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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Russian SOPA Enforced, Next Day Snowden Offered a Job

New anti-piracy law was enforced in Russia on the 1st of August, and local copyright holders seem to be waiting for it. For example, one movie company immediately filed a lawsuit against infamous social networking giant vKontakte (InTouch), but had no success, because it failed to prove it actually owned the content in question. In response, the owners of the largest social network in Europe announced they would love it if Edward Snowden came to work for them and help protecting the privacy of the millions of Internet users.


New legislation in Russia was met by a wave of protests, accounting for over 1,700 websites and services taking part in a SOPA-style “blackout”, trying to demonstrate how the law, which allows for pre-trial blocking of online services, could affect the whole nation. The activists have already started a petition against the law, and it has gathered lots of support – in the first days of August there were 75,000 signatures collected.

The Russian SOPA allows copyright owners to file an official complaint about any online services hosting infringing material or links to it. If the services in question fail to remove such content, their entire domains can be blocked at the ISP level. A local movie company Cinema Without Borders was first to file a lawsuit in the Moscow City Court against vKontakte, claiming that the company was notified about illegal content but failed to respond. The social network denied that version of events. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, the court decided to reject the lawsuit on the basis of inadequate paperwork.

However, this is not why InTouch hit the headlines today – as you know, a few days ago Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia and finally left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. It should be noted that the papers provided to him by the Immigration Service not just allow him living in the Russian Federation, but also working in the country. And, if the social networking giant has its way, Edward will be doing that under its guidance.

The founder of InTouch, Pavel Durov, made a statement, officially inviting Edward to Saint Petersburg. Durov emphasized that they would be happy if Edward decided to join their team of programmers at the company. After all, there is no more popular European Internet company than InTouch, so Snowden might be interested in protecting the personal information of its 45 million users.

FBI Managed to Hack Tor

FreedomWeb, an Ireland-based company providing hosting for “hidden services” over the Tor network, was recently closed down after its owner, Eric Eoin Marques, was alleged of helping spread kids abuse images.


Apparently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has managed to hack Tor. According to its Open Watch blog, users of Tor hidden services suddenly discovered that their copies of the browser were infected with malicious Javascript which de-anonymized them.

The experts suggest that the FBI has hacked them. The matter is that Tor Browser is originally shipped with Javascript disabled, but it seems to have been somehow switched back on again to make the browser more useful. Despite the fact that this move can be regarded as a victory for the FBI against kids pornographers using the Tor network, it also represents a serious security breach for international activists and online users living in repressive states which use the services with the only purpose to practice free speech on the Internet.

In its efforts to take down kids abuse images, the authorities might have exposed countless activists to arrest and torture. But the experts suggest that as far as the untouchables are concerned, those activists are foreigners and very far away. The affected service, OpenWatch, has been in the early stages of designing an alternative to Freedom Hosting, named OnionCloud, in order to allow anonymous Heroku-like app hosting.


Hackers Can Control Japanese Toilets

The latest security reports revealed that a high tech Japanese toilet can be easily hacked remotely. The experts have noticed that security is fast becoming a problem even in high-tech loos, followed by lots of security problems.


Actually, the researchers have discovered security vulnerabilities in high-tech loos within the last 4 years, and it looks like the producers aren’t trying too hard to solve the issue. Apparently, the last thing any of you wants when having your trousers around your ankles is a hacker infringing your privacy. In the meantime, the experts note that those high-tech loos are able to shoot hot water into your undercarriage or eject rather than flush.

Besides, they can just keep flushing, which isn’t much worse than a loo vulnerable to phishing – as you now understand, in the United States, there’s always the risk that the NSA might use a backdoor to access your backdoor. According to the latest reports, the there are a few warnings about a new Satis-brand Internet toilet – the developers decided that it isn’t enough to control the device on the throne and enabled users to flush it while being away on business. They also suggest that on a cold-winter’s day you will be able to heat up the seat for when you come home.

Security experts pointed out that every Satis toilet has the same hard-coded Bluetooth PIN. In other words, anyone using the “My Satis” application on Android will be able to control any Satis toilet.

MPAA Will Spy on Online Services and Forums

In the constant war against digital piracy, the Motion Picture Association of America is reported to be recruiting new people. For example, it is looking for an “Internet Analyst”, whose task will be to manipulate media files and monitor social networks, communities and forums. In addition, the outfit also offers an unpaid summer intern for students to assist with “content protection” projects. Indeed, the outfit just announced the 2013 summer internship – 30-hour a week job without compensation, promising “valuable educational training”. Why don’t you try? That’s the work of a dream!

At the moment, the MPAA employs almost 200 people and remains a thorn in the side of digital pirates throughout the globe. The outfit is known as the main instigator of the MegaUpload shutdown and is going to do the same to isoHunt and Hotfile. However, the war against Internet piracy seems to be far from over, so the MPAA is recruiting new people. One of its open positions is “Internet Analyst”, which reveals what the outfit is up to behind the scenes. The person hired for the job will work under the supervision of Senior Vice President Content Protection Internet Marc Miller, and his task will be to spot and analyze the latest piracy trends. His responsibilities will also include online spying on social media and other Internet communities, as the requirements say “monitor and report on Internet based social networks, communities and forums”.

An Internet analyst will also have to research how much harm piracy does to the entertainment industry. In order to make an accurate assessment of the piracy effects, he will have to cooperate with the largest movie studio members, vendors and industry partners, collecting and analyzing information regarding illegal downloads through cyberlockers, BitTorrent and other protocols.

The most interesting skill the position requires is “ability to manipulate online media files”, whatever that may entail. The anti-piracy outfit requires from prospective employees a bachelor degree in business, economics, computer science or engineering, or digital media production. However, no salary is specified.

Aussie against CAPTCHA

Australians are tired of using CAPTCHA and decided to go for open revolt. Media reports confirm that a new campaign calling for the death of CAPTCHA was launched in Earnest. Newspapers explain that the technology to fight spam bots is also blocking people with disabilities, and therefore CAPTCHA should be removed from sites.


As you know, CAPTCHA is a completely automated public Turing test to tell machines and humans apart, designed to prevent spammers from automatically sending commercial messages to websites and people by requiring them to read unreadable words and numbers.

However, there is a problem with CAPTCHA – the matter is that it hinders people with vision impairments to the point that they can’t use certain online services. A number of organizations, including Blind Citizens Australia, Able Australia, Media Access Australia and the Australian Deaf-Blind Council, are calling on Internet services to stop using CAPTCHA, launching a petition with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

It seems that even when CAPTCHA uses audio files along with the strings of letters, the users with disabilities find them just as tough. Indeed, the recent research revealed that dyslexic, color-blind and older users usually find CAPTCHA hard to get through too. As a result, the technology may in fact contravene the country’s Disability Discrimination Act.

Instead of using CAPTCHA critics suggest using emails to activate and verify Internet users. In the meantime, the W3C online standards organization has already commented that the technology in question has become less effective as an anti-spam measure. It turned out that character and image recognition software is already able to defeat it.

TOR Recommended to Stay Away from Windows

TOR is warning Internet users to abandon Windows after it was revealed that American spooks were spreading malware on the popular anonymizing network exploiting Firefox zero-day vulnerability. The latter allowed the FBI to use JavaScript code in order to harvest crucial identifying data on PCs visiting some services using The Onion Router network.


TOR developers suggest users to simply switch away from Windows. The matter is that the malicious Javascript which exploited zero-day vulnerability was created to target Windows PCs running Firefox 17 ESR, a version customized to view websites through TOR.

In the meantime, people using Linux and OS X remained unaffected. Although there’s nothing to stop the spooks writing a version of the code targeting Linux and OS X, it is still less likely to happen. It seems that the fake Javascript was planted on services where the attacker was interested to see who visited. It collected the hostname and MAC address of a user’s PC and sent it to a remote computer. This exploit was targeted specifically to unmask people using Tor Browser Bundle without really installing any backdoors on their host.

The TOR developers also recommended peoples to turn off Javascript by clicking the blue "S" by the green onion within the TOR browser. They explained that disabling JavaScript may reduce users’ vulnerability to other attacks similar to the last one. However, disabling JavaScript would make some online services not work like users expect. A future version of the browser will have an easier interface to allow people to configure their JavaScript settings. Although Mozilla has already patched the hole in Firefox, some users may still be using the earlier versions of the TOR Browser Bundle.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Google: don't expect privacy when sending to Gmail

Critics call revelation 'a stunning admission' as Google makes claim in court filing in attempt to head off class action lawsuit

Dominic Rushe in New York
The Guardian, Wednesday 14 August 2013

Google said the plaintiffs were making 'an attempt to criminalise ordinary business practices' that have been part of Gmail since it began. Photo: Walter Bieri

People sending email to any of Google's 425 million Gmail users have no "reasonable expectation" that their communications are confidential, the internet giant has said in a court filing.

Consumer Watchdog, the advocacy group that uncovered the filing, called the revelation a "stunning admission." It comes as Google and its peers are under pressure to explain their role in the National Security Agency's (NSA) mass surveillance of US citizens and foreign nationals.

"Google has finally admitted they don't respect privacy," said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director. "People should take them at their word; if you care about your email correspondents' privacy, don't use Gmail."

Google set out its case last month in an attempt to dismiss a class action lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of breaking wire tap laws when it scans emails sent from non-Google accounts in order to target ads to Gmail users.

That suit, filed in May, claims Google "unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people's private email messages". It quotes Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman: "Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."

The suit claims: "Unbeknown to millions of people, on a daily basis and for years, Google has systematically and intentionally crossed the 'creepy line' to read private email messages containing information you don't want anyone to know, and to acquire, collect, or mine valuable information from that mail."

In its motion to dismiss the case, Google said the plaintiffs were making "an attempt to criminalise ordinary business practices" that have been part of Gmail's service since its introduction. Google said "all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing."

According to Google: "Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient's ECS [electronic communications service] provider in the course of delivery."

Citing another privacy case, Google's lawyers said "too little is asserted in the complaint about the particular relationship between the parties, and the particular circumstances of the [communications at issue], to lead to the plausible conclusion that an objectively reasonable expectation of confidentiality would have attended such a communication."

A Google spokesperson said on Wednesday evening: "We take our users' privacy and security very seriously; recent reports claiming otherwise are simply untrue.

"We have built industry-leading security and privacy features into Gmail — and no matter who sends an email to a Gmail user, those protections apply."

Simpson, a long-term Google critic, said: "Google's brief uses a wrong-headed analogy; sending an email is like giving a letter to the Post Office. I expect the Post Office to deliver the letter based on the address written on the envelope. I don't expect the mail carrier to open my letter and read it.

"Similarly, when I send an email, I expect it to be delivered to the intended recipient with a Gmail account based on the email address; why would I expect its content will be intercepted by Google and read?"

- This story was corrected on 14 August to make clear that Google's court filing was referring to users of other email providers who email Gmail users – and not to the Gmail users themselves.

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Britain Losing Digital Piracy Fight

While British Prime Minister David Cameron is making attempts to rustle up support for his online porn filter, it seems that cyber crime levels are still growing fast.


For some reason, Prime Minister wants people’s attention to focus on purging the worldwide web from anything he considers bad, at the same time ignoring a real cyber threat. According to the Home Affairs Committee, responsible to scrutinizing the government’s domestic policy, it is necessary to set up a “state-of-the-art espionage response team” in order to encourage corporations, banks and institutions to report hacking attempts to uncover the full extent of Internet crime.

The Committee explained that it was concerned about a “black hole” where low-level cyber crime is committed with impunity. It believes that cyber crime policing should be merged into a new unified structure as part of a shakeup of the UK’s policing structure. However, the report added that it was just the first stage to solve a real problem.

Prime Minister’s answer is to tighten up Internet porn legislation and demand that online giants block access to kids abuse content. In reality, that won’t stop online crime but will help some tabloids gloat about their campaign victories. The government is still too complacent about cybercrime, starting from identity fraud and data theft to the spreading of unauthorized images and extremist content.

In the meantime, opposition MP Keith Vaz, who is also chairman of the bipartisan committee, claimed that it is clear the United Kingdom isn’t winning the war on Internet criminal activity. Indeed, one can steal more online than you can by robbing a bank. This is why Internet criminals in 25 countries have chosen Britain as their prime target.

Industry experts admit that part of the problem is Prime Minister’s other obsession to isolate himself from EU-wide justice measures designed to address the problem. Nevertheless, EU members were also slammed for failing to do enough to stop attacks as well.

UK Porn Filter Will Be Controlled by Huawei

Huawei is in the headlines again – the BBC claimed that the filtering system suggested by UK Prime Minister would be controlled wholly by the Chinese giant Media reports cited how Huawei recently emerged the company designed Talk Talk’s Internet filtering system, Homesafe.


The fears are that the tech giant can have full control over David Cameron’s proposed opt-out porn filters. However, some background investigation reveals that Huawei has long had a relationship with the UK and has also often been the target of the US network lobby.

Talking about concerns, there have been efforts to restrict the use of devices produced by the tech giant, and perhaps for good reason. As you know, there have been rumors of backdoors revealed in Huawei routers, while another Chinese manufacturer, ZTE, was flagged for selling surveillance capable equipment to Iran. Anyway, there’s been no solid evidence about Huawei thus far.

At the same time, it is quite a complicated question whether it’s cheaper and more cost productive to buy from such countries as China. A number of American lawmakers alleged that the Chinese tech giant might be receiving funding from state owned Bank of China, which would mark it as in breach of anticompetition legislation. It can’t be compared one-to-one, but American and European bank bailouts with state money allow such institutions remain afloat and keep selling and speculating their financial products on the world stage. So, when American giants like Google, Microsoft or Intel are flagged, the fines are minimal.

Everyone has heard of China’s long history of Internet monitoring and censorship. But it is unclear who benefits most from a blockade on tech products – it may even be US networking companies, including Cisco and Juniper. They complain that such firms as Huawei essentially use the globalised free market against them by buying up US kit and reverse engineering it with cheaper components. This allegedly allows Huawei flood emerging markets with affordable kit which successfully prices US corporations out of the market. In the meantime, Huawei is proud to have an extensive patent portfolio of its own.

In times of economic recession, it is also tempting for Western private entity to use cheap products. This is why the Chinese giant has an established market presence across Europe and in Australia.

Winner of NSA Embarrassed with PRISM

It looks like the winner of 2013 security award, which was sponsored by American spooks at the NSA, is a bit embarrassed. Joseph Bonneau, working at the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, is supposed to be over the moon at winning this prestigious award. Actually, his work “The science of guessing” was selected by top academics in the security world as the best scientific cybersecurity paper in 2013.


Joseph Bonneau admitted he was honored to have been recognized by the distinguished academic panel gathered by the NSA. However, he feels a little embarrassed about the award after the news broke that the NSA, with the backing of sockpuppets on both sides of the political spectrum in the United States, have been spying on everyone’s private communications on an unprecedented scale.

Like everyone in the community of cryptographers and security engineers, Joseph was sad that they failed to better inform the public “about the inherent dangers and questionable utility of mass surveillance”. Bonneau announced he was ashamed the public has let politicians sneak the country down this path and wanted to make it clear that in accepting the NSA award he didn’t condone the NSA's surveillance in any way. He claimed that he doesn’t think a free society is compatible with such an outfit as the NSA in its current form.

In the meantime, Bonneau was glad to get the opportunity to visit with the NSA and was very grateful for his hosts’ genuine hospitality. A group of engineers turned up to hear Joseph’s presentation, asked sharp questions, understood and cared about the privacy implications of studying password information. Still, the winner believes that the US’ core problems are in Washington and not in Fort Meade.

10 Foods You Should Never Eat

July 21, 2013 | Filed under: Health,News | Posted by: True ActivistBy: Erin Schumacher,Prevent Disease.We indeed are what we eat and what we are eating in many ‘first world nations’ is quite scary. The chemicals added to these ‘foods’ are disrupting our hormones, causing cancer and leading to a variety of health issues.“In the 21st century our tastes buds, our brain chemistry, our biochemistry, our hormones and our kitchens have been hijacked by the food industry.” ~ Mark HymanThe Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan is one of my favorite books. He describes his journey through 4 different ways of obtaining food: industrialized (or fast) food, conventional farming practices, organic/symbiotic farming practices, and people that hunt/forage for their meals. He follows the food chain literally from the ground to the table.“Much of our food system depends on our not knowing much about it, beyond the price disclosed by the checkout scanner; cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing. And it’s a short way from not knowing who’s at the other end of your food chain to not caring–to the carelessness of both producers and consumers that characterizes our economy today. Of course, the global economy couldn’t very well function without this wall of ignorance and the indifference it breeds. This is why the American food industry and its international counterparts fight to keep their products from telling even the simplest stories–”dolphin safe,” “humanely slaughtered,” etc.–about how they were produced. The more knowledge people have about the way their food is produced, the more likely it is that their values–and not just “value”–will inform their purchasing decisions.” ~ Michael PollanI highly encourage you to do your own research in regards to not only the products that you put into your body but also the products you put onto your body (check out the Skindeep website to research your personal care products). If you’d like to live a life full of health and vitality, start by controlling your food choices. This is the easiest and most controllable factor in regards to health. I always aim for fresh, local and in season produce. And in regards to what I DON’T ever eat, well that’s this list below.

1. Canned Foods - We live in a world where convenience is king. I know this. It’s hard to find fresh produce and to only eat what is in season, kind of. When you buy canned foods, however, you are also buying BPA – a toxic chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, diabetes, heart disease and a heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers. Canned foods that are highly acidic, such as tomatoes for example, cause the BPA to leach into your food. I recommend you avoid canned foods, whenever possible, and stick to what’s fresh and season. You can also switch over to glass containers or frozen foods instead.
2. Processed Meats – Most deli meats are typically made with meats from animals that are not raised in an ecologically sound fashion. They are given growth hormones, antibiotics and other drugs that stick in their bodies and are passed on to you when you eat their flesh. They are also raised in horrible conditions that gives rise to innumerable diseases that are then treated with more drugs. These meats are also treated with sodium nitrite (which adds color and flavor) which your body converts to nitrosamines, which are cancer-causing chemicals. Most processed meats also contain a variety of other cancer-promoting chemicals including HCAs, PAHs, and AGEs. Says Michael Pollan in his book the Omnivore’s Dilemma, “were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”If you’re going to eat meat, avoid all processed meats at all costs. Go for local and sustainably raised (and grass-fed) meat. Wild caught salmon (and other fish) are a great alternative as well.
3. Margarine – The low-fat diet craze is perhaps one of the worst diet fads to happen in the last 50 years. Healthy fats are ESSENTIAL to your diet as your cells are built with fat. Margarine, and other butter impostors, are loaded with trans fats, free radicals, emulsifiers, and preservatives. Any of these alone can lead to: heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalances, skin disease, infertility, and many more health problems. Don’t let clever marketing fool you. Good old fashioned butter, when made from grass-fed cows, is a healthy substance filled with conjugated linoleic acid which actually helps to fight cancer and diabetes.
4. Vegetable Oils - Vegetable oils (and margarine, made from these oils) are oils extracted from seeds like the rapeseed (canola oil) soybean (soybean oil), corn, sunflower, and safflower. They were practically non-existent in our diets until the early 1900s when new chemical processes allowed them to be extracted. Vegetable oils are manufactured in a factory, usually from genetically modified crops that have been heavily treated with pesticides. Unlike butter or coconut oil, these vegetable oils can’t be extracted just by pressing or separating naturally. They must be chemically removed, deodorized, and altered. These are some of the most chemically altered foods in our diets. Vegetable oils are found in practically every processed food, from salad dressing to potato chips to mayo to conventional nuts and seeds. Today, people consume, on average, about 70 pounds of vegetable oils throughout the year! Anytime you cook a food, you run the risk of creating heat-induced damage. The oils you choose to cook with must be stable enough to resist chemical changes when heated to high temperatures, or you run the risk of damaging your health. One of the ways vegetable oils can inflict damage is by converting your good cholesterol into bad cholesterol–by oxidizing it. When you cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as canola, corn, and soy oils), oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system. As the oil is heated and mixed with oxygen, it goes rancid. Rancid oil is oxidized oil and should NOT be consumed–it leads directly to vascular disease. Trans-fats are introduced when these oils are hydrogenated, which increases your risk of chronic diseases like breast cancer and heart disease. Instead, whenever I cook, I use either butter or coconut oil. Coconut oil is practically 100% saturated, which means it is stable at high temperatures. It also is very beneficial to the health of your body.
5. Microwave Popcorn - Honestly, you shouldn’t eat anything that’s been put in a microwave, but especially microwave popcorn! The bags of microwave popcorn contain chemicals called perfluoroalkyls which keep the grease from leaking through the fast food wrappers. These ‘gender bending’ chemicals disrupt the endocrine system and are carcinogenic. They are linked to infertility, thyroid malfunction, cancerous tumors, and immunological problems. I highly recommend you toss your microwave out today. Opt for the old fashioned route of stove-top or air-popped popcorn. And also know that most fast food or junk food wrappers contain these chemicals and are adding toxicity to your body.
6. Non-Organic Produce – I’ve read plenty of articles about the ‘safest non-organic’ produce to eat. Which simply makes me laugh. Sure, the thick skin of the fruit or vegetable may ‘protect’ the edible portion inside, but what about the fact that the chemicals are sprayed on the plants, leach into the groundwater and are absorbed into the plant by the roots? And what about the workers and the surrounding areas of conventional farms that are affected by the toxic chemicals? Produce that has been treated with toxic chemicals affects the planet as a whole regardless of the thickness of the skin of the product. Do yourself, and the rest of us a favor, buy local and organic whenever possible.
7. Table Salt - Did you know that processed salt is 98% sodium chloride and the remaining 2% consists of dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate in addition to fluoride? Natural salt, like sea salt for example, is only 84% sodium chloride with the remaining 16% consisting of trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium. Salt is essential to your health in it’s natural form. I personally enjoy the flavor of Himalayan sea salt. But there are a variety of salts out there. Try black lava salt from Hawaii or Fleur de sel from France. But like anything, go easy on the salt in your diet. Even though the minerals are good for your body, too much can still lead to a variety of health problems like high blood pressure. And remember, most processed foods are loaded with sodium, so avoid them at all costs.
8. Soy Products – Soy is one of the leading genetically modified (GM) foods on the planet today (along with corn). GM soy has been shown to cause damage to the female reproductive system and is toxic to the placenta. Soy can be found in practically everything from protein bars to bottled fruit drinks to soups and sauces to baked goods and even breakfast cereals! It’s important to read labels as soy is hidden in many processed foods. The only soy which can promote health is organic fermented soy products.
9. Artificial Sweeteners – Without going into too much scientific detail, aspartame forms methanol in the body. Methanol is carried into the brain and bone marrow, where it’s converted into formaldehyde, which damages DNA. All animals, except humans, can harmlessly break down methanol into formic acid. This is why animal testing is incorrect in regards to the safety of artificial sweeteners and humans. If you need to sweeten something go for natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or stevia.
10. Sugar – As a continuation of the point above, sugar suppresses the immune system, leads to weight gain and leaches precious minerals from your body. Sugar, even in small amounts, is detrimental to your health. It suppresses the immune system for hours and plays significant effect on your hormones, throwing your body out of balance and into a state of biochemical chaos. If you eat sugar, morning, noon and night, your body is always in this state of chaos leading to disease. Furthermore, sugar is actually an anti-nutrient, meaning that it leaches nutrients from your body! Because certain nutrients are removed from sugar in the refining process, your body cannot process it. So, it leaches minerals from your body to attach to the refined sugar molecules in order to move the sugar through your body. Also, because it’s an anti-nutrient, sugar also causes calcium to be lost in the urine, which in turn is replaced by calcium from the bones, leading to osteoporosis.You may say ‘but I don’t eat sugar,’ but what you mean is that you don’t ADD sugar to your meals and drinks. Once you start reading labels of boxed foods, you’ll soon learn that sugar (in all of its chemically created/altered forms) is present in most, if not all, processed foods. It’s almost impossible to avoid! Stay away from processed foods and drinks in order to stray away from sugar and stick to the natural sweeteners.Honestly – the easiest way to stay healthy is to eat whole un-refined and fresh foods. As Michael Pollan stated beautifully: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” Words to live by, my friends.Sources:michaelpollan.commercola.comErin Schumacher is a Certified Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition Practitioner (CNHP; CHNP) She specializes in detoxification programs, internal cleanses, and helping clients build strong immune systems. She also travels internationally to do raw food workshops, yoga retreats, and personal coaching. In addition, Erin is a Certified Power Yoga Instructor and a Certified Raw Food Chef from the SunKitchen. For more information, visit ErinSchumacher.net.
Read more: http://www.trueactivist.com/10-foods-you-should-never-eat/




  Dalia Mogahed, former executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, talks with Samina Ali about what she learned in her extensive research about the real lives of Muslims, including their views on fundamentalism, terrorism, the veil, and more.From the Boston bombers to the gruesome murder of a British soldier in Woolwich, terrorists justify their violence by citing modern grievances not medieval exegesis.Samina Ali: You are the former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Can you please explain to our global audience what the Gallup Center is and what kinds of studies you performed.  Dalia Mogahed: The Gallup Center for Muslim Studies was a think tank and consultancy that offered evidence based advice on Muslim societies around the world. The analysis drew on Gallup’s global public opinion research, which represented the views of more than 90% of the world’s Muslims. This massive study brought the voices of ordinary people into a debate that had until then been dominated by a vocal fringe claiming to speak on behalf of Islam and Muslims. This research provided the foundation for my book “Who Speaks for Islam?  What a Billion Muslims Really Think”, which I co-authored with Professor John L. Esposito of Georgetown University.According to these studies, what were the top commonalities among Muslims globally?Muslims globally, from Morocco to Malaysia, in overwhelming majorities said their faith was an important part of their daily lives. This more than any other quality united Muslims from diverse backgrounds.And the top differences?Muslims globally are very diverse, speak different languages, have different histories and interpret their faith in different ways. This pluralism is built in and celebrated in Islam. They also have varying views on the U.S. For example, while Muslims in the Middle East were unlikely to approve of the United States’ leadership, Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa expressed overwhelmingly positive views. Muslims also had varying views on the role of religion in politics, as well as how religious law should be interpreted.In the wake of 9/11 and other crimes being committed in the name of Islam, people are interested to know how Muslims in general feel about terrorism. From the Gallup research as well as research you did for your own book, can you tell us what you’ve discovered?The majority of Muslims overwhelmingly oppose terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam. This was clearly demonstrated by a 2011 Gallup study I was involved in of more than a hundred countries worldwide called Views of Violence: What drives public acceptance and rejection of attacks on civilians 10 years after 9/11. Contrary to popular misperceptions, Muslim majority countries were at least as likely as other societies to denounce attacks on civilians. In the Middle East, religious devotion was linked to a greater rejection of these attacks. So what do we make of terrorists employing religious symbolism and rhetoric? First, we need to listen more carefully and what we hear beneath the religious veneer is a fundamentally political, not religious, argument. From the Boston bombers to the gruesome murder of a British soldier in Woolwich, terrorists justify their violence by citing modern grievances not medieval exegesis.We can say the same about terrorists of every stripe actually. The symbols and language they employ depend on their cultural background, but their core message is the same:  Perceived wrongs require violence to correct. One of the most extreme examples of this was two years ago in Norway, when Anders Breivik, who advocated the violent annihilation of "Eurabia," bombed government buildings, killing eight people, and struck a youth summer camp in Oslo, shooting 69 people dead, many of them teenagers[2].Second, whether a terrorist claims to defend Islam or Europe’s white Christian majority, his or her identity provides the context, not the cause, of their radicalization.Can you give me an example of this?Take the August 2012 case of Wade Michael Page, a right wing white supremist, and his lethal attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. According to a man who described himself as an old Army buddy of Page's, the attacker often talked about "racial holy war."  His white conservative background didn’t cause his radicalization anymore than being Muslim or Chechen caused the Boston bombers to turn to violence.  In both cases, the radicalization occurred within the criminal’s cultural context and therefore took on the symbols, on-line space and rhetoric of this sub-culture.As such, the mainstream Muslim American community is no more responsible for deviant Muslims who turn to terrorism than the Republican party is responsible for right-wing radicals who do the same. In fact, far from acquiescing to this violence, according to Gallup’s 2011 report on U.S. religious communities, Muslim Americans are the most likely U.S. faith community to unequivically denounce attacks on civilians as morally wrong, whether by an individual or a military.According to the best research, Muslim radicalizing in the West occurs outside the community, in spite of the community and in defiance of the community.  This is made even more apparent by the fact that Muslim Americans helped thwart the majority of foiled al-Qaeda inspired terrorist plots in America.  Rather than bearing collective guilt for Al-Qaeda inspired terrorism, the Muslim American community is its most formidable adversary.If the majority of Muslims truly do believe in peace, what causes have you uncovered that correlate with people committing acts of terrorism? Is it poverty? Living under repressive governments? The most striking predictor of sympathy with extremist actions among Muslims is not poverty or unemployment, but anger at acute conflicts involving the U.S. and Muslims, such as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Knowing these root causes, do you think the U.S. government’s response is most effective? How can the U.S. create better relations with Muslim communities?Much can be done, but nothing will be as effective as ending acute conflicts involving the U.S. in the Muslim world and bring about a just settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.Many in the West feel that Muslim women living in Muslim majority countries are repressed, their freedoms stripped away. From your research, what would you say are the top three concerns Muslim women in Muslim countries are facing? Are they all concerned about the veil?The views of Muslim women are complex. They want and expect equal rights, but say that their faith is not the barrier to achieving this goal.  Most regard their faith as a force for freedom, not fanaticism. However, like most women, their main concerns are similar to those of any other citizen in their country, and revolve around development, education and unemployment, not “women’s rights.”  As for the “veil”, the majority of Muslim women say they cover their hair in public and when asked why the most common response is that they believe it is a religious mandate. Simply put, it is part of practicing their faith. Women who wear it associate it with not only piety but “confidence” and “dignity.” Let’s be honest. Even if a minority of Muslims turn to violence, that’s still too many. How can the Muslim community effectively deal with these kinds of zealots and stop the random violence? Is there anything specific that women can do or are already doing?Muslims are AlQaeda’s number one victims, so no one wants to end this senseless violence more than they do. AlQaeda also preys on their young men, exploiting their anger at often times legitimate grievances, to recruit them into a life of crime. So no one wishes to see an end to this more than Muslims do. The most important steps that should be taken is to educate our young people on their faith. The Islam of the Qur’an cannot coexist in the same heart and mind with the ideology of AlQaeda. They are opposing forces and the stronger their understanding of the former the more able they will be to see the falsehood of the later. Women, as mothers, teachers, scholars and community leaders can play a vital role in this regard.Around the anniversary of 9/11, people will be thinking about this tragedy again. The recent Boston bombings has fueled the fear and misunderstandings people have about Islam. What is the one message you’d like to send out during this time?These national tragedies must bring us together and increase our resolve to fight this common enemy as one nation.  


Dalia Mogahed is President and CEO of Mogahed Consulting, a Washington, D.C. based executive coaching and consulting firm specializing in Muslim societies and the Middle East. She is former Executive Director of and Senior Analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslims worldwide, including in the U.S. and Europe. With John L. Esposito, she coauthored the groundbreaking book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.President Barack Obama appointed Mogahed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009, making her the first Muslim-American woman to hold a position of this seniority. In this role, Mogahed joined other American leaders in offering recommendations to the U.S. president on how faith-based organizations can best work with the government to solve society’s toughest challenges. Mogahed was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about U.S. engagement with Muslim communities, and she provided significant contributions to the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group recommendations. She also joined Madeleine Albright and Dennis Ross as a leading voice in the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project. This group of American leaders, which included senior government, military, and business decision makers, produced a consensus report with key policy recommendations for improving America’s relationship with Muslims globally — many of which were later adopted by the Obama Administration.The World Economic Forum named Mogahed a Young Global Leader. She is a member of the Forum’s Agenda Council on the Arab World, as well as a frequent speaker at their conferences. Mogahed serves on the boards of Freedom House and Soliya, and is a nonresident senior public policy scholar at Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. Arabian Business magazine recognized her as one of the most influential Arabs in the world in 2010-2012, and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre included Mogahed in its 2009-2012 lists of the 500 most influential Muslims. Ashoka named Mogahed the Arab World’s Social Innovator of the Year in 2010, and the University of Wisconsin Alumni Association recognized her with its prestigious Forward Under 40 award for outstanding contributions by a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.Mogahed is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. She also serves as a Global Expert for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Her analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy magazine, the Harvard International Review, and many other academic and popular journals. Her audiences have included heads of state, parliamentarians from around the world, and religious leaders from every faith.-
See more at: http://muslima.imow.org/content/truth-about-muslims#sthash.jypuiFju.dpuf

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

If you think I’m a racist, then Israel is a racist state

Upper Nazareth’s mayor answers detractors who say his reelection campaign calling for the mixed city to be 'Jewish forever’ is racist.

By Shimon Gapso
Published 16:03 07.08.13

Over the past few days, many people have been calling me a racist. Sometimes they also call me a Nazi, a bully or even Hitler. One need only look at the comments on Haaretz’s website to put me before a firing squad. What’s my crime? What act of bullying did I commit? I made a clear and unequivocal statement thatUpper Nazareth was a Jewish city.Yes — I’m not afraid to say it out loud, to write it and add my signature, or declare it in front of the cameras: Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city and it’s important that it remains so. If that makes me a racist, then I’m a proud offshoot of a glorious dynasty of “racists” that started with the “Covenant of the Pieces” [that God made with Abraham, recounted in Genesis 15:1–15] and the explicitly racist promise: “To your seed I have given this land” [Genesis 15:38].When the Jewish people were about to return to their homeland after a long journey from slavery in Egypt, where they were enslaved for racist reasons, the God of Israel told Moses how to act upon conquering the land: he must cleanse the land of its current inhabitants. “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you allow to remain... as I thought to do to them, so will I do to you” [Numbers 33:55–56].God gave them an explicit warning. Yes, the racist Joshua conquered the land in a racist manner. More than 3,000 years later, the Jewish people stood bruised and bleeding on the threshold of their land, seeking once again to take possession of it from the wild tribes that had seized the land in its absence. And then, an outbreak of racism flooded the country.The racist Theodor Herzl wrote "Der Judenstaat" (“The Jewish State,” not “The State of All Its Citizens”). Lord Balfour recommended the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people. David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Arlosoroff, Moshe Sharett and other racists established the Jewish Agency, and the racist UN decided to establish a Jewish state — in other words, a state for Jews. The racist Ben-Gurion announced the establishment of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel, and during the War of Independence even made sure to bring in hundreds of thousands of Jews and drive out hundreds of thousands of Arabs who had been living here — all to enable it to be founded with the desired racist character.Since then, racially pure kibbutzim without a single Arab member and an army that protects a certain racial strain have been established, as have political parties that proudly bear racist names such as “Habayit Hayehudi” — “the Jewish home.” Even our racist national anthem ignores the existence of the Arab minority — in other words, the people Ben-Gurion did not manage to expel in the 1948 war. If not for all that “racism,” it’s doubtful we could live here, and doubtful that we could live at all.In these times of hypocrisy and bleeding-heart sanctimoniousness, of the proliferation of flaky types who are disconnected from reality, in the relative security that causes us to forget the dangers we face, we can sit in north Tel Aviv, and cry “racism” to seem enlightened and good-hearted in our own eyes. We can be shocked at a mayor who prefers that his city, which is right next to the largest Arab city in Israel, retain a Jewish majority and not be swallowed up in the Arab area that surrounds it. There will not be a single Jew in the future Palestinian state, but that’s all right. That isn’t racism.Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city. Fewer than one-fifth of its inhabitants are Arab citizens, and they enjoy full municipal and national rights. Many of them are friends of mine, and I like and respect many of them. I could wish that Jews were treated the way the Arabs of Upper Nazareth are — not only those Jews who lived in Europe of times past, but also those who live in the Arab countries of today. If that were the case, perhaps we of Upper Nazareth would have no need to be “racists.”The writer is the mayor of Upper Nazareth.

"Conspiracy to silence"

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. I want to go back to Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, to get Glenn Greenwald’s response. During an appearance on MSNBC’s Meet the Press, he said theNSA surveillance programs had uncovered information about the threats that prompted the U.S. to close 19 embassies in North Africa and Middle East.SEN. 
SAXBY CHAMBLISS: These programs are controversial. We understand that. They’re very sensitive. But they’re also very important, because they are what lead us to have the—or allow us to have the ability to gather this chatter that I referred to. If we did not have these programs, then we simply wouldn’t be able to listen in on the bad guys. And I will say that it’s the 702 program that has allowed us to pick up on this chatter. That’s the program that allows us to listen overseas, not on domestic soil, but overseas.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Senator Chambliss. Glenn Greenwald, your response?
GLENN GREENWALD: You know, it’s so ludicrous. For eight straight years, literally, Democrats, every time there was a terrorist alert or a terrorist advisory issued by the United States government in the middle of a debate over one of the Bush-Cheney civil liberties abuses, would accuse the United States government and the national security state of exaggerating terrorism threats, of manipulating advisories, of hyping the dangers of al-Qaeda, in order to distract attention away from their abuses and to scare the population into submitting to whatever it is they wanted to do. And so, here we are in the midst of, you know, one of the most intense debates and sustained debates that we’ve had in a very long time in this country over the dangers of excess surveillance, and suddenly an administration that has spent two years claiming that it has decimated al-Qaeda decides that there is this massive threat that involves the closing of embassies and consulates throughout the world. And within literally an amount of hours, the likes of Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham join with the White House and Democrats in Congress—who, remember, are the leading defenders of theNSA at this point—to exploit that terrorist threat and to insist that it shows that the NSA and these programs are necessary.What that has to do with the ongoing controversy about the NSA is completely mystifying. Nobody has ever questioned or disputed that the U.S. government, like all governments around the world, ought to be eavesdropping and monitoring the conversations of people who pose an actual threat to the United States in terms of plotting terrorist attacks. The controversy is over the fact that they are sweeping up billions and billions of emails and telephone calls every single day from people around the world and in the United States who have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism. And, if anything, the only thing that that controversy—the warning has to do with the current controversy is that the argument that a lot of analysts have made, very persuasively, is that when you have an agency that collects everything, it actually becomes harder, not easier, to detect actual terrorist plots and to find the actual terrorists. And if this agency really were devoted, if these surveillance programs were really devoted to finding terrorism, they would be much more directed and discriminating. But they’re not. They’re indiscriminate and limitless, and that’s one of the problems

Monday, August 05, 2013

Hitler wants a united Eid


Well said.......

Nestle Group -"Access to Water Is Not Your Right"

Nestle - You have No Right to Water

When viewing this - and it is subtitled so you have to read it - a couple of things to remember.Six minutes for a very stark message about what "free market" means - truly means. 
FirstI have no idea if the subtitles are correct - I can only assume that
SecondNestle was at one point a financial supporter and participant of ALEC - we can not confirm present day - because ALEC keeps their member list secret.ALEC believes and preaches a free market philosophy - which includes the privatization of everything - everything, do not kid yourself folks.This video is an example (if the close captioning is correct) of the extremist views held by corporations who hold a free market philosophy.             
Access to water is not your right                
believing you have a right to water - is an extreme belief             
Water is a raw material and a "foodstuff" that should be                   privatized and commercialized.The video is an example of the extremist free market philosophy probably held by many of the corporations that belong to the American Legislative Exchange Council - your death means nothing compared to corporate profits. If this guy believes it - other corporations believe this for their raw materials also.This is the first time I really truly understand what free market means to these people.Free market means - it is okay for people to DIE as long as corporations can maintain high levels of revenues.More importantly, we need to make a point of boycotting Nestle's water products post haste. Nestle's Water division is enormous. Check out this partial brand list:Arrowhead
Aqua Spring
Deer Park
Deep Spring
Ice Mountain
Nestle Wellness
Nestle Pure Life
Poland Spring
Water Line

Maybe if they didn’t make money on water – they would not view water as such a commodity.Financial inequities are inherent to any market system.Due to disparities in wealth or access, some individuals are placed in more fortunate positions. Over time, instead of countering these disparities, the market nurtures them. Unlike other commodities, like wheat or oil, water is essential for survival, and it does not have any substitutes. Limited or nonexistent access to grain or oil, while potentially devastating, is not life threatening. The traditional economic principles applied to other commodities are not applicable to water. Those unable to afford the market’s price for water would be left to die.  



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