And much more. . .
First, from the Guardian:
St Louis protests after police shooting of black teenager Antonio Martin
- Protesters held vigils, with some briefly blocking traffic on Interstate 170 but actions were calmer than previous night amid mayor’s call for calm
Demonstrators took to the streets for a second night after a white police officer in Berkeley, Missouri, killed a black 18-year-old who police said pointed a gun at him.
Dozens of protesters held a vigil late Wednesday at the gas station in the St Louis suburb where Antonio Martin was shot, and they briefly blocked traffic on Interstate 170 during a march before returning to the station. Berkeley Police Chief Frank McCall told KMOV-TV that six to eight people were arrested.
Later, about 75 people staged a peaceful protest early Christmas morning outside of a nearby church, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch. Police in riot gear were present.
Next, somewhat good news from Channel NewsAsia Singapore:
South Korea says nuclear reactors safe after cyber-attacks
- South Korea has moved to allay concerns that hackers could cause a malfunction at one of the nation’s nuclear plants by breaking into its system
South Korea on Thursday (Dec 25) ruled out the possibility that a recent string of cyber-attacks on its nuclear power operator could cause a malfunction at any of the country’s 23 atomic reactors. The designs and manuals for two reactors have been published on Twitter over the past week, along with personal information on some 10,000 workers at Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP).
Officials said Tuesday that South Korea has heightened security in the wake of the leaks, with the defence ministry’s cyber warfare unit increasing its watch-level against attacks from North Korean and other hackers.
The presidential Blue House moved on Thursday to allay concerns that hackers could cause a malfunction at one of the nation’s nuclear plants by breaking into its system. “The control system of nuclear reactors are separated from external networks, and hacking into the system is fundamentally impossible,” the presidential office said in a statement quoted by Yonhap news agency.
KHNP has said the material released on the Gori and Wolsong nuclear power plants was not classified and would not affect safety.
Common Dreams sneaks one in:
NSA Spied on Americans for Over a Decade: Report
Files released in response to an ACLU lawsuit shows long-term, unauthorized NSA operations against U.S. citizens
The National Security Agency quietly released a heavily redacted report late Wednesday night showing that its mass surveillance program targeting U.S. citizens went on for more than 10 years.
The documents, which are made up of annual and quarterly reports filed since 2001, were published to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the ACLU.
They note numerous instances in which U.S. citizens were erroneously targeted for spying and information waspassed among servers that were “not authorized” to hold it. Many of these cases were shown to be “marked for purging,” but it is unclear whether they were actually deleted.
The NSA’s executive summary of the reports states, “The vast majority of compliance incidents involve unintentional technical or human error… Data incorrectly acquired is almost always deleted.”
More from Businessweek:
The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. They were posted on the NSA’s website at around 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
In a 2012 case, for example, an NSA analyst “searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting,” according to one report. The analyst “has been advised to cease her activities,” it said.
Other unauthorized cases were a matter of human error, not intentional misconduct.
Last year, an analyst “mistakenly requested” surveillance “of his own personal identifier instead of the selector associated with a foreign intelligence target,” according to another report.
And from Business Insider, a lump of coal in many a Christmas stocking:
PlayStation Network And Xbox Live Are Down, And The Notorious Hacker Gang ‘Lizard Squad’ Is Taking Credit
Hours after Microsoft’s Xbox Live went down Wednesday, Sony’s PlayStation Network went down, too.
These are two giant networks that console gamers access to play their games online. It’s especially bad timing since a lot of people are probably getting new PlayStations and Xboxes for Christmas.
Since early Wednesday, the notorious hacker group “Lizard Squad” has claimed responsibility for taking down PlayStation Network on Twitter, saying it has downed both networks with denial of service attacks. That means the hacker group is flooding Sony and Microsoft’s servers with bogus traffic.
Lizard Squad has been tweeting about these outages incessantly, boosting its number of Twitter followers by promising to restore the downed game networks if people favorite and retweet their messages a certain number of times.
On to the war of the moment with the Washington Post:
Hoping to create a new society, the Islamic State recruits entire families
Unlike al-Qaeda, which operates in many countries but is a stateless army, the Islamic State controls territory that it has taken by force in Iraq and Syria. To create the Islamist society it envisions, the group has gone to great lengths to take over existing schools, hospitals and playgrounds, or to build these and other institutions of daily family life.
“The more they are successful at creating a whole new society, the more they are able to attract entire families,” said Mia Bloom, a professor of security studies at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell who has written extensively about women and terrorism. “It’s almost like the American dream, but the Islamic State’s version of it.”
In the Syrian city of Raqqa, the group’s main stronghold, the extremists have established a clinic for pregnant women run by a female gynecologist trained in Britain. Boys attend school, studying almost exclusively religion, until they are 14, when they are expected to start fighting, Smith said. Girls stay in school until they are 18; their instruction is about the Koran and sharia law, as well as learning how to dress, keep house, cook, clean and care for men, all according to a strict Islamic code.
From Deutsche Welle, lèse majesté in Turkey:
High school student arrested for ‘insulting’ Turkey’s Erdogan
A Turkish high-school student has been arrested for allegedly “insulting” the president. This was just the latest in a series of controversial arrests in Turkey in recent weeks.
The 16-year-old high school student, identified by his initials, M.E.A., was arrested in the central Turkey city of Konya, according to a report published in the Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday.
The accusation stems from a speech the boy made on Wednesday in Konya, in which he referred to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured above) as the “thieving owner of the illegal palace.” The reference alluded to a corruption scandal one year ago that led to the resignations of four ministers in then-Prime Minister Erdogan’s cabinet, as well as a new presidential palace with more than 1,000 rooms, in which Erdogan took up residence back in October.
The youth, who has reportedly denied intending to insult the president, could now face up to four years in prison if convicted on the charge, although this could be reduced due to his young age.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu defended the court’s decision to arrest the high-school student. “Everyone must respect the office of president whoever he is,” Davotoglu said.
BuzzFeed News covers the raving unconfined:
Bachmann: Obama Supports The Agenda Of Islamic Jihad “At Every Turn”
“And I have been very surprised, to answer your question, to see the president of the United States, at every turn, cut the legs off of our ally, Israel, and in fact embrace and lift up the agenda of Islamic jihad.”
Former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says President Obama has supported the agenda of Islamic jihad “at every turn.”
“And I have been very surprised, to answer your question, to see the president of the United States, at every turn, cut the legs off of our ally, Israel, and in fact embrace and lift up the agenda of Islamic jihad,” Bachmann said on the show Washington Watch hosted by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
Bachmann was referring to a report in the Wall Street Journal that stated President Obama wrote secret letters to the Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about having a shared interest in fighting the Islamic State and reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
And the raving confined, via TheLocal.no:
Breivik’s letters seized over terror fears
Norway’s prison authorities said Monday they had seized over 200 letters from mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik to prevent him from setting up a network outside jail.
According to a written ruling from jail authorities “Breivik’s intention is to consolidate his position as frontman and leader figure for a movement that involves using extreme violence and terror as an instrument.”
“We have refused to send some letters from Breivik for reasons of security. We’re talking about roughly 220 letters,” Yling Faeste, a spokesman for the prison administration, told AFP.
“We control his communication, and he is not allowed to set up a network that could commit even more crimes.”
Breivik, who is now aged 35, committed the worst carnage in recent Norwegian history on July 22, 2011.
After setting off a bomb in Oslo’s government district that killed eight, he went on to attack a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoeya, where another 69 people died, most of them teenagers. He said he committed the attacks to prevent a “Muslim invasion” of Norway.
From the Guardian, precrime in Old Blighty:
Revealed: Police using pre-charge bail to muzzle protesters
- Exclusive: Data obtained by the Guardian substantiates claims that hundreds of innocent people banned from attending lawful demonstrations
Police are being accused of trying to muzzle protest movements as figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the widespread use of bail to ban hundreds of innocent people from attending lawful demonstrations.
The data shows that around 85% of those barred from protesting when bailed have not been subsequently charged with any crime. Civil liberties and protest groups accused police of dealing out their own justice and called for a change in the law.
The figures show that a least 732 people have been banned by police forces in England and Wales since 2008 but then never charged. They come as the government confirms it is considering overhauling the police bail rules.
“Bail is becoming an instrument that is being used by people without recourse to the judicial process. It is to essentially punish protesters and curb their right to demonstrate,” said Rachel Harger of leading human rights law firm Bindmans.
From RT, hard times intolerance:
Anti-homeless cages installed around benches in French city on Christmas Eve
The right-wing city council of Angouleme in southwest France has come under fire for banishing homeless people from its city center, after it installed cages that completely cover benches used by local hobos.
The municipal deputy responsible for security, Joel Guitton, told AFP that the benches were “almost exclusively used by people who consume alcohol on a regular basis,” and claimed the decision was taken in concert with local traders, who complained that threatening behavior was driving away customers.
Regional daily Sud Ouest alleged that the Champ de Mars had become a scene of regular fights between the homeless, often provoked by drugs and involving dogs.
But social media users say the unusual severity of the measure shows that local authorities “lack empathy.” and have called for protests, and even unsanctioned demolitions of the cages. Earlier this year, the city of 40,000 people elected Xavier Bonnefont, an ambitious 34-year-old whose rise has already earned comparisons to the career of Nicolas Sarkozy – who himself came to prominence as a young mayor of a small community.
After the jump, it’s on to the Sony hack and allegations of misattribution, at the mediated eye of a media shitstorm, we have a winner [of sorts] at home and abroad, Japan tightens domestic cybersecurity, the NSA’s hand seen in major spooky malware infestation, allegations of Chinese hacks in Afghan computers, growing fears of imminent hospital hacks, Washington’s plain old-fashioned human asset at the heart of Cuba’s cryptoservice, then on to ideological violence, first with a mosque burned in Sweden, terror charges lodged against Saudi women drivers, Pakistan’s top general orders military trials for terror, Beijing sends a signal to an increasingly militaristic Shinzo Abe and embarks on major naval expansion moves with a trans-Pacific nuclear reach, Japanese show growing interest in insular claims, AIDS infection threats used in a Chinese development dispute, the Pentagon want s self-flying insectoid drones, and ensl’s own congressional rep rightly claims vindication. . . Continue reading