TBR News July 18, 2013

Jul 18 2013


The Voice of the White House


Washington, D.C. July 17, 2013: “The verdict in the Zimmerman case seems to be enraging both liberals and blacks. Now they want to have him tried again by the Obama people but this will not happen. Here are two comments from readers of the Guardian’s articles. Soon enough, there will be rioting in the inner cities and the resulting looting of shops. No one seems to care if the CIA or the Army blows up a Pakistani day care center on the mistaken impression it is a training center for terrorists but I suppose it depends on whose ox is gored.


 “The NAACP is a collection of black bigots and crooks. In their “convention” they purposefully have excluded black conservatives, anyone not approving Obama and his government’s espionage, drone based murders, misue of government institutions to punish enemies, the millions of dollars in bribes via untraceable Chinese bank issued “gift credit cards”. They routinely engage in political campaigns and endorsements… an they are classified as a 501C3, tax emempt “charity”?”


“No wonder Snowden doesn’t think he’s going to get a fair trial.

Look at this – people on social media decide who is guilty and who is not and they’re going to play the system until it bows to pressure and they finally get the conviction they demand.”

And on another controversial subject: It is now relatively well-known that all of the world’s glaciers, to include the immense ones on Antarcticia and Greenland, are rapidly melting. Every year, scientists predict that by 2100, the seas will have risen by .003 cms. Of course this is blatant nonsense, dictated to by the needs of our government to prevent public panics and demands for assistance. The government can do nothing so their fondest hope is that, like the mortgage scandal, the day of wrath will wait until they have left office. One of the most fascinating depictions of what sea level risings will look like can be found at:




This consists of a series of beautifully prepared color computer studies of the gradual flooding of American coastal cites. It is well worth a look. This is the product of one Nickolay Lamm, a young college student and artist. Mr. Lamm is Russian in origin and his handling of his subject is probably the best we have ever seen. He can be reached at:nickolaylamm@gmail.com


In Zimmerman Case, Self-Defense Was Hard to Topple

July 14, 2013

by Lizette Alvarez 

New York Times


SANFORD, Fla. — From the moment George Zimmerman held up his arms and told the police that he had shot Trayvon Martin, one fact was undisputed: an unarmed black teenager lay dead.


But as one top Florida defense lawyer, Michael Band, said on Sunday, “Trials, for better or worse, are not morality plays.”


From the start, prosecutors faced a difficult case — weak on evidence and long on outrage. Mr. Zimmerman had the power of self-defense laws on his side, and was helped by a spotty police investigation and prosecutorial missteps. The initial investigation foundered when the local prosecutor balked at bringing charges, convinced that overcoming the self-defense claims would prove impossible.


But six weeks after the killing, his replacement, Angela B. Corey, from the Jacksonville area, charged Mr. Zimmerman with second-degree murder, a tall order.


At the trial, the fight between Mr. Martin and Mr. Zimmerman that preceded the shooting produced a muddle of testimony — and grist for reasonable doubt. It remained unclear who had thrown the first punch and at what point Mr. Zimmerman drew his gun. There were no witnesses to the shooting and no definitive determination of which man could be heard yelling for help in the background of a 911 call.


The only version of events came from Mr. Zimmerman, who did not take the stand, denying prosecutors a chance to cross-examine him. His statements to the police spoke for him at the trial. Defense lawyers also had a powerful piece of evidence in photographs of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries: a bloody nose and cuts and lumps on the back of his head.


Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, claimed that he shot Mr. Martin only after the teenager knocked him to the ground, punched him, straddled him and slammed his head into the concrete — “a weapon,” as his lawyer, Mark O’Mara, called it. The murder charge required a showing that Mr. Zimmerman was full of ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent when he shot Mr. Martin. But prosecutors had little evidence to back up that claim, legal experts said. They could point only to Mr. Zimmerman’s words during his call to the police dispatcher the night he spotted Mr. Martin walking in the rain with his sweatshirt’s hood up and grew suspicious.


“Punks,” he said, adding a profanity. “They always get away,” he said, using another profanity.


But Mr. Zimmerman appeared calm during the call and did not describe Mr. Martin’s race until he was asked. And defense lawyers brought in witnesses to say that Mr. Zimmerman, on the whole, was a courteous, kind and caring neighbor.


“That was a fatal flaw right from the start in the case,” said Jeff Weiner, a well-known Miami criminal defense lawyer.


Toward the end of the trial, prosecutors asked the judge to include the lesser charge of manslaughter, but the jury rejected that as well.


Legal experts pointed to what they said were errors by the prosecution. Several prosecution witnesses struggled on the stand and appeared not to have been prepared, including Rachel Jeantel, the young friend of Mr. Martin’s who said he had told her on the phone that he was being followed and was scared.


Prosecutors interviewed Ms. Jeantel for the first time in the house of Sybrina Fulton, Mr. Martin’s mother, while Ms. Fulton sat next to her. Shaken up by Ms. Fulton’s presence, Ms. Jeantel softened her account of the phone call to protect Ms. Fulton, she testified.


Prosecutors also were hurt by the testimony of Officer Chris Serino of the Sanford Police Department, the chief investigator on the case. He told the jury he believed Mr. Zimmerman’s account was truthful.


Yet another trouble spot was the testimony of Dr. Shiping Bao, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Mr. Martin. On the stand, legal experts said, he came across as befuddled, shuffling through his notes because he could remember so little.


“It was horrific,” said Richard Sharpstein, a prominent Miami criminal defense lawyer. “It was the deadly blow to this case because the case depended on forensic evidence to contradict or disprove George Zimmerman’s story.”


The performance was the opposite of that by Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a nationally recognized forensic pathologist, who took the stand for the defense. Polished and concise, Dr. Di Maio said the evidence and injuries to Mr. Zimmerman were consistent with the defense’s account: that Mr. Martin was leaning over the defendant when he was shot.


“When Bao completely imploded, that was check,” Mr. Sharpstein said. “When Di Maio testified, it was checkmate.”


The evidence of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries may have helped his case, but it was not legally necessary. He needed to show only that he feared great bodily harm or death when he pulled out his gun, which he was carrying legally, and shot Mr. Martin.


“Classic self-defense,” Mr. O’Mara said.


Soon after Mr. Zimmerman was arrested, there appeared to be a chance that the defense would invoke a provision of Florida self-defense law known as Stand Your Ground. Ultimately it was not part of Mr. O’Mara’s courtroom strategy, though it did play a pivotal role immediately after the shooting.


The provision, enacted by the Florida Legislature in 2005 and since adopted by more than 20 other states, allows people who fear great harm or death not to retreat, even if they can safely do so. If an attacker is retreating, people are still permitted to use deadly force.


The provision also allows a defendant claiming self-defense to seek civil and criminal immunity at a pretrial hearing.


Mr. O’Mara said he did not rely on Stand Your Ground as a defense because Mr. Zimmerman had no option to retreat. A pretrial immunity hearing, which prosecutors said they had been expecting, would only have divulged his case. So Mr. O’Mara gambled on a jury trial.


“That was a brilliant strategic move,” Mr. Sharpstein said. “It precluded the state from previewing the defense.”


But Stand Your Ground did play a role when the police were contemplating whether to charge Mr. Zimmerman, said Tamara Lave, an associate professor of law at the University of Miami.


Under the law, if the police believe there is probable cause that someone acted in self-defense, as Mr. Zimmerman said he had, they are not allowed to make an arrest, she said. The self-defense claim also may have affected how thoroughly the police interviewed witnesses, preserved the crime scene and screened Mr. Zimmerman.


Eventually, the police arrested Mr. Zimmerman, but only after Gov. Rick Scott of Florida had appointed Ms. Corey as prosecutor.


At a news conference after the verdict, Ms. Corey said prosecutors had been hindered by the fact they inherited the case well into the investigation. Still, she forged ahead.


“What we promised to do was get this case in front of a jury,” she said, “and give Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman their day in court.”


Case against Zimmerman would require proof of racial malice

July 15, 2013

by David Ingram



WASHINGTON – For all the complex issues raised by the death of Trayvon Martin, whether the U.S. Justice Department turns it into a civil rights case may depend on the relatively simple question of whether George Zimmerman was motivated by racism when he pulled the trigger.


Unless federal prosecutors can present new evidence that suggests racial malice motivated Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, to shoot Martin, an unarmed black teenager, they are unlikely to pursue charges, lawyers with expertise in civil rights said on Monday.


A jury in Sanford, Florida, on Saturday found Zimmerman, a 29-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2012 shooting death of Martin. Defense lawyers argued Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Martin in self-defense.


State and federal courts generally have the same threshold for a criminal conviction: a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by a unanimous jury, or by a judge if a defendant waives a jury trial.


By finding Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder, the Seminole County jury rejected the charge that Zimmerman acted with ill will, spite or hatred.


Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday his Justice Department had yet to decide whether to file federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.


Like the videotaped police beating of Rodney King in 1991 or the 2006 fatal shooting of Sean Bell by New York police, the Martin case is a window into the federal government’s authority to enforce civil rights.


Preachers led by Al Sharpton planned a news conference at Justice Department headquarters in Washington for Tuesday to add pressure to prosecute Zimmerman. They believe he racially profiled Martin before pursuing him with a 9mm pistol.




The law federal prosecutors would most likely use against Zimmerman was passed in 2009 to target hate crimes.


It requires that prosecutors prove that someone caused bodily injury “because of the actual or perceived race” of the victim, a bar that while straightforward can be hard to clear.


“The difficult part is always showing the perpetrator’s state of mind, and the statute requires that there was racial motivation, that the defendant was thinking in racial terms,” said William Yeomans, a former Justice Department civil rights lawyer.


The government typically uses evidence such as an attacker’s contemporaneous racial epithets, or a pattern of planning to target a specific race, said Samuel Bagenstos, who served in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division during President Barack Obama’s first term.


“If you look at the standard patterns of these cases, there are often statements made by the defendant expressly referring to the race of the victim during the attack,” he said.


“That is a cut above the evidence that we’ve seen so far” against Zimmerman, he added.


In an emergency call before the encounter with Martin, Zimmerman told a police dispatcher that Martin “looks black” but only after the dispatcher asked for Martin’s race.


One of the jurors in Zimmerman’s state trial told CNN on Monday that she did not think Zimmerman racially profiled Martin. “All of us thought race did not play a role,” said the juror, granted anonymity by the television news network.


Further, there is no video of the encounter as there was of King’s beating at the hands of four Los Angeles police officers.


After a jury acquitted the officers of state charges in the King case, the Justice Department relied heavily on the video when it tried the officers on federal charges that they deprived King of his civil rights. Prosecutors analyzed the baton blows to King and zeroed in on those that came after the video showed King had been subdued.


The second jury convicted two of the officers, helping to calm a poisonous U.S. racial climate that included riots.




Wayne Budd, who as a Justice Department official oversaw the prosecution of the Los Angeles police officers, said he believed it would be difficult for the government to prove racial animus by Zimmerman with the evidence that has become public so far.


“They’re going to have their hands full. It’s not going to be easy,” Budd said.


Terree Bowers, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles during the police officers’ second trial there in 1993, said prosecutors were able to refine their case the second time around. He said he was not sure the Justice Department could do the same thing against Zimmerman.


“I don’t know what else is out there for the government to develop if they decide to proceed,” he said.


Holder, the chief U.S. law enforcement official and an Obama appointee, in April 2012 referred to the difficulty of proving racial motivation.


“We have a very … high bar that we have to meet in order to bring federal charges in this case so we are continuing in that regard,” Holder said while addressing Martin’s death at a news conference.


A Justice Department statement on Sunday alluded again to the challenges prosecutors face, referring to the “limited” civil rights laws.


One advantage for prosecutors is a change in the hate-crimes law in 2009 that eliminated a requirement that they show a connection between the crime and a federally protected activity, like voting.


A Justice Department spokeswoman on Monday declined to say whether prosecutors had convened a federal grand jury to hear evidence about Zimmerman, a step that would indicate increased activity on the part of prosecutors.


(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Howard Goller and Lisa Shumaker)



The Social Network Follies



The Internet has an enormous storehouse of information and nearly any desired material can be located and downloaded. That is the positive aspect of the Internet. The negative side is that the Internet also is home to an enormous flood of false, misleading and useless information, almost all of invented out of whole cloth by the same types that also have rushed to join, and use, what is known as the Social Networks.


The Social Networks are a handy means for persons to express their personal views on almost any subject and to communicate with others of a like mind. The problem that one notes from reading their postings is the same one observes in reading the comments appended to serious articles on major newspapers. In reading both of these areas, one is at once struck by the utter stupidity of the writers, their total lack of English, (their constant bad grammar and terrible spelling) and, most important, their desire, not to express a thoughtful view, but to parade their insignificance and ignorant personas  to a wide audience.


Another negative aspect of the Social Networks is that, at least in the United States, all of the networks of any size are working closely with such official governmental agencies as the DHS and the FBI, to assist them to spy on their members at no cost or effort to the government. In these cases, the mindless babblings and boastings of the dim of wit load federal surveillance files with moronic chatters from which the authorities can easily build a criminal case.


We did some research on the Social Networks and discovered that they have attracted more members than the government can keep up with, redolent in spirit of the thousands of flies congregating and feasting on the droppings found in a cow pen.



750,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


250,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


110,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


85,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


70,500,000 – Monthly Visitors

Google +

65,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


25,500,000 – Monthly Visitors

Live Journal

20,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


19,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


17,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


12,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


12,000,000 – Monthly Visitors


7,500,000 – Monthly Visitors


5,400,000 – Monthly Visitors


4,300,000 – Monthly Visitors


117,000,000 Yearly Visitors

 BlackPlanet (Black Americans)

20,000,000 Yearly Visitors

Blauk  Anyone who wants to tell something about a stranger or acquaintance.    

1,081,215  Yearly Visitors                      .          

Formspring     social Q&A website                 

290,000,000       Yearly Visitors

Habbo  For teens. Chat room and user profiles.

268,000,000 Yearly Visitors

Itsmy      Mobile community worldwide, blogging, friends, personal TV shows     

2,500,000 Yearly Visitors

Kiwibox           General.                       

2,400,000 Yearly Visitors


Massive ice sheets melting ‘at rate of 300bn tonnes a year’, climate satellite shows

The Grace satellite measures tiny fluctuations of the Earths gravity field resulting from the loss of ice into the sea

July 14, 2013

by Steve Connor 

The Independent UK

A satellite that measures gravity fluctuations on Earth due to changes in the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica has detected a rapid acceleration in the melting of glacier ice over the past decade, which could have a dramatic impact on sea levels around the world.

The sheets are losing around 300 billion tonnes of ice a year, the research indicates.

            However, scientists have warned that the measurements gathered since 2002 by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) flying in space are still too short-term for accurate predictions of how much ice will be lost in the coming decades, and therefore how rapidly sea levels will rise.

“In the course of the mission, it has become apparent that ice sheets are losing substantial amounts of ice – about 300 billion tonnes a year – and that the rate at which these losses occurs is increasing,” said Bert Wouters of Bristol University’s Glaciology Centre. 

“Compared to the first few years of the Grace mission, the ice sheets’ contribution to sea-level rise has almost doubled in recent years,” added Dr Wouters, the lead author of the study published in the Earth sciences journal Nature Geoscience.

The Grace satellite measures tiny fluctuations of the Earth’s gravity field resulting from the loss of ice into the sea, but it cannot yet point to a long-term trend. Ice sheets also melt because of variations in the weather due to shifting ocean currents or decade-long oscillations in the weather systems of the North Atlantic Ocean.

 A few more years of observations would be needed for the Grace experiment to point to whether global warming rather than natural variability is behind the loss of ice in the Antarctic, while it could take another 10 years of data to demonstrate a link with the loss of ice in Greenland, Dr Wouters said.

At the moment, the ice loss detected by the Grace satellite is larger than what would be expected from just natural fluctuations, but the acceleration in ice loss over the last few years is not, the scientists said.

Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds said that less than a decade of satellite data from the Grace experiment is too short to establish with confidence whether the ice sheet losses are truly accelerating.

“Fortunately, we can appeal to data from other, longer satellite missions to get a long-term perspective, and our own analysis of their data confirms that the rate of ice sheet losses has indeed accelerated over the past 20 years,” Professor Shepherd said.

The melting of the world’s two great ice sheets is one of the greatest unknowns in climate-change science. Together, the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contain about 99.5 per cent of the Earth’s glacier ice, which could increase average sea levels by 63 metres if they were ever to melt completely – an event that would in any case take many centuries.

Trying to predict how much they are likely to contribute to sea-level rise over the coming century has been notoriously difficult because of a lack of reliable and widespread ground observations from these remote and inaccessible places.

An estimate published earlier this year suggested that the ice sheets together, combined with mountain glaciers, could contribute anywhere between 3.5cm and 36.8cm to average sea levels by the year 2100, which would be in addition to the smaller sea-level rise due to the thermal expansion of the warmer oceans.

In its last report in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that average sea levels are rising by about 2 millimetres a year. But, other scientists calculated last year that the true rate is about 3.2mm a year – about 60 per cent faster.

            Comment: Most scientists now admit that the rise in global sea levels is an actuality but because these rises would prove an economic and sociological disaster to the east coast of the United States, the usual palliative is to state that such rises won’t become operative for a hundred years! Since the government can do nothing about the massive disruptions, they prefer to sweep it under the rug  and say, as they do so often, “Not on my watch, buddy!”


from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2013, Issue No. 65
July 16, 2013


            A national policy on “insider threats” was developed by the Obama Administration in order to protect against actions by government employees who would harm the security of the nation.  But under the rubric of insider threats, the policy subsumes the seemingly disparate acts of spies, terrorists, and those who leak classified information.

            The insider threat is defined as “the threat that an insider will use his/her authorized access, wittingly or unwittingly, to do harm to the security of the United States.  This threat can include damage to the United States through espionage, terrorism, [or] unauthorized disclosure of national security information,” according to the newly disclosed National Insider Threat Policy, issued in November 2012.

            One of the implications of aggregating spies, terrorists and leakers in a single category is that the nation’s spy-hunters and counterterrorism specialists can now be trained upon those who are suspected of leaking classified information.

            The National Insider Threat Policy directs agencies to “leverag[e] counterintelligence (CI), security, information assurance, and other relevant functions and resources to identify and counter the insider threat.”

            “Agency heads shall ensure personnel assigned to the insider threat program are fully trained in… counterintelligence and security fundamentals….”

            Agency heads are directed to grant insider threat program personnel access to “all relevant databases and files” needed to identify, analyze, and resolve insider threat matters.

            The National Insider Threat Policy was developed by the Insider Threat Task Force that was established in 2011 by executive order 13587.  The Policy document itself was issued by the White House via Presidential Memorandum on November 21, 2012 but it was not publicly released until last week.

            The document was disclosed by the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX) after it was independently obtained and reported by Jonathan Landay and Marisa Taylor of McClatchy Newspapers. (“Obama’s crackdown views leaks as aiding enemies of U.S.,” June 20, 2013).

            “The National Insider Threat Policy policy is intended to provide direction and guidance to promote the development of effective insider threat programs within departments and agencies to deter, detect, and mitigate actions by employees who may represent a threat to national security,” according to NCIX.

            Among the activities mandated by the National Insider Threat Policy is the routine monitoring of user activity on classified government computer networks. “This refers to audit data collection strategies for insider threat detection, leveraging hardware and/or software with triggers deployed on classified networks to detect, monitor, and analyze anomalous user behavior for indicators of misuse.”

            But a different sort of approach to combating leaks — an approach not represented in the Insider Threat Policy — would require an ongoing critical examination of the scope and application of official secrecy.  This view was articulated by the late Senator Daniel P. Moynihan when he said “If you want a secret respected, see that it’s respectable in the first place.”

            “The best way to ensure that secrecy is respected, and that the most important secrets remain secret,” Sen. Moynihan said, “is for secrecy to be returned to its limited but necessary role. Secrets can be protected more effectively if secrecy is reduced overall.”


            A new report from the Congressional Research Service provides a detailed review of the Defense Production Act of 1950, which “confers upon the President a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense.”

            “The authorities can be used across the federal government to shape the domestic industrial base so that, when called upon, it is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for the national defense.”  But unless extended by Congress, nearly all of these presidential authorities will expire next year.  See The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization, June 14, 2013.

            Other new and updated CRS reports that have not been made publicly available by Congress include the following.

            Reserve Component Personnel Issues: Questions and Answers, updated July 12, 2013

            The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions, updated July 12, 2013

            ESEA Reauthorization Proposals in the 113th Congress: Comparison of Major Features, July 12, 2013

            Broadband Loan and Grant Programs in the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, updated July 12, 2013

            Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy, July 12, 2013


            In response to an October 2012 presidential directive on “protecting whistleblowers with access to classified information,” the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy have produced their implementing policies.  These would generally prohibit retaliation against individuals who make “protected disclosures” of information to an authorized recipient.

            The intelligence community may be retreating from its vision of a uniform community-wide information technology architecture, and may permit individual agencies to retain their “native agency system domain,” reports Bob Brewin in NextGov.  See “Intelligence Community Backs Off Information Sharing,” July 15

            The lagging development of the Internet in Africa and its consequences were discussed in “The Emergence of the Internet and Africa” by Les Cottrell, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, May 13, 2013

            The transcript of the July 9 public meeting of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is now posted here.

Obama’s secret kill list the disposition matrix 

The disposition matrix is a complex grid of suspected terrorists to be traced then targeted in drone strikes or captured and interrogated. And the British government appears to be colluding in it

July 14, 2013

by Ian Cobain

The Guardian                      


When Bilal Berjawi spoke to his wife for the last time, he had no way of being certain that he was about to die. But he should have had his suspicions.


A short, dumpy Londoner who was not, in the words of some who knew him, one of the world’s greatest thinkers, Berjawi had been fighting for months in Somalia with al-Shabaab, the Islamist militant group. His wife was 4,400 miles away, at home in west London. In June 2011, Berjawi had almost been killed in a US drone strike on an al-Shabaab camp on the coast. After that he became wary of telephones. But in January last year, when his wife went into labour and was admitted to St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, he decided to risk a quick phone conversation.


A few hours after the call ended Berjawi was targeted in a fresh drone strike. Perhaps the telephone contact triggered alerts all the way from Camp Lemmonier, the US military’s enormous home-from-home at Djibouti, to the National Security Agency’s headquarters in Maryland. Perhaps a few screens also lit up at GCHQ in Cheltenham? This time the drone attack was successful, from the US perspective, and al-Shabaab issued a terse statement: “The martyr received what he wished for and what he went out for.”


The following month, Berjawi’s former next-door neighbour, who was also in Somalia, was similarly “martyred”. Like Berjawi, Mohamed Sakr had just turned 27 when he was killed in an air strike.


Four months later, the FBI in Manhattan announced that a third man from London, a Vietnamese-born convert to Islam, had been charged with a series of terrorism offences, and that if convicted he would face a mandatory 40-year sentence. This man was promptly arrested by Scotland Yard and is now fighting extradition to the US. And a few weeks after that, another of Berjawi’s mates from London was detained after travelling from Somalia to Djibouti, where he was interrogated for months by US intelligence officers before being hooded and put aboard an aircraft. When 23-year-old Mahdi Hashi next saw daylight, he was being led into a courtroom in Brooklyn.


That these four men had something in common is clear enough: they were all Muslims, all accused of terrorism offences, and all British (or they were British: curiously, all of them unexpectedly lost their British citizenship just as they were about to become unstuck). There is, however, a common theme that is less obvious: it appears that all of them had found their way on to the “disposition matrix”.


The euphemisms of counter-terrorism


When contemplating the euphemisms that have slipped into the lexicon since 9/11, the adjective Orwellian is difficult to avoid. But while such terms as extraordinary rendition, targeted killing and enhanced interrogation are universally known, and their true meanings – kidnap, assassination, torture – widely understood, the disposition matrix has not yet gained such traction.


Since the Obama administration largely shut down the CIA’s rendition programme, choosing instead to dispose of its enemies in drone attacks, those individuals who are being nominated for killing have been discussed at a weekly counter-terrorism meeting at the White House situation room that has become known as Terror Tuesday. Barack Obama, in the chair and wishing to be seen as a restraining influence, agrees the final schedule of names. Once details of these meetings began to emerge it was not long before the media began talking of “kill lists”. More double-speak was required, it seemed, and before long the term disposition matrix was born.


In truth, the matrix is more than a mere euphemism for a kill list, or even a capture-or-kill list. It is a sophisticated grid, mounted upon a database that is said to have been more than two years in the development, containing biographies of individuals believed to pose a threat to US interests, and their known or suspected locations, as well as a range of options for their disposal.


It is a grid, however, that both blurs and expands the boundaries that human rights law and the law of war place upon acts of abduction or targeted killing. There have been claims that people’s names have been entered into it with little or no evidence. And it appears that it will be with us for many years to come.


The background to its creation was the growing realisation in Washington that the drone programme could be creating more enemies than it was destroying. In Pakistan, for example, where the government estimates that more than 400 people have been killed in around 330 drone strikes since 9/11, the US has arguably outstripped even India as the most reviled foreign country. At one point, Admiral Mike Mullen, when chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, was repo rted to be having furious rows over the issue with his opposite number in Pakistan, General Ashfaq Kayani.


The term entered the public domain following a briefing given to the Washington Post before last year’s presidential election. “We had a disposition problem,” one former counter-terrorism official involved in the development of the Matrix told the Post. Expanding on the nature of that problem, a second administration official added that while “we’re not going to end up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying ‘we love America'”, there needed to be a recognition that “we can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us”.


Drawing upon legal advice that has remained largely secret, senior officials at the US Counter-Terrorism Center designed a grid that incorporated the existing kill lists of the CIA and the US military’s special forces, but which also offered some new rules and restraints.


Some individuals whose names were entered into the matrix, and who were roaming around Somalia or Yemen, would continue to face drone attack when their whereabouts become known. Others could be targeted and killed by special forces. In a speech in May, Obama suggested that a special court could be given oversight of these targeted killings.


An unknown number would end up in the so-called black sites that the US still quietly operates in east Africa, or in prisons run by US allies in the Middle East or Central Asia. But for others, who for political reasons could not be summarily dispatched or secretly imprisoned, there would be a secret grand jury investigation, followed in some cases by formal arrest and extradition, and in others by “rendition to justice”: they would be grabbed, interrogated without being read their rights, then flown to the US and put on trial with a publicly funded defence lawyer.


Orwell once wrote about political language being “designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable”. As far as the White House is concerned, however, the term disposition matrix describes a continually evolving blueprint not for murder, but for a defence against a threat that continues to change shape and seek out new havens.


As the Obama administration’s tactics became more variegated, the British authorities co-operated, of course, but also ensured that the new rules of the game helped to serve their own counter-terrorism objectives.


Paul Pillar, who served in the CIA for 28 years, including a period as the agency’s senior counter-terrorism analyst, says the British, when grappling with what he describes as a sticky case – “someone who is a violence-prone anti-western jihadi”, for example – would welcome a chance to pass on that case to the US. It would be a matter, as he puts it, of allowing someone else to have their headache.


“They might think, if it’s going to be a headache for someone, let the Americans have the headache,” says Pillar. “That’s what the United States has done. The US would drop cases if they were going to be sticky, and let someone else take over. We would let the Egyptians or the Jordanians or whoever take over a very sticky one. From the United Kingdom point of view, if it is going to be a headache for anyone: let the Americans have the headache.”


The four young Londoners – Berjawi, Sakr, Hashi and the Vietnamese-born convert – were certainly considered by MI5 and MI6 to be something of a headache. But could they have been seen so problematic – so sticky – that the US would be encouraged to enter their names into the Matrix?


The home secretary’s special power


Berjawi and Sakr were members of a looseknit group of young Muslims who were on nodding terms with each other, having attended the same mosques and schools and having played in the same five-a-side football matches in west London.


A few members of this group came to be closely scrutinised by MI5 when it emerged that they had links with the men who attempted to carry out a wave of bombings on London’s underground train network on 21 July 2005. Others came to the attention of the authorities as a result of their own conduct. Mohammed Ezzouek, for example, who attended North Westminster community school with Berjawi, was abducted in Kenya and interrogated by British intelligence officers after a trip to Somalia in 2006; another schoolmate, Tariq al-Daour, has recently been released from jail after serving a sentence for inciting terrorism.


As well as sharing their faith and, according to the UK authorities, jihadist intent, these young men had something else in common: they were all dual nationals. Berjawi was born in Lebanon and moved to London with his parents as an infant. Sakr was born in London, but was deemed to be a British-Egyptian dual national because his parents were born in Egypt. Ezzouek is British-Moroccan, while al-Daour is British-Palestinian.


This left them vulnerable to a little-known weapon in the government’s counter-terrorism armoury, one that Theresa May has been deploying with increasing frequency since she became home secretary three years ago. Under the terms of a piece of the 2006 Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act, and a previous piece of legislation dating to 1981, May has the power to deprive dual nationals of their British citizenship if she is “satisfied that deprivation is conducive to the public good”.


This power can be applied only to dual nationals, and those who lose their citizenship can appeal. The government appears usually to wait until the individual has left the country before moving them to deprive them of their citizenship, however, and appeals are heard at the highly secretive special immigration appeals commission (SIAC), where the government can submit evidence that cannot be seen or challenged by the appellant.


The Home Office is extraordinarily sensitive about the manner in which this power is being used. It has responded to Freedom of Information Act requests about May’s increased use of this power with delays and appeals; some information requested by the Guardian in June 2011 has still not been handed over. What is known is that at least 17 people have been deprived of their British citizenship at a stroke of May’s pen. In most cases, if not all, the home secretary has taken action on the recommendation of MI5. In each case, a warning notice was sent to the British home of the target, and the deprivation order signed a day or two later.


One person who lost their British citizenship in this way was Anna Chapman, a Russian spy, but the remainder are thought to all be Muslims. Several of them – including a British-Pakistani father and his three sons – were born in the UK, while most of the others arrived as children. And some have been deprived of their citizenship not because they were assessed to be involved in terrorism or any other criminal activity, but because of their alleged involvement in Islamist extremism.


Berjawi and Sakr both travelled to Somalia after claiming that they were being harassed by police in the UK, and were then stripped of their British citizenship. Several months later they were killed. The exact nature of any intelligence that the British government may have shared with Washington before their names were apparently entered into the disposition matrix is deeply secret: the UK has consistently refused to either confirm or deny that it shares intelligence in support of drone strikes, arguing that to do so would damage both national security and relations with the US government.


More than 12 months after Sakr’s death, his father, Gamal, a businessman who settled in London 37 years ago, still cannot talk about his loss without breaking down and weeping. He alleges that one of his two surviving sons has since been harassed by police, and suspects that this boy would also have been stripped of his citizenship had he left the country. “It’s madness,” he cries. “They’re driving these boys to Afghanistan. They’re making everything worse.”


Last year Gamal and his wife flew to Cairo, formally renounced their Egyptian citizenship, and on their return asked their lawyer to let it be known that their sons were no longer dual nationals. But while he wants his family to remain in Britain, the manner in which his son met his death has shattered his trust in the British government. “It was clearly directed from the UK,” he says. “He wasn’t just killed: he was assassinated.”


The case of Mahdi Hashi


Mahdi Hashi was five years old when his family moved to London from Somalia. He returned to the country in 2009, and took up arms for al-Shabaab in its civil war with government forces. A few months earlier he had complained to the Independent that he been under pressure to assist MI5, which he was refusing to do. Hashi was one of a few dozen young British men who have followed the same path: in one internet video clip, an al-Shabaab fighter with a cockney accent can be heard urging fellow Muslims “living in the lands of disbelief” to come and join him. It is thought that the identities of all these men are known to MI5.


After the deaths of Berjawi and Sakr, Hashi was detained by al-Shabaab, who suspected that he was a British spy, and that he was responsible for bringing the drones down on the heads of his brothers-in-arms. According to his US lawyer, Harry Batchelder, he was released in early June last year. The militants had identified three other men whom they believed were the culprits, executing them shortly afterwards.


Within a few days of Hashi’s release, May signed an order depriving him of his British citizenship. The warning notice that was sent to his family’s home read: “The reason for this decision is that the Security Service assess that you have been involved in Islamist extremism and present a risk to the national security of the United Kingdom due to your extremist activities.”


Hashi decided to leave Somalia, and travelled to Djibouti with two other fighters, both Somali-Swedish dual nationals. All three were arrested in a raid on a building, where they had been sleeping on the roof, and were taken to the local intelligence agency headquarters. Hashi says he was interrogated for several weeks by US intelligence officers who refused to identify themselves. These men then handed him over to a team of FBI interrogators, who took a lengthy statement. Hashi was then hooded, put aboard an aircraft, and flown to New York. On arrival he was charged with conspiracy to support a terrorist organisation.


Hashi has since been quoted in a news report as saying he was tortured while in custody in Djibouti. There is reason to doubt that this happened, however: a number of sources familiar with his defence case say that the journalist who wrote the report may have been misled. And the line of defence that he relied upon while being interrogated – that Somalia’s civil war is no concern of the US or the UK – evaporated overnight when al-Shabaab threatened to launch attacks in Britain.


When Hashi was led into court in Brooklyn in January, handcuffed and dressed in a grey and orange prison uniform, he was relaxed and smiling. The 23-year-old had been warned that if he failed to co-operate with the US government, he would be likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars. But he appeared unconcerned.


At no point did the UK government intervene. Indeed, it cannot: he is no longer British.


When the Home Office was asked whether it knew Hashi was facing detention and forcible removal to the US at the point at which May revoked his citizenship, a spokesperson replied: “We do not routinely comment on individual deprivation cases, nor do we comment on intelligence issues.”


The Home Office is also refusing to say whether it is aware of other individuals being killed after losing their British citizenship. On one point it is unambiguous, however. “Citizenship,” it said in a statement, “is a privilege, not a right.”


The case of ‘B2’


A glimpse of even closer UK-US counter-terrorism co-operation can be seen in the case of the Vietnamese-born convert, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Born in 1983 in the far north of Vietnam, he was a month old when his family travelled by sea to Hong Kong, six when they moved to the UK and settled in London, and 12 when he became a British citizen.


While studying web design at a college in Greenwich, he converted to Islam. He later came into contact with the banned Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, and was an associate of Richard Dart, a fellow convert who was the subject of a TV documentary entitled My Brother the Islamist, and who was jailed for six years in April after travelling to Pakistan to seek terrorism training. In December 2010, this man told his eight-months-pregnant wife that he was going to Ireland for a few weeks. Instead, he travelled to Yemen and stayed for seven months. MI5 believes he received terrorism training from al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula and worked on the group’s online magazine, Inspire.


He denies this. Much of the evidence against him comes from a man called Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali who once lived in the English midlands, and who was “rendered to justice” in much the same way as Hashi after being captured in the Gulf of Aden two years ago. Warsame is now co-operating with the US Justice Department.


On arrival back at Heathrow airport, the Vietnamese-born man was searched by police and arrested when a live bullet was found in his rucksack. A few months later, while he was free on bail, May signed an order revoking his British citizenship. Detained by immigration officials and facing deportation to Vietnam, he appealed to SIAC, where he was given the cipher B2. He won his case after the Vietnamese ambassador to London gave evidence in which he denied that he was one of their citizens. Depriving him of British citizenship at that point would have rendered him stateless, which would have been unlawful.


Within minutes of SIAC announcing its decision and granting B2 unconditional bail, he was rearrested while sitting in the cells at the SIAC building. The warrant had been issued by magistrates five weeks earlier, at the request of the US Justice Department. Moments after that, the FBI announced that B2 had been charged with five terrorism offences and faced up to 40 years in jail. He was driven straight from SIAC to Westminster magistrates’ court, where he faced extradition proceedings.


B2 continues to resist his removal to the US, with his lawyers arguing that he could have been charged in the UK. Indeed, the allegations made by the US authorities, if true, would appear to represent multiple breaches of several UK laws: the Terrorism Act 2000, the Terrorism Act 2006 and the Firearms Act 1968. Asked why B2 was not being prosecuted in the English courts – why, in other words, the Americans were having this particular headache, and not the British – a Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said: “As this is a live case and the issue of forum may be raised by the defence in court, it would be inappropriate for us to discuss this in advance of the extradition hearing.”


The rule of ‘imminent threat’


In the coffee shops of west London, old friends of Berjawi, Sakr, Hashi and B2 are equally reluctant to talk, especially when questioned about the calamities that have befallen the four men. When they do, it is in a slightly furtive way, almost in whispers.


Ezzouek explains that he never leaves the country any more, fearing he too will be stripped of his British citizenship. Al-Daour is watched closely and says he faces recall to prison whenever he places a foot wrong. Failing even to tell his probation officer that he has bought a car, for example, is enough to see him back behind bars. A number of their associates claim to have learned of the deaths of Berjawi and Sakr from MI5 officers who approached them with the news, and suggested they forget about travelling to Somalia.


Last February, a 16-page US justice department memo, leaked to NBC News, disclosed something of the legal basis for the drone programme. Its authors asserted that the killing of US citizens is lawful if they pose an “imminent threat” of violent attack against the US, and capture is impossible. The document adopts a broad definition of imminence, saying no evidence of a specific plot is needed, and remains silent on the fate that faces enemies who are – or were – citizens of an allied nation, such as the UK.


But if the Obama administration is satisfied that the targeted killing of US citizens is lawful, there is little reason to doubt that young men who have been stripped of their British citizenship, and who take up arms in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere, will continue to find their way on to the disposition matrix, and continue to be killed by missiles fired from drones hovering high overhead, or rendered to courts in the US.


And while Obama says he wants to curtail the drone programme, his officials have been briefing journalists that they believe the operations are likely to continue for another decade, at least. Given al-Qaida’s resilience and ability to spread, they say, no clear end is in sight.


Welcome Home From the Wars, Drones!

July 13, 2013

by Tom Engelhardt

Common Dreans


I mean, come on.  You knew it had to happen, didn’t you?  In a 2010 Department of Homeland Security report, wrested from the bowels of the secrecy/surveillance state (thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation), the Customs and Border Protection agency suggests arming their small fleet of surveillance drones.  The purpose: to “immobilize TOIs,” or targets of interest, along the U.S.-Mexican border.  Those arms would, of course, be “non-lethal” in nature.  It’s all so civilized.  Kinda like the Star Trek folks putting their phasers on “stun,” not kill.  And count on it, sooner or later it will happen.  And then, of course, the lethal weapons will follow.  Otherwise, how in the world could we track and eliminate terrorists in “the homeland” efficiently?


All of this comes under the heading of self-fulfilling prophecy.  You create and take to your battle zones a wonder weapon that, according to the promotional materials, will make the targeting of human beings so surgically precise it might even end the war on terror as we know it.  (Forget the fact that, in the field, drones turn out, according to the latest military study of Afghanistan, to be far less precise than manned aircraft if you’re measuring by how many civilians are knocked off, how much “collateral damage” is done.)  Anyway, you use that weapon ever more profligately on distant battlefields in distant wars.  You come to rely on it, even if it doesn’t exactly work as advertised.  And then, like the soldiers you sent into the same war zones (who didn’t exactly work as advertised either), the weaponry begins to come home.


Drones?  You can rant about them, write about them, organize against them, try to stop them from flying over your hometown. And still, like the implacable Terminators of film fame, they will arrive in “the homeland.” Will? Have. As FBI Director Robert Mueller testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee recently, the Bureau is already using them.  In a coda meant to relieve us all of drone anxiety, however, he pointed out that it’s employing them “in a very, very minimal way and very seldom… we have very few.” And, oh yes, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are testing drones for similar use. Also undoubtedly very minimally and very few, so don’t fret (for now).  As for police departments wielding armed drones, count on that, too, sooner or later.


In the meantime, those Border Patrol types, according to the New York Times, have been oh-so-happy to lend their military-grade Predator B drones to, among others, the North Dakota Army National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Forest Service.  In 2012, they loaned their robotic planes out 250 times.



Colorado town ponders bounty for shooting down drones

Residents would have to salvage the nose or tail to qualify for $100 reward under quixotic proposal


July 17, 2013

Reuters in Denver


            The farming and ranching town of Deer Trail, Colorado, is considering paying bounties to anyone who shoots down a drone.


Next month, trustees of the town of 600 that lies on the high plains, 55 miles (34km) east of Denver, will debate an ordinance that would allow residents to buy a $25 hunting licence to shoot down “unmanned aerial vehicles”.


Governments once paid bounties to hunters who killed animals that preyed on livestock, but only after they produced the ears. Similarly, the town would pay $100 to anyone who could produce the fuselage and tail of a downed drone.


“Either the nose or tail may be damaged, but not both,” the proposal notes.


The measure was crafted by resident Phillip Steel, a 48-year-old army veteran with a master’s degree in business administration, who acknowledges the whimsical nature of his proposal. But the expansion of drones for commercial and government use was alarming, he said.


“We don’t want to become a surveillance society,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.


He said he had not seen any drones, but that “some local ranchers” outside the town limits had.


Under the proposal, hunters could legally shoot down a drone flying under 1,000 feet with a 12-gauge or smaller shotgun.


The town would also be required to establish a drone “recognition programme” for shooters to properly identify the targeted aircraft.


“In no case shall a citizen engage an obviously manned aerial vehicle,” the draft proposal reads.


Steel said that if the town trustees did not vote to adopt the ordinance, it would go before voters in a special election.


“Yes, it is tongue-in-cheek, but I’m going to vote for it,” said Dorothy Pisel, one of the town’s trustees. “It could benefit the town with all the publicity.”


Steel acknowledges his idea is symbolic, but he hopes it will curtail the use of drones over the area.


“If you don’t want your drone to go down, don’t fly it in town,” he said.


The Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately have a comment.


How to kill UAVs



The UAVs have two alternative systems for communication.

Line of sight radio :
In the military C-Band  500 – 1000 MHz that can be jammed with simple spark-gap radio

Satellite communication :
In the Ku-Band between 10.95 – 14.5 GHz, and  the satellite can be jammed.
The Uplink-Band to the satellite is 13.75 – 14.5 GHz
The Downlink-Band from the satellite is 10.95 – 12.75 GHz
And you should jam the Uplink frequencies with a jammer directed at the satellite.


Surprisingly, the resistance can tap off the military’s video feeds

As you can see in the specifications, the satellite link system uses the same civilian commercial technology as television broadcasting companies. And the surprise is that the resistance and others have tapped off the videos from the battlefield with simple commercial equipment.
But now the communication is perhaps encrypted. Read more about SkyGrabber.pdf


If you jam the communication, then the operator becomes blind and the UAV will fly around until it crashes or the fuel is gone. But you must kill both links of communication to kill any rescue.

There are a limited number of satellite channels available which means that the satellite link becomes a bottleneck. The satellite is therefore used as a backup and jammer-rescue channel and for single special operations from far away from the target, while C-band radio is used for multiple simultaneous operations from near the targets. Every military base have their own UAVs that must be operated through the C-band radio. C-band radio is also reported to be used for take off and landing. Which means that the C-band radio is your primary target. The C-band radio is also easier to jam.

First some clips from the web

Lack of protected satellite communications could mean defeat for joint force in future war.
Defense experts have repeatedly warned that the availability of space-based communications could be compromised in future conflicts by the fact that 80-90% of all military traffic is transmitted on vulnerable commercial satcom channels. However, there is a related problem that far fewer military observers have noticed: only about 1% of defense communications today are protected against even the most modest jamming threats.


According to the US Air Force, information from the internet is being used to sabotage satellite signals critical to military operations.

This week’s New Scientist reports that instructions on how to build satellite jammers, using cheap equipment from home improvement stores and electronics fairs, are to be found on the internet.

The US Air Force team, dubbed the Space Aggressor Squadron, was set up to look for weak spots in satellite communications and navigation systems by playing the part of a potential enemy.

“We ran a search on the Net and found there’s quite a lot of information out there on how to build and operate satellites but also, unfortunately, on how to jam them,” says Tim Marceau, head of the squadron. “Just type in ‘satellite communications jamming’ and  you’ll be surprised how many hits you get.”

Two rookie engineers from the US Air Force Research Laboratory were ordered to build a jamming system using only a Net connection and whatever they could buy for cash.

For $7500, the engineers lashed together a mobile ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) high-power noise source that they could use to jam satellite antennas or military UHF receivers. “It’s just like turning your radio up louder than someone else’s,” Marceau says.

The engineers built their home-made jammer using a petrol-driven electricity generator, wood, plastic piping and copper tubing. The amplification and noise-generation electronics were obtained at an electronics enthusiasts “swap meet”.

“For very little money and very little sophistication, we found you could muck up communications,” says Marceau. Different components could be used to jam other frequencies, such as that of the Global Positioning System.

The US has created electronic-warfare squads capable of jamming enemy satellite transmissions. Fearful of losing its advantage of superior technology resources over its potential enemies

Due to the low received signal strength of satellite transmissions they are prone to jamming by land-based transmitters. Such jamming is limited to the geographical area within the transmitter’s range. GPS satellites are potential targets for jamming, but satellite phone and television signals have also been subjected to jamming. It is trivial to transmit a carrier to a geostationary satellite and thus interfere with any other users of the transponder. It is common on commercial satellite space for earth stations to transmit at the wrong time or on the wrong frequency and dual illuminate the transponder rendering the frequency unusable. Satellite operators now have sophisticated monitoring that enables them to pin point the source of any carrier and manage the transponder space effectively.

The U.S. Army is moving forward with a plan to order thousands of radio-frequency-jammer devices to foil improvised explosive devices, even though terrorists’ latest attacks in the Afghanistan war have used mechanical, rather than radio, detonators, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The jammers likely will cause problems with remotely operated aerial drones, . . .

According to experts, U.S. troops experienced jamming in Iraq in 2006 when the Warlock RF jamming system had a detrimental effect on their communications systems and UAVs.

Warlock radio frequency jammers in use in Iraq interfere with Army radio communications and block controls needed to operate unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a study of the service’s initial effort to transform divisions into “modular” brigades.

Spark gap transmitter

The radio pioneers in the old days had no semiconductors or vacuum tubes.
And that’s the type of transmitter you are looking for if you want to build a jammer at home in your garage.

Every resonant device, a bell or an electronic circuit works in the same manner.
Hit the bell with hammer and it will ring for a while. If you repeat the hammering periodically then the bell will ring continuously.
For an electric circuit we should use an electric spark instead of a hammer to do the job.


The coil L and the capacitor C2 is the resonant circuit.
The energy from a high voltage source is stored in the capacitor C1, and is released on every spark. And that makes the resonant circuit ring.
This circuit will then wait for the capacitor C1 to charge up again through the resistor R, and then release another spark. And the spark frequency is about 1 / R*C1

For UHF frequencies the antenna itself is the resonant circuit, tuned to a frequency.

The spark gap transmitter has an output power of wide bandwidth, but centered around the resonant frequency. And in case you want to spread out the power more uniformly then try a motorized or electro-mechanical modulation at C2 or the antenna itself. Or multiple transmitters tuned to different frequencies.


A radio jammer can also be used to deny the enemy to call in air support when you attack. Send out a team to jam the airbase radio before you attack any of those spread out tiny outposts or patrols.


This is probably what you are looking for

US patent 4491842
US military radio jammer that can be used in the military C-Band 500 – 1000 MHz
It’s not necessary to transmit 100 kWatts of power to jam an UAV which means that the construction can be simplified. And you can use a simplified spark-gap.


High voltage
The high voltage can be generated from a 12 volt car battery in the same way that high voltage is generated to the car’s spark plugs. You need a coil and an oscillator circuit that turn on and off a transistor switch. Connect a high voltage diode from the coil to a high voltage reservoir capacitor.
You can also use a motorized electro-mechanical switch.
The only trouble is that you must keep in mind that the capacitors and the coil can be destroyed from overvoltage. Which means that you must somehow turn off the switch if the voltage becomes too high.
But very often the circuit (spark gap) will control the voltage balance itself if it is correctly dimensioned.


Groundplane reflection
As you perhaps know, you can reach and jam receivers at longer distance away if you put your C-Band transmitter antenna as high up as possible. (don’t care with paraboles)
This is caused by the fact that the radiowaves travel two separate ways from your transmitter.
A direct way through air.
And a damped and phase inverted reflected way, bouncing from the ground. Which cancels out most of the power from your transmitter.
This damping of your transmitters power can be avoided if you put the transmitter antenna high up.
And also try get as good electric ground connection as possible for your transmitter.

If you connect the antennas through a shielded coaxial cable from a bunker at a safe distance then it becomes almost impossible to destroy the jammer with homing missiles, and too easy to repair a piece of cheap bent metal antenna.




Spark gap jammer at 14 Giga Hertz frequency ?

This is more complicated but possible and under evaluation by the scientists for use as UWB radar.
And you must improve the spark’s rise time in order to make it generate more power at higher frequencies.

Definition of rise time

There is a simple thumb rule for the relationship between rise time and bandwidth for spark-gaps and single stage RC filters and oscilloscopes. http://en.wikipedia/wiki/Rise_time

Bandwidth * Rise Time = 0.35

50 pS  rise time will give a bandwidth of 7GHz
25 pS  rise time will give a bandwidth of 14 GHz

But you must keep in mind that the upper Bandwidth limit is defined as the frequency at which the power is damped -3dB. But still there is power emitted at higher frequencies, but damped.
As you can read in the links below power is generated and measured at 5 GHz for a switch with 200 pS rise time. But the thumb rule above says that the Bandwidth is only 1.75 GHz.

These spark gaps can generate GigaWatt pulses which means that you can tolerate the bad efficiency at 14 GHz in your home built jammer.
But since you are building a jammer, not an UWB radar, do you have to change the construction to emit 10-100 times more pulses of (1/1000) less power, with a mean value power consumption of perhaps 100W-10kW.
No guarantee for that the satellite jammer will work in the Ku-Band, but it’s simple and worth some testing.


Fast Rise Time Switch
Two different techniques can be used in your homebuilt jammer.
Electro-mechanical, for example a mercury filled reed relay that can switch with a rise time below 70 pS as you can read in the links below. Or perhaps try a motorized switch ?
High pressure cascaded hydrogen spark gaps that can switch with a rise time below 50 pS.

A spark gap has a static arcing voltage that is lower than the dynamic arcing voltage.
Which means that if you feed a spark gap with a very fast rising voltage then it will take some time before the spark gap reacts. And you can make it arc at voltages that are about 25 times higher than the static arcing voltage. This overvoltage have the effect that the rise time becomes shorter.

And you can improve the rise time by cascading multiple spark-gaps.
But keep in mind to optically shield the spark-gaps from each other because the UV light from a spark can turn on the other spark gaps.

If the spark gap is in an extremely high pressure hydrogen atmosphere then it becomes faster.
Up to 125 atmospheres over pressure have been tested by the scientists as you can read, and it looks like the rise time is near an inverse cubic root function of the pressure.
t  =  K / CubicRoot(pressure)

And the electrodes should have no sharp edges.


This has perhaps never been tested ?
Aluminum can emit electrons if illuminated with UV light
And how that affects the rise time is worth some experimenting, if it’s possible to create an improved chain reaction with two aluminum mirror electrodes.
But the life time of the switch is also affected if you use aluminum instead of a heavy metal like copper or tungsten/wolfram. And perhaps aluminum is too soft and will kill the switch with aluminum dust between the electrodes. It may work or not.


Coaxial cable type of spark-gap
At GigaHertz frequency it becomes hard to keep the radiation under control because every tiny part of the circuit is like an antenna and the radiowaves behaves like light bouncing on everything. You also want to keep the “cable” impedance constant in order to minimize power lost through reflections.
A simple solution is to design the spark-gaps to look like a coaxial cable. Maybe some holes to help the hydrogen gas circulate and be exchanged from an external container. And try build the spark-gaps and the microwave feed-horn together in the same unit.

Evaluation of your homebuilt jammer
Use your Ku-Band satellite TV system to test your jammer.
Aim the jammer against the satellite.
If the TV picture becomes jammed then your jammer works perfectly and is ready to kill the UAV communication.
Also try turn the jammer 90 degrees because the satellite channel can have different vertical or horizontal polarization.

You can also use your satellite TV receiver to low power test your mechanical switch jammers if you put them on a stick and in front of your satellite dish which is aimed at your TV satellite. If you can see any disturbance on your TV screen then it’s OK to go to next step, highpower aimed at the satellite.


Feed horn

The construction above is from a homebuilt “CanTenna” for 2.4GHz, that can be used as a feed horn to a parabolic antenna.
And you can use the same construction for your jammer at 14 GHz if you change the size.
Note the tiny antenna pin mounted on top of the coaxial cable connector.

Take the parabole from a satellite TV system.





Revealed: how Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages

July 11, 2013
by Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe
The Guardian 

            Skype worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video and audio conversations. Photograph: Patrick Sinkel/AP

            Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

            The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

            The documents show that:

            • Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

            • The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

            • The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

            • Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

            • In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

            • Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

            The latest NSA revelations further expose the tensions between Silicon Valley and the Obama administration. All the major tech firms are lobbying the government to allow them to disclose more fully the extent and nature of their co-operation with the NSA to meet their customers’ privacy concerns. Privately, tech executives are at pains to distance themselves from claims of collaboration and teamwork given by the NSA documents, and insist the process is driven by legal compulsion.

            In a statement, Microsoft said: “When we upgrade or update products we aren’t absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands.” The company reiterated its argument that it provides customer data “only in response to government demands and we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers”.

            In June, the Guardian revealed that the NSA claimed to have “direct access” through the Prism program to the systems of many major internet companies, including Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo.

            Blanket orders from the secret surveillance court allow these communications to be collected without an individual warrant if the NSA operative has a 51% belief that the target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time. Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant, but the NSA is able to collect Americans’ communications without a warrant if the target is a foreign national located overseas.

            Since Prism’s existence became public, Microsoft and the other companies listed on the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program and insisted that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems.

            Microsoft’s latest marketing campaign, launched in April, emphasizes its commitment to privacy with the slogan: “Your privacy is our priority.”

            Similarly, Skype’s privacy policy states: “Skype is committed to respecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data and communications content.”

            But internal NSA newsletters, marked top secret, suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community and the companies is deep and ongoing.

            The latest documents come from the NSA’s Special Source Operations (SSO) division, described by Snowden as the “crown jewel” of the agency. It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through corporate partnerships such as Prism.

            The files show that the NSA became concerned about the interception of encrypted chats on Microsoft’s Outlook.com portal from the moment the company began testing the service in July last year.

            Within five months, the documents explain, Microsoft and the FBI had come up with a solution that allowed the NSA to circumvent encryption on Outlook.com chats

            A newsletter entry dated 26 December 2012 states: “MS Microsoft, working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal” with the issue. “These solutions were successfully tested and went live 12 Dec 2012.”

            Two months later, in February this year, Microsoft officially launched the Outlook.com portal.

            Another newsletter entry stated that NSA already had pre-encryption access to Outlook email. “For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption.”

            Microsoft’s co-operation was not limited to Outlook.com. An entry dated 8 April 2013 describes how the company worked “for many months” with the FBI – which acts as the liaison between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley on Prism – to allow Prism access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive.

            The document describes how this access “means that analysts will no longer have to make a special request to SSO for this – a process step that many analysts may not have known about”.

            The NSA explained that “this new capability will result in a much more complete and timely collection response”. It continued: “This success is the result of the FBI working for many months with Microsoft to get this tasking and collection solution established.”

            A separate entry identified another area for collaboration. “The FBI Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) team is working with Microsoft to understand an additional feature in Outlook.com which allows users to create email aliases, which may affect our tasking processes.”

            The NSA has devoted substantial efforts in the last two years to work with Microsoft to ensure increased access to Skype, which has an estimated 663 million global users.

            One document boasts that Prism monitoring of Skype video production has roughly tripled since a new capability was added on 14 July 2012. “The audio portions of these sessions have been processed correctly all along, but without the accompanying video. Now, analysts will have the complete ‘picture’,” it says.

            Eight months before being bought by Microsoft, Skype joined the Prism program in February 2011.

            According to the NSA documents, work had begun on smoothly integrating Skype into Prism in November 2010, but it was not until 4 February 2011 that the company was served with a directive to comply signed by the attorney general.

            The NSA was able to start tasking Skype communications the following day, and collection began on 6 February. “Feedback indicated that a collected Skype call was very clear and the metadata looked complete,” the document stated, praising the co-operation between NSA teams and the FBI. “Collaborative teamwork was the key to the successful addition of another provider to the Prism system.”

            ACLU technology expert Chris Soghoian said the revelations would surprise many Skype users. “In the past, Skype made affirmative promises to users about their inability to perform wiretaps,” he said. “It’s hard to square Microsoft’s secret collaboration with the NSA with its high-profile efforts to compete on privacy with Google.”

            The information the NSA collects from Prism is routinely shared with both the FBI and CIA. A 3 August 2012 newsletter describes how the NSA has recently expanded sharing with the other two agencies.

            The NSA, the entry reveals, has even automated the sharing of aspects of Prism, using software that “enables our partners to see which selectors search terms the National Security Agency has tasked to Prism”.

            The document continues: “The FBI and CIA then can request a copy of Prism collection of any selector…” As a result, the author notes: “these two activities underscore the point that Prism is a team sport!”

            In its statement to the Guardian, Microsoft said:

            We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues. First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes.

            Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate.

            Finally when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.

            In a joint statement, Shawn Turner, spokesman for the director of National Intelligence, and Judith Emmel, spokeswoman for the NSA, said:

            The articles describe court-ordered surveillance – and a US company’s efforts to comply with these legally mandated requirements. The US operates its programs under a strict oversight regime, with careful monitoring by the courts, Congress and the Director of National Intelligence. Not all countries have equivalent oversight requirements to protect civil liberties and privacy.

            They added: “In practice, US companies put energy, focus and commitment into consistently protecting the privacy of their customers around the world, while meeting their obligations under the laws of the US and other countries in which they operate.”

            This article was amended on 11 July 2013 to reflect information from Microsoft that it did not make any changes to Skype to allow Prism collection on or around July 2012.




Slew of court challenges threaten NSA’s relationship with tech firms

Unlikely coalition takes NSA – and the telecoms firms who own much of the web’s infrastructure – to court over bulk surveillance


July 17, 2013

by Spencer Ackerman



An avalanche of legal challenges to the National Security Agency threaten to upend one of the most delicate balances the surveillance agency labors to strike: its critical relationship with telecommunications and internet companies.


An unlikely coalition of advocacy groups are taking the NSA to court, claiming the bulk surveillance it conducts on Americans phone records and their online habits is unconstitutional. One of them is aiming beyond the NSA itself, and at the companies the NSA partners with for much of that data.*


The NSA’s relationship with those companies is critical, since much of the telecommunications infrastructure of the United States is owned and operated by private firms. While the lawsuits face significant obstacles, they stand a chance of splitting the financial and legal interests of the telecoms firms and and Internet Service Providers from those of the NSA – something that could restrict the surveillance efforts more than any legislation Congress is likely to pass.


“Without the companies’ participation,” said former NSA codebreaker William Binney, “it would reduce the collection capability of the NSA significantly.”


The lawsuits, which take several different paths to blocking the bulk surveillance, are proliferating quickly.


One filed on Tuesday in a California federal court united a coalition of 19 gun owners, human-rights groups, Muslim organizations, environmentalists and marijuana legalization advocates seeking a “preliminary and permanent injunction” against NSA surveillance. Their claims about the surveillance violating their speech and privacy rights echoed another suit filed last month in a New York federal court by the ACLU challenging the programs’ constitutionality.


Similarly, a suit first filed in California five years ago was resurrected last week after a judge ruled that revelations about bulk surveillance published by the Guardian and the Washington Post and confirmed by the government prevent the Justice Department from quashing the suit as a state secret. The Electronic Privacy Information Center petitioned the supreme court last week to “vacate an unlawful order” by the secretive Fisa court for mass phone records from Americans.


Those cases still face the considerable challenges of fighting and defeating what are sure to be vigorous Justice Department challenges to their viability. Thus far, the courts have most often ruled for the government in NSA surveillance suits. Unlike in the past, however, the NSA documents published by the Guardian and the Post revealed for the first time that telecoms and Internet Service Providers were directly providing NSA with bulk customer information, allowing those customers – including the ACLU, a Verizon customer – standing to sue.


But even if all those cases fail, there’s another legal avenue to contest the surveillance, albeit a difficult one: lawsuits against the companies themselves.


That’s what the conservative group Judicial Watch is attempting. The organization filed a class-action suit last month against the internet companies named as participating in the NSA’s Prism program, including Microsoft, AOL, Facebook, Google and Apple. Cases like that have long frightened the NSA.


The NSA and its allies in Congress have gone to great lengths to legally shield the private-sector telephone and internet companies it works with. A 2008 law that broadened the scope of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as the Fisa Amendments Act, retroactively immunized any participating telecom firm from legal liability. According to an internal NSA history of the program, several firms specifically requested NSA compel them to comply through Fisa court orders, fearing an eventual court case.


Underscoring how delicately the NSA treats the sanctity of its private-sector partners, the NSA would only refer to them even in a classified internal document as “Company A” and similar pseudonyms.


That sensitivity exists because the telecommunications firms largely own and operate the infrastructure used to make phone calls, send emails and conduct web searches, unlike in authoritarian countries like China, North Korea and the former East Germany. Without the companies’ participation, the NSA could still perform so-called “upstream” collection, such as accessing data as it transmits, for instance, across fiberoptic cables before the companies process them. “But they can’t get a complete copy of everything without going to the companies,” Binney said.


Lawsuits against the companies place tensions, both legal and financial, on their partnership with NSA. Even the threat of spending money in court to quash customer lawsuits carries the potential for the companies to reassess the scope of their longstanding relationships with the surveillance agency.


The lawsuits are a more direct challenge to the NSA than the convoluted and uncertain legislative or political processes. While several senators and members of Congress are talking about revising the Patriot Act to restrict bulk telephone records collection, support in Congress for the NSA runs deep, and it is difficult to forecast what reforms, if any, might pass. Similarly, the secret Fisa Court bristles at accusations that it’s a rubber stamp, but it approves almost all surveillance requests.


That leaves citizens upset with the surveillance to pursue their rights as customers of the companies participating with the NSA.


“If you want to raise costs to the companies participating with NSA, you raise the time and effort they spend defending themselves from allegations that their participation in NSA surveillance programs is unlawful,” said Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “But the downfall of suing the companies are the companies’ inevitable filings that they were just complying with the law.”


Yet the obstacles to suing the companies are significant. The 2008 law explicitly says: “No cause of action shall lie in any court against any electronic communication service provider for providing any information, facilities, or assistance.”


Alex Abdo, a lawyer with the ACLU working on the civil liberties group’s challenge to the NSA, said the immunization provisions are not necessarily insurmountable for suing the companies.


“You could still sue Verizon and ask them to stop, even if you’re not asking for damages,” Abdo said. “I don’t think the immunity provision applies to that.”


Even as the scope of the companies’ liability is set to be litigated, some of the NSA’s partners are attempting to limit their customers’ discontent. On Tuesday, Microsoft publicly asked Attorney General Eric Holder to lift the veil of secrecy over its cooperation with NSA so it can “publish the volume of national security requests we have received.” That followed a Monday ruling by the Fisa court for the Justice Department to release information showing Yahoo at times resisted cooperation even when compelled by the court.


*AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo! and YouTube


DHS warns employees not to read leaked NSA information


July 15, 2013

by Josh Hicks:

Washington Post


The Department of Homeland Security has warned its employees that the government may penalize them for opening a Washington Post article containing a classified slide that shows how the National Security Agency eavesdrops on international communications.


An internal memo from DHS headquarters told workers on Friday that viewing the document from an “unclassified government workstation” could lead to administrative or legal action. “You may be violating your non-disclosure agreement in which you sign that you will protect classified national security information,” the communication said.


The memo said workers who view the article through an unclassified workstation should report the incident as a “classified data spillage.”


The NSA is a Defense Department agency, meaning it does not fall under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security. It was not immediately clear whether all federal agencies released similar warnings to their employees.


Below is the full text of the memo:




Sent: Friday, July 12, 2013 9:50 AM


Subject: SECURITY ALERT ***Washington Post Article***


Importance: High




Per the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center:


There is a recent article on the Washington Post’s Website that has a clickable link titled “The NSA Slide you never seen” that must not be opened on an Unclassified government workstation.  This link opens up a classified document which will raise the classification level of your Unclassified workstation to the classification of the slide which is reported to be TS/NF.


If opened on an Unclassified system, you are obligated to report this to the SSO as a Classified Data Spillage (Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov> <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov <mailto:Opssecurity@hq.dhs.gov> >).


Again, please exercise good judgment when visiting these webpages and clicking on such links. You may be violating your Non-Disclosure Agreement in which you sign that you will protect Classified National Security Information. You may be subject to any administrative or legal action from the Government.

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