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Wed, 23 May 2018
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NASA hacker refuses to pay compensation to US government

A former Romanian hacker, after graduating in law in his home country, is reported to have refused to pay $240,000 compensation to the US government for hacking the servers of NASA, the US Navy and the Department of Energy back in 2005/2006.

The unusual legal case started when the US government realised it could not extradite Victor Faur, now aged 27, from his home country of Romania, despite the fact a Los Angeles court had indicted him on multiple counts.

This led the US government to prosecute Faur in his home country of Romania.

According to the Softpedia newswire, the US government claimed his actions caused $1.5 million in damages, but Faur argued that he only hacked into computers to warn owners about security problems.

"Faur, who used the hacker handle of SirVic, left taunting messages for system administrators on computers he compromised, making fun of their skills and instructing them on how to patch the machines", says the East European newswire.


US military admits to biggest ever data breach after March hacking attack

In a single attack carried out in March foreign hackers stole over 24,000 data files from a compromised computer network, the US Department of Defense (DOD) has admitted.

The attack was part of a larger campaign by hackers against the DOD systems, and hackers are also trying to exploit its communications and satellite systems, according to William Lynn, the deputy secretary of defense. The most skilled hacking attempts are coming from nation states, rather than hacking groups, he warned.


South Africa: National Union of Mineworkers Cries 'Police State' as Protesters are Shot At

© Sowetan
Frans-Baleni, NUM General Secretary
The National Union of Mineworkers said on Wednesday that it condemned the attitude and behaviour of the police in shooting at "peaceful protesters" at Chemstof mine in Brits.

The union called on the authorities to reign in the criminal elements within the police force.

"The NUM is bitterly angry at the increasing lawlessness displayed by the police and warns the authorities that our beautiful country is rapidly turning into a police state after it allowed the police management and leadership under General Bheki Cele to militarise the police service," the NUM said.

The NUM said it was concerned by the increasing use of force and the ease with which the police were used by capital to brutalise and harass peaceful protesters.

"This kind of harassment can only harden the attitude of communities towards the police" said Sello Mfikoe, the NUM's regional organiser, in Rustenburg.


US: Nazi Cop Runs a Police State in Arizona Town

© uapd.arizona.edu
Some residents in a small Arizona city are saying that the term "police state" is more than just a metaphor for the authoritarian rule they feel that they are being more and more subjected to in tiny town just east of the California border.

A closed-door meeting over the weekend in Quartzsite, AZ allegedly led to the town council declaring a state of emergency and the removal of the mayor.

The decision reportedly comes after a video of a town resident being escorted out of an open meeting by police went viral on the Web and caused local officials to receive numerous death threats.

Jennifer 'Jade' Jones had the floor at a Quartzsite town meeting on June 28 when she became vocal about her disagreement with recent tax increases in the area. The town had recently made the decision to raise water and sewage fees for the first time in a decade, much to the outrage of the residents of the 70 mobile-home parks that help make up the 3,500-person population in Quartzsite. As Jones spoke out against the tax hike, Councilman Joe Winslow demanded she vacate the building or be escorted out by police.

A resulting disagreement between the two parties escalated when Mayor Ed Foster demanded that police continue to let her speak, interjecting, "Officer, that woman has the floor. You're violating my rules of order here. Sergeant, I have control of the meeting."

Despite the mayor's plea, Police Chief Jeff Gilbert ordered Jones removed. She suffered a torn ligament as she was taken into custody and thus admitted to a local hospital.

Bad Guys

Bosnia and Herzegovina Genocide Commemorated: Srebrenica Massacre

© Unknown
The Srebrenica massacre was the July 1995 killing of an estimated 8,100 Bosniak males, ranging in age from teenagers to the elderly, in the region of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina by a Serb Army of Republika Srpska under general Ratko Mladic including Serbian state special forces "Scorpions". The same special forces commited war crimes in Kosovo in 1999.

The Srebrenica massacre is considered one of the largest mass murders in Europe since World War II and one of the most horrific and controversial events in recent European history.

Mladic and other Serb army officers have since been indicted for various war crimes, including genocide, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The ICTY's final ruling was that the massacre was indeed an act of genocide.

Comment: The above article is largely NATO propaganda along the lines of "history is written by the victors (or aggressors)". For a more accurate account of what has come to be called the "Bosnian war" see the articles at this link.


US: Monsanto Protecting Its Turf - Files Suit Against Two Farmers Over Seeds

© The Watchers
Agrichemical giant Monsanto Co. today filed a federal lawsuit against two Erie-area farmers, accusing them of planting seed saved from plants grown from the company's genetically engineered products.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, farmers Harold Wiser, of Carlton, and Steve Wiser, of Girard, bought Monsanto's wheat, soybean and corn seeds. The seeds are genetically engineered to be resistant to Monsanto's pesticides, which "will cause severe injury or death to varieties that do not contain the [pesticide-resistance] technology."

The farmers had signed an agreement in 2003 outlining how the seeds could be used. Not authorized: Saving seeds from plants grown from the Monsanto products, and planting them the next year.

That, though, is what the Wisers did in 2009 and 2010, Monsanto alleged in the lawsuit. That practice infringes on the company's patent, the complaint contended.


US Official Says Choking Off Internet Won't Stop Arab Spring

© AFP/File Louai Beshara
A journalist works at his office in
Damascus in 2010
Regimes that choke off citizens' access to the Internet to try to quash pro-democracy movements in the Arab world are running scared and fighting a losing battle, a US diplomat said Wednesday.

"These are the acts of governments that fear their own people," Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Michael Posner said at a forum that looked at the key role new technologies have played in the drive for democracy in the Arab world.

"In cracking down on the Internet, they expose their own lack of legitimacy," Posner said, using language similar to that used in recent days by the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to describe President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

Syrian security forces have cracked down violently on pro-democracy demonstrators, killing more than 1,300 civilians, activists have said on their Facebook page, which is one of the pro-democracy movement's main links to the outside world.


Monsanto and Gates Foundation Push Genetically Engineered Crops on Africa

© Anne Wangalachi/CIMMYT
Joel Mbithi (left), farm manager of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute's Kiboko Research Station, and Yoseph Beyene, CIMMYT maize breeder, discuss experimental plots. They are developing drought tolerant top-cross hybrids as part of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project. This is run by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in partnership with Monsanto and CIMMYT, which supplies germplasm and expertise.
Skimming the Agricultural Development section of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site is a feel-good experience: African farmers smile in a bright slide show of images amid descriptions of the foundation's fight against poverty and hunger. But biosafety activists in South Africa are calling a program funded by the Gates Foundation a "Trojan horse" to open the door for private agribusiness and genetically engineered (GE) seeds, including a drought-resistant corn that Monsanto hopes to have approved in the United States and abroad.

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program was launched in 2008 with a $47 million grant from mega-rich philanthropists Warrant Buffet and Bill Gates. The program is supposed to help farmers in several African countries increase their yields with drought- and heat-tolerant corn varieties, but a report released last month by the African Centre for Biosafety claims WEMA is threatening Africa's food sovereignty and opening new markets for agribusiness giants like Monsanto.

The Gates Foundation claims that biotechnology, GE crops and Western agricultural methods are needed to feed the world's growing population and programs like WEMA will help end poverty and hunger in the developing world. Critics say the foundation is using its billions to shape the global food agenda and the motivations behind WEMA were recently called into question when activists discovered the Gates foundation had spent $27.6 million on 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock between April and June 2010.


Kenya: The Shocking Reality About GMOs

© cleanfoodearth.blogspot.com
Nairobi - The spectre of people developing new and strange allergies, indigenous seeds losing their genetic codes and disappearing altogether, farmers making bumper harvests - or no harvests at all - is in the air.

Two weeks ago on July 1, Kenya became the fourth African nation to permit imports of GMO crops, joining South Africa, Egypt and Burkina Faso.

Supporters of the move say it is essential in helping to stabilize prices and feed millions of hungry Kenyans, but matters are not that straightforward.

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines a genetically modified or genetically engineered organism (GEO) as one "whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques."

These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, explains the encyclopaedia, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are then combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes.


Zuckerberg and Google elite hit Google+ privacy button

Do as we say, not as we do

Mark Zuckerberg, Google founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and a whole raft of Google's top brass have suddenly activated the privacy settings on their Google+ profiles.

Even though they want you to expose your entire life to world+dog over the interwebs, they would rather not.

The newly activated privacy settings has made it impossible to see who is following them on Google+.

Zuckerberg, who had been the most adored with 134,328 followers, is now publicly listed as having zero followers.

His place at the top has been taken by Rackspace "chief learning officer" Robert Scoble.