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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

Links 9/2/2016: Linux in Robotics, Hyperledger Project

5 hours 55 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Building a culture of more pluggable open source

    If there is one word that often percolates conversations hailing the benefits of open source, it is choice. We often celebrate many of the 800+ Linux distributions, the countless desktops, applications, frameworks, and more. Choice, it would seem, is a good thing.

    Interestingly, choice is also an emotive thing.

  • IT sector: Promote open source, bring enabling provisions for Start-up India

    The IT/ITeS sector, one of the largest contributors to exports in the country, has played a vital role in shaping the overall growth story of India. In view of the challenging business environment, the sector has significant expectations from the ensuing Union Budget 2016 on the tax and policy initiatives front.

  • S.F. Officials Push for Adoption of Pioneering Open-Source Voting System [Ed: Beware Microsoft]

    San Francisco could launch a major makeover of its voting systems this year, an effort that supporters say will lead to cheaper, more transparent elections in the city.

    On Tuesday, Supervisor Scott Wiener will call for a Board of Supervisors hearing into the city’s efforts to adopt a voting system that would use off-the-shelf hardware and open-source software. Elections officials, politicians and voter-participation activists have all touted such publicly owned balloting systems as cheaper and more trustworthy than using products supplied by private vendors.

    “We want to set a trend here and around the country toward more open and transparent voting systems,” Wiener said in an interview.

  • Open Source Assignments for Non-Programming Classes

    I’ve been flirting with the idea of asking students in my Educational Game Design module to make their projects “open source”.

    I am wary of the way non-computer scientists use the term “open source”. I often hear people mistakenly refer to free software as “open source”, when its code is not at all open source. I have also heard people in open education talk about how we can learn from open source, but I always felt cautious about this because the contexts are usually different.

  • What Have We Learned From This Open Source Project?

    Start an open source project if you want to learn all you can about software design, development, planning, testing, documenting, and delivery; enjoy technical challenges, administrative challenges, compromise, and will be satisfied hoping that someone out there is benefitting from your work. Do not start an open source project if you need praise, warmth and love from your fellow human beings.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Mon 2016/Feb/08

        After a couple of months of work and thanks to the kind code reviews of the folks at Google, we got the feature landed in Chromium’s repository. For a while, though, it remained hidden behind a runtime flag, as the Chromium team needed to make sure that things would work well enough in all fronts before making it available to all users. Fast-forward to last week, when I found out by chance that the runtime flag has been flipped and the Simplify page printing option has been available in Chromium and Chrome for a while now, and it has even reached the stable releases. The reader mode feature in Chromium seems to remain hidden behind a runtime flag, I think, which is interesting considering that this was the original motivation behind the dom distiller.

    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Firefox 44.0.1 Patches Graphics Startup Crashes on Linux, Adds Gecko SDK

        Mozilla released just a few hours ago the first hotfix for the latest stable and most advanced branch of the popular Firefox web browser for all supported operating systems.

        Mozilla Firefox 44.0.1 is now available for download (see download links in the last paragraph), and according to the release notes that popped up minutes ago, it adds quite a few improvements, a couple of new features, and fixes for several issues reported by users since the release of Firefox 44.0.

      • Firefox 44.0.1 Has Been Released

        As you may know, Mozilla Firefox is among the most popular internet browsers available, being very appreciated by FOSS users.

      • The Internet is a Global Public Resource

        I committed myself to the idea that the Internet is a global public resource that we all share and rely on, like water. I committed myself to stewarding and protecting this important resource. I committed myself to making the importance of the open Internet widely known.

        When we say, “Protect the Internet,” we are not talking about boosting Wi-fi so people can play “Candy Crush” on the subway. That’s just bottled water, and it will very likely exist with or without us. At Mozilla, we are talking about “the Internet” as a vast and healthy ocean.

      • Martin Thomson Appointed to the Internet Architecture Board

        Martin’s appointment recognizes a long history of major contributions to the Internet standards process: including serving as editor for HTTP/2, the newest and much improved version of HTTP, helping to design, implement, and document WebPush, which we just launched in Firefox, and playing major roles in WebRTC, TLS and Geolocation. In addition to his standards work, Martin has committed code all over Gecko, in areas ranging from the WebRTC stack to NSS. Serving on the IAB will give Martin a platform to do even greater things for the Internet and the Open Web as a whole.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • Impetus’ Analytics Platform Extends to Work with Multiple Apache Projects

      Impetus Technologies, a big data solutions company, has announced StreamAnalytix 2.0, featuring support for Apache Spark Streaming, in addition to the current support for Apache Storm. Streaming data analytics has become a big deal, especially with the Internet of Things and other emerging technologies helping to produce torrents of streaming data that enterprises need to make sense of.

      Impetus’ platform is open source-based, and here are more details on how enterprises can leverage it along with tools like Spark.

  • Databases
  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
    • The Money In Open-Source Software

      It’s no secret that open-source technology — once the province of radicals, hippies and granola eaters — has gone mainstream. According to industry estimates, more than 180 young companies that give away their software raised roughly $3.2 billion in financing from 2011 to 2014.

      Even major enterprise-IT vendors are relying on open-source for critical business functions today. It’s a big turnaround from the days when former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously called the open-source Linux operating system “a cancer” (and obviously a threat to Windows).

  • Licensing
    • GNU social and #RIPTwitter

      What a weekend! Buzzfeed sent rumours soaring that Twitter was going to stop displaying tweets in order and instead have an “algorithm” optimise it. Scary, right? I have no idea if it’s true but the possibility hit a nerve. #RIPTwitter was trending globally and it encouraged a small fraction of Twitter users to wonder “what could I use instead?” That is, one heck of a lot of people.

      Next minute, thousands of new users are pouring into GNU social—a social network whose existing users only numbered in the thousands to begin with. It’s free software’s decentralised answer to Twitter and to date it has a fairly niche following. Not any more. The admin of the largest server, quitter.se, reported 1200 new signups in two days.

    • License Compatibility and Relicensing

      Only the GNU licenses give authors a choice about whether to permit upgrades to future license versions. When I wrote the first version of the GNU GPL, in 1989, I considered including a license upgrade option as is found now in CC licenses, but I thought it more correct to give that choice to each author. Thus, the author could release a program either under “GPL 1 only” or “GPL 1 or later.”

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Open Access/Content
      • Students, librarians urge professors to use open-source textbooks

        A student advocacy group, along with one of the University of Washington’s top librarians, is urging faculty members to take a good look at using more free online textbooks.

        And two bills in the state Legislature would promote and facilitate the use of such open-source textbooks and course materials.

      • Student Group Releases New Report on Textbook Prices

        Earlier today, U.S. PIRG released a new report investigating the real impact of high textbook prices on today’s students. The report, titled “Covering the Cost,” is based on a survey of nearly 5,000 students from 132 institutions.

        Over the last decade, the price of college textbooks has soared. Since 2006, the cost of a college textbook increased by 73% – over four times the rate of inflation. Today, individual textbooks often cost over $200, sometimes as high as $400.

  • Programming
    • GHC performance is rather stable

      Johannes Bechberger, while working on his Bachelor’s thesis supervised by my colleague Andreas Zwinkau, has developed a performance benchmark runner and results visualizer called “temci”, and used GHC as a guinea pig. You can read his elaborate analysis on his blog.

    • Ready for a nostalgia kick? Usborne has put its old computer books on the web for free

      UK publishing house Usborne is giving out its iconic 1980s programming books as free downloads.

      The books, which are available for free as PDF files, include Usborne’s introductions to programming series, adventure games, computer games listings and first computer series. The series was particularly popular in the UK, where they helped school a generation of developers and IT professionals.

    • LLVM Patches Confirm Google Has Its Own In-House Processor

      Patches published by Google developers today for LLVM/Clang confirm that the company has at least one in-house processor of its own.

      Jacques Pienaar, a software engineer at Google since 2014, posted patches today seeking to mainline a “Lanai” back-end inside LLVM. He explained they want to contribute their Lanai processor to the LLVM code-base as they continue developing this back-end with a focus on compiling C99 code. He mentions Lanai is a simple in-order 32-bit processor with 32 x 32-bit registers, two registers with fixed values, four used for program state tracking, and two reserved for explicit usage by user, and no floating point support.

Leftovers
  • Judge Blocks Release Of Anti-Abortion Videos As The Arbiter Of Journalism

    In other words, whatever your opinion on abortion might be, these people suck. Editing videos to make it seem like something that isn’t happening is happening isn’t virtuous. It’s called lying, and it’s a no-no.

  • Apple Bye Bye

    I was clumsy, and I spilled some beer on the keyboard of my Mac Air laptop, bought July 9, 2014. I immediately started drying my precious computer, overturning it, and my greedy Mac didn’t gulp all that much beer, but….

    I knew that liquid spills can easily kill a laptop. However, this beer fatality was a first time for me. I realized that only luck has saved me in dozens of my plane trips and train trips, where a few seconds of air bumps or rail vibration might tip a plastic cup and immediately drown a precious machine, the ally and partner in my everyday life.

    The Mac Air immediately went dark. In bitter days to follow I struggled to get it back on its feet from its alcoholic overdose. But the battery had shorted out and the motherboard was fouled beyond repair. The screen misbehaved like delirium tremens. Beer is not so fatal to laptops as sugary Coca-Cola, but even pure water can drown delicate microelectronics.

    I managed to retrieve my precious files from the faltering hard disk and I migrated promptly to a new Mac Air, the same model, but running the latest version of the OSX operating system. The machinery was the same, but in the meantime Apple had “upgraded,” or rather transformed, its software.

  • Tim Cook just tweeted the worst iPhone camera advert ever

    APPLE SUPREMO Tim Cook has brought shame on his company, its hardware and its status as a camera option by tweeting one of his own photos.

    The problem is with the photo and the photographer, but there is no schadenfreude in that. Cook took his photo during a leisurely night out. He didn’t take it for one of those ‘taken on the iPhone’ promotional efforts or to show off.

  • How WIRED Is Going to Handle Ad Blocking

    Over the past several years, there’s been a significant increase in the number of people using ad-blocking software in their web browser. We have certainly seen a growth in those numbers here at WIRED, where we do all we can to write vital stories for an audience that’s passionate about the ongoing adventure of our rapidly changing world.

    On an average day, more than 20 percent of the traffic to WIRED.com comes from a reader who is blocking our ads. We know that you come to our site primarily to read our content, but it’s important to be clear that advertising is how we keep WIRED going: paying the writers, editors, designers, engineers, and all the other staff that works so hard to create the stories you read and watch here.

  • Wired Is Launching an Ad-Free Website to Appease Ad Blockers

    More than 1 in 5 people who visit Wired Magazine’s website use ad-blocking software. Starting in the next few weeks, the magazine will give those readers a choice: stop blocking ads, pay to look at a version of the site that is unsullied by advertisements, or go away. It’s the kind of move that was widely predicted last fall after Apple allowed ad-blocking in the new version of its mobile software, but most publishers have shied away from it so far.

  • Microsoft defends new Windows Server licensing

    After Texas law firm Scott & Scott issued its analysis of the changes to Windows Server licensing, Microsoft responded by addressing each of Scott & Scott’s points in an email. The issues described by Scott & Scott, Microsoft contends, would be limited to a very small customer segment, and even then wouldn’t be as significant an issue as claimed.

  • Ballmer: Hardware, mobile strategy essential for Microsoft’s future

    Microsoft’s hardware—Surface, HoloLens, and Xbox—is “absolutely essential” to its future, according to former CEO Steve Ballmer in a new interview with Business Insider. That’s because of the interrelationship between devices and the cloud: so many devices are supported by and dependent on cloud software, Ballmer feels that the company needs to participate both on the cloud side and on the device side.

  • Two killed & 150 injured in head-on train crash in Bavaria as medics rush to save trapped

    A fleet of emergency helicopters has been scrambled to take injured passengers to hospitals after the crash at Bad Aibling, an hour from Munich.

    Police say at least four people have died and around 150 have been injured – 15 critical and 40 seriously – in the smash in southern Germany.

    It is feared that of the four dead, one is a train driver. The other train driver is missing, with local fire services hunting for him.

  • Twidiots rage on Twitter about new algorithmic timeline

    Twidiots around the world are very angry right now. Twitter has decided to follow in the footsteps of Fakebook and introduce an algorithmic timeline. When the news of this hit Twitter, there was a twidiot storm the likes of which has seldom been seen on the service. They went on a rage-filled tweet rampage, vowing that Twitter was dead to them, they would never tweet again (the world should be so lucky), and other hysterical dramatics.

  • Worst tech mergers and acquisitions: Novell and Unix, Borland and Ashton-Tate

    In 1991, if you were running a personal computer network in your business or enterprise, there was a good chance it was running on Novell’s NetWare, which was the predominant server-based network operating system at the time.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital

      If ever one wondered about the efficacy of a state government agency imposing officials on local governments, Flint has answered that question forever.

      In April, 2014, the state-appointed emergency manager, in order to save money, ordered that the city’s water source be changed from Lake Huron to the notoriously polluted Flint River.

    • Sanders Blasts Michigan Officials for Denying Undocumented People Clean Water

      Senator Bernie Sanders blasted the state of Michigan after reports circulated that undocumented immigrants living in Flint, Michigan have been denied clean drinking water. “This is a humanitarian crisis,” the presidential candidate declared.

      The comments came after the Detroit Free Press reported earlier this week that Flint’s roughly 1,000 undocumented immigrants have faced significant barriers accessing the bottled water now being distributed throughout the city. According to both immigrants and advocates, some people have been turned away because they lacked proper identification, while many others do not even bother because they don’t speak English and fear being deported.

    • The world’s forests will collapse if we don’t learn to say ‘no’

      An alarming new study has shown that the world’s forests are not only disappearing rapidly, but that areas of “core forest” — remote interior areas critical for disturbance-sensitive wildlife and ecological processes — are vanishing even faster.

    • UPOV Works To Improve Breeders’ Applications, Civil Society Calls For Alternative System

      The Geneva-based International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) provides intellectual property rights protection for plant breeders. In 2016, the organisation is planning to work on systems to facilitate breeders’ applications for new varieties. Meanwhile, civil society is calling for ways to protect plant varieties other than through UPOV, which they see as hindering farmers’ rights.

    • Plant Treaty In 2016: Sustainability Solutions, Farmers’ Rights, Global Information System

      Civil society has been concerned with the interrelations between the ITPGRFA, UPOV and WIPO, in particular on the implementation of farmers’ rights, which they say are undermined by the last version of the UPOV Convention (1991) (IPW, WIPO, 2 April 2015).

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Iraq Goes Medieval: Will Build Wall Around Baghdad to Stop ISIS

      In medieval times, cities were walled. At night the gates were locked, the towers guarded, and thieves and brigands were kept outside. At least in theory, because walls could be scaled, or blown up, or tunnels dug, or guards bribed.

      And so in what may turn out to be the ultimate 21st century Renaissance Faire, the Iraqi government, no doubt with the support of, if not the checkbook of, the United States, is building a wall around the city of Baghdad in hopes that that will stop ISIS where nothing else has.

    • Opposing the Plutocracy Means Opposing the Warfare State

      Bernie Sanders wants to stay on message. So his presidential campaign has focused on economic issues. The American economy is rigged, Sanders says, in the interests of the wealthy and well connected. Banks and Wall Street brokerage houses get what they want at the expense of everyone else. The government should step in on the side of ordinary people.

      It’s hard not to resonate with Sanders’s message that the rules of the game are designed to benefit those best positioned to shape them. When power is concentrated in the hands of a few people, when there’s one ultimate rule-making authority, politicians and their cronies can engage in self-dealing with relative impunity. Eliminating the privileges that prop up the crony class would likely prove more efficient and just than Sanders’s proposals to increase the power of the state – which tends persistently to favor the well-connected. But you can find his prescription unappealing while appreciating his diagnosis.

    • In the 2016 Campaign, US Foreign Policy Establishment Not Faring Well Either

      This underlying reluctance of large swaths of the American electorate of both parties to continue such long-standing US meddling in faraway conflicts – which it intuitively, if vaguely, realizes is the major cause of blowback terrorism – is reflected by the better-than-expected standing of antiestablishment candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. Although Trump and Cruz have made some over-the-top comments about bombing ISIS into smithereens, in general they are less hawkish than the mainstream candidates, with their traditional Republican jingoistic foreign policy: Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush. Moreover, the pall of George W. Bush’s disastrous Iraq War still hangs over the 2016 election to such an extent that so far, the candidacy of Bush #3 – who the at the beginning of the campaign in 2015 the media was trying to anoint as the Republican frontrunner – has done abysmally.

    • The Might of the American Empire Was on Full Display at Super Bowl 50: A Bizarre War Spectacle Extraordinaire

      From the fighter jets soaring overhead to the armed troops patrolling Levi Stadium, Super Bowl 50 was a highly militarized event, its 70,000 spectators and millions of television viewers subject to a showcase of war propaganda and heavy security crackdown.

      To much fanfare, the Armed Forces Chorus, comprised of 50 men and women from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force, kicked off the massive sports event by singing “America the Beautiful” from the field. CBS’ broadcast of the song cut away to footage of uniformed troops standing at attention, with text on the screen reading, “United States Forces Afghanistan.” The clip was a nod to a brutal war and occupation, now stretching into its 15th year, as top generals press for an even slower withdrawal.

      Following the national anthem, the U.S. Navy flew its signature Blue Angels Delta formation over the cheering stadium, located in Santa Clara, Calif. The Navy is open about the propaganda purposes of such flights, stating in a press release they are intended to demonstrate “pride” in the military. In a country that dropped 23,144 bombs on Muslim-majority countries in 2015 alone, the war planes are not just symbolic.

    • Israel frets about “Iran as Neighbor” if Aleppo falls & al-Assad Regime Wins

      An Arabic site that aggregates Facebook and other social media postings reports that Israeli officials are filled with anxiety and consternation about the possibility that the regime of Bashar al-Assad will conquer Aleppo with Russian and Iranian help, and will go on to reconstitute itself. It would be, in the view of Israeli hardliners, an Iranian puppet and would give Lebanon’s Hizbullah a free hand in the region. Yuval Steinitz, a cabinet member with a portfolio for strategic affairs, warned that the victories of the Syrian Arab Army in the Aleppo area constitute a long-term threat to Israel.

    • Erdogan Threatened Europe with Refugees, now Demanding US abandon Syrian Kurds

      Reuters reports that Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan allegedly bullied European leaders and threatened to drown Europe in refugees if his terms were not met. He wanted 6 Bn Euros to keep the 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey happy enough in that country to discourage them from moving to Europe.

    • Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Fight for Feminist Crown

      One would be the first woman to get the Democratic presidential nomination and, if successful, go on to become the first female president of the United States. The other is an old, white man. Yet the question of who’s more of a feminist, Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has provoked surprisingly impassioned debate and a volatile divide on the left.

      Since the Sanders campaign started, female fans have had to fend off accusations that their support is anti-feminist. Last week, women’s rights icon Gloria Steinem even suggested that young women only support Sanders to attract boys, and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright opined to Democratic voters that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Meanwhile, Bill Clinton accused “Bernie Bros”—a term that seems to have become a derogatory catchall for Sanders supporters of any gender—of “vicious” and “profane” sexism. Since then, an array of feminists for Bernie have come out swinging, challenging the idea that XX-chromosomes a feminist candidate makes.

    • Dear Hillary, Madeleine and Gloria: Full Feminism Demands We Say No to America’s Deadly Imperial Wars

      Two powerful backers of Hillary Clinton attracted headlines—and outrage—this weekend when they uttered sweeping statements under the banner of “feminism,” calling on young women to back the former Secretary of State’s presidential bid.

      Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of Sate, introduced Clinton in New Hampshire on Saturday by declaring, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

    • GOP Candidates Compete Over Who Will Commit Most War Crimes Once Elected

      At a rally in New Hampshire on Monday night, Donald Trump was criticizing Ted Cruz for having insufficiently endorsed torture – Cruz had said two nights earlier that he would bring back waterboarding, but not “in any sort of widespread use” – when someone in the audience yelled out that Cruz was a “pussy”. Trump, in faux outrage, reprimanded the supporter, repeating the allegation for the assembled crowd: “She said he’s a pussy. That’s terrible. Terrible.”

    • The US Military Bombs in the Twenty-First Century

      Maybe Washington should bluntly declare not victory, but defeat, and bring the U.S. military home.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Could a President Hillary Clinton Be Impeached Over Her Emails?

      If Hillary Clinton is elected president, could her slow-bleeding email scandal lead to her impeachment?

      The question has been percolating in right-wing circles since last October, when Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama broached the subject in an interview with conservative talk-radio host Matt Murphy. If Clinton makes it to the White House, Brooks declared in no uncertain terms, “the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors” arising from her use of a private email server to discuss matters of national security during her tenure as secretary of state.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Sanctuary Ocean Count

      Every year in January, February, and March, volunteers count whales from the shores of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and the Big Island for the annual Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count.

    • Iowa Will Soon Decide Whether To Allow An Oil Company To Seize Residents’ Land

      The thought of a massive pipeline moving crude oil some 60 inches underneath his farmland troubles Richard Lamb. It isn’t just the risk of an accident or the burden of clashing with the powerful oil industry. It’s the helplessness of facing Iowa’s eminent domain.

    • No, Poor Countries Aren’t The Only Ones That Will Suffer From Climate Change

      A well-meaning but ultimately flawed new study tries to argue that climate change is even more unfair than we thought. It has long been understood that climate change is uniquely inequitable and immoral since most of the world’s poorest countries will suffer greatly from its impacts, even though they have contributed little or nothing to the problem because they are historically low emitters of carbon pollution.

      A study released Friday by The University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society goes even further, however, arguing that the world’s big carbon polluters won’t suffer greatly from climate change.

  • Finance
    • David Cameron’s MUM joins the fight against Tory cuts in campaign to save children’s centres

      They say mother knows best – and in David Cameron’s case it certainly seems to be true.

      The Prime Minister’s mum Mary has signed a petition aimed at stopping Tory cuts.

      Jill Huish, who runs the campaign that Mary backed, said: “It shows how deep austerity is cutting our most vulnerable when even David Cameron ’s mum has had enough.”

    • Record Number of Investor-State Arbitrations Filed in 2015

      Geneva, 2 February 2016 – UNCTAD has updated its recently launched Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator. The ISDS Navigator is now up to date as of 1 January 2016.

      The update reveals that the number of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases filed in 2015 reached a record high of 70. Spain was by far the most frequent respondent in 2015, with 15 claims brought against it. The Russian Federation is second on this list with 7 cases.

    • PayPal blocks VPN, SmartDNS provider’s payments over copyright concerns

      PayPal has stopped accepting payments for Canadian outfit UnoTelly—a provider of VPN and SmartDNS services—because these might be used to facilitate copyright infringement.

      UnoTelly said in an update on its website that Paypal had “severed payment processing agreement unilaterally and without prior warning.” It added: “Paypal indicated that UnoTelly is not allowed to provide services that enable open and unrestricted Internet access.”

      Ars sought comment from PayPal on this story, however, it had not immediately got back to us at time of publication. We’ll update this story, if the online payments giant does get in touch.

      UnoTelly told its customers that it had no control over PayPal’s decision, and apologised for the inconvenience.

    • Privatization Is the Atlanticist Strategy to Attack Russia — Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson

      Two years ago, Russian officials discussed plans to privatize a group of national enterprises headed by the oil producer Rosneft, the VTB Bank, Aeroflot, and Russian Railways. The stated objective was to streamline management of these companies, and also to induce oligarchs to begin bringing their two decades of capital flight back to invest in the Russia economy. Foreign participation was sought in cases where Western technology transfer and management techniques would be likely to help the economy.

      However, the Russian economic outlook deteriorated as the United States pushed Western governments to impose economic sanctions against Russia and oil prices declined. This has made the Russian economy less attractive to foreign investors. So sale of these companies will bring much lower prices today than would have been likely in 2014

    • Top German Judges Tear To Shreds EU’s Proposed TAFTA/TTIP Investment Court System

      As Techdirt has repeatedly pointed out, one of the most problematic aspects of the TAFTA/TTIP deal being negotiated between the US and the EU is the inclusion of a corporate sovereignty chapter — officially known as “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS). Techdirt isn’t the only one worried about it: no less a person than the EU’s Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, said last year that she “shares” the concerns here. Her response was to draw up the new “ICS” — “Investor Court System — as an alternative. US interest in ICS is conspicuous by its absence, but Malmström keeps plugging away at the idea, evidently hoping to defuse European opposition to TTIP by getting rid of old-style corporate sovereignty.

    • Australia’s Arrogant, Irresponsible Trade Minister Rejects Calls For Cost-Benefit Analysis Of TPP

      Mike has just written about the way the US public is being short-changed over the promised “debate” that would follow the completion of the TPP negotiations. That broken promise is just part of the general dishonesty surrounding the whole deal. For example, the public was told that it was not possible for it to make its views known during the negotiations, because they had to be secret — even though many other trade deals aren’t — but that once everything was agreed there would be ample time for a truly democratic debate. Of course, at that point nothing could be changed, so the debate was little more than a token gesture, but now it seems the US public won’t even get that.

    • Austerity Ireland: Europe open your eyes

      Some rights reserved.On a wet and windy winter evening in December 2015, a crowd of 1,000 people gathers around a doorstep in Dublin’s city centre, a stone’s throw from the Irish parliament. A representative of the Irish traveling community, a group of under 65,000 people that has long been fighting unsuccessfully for official recognition as an ethnic minority, enters the stage. The woman reluctantly explains that she is not a good public speaker. The crowd nonetheless breaks into cheer when she emphatically declares: “Europe has to see now what’s going on, they really do have to see what’s going on.”

      [...]

      Nominal income exceeds that of 2014 by €20billion and public debt is predicted to sink below the 100% GDP mark. The American Chambers of Commerce announced in December 2015 that US multinationals are expected to create an additional 14,000 jobs in Ireland over the next two years. Those relying on government statistics and mainstream media reports might ask “What’s not to like?”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Ordinary Americans Fought Big Money and Won in 2015

      Americans believe in democracy—and they’re ready to reclaim it from the wealthy special interests that have grown ever-more dominant since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

      The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that money has too much influence over elections, and that the system for financing political campaigns needs a radical overhaul.

      Over 90 percent of Iowa caucus voters—in both parties—recently told pollsters they are unsatisfied or “mad as hell” about the role of money in politics.

    • Top Hillary Clinton Advisers and Fundraisers Lobbied Against Obamacare

      Hillary Clinton is campaigning as a guardian of President Barack Obama’s progressive policy accomplishments. In recent weeks, she has called the Affordable Care Act “one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party, and of our country,” and promised that she is “going to defend Dodd-Frank” and “defend President Obama for taking on Wall Street.”

      Meanwhile, however, Clinton’s campaign has been relying on a team of strategists and fundraisers, many of whom spent much of the last seven years as consultants or lobbyists for business interests working to obstruct Obama’s agenda in those two areas.

    • Why Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Called Bernie Sanders “Dangerous”

      Lloyd Blankfein, longtime CEO of Goldman Sachs, didn’t like what Bernie Sanders said about him in early January, and he fired back on CNBC’s “Squawkbox” last week, saying Sanders’ critique “has the potential to be a dangerous moment.”

      But there’s more to that story than it appears. It’s not simply that Sanders uses Blankfein as a symbol of the “greed of Wall Street” — it’s that Sanders does so while highlighting the evocative contrast between the 2008 bailout of Wall Street and Blankfein’s public advocacy for cuts to entitlements.

    • Taxpayers Give Big Pensions to Ex-Presidents, Precisely So They Don’t Have to Sell Out

      “We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Hillary Clinton complained in an interview in 2014, justifying her spree of paid speeches on Wall Street and elsewhere.

      Those speeches have now turned into a major political controversy, with the campaign refusing to agree to release the transcripts of what was said.

      Despite Clinton’s protestations, however, the reality is that this country does not allow its former presidents to live “dead broke.” Running the country has great retirement benefits. Ex-presidents are given pensions of nearly $200,000 annually as well as funding for office space and custodial staff.

    • NRA’s Ted Nugent: Jewish Supporters Of Gun Safety Laws Are “Nazis In Disguise”
    • Key Members of Hillary Clinton Team Lobbied Against Bills She Now Touts as National Accomplishments

      As she campaigns for the presidency, Hillary Clinton is heralding the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, yet she has infused her staff with former lobbyists and consultants who did all they could to block the two reforms.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade

      In the ‘80s and ‘90s, she served on the board of Wal-Mart — a company notorious for its horrendous treatment of workers and union-crushing efforts — and, while the corporation waged a war against its labor force, Clinton said nothing, did nothing, and fought nothing.

      In 1990, she made the statement: “I’m always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do, and the way that we do it better than anybody else.”

      This is a company that has used foreign labor (including child workers), stolen its worker’s wages by forcing them to work while off-the-clock, and discriminated against elderly and disabled employees.

    • The Failed Record of the Establishment: Why Talk Is Cheap in 2016

      Clinton, meanwhile, has zigzagged sharply to the Left to try to tap into the energy of Sanders.

    • I’m a Woman and I Will Vote for the Best Feminist for President: Bernie Sanders

      I won’t vote against Hillary Clinton because she’s female, but I don’t intend to vote for her because I am. We need more fundamental changes in this country

  • Censorship
    • Protesting does not equate to censorship

      Campus is rife with controversy over an event hosted by the Young Americans for Liberty set for Jan. 9. The event titled, “How the Progressive Left is Destroying American Education,” will feature the very loud personality Milo Yiannopoulus. For those who are not familiar with Yiannopolous, otherwise known and self-labeled as “The Most Fabulous Supervillain on the Internet,” he allegedly stands to reclaim free speech from social justice activists. Yiannopolous has garnered strong opposition as his planned tours across campuses stand to continue. Opposition stems from Yiannopolous’s incendiary, often sexist, racist and homophobic comments and tweets. One such example is Yiannopolous’s tweet stating, “Feminists want to do away with gender pronouns in that they’re all so disgustingly fat no one can tell what sex they are anyway.” Posters around campus advertising the event write, “Feminism is cancer” and “Prepare to get triggered.” Despite the frustration and anger over Yiannopolous, I think we must all remember that his comments, and the ideology that it stands for, is simply not worth engaging with.

    • Historical censorship can’t change the past

      Censorship is a dirty word in a country where the liberty to say and print what we want is the very lifeblood of not just our government and legal system, but our lives.

      On Jan. 14, the Houston Independent School District board voted to rename four schools bearing the names of known Confederate figures. One of those schools bore a name familiar to University of Georgia students: Henry W. Grady — the very man after whom our college of journalism is named.

    • The campus court of Versailles

      Debates on abortion are cancelled because having two people without uteruses discuss the issue is apparently harmful to students’ ‘mental safety’. Trashy pop songs like ‘Blurred Lines’ have been banned for similar reasons. And, more recently, there was an attempt to bar Germaine Greer from speaking at Cardiff University. Groupthink and censorship are the order of the day.

    • Campus censorship is a dangerous trend that has to stop

      Censorship is having a devastating impact upon freedom of speech on university campuses and is a threat to the freedoms and liberty of us all.

    • How censorship works in Vladimir Putin’s Russia

      Russia can be a murderously difficult place to do independent journalism; the killing of reporter and activist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 ought to have made that manifestly clear. But journalism isn’t the only kind of speech that’s under threat in Russia. A new report from PEN America makes it clear how a confluence of laws ostensibly aimed at combating terrorism and religious hatred and protecting children have created an environment in which it’s increasingly hard to publish fiction, broadcast independent television or put on theatrical and musical productions that don’t toe an ever-shifting party line.

  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
    • Proposed Utah law would make doxing a six-month jail crime

      A bill proposed in the Utah State House of Representatives on Monday would update and amend passages in the state’s criminal code regarding “offenses committed by means of electronic or computer functions.” However, in attempting to address the issue of “doxing”—meaning, publishing personally identifying information on the Internet as a way to harass or attack someone—the bill’s language may consequently target free online speech.

      Utah HB 255, titled “Cybercrime Amendments,” counts State Representative David E. Lifferth as its lead sponsor, and it includes amendments that would penalize denial-of-service attacks and false emergency reports at specific locations (i.e. swatting). Utah state criminal code already punishes certain kinds of electronic communications “with intent to annoy, alarm, intimidate, offend, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another,” and HB 255 would append that specific passage to count the act of “distributing personal identifying information” as actionable, should that be done with any of the aforementioned intent.

    • Dangerous Speech: Would the Founders Be Considered Domestic Extremists Today?

      Not only has free speech become a four-letter word—profane, obscene, uncouth, not to be uttered in so-called public places—but in more and more cases, the government deems free speech to be downright dangerous and in some instances illegal.

      The U.S. government has become particularly intolerant of speech that challenges the government’s power, reveals the government’s corruption, exposes the government’s lies, and encourages the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.

      Indeed, there is a long and growing list of the kinds of speech that the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation and prosecution: hate speech, bullying speech, intolerant speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, incendiary speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, right-wing speech, extremist speech, etc.

    • Law and policy round-up: three points about Cameron’s prisons speech

      First, prisons are expensive even if “law and order” rhetoric is cheap. Wise politicians realise this and know that the current approach to prisons policy is financially unsustainable, regardless of what lines voters and tabloids clap along with. The current policy also makes no real sense from a crime prevention perspective and is best seen as one devised by a mischievous demon.

    • The Power of Pictures

      This is the power of imagery. It often captures what words can’t. It angers, it frustrates, it provokes. And it is the reason that the American Civil Liberties Union has been fighting in court for more than 10 years for the release of photographs documenting the maltreatment of prisoners in U.S. military custody in the so-called “war on terror.”

    • Documents Show Chicago Cops Routinely Disabling Recording Equipment

      When the dashcam footage of the shooting of Laquan McDonald was finally released by the city of Chicago, it was notably missing the audio. In fact, no surviving footage of the shooting contains any audio. It’s 2016 and the Chicago PD is still producing silent films.

    • What role were you born to play in social change?

      In California, Moyer went to graduate school to study social movement theory and indulge his love of analytical thinking. He became best known for identifying eight stages of successful social movements, which he named the Movement Action Plan, or MAP. I found activists using MAP as far away as Taiwan, where they had already read it in translation before I got there.

    • Officials Outraged After ‘Shocking’ Report on NYPD Kicking People Out of Homes

      A wide swath of public officials are calling for change in response to a Daily News and ProPublica investigation about the NYPD’s use of an obscure type of lawsuit to boot hundreds of people from homes. The cases are happening almost exclusively in minority neighborhoods.

      Several city council members said they were considering amendments and other reforms to safeguard abuses.

      Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson said the statistics included in the story are “shocking.”

    • There are 72 DHS Employees on Terrorist Watch List

      Either the terror watch list is complete bull, or the Department of Homeland Security has a big problem. Come to think about it, maybe you can read it both ways.

    • France: Abuses Under State of Emergency

      France has carried out abusive and discriminatory raids and house arrests against Muslims under its sweeping new state of emergency law. The measures have created economic hardship, stigmatized those targeted, and have traumatized children.

      In January 2016, Human Rights Watch interviewed 18 people who said they had been subjected to abusive searches or placed under house arrest, as well as human rights activists and lawyers working in affected areas. Those targeted said the police burst into homes, restaurants, or mosques; broke people’s belongings; terrified children; and placed restrictions on people’s movements so severe that they lost income or suffered physically.

    • Part 2: Seth Freed Wessler on Uncovering the Deaths of Dozens at Privatized Immigrant-Only Jails

      A shocking new investigation about private prisons has revealed dozens of men have died in disturbing circumstances inside these facilities in recent years. We continue our conversation with journalist Seth Freed Wessler, who spent more than two years fighting in and out of court to obtain more than 9,000 pages of medical records that private prison contractors had submitted to the Bureau of Prisons.

    • Donald Trump called Ted Cruz a “pussy” — and the media won’t repeat it

      Trump was criticizing the Texas senator’s unwillingness to support widespread uses of torture when a woman in the audience called Cruz, Trump’s chief rival for more conservative voters, a “pussy.”

      Then, amazingly, Donald Trump repeated it so the entire crowd could hear.

      “She said — I never expect to hear that from you again!,” he told the crowd, in mock disapproval. “She said: ‘He’s a pussy.’ That’s terrible.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Adopt open source for connectivity: TRAI

      In a visit to India in December 2015, Google CEO Sundar Pichai had said the company had ‘tonnes of data’ from its tests in Sri Lanka and Indonesia to demonstrate that Project Loon created no such interference and would be sharing it with the government.

    • Adopt open source technology for unbiased internet connectivity: Regulator tells telcos
    • Net Neutrality Again Puts F.C.C. General Counsel at Center Stage

      Every day for one month last fall, Jonathan Sallet, the general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, sneaked into a small, windowless office at the agency, its location undisclosed except to senior staff.

      From 6 a.m. until early evening, with Bach streaming in the background, he worked mostly alone, marking up stacks of law books and standing in front of a lectern. His job: Defend in court the F.C.C.’s most contentious policy — rules to classify broadband Internet providers as utilities, widely called net neutrality.

      “I did nothing for one month but prepare,” Mr. Sallet said in an interview. “I talked a lot to the wall.”

      His arguments, though — like nearly all of his actions for the agency — have had far-reaching reverberations.

    • The Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Internet

      Nafkot Nega thinks journalists are terrorists. When I visited him and his mother, Serkalem Fassil, at their tiny apartment in the outskirts of Washington, DC, in early January, 9-year-old Nafkot intermittently murmured and jabbed his hands, pretending to be a superhero fighting criminals.

      Perhaps some of those criminals were journalists like his father, Eskinder Nega, who was convicted of violating Ethiopia’s anti-terror law in July 2012. Eskinder is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence.

      “Journalism is a crime or a terrorist act in his mind because what has been portrayed about [his dad],” Serkalem explained to me through a translator. “Not only his dad, but if you mention any journalist he will scream and say ‘I don’t like journalists!’”

    • Facebook’s free Internet app banned by India’s new net neutrality rule

      Facebook’s attempt to provide free access to a selection of websites in developing countries was dealt a blow today when India’s telecom regulator banned arrangements that charge different amounts for access to different parts of the Internet. The move effectively prevents “zero-rating” schemes in which certain Web services count against data caps while others do not.

    • India deals blow to Facebook in people-powered ‘net neutrality’ row
    • India Shuts Down Zuckerberg’s ‘Free Basics’
    • Zuckerberg Says Banning Free Basics Won’t Keep Internet.org Away From India
    • TRAI rules in favour of Net neutrality
    • India Blocks Facebook’s Free Basics, Other Zero-Rated Mobile Services Over Net Neutrality
    • Take your digital media abroad

      At the moment, if you travel abroad you often can’t access digital media that you’ve paid for at home. The European Commission is proposing draft legislation that would let people who have paid for digital media in their country of residence watch that media while they’re temporarily in another EU country.

    • Does Cyberspace Exist? Is It Free? Reflections, 20 years Later, on A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

      Twenty years ago tonight, I was at a staff party for the closing of the World Economic Forum, lured there by a coven of the contemporary geishas that staffed the Forum in those days, composed largely of doctoral students in Foreign Affairs at the University of Geneva. But I had also agreed to write something about that moment for a book called 24 Hours in Cyberspace. This was a slightly silly proposition, given that it was largely a book of photographs, and a photograph has yet to be taken of anything in Cyberspace.

    • Comcast Using Minority Astroturf Groups To Argue Cable Set Top Box Competition Hurts Diversity

      For years one of the greasier lobbying and PR tactics by the telecom industry has been the use of minority groups to parrot awful policy positions. Historically, such groups are happy to take financing from a company like Comcast, in exchange repeating whatever memos are thrust in their general direction, even if the policy being supported may dramatically hurt their constituents. The tactic of co-opting these groups helps build the illusion of broad support for awful policy, and was well documented during AT&T’s attempted takeover of T-Mobile, and Comcast’s attempted takeover of Time Warner Cable.

    • T-Mobile urges FCC to “tread lightly” on video throttling and zero-rating

      A T-Mobile USA executive yesterday urged the Federal Communications Commission not to take any action against the carrier’s “Binge On” program, which throttles nearly all video content and exempts certain video services from data caps.

    • States Wake Up, Realize AT&T Lobbyists Have Been Writing Awful Protectionist State Broadband Laws

      For more than fifteen years now companies like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink have quite literally paid state legislatures to write protectionist broadband laws. These laws, passed in around 20 states, protect the incumbent duopoly from the faintest specter of broadband competition — by preventing towns and cities from either building their own broadband networks, or from striking public/private partnerships to improve lagging broadband networks. They’re the worst sort of protectionism, written by ISPs and pushed by ALEC and ISP lobbyists to do one thing: protect industry revenues.

      Despite the fact the laws strip away citizen rights to decide local infrastructure matters for themselves (because really, who better to decide your town’s needs than AT&T or Comcast executives), ISPs for more than a decade managed to forge division by framing this as a partisan issue. But then something changed: companies like Google Fiber and Tucows began highlighting how public/private partnerships are actually a great way to fill in the broadband gaps left by an apathetic, uncompetitive broadband duopoly.

    • The Battle for the Web: Five Years After Egypt’s #Jan25 Uprising

      Behind the Western-supported government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s lies a troubling trend threatening free speech in Egypt. CPJ’s latest figures list Egypt as the second highest jailer of journalists, second only to China. Eighty-two percent of all journalists in prison in Egypt used the Internet as a medium, according to the organization’s 2015 prison census. A recent report [PDF] from the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression found 366 violations of freedom of the press in the latter six months of 2015, 36 of which related to “news networks or websites.”

  • DRM
    • Dismantling The Repair Monopoly Created By The DMCA’s Anti-Circumvention Rules

      One of the biggest victories of the copyright maximalists was the successful adoption of the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty, implemented by the DMCA in the US, and the Copyright Directive in the EU. Its key innovation was to criminalize the circumvention of copyright protection mechanisms. That strengthens copyright enormously by introducing yet another level of legal lockdown, and thus yet another powerful weapon for copyright holders to wield against their customers. But as Techdirt has reported, the anti-circumvention laws are now being used to prevent people from exploring or modifying physical objects that they own.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Performer Lady Gaga (And Mom) Defend Internet Domain

        A cease-and-desist letter was sent on 1 December, to which the respondent replied that the website was for sale, that two offers had already been received (for $7000 and $4000) but that she would prefer to sell it to the Lady Gaga foundation itself.

    • Copyrights
      • ‘Historic result’: Happy Birthday public domain deal agreed

        Music publisher Warner/Chappell has agreed that “Happy Birthday to You” can enter the public domain and will pay out $14 million in damages, in what has been described as a “historical result” by the film makers that brought the case.

        Good Morning to You Productions submitted its settlement deal to the US District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, February 8. The deal will need to be signed off by Judge George King in a hearing scheduled for March 14.

        The case stemmed from a class action lawsuit filed against Warner/Chappell in 2013 that said it was not the owner of the copyright to the lyrics in the popular song and had unfairly collected royalties.

      • Warner To Pay $14 Million In ‘Happy Birthday’ Settlement; Plaintiffs Ask For Declaration That Song Is In Public Domain

        This is indeed a large payoff, one that indicates Warner/Chappell is not willing to test the merits of its case in front of a jury. The merits of the case, of course, are pretty much some random assertions with little documentation to back them up, but assertions that have, nonetheless, allowed Warner to obtain an estimated $50 million in licensing fees over the years. The $14 million Warner will pay is roughly in line with what it expected to make during the remaining years of the copyright term.

Besieged Benoît Battistelli Mimics ‘Damage Control’ Tactics of FIFA or Blatter as More Judges Start Getting Involved in EPO Scandals

14 hours 36 min ago

“The mask fell”: When millions wasted on PR and busting of unions (or inside sources, as was the case in Volkswagen) just isn’t enough to keep enforcers away


Blatterstelli — as Florian Müller calls him — was already compared to famous criminals on television

Summary: Rumours and a new rant from Battistelli reinforce suspicions that actions are being organised behind the scenes, possibly as part of an upcoming, high-level campaign to unseat/dethrone Battistelli, who has become a reputational disaster to the European Patent Office (EPO), much like Sepp Blatter at FIFA

LAST week we learned about Battistelli’s propaganda event in Rijswijk, whereupon we asked for more details, taken down and composed by those who attended. They obviously did this anonymously, for their own protection.

One anonymous Twitter user wrote about an hour ago: “I hear the administrative council are asking advice from senior judges. Conference at the end of February I think.”

“One can be left wondering whether they want to get rid of the judge who allegedly exposed Team Battistelli, i.e. the alleged whistleblower, or get rid of Battistelli himself (along with others inside his circle, Željko Topić for example).”Judges do not support Battistelli (in fact, board judges defended the suspended judge even under immense pressure) because Battistelli has already broken basic rules in order to ban judges and his own idea of trials is as laughable as it can be. Even when there’s a ruling (after a truly faulty process, without separation of powers) he ignored the ruling and issued his own. Any judge with a clue (or even a law student) would treat Battistelli as the very antithesis of justice. It’s like something straight out of a famous novel or a satirical play. Since there’s no staging or acting here and real people are unjustly being hurt (there are even nervous breakdowns), this is quickly becoming the shame of Europe.

The above hearsay it curious. One can be left wondering whether they want to get rid of the judge who allegedly exposed Team Battistelli, i.e. the alleged whistleblower, or get rid of Battistelli himself (along with others inside his circle, Željko Topić for example). The EPO is in a state of crisis not because staff (such as examiners) is naughty but because the management clearly does not know how to manage. It follows the model or the example demonstrated by Željko Topić in Croatia. It’s something one might expect from the Kremlin, not from the European Union.

“It’s something one might expect from the Kremlin, not from the European Union.”“I´m trying to send that speech report,” wrote a source to us, who had attempted to securely pass to us some information about the self-aggrandising event set up by Team Battistelli, mirroring the likes of FIFA (before the scandals and dismissals).

“THE FARCE GOES ON” is the title of the report. It is an informal “report on Battistelli´s speech in The Hague on February 4,” to quote the outline. Here is some of the information contained therein (with altered formatting and minor omissions). We highlight one particular bit because of its relevance to us:

On February 3 the EPO was abuzz with rumors about the withdrawal/dismissal of B. Battistelli, the president who has been trying hard, and managed more and more successfully, to bring this European institution into disrepute. It would have been too beautiful. The spineless Administrative Council´s reaction has so far been, in the most fortunate cases, to avoid taking blatantly illegal steps but no firm reaction to his tyrannical decisions. Battistelli´s response to the AC´s first weak sign of dissent, the recommendation that BB start a dialogue with the staff representation, resulted in the dismissal of two members and the demotion of a third, which amounts to a spit in the faces of the European delegates. The European press, in its most part preoccupied with more pressing matters and unlikely to shatter the establishment, had slowly started to report on BB´s attack on the examiners´ elected representatives so BB, like any dictator under the siege of external forces, thought a speech would be a great idea in order to bolster his rule [...] Assad does it, Mugabe still does it, Honecker and Ceausescu did it, so sometimes, but fortunately only sometimes, it works.

Fuelled by the EUR 800,000 injection into PR a presidential show was organized in The Hague in the old Soviet Union style on February 4. People were hoarded and screened, told to behave, and at 10 o´clock the show began. Uplifting music accompanied the images of the EPO and after a short introduction by a continuously smiling moderator with French-accented English which mistook the event for the Eurovision contest the president took the pulpit. Pages of positive statistics started rolling on the huge background screen while the president informed the audience that never had the EPO been more successful. Budget, social situation, unitary patent were all mentioned. In particular the low fees achieved by the negotiating skills of the president against the will of several delegations were mentioned (one can ask why were´t the patent fees lowered but raised when the EPO enjoyed such a great year, but that would spoil the festive atmosphere). A small concession was surprisingly offered, a year of review and assessment – “digéstion”, in the words of BB, which means that the process of reducing the EPO pensions will only start next year. Presented were also the “orientations for the future”: financial perspectives, social review, occupational and safety assessment, review of investigation guidelines (whatever this may mean) and … renewed social dialogue [...] The Q&A time was started by a brave but very discoursive examiner whose question, very polite but sufficiently clear in describing the bad atmosphere in the office and the distance between the management and the staff, related to the main present concern, the silencing of the staff. [...] “I´m a strong believer in social dialogue. My INPI colleagues will testify to this.” was Battistelli´s reply, engaging thereafter in a tirade against SUEPO which were supposed to have slighted him during the homeworking negotiations several years before. And then, suddenly, the mask fell. This man who manages to keep his composure most of the time, lost it. “It is not ILOAT that manages the office. It is childish, childish to write to judges in Geneva.”, he retorted, raising his voice menacingly. For a moment we caught a glimpse of the real face of Battistelli, a man who takes any different opinion than his personally and is ready to destroy the lives of those who oppose him. In a now (in)famous interview he described SUEPO as “mafia” after which he started to eliminate his perceived enemies one by one (two fired and one downgraded). Then the screen presented a page entitled “Disciplinary cases” which started with the bullet point “Contrary to allegations, the EPO unequivocally supports freedom of expression and freedom of association. [...] continuing with the following bullet points:

- Disciplinary cases are not launched because of criticisms expressed against the office.

- Sanctions are applied following major breaches of our staff rules and regulations.

The cases involved:

- Active participation in a damaging defamation campaign against the Organisation, the EPO management and individual staff members (One can only ask oneself if the description of the SUEPO by Battistelli as “mafia” does not fall under [...] Direct threats and coercion expressed against staff members and staff representatives; Undue financial and moral pressure against EPO employees Pressure brought against witnesses during investigations and repetitive disclosures of confidential matter.

Then, in red color: “The office has a duty of care to protect all staff members.” After the sanctions in Munich and the pending suspensions in The Hague sentences referring to “supporting freedom of expression” have an Orwellian doublespeak ring to them. Then, among soft questions like the proposal of a name to the new building in The Hague, Battistelli explained the role of financial incentives in the examiners´ careers. Here he would have a point if the examiners received instead of between 1,500 and 2,000 EUR yearly bonus (representing an average of 2% of their yearly salaries) a bonus in the same order of magnitude as the president or the vice-president – seven- and six-figure sums are rumored but cannot be confirmed because Battistelli enjoys, very conveniently but totally against the principle of openness in a European organization, a secret contract).

He then embarked upon discussing parts of the health reform and argued that all has been done for the good of the people. “Il faut degonfler les rumeurs. There is no control at home! Ridiculous! The cutting of the lump sum for invalidity would only facilitate the return to work. All the decisions are medical. I´m pragmatic, ready to change …”

Battistelli then reiterated that there will be no major reform this year but after 2016 there will be discussions with the staff representation and the delegations (who “actually wish the pension reform” – with the tacit understanding that Battistelli will defend the staff rights in front of an aggressive AC!).

Questions about patent administration, classification and educational allowance for non-German or -Dutch staff were addressed and answered vaguely, with a bullet point interspersed:

“Quality is our main priority. We are in competition with other offices. We may be the best but we are the most expensive one.”

On the question regarding the fluctuating number of applications Battistelli gave this opinion conveyed also by VP Minnoye in his directors´ meetings, that “Backlog is a mistake. It is not a safety cushion. It is a big mistake. Backlogs are not a strength. It´s a weakness. We´re going to receive more and more applications.” It seems there are few people outside BB and his VP who are convinced of this …

Finally, likening himself with général de Gaulle (?) Battistelli clarified the matter of his bodyguards. “Europe is not the same as before the Paris attacks. I am French, president of a big European organization. After the Paris attacks both the French and the German police recommended that I should take measures.”

The finale was less glorifying than the beginning but all in all it was a pretty good performance. Battistelli showed himself less motivating than Fidel, less pugnacious than Kim Il Sung, but definitely more engaging than Honecker or Zhivkov.

Any dictator relies on a three-pillared system involving propaganda, fear and the loyalty of the repressive state apparatus. Battistelli is assured of the loyalty of his minions, there´s a certain degree of fear among the staff but his propaganda doesn´t fool anybody at the EPO.

The Administrative Council must finally act and replace Battistelli with somebody it can trust! At present the EPO is run by a loose cannon.

The analogy above is priceless. The President of the Banana Republic known as OPOnia not only brags about working with Colombia (in his 'blog') but also fast-tracking patent examination with Colombia (warning: epo.org link). This was posted as ‘news’ the other day, after the PR team produced the latest propaganda which no doubt it will force-feed the press with (as it always does). Perhaps the human rights of Colombia (and patent standards) are something that Battistelli can still feel comfortable with.

It is evident from the above report that Battistelli is growing rather worried about judges, who are not only more qualified than him but can also finish his career. We shall leave the report above in tact, both for future reference and for readers’ information. There are many interesting bits in this report.

Several Political Parties Directly Challenge the European Patent Office for Ignoring the Law, Not Obeying Court Orders

15 hours 59 min ago

Lies and deception from EPO management (and its spokespeople) are adding up


EPO managers are still having issues with Hardon, a Dutch national

Summary: Politicians make it crystal clear that the EPO, despite its unique status, cannot just raise its nose at the rulings of courts of law, definitely not in Dutch territory where the EPO operates

SUEPO recently published this English translation [PDF] (among other languages) of this article which quotes politicians such as Kerstens (Dutch) and Cordery (French) on the ongoing EPO scandals, which now — by extension — implicate many Dutch nationals other than Hardon — people who work in Rijswijk rather than Munich (one of them is a French national, Laurent Prunier who is on sick leave).

Here is the article in English with some highlights that are unique elements (many articles from the Dutch media repeated one another, but some offered new information).

‘The witch hunt has now also reached Rijswijk’

[Image - see PDF]

Demonstrators from the Patent Office pass the German embassy
Bas de Vries / NOS

Written by
Bas de Vries
NOS Net editor

An unusual demonstration in The Hague today, attended by around 400 employees of the International Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk. Whilst at most protests the aim is to speak to as many journalists as possible, on this occasion most people don’t dare to. At least: not by name.

A representative of their own trade union Suepo explains why, from a stepladder. “The witch hunt has now also reached Rijswijk,” he tells the audience at the square opposite the Peace Palace. “That’s why two colleagues couldn’t be here today.”

“Unthinkable”

The details remain unclear, because even telling someone else that you are the subject of an internal investigation is a reason for dismissal at the EPO. But one thing is clear, that President Battistelli is threatening to take action against two employee representatives, after already firing two others and demoting a third earlier this month.

“It is unthinkable that these kinds of things could happen in democratic countries like Germany, France or the Netherlands,” says the Suepo representative. “But within the buildings of our organisation, it is apparently possible.”

Message

The march took the protesters from the French to the German embassy, the two most powerful countries among the 38 Member States who must monitor the European Patent Office. Inside, a Suepo delegation made a statement, in which protest was lodged against the “violation of fundamental rights” by the EPO leadership and in which a reversal of the sanctions against all trade union representatives was demanded.

[Image - see PDF]

‘People feel intimidated.’

Staff members have the support of French member of parliament Cordery as well as members of the Dutch Second Chamber Gesthuizen (SP) and Kerstens (PvdA), all three of whom are
walking alongside them. “We have delivered a clear message to the President of the EPO here today,” says experienced campaigner Gesthuizen. “And that is: you are not above the law!”
“Legal immunity does not mean impunity!” Cordery agrees.

Study

During the demonstration, State Secretary Van Dam sent a letter to the Second Chamber, in which he stated that an independent study into the working conditions at the European Patent Office will be conducted. The EPO leadership themselves were not present.

A spokesman for the Patent Office said afterwards that there is certainly no question of a witch hunt under Battistelli’s leadership. “We can’t go into any more detail on internal investigations, these are confidential. But I do want to underline the fact that we have reached out a hand to the trade union in various ways over the past six months. They have just not wanted to accept it so far.”

Battistelli’s spokesman, i.e. part of the lying PR team (readers can guess who that it), said something laughable because the EPO worked with the media to defame a judge, using information that it now deems “confidential.” All this while accusing yours truly of defamation, after I had shown leaked documents and E-mails that highlight abusive behaviour.

“In war,” Aeschylus (father of tragedy) said, “truth is the first casualty.”

“A liar will not be believed,” Aesop said, “even when he speaks the truth.”

When truth is treason you know you’re dealing with the EPO, or probably working for Battistelli’s EPO.

Even the Legal Community is Upset at Benoît Battistelli for the Damage He Did to the EPO

16 hours 31 min ago

EPO staff, patent lawyers, judges and so on try to clean up the mess created by Benoît Battistelli

Summary: A recent article from lawyers’ media (in German) speaks of the great damage (or mess) left by its current president, who has become somewhat of a laughing stock and growingly synonymous with farcical trials even in the circles of stakeholders, not just his own staff

DAYS ago we wrote about German media's reluctance to truly challenge the EPO, calling for cessation of its abuses. One site that typically provided good German coverage on these matters was Juve, which unlike mainstream German media (Juve is more of a niche) actually challenged the EPO’s abuses against judges. It’s good that these issues are increasingly being covered by German media, even if the media targets only a particular (and relatively small) audience. As Juve puts it: “Every year German Commercial Law Firms provides you with a comprehensive overview of commercial law firms in Germany.” This is a site for lawyers.

A reader has translated for us a recent article (link to original: “Ist der Ruf erst ruiniert”). Here it is with minor highlighting:

With his reputation in ruins, Battistelli now has nothing to lose

Mathieu Klos on the reign of EPO President Benoît Battistelli

Benoît Battistelli floats above the clouds, high in the glorious Bavarian sky. The President resides in a luxury apartment in the top floor of the European Patent Office in Munich, and his position is now more secure than ever. As recently as July [2014], the Administrative Council confirmed his appointment early, and then bolstered his position in December by backing him in imposing a house ban on a judge.

In a comparable situation at national level, the embattled Frenchman’s position would scarcely be tenable. His disciplinary measures were ill-timed, and he was already obliged to defend himself against accusations of exceeding his authority in his dealings with the EPO Boards of Appeal. The fact that the latter can hardly be regarded as impartial courts of law is something which only became apparent to those involved as a result of the spectacular decision R19/12.

So, the member states which make up the Administrative Council would be well advised to start a long-overdue structural reform and finally bring Battistelli under control. The damage to the image of this once exemplary Institution could hardly be worse. The European patent community is worried about the professional quality and independence of the judges. Even the Boards of Appeal are resisting Battistelli’s policies. The discord between the President and large sections of the EPO’s workforce has manifested itself in the huge strikes which took place before Christmas.

Battistelli’s opponents within the EPO refer to the Frenchman as the Sun King. However, this comparison with the absolutist monarch falls short of the mark. After all, Battistelli’s aggressive efficiency drive is delivering what many want: massive power for the national patent offices. And the real Sun King, Louis XIV, proved very durable indeed; he reigned for a record 72 years – a record which is still unbroken.

It’s hard to imagine Benoît Battistelli surviving in this job until his term’s end. Some of our sources seriously doubt he’ll even survive this year alone. The longer he remains in power, the greater (and possibly irreparable) damage he will cause. The EPO is rapidly becoming Europe’s shame, despite the fact that it currently employs some of Europe’s brightest people. Our sources indicate there’s a big exodus of these people right now, as they wave goodbye to the EPO along with the high salary (hence the many job openings that are being advertised by the HR and PR teams nowadays). When the EPO loses the talent the whole of Europe is guaranteed to suffer from bogus patents (like in the US where there is no quality control, not anymore).

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll

EPO Union (SUEPO) Getting Busted: “More and More People are Joining the Union, but Fewer and Fewer People Dare to Take on Leading Positions There.”

17 hours 5 min ago

Benoît Battistelli is decapitating SUEPO

Summary: The union-busting actions taken by EPO management in collaboration with Control Risks (for weak accusations against staff representatives) and FTI Consulting (for ‘damage control’) as described in a recent article, in the words of SUEPO lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld

OVER the past year we have composed several articles about fear tactics, including demands of authorisation prior to publication, takedown demands (under legal threats) etc. whose goal is depress, deter, impede and water down statements from SUEPO. Basically, the EPO wants to control its unions, which totally beats the purpose of having unions in the first place. What EPO management shamelessly calls ‘social dialogue’ or ‘union recognition’ is just busting of unions. There is no room for dissent in Battistelli’s villainous EPO. Battistelli acts as though he’s a commander and everyone below him joined a compulsory military service, wherein refusal to take orders or even mere questioning of orders may result in a jail sentence.

A recent article from Dutch media was translated and published by SUEPO [PDF] in three languages. Here is the English version (without the images) and with highlights added.

EPO president Benoit Battistelli. © EPA

European Patent Organisation staff protest against ‘culture of fear’

To take a stand against the culture of ‘fear and intimidation’, employees of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) are protesting at the French and German embassies in The Hague on Thursday afternoon. Around 2,700 people work at the international organisation in Rijswijk.

By: Bart Dirks, Thursday 28 January 2016, 11:03am

Patent agency hires detectives to investigate own staff

The European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) in Rijswijk has hired a controversial British agency to investigate staff representing their union. According to employees, the investigations are the latest weapon in EPOrg president Benoît Battistelli’s reign of terror. Read the article written in June 2015 by Anneke Stoffelen here.

A protest already took place in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague in December. There are frequent updates on president Benoît Battistelli’s alleged ‘reign of terror’. The Suepo union states that under his reign, work pressure has been increased and Battistelli has unilaterally forced through changes to the labour conditions. Anyone offering criticism may expect to suffer reprisals.

‘A series of investigations are in progress against three employees in the Netherlands,’ says lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld. ‘Even working for the union is seen as undermining behaviour by the board of management of the patent office. More and more people are joining the union, but fewer and fewer people dare to take on leading positions there.’

Dismissal of two colleagues

The concrete cause for the protest is the dismissal of two colleagues and the demotion of a third at the organisation’s headquarters in Munich. One of the fired employees is the Dutch department head of the union, Elizabeth Hardon.

Last week, 1,300 employees protested in Germany, but there has been commotion in Rijswijk and at other locations of the European Patent Office (EPO) for some time. The organisation has 7,000 employees working at five offices in various countries. They evaluate patents for 38 affiliated member states.

Respect the right to strike

Raising the alarm about reign of terror following fifth suicide at European patent office

Staff union SUEPO is raising the alarm on the suicide of an employee of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) in Rijswijk. Suepo states that awful working conditions may have contributed to the fifth suicide in three years’ time at the patent office. Read the article on this suicide written in September 2015 here.

Last year, the Court in The Hague ruled that the patent organisation must let unions do their work for collective interests and that it must respect the right to strike. The court of cassation will take on the case on Friday, as the patent office did not adhere to the ruling.

Staff union Suepo raised the alarm on the suicide of an employee in August 2015. A 42-year-old employee of the location in Rijswijk ended his life on the last day of his vacation. Before that, another employee from the Rijswijk office jumped from the seventh floor of the building. Three employees of the headquarters in Munich committed suicide in a little over three years’ time, as a result of awful working conditions according to the union.

We have plenty more to publish about the EPO today. We welcome more material and feedback as this matter is becoming urgent and the future of Europe’s economy may be at stake.

Microsoft’s Copyrights- and Patents-Based Attacks on GNU/Linux Carry on

17 hours 25 min ago

“Microsoft hardly needs an SCO source license. Its license payment to SCO is simply a good-looking way to pass along a bribe…”

–Bruce Perens

Summary: The SCO case is still going on and Microsoft has just signed a patent deal with GoPro over its FOSS-based software, relating to “certain file storage and other system technologies”

THE ‘new’ Microsoft is not new. It’s the same old Microsoft — the company that committed crimes to get where it is today. The SCO case makes a return to some headlines, not just in FOSS sites but also in general (but technology-centric) news sites. Groklaw is still uploading new documents [PDF] and FOSS Force wrote: “Judge David Nuffer with the US District Court in Utah gave SCO another day in court last week and returned a judgement against the bankrupt company.”

“It’s the same old Microsoft — the company that committed crimes to get where it is today.”The Register wrote: “The SCO Group has suffered another reversal in its long-running attempt to squeeze some cash out of IBM for allegedly pinching its code and tossing it into Linux and maybe AIX too.”

Remember that this is a Microsoft-funded (in least in part) attack on Linux. It’s over a decade old. It’s nearly 13 years in the making. As Larry Goldfarb from BayStar, a key investor in SCO, once put it: “Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Yes, Microsoft loves to hide between or behind proxies, otherwise it might jeopardise the lie which is “Microsoft loves Linux.” It might make it harder for Microsoft to seduce fools into Azure for GNU/Linux hosting.

When it comes to patents too, there are Microsoft-connected FRAND lobbyists, as we last noted yesterday, on the same day that WIPR wrote: “Companies that own standard-essential patents (SEPs) must stick to their obligation of licensing them on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, the EU commissioner for competition has said.”

“It might make it harder for Microsoft to seduce fools into Azure for GNU/Linux hosting.”The commissioner ought to have mentioned the problems that SEPs FRAND in its own right poses. It’s incompatible with Free/Open Source software (FOSS), and not by accident. There are standard-essential patents where interoperability between file systems is required. See the Samba case (in Europe, where Microsoft fought for file sharing monopoly) and then recall the Microsoft v. TomTom case, where Microsoft fought for a software patents tax in Europe (where such patents are not even legal), impacting Linux itself. FRAND is a vehicle for pushing software patents into Europe and Microsoft loves FRAND for this reason. Remember when Microsoft did this kind of FRAND lobbying with the BSA.

Right now, after Alice, Microsoft is still utilising software patents in an effort to tax everything, exploiting its monopoly to make the tax inescapable. The ‘new’ Microsoft is extorting Android and Linux using software patents on file systems, still (probably exFAT if not FAT also, as per the TomTom case). This new article from WIPR states: “Microsoft has signed a patent licensing deal with action camera maker GoPro.

“According to statement from Microsoft on Friday, February 5, the agreement covers “certain file storage and other system technologies”.

“And some people honestly believe that Microsoft has changed…”“The terms of the deal, in which Microsoft is the licensor, have been kept confidential.

GoPro, based on its own Web site, uses a lot of FOSS, Linux included (and Android is a key target platform). So what we see here is Microsoft engaging in patent extortion against FOSS, yet again.

And some people honestly believe that Microsoft has changed…

The EPO’s Benoît Battistelli is the Dictator Who Can No Longer Dictate Like He Used to

17 hours 57 min ago

The European Patent Office became a crude dictatorial monarchy under Battistelli’s reign

Summary: The European Patent Office’s mechanism of oversight is starting to work just a little because, based on a new report from Juve, Battistelli is now reluctant to make proposals that would prove unpopular among delegates

THE EPO has been profoundly divided between those who dictate/tell people what to do, usually at the behest of large corporations, and those who try to do a good job as patent examiners or judges. What large corporations desire isn’t a patent office that works for the betterment of society (or advancement of science) but an office that provides protectionism to large corporations (e.g. by means of continental lawsuits, injunctions, damages etc.), so just like in politics, there’s a battle here between the super-rich and everybody else. It’s class warfare.

Here is the translation of a Juve article by Christine/Christina Schulze (whom we mentioned here before)– one that we sought a translation of earlier this week. Some bits have been highlighted by us:

Comment: Warning Shot for EPO President Battistelli

Benoît Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office, has gone too far. It was stupid to link the structural reform of the Boards of Appeal with talk of a change of location and performance-related pay for the judges – both ideas which aroused consternation among the members of the Boards of Appeal. It was a mistake for the supervisory body of the patent office to give its President free rein. However, the representatives of the member states have now patched things up again. The Administrative Council is finally assuming responsibility for dictating the direction of reform of the Boards of Appeal.

It was logical to decide that the new framework for the reforms be drafted by a sub-committee, rather than by Battistelli. The reputation of the organisation has been damaged by the constant infighting surrounding the Office and its President. These days, the once unconditional support of the Administrative Council for the President is wearing noticeably thin. Some influential delegations are becoming increasingly concerned about the future of the Office. However, this is not to say that Battistelli’s position is insecure. The basic tenet of his reform proposals remains intact, and he is still involved in implementing the reforms, even though the framework is being decided by others.

Battistelli ought to learn a lesson from the Administrative Council’s intervention in the structural reforms. The 38 member states are serious in their demand for social peace to be restored in the Office. The public spat between sections of the staff and the management is disrupting the office. Battistelli has had to backpedal on the thorny questions of the location of the legal branch and the performance-dependent remuneration of the judges. He underestimated the unnecessary upset among the members of the Boards of Appeal. The President must finally attempt a consensus-based approach to social dialogue. A first step would be to set up an independent disciplinary procedure against the member of the Board of Appeal who was suspended by the EPO President. (Christine Schulze)

The article from Schulze is pretty fair and decent. It shows that Battistelli increasingly finds himself unable to just impose — blindly — everything he wishes to (or his corporate masters ask him to). Several months ago we mentioned how Battistelli and Roland Grossenbacher possibly (assuming they are the “two Alpha males”) pushed Alison Brimelow (former EPO President) out and now, in light of yesterday’s tweet from the EPO’s official Twitter account, we cannot help wondering if Grossenbacher and Battistelli are rubbing each other’s backs. As we noted here before, there was a demonstration held in Bern, in front of the Swiss Patent Office – home of Mr. Grossenbacher. People don’t like him and don’t trust him. He is viewed as an ally of Battistelli. We alluded to this before. Right now, says yesterday’s anonymous comment, “what drives [Battistelli] is a world-wide consensus amongst the chiefs of the multi-national corporate community” (euphemism for plutocrats).

Here is the comment in full:

Is BB’s [Battistelli] string puller in Paris, Brussels or Washington DC is the question? Wrong question, I suggest.

I venture to suggest it is all of them. Just as with so many other issues (tax law, patent law in the USA) what drives BB, Paris, Brussels and inside the DC beltway is a world-wide consensus amongst the chiefs of the multi-national corporate community as to what’s best for my corporation. This is a consensus arrived at incrementally, in places like Davos, and implemented through intensive and vigorous lobbying activity in the corridors and restaurants of DC, Brussels, London, Paris and Berlin.

Now listen up! What’s good for the corporation is good for its shareholders. The shareholder and the taxpayer are one and the same aren’t they? Ergo, Mr Democratic Politician, what’s good for my corporation (low fees for bulk filers at the Patent Office, and I don’t care how unpredictable and uncertain patent law becomes) is therefore what’s best for all you taxpayers out there. For a model, look at Singapore.

Just as much of what we read in the media is spoon-fed to the journalists by corporate scriveners, so too is the text of statutes drafted and paid for by the corporations. Democratic politicians are terrified of the power of Big Corp to withdraw co-operation and take its job opportunities elsewhere The politicians compete with each other, which of them can make the offer that is most attractive to the itinerant corporations. And what is it from democratic politicians that best pleases the corporate interests? Asymmetry of course. Just like in the world of finance. Get out of the way. Under the guise of pruning mere bureaucracy, eliminate all regulation. Scrap all employment protection legislation. Clear the way for me to take all the profit while you take all the work, all the risk, all the overhead costs, and you suffer all the losses when they strike.

I suspect that folks like BB can’t see how anything could go wrong with this vision of who shall rule the world. And perhaps it is all for the best. After all, unlike Sovereign States, dictators and fundamental religionists, rival corporations don’t have armies that go to war with each other. Not yet anyway.

An immediate comment afterwards said that the above poster “has obviously never heard of Academi!” (better known as Blackwater, before several renames, which evokes memories of Control Risks, its competitor in Iraq and the EPO’s current external ‘Stasi’).

Another person added:

Puppet on a string – can you please expand upon the reasons why an agenda to shut down the Boards of Appeal can be “read between the lines” of statements from BB?

In the absence of any concrete evidence, I cannot say whether or not there really is a conspiracy to increase the importance of the UPC by effectively destroying the Boards of Appeal. Nevertheless, I do find it surprising (I would say “shocking”, but it is hard to be shocked any more in the context of everything else that has happened recently at the EPO) that there are so many unfilled positions on the Boards.

If there is a desire to achieve a certain objective with regard to the Boards, then BB would be acting beyond his mandate if he was doing anything other than merely reflecting the collective will of the AC. With this in mind, please remind me – was there anything in the minutes of the last AC meeting that addressed the unfilled positions on the Boards?

I know that epi wrote to the AC in December 2015 on the issue of unfilled posts. Does anyone have any information on what reply was received (or what action taken) in response to that letter? If the answer to this question is nothing (other than prevarication), then even I would have to concede that there may be something to this conspiracy theory after all…

One recurring theme in our writings has been the EPO’s focus on rich clients, not European interests or even the interests of the world’s population. The EPO under Battistelli has become an instrument of occupation and subjugation. A lot of examiners do not find it acceptable, irrespective of the compensation they receive. A lot of these people are doctors and professors; they’re not desperate for money and they joined the EPO thinking they would do what’s right and what would favour the discipline/s in which they specialise. A lot of underpaid academics stay in universities (teaching/research) for this reason.

La Más Detallada Explicación (hasta ahora) de ¿Qué esta mal con la OEP?

20 hours 18 min ago

English/Original

Publicado en Europe, Patents at 6:45 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…y el ¿Porqué la UPC haría todos los asuntos Aún Peor (de Guatemala a Guatepeor)

Sumario: La insistencia de la OEP que permanece arriba de la ley no sólo est bajo fuego en los medios pero también esta siendo desafiada basado en personas familiares con la aplicabilidad de la ley a organizaciones internacionales.

La OEP es una institución avara totalmente fuera de control. No es un servicio público pero un SERVICIO CORPORATIVO AL SERVICIO DE LARGAS CORPORACIONES QUE INCLUSO NO SON EUROPEAS. Es un instrumento de poder para los ricos, he aquí por que sus empleados son bien compensados aunque bajo presión para SIEMPRE OBEDECER A SUS AMOS REALES, que son esas largas corporaciones (o aplicantes mayores que toman la parte del leon de las patentes). No hay elección, no democracia, no libertad. La regla de oro es, ciégamente obedeces lo que te ordenan y aquellos que dirigen a la OEP que hacer (e.g. en enojadas cartas a la OEP) son compañías como Microsoft. Es todo acerca de aparejo del mercado (que de paridad no tiene nada) y potencialmente sacar de competición a rivales potenciales usando patentes. De acuerdo a un sitio de un abogado de patentes, las patentes europeas (en el sentido de la OEP) serán más caras poniéndolas fuera del alcanze de pequeñas compañías europeas. Como los abogados lo pusieron (en un tono positivo): ¨Noten que la renovación de matrículas por aplicaciones por patentes europeas puede ser pagado no más tarde que tres meses por adelantado. Por lo tanto, cualquier renovación de matrículas que venzan a finales de Abril, Mayo o Junio de este año, el presente (bajo) costo puede ser pagado antes del primero de Abril de 2016 para evitar que el costo de la matrícula crezca.

“La OEP es un INSTRUMENTO DE PODER PARA LOS RICOS, he aquí los empleados son bien compensados aunque esten presionados para siempre obedecer a sus amos reales; que son esas largas corporaciones (o aplicantes mayores que toman la parte del leon de las patentes).”Así que los precios de patentes se están disparando mientra que su calidad esta por los suelos (o la esfera de patentes esta siendo ampliada). La OEP esta realmente fuera de control. Es CODICIOSA, apatética (si no hóstil) a los intereses públicos, y claramente necesita ser detenida. Aquellos dentro de la OEP quienes tratan de reformarla consiguen ser severamente castigados, incluso saqueados. Voces de racionalidad son tratadas como criminales, ¨Nazis¨, ¨francotiradores¨, o ¨Mafia¨, ni siquiera como soplones (que en efecto son).

Estamo gratificados de ver este artículo publicado ayer. Mucha gente nos informó acerca de ello. Glyn Moody pasó muchas horas escribiendo un largo, detallado reporte acerca de la OEP. Dió al equipo de relaciones públicas de la OEP una oportunidad para responder a la publicación. Para citar partes de ello:

Imagine un país donde el jefe ejecutivo de una organización pueda agredir a uno de sus empleados, pero cuando esto llega a un tribunal sindical para obtener una compensación, el agredido es informado que nada puede hacerce, por que el jefe ejecutivo disfruta immunidad legal de enjuiciamento. Posiblemente una distante república bananera, puedas pensar, pero fuera de la realidad en Europa.

Y si la presunta agresión y rechazo de queja por motivios de immunidad realmente tuvo lugar en Europa hace un par de décadas. Ocurrió en OEPonia, un raro país que se situa en Europa pero que no es parte de ella todavía.

[...]

Pero pronto, con el arribo de la patente unitaria, ello pueda cambiar, dramáticamente alterando el paisaje de patentes de Europa -y el rol de la OEP. Eso hace más recientes problemas en la tierra de OEPonia de interés no sólo a los que habitan este extraño mundo, pero a todos en Europa, ya que el futuro de patentes allí va a ser grandemente afectado por como- o si estos asuntos se resuelvan.

[...]

Los asuntos no mejoraron a principios de 2014, cuando 905 de los 4,000 votos echados por los empleados de la OEP apoyaron otro ronda de huelgas, que se llevaron a cabo en Marzo y Abril de aquel año. En aquel entonces, SUEPO publicó un sumario de lo que vió como los problemas principales afectando a la OEP.

[...]

Los ¨preocupados empleados¨ de la OEP temían las consecuencias de impulsar un gran número de patentes de baja calidad siendo otorgadas como algo serio: ¨Baja calidad de patentes daña negocios, principalmente PYMEs, inventores privados, y Universidades, ya que los costos legales por infracción y/o litigación son tan altos que normalmente amenazan su fundación financiera.¨

[...]

Como señala el blog de IPKat, para el presidente de la OEP suspender a un miembro del Jurado de Apelaciones es un grosera infracción de los fundamenteales reglamentes de la OEP, y resulta que antes que haya un desacuerdo entre la SUEPO y Battistelli dentro de OEPonia interna crisis constitucional. O como un comentador anónimo lo puso en un IPKat post: ¨¿El presidente de la OEP suspendiendo a un Juez? Wow. Parece que OEPonia se esta convirtiéndo en Banania.¨

[...]

En un blog post titulado ¨2014, otro año exitoso para la OEP,¨ publicado unos pocos días despues de la reunión del Consejo Administrativo mencionado arriba, Battistelli señaló: ¨Nuestra producción, nuestra productividad y costo de controles todos han mejorados.¨ Talvez fueron el foco de Battistelli en productividad, ahorro de costos, y los crecientes pagos fue capaz de hacer a los otros países miembros de la OEP, que animó al Consejo Administrativo a apoyarlo a pesar del creciente coro de quejas y advertencias al más alto nivel.

En el miso post, B.B. concluyo: ¨Gracias a la productividad de nuestros empleados, la fructífera cooperación con nuestros socios, algunas decisiones fundamentales tomadas por nuestro Consejo y la próxima implementación de mayores projectos, tenemos muchas razones de mirar hacia adelante a 2015 con confianza.¨ Esa confianza resulto fuera de lugar: 2015 resultó mucho más tumultuoso que 2014.

[...]

La información acerca del uso de vigilancia de computadoras públicas de parte de la gerencia de la OEP para investigar estos problemas no sólo explican que paso atrás en Diciembre de 2014, trajo también creciente escrutinio de aquellos fuera de OEPonia. Esto incluye una llamada en Junio del 2015 del Comisionario de Protección de Datos de Bavaria por un externo supervisor de protección de datos ser puesto dentro de la Oficina de Patentes Europea.

[...]

Una copia redactada de la última carta de la OEP acusando de acoso a Hardon fue publicada por Roy Schestowitz on his Techrights blog, que se ha convertido uno de los recursos principales para seguir la complicada saga de OEPonia, como esta larga lista de OEP relacionados post hacen entender.

[...]

No contento con su atentado a debilitar la SUEPO al suspender un número de sus oficiales, la gerencia de la OEP comenzó a atacar al mensajero también. Como notamos arriba, el blog Techrights de Roy Schestowitz ha devenido en una principal fuente de información de lo que esta pasando dentro del mundo de OEPonia. Tanto así que en Julio del 2015 al OEP estaba bloqueando acceso a sus empleados al mencionado sitio de Techrights. En noviembre, la OEP fue más allá, mandando una AMENAZA LEGAL a Schestowitz en la que lo acusaba de difamación.

[...]

Al tiempo de escribir esto no esta claro todavía como casi 1 millon de euros que es efectivamente dinero del público será gastado en este atentado ¨de fomentar la presencia de la OEP en los medios.¨

[...]

Como consecuencia, la OEP una vez más tienen un incentivo de otorgar tantas patentes como sea posible en orden de incrementar sus ganancias por renovación de matrículas -un problema que afecta al presente sistema de la OEP, como discutimos arriba. El doble peligro aquí es que la introducción de la UPC con una actitud más acomodadora para aprovar aplicaciones, pueda traer (y lo hará) consigo ambos un stilo de patentes a lo Estados Unidos, y trolles de patentes también estilo americano.

Los trolles de patentes son casi desconocidos (por ahora) en la Unión Europea por que al presente es imposible obtener una patente válida en todos los países de la UE. Sin ella, los trolles de patentes tienen que aplicar por patentes en muchas jurisdicciones, antes de enjuiciar a sus victimas por separado, aumentando sus costos de llevar a cabo esta clase de ABUSOS, y multiplicando los riesgos que puedan perder en algún lugar y vean su decepción descubierta. La nueva patente unitaria esta específicamente designada para fácilmente obtener patentes válidas a traves de toda la UE, algo por lo que los trolles de patentes babean.

[...]

El problema central es que, como sea que ellos esten ¨sorprendidos¨ o preocupados por ello, ni el Parlamento Europe, ni la Comisión Europea tiene ninguna forma de obligar a la OEP a cambiar su comportamiento. La OEP no es una organización Europea; es literalmente una ley a sí misma.

[...]

Si la Unión Europea realmente quiere la imminente corte unitaria de patentes para ayudar a la innovación en Europa, y no ser puesta por los suelos por ella, debe comenzar por reconocer que hay algo podrido en el estado de OEPonia, y comenzar a arreglarlo con audaz y concretas acciones. Anulando la problématica extraterritoralidad de la OEP, y convertirla en una organización de la UE así como finalmente someterla a escrutinio por parte del Corte de Justicia de la Unión Europea, para comenzar bien.

No tiene que decirse mucho mas acerca del artículo, aunque estemos tentados a responder al ¨control de daños¨ embeido allí por la OEP equipo de relaciones públicas. ¨Asombroso artículo en el Reino Unido¨ es lo que dos personas lo llaman (en nuestro canal IRC y otro en IP Kat, a menos que sean la misma persona).

“Abogados de patentes han estado viendo esta información como rumores, informalmente de examinadores y de blogs como IPKat, pero es una maldición verlos todos en un lugar.”
      –AnonymousDentro de los anteriores comentarios en este articulo de arriba encontramos este: ¨Excelente artículo acerca de la vergonzosa interna gobernatura de la OEP. Abogados de patentes han estado viendo esta información como rumores, informalmente de examinadores y de blogs como IPKat, pero es una maldición verlos todos en un lugar.

¨Lo que realmente parece increíble,¨ escribio otro comentador. ¨Pensé que había visto lo peor del sector público mientras trabaje en la NHS (empleado de oficina – mayor trabajo para beneficio de pacientes, empleados medicos – trabajo mayoritario para beneficio de los pacientes; gerentes por su lado trabajan por su propio beneficio) pero esto los sobrepasa en un orden de gran magnitud. Gran articulo pero muy preocupante!¨

En la NHS (Sistema Nacional de Salud) los salarios no se comparan con los de la OEP. ¨Estoy curioso para ver una discusión de cómo la gente es reclutada para la OEP,¨ escribió una persona ayer. ¨Tengo el sentimiento que la historia es de amigos trayendo otros amigos ha ido muy lejos y nadie ha comentado al respecto!¨

Los estándares de reclutamiento de la OEP (por lo menos para la gerencia) reflejan estándares de los países del tercer mundo. Pero eso hemos hemos venido a esperar de la OEP. Todo acerca de su gerencia es maliciosa y arrogante. Esta gente sabe que son immunes y lo muestran. Es completamente VERGONZOSO Y EVIDENTE, como la entrevista a Minnoye (VP1) reciéntemente hizo con la TV Holandesa lo reforzó y mostro una vez más.

“!Pensé que había visto lo peor del sector público mientras trabaje en la NHS (empleado de oficina – mayor trabajo para beneficio de pacientes, empleados medicos – trabajo mayoritario para beneficio de los pacientes; gerentes por su lado trabajan por su propio beneficio) pero esto los sobrepasa en un orden de gran magnitud. Gran articulo pero muy preocupante!”
      –AnonymousReciéntemente hubo una larga discución en IP Kat acerca de la OEP siendo supuestamente immune. Alguien anonimamente dejo un raro comentario que malament asume que la gerencia de la OEP puede hacer lo que quiera a pesar de la EPC, confiando en argumentos que evaden la realidad de la EPC, como si fuera bien por la gerencia de la OEP simplemente desconocerla y dejar The Hague como medio de chantaje político (el comentario uso Romania). Como resultado de este comentario una larga discusión siguió (aunque el comentario no calificó como trolling, probablemente simplemente un caso de malentendido o mala comprensión). En orden de tumbar o enterrar este argumenteo deseamos citar algunas respuestas (no todas).

Un comentador escribió ¨Articulo 4a [EPC] no requiere una conferencia diplomática (por el propósito de cambiar cosas), requiere un conferencia de ministros para discutir asuntos.¨

Otro dijo: ¨La OEP no es una empresa corporativa multinacional. – Es o supuestamente es- una autoridad intergubernamental establecida por un tratado diplomático internacional.¨

“Munich y La Hague estan escritos en piedra en el Article 6 EPC y esto sólo puede ser cambiado por una plena conferencia diplomática p los estados contractuantes.”
      –AnonymousLos ¨asientos¨ de la organización estan definidos por ley. Munich y La Hague estan escritos en piedra en el Article 6 EPC y esto sólo puede ser cambiado por una plena conferencia diplomática p los estados contractuantes.

Para citar este largo comentario: ¨Ex-examinador-ahora-abogado-de-patentes [un comentador anónimo] correctamente menciona que el hecho de que la OEP es la primera organización supranacional cobradora de taxes en Europa ha escapado la atención del público hasta ahora. Esto incluso es más cierto para La Corte Unitaria de Patentes la cual divertirá grandes cantidades de dinero para beneficio de los estados contractantes por no contraparte: La Patente Unitaria será enteramente manejada por la OEP, y los costos de litigación serán pagaods por los partidos delante la UPC. ¿Asi qué nos preguntamos porqué los miembros de tal conspiración tan fiéramente se aferran a la immunidad? El eco en los medios del comportamiento de Battistelli y hacer conocer al público que la situación pueda causar un catáclismo para todos los involucrados.¨

¨Si,¨ escribió otra persona, ¨una amenaza a mover una oficina si ellos no consiguen lo que quieren ha sido una táctica de la gerencia anteriormente. Improbablemente nunca se implementó por varias razones logísticas – si la oficina tiene tantos problemas consiguiendo votar por un presidente, ¿qué oportunidades tienen 38 estados de estar de acuerdo rápidamente acerca de quién de ellos consigue una oficina de la OEP? Y ¿cuánto tiempo antes que un edificio sea disponible, dado el tiempo que el nuevo edificio Rijswjk esta tomando? Tal idea de mudanza es posible pero no realista.¨

“Suficentemente divertido,” otra persona añadió. ¨el pasado Jueves el Daily Telegraph (26th Jan, pag 14), hay una pieza escrita por una dama francesa titulada ¨Autoritarianismo es la norma en Francia“. Nada que ver con patentes por supuesto, pero puede explicar la actitude del Sr. B. B.¨

Sr. B o BB significa Battistelli en todos estos comentarios.

“Suficentemente divertido,” otra persona añadió. ¨el pasado Jueves el Daily Telegraph (26th Jan, pag 14), hay una pieza escrita por una dama francesa titulada ¨Autoritarianismo es la norma en Francia“.”
      –AnonymousAquí hay una queja acerca de las condiciones de trabajo: ¨Deberías ver el icónico edificio de la OEP de los setentea en La Hague todavía operando (800 empleados + VP1) medio demolido y los revestimientos de la fachada estan desmoronándose y algunos de ellos cubiertos con una chapas blancas, los lavadores de ventanas no están permitidos ir arriba en la fachada para hacer su trabajo. Alguien me dijo que la disminución de asbestos en la biblioteca fue terminado, los pisos de arriba conteniendo empleados con ventanas operacionales y aire corriente. Aparentemente las ventanas no han sido mantenidas los últimos 20 años y los empleados se quejan acerca de horrendas espacios en sus pequeñas oficinas, la mayoría de ellas con sólo 10 metros cuadrados. El VP1 (gerente de sitio) incluso consiguió conseguir un permiso de las autoridades locales para el sitio de la OEP, el estilo arquitéctonico es llamado ¨Nueva Brutalidad¨ (algunos comentadores usaron esta expresión antes) este estilo se ha copiado en el VP1 estilo gerencial. Hablando acerca de estándares de países del Tercer Mundo en los Países Bajos.. La OEP debería haber sido puesta en su sitio por las autoridades locales on materias de Salud y Bienestar, no son capaces de hacerlo por sí mismos.

En respuesta a la vergonzósa idea de la OEP amenazando moverse a Rumania una persona escribio:

Tal vez no Bucarest, pero que acerca de Riga? (o algun lugar en Polonia donde el gobierno esta implementando una ley similar a la que BB hizo)

De cualquier manera, cualquier estado (hola Alemania) que dice que no puede hacer nada ya que sólo es una voz, debe recordar que este razonamiento fue ampliamente aplicado por los alemanes viviendo en los doce años entre 1933 y 1945.. No fueron alabados por este punto de vista; no es una excusa.

¿Qué podrían estos estados por ejemplo hacer?: forzar a la OEP firmar la (Europea) Carta de Derechos Humanos (o declararlos aplicables) o (algo radical pero un estado puede hacer) anunciar dejar la EPC… Estos son pasos posibles para un simple estado – ellos simplemente QUIEREN salirse e irse (o en pequeño grupo, ejemplo Alemania, los Países Bajos y Francia abandonar la EPC).

Y un tercer punto: Estoy preguntándomen de todas maneras cuando el primer caso termine ante el jurado de apelaciones invocando la falta de una conferencia diplomática (pero querrías tener tal cosoa mientras BB continue reinando?)

Citando la EPC de nuevo, esta persona explica el porqué Art 173 EPC hace la fantasía de Rumania difícil de sustentar:

Disputas entre Estados Contratantes
(1) Cualqier disputa entre Estados Contratantes acerca de la interpretación o aplicación de la presente Convención que no es establecida por negociación será sometida a consideración de uno de los estados afectados al Consejo Administrativo que tratar de crear un acuerdo entre ambos
(2) Si el acuerdo no se alcanza dentro de seis meses desde que la disputa se refirió al Consejo Administrativo, cualquiera de los estados puede someter la disputa a la Corte Internacional de Justicia para una decisión obligatoria.

Así que si hay un sólo Estado Contratante que no esté satisfecho con la interpretación de la EPC, dice el articulo de la EPC 4a, Art 23, Art 146, PPI Art3(4) o el protocolo complementario pueda considerar esta aproximación

Más aún, los parlamentos pueden cambiar la ley, incluseo Grundgesetz Art 24 puede ser cambiado, e.g. para explícitamente sacar algunos principios como Menschenwürde o separación de poderes de immunidad.

Citando Art 173 and Art 4a, otro comentador escribe:

La posición del gobierno es en realidad racional.

Como el gobierno de un estado que hospede a la OEP, debe asegurarse que los organos estatales respeten la immunidad de la OEP al extremo que la OEP tiene y escoja no abandonarlo. Si la posibilidad exista que una corte nacional incorrectamente levante la immunidad de la OEP, entonces el gobierno Holandes esta esencialmente obligado a ayudar a la OEP a apelar contra la decisión de la corte.

Si se considera que la ley internacional lo obliga, el estado Holandes pueda incluso bloquer la corte decisión final, incluso por uno de sus Hoge Raad. (Suponga que la Hoge Raad juzque en favor de SUEPO y que el gobierno Holandes inicialmente permita la ejecución. Ahora otro estado contratante como Hungría considere que los Países Bajos violan la Convención. Hungría puede entonces someter el caso a la Corte Internacional de Justicia por decisión obligatoria (Art. 173 EPC). Si la ICJ juzga a favor de Hungía, entonces los Países Bajos tendrán que ignorar, i.e bloquear la ejecución del juzgado de su más alta corte. Pero el gobierno Holandes puede también por sí mismo decidir que el juzgado de Hogue Raad, aunque de conformidad con la ley nacional, es contraria a las obligaciones internacionales del estado.)

Como estado albergador, dicho gobierno no esta de lado. Todavía esta Art. 20 PPI que requiere que la OEP coopere con las autoridades estatales holandesas en orden de facilitar la observación de regulaciones inter alia acerca de salud pública e inspección laboral. La OEP esta en blatante violacion de ellas. El estado Holandes puede someter una disputa a arbitración internacional bajo Art. 23 PPI. La immunidad de la OEP no la proteje contra la obligación de la decisión (¨premio¨) de un tribunal arbitro (Art. 3(1)(c) PPI).

El estado Holandes también es un estado contratante. Y como tal tiene responsabilidad por el funcionamiente de la OEP, per en este respecto no puede ser distinguido de cualquier otro de los 37 estados contratantes.

Asi que:
(1) Asi que el gobierno como estado contratante, el gobierno holandes trata de exigir a BB una actitud más social y más diálogo
(2) Como gobierno de un estado anfitrión, el gobierno holandes insiste que immunidad de la OEP cuando no sea renunciada debe ser respetada (dentro de sus propios límites obviamente (pero eso finalmente no se ha decidido todavía a nivel nacional).
(3) como gobierno de un estado anfitrión, el gobierno holandes podria eventualmente someter una disputa a un tribunal internacional arbitrario, en orden que la OEP respete sus obligaciones bajo el Art. 20 PPI.

No hay conflicto entre (1) y (2). Mayormente uno se pregunta cuando el gobierno holandes decidirá que el tiempo ha llegado para usar la opción (3).

Art. 172 es citado como sigue:

Art. 4a no tiene nada que ver con una conferencia diplomática de los estados contratantes, tampoco con amendar la EPC.

Art. 172 señala el proceso para amendar la EPC. Requiere una decisión para que la AC sostenga una ¨conferencia de estados contratantes¨, i.e. una conferencia diplomática.

Sin amendar la EPC, la OEP no puede desarce de la rama vacía de La Hague (e.g. transfiriendo empleados a Munich), por que el ¨Protocolo Complementario de Empleados¨ lo prohíbe. La única manera de enmendar este protocolo, es de nuevo, por medio de una Conferencia Diplomática.

Se está volviéndo rápidamente una verguenza nacional (Holanda) y continental (Europa). El gobierno holandes debe intervenir. Necesita intervenir lo más pronto posible.

Aquí hay algunos ejemplos de intervenciones en cuerpos internacionales a pesar de la immunidad:

Hay varios ejemplos de immunidad removida.

1. Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Director Gerencial del FMI). Arrestado en Nueva York por la policía por alegaciones de asalto sexual. El juez rechazó su pedido de immunidad diplomática.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/02/nyregion/strauss-kahns-claim-of-diplomatic-immunity-is-rejected.html?_r=0

2. Devyani Khobragade (Diputado Consul General del Consulado General de la India en New York City) acusado por las autoridades de los Estados Unidos de cometer fraude de visa y proveer falsos datos en order de ganar entrada a ese país para una empleada doméstica. Fue arrestado al día siguiente por las autoridades federales.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-25458531

3. Edith Cresson (Comisionaria para la Investigación, Ciencia y Tecnología)
Nombró a un amigo como su consejero personal. (No hizo nada más malo).
La Comisión Europea levantó su immunidad diplomática, para permitirle ser interrogada por las autoridades belgas del poder judicial.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/cresson-s-immunity-lifted-1.245668

Un comentario temprano tomó nota de este papel [PDF], añadiendo: ¨Muy interesante la relación entre derechos humanos y la immunidad de organizaciones internacionales.¨

En nuestro canales privados nos enteramos de ¨Remedios contra Organizaciones Internacionales Von Karel Wellens¨. Es un libro en la materia.

“Es una cachetada en la cara del sistema judicial Holandes cuando Minnoye abiertamente dijo que rechaza obedecer cualquier decisión de la Corte Suprema.”
      –Anonymous¨Pagina 214 y adelante,¨ nos dijeron, puede tocar la materia. Nos dijeron que ¨el pasaje puede ser encotrado por simplemente googling¨. Para citar una parte relevante: ¨Los imperativos derechos humanos pueden guiar o requerir una limitación o rechazo de cortes domésticas de juridicción immunitaria reclamada por organizaciones internacionales, y el actual ejerciso del sistema adjudicatiorio de las cortes. [...] el estado forum no tendrá derecho pero será obligado – en caso donde la organización internacional no haya cumplido con sus obligaciones convenciónales de proveer adecuados mecanismos de arreglo – a negar immunidad diplomática.¨ Esto es de la pagina 214. ¨Incluso más interesánte, nos dijeron, es pagina 215. Es acerca de violaciones a los derechos humanos por organizaciones internacionales. El libro esta en Amazon, pero no hay descripciones o revisiones. Cuesta $ 95. “Es una cachetada en la cara del sistema judicial Holandes cuando Minnoye abiertamente dijo que rechaza obedecer cualquier decisión de la Corte Suprema.” Nos dijo una fuente. ¨Ha despreciado a todo el mundo (y quiero decir no sólo a los examinadores). – En pocas palabras Minnoye se caga en la noticia – Lo más que se es que se encuentra en la segunda prolongación de su mandato, lo que es illegal, ya que las provisiones son que un puede prolongar hasta los 67 y el ya pasó la marca.¨

Links 8/2/2016: Vista 10 Nags Help GNU/Linux, Nautilus Updated

Tuesday 9th of February 2016 12:44:14 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • OpsClarity Extends Monitoring to Open Source Suites

    OpsClarity’s intelligent monitoring solution now provides monitoring for a growing and popular suite of open source data processing frameworks, including Apache Kafka, Apache Storm, Apache Spark as well as datastores such as Elasticsearch, Cassandra, MongoDB. The solution is intended to enable DevOps teams to gain visibility into how these technologies are dependent on each other and troubleshoot performance issues.

  • The future of the network is open source and programmability, says industry expert

    Network technology has changed considerably in the last 20 years, but most of the changes have been incremental – particularly as they relate the roles and responsibilities of network engineers and administrators.

  • HFOSS: Reviewing “What is Open Source?”, Steve Weber

    This blog post is part of an assignment for my Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Development course at the Rochester Institute of Technology. For this assignment, we are tasked with reading Chapter 3 of Steve Weber’s “The Success of Open Source“. The summary of the reading is found below.

  • Events
    • Linux.Conf.Au 2016 Videos Now Online

      Linux.Conf.Au 2016 ran last week from 1 to 5 February in Geelong, Australia. If you weren’t able to go to this annual Linux conference down under, the videos from all of the presentations have now been uploaded.

    • First Open Source Scholarship recipients

      Catalyst is delighted to announce the first two recipients of the Catalyst Open Source Scholarship. Recipients Liam Sharpe and Aleisha Amohia will receive $2000 towards study costs each year for the next three years, while they complete their Bachelor of Science degrees. Both are majoring in computer science.

    • coala at FOSDEM 2016

      coala was present at FOSDEM 2016 – it was a pleasure for us to be able to show you what we created at our stand and in the talk.

    • LowRISC

      As well as being open, there are a couple of key features that make LowRISC stand out. According to Alex Bradbury, co-founder of the LowRISC project: “I guess the notable features that we’re looking at adding are tagged memory support and minion cores. Tagged memory gives you the ability to annotate memory locations to, say, limit access for security purposes, and minion cores are very small, simple RISC-V processor.”

    • DevConf 2016 is over

      I have also some notes to android mobile apps. First, I have received some negative comments. I must admit I am not Android user and I am not very familiar with Android UX practices. I can fix something, but you must give me detailed description of it.

      The app required Internals privileges. I am sorry for that mistake, I must check AndroidManifest settings.

      I will try to add some features for DevConf 2017. I hope, I will find some time for that.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • Apache Spark rises to become most active open source project in big data

      A healthy interest is not a surprise. In Apache Spark’s relatively short life, there’s been much discussion of its ascendancy. In September, Databricks, the company behind Spark, released results from a survey showing that Spark is the most active open source project in big data with more than 600 contributors within the past year, which is up from 315 in 2014. Plus, Spark is in use not just in the IT industry, but areas like finance, retail, advertising, education, health care, and more. That survey also showed that 51% of Spark users are using three or more Spark components.

    • IBM Provides New Analytics Tools, and Big Datasets for Testing

      IBM has already made many big commitments to data analytics and the cloud. It is committing huge finanical resources to Apache Spark for example, and expanding its cloud portfolio. Now IBM has announced four new data services: Analytics Exchange, Compose Enterprise, Graph, and Predictive Analytics.

    • Free RightScale Tool Lets You Compare Public Clouds
    • Eclipse Che Open Source Cloud IDE Now Available in Beta

      Eclipse Che, an open source cloud IDE with RESTful workspaces and Docker-based machines, is now available in beta.

      Che offers a workspace that is composed of projects and its associated runtimes, making its state distributable, portable and versionable. The platform use VMs, containers, and Web services to bring repeatability, consistency, and performance to workspaces.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • a lambda is not (necessarily) a closure

      But if you said “it’s a closure” — well you’re right in general I guess, like on a semantic what-does-it-mean level, but as far as how Guile represents this thing at run-time, hoo boy are there a number of possibilities, and a closure is just one of them. This article dives into the possibilities, with the goal being to help you update your mental model of “how much do things cost”.

      In Guile, a lambda expression can be one of the following things at run-time:

      Gone

      Inlined

      Contified

      Code pointer

      Closure

      Let’s look into these one-by-one.

  • Public Services/Government
Leftovers
  • Brexit will make Britain less safe: police chief

    Leaving Europe will make it harder for the U.K. to protect itself against terrorists, according to the director of the European law enforcement agency, Europol.

    “I think it will make Britain’s job harder to fight crime and terrorism because it will not have the same access to very well-developed European cooperation mechanisms that it currently has today,” Rob Wainwright told the BBC in an interview.

  • Sorry EC2 Amazon Visitors

    I’d like to apologize to people using Amazon EC2 to visit this blog. Sadly, a few hundred of your peers decided to be abusive, so I was forced to block most of EC2 subnets from access.

    Having hundreds of IPs in the EC2 IP range crawling this site constantly just cannot be allowed. It isn’t like we post articles more than once a day – sometimes not even once a month.

  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • America Is Flint

      WE have been rightfully outraged by the lead poisoning of children in Flint, Mich. — an outrage that one health expert called “state-sponsored child abuse.”

      But lead poisoning goes far beyond Flint, and in many parts of America seems to be even worse.

      “Lead in Flint is the tip of the iceberg,” notes Dr. Richard J. Jackson, former director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Flint is a teachable moment for America.”

      In Flint, 4.9 percent of children tested for lead turned out to have elevated levels. That’s inexcusable. But in 2014 in New York State outside of New York City, the figure was 6.7 percent. In Pennsylvania, 8.5 percent. On the west side of Detroit, one-fifth of the children tested in 2014 had lead poisoning. In Iowa for 2012, the most recent year available, an astonishing 32 percent of children tested had elevated lead levels. (I calculated most of these numbers from C.D.C. data.)

      Across America, 535,000 children ages 1 through 5 suffer lead poisoning, by C.D.C. estimates.

    • The Water Next Time: Professor Who Helped Expose Crisis in Flint Says Public Science Is Broken

      Working with residents of Flint, Mr. Edwards led a study that revealed that the elevated lead levels in people’s homes were not isolated incidents but a result of a systemic problem that had been ignored by state scientists. He has since been appointed to a task force to help fix those problems in Flint. In a vote of confidence, residents last month tagged a local landmark with a note to the powers that be: “You want our trust??? We want Va Tech!!!”

      But being right in these cases has not made Mr. Edwards happy. Vindicated or not, the professor says his trials over the last decade and a half have cost him friends, professional networks, and thousands of dollars of his own money.

  • Security
    • Docker Engine Hardened with Secure Computing Nodes and User Namespaces

      Enterprise systems need enterprise-grade security. With this in mind, Docker Inc. has updated its core container engine with some potentially powerful security measures.

      Docker Inc. has described this release as “huge leap forward for container security.” The company also added a plethora of networking enhancements to Docker 1.10, released Thursday.

    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – Defending, Detecting, and Responding to Hardware and Firmware Attacks
    • Vulnerabilities in Font Processing Library Impact Firefox, Linux: Report

      Security researchers have found vulnerabilities in Graphite, also known as Libgraphite font processing library, that affects a number of systems. The vulnerabilities, if exploited, allow an attacker to seed malicious fonts to a machine. The Libgraphite library is utilised by Linux, Thunderbird, WordPad, Firefox, OpenOffice, as well as several other major platforms and applications.

      Security researchers from Cisco have posted an advisory to outline four vulnerabilities in the Libgraphite font processing library. One of the vulnerabilities allows the attackers to execute arbitrary code on the machine, and among other things, crash the system.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Jack Straw’s ministries among worst on freedom of information requests

      The former cabinet minister Jack Straw, who has been tasked with considering how to tighten up the Freedom of Information Act, led two of the Whitehall departments most likely to reject public requests for information.

      Straw’s ministries never ranked higher than 15 out of 21 government departments in terms of releasing information in full, according to a Guardian analysis of government-wide figures.

      In 2010, his final year as lord chancellor, the Ministry of Justice was the worst ranked government department, providing none of the information requested more often than any other ministry.

    • Leaked police files contain guarantees disciplinary records will be kept secret

      Guardian analysis of dozens of contracts revealed by hackers shows more than a third allow or require destruction of civilian complaint records

  • Finance
    • The Trouble With the TPP, Day 26: Why It Limits Canadian Cultural Policies

      The intersection between the TPP and Canadian cultural policies is likely to emerge as one of the more controversial aspects of the TPP, particularly given the government’s emphasis on a stronger cultural policy in its election platform. Earlier in the Trouble with the TPP series, I wrote that the TPP fails to protect Canadian cultural policy. I pointed to U.S. lobby pressure to limit Canadian protection of cultural policies as well as provisions that restrict Canada’s ability to consider expanding Cancon contributions to entities currently exempt from payment. I have not been a supporter of mandating Cancon contributions to online video provides such as Netflix, but restricting Canada’s right to do so in a trade agreement is shortsighted, bad policy.

    • What I didn’t read in the TTIP reading room

      TTIP, the EU-US free trade deal, has secrecy written all over it. Those responsible for it live in dread of any public scrutiny. If it was up to me, I would give everyone who’s interested the chance to make up their own minds on the text of the agreement in its current form. Sigmar Gabriel, Minister for Economic Affairs and a top cheerleader for TTIP, has now set up a reading room in his ministry where since the beginning of February German MPs can each spend two hours looking at those texts on which consensus has already been reached.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • How dark money stays dark: The Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and the right’s biggest, most destructive racket going

      How do you stop states and cities from forcing more disclosure of so-called dark money in politics? Get the debate to focus on an “average Joe,” not a wealthy person. Find examples of “inconsequential donation amounts.” Point out that naming donors would be a threat to “innocents,” including their children, families and co-workers.

      And never call it dark money. “Private giving” sounds better.

      These and other suggestions appear in internal documents from conservative groups that are coaching activists to fight state legislation that would impose more transparency on the secretive nonprofit groups reshaping U.S. campaign finance.

      The documents obtained by ProPublica were prepared by the State Policy Network, which helps conservative think tanks in 50 states supply legislators with research friendly to their causes, and the Conservative Action Project (CAP), a Washington policy group founded by Edwin Meese, a Reagan-era attorney general.

    • Fox & Friends Slam Beyonce’s Super Bowl Performance: She Saluted Black Lives Matter And Attacked Police Officers
  • Censorship
  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • India blocks Facebook Free Basics internet scheme [Ed: it was a huge danger]

      India’s telecoms regulator has blocked Facebook’s Free Basics internet service as part of a ruling in favour of net neutrality.

      The scheme offered free access to a limited number of websites.

      However it was opposed by supporters of net neutrality who argued that data providers should not favour some online services over others.

      The free content included selected local news and weather forecasts, the BBC, Wikipedia and some health sites.

    • No discriminatory tariffs for data services in India

      Finally we have won. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued a press release some time ago telling that no one can charge different prices for different services on Internet. The fight was on in an epic scale, one side spent more than 100million in advertisements, and lobbying. The community fought back in the form of #SaveTheInternet, and it worked.

    • India Bans Zero Rating As The U.S. Pays The Price For Embracing It

      As expected, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has passed new net neutrality rules (pdf) that specifically ban the practice of zero rating. The rules are relatively clear in that they prevent either content companies or ISPs from striking deals that exempt select content from usage caps.

    • Verizon Gives Net Neutrality A Giant Middle Finger, Exempts Own Video Service From Wireless Usage Caps

      In 2010, Verizon successfully sued to demolish the FCC’s original net neutrality rules. In 2015, Verizon joined the rest of the industry in helping launch a barrage of lawsuits to try kill and kill a more legally-sound and updated version of those same rules. While that case continues through the courts, Verizon has made it clear that 2016 will be the year the telco raises a giant middle finger to the FCC and net neutrality supporters alike.

    • 20 Years Ago Today: The Most Important Law On The Internet Was Signed, Almost By Accident

      The internet as we know it would be a very, very different place if 20 years ago today, President Clinton hadn’t signed the Communications Decency Act. To be fair, nearly all of the CDA was a horrible mess that was actually a terrible idea for the internet. A key part of the bill was about “cleaning up” pornography on the internet. However, to “balance” that out, the bill included Section 230 — added by two Congressmen in the House of Representatives: Ron Wyden and Chris Cox. They had pushed this clause as a separate bill, the Internet Freedom and Family Empowerment Act, but it didn’t get enough traction. It was only when they attached it to the Communications Decency Act (which had passed the Senate without it), that it was able to move forward. And thus, 20 years ago today, when President Clinton signed the CDA, most of the attention was on the “stopping indecency” part, and very little on the “throw in” of Section 230. And yet, there’s a strong argument that Section 230 may be one of the most important laws — perhaps the most important — passed in the past few decades.

    • It’s Been 20 Years Since This Man Declared Cyberspace Independence

      When digital dystopians and critics of Internet libertarians need a rhetorical dart board, they often pull out a document written by John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, a former cattle rancher and Grateful Dead lyricist. On this day in 1996, Barlow sat down in front of a clunky Apple laptop and typed out one very controversial email, now known as the “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace,” a manifesto with a simple message: Governments don’t—and can’t—govern the Internet.

    • Also Turning 20 Years Old Today: John Perry Barlow’s Declaration Of The Independence Of Cyberspace
    • Sweden Telecom Official Göran Marby Named To Lead ICANN

      Senior Swedish official Göran Marby today (8 February) was announced as the new president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, succeeding Fadi Chehade who leaves the ICANN to join the World Economic Forum in mid-March. Marby will be the first European to lead ICANN, the internet domain system technical oversight body founded in 1998.

  • DRM
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Ikea loses trademark in Indonesia

        Ikea has lost the right to use its name in Indonesia after a local furniture company was handed victory by the country’s Supreme Court.

        The court said that the trademark belonged to PT Ratania Khatulistiwa, a company based in the city of Surabaya, which manufactures rattan furniture. Rattan is made from palm.

        Although Ikea registered a trademark for its name in Indonesia in 2010, it did not open its first store until 2014.

      • 2015 in Canadian IP cases: trade mark

        Managing IP is rounding up important intellectual property decisions coming out of Canadian courts last year. Trade mark cases included a rare interlocutory injunction in a trade mark case and a ruling on the use of a competitor’s mark in metatags

      • Fox loses appeal over Glee TV series

        But the Court has said it will hear further arguments on the question of whether the trade mark at issue is invalid on the ground that series trade marks are incompatible with EU law.

        The decision, published today, is largely a victory for Comic Enterprises, which operates entertainment venues in the UK featuring comedy and music. It owns a UK trade mark for The Glee Club in class 41, which was registered in 2001 (pictured).

The European Patent Office “is Acting as Though the Law Does Not Apply to It.”

Monday 8th of February 2016 03:13:33 PM

When people in power simply disregard whatever ruling they don’t agree with

Summary: An article from Nieuwsuur which provides the words of Liesbeth Zegveld (for SUEPO) and Guillaume Minnoye (for the European Patent Office), reaffirming the EPO’s bizarre notion that it is above the law, even in the face of human rights violations and a court ruling against the EPO

SUEPO has uploaded this English translation [PDF] of an article in Dutch. Below we highlighted some bits of interests which are rather unique to this article:

How far does the immunity of the European Patent Office reach?

Written by
Marijn Duintjer Tebbens
Economics reporter

From tomorrow, the most senior judges in our country will consider the conflict between the Management of the European Patent Office and the staff union. It’s all about the question of whether the office can hide behind its immunity, even if it is guilty of human rights violations.

Nieuwsuur speaks to Guillaume Minnoye, Vice President of the Patent Office, and lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, who is representing the trade union, among others.

Inviolable

The European Patent Office, based in Rijswijk and with 2500 employees, was established to protect the rights of inventors. It is an international organisation and therefore has immunity, which means that it is actually inviolable for a Dutch court.

Last year, however, the Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the immunity does not apply in a conflict with the staff union. The court also judged that the Patent Office is violating the human rights of its employees through its obstruction of this trade union.

The office refused to accept the court’s verdict and brought the ruling to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court must now rule on the question of how far the immunity of international organisations such as the European Patent Office reaches.

Despite the judgement of the Court of Justice, the European Patent Office believes it does have full immunity.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld

Targeted campaign

The Management and the trade union of the Patent Office have been in conflict since Frenchman Benoit Battistelli began to call the shots. Battistelli is implementing reforms that have met a lot of resistance, resulting in major internal tensions.

According to Battistelli, he is the victim of a targeted campaign by his own staff, aiming to block the reforms. “An orchestrated campaign, the objective of which was to destabilise and discredit the organisation,” he said in October in the newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad.

No law

The staff union, represented by lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, believes that the top boss of the Patent Office is going beyond all the boundaries in his dealings with the union. And that he is therefore abusing his immunity.

“Despite the court ruling, the Patent Office still believes that it does have immunity,” says Zegveld. “But the Patent Office has no immunity when it comes to protecting fundamental human rights. This is what it is now being sued for.”

She thinks the office is acting as though the law does not apply to it. “The law doesn’t work here. I’ve never actually seen this before. There is no law here.”

European Patent Office Employees take to the streets

This afternoon, European Patent Office employees are taking to the streets. The employees are protesting against the poor working atmosphere within the organisation and the culture of “fear and intimidation”, as some describe it.

The direct reason behind the demonstration is the dismissal of two employees and demotion of a third. Among them the chair of the staff union, Elizabeth Hardon, from the Netherlands.

You’re acting as if we live in a lawless paradise. That’s not the case.

Guillaume Minnoye, Vice President of the Patent Office

Lawless paradise

“You’re acting as if we live in a lawless paradise. That’s not the case,” the Vice President of the Patent Office, Guillaume Minnoye, responds, in Nieuwsuur. According to Minnoye, the Court of Justice did not take sufficient account of the fact that the Patent Office has its own legal procedures, which ensure that complaints from the trade union can always be heard and that submitting an objection is always possible.

The Dutch state is on the office’s side. The government is indeed concerned about the social situation at the Patent Office, but states: “Whether it is accused of human rights violations or other violations of international law does not affect whether or not an international organisation receives immunity.”

Minnoye has done a poor job because he helped reinforce the idea that the EPO is arrogant and overconfident. It vainly believes that no matter what crimes it commits, it’ll never be subjected to any scrutiny because it is exempted from the rule of law. We wrote about Minnoye’s attitude before and also reposted some comments on the matter. Just posted was the following anonymous comment that says:

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
Done at Vienna on 18 April 1961

Article 9
1. The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission. A person may be declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of the receiving State.

2. If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations under paragraph 1 of this article, the receiving State may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the mission.

It seems too risky a gambit for Minnoye to just pretend that it’s OK for the EPO to ignore courts at The Hague rather than spin it some other way. Later today we intend to publish some rebuttal to the latest EPO spin in the Netherlands.

Microsoft-Connected FRAND Lobbying (Software Patents Against Free/Open Source Software) in Brussels

Monday 8th of February 2016 02:54:20 PM

Part of a broader push (lobbying) for software patents in Europe

Summary: Anti-Free/Open Source software (FOSS) talking points and FRAND (anti-FOSS) lobbying groups in Brussels as seen by proponents of FRAND, who also worked for Microsoft

THE EPO‘s Brussels lobbying activities and close connections to Microsoft, which the EPO is stressed enough to threaten bloggers about (for just mentioning it) are of much interest to us. Several months ago we uncovered a new network of Microsoft lobbyists who wish to use FRAND against FOSS. It’s just ACT by another name/mask.

Florian Müller, who had done some work for Microsoft (when he was promoting FRAND), mentioned this nymshift of ACT at the time, elaborating by saying: “The new FairStandards Alliance is based in Brussels, the de facto EU capital. Its website says: “We are friends of FRAND” [i.e. we are enemies of FOSS]” (FOSS and FRAND cannot coexist). This morning Müller wrote more about this ‘alliance’ (lobbying effort), which was mentioned a lot at the end of last year [1, 2, 3]. Suffice to say, as made evident only days ago, the EPO now openly pushed for software patents.

The push for software patents in Europe never ended or stopped.

Latest Propaganda From the EPO’s Management an Effort to Make the EPO the Tool of Megacorporations

Monday 8th of February 2016 02:25:26 PM

Turf wars: Megacorporations typically seek further protectionism for their dominant positions

Summary: A quick roundup of some of the latest spin and paid-for (bought) coverage that helps introduce a distorted patent system whose beneficiaries are not European (or even people)

THE EPO is starting to focus more and more on propaganda and lies [1, 2], as we noted in our previous post. Truth does not support the EPO’s actions, so reality distortion becomes imperative. We are going to spend a lot of today responding to lies disseminated by EPO managers and their unethical PR team.

“The rules are being changed in favour of lawyers’ biggest clients and patent trolls, much to the detriment of Europeans who are not patent lawyers.”There was a reminder on a Sunday (unusual for IAM) of an EPO-funded pro-UPC propaganda event. This one angle of spin is rather telling. The EPO is liaising with patent lawyers in an effort to change the rules. The rules are being changed in favour of lawyers' biggest clients and patent trolls, much to the detriment of Europeans who are not patent lawyers.

The EPO’s PR team finally decided that publishing only in German is rather tasteless (we mentioned it to them), so it now has an English version of an article originally published in German alone (warning: epo.org link), piggybacking a patent maximalist to help glamourise the EPO, as we noted at the time (patent maximalists serve to reinforce the narrative/mythology that more patents necessarily mean more innovation). Here is the EPO’s PR team again taking advantage of cancer on World Cancer Day despite its activities which harm cancer patients.

“”Several days ago we wrote about EPO price hikes that harm SMEs. Shortly thereafter, as one commenter jokingly put it: “The increased fees are not for patent examination but for essential EPO business like spying on employees and members of the public, buying favorable press reports, organizing inventor of the year events, providing “technical” support to obedient member states, subsidizing private companies like Control Risks or FTI Consulting. To the benefit of European society.”

Does anyone think it’s acceptable for the EPO to waste nearly $1 million (in just a year!) on some US-based PR firm? How about the use of so-called economists to help generate propaganda regarding the economics of patents?

“Regarding examination or not,” one person wrote, “there are several patent systems possible, each with its advantages and drawbacks. But as long as the EPC requires that examination be carried out and as long as the EPO takes a nice fee from the applicants for doing an examination, it is not within mr. Battistelli’s competence, nor within that of the AC, to “take us” to a different system, however modern that may be.”

Battistelli is now lobbying for the UPC, which in no way helps the European SMEs. That’s why FTI Consulting, which is paid by the EPO, now pays publishers for pro-EPO propaganda. As another new comment put it today:

“Isn’t that the cost-saving, modern and efficient way to go? Is that not where BB is taking us all?”

That may well be so.
It’s abundantly clear that he is intent on shutting down the EPO Boards of Appeal.
He has more or less said so publicly on a few occasions or at least it can be read between the lines of some of his propaganda.

But the question in the back of many people’s minds is where is his mandate coming from ? Paris ? Brussels ? Washington ?

BB [Battistelli] is not a “visionary”. He is a technocrat. He is implementing somebody else’s vision. But who is or are the puppet-masters pulling his strings ?

Based on leaked documents, Battistelli prioritises large corporations, even foreign ones. Emanating from our work here, including Spanish translations, is some media coverage in Google News and days ago Juve published another article, titled “Kommentar: Warnschuss für EPA-Präsidenten Battistelli” (we kindly ask readers to help us publish an English translation of it). Battistelli and his mob try to ‘revolutionise’ the system at the behest of large multinational corporations, at the expense of Europe. Should they be allowed to get away with it? Why isn’t Parliament stepping in? Silence is complicity in this context.

“When the mob gains the day it ceases to be any longer the mob. It is then called the nation.”

–Napoleon

‘Aversion to Change’ Propaganda From the EPO Echoes or Parrots Lenin and Stalin

Monday 8th of February 2016 01:45:37 PM

EPO spinners sharpen their propaganda machine and rewrite history

Summary: The out-of-control EPO management is trying to fool the media by blaming staff representatives for getting fired, simply because they stood up to a highly abusive and megalomaniacal dictator

SUEPO lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, whom we mentioned here before (e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), spoke to Dutch media about EPO abuses. Zegveld knows these abuses quite well as she was actively involved even a year ago; she defended Hardon personally and wrote some letters on her behalf, too.

Today we present this SUEPO-provided translation [PDF] of this recent press article. It is similar to other articles which were previously mentioned here. It mostly repeats similar facts (it’s relatively accurate) but adds some propaganda from the EPO's PR team. They pretend that change, not abuses, is the real issue here. They pretend that aversion to change is what it all boils down to. See the part under “Consequences” and also some noteworthy bits highlighted in yellow.

Thursday 28 January 2016, 6:17am

Employees protest against ‘intimidation’ at European Patent Office

RIJSWIJK – Employees of the European Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk are taking to the streets on Thursday afternoon. The employees are protesting against the poor work atmosphere within the company and the culture of ‘fear and intimidation’, as some describe it.

An immediate cause for the protest is the dismissal of two colleagues and the demotion of a third. The location of the patent office in Rijswijk is the largest international organisation in the Netherlands, with around 2,700 employees.

Those who were fired and demoted work at the EPO headquarters in Munich. They all work for the organisation’s own union. Last week, the sanctions led to a major protest in Germany, with an estimated 1,300 participants. But the upheaval has now reached Rijswijk as well.

Consequences

The staff claims that the punished employees are facing the consequences of the fact that they dared to criticise the ‘tyrannical’ head of EPO, Frenchman Benoit Battistelli. One of the fired employees is the Dutch chair of the union, Elizabeth Hardon. “It’s outright intimidation,” says the union’s lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld.

An EPO spokesperson says that Battistelli is in the middle of a major reorganisation to modernise the company. “And of course, that can lead to reactions among the staff. Everyone has trouble with changes.” He also says that the head of the company would very much like to enter into a dialogue with the employees to repair the relationship.

Governments have to intervene

Thursday’s protest march will go from the French to the German embassy in The Hague. The disgruntled employees hope to get the governments of both countries and that of the Netherlands to intervene.

Employees of EPO in Rijswijk speak of a ‘culture of fear’ within the company. People are only willing to speak out anonymously, for fear of reprisals. They are saying that people who like posts on Facebook that criticise the organisation, for example, can count on sanctions. ‘Censorship, threats. Working here is no fun anymore,” one of them says.

‘No culture of fear’

The EPO spokesperson denies the culture of fear. He says the company will not accept that people who have great working conditions speak poorly of the company they work at.

The Dutch cabinet has yet to make a clear statement on the issue. In response to questions from the House of Representatives, Minister Lodewijk Asscher (for Social Affairs and Employment, and member of the PvdA (Labour Party) previously underlined that part of the problem is that the board of management of the European Patent Office has legal immunity. That means, among other things, that the Dutch Inspectorate SZW cannot be granted access to the offices in Rijswijk as long as Battistelli does not allow it.

Cabinet must take action

The PvdA and SP (Socialist Party) in the Dutch House of Representatives want State Secretary Martijn van Dam (for Economic Affairs, and member of the PvdA) to take action. He is to mediate and meet with his European colleagues to make sure the ‘legal loophole is closed,’ according to MP Sharon Gesthuizen (of SP).

The European Patent Office is currently building a new office in Rijswijk costing €205 million. Prime Minister Rutte helped Battistelli lay the first stone in the summer of 2014. Protestors also marched in Rijswijk when the first post was driven into the ground.

What shocks us in many of these articles is that despite a track record of sheer lies (recent examples in [1, 2]), the media continues to print the words of EPO management without any fact-checking. To say that it’s the fault of staff representatives that they got fired because they antagonised change is like saying that millions of Russians/Soviets lost their lives simply because they opposed the ‘change’ by a brutal new regime. It hardly qualifies as legitimate defense.

Later today we are going to rebut some lies from the EPO, whose expensive PR strategy is far too easy to bust given enough time.

The Gates Foundation Subjected to Criticism, But Over a Decade Too Late

Monday 8th of February 2016 01:21:52 PM

Summary: Reckoning and accepting the fact that even some in the media now openly speak about Bill Gates’ corrupting influence in everything, including politics

THE Gates Foundation was one subject we focused on a great deal several years ago. It got a little repetitive after a while because the issues were mostly the same but were illuminated by more examples and new incidents. Several years down the line we generally find that the media [1] and various groups [2] speak about these issues more openly. It now seems to be more widely accepted (by the press and some of the public) that there’s more under the surface when it comes to the Gates Foundation and other such foundations, including Zuckerberg’s (also a tax haven in “charity” clothing). Why are some politicians still entrusting elections to Gates' highly abusive company? Watch how close Microsoft has gotten to the US government.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Fighting “corporate control of education”: A millennial education wonk goes to war against neoliberal reform

    When it comes to the world of elite education reform — the land dominated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation; your Arne Duncans and Michelle Rhees — there is no shortage of young and optimistic millennials, eager to explain why the brave new future of standardized testing, pay-for-performance, “grit” and Common Core will help public (and pseudo-public) education fix many of our society and economy’s ills. They’re often called thinkfluencers, or something equivalently silly; and the scene is lousy with ’em.

  2. Gated Development – is the Gates Foundation always a force for good?

    Perhaps what is most striking about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is that despite its aggressive corporate strategy and extraordinary influence across governments, academics and the media, there is an absence of critical voices. Global Justice Now is concerned that the foundation’s influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development, which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the foundation, are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage.

Links 8/2/2016: Zenwalk 8.0 Beta 2, Q4OS 1.4.7

Monday 8th of February 2016 12:44:49 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Events
    • Chemnitz Linux Days 2016 Is Happening In Just Over One Month

      Alongside FOSDEM, the Czech events like this week’s DevConf.cz, one of the interesting and longstanding German Linux events that pairs open-source/Linux with beer is the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage that’s happening next month.

      Chemnitzer Linux-Tage (Chemnitz Linux Days) is happening this year from 19 to 20 March 2016. There are both German and English tracks with this year being around 90 lectures and 15 workshops.

    • DevConf.cz 2016 Videos Now Available

      Happening the past few days in Brno, Czech Republic has been the Red Hat sponsored DevConf.cz developers conference. For those that missed it and the live streaming, the videos are available to watch on YouTube.

      DevConf featured a variety of open-source / Linux talks particularly around Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, and CentOS. If you wish to watch this year’s videos, you can find the RedHatCzech playlist or start from the embedded player below.

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Open Source and .NET — Why It’s Not Picking Up

      Open-source in .NET is not picking up. Despite good efforts from many good people and companies, it seems as if the Microsoft developers scene is far from embracing open-source. Why is this happening, and is there still hope for change?

      [...]

      But, this doesn’t seem to be enough. OSS projects in .NET are not striving; there is not much innovation happening in this space; and OSS communities aren’t being formed. It is all left as a dream we keep dreaming, but never actually getting to fulfil.

  • BSD
    • FreeBSD 10.3 Now In Beta

      FreeBSD developers have released today their first official development media for the upcoming FreeBSD 10.3.

      FreeBSD 10.3 Beta 1 is now available from their FTP server.

    • LLVM Clang 3.8 Compiler Optimization Benchmarks With -Ofast

      A few days ago I posted a number of LLVM Clang optimization level benchmarks using the latest code for the upcoming Clang 3.8 release. Those tests went from -O0 to -O3 -march=native, but many Phoronix readers wanted -Ofast so here are those results too.

      I didn’t include -Ofast in the original tests since I don’t know of many using this optimization level within a production capacity considering it has the potential of doing unsafe math as it disregards standards compliance in the name of performance. However, since several readers requested it and I still had this LLVM/Clang 3.8 build around in the same system configuration, I added in extra runs with -Ofast and -Ofast -march=native.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Public Services/Government
    • Why I fought for open source in the Air Force

      I wanted an open source solution and faced a fair amount of resistance from our lawyers, management, users, and proprietary vendors. It was a difficult struggle at times, and it wasn’t until the DoD published their first official guidance on the use of open source software that we started to gain traction. Finally, in the middle of all of the drama, the DoD leadership issued a policy update explicitly stating that open source software was acceptable as long as there was support for it, and that the support could come in the form of government programmers, if necessary.

      This memo was a game changer, but it took more than just a policy update to get momentum to shift toward open source.

  • Programming
Leftovers
  • Hardware
    • Apple error 53 foils low cost repairs – bricks iPhone

      If you have an iPhone or iPad repaired by a company other than Apple, you are likely to encounter Error 53 that only it can fix – at a considerable cost.

      The error usually occurs if you save a few [hundred] dollars by having a third party replacement of the glass, screen, home button, or touch ID sensor regardless of whether genuine parts are used. The iPhone goes into a continual boot loop after attempting a future iOS software update.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Washington Post’s Food Columnist Goes to Bat for Monsanto–Again

      I pointed out that her columns are biased in favor of those industry groups, particularly on the topic of GMOs, even though her column is presented to readers as an unbiased effort to find middle ground in debates about our food system.

      My article was met with crickets of silence from Haspel, her Post editor Joe Yonan and the band of biotech promoters who prolifically praise Haspel on Twitter. I figured that, soon enough, Haspel might write another column that would warrant raising the concerns another notch up the pole. She didn’t disappoint.

    • Female Genital Mutilation Is Not a Uniquely Muslim Problem

      The Independent reports that about 5,000 girls and women in Britain are subjected to female genital mutilation each year: “FGM is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons within families and communities where it is believed to be a necessary preparation for adulthood and marriage.” Ian Tuttle is exasperated by their kid-glove treatment of the practice:

    • Flint’s Crisis Is About More Than Water

      What is in the mind of someone who knowingly poisons children and impairs their lives? Why did the politicians, regulators and bureaucrats who knew the water in Flint, Mich., was toxic lie about the danger for months? What does it say about a society that is ruled by, and refuses to punish, those who willfully destroy the lives of children?

      The crisis in Flint is far more ominous than lead-contaminated water. It is symptomatic of the collapse of our democracy. Corporate power is not held accountable for its crimes. Everything is up for sale, including children. Our regulatory agencies—including the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality—have been defunded, emasculated and handed over to corporate-friendly stooges. Our corrupt courts are part of a mirage of justice. The role of these government agencies and courts, and of the legislatures, is to sanction abuse rather than halt it.

    • Hillary’s Flint Gambit

      I’m completely agnostic about whether this particular trip will hurt or help (it’s very clear that Hillary’s focus on Flint two debates ago helped draw attention, though of course that came months after the lead poisoning was first revealed in October).

      It could be that next week Democrats in the Senate will be able to get Republicans to relent to their demand for Flint funding. But it could also be that Republicans will dig in, given that denying Flint funding becomes a way to deprive the presumptive Democratic nominee a win. That’s true, especially since John Cornyn already accused Democrats of trying to embarrass Republicans on this issue.

    • Why Is the Postal Inspection Service Investigating the Flint Water Crisis?

      They often get brought in as an investigative partner if the government needs to track what has been mailed, and mail fraud charges can serve as hand add-on charges in cases where someone used the mail to help commit a crime.

      I can imagine a lot of things the FBI might be investigating. But I know of no facts, thus far, that involve mail-related crimes.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Flint Strategy

      Clinton needs that firewall of African-Americans voters if she’s going to fend off Sanders’s surge. A clean water campaign—one that elevates the inequities that make African-Americans twice as likely to rely on substandard plumbing as non-Hispanic whites—helps her do that. But her clean water campaign isn’t just a narrow primary tactic to edge out Sanders. Flint is also a prime example of what happens when the government, on all levels, fails to do its job.

    • Flint Crisis: Harvey Hollins Not Giving Task Force Information that Implicates Harvey Hollins

      Some weeks ago, I noted that Rick Snyder had picked his Director of Urban Initiatives, Harvey Hollins, to coordinate response with his hand-picked Task Force to respond to Flint, in spite of the fact that Hollins was intimately involved in all his prior decisions involving Flint.

    • “Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants

      Have you ever read all of those pro-GMO scientists-cum-lobbyists professing their love of science? They are always talking about how science must prevail over ignorance and ideology then they play on the public’s ignorance by using ideology and sloganeering to try to get their points across.

      As as been well documented (see here and here), it is the pro-GMO lobby/industry that distorts and censors science, captures regulatory bodies, attacks scientists whose findings are unpalatable to the industry and bypasses proper scientific and regulatory procedures altogether.

    • Corporations Killed Medicine. Here’s How to Take It Back.

      For most of human history, life-saving drugs were a public good. Now they’re only good for shareholders.

  • Security
    • ‘White hat’ then, Red Hat now

      “From white hat to Red Hat,” was the joke a senior executive of Red Hat quipped to Alessandro Perilli, after hearing excerpts from The Manila Times interview with him, to which Perilli answered back with a wink, and a seemingly knowing smile. In the vast world of technology, a “white hat” is an internet slang, which refers to an ethical computer hacker or a computer security expert who hacks with the intention of improving security systems.

      Perilli is currently the general manager for Cloud Management Strategy for Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions. The technology company recently hosted a full-house Red Hat Forum Asia Pacific in Manila, where key senior executives were in attendance.

    • Vulnerability in Font Processing Library Affects Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox

      Four vulnerabilities in the Graphite (or libgraphite) font processing library allow attackers to compromise machines by supplying them with malicious fonts.

    • Air Force to develop cyber-squadrons, Gen. Hyten says at Broadmoor symposium

      The Air Force plans to revolutionize how it handles computer warfare by beefing up its force of cyberspace experts while contracting out easier jobs, like running the service’s network.

    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – Usable Security–The Source Awakens
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Thousands take part in anti-Islam Pegida protests across Europe

      Protesters from the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement marched in cities across Europe today.

      With around 2000 attendees, the largest was in Dresden, the home town of the group, the Daily Mail reported.

      There were also far right demonstrations in the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Poland, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia and even Australia.

    • Clashes in Calais as anti-migrant Pegida calls for protests across Europe
    • Virginia Man Is Accused of Trying to Join ISIS

      Another day, another faux-terrorism arrest by the FBI. Who do we really need to be protected from anyway?

    • Deadlock: North Korea’s Nuclear Test and US Policy

      The longstanding US approach to North Korea’s nuclear weapons is way off the mark.

    • America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation

      A survey of history shows that America has either been involved in armed conflict or conducted some form of military operations during 223 years of its 240 years of existence as a nation. This is over 90 per cent of the time.

    • What we’ve learned from fifty years of Saudi arms deals

      Aside from the financial gains that al-Yamamah provided for the British government, BP, Shell and above all BAE, there is substantial evidence that Saudi Prince Turki bin Nasser was also a beneficiary of a specially-created BAE “slush fund.”

      Peter Gardiner, one of the men “who lavished luxury on Prince Turki for more than a decade” through his travel agency, revealed to the BBC in 2004 how “on BAE’s instructions, he would lay on a seemingly endless stream of five-star hotels, chartered aircraft, luxury limousines, personal security and exotic holidays for Prince Turki and his entourage”, initially costing BAE “two hundred thousand pounds or three hundred thousand pounds” a year, before increasing “to about a million pounds a year and quickly to two and three and by the time it was completed it was moving up towards seven million pounds a year.”

    • Hillary Clinton, Conscription, and Militarized Feminism

      For hundreds of years in America, women did not have the same rights as men. They – more or less – do now and for some, the final flourish of equality is seen in decisions such as the Pentagon’s 2015 choice to open up all combat jobs to females. While the military exist, it makes practical sense to admit anyone who can hack it.

      However, this week the logical consequences of equality in all things, good and bad, came up in a news item. Turns out there are several important officials who believe that women should be required to register for the Selective Service if they are let into any branch of the military. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Marine Gen. Robert Neller said they supported this plan, and other high-up military guys said they wanted the matter discussed.

      The proper feminist – or anyone who supports women’s equality, no matter how they label themselves should support this, right? After all, the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment would have included a mandate. And yet, this is insane. The draft is wrong. Expanding a sexist evil does not alleviate it.

      Civil rights movements can always be co-opted. The San Francisco Pride Parade decided back in 2013 that Chelsea Manning was not worth honoring after all. Feminism just happened to start pretty early in terms of picking and choosing who matters, and how willing it is to be assimilated into the militarized whole.

      [...]

      Walsh, it seems, was much more tepid about Clinton in 2008. But darn it, today she is “With Joy, and Without Apologies” in her support. Sen. Bernie Sanders is getting all the youth vote momentum – and even The Nation endorsed him – but Walsh argues that Clinton is “the right and even radical choice” today. She writes line after line about sexism, reproductive freedom, and then this teeny, laughably qualified truth finally appears: “I continue to wonder whether she’ll be more hawkish on foreign policy than is advised in these dangerous times.”

    • Obama Readies To Fight in Libya, Again

      No one is laughing in Washington now. President Obama came, saw and created the very opposite of what he sought, a hardly unusual outcome for the Obama and Bush Administrations in the Middle East. Instead of a pliable dependent government willing to do the bidding of Washington and its NATO foreign legion, there has been an explosion of civil war and Sunni jihadism.

    • Controversial Israel Supporter Funneling Millions Into Clinton Campaign

      Recent disclosures show media mogul and controversial Israel supporter Haim Saban is pouring millions of dollars into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

      Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl together contributed $5 million to the Hillary Clinton Super PAC—Priorities USA Action—between 2015 and 2016 alone, according to disclosures available on OpenSecrets.org, affiliated with the Center for Responsive Politics.

    • Cruz and Rubio: Heirs to Bush-Obama Militarism

      I see no point splitting hairs over whether Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio is the more egregious warmonger. Both love the bloody and costly U.S. empire. Both believe in American exceptionalism. (Rubio arrogantly calls for a “New American Century.”) Both want to make war in the Middle East (and beyond) and “stand behind Israel,” though such policies provoked the 9/11 attacks. Both want to pour money into the military, as though America were militarily threatened. (The US military budget equals the budgets of the next seven highest spending nations.) Both want to prevent détente with Iran, which poses no danger. Both hype terrorism as an existential threat. Both want the government to spy on Americans, especially Muslim Americans. Both want to “control the border,” code for violating the natural right of people to move freely and make better lives without government permission.

    • Capitalism, cronyism and Clinton

      A similar dilemma is at hand in any critical examination of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for this year’s US presidential election. Doug Henwood, an American journalist and a contributing editor at The Nation, has written a short, punchy book challenging Clinton’s campaign narrative, particularly her self-identification as a plucky underdog, by highlighting her cosy relationship with big business and her dubious track record on policy.

    • Hillary Is the Candidate of the War Machine

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down for six consecutive television interviews in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 20, 2011. Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed. “We came, we saw, he died,” she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi’s death by an aide in between formal interviews.

      There’s no doubt that Hillary is the candidate of Wall Street. Even more dangerous, though, is that she is the candidate of the military-industrial complex. The idea that she is bad on the corporate issues but good on national security has it wrong. Her so-called foreign policy “experience” has been to support every war demanded by the US deep security state run by the military and the CIA.

      Hillary and Bill Clinton’s close relations with Wall Street helped to stoke two financial bubbles (1999-2000 and 2005-8) and the Great Recession that followed Lehman’s collapse. In the 1990s they pushed financial deregulation for their campaign backers that in turn let loose the worst demons of financial manipulation, toxic assets, financial fraud, and eventually collapse. In the process they won elections and got mighty rich.

    • More Bombs, More Boots: The US War on ISIS Is Heating Up

      The intensified effort against ISIS won’t come cheap. The Obama administration is asking for more than $7 billion—a 35 percent increase—in the 2017 budget for the fight against ISIS. Despite the sudden military and financial push, Lt. General MacFarland assured reporters earlier this week, “We are closer to the end of the beginning of this campaign…The beginning of the end would be when we get Raqqa back.”

    • Close-Fisted Wealthy Nations Are ‘Failing the People of Syria’: Oxfam

      While some small European countries are donating more than their fair share to aid Syrians, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia are still far behind

    • Dragon & Phoenix: Khamenei Lauds New Sino-Iranian ‘Strategic Partnership’

      Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran this weekend, pledging new bilateral of $600 bn. Over 10 years.

    • Netanyahu demands more billions from US after Iran Deal, insults US Envoy, Steals more Land

      Netanyahu made the claim on the US taxpayer in the wake of his harsh words for the US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro.

      Shapiro had addressed a conference earlier this week in which he said that the Obama administration now questions the commitment of Netanyahu’s government to peace with the Palestinians. Shapiro said that Israel wasn’t acting credibly to curb the violence of Israeli squatters on the Palestinian West Bank against Palestinians, and that it should open more land to the Palestinians: “Too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seems to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law, one for Israelis, and another for Palestinians. . . Hovering over all these questions is the larger one about Israel’s political strategy vis-a-vis its conflict with the Palestinians.” He also criticized Palestinian violence.

    • Suicide Bomber Strikes near US Base; 125 Killed Across Iraq

      Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rejected plans for building a concrete barrier and trench around Baghdad. Instead, Abadi said, checkpoints would be reorganized to provide added security and easier transit.

    • Optimism of the Will

      So now we have another anti-Semite. Mazal Tov (“good luck”) as we say in Hebrew.

      His name is Ban Ki-moon, and he is the Secretary General of the UN. In practice, the highest international official, a kind of World Prime Minister.

      He has dared to criticize the Israeli government, as well as the Palestinian Authority, for sabotaging the peace process, and thereby making Israeli-Palestinian peace almost impossible. He emphasized that there is a worldwide consensus about the “Two-state Solution” being the only possible one.

    • “Bandage Me Quickly!” The Death of a Journalist in Yemen

      On January 17, Yemeni journalist Almigdad Mojalli was killed in a Saudi-led airstrike while reporting on civilian casualties in Jaref, a resort about 32 miles south of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. Mojalli was on assignment for Voice of America. Bahir Hameed, a photojournalist who accompanied Mojalli that day, was injured in the attack. The following is Hameed’s account of what happened, as told to Mohammed Ali Kalfood, a journalist in Sana’a.

    • Hands Up, Don’t Execute

      Many liberals passed sentence on the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom (CCF) weeks ago. The cowboys occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Oregon were criminals. Even worse, they were culturally unsympathetic criminals. “Y’all Qaeda,” was the taunt of choice for the smart set, which rocked with laughter when enterprising wags delivered sex toys to the squares.

      Yet when they put joking aside, many progressives called for these “militants” to be dealt with as “the terrorists they were”: lethally and with extreme prejudice. Besides, many said, the right-wing nuts were probably a bunch of Islamophobic racists.

      [...]

      During the Ferguson unrest however, the law-and-order right would have none of it. To them, Michael Brown was just a “thug,” a known criminal who had recently shaken down a store. If he didn’t want to get shot, he shouldn’t have resisted a cop, thought many of the same conservatives now outraged over the bloody government response to CCF’s armed defiance.

      Both sides reduce all questions of justice to identity politics, and effectively treat rights as a sympathy-based concept.

      For the left, Michael Brown was a sympathetic figure (an underserved youth of color), so he had Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights which were violated by Officer Darren Wilson. On the other hand, LaVoy Finicum was an unsympathetic figure (a right-wing, gun-owning good ‘ol boy), and a potential threat, so he was fair game to be gunned down in the snow.

    • U.S. Air Force Veteran, Smeared as “an ISIS Fighter,” Just Returned to the U.S.

      The smearing of Long as an “ISIS fighter” by the rabidly anti-Muslim website “Pajamas Media,” based on anonymous government officials, was a sham. From the start, Long and his family were held only in a deportation center after the Turkish government claimed he intended to stay in the country without the proper visa — largely due to the fact that he was on the U.S.’s no-fly list — and he was never charged with (let alone convicted of) anything remotely to do with terrorism or ISIS.

    • Danger Ahead

      The prospects for peace are dimming

      [...]

      The US military is preparing another invasion of Libya – Yes, they want to go back to the scene of their crime. Because more violence is going to “fix” the problems they created in the first place! Without congressional authorization, and without debate, US troops are getting ready to occupy Libya and put us in the middle of yet another war.

      More US troops are pouring into Iraq – So you thought the Iraq war was over? Think again! They’re not only sending as many as 800 more American soldiers on to Iraq, but they’re just now admitting that there are 4,000 already there – a lot more than they led us to believe. So much for President Obama’s pledge of “no boots on the ground”! This is just the first step toward Iraq War III.

    • Peace is the Keystone of Liberty

      The anti-war movement desperately needs libertarian leadership. And the libertarian movement urgently needs to be strongly anti-war. So in this essay I will offer some chief reasons for every libertarian to be 100% non-interventionist and actively engaged in the cause of peace.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • One Reason CIA Is Claiming Drone Emails Are Top Secret: ACLU’s FOIA

      The NYT has a really helpful description of the emails to Hillary that intelligence agencies are claiming are Top Secret. It explained how several of the emails almost certainly couldn’t derive from the intelligence the agency claimed they came from, such as this one on North Korea.

    • Pentagon Releases 200 Photos of Bush-Era Prisoner Abuse, Thousands Kept Secret

      The Pentagon on Friday was forced to release nearly 200 photographs of bruises, lacerations, and other injuries inflicted on prisoners presumably by U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The record-dump was the result of a Freedom of Information Act request and nearly 12 years of litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which fought to expose the Bush-era torture.

    • 11 Million Pages of CIA Files May Soon Be Shared By This Kickstarter

      Millions of pages of CIA documents are stored in Room 3000. The CIA Records Search Tool (CREST), the agency’s database of declassified intelligence files, is only accessible via four computers in the National Archives Building in College Park, MD, and contains everything from Cold War intelligence, research and development files, to images.

      Now one activist is aiming to get those documents more readily available to anyone who is interested in them, by methodically printing, scanning, and then archiving them on the internet.

    • Pentagon Releases Photos of Detainee Abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan

      These photos appear to be the most innocuous of the more than 2,000 images that the government has fought for years to keep secret. Lawyers for the government have long maintained that the photos, if released, could cause grievous harm to national security because they could be used for propaganda by groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The legal case has stretched on for more than a decade, since 2004, when the American Civil Liberties Union first sued to obtain photos beyond the notorious images that had been leaked from the prison at Abu Ghraib.

    • Establishment Family Values

      Joanna Gosling of BBC News won my prize for the news presenter who exuded the highest level of shrill indignation that the UN should dare to query the actions of the British Government. There was not, of course, any acknowledgement by the BBC that she is married to Craig Oliver, Cameron’s spin doctor in chief.

    • When in Rome: ‘Criminal Consequences’ for Assange’s Tormentors?

      When we consider the context and background – namely that Sweden and the UK have served and continue to serve as proxies for the United States in its pursuit of Assange for his role in exposing US war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere – an array of possible charges before the International Criminal Court quickly begin to look quite plausible.

    • Philip Hammond’s Astonishing Lie

      The official statement by the UK Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond:

      “I reject the decision of this working group. It is a group made up of lay people and not lawyers. Julian Assange is a fugitive from justice. He is hiding from justice in the Ecuadorian embassy.”

      These are the cvs of the group (including the ex-chair who started the work). Hammond’s statement that they are lay people and not lawyers is a blatant, a massive, an enormous, a completely astonishing lie. Yet nowhere has the media called him on this lie.

    • Kafka 2016

      To my astonishment, the FCO Official Spokesman has just confirmed to me that the FCO stands by Phillip Hammond’s statement that the members of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are lay persons, and not lawyers. Even though every single one of them is an extremely distinguished lawyer.

      I confess I am utterly astonished. I know there is nothing more dull than an old buffer like me droning on about falling standards in public life. But when I was in the FCO, the vast majority of colleagues would have refused to advance what is a total and outright lie, about which it cannot be argued there is an area of interpretation, doubt or nuance.

    • Why the Assange Allegation is a Stitch-up

      I am slightly updating and reposting this from 2012 because the mainstream media have ensured very few people know the detail of the “case” against Julian Assange in Sweden. The UN Working Group ruled that Assange ought never to have been arrested in the UK in the first place because there is no genuine investigation are and no charges. Read this and you will know why.

      The other thing not widely understood is there is NO JURY in a rape trial in Sweden and it is a SECRET TRIAL. All of the evidence, all of the witnesses, are heard in secret. No public, no jury, no media. The only public part is the charging and the verdict. There is a judge and two advisers directly appointed by political parties. So you never would get to understand how plainly the case is a stitch-up. Unless you read this.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • No Questions About Climate Change at GOP Debate Sponsored by Big Oil

      The Republican presidential candidates were asked about the Super Bowl but not the future of the planet Saturday night — there were no questions about climate change or global warming in the debate in St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.

    • Beyond Paris: avoiding the trap of carbon metrics

      Instead of changing our economic system to make it fit within the natural limits of the planet, we are redefining nature so that it fits within the economic system.

    • Useful waste offers win-win benefits

      The future is increasingly bright for renewable energy, with the US aiming to cut the price of solar photovoltaics by 75% between 2010 and 2020. Denmark plans to obtain 50% of its energy from wind just five years from now.

    • DEQ Employees Seem Unwilling to Take the Fall for Flint

      In the email, the supervisor noted that a spike in Legionnaires coincided with the switch to Flint’s water. Jerry Ambrose was then the Emergency Manager of Flint; it’s unclear why he was using a GMail address as EM.

    • The Republican Refusal to Aid Flint

      A House oversight committee held a hearing on Wednesday whose purpose was purportedly to identify those responsible for the Flint crisis and determine what could be done to alleviate it. But the committee failed to summon Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, whose environmental officials and emergency managers were the ones who made monumental blunders that led the city to draw water from the polluted Flint River without treating it properly. Instead, Republicans heaped blame on the Environmental Protection Agency, which made mistakes but was a bit player in this drama.

    • Rick Snyder Wasn’t Asked To Testify At Congressional Hearing About Flint Water Crisis

      On Wednesday, Congress will hear testimony from government officials and Flint residents about the years-long problem of contaminated water. Missing from the event, however, will be Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) as well as all of the emergency managers who were appointed to run the city over recent years.

      The Republicans who run the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed Darnell Earley late Tuesday night, the former emergency manager who served during the water switch and ensuing contamination issues, after he refused an earlier call to testify. They also invited the director of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. But no one else in state or city leadership was called to testify.

    • FBI is Now Involved in the Investigation Into the Flint Water Crisis

      The FBI is joining the investigation into the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported on Monday.

      Gina Balaya, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, told the Free Press that federal prosecutors are “working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, EPA’s [Environmental Protection Agency] Office of Inspector General, and EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.”

    • Can Burning Forests To Power The Grid Be Carbon Neutral? The Senate Just Said ‘Yes’

      When the first major update to the nation’s energy laws in nearly a decade began last week in the Senate, environmentalists were cautiously sympathetic to it. The bill didn’t open new land for oil and gas drilling, coal was mostly ignored and the Obama administration’s recent climate change policies were left unscathed.

      But environmentalists around the country are now incensed over an approved amendment categorizing bioenergy as carbon neutral — a move that groups say puts forests and even portions of the Clean Power Plan at risk.

      “I think it’s a very dangerous amendment,” said Kevin Bundy, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, in an interview with ThinkProgress. “It tries to dictate that burning forests for energy won’t affect the climate, that’s what the term carbon neutral is supposed to mean and that’s just not true. You can’t legislate away basic physics.”

    • New Study Ties Fracking Water Disposal To California Earthquakes

      Injecting old, used water from oil and gas drilling in California has been tied to earthquakes for the first time, according to a new study released Thursday. Wastewater injections have already been tied to earthquakes in Colorado and Oklahoma.

    • NY Governor Sounds Warning After Radioactive Water Leaks from Indian Point Nuclear Plant

      Radioactive water has reportedly contaminated the groundwater surrounding the Indian Point nuclear power plant, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday.

      A statement issued from Cuomo’s office reported evidence that “radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked into the groundwater” beneath the facility, which sits on the bank of the Hudson River, just 25 miles north of New York City in Buchanan.

    • The Pipeline Strikes Back: the audacity of TransCanada’s $15b suit against the U.S.

      But as any good Star Wars fan knows, the Empire strikes back. True to form, TransCanada filed a $15 billion legal action against the U.S. government on January 6. The company is demanding that U.S. taxpayers compensate it for the profits it had hoped to make from a pipeline it won’t get to build.

      How can the company do this? TransCanada is making use of a legal weapon so powerful that even Darth Vader would be envious—international trade rules.

      Here is how the system known as “Investor State Dispute Settlement” works. Tucked neatly away inside the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and more than 90 percent of the thousands of other international trade agreements in force around the world are provisions that allow foreign corporations to sue governments whenever a change in policy interferes with the company’s profit-making plans. Companies are allowed to drag governments before closed-door tribunals operated by the World Bank, the International Chamber of Commerce, and others. Companies can force compensation not only for the funds they actually invested, but for many, many times more than that for supposed “lost profits.”

      Who uses these secretive tribunals? The San Francisco-based engineering giant Bechtel sued Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, after the Cochabamba Water Revolt of 2000. This was a massive public uprising against the privatization of the city’s water and subsequent rate hikes for residents. After protests pushed Bolivia’s leaders to reverse the privatization, Bechtel sued Bolivia for $50 million, although it had invested just $1 million in the project.

  • Finance
    • Young Women For Sanders Not to Be Underestimated

      Normally, I would just stay silent if Gloria Steinem said something with which I did not agree. I admire her so much. She has shown so much courage on behalf of women’s issues throughout the years that it is a bit absurd for someone such as me to even consider challenging any comment she makes regarding women.

    • Are The Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?

      US economics statistics are so screwed up that they do not provide an accurate picture.

      Consider the latest monthly payroll jobs report. According to the report, in January 151,000 new jobs were created. Where are these jobs? According to the report, 69% of the new jobs are accounted for by retail employment and waitresses and bartenders. If we add in health care and social assistance, the entirely of the new jobs are accounted for. This is not the employment picture of a First World economy.

      According to the report, in January the retail sector added 57,700 jobs. Considering that January is the month that followed a disappointing Christmas December, do you think retailers added 57,700 employees? Such a large increase in retail employment suggests an expected rise in sales, but transportation and warehousing lost 20,300 jobs and wholesale trade added only 8,800.

      Perhaps it is mistaken to think that employment in these sectors should move together. Possibly the retail jobs, if they are real, are part-time jobs replacing a smaller number of terminated full-time jobs in order that employers can avoid benefits costs. If this is the case, then the retail jobs are bad news, not good news.

      The reported unemployment rate of 4.9% is misleading as it does not count discouraged workers. When discouraged workers are added, the actual rate of US unemployment is about 23%, a number more consistent with the decline in the labor force participation rate. In January 2006 the labor force participation rate was 66%. In January 2016 the labor force participation rate is 62.7%.

    • Sanders Argues for “Yes We Can” While Clinton Counters “No We Can’t”

      Who is the establishment? And why does it think people supporting Bernie Sanders are asking for too much?

    • Rebuke Swift After Albright Declares: ‘Special Place in Hell’ for Women Who Don’t Vote Clinton

      During a campaign event in Concord on Saturday, the former Secretary of State declared: “Young women have to support Hillary Clinton. The story is not over!”

      “They’re going to want to push us back,” she continued. “It’s not done and you have to help. Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

    • The “Bernie Bros” Narrative: a Cheap Campaign Tactic Masquerading as Journalism and Social Activism

      The concoction of the “Bernie Bro” narrative by pro-Clinton journalists has been a potent political tactic — and a journalistic disgrace. It’s intended to imply two equally false claims: (1) a refusal to march enthusiastically behind the Wall Street-enriched, multiple-war-advocating, despot-embracing Hillary Clinton is explainable not by ideology or political conviction, but largely if not exclusively by sexism: demonstrated by the fact that men, not women, support Sanders (his supporters are “bros”); and (2) Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive and misogynistic in their online behavior. Needless to say, a crucial tactical prong of this innuendo is that any attempt to refute it is itself proof of insensitivity to sexism if not sexism itself (as the accusatory reactions to this article will instantly illustrate).

      It’s become such an all-purpose, handy pro-Clinton smear that even consummate, actual “bros” for whom the term was originally coined — straight guys who act with entitlement and aggression, such as Paul Krugman — are now reflexively (and unironically) applying it to anyone who speaks ill of Hillary Clinton, even when they know nothing else about the people they’re smearing, including their gender, age, or sexual orientation. Thus, a male policy analyst who criticized Sanders’ health care plan “is getting the Bernie Bro treatment,” sneered Krugman. Unfortunately for the New York Times Bro, that analyst, Charles Gaba, said in response that he’s “really not comfortable with [Krugman’s] referring to die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters as ‘Bernie Bros’” because it “implies that only college-age men support Sen. Sanders, which obviously isn’t the case.”

    • Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?

      “Self-described socialist” … How many times have we all read that term in regard to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders? But is he really a socialist? Or is he a “social democrat”, which is what he’d be called in Europe? Or is he a “democratic socialist”, which is the American party he has been a member of (DSA – Democratic Socialists of America)? And does it really matter which one he is? They’re all socialists, are they not?

      Why does a person raised in a capitalist society become a socialist? It could be because of a parent or parents who are committed socialists and raise their children that way. But it’s usually because the person has seen capitalism up close for many years, is turned off by it, and is thus receptive to an alternative. All of us know what the ugly side of capitalism looks like. Here are but a few of the countless examples taken from real life:

      * Following an earthquake or other natural disaster, businesses raise their prices for basic necessities such as batteries, generators, water pumps, tree-removal services, etc.

      * In the face of widespread medical needs, drug and health-care prices soar, while new surgical and medical procedures are patented.

      * The cost of rent increases inexorably regardless of tenants’ income.

      * Ten thousand types of deception to part the citizens from their hard-earned ages.

    • Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem

      What was not clear until now is potentially as important. In Iowa it was demonstrated, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it is possible, here and now, to stave off a Clintonite Restoration – possible, that is, to free the country and the world from the thrall of neoliberal-neoconservative politics.

    • Canada and the TPP

      What are we to make of the Trudeau government’s schizophrenic attitude towards the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland formally signed the agreement yesterday in New Zealand but repeated her assurances that critics shouldn’t worry – the government hasn’t committed to ratifying it and consultations and a full Parliamentary debate will precede any ratification. Fair enough – ratification is at least two years away. Yet so far the consultation process has not penetrated the ideological bubble created by her trade department officials. In spite of the fact that by far the biggest concern of critics of the deal (including Joseph Stiglitz and a United Nations report) is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) feature (the one that allows corporations to sue governments for regulating), she seems to be either ill-informed or misled about its impact. At a panel discussion in Vancouver in January she seemed unaware of the ISDS. Her fellow panelists, both economics professors, actively downplayed the threat of ISDS.

    • TPP ‘fundamentally flawed,’ should be resisted – UN human rights expert

      The top United Nations expert on human rights has called on the 12 nations considering the Trans-Pacific Partnership to reject the massive trade agreement since in its current form it “is out of step with today’s international human rights regime.”

      Acknowledging global opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because of the agreement’s “undemocratic pedigree,”Alfred de Zayas, the UN’s independent expert on the promotion of democratic and equitable international order, said the largest trade agreement in decades “is fundamentally flawed and should not be signed or ratified unless provision is made to guarantee the regulatory space of States.”

    • Sanders Vows To Kill TPP If Elected. Will Clinton?

      As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free-trade” agreement was signed in New Zealand by representatives of the 12 participating countries, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strongly voiced his opposition and committed to doing what he can to kill the deal if he is elected president.

      Rival Hillary Clinton has also stated opposition to the TPP, but will she also vow to kill it if elected?

    • New Yorker Shooting Blindly at Bernie Sanders

      It’s clear that Bernie Sanders has gotten many mainstream types upset. After all, he is raising issues about the distribution of wealth and income that they would prefer be kept in academic settings, certainly not pushed front and center in a presidential campaign.

    • Credit Occupy in Bernie Sanders’ Surge

      For insight into Bernie Sanders’ unexpected surge, go back to 2011, to the then-scorned Occupy Wall Street movement and its drive against the 1 percent and income inequality.

      Written off that year as disorganized and ineffective, the Occupy movement has contributed volunteers and—even more important—its powerful message to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. The combination of progressive volunteers and a powerful attack on economic injustice helped Sanders come extremely close to beating Hillary Clinton in Iowa and could be of great help to him in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

    • WATCH: Bill Maher Doubles Down on Bernie Endorsement: ‘F*ck Yeah’ He’s Ready

      On Friday night’s Real Time Bill Maher made his love of Bernie Sanders even clearer and more unequivocal than before, issuing his most enthusiastic endorsement of the Vermont Democratic Socialist yet.

    • Yanis Varoufakis – the origins of the European and global economic crisis

      In this video, acTVism Munich interviews Yanis Varoufakis, a world renowned economist who was a former member of the Greek parliament. He gained immense popularity when he served as finance minister (27 January 2015 – 6 July 2015) for the Greek government, a post that he left shortly after he found out that Greek government made the decision to i mplement the austerity package of the Troika against the popular vote (OXI) of the Greek people.This interview focuses on the history of the global economic system, the transformations that it underwent after World War II and attempts to connect it to the current economic crisis that is sweeping throughout Europe and the globe.

    • VIDEO: Jeremy Corbyn Takes Down Big Banks During Surprise Appearance

      Corbyn began and ended his rousing speech by thanking his supporters and reminding them of the work they have cut out for them in the years leading up to the 2020 election, when he plans to run for prime minister of the United Kingdom. Reflecting on his campaign for Labour leadership in 2015, the British politician said, “The bankers created a crisis, the government’s responded by cutting services, increasing the costs of the poorest people and making the richest even richer. And we said, ‘No, that is the wrong way around.’ ”

    • We Can’t Afford These Billionaires

      In its 2015 report the World Economic Forum, aka the globe-grabbing business elite, pronounced from its opulent mountain fastness in Davos that, “Inequality is one of the key challenges of our time.” Paying $25,000 to attend this billionaires’ bash, and that’s after shelling out the compulsory $52,000 WEF membership fee, the said elite isn’t pronouncing on inequality out of any empathy for the poor and oppressed. This becomes perfectly clear on page 38 of the Global Risks Report 2016 where the reader is informed that inequality has consequences:

    • No ‘Artful Smear.’ Clintons Paid $153 Million in Speaking Fees, Analysis Shows

      There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about the speaking fees paid to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and an analysis published Saturday sheds some light on exactly how much Wall Street and other major corporate powers ponied up for the former Secretary of State and her husband, President Bill Clinton.

      $153 million, CNN concludes, is the amount the power couple raked in between February 2001 and the launch of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in May 2015. What’s more, the Clintons received an average pay of $210,795 for each of the 729 addresses given during that time period.

    • California’s Deep Debt Problems

      For those who wonder about the practical importance of transparency, I offer as evidence the latest result of a modest rule change in California from a mind-numbingly named organization—the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, or GASB (pronounced Gaz-bee). The group’s stated goal is to promote accountability through “excellence in public-sector financial reporting.” This is exciting stuff for people who wear green eyeshades.

    • Clinton’s Pitch to New Hampshire: Electing a Woman Is the Real Revolution

      The presence of Klobuchar, Stabenow, and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire had another effect: It reminded voters that, notwithstanding her claim to not be a member of the Democratic establishment, Clinton has the backing of almost all of Sanders’ colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus. And they’re not shy about explaining why.

    • Here’s What Hillary Clinton’s Paid Speaking Contract Looks Like

      So what exactly does Hillary Clinton ask for when she gives a paid speech, like the ones she gave at Goldman Sachs? A contract for a speech she gave at the University of Nevada Las Vegas provides some answers. The contract was obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in August, through the state public records law.

    • On Pluralism, Bernie Sanders, and the Fight for 15

      But having set the table like that, there’s little prospect the large numbers of workers who haven’t been as active in Democratic politics of late will have much sway in face of the powerful banks who don’t appear to have traded away key issues for their time with Hillary.

      Notably: these lower income voters, along with the more widely noted younger voters, are precisely those whom Bernie is winning (though as the primary moves to more racially diverse states, that is expected to change).

    • Ahead of Primary, NH Workers Declare: Want My Vote? Raise the Wage!

      Want my vote? Then raise the wage.

      That’s the message that low wage workers in New Hampshire sent to the presidential contenders on Saturday when fast food employees and others walked off the job days before the state’s pivotal primary election.

      “I’ve never walked off the job before, but I can’t wait any longer for fair pay,” said Megan Jensen, a mother and KFC employee who lives off of $8 an hour. Jensen said that this is also the first year she plans to vote in the state’s February 9th primary.

      “Everyone deserves at least $15 an hour and the right to a union,” Jensen continued, “and candidates who are flying into New Hampshire this week need to know that we are taking this demand to the polls.”Want my vote? Then raise the wage.

      That’s the message that low wage workers in New Hampshire sent to the presidential contenders on Saturday when fast food employees and others walked off the job days before the state’s pivotal primary election.

      “I’ve never walked off the job before, but I can’t wait any longer for fair pay,” said Megan Jensen, a mother and KFC employee who lives off of $8 an hour. Jensen said that this is also the first year she plans to vote in the state’s February 9th primary.

      “Everyone deserves at least $15 an hour and the right to a union,” Jensen continued, “and candidates who are flying into New Hampshire this week need to know that we are taking this demand to the polls.”

    • Eric Holder Makes Ads for Hillary Clinton While Making Deals for Corporate Clients

      Former Obama administration attorney general Eric Holder is prominently featured in a Hillary Clinton campaign ad running in South Carolina. “If you want to make sure Republicans don’t take us backward, help Hillary move us forward,” Holder says.

      Meanwhile, in his post-public service life as a partner with white-collar defense firm Covington & Burling, Holder is upholding his Justice Department’s tradition of negotiating lower fines for corporate offenses, albeit from the other side of the negotiating table.

    • Hillary Clinton Won’t Say if She’ll Release Transcripts of Goldman Sachs Speeches

      During the Democratic presidential debate Thursday evening, MSNBC moderator Chuck Todd picked a question offered by a viewer and pointedly asked Hillary Clinton if she would release the transcripts of her paid speeches to giant investment bank Goldman Sachs. Todd then broadened the question, asking: “Are you willing to release the transcripts of all your paid speeches?”

      It was the second time Clinton has been asked if she would release transcripts of the paid speeches she gave behind closed doors. When I asked her in Manchester, New Hampshire, two weeks ago, Clinton simply laughed and turned away.

    • Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Brawl Over His “Insinuation” That She’s Corrupt

      Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had a series of momentous exchanges Thursday night over what Clinton called Sanders’ “artful smear” — the suggestion that taking massive amounts of money from corporate special interests had corrupted her.

      Clinton told Sanders during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate that he would not find a single example of money changing her mind or her vote, and she attacked him for his criticism “by innuendo, by insinuation” that “anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought.”

    • Bernie Sanders Said Hillary Clinton Is Not A Real Progressive. Here’s How She Responded.
    • Michael Bloomberg’s Possible Entry Into the Race for President Is No Surprise

      Just what this presidential campaign needs, another know-it-all billionaire. Whip out your checkbook, Michael Bloomberg, and come on in.

    • Remember ‘Liar Loans’? Wall Street Pushes a Twist on the Crisis-Era Mortgage

      These mortgages, which are given to borrowers that can’t fully document their income, helped fuel a tidal wave of defaults during the housing crisis and subsequently fell out of favor.

    • An Idiot’s Guide to Prosecuting Corporate Fraud

      A new group called Bank Whistleblowers United have just pushed out a comprehensive plan they think would put the executive branch back in the business of enthusiastically identifying, indicting, and convicting financial fraudsters — restoring accountability while protecting the public.

    • Anti-Corruption Crusader Zephyr Teachout Running for Congress

      Anti-corruption activist and law professor Zephyr Teachout announced this morning that she will be running for the U.S. House of Representatives to represent New York’s 19th congressional district.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • On Hillary, Lloyd, Us and Them

      For those puzzled by the rancor and mistrust so many feel towards Hillary Clinton – and no it’s not mindless misogyny – the ever lucid Matt Taibbi offers a clear-eyed look at the cool millions Clinton made speechifying to big banks and corporations, her hypocrisy on the subject of being tough on them, her longtime allegiance to and support from them, and bearing it all out, just what she said in those now-infamous, $675,000 speeches to Goldman Sachs. His analysis, coupled with her constant egregious shifts on issues even as she denies the shifts, provides solid grounds for the memorable time Anderson Cooper asked the cagey candidate who now brashly proclaims herself a progressive, “Will you say anything to get elected?”

    • Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
    • Hillary May Be in Serious Trouble: This Election So Far Is an Insurrection Against a Rigged System
    • Trump Visit To College Campus Sparks Protest

      Fewer than a dozen people showed up to Sunday’s protest, huddled together as temperatures hovered just above freezing. Connors said some were afraid to come, while Dutton added that many more students wanted to come, but chose instead to spend the day canvassing for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    • Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Don’t Want That Crap’

      The “Berniebro” phenomenon, where a mob of online Sanders supporters attack politicians and writers who express views critical of the Vermont senator or supportive of his Democratic rival Secretary Hilary Clinton, launched numerous thinkpieces from journalists unfortunate enough to encounter them online. At their worst, Berniebros have accused Clinton supporters of voting “based on who had the vagina” and have invented novel sexist terms such as “clitrash.”

    • Koch Brothers’ Propaganda Pushes Economic Pain on All But the Very Rich

      Last week, Steve Inskeep of NPR’s “Morning Edition” sat down with Charles Koch, co-owner and CEO of Koch Industries and the more vocal half of the infamous Koch brothers duo, to talk to him about his unprecedented political campaign spending.

      One year ago, the Koch brothers announced that they were budgeting nearly $900 million for campaign spending for the 2016 election year, a figure that was on par to match the spending of both major political parties. And according to Koch’s interview with NPR, he’s behind on that budget, and plans to really lay on the moola as the poltical battles start to heat up, especially those in Congress, prompting Inskeep to aptly label the Kochs as “a political force unto themselves.” But it’s not only for reasons of money that the Kochs might be seen as the third major party in American politics. Once the shock and awe at the depth of their wallets subsides, the reasons behind their spending habits become the real topic of interest

    • “Millennials Rising” Super PAC Is 95% Funded by Old Men

      According to recent FEC filings, 95 percent of the donations to the Super PAC “Millennials Rising” — originally called “Millennials for Jeb” — comes from men 60 years and older.

      Of the $54,960 total raised by the Super PAC, $50,000, or 91 percent, comes from the snowy-haired 72-year-old billionaire Robert A. Day. He is the grandson of Superior Oil founder William Myron Keck and a former investment manager. Day has also given $1 million to the pro-Bush Super PAC Right to Rise.

      The twitter account of Millennials Rising describes Millennials Rising as “started and run by Millennials.” Its website calls for “limited government” and simultaneously decries both the national debt and taxes as too high.

    • FBI Arrests Nearly Every Single Elected Official In A Texas Town

      Only two of the elected officials in a remote Texas town were left unscathed after the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) arrested six members under a federal indictment that accuses them of taking bribes and helping an illegal gambling operator in exchange for favors, the Associated Press reported. Those arrested in Crystal City, Texas include the mayor, the city attorney who is also the city manager, two current councilmen, and a former councilman.

      “The indictment alleges that these public officials and this businessman solicited and accepted bribes in exchange for official action, such as voting to award city contracts to, waive certain tax payments by, and conduct certain inspections to give unfair advantage to those paying bribes,” Richard Durbin, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said in a press release. One of the two remaining top officials was previously arrested on federal charges of smuggling immigrants across the southern U.S. border.

    • Ted Cruz’s Promise That Big Donors Will Match Campaign Donations Could Break Rules

      Taken at face value, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s latest fund-raising pitch to supporters is either impossible, illegal, or a scam.

      In an email his campaign blasted out on Tuesday, Cruz wrote: “I just got off the phone with a few very generous supporters who — after our big win in Iowa last night — have pledged huge support for my campaign.”

      The donors “have agreed to match all online donations to my campaign made through the links below,” he said. The page he linked to allowed supporters to give up to $5,400 ($2,700 for the primary election; $2,700 for the general election) and, for a 48-hour period, have their donations matched dollar for dollar.

      The email did not say exactly how that would work.

    • Democrats Have Wasted No Time Trolling Marco Rubio for His Debate Malfunction

      Dressed in cardboard and tinfoil robot costumes, two reps from Democratic super-PAC American Bridge greeted Rubio fans at his first rally of the day, a pancake breakfast in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The two Rubio-bots handed out broken gaskets and mechanically repeated barbs about Rubio’s repetition of the line, “Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.” As Rubio sparred with Chris Christie during last night’s debate, the New Jersey governor finally called him out for reciting the same talking point. “There it is,” Christie bellowed. “The memorized 25-second speech.” By night’s end, the Rubio-as-robot-meme was born.

      “We weren’t planning to do any stunts, but Chris Christie gave us a good idea,” said one of the bots, Kevin McAllister, deputy communications director for the super-PAC. “We could all see last night that Marco Roboto has lots of talking points but there’s not a lot of substance.”

    • Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?

      And those big donors who went ahead and poured over $100 million into Jeb’s empty vessel campaign just watched it get spent with an almost unprecedented ineffectuality. They’re ready to jump to a viable alternative. And Rubio—who may have gotten a little bankshot help from Roger Ailes and even from his campaign’s part in ginning up the Dr. Ben Carson rumor-mill—is certainly the guy with the demonstrated willingness to soak-up cash from billionaires and toe the Neoconservative lines they want to draw in Middle Eastern sand. And his team is adept at playing fast and loose with IRS restrictions on non-profit status to wash campaign cash through their well-developed laundry machinery.

    • Donald Trump Tweets That Cruz ‘Illegally Stole’ Iowa

      Trump has been able to dominate the political conversation by advancing outrageous claims that attract the attention of the media and the public.

    • Donald Trump’s Russian cousins

      The current media frenzy over the darling of the Republican anti-establishment, Donald Trump, seems to fit particular American stereotypes about our political propensities. We Americans like a scrapper, a stubby, come-from-behind, up-by-the-bootstraps, half-Rocky Balboa, half-Horatio Alger amalgam of anti-establishment and egalitarian tropes. In this iteration, Donald Trump is the self-made man that he wants to appear as, and we appreciate how compulsively he weaves this ostentatious narrative.

    • WATCH: The Trump Interview That Should Have Ended His Candidacy Once and for All

      The topic turns to President Obama’s recent nuclear agreement with Iran. Trump unwittingly displays for all to see that he simply does not understand the most basic elements of the agreement.

      Trump proclaims his familiar boast that he is the best deal-maker ever and the best negotiator ever, and that the Obama administration completely botched the negotiation with Iran. And then Trump graced us with an inside account of how he, as a master deal-maker, would have negotiated the agreement with Iran and obtained a much better outcome for America.

    • Big bucks, shadowy companies: Election mystery money returns
    • Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

      She says she’s been fighting for progressive causes for years, but when? Where? Even on the micro-bore social “wedge” issues that her husband relied upon as president, she’s in trouble. Gays won’t forget her support of the Defense of Marriage Act. Straights think she’s a reed in the political wind.

    • Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Pack New Hampshire Arena For Democratic Lovefest

      When Clinton took the stage around 930 p.m., she noted the significant lead Sanders holds on her in the polls for New Hampshire’s primary (which drew boos from the remaining Sanders supporters), but said she refused to give up on trying to win the state. Like Sanders, she also stuck closely to her typical stump speech, but her supporters (a good number of whom were applauding while seated in the media section) lapped it up and applauded with the thunder stix passed out by the campaign.

    • Ted Cruz’s Logo Is Hilariously Appropriate

      “A transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is an ultrasound technique that is used to view a man’s prostate and surrounding tissues. The ultrasound transducer (probe) sends sound waves through the wall of the rectum into the prostate gland, which is located directly in front of the rectum.”

      Yup, that’s the very top Google result. Basically, it’s an anal probe.

  • Censorship
  • Privacy
    • Elliot D. Cohen

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour in coversation with Elliot D. Cohen. In his latest book, “The Technology of Oppression,” Cohen explores the many ways that federal agencies are spying on Americans, and offers proposals to rein in these invasions of privacy.

    • NSA reorganization to combine offense, defense

      The plan, which the agency calls NSA21, is expected to be detailed publicly next week. A congressman who has been briefed and a former intelligence official described the outlines to The Baltimore Sun.

    • Windows 10 telemetry network traffic analysis, 30-hour update

      In 30 hours of idling on the default installation, there are a total of 113 non-private network ip addresses that this installation of Windows 10 Enterprise wants to connect to.

      Requests for anti-telemetry app/operating system testing: There have been several requests for different tests of various anti-telemetry apps, system configurations, and different operating systems. I would like to test these ideas out, and indeed I will do some testing, but I do not have the resources to test everything. If you have a specific request of testing that I can setup and walk away from until its time to compile the traffic data, let me know, and I’ll consider it.

      Firewall considerations: Many have taken the idea to incorporate these results into their own firewalls. Keep in mind that these results are ALL traffic from this test, including innocent connection attempts to the private network 192.168.1.0/24 as well as innocent connection requests to NTP. If you were to outright ban all the resulting traffic, you might lose some necessary functionality that you did not anticipate.

      Keep in mind that this is simply a hobby of curiosity of mine, and the results are the unscientific results of a hobbyist. If it’s useful to you, I’m glad to have helped.

  • Civil Rights
    • Rubio Takes A Trump-Like Tone On Immigration In New Hampshire

      Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been offering increasingly tough talk on immigration as he steadily gains on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in New Hampshire ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation primary on February 9.

      As Trump has won over angry crowds across the state with speeches linking immigration to crime and terrorism, Rubio has begun to mimic his hard-line stance.

    • A Nice Paragraph About Why Humans Are So Damn Paranoid

      This is just another way of saying that human intelligence evolved too fast for human emotions and morals to keep up. Either way, though, it sure rings true. Just take a look at the current presidential race. If any country should feel self-confident and safe, it’s the United States. But boy howdy, we sure don’t, do we?

    • Refugee Camps Are Factories for Terrorists? Not Really.

      Rawlence writes that no evidence emerged that Westgate was plotted in Dadaab. Yet Kenya used the attack to try to shut down the camp. The international community, especially the United States, reiterated its support for the Kenyan government and largely ignored the abuses committed in its war on terror.

    • When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine

      Did Hillary Clinton really win the diversionary spectacle known as the Iowa Caucuses by two-tenths of a percent? Probably not. But we will never know. Why? Because Bernie Sanders refuses to call the results into question and demand the release the raw vote totals, which would likely show the senator won the actual vote by a decisive margin.

    • Let’s End Torture in U.S. Prisons

      Solitary confinement is exactly what it sounds like.

      A prisoner is kept in a small cell — usually 6 feet by 10 — alone, for 23 hours a day.

      For one hour a day, he or she may be taken into a small cage outside, with the opportunity to walk in circles before being taken back in. Even the outdoor cage can usually be opened and closed remotely.

      The idea is to keep the prisoner from having any human interaction. Those who’ve been through it call it a “living death.” The United Nations calls it torture.

    • Immigrant Mom Finally Released From Detention Center After Suffering 7 Seizures

      A Salvadoran woman who suffered seven seizures while being held in an immigration detention center has finally been released, according to officials in Texas. The woman’s release follows weeks of outcry from advocates who were concerned her health was deteriorating in detention without proper medical care.

      Susana Arévalo was arrested at the beginning of the new year in the first round of controversial immigration raids authorized by the Obama administration. Ever since, she’s been detained at the Dilley family detention center in Texas.

    • The Guantánamo in New York You’re Not Allowed to Know About

      Yet most of Hashi’s time in solitary confinement occurred before he had been deemed guilty by the justice system. Prolonged isolation prior to or in the absence of trial, sensory deprivation, and a lack of independent monitoring are normally associated with the detention center at Guantánamo Bay and CIA black sites overseas. But the MCC’s 10-South wing, which houses terrorism suspects, is no different in these respects. A former MCC prisoner and a psychologist specializing in trauma told The Intercept that the kind of extreme isolation imposed on defendants there can pressure them to accept a guilty plea, irrespective of actual guilt.

    • The Logic of Hunger Striking Palestinians: When Starvation Is a Weapon

      Under the “administrative detention” law, Israel has effectively held Palestinians and Arab prisoners without offering reasons for their arrests, practically since the state was founded in 1948. In fact, it is argued that this law which is principally founded on “secret evidence” dates back to the British Mandate government’s Emergency Regulations.

    • What Would It Take for the Government to Obtain Google’s Counter-Terror Ads Algos?

      Congress hasn’t passed legislation requiring tech companies to report their terrorist users. But does having Google use its algorithms to determine who is an extremist give the government a way to find out who Google thinks is an extremist?

    • Satanists Have Trolled A Major City Into Submission

      The move follows a 2014 Supreme Court decision that, ironically, was widely viewed as a huge blow to the separation of church and state when it was handed down. That impression, however, did not anticipate the Satanic Temple’s efforts to troll lawmakers who wish to begin their meetings with an endorsement of religion.

    • Bundy Militants Could be Forced to Repay $3.4 Million to Taxpayers Over Illegal Stunt

      An Oregon Democrat introduced legislation that would require Ammon Bundy and other out-of-state militants to repay taxpayers for the cost of their armed takeover of a wildlife sanctuary.

    • Terrifying Ted and his Ultra-Conservative Vision for America

      According to Cruz, he will have the right as president to dictate to the rest of the world how they should live because, as his campaign states, “The United States of America is the exceptional nation, the nation other countries aspire to be like. We should stand as a shining beacon of what free people enjoying a free market and system of government can achieve.” And if the “free people” of other nations should decide that they don’t want to live in a free market under a US-style liberal democratic government then we will just have to force them to because they simply don’t know what’s best for them. In actuality, Cruz doesn’t really care about their freedom anyway. Upon assuming office he intends to “prioritize American national security interests in every instance” by strengthening the military to ensure the continuation of US imperialism throughout the globe.

    • NYPD Throws People Out of Their Homes Without Ever Proving Criminal Activity

      It is not unusual for cities (both large and small) to have nuisance abatement laws that allow for landlords or government officials to evict people from residences when there’s chronic illegal behavior taking place there. Often it’s tied to the relentless, doomed war against drugs and vice, trying to shut down drug dens and brothels (that exist because of the black market the bans create in the first place, but never mind).

    • The only plan B for Europe is rebuilding power for change

      Europeans today are caught between a failing and undemocratic EU and equally failing and undemocratic national states. As Yanis Varoufakis prepares to launch a new movement for the democratisation of the EU, what’s the way out of the impasse?

    • A different Europe or bust

      As David Cameron’s renegotiation nears its uneventful conclusion, the big picture of what kind of Europe we want to live in is in danger of being lost. What can we do to change it?

    • After Brexit: the Eurosceptic vision of an Anglosphere future

      In the last couple of decades, eurosceptics have developed the idea that Britain’s future lies with a group of “Anglosphere” countries, not with a union of European states. At the core of this Anglosphere are the “five eyes” countries (so-called because of intelligence cooperation) of the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Each, it is argued, share a common history, language and political culture: liberal, protestant, free market, democratic and English-speaking. Sometimes the net is cast wider, to encompass Commonwealth countries and former British colonies, such as India, Singapore and Hong Kong. But the emotional and political heart of the project resides in the five eyes nations.

    • Someone in New Hampshire Is Leaving These Anti-Immigration Fliers on Cars

      At some point during Hillary Clinton’s rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Saturday night, I got a note on my car. Thankfully it was not a parking ticket—closer inspection revealed that it was single-page double-sided leaflet hitting both Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders for their position on immigration. It accuses Sanders of choosing “to value current and future Hispanic votes over progressive principles” by supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. And it asks Clinton, “Should the President of the United States primarily represent the interests of American families or the interests of families of other countries who have entered the United States illegally?”

    • LKY’S VINDICTIVE LEGACY: A S’POREAN POLITICAL REFUGEE DIES IN THE U.S.

      Francis Seow, once a high-ranking Singaporean official, died on Jan. 21 in the United States, where he had spent the past 25 years as a refugee from the late Lee Kuan Yew’s petty vindictiveness. He died at the age of 88 in Boston, where he was an adjunct professor at Harvard University.

      Singapore has supposedly loosened up in its treatment of dissidents. However, the cases of Roy Ngerng, who dared to question the operation of Singapore’s Central Provident Fund earned him a libel suit that bankrupted him from Lee’s son, the current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and teenager Amos Yee, who was temporarily committed to a mental ward for an obscenity-filled video criticizing the country, show that it hasn’t lightened up that much.

      But what Lee ordered up for Seow is a prime example of just how far the elder Lee would go to crush his enemies.

      After two years as the island republic’s solicitor general, Seow quit in 1972 and went into private practice. He was also appointed senior counsel to a Commission of Inquiry after Chinese students boycotted an examination in 1963. He had the cheek to challenge Lee on several different fronts, and he paid for it by losing his country.

    • GOP chairman warns Obama of deadline for Gitmo plan

      The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is pressing President Obama to share his plan for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility ahead of a February deadline.

      The 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires the administration to send Congress a “comprehensive strategy” by Feb. 23 on how to detain current and future prisoners.

      “So far, the only communication Congress has received regarding the administration’s intention to comply with its legal obligations is [Defense] Secretary [Ash] Carter’s recent public statements,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) wrote in a letter to Obama released publically Thursday.

    • Overnight Defense: Bill would require women to register for draft

      Women would be required to register for the draft under a bill introduced Thursday by Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), two veterans.

      Hunter said he introduced the bill to force Congress to consider the ramifications of the Pentagon’s recent decision to open all combat jobs to women. The Marine veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and member of the House Armed Service Committee has been a vocal opponent of that move.

    • Guantanamo’s Last Year
    • UN rights experges urge US to close Guantanamo
    • The National Shame Still Remains, Guantanamo’s 14th Birthday
    • The Racial Subtext To The GOP’s Immigration Policies

      There is a strong racial context and subtext to the debate about immigration reform taking place in the GOP presidential primary.

      Frontrunner Donald Trump rocketed to the top of the polls after saying Mexican immigrants were “rapists,” “drug dealers,” and “criminals,” and as his campaign has gotten stronger and stronger, his opponents have raced to keep up and show just how tough they are on the immigration issue.

    • The impossibility of the citizen terrorist

      The goal, in the words of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, is to make a “strong symbolic act against those who have excluded themselves from the national community.”

    • The Rule of Law Enforcement

      THE VITAL STATISTICS of my stomping grounds here at Three Rivers, then, are as follows. The prison is home to a bit more than 1,000 inmates, of whom about 60 percent are Mexican nationals, another 20 percent are U.S. Hispanics, 10 percent are black, 5 percent are Latin American, and 5 percent are white (the ofay percentage of 15 percent I cited last time appears to have been out of date). About half of the Mexicans “run with” (institutional slang for “are affiliated with”) the Paisas, a relatively amorphous prison gang that draws its ranks almost exclusively from Mexican nationals; a smaller percentage of U.S. Hispanics run with Tango Blast, a more organized gang with a much cooler name; while blacks and whites for purposes of prison riots and dining arrangements both act mostly as race-based units.

    • VIDEO: Bernie Sanders and Larry David on SNL Together Was as Hilarious as You’d Imagine

      Comedian David dedicated a long bit on “Saturday Night Live” to a mashup of his character on his HBO show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and the Sanders presidential campaign.

      And that’s not all that happened: The Vermont senator joined his doppelgänger on stage in a comical sketch about inequality.

    • British press ‘most right-wing’ in Europe

      It’s a common criticism of the British press that journalists are too biased, although it can be hard to tell which side they are supposed to favour. The BBC is a case in point – in the run up to the election Labour criticised it for giving such prominence to fears over a deal with the SNP, and at a similar time Nigel Farage became outraged after being booed on Question Time. It was a “remarkable audience even by the left-wing standards of the BBC”, he said.

    • Ex-CIA chief Petraeus’ former lover escapes probe in leaked military secrets case
    • ‘Eyewash’: How the CIA deceives its own workforce about operation
    • ‘Playing with fire’: CIA intentionally misled employees with ‘eyewash’ practice
    • How the CIA deliberately misleads its own employees by spreading false information in internal memos

      The CIA misleads its own staff by sending its employees false memos known as ‘eyewash’ that deliberately mask details about killings, drone strikes and other clandestine activities, it is claimed.

      The practice begins when a regular internal memo is distributed to wider groups of staff containing false advice about operations or agency sources.

      A second memo is then sent to a much smaller, select group, explicitly telling them to disregard the previous instructions and passing on the real information.

    • FBI creates Facebook page in Farsi for case of missing CIA agent who has a $5million recovery reward after he vanished in 2007
    • CIA’s ‘Queen of Torture’ who was inspiration for Jessica Chastain’s character in Zero Dark Thirty secretly married her former supervisor who openly calls for war between Sunnis and Shias

      A CIA official nicknamed the ‘Queen of Torture’ secretly married a former supervisor who openly called for war between the Sunnis and Shias.

      Alfreda, whose last name authorities are taking pains to protect, is believed to have married Michael Scheuer, who was her boss in the 1990s, more than a year ago.

    • Secrets of Donald Trump’s Cult: This Is Why the Angriest White Voters Will Not Leave His Side

      Donald Trump is a political cult leader. In that role, he is also a political necromancer, beating a drum of nativism and fear to control the right-wing political zombies that follow him.

      The Republican Party’s base of voters is rapidly shrinking. Contemporary conservatism is a throwback ideology that is unpopular with a large and growing segment of the American public. The result of these two factors is a Republican Party and American conservative establishment that is under threat, obsolescent and in a deep existential crisis.

    • 5 Worst Foreign Policy Moments of GOP New Hampshire Debate

      Virtually the only good thing anyone knows about the sleazy Ted Cruz is that he came out against torture.

    • Obama Condemns hatred of Muslim-Americans, Affirms their Importance to Nation

      President Obama spoke Wednesday at a Baltimore mosque in an explicit pushback against the hatred for Muslims being promoted by billionaire real estate developer Donald J. Trump and others among the Republican presidential candidates.

    • Number of Victims of Female Genital Mutilation Is 70 Million Higher Than Thought

      The real scale of female genital mutilation (FGM) worldwide has been revealed in alarming new statistics on the eve of International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM. At least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone ritual cutting, half of them living in just three countries, according to UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency.

    • Facing Execution at 72, Georgia’s Oldest Death Row Inmate Exposes Death Penalty’s Racist Roots

      Evidence that the state’s death penalty was racially biased was a major contributing factor that led to Furman v. Georgia, the landmark Supreme Court case that in 1972 suspended the death penalty across the country. (The plaintiff, William Henry Furman, was a black man deemed “mentally impaired” by a state psychiatrist, who had been convicted in a one-day trial in Savannah.) Furman forced states to amend their death penalty statutes to avoid the “arbitrary and discriminatory” imposition of capital punishment.

      Just four years later, the Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s new death penalty law in Gregg v. Georgia. Yet the law showed clear continuity with decades past: Of the first dozen people to die in the electric chair following Gregg, nine were black.

    • Overwhelmingly White Maryland County Bans All School Field Trips To Baltimore

      Elected officials in Baltimore blasted the decision. “When I heard about this continuing ban on school travel to Baltimore, I was, frankly, totally flummoxed. It seems so outrageous as to be actually sad,” said Brooke Lierman, a Maryland delegate who represents Baltimore.

      Harford schools did modify the ban to allow students to compete in sporting events in Baltimore saying such activities take place in “more controlled environments” and may have “playoff implications.”

    • Jeb Bush, Debate Audience Destroy Donald Trump for Loving Eminent Domain

      Donald Trump still supports eminent domain—the government-backed confiscation of private property—but his stance earned a harsh rebuke from Jeb Bush and a round of boos from the audience at the Republican debate.

    • Lies, Correctness and Oliver Kamm

      In this interview with LBC Oliver Kamm went on to insult and lambast me and say that I claimed that the rape charges were founded on political correctness. I tried to point out that I said no such thing, but LBC had cut me off. LBC later put up the version you hear on that link in which Kamm’s remarks are given in full and my own are edited. But it is very plain indeed that I did not say what Kamm goes on to accuse me of saying.

      [...]

      Kamm’s reactionary friends can congratulate him all they like. What he is doing is spreading a deliberate lie about me. But it may just lead to a few more people researching what is really happening in the Assange case, and that would be karma.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Pharma Executives Worry About Presidential Candidates Demanding Reform

      Pfizer, since the beginning of last month, has raised prices an average of 10.6 percent for more than 60 branded products. Bloomberg reports that prices have doubled over the last year for over 60 brand-name drugs.

      Meanwhile, PhRMA has reportedly invested in a new marketing campaign to boost the image of the industry.

    • Copyrights

SIPO (China’s Patent Office) Taken Over by Patent Maximalists

Sunday 7th of February 2016 07:20:53 PM

Maximalists are what some call “Extremists”


Assuming that more patents (a la USPTO) lead to more happiness

Summary: A look at China’s race to the bottom (decline in quality) when it comes to patents, assuming quite wrongly that quantity is more important than quality and severe penalties for perceived infringement will spur innovation

PATENT maximalists, who are stereotypically (as per the stigma) patent lawyers, try to equate economies with patents. Some equate innovation or progress with patents. The media which they control (author) is often a source of humour or a subject of ridicule. Watch how this EPO-funded blog, for example, urges startups to waste their money on patents right now. Suicide advocacy?

“China plans to take measures to curb the patent infringement over internet,” Benjamin Henrion wrote, “ISPs to take censor the net for patmafia” (patent mafia).

“Patent maximalists, who are stereotypically (as per the stigma) patent lawyers, try to equate economies with patents.”Here is the respective article which says: “Almost four months after the submission of the draft Patent Law Amendment Bill of China proposed by SIPO, which passed through the Bureau Affairs Meeting of SIPO in late August 2015, the Legislative Affairs Office (LAO) of the State Council released this draft on 2 December 2015, for further public consultation. In the meantime, the Bill has been developed as a Preparatory Project in the Legislative Programme 2015 of the State Council from the Research Project in the last year. The above signs indicate that the Amendment Bill can be expected to be finally passed by the National People’s Congress (NPC) in two or three years.

“The Chinese government has paid increasing attention to the importance of intellectual property in recent years. In June 2014, the Standing Committee of the NPC heard the Report on the Implementation of the Patent Law and emphasized that the Patent Law Amendment Bill should focus on enhancing the protection of patent right and on coordination and convergence amongst laws. To that end, the latest draft Bill includes, amongst other things, provisions aiming at strengthening patent enforcement, enhancing protection of design patent, perfecting service invention system, promoting exploitation and utilization of patent, and giving more power to the Patent Reexamination Board.”

“China’s SIPO is making a mistake here; it’s the same as USPTO mistakes, notably the reduction in patent quality so as to eliminate the backlog and just approve almost every application, to the point where the number of granted patents nearly doubles in just a few years.”China, as we noted here some weeks/months ago (on numerous occasions), is lowering patent quality for the sake of quantity. This is widely known a problem. As IP Watch (critic of patent maximalism) put it the other day, “China Continues High Growth In IP Filing, But Is There More To The Story?”

China’s SIPO is making a mistake here; it’s the same as USPTO mistakes, notably the reduction in patent quality so as to eliminate the backlog and just approve almost every application, to the point where the number of granted patents nearly doubles in just a few years. Did innovation magically double in a number of years? If not, then what we clearly have here is a system gone awry.

The Alice Case Continues to Smash Software Patents (This Time OpenTV’s); Will the EPO Ever Pay Attention?

Sunday 7th of February 2016 06:54:21 PM

The ‘magic’ of abstract patents is gone

Summary: The potency or the grip of software patents in the United States is quickly eroding, but the EPO continues to act as though software patents are legitimate

PATENT lawyers in the United States cannot sigh in relief. Their business prospects are being diminished as the USPTO is pressured to reassess examination guidelines (never mind the cheeky loopholes), in lieu with court rulings on software patents. It’s becoming harder to get software patents and even if one gets granted a patent on software, the likelihood of a court honouring such a patent is slimmer.

Patent lawyers who have long relied on the USPTO issuing patents on software are still disseminating tips for getting around the rules and patent software. The following new example, calling the domain “cybertech” (buzzword for computer security) is all about software and it says (courtesy of greedy patent lawyers): “Cybertech companies regularly struggle with the question of whether to patent core algorithms. If those algorithms are discoverable by anyone who examines your product, patent protection is the way to go. Also, your products contain many sub-features. Consider patenting only those aspects that will drive product sales. While most people think of patents as technical documents, really, they are business tools. A patent is only valuable if crafted in a way that prevents others from interfering with your business objectives. Therefore, it is best to strategically consider your innovations by asking: “How necessary is this feature to my prospective competitor?” You should patent only those features that provide strategic advantage to the company.”

Actually, increasingly, companies find that US courts, including the most pro-software patents courts and districts (like CAFC and Texas), simply deny software patents. Here is the latest example that we found last night (there are many other such examples, some of which we covered before):

OpenTV patents ‘abstract’ under Alice

OpenTV’s data communication patents in the US are invalid under the Alice Corp decision, a district court has ruled in the Swiss TV technology company’s spat with Apple.

The US District Court for the Northern District of California held on 28 January that the patents were abstract under the Supreme Court’s 2014 Alice Corp v CLS Bank ruling and lacked an inventive concept.

The subsidiary of Kudelski Group, OpenTV, filed the lawsuit against Apple in May 2015, arguing that the iOS and OS X operating systems infringed patents for securely communicating data between devices.

Apple sought to prove that the claims of the patents were abstract and filed a motion to dismiss the case.

US patent lawyers (and full-time software patents propaganda source) say “people like Inventors Digest contributor and patent attorney Gene Quinn, and Jay Walker, who has millions of dollars invested in patent software and related businesses, completely disagree with Cuban.” Mr. Cuban turned from investing in a notorious patent troll to fighting against patent trolls and against software patents (explicitly so). He’s definitely not a patent troll. Jay Walker, on the other hand, became little more than a patent troll (we wrote several articles about it) and Gene Quinn we often referred to as “Patent Watchtroll” because he had defended patent trolls, not just software patents. It’s rather revealing that patents lawyers and trolls (or people who profit from trolls) are rather anxious.

The United States undeniably moves away from software patents, so when the EPO promotes software patents in Europe it seriously discredits itself. It last did this on Thursday (i.e. three days ago) in Twitter, linking to what we criticised three days ago. The EPO is truly out of control and it needs to be stopped. Patent scope is just one of many dimensions of abuse.

EPO Staff Responds to Team Battistelli’s Expansion to Include French Economic Propagandist on the Payroll

Sunday 7th of February 2016 06:17:53 PM

Battistelli’s secret weapon in the fight against economists who prove him wrong (e.g. on UPC)?

Summary: With strings attached (like string puppets of Battistelli in various units including the Investigative Unit), can the new Chief Economist, who is French and paid by Battistelli, ever be trusted?

THE EPO‘s Team Battistelli, which is basically Battistelli and his inner circle, appears to be growing. Battistelli's days at the European Patent Office may be numbered, but not only he is the problem. There is entryism going on. Team Battistelli is so convinced that it is above the law and soon it will be able to manufacture its own supportive ‘research’ (in support of the lies).

“Team Battistelli is so convinced that it is above the law and soon it will be able to manufacture its own supportive ‘research’ (in support of the lies).”At the EPO, patents are not for SMEs, no matter what the PR team says. The patents are for large businesses, including many that are not at all European. According to this new article from IP Kat: “The Office of Chief Economist at EPO typically runs as fixed-term appointment from as short as one year to as long as nearly six. The appointment has always been external and the career profile has thus far been civil servant, academic or consultant. Most previous post holders have had strong ties with France or Belgium. Yann, a French national, will be the fifth Chief Economist.”

We mentioned this several days ago and we are gratified to see that commenters at IP Kat (many of whom work at the EPO) respond similarly. They point out some of the obvious problems, including influence in Brussels, lobbying, and so on. One commenter said: “Congratulations with your nomination, Yann. Here are three things your new boss might not have told you yet:

  1. Battistelli nominated nearly exclusively french staff in top positions at EPO, hence the negative comments as to your nationality.
  2. One of your predecessors Prof. van Pottelsberge was quite critical towards the patent system, for example: http://bruegel.org/2009/06/lost-property-the-european-patent-system-and-why-it-doesnt-work/
  3. Your challenge will be to prove Battistelli is right, while most believe he’s not.

Another commenter wrote: “what a coincidence : another frenchman ! It is like the staff reps sanctioned : all suepo officials… another coincidence like VP1 recently said in an interview for Dutch Nieuwsuur” (more on that soon).

Here is a similar comment that says: “Oh, look! Another French appointment to the highest ranks of the EPO. Along with BB’s almost-entirely-French inner circle. I thought the EPO was a multinational organisation? Surely it is time for a chief economist who does not have “strong ties with France or Belgium”? Perhaps someone with a more Anglo-Saxon or Frankfurt-school view of economics, just for a change?”

“Strong ties with Belgium should come as no surprise,” added another person, “given that it’s the location of the European Commission. Paris has the OECD, where Dominic Guellec is now, and also produces some excellent IP and innovation economists. That said, there are plenty of good IP centres through the member states. For example, Nikolaus Thumm is in Spain at the Commission’s Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, and there are some excellent economists at Bocconi in Milan and Max Planck in Munich – to name just a few. A perhaps more glaring lack of diversity is that fact that all five appointees are male and white.”

“Oh, look! Another French appointment to the highest ranks of the EPO.”
      –AnonymousResponding to Nicola from IP Kat, who decided to focus primarily on the gender rather than nationality or ethnicity, one person wrote: “I agree with half of your statement but the other half has no bearing on the matter. The proportion of non-whites in Europe is insignificant.”

Another person told Nicola: “It’s hardly surprising is it ? In case you had not noticed the EPO is governed by a white male European geronotocracy. A good exemple is the Suisse delegation headed by the “honorary chairman” of the Admin Counsel (an innovative made-up position invented by the current EPO President when he was chair of the Admin Counsel). http://www.epo.org/about-us/organisation/administrative-council/representatives.html#ch The alpha male in question has retired as head of the national IPO and was replaced by a female (coincidentally a white European one):
http://kluwerpatentblog.com/2015/07/06/dr-iur-et-lic-rer-pol-catherine-chammartin-new-director-general-of-swiss-federal-office-of-intellectual-property/ Despite being well past his sell-by date he still continues to hog the seat on the Admin Counsel. And as for Mr. Minnoye and Mr. Lutz, just do not get me started on that track …”

“Perhaps someone with a more Anglo-Saxon or Frankfurt-school view of economics, just for a change?”
      –AnonymousAnother person added: 1. Whether you have a man or a woman at the top you won´t be able to see a difference in the way they lead a company. Yes, a woman will not assault chambermaids like Strauss-Kahn but from the point of view of managerial decisions being a woman is irrelevant. 2. Women have enjoyed a lot of privilege in the EPO, see the latest example of Elodie Bergot, with her spectacular jump from A3 to A6.”

We wrote about this leap from Bergot before (see part one, part two, part three, and this final part). She is the wife of Battistelli’s ‘protégé’ from INPI days. She was under-qualified.

“To Nicola,” one person wrote: “It is not that a discussion of gender or racial bias is out of place. It is that the real problem is somewhere else: all of Battistelli close men come from the same background: they are French, they come from the same universities and they are all freemasons. The fact that none is of a different race, gender or nationality is a consequence of that: the special political club to which they belong is only open to white males. So: your observation is true, but it is the symptom of a much bigger problem than you think.”

As far as I know, Battistelli is not in freemasonry (common misconception). He’s from a prestigious school which some say is more powerful a network.

“Women have enjoyed a lot of privilege in the EPO, see the latest example of Elodie Bergot, with her spectacular jump from A3 to A6.”
      –Anonymous“Thank heavens you didn’t mention the following mysterious connections,” responded another person, linking to this article from Techrights.

After Nicola had said that “more glaring lack of diversity is that fact that all five appointees are male and white” one person responded with: “To be honest, the situation at the EPO in respect of gender diversity is not such bad: amongst the union members severely sanctioned lately, there are two females and only one male.”

“While Europe is ethnically homogenous compared to other parts of the globe,” another person added, “the proportion of non-whites is not insignificant (in neither statistical or colloquial senses.) The non-white population of London alone is roughly 3.3M, which is bigger than many EPO member states. I fail to see how geographical/gender diversity has bearing but race/ethnicity doesn’t.”

“I guess that the EPO being a non-tax organisation, there is no need for the tax fiddling skills illustrated by certain multinational companies.”
      –AnonymousOne more person said: “I agree that in a broader context that the fact that all five appointees are white and male is a glaring lack of diversity. However, this appointment surely must also be viewed in the much narrower context of the current management situation of the EPO. The upper echelons of the EPO appear to in the process of being stacked with French nationals. So the appointment of yet another French national (regardless of gender or race) to such a position appears to be a much greater immediate concern than the, present but perhaps less immediately relevant, issues about gender and race.”

The point about race and gender misses a much more important point. It probably serves to distract from the debate people really ought to be having.

“C’mon Nicola,” said one more person, “that’s probably just another EPO ‘coincidence’,,,,,,,isn’t it???,,,. I can’t imagine for a minute that a thoroughly modern model European organisation like the EPO has a diversity glass ceiling that is potentially treble glazed and armour plated, can you?”

Another person added sarcastically: “I guess that the EPO being a non-tax organisation, there is no need for the tax fiddling skills illustrated by certain multinational companies.”

Here is a person making fun of President Battistelli’s qualifications in another thread (referring to INPI as “FPO”):

How kind of Madhouse to write in and say that I am “rather wrong”.

In fact, Madhouse confirms what I said, that the FPO indeed does not examine for patentability, bearing in mind that the key issue for patentability in 90% of cases is obviousness, which the FPO doesn’t go anywhere near.

Mr Moody you will perhaps already have grasped, that whether claimed subject matter is or is not novel is more or less a black and white issue, whereas whether or not it is obvious (within the meaning of the EPC) though, that is a judgement that requires years of specialised education, professional training and experience, of which President Battistelli has none.

Well, some people claimed that INPI just grants patents without examination. This is untrue. In any event, watch how a discussion that should have focused about Battistelli’s inner circles and vested interests/agenda got turned into a debate about feminism or political correctness. It’s unhelpful given the real (or core) issue at the EPO.

As a side note, economics shouldn’t be mistaken for a science. Economists are often hired to write a seemingly (on the surface) technical analysis to support an agenda of someone (or a business or a government), with omission where it doesn’t suit the required outcome/conclusion/hypothesis. Quantifiable measures in the economic sense/context are beyond the scope of this post, but there is plenty of literature out there about why economics are a sort of pseudo-science where money buys ‘results’.

If the new Chief Economist is as loyal to Battistelli as all staff must be (examine the evidence which is the vocation of people not 100% on Battistelli’s side), then Battistelli just got himself a lobbyist, not an analyst.

UPC: To Understand Who Would Benefit From It Just Look at Who’s Promoting It (Like TPP)

Sunday 7th of February 2016 05:18:35 PM

Summary: The UPC, which is designed to aid patent trolls and aggressors (and their lawyers), is still being advanced by the EPO and some misinformed (but loyal to these former groups) politicians

THE Unitary Patent Court (UPC) is not a step forward but a step backwards. Here is what Glyn Moody (not a patent lawyer or a patent troll) made of the UPC last week, in page 6 of his very detailed article: “EPO’s spokesperson mentioned… [UPC] … as an important reason for revising the EPO’s internal rules” (the context being an attack on staff). Moody filed this under the section “Trolls get ready for the unitary patent,” alluding to a fact that we so often revisit here. The Unitary Patent would work quite well for software patents and for patent trolls, even from abroad. It would not be beneficial to Europe. In this post we explore some recent developments in the race towards UPC, where the main racers are patent lawyers and their biggest clients (large and rich corporations).

Jane Lambert recently had an online dispute/debate. It started with her saying: “Looking forward to my talk on the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court at 17:00 today in chambers” (UK).

As I pointed out to her, the UPC is not about helping SMEs but about destroying them, by allowing Europe-wide litigation against them. Lambert, who is based in the capital of patent lawyers, London (later Honley), responded with: “I see the UPC as levelling the playing field between SME in the UK and the Mittelstand in Germany and rest of the continent. UPC litigation still much cheaper than litigation in England and Wales alone (see table on page 50 of http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/contra_vision_ltd_336_p4_163kb.pdf)” (see with context).

“If one wrongly assumes,” I responded, “that: 1) more/broader litigation is good. 2) companies only sue, never get sued.”

“Cost of litigation never includes EU-wide damages,” Benjamin Henrion added.

It’s a matter of simple economics. The public interests should be factored in.

The matter of fact is, trying to explain this to patent lawyers, who make money from disputes, can be an exercise in futility. Lambert said “UPC makes sense in cost savings even for litigation between 2 UK companies over a European patent designating the UK.”

“Those same companies will easily get sued,” I replied, “by other companies from ~30 countries around Europe. Good for lawyers.

“UPC is a recipe for an epidemic of litigation. Good for patent lawyers, even FANTASTIC for them.”

Henrion then added that “litigating/defending patents is simply out of reach for most of small companies, upc or not http://ur1.ca/ogv4q”

He also asked, “patents are a moving target then?”

Lambert then said this was “better than their being sued in several jurisdictions for essentially the same cause of action. Good for business.”

They wouldn’t be sued like that because the incentive to sue is low. Less money for lawyers. At this point we soon realised that nothing would convince lawyers that the UPC is bad because the UPC is not bad for them. The patent lawyers want what’s good for patent lawyers and their biggest clients (income source).

Lambert later added that “that’s exactly what happens already and it’s the start-ups and other small businesses that suffer the most under present system,” to which I responded with: “Startups are the ones reluctant to sue, and UPC won’t improve that for them. It’ll make them the victim of MORE lawsuits.”

Lambert concluded: “yes it will. The costs of litigation will be so much less than in this country. It will also be easier to obtain IP insurance.” Lambert later added: “Fragmentation of Europe is an enormous barrier to innovation in EU.”

Fragmentation is not the right word. It wrongly assumes that patents need to be global or universal. This clearly isn’t the case. Well, generally speaking, the UPC — like TTP, TTIP, ACTA and more confusing acronyms the public isn’t intended to understand — are hinged on a big pile of Big Lies. They empower multinational corporations and attempt to convince the public that this is somehow better for everyone. The UPC is similar to ISDS in the sense that one helps large businesses sue lots of businesses in one fell swoop. The latter lets them sue nations.

Wouter Pors, a patent lawyer whom we mentioned here several times before, was recently quoted as saying: “Wouter Pors @ #UPP2016 on strategic use of #UPC and #unitarypatent: strong patents more suitable to opt-in?”

When patent lawyers say “strong patents” they don’t mean strong innovation, it’s all about strong (high) profit for strong (rich) companies. Economists are needed here, but not ones who are funded (salaried even) by the EPO. As one shrewd comment put it the other day regarding the EPO’s new French economist (we shall write about that more in a separate article):

Perhaps Yann can turn his attention to the financial impact of the UP upon not only the EPO, but also European businesses?

Darren’s amusing piece (hypothetical discussion with a client) from 20 April 2015 points to reasons why the level of the official fees levied means that advent of the UPC might not be beneficial for all – particularly SMEs.

However, in addition to the issue of official fees, that is the equally important issue of advisory fees.

A little bird tells me that national governments may well be relying upon Article 149a to sanction what would otherwise amount to contraventions of Articles 2 and 64 EPC – i.e. to allow national patents, non-unitary EPs and unitary EPs to all have different effects when it comes to infringement.

On top of this, we have the possibility (now seeming much more like a certainty) that different Participating Member States (PMSs) of the UPCA will have different national laws. Thus, it seems that the process of determining whether a patent application that is eligible for unitary protection will be infringed by actions in country X will now comprise the following steps.

1. Has unitary effect been requested?
2. If so, who was the original applicant?
3. Did the (an) original applicant have a residence / place of business in a state that is a PMS for the unitary patent concerned?
4. If so, determine the applicable national law under Art. 7(1) and (2) of Reg. 1257/2012 (and if not, the applicable law is that of Germany).
5. Seek advice from an expert of the national law determined under step 4.

This is a much more complicated and expensive procedure for determining infringement than we have under the current system. And things just get worse if you are trying to determine freedom to operate in country X and you have identified several potentially relevant patent applications. This is because:
- the above, 5-step process will have to be repeated for each application;
- different applications may have different applicants (giving increased burden for steps 2 to 4) and may therefore be subject to different national laws (giving significantly increased costs in step 5); and
- it will not be possible to provide a definitive answer for step 1 until up to 3 months after the date of grant of the application concerned.

The last point could be particularly galling for clients. This is because it could mean that, whilst they will have to bear the burden of significantly increased costs for FTO, they will be presented with an equivocal conclusion (as there can be no certainty until well after grant of all of the relevant applications).

This might all be OK if the differences between national laws was such that the conclusions would be essentially the same under all potentially relevant laws. But that is certainly not how things appear to be shaping up for indirect infringement and, crucially, for “Bolar” / experimental use.

Will all of the above in mind, any comprehensive analysis of the economic impact of the UP system really ought to take account of the “hidden” costs of advice. If this is done, then I believe that there is certain to be a negative impact upon at least some (if not most) European companies.

Here is another new comment that alludes to the UPC:

I come back to your view, Madhouse, on what constitutes “examination” of patentability.

As we are now, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO is the commodore of all the ships in the fleet, the fleet I mean being the fleet of national Supreme Courts of the EPC Member States, when it comes to the substantive law of patentability in Europe.

But now we have a new Commodore, the UPC.

And if the UPC has put DG3 out to grass, why should the EPO attempt any longer to issue any decision at all on obviousness? Why should it ever refuse any application for a patent for the reason that the claimed subject matter, even if new, is clearly obvious. Why not save a ton of money and have it merely do a search and issue an advisory EESR opinion on obviousness, and leave it at that.

You know, like INPI does. And like the UK Patent Office used to do until 1978. Isn’t that the cost-saving, modern and efficient way to go? Is that not where BB is taking us all?

Right now we see all sorts of patent “professionals” (usually lawyers) encircling UPC critics like a group of vultures. They even have their own events in favour of the UPC (the EPO funds its own in participation with lawyers' firms). There are even some gullible politicians who are helping patent trolls and aggressive corporations from abroad harm Europe with the UPC, making foolish statements such as: “The new unitary patent will help Europe’s businesses to flourish” (the opposite is true).

“Enforce patent rights across EU with a single, streamlined proceeding may become very attractive to trolls,” Henrion noted, linking to a 2-page PDF on the subject (“MCC INTERVIEW: Dr. Christian Paul & Alastair J. McCulloch / Jones Day – EU Poised to Overhaul Its Patent System – New unitary patent and court are likely to shake up global patent dispute strategies”). This is cited by one of the sections below, which are precede by the following instruction: “On the heels of patent reform in the U.S., the EU is preparing to dramatically shift its approach to patent disputes. A new EU-wide unitary patent to supplement country-by-country patents and a new court system, with jurisdiction that makes it almost as big as the U.S. system, mean big changes ahead. In this interview, Jones Day patent litigators Alastair McCulloch, who leads the firm’s IP team in the UK, and Dr. Christian Paul, who is qualified as a lawyer and graduate chemist in Germany, discuss the likely impact of the new system and what Jones Day is doing to prepare clients for the changes ahead.”

A lot of politicians have a very twisted version of the UPC in mind because they’re being lobbied/greased up by patent lawyers and their clients. They seem to think that broader is better, just as they often think that more (e.g. patents) is necessarily better. Not just trolls but patent aggressors like Apple and Microsoft would benefit from patent maximalism, which augments scope and breadth, both in terms of domains covered and nations covered. Big businesses and their lobbyists, lawyers, paid politicians etc. are passing the UPC without any public debate or input, crushing anyone who stands in their way. The closest analogy we can think of right now is the TPP. Consider this new article titled “They promised us a debate over TPP, then they signed it without any debate” (published 3 days ago).

It says: “The Trans Pacific Partnership is a secretly negotiated agreement between 12 countries, including the US, Canada and Japan, which establishes punishing regimes for censoring and controlling the Internet, as well as allowing corporations to nullify safety, environmental and labor laws that limit their profits.

“The corporations and governments that backed TPP dismissed criticism of the secret negotiations process (even members of Congress and Parliaments were not allowed to know about the substance of the negotiations, though corporate lobbyists were), promising that there would be a “debate” after the TPP was finished (that is, when it was too late).

“Early this morning (US time), representatives of 12 countries gathered in New Zealand to sign TPP. We never got the debate.”

Also see TechDirt‘s “Countries Sign The TPP… Whatever Happened To The ‘Debate’ We Were Promised Before Signing?”

“As we discussed yesterday,” TechDirt wrote the following day, “the TPP was signed by all participating countries yesterday in New Zealand (though there’s still a big ratification fight required to make it matter). We have lots of issues with the TPP, many of which we’ve raised over the years — but the first issue that drew our attention to it was the intellectual property chapter. For years, we’ve questioned how it could possibly make sense to include intellectual property in a so-called “free trade” agreement, as intellectual property is the exact opposite of free trade. It’s a government granted monopoly and restriction on the movement of information. And, yet, in the past two decades, basically any international trade agreement has included sections concerning intellectual property.”

The EFF subsequently wrote: “Top officials of countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are convening in New Zealand today to sign the final agreement. But really this ceremony is just a formality. We knew since November, from the day they announced a completed deal and made the text public shortly thereafter, that they would do this. These officials have not been accountable to the public. They have remained steadfast in excluding public participation and ignoring all calls for transparency over the more than five years of TPP negotiations. Because of this opaque process, trade negotiators were able to fill the agreement with Hollywood and Big Tech’s wish lists of regulatory policies without having to worry about how they would impact the Internet or people’s rights over their digital devices.”

According to the press in New Zealand:”Protesters in Auckland were estimated at more than 5000 at their height and a rump gathered outside SkyCity for several hours after the signing.”

Politicians who represent mega-corporations, i.e. not people, want the TPP to become a reality and the same typically goes for the UPC. Here in the UK the government treats ‘IP’ as a matter of threat. MIP connects this to the UPC as follows: “Purpose of reform includes Unitary Patents The existing law is said to be inconsistent (especially with the civil pre-action procedures) potentially harmful to competition and unclear. The reform seeks to harmonise the law across the relevant IP rights and will be extended to Unitary Patents and European patents…”

When the EPO, patent lawyers, politicians who promote the interests of large corporations and so on call for immediate introduction of the UPC we must remember their motivations. This has nothing whatsoever to do with Europe’s interests or even science and technology. It’s to do with power and domination by a bureaucracy or international oligopolies/monopolies, which often depend on this bureaucracy. It is a power grab.

Trolls Molestos: Rovi (del famoso Angry Birds) Ayuda al Más Largo Troll de Patentes de Microsoft Intellectual Ventures (Corregido)

Sunday 7th of February 2016 04:12:08 PM

English/Original

Publicado en Microsoft, Patents at 5:32 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Corrección: resulta que nos confundimos ya que Rovi y Rovio no son la misma compañía. Rovi es actualmente un parásito de patentes. Rovio frecuentemente es enjuiciada por trolles de patentes. Por lo tanto, algunos de las declaraciones abajo estan fuera de lugar.]

Los pájaros están más molestos y malos

Sumario: Alguna vez conocido como hacedor de juegos y más tarde como vigilancia en masa en jugadores, Rovi ahora se ESTA ALIANDO CON EL MÁS GRANDE TROLL DE PATENTES

BASADO en un sitio solventado por la OEP (sí la OEP paga a los medios ahora) que también es solventado por trolles de patentes (e.g promotores de eventos para promover y/o cambiar su imagen), Rovi reciéntemente acordo ¨unir fuerzas¨ con el troll de patente de Microsoft que también es el TROLL DE PATENTES MÁS GRANDE DEL MUNDO. Para citar al solventado por la OEP sitio de ´noticias´: ¨la compañía digital de entretenimiento Rovi e Intellectual Ventures (IV) anunciaron ayer que estan combinando su respectivos portafolios de patentes sobre la parte superior tecnológica y estan dispuestos a licenciarlos como paquete simple.¨

“¿Cómo estar siendo relacionado con un troll de patentes va ser beneficioso para un desarrollador de juegos?”Resulta que los inversores no han estado felices. Como este sitio de ´noticias´ solventado por la OEP lo pone: ¨Aunque los inversores parecen haber reaccionado negativamente a las noticias de la unión, los beneficios potenciales parecen claros para Rovi. La adición de bienes complementarios del portafolio de patentes de rango medio de IV podría mejors sus ofertas a prostectivos licensiarios y darle una mano más fuerte en negociaciones.¨

Tontería completa. ¿Cómo estar siendo relacionado con un troll de patentes va ser beneficioso para un desarrollador de juegos? Esto es bazofia de parte de los maximalistas de patentes quienes incluso rechazan usar la palabra ¨trolls¨.

El sitio de ´noticias´ solventado por la OEP incidentalmente, también pone lápiz labial en el último cerdito (intentando pun, refiéndose a Angry Birds) que es la dominada pro Microsoft Nokia (actuando ahora como un gigante troll de patentes en Europa). Ayer escribimos acerca de los ataques de patentes de Nokia contra Android, que están siendo públicos sólo después que Microsoft la subyugó.

La razón de que esto exista en primer lugar (para aquellos que no lo sepan) es la guerra de patentes de Microsoft contra el Software Libre/Abierto. Esto incluye Android, que es la plataforma que compañías como Rovi tienen como objetivo. Intellectual Ventures (lease Microsoft) ha estado ATACANDO ANDROID CON PATENTES DE SOFTWARE. Es todo parte de la estrategia de acumulación de patentes por parte de Microsoft (término legal) contra Linux y el Software Libre. Ellos tratan de hacer menos efectivo e inviáble para un competidor al elevar costos asociados con el software, usando patentes de software y así controlar el mercado.

“El principio de esta idea fue cuando estaba en Microsoft. Teníamos un problema de responsabilidad de patentes. Todas esas personas estaban viniendo a enjuiciarnos o demandarnos un pago. Y Bill (Gates) me preguntó si había una solución.” —Nathan Myhrvold, WSJ: Transcript: Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures

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