Zio-Watch News Round-up

Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent: Zio-Watch, 6/22/2015


Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup
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The Independent

Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent, say Chromium users

‘We don’t know and can’t know what this black box does. But we see reports that the microphone has been activated, and that Chromium considers audio capture permitted’

Google was downloading audio listeners onto computers without consent before the bug was fixed, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party has claimed.

Writing on the website Privacy Online News, Falkvinge alleged that Google listened into the conversations of users of Chromium without consent, through a ‘black box’ of code.

The ‘black box’ code was downloaded to enable a feature that activates a search function when you say “Ok, Google,” however the code appears to have enabled eavesdropping on conversations prior to this – in order to hear the phrase.

The software is able to transmit audio data back to Google, but Google claim the code was merely downloaded without consent and knowledge, not activated.

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The Daily Mail

Europe ‘gives Greece ANOTHER £2billion’ to prevent banks closing as Tsipras snubs Brussels talks to ‘make a deal with Putin’

  • It is European Central Bank’s second intervention in three days, having earlier agreed to make almost £1bn available
  • Lifeline came as Greek banking officials insisted they had ‘no financing problems’ despite withdrawals by savers, with around £1bn being taken out yesterday alone
  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras warns that his country’s exit from the eurozone ‘would be an irreversible step’
  • Emergency meeting of EU leaders called for Monday after crisis talks to stop Greece leaving single currency failed
  • Russia says it is willing to consider giving financial help to Athens to protect its ‘investment projects and trade’
  • Mr Tsipras has called Russia ‘one of Greece’s most important partners’ 
  • Chancellor George Osborne says Britain is ‘prepared for the worst’ as Greek crisis reaches the ‘eleventh hour’
  • EU president Donald Tusk delivered ultimatum to Greece yesterday: ‘Accept an offer or default’ 

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From PressTV

A Palestinian woman gestures as workers use a bulldozer to remove the ruins of buildings which were destroyed during Israel’s war on Gaza Strip in summer of 2014, in a village east of Khan Yunis, on June 1, 2015. © AFP

A highly anticipated United Nations report on the latest war on Gaza has decried as “unprecedented” the devastation and human suffering left behind by Israel’s 2014 attack on the enclave.

“The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come,” said a statement on Monday by the Commission of Inquiry on Israel’s Gaza war in 2014.

More than 2,140 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed during 51 days of Israel’s war on Gaza last summer. According to estimates, a third of the civilians killed were children.

This as at least 73 Israelis – nearly all of whom soldiers – were killed during the offensive.

The UN report further denounced the “huge firepower” used in Gaza, saying Israel launched more than 6,000 airstrikes and fired 50,000 artillery shells on the besieged enclave.
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From PressTV

An Israeli soldier guards an area as an army bulldozer pulls down the house of a Palestinian family in Al-Dirat, south of Yatta Village, near the West Bank town of Hebron (al-Khalil), January 20, 2015. (© AFP)

Israeli forces have once again attacked Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank, demolishing two structures in Salfit district.

Abdul Hamid al-Dik, the district governor, said bulldozers escorted by Israeli troops entered Khirbet Susiya on the outskirts of Kafr al-Dik Village on Sunday and destroyed an agricultural storage room belonging to a Palestinian.

In a similar move, Israeli forces raided the village of Haris and demolished a structure used as a car wash, he said.

The Palestinian official said that the demolition was carried out under illegal pretexts in an attempt to pave the way for Israel to expand illegal settlements across the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli settlers, mostly armed, regularly attack Palestinian villages and farms and set fire to their mosques, olive groves and other property in the West Bank under the so-called “price tag” policy.
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From PressTV

This file photo shows armed Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).

A human rights group has censured Israeli soldiers simply “standing by” and not doing enough to protect Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank against violent acts committed by Israeli settlers.

The Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din, released data about the Israeli soldiers’ indifference in a report generated over a period of 18 months with the collaboration of Breaking the Silence, another rights group, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Monday.

Collecting statements from soldiers as well as 65 questionnaires, and also analyzing relevant protocols and instructions distributed among Israeli soldiers, the study found that commanding officers in the Israeli army have set a tone that “denies the army’s obligation,” including under international law, “to carry out the routine and daily policing and law enforcement activities that are among the main duties of an army that has held occupied territory for nearly five decades.”

The rights group said the Israeli military conducts limited training in handling the Israeli settlers’ violence.

“During basic training, a soldier is taught to fight, to attack… The only time he is taught to deal with the civilian population is in the last week of training. How much time does he spend on it ultimately? Five or six days?” the study quotes an Israeli captain as saying.

Israeli security forces guard settlers as they enter the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on April 5, 2015. © AFP

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From Russia Today

‘Hollow formality’: Israeli rights group blasts military courts for Palestinians

Published time: June 22, 2015 11:54

Reuters / Ammar Awad

(Reuters / Ammar Awad)

Thousands of Palestinians are brought before Israeli military courts each year on charges ranging from stone-throwing to illegal entry. Most end up in custody awaiting a verdict, the judicial process reduced to a “hollow formality,” a rights group says.

The Israeli B’Tselem group has stated in its 41-page report, based on 260 case files that with the exception of individuals accused of traffic violations, “remand is the rule rather than the exception. The military prosecution routinely asks for remand in custody and the courts approve the vast majority of the motions.”

According to the group, most Palestinian defendants enter plea bargains simply because they may end up being in jail longer if they choose not to.

“Defendants know that if they go to trial while in custody – even if going to trial would mean eventual acquittal – they may spend more time behind bars than the prison sentence they would receive in a plea bargain. As a consequence the prosecution is seldom required to go through a full trial, in which it must present evidence to prove a person guilty,” B’Tselem concludes in the report entitled ‘Presumed Guilty: Remand in Custody by Military Courts in the West Bank’.

“In many cases the decision to arrest an individual effectively means a conviction. The case is decided at the time the remand is approved rather than on the basis of evidence against the defendant. When remand – a pre-trial decision regarding a person not yet convicted – is approved on a regular basis, the judicial process as such becomes a hollow formality,” it adds.
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From Ynet News

Egypt army digs trench along Gaza border to prevent smuggling

After destroying areas of Egyptian Rafah to widen buffer zone, army digs trench to bolster security in Sinai against Islamist militant attacks, which Cairo says are backed by Hamas. ISMAILIA – The Egyptian army is digging a trench in northern Sinai along the border with Gaza in an effort to prevent smuggling, security sources said on Monday, as the government steps up activities to prevent militant attacks that often target security forces.
Egypt had already doubled to one kilometre (0.62 mile) the depth of a security buffer zone on its border with the Gaza Strip after some of the worst anti-state violence since President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the army following mass protests against his rule in 2013.
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From Ynet News

Hamas rejects war crimes accusations in UN report

Islamist organization welcomes UN Human Rights Council report’s conclusions that Israel committed war crimes, but denies its own blame.

Hamas rejected a United Nations report released on Monday that found both Israel and Palestinian militant groups may have committed war crimes during Operation Protective Edge last summer in the Gaza Strip.
While Gaza’s rulers rejected that its own fighters were to blame for war crimes, it welcomed the report’s condemnation of Israel.
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From Ynet News

Pope: ‘Powers’ did nil when Jews were taken to Auschwitz

Francis decries nations’ failure to stand up to Nazis or bomb railway routes during the Holocaust, says we are witnessing ‘a Third World War in segments.’ Pope Francis on Sunday denounced what he calls the “great powers” of the world for failing to act when there was intelligence indicating Jews, Christians, homosexuals and others were being transported to death camps in Europe during World War II.
He also decried the deaths of Christians in gulags in Russia under the Stalin dictatorship, which followed the war.
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From The Times of Israel

ADL demands Michael Oren walk back ‘unjustified attack’ on Obama

Foxman raps ex-envoy for engaging in ‘conspiracy theories’ and ‘amateur psychoanalysis’ in series of op-eds on Israel-US relationship

June 22, 2015, 11:12 am

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

The Anti-Defamation League lashed into former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren Sunday for a number of “unjustified and insensitive” essays he published in US media, one of which claimed that President Barack Obama’s foreign policy may have been unduly influenced by his early upbringing among adherents of the Muslim faith.

ADL Director Abraham Foxman called on the American-born Knesset member to retract his statements that “attack” the president and “veer into the realm of conspiracy theories.”

“In the days leading up to the forthcoming release of a memoir of his experiences as Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren appears to be using the very legitimate and sharp policy disagreements between Israel and the US as an insensitive and unjustified attack on the president,” Foxman said in a statement.

“We hope that Ambassador Oren will walk back these unjustified attacks,” he said.
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From The Times of Israel

Minister’s wife sorry for racist Obama joke

Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes writes on Twitter: ‘Do u know what Obama coffee is? Black and weak’; swiftly deletes post

June 21, 2015, 8:38 pm

Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes (Flash90)

Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes (Flash90)

Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, the wife of Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, was berated on social media for racism Sunday after tweeting a joke about US President Barack Obama.

Hundreds of the former UNICEF Israel chief and popular radio show host’s 75,000 followers expressed outrage when Nir-Mozes posted: “Do u know what Obama coffee is? Black and weak.”

Within minutes, the post garnered hundreds of comments, some of them calling Nir-Mozes “arrogant,” a “disgrace” and “explicitly racist.”

One user wrote Nir-Mozes’s tweet was even more offensive in light of the racially motivated massacre of nine African American parishioners in a South Carolina church last week.