Gareth Williams, an MI6 spy found dead inside a locked holdall could have been killed by someone who specialised in “the dark arts of the secret services”, a coroner was told.Gareth Williams, an MI6 spy found dead inside a locked holdall could have been killed by someone who specialised in “the dark arts of the secret services”, a coroner was told.
Gareth Williams could not have locked the bag from the inside, meaning a “third party” must have done it, according to a lawyer representing his family.
Relatives believe his death in 2010 may have been linked to his work at MI6, where he had recently qualified for “operational deployment”, and that fingerprints, DNA and other evidence was wiped from the scene in a deliberate cover up.
Police have always said they were keeping an open mind on whether the 31-year-old codebreaker was murdered or died as a result of an accident, possibly during a bizarre sex game.
But at an interim hearing ahead of the full inquest into his death, Westminster Coroner’s Court in London was told that a delay by MI6 in notifying police of his disappearance meant a post-mortem examination had been “ineffective” and the cause of his death remained unclear.
A series of blunders, including a mix-up over DNA found at the scene, had also hampered the inquiry, Dr Fiona Wilcox, the coroner, was told.
Scotland Yard is facing a racism scandal after a black man used his mobile phone to record police officers subjecting him to a tirade of abuse in which he was told: “The problem with you is you will always be a nigger”.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis that three officers, including MacFarlane, may have committed criminal offences.
The CPS initially decided no charges should be brought against any of the police officers. However on Thursday, the service said it would review the file after lawyers for the man threatened to challenge the decision in a high court judicial review.
After a long day of field work, my colleagues and I were chatting with a community leader, Koutaro Ogata, from a fishing village called Murohama. We asked what had happened to him in the moments after the earthquake. He told us that he and his neighbors were well aware that a large earthquake would generate a large tsunami and they knew, particularly, what to do because “a thousand years ago” a massive earthquake and tsunami had all but wiped out Murohama.
This is the story he told. A millennium ago, the residents of Murohama, knowing they were going to be inundated, had sought safety on the village’s closest hill. But they had entered into a deadly trap. A second wave, which had reached the interior of the island through an inlet, was speeding over the rice paddies from the opposite direction. The waves collided at the hill and killed those who had taken refuge there. To signify their grief and to advise future generations, the survivors erected a shrine.
EFF calls out governments for trafficking in these vulnerabilities, rather than demanding their disclosure and repair. Any unpatched vulnerability puts every user of the affected software at risk. For a government to appropriate a vulnerability to itself and keep it secret in the name of “national security,” rather than fixing it for the nation’s citizens, is “security for the 1%.”
An illustrated guide to common logical fallacies as well as well as a very nice worked example of the fallacies involved in Cardinal Keith O’Brien‘s recent(ish) article against gay marriage.
And, from the comments, this awesome work.
The great satire of British bureaucracy, Yes, Prime Minister, is to return after 24 years away from our TV screens. The original scriptwriting duo of Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn has already turned in their first plot, says UKTV, which has has commissioned the show to be broadcast on UK Gold.
What a pity Nigel Hawthorne is no longer with us..
As all sorts of creators, from musicians to authors to filmmakers, have been discovering for decades, being scooped up by one of the entertainment industry’s big-business gatekeepers isn’t always the career-changing windfall that popular romantic notions believe it to be. Whether through crafty accounting, creative interference or a total lack of support, doing business with big labels, distributors and publishers often fails to deliver the financial and career benefits that creators expect. Once upon a time there was very little they could do, but with the direct-to-fan communication potential of the internet, we’re seeing more and more artists publicly turn on their supposed partners and implore their fans to route around them. Recently we covered the indie band Streetlight Manifesto, who encouraged fans to either buy the music directly from the band or just pirate it, so long as they don’t give their money to Victory Records. Now, via Twitter, @cephyn points us to a similar story in a blog post from indie filmmaker
JordanJohn Michael Thomas, asking fans to please pirate his movie Corpse Run. Thomas explains how, after success on the festival circuit, he came head to head with the unfortunate realities of getting a film distributed the Hollywood way:
The first thing we had to do was get a Rep for our film, this Rep would then try to sell it to different distributors and take a small fee. We had many offers for Representation and ended up going with the most prominent one that had the lowest fees. They took a retainer fee to pay for their expenses. – of course this retainer would never be returned.
They did find us a few different distributors and we ended up going with the one that they reccomended the most. This was exciting, as our film was about to get released, we would soon see it on netflicks, on some cable stations and in video stores!
We didn’t get any money up front, which is the general practice in the indi world – I know you hear about these million dollar deals, but they are by far and away the exception to the rule, as Cicero would say, “You can’t hear the prayers of the dead on the ocean’s floor.” So we had a backend deal, a completely fair backend that I was happy with.
And then what happened? Our film was shelved. We had no recourse, it just sat on the shelf doing nothing, sitting there for years! In fact, They still have it for two more. Recently it has been released on Amazon as a print on demand title. And that is it. Well I don’t think my distributors should make any money for doing nothing.
So I am asking you, begging you, please steal my movie.
In November, I was barred from my flight at Dulles Airport for a double opt-out. I refused to go through a blue-box backscatter (x-ray) body scanner, and I refused to endure an intimate feel-up from a woman I didn’t know. The body scanners at Dulles have no privacy filter. Backscatter machines dose passengers with carcinogenic ionizing radiation to create images of their naked bodies for inspection by a screener working in the hidden viewing booth.
What I sensed was happening at that airport – targeting young women for special security attention out of sexual motivation – now seems even more difficult for the TSA to deny. Not one, but two of the men working for TSA at Dulles Airport on that day have now been arrested for sex crimes.
This map shows you the delicate tracery of wind flowing over the US.
Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, the former president of Colombia, told a Spanish-language radio station this week that America’s war on drugs has been a disastrous “failure” that the ruling political parties simply refuse to talk about.
“Society does not want to accept that people consume [drugs],” he told RCN Radio in Colombia. “You cannot turn away from reality. We cannot accept that theory. [American politicians] may prefer not to talk about it. We cannot accept it. We cannot be condemned to live in war because Americans do not want to talk about it. No one speaks in favor of the war on drugs.”
– The 47 senators voting against the bill have received $23,582,500 in career contributions from oil and gas. The 51 senators voting to repeal oil tax breaks have received $5,873,600.
– The senators who voted for Big Oil’s handouts received on average over four times as much career oil cash as those who voted to end them.
– Overall, Senate Republicans have taken $23.2 million in oil and gas contributions. Democrats received $6.66 million.
– Since 2011, Senate Republicans have voted seven times for pro-Big Oil interests and against clean energy three times.
As this debate begins its final descent, victory for the proposer, Bruce Schneier, looks certain. The vast majority of voters have agreed with him that the harm done by modern-day airport security outweighs its good. Commenters have written about the humiliation, stress and anger that accompany their experiences at the airport. “I’d much rather have less hassle and higher risk,” said one. Many accede to that view.
Mr Schneier expands on the harms attributable to modern airport security in his closing statement. It has led, he says, to a loss of trust, physical harm, economic losses, a loss of liberty and an increase in fear. The last of these is particularly notable in the context of a system designed to contain terrorism, because governments that make passengers scared “effectively do the terrorists’ job for them”.
An analysis of 36 years’ worth of polling data indicates that confidence in science as an institution has steadily declined among Americans who consider themselves conservatives, while confidence levels have been at steadier levels for other ideological groups.
The study, published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review, provides fresh ammunition for those who complain that conservative views on issues such as climate change are at odds with the scientific consensus.
“You can see this distrust in science among conservatives reflected in the current Republican primary campaign,” Gordon Gauchat, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Sheps Center for Health Services Research, said in a news release from the American Sociological Association. “When people want to define themselves as conservatives relative to moderates and liberals, you often hear them raising questions about the validity of global warming and evolution, and talking about how ‘intellectual elites’ and scientists don’t necessarily have the whole truth.”
It’s not clear how much impact Gauchat’s study will have on the debate over politics and science: Liberals are likely to see it as confirmation of what they already believe, while conservatives who are skeptical about the scientific elite are likely to greet these scientific claims with skepticism as well.
Data provided in response to Oracle claim suggests Google gets more revenue from iPhone use than from Android ads and apps
Android generated less than $550m in revenues for Google between 2008 and the end of 2011, if figures provided by the search giant as part of a settlement offer with Oracle ahead of an expected patent and copyright infringement trial are an accurate guide.
The figures also suggest that Apple devices such as the iPhone, which use products such as its Maps as well as Google Search in its Safari browser, generated more than four times as much revenue for Google as its own handsets in the same period.
With roughly 200m Android devices having been activated to the end of 2011, including an estimated 90m during the past two years, it suggests that Google derives slightly more than $10 per Android handset per year.
That compares to Google’s $38bn total revenues in 2011, almost entirely derived from advertising on PCs, of which there are 1.25bn installed worldwide, according to Microsoft. That suggests an average revenue for Google of about $30 per PC per year, though not all will be capable of accessing the internet or will use Google, so the actual figure will be higher.
Maho Beach outside of Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten is famous for the fact that landing airplanes fly overhead at minimal altitude. It’s one of the only places in the world where airplanes can be viewed in their flightpath just outside the end of the runway, and therefore is very popular with tourists and plane spotters. Austrian photographer Josef Hoflehner has a project titled “Jet Airliner” that consists of photos of massive jet airliners hovering over the heads of sunbathers on the beach.
Jet Airliner [Josef Hoflehner]
A minor update, it appears, but it remains awesome.
“You’re not gonna use the pink ball. We’re not gonna let you do that. Not on camera.” Santorum went on to say “Friends don’t let friends use pink balls.”
At the start of his visit, aboard a flight from Rome, he denounced violence caused by the drug war in Mexico and blasted Cuba’s Marxist political system by saying it “no longer corresponds to reality.”
Well, I must admit, when it comes to political systems that lo longer correspond to reality, the Pope certainly is an expert.
At Spelman College, the historically black women’s liberal arts school in Atlanta, the student government is buying Skittles in bulk and reselling them for 50 cents a bag to raise money for the family of Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was shot and killed by a crime watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., last month carrying only a packet of the candy and a bottle of iced tea.
The candy has been piled into makeshift memorials, crammed into the pockets of thousands of people who have shown up at rallies in his name and sent to the Sanford Police Department to protest the lack of an arrest in the case.
Like the hoodie sweatshirt he was wearing, the candy has been transformed into a cultural icon, a symbol of racial injustice that underscores Trayvon’s youth and the circumstances surrounding his death. But in the offices of the company that makes Skittles, Wrigley, and its parent company, Mars, Skittles’ new level of fame has quickly become a kind of marketing crisis that is threatening to hurt the company even as sales improve.
Dear Skittles, my heart goes out to you as soon as it gets back from going out to the Martin family. It might be a while.
The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes “bend or suspend the law” in their hunt for terrorists and criminals. Other FBI instructional material, discovered during a months-long review of FBI counterterrorism training, warned agents against shaking hands with “Asians” and said Arabs were prone to “Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums.”
These are just some of the disturbing results of the FBI’s six-month review into how the Bureau trained its counterterrorism agents. That review, now complete, did not result in a single disciplinary action for any instructor. Nor did it mandate the retraining of any FBI agent exposed to what the Bureau concedes was inappropriate material. Nor did it look at any intelligence reports that might have been influenced by the training. All that has a powerful senator saying that the review represents a “failure to adequately address” the problem.
He added that the lawsuits were used to extort settlements from people who are neither subject to the courts’ personal jurisdiction nor responsible for copyright violation, but do not want to be dragged into a court in the lawsuit that might seek disclosure of the contents of their PCs.
Sokath, his eyes opened.
Newly-released video of the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin shows George Zimmerman with no apparent injuries, right after he claims Martin attacked him.
That is raising new questions about Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.
But Zimmerman’s father insists the unarmed teenager was the aggressor and Zimmerman had no choice but to do what he did.
Check for yourself:
A word about this sort of thing: anyone who steps on the toes of either corporate interests or major conservative institutions (which are often more or less the same thing) has to expect to run into a buzzsaw. The purpose of that buzzsaw is not so much to get specific corrections as to intimidate — to deter the journalist and his or her colleagues from going there again.
And it works. I’ve seen it over and over: some commentator says the obvious, gets hit hard, and thereafter steers away from such issues and is very, very careful not to offend the hard right.(And when the other side points this out, they get very upset — they thought they were safe).
How about this?
On the evening of Friday March 9th, Tim DeChristopher (climate activist currently serving a 2-year prison sentence for outbidding oil and gas companies at an illegitimate BLM auction in 2008) was summarily removed from the minimum security camp where he has been held since September 2011, and moved into the FCI Herlong’s Special Housing Unit (SHU). Tim was informed by Lieutenant Weirich that he was being moved to the SHU because an unidentified congressman had called from Washington DC, complaining of an email that Tim had sent to a friend. Tim was inquiring about the reported business practices of one of his legal fund contributors, threatening to return the money if their values no longer aligned with his own. According to Prison officials, Tim will continue to be held in isolated confinement pending an investigation.
It has come to our attention that William Koch entered into an antitrust settlement where his company, Gunnison Energy, and SG Interest, a Texas energy company, conspired to orchestrate the bidding at a BLM oil and gas lease auction in Colorado. They memorialized this conspiracy in a memorandum of understanding that was subsequently revealed by a whistleblower. The Department of Justice settled the matter by having each company pay a $275,000 fine, and allowed the conspirators to retain their successful BLM oil and gas leases, without any personal consequences. Tim was charged with conspiring to defeat the Act that created the auction, (a felony) and for making false statements to the Government (also a felony). These oil and gas companies actually conspired to defeat an identical BLM auction, and made false statements to the Government (according to the Department of Justice). No Oil and Gas executive was charged with felonies and thrown in jail. They were given a token slap on the wrist and went back to drilling. Tim, a peaceful protester, who simply embarrassed the BLM by catching them making big mistakes, is now in a TINY CELL because someone from CONGRESS wants to keep him even quieter?
The US House of Representatives has voted against a proposed law which would have limited the ability of businesses to collect social networking user names and passwords for current and prospective employees.
The vote, which fell largely along party lines, fell by a 236-184 majority. Just one Republican voted in favour of the measure while two Democrats voted against the proposed law.
So a Republican controlled Congress did something pro-business. What a shock.