Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Which Submarine Cables Are NSA and GCHQ Tapping?

Edward Snowden's latest document dump has confirmed the extensive list of submarine cables tapped by the NSA, GCHQ and others.

A list of cables errily reminiscent to that The Register revealed in June has been made public by German broadsheet Süddeutsche Zeitung in a Google Drive dump here.

As The Register's Duncan Campbell revealed at the time, access to cables under the programs called “CIRCUIT” (intercepting cables landing at Seeb in Oman), “REMEDY” (access to BT cable facilities) and “GERONTIC” (Vodafone) delivered up a huge amount of communications to GCHQ and NSA spooks.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/26/snowden_doc_leak_lists_all_the_compromised_cables/

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Federal Reserve Is At The Heart Of The Debt Enslavement System That Dominates Our Lives

There are many people out there that believe that the Federal Reserve is an “agency” of the federal government. But that is not true at all. The Federal Reserve is an unelected, unaccountable central banking cartel, and it has argued in federal court that it is “not an agency” of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized “much like private corporations“, and they actually issue shares of stock to the “member banks” that own them. 100 percent of the shareholders of the Federal Reserve are private banks. The U.S. government owns zero shares.

Many people also assume that the federal government “issues money”, but that is not true at all either. Under our current system, what the federal government actually does is borrow money that the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air. The big banks, the ultra-wealthy and other countries purchase the debt that is created, and we end up as debt servants to them. For a detailed explanation of how this works, please see my previous article entitled “Where Does Money Come From? The Giant Federal Reserve Scam That Most Americans Do Not Understand“. When it is all said and done, the elite end up holding the debt instruments and we end up being collectively responsible for the endlessly growing mountain of debt. Our politicians always promise to get the debt under control, but there is never enough money to both fund the government and pay the interest on the constantly expanding debt. So it always becomes necessary to borrow even more money. When it was created back in 1913, the Federal Reserve system was designed to create a perpetual government debt spiral from which it would never be possible to escape, and that is precisely what has happened.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-federal-reserve-is-at-the-heart-of-the-debt-enslavement-system-that-dominates-our-lives

TALKING TO JAMES RISEN ABOUT “PAY ANY PRICE,” THE WAR ON TERROR AND PRESS FREEDOMS

Jim Risen, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for exposing the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, has long been one of the nation’s most aggressive and adversarial investigative journalists. Over the past several years, he has received at least as much attention for being threatened with prison by the Obama Justice Department (ostensibly) for refusing to reveal the source of one of his stories, a persecution that, in reality, is almost certainly the vindictive by-product of the U.S. Government’s anger over his NSA reporting.

He has published a new book on the War on Terror entitled “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War.” There have been lots of critiques of the War on Terror on its own terms, but Risen’s is one of the first to offer large amounts of original reporting on what is almost certainly the most overlooked aspect of this war: the role corporate profiteering plays in ensuring its endless continuation, and how the beneficiaries use rank fear-mongering to sustain it.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/11/25/talking-james-risen-pay-price-war-terror-press-freedoms/

Monday, November 24, 2014

U.S. Postal Service ‘mail imaging’ program used for law enforcement, surveillance

The U.S. Postal Service runs a massive dragnet surveillance program of all the mail in the United States; enabling law enforcement to generate profiles of associations and contacts of every American.

Two key programs play a role in the surveillance. The first is called “Mail Imaging.” As the name suggests, the program involves taking a digital photograph of every piece of physical mail that crosses through the USPS. The images provide a permanent record of the source and destination addresses posted on all packages and letters in the country.

The scope of the program is absolutely huge. The New York Times reported that about 160 billion pieces of mail were scanned in 2012.

Ostensibly, the Mail Imaging program is used to sort mail. However, law enforcement agencies are regularly granted access to this data without even the requirement of obtaining a warrant. The massive trove of data can be used to profile individuals and gather intelligence on their private lives. For example, the government can glean who the individual corresponds with; who the individual does business with; who sends the individual birthday cards; who sends the individual monthly bills; who the individual contracts for legal services.

A second program, called the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) program is engaged when there is special interest in a targeted individual. Reportedly, the program allows law enforcement to “track or investigate” the contents of mail connected to specific people.

An audit performed by the USPS Office of the Inspector General concluded that few safeguards (not warrants) that exist were not faithfully applied to the program. As often as 20% of the law enforcement surveillance requests were not properly approved, the audit revealed. The lax system was recently described in a report by Politico:

http://truthfrequencyradio.com/u-s-postal-service-mail-imaging-program-used-for-law-enforcement-surveillance/

German investigation of the cooperation between NSA and BND (I)

In Germany, a parliamentary commission is currently investigating the relationship between the NSA and the German foreign intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). Initially the hearings were about the main accusations made by Edward Snowden about NSA spying on countries like Germany and the experts only provided the usual statements that were already heard oftentimes since last year.

But recently the commission focussed on the cooperation between NSA and BND and a number of officials of the German agency were heard. Their statements provided very interesting details about how BND is operating and how they were cooperating with NSA. As all this is only in German, we will start providing summaries in English of the most interesting parts of these hearings.

http://electrospaces.blogspot.com/2014/11/german-investigation-of-cooperation.html

We Were Lied To About 9/11 - Episode 12 - Philip Shenon

Philip Shenon, the bestselling author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, was a reporter for the New York Times for more than twenty years. As a Washington correspondent for the Times, he covered the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the State Department. As a foreign correspondent for the paper, he reported from more than sixty countries and several warzones. He lives in Washington, DC.

http://911blogger.com/news/2014-11-23/we-were-lied-about-911-episode-12-philip-shenon?

SECRET MALWARE IN EUROPEAN UNION ATTACK LINKED TO U.S. AND BRITISH INTELLIGENCE

Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept.

Regin was found on infected internal computer systems and email servers at Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and internet provider, following reports last year that the company was targeted in a top-secret surveillance operation carried out by British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters, industry sources told The Intercept.

The malware, which steals data from infected systems and disguises itself as legitimate Microsoft software, has also been identified on the same European Union computer systems that were targeted for surveillance by the National Security Agency.

The hacking operations against Belgacom and the European Union were first revealed last year through documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The specific malware used in the attacks has never been disclosed, however.

The Regin malware, whose existence was first reported by the security firm Symantec on Sunday, is among the most sophisticated ever discovered by researchers. Symantec compared Regin to Stuxnet, a state-sponsored malware program developed by the U.S. and Israel to sabotage computers at an Iranian nuclear facility. Sources familiar with internal investigations at Belgacom and the European Union have confirmed to The Intercept that the Regin malware was found on their systems after they were compromised, linking the spy tool to the secret GCHQ and NSA operations.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/11/24/secret-regin-malware-belgacom-nsa-gchq/

Researchers Uncover Government Spy Tool Used to Hack Telecoms and Belgian Cryptographer

The researchers have no doubt that Regin is a nation-state tool and are calling it the most sophisticated espionage machine uncovered to date—more complex even than the massive Flame platform, uncovered by Kaspersky and Symantec in 2012 and crafted by the same team who created Stuxnet.

“In the world of malware threats, only a few rare examples can truly be considered groundbreaking and almost peerless,” writes Symantec in its report about Regin.

Though no one is willing to speculate on the record about Regin’s source, news reports about the Belgacom and Quisquater hacks pointed a finger at GCHQ and the NSA. Kaspersky confirms that Quisqater was infected with Regin, and other researchers familiar with the Belgacom attack have told WIRED that the description of Regin fits the malware that targeted the telecom, though the malicious files used in that attack were given a different name, based on something investigators found inside the platform’s main file.


Victims are located in multiple countries. Kaspersky has found them in Algeria, Afghanistan, Belgium, Brazil, Fiji, Germany, Iran, India, Malaysia, Syria, Pakistan, Russia and the small Pacific island nation of Kiribati. The majority of victims Symantec has tracked are located in Russia and Saudi Arabia.

http://www.wired.com/2014/11/mysteries-of-the-malware-regin/

DHS SET TO DESTROY GOVERNMENTWIDE NETWORK SURVEILLANCE RECORDS

The Department of Homeland Security is poised to ditch all records from a controversial network monitoring system called Einstein that are at least three years old, but not for security reasons.

DHS reasons the files -- which include data about traffic to government websites, agency network intrusions and general vulnerabilities -- have no research significance.

But some security experts say, to the contrary, DHS would be deleting a treasure chest of historical threat data. And privacy experts, who wish the metadata wasn’t collected at all, say destroying it could eliminate evidence that the governmentwide surveillance system does not perform as intended.

The National Archives and Records Administration has tentatively approved the disposal plan, pending a public comment period.

http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/11/dhs-set-destroy-governmentwide-network-surveillance-records/99737/

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Happened To JFK And Why It Matters Today - Jim Fetzer

JFK Assassination - 50 Reasons For 50 Years -

The real JFK mystery, 50 years later: Why the infamous murder must be reinvestigated

From the moment it was established, the Warren Commission was under tremendous pressure to calm a hysterical public and quash the widespread rumors of a conspiracy that exploded across the country in the days following the public killing of the president’s accused assassin. As Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach put it in a memo written hours after Oswald’s death, “We need something to head off public speculation or Congressional hearings of the wrong sort.”

That “speculation” never went away. In 1966, the first national poll taken on the subject found that 46 percent of Americans believed that JFK had been struck down by a plot. Last year, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 62 percent of the public rejected the idea that a single man had killed the president.

The Post reported this development with a palpable sense of bafflement, for the mainstream media has always treated skeptics of the official account with impatience, even scorn. For them, the Kennedy case was cracked and closed long ago. Last year, Jill Abramson blithely informed readers of The New York Times that “the historical consensus seems to have settled on Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin,” dismissing the wealth of information about the assassination that can be found online as “unfiltered and at times unhinged musings.”

http://www.salon.com/2014/11/22/the_real_jfk_mystery_50_years_later_why_the_infamous_murder_must_be_reinvestigated/?

In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat

President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision. The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of Al Qaeda.”

NY Times

The FBI Is Very Excited About This Machine That Can Scan Your DNA in 90 Minutes

The RapidHIT represents a major technological leap—testing a DNA sample in a forensics lab normally takes at least two days. This has government agencies very excited. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Justice Department funded the initial research for "rapid DNA" technology, and after just a year on the market, the $250,000 RapidHIT is already being used in a few states, as well as China, Russia, Australia, and countries in Africa and Europe.

"We're not always aware of how it's being used," Schueren said. "All we can say is that it's used to give an accurate identification of an individual." Civil liberties advocates worry that rapid DNA will spur new efforts by the FBI and police to collect ordinary citizens' genetic code.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/rapid-dna-profiles-database-fbi-police

Friday, November 21, 2014

Postal Service almost never denies mail-surveillance requests

The U.S. Postal Service almost never denies requests to track suspects’ mail on behalf of law-enforcement agencies through a controversial surveillance program known for having compliance problems, according to a federal auditor.

USPS Deputy Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb said in testimony for a House hearing Wednesday that the Postal Service rejected only about 0.2 percent of the 6,000 outside requests last year for a practice known as mail covers.

The investigative technique involves recording information on the outside of individuals’ envelopes and parcels before the items are delivered, and then handing the data to law-enforcement agencies. It does not permit the opening of mail, which requires a search warrant.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/11/20/postal-service-almost-never-denies-mail-surveillance-requests/