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Microsoft Admits Snooping Through Blogger's Hotmail Account | Zero Hedge

Microsoft Admits Snooping Through Blogger’s Hotmail Account | Zero Hedge.

Earlier in the week the hypocrisy of the big tech firms was exposed when the NSA’s senior lawyers “busted” their lies by explaining they knew full-well that they were engaged in the surveillance-state. Today comes yet more ‘elite’ hypocrisy as AP reportsMicrosoft, which has skewered rival Google for going through customer emails to deliver ads, acknowledged Thursday it had searched emails in a blogger’s Hotmail account to track down who was leaking company secretsScroogled, indeed.

 

We do spy and search your data – but only if we really need it… (via AP)

the software company “took extraordinary actions in this case.”

 

In the future, he said, Microsoft would consult an outside attorney who is a former judge to determine if a court order would have allowed such a search.

 

The case involves former employee Alex Kibkalo, a Russian native who worked for Microsoft as a software architect in Lebanon.

 

 

Besides the email search, Microsoft also combed through instant messages the two exchanged that September. Microsoft also examined files in Kibkalo’s cloud storage account, which until last month was called SkyDrive. Kibkalo is accused of using SkyDrive to share files with the blogger.

 

 

Courts do not issue orders authorizing someone to search themselves,” he said. “Even when we have probable cause, it’s not feasible to ask a court to order us to search ourselves.”

 

Microsoft also has a long-running negative ad campaign called “Scroogled,” in which it slams Google for scanning “every word in every email” to sell ads, saying that “Google crosses the line.”

Microsoft Admits Snooping Through Blogger’s Hotmail Account | Zero Hedge

Microsoft Admits Snooping Through Blogger’s Hotmail Account | Zero Hedge.

Earlier in the week the hypocrisy of the big tech firms was exposed when the NSA’s senior lawyers “busted” their lies by explaining they knew full-well that they were engaged in the surveillance-state. Today comes yet more ‘elite’ hypocrisy as AP reportsMicrosoft, which has skewered rival Google for going through customer emails to deliver ads, acknowledged Thursday it had searched emails in a blogger’s Hotmail account to track down who was leaking company secretsScroogled, indeed.

 

We do spy and search your data – but only if we really need it… (via AP)

the software company “took extraordinary actions in this case.”

 

In the future, he said, Microsoft would consult an outside attorney who is a former judge to determine if a court order would have allowed such a search.

 

The case involves former employee Alex Kibkalo, a Russian native who worked for Microsoft as a software architect in Lebanon.

 

 

Besides the email search, Microsoft also combed through instant messages the two exchanged that September. Microsoft also examined files in Kibkalo’s cloud storage account, which until last month was called SkyDrive. Kibkalo is accused of using SkyDrive to share files with the blogger.

 

 

Courts do not issue orders authorizing someone to search themselves,” he said. “Even when we have probable cause, it’s not feasible to ask a court to order us to search ourselves.”

 

Microsoft also has a long-running negative ad campaign called “Scroogled,” in which it slams Google for scanning “every word in every email” to sell ads, saying that “Google crosses the line.”

Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism in Europe | Global Research

Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism in Europe | Global Research.

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The violence on the streets of Ukraine is far more than an expression of popular anger against a government.  Instead, it is merely the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich.

Recent months have seen regular protests by the Ukrainian political opposition and its supporters –  protests ostensibly in response to Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s refusal to sign a trade agreement with the European Union that was seen by many political observers as the first step towards European integration.  The protests remained largely peaceful until January 17th when protesters armed with clubs, helmets, and improvised bombs unleashed brutal violence on the police, storming government buildings, beating anyone suspected of pro-government sympathies, and generally wreaking havoc on the streets of Kiev.  But who are these violent extremists and what is their ideology?

ukrainian-nationalists-attacked-police si-1

The political formation is known as “Pravy Sektor” (Right Sector), which is essentially an umbrella organization for a number of ultra-nationalist (read fascist) right wing groups including supporters of the “Svoboda” (Freedom) Party, “Patriots of Ukraine”, “Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense” (UNA-UNSO), and “Trizub”.  All of these organizations share a common ideology that is vehemently anti-Russian, anti-immigrant, and anti-Jewish among other things.  In addition they share a common reverence for the so called “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” led by Stepan Bandera, the infamous Nazi collaborators who actively fought against the Soviet Union and engaged in some of the worst atrocities committed by any side in World War II.

While Ukrainian political forces, opposition and government, continue to negotiate, a very different battle is being waged in the streets.  Using intimidation and brute force more typical of Hitler’s “Brownshirts” or Mussolini’s “Blackshirts” than a contemporary political movement, these groups have managed to turn a conflict over economic policy and the political allegiances of the country into an existential struggle for the very survival of the nation that these so called “nationalists” claim to love so dearly.  The images of Kiev burning, Lviv streets filled with thugs, and other chilling examples of the chaos in the country, illustrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the political negotiation with the Maidan (Kiev’s central square and center of the protests) opposition is now no longer the central issue.  Rather, it is the question of Ukrainian fascism and whether it is to be supported or rejected.

For its part, the United States has strongly come down on the side of the opposition, regardless of its political character.  In early December, members of the US ruling establishment such as John McCain and Victoria Nuland were seen at Maidan lending their support to the protesters.  However, as the character of the opposition has become apparent in recent days, the US and Western ruling class and its media machine have done little to condemn the fascist upsurge.  Instead, their representatives have met with representatives of Right Sector and deemed them to be “no threat.”  In other words, the US and its allies have given their tacit approval for the continuation and proliferation of the violence in the name of their ultimate goal: regime change.

In an attempt to pry Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence, the US-EU-NATO alliance has, not for the first time, allied itself with fascists.  Of course, for decades, millions in Latin America were disappeared or murdered by fascist paramilitary forces armed and supported by the United States.  The mujahideen of Afghanistan, which later transmogrified into Al Qaeda, also extreme ideological reactionaries, were created and financed by the United States for the purposes of destabilizing Russia.  And of course, there is the painful reality of Libya and, most recently Syria, where the United States and its allies finance and support extremist jihadis against a government that has refused to align with the US and Israel.  There is a disturbing pattern here that has never been lost on keen political observers: the United States always makes common cause with right wing extremists and fascists for geopolitical gain.

The situation in Ukraine is deeply troubling because it represents a political conflagration that could very easily tear the country apart less than 25 years after it gained independence from the Soviet Union.  However, there is another equally disturbing aspect to the rise of fascism in that country – it is not alone.

The Fascist Menace Across the Continent

Ukraine and the rise of right wing extremism there cannot be seen, let alone understood, in isolation.  Rather, it must be examined as part of a growing trend throughout Europe (and indeed the world) – a trend which threatens the very foundations of democracy.

In Greece, savage austerity imposed by the troika (IMF, ECB, and European Commission) has crippled the country’s economy, leading to a depression as bad, if not worse, than the Great Depression in the United States.  It is against this backdrop of economic collapse that the Golden Dawn party has grown to become the third most popular political party in the country.  Espousing an ideology of hate, the Golden Dawn – in effect a Nazi party that promotes anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant, anti-women chauvinism – is a political force that the government in Athens has understood to be a serious threat to the very fabric of society.  It is this threat which led the government to arrest the party’s leadership after a Golden Dawn Nazi fatally stabbed an anti-fascist rapper.  Athens has launched an investigation into the party, though the results of this investigation and trial remain somewhat unclear.

What makes Golden Dawn such an insidious threat is the fact that, despite their central ideology of Nazism, their anti-EU, anti-austerity rhetoric appeals to many in the economically devastated Greece.  As with many fascist movements in the 20th Century, Golden Dawn scapegoats immigrants, Muslim and African primarily, for many of the problems facing Greeks.  In dire economic circumstances, such irrational hate becomes appealing; an answer to the question of how to solve society’s problems.  Indeed, despite Golden Dawn’s leaders being jailed, other party members are still in parliament, still running for major offices including mayor of Athens.  Though an electoral victory is unlikely, another strong showing at the polls will make the eradication of fascism in Greece that much harder.

Were this phenomenon confined to Greece and Ukraine, it would not constitute a continental trend.  Sadly however, we see the rise of similar, albeit slightly less overtly fascist, political parties all over Europe.  In Spain, the ruling pro-austerity People’s Party has moved to establish draconian laws restricting protest and free speech, and empowering and sanctioning repressive police tactics.  In France, the National Front Party of Marine Le Pen, which vehemently scapegoats Muslim and African immigrants, won nearly twenty percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections.  Similarly, the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands – which promotes anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant policies – has grown to be the third largest in parliament.  Throughout Scandinavia, ultra nationalist parties which once toiled in complete irrelevance and obscurity are now significant players in elections.  These trends are worrying to say the least.

It should be noted too that, beyond Europe, there are a number of quasi-fascist political formations which are, in one way or another, supported by the United States.  The right wing coups that overthrew the governments of Paraguay and Honduras were tacitly and/or overtly supported by Washington in their seemingly endless quest to suppress the Left in Latin America.  Of course, one should also remember that the protest movement in Russia was spearheaded by Alexei Navalny and his nationalist followers who espouse a virulently anti-Muslim, racist ideology that views immigrants from the Russian Caucasus and former Soviet republics as beneath “European Russians”.  These and other examples begin to paint a very ugly portrait of a US foreign policy that attempts to use economic hardship and political upheaval to extend US hegemony around the world.

In Ukraine, the “Right Sector” has taken the fight from the negotiating table to the streets in an attempt to fulfill the dream of Stepan Bandera – a Ukraine free of Russia, Jews, and all other “undesirables” as they see it.  Buoyed by the continued support from the US and Europe, these fanatics represent a more serious threat to democracy than Yanukovich and the pro-Russian government ever could.  If Europe and the United States don’t recognize this threat in its infancy, by the time they finally do, it might just be too late.

Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.com.  He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City.  You can reach him at ericdraitser@gmail.com.

The Fascist Origin and Essence of Privatization Washington’s Blog

The Fascist Origin and Essence of Privatization Washington’s Blog.

Preface by Washington’s Blog: We documented in 2009 that fascism and our current crony capitalist economy are indistinguishable.

We noted in 2011 that America’s public resources are being raped and pillaged … just like those of small debt-saddled countries like Greece.

The following short – but important – piece by Eric Zuesse shows that looting and privatization of public resources was a hallmark of fascist Germany and Italy … and America today.

Washington’s Blog is non-partisan.  We believe that the war between liberals and conservatives is a false divide-and-conquer dog-and-pony show created by the powers that be to keep the American people divided and distracted. See thisthisthisthisthisthisthisthisthis and this.

We can argue it either way, because we are ideologically neutral: allowing the private sector to own and manage resources is good … or allowing the public sector to do so is healthy.

Here’s the key:  If these resources had always been in the private sector, that would be fine … that would be free market capitalism.

But if they were purchased on the people’s dime with our blood, tears, sweat and taxpayer funds – and then sold to the big boys for pennies on the dollar – that’s not capitalism … that’s looting.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Nazis, Italian fascists, and modern American “leaders” are doing.

-By Eric Zuesse

Conservatives support privatizing schools, prisons, hospitals, and other social services. The privatization-mania is also increasingly occurring in higher education, as conservatives in Congress push measures to raise the percentage of colleges that are owned by for-profit corporations, and to decrease the percentage that are either public or nonprofit.

The argument given for such privatization is that corporations are more efficient because they are “the free market” way of serving people’s needs. However, progressives argue to the contrary, that in these parts of the economy, where “profits” for the public are hard if not impossible to measure, government does a better and less-inefficient job than corporations do. And, now, even a conservative state’s governor seems to have switched to the latter conclusion.

On 3 January 2014, the AP reported an instance in which the Republican Governor of one of the three most-Republican states in the U.S., Idaho, is doing a 180-degree turn, and he announced that “the corrections department will take over operation of the largest privately-run prison in the state,” from Corrections Corporation of America. The AP’s Rebecca Boone, in Boise, reported, that, whereas “In 2008, he floated legislation to change state laws to allow private companies to build and operate prisons in Idaho,” he now is taking over operation of this CCA prison, because of “mismanagement and other problems at the facility.” Only a few months before, on September 16th, that same reporter had headlined “CCA in contempt for prison understaffing,” and she quoted the federal judge’s order, which said that, “For CCA staff to lie on so basic a point — whether an officer is actually at a post — leaves the Court with serious concerns about compliance in other respects, such as whether every violent incident is reported.” The judge found that CCA was lying because they wanted more of their income from the state to go toward boosting their bottom line for stockholders, and less of it to go toward feeding the prisoners and protecting them from each other. The judge’s order said, “If a prospective fine leads to $2.4 million in penalties, CCA has no one to blame but itself.” CCA had been caught by the judge in persistently lying to the state while shortchanging prisoners on the prison’s obligation to provide basic services to inmates. The tension between private profits versus public services was clear in this case. CCA had incentive to cheat inmates in order to raise profits, and now a federal judge was fining CCA for doing precisely that.

Similarly, countries such as France, Sweden, UK, and the OECD generally, where health care is entirely or largely provided by the government, have better health-care outcomes and far lower healthcare costs, on a per-person basis, than does the U.S., where the profit motive in medical care is far more encouraged.

However, many Americans prefer the privatization of government services, because they believe that such a movement toward “shrinking big government” is in the direction of greater freedom, and is the only ethical direction, a direction in favor of greater democracy, in accord with the U.S. Constitution. Though the U.S. Constitution is by no means a free-market document, and concerns political issues instead of economic ones, there is a strong belief, especially among conservatives, that it is primarily about economics. There is consequently a myth about privatization.

The Myth About Privatization: Privatization was introduced by two democracies, the USA and UK, in the 1980s, not by prior fascist regimes.

The Truth About Privatization: Privatization was, in fact, a big aim of the elite fascists, right from the very start of fascism.

Explanation of the Reality: Aristocrats control the private wealth. Privatization means that they get to control also what was previously public. Privatization moreover provides corrupt politicians (their politicians) an opportunity to pay off their contributors (themselves) by offering them an inside track on public-asset sales. So, it’s not surprising that privatization is the way of fascist countries.

Documentation of the Reality: In September 2009, the European University Institute issued their RSCAS_2009_46.pdf, titled “From Public to Private: Privatization in 1920’s Fascist Italy,” (subsequently retitled “The First Privatization: Selling SOEs” in the 2011 Cambridge Journal of Economics) by Germa Bel, who said in her summary: “Privatization was an important policy in Italy in 1922-1925. The Fascist government was alone in transferring State ownership and services to private firms in the 1920s; no other country in the world would engage in such a policy until Nazi Germany did so between 1934 and 1937.” Then, in the February 2010 Economic History Review, she headlined a study specifically about the German case, “Against the Mainstream: Nazi Privatization in 1930s Germany.” Here, she reported that, though “privatizations in [fascist] Chile [under Pinochet] and the UK, which began to be implemented in the 1970s and 1980s, are usually considered the first privatization policies in modern history, … none of the contemporary economic analyses of privatization takes into account an important, earlier case: the privatization policy implemented by the National Socialist (Nazi) Party in Germany. … Although modern economic literature usually fails to notice it, the Nazi government in 1930s Germany implemented a large-scale privatization policy.” Furthermore, “Germany was alone in developing a policy of privatization in the mid-1930s,” since Italy had finished its privatizations by then.

The purposes of these privatizations, in both cases, were chiefly “receipts from selling” the assets to finance rearmament, and also “the desire to increase support from” the major aristocrats (such as, in Germany, the armaments-making firms of the Thyssens, the Krupps, and the Flicks), who received sweet deals on these assets.

Much later, of course, Russia under Boris Yeltsin also privatized, while that nation switched from being communist, to becoming fascist. (Yeltsin was no fascist himself; he wasn’t intelligent enough to be anything, ideologically. He was just confused, mistaken.) China later did the same thing, when it, too, switched from being communist to being fascist.

Connection to Privatization in the U.S: To continue with prisons as the case: Huffington Post, on 22 October 2013, headlined a major investigative news report “Private Prison Empire Rises Despite Startling Record of Juvenile Abuse,” and reporter Chris Kirkham found rampant political paybacks in the privatizations of juvenile prisons. As a typical example of the consequences: Florida’s “sweeping privatization of its juvenile incarceration system has produced some of the worst re-offending rates in the nation. More than 40 percent of youth offenders sent to one of Florida’s juvenile prisons wind up arrested and convicted of another crime within a year of their release, according to state data. In New York state, where historically no youth offenders have been held in private institutions, 25 percent are convicted again within that timeframe.” Those children in Florida are experiencing the brunt of fascism. But so are taxpayers.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Edward Snowden’s explosive NSA leaks have US in damage control mode | World news | guardian.co.uk

Edward Snowden’s explosive NSA leaks have US in damage control mode | World news | guardian.co.uk.

The scandalous erosion of US civil liberties – Al Jazeera Blogs

The scandalous erosion of US civil liberties – Al Jazeera Blogs.

 

Dad who died during arrest ‘begged for his life’; witness videos … – BakersfieldCalifornian.com

Dad who died during arrest ‘begged for his life’; witness videos … – BakersfieldCalifornian.com.

 

Terror In Canada: Tories Say Arrest Timing Wasn’t Political

Terror In Canada: Tories Say Arrest Timing Wasn’t Political.

 

MPs vote on anti-terror bill – Politics – CBC News

MPs vote on anti-terror bill – Politics – CBC News.

 

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