Michael Silver Back to Acting as Gartner’s Microsoft Agent, Promoting Vista 10 Based on False Promises

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marketing time!

Michael Silver

Summary: Vista 10 in the headlines as its marketing propaganda zones in on false perceptions around cost, aided in part by longtime foes of GNU/Linux such as Gartner, especially its Microsoft-embedded elements (Michael Silver and co-workers)

8 YEARS ago Gartner publicly predicted that Vista would be a smashing success. It was a lie (not really a prediction), albeit a promotional lie because the Gartner Group is Bill Gates- and Microsoft-connected (they fund Gartner). It only ever pretends to be an independent analysts firm. PR is a more suitable label. We have had particular interest in Michael Silver because he and his cronies worked on blocking the competition, such as GNU/Linux, in large European cities. They also pressured companies to embrace Vista 7 (Silver did that himself) and OOXML lock-in. Silver is a liar with a career. Somehow he is still around, despite bad ‘predictions’ (sales pitch).

The latest propaganda from Michael Silver can be found in IDG where it is claimed that Windows will be free (we debunked this utter nonsense earlier this year). Silver is once again acting not like an analyst but like a salesperson of Windows, giving the impression of cost parity between Windows and GNU/Linux (this time without the “TCO” buzzword). This pattern ought to end and people should call him out on it.

“Silver is once again acting not like an analyst but like a salesperson of Windows, giving the impression of cost parity between Windows and GNU/Linux (this time without the “TCO” buzzword).”Only a couple of weeks ago Gartner also amplified popular FUD against Android. Those who claimed that Apple was gaining at Android’s expense were playing a nasty game that warps statistics because to only make a comparison when there’s a major new release of iPhone is highly misleading (even narrowing down to one quarter despite the infrequent releases of new iPhone models). Gartner played a special role in this FUD, badmouthing Android not for the first time (we covered similar examples before). Two weeks ago we also saw a Microsoft-linked site letting an admitted Apple shareholder bash Android with this misleading propaganda. What we see here is an information war and Gartner plays a big role in it.

What bothers us the most is that people from Gartner, Michael Silver in particular, are willing to just lie in order to sell an operating system that is blocking the competition (GNU/Linux) at UEFI level. See the latest in the saga.

Responding to what Vista 10 means to GNU/Linux, Sam Varghese writes that “Microsoft will leave the option of including a switch to turn off secure boot in computers that are loaded with Windows 10 up to the manufacturer, leaving open the possibility of locking out users of alternate operating systems.”

Paul Hill says that “Microsoft tries to block Linux” and starts by stating: “Remember the most talked about story of 2014? It was Microsoft loves Linux. It looks like Microsoft’s love for Linux is more like Mark Wahlberg’s love for Reese Witherspoon as we saw in the movie Fear.”

Hill reminds us that “Red Hat had to pay [Microsoft] for the privilege of getting Fedora signed.”

The world needs Vista 10 like dogs need rabies and if we allow liars from Gartner to mislead the public about Vista 10, then the Free software-destined future will remain further away. Windows is not free at all, it’s just a marketing charade and corporate media is happy to give it a hand. Why do journalists from IDG give the liars a platform without a challenge (let alone fact-checking)? Is it enough to put the “Gartner” label on a lie to make it seem credible?

Despite Media Propaganda About Security, Microsoft Windows Remains the Least Secure Operating System, by Design

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows operating systems, are used throughout the United States Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Summary: Amid highly misleading security-centric reports that rely on Microsoft’s bogus number of vulnerabilities (Microsoft already admitted hiding many of them) Techrights presents recent news about Windows ‘security’

WINDOWS is not a secure operating system. It’s not intended to be, either (Microsoft's actions show that security is not the goal). One cannot ever patch NSA back doors safely. When these are patched, it’s already too late and newer back doors remain in tact or are being added. Trusting Microsoft to secure Windows is misunderstanding the goal of Windows (‘privileged’ access) and as Stuxnet serves to remind us, the real owners of Windows are spy agencies, not people who use Windows (renting it from Microsoft in exchange for payments). See this new report titled “Stuxnet Redux: Microsoft patches Windows vuln left open for FIVE YEARS”. It says that “[w]hile most of the attention this Patch Tuesday has been focused on the FREAK encryption vulnerability, Microsoft’s latest batch of fixes also addresses another longstanding threat to Windows: Stuxnet.” So they hadn’t fixed it for so long and finally decided to do something about it? Knowing that espionage agencies were exploiting holes and taking control of PCs that have Windows installed? Wake up and smell the coffee. These actions speak volumes.

Adding insult to injury, last week we learned that “Microsoft RE-BORK[ED] Windows 7 patch after reboot loop horror”. To quote the report itself: “Reports are emerging that a twice-issued Microsoft Windows 7 patch is still causing pain for users, with some claiming the fix is triggering continuous reboots.

“The patch was first issued as KB2949927 and withdrawn in October due to system faults, before being re-released this week as KB3033929.”

So our conclusion is that even when Microsoft offers so-called ‘patches’ or ‘security’ there are negative consequences which are too risky to accept. For more information see this article titled “Problems reported with Microsoft patch KB 3002657, warning issued on KB 3046049″. A lot of people are still using Windows XP, which receives no patches at all. Some genius, eh?

Some Web sites are now claiming that the NSA and fellow espionage operations have been largely responsible for the SSL hole someone dubbed “FREAK”. Of course, despite media spin and a clear Microsoft role (perhaps inside knowledge becoming public), the flaw affects Windows as well (all versions) and Microsoft failed to properly address the problem when it was already known (advertised as public knowledge). “The response of Microsoft and cloud companies to the Freak vulnerability has been far too slow say commentators,” according to one British news site/magazine which focused on security. CBS covered this only after it had been wrongly spun as a Linux and Apple issue. “Microsoft was late with the announcement so that the press could focus on Android and iOS and make it look like their problem,” said iophk. Microsoft took many weeks to do anything, which gave enough time for passwords to be intercepted and for entire networks to be compromised. So again we are being reminded that Microsoft just doesn’t take security seriously. While some reports try to frame Windows as most secure because Microsoft hides many flaws and games the numbers to make the competition look bad, anyone with experience in this area ought to see that Microsoft’s encryption was always bogus, and very much by design! Here is another brand-new example of Microsoft ‘security’ in action: “Microsoft is scrambling to block a fraudulent HTTPS certificate that was issued for one of the company’s Windows Live Web addresses lest it be used by attackers to mount convincing man-in-the-middle attacks.”

Soon enough, based on some observers, Microsoft Windows-running “PC will become slower as it will serve the updates to another client.”

It is a peer-to-peer approach that externalises cost and liability. Is Microsoft really trusting this to work better given the above reports about man-in-the-middle attacks and fraudulent HTTPS certificates? Platforms with back doors cannot ever be relied on for serving security to other systems. It’s a collective compromise. Botmasters will love it!

Our last piece of relevant news deals with Pwn2Own. The headline says that “security [is] still a myth on Windows PCs” [via] and that it took just one day to crack Windows. To quote: “Day one of the 2015 Pwn2Own hacking contest in Vancouver, Canada, saw big wins for contestants and headaches for software makers: competing teams successfully exploited fresh vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Reader, Microsoft’s Windows and Internet Explorer, and Mozilla’s Firefox, to hijack PCs.”

Was it Firefox on Windows as so often is the case? Not even Tor is secure on Windows.

Canonical Goes to Bed With Company That Sues Linux Using Software Patents and Copyrights (Through SCO)

Posted in Microsoft, SCO, Ubuntu at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft hardly needs an SCO source license. Its license payment to SCO is simply a good-looking way to pass along a bribe…”

Bruce Perens

Summary: Despite Microsoft’s continued assault on GNU/Linux, Canonical is foolish enough to give Microsoft control over many Ubuntu instances

MICROSOFT is fooling the GNU/Linux world when it says it “loves Linux”. Based on its actions in this past month alone [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], Microsoft very much hates GNU/Linux and fights it viciously. More than ten years ago Microsoft paid SCO and look how long-lasting the impact of this backing has become. Tom Harvey’s latest report (he is usually pro-SCO) overstates the chances of the lawsuit not being tossed out preemptively as every time in recent memory. Suing for huge sums does not equate to merit, but Harvey floats the claim of “damages of $5 billion” as if there’s a change that SCO will ever see any money at all. Quoting Harvey’s report:

Nearly 12 years after it was filed, a lawsuit against IBM Corp. that riled the open-source computer code community is back on the federal court docket in Utah.

The nearly defunct Utah company SCO Group Inc. and IBM filed a joint report to the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City saying that legal issues remain in the case, which was initiated in 2003 with SCO claiming damages of $5 billion against the technology giant, based in Armonk, N.Y.

This received more attention than it deserved because of the headline, which reads: “It’s alive! Utah software company’s decade-old suit against IBM revived” (drama over substance).

Microsoft is now swapping money for power (which begets money) in its patent extortion strategy. Samsung has been a top “asset” (like a “high value target”) and Kyocera may be next. It’s all about control. Microsoft now has greater control over Samsung (and by extension over Android), owing to blackmail followed by settlement.

One way or another we should deduce from this that Microsoft’s nefarious attacks on Linux using patents and/or copyrights are not over. Nevertheless, Canonical decided to mimic Novell’s footsteps only in the sense that Canonical trusts Microsoft to prop it up a bit. As FOSS Force put it last week: “There’s little doubt that a few eyebrows were raised by the news on Friday, when Larry Cafiero reported on FOSS Force about Canonical’s partnership with Microsoft involving Microsoft’s OCS hardware and Ubuntu’s open source Metal-as-a-Service (MAAS) deployment product. Those with a little memory might wonder if this is a case of history repeating itself, as we’ve seen Microsoft court aspiring princess distros before, with SUSE, not long after the distro was purchased by Novell, a company with an uneven history.”

The author recalls that “In November, 2006, three years after acquiring SUSE, Novell received an eleventh hour bail out when it entered into a joint compatibility and patent agreement with Microsoft. In the pact, Microsoft agreed to pay SUSE $348 million up front and $46 million annually for five years, with return payment by Novell being mainly in the form of support subscriptions for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES).”

The conclusion is as follows: “So what does the old SUSE/Microsoft deal have to do with Ubuntu and Redmond’s new partnership arrangement? The quick answer: everything and nothing. Or, perhaps more appropriate for this stage of the game: It’s too soon to tell. One thing’s for sure, even if the deal turns out to be benign and never develops into anything as toxic as SUSE/Microsoft has been, this is sure to develop into something of a brouhaha in the FOSS user community. At the very least, this will become a hot topic on the forums.”

This was posted after Cafiero had written that “Canonical trumpets its partnership with Microsoft — yep, Microsoft — this week at the Open Compute Summit, where the Isle of Man reached across to Redmond to demonstrate how Canonical and Microsoft are working together to create scalable, OCP-compliant architecture.”

Here is Canonical’s original statement, some press coverage, and a blog post stating that “Canonical Deepens Partnership with Microsoft”.

Microsoft had used Novell not just for patent extortion. It later used it for Linux Foundation and events intrusion (like a free press or ticket), HyperV promotion, OOXML promotion, .NET promotion (through Mono), and Silverlight promotion (through Moonlight).

Canonical does not need Microsoft. “MS is reported to have only 10% share of the cloud,” writes Robert Pogson in response to Microsoft propagandist Tony Bradley, so what is Canonical thinking? Microsoft needs Canonical more than Canonical needs Microsoft. When Microsoft says it is changing, well… this is correct; unlike before, it is now embracing and extending (to extinguish) FOSS. It’s s strategic change. It is easy to envision how some time in the future Microsoft will offer ‘in-cloud’ conversions from Ubuntu to Windows. If Microsoft decided to patent the business method of embrace, extend and extinguish (EEE), it would probably not ‘license’ it to anyway. It is its secret weapon and Canonical should be smart enough to know this.

Links 22/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Shaping Up, LibrePlanet 2015

Posted in News Roundup at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Welcome to LibrePlanet 2015!

      After an opening keynote by FSF president Richard Stallman – and the announcement of our newest board member, Kat Walsh – more than 300 attendees split up for talks on a wide variety of free software topics. These included MediaGoblin developer Christopher Webber on the role of free software in federation of the web, Seth Schoen of EFF on a new robotic certificate authority called Let’s Encrypt, Deb Nicholson’s lively comparison of the 1980′s and the varied aspects of the free software movement, and Francis Rowe’s discussion of the Libreboot free boot firmware. Talks continue into the early evening, concluding with the annual Free Software Awards at 17:45 EDT.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Releases Firefox 36.0.3 to Patch the Security Vulnerabilities Disclosed at Pwn2Own

        Mozilla has just updated its popular Firefox web browser application for all supported computer operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. The new stable release is now Mozilla Firefox 36.0.3 and you should receive it via the built-in updater tool of the software.

      • Netscape: the web browser that came back to haunt Microsoft

        But even when Microsoft engineers built a TCP/IP stack into Windows, the pain continued. Andreessen and his colleagues left university to found Netscape, wrote a new browser from scratch and released it as Netscape Navigator. This spread like wildfire and led Netscape’s founders to speculate (hubristically) that the browser would eventually become the only piece of software that computer users really needed – thereby relegating the operating system to a mere life-support system for the browser.

        Now that got Microsoft’s attention. It was an operating-system company, after all. On May 26, 1995 Gates wrote an internal memo (entitled “The Internet Tidal Wave”) which ordered his subordinates to throw all the company’s resources into launching a single-minded attack on the web browser market. Given that Netscape had a 90% share of that market, Gates was effectively declaring war on Netscape. Microsoft hastily built its own browser, named it Internet Explorer (IE), and set out to destroy the upstart by incorporating Explorer into the Windows operating system, so that it was the default browser for every PC sold.

        The strategy worked: Microsoft succeeded in exterminating Netscape, but in the process also nearly destroyed itself, because the campaign triggered an antitrust (unfair competition) suit which looked like breaking up the company, only to founder at the last moment. So Microsoft lived to tell the tale, and Internet Explorer became the world’s browser. By 2000, IE had a 95% market share; it was the de facto industry standard, which meant that if you wanted to make a living from software development you had to make sure that your stuff worked in IE. The Explorer franchise was a monopoly on steroids.


    • Kat Walsh joins FSF board of directors

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the addition of Kat Walsh to its board of directors. She becomes the ninth director on the FSF’s board.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • New handheld console, first anti-cheat open hardware device, and more gaming news
    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source X3D XS CoreXY 3D Printer is Unveiled by Polish Designer

        One of the most fascinating things about the desktop 3D printing space is the openness exuded by the developers of the printers themselves. Desktop 3D printers first got off the ground because of open source movements such as RepRap. While some 3D printer manufacturers have taken their creations and closed off this ‘openness,’ others have remained key contributors to the community. These open source designs have allowed for an extremely quick development and innovation of these machines, and without organizations like RepRap, we certainly wouldn’t have the 3D printers we have today.


  • Science

    • Be careful with your face at airports

      That should seem far-fetched, but it isn’t. The TSA continues to use pseudo-scientific “behavior detection” techniques that have given rise to persistent allegations of racial and ethnic profiling at our nation’s airports.

  • Hardware

    • Effects of a PSU upgrade

      While looking at what AMD cards to upgrade to, I happen to learn about the now ~1 year old Nvidia Maxwell architecture, which is – surprisingly – much more energy efficient. So efficient, that I could upgrade to a top-of-the-line card, with around 6× performance on most benchmarks compared to my current card, with only a 25W TDP increase.

      I couldn’t believe I missed this for almost a year, just because I was focused only on AMD cards.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Big Bank’s Analyst Worries That Iran Deal Could Depress Weapons Sales

      The possibility of an Iran nuclear deal depressing weapons sales was raised by Myles Walton, an analyst from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, during a Lockheed earnings call this past January 27th. Walton asked Marillyn Hewson, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, if an Iran agreement could “impede what you see as progress in foreign military sales.” Financial industry analysts such as Walton use earnings calls as an opportunity to ask publicly-traded corporations like Lockheed about issues that might harm profitability.

    • Should the U.S. be able to counter-attack nation-state cyber-aggressors without attribution?

      The testimony of U.S. Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers on March 4th – before the House Armed Services Committee on cyber operations and improving the military’s cybersecurity posture – not only paints an unusually vivid picture of a nation trying to re-invent its military infrastructure in response to a problem that it only partially understands, but also provides some indication as to the means by which it intends to get off the back-foot regarding response policies to cyber-attacks such as last autumn’s Sony Hack incident.

    • George W. Bush: “My Dad Was Meeting with the Brother of Osama on September 11, 2001. Does That Make Him a Terror Suspect?”

      Ironically, the anti-terrorist legislation does not apply to politicians in high office, namely to the “State sponsors of terrorism”; nor does it apply to U.S. or Canadian diplomats, intelligence officials, who are routinely in liaison with terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

      Individuals can be arrested but presidents and prime ministers are allowed to mingle and socialize with family members of the World’s most renowned terrorist and alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks: Osama bin Laden.

      Lest we forget, one day before the 9/11 attacks, the dad of the sitting President of the United States of America, George Herbert Walker Bush was meeting none other than Shafig bin Laden, the brother of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. It was a routine business meeting on September 10-11, no conflict of interest, no relationship to the 9/11 attacks which allegedly were carried out on the orders of Shafiq’s brother Osama.


      The Carlyle Group is embroiled with the defense and intelligence establishment. “It is widely regarded as an extension of the US government, or at least the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Pentagon.”

      Double standards in anti-terrorism legislation? Double standards in police and law enforcement? No questions asked. No police investigation or interrogation of Osama’s brother Shafig.
      Normally, under established rules of police investigation, both Shafig bin Laden and the president’s dad George Herbert Walker Bush should have been remanded in custody for police questioning and in all likelihood, Shafig bin Laden would have been arrested as a potential suspect. But that did not happen.

      The presence of members of the bin Laden family meeting up with the father of the president of the United States was hushed up and 13 members of the bin Ladens including Shafig were flown out of the US on September 19, 2001 in a plane chartered by the White House. Meanwhile, suspected Muslims are arrested on a mere suspicion, –e.g. that they have an old school friend, who’s cousin’s 86 year old grandmother is an an alleged sympathizer of the “jihad”.

    • Bellum Americanum: US imperialism’s delusions of world conquest

      Here, the pretense that the US is engaged in a campaign to defend human rights or ensure democracy is all but dispensed with. The United States “must protect the homeland, build security globally, and project power and win decisively,” the defense secretary declared. In other words, the US military must be in a position to conquer the world, and it must have unlimited funds at its disposal in order to do so.

    • ACLU files new lawsuit over Obama administration drone ‘kill list’

      As the US debates expanding its campaign against the Islamic State beyond Iraq and Syria, the leading US civil liberties group is intensifying its efforts to force transparency about lethal US counterterrorism strikes and authorities.

    • ACLU sues White House over drone “kill list”
    • ACLU Sues over Drone Kill List Secrecy

      This is actually the third lawsuit the ACLU has filed over the secrecy of the drone rules. One is for information about the strikes that killed American terrorism suspect Anwar al-Awlaki and then later his 16-year-old son in Yemen.

    • ​ACLU sues Obama administration over ‘kill list’ documents

      The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the US government in an effort to compel a court to release documents detailing the Obama administration’s use of a secret, so-called “kill list” containing potential drone strike targets.

    • Two books explore the high cost of killing by drone

      In 2008, President Obama ramped up the use of “killer drones” as a mainstay of U.S. counterterrorism policy. Since 9/11 and primarily under Obama, more than 500 drone strikes have killed nearly 4,000 individuals both in hot war zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and in countries containing terrorist havens — including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

    • Seven Just Arrested Using Giant Books to Close Drone-Murder Base

      The nonviolent activists also held a banner quoting Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, stating that every treaty signed becomes the supreme law of the land. They brought the books to Hancock to remind everyone at the base of the signed treaties that prohibit the killing of civilians and assassinations of human beings.

    • US troops ‘withdraw from Yemen’

      The US is withdrawing its military personnel from a base in Yemen because of increasing insecurity there…

    • Yemen: American Weapons Once More “Landed Up in the Wrong Hands”. Mistakenly in the Hands of Al Qaeda

      Oops! There goes another half billion dollars’ worth of war material lost to another enemy. This time in Yemen where until a few weeks ago President Obama could readily tout Yemen as the one foreign policy success story he could always hang his hat on. Yemen was the one place on this planet where Obama could avoid having to admit his foreign policy is not a total and abject failure. Yemen was where he could rationalize that his killer drone policy was actually working at keeping the enemy at bay. So what if most of the people killed by drones are innocent (over 96% by one recent analysis), many children and women that happened to get in the way. A little so called collateral damage never hurt the mighty US Empire’s warring ways.

    • Obama’s Drone Policy Crashes and Burns

      The unraveling of Yemen should be a wake-up call for Obama loyalists. Obama was elected in large part because of his opposition to the disastrous Iraq War and his promise of a smarter Middle East policy, one less reliant on invasion and occupation. Nevertheless, in office, Obama has supported the occupation of Afghanistan and the NATO-led overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, which led to chaos.

      Still, as Obama explained in a September 2014 foreign policy speech, the centerpiece of his strategy in the Middle East has been a more long-distance approach: “taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines.” In other words: air strikes, drones and military aid. He touted the success of this strategy in Yemen and Somalia.

    • Drones and the rise of the high-tech assassins

      How twenty-three innocent Afghani civilians were wiped out by self-deceiving drone operators seven and a half thousand miles away.

    • Despite Promises, President Keeps Drone War Under CIA Command

      Despite a promise made by President Obama nearly two years ago to take control of the drone war away from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the spooks still have their fingers on the trigger.

    • White House Fails to Wrest Drone Control From CIA Years After Obama Pledge
    • Two Years Later, White House Still Hitting Roadblocks In Effort To Move Drone Program Out Of CIA Control
    • Web users given power to kill a rat with their phones as part of an ‘art project’

      In a poll of whether the animal should live or die, only half of those who had taken part said it should be spared.

      Mehnert has also received a barrage of protest e-mails and even a death threat on the internet.

      He said: “People are more concerned for the rat than their personal freedom or for the welfare of children in crisis areas around the world.

      “They should write to their government and not to me!”

    • Pope: Death penalty represents ‘failure,’ fosters vengeance

      Pope Francis says nothing can justify the use of the death penalty and there is no “right” way to humanely kill another person.

      Francis outlined the Catholic church’s opposition to capital punishment in a letter to the International Commission against the Death Penalty, a group of former government officials, jurists and others who had an audience with him at the Vatican Friday.

    • The doublespeak of drones

      Here I am talking of the softening of the boundary between two realms in which the UAV is used: what are usually termed the ‘military’ and the ‘civilian’ domains. Since 1995, when it flew the GNAT-750 surveillance drone over Bosnia, the CIA has used military drones as a tool of surveillance; since 2002, when the first CIA drone strike was conducted by an MQ-1 Predator on a ‘tall man’ in Afghanistan – believed to be Osama bin Laden, but in actual fact one of a group of innocent civilians collecting scrap metal – these drones have held lethal potential.

    • Dick Cheney Doesn’t Know a War When He Sees It

      In a new interview the former vice president insinuates that Barack Obama treats terrorism as a “law-enforcement problem.”

    • The US Military Just Plunged Philippine Politics into Crisis

      Indeed, Washington’s fingerprints were all over the operation: There was a $5-million bounty placed by the Americans on Marwan’s head. A U.S. military helicopter appeared in the area after the long firefight, allegedly to help evacuate the wounded. Marwan’s finger disappeared after the battle and showed up at an FBI lab in the United States a few days later.

      Filipino officials have remained tight-lipped on the question of U.S. participation in the raid, invoking “national security” or choosing to make revelations only in secret executive sessions with the Senate. Thus it has fallen on the media to probe the U.S. role.

    • No charges for man who crashed drone on White House lawn

      An intelligence agency employee whose drone crashed on the White House lawn earlier this year won’t face criminal charges, the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington announced Wednesday.

    • Downing of U.S. drone suggests Syria imposing red lines on air war

      After allowing the United States to use its air space to bomb Islamic State fighters for six months, the Syrian army appears to have imposed a “red line” by shooting down a U.S. drone over territory of critical importance to Damascus.

    • US Drone Reportedly Shot Down Near Syria
    • Middle East Updates / U.S. Predator drone likely shot down over Syria, officials say
    • Syria ‘brought down’ US drone, says state news agency Sana
    • Evidence suggests Syria shot down US drone, military source says
    • Syria claims downing of US drone after take-off from Turkey
    • Syrian Air Defense Systems Down Hostile Drone over Latakia
    • Syria investigating US drone crash
    • Feds Used Miami’s “Merchant of Death” to Catch Ex-CIA Smugglers, Secret Docs Show
    • After the Iraq invasion, the Pentagon thought it was worth killing up to 29 civilians to take out Saddam Hussein

      The ace of spades, of course, was dictator Saddam Hussein. He was considered so important that US planners decided that an operation killing the deposed leader woud be worth it if it were likely that no more than 29 civilians were killed in the process.

      “Our number was thirty,” according to Marc Garlasco, a former Defense Intelligence Analyst, who spoke with 60 Minutes in 2007. “If you’re gonna kill up to twenty-nine people in a strike against Saddam Hussein, that’s not a problem.

    • Obama’s drones

      Targeted killings have been a central part of US national security strategy for more than a decade, but the American public still knows scandalously little about who the government kills, and why. Now we’re filing a new lawsuit in our continuing fight to fix that.

    • US drone base evacuated in Yemen

      Yemen’s Shiite rebels issued a call to arms Saturday to battle forces loyal to the country’s embattled president, as U.S. troops were evacuating a southern air base crucial to America’s drone strike program after al-Qaida militants seized a nearby city.

      The turmoil comes as Yemen battles al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the target of the drone program, and faces a purported affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group that claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings killing at least 137 people Friday.

      All these factors could push the Arab world’s most impoverished country, united only in the 1990s, back toward civil war.

    • Afghan president to embark on landmark Washington visit

      As the Afghan president heads to the United States on his first trip to Washington as head of state, the landmark visit offers a chance for both sides to start afresh and wipe the slate clean on the legacy of troubled U.S-Afghan relations.

      Ashraf Ghani faces a daunting task – long-term, the visit could set the tone for years to come. More pressingly, Ghani needs firm commitment of American military support in his fight against the Taliban and other insurgent groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, which he and U.S. military leaders fear is finding a foothold in Afghanistan.

    • Forum: Standing for the rule of law and the safety of our nation on drone warfare

      How big is the problem? While the secrecy of the American drone warfare makes it impossible to know the exact scope of this program, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that American drone strikes have killed almost 2,500 people — including hundreds of children — in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — and that’s not including drone killings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • US Drone Strikes in Pakistan Breed Terrorism – President to Sputnik

      Last month’s international security conference in Geneva revealed estimates that as of January 2015 drone strikes in Pakistan killed nearly 4,000 people, including over 1000 civilians, mostly women and children.

    • Andrew Cockburn Understands Assassination

      America isn’t supposed to assassinate people — Pres. Ronald Reagan had banned the practice.

    • Afghan Woman Stoned, Set Alight After Allegedly Burning Quran

      An angry mob stoned and beat a woman before hurling her onto a riverbed and setting her body alight in the Afghan capital after she allegedly burned copies of the Quran, officials and eyewitnesses told NBC News.

    • CIA director suggests Iraq functions as interlocutor in US-Iran fight against Isis

      The director of the CIA came the closest of any US official so far to acknowledging cooperation between the US and Iran in their current war against the Islamic State in Iraq.

    • Ecuador’s Correa Accuses US of Trying to Destabilize Government

      Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa on Saturday accused the United States of trying to destabilize his government, by infiltrating it with spies.

      The 51-year-old economist trained in the US has faced opposition protests as he seeks constitutional changes that would allow him to seek re-election next year to another four-year term.

    • Ecuador’s President Accuses CIA of Involvement in Opposition Protests

      Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has accused the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of being involved in opposition protests in the country with the aim of dragging it into chaos.

      “There is a CIA presence there [in Ecuador's opposition] which has a goal of weakening the government,” Correa said on Saturday, as quoted by the TeleSUR television network.

    • Did the CIA mastermind Purulia arms drop?

      Early the next morning, villagers over a wide area were startled to find in their fields and open ground all sorts of strange weapons. What rained from the skies was lethality: 10 RPG-7 rocket launchers, 300 AK-47s, 25 9-mm pistols, two 7.62 sniper rifles, two night vision binoculars, 100 grenades, 23,800 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, 6,000 rounds of 9-mm ammunition, 100 anti-tank grenades as well as 10 telescopic sights for rocket launchers. Purulia, which housed the Ananda Marg headquarters, had seen nothing like this. The cargo weighed 4,375 kg!

    • Paul Craig Roberts – The CIA May Have Just Assassinated Boris Nemtsov In Moscow To Blame Putin

      On the heels of the news out of Moscow that Boris Nemtsov was gunned down, today Dr. Paul Craig Roberts spoke with King World News about the CIA and the murder of Nemtsov. This is a fascinating trip down the rabbit hole with the former U.S. Treasury official as he is warning that the CIA may be out of control.

    • US Combat Forces, FBI and CIA in Ukraine: Vice President Biden Congratulates Poroshenko for Violating Minsk Peace Agreement

      On March 18, Joe Biden called Poroshenko. He congratulated him for violating Minsk.

      It calls for granting Donbass special status autonomous rule. Draft Kiev legislation designates it “temporarily occupied territories.”

      A White House statement said Biden “welcomed the (parliament’s) adoption of implementing measures relating to the law on special status for certain areas of eastern Ukraine…”

      He lied saying legislation adopted complies with terms stipulated under “September 2014 and February 2015 Minsk agreements.”

    • A double standard on government secrets for David Petraeus
    • A Double Standard on Leaks? As Whistleblowers Jailed, Petraeus Escapes Prison & Advises White House

      With prosecutions of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou and several others, the Obama administration is by far the most aggressive in history when it comes to punishing leaks. But is there a double standard when it comes to who is punished and who walks free? That is the question being raised after a lenient plea deal for David Petraeus, the retired four-star general and former head of the CIA. Unlike the others, Petraeus did not release information to expose perceived government wrongdoing. Instead, Petraeus gave classified material to his girlfriend, Paula Broadwell, who was writing his biography. Petraeus let Broadwell access his CIA email account and other sensitive material, including the names of covert operatives in Afghanistan, war strategies, and quotes from White House meetings. Earlier this month, he reached a plea deal, admitting to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information. Prosecutors will not seek prison time, but instead two years probation and a fine. He remains an administration insider, advising the White House on the war against ISIS. We speak to Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights director at the Government Accountability Project. A former ethics adviser to the U.S. Department of Justice, Radackis the lawyer for Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou — three whistleblowers all charged under the Espionage Act. She recently wrote an article for Foreign Policy magazine, “Petraeus, Snowden, and the Department of Two-Tiered Justice.”

    • White House consulting former CIA Director David Petraeus on fight against IS

      The White House says it’s consulting with former CIA Director David Petraeus about the fight against the Islamic State group despite his admission that he gave classified material to his biographer and mistress.

      Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count that carries a possible sentence of up to a year in prison. The retired four-star general allegedly gave the biographer eight binders of classified material.

    • White House STILL consults about ISIS with disgraced CIA chief David Petraeus after he pleaded guilty to giving classified information to his mistress-biographer
    • US Syria strategy in peril with collapse of CIA-backed rebel group

      A blow to US moves to aid rebels, the dissolution of Hazzm also highlights the risks that a new Department of Defense program could face in training and equipping fighters in Jordan, Turkey and Qatar.

    • CIA Director John Brennan: ISIS militants aren’t Muslims, they’re ‘psychopathic thugs’
    • CIA Chief John Brennan’s Misleading Statements on Islam and Jihad

      But perhaps Brennan knows all this and is simply being “strategic”? After all, the CIA head also “warned against ascribing ‘Islamic legitimacy’ to the overseas terrorist group, saying that allowing them to identify themselves with Islam does a disservice to Muslims around the world.”

    • Why CIA Chief John Brennan Represents All That Is Wrong With U.S. Thinking on Jihad
    • Pakistan Executes 12 in Single Day, Officials Promise More

      Pakistani officials on Tuesday executed 12 people in the country’s single-largest day of executions since a moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in December, officials said.

      The executions are sure to raise concerns over due process and proper oversight of the country’s troubled criminal justice system, which rights groups say often does little to protect defendants.

    • Is Sweden Recruiting People to Die in a CIA Shadow War?

      Sweden may be involved in the CIA’s drone strike campaign, as an investigation shows that an alleged CIA agent executed in Yemen in 2014 was likely recruited by Swedish intelligence.

    • Fidel Castro Had a Bizarre Obsession With Milk

      When Castro lived in the Havana Libre Hotel in the early ’60s, he would often enjoy a chocolate milkshake from the hotel’s lunch counter. But in 1961, the CIA hired Mafia assassins to poison the dictator’s milky meal.

      Richard Bissell, then the CIA deputy director for plans, arranged to offer Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante, Jr.— heads of the Chicago and Tampa crime families — $150,000 to help assassinate Castro with a poison pill.

    • Cold War legacy lingers in Colorado valley

      Agency soldiers took over the camp and began training Tibetan freedom fighters there, teaching them to throw grenades, set landmines and use mortars as part of an ongoing fight against Chinese Communists. This was, after all, the height of the Cold War, and the American government was waging a bitter battle to prevent Communism from spreading.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Obama Administration Improperly Withholds Records & Censors, Keeps Secret More Files Than Ever

      The administration received 714,231 requests, which is slightly higher than 2013. In thirty-nine percent of those cases (250,581 requests), the government censored or denied requesters access. This is an increase from 244,675 requests last year.

    • National Archives crowdsources transcription of CIA files

      Tearing a page, so to speak, from social media crowdfunding campaigns like last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the National Archives has turned to Twitter to raise a volunteer workforce of citizen archivists to help transcribe some of millions of digitized documents—including thousands of declassified CIA and Department of Defense files. The goal of the Transcription Challenge: 1,000 transcribed pages of documents by March 23.

    • Our View: From NSA secrets to electrical fees, let sunshine in

      The Center for Investigative Reporting sought state citations for patient abuses in long-term care facilities controlled by the state. When state regulators initially released the records, they were so heavily redacted that they were useless.

    • DOD ordered to release photographs of detainee abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan

      [JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Friday that the Department of Defense (DOD) [official websites] must release photographs [order, PDF] requested by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] in its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [official website] request for images depicting the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. Judge Alvin Hellerstein found that the legal certification filed in 2012 by then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was inadequate, and that the government has failed to remedy the shortcomings of the certificate. The order is stayed for 60 days so that the DOD’s Solicitor General may make a determination regarding appeal.

    • A Judge Just Ordered the US Government to Release Thousands of Detainee Abuse Photos
    • Judge Orders Thousands of Detainee Abuse Photos to Be Disclosed After US Government Fails to Justify Secrecy

      A federal district court judge will no longer accept the United States government’s secrecy arguments and has ruled that it must release thousands of photographs of detainee abuse and torture in Afghanistan and Iraq, including inhumane treatment at Abu Ghraib prison.

      The government is “required to disclose each and all the photographs responsive” to the Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),” according to the order by Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the US District Court of the Southern District of New York.

      Hellerstein found that the government still had failed to justify keeping each individual photograph secret. However, the judge stayed the order for 60 days so the Solicitor General could determine whether to file an appeal.

    • 2 more men jailed, suspected of helping Copenhagen gunman

      After the preliminary charges were read, the rest of the hearing was held behind closed doors and details were not made public. None of the five suspects, who have pleaded innocent, can be name

    • FOIA failure: CIA’s ‘wins’ award for Bay of Pigs history request

      The CIA’s nine-year resistance to releasing its Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation was given the FOIA Failure Award on Friday (March 20) by the The FOIA Project, a non-profit organization that says it seeks ” to provide the public with timely and complete information about every instance in which the federal government grants or withholds records under the Freedom of Information Act.”

    • The FBI and CIA: What’s a FOIA?

      With a stroke of a pen, President Obama made it official that his office is exempt from information disclosure. And former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton probably won’t be disclosing work-related emails anytime soon.

    • CIA Documents Sought on 1960′s Transfer of Enriched Uranium From U.S. to Israe

      The complaint asks for CIA files regarding “the unlawful diversion of U.S. government-owned weapons-grade uranium from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) into the clandestine Israeli nuclear weapons program.”

    • Israel Should Pay for Weapons-Grade Uranium Smuggling Site Cleanup in PA- IRmep Lawsuit
    • How CIA Evidence from Whistleblower Trial Could Tilt Iran Nuclear Talks

      A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences — casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has developed a nuclear weapons program.

    • CIA’s Nuclear-Bomb Sting Said to Spur Review in Iran Arms Case

      Details of a 15-year-old Central Intelligence Agency sting emerging from a court case in the U.S. may prompt United Nations monitors to reassess some evidence related to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons work, two western diplomats said.

    • IAEA Refusal to Visit Iran Site Flags Intelligence Doubts

      It debunked forged documents it received before the 2003 Iraq War but has never acknowledged being given faked intelligence on Iran. For its part, Iran has consistently alleged that forgeries have played a key role in supporting claims that it ran a nuclear weapons program.

    • How the CIA encouraged Iran to build a nuclear trigger

      A CIA plan may have allowed US intelligence to claim that it had solid proof Iran was actively trying to build the final critical component of a nuclear weapon, had Iran fallen for the deception.

    • The Push To Charge Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld For CIA Torture And War Crimes

      The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has been making the case for heavyweight members of the European Union to bring war crimes charges against members of the former administration.

    • ACLU says Justice, Pentagon and CIA have failed to comply with open records law on drones

      The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the federal government, seeking to force a response to its request for documents about drone missile strikes against terror suspects.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans Push Climate Change Cuts at CIA, Defense Department

      House Republicans want to eliminate climate research.

    • Republicans Hit CIA On … Climate Change?

      GOP isn’t happy with the money the two national security agencies are spending on climate-change research.

    • Ban CIA Weather Manipulation Disguised as Climate Research (La Jornada, Mexico)

      In February 2015, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences along with other institutions published two reports on geoengineering (technological proposals to manipulate the climate) that were funded by, among others, the CIA.

    • Bangladeshis angry over Norway scrapping policy

      The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) has come in for harsh criticism over its policy towards scrapping in Bangladesh.

      The NSA strongly advises its members against recycling their ships in Bangladesh, unless it is closely monitored and undertaken as part of projects aimed at improving standards in line with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (Hong Kong Convention) .

    • Japanese Power Utility Finally Admits Fukushima Meltdown

      Large Japanese electricity utility Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) confirmed on Thursday, March 19 that nearly all fuel in one of four damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has melted and fallen into the containment building.

      With the design of the Fukushima Daiichi plants, the containment building was a very simple shell protecting the reactor from the elements, but provided no real protection in the event of a nuclear accident. Instead, the nuclear reactor was enclosed in primary and secondary containment vessels, which sat atop a thick concrete pad at the base of the containment building.


      While there has been suspicions that nuclear fuel did melt its way through the containment vessel and to the base of the containment building, until Thursday there was no definitive proof meltdown had occurred.

      The implication of the findings is that it will be very difficult to remove the highly radioactive molten fuel from Unit 1. As well, the molten fuel must continue to be cooled with water until it is removed.

      Holes and fractures in the concrete base of the reactor building also means that groundwater continues to seep in and become irradiated before draining into the Pacific Ocean, causing an ongoing nuclear disaster.

    • Revealed: Gates Foundation’s $1.4bn in fossil fuel investments

      The companies include BP, responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Anadarko Petroleum, which was recently forced to pay a $5bn environmental clean-up charge and Brazilian mining company Vale, voted the corporation with most “contempt for the environment and human rights” in the world clocking over 25,000 votes in the Public Eye annual awards.

    • Idaho Senate approves spending $400,000 to kill wolves

      The Idaho Senate has approved spending $400,000 to kill wolves.

  • Finance

    • Greece should tackle not only domestic corruption but also foreign bribery

      The risk of Greek companies bribing foreign officials is substantial, but Greece has not given the same priority to fighting foreign bribery as it has to domestic corruption. This sends an unfortunate message that foreign bribery is an acceptable means to win overseas business and improve Greece’s economy during an economic crisis. Greece must therefore urgently raise the priority of fighting foreign bribery and explicitly address foreign bribery in its national anti-corruption strategies.

    • Facebook raises security concerns with launch of Messenger payments service

      The new Facebook service has, unsurprisingly, raised a few eyebrows, with some noting privacy concerns could prove a barrier to the service’s success.

      Kevin Dallas, CMO at WorldPay, said: “Social networks are an integral part of our lives, so it’s no surprise that they want to play a role in our finances.

      “Many people, however, still have concerns about security online, with identity fraud that uses data cribbed from social networks rife. Until these fears are put to bed, this will be a big barrier to the wholesale adoption of this technology.”

    • ‘Shadow CIA’ Stratfor Claims EU, Russia Will Fall Apart

      Austin-based think tank Stratfor has released its Decade Forecast 2015-2025, predicting the imminent collapse of Russia and the EU and the decline of China, while the US and its allies flourish.

    • Have the Banks Escaped Criminal Prosecution because They’re Spying Surrogates?

      I’m preparing to do a series of posts on CISA, the bill passed out of SSCI this week that, unlike most of the previous attempts to use cybersecurity to justify domestic spying, may well succeed (I’ve been using OTI’s redline version which shows how SSCI simply renamed things to be able to claim they’re addressing privacy concerns).

      But — particularly given Richard Burr’s office’s assurances this bill is great because “business groups like the Financial Services Roundtable and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association have already expressed their support for the bill” — I wanted to raise a question I’ve been pondering.

      To what extent have banks won themselves immunity by serving as intelligence partners for the federal government?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A practical guide to making up a sensation.

      So how can a global company with Russian roots play a part in a conspiracy theory? Well, this one is easy: there should be some devilish inner job of the Russian secret services (to produce the “I knew it!” effect). In many cases you can change the adjective “Russian” for any other to produce a similar effect. It’s a simple yet effective hands-on recipe for a sensationalist article. Exploiting paranoia is always a great tool for increasing readership.

      There are questions we’ve answered a million times: what are our links with the KGB? Why do you expose cyber-campaigns by Western intelligence services? When do you plan to hire Edward Snowden? And other ones of the ‘have you stopped beating your wife?’ kind.

      We’re a transparent company, so we’ve got detailed answers ready. Of course we want to dispel any speculation about our participation in any conspiracy. We’ve nothing to hide: we’re in the security business and to be successful in it you have to be open to scrutiny.

    • The CIA-Controlled Neocon Washington Post

      America’s MSM mock legitimate journalism. State propaganda Big Lies substitute for real news, information and analysis on issues mattering most.

    • Kill The Messenger: a murky meditation on modern media

      The kicker, the ugliest irony – and the movie’s measure of how gutless and corrupt the American media has become – is that chief among Webb’s persecutors is the self-same home of Woodward and Bernstein, The Washington Post of All The President’s Men. Ultimately for Webb the bitterness became – tragically – too much to bear.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Senate Intelligence Committee Advances Terrible “̶C̶y̶b̶e̶r̶s̶e̶c̶u̶r̶i̶t̶y̶”̶ ̶B̶i̶l̶l̶ Surveillance Bill in Secret Session

      The Senate Intelligence Committee advanced a terrible cybersecurity bill called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) to the Senate floor last week. The new chair (and huge fan of transparency) Senator Richard Burr may have set a record as he kept the bill secret until Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the newest Senate Intelligence bill is one of the worst yet.

    • CISA’s Terrorists Are Not Just Foreign Terrorists

      In addition to hunting hackers, the Cybersecurity Information Security Act — the bill that just passed the Senate Intelligence Committee — collects information domestically to target terrorists if those so-called terrorists can be said to be hacking or otherwise doing damage to property.

    • Draft Equipment Interference Code of Practice Submission

      The UK has been deploying CNE for over a decade, yet the release of the draft Equipment Interference Code of Practice (EI Code) is the first time the UK intelligence services have sought public authorisation for their activities. Indeed, it is the first time the intelligence services have publicly acknowledged they engage in CNE. For that reason, this consultation regarding the draft EI Code is extremely important. Privacy International and Open Rights Group appreciate this opportunity to weigh in on whether CNE is an appropriate surveillance technique and, if it is used, the controls, safeguards and oversight that must be applied.

    • Simple Question: What Cyberattack Would The New Cybersecurity Bill Have Stopped?

      Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted (in secret, of course) to approve a new cybersecurity bill, dubbed CISA (as it was in the last Congress), though it kept the content of the actual bill secret until this week. The only Senator who voted against it was… Senator Wyden, of course, who rightly pointed out that this bill is “not a cybersecurity bill – it’s a surveillance bill by another name.”

    • UK Government Admits Intelligence Services Allowed To Break Into Any System, Anywhere, For Any Reason

      What’s important about this revelation is not just the information itself — many people had assumed this was the case — but the fact that once more, bringing court cases against the UK’s GCHQ has ferreted out numerous details that were previously secret. This shows the value of the strategy, and suggests it should be used again where possible.

    • The NSA’s plan: improve cybersecurity by cyber-attacking everyone else

      The National Security Agency want to be able to hack more people, vacuum up even more of your internet records and have the keys to tech companies’ encryption – and, after 18 months of embarrassing inaction from Congress on surveillance reform, the NSA is now lobbying it for more powers, not less.

      NSA director Mike Rogers testified in front of a Senate committee this week, lamenting that the poor ol’ NSA just doesn’t have the “cyber-offensive” capabilities (read: the ability to hack people) it needs to adequately defend the US. How cyber-attacking countries will help cyber-defense is anybody’s guess, but the idea that the NSA is somehow hamstrung is absurd.

    • Hacking BIOS Chips Isn’t Just the NSA’s Domain Anymore

      BIOS-hacking until now has been largely the domain of advanced hackers like those of the NSA. But researchers Xeno Kovah and Corey Kallenberg presented a proof-of-concept attack today at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, showing how they could remotely infect the BIOS of multiple systems using a host of new vulnerabilities that took them just hours to uncover. They also found a way to gain high-level system privileges for their BIOS malware to undermine the security of specialized operating systems like Tails—used by journalists and activists for stealth communications and handling sensitive data.

    • Twenty-four Million Wikipedia Users Can’t Be Wrong: Important Allies Join the Fight Against NSA Internet Backbone Surveillance

      Last week, the ACLU filed a welcome additional challenge to the NSA’s warrantless Internet backbone surveillance (aka “Upstream” surveillance) on behalf of Wikimedia and a number of other media and human rights organizations. We applaud all of those involved in bringing the case. It adds another avenue of attack on one of the NSA’s most audacious programs—tapping into the very backbone of the Internet and thereby putting all of our online activities under scrutiny.

    • ‘Traitor’ Snowden endangered spies with NSA leaks, claim UK security chiefs

      Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency (NSA) leaks damaged national security, exposed spies to danger, aided terrorists and cost the UK taxpayer money, according to senior British security officials.

    • 10 spy programmes with silly codenames used by GCHQ and NSA

      You’ve probably heard a lot about online mass surveillance, but maybe you’re wondering how exactly intelligence agencies are monitoring you. Helpfully, they like to give their surveillance programmes silly codenames, so we can explain what’s going on.

    • SAP says customers – like the NSA – can do what they like with its software

      CEO Bill McDermott says reports about SAP’s role in the NSA’s controversial mass surveillance projects are “misleading” but adds firm is “honoured” that it contributes to national safety.

    • SAP CEO McDermott Walks a Fine Line on NSA Allegations

      “There are no back doors in SAP technology, period,” he told Re/code at an event in Hanover, Germany, Monday night where the CeBit technology conference was under way.

    • Americans: It’s OK For the NSA To Spy On Foreigners But Not Me

      Americans are OK with government surveillance on foreigners and politicians, but not when it comes to their own lives, according to a new survey. In the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s antiterrorism monitoring initiatives, more than half of Americans think it’s unacceptable for the government to monitor U.S. citizens’ communications, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. But 60 percent think it’s fine to listen in on the conversations of foreign leaders, and 54 percent think it’s ok to monitor foreign citizens.

    • Wikipedia head: NSA spying is unconstitutional

      The co-founder of the world’s sixth most popular website thinks that the National Security Agency’s Internet spying is not only illegal but violates core provisions of the Constitution.

      While explaining the rationale behind Wikipedia’s lawsuit against the spy agency on Friday, Jimmy Wales hoped that the legal action would lead to a landmark ruling declaring new limits on government’s spying powers.

      The “minimum acceptable” result of the case, Wales said in a conversation on Reddit, would be to find that the NSA’s massive collection of data on the Internet’s backbone was illegal.

    • Court: NSA Spying May Continue Even If Congress Lets Authority Expire

      The National Security Agency may be allowed to continue scooping up American phone records indefinitely even if congressional authority for the spying program expires later this year, according to a recently declassified court order.

    • Here’s Why the NSA Won’t Need Congress’ Permission To Continue Spying

      The National Security Agency may be allowed to continue scooping up American phone records indefinitely even if congressional authority for the spying program expires later this year, according to a recently declassified court order.

    • Former NSA Staffer Finds Way To Bypass Apple Inc. Mac Gatekeeper

      But former NSA researcher Patrick Wardle told Thomas Fox-Brewster of Forbes that he has found a way to bypass the Apple Mac’s Gatekeeper security and abuse such insecure downloads. Wardle told Fox-Brewster that the Gatekeeper does not check all components of the OS X download files. A malicious version of a “dylib file” (dynamic library) can be sneaked into legitimate downloads performed over insecure HTTP lines. This way you can infect Macs and steal data.

    • Ex-NSA Researcher Finds Sneaky Way Past Apple Mac’s Gatekeeper

      Finding vulnerable apps shouldn’t be too hard either. Wardle created a scanner that looked for applications that would use his naughty dylibs.

    • The Stasi, a timeless topic

      A new generation seeks answers, Jahn says. “What’s the difference between the Stasi and the NSA?” young people ask him. Jahn, himself a victim of the Stasi, feels such questions are neither absurd nor trivializing. Both represent a “state intervention.” A dictatorship’s secret police is not comparable to an intelligence gathering organization of a democracy but a comparison can be helpful. The Stasi is ideal illustrative material. Had the files remained closed, we wouldn’t have access to this timeless material. Opening them was first an act of liberation for the victims, but dealing with Stasi history as such is a lesson in democracy.

    • Two books look at how modern technology ruins privacy

      ‘Even the East Germans couldn’t follow everybody all the time,” Bruce Schneier writes. “Now it’s easy.”

    • Angry Austrian could turn Europe against the US – thanks to data

      In a David versus Goliath battle, an Austrian law student may topple the biggest EU-US data sharing deal when he gets his day in court in a couple of weeks’ time.

    • Amazon doesn’t want you to know how many data demands it gets

      Amazon remains the only US internet giant in the Fortune 500 that has not yet released a report detailing how many demands for data it receives from the US government.

      Although people are starting to notice, the retail and cloud giant has no public plans to address these concerns.

      Word first spread last week when the ACLU’s Christopher Soghoian, who’s spent years publicly denouncing companies for poor privacy practices, told attendees at a Seattle town hall event that he’s “hit a wall with Amazon,” adding that it’s “just really difficult to reach people there.”

    • 15 Facts About The NSA’s Domestic Spying Program

      The NSA has a blanket order to spy on your domestic phone calls. It collects information about the date and time of numbers dialed and the length of call. There is no evidence that it is currently storing recordings of the phone calls, though it is widely suspected to be occurring.

      Under this blanket order, the NSA collects data on 3 billion phone calls per day.

    • Revealed: CIA plans to increase spying on Facebook, Twitter

      Buried in a news article Tuesday is a nugget of a story that could send privacy advocates reeling: the CIA is planning to increase spying on Facebook pages and tweets.

      What’s more, the plan to increase cyber espionage has set of an intradepartmental feud. According to the Washington Post, the head of the agency’s clandestine service recently resigned, in part over objections to the plan. CIA director John Brennan “quickly replaced him with a longtime officer who had led an internal review panel that broadly endorsed [his] reform agenda.”

    • CIA plans to increase spying on Facebook, Twitter
    • Rejection of NSA whistleblower’s retaliation claim draws criticism

      Thomas Drake became a symbol of the dangers whistleblowers face when they help journalists and Congress investigate wrongdoing at intelligence agencies. He claims he was subjected to a decade of retaliation by the National Security Agency that culminated in his being charged with espionage.

    • NSA trying to map Rogers, RBC communications traffic, leak shows

      The U.S. National Security Agency has been trying to map the communications traffic of corporations around the world, and a classified document reveals that at least two of Canada’s largest companies are included.

      A 2012 presentation by a U.S. intelligence analyst, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail, includes a list of corporate networks that names Royal Bank of Canada and Rogers Communications Inc.

      The presentation, titled “Private Networks: Analysis, Contextualization and Setting the Vision,” is among the NSA documents taken by former contractor Edward Snowden. It was obtained by The Globe from a confidential source.

    • Reports of NSA spying on Canadian companies fuel calls for more transparency

      Critics say a crisis of transparency surrounds modern spying methods in Canada after revelations that a close ally – the U.S. National Security Agency – has been looking at the communications traffic of at least two Canadian corporations.

    • The NSA Is Going to Love These USB-C Charging Cables

      The trouble with USB-C stems from the fact that the USB standard isn’t very secure. Last year, researchers wrote a piece of malware called BadUSB which attaches to your computer using USB devices like phone chargers or thumb drives. Once connected, the malware basically takes over a computer imperceptibly. The scariest part is that the malware is written directly to the USB controller chip’s firmware, which means that it’s virtually undetectable and so far, unfixable.


      What the Verge fails to mention however, is that it’s potentially much worse than that. If everyone is using the same power charger, it’s not just renegade hackers posing as creative professionals in coffee shops that you need to worry about. With USB-C, the surveillance establishment suddenly has a huge incentive to figure out how to sneak a compromised cable into your power hole.

    • French surveillance bill would give govt NSA-like power

      The measure introduced Thursday has already prompted outcry from some privacy advocates and human rights groups.

    • Snowden files: NZ’s spying on the family

      Leaked Edward Snowden documents, published for the first time today, reveal New Zealand is spying on them anyway – despite residents being New Zealanders.

    • ‘Samoa has nothing to hide’ – Samoan PM supports spying
    • Analysis: The questions the Government must answer about the Snowden revelations

      Wrong, says the Prime Minister of the surveillance stories.

      But John Key won’t say why.

      Don’t believe what you read in the newspaper, says the Foreign Minister of reports New Zealand was spying on the Solomon Islands government.

      However, there’s no benefit in having discussions about it through the media, says Murray McCully.

      And those doing the spying at the Government Communications Security Bureau won’t assist, saying it doesn’t comment on “operational” matters.

      So, between the leaked top secret documents and the denials, how do we cut through to what’s actually happening?

      Broadly, the claim in relation to the GCSB is that it sucks up vast amounts of raw data from the Pacific which is then stored with the United States’ National Security Agency.

    • Leak unveils NZ spy network

      New Zealand agency exposed spying on Japan, China, India among others including Antarctica.

    • CISA 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions

      CISA’s primary mechanism is to facilitate the transfer of “cyber threat indicators,” which are defined broadly enough to include private information such as email content or personal identities.

    • What’s Next in Government Surveillance

      In the United States, the group charged with hacking computers is the Tailored Access Operations group (TAO) inside the NSA. We know that TAO infiltrates computers remotely, using programs with cool code names like QUANTUMINSERT and FOXACID. We know that TAO has developed specialized software to hack into everything from computers to routers to smartphones, and that its staff installs hardware “implants” into computer and networking equipment by intercepting and infecting it in transit. One estimate is that the group has successfully hacked into, and is exfiltrating information from, 80,000 computers worldwide.

    • The world’s most sophisticated hacks: governments?

      Last month, Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Labs published detailed information on what it calls the Equation Group and how the U.S. National Security Agency and their U.K. counterpart, GCHQ, have figure how to embed spyware deep inside computers, gaining almost total control of those computers to eavesdrop on most of the world’s computers, even in the face of reboots, operating system reinstalls, and commercial anti-virus products. The details are impressive, and I urge anyone interested in tech to read the Kaspersky documents, or these very detailed articles.

    • How Oliver Stone is tackling the Edward Snowden story

      Sony, meanwhile, has bought the rights to Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide in the hope of making its own movie, and has set James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli for the project, though whether it still moves forward in the wake of Stone’s take is an open question.

    • Why Americans Don’t Trust the Intelligence Community

      To explain what they mean by non-neutrality, Ashley and Ben write: “When it comes to the intelligence community . . . the law allows those actors to do things other people cannot.” They go on to note that this definition raises a question: why does the American public consistently rate so highly the U.S. military, an institution whose members necessarily detain and kill people with legal immunity?

    • Spy Cameras Collect Data Outside of Post Office

      Local Denver citizens became alarmed after discovering that they’re being watched while dropping off mail by a hidden data collection device outside their local post office .

      The events took place from Thanksgiving and continued until recently. Who was responsible for planting the device?

    • What the CIA used before Google Maps

      These days, it’s easy to take for granted just how amazing Google Maps is. Not only is Google’s mapping service incredibly useful for getting where you want to go, the satellite imagery it provides is the stuff straight out of old school spy movies.

    • The CIA And America’s Presidents: Some Rarely Discussed Truths Shaping Contemporary American Democracy

      As with all large, powerful institutions over time, the CIA constantly seeks expansion of its means and responsibilities, much like a growing child wanting ever more food and clothing and entertainment. This inherent tendency, the expansion of institutional empire, is difficult enough to control under normal circumstances, but when there are complex operations in many countries and tens of billions in spending and many levels of secrecy and secret multi-level files, the ability of any elected politicians – whose keenest attention is always directed towards re-election and acquiring enough funds to run a campaign – to exercise meaningful control and supervision becomes problematic at best. The larger and more complex the institution becomes, the truer this is.

    • CIA at 50, Lost in the ‘Politicization’ Swamp

      Like so much else at the CIA, however, that tradition changed in the early 1980s, with Ronald Reagan’s determination to enforce his “Evil Empire” vision of the Soviet Union. The writing was quickly on the wall. The Reagan transition team denounced CIA career analysts for allegedly underestimating the Soviet commitment to world domination.

    • Council of Europe panel asks US to let Edward Snowden return home

      The US Government threatened to starve Berlin of intelligence if it harboured fugitive document-leaker Edward Snowden, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel says.

      The National Security Agency (NSA) leaker considered Germany as a place of refuge after he fled to Russia from the United States via Hong Kong in 2013.

    • US threatened Berlin with intel blackout over Snowden asylum: report

      The US Government threatened to starve Berlin of intelligence if it harboured fugitive document-leaker Edward Snowden, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel says.

      The National Security Agency (NSA) leaker considered Germany as a place of refuge after he fled to Russia from the United States via Hong Kong in 2013.

    • Mystery Again Surrounds Bundestag’s NSA Committee of Inquiry (Die Welt, Germany)
    • With clock ticking, lawmakers have no plan for reforming NSA

      Lawmakers are nowhere close to a deal to renew provisions of the Patriot Act, with a deadline little more than two months away.

    • NSA Bulk Telephony Metadata Program Reupped Until Parts Of The Patriot Act Potentially Sunset

      In a post on its official Tumblr, the United States’ Office of the Director of National Intelligence noted that it sought and received a reauthorization of its telephony metadata program, authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The program collects metadata on phone calls, including those of United States citizens.

    • The Head of the NSA Is on a Charm Offensive

      After nearly two years of intense scrutiny over the American spy shop’s mass surveillance programs, Rogers is making a full-court press to repair the agency’s troubled legacy. That means portraying a shinier, happier version of the behemoth spy agency that led widespread surveillance on Germany’s chancellor, prominent Muslims, and, well, everybody.

    • Former NSA chief’s irresponsible remarks on China reek of cyber McCarthyism

      Mike McConnell, former chief of the US National Security Agency (NSA), has recently captured public attention with an unprecedented allegation that Chinese hackers “have penetrated every major corporation of any consequence in the US and taken information.”

    • Enough is Enough: We’ve Been Waiting for Congress to Stop the NSA. Since 1975.

      Last year, the Alaska Senate passed a powerful resolution condemning NSA spying and proclaiming that the Alaska State Legislature “will not assist the federal government by facilitating programs that are tyrannical in nature.”

      The resolution also called on the federal government to end mass warrantless collection of electronic data.

      Here we are, another year down the road, and Congress still hasn’t taken the first step to stop unconstitutional spying.

    • Opinion: NSA spying alienates American allies

      To preserve the right of its users who visit the website on a monthly basis, Wikipedia announced Wednesday it was suing the National Security Agency. This announcement made me question why more people and organizations aren’t doing the same.

      Americans seem to love their amendments, but nobody really cares that the NSA violates the Fourth Amendment, which states every citizen has the right to privacy, and the First Amendment, which vows freedom of expression and association.

    • Australian spy officer was sent to New Zealand to lead new surveillance unit

      Australia’s defence intelligence agency sent an officer to work with New Zealand’s spy agency to help them develop their cyber capabilities and lead a new operational unit, new documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal.

    • New Zealand Targets Trade Partners, Hacks Computers in Spy Operations

      New Zealand is conducting covert surveillance operations against some of its strongest trading partners and has obtained sophisticated malware to infect targeted computers and steal data, newly released documents reveal.

      The country’s eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB, is carrying out the surveillance across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond as part of its membership in the Five Eyes, a spying alliance that includes New Zealand as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

    • Wolff: Snowden effect hits ‘Guardian’

      The Snowden story, in addition to its journalistic significance, was a key part of the effort to extend the Guardian brand to the U.S., where the company has pinned much of its hopes for the future.

    • NSA staffers rake in Silicon Valley cash

      Former employees of the National Security Agency are becoming a hot commodity in Silicon Valley amid the tech industry’s battle against government surveillance.

    • NSA Does Not Collect Intelligence From Foreign Companies to Benefit US

      The Canadian daily The Globe and Mail reported On Tuesday that it gained access to an NSA document alleging the spy agency is mapping US and foreign companies’ corporate communications.

    • Lawsuit Challenges NSA Internet Dragnets

      The American Civil Liberties Union earlier this week filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the National Security Agency from indiscriminately snooping on United States Internet traffic.

    • Texas Bill Would Turn Off Power to Massive NSA Surveillance Facility

      A Texas legislator introduced a bill that would stop the independent Texas power grid from being used to power mass, warrantless surveillance by the NSA.

      Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R) introduced House Bill 3916 (HB3916) on March 13. The legislation would prohibit any political subdivision in Texas from providing water or electricity to any federal agency “involved in the routine surveillance or collection and storage of bulk telephone or e-mail records or related metadata concerning any citizen of the United States and that claims the legal authority to collect and store the bulk telephone or e-mail records or metadata concerning any citizen of the United States without the citizen’s consent or a search warrant that describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized.”

    • CIA moves onto NSA’s turf with plan for cyber espionage

      Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan wants to pursue a dramatic expansion of hacking and cyber espionage in a shift that could reorganize power and create tension with the rival National Security Agency (NSA).

    • The NSA should be worried about the most secure smartphone ever

      Remember the ultra-secure smartphone I told you about last summer called the Blackphone? Well, it’s getting a serious upgrade that the NSA won’t be happy about.

    • FREAK vulnerability exploits old encryption export restrictions

      As one might expect, the NSA controlling encryption exports was a contentious issue. The agency had no particular interest in helping anyone outside of the U.S. actually secure their communications. It created a split world in which American citizens had access to better encryption ciphers, such as SSL with 1024-bit asymmetric encryption and 128-bit symmetric encryption. The rest of the world, meanwhile, was only eligible for encryption approved for export, which limited SSL to 512-bit asymmetric and 40- or 56-bit symmetric encryption. This weak export encryption solution gave the NSA the ability to continue monitoring international communications. More than just SSL suffered from this NSA decision, as well. The ancient VPN protocol, PPTP, supports three strengths of encryption to accommodate export: 40-, 56-, and 128-bit. Export restrictions even created controversy around Microsoft operating systems.

    • 1990s backdoor demanded by NSA leaves many websites vulnerable

      Researchers from France and the US call the newly discovered flaw “FREAK,” which apparently arises from “a class of deliberately weak export cipher suites… introduced under the pressure of the US government agencies to ensure that the NSA would be able to decrypt all foreign encrypted communication.”

    • Montana House Committee Passes Bill to Turn off Resources to NSA Spying

      A Montana bill that would take on NSA spying by denying material support and resources to federal agencies engaged in warrantless surveillance cleared a major hurdle today, passing the House Judiciary Committee by a 12-9 vote.

    • Montana House Votes to Approve Bill Turning Off Resources to NSA by Razor-Thin Margin

      The Montana House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would take on NSA spying by denying material support and resources to federal agencies engaged in warrantless surveillance. The vote was 51-49.

    • Law Enforcement Fear-Mongering Kills anti-NSA bill in Montana

      This is not something we’ve actively reported on or aggressively tracked, but I’m planning on shining some light on who most aggressively lobbies against bills to advance liberty and/or reject federal power. In almost every situations, it’s law enforcement. And while many conservatives, for example, hold these folks in such high regard that they’re almost seen in a religious light, they’re the ones behind the scenes getting the most important bills voted down.

    • Pentagon Inspector General Ignored & Rejected NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake’s Claims of Retaliation

      NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake has learned that the Pentagon Inspector General’s Office has rejected his whistleblower retaliation complaint, which he filed after the Justice Department’s prosecution against him collapsed.

      As part of the Pentagon IG office’s audit, Drake provided details about waste and civil liberties abuses related to a program called TRAILBLAZER. He alleged in his complaint that he was spied upon by NSA management as he participated in this audit as a material witness. When he grew upset with the failure of the NSA to address problems, he decided to contact a Baltimore Sun reporter and reveal details related to the corruption.

      The complaint he submitted to the IG’s office comprehensively detailed nearly ten years of retaliation by the agency for his whistleblowing. But, for no legal or statutory reason, the investigation into whistleblower retaliation only focused on five months and ignored a vast amount of other allegations made against the agency.

    • NSA chief says agency complies with ‘law’ after spyware reports

      Navy Admiral Michael Rogers was responding to reports that the NSA had embedded spyware on computer hard drives on a vast scale and that it and its British counterpart had hacked into the world’s biggest manufacturer of cellphone SIM cards. He spoke at a forum sponsored by the New America think tank.

    • NSA director: Imported technology comes with risk

      The director of the National Security Agency (NSA) acknowledged an “aspect of risk” Wednesday in government agencies using computer technology that is manufactured abroad.

    • NSA document sheds light on cyber warfare between US, Iran

      The document, written for the purpose of briefing then-director of the NSA, Keith Alexander (who is now running his own cyber security firm) says Iran was behind the “destructive cyberattack against Saudi Aramco in August 2012, during which data was destroyed on tens of thousands of computer.”

    • The Coming Death, and Afterlife, of the NSA Spying Law

      The scale of that surveillance has become so great that the NSA has been known to collect images and content from conversations between ordinary people who are not even being targeted, including content that is sexual in nature, religious, political or related to mental health.

    • FBI: NSA reform could hurt cyber probes

      The business records request program based on Section 215 allows the FBI to obtain customer records from places like major telecom companies without going through the public court system.

    • Seeing the Stasi Through NSA Eyes

      I had come to the ​Stasi Museum with a group of U.S. and UK intelligence whistleblowers…

    • In Response to EFF Lawsuit, Government Scheduled to Release More Secret Court Opinions on NSA Surveillance

      Later today, the government is scheduled to release two landmark opinions on NSA spying issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The documents are being released as a result of FOIA lawsuit filed by EFF last year, seeking disclosure of many of the surveillance court’s still-secret, yet significant, opinions.

    • CIA re-orgs to build cyber-snooping into all investigations

      It may also sound like the CIA is going to be doing a lot more digital snooping…

    • Cyberespionage Is a Top Priority for CIA’s New Directorate
    • Top Secret NSA Documents Leak by Snowden Resulted in ‘Few Changes’

      The leak of the NSA documents by Edward Snowden has resulted in a “very few changes” to the modus operandi of the US intelligence agency and its partners, says Norway’s spy chief.

    • Is privacy dead?

      In 1980, personal computers were still in their infancy, and the internet did not exist. There were, of course, genuine concerns about threats to our privacy, but, looking back at my book of that year, they mostly revolved around telephone tapping, surveillance, and unwanted press intrusion. Data protection legislation was embryonic, and the concept of privacy as a human right was little more than a chimera.

    • AT&T’s Cozy History With the NSA Unlikely to Derail Proposed Merger

      As consolidation of the telecom sector is placing consumer data in the hands of fewer corporations, dozens of former AT&T business partners have warned regulators that the company has a poor record on privacy that should increase scrutiny of its proposed $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV.

    • NSA cited as hurdle against AT&T merger

      A coalition of dozens of former AT&T business partners are raising alarms about the telecom giant’s past cooperation with the National Security Agency (NSA), which could pose problems for its $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV.

  • Civil Rights

    • Leniency for General Petraeus: His Lawyer’s Argument

      General Petraeus’s case is about the unlawful removal and improper storage of classified materials, not the dissemination of such materials to the public. Indeed, a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement and signed by both General Petraeus and the Justice Department makes clear that “no classified information” from his “black books” (personal notebooks) that were given to his biographer, Paula Broadwell, appeared in the biography.

    • NSA whistleblower denounces Petraeus plea bargain

      NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake denounced a plea bargain reached by former CIA Director David Petraeus and federal prosecutors, calling it a “slap on the wrist” for illegal actions “served no public good.”

    • Quit listening to the hawks, CIA on Middle East

      By us invading Iraq we have every Muslim in the world hating us.

    • Lawyers for CIA Leaker Cite Selective Prosecution After Petraeus Plea Deal

      Lawyers for Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official convicted earlier this year of leaking classified information to a New York Times reporter, have requested a reconsideration of his conviction because two former generals, David Petraeus and James Cartwright, have received far more lenient treatment for what they call similar offenses.

    • NSA Hinders Amnesty International USA Work

      Amnesty International USA Security and Human Rights Program Director Naureen Shah stated that the US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program interferes with efforts to document and stop human rights abuses.

    • After Hearing, Capitol Police Arrest Lawyer for Shouting Question at Clapper About NSA Surveillance

      Shahid Buttar, a constitutional lawyer and executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), was arrested by Capitol police at the end of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in which Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified.

      In video posted by the peace group, CODEPINK, Buttar shouts a question about NSA surveillance at Clapper as he is leaving. An officer is already nearby, which suggests he had already tried to get Clapper’s attention prior to the first question heard in the video.

    • Lead prosecutor apologizes for role in sending man to death row

      This is the first, and probably will be the last, time that I have publicly voiced an opinion on any of your editorials. Quite frankly, I believe many of your editorials avoid the hard questions on a current issue in order not to be too controversial. I congratulate you here, though, because you have taken a clear stand on what needs to be done in the name of justice.

    • “We need to reconquer democracy”

      The Pira­te Party has been grow­ing in pop­ula­rity recently and is now the lar­gest political party in Ice­land accord­ing to a recent poll, with 29.1% of the vote. A whopp­ing 38 percent of Icelandic voters aged 18-49 year old would cast their vote for the Pira­te Party if the electi­ons were held today.

      Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, says the growing support in Iceland is encouraging for Pirates worldwide.

    • Supreme Court considers impact of disability law on police

      The police shooting in Georgia earlier this month of a naked, unarmed man with bipolar disorder spotlights the growing number of violent confrontations between police and the mentally ill – an issue that goes before the Supreme Court this coming week.

      At least half the people police kill each year have mental health problems, according to a 2013 report from the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association. On Monday, the nation’s highest court will consider how police must comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act when dealing with armed or violent people who have psychiatric problems or other disabilities.

    • Memo: San Jose police aim to have officer-worn cameras by next year, working drone by 2017

      The San Jose Police Department has set timetables for pilot-testing officer-worn cameras and a drone, surveillance technologies that have polarized local law-enforcement and civil libertarians over the past year.

    • If America Wants to End Terrorism, It Has to Start With Its Own

      American airpower has blown away eight wedding parties in three different countries—and we call ourselves the leaders of the global war on terror.

    • The CIA, the drug dealers, and the tragedy of Gary Webb

      Gary Webb knew his story would cause a stir. The newspaper report he’d written suggested that a US-backed rebel army in Latin America was supplying the drugs responsible for blighting some of Los Angeles’s poorest neighbourhoods – and, crucially, that the CIA must have known about it.

    • Lawyer for Pakistani doctor who helped CIA find Osama bin Laden shot dead

      A Pakistani lawyer under death threats for defending a doctor who helped CIA agents hunt al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was shot dead on Tuesday, police said.

      Samiullah Afridi represented Dr Shakil Afridi, who was jailed in 2012 for 33 years for running a fake vaccination campaign believed to have helped the US intelligence agency track down bin Laden. That sentence was overturned in 2013 and the doctor is now in jail awaiting a new trial.

    • Lawyer for Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down Bin Laden is shot dead months after receiving death threats from Taliban militants
    • Lawyer for Pakistan doctor who helped CIA find bin Laden shot dead
    • US role in disastrous Mamasapano ops under scrutiny

      A disastrous raid on alleged Islamic militants has ignited the worst political crisis yet for Philippine President Benigno Aquino — and questions about the extent of any US role in the operation are deepening his discomfort.

      Some Philippine lawmakers are asking whether the US military played a leading role in the operation in January, which ended with 44 police commandos dead in a field in the country’s Muslim-majority south.

    • Here’s the full version of the CIA’s 2002 intelligence assessment on WMD in Iraq

      In October of 2002, 9 months before the US-led invasion of Iraq, the CIA produced a document summarizing relevant intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons programs. The document became the basis for the Bush Administration’s public statements about the extent of Saddam’s WMD program and was also distributed to members of Congress.

    • Revealed: The CIA report used as pretext for Iraq invasion

      The document summarizing the CIA’s purported knowledge of Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, produced in October 2002 and hidden from the public ever since, has finally been made public.

      The CIA had previously released a heavily redacted version of the controversial National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in 2004. Last year, transparency advocate John Greenwald made another FOIA request and received a declassified version of the document, which Vice News published this Thursday.

    • Declassified CIA report refutes US rationale for Iraq war

      Among the U.S. arguments for invading Iraq was to topple a regime that developed weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq harbored terrorists, but a newly-surfaced intelligence report shows the rationale lacked certainty.

    • The Iraq CIA Report That Handed 127,000 People Their Death Certificates

      Almost nine months before the invasion of Iraq led by the United States, the CIA produced a document in October 2002 summarizing the agency’s purported knowledge of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons programs.

    • This Declassified CIA Report Shows the Shaky Case for the Iraq War

      The report is rife with what now are obvious red flags that the Bush White House oversold the case for war. It asserts that Iraq had an active chemical weapons program at one point, though it admits that the CIA had found no evidence of the program’s continuation. It repeatedly includes caveats like “credible evidence is limited.” It gives little space to the doubts of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which found the CIA’s findings on Iraq’s nuclear program unconvincing and “at best ambiguous.”

    • The CIA Just Released the Documents That George W. Bush Used to Sell the Iraq War

      Twelve years after the U.S. launched its invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the secret intelligence report repeatedly cited by the George W. Bush administration as it campaigned for war has finally been made available to the American public.

      The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate provides further proof that the president and his aides purposefully mischaracterized and exaggerated the dangers posed by the Iraqi regime in an effort to stoke fear about a nuclear or biological attack on the U.S. and its allies. A close reading of the report, which reflects the consensus of U.S. intelligence at the time, reveals an intelligence community at odds with itself about the nature of the potential threat.

    • Op-Ed: CIA-linked General Haftar appointed commander of Libyan army

      Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni of the internationally recognized Libyan government based in Tobruk has appointed General Khalifa Haftar as commander of the army today.

    • Iraq, Libya…Iran?

      I was in Iraq with a dozen of my CODEPINK colleagues a month before the US invasion in 2003. While we found a country wracked by 13 years of draconian Western sanctions and a people scared to openly criticize Saddam Hussein, we also found a middle class country with an extremely well-educated population where women made up the majority of university students and participated in all aspects of public life.

    • John Brennan and Restructuring the CIA

      What then, of CIA director John Brennan’s promise to “overhaul” the organisation in what is ostensibly an effort to modernise it? His address to the press was filled with management speak. “Efficiencies” had to be wrung; hindering “seams” in the organisation’s structure preventing proper assessment of threats had to be targeted and removed.

    • UK-Iraq abuse inquiry refuses to consider CIA torture report

      The body tasked with investigating British abuses in Iraq has said it will not request as evidence the US Senate’s report on CIA torture, in the case of two Pakistani men tortured and rendered by the UK and the US.

    • Patriotic Betrayal in the 1960s — When the CIA Turned Students Into Spies
    • A Friend of the Devil

      Almost exactly twenty years after Truman’s speech, in February, 1967, the government’s cover was spectacularly blown by a college dropout. The dropout’s name was Michael Wood, and the operation he exposed was the C.I.A.’s covert use of an organization called the National Student Association. The revelation had a cascading effect, and helped to mark the end of the first phase of the Cold War.

    • Uncensored CIA torture report demanded by lawyers in Iraq war abuse case

      Lawyers for two men, who claim they were tortured after capture by UK forces, are demanding access to an uncensored version of the CIA torture report from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) team charged with investigating abuses.

      Solicitors Leigh Day, representing the men, has a long record of taking on similar cases, including the recent Al Sweady Inquiry into allegations of abuse by British soldiers.

      Their clients are two Pakistani nationals, Yunus Rahmatullah and Amanatullah Ali, both of whom were captured in Iraq in 2004 by British special forces soldiers and held for a decade before being released by the US last year.

    • ‘Torture Report’ Reshapes Conversation In Guantanamo Courtroom

      For years in the military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, there’s been a subject no one could talk about: torture.

    • CIA asks foreign special services to torture suspects – John Brennan

      Fox News Channel conducted its own investigation and noted that the activities of the CIA and Brennan in particular in terms of torture intensified after the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009. Since then, the department has received a number of secret rooms, where US secret agents would interrogate suspicious people.

    • Homan Square: politicians push DoJ to investigate ‘CIA or Gestapo tactics’ at secret police site

      A day after the Guardian exposed the first in a series of allegations of incommunicado detention and abuse at the Chicago police facility known as Homan Square, Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin sent a letter to the US Department of Justice. Citing what he likened to “CIA or Gestapo tactics”, Boykin joined officials and human-rights groups from the nation’s capital to the west side of Chicago in calling for a federal investigation into the secretive site.

    • Chicago Police Use “Black Site” Similar To CIA Interrogation Facilities
    • VIDEO: Chicago Police Run CIA-Style Domestic Interrogation ‘Black Site’
    • Chicago police are running a horrifying CIA-style black site out of a warehouse
    • Chicago Followed CIA Example
    • The CIA Secret Prisons in Europe. Political Camouflage in the EU. Washington’s “European Partners in Crime”
    • Chicago Police Caught Disappearing People Into Secret CIA-Style Detention Center
    • The US Military’s Forgotten Sex-Abuse Scandal That Foretold CIA Torture in the War on Terror
    • The Historic Roots of Homan Square, Chicago’s CIA-Style Black Site
    • Stunning Report: Chicago Police Created CIA Type Black Site For Detainees
    • Why we all bear responsibility for the torture of black, brown and poor people — at home and abroad
    • Chicago Police’s Secret CIA-Style Detention Center

      The Guardian has reported that Chicago Police are operating a secret detention facility that mirrors the CIA’s “black sites.” From violations of due process to torture, the revelations raise serious concerns about the deteriorating state of freedom and justice in the United States.

    • Mike Vickers, longtime senior intelligence official and former CIA strategist, to leave Pentagon

      Vickers is best known for having played a leading role in planning CIA paramilitary operations in the 1980s in Afghanistan, where he helped coordinate the guerrilla war against the Soviet army — a covert action campaign famously depicted in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War.” He left the spy agency shortly afterward, and stayed out of government work for years.

    • HBO movie will tell how psychologists developed the CIA’s interrogation tactics

      HBO Films is making a feature about how the CIA hired psychologists to devise extreme interrogation tactics that the agency employed in the war on terror. This was all done with the full knowledge and cooperation of the American Psychological Association, making it possible that your own therapist was thinking about waterboarding while you went on and on about Richard getting that promotion instead of you.

    • HBO Will Adapt Rorschach And Awe – Examining The Architects Of CIA Torture

      HBO Films is developing a movie adaptation of the Vanity Fair article, Rorschach And Awe, written by Katherine Eban. While this source material certainly provides a snappy title for the project, the subject matter is deeply troubling – examining, as it does, the role of two professional psychologists in the development of torture techniques for the Central Intelligence Agency.

    • US Justice Dep’t Ignores Questions on Drones, CIA Torture Report – Lawmaker

      US Senator Ron Wyden’s said that the US Department of Justice has left unanswered all questions concerning the US government’s use of drones, government agencies’ interpretations of the law and the report on CIA torture.

    • Did the CIA Really Get a “Bum Rap” on Torture?

      Nowhere does Cole mention some of the more bizarre and unconscionable aspects of CIA’s torture and abuse such as “rectal feeding” and “rectal hydration” that involved a “pureed” blend of hummus and raisins that was “rectally infused.” The CIA justified these techniques as “medically necessary,” which was the kind of lie that Cole likes to pretend was not part of the CIA’s modus operandi. And nowhere does Professor Cole note that these sadistic techniques were performed on totally innocent victims, who were known to be innocent by many at the CIA. It is believed that nearly 25% of the victims were totally innocent, which created no problem for Vice President Dick Cheney but should have bothered the first recipient of the ACLU’s prize for contributions on civil liberties in 2013.

    • ICC studying CIA torture report ‘very, very closely’

      The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor is studying a US Senate report on the CIA’s torture of terrorism suspects “very, very closely”, she told Middle East Eye on Thursday.

    • Did torture report give US government a free pass and dump too much on CIA?

      Three months after the Senate report was released, Georgetown University Law Center Prof. David Cole emphasized a major new piece of the issue.


      What is new? John Yoo, a former US Department of Justice lawyer, has been famous – or infamous – for some time for writing various memoranda justifying stretching international law with new interpretations that could justify the new techniques.

    • European Court Of Human Rights Orders Poland To Pay $262,000 To CIA ‘Black Site’ Prisoners – OpEd
    • Poland to pay compensation to CIA torture victims

      Poland will respect the sentence of the Human Rights Tribunal at Strasbourg and pay compensation to victims of torture at CIA “black sites”, Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said.

    • Former CIA Operative Who Suffers from Narcolepsy Has Discrimination Lawsuit Dismissed Over ‘State Secrets’

      A federal judge dismissed a former CIA operative’s lawsuit alleging he was subject to a “hostile work environment” and discriminated against because of his disability and race. The judge decided the CIA had appropriately made a state secrets claim and there was no way to litigate the case without creating “substantial risk” to “national security.”

    • Miller Center panel addresses CIA torture practices

      The Miller Center hosted an event Friday titled “The CIA and the Question of Torture: Reading the Senate Report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.” The program included a panel of professional experts who debated the significance of the Senate’s recent torture report and placed them into broad historical context.

    • Podcast: CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou on How US Government Treats Whistleblowers in Prison

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou is more than three weeks into an 86-day term on house arrest. He was released from a federal “correctional” institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, in early February.

      Kiriakou pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), but it was not until he spoke up about waterboarding being torture in an interview in 2007 that he became a target for prosecution. He maintains, while what he did was wrong, he was the subject of a selective and vindictive prosecution.

    • A Drug Kingpin, the CIA, and Prisoners: Freeway Rick Ross and America’s Mass Incarceration Problem

      Marc Levin’s documentary Freeway: Crack in the System premieres tonight on Al-Jazeera America. Here, he writes about Freeway Rick Ross’s connection to Selma and a generation of prisoners.

    • Sadists who carried out CIA torture should be fired, prosecuted

      Were the atrocities committed by the CIA following the horrific events of 9/11, which have now come to light, enhanced interrogation or torture? They were neither. They were unmitigated sadism and unabashed sexual sadism committed by opportunistic psychopaths employed by the CIA. These individuals included CIA officials, government contractors and psychologists.

    • Songs By Prince, Eminem, Metallica Named In CIA Torture Report

      The CIA has declassified a list of songs they used as part of their systematic methods of torture and interrogation. The surprising list features songs by Prince, Matchbox Twenty, Eminem, The Bee Gees and Metallica.

    • Declassified CIA Songs Used In Torture
    • AFP: Romania allowed secret CIA detention sites-Amnesty International

      Rights group Amnesty International on Tuesday urged five European countries to come clean on alleged cooperation with CIA operations involving torture and help bring those responsible to justice, AFP informs quoted by interantional media.

    • When torturers walk

      Here’s what we learned from the release of the US Senate’s report on the CIA’s use of torture: the agency tortured some people, in the president’s flippant phrase. More than a few people it turns out, though we probably will never know exactly how many.

      The techniques of torture were brutal, even sadistic. Though, again, the most barbarous measures have been redacted from public disclosure. The CIA learned almost nothing of value from these heinous crimes. More strikingly, the agency didn’t expect to pry out any fresh intelligence. Instead, what the torturers wanted most desperately was to extract false confessions, writhing accounts of fantastical ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, linking Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, that could be used retroactively to justify a phony war. Thus does one crime feast on another.

      But here’s the rub. We still know much less than we know about the government’s torture programme. And that’s not just because two-thirds of the CIA report remains sequestered at Langley. Why? To protect sources and methods? Hardly. You can find those easily enough in any book on the Spanish Inquisition. The techniques haven’t changed that much in five centuries. Just add a few jolts of electricity.

      While the CIA wants to keep the details of its torture methods cloaked in mystery, the agency was very happy to let the fact that it was torturing prisoners of its covert operations slip out. Partly this was intended to send a message to the agency’s enemies, that terrible torments were going to be inflicted on the bodies and minds of anyone would stood in its way: from Jihadis to Edward Snowden, if they could just lay their hands on him.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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