Wednesday, December 19, 2018

FACEBOOK never learns

More FACEBOOK bad news.  From DEADLINE:

Facebook has suffered its latest privacy setback after it emerged that the social media platform gave tech companies including Netflix, Spotify and Microsoft intrusive access to personal data.
The New York Times published a 4,000 word expose revealing that it discovered the access through hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents.
The access allegedly allowed Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook subscribers’ personal messages, gave Microsoft’s Bing search engine the ability to see the names of all Facebook users’ friends, permitted Amazon to obtain contact information and let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts.

Why is anyone still using FACEBOOK?  I really don't get it.  What is the breaking point?  What does FACEBOOK have to do in order for you to walk away?

I’m out.

That I understand.  Those staying with FACEBOOK, however, confuse me.


Just about 24 hours ago, we published a story recapping Facebook's terrible 2018. But the year isn't over, and it looks like the drama is going to continue until the bitter end. According to an investigation by The New York Times that cites interviews with more than 60 people, including former Facebook employees, the company gave Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify and other tech firms far greater access to user data than previously disclosed. Earlier this month, the paper reported how some of these companies were receiving favored access to people's information, but we didn't know it was allegedly giving certain ones the ability to read, write and delete private messages.

The data sharing was so deep that even Facebook's business partners were surprised by it: Spotify said it was unaware of this special access while Netflix claims it never checked people's private messages on Facebook nor did it ever "ask for the ability to do so." Apple, meanwhile, was white-listed to view users' phone numbers and calendar entries, but it said it was not aware of this special access. 

Shira Ovide (BLOOMBERG NEWS) offers:

My bigger issue with Facebook is it has missed repeated opportunities to come clean about the scope and breadth of its information pipelines with outside companies.

After the March revelations about how Cambridge Analytica appeared to take advantage of loose Facebook rules to gather information on people’s Facebook friends without their overt approval, we were somewhat comforted by the idea that this was a vestige of Facebook past. Facebook changed policies after 2014, and there would never be a repeat of this Wild West with Facebook user information.
Since then, though, there have been dribs and drabs of reporting from news outlets that even after Facebook tightened its rules about the account information outside companies could harness, Facebook made many exceptions or let old agreements continue long after they stopped being useful. Maybe those special deals were fine to make, met the smell test of consent from Facebook users, and complied with Facebook’s 2011 agreement with the U.S. government to never again share user information without people’s explicit permission. Maybe. 
Even if all that were true, why didn’t Facebook do a full accounting after March of all its partnership arrangements that hooked outside companies into Facebook data? That’s my real complaint here. Facebook cannot seem to clean up its own mess.

Facebook shares drop as data privacy fallout spreads

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, December 19, 2018.  The US builds two more military bases in Iraq, the prime minister still can't put together a Cabinet, the Arab League calls out Turkey, and much more.

As the fake news continues, the US is establishing more bases in Iraq -- and the fake news ensures that US media ignores this reality.  XINHUA reports what THE NEW YORK TIMES, CNN, THE WASHINGTON POST, NPR, et al won't:

The U.S. forces established a new military base inside Iraq near the border with neighboring Syria in the western province of Anbar, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.
"The U.S. troops built the military base in al-Maliha area near the town of al-Qaim, some 400 km west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad," the independent newspaper of al-Mashriq quoted the town's mayor, Ahmed al-Mahalawi, as saying.
According to the mayor, this is the second military base established in Rummanah area near al-Qaim. Another base was set up in earlier December.
"The new base is to the borderline with Syria, apparently aimed at monitoring the border to protect the U.S. forces deployed inside Syria near the Iraqi-Syrian border," al-Mahalawi added.

The newspaper also quoted Frahan al-Dulaimi, member of Anbar provincial council, as saying that the U.S. forces "did not inform the provincial authorities about the military bases."

That news seems a lot more important than Stormy Daniels or all the other b.s. topics that have taken up so-called 'news' space.  This is real, this is life and death, this is war.  Where's the coverage?

The US intends to stay in Iraq and this despite the fact that it's been one failure after another in terms of prime ministers.  A bunch of incompetents who have failed the Iraqi people.  Of course, the US government doesn't care about that.  It just wants the oil.  But these puppets the US keeps putting into power can't even get the oil and gas laws passed -- the ones the US government has been insisting on since 2004.

The Iraqi government can't do much of anything.

’s voted on Tuesday to approve three out of five ministers put forward by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a step toward ending weeks of deadlock between the two largest parliamentary blocs.

Did they?  Oh the glass if half full!  The glass is half full . . . of piss.

First off, there are eight empty seats in the Cabinet.  Second?  The two most important Cabinet seats are Minister of Defense and Minister of Security.  These are security posts over the Iraqi forces.  They remain empty.

Does anyone remember what happened last time these post were empty?

Or does no one pay attention?

Last time they were empty, it was because Nouri al-Maliki, in his second term, wanted a power grab.  He didn't want anyone confirmed by Parliament because then only Parliament could remove them.  So he refused to put nominees up for the posts and he was over them.  And what happened in Nouri's second term?

The rise of ISIS.

As the struggles to form a cabinet and looking at yet more failure, 21 fighters escaped from a jail in Northern . They say history repeats itself...

The new prime minister, Adel Abdul al-Mahdi,  was supposed to put together a full cabinet in 30 days and then he would go from prime minister-designate to prime minister.  Yet again, the Iraqi government did not follow the Constitution.  As a result, we're now nearly two months out from him being named prime minister and still not having a full Cabinet -- more importantly, still unable to fill the two security posts.

REUTERS reports:

Nuri al-Dulaimi, Qusay al-Suhail and Abdul Ameer al-Hamdani were confirmed to be ministers for planning, higher education and culture, respectively. They were approved after the Islah and Bina blocs agreed to allow a vote on five outstanding ministries - but not the defense and interior portfolios.
The nominees for minister of education and minister of displacement and migration — the only women to be put forward so far — both failed to get enough votes. 

Powerful defines and interior minister posts remain unfilled by

As Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) explained last Thursday:

 Last week, al-Ameri of the Reconstruction Alliance, presented his candidate for the job, Faleh al-Fayad, a former head of the militias. Al-Fayad became a somewhat controversial figure when he left the group headed by the former prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, and crossed the aisle to al-Ameri’s rival party. It was seen as a double cross, but it is also one that al-Ameri would doubtless like to reward al-Fayad for, with this job.
However the Sairoun alliance, headed by Muqtada al-Sadr and previously allied with al-Abadi, doesn’t like that idea at all. During recent contentious sessions in parliament, al-Sadr’s MPs have not attended which has led to a lack of quorum, and an inability to fill the vacant ministerial posts.

The prime minister himself is unable to resolve this issue because he is most of all an independent, who was the most palatable option the various partisan blocks could agree on, and he can only wait for the larger more powerful political parties to resolve this problem.

On the topic of Faleh al-Fayad, AL-MONITOR reports:

An Iraqi administrative court has annulled former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s decision to remove Faleh al-Fayadh from his posts as head of the National Security Council and leader of the Shiite-dominated Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). Abadi had dismissed Fayadh from his positions on Aug. 30 due to his involvement with political parties in violation of the Iraqi Constitution.
Why it matters: Abadi sacked Fayadh after he joined a coalition of parties close to Iran following the May parliamentary elections. Fayadh’s move was a crucial step in costing the US-backed Abadi a shot at a second term.
The establishment of the PMU during the fight against the Islamic State was a big victory for Tehran, with the pro-Iranian militias now officially a federal security force. The PMU, however, also includes several factions that are close to Iraq’s Ayatollah Ali Sistani rather than Iran. As such, Tehran has been keen to maintain control by installing one of its allies to head the umbrella organization.
Returning Fayadh to his perch as head of the PMU and the National Security Council will help Iran preserve its interests in Iraq and prevent its rival, Saudi Arabia, from empowering its own political networks in Iraq. Iran will also be able to keep a close eye on US troops in next-door Iraq.

There is no functioning judicial system in Iraq.  It's all a farce.

Meanwhile, the cry of 'next time' continues from Iraq's floundering prime minister.

's Abdul-Mahdi Hopes to Conclude His Cabinet this Week -

Cabinet votes will be completed on Thursday, says PM after getting three ministers through parliament Five positions remain, including security posts

One nominee not approved on Tuesday was a woman -- the only woman the prime minister has nominated so far -- a detail many are beginning to notice.

Still no in 's new, still incomplete, cabinet. Will any of the remaining ministries be assigned to a woman? Is there any hope that 50+% of Iraq's population be represented in the new government?

Iraqi MP from Building Coalition: PM Abdel-Mahdi is marginalizing women in his cabinet, as is Parliament. There are no women ministers or chiefs of committees in Parliament.

Yesteday's snapshot noted the persecution of the Sunnis.  TRUE NEWS SOURCE notes:

Iraq appears to be on the brink of another rebellion within the country, as it’s Shiite-dominated government has initiated a crackdown on its Sunni minority by branding them as ISIS collaborators. Iraqi Shias consider their Sunni counterparts as second-class citizens while the latter consider politicians in Baghdad as corrupt and ineffectual. ISIS through its image of being pious and harbinger of religious freedom for Iraqi Sunnis enabled the jihadist group to conquer wide swathes of territory around the Euphrates and Tigris basins.
In regions that were once ruled by ISIS, Iraq’s Shiite-dominated security apparatus, has been widely accused of systematic human rights violations against Sunnis and is seen as playing into radical Islamist propaganda. This has created conditions that could potentially spark off a rebellion within the country. According to a report by Ben Taub, staff writer for Washington-based Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Iraqi government’s lack of effective strategy on how to reach out to Iraq’s disaffected Sunni Arabs could prove to be disastrous. Moreover, as quoted by Taub: “a state-sanctioned campaign of revenge and intimidation is taking place throughout western Iraq, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians are suffering at the hands of their liberators.”
The gravity of the situation is expressed by the fact that people living in erstwhile ISIS territories are widely perceived as “terrorists”. Suspected ISIS sympathizers are either out rightly killed or sent to concentration camps with appalling living conditions.
Ben Taub further argues: “Bearded men are often viewed as displaying evidence of ISIS support, even though the militant group had a policy of punishing any man who did not grow a beard in accordance with Quranic directives. Most of these people are either fired from their jobs, sent to prison, or worse are executed by the dozens and even hundreds. A handful are tried in a court of law each month, but these are usually show trials with a conviction rate of 98 percent. Family members of the accused rarely show up in court, fearing immediate arrest and imprisonment, which appears to be a regular occurrence. It is not uncommon for relatives [of accused ISIS supporters] to be rounded up by the security forces and sent to remote desert camps, where they are denied food, medical services, and access to documents.”

In other news, Mike notes in "Turkey needs to stop bombing Iraq" that the Arab League has condemned Turkey's continued bombing of northern Iraq.

Arab League condemns Turkish strikes in Iraq – PRESSTV
New post: Arab League condemns Turkish strikes on northern Iraq
Arab League Condemns Turkish Airstrikes On Kurds In Iraq - Spokesman - UrduPoint [Urdupoint]

Arab League condemns Turkish strikes in Iraq Spokesman of Arab states, Mahmoud Afifi, stated Turkish aerial assaults, irrespective of motive behind them, flout international law + principles of good-neighborliness" - via

Arab League Censures Turkish Airstrikes in Northern Iraq via
Arab League censures Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq
Arab League condemns Turkish strikes in Iraq

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, WAR NEWS RADIO -- updated: