And so much more.

We begin today’s collection of tales from the world of spooks, corporate voyeurs, militarism, and the constantly escalating Asian Games of Zones on as rare upbeat note, the story of a woman whose unrelenting struggle for truth in a dark war by secret police has led to a major, tearful victory.

From BBC News:

Argentina Plaza de Mayo activist finds ‘stolen grandson’

Estela de Carlotto promised to carry on searching for other “stolen children”

An Argentine activist who searches for people who were snatched as babies by the 1970s military junta has found her own grandson.

Estela de Carlotto said finding her grandson, a victim of the practice, was “reparation” for her and for Argentina. She said he had come forward for DNA testing because he had doubts about his own identity.

The junta snatched hundreds of babies from their opponents and gave them to sympathisers to bring up.

And an interview with de Carlotto via Journeyman Pictures:

Estela Carlotto On Searching For Abducted Grandson

Program notes:

Missing Generation: Today Estela Carlotto, the leader of Argentina’s famous Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, finally meets her grandson. Filmed over a decade ago in the powerful documentary ‘Missing Generation’, Estela expressed her hope that one day she would embrace her kidnapped grandson.

It has been 36 years since Estela Carlotto’s pregnant daughter was abducted and murdered by the Argentine military dictatorship.

These clips show the incredible resolve fuelling Estela’s search for the disappeared before she found her grandson. “I don’t want to die without having had him in my arms”, she says. “I believe this is a dream that will never abandon me. I’m faithful, I do have hope.”

‘Missing Generation’ tells the haunting tale of families torn apart by Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship. During the reign of the junta, thousands of men, women and children simply disappeared. Parents lost their children; orphans were forced into unknown and uncaring families. Estela is head of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an internationally renowned charity that tries to find missing children. Since 1979, her unending work has found just 23. She too, suffers the absence of her murdered daughter and missing grandson, but also of her husband. Her work is motivated by the desire not to die, like her husband, never having known her grandson “He is here. In every corner. But physically I have lost him”, she chokes. “What keeps me going is an affection that transcends death”.

The full documentary is available here.

And now back to the SOS [in both sense of that acronym, first from the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

Senate Intelligence Committee members protest administration deletions to CIA torture report

Senate Intelligence Committee members protested Tuesday over the Obama administration’s censorship of a report on the CIA’s use of “brutal” interrogation methods, charging that the deletions hid key facts and blacked out information that was made public years ago.

The senators raised their objections to the redactions in emailed statements sent within minutes of each other, indicating a coordinated effort to drive home their anger and further highlighted the serious frictions between the Democratic administration and Democrat-run panel that oversees the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies.

Relations between the committee and the CIA also have soured over the agency’s admission last week that it had broken into a computer database that by agreement was supposed to have been accessed only by the panel staffers who compiled the report.

From the Guardian, California’s plutocratic senator’s outrage affirmed as the ornamental variety:

Shrewd Feinstein shows restraint in bid to reverse CIA torture report redactions

Chair of the Senate intelligence committee has yet to demand John Brennan’s resignation – and it could help her cause

As the Senate intelligence committee continues its battle to declassify evidence of CIA torture, two members of the panel have called for Director John Brennan’s head. Not among them is the committee chairwoman, and her restraint is striking observers as a shrewd strategic move.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat typically inclined to defend the intelligence agencies she oversees, has drawn a line short of demanding Brennan resign in the wake of a CIA inspector general report released last week that found five agency officials breached a network firewall and accessed emails of committee staffers investigating torture. Whatever her intent – Feinstein’s office would not field questions on the subject – her restraint has benefits for her effort over the coming weeks to roll back CIA redactions to her committee’s forthcoming report.

As much as the agency has no choice but to do business with its lead Senate overseer, “by withholding that demand, I think she has kept open the possibility of negotiating the further disclosures,” said Steven Aftergood, a longtime intelligence observer at the Federation of American Scientists.

From Techdirt, that good ol’ ever-profitable revolving door/cash cow spins out another tanker-load of cream:

Ex-NSA Boss Defends Patenting His Totally Brand New, Not Developed On Gov’t Time, Patent-Pending Cybersecurity Brilliance

from the yeah-that’s-believable dept

We recently wrote about Keith Alexander claiming that he’s worth as much as $1 million a month (actually, the number is now being lowered to $600k) because he’s magically come up with a totally brand new anti-hacking concept that will have many patents. As we noted, this story raised all sorts of questions. First, if he had such a brilliant idea to stop hackers, why didn’t he use it back when he was in charge of the NSA and the US Cyber Command? His answer to that was that he magically came up with it after he left office in March. Of course, if that’s the case, it’s difficult to see how it can be worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars per month because it’s a totally untested and totally brand new idea. He can’t both be claiming that his years of NSA experience make it worthwhile and that this idea has nothing to do with his work at the NSA — but he seems to be doing exactly that.

Either way, he’s given an interview to the Associated Press in which he tries (and fails) to defend himself concerning the new operation, IronNet Cybersecurity:

“If I retired from the Army as a brain surgeon, wouldn’t it be OK for me to go into private practice and make money doing brain surgery?” he asked. “I’m a cyber guy. Can’t I go to work and do cyber stuff?”

The “brain surgery” analogy is not even close to be analogous. This is more like he was the administrator of an army hospital who has now retired and says, despite never having personally done a brain surgery, he’s now invented a miraculous new way to do brain surgeries so powerful people have only dreamed of them before. Naturally, most people should be skeptical of such claims.

From BuzzFeed, Orwellian rhetoric a Tea Partyer might endorse:

Government Declares Undocumented Immigrant Child, Mother A “National Security Threat”

Homeland Security attorneys are using a Bush-era Department of Justice ruling in opposing bond requests by undocumented immigrants at a New Mexico facility.

The Obama administration is using a Bush-era decision by former Attorney General John Ashcroft to classify the flood of undocumented immigrants that have hit the southern border as a “national security threat” in an effort to deny them bond during immigration status hearings.

Immigration attorneys said the argument, based on a 2003 decision by Ashcroft, has been employed against undocumented immigrant mothers with children being held at the Artesia, New Mexico, detention facility.

The nation’s immigration courts are overseen by the Department of Justice, and the attorney general has the authority to rule on any appeal of a case before it can be taken to the judicial system for review.

More Orwelliianism from the Center for Public Integrity:

Nuclear weapons lab employee fired after publishing scathing critique of the arms race

Los Alamos lets a 17-year employee go after retroactively classifying his published article

James E. Doyle’s ordeal with Washington began one morning in early February last year, when his supervisor stopped by his desk at Los Alamos National Laboratory and told him that senior managers wanted copies of all his publications.

The 55-year-old political scientist asked the reason for the request, and he eventually was told that someone at the House Armed Services Committee wanted to see the publications. But Doyle said officials refused to tell him who it was or why.

Later that day at the lab’s New Mexico campus, he said, two members of a Security Inquiries Team abruptly arrived with a special, silver-colored briefcase for secure documents, and pulled out an article he published a few days earlier on the website of a London nonprofit group.

They claimed that the article, an impassioned critique of the political theories undergirding the nuclear arms race and a defense of President Obama’s embrace of a nuclear weapons-free future, contained classified information.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, their deepest regrets:

San Jose police: We regret secrecy about drone

San Jose police officials said Tuesday that they “should have done a better job of communicating” with the public about the department’s recent purchase of a drone that hasn’t yet taken to the skies.

Officials released a statement a week after they came under fire from civil rights activists for not informing the public of the device either before or after its purchase in January.

On Tuesday, the department said it will create a community outreach plan before deploying the unmanned aircraft system.

San Jose police bought the drone for just under $7,000 in federal grant money to help the bomb squad assess threats and inspect explosives, officials said.

And from Jacobin, an all-too-familiar story:

Another Professor Punished for Anti-Israel Views

Pro-Israel forces have consistently been on the wrong side of the academic freedom debate.

Until two weeks ago, Steven Salaita was heading to a job at the University of Illinois as a professor of American Indian Studies. He had already resigned from his position at Virginia Tech; everything seemed sewn up. Now the chancellor of the University of Illinois has overturned Salaita’s appointment and rescinded the offer. Because of Israel.

The sources familiar with the university’s decision say that concern grew over the tone of his comments on Twitter about Israel’s policies in Gaza….

For instance, there is this tweet: “At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised? #Gaza.” Or this one: “By eagerly conflating Jewishness and Israel, Zionists are partly responsible when people say antisemitic shit in response to Israeli terror.” Or this one: “Zionists, take responsibility: if your dream of an ethnocratic Israel is worth the murder of children, just fucking own it already.”

From BBC News the governmental-corporate panopticon strikes again:

Microsoft tip leads to child porn arrest in Pennsylvania

A tip-off from Microsoft has led to the arrest of a man in Pennsylvania who has been charged with receiving and sharing child abuse images.

It flagged the matter after discovering that an image involving a young girl had been allegedly saved to the man’s OneDrive cloud storage account.

According to court documents, the man was subsequently detected trying to send two illegal pictures via one of Microsoft’s live.com email accounts.

From SecurityWeek, the panopticon Down Under:

Australia PM Says New Terror Laws Will Not Invade Privacy

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday defended tough new terror laws under which digital data will be retained for up to two years, denying it is an invasion of privacy.

The government plans to overhaul laws to make it easier to arrest and prosecute terrorists and make it an offense to travel to designated hotspots overseas without a valid reason.

It has also substantially increased resources to security and intelligence agencies and wants telecommunications companies to retain metadata for up to two years.

“They’re not invading privacy,” Abbott told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation of the proposed laws which were announced Tuesday.

Ditto from Deutschland, via Deutsche Welle:

German agencies pinpoint cell phone users via SMS

German police and intelligence agencies are increasingly using “silent” SMS messages to localize cell phones, unbeknownst to their users. Details have emerged in a government answer to a parliamentary question.

Four of Germany’s agencies sent more than 150,000 “silent” short-service-messages (SMS) to trace mobile phone users in the first half of this year, according to a disclosure published on Wednesday by the German federal government.

It was replying to a formal question lodged by the opposition leftist parliamentary group in Germany’s Bundestag federal parliament in Berlin at a time when government officials are increasingly focused on their own anti-spying protection.

So-called “silent” or empty SMSs are not displayed on cell phones, but, when sent en masse to a single device, an agency can pinpoint the location of the user and observe his or her geographical movements within the mobile phone network.

From TheLocal.fr, brownshirts go to camp:

Commando camps sound alarm bells in France

The emergence of a video posted on the website of a notorious French far-right activist, showing commando training camps in a forest near Paris has caused a fair bit of concern among France’s Socialist Party.

French newspaper Le Canard Enchainé revealed on Wednesday that the Socialist Party is deeply worried over commando training camps, videos of which appeared on the website of far-right polemicist Alain Soral.

According to the site the courses are aimed at helping participants become a “responsible citizen” but rather than being like a scouts training camp, a video posted on Soral’s website “Egalité et Réconciliation”(equality and reconciliation) shows “students” engage in combat, using knives and firearms.

From PCWorld, digital Alzheimer’s?:

Wikimedia: Right to be forgotten results in ‘Internet riddled with memory holes’

Google has removed over 50 links to Wikipedia from its search results on European domains as a consequence of the EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling which, according to Wikimedia, “punches holes in free knowledge.”

The foundation behind Wikipedia last week started receiving notices that certain links to Wikipedia content would no longer appear in search results served to people in Europe, Wikimedia’s general counsel Geoff Brigham and legal counsel Michelle Paulson wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

The links to Wikipedia were removed as a direct result of a May ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The decision gave EU citizens the right to compel search engines to remove results for queries that include a person’s name, if the results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.”

After the jump, the Asian Game of Zones amps us across a wide front, from missiles to media gambits and hardening divisions, plus yet another proof that our minds are more susceptible to subtle suasion than we might like to admit. . .

From RT, iTit for iTat:

China bans govt purchases of Apple’s gadgets – report

China has removed products by American techno giant Apple Inc, including iPads and MacBooks, from the government procurement list amid growing tensions between Beijing and Washington over snooping and hacking claims, reports Bloomberg.

All in all, ten Apple devices – such as the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro – were excluded from a final state procurement list distributed last month, unnamed government officials told Bloomberg News.

The ban applies to all Chinese central and local government agencies, which are not allowed to use public money to buy these products.

Want China Times hints at a major escalation ahead:

More Chinese missiles will be revealed soon: report

After the Chinese government acknowledged the existence of the DF-41 nuclear solid-fueled road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, the Nanning Evening News said that more advanced missiles will be revealed in the near future.

The information regarding the DF-41 was accidentally released in a report from the official website of the Shaanxi Environmental Monitoring Center. The paper said the names of various other types of new missiles including the DF-26, the HQ-1 and the HQ-26 were also mentioned in the report. This suggests that more missile systems will soon be revealed to the public, according to the paper.

Richard Fisher, an expert in Chinese military development from the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said China has used Aug. 1, the 87th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, as an opportunity to demonstrate its military capability to the world. By doing this, Fisher said the Chinese government will inspire in its citizenry a sense of national pride. If the report is accurate, Fisher believes that PLA is going to commission the DF-41.

And from Deutsche Welle, an age-old Korean problem rears its ugly head once again:

‘Politicized’ South Korean spy agencies in ‘urgent need of reform’: ICG

South Korea’s intelligence agencies are susceptible to failures, politicization and intervention in domestic politics, so reform is urgently needed to restore public confidence, analyst Daniel Pinkston tells DW.

The image of South Korea’s intelligence services has been repeatedly tainted over the past years due to a series of scandals. But the situation worsened in the fall of 2012 when many in the main opposition party, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy – then named the Democratic Party, accused the country’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) of swaying the outcome of the December presidential election through an Internet smear campaign against opposition candidate Moon Jae-in to ensure the victory of incumbent President Park Geun-hye. The public’s trust and confidence in the intelligence community has been severely damaged ever since.

Daniel Pinkston, Deputy North East Asia Project Director at the International Crisis Group who co-authored the report, titled “Risks of Intelligence Pathologies in South Korea,” says in a DW interview that intelligence in South Korea is sometimes being manipulated with the aim of influencing the policy-making process. This is done so that the decision-makers’ choices are more aligned with the policy preferences of the intelligence agencies, thus creating risks for both the country and beyond, he adds.

From the Japan Daily Press, another bout of nastiness from folks bigoted against their cousins. And an esnl check reveals the video in question has been purged from YouTube:

YouTube video of Japanese girl on an anti-Korean rant goes viral

A young Japanese girl’s shocking anti-Korean rant during a protest in Osaka last February 24 was uploaded on YouTube yesterday. The video shows her openly expressing her hatred of Koreans, while being cheered on by her fellow protestors.

She is caught on video in a protest near Osaka’s Tsuruhashi Station, saying wants to kill all the Koreans living in the area, whom she referred to as “piece of crap”. She warned them that they should just go home to Korea before the Japanese people reach the end of their rope and kill them. She even made references to the Nanking Massacre, where an estimated 250,000 Chinese were killed by the Japanese army in 1937, saying that there will be a repeat of this if the Koreans don’t leave Japan. Her words are appalling in itself, but is made even worse as the crowd cheers her on while she screams “go home” and “this is not your country”.

Anti-Korean protests by ultra nationalistic groups like that are nothing new, but they have been increasing in frequency the past few months. Just last week, a street protest was held in one of the biggest Korean neighborhoods near Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. Protestors walked around carrying signs that said “Go back to Korea!” and calling them “cockroaches”. The twist in this was that their protest was met by a large group of pro-Korean Japanese people who had their own slogans saying, “You are the shame of this country!”, “You’re the ones who need to go home!”, and “Get back to the Internet where you belong!” (in reference to the web-based nature of most of these anti-Korean sentiments).

From the Japan Times, that old historic blindness:

U.N. rights chief expresses regret over Japan’s handling of ‘comfort women’ issue

Outgoing U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay expressed regret Wednesday that Japan has “failed to pursue a comprehensive, impartial and lasting resolution” to the issue of so-called comfort women.

“This is not an issue relegated to history. It is a current issue, as human rights violations against these women continue to occur as long as their rights to justice and reparation are not realized,” the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said in a statement.

Pillay also criticized Japan’s review, made in June, of the process that led to the Kono statement regarding Asian women who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels.

And from the Mainichi, fuel added to flames:

Asahi Shimbun’s stance questioned after withdrawal of ‘comfort women’ articles

The Asahi Shimbun admitted with an apology in its Aug. 5 morning edition that there were factual errors in some of its articles on the so-called wartime “comfort women” issue. But the major Japanese daily emphasized that the facts about the issue were “not intentionally distorted.”

While some experts hail the Asahi Shimbun for carrying verification articles which acknowledge that some of its articles were false, some other critics raise questions about Asahi’s reporting stance.

In its two-page spread examining its past articles on “comfort women,” Asahi tried to verify the credibility of statements made by Seiji Yoshida (deceased) who had revealed his own experience of rounding up women against their will. The article said that the Asahi Shimbun had published articles 16 times since 1982 based on Yoshida’s statements, including the one which said he “hunted out” 200 young Korean women on Jeju Island. The Asahi said, however, that although it had gathered additional information on the issue on Jeju Island for verification purposes, it could not obtain corroborative evidence to back up Yoshida’s statements. The Asahi Shimbun then said it deemed the statements were false and therefore it would retract the articles.

With respect to the Asahi Shimbun’s articles on “comfort women,” there have been a flood of online postings criticizing a particular Asahi reporter by name. The reporter wrote an article on testimonies from former comfort women in August 1991, ahead of South Korean media. Because a South Korean woman who supports former comfort women in their court battles is the reporter’s mother-in-law, there have been online postings suspecting that the reporter took advantage of his relations with the woman to write stories in favor of former comfort women.

From NHK WORLD, Abe defends bellicosity in a surreal context:

Abe responds to collective defense concerns

Representatives of atomic bombing survivors’ groups have urged Prime Minister Abe to rescind his Cabinet’s approval to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

Abe attended a ceremony in Hiroshima on Wednesday marking the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city. He later met with 7 representatives of the survivors’ groups.

One of them referred to the promise engraved on a cenotaph at the city’s Peace Memorial Park. It reads, “Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil.” He said the Cabinet decision breaches that promise and could result in Japan repeating its mistakes.

And from People’s Daily, another Chinese response:

Abe’s anti-China alliances are wishful thinking

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ‘sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind’.

Before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Brazil, the Japanese delegation intimated via Japanese media that Japan and Brazil would deliver a joint declaration on concepts such a ‘rule of law’, highlighting the peaceful approach to solving the South China Sea disputes. Some media hinted that part of the declaration specifically targeted China.

According to Liu Jianming, professor of Tsinghua University, some parts of the Japanese media are controlled by Abe’s government, and regularly provide misleading coverage of events involving China.

Their intention is to remedy the Japanese government’s failures in diplomacy. However, this type of coverage only succeeds in making the Japanese government more offensive to the outside world.

From Want China Times, another zonal complication:

Beijing asks Seoul to stop providing weapons to Manila

China has recently requested that South Korea stop providing weapons systems to the Philippines due to Beijing’s territorial dispute with Manila in the South China Sea, according to a South Korean government source cited by Seoul-based newspaper Weekly Dong-A.

The source said senior officials from the Chinese embassy and its military attache’s office visited the South Korean foreign and defense ministries between June 10 and June 11. They were concerned about a deal made between South Korean defense minister Kim Kwan-jin and his Philippine counterpart Voltaire Gazmin on May 30, under which Seoul will give one multirole landing craft and 16 high-speed boats to Manila, according to the source.

The source said that Chinese senior officials demanded the South Korean foreign and defense ministries not send the vessels to the Philippines. Former US president Bill Clinton has also expressed his support for the Philippines in the dispute over the South China Sea. Clinton said that the Philippines is too powerless to deal with China alone.

From the Guardian, provocation:

Hackers design clandestine aerials to help North Koreans watch banned TV

Idea for covert signal receivers that could be smuggled into the isolated country was proposed at a Silicon Valley ‘hackathon’ competition. North Korea Tech reports

A group of budding young developers has won a competition to find new ways of spreading information inside North Korea, with their idea for small, flat, easily hidden aerials that could intercept South Korean TV programmes.

Hack North Korea, a two-day ‘hackathon’ organised by New York-based charity Human Rights Foundation, brought together programmers, human rights campaigners and defectors to San Francisco at the weekend to find news ways to circumvent the country’s strict controls on the flow of information into, and within, the country.

Several teams spent the weekend working on ideas that would enable digital information to be concealed, hidden or otherwise transmitted without raising the suspicion of authorities.

For our final item, via Pacific Standard amps up a hidden persuader:

Want to Feel Powerful? Pump Up the Bass

New research finds listening to certain types of music can increase one’s feelings of power, which can in turn influence thinking and behavior.

As its recent reincarnation on Broadway reminded us, you can’t separate Rocky from its music. It’s easy to believe the lovable underdog boxer could be a champion, so long as that rousing, brass-heavy score is roaring as insistently in his head as it is in ours.

But stirring sounds aren’t simply a way of generating excitement or enthusiasm. A new study finds certain types of music—especially tunes with a heavy bass beat—can make one feel more powerful. This sense of confidence and ability, the researchers add, can subsequently shape the way we think and behave.

“The effect of music appears to manifest itself not only in its ability to entertain, but also in the ability to imbue humans with a real sense of power,” a research team led by Dennis Hsu of Northwestern University writes in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. Writers such as Henry David Thoreau and George Eliot have intuited this link; science now provides hard data backing up their belief.

Show more