12 Nov 2014

Occupy Central leaders prepare to surrender as police make plans to clear sites


Occupy Central leaders prepare to surrender

as police make plans to clear sites

By, Joyce Ng, Julie Chu and Clifford Lo – South China Morning Press


PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 November, 2014, 4:48am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 November, 2014, 5:19pm


Occupy Central co-founders tentatively plan to turn themselves in to police next week, the South China Morning Post has learned.

This comes as police sources say the force may begin executing from tomorrow the injunctions taken out against the Mong Kok and Admiralty sit-ins.


Occupy Central co-founders (from left) Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, Professor Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man. Photo: EPA

A core member of Occupy Central told the Post that the three organisers of the civil disobedience movement and its volunteers were planning to surrender to police on Friday next week, in an attempt to show that they were willing to accept the legal consequences of joining the “unlawful” pro-democracy protest.

“We will sit peacefully on the roads and let the police arrest us if the clearance starts earlier than Friday next week,” the source said.

“We don’t want to surrender before Monday – when the Hong Kong-Shanghai stocks ‘through train’ officially kicks off – as the last thing we want to do is to give [Chief Executive] Leung Chun-ying a chance to show Beijing that he can ‘resume social order’ as he promised [President] Xi Jinping .”

However, the deputy leader of the Federation of Students, Lester Shum, had some reservations. “The police are already planning to clear the sites,” he said. “I would rather be arrested than surrender.”

Acting Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday urged the protesters to leave the occupied sites as soon as possible, as police had already started preparations to execute the court orders.

“To uphold the rule of law, police are preparing to enforce the law, including making arrests,” she said yesterday. “An injunction is a solemn order made by the court, which should be fully respected and strictly followed by all.”

The three injunctions cover sections of Nathan Road, Mong Kok, and the space around Citic Tower in Admiralty, opposite government headquarters.

Under the court orders, protesters face arrest if they prevent bailiffs removing barricades.

Detectives from the elite organised crime and triad bureau, led by senior superintendent Brian Lowcock, had held day-long talks with the Department of Justice to discuss legal issues surrounding the implementation of the injunctions, according to a police source.

An application from two subsidiaries of private transport operator Kwung Chung Bus for further injunctions to eject protesters from the main Admiralty protest site on Harcourt Road was held up at the High Court yesterday. Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-ching adjourned the case to next week so more evidence could be gathered.

The companies had argued that the blockading of parts of Connaught Road Central and Harcourt Road had hit their business, including school bus services.

Barrister Warren Chan SC, representing the bus companies, read letters from parents detailing how pupils had to wake up at 4.30am to catch school buses.

“The world has turned upside down” since the protest campaign began, Chan said, and parents and pupils were exhausted and suffering in “hell”.

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12 Nov 2014

Notorious ‘Anonymous’ hacker shares motives from prison – AP

Notorious ‘Anonymous’ hacker shares motives from prison – AP


By Associated Press November 11, 2014 | 10:49am

Jeremy Hammond

MANCHESTER, Ky. — Cocaine dealers, bank robbers and carjackers converge at Manchester Federal Prison in rural Kentucky – and then there is Jeremy Hammond, a tousle-haired and talented hacker whose nimble fingers have clicked and tapped their way into the nation’s computing systems. Among those whose data he helped expose: the husband of the federal judge who sentenced him.

“From the start, I always wanted to target government websites, but also police and corporations that profit off government contracts,” he says. “I hacked lots of dot-govs.”
An Associated Press report this week found the $10 billion-a-year effort to protect the federal government’s extensive computer systems is struggling to keep up with a daily bombardment of cyberattacks from thieves and hostile states that grab Social Security numbers, peruse Pentagon secrets and hijack critical websites. Human error, by way of employee missteps, is often to blame.
Those behind these incidents are a motley group: foreign spies, intellectual property thieves, personal identity peddlers, and, increasingly, politically motivated hacktivists like Hammond. Once the FBI’s most-wanted cybercriminal, Hammond is serving one of the longest sentences a U.S. hacker has received – 10 years, the maximum allowed under his plea agreement last year.
“This is the nicest room in the place,” he said when the AP recently sat down with him in a drab cinderblock visiting room to talk about how and why he did what he did. Prison authorities barred cameras and recorders, citing security.
A hacktivist for more than a decade, Hammond, 29, was arrested in 2012 after penetrating the U.S.-based security think tank Stratfor, whose clients include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department.
He’d been working with a subgroup of the loose-knit hacking movement “Anonymous” to disrupt the networks of Sony Pictures, the Public Broadcasting Service, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and others when a member of the group enlisted him to help break into Stratfor’s systems.
Some breaches in Hammond’s life had been a challenge. He’d search the code on websites he wanted to target, combing through the symbols and letters of computing languages for security flaws to exploit. He’d create user accounts on the sites, and then test for ways in. It could take months of trying, and sometimes he gave up.
But the Stratfor hack was a cinch, he said. Basic security was not in place, a flaw later acknowledged by Stratfor CEO George Friedman. “We did not encrypt credit card files,” Friedman said. “This was our failure.”
Hammond was like a kid in a candy shop: “I was like damn man, this is crazy.”
The hackers posted emails between Stratfor employees and clients on the WikiLeaks website (some 5 million exchanges, they claimed), along with credit card data from a client list that included Northrop Grumman, the Marine Corps and Time Warner Cable. They used some of the credit card numbers to donate money to the Red Cross, according to court records.
Among the thousands whose emails were disclosed was the husband of the federal judge who sentenced Hammond. She chose not to recuse herself, noting that no harm was done. Her husband’s email address was exposed but already publicly available, and no actual correspondence or credit card information was revealed.
Federal prosecutors said the Stratfor hack resulted in more than a million dollars in losses to individuals, and threatened public safety. A hacking “recidivist,” they called Hammond.
Raised in the Chicago suburb of Glendale Heights with his twin brother Jason by their father, a musician, Hammond said he was a “nonconformist, anti-authority” kid. At 8, he tried his hand at designing video games. A few years later, he started hacking.
Then came 9/11. Hammond was 16, and considered some of the government’s anti-terrorism actions “police state measures.”
“I had a sense of duty to take action,” he said.
With his brother, he protested, started an underground school newspaper and then organized a high school walkout when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. That year, Hammond also launched HackThisSite.org, where hackers of all skill levels can hone their abilities and share tips.
He considered hacking a means of social justice, and he did it in secret while pursuing civil disobedience and protest in public, as well.
He started the University of Illinois at Chicago with a full scholarship, cooked and gave food to homeless people and set up a free public computer lab.
He also hacked into the university’s computer science department website, and then told administrators about the vulnerability. They kicked him out, according to court records.
That summer, at 19, with a black scarf tied around his neck, Hammond was both heckled and cheered as he encouraged the audience at the hacking conference DEFCON to engage in a campaign of “electronic civil disobedience” against the upcoming Republican National Convention in New York.
“There’s going to be a series of defacements, financial disruption, email flood campaigns,” he promised, and some GOP websites did later report technical difficulties.
As Hammond’s social and political actions mounted, so did his arrest record. He pleaded guilty to battery after fighting with anti-gay protesters at a Chicago Pride Parade and was again taken to jail after joining hundreds of counter-demonstrators at a neo-Nazi rally.
A hack into the website of a group that was harassing Iraq War opponents got Hammond sentenced, in 2008, to 20 months in federal prison. Once out, he got involved in local activist movements, then public protests and then more hacking.
Working from a coffee shop or inside a vacant building with Wi-Fi nearby, Hammond used a Tor web browser that prevents people from learning the user’s location, and he identified himself only with nicknames including “Anarchaos” and “crediblethreat.”
He always had a day job – at a computer repair store and, later, as a web developer for an advertising firm. Hammond’s brother, who lived with him, told the sentencing judge that “no one around him had any inkling that he was getting involved in the group called Anonymous.”
Three months after the Stratfor leak, on March 5, 2012, Hammond was smoking pot and chatting with friends in the kitchen of his Chicago home when the front door was kicked in. Someone threw a flash bang.
“There were all these dudes with assault rifles,” he said.
Everyone else hit the floor, but Hammond dashed to his bedroom to slam shut his encrypted Mac laptop.
The FBI caught Hammond with the assistance of Hector Xavier Monsegur, a famous hacker known as Sabu who helped law enforcement infiltrate Anonymous and convict eight hackers in all.
Hammond, up for release in 2020, spends his days folding laundry and sewing, studying Spanish, playing chess and reading books supporters send him.
Asked about the larger danger posed by cybercriminals, he laughed at the idea that some consider such attacks as threatening to national security as terrorism.
“I mean, I didn’t kill anybody,” he said.
At the same time, he knows the risk of nation states or others using a computer to do harm is real.
“If I was capable of doing these things on my own or with my team, what about a well-financed team that trained for years?”
To this day, Hammond is unsure how agents cracked his encryption program and got what they needed to land him back in prison. But he has one idea: “My password was really weak.”
It was his cat.
“Chewy,” he said, looking down at his hands. “Chewy 123.”

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13 Sep 2014

The People of Ferguson Have the Power To FIRE the ENTIRE Police Force #Recall4Mike

Although Missouri does not have statewide recall provisions under the law, there are provisions for doing so at the local level.

Missourians do not have the right of statewide recall. However, the right of local recall is available in:
    Cities defined as Class 3 cities. A Class 3 City is defined as a city with a population between 3,000 and 29,999.
    Cities that operate under their own city charter, if the specific city charter allows for recall.

The recall process that applies to Class 3 cities in Missouri is governed by MRS §77.650 and 78.260.


    Recall may not commence during first 6 months in office
    Grounds for recall must be stated, and must include misconduct in office, incompetence, and failure to perform duties prescribed by law.
    60 days is allowed for collecting signatures.
    Signatures equal to 25% of the registered voters in the city must be collected.

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27 Aug 2014

How the Supreme Court Protects Bad Cops

Even if the conclusion is that Officer Darren Wilson acted improperly, the ability to hold him or Ferguson, Mo., accountable will be severely restricted by none other than the United States Supreme Court.

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26 Aug 2014

Ferguson Exposes the Fault Lines Between Facebook and Twitter

#Ferguson Exposes the Fault Lines Between Facebook and Twitter. 

Facebook Offers Little On Stories Such as Ferguson—Which Is Fine

Protesters in Ferguson, Mo.

Photograph by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images        Protesters in Ferguson, Mo.

The weeks of late summer are usually devoid of major news. Not this year. The Aug. 9 slaying of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo., has led to a week of protests, arrests, and the deployment of the National Guard.

At the same time, but seemingly in a different universe, there’s the “ice bucket challenge,” a series of videos in which celebrities and other people indicate their support of fighting ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, by dumping cold water on their heads. The unexpectedly viral campaign has raised $15 million for the cause.

Both of those stories have illuminated the strengths and weaknesses of our two major social networks that function as windows to the world—Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR).

As others have pointed out, Twitter has become a gripping nightly forum to follow the protests in Ferguson. National journalists such as CNN’s Jake Tapper are tweeting from the scene while a few relative unknowns like Vice reporter Tim Pool have delivered riveting live video of the protests. Twitter has surpassed the major news networks in providing a visceral sense of an unfolding social disaster and in provoking attendant outrage in many who think the police have badly overreached.

At the same time, Facebook seems devoid of unhappy news from Ferguson and elsewhere, with some complaining about feeds filled with trivial ice bucket videos, friends’ vacation photos, and (on more of a down note) remembrances and trivia about the late actor Robin Williams. On Facebook, your friends aren’t bearing witness to public demonstrations of civil unrest. They’re in Martha’s Vineyard and really want you to see photos of their kids eating ice cream.

The difference in content highlights how each service approaches presenting the material posted by its users. Facebook’s algorithms filter the news, presenting a selective feed of updates tailored to a user’s individual preferences and past actions. Twitter, on the other hand, lets it all fly: Each post from people that you follow is presented in chronological order, untainted by an invisible hand.

Some have accused Facebook of using its algorithm as a sort of virtual censor, intentionally removing depressing stuff from Ferguson and elsewhere.

“@untamedjg: Interesting that Facebook is censoring information around #ferguson while Twitter is not –valuewalk.com/2014/08/facebo…” @msgbi— Beate Reszat (@rszbt) August 19, 2014

This is so true and troubling “@monteiro: If you want to pretend Ferguson isn’t happening just go to Facebook.”— Tim Dickinson (@7im) August 19, 2014

I don’t think Facebook is intentionally hiding the bad news.Instead, #Ferguson highlights how we use the services in different ways. On Facebook, we connect primarily with friends to share more personal updates. There may be a bias toward sharing less controversial material, although no one in my feed seemed to shy from expressing strong opinions about the recent crisis in Gaza. Mostly we still use Facebook to keep up with each other’s lives. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg wants to make Facebook the front door for all news, but he’s been hemmed in all along by user preferences. When presented with a choice between watching a cat video or a city tear-gassing its populace, most people are going to click on the cat video.

On Twitter, though, people have generally sought out connections not only to their colleagues but to newsmakers and reporters. The dialogue there is more chaotic, more serious, more visceral. There is also just as much noise, time-wasting triviality, and plenty of room for grandstanding.

In recent months, both social networks have made moves toward becoming more like each other. Facebook has added trending topics to capture pieces of the zeitgeist it might be missing. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has suggested Twitter is experimenting with adding Facebook-style filtering, an effort to broaden the service’s appeal to users who may not want to keep their nose in the news each night.

The past week’s events show why these companies may be making a mistake, or at least wasting their energy. Twitter and Facebook each have strengths and weaknesses. That’s why they complement each other so well—and why we need both.

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