Top Australian Soldier Accused of War Crimes

You may have noticed a post the other day about a decorated SEAL charged with war crimes.

Some have decried this investigation as political maneuvering by those serving with the accused, while others have said they simply do not believe in challenging the accuracy of decorated war veteran records.

Meanwhile I noticed a similar story brewing in Australia about special forces with some interesting commentary on both political maneuvering and motives among those involved.

In a statement to Fairfax Media sent on Wednesday evening, an AFP spokesperson said: “The Australian Federal Police (AFP) received a referral to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by Australian soldiers during the Afghanistan conflict.”

[…]

Fairfax Media has confirmed through multiple military sources that both the AFP inquiry and the Brereton inquiry have gathered extensive information from decorated serving and former special forces veterans who served alongside Mr Roberts-Smith in Afghanistan. The Brereton inquiry has interviewed more than 200 witnesses on oath since 2016.

[…]

Dr Nelson, a former defence minister, has repeatedly attacked the media reporting and Inspector-General’s inquiry into Mr Roberts-Smith on the basis that it is taking too long and because, “We want to believe in our heroes”.

But Fairfax Media has confirmed from special forces insiders that over a dozen SAS soldiers are assisting the Brereton inquiry. Many believe that scrutiny of allegedly unlawful acts is needed to preserve the integrity of the regiment and are scathing of Dr Nelson’s advocacy, believing it amounts to an attack on soldiers willing to raise concerns about alleged battlefield combat.

Another high-profile supporter of the Brereton inquiry is former SAS officer and Afghanistan veteran Andrew Hastie, who is now a Coalition MP.

200 witnesses, a dozen soldiers assisting and a former officer/veteran who entered politics supporting the inquiry. It seems to me those most dedicated to the professionalism of their craft will welcome inquiry into their actions, as it validates what they already know or uncovers things they would want to hear.

And on that note, I have concerns with the response to an inquiry in this case

…Mr Roberts-Smith, he has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in Afghanistan, insisted he has a “spotless record” and insisted those making claims about him are disgruntled or jealous liars

Any auditor will tell you that angry claims of a “spotless record” can be a tell. Continuous improvement is what people aim for, not spotless records (indicates methods of intimidation and coverup). Also accusing messengers of jealousy can be a tell, which doubles-down on the risk that the accused believes spotless records are a function of destroying critics.

We definitely saw this behavior in the unraveling of Theranos, for example.

Q: The Theranos story has many remarkable aspects. What was the most striking thing you found during your reporting?

A: Two things. One, the egregiousness of the lies, the serial lies, of Elizabeth’s serial lies. Sunny’s, too.

The second thing is the unbelievable campaign of intimidation against me and my sources. I’ve been a journalist for more than 20 years and I’ve never encountered anything close to that. Still, I’m a big boy and the Wall Street Journal has been around for a long time. But Theranos went after my confidential sources. They threatened doctors in Arizona who had spoken to me on the record. It was beyond the pale.

And also with Lance “Live Wrong” Armstrong, as extensively documented

The original whistleblower who helped bring down Lance Armstrong has revealed how she was tormented and intimidated for more than a decade by the cyclist and his allies as they stopped at nothing in their bid to silence her.

Mr Roberts-Smith does himself a disservice by insisting he has a spotless record, and perhaps you can see why that’s not even an objective goal. Even if it doesn’t alarm you on its own, though, attacking critics makes the spotless record seem even less believable.

US Updates Antique Safety Standards to Allow Modern Train Technology

Interesting news from Streets Blog about the change in security standards that now allows foreign train technology to the US

Building trains to unusual U.S. safety standards for the small American passenger rail market made rolling stock purchases needlessly expensive. Opening the door to standardized European train specifications will significantly lower prices.

Rail operators are expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars a year as a result, enabling them to invest more in operating train service and upgrading rolling stock and infrastructure.

Florida Police Chief Sent to Jail For Conspiracy Against Black Men

The Biscayne Park police chief had tried to claim his department solved 100% of burglaries, when in fact the Justice Department reports he simply directed his staff to blame burglaries on black men and arrest them without evidence:

Former Chief Atesiano previously pleaded guilty to acting under color of law as chief of police when on three separate occasions he ordered former officers Guillermo Ravelo, Charlie Dayoub and Raul Fernandez to falsely arrest and charge individuals with unsolved burglaries. According to court filings, Chief Atesiano intentionally encouraged those officers to arrest individuals without a legal basis in order to have arrests effectuated for all reported burglaries. This created a fictitious 100% clearance rate for that category of crime.

[…]

“Putting an arrest statistic above the rights of an innocent man instead of working to protect all our citizens undermines the safety goals of every Miami-Dade police department,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Miami-Dade’s residents deserve honesty and integrity, qualities that Raimundo Atesiano deliberately failed to deliver.”

Atesiano was sentenced to 36 months in jail.

Ronald Reagan’s “Special Unit” Soldier Sentenced to 5,160 Years in Jail for Mass Murder

Ronald Reagan’s arrival to office in 1981 was accompanied by a sentiment that the prior U.S. President’s policies should be rolled back, regardless of what they were.

One of the policies ended was the arms embargo on Guatemala, put in place by Jimmy Carter due to human rights abuses by that regime.

We know today that the CIA in late April 1981 was sending memos that rolled up to the White House describing the massacre of civilians within Mayan Indian territory. CIA memos documented how social support for guerrillas was high enough that soldiers said they were “forced” to fire indiscriminately into non-combatants.

Two months after news of the massacre Reagan un-blocked $3.2 million in military support to Guatemala’s army. The unblocking method used was crafty, as Reagan reclassified trucks and jeeps to transport Guatemalan soldiers to commit massacres. Military vehicles known to be used in the massacres no longer were under the human rights embargo.

One might be tempted here to ask “ok, but they’re just trucks and jeeps, so general use, right?” History helps a little, as it reminds us America has made this mistake before, facilitating genocide for profits:

GM’s president, Alfred P. Sloan, knew what was happening in Germany. Sloan and GM officials knew also that Hitler’s regime was expected to wage war from the outset. Headlines, radio broadcasts and newsreels made that fact apparent. America, it was feared, would once again be pulled in.

Nonetheless, GM and Germany began a strategic business relationship. Opel became an essential element of the German rearmament and modernization Hitler required to subjugate Europe. To accomplish that, Germany needed to rise above the horse-drawn divisions it deployed in World War I. It needed to motorize, to blitz — that is, to attack with lightning speed. Germany would later unleash a blitzkrieg, a lightning war. Opel built the 3-ton truck named Blitz to support the German military. The Blitz truck and its numerous specialized models became the mainstay of the Blitzkrieg.

In 1935, GM agreed to locate a new factory at Brandenburg, where it would be geographically less vulnerable to feared aerial bombardment by allied forces. In 1937, almost 17 percent of Opel’s Blitz trucks were sold directly to the Nazi military.

The Guatemalan government was emboldened by the new U.S. President’s support of their killing plans. Thus by early October 1981 the U.S. State Department was talking about Reagan’s ambassador General Vernon Walters meeting with Guatemalan leaders to discuss repression measures. Guatemalan General Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia “made clear that his government will continue as before that the repression will continue.”

This wasn’t really any kind of secret. Word of violations were published by groups like the Inter-American Human Rights Commission who in October 1981 openly called out the Guatemalan government for “thousands of illegal executions.” The Reagan Administration engaged in whataboutism and deception to avoid addressing why they would sell military aid linked to mass human rights violations; falsely claiming Guatemalan human rights violations were a guerrilla strategy (as I’ve explained elsewhere).

Things escalated quickly after the U.S. government support shifted from embargo to support. The Guatemalan army issued instructions in 1982 that any resistance or incoming fire from a town or village meant everyone in the town is hostile and would be destroyed.

This might sound similar if you heard recently the current U.S. regime call to troops that they treat rocks and bottles as rifles.

In fact, Reagan’s support led to a fundamentalist Christian taking control of Guatemala in a March 1982 coup d’etat. General Efrain Ríos Montt seized power and announced a policy of “rifles and beans” — either eat beans quietly in obedience to dictatorship or be killed by rifles. In response Reagan described him as “a man of great personal integrity”.

…more than 600 Indian villages in the Guatemalan highlands were eradicated or occupied by the military. The slogan “rifles and beans” meant that pacified communities would get “beans,” while all others would be the target of army “rifles.”

In March 1983, Americas Watch condemned the Guatemalan army for human rights atrocities against the Indian population.

New York attorney Stephen L. Kass said there was proof that the Guatemalan government carried out “virtually indiscriminate murder of men, women and children of any farm regarded by the army as possibly supportive of guerrilla insurgents.”

Three months after the coup was applauded by Reagan, government death squads were unleashed on civilians. And Reagan then increased military aid in 1983 to $6 million despite evidence of civilian massacres increasing at the hands of American-trained soldiers riding in American vehicles, again reported in memos to the White House.

Such memos might sound strange to fans of Reagan, so consider the kind of writing found in his official documents

During the height of Montt’s genocidal counterinsurgency campaign, a CONFIDENTIAL cable from Secretary of State George Shultz praised his “impressive progress in human rights”.

(click that document link if you want to help disclose more strange truths from primary source materials)

In effect, the Reagan administration worked to reverse Carter’s human rights policy, centralizing power in U.S. presidency through deception and tricks in order to expedite military support to violent dictators killing democracy.

Within the U.S. government, there was no apparent struggle to reconcile the notion that the Guatemalan government “badly needed” arms with its horrific crimes. There was only a struggle to determine preconditions (which were never met) in order to gain minimal support from Congress so as to circumvent protections against abetting war criminals, which were put into place by the Carter administration.

Ríos Montt wasn’t an isolated case, either. Look into Regan’s support for genocide by Indonesian dictator Suharto, or why Chadian dictator Habre (another recipient of President Reagan’s “product shipments”) was sentenced to life for war crimes.

So there is our backdrop to news today from Guatemala, about prosecution of Reagan’s “special unit” for their attrocities:

A Guatemalan former soldier has been sentenced to more than 5,000 years in prison for his role in a massacre during the country’s civil war.

More than 200 people were killed in the village of Dos Erres in 1982, one of the most violent episodes in Guatemala’s brutal 36-year conflict.

Santos López was found responsible for 171 of the deaths.

He was a member of the Kaibiles, a US-trained counter-insurgency force fighting left-wing guerrillas.

López was sentenced to 30 years for each of the 171 killings committed in the village and to an additional 30 years for his role in the murder of a girl who had originally survived.

[…]

The massacre happened during the brief rule of military strongman Efraín Ríos Montt, who was accused of ordering the killing of more than 1,700 ethnic Mayans during a civil war.

He died in April aged 91 while on trial on charges of genocide.

Montt was the first military dictator in Latin America to be charged with genocide in his own country. Ronald Reagan was never charged for his role.

Some may be tempted to believe propaganda of the Reagan administration that fueling the mass murder of civilians somehow was meant to be about the U.S. fighting Communism. However, recent genocide trials have uncovered facts of Reagan’s “special units” that prove they engaged in genocidal practices, brutally murdering children by hand and terrorizing anyone within earshot of someone speaking about democracy.

The soldiers shot, strangled and bludgeoned the villagers to death with sledgehammers, and one admitted to throwing a baby into the village well.

In 1994, forensic anthropologists found the remains of 162 bodies in the well, including 67 children less than 12 years old.

The above should be serious food for thought when people now talk about news of migrants walking all the way from Guatemala to the U.S seeking aylum from violence. Imagine what they think when finding out they will be greeted with rifles instead.

It appears to this historian that the current U.S. regime has replaced the “beans and rifle” decision tree of Reagan’s Guatemalan death squads with…just rifles.

Ant Study Proves Social Network Pathogen-Trigger Response is Natural

The title is a mouthful, I know. If someone has a better suggestion I’m all ears. In the meantime, a new study reveals researchers have been busily infecting ants and tracking their response:

Social animals could potentially further reduce epidemic risk by altering their social networks in the presence of pathogens, yet there is currently no evidence for such pathogen-triggered responses. We tested this hypothesis experimentally in the ant Lasius niger using a combination of automated tracking, controlled pathogen exposure, transmission quantification, and temporally explicit simulations. Pathogen exposure induced behavioral changes in both exposed ants and their nestmates, which helped contain the disease by reinforcing key transmission-inhibitory properties of the colony’s contact network.

It’s an interesting point to bring up among managers in the U.S. who argue that workers should be commended for never, ever taking sick leave, or any leave for that matter.

The United States is one of the few industrialized countries without statutory national mandates for paid leave.

The Americans who deny sick leave not only create a national security risk, they also are taking an unnatural position. Fortunately lawmakers have been slowly working towards recognizing the security benefits of granting leave.

San Francisco first passed a law in 2007 granting one hour paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. That concept has been adopted in five states, 26 cities, a county, and even Washington D.C…then New York City passed a paid sick leave law in 2013.

You never will guess what happened next:

It’s sick the way some health care providers are among the most egregious violators of the city’s paid sick leave law this year. Montefiore Medical Center was forced to pay $114,997…

Sad but true. The mounting fines were just evidence of how badly a law was needed to change some people’s opinions about sick leave.

In even more positive news, President Obama called in 2015 for seven paid sick leave days for all workers in America. His economic arguments were sound advice for improving security of the nation:

When 43 million private-sector workers are without any paid sick leave, too many workers are unable to take the time they need to recover from an illness. Many workers will go to work sick, putting their coworkers and customers at risk of illness. And even if workers have access to paid sick leave for themselves, they may not be able to use it to care for sick children. This forces many parents to choose between taking an unpaid day off work—losing much needed income and potentially threatening his or her job—and sending a child who should be home in bed to school.

Just as importantly, a body of research shows that offering paid sick days and paid family leave can benefit employers by reducing turnover and increasing productivity. Paid sick days would help reduce lost productivity due to the spread of illness in the workplace. And these policies can benefit our economy by fostering a more productive workforce.

Unfortunately his leadership wasn’t enough to overcome the unnatural desire of Congress to block sick leave. Some argued businesses are too weak to survive a law that helps them survive weakness. Yeah, Congress can be really dumb. That meant the issue, although gaining national leadership recognition, reverted back to local level where it repeatedly has proven itself a sound idea.

After evidence poured in (as many sanely predicted) that a sick leave law has no negative economic effects only positive ones, even New Jersey just adopted it statewide in 2018

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed into law the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, which will provide eligible employees with paid leave for their own medical needs, those of a family member, or other covered reasons. The Act will take effect on October 29, 2018.

This is great news, and all the other states should follow suit if Congress is too weak to be able to get its thinking together at the federal level.

Tragic stories of pathogens in the news today only drive home the point of leave time improving everyone’s safety and productivity:

The number of sick people is increasing every day. Twenty-five people have been to the hospital for medical support. Staff serving the shelters have also been sick. The outbreak has been identified and confirmed by the Butte County public health laboratory to be the Norovirus which is highly contagious. Norovirus spreads through touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, close contact with someone who is infected, or eating contaminated food or drink.

[…] Please follow these recommended steps to prevent further spread: Stay home if there is any sign of illness…

America should do it because network pathogen-response is natural. I can only hope the next President proposes an Anti-pathogen National Trigger (ANT) Act to grant paid sick leave nation-wide. It would bring everyone together on a topic that naturally separates them.

Hyena Study Shows How Social Support Networks Give Females Dominance

The dispersal habits of the male hyena means the females are dominant, leveraging support networks more effectively:

A new study on wild spotted hyaenas shows that in this social carnivore, females dominate males because they can rely on greater social support than males, not because they are stronger or more competitive in any other individual attribute. The main reason for females having, on average, more social support than males is that males are more likely to disperse and that dispersal disrupts social bonds.

Some had tried to postulate that female hyenas had male attributes, which led to dominance. Yet the researchers explain quite clearly that is not the case:

“When two hyaenas squabble, the one that can rely on greater social support wins, irrespective of sex, body mass or aggressiveness,” explains Oliver Hoener, head of the Ngorongoro Hyena Project of the Leibniz-IZW. Differences in social support between two individuals correctly predicted who will be the dominant in almost all encounters and in all contexts — between natives and immigrants, members of the same and different clans, residents and intruders, and individuals of the same and opposite sex. Female dominance thus emerges from females being more likely to receive greater social support than males. “What is so fascinating is that it all works without any direct involvement of other hyaenas,” says Colin Vullioud, Hoener’s colleague at Leibniz-IZW and first author of the study. “In the end, it’s all about assertiveness and how confident a hyaena is of receiving support if needed.”

This perhaps is reflected in results of the most recent American elections. Women with social support networks won a lot of contests with a positive support platform:

There will be a record number of women in the 116th Congress, and 67 percent of Americans feel positive about that, including about 4 in 10 who are excited about it.

Whereas at the same time, the women who adopted the U.S. Regime Leader’s aggressive “I grab” platform of self-puffery and alienation did not fare as well:

The number of Republican women in the House will actually decrease next year…

Nissan Arrests Chairman

Japan has strict anti-authoritarian rules, as a relic of occupation by the US military after WWII. This has just manifested in corporate security, leading to an investigation and incarceration of Nissan’s Chairman

The chief executive revealed that a whistle-blower had passed information to Nissan’s auditors who then began a wider investigation. The evidence was then passed to Japan’s public prosecutor.

The story calls out anti-authoritarianism rules, very specifically

Facing the press alone, the chief executive added that he felt the mistake had come after allowing a concentration of power in one individual. Saikawa said the misconduct went on for “a long period” and it looked like Kelly had been allowed to take control of internal operations, as he had the direct backing of Ghosn.

I’ve written before about recent history and why Japanese resistance to authoritarianism is so interesting to study. A key turning point was the 1931 Mukden Incident, which allowed a small cabal to solidify control and foment war.

While it was clear Japanese militant leaders had used false-pretense to breach the post-WWI agreements on peace, nonaggression and disarmament they also faced little tangible resistance and they flatly refused to stand down.

Occupation of Manchuria by Japan soon expanded in threat; the stage was set for escalation into the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and destabilization/expansion into the region, which eventually led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Japan and Germany have essentially become time-capsules of US theories in anti-authoritarian thinking, due to the occupation and lessons forced upon them post-1945.

Meanwhile the US clearly has drifted away from the lessons it used to teach, letting the CSO of Facebook roam freely instead of going to jail after years of alleged acts of misconduct far worse than the Chairman of Nissan.

Just this week it was revealed on top of all the other breaches during the CSO tenure that Facebook engineers in 2018 were writing passwords to the URL and storing them, which is literally the worst possible management of security.

This is a rather jarring and basic security lapse for Instagram and Facebook, which hasn’t done much at all to prove to users it knows how to handle sensitive data. It certainly raises the question of other security practices…

Facebook’s CSO literally had no real security management experience other than a short attempt at Yahoo (also massively mis-mangaged and breached at record levels). He now arguably is the security industry’s face of executive fraud. How long before wanted posters go up for his arrest?

SEAL on Trial for War Crimes

The latest testimony against a US Navy SEAL, by his own team, includes this harrowing explanation of field risk management

…Gallagher [a veteran of eight deployments] repeatedly fired his weapons, even into crowds, during the platoon’s 2017 deployment.

But several SEALs relayed that the chief often missed, due in part to a poorly-maintained rifle, and they stopped short of telling Gallagher because he wasn’t striking his targets because they “thought it was one way to protect” the civilians

The SEAL chief now faces over a dozen criminal counts, including premeditated murder.

When Iraqi forces brought his team an alleged ISIS fighter for medical care in 2017, Gallagher supposedly stabbed the man to death, in front of medical team, and then posed for digital evidence to be recorded of his actions. The testimony also describes several other incidents including two where he allegedly killed civilians with his poorly-maintained rifle.

Google Exposed for Funding Pro-Slavery Candidates Calling for Lynchings

The Seth Meyers show does a pretty good job capturing the unapologetic racism of white supremacist candidates in America

A crucial bit of analysis is missing, however.

You might, like most rational people watching this video, wonder why someone saying “a public hanging, I’d be on the front row” (death penalty) suddenly can pivot to saying anti-abortion platitudes as their preferred defense against criticism. I mean on the one hand they’re saying lynchings are like their favorite spectator sport, while on the other hand they’re saying not a single life can be ended.

Isn’t this an obvious contradiction?

Alas, historic context explains the white supremacist perspective here, such as why they see no contradiction in carelessly taking lives while telling others lives can’t be taken under any circumstances.

Slavery was an industry of owning humans and birth was the means of production and enrichment for the slave owners. They did not give slaves any rights, let alone choices, when they demanded that children be born as quickly as possible without medical care, to the detriment and death of black women.

The historic white supremacist attitude towards maternity rights persists in America even to this day.

The ongoing maternal mortality crisis disproportionately affects black women, who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes are three to four times more likely than white women to die from complications related to pregnancy.

Why is this happening? The medical field is seeking answers, but one of the most obvious solutions is ensuring black women’s access to quality, unbiased medical care.

And then these same owners of humans causing high rates of maternal mortality also claimed to reserve the right to kill humans indiscriminately, murdering whomever they wanted, and brag about their desire for front row seating in any lynchings. See the consistency in the dehumanization?

I’ve written about this before, and in particular how Abraham Lincoln described the situation in 1838 America:

Thus went on this process of hanging, from gamblers to negroes, from negroes to white citizens, and from these to strangers; till, dead men were seen literally dangling from the boughs of trees upon every road side; and in numbers almost sufficient, to rival the native Spanish moss of the country, as a drapery of the forest.

Turn, then, to that horror-striking scene at St. Louis. A single victim was only sacrificed there. His story is very short; and is, perhaps, the most highly tragic, of any thing of its length, that has ever been witnessed in real life. A mulatto man, by the name of McIntosh, was seized in the street, dragged to the suburbs of the city, chained to a tree, and actually burned to death; and all within a single hour from the time he had been a freeman, attending to his own business, and at peace with the world.

Such are the effects of mob law; and such are the scenes, becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of law and order; and the stories of which, have even now grown too familiar, to attract any thing more, than an idle remark.

I hope that gives better context and some needed analysis for why the white supremacist candidate Hyde-Smith today is saying “a public hanging, I’d be on the front row”; bringing up lynchings in her campaign to prevent the first black senator to represent the state since the Reconstruction era.

The story gets worse, far worse, however. Several people have pointed out to me that very large silicon valley technology companies are funding these white supremacist platforms.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) was caught on tape “joking” about her willingness to attend a lynching at a campaign event in November. […] One corporation that apparently was unbothered by Hyde-Smith’s remarks: Google. On Tuesday, Google donated $5000 to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, according to documents filed with the FEC.

This is no joke. Google after a widely-discussed lynching statement threw campaign donations at a white supremacist candidate. One might be tempted to think this is a one-off, a strange coincidence. However, investigators already have pointed out that Google is funding an even more well known white supremacist candidate:

Google previously donated $10,000 to the Making America Prosperous PAC, the leadership PAC of Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX). Making America Prosperous gave Congressman Steve King (R-IA) a cash infusion after other corporate donors abandoned him over his ties to white nationalism.

After other corporate donors had abandoned candidates with a white nationalism (Nazi) platform, and after a candidate made comments in favor of lynchings, Google apparently sent funds to help the white supremacists win.

Recently, as I met with many Chief Security Officers (CSO) to discuss cross-cloud security architectures, I heard several times from different leaders “do not mention Google in this room, they are not an option”. It seemed so harsh. And it came without detail, as If I already should know. I had to learn more, to find out what was driving the hard line eliminating the giant brand.

Turns out it is…ethics.

I had figred it related to the history of lying about privacy controls and failing to monitor staff abusing access to private data. That was bad, for sure, and Google hasn’t done the best job clearing their name. It also isn’t the sort of thing that writes off a brand entirely, as controls evolve and trust returns through operations monitoring.

However, that wasn’t the only issue. People sent me stories about Google choosing to fund campaigns despite widespread (easily searchable) condemnation. I mean Steve King…come on Google, why would you fund him? Even AT&T dumped that unrepentant racist. There seems to be a timing issue for a brand claiming to be the most up-to-date source of knowledge.

And it gets worse again. Google now has been caught in further controversy after an attempt to claim ignorance and make a “we do not condone” explanation for their contribution.

Google claimed it made the donation on Nov. 2—the same day Hyde-Smith made her comments. “This contribution was made on November 2nd before Senator Hyde-Smith’s remarks became public on November 11th,” Google representatives said. “While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would not have made such a contribution had we known about them.” If Google’s claim were true, that would mean the Hyde-Smith campaign filed a false report. It would also mean the campaign failed to report on time. Federal law requires than any donations made within 20 days of an election be reported within 48 hours.

“We do not condone” is not “we condemn”. Historians again are needed here, because context helps explain what’s really going on.

Mississippi had the highest rate of lynchings of African Americans, which of course was linked inexorably to economics.

Once black were given their freedom, many people felt that the freed blacks were getting away with too much freedom and felt they needed to be controlled. Mississippi had the highest lynchings from 1882-1968 with 581.

As you can see in the quoted writings of Lincoln above, citing mob law before the civil war, white supremacist candidates always have and always are positioning lynchings as “pro-growth policies for business and technology”. It is more plainly described here:

March 1892, a white mob lynched three black men — Thomas Moss, Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell — and left their mangled bodies in a field a mile north of downtown Memphis….their crime was their temerity. They dared to challenge white businessmen accustomed to having a monopoly on economic activity.

A Google inability to straightforwardly condemn such a statement about public hangings (see the redemption train video above), while further endorsing white nationalists as being pro-business and technology…should be more in the news. Or how did Lincoln put it?

…have even now grown too familiar, to attract any thing more, than an idle remark

At least I know a wide group of CSOs are monitoring the situation, as a function of deciding how and when to trust a cloud service provider that fails so hard at ethics.


Update Nov 26, 2018:

Google is unmentioned among the companies distancing themselves further from the white supremacist campaign

Jaz Brisack, the first female student at the University of Mississippi to receive the prestigious Rhodes scholarship, called Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) a “white supremacist” in an interview with The Oxford Eagle on Sunday.

[…]

Groups including Major League Baseball, Walmart, AT&T, Leidos, Union Pacific and Boston Scientific have all asked for their donations to Hyde-Smith’s campaign to be returned.

Google does get a mention elsewhere, asking a day before the election that their contribution be returned.

Meanwhile in other news about this candidate:

Major Win for the Right to Repair Movement

Motherboard has details of the latest news, which has big implications for hacking and security

Librarian of Congress and US Copyright Office just proposed new rules that will give consumers and independent repair experts wide latitude to legally hack embedded software on their devices in order to repair or maintain them. This exemption to copyright law will apply to smartphones, tractors, cars, smart home appliances, and many other devices.

This goes directly to the heart of the matter with lawyers at companies like Apple, who convince engineering to penalize owners of technology who attempt to fix things they own

Apple has a built-in kill switch that can prevent new MacBook Pros from functioning if they have been repaired by anyone who is not authorized to do so by Apple.

As a former authorized Apple repairman, I totally disagree with Apple’s thinking here. And to be fair Apple is not the only one. Back in 2015 I wrote a few thoughts about what’s at stake