Red-Light Warning on Now, About Hillary Clinton

Red-Light Warning on Now, About Hillary Clinton

ERIC ZUESSE | 21.09.2016 | WORLD

Red-Light Warning on Now, About Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton, on September 19th, was endorsed for President, by the most historically important, intelligent, and dangerous, Republican of modern times.

She was endorsed then by the person who in 1990 cunningly engineered the end of the Soviet Union and of its Warsaw Pact military alliance in such a way as to continue the West’s war against Russia so as to conquer Russia gradually for the owners of US international corporations. The person, who kept his plan secret even from his closest advisors, until the night of 24 February 1990, when he told them that what he had previously instructed them to tell Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as the West’s future military intentions about Russia if the USSR were to end, was actually a lie.

He also told them that they were henceforth to proceed forward on the basis that the residual stump of the former Soviet Union, Russia, will instead be treated as if it still is an enemy-nation, and that the fundamental aim of the Western alliance will then remain: to conquer Russia (notwithstanding the end of the USSR, of its communism, and of its military alliances) — that the Cold War is to end only on the Russian side, not at all, really, on the Western side. (All of that is documented from the historical record, at that linked-to article.)

This person was the former Director of the US CIA, born US aristocrat, and committed champion of US conquest of the entire world, the President of the United States at the time (1990): George Herbert Walker Bush.

He informed the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend — as she posted it, apparently ecstatically, on September 19th, to her facebook page after personally having just met with Mr. Bush — «The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!» She then confirmed this to Politico the same day, which headlined promptly, «George H.W. Bush to Vote for Hillary».

G.H.W. Bush is an insider’s insider: he would not do this if he felt that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t carry forward his plan (which has been adhered-to by each of the US Presidents after him), and if he felt that Donald Trump — Bush’s own successor now as the Republican US candidate for President — would not carry it forward. (This was his most important and history-shaping decision during his entire Presidency, and therefore it’s understandable now that he would be willing even to cross Party-lines on his Presidential ballot in order to have it followed-through to its ultimate conclusion.)

What indications exist publicly, that she will carry it forward? Hillary Clinton has already publicly stated (though tactfully, so that the US press could ignore it) her intention to push things up to and beyond the nuclear brink, with regard to Russia:

German Economic News was the first news medium to headline this, «Hillary Clinton Threatens Russia with War» (in German, on September 4th: the original German of the headline was «Hillary Clinton Droht Russland mit Krieg»), but the source of this shocking headline was actually Clinton’s bellicose speech that had been given to the American Legion, on August 31st, in which she had said:

Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee, maybe even some state election systems. So, we’ve got to step up our game. Make sure we are well defended and able to take the fight to those who go after us. As President, I will make it clear, that the United States will treat cyber attacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses.

Russia denies that it did any such thing, but the US even taps the phone conversations of Angela Merkel and other US allies; and, of course, the US and Russia routinely hack into each others’ email and other communications; so, even if Russia did what Clinton says, then to call it «like any other attack» against the United States and to threaten to answer it with «military responses», would itself be historically unprecedented — which is what Hillary Clinton is promising to do.

Historically unprecedented, like nuclear war itself would be. And she was saying this in the context of her alleging that Russia had «attacked» the DNC (Democratic National Committee), and she as President might «attack» back, perhaps even with «military responses». This was not an off-the-cuff remark from her — it was her prepared text in a speech. She said it though, for example, on 26 October 2013, Britain’s Telegraph had headlined, «US ‘operates 80 listening posts worldwide, 19 in Europe, and snooped on Merkel mobile 2002-2013’: US intelligence… targeted Angela Merkel’s phone from 2002 to 2013, according to new eavesdropping leaks».

But now, this tapping against Merkel would, according to Hillary Clinton’s logic (unless she intends it to apply only by the United States against Russia), constitute reason for Germany (and 34 other nations) to go to war against the United States.

Clinton also said there: «We need to respond to evolving threats from states like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea from networks, criminal and terrorist networks like ISIS. We need a military that is ready and agile so it can meet the full range of threats, and operate on short notice across every domain, not just land, sea, air and space, but also cyberspace».

She also said that the sequester agreement between the Congress and the President must end, because US military spending should not be limited: «I am all for cutting the fat out of the budget and making sure we stretch our dollars… But we cannot impose arbitrary limits on something as important as our military. That makes no sense at all. The sequester makes our country less secure. Let’s end it and get a budget deal that supports America’s military». She wasn’t opposing «arbitrary limits» on non-military spending; she implied that that’s not «as important as our military».

She was clear: this is a wartime US, not a peacetime nation; we’re already at war, in her view; and therefore continued unlimited cost-overruns to Lockheed Martin etc. need to be accepted, not limited (by «arbitrary limits» or otherwise). She favors «cutting the fat out of the budget» for healthcare, education, subsidies to the poor, environmental protection, etc., but not for war, not for this war. A more bellicose speech, especially against «threats from states like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea from networks, criminal and terrorist networks like ISIS», all equating «states» such as Russia and China, with «terrorist networks like ISIS», could hardly be imagined — as if Russia and China are anything like jihadist organizations, and are hostile toward America, as such jihadist groups are.

However, her threat to respond to an alleged «cyber attack» from Russia by «serious political, economic and military responses», is unprecedented, even from her. It was big news when she said it, though virtually ignored by America’s newsmedia.

The only US newsmedia to have picked up on Clinton’s shocking threat were Republican-Party-oriented ones, because the Democratic-Party and nonpartisan ‘news’ media in the US don’t criticize a Democratic nominee’s neoconservatism — they hide it, or else find excuses for it (even after the Republican neoconservative President George W. Bush’s catastrophic and lie-based neoconservative invasion of Iraq — then headed by the Moscow-friendly Saddam Hussein — in 2003, which many Democratic office-holders, such as Hillary Clinton backed).

So, everything in today’s USA ‘news’ media is favorable toward neoconservatism — it’s now the «Establishment» foreign policy, established notwithstanding the catastrophic Iraq-invasion, from which America’s ‘news’ media have evidently learned nothing whatsoever (because they’re essentially unchanged and committed to the same aristocracy as has long controlled them).

However, now that the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is openly critical of Hillary Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s neoconservatism, any Republican-oriented ’news’ media that support Trump’s candidacy allows its ‘journalists’ to criticize Clinton’s neoconservatism; and, so, there were a few such critiques of this shocking statement from Clinton.

The Republican Party’s «Daily Caller» headlined about this more directly than any other US ‘news’ medium, «Clinton Advocates Response To DNC Hack That Would Likely Bring On WWIII», and reported, on September 1st, that «Clinton’s cavalier attitude toward going to war over cyber attacks seems to contradict her assertion that she is the responsible voice on foreign policy in the current election».

The Republican Washington Times newspaper headlined «Hillary Clinton: US will treat cyberattacks ‘just like any other attack’», and reported that she would consider using the «military to respond to cyberattacks,» but that her Republican opponent had indicated he would instead use only cyber against cyber: «‘I am a fan of the future, and cyber is the future,’ he said when asked by Time magazine during the Republican National Convention about using cyberweapons». However, Trump was not asked there whether he would escalate from a cyber attack to a physical one. Trump has many times said that having good relations with Russia would be a priority if he becomes President. That would obviously be impossible if he (like Hillary) were to be seeking a pretext for war against Russia.

The mainstream The Hill newspaper bannered, «Clinton: Treat cyberattacks ‘like any other attack’», and reported that, «Since many high-profile cyberattacks could be interpreted as traditional intelligence-gathering — something the US itself also engages in — the White House is often in a tricky political position when it comes to its response». That’s not critical of her position, but at least it makes note of the crucial fact that if the US were to treat a hacker’s attack as being an excuse to invade Russia, it would treat the US itself as being already an invader of Russia — which the US prior to a President Hillary Clinton never actually has been, notwithstanding the routine nature of international cyber espionage (which Clinton has now stated she wants to become a cause of war), which has been, and will continue to be, essential in the present era.

The International Business Times, an online-only site, headlined September 1st«Clinton: US should use ‘military response’ to fight cyberattacks from Russia and China», and reported that a Pentagon official had testified to Congress on July 13th, that current US policy on this matter is: «When determining whether a cyber incident constitutes an armed attack, the US government considers a broad range of factors, including the nature and extent of injury or death to persons and the destruction of or damage to property. … Cyber incidents are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the national security leadership and the president will make a determination if it’s an armed attack».

Hillary’s statement on this matter was simply ignored by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, Fox, CNN, The Nation, The Atlantic, Harper’s, National Review, Common Dreams, Alternet, Truthout, and all the rest of the US standard and ‘alternative news’ reporting organizations. Perhaps when Americans go to the polls to elect a President on November 8th, almost none of them will have learned about her policy on this incredibly important matter.

Hillary’s statement was in line with the current Administration’s direction of policy, but is farther along in that direction than the Obama Administration’s policy yet is.

As the German Economic News article had noted, but only in passing: «Just a few months ago, US President Barack Obama had laid the legal basis for this procedure and signed a decree that equates hacker attacks with military attacks». However, this slightly overstated the degree to which Obama has advanced «this procedure». On 1 April 2016 — and not as any April Fool’s joke — techdirt had headlined «President Obama Signs Executive Order Saying That Now He’s Going To Be Really Mad If He Catches Someone Cyberattacking Us» and linked to the document, which techdirt noted was «allowing the White House to issue sanctions on those ‘engaging in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities’».

The writer, Mike Masnick, continued, quite accurately: «To make this work, the President officially declared foreign hacking to be a ‘national emergency’ (no, really) and basically said that if the government decides that some foreign person is doing a bit too much hacking, the US government can basically do all sorts of bad stuff to them, like seize anything they have in the US and block them from coming to the US». What Hillary Clinton wants to add to this policy is physical, military, invasion, for practices such as (if Russia becomes declared by the US President to have been behind the hacking of the DNC) what is actually routine activity of the CIA, NSA, and, of course, of Russia’s (and other countries’) intelligence operations.

It wasn’t directly Obama’s own action that led most powerfully up to Hillary Clinton’s policy on this, but instead NATO’s recent action — and NATO has always been an extension of the US President, it’s his military club, and it authorizes him to go to war against any nation that it decides to have been invaded by some non-member country (especially Russia or China — the Saudis, Qataris, and other funders behind international jihadist attacks are institutionally prohibited from being considered for invasion by NATO, because the US keeps those regimes in power, and those regimes are generally the biggest purchasers of US weapons). I reported on this at The Saker’s site, on 15 June 2016, headlining «NATO Says It Might Now Have Grounds to Attack Russia». That report opened:

On Tuesday, June 14thNATO announced that if a NATO member country becomes the victim of a cyber attack by persons in a non-NATO country such as Russia or China, then NATO’s Article V «collective defense» provision requires each NATO member country to join that NATO member country if it decides to strike back against the attacking country. …

NATO is now alleging that because Russian hackers had copied the emails on Hillary Clinton’s home computer, this action of someone in Russia taking advantage of her having privatized her US State Department communications to her unsecured home computer and of such a Russian’s then snooping into the US State Department business that was stored on it, might constitute a Russian attack against the United States of America, and would, if the US President declares it to be a Russian invasion of the US, trigger NATO’s mutual-defense clause and so require all NATO nations to join with the US government in going to war against Russia, if the US government so decides.  

So, Obama is using NATO to set the groundwork for Hillary Clinton’s policy as (he hopes) America’s next President. Meanwhile, Obama’s public rhetoric on the matter is far more modest, and less scary. It’s sane-sounding falsehoods. At the end of the G-20 Summit in Beijing, he held a press conference September 5th (VIDEO at this link), in which he was asked specifically (3:15) «Q: On the cyber front, … do you think Russia is trying to influence the US election?» and he went into a lengthy statement, insulting Putin and saying (until 6:40 on the video) why Obama is superior to Putin on the Syrian war, and then (until 8:07 in the video) blaming Putin for, what is actually, the refusal of the Ukrainian parliament or Rada to approve the federalization of Ukraine that’s stated in the Minsk agreement as being a prerequisite to direct talks being held between the Donbass residents and the Obama-installed regime in Kiev that’s been trying to exterminate the residents of Donbass. Then (8:07 in the video), Obama got around to the reporter’s question:

And finally, we did talk about cyber-security generally. I’m not going to comment on specific investigations that are still alive and active, but I will tell you that we’ve had problems with cyber-intrusions from Russia in the past, from other countries in the past, and, look, we’re moving into a new era here, where a number of countries have significant capacities, and frankly we’ve got more capacity than anybody both offensively and defensively, but our goal is not to suddenly in the cyber-arena duplicate a cycle of escalation that we saw when it comes to other arms-races in the past, but rather to start instituting (9:00) some norms so that everybody’s acting responsibly.

He is a far more effective deceiver than is his intended successor, but Hillary’s goals and his, have always been the same: achieving what the US aristocracy want. Whereas she operates with a sledgehammer, he operates with a scalpel. And he hopes to hand this operation off to her on 20 January 2017.

This is what Hillary’s statement that «the United States will treat cyber attacks just like any other attack» is reflecting: it’s reflecting that the US will, if she becomes President, be actively seeking an excuse to invade Russia. The Obama-mask will then be off.

If this turns out to be the case, then it will be raw control of the US Government by the military-industrial complex, which includes the arms-makers plus the universities. It’s the owners — the aristocrats — plus their servants; and at least 90% of the military-industrial complex support Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Like her, they are all demanding that the sequester be ended and that any future efforts to reduce the US Government’s debts must come from cutting expenditures for healthcare, education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, and expenditures on the poor; no cuts (but only increases) for the military. This is based on the conservative theory, that the last thing to cut in government is the military.

The Republicans used to champion that view (thus the «conservative» in«neoconservative»). But after Obama came into office, the Republican Party became divided about that, while the Democratic Party (under Obama) increasingly came to support neoconservatism. Hillary is now the neoconservatives’ candidate. (And she’s also the close friend of many of them, and hired and promoted many of them at her State Department.) If she becomes the next President, then we might end up having the most neoconservative (i.e., military-industrial-complex-run) government ever. This would be terrific for America’s weapons-makers, but it very possibly would be horrific for everybody else. That’s the worst lobby of all, to run the country. (And, as that link there shows, Clinton has received over five times as much money from it as has her Republican opponent.)

George Herbert Walker Bush knows lots that the ‘news’ media don’t report (even when it has already been leaked in one way or another), and the Clinton plan to destroy Russia is part of that. Will the Russian government accept it? Or will it do whatever is required in order to defeat it? This is already a serious nuclear confrontation.

The US Is Sleepwalking Towards A Nuclear Confrontation Dmitry Orlov



NATO Says It Might Now Have Grounds to Attack Russia

June 15, 2016

by Eric Zuesse

On Tuesday, June 14th, NATO announced that if a NATO member country becomes the victim of a cyber attack by persons in a non-NATO country such as Russia or China, then NATO’s Article V“collective defense” provision requires each NATO member country to join that NATO member country if it decides to strike back against the attacking country. The preliminary decision for this was made two years ago after Crimea abandoned Ukraine and rejoined Russia, of which it had been a part until involuntarily transferred to Ukraine by the Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. That NATO decision was made in anticipation of Ukraine’s ultimately becoming a NATO member country, which still hasn’t happened. However, only now is NATO declaring cyber war itself to be included as real “war” under the NATO Treaty’s “collective defense” provision.

NATO is now alleging that because Russian hackers had copied the emails on Hillary Clinton’s home computer, this action of someone in Russia taking advantage of her having privatized her U.S. State Department communications to her unsecured home computer and of such a Russian’s then snooping into the U.S. State Department business that was stored on it, might constitute a Russian attack against the United States of America, and would, if the U.S. President declares it to be a Russian invasion of the U.S., trigger NATO’s mutual-defense clause and so require all NATO nations to join with the U.S. government in going to war against Russia, if the U.S. government so decides.

NATO had produced in 2013 (prior to the take-over of Ukraine) an informational propaganda video alleging that “cyberattacks” by people in Russia or in China that can compromise U.S. national security, could spark an invasion by NATO, if the U.S. President decides that the cyberattack was a hostile act by the Russian or Chinese government. In the video, a British national-security expert notes that this would be an “eminently political decison” for the U.S. President to make, which can be made only by the U.S. President, and which only that person possesses the legal authority to make. NATO, by producing this video, made clear that any NATO-member nation’s leader who can claim that his or her nation has been ‘attacked’ by Russia, possesses the power to initiate a NATO war against Russia. In the current instance, it would be U.S. President Barack Obama. However, this video also said that NATO could not automatically accept such a head-of-state’s allegation calling the cyber-attack an invasion, but instead the country that’s being alleged to have perpetrated the attack would have to have claimed, or else been proven, to have carried it out. With the new NATO policy, which was announced on June 14th, in which a cyber-attack qualifies automatically as constituting “war” just like any traditional attack, such a claim or proof of the target-nation’s guilt might no longer be necessary. But this has been left vague in the published news reports about it.

In the context of the June 14th NATO announcement that cyberwar is on the same status as physical war, Obama might declare the U.S. to have been invaded by Russia when former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails were copied by someone in Russia.

It’s a hot issue now between Russia and the United States, and so, for example, on the same day, June 14th, Reuters headlined “Moscow denies Russian involvement in U.S. DNC hacking”, and reported that, “Russia on Tuesday denied involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee database that U.S. sources said gained access to all opposition research on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.”

In previous times, espionage was treated as being part of warfare, and, after revelations became public that the U.S. was listening in on the phone conversations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, espionage has become recognized as being simply a part of routine diplomacy (at least for the United States); but, now, under the new NATO policy, it might be treated as being equivalent to a physical invasion by an enemy nation.

At the upcoming July 8th-9th NATO Summit meeting, which will be happening in the context of NATO’s biggest-ever military exercises on and near the borders of Russia, called “Atlantic Resolve”, prospective NATO plans to invade Russia might be discussed in order to arrive at a consensus plan for the entire alliance. However, even if that happens, it wouldn’t be made public, because war-plans never are.

The origin of this stand-off between the U.S. and Russia goes back to promises that the West had made in 1990 to the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, not to expand NATO up to the borders of Russia, and the West’s subsequent violations of those repeatedly made promises. Gorbachev disbanded the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact, on the basis of those false assurances from Western leaders. Thus, Russia is surrounded now by enemies, including former Warsaw Pact nations and even some former regions of the Soviet Union itself, such as Ukraine and the Baltic republics, which now host NATO forces. NATO is interpreting Russia’s acceptance of the Crimeans’ desire to abandon Ukraine and rejoin Russia following the 2014 Ukrainian coup, as constituting a showing of an intent by Russia to invade NATO nations that had formerly been part of the Soviet Union and of the Warsaw Pact, such as Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia; and this is the alleged reason for America’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, and the steep increase in U.S. troops and weapons in those nations that border on Russia.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Information Warfare is not “Optional”


Nations without information warfare capabilities in the 21st century are like nations without armies and navies in the 20th century. They are defenseless.

May 29, 2016 (Ulson Gunnar – NEO) – Imagine a nation without an army, a navy or an air force. What would its prospects be of defending itself against even moderate aggression? What if it had an army, even a formidable one, but was missing an air force and/or navy? Would its chances be any better?

Before the invention of human flight, war was fought in two dimensions by armies and navies upon the surface of the planet. With the introduction of aircraft to warfare, a new dimension was added. Nations that fell behind the curve building and rebuilding their air forces would find themselves consistently at a disadvantage. Those nations that stayed ahead of the curve would cite air power as key to their victories throughout recent history.

Today, undoubtedly, information warfare is no longer a novelty. It has been honed into a weapon of devastating effect able to confuse, divide and destroy nations in a dimension conventional warfare often cannot even reach.

The use of the Internet and information warfare soared to new heights during the Arab Spring. Hardly the spontaneous uprising it was portrayed as across the Western media, for years beforehand the US State Department together with tech-giants Google and Facebook prepared armies of information warriors to disrupt, divide, confuse and take over the information space in the respective nations the US targeted for regime change in 2011.

Like an air force entering undefended airspace, the US State Department’s information warfare capabilities met little resistance and quickly overwhelmed and assumed control over information space in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Syria. Only Syria and Egypt’s immense conventional military and political power prevented tragedies like that which unfolded in Libya from repeating itself elsewhere. However, it cannot be denied that across the region, information warfare was neglected and unnecessary leverage was conceded to the US amid a much larger theater of conflict.

Vulnerabilities in the Information Space 

While the Internet and its use in information warfare is relatively new, information warfare is not. The US and the British before them have spent over the decades, and for the British, centuries, investing in whatever forms of media existed at the time to ensure their voice among it was loudest if not the only voice to be heard.

Today, the US through a myriad of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reaches deep into a foreign nation’s information space and media creating entire fronts to broadcast their messages from.

With overseas scholarships and training programs they aim at luring young, ambitious journalists into becoming indoctrinated and reliable outlets of US propaganda and ideally, collaborators with US interests when opportunities present themselves.

In many nations, particularly throughout the developing world, governments do not take advances in information technology seriously, failing to recognize the importance of maintaining control over it and countering efforts to co-opt and use it against them. Their views of how to manage the media are very often outdated, leaving them particularly vulnerable across the entirety of their information space.

In these nations, information from the government’s point of view is often disseminated through press releases or government-owned broadcasters that hold little credibility both domestically and internationally.

Building Better Defenses for Information Space 

Defending one’s information space depends on occupying it fully, first and foremost. This means making it difficult if not impossible for foreign nations to set up and operate media operations within a targeted nation’s borders to begin with.

Occupying Your Information Space: Russia’s relatively recent NGO laws forcing foreign-funded organizations to register as foreign agents undermines their legitimacy simply by demanding in reality the transparency these organizations often demand disingenuously as a means of attacking and undermining a targeted government.

By exposing the foreign-funded nature of their operations, effectively exposing the disingenuous intentions and financial motivations they harbor and making it difficult for them to operate while giving space to legitimate, indigenous and most importantly, constructive opposition, squeezes them out of a nation’s information space like a well planned garden crowds out weeds.

Controlling and Projecting From Your Information Space: Russia’s RT, China’s CCTV, Iran’s PressTV and South America TeleSUR are all examples of another means of filling and dominating one’s information space.

Not only do these news organizations adequately cover the news in their respective nations alongside a myriad of similar state-run media operations, they are able to communicate with, appeal to and persuade audiences well beyond their borders. It is a way of countering US and European propaganda both at home and abroad, balancing what has been for decades a lopsided information war.

Because these operations are run as professional, internationally aware and objective news organizations with minimal overt government influence, they are effective at appealing to foreign audiences.

For nations sorely lacking such news organizations, particularly across Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, nations like Russia and China already exporting defense capabilities of a more conventional kind, could consider exporting defensive capabilities for information space.

Neglecting Information Warfare Invites Attack 

Nations that have habitually neglected information warfare have invited attack. Nations with notoriously unsound defenses for their information space are often flooded with foreign NGOs who occupy and control it to such an extent, governments are forced to capitulate to otherwise easily countered propaganda campaigns.

Investing in information warfare is not “optional” any more so than investing in a properly trained and equipped conventional military. The reality of the 21st century is that wars are no longer fought merely on land, sea, and air. They are fought in information space as well and failure to understand and defend against such threats accordingly is as bad as leaving a nation’s borders undefended, its skies unwatched, and its shores unguarded.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


Hezbollah Calls for Forming Investigative Committee against Internet Hacking

Local Editor

Loyalty to Resistance Bloc stressed that the government should immediately form a high investigative committee to probe the scandalous internet hacking action and its effect on the financial, security and political levels, and refer all the perpetrators in this regard to the judiciary.

Hezbollah parliamentary bloc on Thursday convened under the chairmanship of MP Mohammad Raad.

The bloc underscored the necessity to resort to national consensus and seek thereby a parliamentary electoral law prone to ensure a fair popular representation.

In a different context, the bloc considered that the Saudi label of Hezbollah as a terrorist group comes from an unbalanced, failing regime that abides by the foreign policy.

Hezbollah bloc also condmened the terrorist attacks in Coute Du Voire Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and Turkey as well as the Saudi aerial aggression on Yemen’s Hajja.

Source: NNA

17-03-2016 – 21:20 Last updated 17-03-2016 – 21:20

LEBANON – Telecoms Minister Links Illegal Internet to Israeli Spy Networks


Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb vowed Wednesday to hunt down illegal internet providers, saying they were linked to ‘Israel’ and thus posed a danger to Lebanon’s national security.

Antennas“We will not allow the violation of the country’s sovereignty and national security,” Harb said in a televised news conference, according to the Daily Star. “This is an attack on the Lebanese people’s privacy, and we will not allow these dangerous crimes to pass by without punishment.”

His comments come one day after two Lebanese nationals were indicted for installing unauthorized internet networks east of Beirut.

Harb said that while investigations are still ongoing, there was no doubt that the same people who are behind these illegal internet networks were also behind the al-Barouk network, which was discovered to have satellite connections to ‘Israel’ in 2009.

Source: Websites

16-03-2016 – 13:13 Last updated 16-03-2016 – 13:13


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Israel Announces $26 Million Cyberattack on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement and Muslims in the West

American Everyman

(I guess they are getting serious about the internet of things)

from AlterNet

…However flawed his framing might have been, Estrin’s reporting makes one thing clear: The Israeli crackdown is poised to escalate its campaign to unprecedented levels. An unknown number of Israeli tech companies are threatening to unleash a wave of cyber-attacks, including “sly algorithms to restrict these online activists’ circle of influence” as well as “forensic intelligence gathering, such as detecting digital or semantic signatures buried in activists’ coding so they are able to track and restrict their online activity.”

Those acts of sabotage will take place alongside a flood of “content that puts a positive face on Israel.”

The non-profit Firewall Israel, sponsored by a government-linked think tank known as the Reut Institute, is “building an online platform to help pro-Israel activists around the world communicate about anti-Israel activism in their communities,” the article states.

[read more here]

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Look Who’s in Charge of UK Government Cyber Security

Global Research, November 08, 2015


A chilling remark from a House of Lords debate just caught my eye.

Column GC355 in Hansard, the verbatim report of proceedings of the UK parliament, dated 4 November 2015, said:

Lord Mendelsohn: We welcome the appointment of the former British ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, who will have a key role in cyber security inside the Cabinet Office – a very useful and important position.

Sure enough, the UK government’s website confirms that Gould is now director of cyber security and information assurance at the Cabinet Office. “He and his team are focused on keeping Britain safe from cyber attack, through delivering the UK’s Cyber Security Strategy.”

They must think we have very short memories. As Britain’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel, Gould described himself as a “passionate” Zionist and while in Tel Aviv he was instrumental in setting up the UK-Israel Tech Hub. In the words of MATIMOP (the Israeli Industry Centre for Research and Development), the hub was established

to promote partnerships in technology and innovation between Israel and the UK, and is the first initiative of its kind for the British government and for an embassy in Israel. The hub’s creation followed an agreement between prime ministers David Cameron and Binyamin Netanyahu to build a UK-Israel partnership in technology.

Three years ago Cameron appointed venture capitalist Saul Klein as the UK Tech Envoy to Israel with the task of promoting the partnership, leading UK technology missions to Israel, bringing Israeli start-ups to Britain, and hosting technology events in both countries.

MATIMOP quotes Britain’s National Health Service as an example of successful UK-Israel technology collaboration. The NHS

has now formed strong collaborations with Israeli life sciences companies conducting clinical trials in the UK. The cooperation was made as part of the burgeoning partnership between Israel and Britain’s life sciences industries initiated by the UK-Israel Tech Hub.

Driven by the Israel lobby

Four years ago Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, argued that British policy was being driven in an underhanded fashion by the Israel lobby. He linked Gould with the Fox-Werritty scandal and raised questionsabout meetings between disgraced former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Fox’s friend/adviser, Adam Werritty (who was backed financially by Israel lobbyists but had no security clearance and therefore no authorised role) and Gould.

Murray wrote to Gould asking when he first met Werritty, how many times he had met him, and how many communications of every kind had passed between them. He was told these questions would be answered in Cabinet Secretary O’Donnell’s investigation. “But Gus O’Donnell’s report answered none of these questions,” wrote Murray. “It only mentioned two meetings at which Fox, Gould and Werritty were all three present…”

This prompted Murray to dig further. “There were at least six Fox-Werritty-Gould meetings, not the two given by O’Donnell… Matthew Gould was the only British Ambassador who Fox and Werrity met together. They met him six times. Why?”

Murray, with many useful sources from his days as an ambassador, claimed to have serious evidence connecting Gould with a secret plan to attack Iran, but the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Secretary blocked questions. Murray published his story, “Matthew Gould and the plot to attack Iran”, here.

In it he pointed out that

Matthew Gould does not see his race or religion as irrelevant. He has chosen to give numerous interviews to both British and Israeli media on the subject of being a jewish ambassador, and has been at pains to be photographed by the Israeli media participating in Jewish religious festivals. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described him as “Not just an ambassador who is Jewish, but a Jewish ambassador”. That rather peculiar phrase appears directly to indicate that the potential conflict of interest for a British ambassador in Israel has indeed arisen.

He went on to say that Gould stood suspected of long term participation with Fox and Werritty “in a scheme to forward war with Iran, in cooperation with Israel”. The stonewalling by O’Donnell and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office led Murray to conclude that “something very important is being hidden right at the heart of government”.

Labour Member of Parliament Paul Flynn remarked that no previous ambassadors to Israel had been Jewish so as to avoid conflict of interest and accusations of going native. He immediately came under intense flak. Flynn too asked about meetings between Werritty and Gould, as some reports suggested that Gould, Werritty and Fox discussed a potential military strike on Iran with Mossad. “I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories,” said Flynn, “but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist and he has previously served in Iran.”

Fox had earlier made the idiotic claim: “Israel’s enemies are our enemies” and “in the battle for the values that we stand for… Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together”. The Jewish Chronicle hailed him as “a champion of Israel within the government”. Furthermore, Fox continually rattled the sabre against Iran which, of course, was no threat to Britain but is regarded by Israel as a bitter enemy. Iraq too was Israel’s enemy, not ours. Yet Fox, according to the, voted “very strongly” for the Iraq war. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the war in Afghanistan.

Gatekeepers or fifth columnists?

Given that Fox so eagerly waved the flag of a foreign military power and was a man with dangerous beliefs and demonstrably weak judgement, how could those who appointed him not see that he was unemployable as a minister of the British Crown – unless they were similarly tainted?

When the Werritty relationship came to light Fox jumped before being flung from the battlements. But the good people of North Somerset, in their wisdom, re-elected him at the general election last May. He’s already on the road to political rehabilitation among the Conservative high command.

Gould’s new job as head of the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA) involves giving strategic direction to cyber security and information assurance for the UK. This includes  internet crime, working with private sector partners on exchanging information, and engaging with international partners in improving the security of cyber space and information security. Does it seem right for such a person to be in charge of crucial security matters at the heart of our government? What was in fellow Zionist David Cameron’s mind when he appointed him?

Well, here’s a possible clue. In March of this year Francis Maude, the previous Cabinet Office minister responsible for cyber security, announced three UK-Israel academic collaboration ventures with cyber research funding, the partnerships being University of Bristol/Bar Ilan University, University College London/Bar Ilan University and University of Kent/University of Haifa. They’ll be working together on six specific areas of research:

  • identity management
  • governance: regulating cyber security
  • privacy assurance and perceptions
  • mobile and cloud security
  • human aspects of security or usable security
  • cryptography.

This builds on existing UK-Israel cooperation. Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on digital cooperation in March 2014.

Still sitting comfortably? Only this week the Cameron government was lecturing us on threats to national security and announcing plans to trawl through our personal emails and web browsers in order to “keep us safe”. The question is, who trawls Gould’s private emails?

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We take down hundreds of ISIS sites, fight w/o guns – ‘Anonymous’ hacker

Media propaganda has proven key to ISIS’ success. International efforts to stem the jihadists online have had little effect. So independent fighters are attempting to turn the tide themselves. RT spoke exclusively to one hacker from a company waging a campaign against the Islamists.
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Saudi leaks: why now?

ويكيليكس-السعودية: لماذا الآن؟

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WikiLeaks Releases Secret Saudi Documents

by Stephen Lendman 

The more we learn about the secret workings of despotic regimes and faux democracies like America, Britain and Israel among others, the better we understand how they extrajudicially serve powerful monied interests at the expense of popular ones.

On Friday, WikiLeaks began releasing around half a million Saudi documents – including Foreign Ministry communiques and top secret intelligence and interior ministry reports.

An initial 70,000 documents were released with much more to come. The organization said information learned shows how Riyadh “managed its alliances and consolidated its position as a regional Middle East superpower (because of its immense oil wealth), including through bribing and co-opting key individuals and institutions.”

Bureaucracy is “highly centralized” with senior officials involved in most everything. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said:

Documents obtained “lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbors and itself.”

A regime this vile one day will go the way of all others like it before. No nation this corrupt and abhorrent can survive forever. Its day of reckoning awaits – maybe by mass internal revolt too powerful to crush.

It’s one of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers. Fundamental freedoms don’t exist – including the right to express views freely.

Criticizing monarchal policies assures imprisonment, whippings and at times beheading. A family dictatorship gets away with virtually every imaginable human rights abuse because its massive oil reserves are highly valued by Western and other countries.

It uses its oil wealth to buy influence, attack its neighbors, repress its population and support regional terrorist groups serving its interests – including the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other takfiris.

It’s one of the world’s largest weapons purchasers – hugely benefitting US and other Western arms suppliers. WikiLeaks began publishing documents obtained by a group calling itself the Yemeni Cyber Army. It hacked thousands of Saudi Foreign, Defense and Interior Ministry computers.

It released a small portion of what it obtained. WikiLeaks has access to a treasure trove of documents it intends publishing a tranche at a time.

Separately, Britain’s Ministry of Defense admitted aiding US-orchestrated, Saudi-led terror bombing of Yemen – by providing technical support and weapons at the same time it keeps cutting vital social services.

It outrageously claims its complicity with mass murder and destruction complies with international law.

It compounds its disgraceful behavior saying its precision guided weapons and other destructive sophisticated ones “will be used in compliance with international law.”

Campaign Against the Arms Trade’s Andrew Smith said “Saudi (terror) bombing has created a humanitarian catastrophe and now we know UK weapons have contributed to it.”

“These weapons have not just given military support to the bombardment, they have also provided a strong political support and underlined the closeness between the UK and Saudi governments.” One rogue state supports another.

“With the destruction of Yemen and the intensifying crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia, the UK government is sending the message that human rights and democracy are less important than arms sales,” Smith added.

Saudi-led aggression on Yemen kills and injures scores daily – mostly noncombatant men, women and children. Numbers killed conservatively top 5,000 in almost three months of terror bombing.

Numbers injured are more than double this amount. Over a million Yemenis were displaced, many more daily. Around 80% of the population endures humanitarian crisis conditions.

Unknown numbers perish daily from lack of enough food, clean water and medical care to treat illness and wounds.

Western nations support this carnage. Yemen is being raped and destroyed in plain sight – another horrendous war crime on Obama’s rap sheet.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. posted by Steve Lendman @ 11:18 AM

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Hackers pose as ‘attractive’ women in Syrian sting

Arjun Kharpal |

Monday, 2 Feb 2015 | 6:58 AM ET

Hackers stole Syrian opposition fighters’ strategic battle plans by using “attractive” female Skype avatars to target victims, according to a new report.

Hackers stole Syrian opposition fighters’ strategic battle plans by using “attractive” female Skype avatars to target victims, according to a new report.

The attacks, which happened between November 2013 and January 2014, resulted in a slew of strategic information being stolen, according to cybersecurity company FireEye. These included detailed military plans which outlined attack strategies, the political structure of the opposition and even identification cards of refugees who had escaped to Turkey.

The attacks began with a Skype user with a female persona striking up a conversation with a male opposition fighter. The hacker would ask the victim what device they were using so they would be able to send the appropriate malware.

Salih Mahmud Leyla | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

After some conversation, the female avatar would send a “personal” photograph which was malicious. When the victim opened the file, they would unknowingly install malware, giving the hacker access to their device.

This led to the theft of 7.7 gigabytes of data being stolen, 31,107 Skype conversations, 12,356 contacts and nearly a quarter of a million messages, according to the report, called “Behind the Syrian Conflict’s Digital Front Lines.”

“We are really seeing the convergence of traditional methods of espionage and internet communication tools,” Richard Turner, EMEA vice president of FireEye, told CNBC by phone.

“The evidence of that is the use of the attractive lady avatar to generate interest and open up individuals to deliver malware and compromise their communication.”

‘Devastating human cost’

Syria’s civil war has been ongoing since 2011, following pro-democracy protests which were violently crushed by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

As a result of the fighting, hundreds of thousands of residents have fled Syria to claim refuge in neighbouring countries.

FireEye’s report said that the intelligence stolen by hackers likely served a “critical role” in the opposition’s operational plans and tactical decisions, but added that “this tactical edge comes with a potentially devastating human cost.”

Read MoreR ussia, Iraq tensions stoke cyber attack threat

Interestingly, each female Skype avatar used by the hackers also had a corresponding Facebook account, which was populated with pro-opposition content, although many of the links were malicious.

A fake opposition website was also in operation, and included pictures of several women with links to social media accounts and “Live Cam ID.” Both links were malicious and allowed hackers to collect data from their victims.

Identity unknown

FireEye said it was the first time it had seen a group targeting the Syrian opposition using Android malware – malicious software targeting Google’s mobile operating system. The report highlighted the growing threat to mobile devices which security experts have warned will be a key battleground for hackers in 2015.

But as with most major attacks, identifying the hackers was impossible.

The report said that the attackers were likely to be based outside of Syria, and that investigation into their server location pointed towards Lebanon.

Read MoreUS should stop Syria not ISIS: Saudi prince

Turner said the group was “sophisticated” and had “unique technology” when deploying malware. He added that the infrastructure used to carry out these attacks was no longer in place, but could not say for sure whether the group had disbanded.

“Whether they are still active and have moved to another platform to disguise themselves and remain ahead of other militaries or law enforcement, who knows?” he added.


Hackers Reveals Turkey’s Weapons Shipment for Al-Qaeda in Syria + Video

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US Central Command Twitter Account Hacked by Pro-ISIL group


The Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US military command were suspended for a few hours after being hacked by a group claiming to back ISIL, the Takfiri group operating in Iraq and Syria.

.One message on Centcom’s Twitter feed said: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”US Central Command Twitter Account Hacked by Pro-ISIL group

It was signed by ISIL. Some internal military documents also appeared on the Centcom Twitter feed, BBC reported.

Centcom said it was “cyber-vandalism” and not a serious data breach.
In a statement, it said there was no operational impact and no classified information was posted.

“We are viewing this purely as a case of cyber-vandalism,” it said. Later on Monday, its Twitter feed became visible again, although not active.

Embarrassingly, the hack happened as President Barack Obama was giving a speech on cyber-security.

Reflecting on major breaches like a recent hack of Sony Pictures, Obama said in his speech the US had been reminded of “enormous vulnerabilities for us as a nation and for our economy”.

His spokesman Josh Earnest said the US is looking into the Centcom hacking.

He said they were investigating the extent of the incident, and that there was a significant difference between a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account.

Source: Agencies

13-01-2015 – 08:43 Last updated 13-01-2015 – 08:43

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10 Security Threats Frightening ’Israel’ during 2015

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US Attempted Color Revolution in Russia?

by Stephen Lendman

America seeks unipolar/New World Order dominance. All nations bowing to its will. Russia is in the eye of the storm.

Longstanding US policy calls for regime change. Eliminating its sovereign independence.

Replacing it with pro-Western stooge governance. Puppet rule Washington controls. Color revolutions are a US specialty.

Tactics developed earlier. Through years of trial and error. Largely perfected. Successful most often.

Twice ousting sitting Ukrainian governments. Ordinary people lost out both times. Much more so now than earlier. In 2004.

US-installed neo-Nazi fascists run things today. Destroying fundamental freedoms. Waging dirty war on their own people.

Impoverishing an entire nation. Bankrupting it. Goading Russia irresponsibly. Risking open conflict. With full US support and encouragement.

Color revolutions mask dark intentions. Ordinary people are manipulated like pawns. The usual suspects are involved.

Including CIA elements. The National Endowment of Democracy (NED). International Republican Institute (IRI). National Democratic Institute (NDI).

USAID. Freedom House. Soros Foundation. Anti-democracy NGOs. Right-wing think tanks. Various corporate groups. More below on how color revolutions work.

Russia is mindful of America’s intentions. Putin blamed illegal sanctions and manipulated oil prices for Russia’s economic woes.

“They will always try to chain the bear,” he said. “And once it’s chained, they’ll rip out its teeth and claws.”

“They’ll stuff it. And start to put their hands on its Taiga (Siberian forest belt). We’ve heard statements from Western officials that Russia owning Siberia (isn’t) fair.”

Today’s problem is that US-led Western nations “refuse to stop. They think they have won.”

They want Russia co-opted. Contained. Isolated. Weakened. Decapitated. Controlled. Balkanized. Plundered.

“Do we want relations on an equal basis,” asked Putin? “Yes, we do, but on the condition that our national interests are respected, in the sphere of security and in the sphere of economy.”

Peace requires building common humanitarian space. Not walls, he stressed. “Russia pays the cost of remaining a nation, a civilization and a state.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on 2014 events. Saying relations with Western countries “reached the point (where) goodwill gestures (don’t) produce required results.”

Russia is irresponsibly blamed for Ukrainian crisis conditions, said Lavrov. Illegal sanctions are imposed.

“We have repeatedly stressed that attempts to speak to Russia using the language of ultimatums is totally unacceptable and will yield no results,” Lavrov stressed.

“(I)n cases when governments of some countries try to isolate Moscow, Russia will actively foster cooperation, strengthen business, humanitarian, scientific, educational and cultural ties.”

“Our country is pursuing a multi-vector foreign policy…” Approved by Putin in 2013.

“We are ready to develop mutual and equal relations with all those who show an oncoming willingness to do that.”

“Putin has repeatedly stated that interaction with the Asia-Pacific region is a strategic priority for us throughout the 21 century, and that Russia, as an Asia-Pacific power, will take full advantage of the enormous potential of the region’s rapid development, including the development of the Far East and Eastern Siberia.”

“…(E)very nation has the inalienable right to self-determination and the sovereign right to choose its own path of development.” Russia respects this choice.

Containment wasn’t “invented yesterday. (E)very time someone thinks that Russia becomes too strong,” policies to contain it are implemented.

“Problems in our relations with the US had started to accrue before the Ukrainian crisis, what is more – not through our fault.”

“The White House has set a course for confrontation, blaming Russia for all sins in connection with the Ukrainian crisis that they had provoked to a significant extent.”

“Washington wound down bilateral dialogue” on numerous issues. “(A)ttempts to isolate some (world) leaders impose one’s own unilateral recipes from a position of ‘exceptionalism.’ which the US has taken, is futile.”

“(T)alking with Russia from a position of strength is futile.” Russophobia rages today.

US-led NATO “continues its course toward containing Russia. Steps are taken to strengthen (its) military capacity at Russia’s borders.”

Hostile actions stoke tensions. Undermine stability. Risk conflict. Obama irresponsibly includes Russia on his list of global threats.

US policies include NATO’s increased Eastern European presence. Provocative military exercises close to Russia’s borders.

Thousands of missions near its airspace. American ships in Black Sea waters.

US-manipulated oil wars. Targeting Russia’s economy. Weakening it. Making it scream. Hammering the ruble.

On December 19, Obama embargoed Russia’s Republic of Crimea. Illegally.

By executive order “prohibit(ing) the export of goods, technology, or services to Crimea and prohibits the import of goods, technology, or services from Crimea, as well as new investments in Crimea.”

(A)uthoriz(ing) the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities operating in Crimea.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry called his action “politicized discrimination.” Against Russia and its people.

On December 20, Zero Hedge reported federal Judge Arthur Schwab ruling Obama’s executive orders “unconstitutional.” In a  deportation case. Schwab saying:

“President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional.”

A previous article said rule by executive order diktats raises questions. No constitutional authority permits them.

Other than stating “executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America (Article 2, Section 1).”

Abused by bypassing Congress. “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives (Article 1, Section 1.).”

Constitutional checks and balances prevent empowering one governmental branch over another.

Diktat power reflects tyranny. Not how democracy is supposed to work. In America, it’s pure fantasy. None whatever exists.

Washington’s anti-Russian “Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 (UFSA) authorizes lethal aid for Ukraine. Including heavy weapons.

More sanctions on Russia. Intensified US propaganda. Through Voice of America. Radio Free Europe. Radio Liberty.

Washington’s global propaganda bullhorn. Suppressing hard truths. Featuring Big Lies. Turning reality on its head.

Obama may be headed for direct confrontation with Russia. Aimed at toppling its government. By war, color revolution, or combination of both.

A previous article explained how color revolutions work. In 1997, RAND Corporation researchers John Arquilla and David Ronfeld developed the concept of “Swarming & the Future of Conflict.”

Based on communication patterns and movements of bees and other insects. Applied to military conflicts and street protests.

War by other means. Exploiting the information revolution. Taking full advantage of “network-based organizations linked via email and mobile phones to enhance the potential of swarming.”

In 1993, Arquilla and Ronfeldt prepared an earlier document. Titled “Cyberwar Is Coming!”

Saying “warfare is no longer primarily a function of who puts the most capital, labor and technology on the battlefield, but of who has the best information” and uses it advantageously.

State-of-the art IT techniques use “advanced computerized information and communications technologies and related innovations in organization and management theory,” they explained.

Information technologies “communicate, consult, coordinate, and operate together across greater distances.”

Cyberwar today is what blitzkrieg was to 20th century warfare. In 1993, Arquilla and Ronfeldt focused on military conflicts.

In 1996, studying net and cyberwar. Examining “irregular modes of conflict, including terror, crime, and militant social activism.”

In 1997, developing the concept of swarming. Suggesting it might “emerge as a definitive doctrine that will encompass and enliven both cyberwar and net war.”

Envisioning “how to prepare for information-age conflict.” Calling swarming a way to strike from all directions.

Effectiveness depends on various elements able to interconnect. Using revolutionary communication technology.

What works on battlefields proved effective on city streets. US-instigated color revolutions achieved regime change in Serbia (2000/2001).

Georgia (2003). Ukraine (2004). Kyrgyzstan (2005). Ukraine (2014). Other efforts fell short.

Color revolutions reflect America’s modern day New World Order strategy. Following Soviet Russia’s dissolution. Direct and proxy hot wars rage at the same time.

US strategy is multi-faceted. Including subversion. Destabilization. Mass surveillance. Blitzkrieg propaganda.  Successful swarming tactics accomplish coup d’etats by other means.

Washington openly backs Russian hard right extremists. Figures like Boris Nemtsov. Garry Kasparov. Alexei Navalny. A convicted embezzler.

Masquerading as an anti-corruption activist. A relentless Putin basher. Accusing him of aggression.

In March, New York Times editors featured his op-ed headlined “How to Punish Putin.” Irresponsibly accusing him of empty promises.

Lying about invading Ukraine. Wanting to rule for life. With “powers on par with the czars.”

Russian democracy shames America’s sham version. Navalny didn’t explain. Or New York Times editors featuring his rubbish.

It bears repeating. Russia is in the eye of the storm. Regime change is longstanding US policy. Obama is going all-out to topple its government.

Putin is a master chess player. A world-class geopolitical leader. On the right side of history. Besting his Western counterparts.

Making Obama look amateurish by comparison. Buffoon-like. Don’t bet against him coming out on top in the end.

Our best chance for world peace and stability. By beating America’s dirty game.

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False story of ISIS having aircraft intended to justify no-fly zone in Syria


ISIS reportedly flying fighter jets captured from Syrian regime

Serbian Air Force MiG-21File photo of a Mig-21 fighter jet (pictured above is a jet of the Serbian Air Force)

ISIS members from the former Iraqi army have trained ISIS members how to fly three fighter jets captured from Assad’s forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.

The human rights observer said that the jets were seized from Syrian military airports now under ISIS control in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Raqa.

Israeli Missile Defense System ’Hacked’ in Cyber Attack

Local Editor

Zionist Iron DomeAn intelligence report has indicated that hackers copied and stole hundreds of secret military documents from two government-owned Zionist companies that developed the Iron Dome missile defense system, which was set to blow up missiles fired by Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip.

The BBC obtained evidence from a report by Cyber Engineering Services (CyberESI) which confirmed the allegations made by security blogger Brian Krebs on Monday that data had been stolen from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, despite the insistence of the companies that their security had not been breached.

After tracking the activities of the hackers over eight months between 2011 and 2012, data collected suggested that the cyber attack originated from China and that the hackers had used highly sophisticated tools resembling those used to infiltrate US defense firms.

The report claimed that hackers had the ability to deactivate security software and harvest authentication data, including passwords, and that a number of word documents, power point presentations, spreadsheets, PDFs and executable (.exe) files were stolen.

Violence has engulfed the Palestinian territories since Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip almost four weeks ago with the stated aim of halting rocket fire.

During four weeks of Zionist offensive, at least 1644 Palestinians – mostly civilians – have been killed and more than 8850 others injured, according to Palestinian medics.

Gaza-based Palestinian factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rockets at Israelis-inhabited cities in response to the ongoing Zionist attacks.

According to enemy figures, at least 63 soldiers were killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in Gaza and three civilians by rocket fire.

Source: Websites

02-08-2014 – 14:05 Last updated 02-08-2014 – 14:05

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Psychological warfare intensifies in Israel-Hamas conflict

Israeli psy-ops tactics, such as false air strike warnings and leaflet campaigns, have in this conflict been met by Hamas’ own efforts in satellite TV and social media

Palestinians read leaflets dropped by Israeli military planes over the northern Gaza Strip in 2010 (AFP)
Mohammed Omer's picture
NUSEIRAT CAMP, Gaza – When the neighbors of Khaled Abu Zayed received a phone call from an Israeli automated machine saying that their home in Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza was to be bombed and they must evacuate – he ran outside in his underwear, screaming that Israeli F-16s were about to strike their home.

Aby Zayed, a father-of-five, says that five minutes after the call no-one was left in the whole neighborhood. Women, children and the elderly were all just running with whatever they were wearing or could grab in a hurry.

Usually houses are bombed within one to three minutes after an automated call, but in this case, 38-year-old Abu Zayed spent all night outside. His house was not attacked and, after hours of waiting, his family and neighbours decided to take their chances and return home.

Despite the anxiety and fear that sent him running into the night, Abu Zayed does not count himself lucky. His neighbourhood was not spared by some kind of glitch in the Israeli operations, he says. Instead, he believes the call was a tactic intentionally meant to cause maximum impact without firing a single shot.

“This is psychological war, meant to terrorise and cause maximum ‘collective fear’, by calling us at night,” Abu Zayed told MEE.

These kinds of calls often impact on entire cities at one time, causing residents to flee for fear that their homes will be leveled to dust and rubble. Just this weekend, leaflets dropped by Israeli forces over northern Gaza, informing residents to flee south or risk putting their family’s risk. “Beware,” the leaflet said.

Gaza’s Interior Ministry urged residents in northern Gaza to ignore the leaflets and stay put, even sending field workers to reassure civilians after such warnings, but many were too scared to stay and an estimated 17,000 thousand fled in less than 24 hours.

Mohammed Tabsh, a political analyst who writes widely on Gaza, said Israel pursues these tactics to “dismantle the Palestinian front by creating public opinion against the resistance”.

Abu Zayed says the 08 number, an Ashkelon-based phone number thought to belong to Israeli intelligence, calls Gazan phone numbers at random, sending a variety of threatening, pre-recorded messages from requesting an evacuation to asking people to inform on Hamas operatives or disclose their whereabouts.

Abu Zayed says some calls have even issued ultimatums, telling residents to cooperate with Israeli security services of face having their homes bombed.

Bombing attacks rarely follow, but the calls create fear and panic nonetheless.

Not everyone gives in to these calls, but almost all are subjected to and somehow affected by this kind of psychological warfare.

Mohammed Akila, a 45-year-old father of nine who works with ambulance crews in Gaza, says that his children are constantly horrified by what they hear or see in the media.

“Psychological warfare has more effect on my family than physical attacks,” Akila says. “The constant humming of drones is a psychological war affecting children and adults alike.”

Hamas hits back

Phone calls and leaflets aren’t the only Israeli tactics. Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office reportedly offered scholarships to students at Israeli universities to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks.

This followed a “media bunker” set up during Israel’s offensive on Gaza in 2012 with hundreds of young Israeli volunteers posting updates to social media sites with Israel points of view. The student union at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a private Israeli university, have organised a similar initiative during the past week, Electronic Intifada reported.

Over the years, Hamas – much like the civilians it rules over – has been subjected to this form of Israeli warfare. But Hamas is learning. In what analysts call an “unprecendented” move, over the course of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has adopted Israeli tactics, including using its satellite channel, al-Aqsa, to broadcast messages in Hebrew to warn Israelis that they will be attacked.

Normally busy Tel Aviv stood still on Saturday night after Hamas warned that rockets would be heading that way.

Fathi Sabbah, a Gaza analyst and columnist for London-based al-Hayat newspaper told Middle East Eye that Hamas has focused on promoting its military power in order to replicate the kind of psychological warfare seen in Gaza over the years. The group has also reportedly set up a Hebrew-language website that gives news, videos and pictures of its activity and what is happening in Gaza.

Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Bridgades, has hijacked phone numbers to send text messages to half a million Israelis, including army officers.

The beginnings of a tit-for-tat propaganda war have started to emerge. Last week, after the Israeli military penetrated the airwaves of al-Aqsa and started broadcasting news in the middle of news coverage, Hamas’ military wing responded by hijacking the scheduled Channel 10 coverage and broadcasting their own message in Hebrew.

“Hamas is conducting the war on two fronts: operational fighting on the ground and psychological war,” Sabah said.

The case of Hamas announcing it would hit Tel Aviv was the biggest psychological tactic so far, drawing attention from around the world.

“This was not just armed warfare,” Sabah said. “Hamas surprised us by making it psychological, using videos to show Israeli’s fear of resistance rockets falling in Israel.”

Authorities and activists have also increasingly turned to social media to try and stop the spread of misinformation and to reassure people, as well as bring more international attention. Still, these tools cannot reach everybody, especially the elderly who remain the most at risk.

Gazan authorities arrested several Palestinians believed to be collaborating with Israel by spreading fear-mongering rumours through allegedly sending threatening phone calls to stir panic.

While Sabah said Hamas’ psychological retaliation is slowly starting to alleviate the pressures that Palestinians feel, he explains that the civilian population in Gaza is slowly getting more experienced in dealing with tactical mind games of war.

“Two previous Israeli military assaults on Gaza and hundreds of random Israeli attacks have weakened the overall impact of Israel’s psychological war on Gaza,” he adds.

But while the population may be gradually getting more used to these kind of tactics, they can still inflict significant damage.

“Because no one wants to die in their house, they leave their homes,” Sabbah explains.

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Resistance Launches Media Campaign against Israeli Assault, Fortifies Public

Local Editor

Since the first days of Zionist aggression on Gaza, the Palestinian resistance media is keeping up with all ground and naval fighting off operations, as well as the rocket attacks, reflecting great readiness to confront the foreign-backed Zionist media campaign.


See Video here

Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance used Hebrew to warn the Zionist entity of rocket attacks, adopting psychological warfare while trying to raise the morale of Gazans.

Around 173 Palestinians in the tiny overcrowded enclave, most of them civilians, have been killed in six days of aggression.

On Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV at eight in the evening Saturday, the voice of Abu Ubeida – the perpetually masked and camouflaged spokesman of the group’s armed wing – broadcast a warning.

“(We) will direct a military strike with rockets at the Tel Aviv area and its surroundings with a J80 rocket after 9 P.M.”

Audio of the threat in Hebrew followed.

At seven minutes past nine, a series of thunderous roars in the coastal territory signaled the outgoing rockets. Warning sirens promptly sounded in the greater Tel Aviv region, the heavily populated heart of the Jewish entity.

Hamas has also posted a Hebrew version of one of its battle songs in the latest act of psychological warfare.

The original Arabic version of “Shake Israel’s Security” has long been a popular anthem of the Islamist movement’s military wing, the Ezz Al Deen Al Qassam Brigades.

Gazans say telephoned Zionist warnings of impending air strikes on houses is part of its own campaign to demoralize Gaza.

Local TV’s pulse-quickening coverage blend the gory aftermath of Zionist air strikes with bulletins of triumphs in battle.

It broadcast wrenching footage of a slain four-year old’s father shaking his lifeless little body, crying, “My son, wake up! I’ve bought you a toy!”

Source: Al-Manar Website

14-07-2014 – 16:10 Last updated 14-07-2014 – 16:12


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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

How the US Propaganda System Works

Americans are told that other governments practice censorship and propaganda, but not their own. Yet, the reality is quite different with many reasonable viewpoints marginalized and deceptive spin put on much that comes from officialdom, writes Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

Many Americans assume the U.S. government speaks “the truth” to its citizens and defends their constitutional right to “free speech” (be it in the form of words or dollars). On the other hand, it is always the alleged enemies of the U.S. who indulge in propaganda and censoring of “the truth.”

In practice it is not quite that way. Washington, and many local American governments as well, can be quite censoring. Take for instance the attempt to censor the boycott of Israeli academic institutions – institutions engaged in government research that facilitates illegal settlement expansion and the use of Palestinian water resources.broadcast-networks

In this case, the fact that a call for boycott is an age-old, non-violent practice also falling within the category of free speech, is mostly disregarded. Instead we get a knee-jerk impulse on the part of just about every American politician to shut down debate, even to the point where various state legislatures threatened their own state colleges and universities with a cutoff of funds if they tolerate the boycott effort on their campuses.

It is not only American academics who suffer censorship at the hands of a government that claims to defend freedom of speech. Academics of countries deemed unfriendly to the U.S. have been subjected to the same treatment. Take, for instance, Iranian academics. U.S. trade sanctions on Iran, put in effect in 1980, included strict curbs on academic exchanges.

Later, a few in Congress managed to ease these with a “free trade in ideas” amendment, but the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sabotaged the effort. That office violated the spirit of the congressional amendment by asserting that while there could now be exchanges of information with academics in sanctioned states, say, in the form of manuscripts submitted to U.S. journals for publication, they could not be “enhanced” by such practices as editing for style purposes. Violation of this regulation could result in fines and imprisonment for journal editors.

On the other hand, as far as we know, no OFAC official was ever fined, fired or imprisoned for violating the intent of Congress.

Several organizations, including the American Association of Publishers, took the U.S. government to court over the issue in 2003. In 2004, the matter was settled out of court, granting the right of publishers to use standard editing procedures for manuscript submissions from Iran.

However, the OFAC has failed to officially promulgate this change in regulations, and as a result many journal editors are ignorant of the revised regulation. Many still “play it safe” and simply return submissions from Iran marked “denied due to sanctions.”

More generally, there are now reports that the Internet provider Yahoo, which is used by a 63 percent of Iranians communicating through the worldwide web, has decided that it will not allow Iranians to create new e-mail accounts.

Cutting off access to Yahoo will require many in Iran to use the e-mail service provided by the Iranian government – which, of course, censors communications. Yahoo thus becomes complicit in the process of censoring millions of people.

Media Manipulation

Perhaps the grossest ongoing censorship of all is the culturally conditioned, narrow range of opinion fed to the vast majority of Americans by their own media. The differences in story lines and opinions in the “news” given by well-watched television channels such as ABC. CBS, NBC and CNN, or those of the nation’s major newspapers and news magazines, is minuscule.

One venue that stands out is Fox TV, and its “news” and opinion offerings verge on the mendacious. The narrow range of views offered creates a uniform background noise hiding most of what is at variance with the standard message. In other words, media practices constitute de facto censorship.

So well does this process work that it is probably the case that many news editors and broadcasters and most of the public taking in their reporting do not understand that their reductionism has rendered the constitutional right of free press ineffectual.

Really meaningful contrary opinion and reporting (particularly of the progressive persuasion) is so infrequent and marginalized that it stands little chance of competing with the orthodox point of view.

An exception is to be found on the TV channel Comedy Central. There Americans can find the popular “Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” This show presents the only ongoing, nationally televised critique of the foibles of U.S. government leaders and their policies. But, of course, it all must be done in the form of comical political satire.

As successful as media conditioning is, some elements of the U.S. government feel they must go the extra mile to guarantee that the public receives an acceptable view of events. Take the revelations given in a recent report by Amnesty International on the trial of the so-called Cuban Five (five Cuban residents of Florida arrested for espionage on the part of the Cuban government).

Amnesty’s official report on the trial of the five defendants alleges that “the United States [government] paid journalists hostile to Cuba to cover the trial and provide prejudicial articles in the local media asserting the guilt of the accused.”

Under such circumstances the “free press” was transformed into a vehicle for government propaganda and this, in turn, helped to generally devalue the right of free speech. We do not know how often the government acts in this corruptive way.

Et Tu, Obama?

In a report issued late in 2013 by the Committee to Protect Journalists, President Barack Obama, a liberal within the U.S. political spectrum, has been accused of pressuring journalists to toe the line. He has done this by “attacking sources, conducting surveillance, creating a climate of fear, and prosecuting double the amount of cases for alleged leaks of classified information as all previous administrations combined.”

As a consequence the global index on media freedom issued annually by the conservative Freedom House alleges that in 2014 the U.S. suffered a sharp erosion of press freedom and the right of the citizen to know what his or her country is doing. The report cites “attempts by the government to inhibit reporting on national security issues” as a major reason for this situation.

At the same time, President Obama makes speeches critiquing foreign governments, such as that in Egypt, for limiting freedom of the press and speech. There is no doubt that the governments he targets are guilty of gross violations of these rights and many more besides.

But what is equally true is that the vast majority of Americans can listen to the President castigate these governments with no sense of cognitive dissonance. They do not know that they too are victims of propaganda and manipulation.

How could they? They are culturally conditioned to believe that their country is the foundation of freedom and truth. And, beyond their local area, they haven’t the knowledge, or often the interest, to fact-check what their leaders and media agents tell them. That is why it is accurate to describe the U.S. information environment as closed.

Actually, there is nothing particularly unique about the self-censoring environment under which Americans live. All states and cultures, to one extent or another, practice this sort of manipulation of the information environment whereby reality is distorted.

Thus we can ask, is the United States the great defender of its own constitutional freedoms? It is when it suits the purposes of policy makers. When it doesn’t, hypocrisy prevails.

The system is successful because all but a few people are culturally conditioned not to notice or care. Such a manipulative process as this at once helps keep societies cohesive and at the same time creates the conditions wherein hate is easily bred and vast numbers are made willing to charge enemy machine guns.

Those who see through their conditioning and manipulation are, if you will, cultural mistakes. They are also the human race’s best, albeit slim, hope for a saner, more tolerant world.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania

How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware

By Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald12 Mar 2014, 9:19 AM EDT

Featured photo - How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware
 One presentation outlines how the NSA performs “industrial-scale exploitation” of computer networks across the world.                                                            

Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and from eavesdropping bases in the United Kingdom and Japan. GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, appears to have played an integral role in helping to develop the implants tactic.

In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.

The implants being deployed were once reserved for a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, whose communications could not be monitored through traditional wiretaps. But the documents analyzed by The Intercept show how the NSA has aggressively accelerated its hacking initiatives in the past decade by computerizing some processes previously handled by humans. The automated system – codenamed TURBINE – is designed to “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.”

In a top-secret presentation, dated August 2009, the NSA describes a pre-programmed part of the covert infrastructure called the “Expert System,” which is designed to operate “like the brain.” The system manages the applications and functions of the implants and “decides” what tools they need to best extract data from infected machines.

Mikko Hypponen, an expert in malware who serves as chief research officer at the Finnish security firm F-Secure, calls the revelations “disturbing.” The NSA’s surveillance techniques, he warns, could inadvertently be undermining the security of the Internet.

“When they deploy malware on systems,” Hypponen says, “they potentially create new vulnerabilities in these systems, making them more vulnerable for attacks by third parties.”

Hypponen believes that governments could arguably justify using malware in a small number of targeted cases against adversaries. But millions of malware implants being deployed by the NSA as part of an automated process, he says, would be “out of control.”

“That would definitely not be proportionate,” Hypponen says. “It couldn’t possibly be targeted and named. It sounds like wholesale infection and wholesale surveillance.”

The NSA declined to answer questions about its deployment of implants, pointing to a new presidential policy directive announced by President Obama. “As the president made clear on 17 January,” the agency said in a statement, “signals intelligence shall be collected exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to support national and departmental missions, and not for any other purposes.”

“Owning the Net”

The NSA began rapidly escalating its hacking efforts a decade ago. In 2004, according to secret internal records, the agency was managing a small network of only 100 to 150 implants. But over the next six to eight years, as an elite unit called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) recruited new hackers and developed new malware tools, the number of implants soared to tens of thousands.

To penetrate foreign computer networks and monitor communications that it did not have access to through other means, the NSA wanted to go beyond the limits of traditional signals intelligence, or SIGINT, the agency’s term for the interception of electronic communications. Instead, it sought to broaden “active” surveillance methods – tactics designed to directly infiltrate a target’s computers or network devices.

In the documents, the agency describes such techniques as “a more aggressive approach to SIGINT” and says that the TAO unit’s mission is to “aggressively scale” these operations.

But the NSA recognized that managing a massive network of implants is too big a job for humans alone.

“One of the greatest challenges for active SIGINT/attack is scale,” explains the top-secret presentation from 2009. “Human ‘drivers’ limit ability for large-scale exploitation (humans tend to operate within their own environment, not taking into account the bigger picture).”

The agency’s solution was TURBINE. Developed as part of TAO unit, it is described in the leaked documents as an “intelligent command and control capability” that enables “industrial-scale exploitation.”

TURBINE was designed to make deploying malware much easier for the NSA’s hackers by reducing their role in overseeing its functions. The system would “relieve the user from needing to know/care about the details,” the NSA’s Technology Directorate notes in one secret document from 2009. “For example, a user should be able to ask for ‘all details about application X’ and not need to know how and where the application keeps files, registry entries, user application data, etc.”

In practice, this meant that TURBINE would automate crucial processes that previously had to be performed manually – including the configuration of the implants as well as surveillance collection, or “tasking,” of data from infected systems. But automating these processes was about much more than a simple technicality. The move represented a major tactical shift within the NSA that was expected to have a profound impact – allowing the agency to push forward into a new frontier of surveillance operations.

The ramifications are starkly illustrated in one undated top-secret NSA document, which describes how the agency planned for TURBINE to “increase the current capability to deploy and manage hundreds of Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) and Computer Network Attack (CNA) implants to potentially millions of implants.” (CNE mines intelligence from computers and networks; CNA seeks to disrupt, damage or destroy them.)

Eventually, the secret files indicate, the NSA’s plans for TURBINE came to fruition. The system has been operational in some capacity since at least July 2010, and its role has become increasingly central to NSA hacking operations.

Earlier reports based on the Snowden files indicate that the NSA has already deployed between 85,000 and 100,000 of its implants against computers and networks across the world, with plans to keep on scaling up those numbers.

The intelligence community’s top-secret “Black Budget” for 2013, obtained by Snowden, lists TURBINE as part of a broader NSA surveillance initiative named “Owning the Net.”

The agency sought $67.6 million in taxpayer funding for its Owning the Net program last year. Some of the money was earmarked for TURBINE, expanding the system to encompass “a wider variety” of networks and “enabling greater automation of computer network exploitation.”

Circumventing Encryption

The NSA has a diverse arsenal of malware tools, each highly sophisticated and customizable for different purposes.

One implant, codenamed UNITEDRAKE, can be used with a variety of “plug-ins” that enable the agency to gain total control of an infected computer.

An implant plug-in named CAPTIVATEDAUDIENCE, for example, is used to take over a targeted computer’s microphone and record conversations taking place near the device. Another, GUMFISH, can covertly take over a computer’s webcam and snap photographs. FOGGYBOTTOM records logs of Internet browsing histories and collects login details and passwords used to access websites and email accounts. GROK is used to log keystrokes. And SALVAGERABBIT exfiltrates data from removable flash drives that connect to an infected computer.

The implants can enable the NSA to circumvent privacy-enhancing encryption tools that are used to browse the Internet anonymously or scramble the contents of emails as they are being sent across networks. That’s because the NSA’s malware gives the agency unfettered access to a target’s computer before the user protects their communications with encryption.

It is unclear how many of the implants are being deployed on an annual basis or which variants of them are currently active in computer systems across the world.

Previous reports have alleged that the NSA worked with Israel to develop the Stuxnet malware, which was used to sabotage Iranian nuclear facilities. The agency also reportedly worked with Israel to deploy malware called Flame to infiltrate computers and spy on communications in countries across the Middle East.

According to the Snowden files, the technology has been used to seek out terror suspects as well as individuals regarded by the NSA as “extremist.” But the mandate of the NSA’s hackers is not limited to invading the systems of those who pose a threat to national security.

In one secret post on an internal message board, an operative from the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate describes using malware attacks against systems administrators who work at foreign phone and Internet service providers. By hacking an administrator’s computer, the agency can gain covert access to communications that are processed by his company. “Sys admins are a means to an end,” the NSA operative writes.

The internal post – titled “I hunt sys admins” – makes clear that terrorists aren’t the only targets of such NSA attacks. Compromising a systems administrator, the operative notes, makes it easier to get to other targets of interest, including any “government official that happens to be using the network some admin takes care of.”

Similar tactics have been adopted by Government Communications Headquarters, the NSA’s British counterpart. As the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported in September, GCHQ hacked computers belonging to network engineers at Belgacom, the Belgian telecommunications provider.

The mission, codenamed “Operation Socialist,” was designed to enable GCHQ to monitor mobile phones connected to Belgacom’s network. The secret files deem the mission a “success,” and indicate that the agency had the ability to covertly access Belgacom’s systems since at least 2010.

Infiltrating cellphone networks, however, is not all that the malware can be used to accomplish. The NSA has specifically tailored some of its implants to infect large-scale network routers used by Internet service providers in foreign countries. By compromising routers – the devices that connect computer networks and transport data packets across the Internet – the agency can gain covert access to monitor Internet traffic, record the browsing sessions of users, and intercept communications.

Two implants the NSA injects into network routers, HAMMERCHANT and HAMMERSTEIN, help the agency to intercept and perform “exploitation attacks” against data that is sent through a Virtual Private Network, a tool that uses encrypted “tunnels” to enhance the security and privacy of an Internet session.

The implants also track phone calls sent across the network via Skype and other Voice Over IP software, revealing the username of the person making the call. If the audio of the VOIP conversation is sent over the Internet using unencrypted “Real-time Transport Protocol” packets, the implants can covertly record the audio data and then return it to the NSA for analysis.

But not all of the NSA’s implants are used to gather intelligence, the secret files show. Sometimes, the agency’s aim is disruption rather than surveillance. QUANTUMSKY, a piece of NSA malware developed in 2004, is used to block targets from accessing certain websites. QUANTUMCOPPER, first tested in 2008, corrupts a target’s file downloads. These two “attack” techniques are revealed on a classified list that features nine NSA hacking tools, six of which are used for intelligence gathering. Just one is used for “defensive” purposes – to protect U.S. government networks against intrusions.

“Mass exploitation potential”

Before it can extract data from an implant or use it to attack a system, the NSA must first install the malware on a targeted computer or network.

According to one top-secret document from 2012, the agency can deploy malware by sending out spam emails that trick targets into clicking a malicious link. Once activated, a “back-door implant” infects their computers within eight seconds.

There’s only one problem with this tactic, codenamed WILLOWVIXEN: According to the documents, the spam method has become less successful in recent years, as Internet users have become wary of unsolicited emails and less likely to click on anything that looks suspicious.

Consequently, the NSA has turned to new and more advanced hacking techniques. These include performing so-called “man-in-the-middle” and “man-on-the-side” attacks, which covertly force a user’s internet browser to route to NSA computer servers that try to infect them with an implant.

To perform a man-on-the-side attack, the NSA observes a target’s Internet traffic using its global network of covert “accesses” to data as it flows over fiber optic cables or satellites. When the target visits a website that the NSA is able to exploit, the agency’s surveillance sensors alert the TURBINE system, which then “shoots” data packets at the targeted computer’s IP address within a fraction of a second.

In one man-on-the-side technique, codenamed QUANTUMHAND, the agency disguises itself as a fake Facebook server. When a target attempts to log in to the social media site, the NSA transmits malicious data packets that trick the target’s computer into thinking they are being sent from the real Facebook. By concealing its malware within what looks like an ordinary Facebook page, the NSA is able to hack into the targeted computer and covertly siphon out data from its hard drive. A top-secret animation demonstrates the tactic in action.

The documents show that QUANTUMHAND became operational in October 2010, after being successfully tested by the NSA against about a dozen targets.

According to Matt Blaze, a surveillance and cryptography expert at the University of Pennsylvania, it appears that the QUANTUMHAND technique is aimed at targeting specific individuals. But he expresses concerns about how it has been covertly integrated within Internet networks as part of the NSA’s automated TURBINE system.

“As soon as you put this capability in the backbone infrastructure, the software and security engineer in me says that’s terrifying,” Blaze says.

“Forget about how the NSA is intending to use it. How do we know it is working correctly and only targeting who the NSA wants? And even if it does work correctly, which is itself a really dubious assumption, how is it controlled?”

In an email statement to The Intercept, Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said the company had “no evidence of this alleged activity.” He added that Facebook implemented HTTPS encryption for users last year, making browsing sessions less vulnerable to malware attacks.

Nancarrow also pointed out that other services besides Facebook could have been compromised by the NSA. “If government agencies indeed have privileged access to network service providers,” he said, “any site running only [unencrypted] HTTP could conceivably have its traffic misdirected.”

A man-in-the-middle attack is a similar but slightly more aggressive method that can be used by the NSA to deploy its malware. It refers to a hacking technique in which the agency covertly places itself between computers as they are communicating with each other.

This allows the NSA not only to observe and redirect browsing sessions, but to modify the content of data packets that are passing between computers.

The man-in-the-middle tactic can be used, for instance, to covertly change the content of a message as it is being sent between two people, without either knowing that any change has been made by a third party. The same technique is sometimes used by criminal hackers to defraud people.

A top-secret NSA presentation from 2012 reveals that the agency developed a man-in-the-middle capability called SECONDDATE to “influence real-time communications between client and server” and to “quietly redirect web-browsers” to NSA malware servers called FOXACID. In October, details about the FOXACID system were reported by the Guardian, which revealed its links to attacks against users of the Internet anonymity service Tor.

But SECONDDATE is tailored not only for “surgical” surveillance attacks on individual suspects. It can also be used to launch bulk malware attacks against computers.

According to the 2012 presentation, the tactic has “mass exploitation potential for clients passing through network choke points.”

Blaze, the University of Pennsylvania surveillance expert, says the potential use of man-in-the-middle attacks on such a scale “seems very disturbing.” Such an approach would involve indiscriminately monitoring entire networks as opposed to targeting individual suspects.

“The thing that raises a red flag for me is the reference to ‘network choke points,’” he says. “That’s the last place that we should be allowing intelligence agencies to compromise the infrastructure – because that is by definition a mass surveillance technique.”

To deploy some of its malware implants, the NSA exploits security vulnerabilities in commonly used Internet browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.

The agency’s hackers also exploit security weaknesses in network routers and in popular software plugins such as Flash and Java to deliver malicious code onto targeted machines.

The implants can circumvent anti-virus programs, and the NSA has gone to extreme lengths to ensure that its clandestine technology is extremely difficult to detect. An implant named VALIDATOR, used by the NSA to upload and download data to and from an infected machine, can be set to self-destruct – deleting itself from an infected computer after a set time expires.

In many cases, firewalls and other security measures do not appear to pose much of an obstacle to the NSA. Indeed, the agency’s hackers appear confident in their ability to circumvent any security mechanism that stands between them and compromising a computer or network. “If we can get the target to visit us in some sort of web browser, we can probably own them,” an agency hacker boasts in one secret document. “The only limitation is the ‘how.’”

Covert Infrastructure

The TURBINE implants system does not operate in isolation.

It is linked to, and relies upon, a large network of clandestine surveillance “sensors” that the agency has installed at locations across the world.

The NSA’s headquarters in Maryland are part of this network, as are eavesdropping bases used by the agency in Misawa, Japan and Menwith Hill, England.

The sensors, codenamed TURMOIL, operate as a sort of high-tech surveillance dragnet, monitoring packets of data as they are sent across the Internet.

When TURBINE implants exfiltrate data from infected computer systems, the TURMOIL sensors automatically identify the data and return it to the NSA for analysis. And when targets are communicating, the TURMOIL system can be used to send alerts or “tips” to TURBINE, enabling the initiation of a malware attack.

The NSA identifies surveillance targets based on a series of data “selectors” as they flow across Internet cables. These selectors, according to internal documents, can include email addresses, IP addresses, or the unique “cookies” containing a username or other identifying information that are sent to a user’s computer by websites such as Google, Facebook, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Twitter.

Other selectors the NSA uses can be gleaned from unique Google advertising cookies that track browsing habits, unique encryption key fingerprints that can be traced to a specific user, and computer IDs that are sent across the Internet when a Windows computer crashes or updates.

What’s more, the TURBINE system operates with the knowledge and support of other governments, some of which have participated in the malware attacks.

Classification markings on the Snowden documents indicate that NSA has shared many of its files on the use of implants with its counterparts in the so-called Five Eyes surveillance alliance – the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

GCHQ, the British agency, has taken on a particularly important role in helping to develop the malware tactics. The Menwith Hill satellite eavesdropping base that is part of the TURMOIL network, located in a rural part of Northern England, is operated by the NSA in close cooperation with GCHQ.

Top-secret documents show that the British base – referred to by the NSA as “MHS” for Menwith Hill Station – is an integral component of the TURBINE malware infrastructure and has been used to experiment with implant “exploitation” attacks against users of Yahoo and Hotmail.

In one document dated 2010, at least five variants of the QUANTUM hacking method were listed as being “operational” at Menwith Hill. The same document also reveals that GCHQ helped integrate three of the QUANTUM malware capabilities – and test two others – as part of a surveillance system it operates codenamed INSENSER.

GCHQ cooperated with the hacking attacks despite having reservations about their legality. One of the Snowden files, previously disclosed by Swedish broadcaster SVT, revealed that as recently as April 2013, GCHQ was apparently reluctant to get involved in deploying the QUANTUM malware due to “legal/policy restrictions.” A representative from a unit of the British surveillance agency, meeting with an obscure telecommunications standards committee in 2010, separately voiced concerns that performing “active” hacking attacks for surveillance “may be illegal” under British law.

In response to questions from The Intercept, GCHQ refused to comment on its involvement in the covert hacking operations. Citing its boilerplate response to inquiries, the agency said in a statement that “all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight.”

Whatever the legalities of the United Kingdom and United States infiltrating computer networks, the Snowden files bring into sharp focus the broader implications. Under cover of secrecy and without public debate, there has been an unprecedented proliferation of aggressive surveillance techniques. One of the NSA’s primary concerns, in fact, appears to be that its clandestine tactics are now being adopted by foreign rivals, too.

“Hacking routers has been good business for us and our 5-eyes partners for some time,” notes one NSA analyst in a top-secret document dated December 2012. “But it is becoming more apparent that other nation states are honing their skillz [sic] and joining the scene.”


Documents published with this article:

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