Assuming no last-minute surprises, while the White House transitions the son of a Leòdhas emigrant will take the Oath and become the next POTUS in Washington D.C. today (security gates open at 6am, ceremony begins at 11:30am), as part of the 58th Presidential Inauguration (events began yesterday). Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath; the Lincoln Bible and a family bible will be used. Clarence Thomas will administer the Oath of Office to Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Many Democratic lawmakers are boycotting the inauguration; security is tight, and selfie sticks, drones and drums are not permitted. Some artists are performing at the inauguration and after events. The day after, the Women's March takes place in D.C. and many other cities and towns. Channels showing the inauguration, the 2009 and 2013 ceremonies, and Obama's 2008 victory speech.
A New Look At China's Cultural Revolution - "Historian Frank Dikötter says newly opened archives offer fresh details about the chaos China experienced in the 1960s, when Chairman Mao urged students to take to the streets." [more inside]
After leading with a cover story criticizing Xi Jinping (otoh) The Economist has been censored in China; Time too and now Medium. [more inside]
"One broader implication of this is that no one should take the NSA seriously when they say they are only collecting “metadata” on whom someone contacts, rather than the content of the communication. Social network metadata is incredibly powerful." How to tell whether a Twitter user is pro-choice or pro-life without reading any of their tweets
“But what shall we dream of when everything becomes visible?” Virilio replies: “We’ll dream of being blind."
Imagine two politicians: One preaches fear and excessive "security," while the other says terrorism is a negligible risk. They hold, like me, that risk is part of life, and that while some security is necessary, we should mostly just refuse to be terrorized and get on with our lives. Fast-forward 10 years. If I'm right and there have been no more terrorist attacks, the preacher of fear takes credit for keeping us safe. But if a terrorist attack has occurred, my government career is over.
The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
An unauthorized certificate could be used to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks. This issue affects all supported releases of Microsoft Windows.
"Flame" is the name of a newly-identified malware program which utilizes a previously unknown MD5 collision attack to successfully spoof Microsoft Terminal Services, and install itself as a trusted program using Windows Update, Microsoft has confirmed. The program appears to have targeted computers in the Middle East, and specifically Iran; analysts have alleged it is likely created by the same entity that designed Stuxnet. Flame has been live and actively spying since 2010, but went undetected until recently, due to sophisticated anti-detection measures. [more inside]
Not content with displacing the poor, menacing photographers and blocking ambulances the london olympics now wants ground-to-air missiles, presumably to shoot down rogue skywriters who might misuse it's brand.
LulzSec (twitter account) have hacked senate.gov. The group has previously hacked Bethesda, Pron.com, FBI affilliates amongst others. Although some argue that LulzSec represent the catalyst to improve IT security, this message to the Senate seems likely to provoke a more direct investigation: [more inside]
-Only an 'energy internet' can ward off disaster
-We must electrify the transport sector [more inside]
-We must electrify the transport sector [more inside]
Lobster: The Journal of Parapolitics was started in 1983 by Robin Ramsay and Stephen Dorril, two conspiracy enthusiasts who weren't actually nuts and believed in proper research. The magazine primarily covered the activities of the British security and intelligence services and what they term 'parapolitics'. They've had a brochure website for a while with some sample articles, but starting from the current issue the full journal will be free online (PDF download). The pair had a falling-out some time ago and have gone their separate ways. On his personal site Dorril, now also the author of a well-received study of Mosley and the Blackshirts, offers early back issues of the magazine for free download too.
You know, if I ran the BNP, I think I would think twice about this whole "trusting people with the members list" idea.
ACLU Watch List Counter: U.S. Terror List Now Exceeds 900,000 Names. That's an awful lot of terrorists. More Privacy and Surveillance Filter: Bruce Schneier on The Myth of the 'Transparent Society', Glenn Greenwald on The Banality of the Surveillance State, and Stephen Colbert on AT & Treason. [more inside]
"The Billboard Liberation Front today announced a major new advertising improvement campaign executed on behalf of clients AT&T and the National Security Agency. Focusing on billboards in the San Francisco area, this improvement action is designed to promote and celebrate the innovative collaboration of these two global communications giants." [Via Threat Level.]
When Ron Paul email spam started hitting inboxes in late October, UAB Computer Forensics Directory Gary Warner published findings on the spam's textual patterns and the illicit botnet used to spread it -- findings which were picked up by media outlets and tech websites like Salon, Ars Technica, and Wired Magazine's "Threat Level" blog, the latter in a set of followup posts by writer Sarah Stirland: 1, 2, 3. [more inside]
Homeland Insecurity. "What happened to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which Democratic leaders promised to make one of their top legislative priorities? What are the most deadly potential terrorist targets no one talks about—and who's lobbying against securing them? What's the one measure that could improve our chances of preventing an attack—without costing a penny? Why are the 2008 presidential candidates—Republicans and Democrats alike—nowhere on this issue? In this seven-part series Mother Jones' senior correspondent James Ridgeway examines how the government has let homeland security languish since September 11, 2001, with dire consequences."
What's the Big Secret? Four surveillance experts try to figure out what the NSA's superclassified wiretapping program really is (hint: it may have something to do with the filters). They don't seem to realize that this kind of reckless public discussion means some Americans are going to die. [Via Threat Level.]
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published their latest Infrastructure Report Card in 2005. America's infrastructure got a D. The ASCE estimate that it will cost $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. They also have a Critical Infrastructure blog. [Via Gristmill.]
Apparently, The Secret Service's code name for Barack Obama is "Renegade". Former agents told the Washington Post that military officials chose the code names without particular reference to the characteristics of the politician. Sadly, Bush's code name isn't "The Decider" but rather "Tumbler" and, later, (shockingly) "Trailblazer". If you're feeling left out, you budding Junior Secret Service Agents can make up your own.
The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities. Now that this former rogue nation has fallen in line, we can turn out attention to the real terrorist threat: Britain.
The National Security Strategy of the United States of America The new(ish), policy statement from the US govt. News stories: The Times, US News & World Report, Bloomberg, BBC (newsfilter +)
Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott [Defenders of the Bush/Dubai deal argue that we ought to be fair and not be racist in being anti-Arab...that is "un-American."] "The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.....Moreover, the Post found that the website for Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need to comply with the terms of the boycott....
Empty your pockets before attending the Presidential Inauguration. Among items forbidden are pocket tools, explosives, animals -- and in case they forgot to mention something, "any other items at the discretion of the security screeners that may pose a potential safety hazard"
Rumsfeld's personal spy ring The defense secretary couldn't count on the CIA or the State Department to provide a pretext for war in Iraq. So he created a new agency that would tell him what he wanted to hear. Today, Salon also looks into the role played by John Bolton. Is investigative journalism now just relegated to the web? [you have to look at an ad, I believe]
DOJ Introduces New Threat Levels Citizens should be alert, but continue to go about their normal daily spending activities.
Civil liberties and privacy may be priceless, but they may soon have a price tag. In this NYT article, describes efforts by the White House Office of Management and Budget to quantify the cost of enhanced security and lessened liberties. "As long as they're going to deal with monetary evaluations, I told them they should start asking about the cost of destroying democracy," said Mr. Nader.
Drastic changes due for America after terror attacks We are to become a garrison state, for better or worse, with the CIA more intimately involved with internal (domestic) doings and the FBI taking on new duties.