US warplane shot at survivors fleeing Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing, MSF reports

Debris litters the floor in MSF's Kunduz Trauma center. [Photo: MSF]

Doctors Without Borders released an internal report today that claims a U.S. warplane shot at people who were trying to escape the international medical aid group's hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after the building was bombed by American forces.

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How the White House is celebrating Back to the Future Day!


Our man in the White House, Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, alerts us to the Administration's celebration of Back To The Future Day that includes:

* The release of President Obama's updated Strategy for American Innovation

* Tom's post on the White House blog about the power of imagination, titled "Science Fiction to Science Fact"

* A series of online conversations with scientists and innovators about the future! Read the rest

Eric Holder: I didn't prosecute bankers for reasons unrelated to my $3M/year law firm salary


The Intercept's Dan Froomkin played turd-in-the-punchbowl at outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder's victory lap party at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reception on Wednesday, asking why Holder had declined to put one single banker in jail for the monumental frauds that collapsed the world's economy in 2007-9. Read the rest

Obama apologizes to aid group for bombing hospital. MSF: Thanks, but we want an investigation

Francoise Saulnier, MSF  legal counsel, next to Joanne Liu, President of MSF International. [REUTERS]

Doctors Without Borders received an apology from President Barack Obama today for the deadly U.S. bombing of its hospital in northern Afghanistan.

The international medical aid organization released a statement today:

"We reiterate our ask that the U.S. government consent to an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to establish what happened in Kunduz, how it happened, and why it happened," said Dr. Joanne Liu, international president of the group, also known as Doctors Without Borders.

MSF headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 7, 2015. REUTERS

The aid group, also known also as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, said the proposed commission would gather evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. After that, the charity would decide whether to seek criminal charges for loss of life and damage.

“If we let this go, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries at war,” MSF International President Joanne Liu told reporters in Geneva. But she noted there was no commitment yet on official cooperation with an independent investigation.

The U.S. air attack Saturday killed 22 patients and medical staffers, including three children, in the northern Afghanistan city of Kunduz, which had been overrun by Taliban militants. Thirty-seven people were injured, including 19 staff members, the charity said.

Aid group seeks independent probe into U.S. attack on Afghan hospital

Afghan guards stand at the gate of MSF hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz. REUTERS Read the rest

Right to Encrypt is under fire in America. is fighting for your crypto rights.


The Intercept just published an amazing article by Jim Bamford yesterday talking about how the NSA exploited a backdoor in Vodafone to spy on Greek politicians and journalists during the 2004 Olympics.

Bamford is an American author and journalist best known for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, and in particular the National Security Agency.

In a meticulous investigation, Bamford reports at the Intercept that the NSA was behind the notorious, legendary “Athens Affair”. After the 2004 Olympics, the Greek government discovered that an unknown attacker had hacked into Vodafone’s “lawful intercept” system, the phone company’s method of wiretapping voice calls. The attacker spied on phone calls of the president and other Greek politicians and journalists before the hack was found out.

Freedom of the Press Foundation director Trevor Timm wrote for the Guardian about why this is exactly why encryption backdoors are so dangerous.

What are encryption backdoors? For non-techie readers, basically these are ways the government can unencrypt your "locked" communications if they decide they want to see your private material for any secret reason.

And in related news, rumor has it the White House is nearing a decision on whether to embrace the right to encryption for American citizens, or join the FBI in calling for backdoors.

Dozens of civil liberties groups, including Freedom of the Press Foundation, launched this site and petition today that feeds into the White House petition system:

If you care about this issue, right now is the time to take action. Read the rest

Obama and China's Xi Jinping make a deal on commercial cyber espionage

The Financial Times reports that U.S. President Barack Obama has negotiated a commitment from Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that China will not conduct commercial cyber espionage. In what were reportedly tense, prolonged talks, Obama communicated to the Chinese leader that the United States was ready to impose sanctions on Chinese companies accused of profiting from stolen industrial secrets. Read the rest

Surely this is the most Norman Rockwell photo ever taken of President Obama meeting a little boy

p090415ps-0562 (1)

“President Barack Obama meets 4-year-old Malik Hall during departure photos with Malik's uncle, Maurice Owens, center, in the Oval Office, Sept 4, 2015.” Read the rest

Salmon splooges on President Obama's shoes


Listen to President Obama's summer playlists


President Obama posted two Spotify summer playlists, one for day and another for night. Some nice soul and jazz cuts on there from Coltrane, The Temptations, Al Green Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Miles. Also, the Stones, Dylan, and Joni Mitchell. I clicked right past the Beyonce and Justin Timberlake tracks though.

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Obama snubs NYC's Waldorf Astoria hotel over China bugging fears, scream tabloids

President Obama. WABC, July 17, 2015.

President Obama. WABC, July 17, 2015.

Most fears about bugs in New York City hotels involve the kind that live in beds. Today, another type of hotel bug is in the news. Read the rest

Listen to Marc Maron's WTF interview with President Obama

Marc Maron and President Obama had a relaxed and fascinating one-hour conversation in Maron's Pasadena, California garage, where Maron produces his popular WTF Podcast. Obama used the "N" word (in talking about racism), gave his thoughts on voters' expectations for rapid Hope and Change, discussed his interest in improving police-community relations, and much more.

I learned more about how Obama thinks in this interview than any TV interview I've listened to.

Vanity Fair ran an article about how Maron prepared for the interview, and the security precautions undertaken by the Secret Service.

“A few days before the interview, the Secret Service started coming up, looking around the house, seeing what the perimeter was, figuring out how they can secure the house. They set up the isolated phone lines that are necessary for the president to have wherever he is. . . . They had to figure out how to do it in my garage, where [to place] the Secret Service. They had to have an archivist here recording it. They tried to put a sniper on the garage but it was too noisy. So they had to go on my neighbor’s house. They wanted everything out of the garage that was going to be in the path of the president—the boxes of books and piles of stuff that I had in here. They wanted anything that could be dangerous in the garage taken out.”

The President forgot his coffee.

A photo posted by @marcmaron on Jun 19, 2015 at 11:24am PDT

Maron did not even have to worry about providing coffee.

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Op-ed in PA paper calls for Obama's execution, then apologizes when readers complain


It wasn't until readers showed outrage that a Pennsylvania newspaper realized its wrongdoing. Read the rest

Copyfighting, jailbreaking legend Ed Felten is the White House's new deputy CTO

He'll serve under the brilliant Megan Smith, the CTO. Read the rest

Cecily Strong crushes it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Not since Colbert's roast of GWB in 2006 has a comedian's Nerd Prom monologue been so outrageously funny. Obama's bit was pretty awesome, too.

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Jeb Bush loves Obama('s NSA surveillance)

Who says bipartisanship is dead? Read the rest

Ron Wyden to Eric Holder: before you go, how about all those requests for information?

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has written a letter to outgoing Attorney General Eric "Too Big to Jail" Holder about all those other letters the senator has sent to the AG asking why, exactly, the DoJ thinks that mass spying is legal. Read the rest

Obama administration: North Koreans probably not responsible for Sony Hack, but hey, let's sanction them anyway

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) uses a pair of binoculars to look towards the South during his visit to the Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment and Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment on the front, near the border with South Korea, southwest of Pyongyang March 7, 2013 in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang.

In what looks to many in the information security community like a bizarre face-saving gesture with little basis in reality, the Obama administration today announced new sanctions on 10 senior North Korean officials and several organizations.

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