Archive for November, 2014


Secret Malware in European Union Attack Linked to U.S. and British Intelligence | The Intercept

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

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

Civil Liberties in Peril Down Under | New York Times

Australia and New Zealand are not among the usual suspects when it comes to state suppression of civil liberties. But both countries, stung by Edward J. Snowden’s revelations last year about their intelligence-gathering efforts, have been cracking down on the press: Australia has passed sweeping secrecy laws, while police officers in New Zealand recently raided the home of a reporter who had published information regarding a government scandal.

There has been little international outcry, and Washington is hardly likely to be upset: The two countries harbor the only major intelligence gathering facilities for the National Security Agency in the Southern Hemisphere, and, along with Britain, Canada and the United States, are members of the intelligence-sharing arrangement known as the “Five Eyes.” [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-ZF – Michael’s Blog

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In May, 2013, a British Army soldier, Lee Rigby, was killed on a suburban London street by two Muslim British citizens, who said they were acting to avenge years of killings of innocent Muslims by the British military in, among other places, Afghanistan and Iraq. One of the attackers, Michael Adebolajo, had also been detained and tortured in 2010 in Kenya with the likely complicity of Her Majesty’s Government. The brutal attack on Rigby was instantly branded “terrorism” (despite its targeting of a soldier of a nation at war) and caused intense and virtually universal indignation in the UK.

In response, the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee resolved to investigate why the attack happened and whether it could have been prevented. Ensuring that nothing undesirable would occur, the investigation was led by the Committee’s chair, the long-time conservative government functionary Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Yesterday, Sir Malcolm’s Committee issued its findings in a 191-page report. It contains some highly predictable conclusions, but also some quite remarkable ones. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-ZD – Michael’s Blog

When the United States Senate refused to consider reforms to its surveillance state last week, it voted under a cloud of ominous warnings from former spy directors and soon-to-be Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about ISIS and the specter of domestic radicalization. At the same time, Canada is publicly processing the aftermath of an actual act of domestic terror and drumming up its own climate of fear in order to expand its surveillance powers.

It’s always uncomfortable for a country to ask “why” when a member of its own citizenry decides to commit acts of political violence against his/her state. It’s uncomfortable because the act of answering such a query is the political equivalent of looking in the mirror. It’s unsettling to see one’s own blemishes reflected back, and much easier to avoid the ordeal altogether. But as political claims about radicalization are being used to justify significant public policies, it is important to have an accurate understanding of the mechanisms at work. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zz – Michael’s Blog

Last weekend, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by a Cleveland police officer responding to a 911 call. The caller was concerned about the young black boy who appeared to be handling a gun at a park. The firearm, it turned out, was only an Airsoft pellet gun — and although the orange plastic ring indicating it wasn’t an actual weapon had been removed, the caller did say the gun was “probably fake.” But that detail was apparently not relayed to responding officers, who shot Tamir twice in the torso just seconds after they arrived at the scene. Tamir died later at a hospital.

On Tuesday, police officials announced that they planned to release video of the incident. The next day, Tamir’s family and members of the community, still reeling from the boy’s death as well as the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, awoke to this headline from the Northeast Ohio Media Group instead: [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zx – Michael’s Blog

A summer afternoon at the Reichstag. Soft Berlin light filters down through the great glass dome, past tourists ascending the spiral ramp, and into the main hall of parliament. Half the members’ seats are empty. At the lectern, a short, slightly hunched figure in a fuchsia jacket, black slacks, and a helmet of no-color hair is reading a speech from a binder. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and the world’s most powerful woman, is making every effort not to be interesting.

“As the federal government, we have been carrying out a threefold policy since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis,” Merkel says, staring at the binder. Her delivery is toneless, as if she were trying to induce her audience into shifting its attention elsewhere. “Besides the first part of this triad, targeted support for Ukraine, is, second, the unceasing effort to find a diplomatic solution for the crisis in the dialogue with Russia.” For years, public speaking was visibly painful to Merkel, her hands a particular source of trouble; eventually, she learned to bring her fingertips together in a diamond shape over her stomach. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zv – Michael’s Blog

The nation is on edge, awaiting a grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown — an unarmed African American teen in Ferguson, Missouri — by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson more than three months ago. The decision is expected any day and there is widespread belief, based on weeks of leaks to the media and laws that historically favor police officers in lethal force cases, that Wilson will not be indicted. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has preemptively declared a state of emergency in anticipation of protests.

Brown’s killing, the culmination of an incident that the St. Louis Post Dispatch would later report lasted no more than 90 seconds, devastated a family with high hopes for their college-bound son and sparked some of the most significant civil rights demonstrations in a generation — casting a harsh light on the disproportionate number of black men killed by police, on St. Louis County’s exploitative and racially discriminatory municipal court system, and on the militarization of law enforcement. [Read more]

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http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zt – Michael’s Blog

The drones came for Ayman Zawahiri on 13 January 2006, hovering over a village in Pakistan called Damadola. Ten months later, they came again for the man who would become al-Qaida’s leader, this time in Bajaur.

Eight years later, Zawahiri is still alive. Seventy-six children and 29 adults, according to reports after the two strikes, are not. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zr – Michael’s Blog

The CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, undertaken by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by global research company Ipsos, reached 23,376 Internet users in 24 countries, and was carried out between October 7, 2014 and November 12, 2014.

The countries included: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zp – Michael’s Blog

It takes some mastery of spin to turn the litany of intelligence failures over last year’s butchery of the off-duty soldier Lee Rigby into a campaign against Facebook. But that’s exactly how David Cameron’s government and a pliant media have disposed of the report by Westminster’s committee of intelligence trusties.

You might have expected Whitehall’s security machine to be in the frame for its spectacular incompetence in spying on the two killers: from filling out surveillance applications wrongly and losing one suspect’s house number, to closing down the surveillance of another – just as the pair were preparing the Woolwich attack. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zn – Michael’s Blog

I suppose there is no longer much point in debating the facts surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown. First, because Officer Darren Wilson has been cleared by a grand jury, and even the collective brilliance of a thousand bloggers pointing out the glaring inconsistencies in his version of events that August day won’t result in a different outcome. And second, because Wilson’s guilt or innocence was always somewhat secondary to the larger issue: namely, the issue of this gigantic national inkblot staring us in the face, and what we see when we look at it—and more to the point, why?

Because it is a kind of racial Rorschach (is it not?) into which each of these cases—not just Brown but all the others, from Trayvon Martin to Sean Bell to Patrick Dorismond to Aswan Watson and beyond—inevitably and without fail morph. That we see such different things when we look upon them must mean something. That so much of white America cannot see the shapes made out so clearly by most of black America cannot be a mere coincidence, nor is it likely an inherent defect in our vision. Rather, it is a socially-constructed astigmatism that blinds so many to the way in which black folks often experience law enforcement. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zl – Michael’s Blog

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