Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) talked about the 28 pages of recently declassified material on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He co-chaired the joint congressional inquiry into the attacks and has been a longtime advocate for the release of the pages linking the attacks to officials in Saudi Arabia’s government and society. Current and former members of Congress and the families of 9/11 victims have called for the pages to be declassified and released for years. In May 2016, the Senate passed the Justice Against Sponsors of terrorism (JASTA) that would allow victims and their families to sue Saudi Arabia for the attacks. The House has not voted on the legislation.
So writes political science professor Lance deHaven-Smith, who in his peer-reviewed book, Conspiracy Theory in America, published by the University of Texas Press, tells the story of how the CIA succeeded in creating in the public mind reflexive, automatic, stigmatization of those who challenge government explanations. This is an extremely important and readable book, one of those rare books with the power to break you out of The Matrix.
Professor deHaven-Smith is able to write this book because the original CIA Dispatch #1035-960, which sets out the CIA plot, was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Apparently, the bureaucracy did not regard a document this old as being of any importance. The document is marked “Destroy when no longer needed,” but somehow wasn’t. CIA Dispatch #1035-960 is reproduced in the book.
The success that the CIA has had in stigmatizing skepticism of government explanations has made it difficult to investigate State Crimes Against Democracy (SCAD) such as 9/11. With the public mind programmed to ridicule “conspiracy kooks,” even in the case of suspicious events such as 9/11 the government can destroy evidence, ignore prescribed procedures, delay an investigation, and then form a political committee to put its imprimatur on the official story. Professor deHaven-Smith notes that in such events as Kennedy’s assassination and 9/11 official police and prosecutorial investigations are never employed. The event is handed off to a political commission.
Shakur, a native New Yorker, has been living in Cuba since 1984. She arrived there after several years on the lam, following her escape from a prison in New Jersey, where she was serving a life sentence for the 1973 murder of a U.S. state trooper. (She was also tried for but not convicted of crimes including bank robbery, kidnapping, and other murders.) Shakur was granted political asylum in Cuba, where she was given a job and a home. She is now sixty-nine, remains on the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted list, and is the undisputed doyenne of the estimated seventy-odd American fugitives living in Cuba. Her 1987 memoir, “Assata: An Autobiography,” whose cover features a photograph of her looking over her shoulder at the camera, can be found in many of Havana’s state-run bookstores, alongside books about Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.
Most of the American fugitives in Cuba are radicals of Shakur’s era. Charlie Hill, who is in his mid-sixties, was a member of a militant group called the Republic of New Afrika, which sought to create an independent black nation in the American South. Hill was accused, with two comrades, of killing a policeman in New Mexico in 1971. Several weeks later, the three men hijacked a passenger plane to Cuba, where they were granted asylum. Both of Hill’s comrades have died, but he remains in Havana. And there is the Columbia University graduate Cheri Dalton, who goes by Nehanda Abiodun, also a veteran of the Republic of New Afrika. Abiodun is sought for her involvement in the armed robbery of a Brink’s armored truck in New York in 1981, in which two policemen and a security guard were killed. She is also thought to have helped Shakur break out of prison. Abiodun, who either fled to Cuba with Shakur or followed shortly after, has reinvented herself there as a mentor to rap artists.
Even less well-known are potential conflicts of interest the arrangement entails, as seen in this Forterra example and others continuing to the present. Nearly half of In-Q-Tel’s trustees have a financial connection of one kind or another with a company In-Q-Tel has funded, a Wall Street Journal examination of its investments found.
In-Q-Tel’s hunt for promising technology has led the firm, on at least 17 occasions, to fund businesses that had a financial link of some sort to an In-Q-Tel trustee. In three instances a trustee sat on the board of a company that had an In-Q-Tel investment, as in the Forterra case, according to the Journal’s examination, which was based on a review of investment records and interviews with venture-capital and In-Q-Tel officials, past and present.
In-Q-Tel differs from other venture-capital firms in an important way: It is a nonprofit. Instead of trying to make money, it seeks to spur the development of technology useful to the CIA mission of intelligence gathering.
That CIA mole was Eugenio R. Martinez, a Cuban Bay of Pigs veteran who was recruited to the break-in team by E. Howard Hunt, the legendary former CIA officer and spy novelist who had helped plan the Bay of Pigs operation in the Kennedy era and had gone on to work as a consultant on covert projects at the Nixon White House. Along with re-election committee lawyer G. Gordon Liddy, a former FBI agent, Hunt masterminded the doomed break-in and surveillance operation at the DNC; he and Liddy would be indicted along with the five arrested men and both would serve lengthy sentences in federal prison.
While Watergate scholars have previously reported that Martinez was a CIA informant during the time he was working for Hunt and Liddy – the wiry operative known as "Musculito" provided Langley with a steady stream of information about the Cuban exile community in Miami, from where he and three of the other burglars hailed, for $100 a month (about $575 today) – the newly declassified CIA document fleshes out the relationship in greater detail and shows how highly the Agency prized it.
Soon after the Watergate scandal erupted, the CIA produced an internal report entitled “CIA Watergate History – Working Draft”. Much of the 150-page document was authored by CIA officer John C. Richards, who had firsthand knowledge of the Watergate scandal. When Richards died unexpectedly in 1974, the report was completed by a team of officers based on his files. A few years ago, a Freedom of Information Act request was filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog, which petitioned to have the document released. The release was approved by a judge in early 2016 and was completed in July.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Judicial Watch Submits Email Questions to Hillary Clinton – Written Answers, Under Oath, Due September 29
The questions are:
Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.
Describe the creation of your clintonemail.com email account, including who decided to create it, when it was created, why it was created, and, if you did not set up the account yourself, who set it up for you.
When did you decide to use a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business and whom did you consult in making this decision?
Identify all communications in which you participated concerning or relating to your decision to use a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business and, for each communication, identify the time, date, place, manner (e.g., in person, in writing, by telephone, or by electronic or other means), persons present or participating, and content of the communication.
In a 60 Minutes interview aired on July 24, 2016, you stated that it was “recommended” you use a personal email account to conduct official State Department business. What recommendations were you given about using or not using a personal email account to conduct official State Department business, who made any such recommendations, and when were any such recommendations made?
Were you ever advised, cautioned, or warned, was it ever suggested, or did you ever participate in any communication, conversation, or meeting in which it was discussed that your use of a clintonemail.com email account to conduct official State Department business conflicted with or violated federal recordkeeping laws. For each instance in which you were so advised, cautioned or warned, in which such a suggestion was made, or in which such a discussion took place, identify the time, date, place, manner (e.g., in person, in writing, by telephone, or by electronic or other means), persons present or participating, and content of the advice, caution, warning, suggestion, or discussion.
Your campaign website states, “When Clinton got to the Department, she opted to use her personal email account as a matter of convenience.” What factors other than convenience did you consider in deciding to use a personal email account to conduct official State Department business? Include in your answer whether you considered federal records management and preservation requirements and how email you used to conduct official State Department business would be searched in response to FOIA requests.
After President Obama nominated you to be Secretary of State and during your tenure as secretary, did you expect the State Department to receive FOIA requests for or concerning your email?
During your tenure as Secretary of State, did you understand that email you sent or received in the course of conducting official State Department business was subject to FOIA?
During your tenure as Secretary of State, how did you manage and preserve emails in your clintonemail.com email account sent or received in the course of conducting official State Department business, and what, if anything, did you do to make those emails available to the Department for conducting searches in response to FOIA requests?
A judge asked the agency to hasten its review of the documents in preparation for release to Judicial Watch, the conservative-leaning group that filed the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
The emails were included among the roughly 15,000 emails FBI agents said they pulled from Clinton's server in the course of a year-long probe.
Others were deleted beyond recovery after the Democratic nominee's team used a digital tool called BleachBit to scrub the hardware that was eventually confiscated by law enforcement agents.
Apple has been ordered to pay a record figure of up to €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes to Ireland after the European commission ruled that deals between Apple and the Irish tax authorities amounted to illegal state aid.
The commission said Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that existed on paper only and could not have generated such profits.
The result was that Apple avoided tax on almost all profits from sales of its products across the EU’s single market by booking the profits in Ireland rather than the country in which the product was sold.
The unusual signal was originally detected on May 15, 2015 by the Russian Academy of Science-operated RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia but was kept secret from the international community. Interstellar space reporter Paul Gilster broke the story after the researchers quietly circulated a paper announcing the detection of “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595.”
Monday, August 29, 2016
Central to America’s war against terrorism was al-Qaeda as being the specific target, but, on August 16th, a US Defense Department spokesperson said that al-Qaeda is no longer an enemy of the United States at all, and that only ISIS is America’s enemy in the war against terrorism. However, Congress never authorized anything but al-Qaeda to be the enemy in the war against terrorism. Consequently, President Obama is now violating the law by his no longer targeting al-Qaeda at all, and he is also ignoring the law by his targeting ISIS (as he has long been doing) without requesting a new authorization from Congress to do so – an authorization that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress would be virtually certain to grant immediately. This new war-authorization would need to rectify a key failing of the original war-authorization, by naming «jihadism» specifically as America’s enemy, so that regardless of what a particular jihadist group is, it can legally be a target to eliminate. Under the existing resolution, only al-Qaeda can be targeted, because that was the group which was ultimately determined to have caused 9/11, and because the existing war-authorization is restricted to only the organization that perpetrated that specific jihadist act. This new war-authorization would thus need to replace, instead of modify, the existing authorization, so that US military action can legally be taken against any jihadist group, and not only (as at present) against al-Qaeda.
The operation had been established at the down of the 1950s with CIA executive Cord Meyer, and a youngish intellectual very much in the news, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., whose original, brainy scheme it may have been.
The disclosures to police agencies often take place without notifying the person targeted in a search and without offering a chance to object. That means no court ever approves the release of records that can reveal treatment for private medical conditions such as cancer, psychiatric disorders, HIV or gender reassignment.
Prescription drug monitoring programs are operated by every state except Missouri and the District of Columbia. Missouri’s program awaits state legislative approval, and D.C. expects to have its program fully operational by the end of the year. The primary goal of the state programs is to track and analyze prescription data to help doctors and pharmacists curb the overuse of addictive drugs such as painkillers. But a patchwork of state laws has left the privacy of Americans largely unguarded, allowing police agencies easy access.
Scripps News found during a five-month investigation that law enforcement tapped into at least 344,921 prescription histories of Americans between 2014-2015 in the states that don’t require a warrant or another form of court authorization. That is more than six times the number of searches that took place by law enforcement in states that have more privacy safeguards enacted. It is access without oversight that leaves the door open for abuses.
The FBI warning, contained in a “flash” alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections.
Those concerns prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to convene a conference call with state election officials on Aug. 15, in which he offered his department’s help to make state voting systems more secure, including providing federal cybersecurity experts to scan for vulnerabilities, according to a “readout” of the call released by the department.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
'JFK assassination was an inside job': Ex-government agent claimed 'someone from his team' killed the president in remarkable deathbed confession to director Oliver Stone
He claimed 'somebody from his team' assassinated the president in 1963
Stone said he was convinced by his 'military jargon' and intricate details
Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of shooting JFK from a nearby building
The assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963 was an inside job, according to a deathbed confession given to the veteran film director Oliver Stone.
After making his acclaimed film JFK - which was sympathetic to conspiracy theories about the murder - Stone was contacted by a man claiming to have been a former member of the presidential security team.
Dying of cancer, the man wanted to share a secret that he had until then only told his son – that 'somebody from his own team… had fired on the President'.
> See also the main listing of See also the main listing of NSA Nicknames and Codewords
Saturday, August 27, 2016
The new paper, published on August 23, The High Cost of Prescription Drugs in the United States: Origins and Prospects for Reform, set out to “review the origins and effects of high drug prices in the US market and to consider policy options that could contain the cost of prescription drugs.”
What the paper’s authors, Harvard Medical School doctors Aaron Kesselheim and Jerry Avorn, and jurist Ameet Sarpatwari, found and subsequently admitted, shatters the very assertion that government regulation in the market is needed to keep medical care costs low. In fact, their findings were quite to the contrary.
According to the paper:
The most important factor that allows manufacturers to set high drug prices is market exclusivity, protected by monopoly rights awarded upon Food and Drug Administration approval and by patents.
By Matt Agorist..
15 YEARS LATER:
ON THE PHYSICS OF HIGH-RISE BUILDING COLLAPSES
---Steven Jones, Robert Korol, Anthony Szamboti and Ted Walter
See PDF page 21
Friday, August 26, 2016
According to new government affidavits filed earlier this week, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) used its stingray without a warrant in 2013 for several hours overnight as a way to locate a man accused of being involved in shooting a local police officer. The OPD called in the FBI when that effort was unsuccessful. The FBI was somehow able to locate the suspect in under an hour, and he surrendered to OPD officers.
In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.
The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
EYES IN THE SKY - CIA training artificial intelligence to spy on Earth from SPACE using ‘computer vision’
CosmiQ Works, a firm closely associated with the US intelligence agency, is working with the online retail giant and the satellite mapping firm DigitalGlobe to train algorithms to work out what’s happening on the surface of our planet.
Satellites can already capture astonishingly detailed images from up in space, but the CIA-linked project wants to go one step further and use artificial intelligence to analyse these pictures.
The partners hope to collect 60 million satellite images and store them in a database called SpaceNet which will be open and accessible by members of the public.
Several recent experiments have focused on using wi-fi signals to identify people, either based on their body shape or the specific way they tend to move. Earlier this month, a group of computer-science researchers at Northwestern Polytechnical University in China posted a paper to an online archive of scientific research, detailing a system that can accurately identify humans as they walk through a door nine times out of ten.
The system must first be trained: It has to learn individuals’ body shapes so that it can identify them later. After memorizing body shapes, the system, which the researchers named FreeSense, watches for people walking across its line of sight. If it’s told that the next passerby will be one of two people, the system can correctly identify which it is 95 percent of the time. If it’s choosing between six people, it identifies the right one 89 percent of the time.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Early in 2016, New York City began replacing its sidewalks' obsolete public pay telephone system with LinkNYC, a public telecommunications infrastructure whose kiosks feature free Wi-Fi hotspots, high speed internet access, device charging and advertising -- among other disclosed and undisclosed technologies.
Unfortunately, this opinion finds the FISA court mostly unimpressed with the counterarguments. The discussion involved the use of pen register orders to capture "post-cut through" dialing digits -- the sort of thing the court determined to be content, rather than metadata in the past.
This time around, the court seems more amenable to the government's arguments that any digits obtained along with dialed phone numbers is fair game -- whether or not the orders actually allow for the collection of communications content.
The PDB contains intelligence analysis on key national security issues for the President and other senior policymakers. Only the President, the Vice President, and a select group of senior officials designated by the President receive the briefing, which represents the Intelligence Community’s best insights on issues the President must confront when dealing with threats as well as opportunities related to our national security.
For several years, CIA information management officers have worked with their counterparts at the National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on the review and declassification of these documents. Roughly 85 percent of the collection has been declassified and is being made available to the public
The release of 2,500 President’s Daily Briefs — about 28,000 pages in all — shed light on such historic events as Nixon’s opening to China, the invasion of Cambodia, the U.S.-backed overthrow of an elected leader in Chile, the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and ultimately the first resignation of a sitting U.S. president.
The release also covers briefings given to President Ford, who took over when Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, until he left office in January 1977. That period included the fall of Saigon and the end of America’s bitter war in Vietnam.
CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released the briefs and other documents at a symposium at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda.
The release is part an ongoing CIA effort to declassify presidents’ intelligence summaries. Last year, the agency released 19,000 pages of briefings from the Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations.
Hillary Clinton will soon face questions under oath about the reasons she set up and maintained a private email server during her four years as secretary of state.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told the Washington Examiner that his group is preparing a set of written questions for Clinton as part of the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that has already extracted hundreds of documents from the State Department.
Fitton said the questionnaire, which Clinton will be forced to complete within 30 days of receipt, will drill down on the Democratic nominee's shifting stories about why she relied on an unauthorized email network.
There’s another one to watch: "targeted" v. "mass" surveillance.
Since 2008, the NSA has seized tens of billions of Internet communications. It uses the Upstream and PRISM programs—which the government claims are authorized under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—to collect hundreds of millions of those communications each year. The scope is breathtaking, including the ongoing seizure and searching of communications flowing through key Internet backbone junctures,the searching of communications held by service providers like Google and Facebook, and, according to the government's own investigators, the retention of significantly more than 250 million Internet communications per year.
Yet somehow, the NSA and its defenders still try to pass 702 surveillance off as "targeted surveillance," asserting that it is incorrect when EFF and many others call it "mass surveillance."
Our answer: if "mass surveillance" includes the collection of the content of hundreds of millions of communications annually and the real-time search of billions more, then the PRISM and Upstream programs under Section 702 fully satisfy that definition.
This word game is important because Section 702 is set to expire in December 2017. EFF and our colleagues who banded together to stop the Section 215 telephone records surveillance are gathering our strength for this next step in reining in the NSA. At the same time, the government spin doctors are trying to avoid careful examination by convincing Congress and the American people that this is just "targeted" surveillance and doesn’t impact innocent people.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department had been using the plane to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings. The Cessna sometimes flew above the city for as many as 10 hours a day, and the public had no idea it was there.
A company called Persistent Surveillance Systems, based in Dayton, Ohio, provided the service to the police, and the funding came from a private donor. No public disclosure of the program had ever been made.
Almost every weekday between the fall of 2011 and early 2015, a Russian broker named Igor Volkov called the equities desk of Deutsche Bank’s Moscow headquarters. Volkov would speak to a sales trader—often, a young woman named Dina Maksutova—and ask her to place two trades simultaneously. In one, he would use Russian rubles to buy a blue-chip Russian stock, such as Lukoil, for a Russian company that he represented. Usually, the order was for about ten million dollars’ worth of the stock. In the second trade, Volkov—acting on behalf of a different company, which typically was registered in an offshore territory, such as the British Virgin Islands—would sell the same Russian stock, in the same quantity, in London, in exchange for dollars, pounds, or euros. Both the Russian company and the offshore company had the same owner. Deutsche Bank was helping the client to buy and sell to himself.
At first glance, the trades appeared banal, even pointless. Deutsche Bank earned a small commission for executing the buy and sell orders, but in financial terms the clients finished roughly where they began. To inspect the trades individually, however, was like standing too close to an Impressionist painting—you saw the brushstrokes and missed the lilies. These transactions had nothing to do with pursuing profit. They were a way to expatriate money. Because the Russian company and the offshore company both belonged to the same owner, these ordinary-seeming trades had an alchemical purpose: to turn rubles that were stuck in Russia into dollars stashed outside Russia. On the Moscow markets, this sleight of hand had a nickname: konvert, which means “envelope” and echoes the English verb “convert.” In the English-language media, the scheme has become known as “mirror trading.”
Compiled by David Anderson QC, the hefty 200-plus page report was commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May while in her previous role of home secretary.
It looked specifically at the somewhat controversial aspects of bulk interception, bulk acquisition and bulk personal datasets – many of which were first exposed by former NSA analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden back in 2013.
Despite support for many of the current spying practices used by the Security and intelligence agencies (SIAs), the main criticism – or concern – in the report appears to centre around so-called 'bulk equipment interference', which is more commonly known as computer hacking.
Previously dubbed 'computer network exploitation' (CNE), this is the one aspect of UK spying apparatus without a proven operational basis. In theory, it's the one majorly enhanced power the upcoming Investigatory Powers Bill, also known as the Snoopers' Charter, will grant UK spooks.
The judge also scheduled a Sept. 23 hearing on when to release the emails, a deadline that raises the possibility some will become public before the Nov. 8 presidential election between Democrat Clinton and her Republican rival, Donald Trump.
Questions about her email practices as secretary of state have dogged Clinton's White House run and triggered a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe that found she was "extremely careless" with sensitive information by using a private server but recommended against bringing charges.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters it was still reviewing the 14,900 documents and it was unclear how many were personal or work-related. He also said it was unclear how many may duplicate those already released but that there were "likely to be quite a few" not previously disclosed.
The department has already culled through some 30,068 of Clinton emails from her 2009-2013 tenure as secretary of state and released most of them, amounting to some 55,000 pages. More than 2,000 emails were found to contain classified information.
The disclosure of further emails could provide more fodder for opponents who have seized on the issue to argue that Clinton is untrustworthy.
The intrusions, detected in recent months, are under investigation by the FBI and other US security agencies. Investigators so far believe that Russian intelligence is likely behind the attacks and that Russian hackers are targeting news organizations as part of a broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations, the officials said.
The FBI declined to comment and a spokesperson for The New York Times would not confirm the attacks or the investigation.
Missing: FBI files linking Hillary Clinton to the 'suicide' of White House counsel Vince Foster have vanished from the National Archives
Foster is believed to have shot himself with a .38 caliber revolver at Fort Marcy Park along the Potomac River on July 20, 1993
Two former FBI agents involved in the investigation tell Daily Mail Online they issued reports linking Hillary's tirade to Foster's suicide
Days before his death, then First Lady ridiculed him mercilessly in front of his peers, say former FBI agents and detailed it in their report
'You have failed us,' Hillary told Foster, former FBI Jim Clemente told Daily Mail Online
Archived material related to the case, housed at National Archives in College Park, Md. were examined by the author to no avail
After filing a Freedom of Information request, it was determined that the agents' reported have gone missing
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3753013/Missing-FBI-files-linking-Hillary-Clinton-suicide-White-House-counsel-Vince-Foster-vanished-National-Archives.html#ixzz4IAxl3TRf
Monday, August 22, 2016
New Abedin Emails Reveal Hillary Clinton State Department Gave Special Access to Top Clinton Foundation Donors
The new documents included 20 Hillary Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to 191 of new Clinton emails (not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department). These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.
The Abedin emails reveal that the longtime Clinton aide apparently served as a conduit between Clinton Foundation donors and Hillary Clinton while Clinton served as secretary of state. In more than a dozen email exchanges, Abedin provided expedited, direct access to Clinton for donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In many instances, Clinton Foundation top executive Doug Band, who worked with the Foundation throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure at State, coordinated closely with Abedin. In Abedin’s June deposition to Judicial Watch, she conceded that part of her job at the State Department was taking care of “Clinton family matters.”
The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department’s credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste.
But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.
The Feb. 14, 2014, accident is also complicating cleanup programs at about a dozen current and former nuclear weapons sites across the U.S. Thousands of tons of radioactive waste that were headed for the dump are backed up in Idaho, Washington, New Mexico and elsewhere, state officials said in interviews.
In the summer of 1972, state-of-the-art campaign spying consisted of amateur burglars, armed with duct tape and microphones, penetrating the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. Today, amateur burglars have been replaced by cyberspies, who penetrated the DNC armed with computers and sophisticated hacking tools.
Where the Watergate burglars came away empty-handed and in handcuffs, the modern- day cyber thieves walked away with tens of thousands of sensitive political documents and are still unidentified.
Now, in the latest twist, hacking tools themselves, likely stolen from the National Security Agency, are on the digital auction block. Once again, the usual suspects start with Russia – though there seems little evidence backing up the accusation.
In addition, if Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale. It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook. Once revealed, companies and governments would patch their firewalls, just as the bank would change its combination.
A more logical explanation could also be insider theft. If that’s the case, it’s one more reason to question the usefulness of an agency that secretly collects private information on millions of Americans but can’t keep its most valuable data from being stolen, or as it appears in this case, being used against us.
The total — confirmed by the Justice Department — was disclosed by a conservative legal group after the State Department said last week that it would hand over the emails. The number to be released is nearly 50 percent more than the 30,000-plus that Clinton’s lawyers deemed work-related and returned to the department in December 2014.
Lawyers for the State Department and Judicial Watch, the legal group, said in an Aug. 12 court filing that they intended to negotiate a plan for the release, part of a civil public records lawsuit before U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg of Washington.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Although the bulk of the programme’s records were destroyed after it was shut down in 1973 (further adding to the sense of mystery), a 1977 Senate select committee hearing (“Project MKUltra, the CIA’s Program of Research in Behavioral Modification”) confirmed the most notorious avenue of research – that agents “drugged American citizens without their knowledge”. Most notably by conducting illicit experiments with LSD in the hope that it would be the ultimate truth serum, capable of breaking down enemy agents.
One of Clinton’s biggest accomplishments listed on her campaign Web site is her support for the UN women’s conference in Bejing in 1995, when she famously declared, “Women’s rights are human rights.” Her speech has emerged as a focal point of her campaign, featured prominently in last month’s Morgan Freeman-narrated convention video introducing her as the Democratic nominee.
However, soon after that “historic and transformational” 1995 event, as Clinton recently described it, her top aide Huma Abedin published articles in a Saudi journal taking Clinton’s feminist platform apart, piece by piece. At the time, Abedin was assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs working under her mother, who remains editor-in-chief. She was also working in the White House as an intern for then-First Lady Clinton.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
His description of how politicians deal publicly with various crises in their lives, the language they use to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, is a perfect chronologically accurate description of how the Clinton email story played out.
He’s still the smartest comic this country ever produced and I personally wish he were still around to watch it all circling the drain today. Can you imagine the field day he would be having with this shit now?
George Carlin, 1999, now respirationally challenged since 2008.
The discovery is significant because the attack code, dubbed BenignCertain, worked on PIX versions Cisco released in 2002 and supported through 2009. Even after Cisco stopped providing PIX bug fixes in July 2009, the company continued offering limited service and support for the product for an additional four years. Unless PIX customers took special precautions, virtually all of them were vulnerable to attacks that surreptitiously eavesdropped on their VPN traffic. Beyond allowing attackers to snoop on encrypted VPN traffic, the key extraction also makes it possible to gain full access to a vulnerable network by posing as a remote user.
BenignCertain's capabilities were tentatively revealed in this blog post from Thursday, and they were later confirmed to work on real-world PIX installations by three separate researchers. Before the confirmation came, Ars asked Cisco to investigate the exploit. The company declined, citing this policy for so-called end-of-life products. The exploit helps explain documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and cited in a 2014 article that appeared in Der Spiegel. The article reported that the NSA had the ability to decrypt more than 1,000 VPN connections per hour.
"It shows that the NSA had the ability to remotely extract confidential keys from Cisco VPNs for over a decade," Mustafa Al-Bassam, a security researcher at payments processing firm Secure Trading, told Ars. "This explains how they were able to decrypt thousands of VPN connections per minute as shown in documents previously published by Der Spiegel."
You’re watching The Hawks. We’ve covered the 28 pages extensively, but why isn’t the mainstream media making a bigger deal out of this? Well, because it would expose the United States’ despicable relationship with Saudi Arabia, a regime that ranks as one of the worst on earth in terms of human rights and which regularly incites violence and extremism throughout the Middle East and the world. That’s why. All the more reason to cover the story. The release of the 28 pages coincides with the United States preparing to authorize another $1.15 billion weapons package to Saudi Arabia, and this is on top of the $20 billion in weapons given to the Saudis since they began bombing Yemen back in March 2015. So what is the significance of the 28 pages, and do they have the potential to change the US relationship with Saudi Arabia. Previously we showed part one of my interview with Russ Baker, founder of Whowhatwhy.org and a 9/11 expert. In the second part, I asked Russ if the 28 pages were kept redacted for this long so that American public attention would stay firmly affixed on Iraq and that invasion, instead of where it should have been: on Saudi Arabia. Take a listen to Russ’s response.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Somewhat more likely seems the option that they came from an insider, and in that case, this leak doesn't stand alone, but fits into a series of leaks in which, since October 2013, highly sensitive NSA data sets were published.
So almost unnoticed by the mainstream media and the general public, someone was piggybacking on the Snowden-revelations with leaks that were often more embarrassing for NSA than many reportings based upon the documents from Snowden.
Again, obtaining such documents through hacking into NSA servers seems less likely than the chance that someone from inside the agency took them. If that person was Edward Snowden, then probably someone with access to his documents could have started his own crusade against NSA.
If that person wasn't Snowden, then it's either another NSA employee who was disgruntled and frustrated, or a mole for a hostile foreign intelligence agency. For an individual without the protection of the public opinion like Snowden, it must be much harder and riskier to conduct these leaks than for a foreign state actor.
Former NSA counterintelligence officer John Schindler also thinks there could have been a (Russian) mole, as the agency has a rather bad track record in finding such spies. If this scenario is true, then it would be almost an even bigger scandal than that of the Snowden-leaks.
The paper from London Business School professors Ahmed Tahoun and Florin Vasvari, which is based on a "unique dataset" provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), finds that members of Congress sitting on the finance committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives "report greater levels of leverage and new liabilities as a proportion of their total net worth, relative to when they are not part of the finance committee or relative to other congressional members."
The authors write that their analysis was "motivated in part by anecdotal evidence suggesting that some U.S. politicians, who are in a position to potentially affect the future performance of financial institutions that lend to them, have allegedly received preferential treatments from lenders."
In other words, as International Business Times reporter David Sirota wrote Friday: "It is good to be king."
The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.
As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”
Disclosure of the Army’s manipulation of numbers is the latest example of the severe accounting problems plaguing the Defense Department for decades.
The report affirms a 2013 Reuters series revealing how the Defense Department falsified accounting on a large scale as it scrambled to close its books. As a result, there has been no way to know how the Defense Department – far and away the biggest chunk of Congress’ annual budget – spends the public’s money.
The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.
The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, “ace02468bdf13579.” That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.
SECONDDATE plays a specialized role inside a complex global system built by the U.S. government to infect and monitor what one document estimated to be millions of computers around the world. Its release by ShadowBrokers, alongside dozens of other malicious tools, marks the first time any full copies of the NSA’s offensive software have been available to the public, providing a glimpse at how an elaborate system outlined in the Snowden documents looks when deployed in the real world, as well as concrete evidence that NSA hackers don’t always have the last word when it comes to computer exploitation.
The account is included in the notes the Federal Bureau of Investigation handed over to Congress on Tuesday, relaying in detail the three-and-a-half-hour interview with Mrs. Clinton in early July that led to the decision by James B. Comey, the bureau’s director, not to pursue criminal charges against her.
Separately, in a 2009 email exchange that also emerged during the F.B.I. questioning, Mrs. Clinton, who had already decided to use private email, asked Mr. Powell about his email practices when he was the nation’s top diplomat under George W. Bush, according to a person with direct knowledge of Mr. Powell’s appearance in the documents, who would not speak for attribution.
The journalist Joe Conason first reported the conversation between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Powell in his coming book about Bill Clinton’s postpresidency, “Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton,” which The Times received an advanced copy of.
Fugitive 'Facebook founder' says he's alive and well but 'running for his life' from CIA because of its secret involvement in the social media site
Paul Ceglia, 43, claimed in 2010 that he owned 84 per cent of Facebook per an alleged 2003 contract with Mark Zuckerberg. In 2012 he was charged with altering documents to bolster his claim.
Now he and his family - wife Iasia, two teen sons and dog Buddy - are on the run after they fled last year. And according to Bloomberg, Ceglia still fears for his life.
In emails sent to the site from August 3-8, Ceglia said he and his family had fled abroad and were now living under the radar, lest the CIA kill them.
Police entered his home in Wellsville, New York, on March 5 to find his ankle bracelet connected to a contraption that was designed to make it look like he was walking around his home.
Ceglia claims that he had a 'very credible' threat that he would be arrested on new charges, jailed and killed - and had to flee before that happened.
He says the reason for the supposed plot against his life is that his fraud trial might reveal involvement by the CIA's venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, in Facebook.
Exactly what that alleged involvement was is not clear.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
The new 38-page complaint makes a creative argument that because stingrays, or cell-site simulators, act as fake cell towers, that law enforcement agencies lack the spectrum licenses to be able to broadcast at the relevant frequencies. Worse still, when deployed, cell service, including 911 calls, are disrupted in the area.
Stingrays are used by law enforcement to determine a mobile phone's location by spoofing a cell tower. In some cases, stingrays can intercept calls and text messages. Once deployed, the devices intercept data from a target phone along with information from other phones within the vicinity. At times, police have falsely claimed the use of a confidential informant when they have actually deployed these particularly sweeping and intrusive surveillance tools. Often, they are used to locate criminal suspects.
So far, there’s no clear evidence pointing in any direction, but given the timing of the leak, and the simple fact that very few would have the capabilities and the motives to hack and shame the NSA publicly, some posited The Shadow Brokers could be Russian.
But there’s another possibility. An insider could have stolen them directly from the NSA, in a similar fashion to how former NSA contractor Edward Snowden stole an untold number of the spy agency’s top secret documents. And this theory is being pushed by someone who claims to be, himself, a former NSA insider.
“My colleagues and I are fairly certain that this was no hack, or group for that matter,” the former NSA employee told Motherboard. “This ‘Shadow Brokers’ character is one guy, an insider employee.”
In 2008, I warned women to cease using talcum powder. I noted there were several studies showing that applying talcum powder to the genital area might raise a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer if the powder particles were to travel up through her vagina and get lodged in her ovaries.
As noted by Robinson Calcagnie Inc., a legal firm representing talcum powder victims, more than 20 such studies exist. Some date back to 1971, when British researchers found talc particles embedded in a majority of the ovarian tumors investigated.
While the measure of risk varies from study to study, the results suggest women may increase their risk for ovarian cancer anywhere from 30 to 90 percent by applying talcum powder to their genital area.
A 2008 study concluded that using talc as little as once a week raised a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer by 36 percent. Daily users faced a 41 percent increased risk.
In announcing the policy shift, the Justice Department cited that decline, as well as a critical recent report by the department’s independent inspector general about safety and security problems in private prisons.
“Private prisons served an important role during a difficult period, but time has shown that they compare poorly to our own bureau facilities,” Sally Q. Yates, the deputy attorney general, wrote in a memo to the bureau. Such prisons, she said, “do not save substantially on costs,” and they provide fewer rehabilitative services, like educational programs and job training, that are “essential to reducing recidivism and improving public safety.”
Ms. Yates instructed the Bureau of Prisons not to renew contracts to use private prisons as existing ones expire, or to at least “substantially reduce” the number of beds that future contracts will provide.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
The wife of former CIA officer and whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling says she’s concerned about the health of her husband, who was sentenced last year to serve three years in a Colorado prison.
Sterling was convicted of espionage for leaking information to a journalist about a dubious U.S. government operation meant to deter Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He says he didn’t do anything wrong. The prosecution came as part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on government leaks.
Sterling is set for release in 2018. But his wife, Holly Sterling, told The Colorado Independent by phone from St. Louis, Missouri, that she worries health issues he’s having in prison might mean she’ll never see him on the outside again.
“I’m concerned my husband may die,” she said. “I’m extremely concerned.”
In the past few months, Jeffrey Sterling, 49, who says he has a history of atrial fibrillation, has been “subjected to unresponsive and dismissive medical care” at the Colorado federal correctional institution known as FCI Englewood, according to an Aug. 11 complaint he filed. Holly Sterling provided a copy of the complaint to The Independent.
The problem was cited in the most recent quarterly inspection report by federal safety regulators.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the accumulation of spilled radioactive waste in the basement of a building at FitzPatrick is of "very low safety significance'' because it occurred in a locked, highly shielded area that is already highly radioactive.
"The bottom line is, we have been aware of this issue for some time, but it poses no immediate risks to any residents or the environment,'' said Neil Sheehan, speaking for the NRC.
Nevertheless, plant owner Entergy Corp.'s failure to address the leak is of "more than minor significance'' because the company knew about the problem for at least four years, the NRC reported.
Since those early days of Operation in Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, drone strikes as a means of neutralizing suspected terrorists have become chillingly commonplace events. Indeed, they are ubiquitous in regions of some countries. The U.S. military and CIA heavily relied on drones for both surveillance and targeted killings under U.S. President George W. Bush’s tenure, and U.S. President Barack Obama substantially increased their usage when he came into office in 2009. As Micah Zenko reports at the New York Times, “Whereas President George W. Bush authorized approximately 50 drone strikes that killed 296 terrorists and 195 civilians in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia, Obama has authorized 506 strikes that have killed 3,040 terrorists and 391 civilians.”
While the U.S. is perhaps the most notorious operator of armed UAVs, it of course isn’t the only country deploying drones for military purposes. The U.K., China, Israel, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, South Africa, and Somalia (reportedly) all have weaponized drones as well. Israel has an impressive fleet of its domestic Heron TP UAV, and plans to triple its size by 2020. In February Nigeria used drones to bomb the terrorist group Boko Haram for the first time. Numerous other countries, such as Russia and India, have surveillance drones like the Searcher, which is also manufactured in Israel, and are in the process of developing weaponized drones. Even terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic State are trying to acquire or develop weaponized drones — sort of. However, as one source points out, “this is where the distinctions between ‘weaponized drone’ and ‘model-aircraft-with-a-grenade-strapped-to-it’ begin to become important.”
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
The hack of an NSA malware staging server is not unprecedented, but the publication of the take is. Here's what you need to know: (1/x)— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 16, 2016
Snowden has put together a bit of a tweetstorm for his take on the hack and release of the hacking tools. To make it easier to read, we've put it all together here:
The hack of an NSA malware staging server is not unprecedented, but the publication of the take is. Here's what you need to know:
NSA traces and targets malware C2 servers in a practice called Counter Computer Network Exploitation, or CCNE. So do our rivals. NSA is often lurking undetected for years on the C2 and ORBs (proxy hops) of state hackers. This is how we follow their operations. This is how we steal their rivals' hacking tools and reverse-engineer them to create "fingerprints" to help us detect them in the future.
Here's where it gets interesting: the NSA is not made of magic. Our rivals do the same thing to us -- and occasionally succeed. Knowing this, NSA's hackers (TAO) are told not to leave their hack tools ("binaries") on the server after an op. But people get lazy.
What's new? NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new. A rival publicly demonstrating they have done so is.
Why did they do it? No one knows, but I suspect this is more diplomacy than intelligence, related to the escalation around the DNC hack. Circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility. Here's why that is significant: This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server. That could have significant foreign policy consequences. Particularly if any of those operations targeted US allies. Particularly if any of those operations targeted elections. Accordingly, this may be an effort to influence the calculus of decision-makers wondering how sharply to respond to the DNC hacks.
TL;DR: This leak looks like a somebody sending a message that an escalation in the attribution game could get messy fast.
Bonus: When I came forward, NSA would have migrated offensive operations to new servers as a precaution - it's cheap and easy. So? So... The undetected hacker squatting on this NSA server lost access in June 2013. Rare public data point on the positive results of the leak.
You're welcome, @NSAGov. Lots of love.
Federal Judge Says Real-Time Cell Location Info -- Whether Obtained With A Stingray Or Not -- Requires The Use Of A Warrant
Although the defendants lost their motions to suppress due to a lack of standing, the judge had this to say about the acquisition of cell site location info in this case. (via FourthAmendment.com)
Here, I agree with the Defendants that law enforcement's seizure of precise realtime location information by surreptitiously monitoring signals from the cell phones in this manner is a search subject to the proscriptions of the Fourth Amendment. Such is the express conclusion of the Florida Supreme Court and the conclusion suggested by the Supreme Court. See Tracey v. Florida, 152 So.3d 504 (Fla. 2014); United States v. Jones, 132 S.Ct. 945 (2012). As such, law enforcement should have obtained a search warrant issued upon probable cause. The Government concedes that the practice in this Court requires a warrant based upon probable cause for such searches and that the these pen/trap applications did not establish probable cause.
Originally, the defense claimed police used a Stingray to track five burner phones used by the defendants. This seemed to be the most logical conclusion, considering how closely and immediately the location data was acquired. But the government responded that no cell site simulators were used to track the devices. Instead, another tool that has long been available to law enforcement was deployed -- a tool created explicitly for law enforcement use by the cell provider.
And why won’t the Federal Bureau of Investigation release its documents on the shooter?
Hinckley, who was released from a federal psychiatric facility on August 5 after 35 years, remains a mystery, and that’s the way the government prefers it. Among the documents the Bureau withholds are those that reveal organizations linked to him — and the names of his associates.
One noteworthy individual will not even acknowledge knowing of Hinckley beforehand, someone associated with the shooter’s family, and an even longer history of dissociation — George H.W. Bush.
Most Americans have never heard about this — and even those who have will be intrigued by some little-known aspects. One is the rather unique way the Bush clan has dealt with or sought to dismiss such peculiar situations — and this is hardly the only one in which the family has been enmeshed.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Contractors also encourage mission creep, because contractors don't count as "boots on the ground." Congress does not consider them to be troops, and therefore contractors do not count again troop-level caps in places like Iraq. The U.S. government does not track contractor numbers in war zones. As a result, the government can put more people on the ground than it reports to the American people, encouraging mission creep and rendering contractors virtually invisible.
For decades now, the centrality of contracting in American warfare—both on the battlefield and in support of those on the battlefield—has been growing. During World War II, about 10 percent of America’s armed forces were contracted. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that proportion leapt to 50 percent. This big number signals a disturbing trend: the United States has developed a dependency on the private sector to wage war, a strategic vulnerability. Today, America can no longer go to war without the private sector.
Why did this happen? During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, policymakers assumed a quick and easy victory. As former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in 2002, the Iraq War would take “five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that.” When these wars did not end in mere months, the all-volunteer force found it could not recruit enough volunteers to sustain two long wars. That left policymakers with three terrible options. First, withdraw and concede the fight to the terrorists (unthinkable). Second, institute a Vietnam-like draft to fill the ranks (political suicide). Third, bring in contractors to fill the ranks. Not surprisingly, both the Bush and Obama administrations opted for contractors.
Today, 75 percent of U.S. forces in Afghanistan are contracted. Only about 10 percent of these contractors are armed, but this matters not. The greater point is that America is waging a war largely via contractors, and U.S. combat forces would be impotent without them. If this trend continues, we might see 80 or 90 percent of the force contracted in future wars.
The authenticity of the files cannot be confirmed but appear to be legitimate, according to security researchers who have studied their content. Their release comes on the heels of a series of disclosures of emails and documents belonging mostly to Democratic officials, but also to Republicans. Security researchers believe those breaches were perpetrated by agents thought to be acting on behalf of Moscow.
The NSA did not answer Foreign Policy’s questions about the alleged breach on Monday. But if someone has managed to penetrate the American signals intelligence agency and post its code online for the world to see — and purchase — it would constitute a historic black eye for the agency.