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Leftovers: Cybervandalism in China, US/UK, Destabilisation of Ukraine and Militarism

Posted in News Roundup at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This weekend’s headlines about foreign policy, surveillance, and aggression


  • Chinese government still sponsoring cyber-espionage, says FireEye COO

    A year ago, Mandiant, since acquired by FireEye, issued a long report called “APT1″ that accused China’s People’s Liberation Army of launching cyber-espionage attacks against 141 companies in 20 industries through a group known as “PLA Unit 61398″ operating mainly from Shanghai.

Mass surveillance in US/UK

  • A cell phone wrapped in tin foil is just one of the ways Julia Angwin went off the grid in her new book

    Angwin goes to great lengths to do just that. One of the unthinkable things she did to keep her safe?

    Tin foil. Seriously.

    Angwin spent a day with her phone wrapped in it. The good news is the tinfoil disabled it.

    “The bad news is the phone is disabled and people can’t get a hold of you,” she says. “And people look at you like you’re crazy.”

  • Two Washington County delegates withdraw as co-sponsors after learning more about Fourth Amendment Protection Act

    Serafini and fellow Washington County Republican Del. Neil Parrott were reminded of that earlier this month when they signed on as co-sponsors of a measure called the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, which, if enacted, could stop the National Security Agency from operating in the state by, among other things, cutting off utility services to the superspy agency.

  • NSA tight-lipped on webcam spy role as privacy advocates seethe

    The NSA has refused to detail exactly how much access to secret Yahoo webcam surveillance that snapped photos of millions of unwitting video chatters, including those involved in adult activities, as demands from privacy regulators for more transparency in monitoring increase in volume. Allegations earlier this week that a clandestine UK scheme run by GCHQ tapped into millions of Yahoo webcam streams and recorded numerous still images to create a vast virtual “mugshot” book of potential terrorists, with technical assistance from the US’ NSA in setting up the system, has reawakened criticism of the federal agency after moves by President Obama to try to dampen down what have been seen as overly intrusive methods.

  • GCHQ reportedly monitored Yahoo cam chats. Company confirms cam traffic not secure pre-2012

    The Guardian reports that GCHQ, a British analog to the National Security Agency, collected and stored images from Yahoo webcam streams through a program called “Optic Nerve.” According to the report, the agency targeted “millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing,” including citizens of both the United States and the United Kingdom, with the program.

  • Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Images

    The latest top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) may have peered into the lives of millions of internet users who were not suspected of wrongdoing. The surveillance program codenamed “Optic Nerve” compiled still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and stored them in the GCHQ’s databases with help from the NSA. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency reportedly amassed webcam images from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts worldwide. According to the documents, between 3 and 11 percent of the Yahoo webcam images contained what the GCHQ called “undesirable nudity.” The program was reportedly also used for experiments in “automated facial recognition” as well as to monitor terrorism suspects. We speak with James Ball, one of the reporters who broke the story. He is the special projects editor for Guardian U.S.

  • Senators blast NSA for webcam spying

    Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) slammed the National Security Agency after reports that its surveillance program capture images from users’ webcams.

  • ‘NSA, GCHQ criminals way ahead of the law in Britain and US’

    Tony Gosling: This has got nothing to do with counterterrorism, has it? Because this is just yet another great data troll and there are all sorts of reasons why it is illegal. Apparently this sort of thing has to be sanctioned by the Foreign Secretary or Home Secretary at the highest levels, and in the US it has to be sanctioned through the secret FISA court, but there are very good reasons why the people that have committed this actually should be or are criminals. I’m talking about those who authorized it at government level, in GCHQ and the individual operators that have been collecting this data. I mean all of these things we’ve heard about spyware being put on viruses, put on our computers, our computers being stopped on the way to our homes to have this spyware, this kind of thing put on it, we also have denial of service attacks that is taking out websites of campaign groups and that sort of thing by GCHQ and by the NSA. But this is actually the most creepy so far. Using webcams, it’s like an intruder into your living room and it’s not just happening to people who counter terrorism, there is everybody they are after here.

  • Heritage Gets it Wrong: Claims States Have to Help NSA

    To date, most opposition to Fourth Amendment Protection Act provisions that would ultimately shut off electricity and water to NSA facilities supplied by state entities has come from those claiming it will never work, and others who defend the “national security” mission of the spy agency. Few have actually challenged the legality of state action.

  • Zaleski: This stuff would stun George Orwell

    I’m not one to fall into an Orwellian funk about Big Brother government, but spectacular advances in technology ought to concern anyone who values privacy. Whether it’s the NSA global spying scandal or the likelihood of unmanned drones patrolling the skies over your idyllic middle-class neighborhood, it’s all getting a little scary. Whether it’s an array of police cameras in downtown Fargo, or private sector monitoring/collecting of your buying habits, or recording sound and picture of folks walking through a mall, or the fact that anyone with a cellphone can be tracked and identified – the technologies deployed already are far beyond the frightening screens in George Orwell’s “1984.”

  • Accomplices caught Clapper in a lie

    Recently it was announced that the prestigious George Polk Award for National Security Reporting would be given to the four journalists — Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman — most active in reporting about the content of the NSA documents leaked by Snowden. The award, named after a CBS News correspondent killed in 1948 while covering the civil war in Greece, is intended to honor journalists who “heightened public awareness with perceptive detection and dogged pursuit of stories that otherwise would not have seen the light of day.”

  • Utah: Land of Secrets

    Everyone from Germany’s Angela Merkel to Utah’s Tea Party wants to know what is going on in the 200,000-square-foot complex of Walmart-esque boxes squatting on the hillside due west of Point of the Mountain. Of course, this being the $1.5 million beating heart of a spy agency, we aren’t meant to know what’s out there—to paraphrase the Roach Motel slogan: Vast amounts of information go in, but none comes out. If it weren’t for Edward Snowden, we wouldn’t know much at all. But the tantalizing bits—including that NSA monitors terrorists’ porn browsing, Internet gamers, and a few employees’ ex-lovers—boggles the imagination.

  • NSA spying on American people is unacceptable

    Yet America basically has a secret police in the form of the NSA. It is hypocritical to claim that we are the land of the free when we are being constantly watched by the government. America needs to either accept that we are not really free or the NSA need to massively change their practices. We have the Constitution for a reason, to guide our government and to protect America’s citizens.



  • Tor is developing its own anonymous instant messanger

    Worried about Facebook’s takeover of Whatsapp? The Tor Project is prepping an anonymous instant messaging client that’s tied to its free, Deep Web-friendly browser.

  • Take back your communication with Tor instant messenger
  • Telegram, an open-source competitor of WhatsApp

    First of all Telegram is free and open-source, and you can grab the source from here. Well known security protocols are open-source and this gives the possibility for communities of cryptographers, hackers and public audience to test their actual security. Using two layers of secure encryption with 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, RSA 2048 encryption and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange. It’s impossible to brute force a RSA 2048 encryption key with all the computers available on the universe.


  • Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many?

    Russia’s parliament has approved President Putin’s request for the use of force inside neighboring Ukraine, as the latest neocon-approved “regime change” spins out of control and threatens to inflict grave damage on international relations, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.

  • Russian parliament approves use of military against Ukraine

    Russian senate endorse Putin’s request to use armed forces as Russian forces tighten their grip on Crimea and pro-Russian demonstrations take place in eastern and southern Ukraine.

  • ‘US, EU staged classic regime change in Ukraine’

    The EU and US have carried out a classic coup d’état in Ukraine using ultra-right forces as human material, anti-war activist Brian Becker told RT. And cementing that victory with an IMF aid package would place Ukraine on a Greek path into Europe.

  • On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence

    This morning, I see that some people are quite abuzz about a new Pando article ”revealing” that the foundation of Pierre Omidyar, the publisher of First Look Media which publishes The Intercept, gave several hundred thousand dollars to a Ukraininan “pro-democracy” organization opposed to the ruling regime. This, apparently, is some sort of scandal that must be immediately addressed not only by Omidyar, but also by every journalist who works at First Look. That several whole hours elapsed since the article was published on late Friday afternoon without my commenting is, for some, indicative of disturbing stonewalling.

  • Territorial Integrity

    Putin, of course, is a total hypocrite. There is no doubt that the populations of Dagestan and Chehcnya had a genuine and settled desire to secede from Russia, and they have suffered Putin’s genocidal policies in consequence. Putin is not acting from a belief in self-determination, but from naked Russian nationalism. That is what is so amusing about the deluded left wingers supporting him against the nationalists of Kiev.

  • A Shadow US Foreign Policy

    The National Endowment for Democracy, a central part of Ronald Reagan’s propaganda war against the Soviet Union three decades ago, has evolved into a $100 million U.S. government-financed slush fund that generally supports a neocon agenda often at cross-purposes with the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

    NED is one reason why there is so much confusion about the administration’s policies toward attempted ousters of democratically elected leaders in Ukraine and Venezuela. Some of the non-government organizations (or NGOs) supporting these rebellions trace back to NED and its U.S. government money, even as Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials insist the U.S. is not behind these insurrections.

Drones (extrajudicial killings)

  • Pakistan drone strike victim talks to the Bureau

    Khan almost did not make it the UK. Shortly before he was to travel to Europe he was taken from his home in Rawalpindi. He said 15 people including some dressed as police took him and held him for nine days, torturing him during the detention.

  • Violating the ideals he pledged to uphold

    This extrajudicial killing program should make every American queasy. Based on largely secret legal standards and entirely secret evidence, our government has killed thousands of people. At least several hundred were killed far from any battlefield. Four of the dead are Americans. The current case involves an al-Qaeda member known as Abdullah al-Shami, who was born in the United States and is now in Pakistan. Astonishingly, President Obama’s Justice Department has said the courts have no role in deciding whether the killing of U.S. citizens far from any battlefield is lawful.

  • Why no droning on about drones?

    Were you surprised the 2014 New Mexico legislative session dragged to a finish without one word about killing drones?

  • US drone strikes require investigation, ‘public explanation’ – UN report

    A UN counter-terrorism expert has published the second report of his year-long investigation into drone strikes, highlighting 30 strikes where civilians are reported to have been killed.

  • ‘Drones strikes to continue despite EU ban’

    EU legislation banning the use of drones won’t diminish the number of drone attacks, it will just be much more selective in terms of where they can be used, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.

  • European Parliament Votes To Condemn Member States Complicit In CIA Drone Program
  • JI lauds European Parliament for condemnation of drones

    Jamaat e Islami (JI) chief Munawar Hasan said European Parliament’s condemnation of civilian killings in drone attacks hit Pakistani rulers hard since they badly failed in stopping civilian massacre.


  • The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2013
  • U.S. Has No Moral Authority – Ex-Bush Official

    While talking about the regime change program of U.S. foreign Policy he says, The US should encourage such change through the force of its own democratic example, not through force of arms or covert actions to encourage coups d’etat as it is doing today in Venezuela. And, by the way, that US example has been tarnished enormously by such actions as torture and abuse.”

  • Will Obama End the War on Terror?
  • Repeal and Restore

    How President Obama can end the war on terror, once and for all.

  • Did CIA’s Mike Morell Lie About Benghazi For Obama?

    Former CIA acting Director Mike Morell might be recalled for testimony to determine if he misled Congress and doctored the White House response to a terrorist attack to ensure President Obama’s re-election.

    The administration’s tangled web of Benghazi lies might be unraveling some more. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., has told Fox News that Morell, a former deputy director and twice acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will likely be recalled to testify.

  • Whistle-Blower Punches a Hole in Memoir From Robert Gates

    This is the Washington merry-go-round, of course, no matter who controls the White House or Congress. According to the reform group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, “70 percent of the 108 three- and four-star generals and admirals who retired between 2009 and 2011 took jobs with defense contractors or consultants. In at least a few cases, these retirees have continued to advise the Department of Defense – all while on the payroll of the defense industry.”

  • Jack Ryan Uses Bible to Exonerate Wall Street, CIA

    If there were an Oscar for Best Hidden Agenda, it would go to Jack Ryan: The Shadow Recruit (dir. Kenneth Branagh). At a time when regulators and citizens try to hold Wall Street accountable for the 2008 recession and the CIA accountable for torture, Jack Ryan turns Wall Street into a victim and the CIA into a model husband. It does so with all the slick im/plausibility of a thriller—and it uses the Bible to boost its case.

Civil Rights

  • An inconvenient child

    My six-year-old son was suspended as a danger to others. His crime? A disability you could find in any classroom

Greenwald et al.

  • Don’t Mess With Glenn Greenwald

    Clearly, there’s an officially sanctioned, if not supported, backlash underway to cast doubt on the those who are disseminating the information that Eward Snowden and other whistleblowers are exposing to the global public.

    What better way to respond to the evidence of government overreach and criminality in the spying by the NSA and other agencies than to try to change the subject by smearing the people who are funding the reporting on it to us.

    This latest round of the media battle should not be surprising. In fact, it’s all too predictable.

    In the latest round, Lawyer and journalist Glenn Greenwald, the point person/interpreter for the majority of the Snowden disclosures, came under attack by indirection with a high profile smear on Pierre Omidyar, the E-Bay billionaire funding his new venture, First Look Media.

    Leading the charge publicly is one Patrick Ames, who writes for Pando News, a rival news agency funded by another Silicon Valley tech moneyman. He has gone after Greenwald before charging that he is profiting by selling state secrets.

Snowden et al.

  • The Silliest Snowden Theory Yet

    The main thing The Snowden Operation wants us to know is that “this affair has Kremlin fingerprints on it. They may be faint and smudged, but they are there.” Yes, Lucas acknowledges, it’s possible the Russians aren’t involved, “but not likely.” The naive might be fooled into thinking all was exactly what it appeared to be on the surface and Snowden was simply an NSA employee who reached out to journalists on his own. But sophisticated observers like Lucas, with “30 years of looking at Soviet and then Russian intelligence and propaganda operations,” see the truth. Maybe Snowden was recruited by the Russians to leak NSA documents and knew it was them doing the recruiting; maybe he was recruited by them but they fooled him into thinking they were someone more sympathetic; or maybe the Russians somehow “brokered an introduction” between Snowden and others who would encourage and publicize his leaks (i.e., journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras and hacker Jacob Appelbaum) without any of them being aware of the hidden Kremlin hand.


NSA Policy

  • 2008′s New and Improved EO 12333: Sharing SIGINT

    As part of my ongoing focus on Executive Order 12333, I’ve been reviewing how the Bush Administration changed the EO when, shortly after the passage of the FISA Amendments Act, on July 30, 2008, they rolled out a new version of the order, with little consultation with Congress. Here’s the original version Ronald Reagan issued in 1981, here’s the EO making the changes, here’s how the new and improved version from 2008 reads with the changes.

    While the most significant changes in the EO were — and were billed to be — the elaboration of the increased role for the Director of National Intelligence (who was then revolving door Booz executive Mike McConnell), there are actually several changes that affected NSA.

  • RSA: Bruce Schneier Discusses What Should be Done With the NSA

    Bruce Schneier is a legendary figure in the security community, well-known for his expertise in cryptography and more recently for his insight into the surveillance activities of the National Security Agency (NSA). Schneier currently serves as the CTO of incident response management vendor Co3 Systems.


  • How a Hacker Intercepted FBI and Secret Service Calls With Google Maps

    Earlier this week, Bryan Seely, a network engineer and one-time Marine, played me recordings of two phone calls (embedded below.) The calls were placed by unwitting citizens to the FBI office in San Francisco and to the Secret Service in Washington, D.C. Neither the callers nor the FBI or Secret Service personnel who answered the phone realized that Seely was secretly recording them. He used Google Maps to do it.

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