13:20 GMT: Demonstrations in support of Manning which exploded over the weekend have continued into the day of the trial, as his allies keep vigil outside in the rain. Very large media turnout for start of Bradley #Manning trial this AM. And protesters out in force too twitter.com/Edpilkington/s… — Ed Pilkington (@Edpilkington) June 3, 2013 13:11 GMT: Around 350 aimed to secure one of the 70 spaces available to observe the trial. All 70 or so seats in the Ft. Meade media center are full as the court-martial of Bradley Manning is finally about to begin. — Andrew Panda Blake (@apblake) June 3, 2013 13:00 GMT: Proceedings begin at the trial of Private Bradley Manning. ‘Truth’ T-shirts are reportedly banned from the courtroom, with their wearers being directed to turn them inside out, as influencing judicial opinion is not allowed. 13:00 GMT: RT starts live updates from the courtroom. RT’s own correspondent, Andrew Blake, is reporting live from Fort Meade. Manning, 25, has already pleaded guilty to charges of leaking information to the anti-secrecy website, which alone could confine him to prison for 20 years. However, it is a small fraction of the further 21 counts the prosecutors are seeking to convict him on, one of which includes allegedly aiding of the enemy, which he did not believe he was doing. The court-martial trial is being held at Fort Meade military base in Baltimore. Military tribunals are frequently held in extremely secretive conditions. He has reportedly opted to have it heard by a judge instead of a jury and the final verdict could take as long as three months to be announced. Manning stated at a pre-trial hearing in February that the scenes he witnessed left him deeply unsettled. “The most alarming aspect of the video” was the “seemingly delightful bloodlust the aerial weapons team happened to have,” he said, suggesting the soldiers were akin to children “torturing ants with a magnifying glass.” Worldwide demonstrations in support of Manning took place over the weekend at Fort Meade, Toronto, Berlin, Paris and even South Korea’s Seoul. …
Officials are discussing the idea of strengthening Aeroflot through an acquisition of Transaero, UtAir, or Sibir, with a preference for Sibir, Vedomosti reported on Tuesday, citing a top Aeroflot management source. The possible acquisition first surfaced in October 2012 during a meeting between Aeroflot head Vitaly Savelyev and President Vladimir Putin. No official proposals have been drafted or final decisions reached, but Sibir could be bought for cash or shares, and it’s possible it may be picked up before Aeroflot’s privatization, which is slated for 2016. Sibir has already received two other bids, one from its parent S7 group and another from its subsidiary, Globus. Both of these airlines are controlled by Sibir’s principal owners, Vladislav and Natalya Filyev. The source said that if an offer for a 25.5 percent stake in Sibir is too low, the sale could be handed over to a state company, likely Aeroflot or Rostech. The sale of Sibir to Aeroflot would be brokered by Alfa Bank for a price of $35 million (1.1 billion roubles) and the results will be announced on Thursday. The sale came as a shock to the Filyevs, as the airline has been up for sale for the last 10 years, and then suddenly, it was “sold out of the blue” Natalya curiously states. According to Filyev, the sale is a form of state blackmail. They have pointed fingers at the Federal Property Agency for moving the sale date from April to May with little explanation. “All they want to is sell to a government stake, but they are not ready to pay too much,” said Vladislav. According to Vedomosti’s source, Aeroflot will want to continue to work with the Filyevs, especially on expansion to Far East Siberia and China. If the acquisition materializes, Sibir will have Aeroflot’s A320 Airbuses at their disposal. The Russian government may sell Aeroflot shares this year as part of a plan to raise 427 billion roubles ($13.5 billion) through state asset sales to help balance the budget and reduce its role in the economy. The government is also selling off VTB and Rosneft shares. Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said there have been no specific proposals yet, but didn’t provide further comment. The merger between Aeroflot and Sibir may at first seem logical, as they it will allow them to develop their different niches, but later, could spell trouble once they start cutting jobs and increasing ticket prices. Airport wars Sibir currently operates out of Domdedovo, which has two operating runways and is situated in Moscow’s south, whereas the majority of Aeroflot flights fly out of Sheremetyevo airport north of the capital city. As of 2012, the Russian government owned an 82 percent share in Sheremetyevo airport, 25 percent in Domodedovo Airport, and 75 percent in Vnukovo, according to airporttechnology.com. Domodedovo is Russia’s largest and busiest airport, and attracts more private investment than its competitors. Both Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo are competing for the government’s blessing to build a third runway, which experts estimate at minimum would run 50 billion roubles. Terminal D of Sheremetyevo opened in 2009 and is exclusively used for Aeroflot traffic. Putin has recently spent billions of dollars revamping all three airports, likely in anticipation for future privatization sales. Once the airports have been completely modernized and developed, the Kremlin has voiced it no plans on keeping them as state-owned assets. In an audit report, Aeroflot reportedly mis-spent over $443 million in 2010-2011, and the first nine months of 2012, auditor Sergey Ryabukhin said at a Federation Council Rules Committee meeting in late Apri. Aeroflot began operation in 1923 as the national Soviet airline, and is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The airline flies to 187 countries and in 2012 serviced 17.7 million passengers. …
To protect themselves against excessive monitoring, security exploits and ISP throttling, many BitTorrent users have taken an interest in anonymizing services such as VPNs and proxies.
Not surprisingly, providers of such services are eager to advertise their products to this ‘niche’ group. Many VPN providers are buying ads through Google and other ad-networks, but there is a more direct method.
Last year BitTorrent Inc. added advertisements to its uTorrent and BitTorrent clients, which cater to over 150 million monthly users. The owner of VPN and proxy provider TorGuard therefore made inquiries to the San-Francisco based company to learn more about advertising opportunities, but he was in for a surprise.
In a phone conversation the Vice President of advertising at BitTorrent Inc. told TorGuard that his brand was not a good match since it’s categorized as “high risk.” According to BitTorrent, TorGuard is seen as a service that promotes the use of torrents, which is apparently not allowed.
To find out what is wrong with his service, TorGuard agreed to an extensive review by BitTorrent Inc’s legal team and late last week the final verdict came in. The VPN provider is welcome to advertise with BitTorrent, but not before all torrent related references are removed.
To be accepted, TorGuard has to remove the “tor” from its brand name and website URL, because this directly relates to torrents. In addition, all images even remotely relating to BitTorrent or torrents in general have to go. And it doesn’t stop there.
“Any text content containing the words ‘BitTorrent’,’utorrent’ or ‘torrent’ would also need to be removed. This would of course include landing pages, knowledge base articles, forum/blog posts, and more,” TorGuard’s Ben Van Pelt tells TorrentFreak.
The long list of demands is a bit much for TorGuard’s owner, who is baffled by the entire ordeal.
“Needless to say, we won’t be censoring any of these concerns and will continue to pursue other advertisement initiatives,” Van Pelt says.
“We’ve worked with some of the biggest names in marketing like Google, Cnet and Bing, but never expected censorship requests of this extent from the likes of BitTorrent. It really is wildly ironic,” TorGuard’s owner adds.
The question that remains is why BitTorrent doesn’t want to work with BitTorrent-friendly VPN and proxy services. After all, both the uTorrent and BitTorrent clients have built-in support for proxy connections. And like BitTorrent, VPNs and proxies are nothing more than a technology.
Before the weekend TorrentFreak asked BitTorrent Inc. for a comment on their rules and regulations regarding VPN advertisements, but we have yet to receive a response.
The irony of the situation is amplified by BitTorrent Inc’s ongoing attempts to distance itself from everything piracy related. Deals with content partners are hard to get when people associate your company with illegal downloading, and time and time again the company has been forced to explain that there are plenty of legitimate uses for BitTorrent.
However, BitTorrent now appears to be doing the same to TorGuard.
TorGuard’s owner tells TorrentFreak that he understands that BitTorrent is protecting its brand, but he disagrees with the way the company is going about it. He was willing to make a few changes here and there, but completely banning all references to torrents, suggesting these are somehow evil, is simply not an option.
“To me, the name ‘TorGuard’ first represents anonymity, overcoming censorship and encryption, before it has anything to do with BitTorrent,” Van Pelt concludes.
Source: uTorrent and BitTorrent Reject “High Risk” VPN Ads
Canadian Minister promoting the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline: ‘Our objective is to have zero serious spills’
Though the State Department officially closed the final comment period for the final stretch of the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this week, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Joe Olivier continued to make the rounds to press for approval and public acceptance of the controversial project…
George W. Bush says he will be long gone when posterity delivers a final verdict on his tumultuous presidency. But he will give history a shove in Dallas on Thursday when he opens his presidential library, showcasing his self-image as a leader of a land under attack who made tough decisions that…