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newthinking

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Philip Zimmermann: king of encryption reveals his fears for privacy

Philip Zimmermann: king of encryption reveals his fears for privacy

The creator of PGP has moved his mobile-encryption firm Silent Circle to Switzerland to be free of US mass surveillance. Here he explains why

When Philip Zimmermann was campaigning for nuclear disarmament in the 1980s, he kept an escape plan in his back pocket. The inventor of the world’s most widely used email encryption system, Pretty Good Privacy – more commonly known as PGP – was ready to move his family from Colorado to New Zealand at a moment’s notice.

The button was never pressed and the Zimmermanns stayed put. Until this year, that is. At 61, the Internet Hall of Fame inductee and founder of three-year-old mobile encryption startup Silent Circle has just left the US for Switzerland. In the end, it was not the nuclear threat that convinced him to leave his homeland, but the surveillance arms race.

“Every dystopian society has excessive surveillance, but now we see even western democracies like the US and England moving that way,” he warns. “We have to roll this back. People who are not suspected of committing crimes should not have information collected and stored in a database. We don’t want to become like North Korea.”

Zimmermann stopped in London to host a reception at the Victoria & Albert Museum where his cryptographic handset, the Blackphone, is currently on display, alongside the remains of a laptop destroyed on government orders by Guardian editors wielding angle grinders, because it contained a trove of secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.


Continued:
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/25/philip-zimmermann-king-encryption-reveals-fears-privacy

Security forces in Odessa arrest 30 more Bessarabia People’s Rada activists

Security forces in Odessa arrest 30 more Bessarabia People’s Rada activists

http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php/sid/232040941

According to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, the activists staged a meeting calling for peace and formation of cultural autonomy within Ukraine

ODESSA, April 17. /TASS/. Police in Odessa, a port city on the Black Sea, on Thursday arrested 30 more activists of the People’s Rada of Bessarabia, including member of the presidium of this public organization Vera Shevchenko. According to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, the activists staged a meeting calling for peace and formation of cultural autonomy within Ukraine.

They also protested against the arrests of their fellow activists, among them the organization’s leader Dmitry Zatuliveter. "He disappeared immediately after the rada’s foundation conference that was held on April 6. We are very much concerned about Dmitry’s health and life, we are totally against the use of unauthorized methods of influence with regard to him, including force and, possibly, psychotropic agents," Shevchenko told reporters. Zatuliveter’s relatives and friends believe that he may be held by Ukrainian law enforcers, she added.

According to local media, the organization’s members detained by police were subjected to lengthy interrogations and intimidations by Ukraine’s Security Service officers.

Bessarabia is a region in south-eastern Europe between the Black Sea and the Danube, the Dniester and the Prut rivers. The Odessa region bordering the unrecognized Transdniestria Republic occupies part of Bessarabia.

http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php/sid/232040941

In Horlovka, Eastern Ukraine, a Donetsk Republic Rises

Yegor Voronov is a left-wing activist, blogger and journalist from the coal mining and industrial city of of Horlivka, Donetsk region.


In Horlovka, Eastern Ukraine, a Donetsk Republic Rises
by YEGOR VORONOV

The culmination of the Anti-Maidan movement in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine was the founding of the Donetsk People’s Republic in April 2014. A declaration was issued on April 7.

At that time, even the most marginal political figures involved could not have imagined that one year later, the new entity would be on the way to real self-affirmation as a state. Neither “Kremlin agents“, nor “separatists“, of the future Donetsk People’s Republic, occupying the regional administration building in Donetsk at several key moments in March and April of 2014, nor anyone else for that matter, could have given such a powerful momentum for the pro-federalization (autonomy) movement of Donbas as the governing officials in Kyiv.

All along, Kyiv ignored the concerns and basic democratic demands of countless rallies in eastern Ukraine of people who were defending Lenin monuments against destruction and who simply wanted the right to live and work in their language. Their rallies were also forms of popular referendums, demanding an end the reign of the oligarchs (against whom the Maidan movement allegedly fought). Officials of the new government that came to power in Kyiv in February 2014 on the back of the Maidan movement has demonstrated time and again to Donbas residents that it quite literally does not consider them as human beings.

Kyiv’s ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation‘ launched in April 2014 by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and extreme-right militias convinced thousands of indignant residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to join self-defense militias. These were ordinary citizens who would not have imagined they could take such action, but Kyiv’s violence drove them to create not only self-defense militias but, eventually, something resembling a standing army. Similarly, the cutting by Kyiv of pensions and social payments to Donbas residents beginning last summer [1] has now led to the creation of a pension and social welfare system of the Donetsk People’s Republic.


"The fact is, and this may seem a paradox, when Kyiv authorities decided to starve elderly people already suffering from shelling and cold by cutting off their pensions, they expected this would bring the Donetsk People’s Republic to its knees. However, Kyiv officials, who hate the coal dust-tainted proletarians of the Donetsk region, have achieved quite the opposite effect. Their inhumane initiatives have served to further legitimize the new Republic in the eyes of the local residents. They realize, ‘Kyiv does not pay us pensions which we earned and deserved through a life of working hard. It has placed us in a ghetto, surrounded by guns, tanks and soldiers. Isn’t it quite natural for us to assume that this is not our government anymore, that it cares nothing about our fate?’ "


Continued here:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/07/in-horlovka-eastern-ukraine-a-donetsk-republic-rises/

German Documentary - The atrocities of Odessa on May 2, 2014

English subtitles

The anniversary of this event is today in Ukraine and is a huge event for many Ukrainians. There were so many concerns about protests in Odessa that the government sent in hundreds of police and brought in military from throughout the country to supervise Odessa.



(This was the second video on another post, but the documentary deserves to be posted on it's own and is a must see for anyone wanting to understand the events)

The Pentagon’s ‘Long War’

The Pentagon’s ‘Long War’
by PEPE ESCOBAR

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/01/the-pentagons-long-war/

Whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain — alongside Russia — a key US geostrategic target.

As much as US President Barack Obama tried to dismiss it, the Russian sale of the S-300 missile system to Iran is a monumental game-changer. Even with the added gambit of the Iranian military assuring the made in Iran Bavar 373 may be even more efficient than the S-300.

This explains why Jane’s Defense Weekly was already saying years ago that Israel could not penetrate Iranian airspace even if it managed to get there. And after the S-300s Iran inevitably will be offered the even more sophisticated S-400s, which are to be delivered to China as well.

The unspoken secret behind these game-changing proceedings actually terrifies Washington warmongers; it spells out a further frontline of Eurasian integration, in the form of an evolving Eurasian missile shield deployed against Pentagon/NATO ballistic plans.

A precious glimpse of what’s ahead was offered at the Moscow Conference on International Security (MICS) in mid-April.

Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/01/the-pentagons-long-war/

Salon: The New York Times “basically rewrites whatever the Kiev authorities say”

This is a long but very comprehensive read on why most everything the public is lead to believe about the conflict in Ukraine is inaccurate. Very important read as we approach a direct confrontation with Russia.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[font size=5]Salon[/font]

[font size=4]The New York Times “basically rewrites whatever the Kiev authorities say”:
Stephen F. Cohen on the U.S./Russia/Ukraine history the media won’t tell you[/font]

There's an alternative story of Russian relations we're not hearing. Historian Stephen Cohen tells it here


Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin (Credit: AP/Boris Yurchenko/Alexander Zemlianichenko)


[font size=3]It is one thing to comment in a column as the Ukrainian crisis grinds on and Washington—senselessly, with no idea of what will come next—destroys relations with Moscow. It is quite another, as a long exchange with Stephen F. Cohen makes clear, to watch as an honorable career’s worth of scholarly truths are set aside in favor of unlawful subterfuge, a war fever not much short of Hearst’s and what Cohen ranks among the most extravagant expansion of a sphere of influence—NATO’s—in history.

Cohen is a distinguished Russianist by any measure. While professing at Princeton and New York University, he has written of the revolutionary years (“Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution,” 1973), the Soviet era (“Rethinking the Soviet Experience,” 1985) and, contentiously but movingly and always with a steady eye, the post-Soviet decades (“Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia, 2000; “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives,” 2009). “The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin” (2010) is a singularly humane work, using scholarly method to relate the stories of the former prisoners who walk as ghosts in post-Soviet Russia. “I never actually lost the uneasy feeling of having left work unfinished and obligations unfulfilled,” Cohen explains in the opening chapter, “even though fewer and fewer of the victims I knew were still alive.”

If I had to describe the force and value of Cohen’s work in a single sentence, it would be this: It is a relentless insistence that we must bring history to bear upon what we see. One would think this an admirable project, but it has landed Cohen in the mother of all intellectual disputes since the U.S.-supported coup in Kiev last year. To say he is now “blackballed” or “blacklisted”—terms Cohen does not like—is too much. Let us leave it that a place may await him among America’s many prophets without honor among their own.

It is hardly surprising that the Ministry of Forgetting, otherwise known as the State Department, would eschew Cohen’s perspective on Ukraine and the relationship with Russia: He brings far too much by way of causality and responsibility to the case. But when scholarly colleagues attack him as “Putin’s apologist” one grows queasy at the prospect of a return to the McCarthyist period. By now, obedient ideologues in the academy have turned debate into freak show.[/font]

Full Story at Salon:
http://www.salon.com/2015/04/16/the_new_york_times_basically_rewrites_whatever_the_kiev_authorities_say_stephen_f_cohen_on_the_u_s_russiaukraine_history_the_media_wont_tell_you/

Letter from Natalia Buzina (Wife of slain Journalist)

Natalia Buzina posted this letter yesterday (translated from Russian). Her husband, Journalist Oles Buzina, was killed this week.


April 22, 2015

Natalia Buzina

Translated from Russian by Kristina Rus

Hello. My name is Natalia. I am the wife of Oles Buzina. I know that on such occasions the wives are assigned a different title. Mournful, gloomy, depressing only in the combination of letters. But I don't accept it. The power of the spirit of Oles is tremendous. It is not limited by the confines of the flesh, or three-dimensional space. Oles was in that storm that came from nowhere after the shots. And then wept for us, poor, with the rain and snow on the day of the funeral. He always had a way with the elements.


Yes, I know that I will never bring him green tea with honey to bed. And instead of "Thank you!" he will not murm: "Scratch my back." We will never walk at night to the pond to listen to the frog chorus and admire a Gogol night. And he will not say: "Nowhere there are such frogs as in Ukraine!"


I know for sure: you who committed this crime, have never been as happy as Oles. And hardly loved anyone in your life. Perhaps you even have children, wives and gray-haired mothers. But you're lying to them! You don't love them! And they will never pray for you when you need it.


And Oles loved everyone. "Ukrops" and "colorados", Ukrainians and Russians, Jews and Tatars. He wanted to reconcile all of us in our common home - Ukraine. And never left his land when trouble came: "I can't leave my khokhlyats (Ukrainians). They are confused. I must help them."


Thank you, dear, for your response. Oles lives in each of your messages.


And for those who want to capitalize on this, I say: please, respect his name and honor! Don't gossip about him out of greed! Don't tear him into pieces for yourself! He can not answer you anymore! But he has a Supreme Protector.


Natalia Buzina


http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/roger-annis/2015/04/farewell-oles-buzina-mourners-bid-adieu-to-slain-journalist-kyiv-

How to Avert a Nuclear War

How to Avert a Nuclear War


By JAMES E. CARTWRIGHT and VLADIMIR DVORKIN
APRIL 19, 2015
New York Times
Opinion

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/20/opinion/how-to-avert-a-nuclear-war.html?ref=opinion

We find ourselves in an increasingly risky strategic environment. The Ukrainian crisis has threatened the stability of relations between Russia and the West, including the nuclear dimension — as became apparent last month when it was reported that Russian defense officials had advised President Vladimir V. Putin to consider placing Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert during last year’s crisis in Crimea.

Diplomatic efforts have done little to ease the new nuclear tension. This makes it all the more critical for Russia and the United States to talk, to relieve the pressures to “use or lose” nuclear forces during a crisis and minimize the risk of a mistaken launch.

The fact is that we are still living with the nuclear-strike doctrine of the Cold War, which dictated three strategic options: first strike, launch on warning and post-attack retaliation. There is no reason to believe that Russia and the United States have discarded these options, as long as the architecture of “mutually assured destruction” remains intact.

For either side, the decision to launch on warning — in an attempt to fire one’s nuclear missiles before they are destroyed — would be made on the basis of information from early-warning satellites and ground radar. Given the 15- to 30-minute flight times of strategic missiles, a decision to launch after an alert of an apparent attack must be made in minutes.

This is therefore the riskiest scenario, since provocations or malfunctions can trigger a global catastrophe. Since computer-based information systems have been in place, the likelihood of such errors has been minimized. But the emergence of cyberwarfare threats has increased the potential for false alerts in early-warning systems. The possibility of an error cannot be ruled out.

Continued:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/20/opinion/how-to-avert-a-nuclear-war.html?ref=opinion

The New World Disorder

The New World Disorder
by TARIQ ALI
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/17/the-new-world-disorder/

Three decades ago, with the end of the Cold War and the dismantling of the South American dictatorships, many hoped that the much talked about ‘peace dividend’ promised by Bush senior and Thatcher would actually materialise. No such luck. Instead, we have experienced continuous wars, upheavals, intolerance and fundamentalisms of every sort – religious, ethnic and imperial. The exposure of the Western world’s surveillance networks has heightened the feeling that democratic institutions aren’t functioning as they should, that, like it or not, we are living in the twilight period of democracy itself.

The twilight began in the early 1990s with the implosion of the former Soviet Union and the takeover of Russia, Central Asia and much of Eastern Europe by visionless former Communist Party bureaucrats, many of whom rapidly became billionaires. The oligarchs who bought up some of the most expensive property in the world, including in London, may once have been members of the Communist Party, but they were also opportunists with no commitment to anything other than power and lining their own pockets. The vacuum created by the collapse of the party system has been filled by different things in different parts of the world, among them religion – and not just Islam. The statistics on the growth of religion in the Western world are dramatic – just look at France. And we have also seen the rise of a global empire of unprecedented power. The United States is now unchallengeable militarily and it dominates global politics, even the politics of the countries it treats as its enemies.

If you compare the recent demonisation of Putin to the way Yeltsin was treated at a time when he was committing many more shocking atrocities – destroying the entire city of Grozny, for example – you see that what is at stake is not principle, but the interests of the world’s predominant power. There hasn’t been such an empire before, and it’s unlikely that there will be one again. The United States is the site of the most remarkable economic development of recent times, the emergence on the West Coast of the IT revolution. Yet despite these advances in capitalist technology, the political structure of the United States has barely changed for a hundred and fifty years. It may be militarily, economically and even culturally in command – its soft power dominates the world – but there is as yet no sign of political change from within. Can this contradiction last?

There is ongoing debate around the world on the question of whether the American empire is in decline. And there is a vast literature of declinism, all arguing that this decline has begun and is irreversible. I see this as wishful thinking. The American empire has had setbacks – which empire doesn’t? It had setbacks in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s: many thought the defeat it suffered in Vietnam in 1975 was definitive. It wasn’t, and the United States hasn’t suffered another setback on that scale since. But unless we know and understand how this empire functions globally, it’s very difficult to propose any set of strategies to combat or contain it – or, as the realist theorists like the late Chalmers Johnson and John Mearsheimer demand, to make the United States dismantle its bases, get out of the rest of the world, and operate at a global level only if it is actually threatened as a country. Many realists in the United States argue that such a withdrawal is necessary, but they are arguing from a position of weakness in the sense that setbacks which they regard as irreversible aren’t. There are very few reversals from which imperial states can’t recover. Some of the declinist arguments are simplistic – that, for example, all empires have eventually collapsed. This is of course true, but there are contingent reasons for those collapses, and at the present moment the United States remains unassailable: it exerts its soft power all over the world, including in the heartlands of its economic rivals; its hard power is still dominant, enabling it to occupy countries it sees as its enemies; and its ideological power is still overwhelming in Europe and beyond.


Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/17/the-new-world-disorder/

Why We Must Return to the US-Russian Parity Principle

Why We Must Return to the US-Russian Parity Principle

The choice is either a New Détente or a more perilous Cold War.
Stephen F. Cohen
April 14, 2015
The Nation Magazine


A pro-Russian separatist stands in front of damaged buildings following a shelling by
Ukrainian forces in Donetsk, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)


(The text below is a somewhat expanded version of remarks I delivered at the annual US-Russia Forum in Washington, DC, held in the Hart Senate Office Building, on March 26.)

When I spoke at this forum nine months ago, in June 2014, I warned that the Ukrainian crisis was the worst US-Russian confrontation in many decades. It had already plunged us into a new (or renewed) Cold War potentially even more perilous than its forty-year US-Soviet predecessor because the epicenter of this one was on Russia’s borders; because it lacked the stabilizing rules developed during the preceding Cold War; and because, unlike before, there was no significant opposition to it in the American political-media establishment. I also warned that we might soon be closer to actual war with Russia than we had been since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

I regret to say that today the crisis is even worse. The new Cold War has been deepened and institutionalized by transforming what began, in February last year, as essentially a Ukrainian civil war into a US/NATO-Russian proxy war; by a torrent of inflammatory misinformation out of Washington, Moscow, Kiev and Brussels; and by Western economic sanctions that are compelling Russia to retreat politically, as it did in the late 1940s, from the West. Still worse, both sides are again aggressively deploying their conventional and nuclear weapons and probing the other’s defenses in the air and at sea. Diplomacy between Washington and Moscow is being displaced by resurgent militarized thinking, while cooperative relationships nurtured over many decades, from trade, education, and science to arms control, are being shredded. And yet, despite this fateful crisis and its growing dangers, there is still no effective political opposition to the US policies that have contributed to it—not in the administration, Congress, mainstream media, think tanks, or on campuses—but instead mostly uncritical political, financial, and military boosterism for the increasingly authoritarian Kiev regime, hardly a bastion of “democracy and Western values.”

Indeed, the current best hope to avert a larger war is being assailed by political forces, especially in Washington and in US-backed Kiev, that seem to want a military showdown with Russia’s unreasonably vilified president, Vladimir Putin. In February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande brokered in Minsk a military and political agreement with Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that, if implemented, would end the Ukrainian civil war. Powerful enemies of the Minsk accord—again, in both Washington and Kiev—are denouncing it as appeasement of Putin while demanding that President Obama send $3 billion of weapons to Kiev. Such a step would escalate the war in Ukraine, sabotage the ceasefire and political negotiations agreed upon in Minsk, and provoke a Russian military response with unpredictable consequences. While Europe is splitting over the crisis, and with it perhaps shattering the vaunted transatlantic alliance, this recklessness in Washington is fully bipartisan, urged on by four all-but-unanimous votes in Congress. (We must therefore honor the 48 House members who voted against the most recent warfare resolution on March 23, even if their dissent is too little, too late.)


Continued:
http://www.thenation.com/article/204209/why-we-must-return-us-russian-parity-principle
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