There's been an awful lot of talk about “cyber pathogens” and “cyber bombs” lately from the mouths of American officials discussing terrorism, and how we will vanquish it. President Obama mentioned “cyber ops” against Islamic State terrorists in one recent address. Today, we know a little more about what was behind last week's cyber-hawkish hacking headlines.
Reporters from Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post obtained a huge trove of email from Unaoil, a business run by a rich Monaco family, that reveal that the family ran a corrupt bribery empire that spanned the world's oil-producing states, and that they world with companies like Rolls-Royce, Halliburton, Leighton Holding, Samsung and Hyundai, to rig contracts through a system of bribes and kickbacks that looted the national treasuries of some of the world's poorest countries. Read the rest
The Pentagon says U.S. forces have killed a top Islamic State commander in Syria, as part of a series of military actions targeting ISIS leadership and its storage sites for explosives. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter delivered the news on Friday.
Vladimir Putin says Russian troops will begin withdrawing from Syria starting Tuesday, the day which marks 5 years since the start of Syria's bloody civil war. Putin's pledge is a move to help advance U.N.-brokered peace talks that resumed today.
Making the rounds online this week: this footage shot by a camera-equipped drone of the Syrian city of Homs. After 5 years of civil war, the city is largely reduced to abandoned rubble.
A new stencil/pasteup in the notorious "Jungle" refugee camp in Calais, France depicts Steve Jobs with a satchel and a classic Macintosh. Read the rest
A leaked recording made of a conference call hosted by the Edison Electric Institute, which lobbies for the power industry, reveals lobbyists for high pollution companies talking about how they can exploit the Syrian refugee crisis to get a rider inserted into a pending bill that would kill the EPA's Waters of the United States rule, which protects America's waterways from pollution. Read the rest
Khartabil has been imprisoned in a Syria's Adra Prison since 2012, though as of October, he has been transferred to an undisclosed location. The free software/open culture activist was the lead for Creative Commons Syria and has contributed to Wikipedia, Firefox and many other projects. Read the rest
Pete Reynolds in McSweeney's, proving that humor is a better source of news than the news is: "I refuse to support special interest groups whose sole mission is to profit from putting weapons into the hands of people, if those people are Syrians." Read the rest
Otto Frank sought help from his college friend Nathan Strauss Jr, the son of the owner of Macy's, to get a US visa, but the US State Department turned him and his family down. Read the rest
Mohammed thinks Russia's close ties with the embattled Syrian government are interfering with his plans to enter Russia.
"Russia has a very strong relation with the Syrian regime, and they don't want to encourage Syrians to leave the country," he said.
Mohammed's lawyer said the Syrian government checked out their passports and said they were authentic. Russian authorities are now investigating the the passports, the lawyer said, and should come to a decision soon.
The Prime Minister of Iceland offered to take in 50 Syrian refugees; 10,000 of his countrymen responded to this announcement by offering their homes to house Syrians fleeing horrific violence and danger. Read the rest
This is Oliver at his best, using weaponized bathos that ricochets between rage-making clips of racist political figures trying to terrorize Syrians into staying away with sweet clips of the refugees themselves and an over-the-top, stone-brilliant, pop-culture-infused, heart-rending, laughter-convulsing finale. Read the rest