Intel’s NUC line of computers are tiny desktop systems which pack most of the power of a full-sized PC into a package you can hold in one hand. According to leaked documents obtained by Fanless Tech, Intel’s next-gen NUC systems should start to hit the streets in early 2015. The new “Rock Canyon” line of […]
Not only does ISIS kill civilians indiscriminately but unlike Assad ISIS directly threatens the United States, Abrahms said.
RT: US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel just said in a speech that Islamic State can only be tackled if the situation in Syria is dealt with - what do you make of that?
Max Abrahms: There is a massive contradiction in US policy against ISIS. On the one hand the US since August 8 has been militarily involved against ISIS in Iraq with 90 airstrikes providing some light weapons to the Kurds and the Iraqi federal forces. And yet the contradiction is that the majority of ISIS fighters are actually not even based in that country. They are based in Syria. And so far the United Stated has done nothing to combat the growth of ISIS in Syria. I think people are increasingly realizing that this is an unsustainable policy. ISIS has gotten stronger and stronger. Particularly over the past two months. And there is senses that the local actors, vigilante groups, other militant groups, the Iraqi government, even the Kurds are unable to halt this movement by ISIS without US intervention. So far we have seen it in Iraq; I expect to see it in Syria as well.
RT: Hagel also said Assad is clearly a part of the problem regarding the rise of the Islamic State. Is he right?
MA: There is plenty of blame to go around. I think Maliki was part of the problem in Iraq. I think Assad is part of the problem in Syria. I mean basically what happened is that Assad and ISIS have not really been engaging much in direct conflict, in direct military operations. That has changed a bit over the past couple of weeks. But in general I think that Assad has allowed ISIS to do what it wants. And it has fought mostly not against the regime’s forces but against other militants going into unconsolidated areas cleaning house, annexing these territories, gathering more and more strength. And so in that sense there has been a sort of a tacit understanding between Assad and ISIS. But at this point I do believe that the gloves are coming off.
I do think that Assad has been part of the problem. There is basically been a tacit arrangement between Assad and ISIS over the past couple of years where it was basically understood that they would not actually battle each other that much in confrontations. So ISIS has been doing a lot of fighting but this fighting hasn`t been directed against the regime so much as it has been directed against rival organizations. But the tide is turning. Over the past couple of weeks there have been more direct confrontations, with Assad using the air force effectively I think to rain down some pain against ISIS. There is a realization in Washington DC that ISIS needs to be stopped and that it is only getting stronger. And Assad recognizes that if his regime doesn`t do something it faces a very real possibility of being overturned by these jihadists. So I expect that campaign, that military dynamic between Assad and ISIS to continue to heat up just as the situation is heating up in Iraq at the same time.
RT: Does the Islamic State pose a real threat to nations other than Syria and Iraq?
MA: I think that for the past couple of years from the United States we have been watching ISIS gain power in Iraq and in Syria. And it seemed like perhaps ISIS was mainly a regional threat. That maybe the group really just was reprehensible in its behavior, killing of civilians, etc., the beheading. But maybe the group didn`t pose the threat to the United States. Maybe it posed the threat to Iraq, maybe to Syria, maybe to Jordan, maybe to Saudi Arabia but not so much against the West. And then I think that things really begin to change over the past couple months during the summer when ISIS, it was understood, was becoming stronger and stronger. And then the US started supporting some higher measure of military involvement in Iraq against ISIS in terms of limited airstrikes, in terms of helping out the Kurds, in terms of helping out Iraqi federal forces. And since then we have seen a bit of a watershed where now ISIS is rhetorically issuing threats against the West saying that the black flag of ISIS is going to hang over the White House that Americans wherever they may be are going to be killed. And then there is this beheading which has been broadcast all over the social media. And I think that the American public is kind of moving out of its isolationist feel, out of its stupor and realizes that something really serious has to happen because this group is not just going to go away. Quite the opposite - it is only getting stronger.
If the United States is to really degrade the capability of ISIS that needs to be done not only in Iraq but also in Syria. And I think that whereas initially Americans understood Assad in terms of his humanitarian behavior, in terms of his treatment of his own population, which is really bad, reprehensible. And so Americans said this guy is terrible. Naturally we have to be against him. Now we are seeing that actually the ISIS alternative may be even worse. Not only does ISIS kills civilians indiscriminately but unlike Assad ISIS directly threatens the United States. Assad does not issue threats about raising the Syrian flag over the White House or killing Americans wherever they may be. And I think that Americans may have to stomach up and put aside their humanitarian reservations in order to try to broker some kind of strategically alliance with this dictator because again the ISIS alternative is even more dangerous.
Mikayakatnt posted this image of the first Disneyland gate-ticket ever sold, from opening day, July 17, 1955. (more…)
Neverov, who also chairs the majority United Russia caucus in the Lower House, has told reporters that the international community must not remain indifferent to the crisis situation in the United States – the country that presents itself as a model for democracy. “The events in Missouri have demonstrated that the United States have serious problems based on racial discrimination,” Neverov noted in a comment to the Russian daily Izvestia.
The politician said that United Russia wanted to set up a special commission manned with representatives of the UN, PACE and other international groups that would make contact with participants of the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and investigate the lawfulness of the actions of US authorities and law enforcers.
Neverov added that the chairman of the Lower House committee for international relations MP Aleksei Pushkov (United Russia) could head the Russian part of the international commission.
In mid-August, Pushkov denounced the use of tear gas and rubber bullets in Ferguson as “a sign of dictatorship and an excessive use of force” by posting a message on his Twitter.
США применяли слезоточ.газ и резиновые пули для разгона протеста в Фергюсоне. Разве это не признак диктатуры и чрезмерного применения силы?
— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) August 15, 2014
Izvestia quoted a source in the United Russia party saying they wanted the Russian part of the commission to be manned by MPs, who now participate in the Russian delegation in the PACE.
On Thursday a member of the Presidential Council for Human Rights suggested sending a peacekeeping mission of rights activists to Ferguson in order to stop the violence. Igor Borison told the ITAR-TASS news agency that the measure would prevent “a full scale genocide against its own population” in the United States.
Earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s envoy for Human Rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said that the unrest in Ferguson was a vivid demonstration of the extreme tensions that exist in modern American society. Dolgov called the curfew, the violent dispersing of rallies and the deployment of the National Guard to the area “a repetition of the race cataclysms” that have shaken the United States in the past.
“While demanding that other countries guarantee the freedom of speech and stop suppressing anti-government protests, at home the US authorities never show any leniency towards those who actively express their discontent with inequality, de-facto discrimination, and the position of second class citizens. As we have all seen, reporters who perform their professional duty also get their share of ill treatment,” read the comment posted on the ministry’s website.
Tensions remain in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson where the Missouri governor announced on Monday that he had ordered National Guard troops to be deployed to protect the area from “deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property.” The clashes resumed during the week as police used tear gas to disperse protesters. Law enforcers also used live ammunition against the crowd.
The initial protests were prompted by the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by white police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9.
Andrew Lewman, head of operations for The Onion Router (TOR), an anonymity and privacy tool that is particularly loathed by the spy agencies' capos, credits Tor's anonymous bug-reporting system for giving spies a safe way to report bugs in Tor that would otherwise be weaponized to attack Tor's users. Read the rest
Michael Daniel thinks "being too down in the weeds at the technical level could actually be a little bit of a distraction"; Ed Felten counters, "Imagine reaction if White House economic advisor bragged about lack of economics knowledge, or Attorney General bragged about lack of legal expertise." Read the rest
Crocodile Tears for Iraq: The Real U.S. Legacy. “The most serious sectarian and ethnic tensions in Iraq’s modern history followed the 2003 US-led occupation,” Sami Ramadani noted in the Guardian. “The US had its own divide-and-rule policy, promoting Iraqi organizations founded on religion, ethnicity, nationality or sect rather than politics,” he continued, his observations reinforcing those Iraqi political analyst Firas Al-Atraqchi recently offered: “Since the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the Christian community [has] found itself under attack and tens of thousands have since fled the country in fear of religious persecution.”Topic(s):
- Geo-Politics/Int'l Relations, Legal/Justice, Mass Media/Propaganda, Military/Veterans, Peace Advocacy, Politics, War/Militarism
Have you ever noticed the way that everybody takes the same photo when doing the tourist thing? Just look at Google: there are a million pictures of people punting past King’s College Chapel in Cambridge out there, all taken at the same angle, from the same position – and they’re all online. So why do we (and I’m just as guilty of this as everybody else) spend precious time taking pictures of something that somebody’s almost certainly taken a better photo of already?
SaladeTomateOignon in Paris, another photogenic city, has noticed the same thing.
28 million people visit Paris every year, taking dozens of pictures each. Every building, every statue has been captured, under every sky and every light.
Because billions of pictures of the Eiffel tower have been taken, I am sure that you can find matching cloud patterns in dozen of them, even if taken years apart.
Pictures have been taken with simple pin-hole camera, smartphones or with the most complex and expensive large format silver film camera or DSLR, and lots of them are now online.
On the Internet, those photographies are sprinkled over the city, with some areas densely covered, and other more sparsely. Each website is like a stratum of pictures of every kind: postcards, paintings, photos, satellite images…
Layer cam is a project to tap into those layers, like a drill extracting a core sample of images.
Based on a Raspberry Pi, connected to the Internet through wifi and geolocalized by a GPS chip, Layer cam runs with Python code (mostly made from bits of code I found here (Martin O’Hanlon) and there (disasterjs) and taps into Panoramio API. The ‘Layer cam’ logo has been designed by Alice.
We love this project. It’s just the right amount of pointless, it’s in a Tupperware box, Paris is beautiful, and it made us smile. You can find out how to build your own at saladtomateoignon, with code and physical build instructions (which involve rubber bands and duct tape, like the very best of projects).
The class action initiated by Max Schrems, an Austrian lawyer, data privacy activist and founder of Europe vs. Facebook group has passed its first review in the Vienna Regional Court.
Facebook Ireland, which runs the social network’s activities outside the US and Canada, has been given four weeks to respond to the action.
— europe-v-facebook (@europevfacebook) August 21, 2014
"The order is very likely on the way to Facebook. The first step in the legal procedure is hereby taken," said a statement by Europe vs. Facebook on Thursday
The group has described the suit, joined by 25,000 users, as “the largest privacy class action in Europe” and specified that 35,000 more users have registered on www.fbclaim.com, expressing their will to join the action should it expand.
Facebook Ireland will have an opportunity to ask the court to extend the time frame for its reply to eight weeks. If the counter-statement from the social network never arrives, then the court will be able to make a judgment in its absence.
Schrems filed the class action at the beginning of August. He claims Facebook practices are in violation of the European data protection law.
The activist and the main plaintiff in the suit wants Facebook, which has 1.32 billion active users and is worth around $195 billion, to pay out €500 to each supporter of the class action, in case his allegations are supported in court. Compensation is not the Schrems’ ultimate goal: that is to force Facebook to change its policies to ensure users’ personal data is protected.
Facebook Ireland has not yet commented on the legal action.
It’s not Schrem’s first attempt to challenge US web giants for alleged violations of private data.
His Europe vs. Facebook challenged the Irish Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) a year ago by demanding it to probe into the activities of US companies, including Facebook, to assess their involvement in the NSA spy scandal.
The watchdog rejected the appeal. The group then took its legal battle to the Irish High Court, which referred the case to the European Court of Justice in July.