Tuesday, November 12, 2013

607 Snowden leaks threaten US plans for 2 big trade blocs (Trans-Atlantic & Trans-Pacific) which exclude BRICS

Snowden leaks threaten US plans for 2 big trade blocs (Trans-Atlantic &
Trans-Pacific) which exclude BRICS

Newsletter published 24 July 2013

(1) Snowden leaks threaten US plans for 2 big trade blocs
(Trans-Atlantic & Trans-Pacific) which exclude BRICS
(2) Chinese rivalry and "Islamic terrorism" prompt US invasion of Africa
(3) NSA holds emergency hearing to fight off anti-surveillance amendment
in Congress
(4) Jimmy Carter support for Snowden ignored by US media
(5) The Israel/Homeland Security Connection - Brother Nathanael Kapner
(6) The Deeper Meaning of Mass Spying in America - Petras
(7) US drone strikes guided from Pine Gap spy base, south-west of Alice
Springs in Outback Australia
(8) Software Meant to Fight Crime Is Used to Spy on Dissidents
(9) Google Glass "wearable computing": you don't know if they're taking
a video of you
(10) Waze, a social-network real-time tracking device - Roi Tov
(11) 750 million mobile phones carry SIM cards vulnerable to hacking
(for fraud & surveillance)

(1) Snowden leaks threaten US plans for 2 big trade blocs
(Trans-Atlantic & Trans-Pacific) which exclude BRICS


US to create two major economic unions without Russia and China

Yuri Skidanov



By early 2013 a long-term strategic goal of the U.S. foreign policy
became clear. The goal is to create two economic unions to confront the
growing power of the BRICS member countries and form two large markets
under the control of the United States in the Atlantic and Pacific areas
without the participation of China and Russia.

The Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific Partnership aim at creating an
"economic" NATO, Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA) between the
United States and the European Union. The defense budget of its member
countries amounts to approximately 58 percent of global military spending.

According to the British Prime Minister David Cameron, the effect of the
new union will be expressed in the growth of the EU's GDP by $157
billion, the U.S. - $130 billion and the rest of the world - $138
billion. The abolition of the transatlantic tariffs within five years
will ensure revenue growth between the U.S. and the EU of over $120
billion. In addition, joining of the U.S. and European markets will
determine the need to introduce a new transatlantic currency, which will
allow restructuring or eliminating all debts denominated in dollars and
euros and moving onto a new stage of economic and monetary expansion.

The outline of the economic agreement in the Pacific version with the
participation of traditionally inflexible Japan is not clearly defined,
but given the enormous influence of the U.S. in the largest countries of
the region and surrounding areas such as Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia,
the Philippines and others, it is safe to assume that the degree of
integration will be at least as high as TAFTA.

As a result, the World Trade Organization where liberal economists
dragged the Russian government, threatening the collapse of many
domestic industries and agriculture, will lose the ability to influence
and regulate the global financial community.

The U.S. and its formal and informal allies will gain a tangible profit.
The fading U.S. economy will get a boost for the development, opening up
new markets in Europe and Asia. In the event of adoption of the new
currency the U.S. has a real chance to get rid of heavy debts whose
value exceeds the annual GDP. Those not satisfied with this order will
face convincing explanations from the Navy, Air Force and the U.S. Army
as well as the allies.

China and the BRICS locked in the system of their own markets will lose.
In the end, Obama will provide stability to the faltering U.S. global
domination structure, and with the military and economic potential of
the Atlantic and Pacific allies will build, at least by 22nd century, a
new geopolitical world model, in which, figuratively speaking, the
movement of the sun will be controlled by Washington.

Everything was going fine. The concept of trans-Atlantic space was
supported by British Prime Minister Cameron, German Chancellor Merkel,
European Commission President Barroso, and French President Hollande.

Everything was fine until idealist Snowden, who, explaining what
prompted him to make public the facts of the crimes committed by the
U.S. authorities, said that since childhood he was raised to be fair,
just and respectful of people's rights. This classic set frequently used
in the description of the U.S. government, turns out, delivered a
serious blow to this country.

It turned out, for example, that the level of espionage intelligence on
the territory of West Germany, the largest European power and ally of
the United States, is only slightly inferior to the scale of spying on
Iran, Pakistan or Afghanistan. A representation of the European Union in
New York and its embassy in Washington are also entangled in a dense
network of espionage.

All European countries are covered by wiretaps of the National Security
Agency, the largest of the classified U.S. intelligence services. Japan
also requested clarification on the fact of wiretapping of its embassy
in Washington. The presidents and leaders of the European Union who a
couple of months ago applauded the prospects for transatlantic
integration (excluding the UK premiere) harshly condemned the U.S. and
demanded an explanation from the Obama administration.

It is unlikely that these leaders and common voters in Europe were
satisfied with the excuses of the fight against terrorism offered by a
high-ranking CIA official Vincent Cannistraro.  Diplomats and leaders of
the European Union, with all due respect to their ability and moral
integrity, do not look like fans or supporters of terrorism. Despite
this, no other explanation was provided by the Americans. Secretary of
State Kerri frankly stated that the search of the U.S. secret services
(i.e., espionage) for data on other countries is normal, and this
practice is not unusual.

The Americans are dragging out time, and it is certainly a winning
tactic, but only in case that the flow of revelations from Snowden who
confirmed that he had thousands of incriminating documents can be
stopped. This is why the Sheremetyevo airport area is infested by
security, and not only Russian.

In any case, Snowden's revelations led to the fact that the plan to
create a Trans-Atlantic area, not to mention the Pacific, is under a
threat of a total collapse, of at least suspension. It is unlikely that
even pro-American politicians in Europe will take a risk to be proactive
in this area. An indefinite delay in the creation of a new economic zone
under the control of the United States provides an opportunity to
increase economic and military potential of the BRICS countries,
primarily China and Russia. While Russia so far is quite sluggish in
realizing its potential outside for various reasons, Beijing, no doubt,
will be able to take advantage of the situation.

(2) Chinese rivalry and "Islamic terrorism" prompt US invasion of Africa

    Kristoffer Larsson <krislarsson@comhem.se> 22 July 2013 19:55


John Pilger: "Islamic terrorism" is the invented excuse for theft of
Africa's riches

The invasion has almost nothing to do with "Islamism", and almost
everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals,
and an accelerating rivalry with China.

By John Pilger

30 January 2013

A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is
deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan,
Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this
was missing from most Anglo-American media.

The invasion has almost nothing to do with "Islamism", and almost
everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals,
and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its
allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a
division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture
provide the cover of a holy war against a "menacing arc" of Islamic
extremism, no different from the bogus "red menace" of a worldwide
communist conspiracy.

Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US
African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among
collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments.

Last year, Africom staged Operation African Endeavor, with the armed
forces of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the US military.
Africom's "soldier to soldier" doctrine embeds US officers at every
level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are

It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba
to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black
colonial elite whose "historic mission", warned Frantz Fanon half a
century ago, is the promotion of "a capitalism rampant though

A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic
minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the M23, which
in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.

Long planned as a "mission" for Nato, not to mention the ever-zealous
French, whose colonial lost causes remain on permanent standby, the war
on Africa became urgent in 2011 when the Arab world appeared to be
liberating itself from the Mubaraks and other clients of Washington and
Europe. The hysteria this caused in imperial capitals cannot be
exaggerated. Nato bombers were dispatched not to Tunis or Cairo but
Libya, where  Muammar Gaddafi ruled over Africa's largest oil reserves.
With the Libyan city of Sirte reduced to rubble, the British SAS
directed the "rebel" militias in what has since been exposed as a racist

The indigenous people of the Sahara, the Tuareg, whose Berber fighters
Gaddafi had protected, fled home across Algeria to Mali, where the
Tuareg have been claiming a separate state since the 1960s. As the ever
watchful Patrick Cockburn points out, it is this local dispute, not
al-Qaida, that the West fears most in northwest Africa... "poor though
the Tuareg may be, they are often living on top of great reserves of
oil, gas, uranium and other valuable minerals".

Almost certainly the consequence of a French/US attack on Mali on 13
January, a siege at a gas complex in Algeria ended bloodily, inspiring a
9/11 moment in David Cameron. The former Carlton TV PR man raged about a
"global threat" requiring "decades" of western violence. He meant
implantation of the west's business plan for Africa, together with the
rape of multi-ethnic Syria and the conquest of independent Iran.

Cameron has now ordered British troops to Mali, and sent an RAF drone,
while his verbose military chief, General Sir David Richards, has
addressed "a very clear message to jihadists worldwide: don't dangle and
tangle with us. We will deal with it robustly" - exactly what jihadists
want to hear. The trail of blood of British army terror victims, all
Muslims, their "systemic" torture cases currently heading to court, add
necessary irony to the general's words. I once experienced Sir David's
"robust" ways when I asked him if he had read the courageous Afghan
feminist Malalai Joya's description of the barbaric behaviour of
westerners and their clients in her country. "You are an apologist for
the Taliban" was his reply. (He later apologised).

These bleak comedians are straight out of Evelyn Waugh and allow us to
feel the bracing breeze of history and hypocrisy. The "Islamic
terrorism" that is their excuse for the enduring theft of Africa's
riches was all but invented by them. There is no longer any excuse to
swallow the BBC/CNN line and not know the truth. Read Mark Curtis's
Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam (Serpent's Tail)
or John Cooley's Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International
Terrorism (Pluto Press) or The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski
(HarperCollins) who was midwife to the birth of modern fundamentalist
terror. In effect, the mujahedin of al-Qaida and the Taliban were
created by the CIA, its Pakistani equivalent, the Inter-Services
Intelligence, and Britain's MI6.

Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser,
describes a secret presidential directive in 1979 that began what became
the current "war on terror". For 17 years, the US deliberately
cultivated, bank-rolled, armed and brainwashed jihadi extremists that
"steeped a generation in violence". Code-named Operation Cyclone, this
was the "great game" to bring down the Soviet Union but brought down the
Twin Towers.

Since then, the news that intelligent, educated people both dispense and
ingest has become a kind of Disney journalism, fortified, as ever, by
Hollywood's licence to lie, and lie. There is the coming Dreamworks
movie on WikiLeaks, a fabrication inspired by a book of perfidious
title-tattle by two enriched Guardian journalists; and there is Zero
Dark Thirty, which promotes torture and murder, directed by the
Oscar-winning Kathryn Bigelow, the Leni Riefenstahl of our time,
promoting her master's voice as did the Fuhrer's pet film-maker. Such is
the one-way mirror through which we barely glimpse what power does in
our name.

(3) NSA holds emergency hearing to fight off anti-surveillance amendment
in Congress

July 23, 2013 18:26


The National Security Agency has invited certain members of Congress to
a top secret, invitation only meeting to discuss a proposed amendment
that could end the NSA's ability to conduct dragnet surveillance on
millions of Americans.

A letter circulated only to select lawmakers early Tuesday announced
that NSA Director General Keith B. Alexander would host a question and
answer session with members of Congress in preparation of a Thursday
vote on Capitol Hill expected to involve an amendment introduced last
month by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan).

That amendment, a provision tacked along to a Department of Defense
Appropriations Act along with nearly 100 others, aims to greatly
diminish the NSA's domestic spying powers in the wake of disclosures
attributed to Edward Snowden, a 30-year-old former employee of Booz
Allen Hamilton currently fighting extradition to the US where he faces
charges of espionage for his role in leaking state secrets.

One of the leaked files released by Snowden to the UK's Guardian
newspaper details how the government's interpretation of the PATRIOT
Act's Section 215 has allowed the NSA to collect call logs and other
so-called "telephony metadata" pertaining to millions of Americans on a
regular basis. If the Amash amendment is approved, it would end that

The amendment, as it appears on the House of Representatives Committee
on Rules website, "Bars the NSA and other agencies from using Section
215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call
records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation
under Section 215."

"It's not a partisan issue. It's something that cuts across the entire
political spectrum," Amash told the Rules panel. "In order for funds to
be used by the NSA, the court order would have to have a statement
limiting the collection of records to those records that pertain to a
person under investigation," Amash said, according to Politico. "If the
court order doesn't have that statement, the NSA doesn't receive the
funding to collect those records."

Amash's suggestion isn't unheard of in the wake of a massive public
backlash caused by Mr. Snowden's disclosures, but it certainly isn't
sitting pretty with the NSA. According to Huffington Post, a letter
circulated on Tuesday only hours after the Amash amendment was confirmed
to be in order and expected to go up for vote this Thursday.

"In advance of anticipated action on amendments to the DoD
Appropriations bill, Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the
House Intelligence Committee invites your Member to attend a question
and answer session with General Keith B. Alexander of the National
Security Agency," HuffPo quoted from the invitation.

The meeting, added journalist Ryan Grim, was scheduled to be held at a
security level of top secret/SCI and was only open to certain lawmakers,
echoing the secrecy involved in the very programs Amash aims to shut down.

In preparation for Amash's amendment going up for vote, the activism
group Demand Progress has
http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/nsa_amash/a campaign in hopes it
will encourage Americans to ask their representatives to vote in favor
of the bill.

"As the NSA spying revelations continue to unfold, we increasingly find
ourselves facing the reality that -- at any moment -- the federal
government could be listening to our phone calls, watching our email
traffic, keeping tabs on our Internet browsing, or worse," the website
reads. "But now we have our first real chance to fight back."

Speaking to Huffington Post, Demand Progress executive director David
Segal said, "To invoke that expert on surveillance George W. Bush: After
this vote we'll finally know who is with us in the cause to protect
civil rights -- and who is against us."

A spokesperson for Rep. Amash told TIME Magazine on Tuesday afternoon
that debate over the amendment is scheduled for Wednesday evening, with
lawmakers expected to move for a vote the following morning. The
amendment is being cosponsored by Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from
Amash's home state of Michigan.

(4) Jimmy Carter support for Snowden ignored by US media

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
To: "AcademicUsers (ListServ)" <academicusers@listserv.ccsu.edu>
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2013 09:10:18 -0400
Subject: Ex-President Carter: US not a "functioning democracy"

Jimmy Carter: US "Has No Functioning Democracy"

By Alberto Riva, International Business Times

19 July 13


Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is so concerned about the NSA spying
scandal that he thinks it has essentially resulted in a suspension of
American democracy.

"America does not at the moment have a functioning democracy," he said
at an event in Atlanta on Tuesday sponsored by the Atlantik Bruecke, a
private nonprofit association working to further the German-U.S.
relationship. The association's name is German for "Atlantic bridge."

Carter’s remarks didn't appear in the American mainstream press but were
reported from Atlanta by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, whose
Washington correspondent Gregor Peter Schmitz said on Twitter he was
present at the event. The story doesn't appear in the English-language
section of the Spiegel website and is only available in German.

The 39th U.S. president also said he was pessimistic about the current
state of global affairs, wrote Der Spiegel, because there was "no reason
for him to be optimistic at this time." Among the developments that make
him uneasy, Carter cited the "falling of Egypt under a military

(5) The Israel/Homeland Security Connection - Brother Nathanael Kapner


The Israel/Homeland Security Connection

By Brother Nathanael Kapner

April 13, 2013

THE DISAPPEARING FRONTIERS of America’s Security infrastructure can now
be mapped via a direct route between Washington and Tel Aviv.

The breakdown of America’s sovereign infrastructure (which initiated the
process of the federalization of local police) occurred in 2008 when the
Anti-Defamation League organized a joint training program between US
Police Chiefs and Israeli Swat Teams.

Since then, Jewish interests have totally absorbed Homeland Security in
a broad range of areas including police training, counter-insurgency
maneuvers, advanced technology, border security, intelligence, and
cyber-security. View Entire Story Here, Here & Here. {visit webpage to
access embedded links}

Alex Jones would have us believe that “Big Sis” Napolitano is running
the show at Homeland Security but this reputed lesbian is nothing but a

The MAIN players (yes, Jews) running DHS are Michael Chertoff and his
gang of Jews at the Chertoff Group, the lead advisory ‘think tank’
shaping policy for Homeland Security.

And two Jews within DHS: David Heyman and Alan Cohn are the heads of
policy. Yes, “policy” at Homeland Security is led and shaped by Jews.

In 2004, the Israeli Export Cooperation Institute and the US Chamber of
Commerce launched the Homeland Security Master-Key Project in order to
promote Israeli-American collaboration with 200 Israeli security-related
companies fully engaged and participating in the Project.

In February 2007, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and Israeli
Minister of Public Security Avi Dichter signed a joint Memorandum of
Mutual Understanding, setting out terms for security cooperation between
Israel and the US.

The Memorandum called for joint planning and responses during a US state
of emergency; US aviation security - including passenger and baggage
inspection; and experimenting and evaluation of methods for detecting

In March 2010, Janet Napolitano and Israeli Transport Minister Israel
Katz signed an agreement to increase aviation security collaboration
emphasizing drills that review procedures and codes for sending alerts
if passengers try to commit acts of terror.

Israel has also constructed an “operations room” for America’s national
electricity grid and doubled the main operating center of computer and
communications networks that monitor all commercial aviation in America.

In other words, Big Brother Jew Is Watching You both in TSA lines and
when you strap on your seat belt.

Better put, a federal police force run by Jews has been brought to
maturity since the 9/11 hoax…and a Jewish police state is now intact. ... ==

David Heyman | Homeland Security

http://www.dhs.gov/person/david-heyman - CachedBiographical information
for David Heyman, the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. ==

Alan D. Cohn | Homeland Security

http://www.dhs.gov/person/alan-d-cohn - CachedAlan D. Cohn is Assistant
Secretary for Strategy, Planning, Analysis & Risk in the DHS Office of

(6) The Deeper Meaning of Mass Spying in America - Petras

  James Petras <jpetras@binghamton.edu> 15 June 2013 12:03

The Deeper Meaning of Mass Spying in America

James Petras



The exposure of the Obama regime’s use of the National Security Agency
to secretly spy on the communications of hundreds of millions of US and
overseas citizens has provoked world-wide denunciations. In the United
States, despite widespread mass media coverage and the opposition of
civil liberties organizations, there has not been any mass protest.
Congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic Parties,
as well as top judges, approved of the unprecedented domestic spy
program.. Even worse, when the pervasive spy operations were revealed,
top Senate and Congressional leaders repeated their endorsement of each
and every intrusion into all electronic and written communication
involving American citizens. President Obama and his Attorney General
Holder openly and forcefully defended the NSA’s the universal spy

The issues raised by this vast secret police apparatus and its
penetration into and control over civil society, infringing on the
citizens freedom of expression, go far beyond mere ‘violations of
privacy’, as raised by many legal experts.

Most civil libertarians focus on the violations of individual rights,
constitutional guarantees and the citizen’s privacy rights. These are
important legal issues and the critics are right in raising them.
However, these constitutional–legal critiques do not go far enough; they
fail to raise even more fundamental issues; they avoid basic political

Why has such a massive police-state apparatus and universal spying
become so central to the ruling regime? Why has the entire executive,
legislative and judicial leadership come out in public for such a
blatant repudiation of all constitutional guarantees? Why do elected
leaders defend universal political espionage against the citizenry? What
kind of politics requires a police state? What kind of long-term, large
scale domestic and foreign policies are illegal and unconstitutional as
to require the building of a vast network of domestic spies and a
hundred billion dollar corporate-state techno-espionage infrastructure
in a time of budget ‘austerity’ with the slashing of social programs?

The second set of questions arises from the use of the espionage data.
So far most critics have questioned the existence of massive state
espionage but have avoided the vital issue of what measures are taken by
the spymasters once they target individuals, groups, movements? The
essential question is: What reprisals and sanctions follow from the
‘information’ that is collected, classified and made operational by
these massive domestic spy networks? Now that the ‘secret’ of
all-encompassing, state political spying has entered public discussion,
the next step should be to reveal the secret operations that follow
against those targeted by the spymasters as a ‘risk to national security’.

The Politics behind the Police State

The fundamental reason for the conversion of the state into a gigantic
spy apparatus is the nature of deeply destructive domestic and foreign
policies which the government has so forcefully pursued. The vast
expansion of the police state apparatus is not a response to the terror
attack of 9/11. The geometrical growth of spies, secret police budgets,
and the vast intrusion into all citizen communications coincides with
the wars across the globe. The decisions to militarize US global policy
requires vast budgetary re-allocation , slashing social spending to fund
empire-building; shredding public health and social security to bailout
Wall Street. These are policies which greatly enhance profits for
bankers and corporations while imposing regressive taxes on wage and
salaried workers

Prolonged and extended wars abroad have been funded at the expense of
citizens’ welfare at home. This policy had led to declining living
standards for many tens of millions of citizens and rising
dissatisfaction. The potential of social resistance as evidenced by the
brief “Occupy Wall Street” movement which was endorsed by over 80% of
the population, .The positive response alarmed the state and led to an
escalation of police state measures. Mass spying is designed to identify
the citizens who oppose both imperial wars and the destruction of
domestic welfare; labeling them as ‘security threats’ is a means of
controlling them through the use of arbitrary police powers. The
expansion of the President’s war powers has been accompanied by the
growth and scope of the state spy apparatus: the more the President
orders overseas drone attacks, the greater the number of his military
interventions, the greater the need for the political elite surrounding
the President to increase its policing of citizens in anticipation of a
popular backlash. In this context, the policy of mass spying is taken as
‘pre-emptive action’. The greater the police state operations, the
greater the fear and insecurity among dissident citizens and activists.

The assault on the living standards of working and middle class
Americans in order to fund the endless series of wars, and not the
so-called ‘war on terror’, is the reason the state has developed massive
cyber warfare against the US citizenry. The issue is not only a question
of a violation of individual privacy: it is fundamentally an issue of
state infringement of the collective rights of organized citizens to
freely engage in public opposition to regressive socio-economic policies
and question the empire. The proliferation of permanent bureaucratic
institutions, with over a million security ‘data collectors’, is
accompanied by tens of thousands of ‘field operators’, analysts and
inquisitors acting arbitrarily to designate dissident citizens as
‘security risks’ and imposing reprisals according to the political needs
of their ruling political bosses. The police state apparatus has its own
rules of self-protection and self-perpetuation; it has its own linkages
and may occasionally compete with the Pentagon. The police state links
up with and protects the masters of Wall Street and the propagandists of
the mass media – even as it (must) spy on them!

The police state is an instrument of the Executive Branch acting as a
vehicle for its arbitrary prerogative powers. However on administrative
matters, it possesses a degree of ‘autonomy’ to target dissident
behavior. What is clear is the high degree of cohesion, vertical
discipline and mutual defense, up and down the hierarchy. The fact that
one whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, emerged from the hundreds of
thousands of citizen spies is the exception, the lone whistle blower,
which proves the rule: There are fewer defectors to be found among the
million-member US spy network than in all the Mafia families in Europe
and North America.

The domestic spy apparatus operates with impunity because of its network
of powerful domestic and overseas allies. The entire bi-partisan
Congressional leadership is privy to and complicit with its operations.
Related branches of government, like the Internal Revenue Service,
cooperate in providing information and pursuing targeted political
groups and individuals. Israel is a key overseas ally of the National
Security Agency, as has been documented in the Israeli press (Haaretz,
June 8, 2013). Two Israeli high tech firms (Verint and Narus) with ties
to the Israeli secret police (MOSSAD), have provided the spy software
for the NSA and this, of course, has opened a window for Israeli spying
in the US against Americans opposed to the Zionist state. The writer and
critic, Steve Lendman points out that Israeli spymasters via their
software “front companies” have long had the ability to ‘steal
proprietary commercial and industrial data” with impunity . And because
of the power and influence of the Presidents of the 52 Major American
Jewish organizations, Justice Department officials have ordered dozens
of Israeli espionage cases to be dropped. The tight Israeli ties to the
US spy apparatus serves to prevent deeper scrutiny into its operation
and political goals - at a very high price in terms of the security of
US citizens. In recent years two incidents stand out: Israeli security
‘experts’ were contracted to advise the Pennsylvania Department of
Homeland Security in their investigation and ‘Stasi-like’ repression of
government critics and environmental activists (compared to ‘al Queda
terrorists’ by the Israelis) – the discovery of which forced the
resignation of OHS Director James Powers in 2010. In 2003, New Jersey
governor, Jim McGreevy appointed his lover, an Israeli government
operative and former IDF officer, to head that state’s ‘Homeland
Security Department and later resigned, denouncing the Israeli, Golan
Cipel, for blackmail in late 2004. These examples are a small sample
illustrating the depth and scope of Israeli police state tactics
intersecting in US domestic repression.

The Political and Economic Consequences of the Spy State

The denunciations of the mass spy operations are a positive step, as far
as they go. But equally important is the question of what follows from
the act of spying? We now know that hundreds of millions of Americans
are being spied on by the state. We know that mass spying is official
policy of the Executive and is approved by Congressional leaders. But we
have only fragmented information on the repressive measures resulting
from the investigations of “suspect individuals”. We can assume that
there is a division of labor among data collectors, data analysts and
field operatives following up “risky individuals and groups”, based on
the internal criteria known only to the secret police. The key spy
operatives are those who devise and apply the criteria for designating
someone as a “security risk”. Individuals and groups who express
critical views of domestic and foreign policy are “a risk”; those who
act to protest are a “higher risk”; those who travel to conflict regions
are presumed to be in the “highest risk” category, even if they have
violated no law. The question of the lawfulness of a citizen’s views and
actions does not enter into the spymasters’ equation; nor do any
questions regarding the lawfulness of the acts committed by the spies
against citizens. The criteria defining a security risk supersede any
constitutional considerations and safeguards.

We know from a large number of published cases that lawful critics,
illegally spied upon , have subsequently been arrested, tried and jailed
– their lives and those of their friends and family members shattered.
We know that hundreds of homes, workplaces and offices of suspects have
been raided in ‘fishing expeditions’. We know that family members,
associates, neighbors, clients, and employers of “suspects” have been
interrogated, pressured and intimidated. Above all, we know that tens of
millions of law abiding citizens, critical of domestic economic and
overseas war policies, have been censored by the very real fear of the
massive operations carried out by the police state. In this atmosphere
of intimidation, any critical conversation or word spoken in any context
or relayed via the media can be interpreted by nameless, faceless spies
as a “security threat” – and one’s name can enter into the ever growing
secret lists of “potential terrorists”. The very presence and dimensions
of the police state is intimidating. While there are citizens who would
claim that the police state is necessary to protect them from terrorists
– But how many others feel compelled to embrace their state terrorists
just to fend off any suspicion, hoping to stay off the growing lists?
How many critical-minded Americans now fear the state and will never
voice in public what they whisper at home?

The bigger the secret police, the greater its operations. The more
regressive domestic economic policy, the greater the fear and loathing
of the political elite.

Even as President Obama and his Democratic and Republican partners boast
and bluster about their police state and its effective “security
function”, the vast majority of Americans are becoming aware that fear
instilled at home serves the interest of waging imperial wars abroad;
that cowardice in the face of police state threats only encourages
further cuts in their living standards. When will they learn that
exposing spying is only the beginning of a solution? When will they
recognize that ending the police state is essential to dismantling the
costly empire and creating a safe, secure and prosperous America?

(7) US drone strikes guided from Pine Gap spy base, south-west of Alice
Springs in Outback Australia


US drone strikes guided from outback

July 21, 2013

Philip Dorling

Central Australia's Pine Gap spy base played a key role in the United
States' controversial drone strikes involving the ''targeted killing''
of al-Qaeda and Taliban chiefs, Fairfax Media can reveal.

Former personnel at the Australian-American base have described the
facility's success in locating and tracking al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders
- and other insurgent activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan - as

A Fairfax Media investigation has now confirmed a primary function of
the top-secret signals intelligence base near Alice Springs is to track
the precise ''geolocation'' of radio signals, including those of
hand-held radios and mobile phones, in the eastern hemisphere, from the
Middle East across Asia to China, North Korea and the Russian far east.

This information has been used to identify the location of terrorist
suspects, which is then fed into the United States drone strike program
and other military operations.

The drone program, which has involved more than 370 attacks in Pakistan
since 2004, is reported to have killed between 2500 and 3500 al-Qaeda
and Taliban militants, including many top commanders.

But hundreds of civilians have been also killed, causing anti-American
protests in Pakistan, diplomatic tensions between Washington and
Islamabad and accusations the ''drone war'' has amounted to a program of
''targeted killing'' outside a battlefield. This year, the Obama
administration acknowledged four American citizens had been killed by
strikes in Pakistan and Yemen since 2009.

''The [Taliban] know we're listening but they still have to use radios
and phones to conduct their operations; they can't avoid that,'' one
former Pine Gap operator said. ''We track them, we combine the signals
intelligence with imagery and, once we've passed the geolocation
[intelligence] on, our job is done. When drones do their job we don't
need to track that target any more.''

The base's direct support of US military operations is much greater than
admitted by Defence Minister Stephen Smith and previous Australian
governments, new disclosures by former Pine Gap personnel and
little-noticed public statements by US government officials have shown.

Australian Defence intelligence sources have confirmed that finding
targets is critically dependent on intelligence gathered and processed
through the Pine Gap facility, which has seen ''a massive, quantitative
and qualitative transformation'' over the past decade, and especially
the past three years.

''The US will never fight another war in the eastern hemisphere without
the direct involvement of Pine Gap,'' one official said.

Last week, secret documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden
indicated Pine Gap also contributes to a broad US National Security
Agency collection program codenamed ''X-Keyscore''.

Pine Gap controls a set of geostationary satellites positioned above the
Indian Ocean and Indonesia. These orbit the earth at fixed points and
are able to locate the origin of radio signals to within 10 metres. Pine
Gap processes the data and can provide targeting information to US and
allied military units within minutes.

Former US National Security Agency personnel who served at Pine Gap in
the past two years have described their duties in unguarded career
summaries and employment records as including ''signals intelligence
collection, geolocation … and reporting of high-priority target
signals'' including ''real time tracking''.

US Army personnel working at Pine Gap use systems codenamed ''Whami,
SSEXTANT, and other geolocation tools'' to provide targeting
information, warnings about the location of radio-triggered improvised
explosive devices, and for combat and non-combat search and rescue missions.

Pine Gap's operations often involve sifting through vast quantities of
''noise'' to find elusive and infrequent signals. One former US Army
signals intelligence analyst describes the ''collection and geolocation
of an extremely hard to find target'' as a task that included ''manually
sifting through hundreds of hours of collection''.

Last month Mr Smith assured Parliament that Pine Gap operates with the
''full knowledge and concurrence'' of the government.

He provided no details other than to say the facility ''delivers
information on intelligence priorities such as terrorism, the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and military and weapons
developments'' and ''contributes to the verification of arms control and
disarmament agreements''.

The government is required by a number of agreements to consult with the
US government before the public release of any new information about
Pine Gap.

The federal government maintains a long-standing policy of not
commenting on operational intelligence matters.

(8) Software Meant to Fight Crime Is Used to Spy on Dissidents

Howard Miller <ausgrass@gmail.com> 4 May 2013 20:57


Thor Swift for The New York Times


Published: August 30, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — Morgan Marquis-Boire works as a Google engineer and Bill
Marczak is earning a Ph.D. in computer science. But this summer, the two
men have been moonlighting as detectives, chasing an elusive
surveillance tool from Bahrain across five continents.

Chanting antigovernment slogans, mourners escorted the body of a
16-year-old killed by security forces in Bahrain this month.

What they found was the widespread use of sophisticated, off-the-shelf
computer espionage software by governments with questionable records on
human rights. While the software is supposedly sold for use only in
criminal investigations, the two came across evidence that it was being
used to target political dissidents.

The software proved to be the stuff of a spy film: it can grab images of
computer screens, record Skype chats, turn on cameras and microphones
and log keystrokes. The two men said they discovered mobile versions of
the spyware customized for all major mobile phones.

But what made the software especially sophisticated was how well it
avoided detection. Its creators specifically engineered it to elude
antivirus software made by Kaspersky Lab, Symantec, F-Secure and others.

The software has been identified as FinSpy, one of the more elusive
spyware tools sold in the growing market of off-the-shelf computer
surveillance technologies that give governments a sophisticated plug-in
monitoring operation. Research now links it to servers in more than a
dozen countries, including Turkmenistan, Brunei and Bahrain, although no
government acknowledges using the software for surveillance purposes.

The market for such technologies has grown to $5 billion a year from
“nothing 10 years ago,” said Jerry Lucas, president of TeleStrategies,
the company behind ISS World, an annual surveillance show where law
enforcement agents view the latest computer spyware.

FinSpy is made by the Gamma Group, a British company that says it sells
monitoring software to governments solely for criminal investigations.

“This is dual-use equipment,” said Eva Galperin, of the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, an Internet civil liberties group. “If you sell it
to a country that obeys the rule of law, they may use it for law
enforcement. If you sell it to a country where the rule of law is not so
strong, it will be used to monitor journalists and dissidents.”

Until Mr. Marquis-Boire and Mr. Marczak stumbled upon FinSpy last May,
security researchers had tried, unsuccessfully, for a year to track it
down. FinSpy gained notoriety in March 2011 after protesters raided
Egypt’s state security headquarters and discovered a document that
appeared to be a proposal by the Gamma Group to sell FinSpy to the
government of President Hosni Mubarak for $353,000. It is unclear
whether that transaction was ever completed.

Martin J. Muench, a Gamma Group managing director, said his company did
not disclose its customers. In an e-mail, he said the Gamma Group sold
FinSpy to governments only to monitor criminals and that it was most
frequently used “against pedophiles, terrorists, organized crime,
kidnapping and human trafficking.”

In May, Mr. Marquis-Boire, 32, of San Francisco, and Mr. Marczak, 24, of
Berkeley, Calif., volunteered to analyze some suspicious e-mails sent to
three Bahraini activists. They discovered all the e-mails contained
spyware that reported back to the same command-and-control server in
Bahrain. The apparent use of the spyware to monitor Bahraini activists,
none of whom had any criminal history, suggested that it had been used
more broadly.

Bahrain has been increasingly criticized for human rights abuses. This
month, a 16-year-old Bahraini protester was killed in what activists
said was a brutal attack by security forces, but which Bahrain’s
government framed as self-defense.

The findings of the two men came as no surprise to those in the field.
“There has been a clear increase in the availability of penetrating
cyberattack tools,” said Sameer Bhalotra, President Obama’s former
senior director for cybersecurity who now serves as the chief operating
officer of Impermium, a computer security firm. “These were once the
realm of the black market and intelligence agencies. Now they are
emerging more and more. The problem is that it only requires small
changes to apply a surveillance tool for attack, and in this case it
looks like dissidents were targeted.”

Since publishing their findings, Mr. Marquis-Boire and Mr. Marczak have
started receiving malware samples from other security researchers and
from activist groups that suspected they may have been targets. In
several cases, the two found that the samples reported back to Web sites
run by the Gamma Group. But other samples appeared to be actively
snooping for foreign governments.

A second set of researchers from Rapid7, of Boston, scoured the Internet
for links to the software and discovered it running in 10 more
countries. Indeed, the spyware was running off EC2, an Amazon.com cloud
storage service. Amazon did not return requests for clarification, but
Mr. Marczak and Mr. Marquis-Boire said the server appeared to be a
proxy, a way to conceal traffic.

Mr. Marquis-Boire said a Turkmenistan server running the software
belonged to a range of I.P. addresses specifically assigned to the
ministry of communications. It is the first clear-cut case of a
government running the spyware off its own computer system. Human Rights
Watch recently called Turkmenistan one of the “world’s most repressive
countries” and warned that dissidents faced “constant threat of
government reprisal.”

Ms. Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “Nobody in
their right mind would claim it is O.K. to sell surveillance to

The Gamma Group would not confirm it sold software to Turkmenistan. A
military attaché at the Turkmenistan Embassy in Washington refused to

Mr. Muench, who for the last month has repeatedly denied that the
researchers had pinpointed the company’s spyware, sharply reversed
course Wednesday.

In a statement released less than an hour after the researchers
published their latest findings, Mr. Muench said that a Gamma Group
server had been broken into and that several demonstration copies of
FinSpy had been stolen.

By Thursday afternoon, several of the FinSpy servers began to disappear,
Mr. Marczak said. Servers in Singapore, Indonesia, Mongolia and Brunei
went dark, while one in Bahrain briefly shut down before reincarnating
elsewhere. Mr. Marquis-Boire said that as he traced spyware from Bahrain
to 14 other countries — many of them “places with tight centralized
control” — he grew increasingly worried about the people on the other end.

Four months in, he sounds like a man who wants to take a break, but
knows he cannot just yet: “I can’t wait for the day when I can sleep in
and watch movies and go to the pub instead of analyzing malware and
pondering the state of the global cybersurveillance industry.”

A version of this article appeared in print on August 31, 2012, on page
A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Software Meant to Fight
Crime Is Used to Spy on Dissidents.

(9) Google Glass "wearable computing": you don't know if they're taking
a video of you


Google Glass: is it a threat to our privacy?

The tech giant's 'wearable computing' project is now being tested by
volunteers, meaning you might already have been surreptitiously filmed
and uploaded on to Google's servers. How worried should you be?

Charles Arthur

The Guardian, Wednesday 6 March 2013 15.08 GMT

If you haven't heard about the excitement around Google Glass – the
head-mounted glasses that can shoot video, take pictures, and broadcast
what you're seeing to the world – then here's an idea of the interest in
them. Last week, someone claiming to be testing Glass for Google
auctioned their $1,500 (£995) device on eBay. Bidding had reached
$16,000 before eBay stopped it on the basis that the person couldn't
prove they had the glasses. (They weren't due to get them until last

Google Glass is the most hotly anticipated new arrival in "wearable
computing" – which experts predict will become pervasive. In the past 50
years we have moved from "mainframe" computers that needed their own
rooms to ones that fit in a pocket; any smartphone nowadays has as much
raw computing power as a top-of-the-line laptop from 10 years ago.

The next stage is computers that fit on to your body, and Google's idea
is that you need only speak to operate it. The videos that the company
has put online – and the demonstrations by Sergey Brin, Google's
co-founder, who has been driving these imaginative leaps – suggest you
can whirl your child around by their arms, say: "OK, Glass, take video!"
and capture the moment. (To activate Glass you need to tilt your head,
or touch the side, and then say, "OK Glass, record a video" or "OK Glass
take a picture".) The only other way to get that point of view is to
strap a camera to your head. Brin has already appeared on stage at a TED
conference wearing his Glass glasses (will we call them Glasses?) and
looking vaguely like a space pirate. He has described ordinary
smartphones as "emasculating" (invoking quite a lot of puzzlement and
dictionary-checking: yup, it still means what you thought). And yet
people are already beginning to fret about the social  implications of
Glass (as it's quickly becoming known). The first, and most obvious, is
the question of privacy. The second is: how will we behave in groups
when the distraction of the internet is only an eye movement away?

David Yee, the chief technology officer at a company called Editorially,
tweeted on this point the other day: "There's a young man wearing Google
Glasses at this restaurant, which, until just now, used to be my
favourite spot."

Yee's worry was that the young person might be filming everything and
uploading it to Google's servers (and a Google+ page). Which just feels
creepy. It's not a trivial concern. Joshua Topolsky, an American
technology journalist who is one of the few to have tried out Google
Glass – at Google's invitation – discovered this directly. He wore them
to Starbucks, accompanied by a film crew. The film crew were asked to
stop filming. "But I kept the Glass's video recorder going, all the way

Still, you might think, where's the harm? The thing is, though: this is
Google, not Fred's Amazing Spectacles Company. This is the company that
has repeatedly breached the boundaries of what we think is "private".
 From Google Buzz (where it created a "social network" from peoples'
email lists, forgetting that sometimes deadly enemies have mutual
friends; it was bound over for 20 years by the US's Federal Trade
Commission) and the rows over Street View pictures, to the intentional
snaffling of wi-fi data while collecting those pictures (a $25,000 fine
from the US Federal Communications Commission for obstructing its
investigation there).

And that's before you get to criticism in Europe over its attitude to
data protection (information commissioners grumbled last October that
its unification of its separate privacy policies meant "uncontrolled"
use of personal data without an individual's clear consent.

For Google, "privacy" means "what you've agreed to", and that is
slightly different from the privacy we've become used to over time. So
how comfortable – or uneasy – should we feel about the possibility that
what we're doing in a public or semi-public place (or even somewhere
private) might get slurped up and assimilated by Google? You can guess
what would happen the first time you put on Glass: there would be a huge
scroll of legal boilerplate with "Agree" at the end. And, impatient and
uncaring as ever, you would click on it with little regard for what you
were getting yourself, and others, in to. Can a child properly consent
to filming or being filmed? Is an adult, who happens to be visible in a
camera's peripheral vision in a bar, consenting? And who owns – and what
happens to – that data?

Oliver Stokes, principal design innovator at PDD, which helps clients
such as LG, Vodafone and Fujitsu design products, says Yee's restaurant
scenario is "concerning". "The idea that you could inadvertently become
part of somebody else's data collection – that could be quite alarming.
And Google has become the company which knows where you are and what
you're looking for. Now it's going to be able to compute what it is
you're looking at."

That, he points out, could be hugely useful. "Supermarkets and packaging
companies spend lots of money trying to work out which packages you look
at first on a shelf. Potentially, through Google Glass, they would be
capturing that data as standard. That would be quite powerful – to be
able to say why people buy things."

Of course, the benefits wouldn't accrue to the wearer. Google would sell
the data (suitably anonymised, of course). And your smartphone already
provides a huge amount of detail about you. Song Chaoming, a researcher
at Northeastern University in Boston, has been analysing mobile phone
records (including which base stations the phone connects to) and has
developed an algorithm that can predict – with, he says, 93% accuracy –
where its owner is at any time of the day (by triangulating from the
strengths of the base station signals; that's part of how your
smartphone is able to show where you are on an onscreen map). He
analysed the records of 50,000 people; the accuracy was never below 80%.

When you consider that Chaoming was only doing this in his spare time,
and that Google has teams of people whose only task is to develop better
algorithms to work out where a phone's owner is, and what they're going
to do based on their past activity and searches, you realise that if
you're using an Android phone, Google probably knows what you're going
to do before you do.

The obvious objection to these concerns is that we're used to being
filmed; CCTV is part of life. Yee's response: "Not 5,000 cameras a city
– five million. Not 5,000 monitors – one." Where the five million are
the wearers of Glass – and the one monitor is Google, aggregating,
sifting, profiting.

Yet we already live in a world where the boundaries of what's private
and what's public are melting. The other day my Twitter timeline came
alive with someone tweeting about watching a couple having a furious row
in a cafe; the man had had multiple affairs, the woman had had a
breakdown. Their unhappiness was being played out in public, though the
cafe wasn't strictly a public space. If either used Twitter, they might
have found themselves (or friends might have recognised them). And
Twitter's content is retained and searchable through plenty of web services.

Social media such as Twitter, and the ubiquity since 2003 of
cameraphones (and now of smartphones that not only have still and video
cameras, but can also upload their content immediately) means we're more
used to the snatched photo or video that tells a story. Without it, we
wouldn't know the true circumstances surrounding the death at the G20
protest of the newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson.

What if everyone who had been there had been wearing Google Glass (or
similar) and beaming it to the web? Would the police have behaved

Google doesn't want to discuss these issues. "We are not making any
comment," says a company spokesperson. But other sources suggest that
Google's chiefs know that this is a live issue, and they're watching it
develop. That's part of the plan behind the "Glass Explorer" scheme,
which aims to get the devices into the hands – or rather, on to the
faces – of ordinary people (and which enabled one member of the trial to
putatively auction their Glass).

"It may be that new social norms develop with Glass, where people
develop an informal way of showing that they're not using it – say,
wearing it around their neck to signal they aren't using it or being
distracted by it," said one person who has spoken to Google staff on
this, but who has to stay anonymous. "One of the reasons they're doing
Explorers is to get feedback on these things, as well as the devices."

The other big question about Glass is: how will we behave with each
other? My own experience with a Glass-like system, of wearable ski
goggles, suggests that distraction will happen quite easily. That
system, from Recon, has a lens in the top right that shows data such as
your speed, altitude, and even ski-resort maps (useful in whiteouts). It
was very easy, while standing and talking to someone, to glance up and
read something off the screen. Being present and not-present became
almost reflexive, and that was with only one week of use. Yet at the
same time, the display wasn't overwhelming. Concentrating on what was in
front of me wasn't hard, when required.

Carolina Milanesi, smartphones and tablets analyst at the research
company Gartner, says: "Interestingly this [distraction element] is the
first thing I thought of – not that Glass was giving you something that
phones cannot give you, in terms of sharing or accessing content, but
that they do it without letting others realise you are doing anything.
In other words, with the phone, if I am taking a picture, the person I
am focusing on will likely notice me; with Glass they do not."

Despite her line of work, Milanesi is concerned about whether we get too
deeply involved with our technology, to the exclusion of the real people
around us. She has a different restaurant concern from Yee's. In June
2011, she pointed out how smartphones change us: "Look around a
restaurant or coffee bar at how many people, couples even, are sitting
across from each other and they're both looking down at their mobiles."

Glass might change that for the better – though would you appear to be
looking at each other, while really intent on your email or a video?
Topolsky, who used Glass for some days, said: "It brought something new
into view (both literally and figuratively) that has tremendous value
and potential … the more I used Glass the more it made sense to me; the
more I wanted it."

He loved how text messages or phone calls would just appear as alerts,
and he could deal with them without taking his phone out of his pocket
to see who was calling. Walking and need directions? They're in view.
"In the city, Glass makes you feel more powerful, better equipped, and
definitely less diverted," he said. But, he added, "It might not be that
great at a dinner party, or on a date, or watching a movie."

Hurst comments, "Your one-on-one conversation with someone wearing
Google Glass is likely to be annoying, because you'll suspect that you
don't have their undivided attention. And you can't comfortably ask them
to take off the glasses (especially when, as it inevitably will be, the
device is integrated into prescription lenses). Finally – and here's
where the problems really start – you don't know if they're taking a
video of you."

Stokes points out that we're already seeing body language change as
smartphones – with their glowing screens – become more pervasive: the
hunched walk that 10 years ago marked out a financial whiz with a
BlackBerry is now seen on every pavement.

"I think there will be a pushback," Stokes says. "Maybe you'll have to
have a lens cover to show you're not filming." He points out though that
the present model seems to require voice control – "OK, Glass, shoot
video" – and that this might discourage some users in public. "I've been
watching for people using Siri [Apple's voice-driven iPhone control]. I
just don't see people using it in public places. Maybe it's too gadgety."

"People will have to work out what the new normal is," says Stokes. "I
do wonder whether speaking and gesturing might be essentially banned in

"At home my husband already jokes about me checking into [location
service] Foursquare from the piece of carpet I am standing on," Milanesi
says. "How much more will we have of this now that it is made so simple
for us? And the other side of the coin: how much are we going to share
with others, and at what point will we have a backlash? When will it all
be too much?"

(10) Waze, a social-network real-time tracking device - Roi Tov

  Ken Freeland <diogenesquest@gmail.com> 11 June 2013 08:40

Waze of Israel: Google Beats Facebook

by Roi Tov

"When anybody honks at me in traffic, I blush, wave, and shout, 'Thanks
for being a fan.'"—Jarod Kintz

On June 6, 2013, Bloomberg published "Google Is Said to Be Acquiring
Waze for $1.1 Billion," a few hours ahead of the formal announcement.
Yet, this remarkable act of precognition, came after it was made public
by Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist on May 27, that Israel's Tax
Authority had requested from Waze reports on its shareholders, in order
to begin the tax-collection process. Those of them holding more than 10%
will pay between 25 and 30% of their income.

At the time of that even earlier precognition act by the tax
authorities, the bid for Waze was still open. The rumors on the Hebrew
media claimed that either Facebook or Google would win. The outcome was
decided on odd grounds, reflecting on the background of this
surprisingly popular ... spying device.

Few people realize that Israel has conquered several internet and
information-technology niche markets. This is true to the extent that
most American citizens are unwillingly sharing their secrets with the
State of Israel.

I reviewed that a few months ago in Microsoft Strikes Israeli Software,
after the American giant limited the activity of Babylon and similar
companies on their browsers.

The Israeli activity is mockingly known as "Download Valley," or in a
more serious term the "field of directing users." Other Israeli players
are Perion, the manager of the IncrediMail, Smilebox and SweetIM brands,
VisualBee, Montiera, Fried Cookie Software, WebPick, Linkury, Bundlore,
iBario and KeyDownload. These are Israel's Weapons of Mass Distraction.

Another niche market is far more dangerous. An offshoot of Golden Pages,
the Israeli business phone directory company, Amdocs develops,
implements and manages software and services for business support
systems, including billing, customer relationship management, and for
operations support systems. If your phone company is AT&T, BT Group,
Sprint, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Bell Canada, Telus, Rogers Communications,
Telekom Austria, Cellcom, Comcast, DirecTV, Elisa Oyj, TeliaSonera or
O2-Ireland, then Israel has access to much of your communications and
bills, including credit cards numbers.

Also important in this context is Check Point, a provider of software
and combined hardware and software products for IT security, including
network security, endpoint security, data security and security
management. In other words, the supermarket near your home probably uses
products from this giant to secure its transactions. Israel has access
to all of them. This apparently innocent company got so rich that its
CEO sits in a penthouse office atop Tel Aviv's highest tower. ...

The social network leading company is still Facebook. There is enough
evidence to conclude that this company has deep connections with the
Israeli intelligence, in essence being nothing but an upgraded version
of Mossad's Ksharim program, described in the past by Victor Ostrovsky.

The upgrade was achieved by stealing code from Harvard students Cameron
Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra; Mr. Zuckerberg,
founder of Facebook, made them believe that he would help them build a
social network called HarvardConnection.com (later called ConnectU).
Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the theft by paying indemnifications.

Applications like Facebook are critical for intelligence services
because they map the connections (that's the meaning of "ksharim") of an
individual, facilitating its surveillance, entrapment, and attack.

Yet, Facebook is unlikely to lead the social networks market for much
longer. As predicted in Facebook IPO Fails Mossad, people are unlikely
to stick with it in the long term. People need privacy. Instead, it is
predicted that specialized social media platforms will rise. For
example, writing Back in Bethlehem wouldn’t have been possible without
my use of such specialized social media as a safe data storage, hiding
everything in plain sight but split in a myriad of tiny bits. If this
tendency will continue, Facebook is expected to decline in a few years.

Waze is one of these specialized social media companies. The company's
home page tells the whole story in a few worrying words. "Waze is the
world's fastest-growing community-based traffic and navigation app. Join
other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info,
saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute." This is
nice, but it continues: "See other friends also driving to your
destination, when you connect to Facebook. Coordinate everyone's arrival
times when you pick up or meet up with friends. Now you're effortlessly
in sync when you drive together."

In other words, Waze is a social-network real-time tracking device. It
allows following an entire network of people moving on the road.
Moreover, it allows proper movement of camouflaged military units in a
variety of environments.

The amazing thing is that people willingly cooperate with this violation
of their privacy, to the extent that the company was sold for over a
billion dollar.

Looking from outside, most Israeli companies mentioned in this article
seem to be unrelated. Yet, it is not a secret that most key people in
them are former Unit 8200 soldiers. Most of them openly boast about
this. This SIGINT unit is the largest in the IDF, and specializes in
surveillance. It has formal relations with CAZAB. This is not random.

Engineers who had developed applications for 8200, often adapt them to
the civilian environment. Over the years, this has created what is known
as the Israeli Hi-Tech market described in this article. Waze enters
this category.

Selling Waze to either Google or Facebook was easy. As smartphones and
tablets are getting more popular both companies are increasing efforts
to court customers on the move. Waze's 40 million users would help
Google add social features to its mapping tool and gain market-share
over its main rival, Apple Inc. On the other hand, if Facebook wants to
survive as the leading social network, it must purchase every
specialized network gaining prominence in the market. Both companies
offered Waze over a billion dollar. Yet, money was a secondary issue.

Waze has two locations. The main headquarters are in Ra'anana, near the
abovementioned Amdocs; 70 workers develop the application and run the
company from there. Another 10 workers are in Palo Alto, California,
supervising the American operation. The main issue in the negotiations
was the location of the company after the purchase. Waze's directors
wanted it to stay in Israel. Facebook didn't agree; Google complied and
won the bid.

Dear Waze CEO Noam Bardin, would you be kind enough to explain why do
you need all the awesome data that you are collecting to remain
accessible from Israel? I will understand if you decline to answer me
(Bloomberg also commented that it was impossible to get answers from
you). Don't worry, the answer is rather obvious.

(11) 750 million mobile phones carry SIM cards vulnerable to hacking
(for fraud & surveillance)


‘We become the SIM card’: 750 million mobile phones could be hacked in
one minute

July 21, 2013 19:34

Up to 750 million mobile phones around the world carry SIM cards that
contain a programming flaw that could leave their owners vulnerable to
fraud. The bug allows a hacker to remotely access personal data and
authorise illegal transactions within minutes.

The UN’s International Telecommunications Union is to send an alert to
all mobile phone operators after being presented with “hugely
significant” evidence of a design flaw by renowned German code-breaker
Karsten Nohl.

The bug affects the SIM card, the plastic circuit board that contains
key phone user data, which is considered to be the most-secure part of
the phone, and has not been hacked in a similar fashion in a decade. By
finding out the unique encryption key of each SIM card with just one
hidden text message, Nohl is able to get complete remote control of an
individual’s phone.

"We become the SIM card. We can do anything the normal phone users can
do," Nohl told Reuters. "If you have a MasterCard number or PayPal data
on the phone, we get that too."

The flaw can be exploited both for financial fraud and for surveillance.

“We can remotely install software on a handset that operates completely
independently from your phone. We can spy on you. We know your
encryption keys for calls. We can read your texts. More than just
spying, we can steal data from the SIM card, your mobile identity, and
charge to your account,” Nohl explained to the New York Times.

The 31-year-old 'ethical hacker' Karsten Nohl breaks into secure
systems, exploiting their vulnerabilities, and then presents his
findings to companies, hoping they fix any issues before they are
identified by criminals.

'Ethical hacker' Karsten Nohl

Nohl says his team had been unsuccessfully attempting to breach SIM
cards since 2011, using over-the-air-programming (OTA) – unseen text
messages that are sent by the mobile phone operator to change settings
on the phone of a user within their network.

“We had almost given up on the idea of breaking the most widely-deployed
use of standard cryptography,” admitted Nohl, who says that SIM card
tampering is the 'Holy Grail' for any hacker.

In the end, the flaw was found by accident.

Nohl noticed that when he attempted to send certain incorrect OTA
commands, he would receive an error message that also contained the
unique encryption code belonging to that phone – its virtual key. The
code was easily decrypted – Nohl says the process takes him one minute.
With the phone now at his disposal, he could command it to do anything
from his own computer, without the user ever suspecting anything was amiss.

The bug was not found in every SIM card tested - Nohl researched more
than a thousand - but he estimates that it is present in about a quarter
of SIM cards using Data Encryption Standard (DES), a security standard
that is being phased out but is still used on about 3 billion active
phones. That’s why Nohl estimates that 750 million users might be in
danger. What’s more, there is no easy way for a DES SIM card owner to
identify if their phone is susceptible.

The security expert has already privately informed authorities about his
findings through a process called 'responsible disclosure', and believes
it will take hackers six months to repeat his feat, giving manufacturers
a head start. Nohl will detail his break-in at a Black Hat, a hackers
conference that begins in Las Vegas at the end of July.

While leading companies have released statements acknowledging the flaw,
and saying that they are working to eradicate it, authorities have urged
calm among ordinary users, noting that no criminal damage appears to
have been done so far.

"This is not what hackers are focused on. This does not seem to be
something they are exploiting," reassured John Marinho, Vice President
of Technology and Cybersecurity at CTIA, the leading US mobile industry

But whatever the immediate risks, the UN is less sanguine.

"These findings show us where we could be heading in terms of
cyber-security risks," ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré told Reuters.

No comments:

Post a Comment