groups, combating them cooperatively with Russia instead?
Will you normalize relations with Moscow as promised, end illegally imposed sanctions by executive order, meet with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, invite him to Washington for an official state visit, and afford him the same respect shown numerous other leaders?
Will you save humanity from unthinkable nuclear war? Will you be a peacemaker, not warrior at a time America’s only enemies are ones it invents?
Will your policies turn public critics into supporters? Will your tenure deliver historic change or hugely dangerous continuity?
I’m skeptical but hopeful. It springs eternal in me always. Without it, all is lost. I refrained from criticizing you post-election, withholding judgment until you begin governing.
Depending on policies you institute, I’ll either be one of your staunchest supporters or severest critics.
You pledged to drain the swamp, restore honor to Washington, challenge special interests responsibly, give working people a voice for the first time, improve their lives and welfare, and be a leader for all Americans, not just its privileged few.
Were they empty promises or ones you intend to fulfill? Will your agenda diverge dramatically from the Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama?
Their administrations were responsible for endless wars of aggression, contempt for democratic values and rule of law principles, special interests favored over popular ones, along with horrific human rights abuses harming tens of millions at home and abroad.
Thanksgiving for long-suffering Native Americans is a day for mourning - remembering decades of state-sponsored genocide, ongoing this moment against Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members in North and South Dakota, their sacred ancestral lands threatened, their people and supporters brutalized by police state viciousness.
Are you with or against them, Donald Trump? Do you support justice or corporate predation? You’ve been silent in the face of unconscionable abuse - ongoing for months, continuing while millions of Americans enjoy a long holiday weekend, yourself and family included.
Jane Fonda is in Standing Rock, in solidarity with indigenous Sioux and supporters, involved in serving them Thanksgiving dinner.
Will you stand with them symbolically? Will you say so publicly? Will you serve all Americans responsibly, not just its privileged few? History will judge you accordingly.
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: How the 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.

NYT Editors Bash Russia on Thanksgiving Day

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 23:42
NYT Editors Bash Russia on Thanksgiving Day
by Stephen Lendman
The Times operates as a press agent for wealth, power and privilege, a lying machine using journalism as advocacy for deplorable policies, disgracefully betraying readers deserving better.
Shameless Russia bashing persists - even on Thanksgiving Day, Times editors headlining “Warning Russia on Hacking Isn’t Enough,” saying:
Obama “hinted at some kind of retaliation…Because Donald Trump, an outspoken admirer of Vladimir Putin, is unlikely to act, it is up to Mr. Obama to hold the Russian president to account.”
Fact: Russia had nothing to do with hacking DNC emails. It didn’t interfere with America’s political process, including November’s election. Not a shred of credible evidence suggests it. Claiming it is a Big Lie - The Times a leading proliferator, substituting willful misinformation for truth-telling.
Its editors irresponsibly want Russia punished before Obama leaves office, including by more illegal sanctions.
They claimed “warnings alone (won’t) be enough to deter Mr. Putin, who has shown no hesitation in challenging America during the post-election transition by continuing to bomb Aleppo, in Syria, and by installing new nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, Russia, near the NATO border.”
Fact: Throughout his tenure as Russia’s president, Washington consistently undermined Putin’s responsible outreach - wanting cooperative relations with America, NATO and all other nations.
Fact: On October 18, Russia and Syria halted aerial operations on eastern Aleppo, focusing on surrounding areas, others elsewhere in the country, combating US-supported ISIS and other terrorists.
Fact: Explaining its deployment of ballistic missiles and air defense S-400s in Kaliningrad, (its most Western territory, an oblast between Poland and Lithuania) Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “Russia is doing all that is necessary to protect itself against the backdrop of NATO’s expansion toward its borders.” 
“NATO is indeed an aggressive bloc. That is why Russia is doing everything that is necessary. Russia has all the sovereign rights to take the necessary measures across all the territory of the Russian Federation.”
Fact: Self-defense is a universal right, permitted under international law. UN Charter Article 51 affirms it, including for protection against imminent or possible threats.
The Times is a malicious force for ill, not good. It’s my main scoundrel media target because of its global influence. 
My mission is countering its misinformation and Big Lies - exposing them to the light of day, the best disinfectant.
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: How the 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.

Wrongfully Convicted San Antonio 4 Exonerated

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 23:25
Wrongfully Convicted San Antonio 4 Exonerated
by Stephen Lendman
On Thanksgiving Day eve, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals exonerated Kristie Mayhugh, Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez, four lesbian women - ruling convictions on charges of sexually assaulting two children, aged seven and nine, didn’t pass “the smell test.”
“Those defendants have won the right to proclaim to the citizens of Texas that they did not commit a crime,” justices declared. “They are innocent. And they are exonerated. This court grants them the relief they seek.”
Unjustly sentenced to terms ranging from 15 to 37 years, they were imprisoned for over a decade. Evidence against them later began unraveling. 
An accuser recanted her accusation and pediatrician Nancy Kellogg, the prosecution’s star medical witness, belatedly debunked the so-called scientific basis for her earlier testimony. 
As a result, Vasquez was released in 2012, the others in 2013. Yet wrongful convictions remained on their record, re-imprisonment possible until Wednesday - giving Thanksgiving Day new meaning for four victims of US injustice, free at last.
According to Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Nico LaHood, Wednesday’s “ruling prevents any further prosecution of these cases.” Under state law, exoneration entitles them to what one report called “hefty checks from the state for their wrongful imprisonment.”
Thousands of others remain incarcerated, including numerous political prisoners, locked in cages unjustly. 
I’ve written dozens of articles about them, including on what Sentencing Project executive director Marc Mauer calls America’s “Race to Incarcerate” - harming society’s most vulnerable.
They’re targeted for supporting ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and political, economic and social equality across gender and color lines - countless others for crimes they didn’t commit, including false accusations of murder.
Who supports their struggle for justice on Thanksgiving Day or any other day of the year?
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: How the 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.

Trump's Son Held Talks on Resolving Conflict in Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 23:12
Trump’s Son Held Talks on Resolving Conflict in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Call it a hopeful sign. The Wall Street Journal and other media reports indicated Donald Trump Jr., the president-elect’s eldest son, held talks last month in Paris with diplomats, politicians and businessmen - focused on cooperating with Russia and Assad to end years of war in Syria.
French think tank Center of Political and Foreign Affairs founder Fabien Baussart and his wife Randa Kassis, a Syrian national, hosted the meeting - Kassis saying “(w)e have to be realistic…Without Russia, we can’t have any solution in Syria.”
She praised Trump Jr., calling him “very pragmatic (and) flexible.” Her Facebook comment on the meeting said:
“(Syria’s) opposition got hope that political process will move forward and Russia and the United States will reach accord on the issue of the Syrian crisis, because of Trump's victory.” 
“Such hope and belief is the result of my personal meeting with Donald Trump junior in Paris in October…I succeeded to pass Trump, through the talks with his son, the idea of how we can cooperate together to reach the agreement between Russia and the United States on Syria.”
Commenting on the meeting, Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway said his son “address(ed) a roundtable in Paris, and she was present for that talk and at a group dinner for 30 people. This event featured a number of opinion leaders from all over the world who were interested in the US elections.”
Repeatedly while campaigning, Trump indicated wanting cooperative relations with Putin in combating terrorism, along with normalizing ties.
Last week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Moscow began communicating with Trump representatives on working cooperatively on resolving Syria’s conflict.
Putin’s foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov explained Russia’s president and Trump, when they spoke by phone, expressed a “shared desire to join efforts in the fight against terrorism” as part of providing a “good basis for future work on the Syrian problem.”
He indicated Trump supports Putin’s call for normalizing bilateral relations - accusing Obama of undermining them, making restoration challenging, especially given strong congressional and scoundrel media opposition.
Interviewed on Portuguese television last week, Assad called Trump a potential “natural ally” in combating terrorism - hopefully so.
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: How the 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.

E-Voting Machines Need Paper Audits to be Trustworthy

eff.org - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 08:26

Election security experts concerned about voting machines are calling for an audit of ballots in the three states where the presidential election was very close: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. We agree. This is an important election safety measure and should happen in all elections, not just those that have a razor-thin margin.

Voting machines, especially those that have digital components, are intrinsically susceptible to being hacked. The main protection against hacking is for voting machines to provide an auditable paper trail.

However, if that paper trail is never audited, it's useless.

EFF worked hard, alongside many others, to ensure that paper trails were available in many places across the nation. While there are still places without them, we have made great strides. Yet this election was a forceful reminder of how vulnerable all computer systems are. 

We not only need elections to be auditable, we need them to be audited.

We should use this opportunity to set a precedent of auditing electronic voting results to strengthen confidence—not only in this election, but in future ones.

There is precedent for hackers attempting to influence elections by tampering with voting infrastructure: Ukraine's 2014 election came under attack from pro-Russian hackers, and this spring Bloomberg reported on how a team of hackers targeted elections throughout Latin America. There was also plenty of hacking related to the 2016 US election, with two separate major dumps of political emails and several reports of attempted attacks on election systems. These attacks tell us that hacking groups, some of whom may be nation states, were particularly interested in affecting this election's outcome.

Of course, there is good reason to believe US voting machines are vulnerable; for years, EFF along with hundreds of security experts nationwide and even worldwide sounded the alarm about the risk posed by insecure voting machines. EFF handled many cases arising from problems with the machines.  In 2004, California decertified many voting machines due to serious security flaws.

Most e-voting machines are not connected to the Internet, but disconnection isn't a sufficient defense against hacking. Malware can be engineered to cross a so-called air gap by riding on removable storage media like thumb drives and SD cards. The Stuxnet worm is a remarkable example of this in action. It was designed to infect internet-connected workstations and then copy itself over whenever a thumb drive was plugged into those workstations. Once an infected thumb drive was plugged into an air-gapped system, the worm would install itself and begin its work. The voting machines used in America are updated using removable storage that is at some point plugged into a regular computer in a government office. Hackers need only compromise that computer, and they can use that toehold to copy a Stuxnet-like worm onto all removable storage that comes into contact with it and matches a certain profile. Once plugged into a voting machine, that worm could alter the machine's software to subtly change the vote. A particularly well-written worm would automatically reverse those changes after the election to cover its tracks.

There's a defense against the possibility of hacked voting machines: good, old-fashioned paper. Thanks to tireless advocacy by EFF and other voting security experts, many e-voting machines record a paper copy of all votes. But, like a seat belt, these paper records only work if you use them. Currently, U.S. states need far more buckling up.

That could change. Candidates can petition for a recount. The deadlines for such a petition are coming up fast: Friday in Wisconsin, Monday in Pennsylvania, and Wednesday in Michigan. It's especially worth auditing the vote in these states, because they had some of the closest margins in the presidential election and therefore are the most interesting targets for hackers looking to swing the election.

Counting the paper ballots isn't just good for increasing voter confidence in this year's election, it's good electoral hygiene and a basic safety measure. We hope that audits this year can serve as a guiding example for states to improve their election systems for future years: by replacing paperless voting machines with optical scan systems and adopting inexpensive risk-limiting audits as a routine matter.

With concerns about election hacking higher than ever, this is a turning point in securing our election systems. We ask the Clinton campaign: call for for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Even if you think an election-changing result is unlikely, it is a vital step on the road to securing our democracy.

Related Cases: White v. Blackwell: Creating True Verifiability in a Battleground StateSarasota County Re-vote FilingNational Federation of the Blind v. Volusia CountyDiebold v. North Carolina Board of Elections
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Categories: Aggregated News

US House Members Up the Stakes in Syria

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 05:35
US House Members Up the Stakes in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
On November 15, House members unanimously approved legislation for new sanctions on Syria and its supporters, pointing fingers at Russia, Iran and Hezbollah - illegal if imposed without Security Council authorization.
HR 5732, The Ceasar Syria Civilian Protection Act, requires reports on human rights violators (excluding war crimes by America, its rogue allies and terrorist foot soldiers called moderates), “abuse of cross-border assistance, and the feasibility of (establishing) a no-fly zone or safe zone over” the country - a declaration of war on Syria and Russia if imposed.
Photographer Ceasar produced thousands of fake photos with CIA help, purporting to show Syrian torture victims to undermine 2014 Geneva conflict resolution talks.
Neocon co-sponsor Rep. Eliot Engel (D. NY), speaking on the House floor, distorted reality, saying  “(s)omething needs to jolt this crisis out of its bloody status quo.” 
“This bill would give the Administration more tools to do so. It would impose new sanctions on any parties that continue to do business with the Assad regime.” 
“We want to go after the things driving the war machine: money, airplanes, spare parts, oil, the military supply chain.” 
“And yes, we want to go after Assad’s partners in violence. Under this legislation, if you’re acting as a lifeline to the Assad regime, you risk getting caught up in the net of our sanctions.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce compounded Engel’s deplorable lies, saying “(c)hemical weapons, starvation, and barrel bombs are just a few of the gruesome and brutal tactics millions of innocent Syrians face daily.”  
“Yet as the violence worsens, the administration has failed to use the tools it already has to crack down on Assad and his regime. These atrocities have gone on for far too long.”  
“Vital US national security interests are at stake, which is why we are acting today to see that Assad’s war machine cannot rain down on the people of Syria unrelentingly.”
Senate members haven’t yet addressed the measure. If passage follows before the current Congress adjourns by at least a two-thirds majority, HR 5732 will be veto-proof.
With Obama’s tenure ending in January, it remains to be seen if Trump fulfills his pledge to cooperate with Russia against terrorism, instead of pursuing regime change like Obama.
A lot rides on whether his geopolitical agenda shifts from war to diplomacy - along with combating terrorism instead of supporting it.
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: How the 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.

NYT Editors Continue Bashing Trump

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 04:23
NYT Editors Continue Bashing Trump
by Stephen Lendman
Despite meeting with perhaps his leading media critic (in its headquarters, not Trump Tower), one-sidedly supporting Hillary, acting as her press agent, denigrating him relentlessly and unfairly throughout the campaign, Times editors barely softened their hostility, suggesting likely endless bashing to come.
They said “it was good to hear him even call The New York Times a ‘great, great American jewel” after justifiably trashing its deplorable coverage of his campaign - publishing daily advocacy journalism, not the real thing.
The Times makes conventional yellow journalism look good by comparison. All the news it claims fit to print is pure rubbish, stuff legitimate editors wouldn’t touch. Times editors feature it.
They supported or ignored high crimes by the Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama - responsible for war on humanity, neoliberal cruelty and police state harshness.
Trump is a businessman with no public record. He hasn’t attacked other nations, killed anyone, or advocated turning US streets and communities into battlegrounds - the way things are now.
Will he change them? Who can know? He made lots of lofty promises, including wanting to help all Americans. Judge him by his actions after he takes office, not before with no public record to assess.
Times editors: It’s “hard to square (his post-election) statements with his record of spreading the birther lie about President Obama, calling climate change a  ‘hoax,’ promising he’d ‘bring back waterboarding’ and describing The New York Times as ‘failing.’ “
Fact: All that matters is how leaders govern, policies they pursue in office, not what they say while campaigning.
Fact: Hillary’s wrongdoing includes war crimes, racketeering, perjury, and pathological lying on virtually everything mattering most - not a word of criticism from Times editors, praising her effusively instead, calling the most ruthlessly dangerous presidential aspirant in US history one of the most qualified ever to serve, a monstrous Big Lie.
Times editors: “(I)t was alarming to confront how thinly thought through many of the president-elect’s stances actually are.”
Fact: Times editors ignored his outlined agenda, including what he hopes to accomplish in his first 100 days. Instead, it selectively cherrypicked from campaign rhetoric, distorting his overall message and pledges I discussed in an earlier article.
Times editors: Trump “so far…is surrounding himself with officials eager to enact only the most extreme positions. His flexibility would be their springboard.”
Fact: Praising other presidents-elect while bashing him continues disgraceful hostility likely to go on relentlessly after he’s inaugurated - no matter what he does or doesn’t do.
Times editors: “(H)e has no intention of selling his businesses and stepping decisively away from corrupting his presidency with an exponentially enhanced version of the self-dealing he accused Hillary Clinton of engaging in.”
Fact: The Clinton Foundation is a self-enriching racket, masquerading as a charitable NGO, a prosecutable RICO crime.
Fact: Trump is not legally required to sell his businesses. He explained he’s in process of disengaging himself, letting family members take over from him.
Times editors: Invoking Ronald Reagan’s “trust, but verify” quote with regard to dealing with the Soviet Union, they said “(f)or now, that’s…the right approach to take with Mr. Trump. Except, regrettably, for the trust part.”
Their closing shot was a typical Times below-the-belt ad hominem smear. Expect lots more like it once Trump becomes America’s 45th president.
A Final Comment
I supported Jill Stein, a true progressive I greatly admire. I’m against longstanding duopoly governance with two right wings - what I call fantasy democracy.
Still, I refuse to pre-judge Trump. I’ll wait until he assumes office. If he serves all Americans equitably, favors diplomacy over endless wars, normalizes relations with Russia and China, along with halting efforts to transform all independent countries into US vassal states, I’ll support him.
Otherwise, I’ll relentlessly go at him, holding his feet to the fire.
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: How the 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.

Sanders: Con Man, Hillary Supporter, Rabble Rouser

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Thu, 24/11/2016 - 04:10
Sanders: Con Man, Hillary Supporter, Rabble Rouser
by Stephen Lendman
Throughout his political career, his revolutionary, man-of-the-people rhetoric was empty - exposed by his disgraceful public record, supporting policies he railed against.
His soul was for sale all along, remaining so, a disgrace to the office he holds. He’s just another self-serving politician, saying one thing, doing another - notably backing imperial wars, Israeli rights over Palestinian ones, ignoring US human rights violations, and betraying supporters by selling out to Hillary and her ruthless agenda.
Now he’s in league with media scoundrels, relentlessly bashing Trump before he’s inaugurated and begins governing. Sour grapes perhaps for defeating Hillary? 
Supporting her shows what he really stands for - endless imperial wars and other assaults on fundamental freedoms at home and abroad, US policy since the neoliberal 90s, exacerbated post-9/11, likely disaster averted by Hillary’s defeat.
With no public record to judge him, it’s unclear how Trump will govern - why it makes sense to cut him some slack, wait to see what he does, then praise or criticize him appropriately - after the fact, not before it with no justifiable evidence to go on.
Sanders is undeterred, refusing to go away, using his position as a rabble rousing platform, not responsible straight talk. “We can beat this guy,” he ranted to a Boston audience.
“But we have to do it in a way that we have never done it before, and it’s essentially reaching out to people who do not or may not agree with us on every single issue. We have got to bring people together because we are fighting for the future of this country.”
Separately, he said “you’re not going to give up. You’re going to fight back and mobilize” - ludicrously saying he supports the Democrat party’s (undemocratic) agenda, serving privilege over populism since the Clinton co-presidency, what he never explains, pretending otherwise.
“The bottom line,” he said, “is you cannot be a party which takes money from Wall Street, which is not strong on the pharmaceutical industry, which is ripping us off every day, which is not strong on healthcare in taking on the insurance companies, which has not shown a desire to stand up and fight the economic establishment, and then tell working families that you are on their side. People see through that.”
Fact: He described what duopoly governance is all about under the Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama. He was “hoist with (his) own petard,” quoting from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Fact: It’s unknown if Trump intends continuing dirty business as usual or going his own way enough to make a difference. According to Sanders, his agenda is harmful before anything is implemented.
It’s one thing to speculate on what he may or may not do - quite another to wait until he begins governing before judging him.
Unlike Sanders and likeminded rabble rousers, I choose to wait. They’ll be plenty of time post-inauguration to evaluate how he governs.
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: How the 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.

Who Has Your Back in Colombia? A New Report Shows Telecom Privacy Slowly Improving

eff.org - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 23:41

Fundacion Karisma—the leading Colombian digital rights organization—has published the 2016 ¿Dónde están mis datos? report, which evaluates how well Colombian telecommunications companies protect their customers’ privacy.

Karisma’s second annual report examines publicly-available policies on government surveillance transparency, data protection, privacy, and free expression from five of the biggest telecommunications companies: Claro, Tigo-UNE, Telefónica-Movistar, ETB (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá), and DirecTV.

The report shows that Colombian telecommunication companies have not yet stepped up to meet tech industry best practices related to privacy and transparency reporting. Nonetheless, two key members of Colombia’s telecommunications industry—ETB and Telefónica-Movistar—have improved their practices, with ETB leading the way.

ETB not only attained the best result of the companies evaluated, but also made the biggest improvements in practices compared to 2015. We applaud ETB’s commitments and urge the company to adopt all the recommended standards next year. However, all the companies still have a long way to go, and the other companies risk being left behind.

Telefónica-Movistar has also made positive changes, and Telefónica-Movistar and DirecTV are now tied for second place in this year’s report. Two major telecom companies—Claro and UNE—received especially poor results, lagging behind the industry in protection of their customers.

The Context

Nations emerging from long-term conflicts have an important opportunity to examine their commitments to human rights. As Colombia grapples with its path toward ending a decades-long civil war and insurgency, it faces questions on many levels about its future and the institutional and social tolls the conflicts have taken. At the same time, Edward Snowden’s disclosures have illustrated the ways that technology companies can be on the front lines when it comes to defending users’ data and privacy: sometimes protecting these rights, sometimes utterly failing to do so.

While Colombia’s digital world continues to advance with 21st century technologies, the country’s privacy law has not kept pace. Colombia’s intelligence and criminal laws do not compel the state to report on the number of surveillance requests it makes each year. Companies are not legally obligated to notify their users of decisions authorizing communications surveillance. Colombia does have data protection laws that compel companies to publish their privacy policies, but these privacy policies are often vague and opaque.

That’s why, in response to Colombia’s loose electronic privacy laws and lack of accountability measures, Fundacion Karisma and EFF have turned to Colombian telecommunication companies to encourage them to voluntarily enact the strongest possible policies to protect their user’s rights.

Karisma’s report ranked the companies’ policies and practices against a set of criteria, and awarded batteries to companies for each category they successfully fulfilled. A full battery indicates that the telecommunications company met the criterion, while a half battery indicates that only a portion of the criterion was met. In some cases, a quarter battery was awarded to companies that are working towards better policies, but aren’t quite there yet. Empty batteries indicate that there was no information available to determine whether the company had fulfilled the criterion, or the information that was available was not sufficient.

1. On Transparency

Karisma asked the companies to provide regular transparency reports that include at least aggregate information on the specific number of requests approved and rejected, a summary of the requests by service provider and by investigation authority, type, and purpose, and the specific number of individuals affected by each.

None of the companies fully met this standard. Most of the industry, Karisma noted, associate transparency primarily with economic and financial reporting for anti-corruption purposes. “It is only in this context that companies published transparency reports,” Karisma said.

As a result, the general public has little insight into how often the government is pressuring telecommunication companies for access to user data. This is a serious concern: one way to allow surveillance without due process to grow worse is to allow it to happen entirely in secret. Publicizing reports of law enforcement access requests can help illuminate patterns of overzealous policing, shine a light on efforts by companies to resist overbroad requests, and perhaps give pause to law enforcement officials who might otherwise seek to grab more user data than they need for an investigation. We hope that next year’s ¿Dónde están mis datos? will show a trend in the Colombian telecom industry toward publishing surveillance transparency reports.

Despite that, ETB obtained a quarter of a credit for publishing centralized information about the process for wiretapping, for blocking of content, and its law enforcement guidelines for data requests. This is a positive first step. We hope that next year ETB will also reveal how many requests it received from authorities.

DirecTV, a subsidiary of the US company AT&T, should follow the example of its parent company, which published both law enforcement guidelines and transparency reports at home in the United States.

2. On Data Protection

Karisma awarded a battery to companies for publishing their privacy policy in a clear and accessible way.

As in 2015, DirecTV was the only company given a full battery for its privacy policy. Unfortunately, ¿Dónde están mis datos? showed that DirecTV’s practice is the exception to the rule—most ISPs’ privacy policies are difficult for users to find and vague on specifics. In particular, Karisma’s report showed that Claro’s privacy policy is not only hard to find but difficult to search; it lacks accessibility features to let customers to find or search for specific information quickly.

3. On User Notification

Karisma asked companies to adopt the technology industry best practice of notifying their customers about any government request for information (when allowed by law).  However, Karisma found that the Colombian telecommunication companies haven’t caught up with the rest of the industry. All ISPs should recognize the central role they play in defending the privacy of those who contract for their services, and prioritize protecting users.

While DirecTV does not specifically discuss its legal obligation to provide personal data in response to a government data request, nor give details of the procedure used when this happens, its privacy policy made clear that it will notify those who contract its services if DirecTV hands over its customers’ data. At the other end of the spectrum, UNE’s policy is totally silent about this standard.

4. Privacy - On government data retention practices

Karisma evaluated two important disclosures to users: whether the company disclosed that the company is compelled by law to retain its customers’ data, and that it is obliged to comply with a prosecutor’s legitimate requests to access content, subscriber and metadata in the context of a criminal investigation.

Telefónica-Movistar is the only company which discloses data retention policies to its customers. However, its privacy policy itself is not especially privacy-protective. Fundación Karisma noted that Telefónica-Movistar Colombia databases have an “indefinite validity,” an admission of poor data collection practices. Karisma then contrasted those policies with those of Telefonica’s parent company, finding that Telefonica headquarters has better privacy policies than its Colombian subsidiary. The parent firm specified that it retained the data only for the required time established by law or to achieve a legitimate business aim, and that it is willing to respond to data protection requests that oppose the processing of personal data that is not necessary for the purpose of the service.

ETB is the only company that discloses its obligation to comply with a prosecutor’s legitimate requests. ETB disclosed this on its new central Transparency and Access to Information page, which discusses the procedures for legal interception and government data requests in Colombia. By contrast, Telefónica-Movistar and Tigo-UNE do not mention at all who can request information and what information can be requested according to law. For their part, Claro and DirecTV indicate quite broadly that they can share information with public or administrative authorities in the exercise of their legal functions or by court order. This is concerning, since the legal norms in Colombia are much more specific about who can ask for information and what information can be requested.

5. Freedom of Expression - On transparency regarding ISPs’ blocking or removing content

In this category, Karisma evaluated the industry’s transparency regarding their processes for filtering, taking down, or blocking content, and canceling and suspending internet service.

Karisma saw improvement from Telefónica-Movistar and ETB compared to their practices in 2015. Those companies now have codes of conduct that provide certain guidelines regarding the behaviors that are allowed by the ISPs, so that users can understand how to avoid sanctions. Karisma’s evaluation only assesses whether these practices are adequately codified publicly disclosed; here, it does not examine if those practices are good or bad.

We recognize that shifts in industry can take time. It took several years before EFF saw widespread changes in tech giants’ policies in response to EFF’s annual Who Has Your Back report. We hope that next year’s Karisma’s ¿Dónde están mis datos? report will find more of these companies adopting these best practices and standing by their users.


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Will Hillary Challenge Trump's Triumph?

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 23:38
Will Hillary Challenge Trump’s Triumph?
Through November 2016, America has had 57 presidential elections, some fiercely contested.
Yet peaceful transition always followed - except in 1860 when seven southern states seceded, forming the Confederacy. The Civil War followed, lasting until 1865, Lincoln assassinated weeks before it ended.
According to New York magazine, “Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump” - Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The group led by voting rights attorney John Bonifax and University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society director J. Alex Halderman claims results in these states were “manipulated or hacked.”
Their allegation is circumstantial, not definitive, citing a suspicious pattern, based on statistical analysis of counties using electronic voting machines v. others with optical scanners and paper ballots.
They argued for an independent review since the Obama administration (wrongfully) claimed Russian electoral interference. Not a shred of evidence suggests it.
As of now, Trump won 290 Electoral College votes to Hillary’s 232 - Michigan’s 16 EC votes not included as results remain too close to call.
For results to be changed in her favor, she’d have to win Michigan and have Pennsylvania and Wisconsin totals overturned - an extremely unlikely unprecedented act, especially this late in the game. 
Trump is well along in forming his administration. Deadlines to challenge approach. In Wisconsin it’s Friday. In Pennsylvania, next Monday. In Michigan it’s November 30. According to New York magazine, it’s “unclear” if Hillary intends to challenge.
Bonifax, Halderman and others in their group “have only a circumstantial case that would require not just a recount but a forensic audit of voting machines,” a time-consuming task if ordered.
An unnamed “senior Clinton advisor” said the White House wants “a smooth transfer of power,” not a disruptive challenge, likely delaying transition well beyond the January 20 inauguration day.
Key issues I’ve discussed in previous articles are as follows:
Claims about Russia hacking DNC emails and other electoral interference are fraudulent, no evidence suggesting it, just baseless accusations.
At the same time, election rigging in America is longstanding, dating at least from the 1824 “corrupt bargain,” favoring John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson, a future US president.
Deep state power brokers decide who’ll hold high office and key appointed positions at the federal, state and local levels. Democracy is pure fantasy. Voters have no say whatever.
In my judgment, Hillary was considered damaged goods, too scandal-ridden to serve effectively - jettisoned for Trump, perhaps at the 11th hour.
Chances for his triumph to be overturned are practically nil. Despite all the disruptive sturm und drang following November 8, and likely continuing, on January 20, he’ll become America’s 45th president.
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: How the 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.

The NYT Interviews Trump

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 23:23
The NYT Interviews Trump
by Stephen Lendman
Throughout his campaign, Trump justifiably blasted deplorable one-sided pro-Hillary media coverage, inventing reasons to denigrate him.
In one notable tweet, he said “(a)nytime you see a story about me or my campaign saying ‘sources said,’ DO NOT believe it. There are no sources, they are just made up lies!”
In another, he said “(r)emember, don't believe ‘sources said’ by the VERY dishonest media. If they don't name the sources, the sources don't exist.”
Ahead of meeting with The New York Times, he tweeted “they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!”
“The failing @nytimes just announced that complaints about them are at a 15-year high. I can fully understand that…”
“Wow, the @nytimes is losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the ‘Trump phenomena.’ “
“The @nytimes sent a letter to their subscribers apologizing for their BAD coverage of me. I wonder if it will change - doubt it.
After scheduling, canceling, then agreeing to meet with Times management, editors and correspondents once a dispute over “ground rules” was settled, the session took place on Tuesday for around an hour. Here are the highlights, according to The Times:
He won’t call for a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary’s private email server or foundation wrongdoing. “It’s just not something that I feel strongly about,” he said. “I think it would be very divisive for the country.”
He disassociates himself from the alt-right, saying “(i)t’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.” 
“I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group.” Asked about last weekend’s white nationalist/Nazi-saluting conference in Washington, he said “I disavow and condemn them.”
He softened his position on climate change, earlier calling it a “hoax,” now believing “some connectivity” to human behavior - but he’s unsure how much.
He rejected claims about having a conflict of interest between the White House and Trump Organization, saying “(t)he law’s totally on my side. The president can’t have a conflict of interest.” 
His children Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric will be in charge. He’s phasing himself out of daily operations to focus on his new responsibility.
He defended Steve Bannon, saying “(i)f I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”
He admitted reading The New York Times, adding “(u)nfortunately. I’d live about 20 years longer if I didn’t.”
He intends involving his son-in-law Jared Kushner in Israeli/Palestinian peace talks, hoping he can achieve what’s been unattainable for decades.
House and Senate leaders “(r)ight now (are) in love with me,” he said. As for Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he added “I’ve liked (him) for a long time.”
He’s considering whether to “open up” libel laws so he can sue for false media reports about him.
On Syria, he said “we have to solve that problem,” explaining he has a “different view than everybody else” without further elaboration.
Will he cooperate with Russia in combating terrorism as pledged? Will he normalize bilateral relations? Will he favor more diplomacy, less war?
Important questions remain unanswered. We’ll know more when he begins governing.
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: How the 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.

US Pressured EU Hostility Toward Russia

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 23:09
US Pressured EU Hostility Toward Russia
by Stephen Lendman
It’s too early to know if Trump will diverge from longstanding US policy toward Russia, wanting regime change - pro-Western puppet governance replacing its sovereign independence.
EU leaders and parliamentarians bow to US pressure, time and again absurdly calling Russia a threat, harming their own self-interest in the process.
Sanctions were imposed and renewed. EU leaders and European parliamentarians said they’ll remain in place as long as (nonexistent) “Russian aggression” continues, and the overwhelming will of Crimeans to rejoin the Russian Federation is reversed.
The European Parliament, Council of the European Union and European Commission share EU legislative functions separate from individual member states’ right of initiative power to propose and enact new laws for their respective countries.
In October, the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee endorsed a document titled “EU Strategic Communication to Counteract Propaganda Against It by Third Parties.”
Without supporting evidence, it disgracefully accused Moscow of spreading “disinformation and propaganda seeking to maintain or increase (its) influence to weaken and split the EU.”
Without justification, it absurdly claimed “a large part of the Kremlin’s hostile propaganda is aimed at describing some European countries as belonging to ‘Russia’s traditional sphere of influence,’ thereby undermining their sovereignty and deeply rooted European identity, which in the past has been undermined by communist regimes.”
It nonsensically said “Russian backing of anti-EU forces in the EU with regard, in particular, to extreme-right parties, populist forces and movements…den(ies) the basic values of liberal democracies.”
It shameless added Russia’s “main strategy is to circulate and impose an alternative narrative, often based on a manipulated interpretation of historical events and aimed at justifying its external actions and geopolitical interest.”
EU parliamentarians are currently considering a resolution aimed at “tackl(ing) Russian and ISIS propaganda.” 
It calls for “respond(ing) to information warfare by Russia and Islamist terrorists with more positive messaging, awareness raising, and education in information literacy” - along with adopting “stronger counter measures.”
The current debate follows shameless anti-Russia accusations made in the document discussed above.
Saying EU nations face “growing pressure from disinformation (from Russia and other countries, along with) non-state actors like ISIS” and other terrorist groups, as well as legitimate news sources like RT and Sputnik News, “challeng(ing) democratic values and (serving to) divide Europe” is pure nonsense.
Russia threatens no one. Western media scoundrels lack legitimacy. RT and Sputnik News represent what good journalism is supposed to be.
America and its EU allies support ISIS and other terrorist groups, using its fighters as imperial foot soldiers, ignoring their atrocities.
Deplorable Cold War mentality persists. It remains to be seen if Trump intends changing things or continuing dirty business as usual. A lot rides on his geopolitical intentions.
A Final Comment
Commenting on EU policies toward Russia, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “(i)t is difficult to make conclusions on pre-election statements.”
“What is more important is manifestation of those intentions the current government is already trying to implement. So far one cannot speak about changing trends in the policy of the current heads of the European countries. There are still many issues which can be solved and which are difficult to solve.”
“So far we see that the current leaders are incapable of solving those problems, which could be solved in the near future, by using equitable dialogue and taking into account interests of each other.”
“(W)e have serious disagreements but we should not block the development of our relations in those areas where they are possible, where it is necessary in the interests of people of our countries.”
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: How the 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.

¿Quién cuida tu espalda? Nuevo informe muestra lenta mejoría de la privacidad de las telecomunicaciones

eff.org - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 20:08

La Fundación Karisma - la principal organización colombiana de derechos digitales - ha publicado durante 2016 el informe ¿Dónde están mis datos?, Que evalúa hasta que grado las compañías de telecomunicaciones colombianas protegen la privacidad de sus clientes.

Este segundo informe anual de Karisma examina las políticas públicas de transparencia, protección de datos, privacidad y libre expresión de cinco de las principales empresas de telecomunicaciones de Colombia: Claro, Tigo-UNE, Telefónica-Movistar, ETB (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá) y DirecTV.

El informe muestra que las empresas colombianas de telecomunicaciones aún llegan a cumplir con las mejores prácticas de la industria de la tecnología relacionadas con la información sobre privacidad y transparencia. No obstante, dos miembros clave de la industria de telecomunicaciones de Colombia - ETB y Telefónica-Movistar - han mejorado sus prácticas, con ETB a la cabeza.

ETB no sólo obtuvo el mejor resultado de las empresas evaluadas, también implementó las mejoras más significativas en sus prácticas en relación al 2015. Aplaudimos los compromisos de ETB e instamos a la empresa a adoptar todas las normas recomendadas el próximo año. Sin embargo, todas las empresas todavía tienen un largo camino por recorrer, y las otras empresas corren el riesgo de rezagarse.

Telefónica-Movistar también ha hecho cambios positivos, y ahora está empatada con DirecTV por el segundo lugar en el informe de este año. Otras dos grandes empresas de telecomunicaciones; - Claro y UNE – arrojaron resultados especialmente pobres, rezagándose respecto a sus competidores en cuanto a protección de sus consumidores.

El Contexto

Las naciones que han atravesado largos conflictos tienen una oportunidad importante para examinar sus compromisos con los derechos humanos. A medida que Colombia transita su camino hacia el fin un proceso de guerra civil e insurgencia que abarcó décadas, se enfrenta a muchas interrogantes sobre su futuro y los peajes institucionales y sociales que los conflictos han producido. Al mismo tiempo, las revelaciones de Edward Snowden han ilustrado las maneras en que las empresas de tecnología pueden estar a la vanguardia cuando se trata de defender los datos y la privacidad de los usuarios: a veces protegen estos derechos, a veces no lo hacen.

Es por eso que, en respuesta a una vaga legislación de privacidad electrónica de Colombia y a la ausencia de medidas de rendición de cuentas, la Fundación Karisma y la EFF se han dirigido a las empresas de telecomunicaciones colombianas para animarlas a adoptar, voluntariamente, las políticas más fuertes posibles para proteger los derechos de sus usuarios.

El informe de Karisma clasificó las políticas y prácticas de las compañías en función de un conjunto de criterios y entregó baterías a las empresas por cada categoría que cumplieran con éxito. Una batería completa es una señal de que la compañía de telecomunicaciones cumplió con el criterio, mientras que una batería a medias indica que lo cumplió parcialmente. En algunos casos, se dio una cuarta parte de la batería a las empresas que están trabajando para mejorar las políticas, pero todavía no lo logran. Las baterías vacías indican que no había información disponible para determinar si la empresa había cumplido el criterio, o que la información disponible no era suficiente.

1. En Transparencia

Karisma pidió a las compañías que emitan reportes de transparencia regularmente, que incluyan o al menos información detallada sobre el número especifico de peticiones aprobadas y rechazadas, un resumen de las solicitudes por parte del proveedor de servicios, por la autoridad que investiga, el tipo y el propósito de la investigación y el número específico de personas afectadas por cada una de estas solicitudes.

Ninguna de las empresas cumplió plenamente con este estándar. La mayor parte de la industria, señaló Karisma, asocian la transparencia principalmente a la información económica y financiera con fines anticorrupción. "Sólo en este contexto las compañías publicaron informes de transparencia", dijo Karisma.

Como resultado, el público en general tiene poca idea de la frecuencia con que el gobierno presiona a las empresas de telecomunicaciones para acceder a los datos de los usuarios. Esta es una preocupación seria: una manera de permitir que la vigilancia sin el debido proceso vaya a peor es permitir que suceda en completo secreto. Dar publicidad a los informes de las solicitudes de acceso por parte de la autoridad puede ayudar a iluminar los patrones de excesivo celo en el control, resaltar los esfuerzos de las empresas para resistirse a peticiones excesivas y, quizás, hacer una pausa a los funcionarios encargados de hacer cumplir la ley que, de otra manera, podrían buscar más información de los usuarios de lo que necesitan para una investigación. Esperamos que el próximo año ¿Dónde están mis datos? Mostrará una tendencia en la industria de telecomunicaciones colombiana hacia la publicación de informes de transparencia de vigilancia.

A pesar de eso, ETB obtuvo un cuarto de batería por publicar información centralizada sobre el proceso de escuchas telefónicas,el bloqueo de contenido y las directrices de aplicación de la ley para las solicitudes de datos. Este es un primer paso positivo. Esperamos que el próximo año ETB también revelará cuántas solicitudes recibió de las autoridades.

DirecTV, filial de la empresa estadounidense AT&T, debe seguir el ejemplo de su casa matriz, que publicó tanto las directrices de cumplimiento de la ley como los informes de transparencia en su país de origen.

2. Sobre protección de datos

Karisma premió con una batería a las empresas por publicar sus políticas de privacidad en una forma clara y accesible.

Como en 2015, DirecTV fue la única compañía que recibió una batería completa por su política de privacidad. Desafortunadamente, ¿Dónde están mis datos? Mostró que la práctica de DirecTV es la excepción a la regla, la mayoría de las políticas de privacidad de los ISPs son difíciles de encontrar y vagas en especificidades. En particular, el informe de Karisma mostró que la política de privacidad de Claro no sólo es difícil de encontrar sino difícil de buscar; Carece de las características de accesibilidad que permitan a sus clientes encontrar o buscar la información específica, rápidamente.

3. Sobre la notificación a los usuarios

Karisma pidió a las compañías que adoptaran la mejor práctica de la industria tecnológica; notificar a sus clientes sobre cualquier solicitud gubernamental de información (cuando lo permita la ley). Sin embargo, Karisma encontró que las empresas de telecomunicaciones colombianas no han alcanzado al resto de la industria. Todos los ISP deben reconocer el papel central que desempeñan en la defensa de la privacidad de aquellos que contratan por sus servicios, y priorizar la protección de los usuarios.

Mientras DirecTV no discute específicamente su obligación legal de proporcionar datos personales en respuesta a una solicitud de datos del gobierno, ni detalla el procedimiento utilizado cuando esto ocurre, su política de privacidad dejá claro que notificará a aquellos que contratan sus servicios, en caso que DirecTV entregue los datos de sus clientes. En el otro extremo del espectro, la política de UNE es totalmente silenciosa sobre esta norma.

4. Privacidad - Sobre las prácticas gubernamentales de retención de datos

Karisma evaluó dos importantes revelaciones a los usuarios: si la empresa reveló que la empresa está obligada por ley a retener los datos de sus clientes y que está obligada a cumplir con las legítimas peticiones del fiscal para acceder al contenido, suscriptores y metadatos en el contexto de un investigación Criminal.

Telefónica-Movistar es la única empresa que divulga sus políticas de retención de datos a sus clientes. Sin embargo, su política de privacidad en sí protege especialmente la privacidad. Fundación Karisma señaló que las bases de datos de Telefónica-Movistar Colombia tienen una "validez indefinida", una admisión de malas prácticas de recopilación de datos. Karisma entonces contrastó esas políticas con las de la matriz de Telefónica, encontrando que la sede de Telefónica tiene mejores políticas de privacidad que su filial colombiana. La empresa matriz especificó que retenía los datos sólo por el tiempo requerido establecido por la ley o para lograr un objetivo comercial legítimo y que está dispuesta a responder a solicitudes de protección de datos que se opongan al tratamiento de datos personales que no sea necesario para el propósito del servicio.

ETB es la única empresa que declara su obligación de cumplir con las solicitudes legítimas de un fiscal. ETB reveló esto en su nueva página central deTransparencia y Acceso a la Información, que discute los procedimientos para la interceptación legal y las solicitudes de datos gubernamentales en Colombia. Por el contrario, Telefónica-Movistar y Tigo-UNE no mencionan en absoluto quién puede solicitar información y qué información puede solicitarse de acuerdo con la ley. Por su parte, Claro y DirecTV indican de manera vaga que pueden compartir información con autoridades públicas o administrativas en el ejercicio de sus funciones legales o por orden judicial. Esto es preocupante, ya que las normas legales en Colombia son mucho más específicas sobre quién puede pedir información y qué información puede ser solicitada.

5. Libertad de expresión - Sobre la transparencia en relación con el bloqueo o eliminación de contenido de los ISP

En esta categoría, Karisma evaluó la transparencia de la industria con respecto a sus procesos de filtrado, eliminación o bloqueo de contenido, cancelación y suspensión del servicio de Internet.

Karisma vio mejoras en Telefónica-Movistar y ETB en comparación con sus prácticas en el 2015. Estas compañías ahora tienen códigos de conducta que proporcionan ciertas pautas sobre los comportamientos permitidos por los ISPs, para que los usuarios puedan entender cómo evitar sanciones. La evaluación de Karisma sólo evalúa si estas prácticas están codificadas públicamente de manera adecuada; Aquí, no examina si esas prácticas son buenas o malas.

We recognize that shifts in industry can take time. It took several years before EFF saw widespread changes in tech giants’ policies in response to EFF’s annual Who Has Your Back report. We hope that next year’s Karisma’s ¿Dónde están mis datos? report will find more of these companies adopting these best practices and standing by their users.

Reconocemos que los cambios en la industria pueden tomar tiempo. Tomó varios años antes de que el EFF viera cambios extensos en las políticas de los gigantes de la tecnología en respuesta al informe anual del EFF: ¿Quién cuida tu espalda. Esperamos que el informe de Karisma ¿Dónde están mis datos? del próximo año muestre que más de estas empresas estén adoptando estas mejores prácticas y tomen partido por sus usuarios.


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Categories: Aggregated News

Obama Can Still Boost Transparency, Accountability Before Trump Takes Office

eff.org - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 06:11

There are fewer than 60 days until President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, but President Barack Obama can still take steps to improve transparency—and therefore government accountability.

In a letter to the Obama administration this week, EFF and other civil liberties groups—including Demand Progress and OpenTheGovernment.org—are asking that he shed some much-needed light on government actions that impact civil liberties ahead of his departure.

“As your administration winds down and our democracy faces strong headwinds, we urge you to take the following important steps to empower citizens, Congress, and the courts to protect our system of separated powers and make sure that our government continues working as the founders intended,” the letter says.

Specifically, the groups are asking Obama to declassify and release significant Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions, regardless of whether they were issued before the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act in 2015 (something EFF is suing the government to do right now); to release information about opinions from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel opinions, especially those related to national security and civil liberties; and to preserve and release at least limited information about the 2012 Senate report on CIA interrogation.

Obama should also release information about national security- and civil liberties-related Inspector General reports, information about the scope of surveillance of U.S. persons under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and guidance on how the government considers constitutional concerns surrounding parallel construction or the law enforcement practice of finding alternative evidence to bring a case that was built on inadmissible information gathered through intelligence operations.

The letter also calls on Obama to brief Congress and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to help inform their oversight, direct a government-wide review of whether and how agencies are disposing of information about U.S. persons collected through surveillance, publicly acknowledge the lack of whistleblower protections for government contractors, and declare a federal Fred Korematsu Day, in remembrance of victims of the U.S. internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Obama may be on his way out of the White House, but these are specific, concrete things he can do to ensure that the public, our representatives, and the courts are equipped with as much information as possible to provide a check on future administrations.

As the letter says, “No less than our shared legacy of a vibrant democratic government is at stake.”


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Categories: Aggregated News

Malware and Mysteries: Secret Surveillance in Argentina

eff.org - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 05:25

This post is part of the series “Unblinking Eyes: The State of Communications Surveillance in Latin America,” a collaborative project conducted with digital rights partners in Latin America, which documents and analyzes surveillance laws and practices in twelve countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In addition to the individual country reports, EFF produced a comparative legal analysis of the surveillance laws in those twelve countries, as well as a regional legal analysis of the 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles written with Derechos Digitales, and an interactive map that summarizes our findings.

In 2004, when Argentinean lawyer Alberto Nisman was appointed by then President Nestor Kirchner to investigate the deadliest bombing in Argentina's history, few suspected that Nisman himself would become a fatality. The story of Alberto Nisman reflects the shadier parts of modern Argentina, including a still-mysterious use of digital surveillance against the rule of law.

Nisman was in charge of investigating the 1994 terrorist attack in Buenos Aires that targeted a Jewish Center, the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), killing 85 people. Two years after being appointed lead prosecutor, Nisman publicly accused Iran of directing the attack. Nisman eventually indicted seven Iranian government officials. With five international arrest warrants secured, the Argentinean government publicly urged Iran to extradite the suspects. The government of Iran refused.

Over the years, the case left the two countries at an impasse. Nisman forged ahead. His investigation was largely supported by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who became Argentina's president after her husband stepped down in 2007. That is until rumors of closed-door negotiations between her and the Iranian government led Nisman to accuse President Fernández of making a secret deal between Argentina and Iran that would cover up any involvement in the bombing.

On January 18, 2015, the evening before Nisman was scheduled testify in Congress against the president and her foreign minister, he was found dead in his home.

An investigation subsequently conducted by security expert Morgan Marquis-Boire for The Intercept, indicated that Nisman had downloaded malware on his cellphone shortly before his death. Marquis-Boire explains that the software was hidden in a PDF marked “confidential,” and was intended to infect Nisman's Windows computer. Because Nisman opened the file on his Android phone, the spyware was not properly deployed. No one knows whether Nisman ultimately opened the file on his primary computer and infected it with spyware, but Marquis-Boire is confident that this malware attack was not an isolated event. Whoever was behind Nisam's final spyware appeared to use similar surveillance tools on other subjects, including the Argentine journalist, Jorge Lanata. Attribution of spyware is difficult, but Marquis-Boire believes there are strong indications that a government actor was behind these attacks.

Argentina has a long history of government secrecy and surveillance. One of the country's biggest surveillance scandals, unveiled during Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s presidency, was the uncovering of Project X—a national police database that contained intelligence information on union leaders and members of the opposition, collected without a warrant. Project X clearly violated the country's national intelligence law and the law on personal data protection. Illegal wiretapping is not unknown in the country—the current president Mauricio Macri was under investigation for five years for his alleged participation in one such case. Although acquitted in December 2015, Macri has blurred the separation of powers by nominating a close friend as chief of the federal intelligence agency (AFI), and a party official with close ties to the intelligence community as deputy director. Argentina civil society has harshly criticized the nominees for their lack of suitability, however the Senate confirmed their appointments in August, 2016—a signal which may suggest the intelligence agencies are becoming less autonomous and reverting back to old practices.

These known reports of unchecked surveillance prompted EFF, along with our partners in Argentina at the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE), Verónica Ferrari and Daniela Schnidrig, to write “State Communications Surveillance and the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Argentina,” a report that analyzes surveillance law in Argentina and provides recommendations. This report is part of the larger project “Unblinking Eyes: The State of Communications Surveillance in Latin America.” Here are some of its main findings:

Surveillance in Argentina Today

Argentina has ratified several human rights treaties that protect the right to privacy, such as the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). All the treaties that Argentina has ratified are binding and applicable in domestic law.

However, there is a lack of clarity in the privacy safeguards that Argentina's laws provide. The country's legal framework uses broad definitions in its legal provisions, and its intelligence framework allows for significant exceptions to constitutional privacy protections in “states of emergency,” (a phrase that is not adequately defined).

On Transparency

There are no legal obligations to submit transparency reports on communications interceptions for criminal matters in Argentina. However, intelligence agencies must submit annual reports on their activities to the Bicameral Commission on the Supervision of Intelligence Bodies and their Activities. They are confidential.

In September 2016, the Argentinian House of Representatives adopted the Access to Public Information Act. The new law allows Argentinians to request information from the General Prosecutor and any judge of the Judicial branch. The law contains national security exceptions; information will not be provided in circumstances where a criminal investigation could be jeopardized.

On User Notification

There is no legal obligation compelling companies or the state to notify a person when they have been the subject of surveillance. There’s a chance a person may learn they have been surveilled if the information gathered on them is used as evidence in a criminal procedure. But there is no obligation requiring public officials to disclose where they obtained such evidence. However, citizens do have the right to request access to the information that has been gathered on them by intelligence agencies.1

On Public Oversight

The Bicameral Commission on the Oversight of Intelligence Bodies and Activities is the country's legislative control mechanism. By law, it oversees and controls the activities of the National Intelligence System, Argentina's intelligence service, to ensure it complies with legal and constitutional regulations. The Commission should also weigh in on any legislation that concerns intelligence activities. However, the overall effectiveness of the Commission is greatly undermined by several factors.

  1. The Executive branch decides what information the Commission may access. Because the law imposes a general restriction on information concerning intelligence and counterintelligence activities, the Commission must receive authorization from the President or an appointed official in order to access any of this type of information.
  2. The Commission largely operates in secret. Civil society groups have tried requesting information about the operational activities of the Bicameral Commission, but have received no response.2
  3. The Commission must submit an annual report on the operational effectiveness of the National Intelligence System to the National Executive and the National Congress. The report, however, is confidential which makes it impossible for the general public to verify its accuracy.

The Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), a civil liberties NGO in Argentina, concluded that the Bicameral Commission is shrouded in such secrecy that it is impossible to assess its operation. In fact, testimony gathered during the investigation surrounding the death of Alberto Nisman suggests that the Commission is not operating at all. Veronica Ferrari, former Internet policy and human rights researcher and coordinator at the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE) states,

The [t]radition of secrecy around intelligence in Argentina should be reversed. It's the government's prerogative to conduct intelligence, but the effective implementation of public oversight mechanisms, such as the Bicameral Commission, is essential to ensuring that human rights are not affected.

Daniela Schnidrig, former researcher at Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE), and a current staffer at Global Partners Digital adds,

In the upcoming months and years ahead, President Macri should focus his attention on developing robust transparency and accountability mechanisms to ensure that any surveillance of communications is conducted in a manner that respects human rights standards.

We’ve seen the consequences of unchecked governments that operate in secret. Politicians and judges in Argentina must incorporate better transparency measures and oversight mechanisms into their legislation in order to avoid any future abuses of power, internal corruption, and human rights violations on their people.

  • 1. Supreme Court of Argentina. Ganora s/ hábeas corpus. Decision of September 16, 1999.
  • 2. Ramiro Álvarez Ugarte and Emiliano Villa. Who is Watching the Watchers? Privacy International, Asociación por los Derechos Civiles – ADC. https://www.privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/Who's%20Watching%20the%20Watchers_0.pdf

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Thoughts on 11/22/63: JFK's State-Sponsored Assassination

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 04:25
Thoughts on 11/22/63: JFK’s State-Sponsored Assassination
by Stephen Lendman
I won’t ever forget hearing the news - working in Pittsburgh as a marketing analyst, returning from lunch with colleagues when it was announced.
November 22, 1963 was a Friday. The working day ended once the news broke, everyone in my department stunned, unable to focus on anything else. 
It was too early to know what evidence later revealed. Lee Harvey Oswald was a convenient patsy, uninvolved in what happened, a state-sponsored assassination, CIA and secret service dirty hands likely responsible.
Killing him mattered. Things might have been different had he lived, at least for a time. November 22, 1963 remains a stain on America’s deplorable legacy.
JFK’s body was flown to Washington from Dallas. On Sunday, November 24, a horse-drawn caisson carried his flag-draped coffin to lie in state on Capitol Hill.
On November 25, officials from over 90 countries attended his state funeral. After a St. Matthew’s requiem mass, he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
The events of that time will stay with me always. JFK was assassinated for transforming himself from a warrior to peacemaker. 
Rejecting Pax Americana, wanting nuclear disarmament, rapprochement with Soviet Russia, all US forces out of Vietnam by December 1965, and other anti-establishment policies proved his undoing. 
America’s deep state had other ideas - the challenge Trump faces if he follows through on wanting better relations with Moscow and President Vladimir Putin - perhaps favoring more diplomacy and less wars.
Plato once said “(s)trange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.”
The Warren Commission whitewashed what happened. The Big Lie persists to this day. Extensive research James Fetzer conducted concluded the following:
“The weapon Oswald is alleged to have used cannot have fired the bullets that killed JFK. The ‘magic bullet’ theory is provably untrue and was not even anatomically possible.”
“JFK was hit four times - in the throat from in front, in the back from behind, and in the head from in front and behind.”
“X-rays were altered. A brain was substituted, and photos and films were faked to conceal the true causes of his death.”
Fetzer cited “more than 15 indications of Secret Service complicity in setting JFK up for the hit.”
“Two agents assigned to the limousine were left behind at Love Field. The flat-bed truck for reporters that should have preceded the limo was cancelled.”
“The motorcycle escort was cut down to four and was instructed not to ride ahead of the rear wheels. Open windows were not covered. The manhole covers were not welded, and the crowd was allowed to spill into the street.”
“…Vehicles were in the wrong order, with (Kennedy’s) Lincoln first, when it should have been in the middle.”
“This was such a blatant violation of protocol that any security expert would have detected it.” The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) destroyed the Presidential Protection Records to eliminate important evidence.
Kennedy’s route was changed days before he arrived. Included was a strictly prohibited 90 degree turn. After gunfire struck him, driver William Greer pulled to the left. He stopped the vehicle.
“At Parkland Hospital, (Secret Service) agents got a bucket of water and a sponge, and washed brains and blood from the crime scene.”
Kennedy’s “limousine was taken back to Ford. (It) was stripped to bare metal and rebuilt” - destroying important evidence.
Pseudo-documentaries air on TV, distorting what happened, concealing vital truths, sticking to the long ago discredited lone gunman explanation.
“As much thought was given to concealing the truth from the public as was given to executing the assassination itself,” Fetzer explained.
Had Kennedy lived, imagine the possibilities. He likely would have served two terms, perhaps RFK succeeding him in January 1969 had he lived. Maybe the Cold War would have ended and Southeast Asia war avoided.
We’ll never know what might have been, only the deplorable aftermath of JFK’s assassination, followed by RFK’s to keep another Kennedy from becoming president.

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: How the 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.

Chemical Weapons Use in Syria: By US-Supported Terrorists, Not Assad

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 04:23
Chemical Weapons Use in Syria: By US-Supported Terrorists, Not Assad
by Stephen Lendman
US-supported terrorists used toxic agents on Syrian forces and civilians numerous times since Obama launched naked aggression in March 2011.
Nearly always, Assad is wrongfully blamed, despite Syria’s entire CW arsenal destroyed under Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) supervision.
On Monday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov issued a statement, saying:
“In Area ‘1070’ in the southwestern suburbs of Aleppo, experts from the Russian Defense Ministry conducted rapid identification of nine selected samples (fragments of mines, the soil from the craters, places where shells landed), which confirmed (terrorists) used chlorine and white phosphorus munitions to fill their ammunition” - the latter substance able to burn flesh to the bone on contact, water unable to extinguish it.
Russian CW experts took bioassays from four Syrian victims, analysis determining toxic substances used. OPCW officials declined to send experts, determine what happened and report accordingly.
Sergey Lavrov commented, saying “Russian specialists found that militants in east Aleppo used ammunition with poisonous substances, with the ammo targeting west Aleppo. The collected samples leave no doubt that it’s a toxic agent.”
The OPCW, under virtually certain heavy US pressure, refused to fulfill its mandate as required under provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Citing security issues rang hollow. Russian and Syrian forces guaranteed the safety of experts sent. Moscow may deliver samples to the Hague for analysis. “It will be hard (for its officials) to back out,” said Lavrov.
Expect no movement toward cessation of hostilities and conflict resolution as long as Obama’s neocon infested administration is in charge.
Will Trump go another way once inaugurated? Will he cooperate with Russia, as promised, or continue longstanding hostility?
Will he wage war on terrorism responsibly instead of supporting it like the Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama? We’ll know soon enough once he formally succeeds Obama.
Separately, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin met with Assad in Damascus on Tuesday, saying Moscow will continue providing Syria with economic aid to support its citizens in dire need.
Discussion also focused on how to help restore Syria’s economy, including energy, production and major infrastructure projects. Agreement was reached, Rogozin saying Russia will do everything possible to help under “very difficult conditions.”
“One thing is clear. What Russia is doing is unprecedented both in terms of military participation in the fight against international terrorism and political and economic settlement.”
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: How the 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.

Trump Updates His First 100 Days

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Wed, 23/11/2016 - 02:58
Trump Updates His First 100 Days Agenda
by Stephen Lendman
He’s no FDR, HST, LBJ or JFK. Expect no New Deal, Fair Deal or Great Society programs when they’re badly needed - protracted Main Street Depression conditions today as bad for most Americans as in the 1930s. 
Nor is he a closet peacenik, favoring a more muscular military with little idea how he might use it. I won’t judge him until he begins governing. After inauguration, I’ll praise or criticize him appropriately - based on what he does and doesn’t do.
Will his tenure continue dirty business as usual or chart a new course? Given America’s sordid history and deep state power, it’s hard being optimistic. 
On Monday, he recorded a short video message. Here’s what he said:
“Today, I would like to provide the American people with an update on the White House transition and our policy plans for the first 100 days.”
“Our transition team is working very smoothly, efficiently, and effectively.  Truly great and talented men and women, patriots indeed are being brought in and many will soon be a part of our government, helping us to Make America Great Again.”
“My agenda will be based on a simple core principle: putting America First.”
“Whether it’s producing steel, building cars, or curing disease, I want the next generation of production and innovation to happen right here, in our great homeland: America - creating wealth and jobs for American workers.”
“As part of this plan, I’ve asked my transition team to develop a list of executive actions we can take on day one to restore our laws and bring back our jobs. It’s about time.”
“These include the following:On trade, I am going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country. Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”
“On energy, I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy -  including shale energy and clean coal - creating many millions of high-paying jobs. That’s what we want, that’s what we’ve been waiting for.”
“On regulation, I will formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. It’s so important.”
“On national security, I will ask the Department of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyberattacks, and all other form of attacks.”
“On immigration, I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”
“On ethics reform, as part of our plan to Drain the Swamp, we will impose a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists after they leave the Administration - and a lifetime ban on executive officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.”
“These are just a few of the steps we will take to reform Washington and rebuild our middle class.I will provide more updates in the coming days, as we work together to Make America Great Again for everyone, and I mean everyone.”
He said nothing about repealing and replacing Obamacare. Nothing on a new role for NATO. Nothing about allying with Russia in combating terrorism. Nothing on appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton crime family offenses.
More updates are coming, he said. Hopefully, they’ll favor diplomacy over war-making, along with positive initiatives benefitting all Americans.
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: How the 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.

NYT Urges Internet Censorship

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 22/11/2016 - 23:35
NYT Urges Internet Censorship
by Stephen Lendman
On issues mattering most, The Times shamelessly publishes state and corporate propaganda, pretending it’s all the news fit to print.
Along with other media scoundrels, it long ago lost credibility, why alternative sources of news, information and analysis are growing at their expense. Following reliable ones exclusively is the only way to stay informed - essential in today’s dangerous world.
The Times and other media scoundrels misinform, distort, distract and lie, vital hard truths banished from their reporting - fake news their specialty.
A previous article discussed Google and Facebook intentions to halt what they call “fake news,” claiming it’s to counter misinformation.
I asked if their real aim is censorship. Will other online companies operate the same way? Is free and open Internet content at risk? Will reliable alternative media sources be targeted for elimination?
Will dark forces controlling America only let their message be disseminated, destroying the essence of democratic free expression?
On Monday, Global Research editor Michel Chossudovsky stressed the danger, saying “(a) smear campaign is currently underway accusing the alternative and independent media online media of producing ‘Fake News.’ “
Never before in America and other Western societies was it so urgent to stay vigilant about growing tyranny replacing fundamental rights - none more important than speech, media and academic freedoms. Without them, all others are at risk.
Does the NYT advocate what demands denunciation? It appears so from a Sunday editorial, headlined “Facebook and the Digital Virus Called Fake News,” the title indicating disturbing content to follow, saying:
“(M)illions of people (are) taken in by fake news stories…spread on social media sites” - what Times editors call a “scourge,” claiming “internet companies like Facebook and Google…ma(de) it possible for fake news to be shared nearly instantly with millions of users and have been slow to block it from their sites.”
“Fake news,” according to Times editors, is content disagreeing with what the self-styled “newspaper of record” reports. “Real news” is daily rubbish it publishes - a cesspool of misinformation, distortions and Big Lies on major issues mattering most.
Their solution is what Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky discussed in their book, titled “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy and the Mass Media” - explaining how media scoundrels manipulate and control public thinking and perceptions by filtering news and information. 
Acceptable “residue” only is reported. Dissent is marginalized. Government and dominant private interests alone are served.
In his 1928 book titled “Propaganda,” Edward Bernays said it's possible to “regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies.”
“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”
In his book titled “Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty,” Alex Carey said:
“The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.”
Media scoundrels, like The Times, are gatekeepers, wanting their message alone disseminated, excluding truth-telling alternative sources, exposing their misinformation and Big Lies.
The Times says these vital reports are “hoaxes,” claiming “dissemination of (what it calls) fake news on Facebook…has been a longstanding problem,” advocating “(b)locking” it - censorship by any standard while ignoring it own daily “fake news” on issues mattering most. 
News consumers in America and other Western societies are relentlessly carpet-bombed with scoundrel media-proliferated “fake news.”
Tune them out. Ignore their publications. Choose reliable alternative sources for news, information and analysis. 
Get involved to keep the Internet open, free and fair. Challenge dark forces wanting their message alone disseminated.
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: How the 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.

Trump Unloads on Media Scoundrels

sjlendman.blogspot.com - Tue, 22/11/2016 - 23:21
Trump Unloads on Media Scoundrels
by Stephen Lendman
Throughout America’s just concluded political season, major media reporting was scandalous, near-entirely one-sided for Hillary, shamelessly anti-Trump, inventing reasons to denigrate him.
It’s why I call the lot of them scoundrels. In his day, famed journalist George Seldes (1890 - 1995) railed against “prostitution of the press.” 
He called fourth estate presstitutes “the most powerful force against the general welfare of the majority of the people.” For Gerald Celente, they’re “shills, sellouts and media whores.”
Paul Craig Roberts calls them “presstitutes.” So do I, explaining they substitute advocacy for journalism, sinking to the level of press agents for wealth, power and privilege - keeping readers and viewers misinformed and distracted.
The New York Times is my prime target because of its global influence. On domestic and geopolitical issues mattering most, it’s a lying machine, publishing state and corporate propaganda, suppressing what’s most important to know.
Throughout the scoundrel media universe, managed news misinformation substitutes, glorifying wars in the name of peace, claiming they’re about democracy building. 
Aggressive wars are called liberating ones. Mass slaughter and destruction are portrayed as humanitarian intervention. 
Carving up continents for profit is considered economic development. Exploiting workers as virtual serfs is called jobs creation.
On Monday, around two dozen television media bosses and anchors visited the president-elect in Trump Tower for an off-the-record meeting. Was it to kiss the ring they once cursed? 
According to the New York Post, it was a “f…ing firing squad,” Trump unloading on attendees. He blasted CNN president Jeff Zucker. According to an unnamed source, he said “I hate your network. Everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed.”
“The meeting was a total disaster,” said the source. “The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down.”
He “kept saying, ‘(w)e’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars.”
NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. meets with Trump on Tuesday, his publication and the Washington Post the lead anti-Trump print media throughout the campaign - some of the worst pure rubbish I read and reported on since mid-2015 when Trump and Hillary announced they’re run for president.
Politico reported Trump saying he wants a “reset…fairness…the truth” henceforth. His campaign manager Kellyanne Conway called the meeting “very candid and very honest,” adding the president-elect “did not explode in anger.”
Trump isn’t one to mince words. While campaigning, he blasted media misreporting about him numerous times in stump speeches.
On all important issues, state and corporate advocacy journalism substitutes for the real thing.
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: How the 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.

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