TBR News March 9, 2012

Mar 09 2012

The Voice of the White House

          Washington, D.C. March 8, 2012: “The recent gleeful and often eager reports of opposition to Russia’s Vladimir Putins’ resumption of the presidency of Russia are symptoms of his detestation in certain elements of the West, and in the United States, the utter frustration of a consortium on American and British oil men who lost their growing control over Russia’s natural gas and oil industry when the CIA-friendly and financed Boris Yeltsin finally became so involved with alcohol that his usefulness vanished. Vladimir Putin was mistakenly viewed as an easily controlled entity and elements of our intelligence and business communities welcomed his presidency. The so-called ‘Oligarchy’ in essence a mob of Russian Mafia-type Jews with no business experience but a good deal of American money behind them, bought up the rights to Russia’s oil and gas and began to work deals in the United States and England. The IMF through two of its Jewish members, eagerly supported the economic raping of Russia and much of the illegal monies in these deals were run through the Bank of New York, ruin by an Israeli citizen. Putin proved to be far less tractable than the business power elite initially thought and little by little, he regained national control over Russian natural resources, removing and jailing a number of the Oligarchs. Then, the far right in this country, using the ever-cooperative CIA, poured billions of dollars into the Ukraine, instigating the so-called Orange Revolution that ousted a pro-Moscow government and replaced it with a pro-Washington one. The greatest prize, from the American point of view, was American control of the enormous and vital former Soviet naval base at Sebastopol and control over a large network of oil and gas pipelines by which Russia had to use to ship oil and natural gas to customers in Europe. Also put in train was an einkreising or encirclement of both European and Asiatic Russia with the so-called ‘Nato” plan. The Balkan states, Poland, the Czech republic, Georgia and many of the ‘Stans were pulled into the American camp as a means of establishing an iron collar around Russia to force her eventually break up into smaller, and weaker, “independent” countries. Putin struck back in a brilliant move. Georgia was, and is, run by an unstable man who, seeing over 6,000 American military “advisors” in his country ostensibly as support against Russia, began to bluster and threaten Putin. But using the excuse of the plight of two of Georgia’s heavily Russian provinces, and because the Georgian president’s attacks on them, he sent armored troops into Georgia in support of these breakaway provinces. The crux of this matter was that the Pentagon, very fearful that a shooting war might accidentally break out between American and Russian units, ordered an immediate evacuation of all American military units, leaving behind tons of military equipment and trucks filled with tons of secret documents and a terrified Georgian president. The Russians eventually withdrew, saving from the two provinces but the real damage had been done. All of the ‘Nato’ countries saw the United States as a weak country, fleeing from the Russians and obviously not able to support them should Russia be determined to use military force against them and they immediately backed away from sticking their tongues out at Putin, sure of American support. The loudest of the pack were the Poles and when they realized that they would be overrun by the Russians in a few days without the slightest assistance from their American backers, made loud peace overtures to Russia. This seriously annoyed the Americans and when a plane packed with Poland’s social and political elite flew to Smolensk for a rapprochement with Putin, someone tampered with the automatic ground controls of the tree-surrounded airport so the Polish pilot thought his altitude was much higher than it was, crashed the plane and killed everyone on board. Of course the American propaganda machine at once hinted at Russian guilt but the truth, well-known in American top level intelligence circles is that the job of fiddling with the remote and unguarded ground control devices was done by the CIA to teach the Poles, and others, a lesson. That it had no effect on the wavering countries is typical of the pseudo-intellectual gross incompetence of the CIA. And when Putin announced his return to office, the CIA swing into action again, pouring American taxpayer money into supporting public demonstrations against Putin. These did not work, to the frustration of elements in Washington, and now they have to deal with the reality of Putin’s  renewed hands on control of his country. And a formerly arrogant anti-Russian eastern Europe will no longer received shipments of oil and gas because Putin has instituted new pipelines completely bypassing them.  I recently lunched with A Russian journalist and I asked him,, partially in jest, what a tree full of hanged Ukrainian CIA sell-outs could be called. His response? “A Kiev wind chime.” 



Why Putin is driving Washington nuts
by Pepe Escobar

Asia Times

            Forget the past (Saddam, Osama, Gaddafi) and the present (Assad, Ahmadinejad). A bet can be made over a bottle of Petrus 1989 (the problem is waiting the next six years to collect); for the foreseeable future, Washington’s top bogeyman – and also for its rogue North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners and assorted media shills – will be none other than back-to-the-future Russian President Vladimir Putin.
            And make no mistake; Vlad the Putinator will relish it. He’s back exactly where he wants to be; as Russia’s commander-in-chief, in charge of the military, foreign policy and all national security matters.
            Anglo-American elites still squirm at the mention of his nowlegendary Munich 2007 speech, when he blasted the then George W Bush administration for its obsessively unipolar imperial agenda “through a system which has nothing to do with democracy” and non-stop overstepping of its “national borders in almost all spheres”.”
            So Washington and its minions have been warned. Before last Sunday’s election, Putin even advertised his road map The essentials; no war on Syria; no war on Iran; no “humanitarian bombing” or fomenting “color revolutions” – all bundled into a new concept, “illegal instruments of soft power”. For Putin, a Washington-engineered New World Order is a no-go. What rules is “the time-honored principle of state sovereignty”.
            No wonder. When Putin looks at Libya, he sees the graphic, regressive consequences of NATO’s “liberation” through “humanitarian bombing”; a fragmented country controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militias; backward Cyrenaica splitting from more developed Tripolitania; and a relative of the last king brought in to rule the new “emirate” – to the delight of those model democrats of the House of Saud.
            More key essentials; no US bases encircling Russia; no US missile defense without strict admission, in writing, that the system will never target Russia; and increasingly close cooperation among the BRICS group of emerging powers.
            Most of this was already implied in Putin’s previous road map – his paper A new integration project for Eurasia: The future in the making. That was Putin’s ippon – he loves judo – against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Monetary Fund and hardcore neo-liberalism. He sees a Eurasian Union as a “modern economic and currency union” stretching all across Central Asia.
            For Putin, Syria is an important detail (not least because of Russia’s naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus, which NATO would love to abolish). But the meat of the matter is Eurasia integration. Atlanticists will freak out en masse as he puts all his efforts into coordinating “a powerful supranational union that can become one of the poles of today’s world while being an efficient connecting link between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region”.
            The opposite roadmap will be Obama and Hillary’s Pacific doctrine. Now how exciting is that?

Putin plays Pipelineistan

 It was Putin who almost single-handedly spearheaded the resurgence of Russia as a mega energy superpower (oil and gas accounts for two-thirds of Russia’s exports, half of the federal budget and 20% of gross domestic product). So expect Pipelineistan to remain key.
            And it will be mostly centered on gas; although Russia holds no less than 30% of global gas supplies, its liquid natural gas (LNG) production is less than 5% of the global market share. It’s not even among the top ten producers.
            Putin knows that Russia will need buckets of foreign investment in the Arctic – from the West and especially Asia – to keep its oil production above 10 million barrels a day. And it needs to strike a complex, comprehensive, trillion-dollar deal with China centered on Eastern Siberia gas fields; the oil angle has been already taken care of via the East Siberian Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline. Putin knows that for China – in terms of securing energy – this deal is a vital counterpunch against Washington’s shady “pivoting” towards Asia.
            Putin will also do everything to consolidate the South Stream pipeline – which may end up costing a staggering $22 billion (the shareholder agreement is already signed between Russia, Germany, France and Italy. South Stream is Russian gas delivered under the Black Sea to the southern part of the EU, through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia). If South Stream is a go, rival pipeline Nabucco is checkmated; a major Russian victory against Washington pressure and Brussels bureaucrats.
            Everything is still up for grabs at the crucial intersection of hardcore geopolitics and Pipelineistan. Once again Putin will be facing yet another Washington road map – the not exactly successful New Silk Road
            And then there’s the joker in the pack – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Putin will want Pakistan to become a full member as much as China is interested in incorporating Iran. The repercussions would be ground-breaking – as in Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran coordinating not only their economic integration but their mutual security inside a strengthened SCO, whose motto is “non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-interference in the affairs of other countries”.
            Putin sees that with Russia, Central Asia and Iran controlling no less than 50% of world’s gas reserves, and with Iran and Pakistan as virtual SCO members, the name of the game becomes Asia integration – if not Eurasia’s. The SCO develops as an economic/security powerhouse, while, in parallel, Pipelineistan accelerates the full integration of the SCO as a counterpunch to NATO. The regional players themselves will decide what makes more sense – this or a New Silk Road invented in Washington.
            Make no mistake. Behind the relentless demonization of Putin and the myriad attempts to delegitimize Russia’s presidential elections, lie some very angry and powerful sections of Washington and Anglo-American elites.
            They know Putin will be an ultra tough negotiator on all fronts. They know Moscow will apply increasingly closer coordination with China; on thwarting permanent NATO bases in Afghanistan; on facilitating Pakistan’s strategic autonomy; on opposing missile defense; on ensuring Iran is not attacked.
            He will be the devil of choice because there could not be a more formidable opponent in the world stage to Washington’s plans – be they coded as Greater Middle East, New Silk Road, Full Spectrum Dominance or America’s Pacific Century. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble.

            Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com

US jobless claims rise slightly but figures show market is strengthening

Weekly unemployment benefit applications increase by 8,000 to 362,000 – but claims have fallen 14% since October

March 8. 2012

Associated Press


Slightly more people applied for US unemployment benefits last week, but the overall level stayed low enough to suggest the job market is strengthening.

The labor department said on Thursday that weekly applications increased by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, the highest level since January.

The four-week average, which smooths out week-to-week fluctuations, ticked up to 355,000. That’s roughly in line with the previous week’s figure, which was the lowest in nearly four years.

Applications have fallen 14% since October. When applications fall below 375,000, it generally signals hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate. The steady decline has coincided with three months of big hiring gains.

The economy has added an average of 200,000 net jobs a month from November through January. That has helped lower the unemployment rate for five straight months to 8.3%. Economists predict that more than 200,000 net jobs were added in February, too.

The government will issue its February jobs report on Friday.

Other reports on Wednesday reinforced the brighter hiring outlook.

Payroll provider ADP said companies added a net gain of 216,000 jobs in February, above January’s gain. The ADP report doesn’t include government agencies, which have been cutting jobs.

And a meagre gain in worker productivity at the end of last year could also persuade employers to beef up staffing. It suggests companies will have to keep hiring steadily to meet their customers’ rising demand.

Better economic growth is spurring more job creation. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 3% in the final three months of last year, the government said last week.

Most economists expect growth will slow this quarter because companies won’t need to rebuild their stockpiles of goods as much as they did last winter. That means factories won’t need to produce as much.

But growth should improve later in the year. The economy is likely to expand at a 2.5% pace this year, according to a survey of economists by the Associated Press. That would be better than last year’s 1.7% rise.

Even so, the job market has a long way to go before it fully recovers from the damage of the recession. Nearly 13 million people remain unemployed, and at 8.3% unemployment is painfully high.

One reason the unemployment rate has fallen is that many people have given up looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching for a job.


Israel push on Iran included a steady dose of media leaks

March 7, 2012

by Sheera Frenkel


            TEL AVIV, Israel — Nestled deep in the halls of Israel’s defense headquarters, a man known as Agent 83 fingered with care his model of what a potential Iranian nuclear bomb might look like.

The agent, who had become an expert on the Iranian nuclear program, was showing off the model to a group of foreign reporters on a hot August day, the third such time he had been asked to showcase his expertise in the second half of 2009.

“I hope you don’t have any questions after this. I hope it is clear that Iran is working toward building a nuclear bomb,” he told the departing reporters.

Within days, accounts of Agent 83’s story appeared in articles across the U.S. and Europe — Iran had advanced technological understanding of the workings of a nuclear weapon. It was one of dozens of “exclusives” on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, the majority of which had originated with Israeli sources.

Such access to Israeli experts for international journalists has been critical to spreading Israel’s view that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. In recent months, talk of Iran’s nuclear ambitions has fueled the Republican presidential campaign, served as the backdrop for this week’s meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and earned a pledge from Obama on Sunday that the United States would resort to military means if necessary to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

Israeli officials acknowledge that the widespread acceptance in the West that Iran is on the verge of building a nuclear weapon isn’t based just on the findings of Israeli intelligence operatives, but relies in no small part on a steady media campaign that the Israelis have undertaken to persuade the world that Iran is bent on building a nuclear warhead.

“The intelligence was half the battle in convincing the world,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry official told McClatchy, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the inner workings of Israel’s outreach on the topic. “The other half was Israel’s persistent approach and attitude that this was not something the world could continue to ignore.”

The official had recently returned from a trip to Washington and marveled at how the topic has become a major one in the United States. “U.S. politicians were falling over each other to talk about Iran,” he said. “In some ways, that is a huge success for Israel.”

Israeli officials have been hesitant to acknowledge their part in persuading the world of the threat of a nuclear Iran. Yoel Guzansky, who headed a department that studies Iran’s nuclear weapons program in the Israeli prime minister’s office from 2005-2009 and is currently a fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, said that Israel was concerned the world would misunderstand its role.

“Israel doesn’t want it to look like it is pushing the West toward a war with Iran. There are those that said Israel pushed the U.S. towards a war with Iraq, which is untrue,” said Guzansky. “Today regarding Iran, Israel is not telling the U.S. to attack. They are saying something more nuanced: Present a credible threat, carry a big stick. Everyone’s preference is to solve this diplomatically.”

If a military option against Iran were taken, Guzansky said, Israel likely would pay the largest price in retaliation in the form of missile attacks that would hit Israeli civilian areas.

Shimon Stein, a former Israeli ambassador to Germany and former head of arms control at the Foreign Ministry, said that Israel slowly developed its outreach and media efforts on Iran over more than two decades.

“We were diplomatically actively pursuing the Iranian issue for decades,” he said. But the Israeli campaign moved into the public sphere five years ago when the Israelis decided they needed public opinion to also drive Iran policy. “Now it is a new ballgame,” Stein said. “Now we added extra resources to mobilize our government and also world opinion.”

He recalled a meeting with Russian diplomats in the early 1990s, when Israel was trying to persuade the United States to offer Russia commercial incentives to stop Russian assistance in the construction of a nuclear facility in Iran.

“It did not work,” Stein said. “Years later I remember raising the issue with a high-ranking official in the German government. He said, ‘Ah! I remember you coming to us and we heard you but we did not exert enough pressure on the Russians and we did not take it seriously enough.'”

As Israeli diplomats were working to convince governments of the Iranian nuclear threat, other organizations, such as the Washington-based Israel Project, were pressing the Israeli position with journalists and others.

Founded in 2002, one of the Israel Project’s earliest goals was to raise awareness on Iran.

“Our work — since the beginning — has been to encourage Iran to make a choice between their nuclear program and the things they want in the world,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mirzrahi, the founder and president of the Israel Project.

The campaign has been successful, she said. “In a year like this year, nobody can get elected without having a strong Iran policy,” she said.

Coordinating media coverage, such as the Agent 83 briefing on the workings of the hypothetical bomb, was critical to that effort. Often such access was timed to take place before critical events.

In the year after U.S. intelligence agencies published a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that downplayed the Iranian nuclear threat, an unprecedented number of leaks over Iran’s alleged progress on nuclear weapons was released to the press. They culminated in reports published in Israeli newspapers that Iran had secret uranium enrichment facilities. In 2009, world leaders caught up at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, where Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy revealed a yet-undisclosed facility at Qom.

Israeli officials also said it was no coincidence that a flurry of reports on Israel’s imminent strike on Iran filled the press last fall just ahead of a report from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Guzansky said the possible Israeli strike leaks to the media were “an important tool” for the government.

“It is psychological warfare. You leak to get the enemy or your friend to think X or Y,” he said.

Sever Plocker, a columnist for the popular Hebrew-language daily Yediot Ahronot, wrote in a recent column that the Israeli media campaign had been a success.

“It seems clearly that the Israeli campaign of last fall, through which rumors were spread of an impending Israeli attack on Iran, has achieved its goals,” he wrote. “The Western statesmen grasped at it and used it to impose yesterday the ‘?crippling’ ?sanctions on Iran that Prime Minister Netanyahu had already demanded two years ago.”

Stein said that regardless of the tactics used, Israel was justified in raising awareness on Iran.

“We had a quite meaningful contribution on placing the Iranian issue on the agenda. It’s not only an Israel problem now, it’s a regional problem,” he said.

His point was driven home in February, when Israel’s minister for strategic affairs, Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon, said that Iran is developing a missile that could strike targets more than 6,000 miles away — such as the East Coast of the United States.

The missile project is “aimed at America, not Israel,” said Yaalon, a well-known hawk who advocates a military strike on Iran by Israel and its allies.

He argued during a presentation at Israel’s 2012 Herziliya Conference that Iran was pushing forward with its plans to build a nuclear weapon.

One European diplomat who was in attendance couldn’t help asking how Yaalon spoke with such certainty.

“He is one of these Israeli figures who talks like he knows everything that is happening on the ground in Iran. Like they are sitting with the scientists and know when they are going to fit the warhead on the missile,” he said. “But the truth is that none of us know anything 100 percent of the time — even though Israel does a very good job of convincing.”

(Frenkel is a McClatchy special correspondent.)



AG disturbed by reports of NYPD surveillance in NJ

by Pete Yost 


WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday he’s disturbed by what he’s read about the New York Police Department conducting surveillance of mosques and Islamic student organizations in New Jersey.

Holder said the Justice Department is reviewing the matter, including letters from New Jersey officials complaining that they were kept in the dark about the surveillance.

The attorney general’s remarks came at a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee when asked by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., how one law enforcement agency could spy on another state’s residents without notifying authorities. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were apparently “unaware of this large-scale investigation,” Lautenberg said.

“I don’t know,” Holder replied. “We are in the process of reviewing the letters that have come in expressing concerns about those matters.”

“At least what I’ve read publicly, and again, just what I’ve read in the newspapers, is disturbing,” Holder said. “And these are things that are under review at the Justice Department.”

The New York police monitored Muslims in New Jersey at businesses and their mosques in a surveillance operation that was disclosed recently by The Associated Press in a series of news stories.

The attorney general said he has spoken to Gov. Christie, who strongly emphasized his concerns about the surveillance program.

Holder said that at a reception several days ago, Christie “expressed to me the concerns that he had” and that the New Jersey governor “has now publicly expressed his concerns as only he can.”

Christie has criticized the New York Police Department for what he and other New Jersey officials have described as less than full coordination and disclosure to them of what was going on.

Holder didn’t say whether he was more concerned about the lack of coordination or the surveillance itself.

Solar storms: how they are formed and how vulnerable we are

Solar storms could stop Earth’s electric pulse, snuff its lights out and shut down the internet. In 2013 the Sun would spew more fire at us

March 8, 2012

by Alok Jha, science correspondent



            What is a solar storm?

            Our Sun is a furious mass of gases that emits radiation of all kinds, from the stuff that plants can convert to sugar through photosynthesis to high-energy particles and rays that would tear apart anything they came across on Earth.

On occasion, magnetic storms on the surface of the star can end up causing flares, an explosion on the Sun‘s surface that can release as much, in one go, as a sixth of the entire Sun’s output per second. If the storms are particularly strong, they will erupt into coronal mass ejections (CMEs), huge clouds of plasma that travel at millions of miles per hour, consisting of energetic electrons and protons with smaller amounts of helium, oxygen and iron.


What happens during a solar storm?

A solar flare would be accompanied by a burst of electromagnetic radiation (including radio and visible waves, in addition to more dangerous gamma, ultraviolet and X rays) that, when it hits Earth, would ionise the outer atmosphere. On the ground, people would be safe but GPS satellites and other such equipment would be affected.

About 10-20 minutes after the initial flare would come a burst of energetic protons. A further 10-30 hours later, a CME would hit the Earth’s magnetosphere and cause electric currents to surge along oil pipelines and high-tension electricity lines. This might cause blackouts but, around large parts of the world, people would see a lightshow in the sky similar to the aurora borealis.


How often could this happen?

Solar storms can happen at any time but tend to become more severe and more frequent in roughly 11-year cycles. The peak of the current cycle is expected in 2013. Since the last peak in activity, the world’s reliance on electronic technology — and therefore vulnerability to space weather — has increased substantially.


Does the Earth have protection?

The Earth’s magnetic shield, called the magnetosphere, can usually take the worst of the Sun’s radiation, preventing it reaching the delicate molecules of life on the Earth’s surface. Normally, all we see of this high-energy radiation are the shimmering Northern Lights, the aurora borealis, and its southern equivalent, the aurora australis.


Why is this a problem today?

Our advanced, interconnected world depends on fast electronic connections between people in different countries, powered by the electricity grid. “Space weather can affect human safety and economies anywhere on our vast wired planet, and blasts of electrically-charged gas travelling from the Sun at up to five million miles an hour can strike with little warning,” warned John Holdren and John Beddington, respectively the chief scientific advisers to Barack Obama and UK government in a joint statement in 2011. “Their impact could be big — on the order of $2tn during the first year in the United States alone, with a recovery period of 4 to 10 years.”

In an address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC, Holdren and Beddington outlined major solar storm events from the past. “In 1921, space weather wiped out communications and generated fires in the northeastern United States. In March 1989, a geomagnetic storm caused Canada’s Hydro-Quebec power grid to collapse within 90 seconds, leaving millions of people in darkness for up to nine hours. In 2003, two intense storms travelled from the Sun to Earth in just 19 hours, causing a blackout in Sweden and affecting satellites, broadcast communications, airlines and navigation.”

A study by the Metatech Corporation in 2008 showed that a repeat of the 1921 solar storm today would affect more than 130 million people with sudden and lasting ramifications across the US, accoding to Holdren and Beddington. They added that a recent report by insurance market Lloyd’s of London stated that “a loss of power could lead to a cascade of operational failures that could leave society and the global economy severely disabled.”

Holdren and Beddington said power companies could prepare by hardening transformers at substations and installing capacitors to soak up current surges that would be caused by severe storms. Critical satellites should be shielded. “Some of these measures can bear fruit quickly, while others will pay off over the longer-term,” they said. “What is key now is to identify, test, and begin to deploy the best protective measures, in parallel with reaching out to the public with information explaining the risks and the remedies.”


Syria crisis: Homs at centre of fresh massacre, activists say

Dozens of people have been killed in a suburb of Syria’s battle-scarred city of Homs, reports say, in what activists are describing as a “new massacre”.

Forty-four of those killed came from just a handful of families, the Local Co-Ordination Committees (LCC) said.

The reported killings come a day after the UN’s humanitarian chief visited Homs, saying parts had been devastated.

Meanwhile a Syrian deputy oil minister posted a message on YouTube saying he had defected to the rebels.

Abdo Hussameddin is the highest level political figure to abandon the government of President Bashar al-Assad since the uprising erupted a year ago.


‘Reprisal killings’

According to the LCC, the latest concentration of killings by security forces happened in the Jobar district of Homs. The group said 20 of the dead belonged to a single family, and 16 to another.

It said the deaths were reprisal killings, coming days after security forces retook Homs from rebels, having pounded the city for weeks.

The claims cannot be verified as international media inside Syria are heavily restricted.

After visiting Homs, one of the first cities to join the uprising last March, the UN humanitarian chief Baroness Valerie Amos said the bombed-out Baba Amr district felt like it had been closed down.

“The devastation there is significant, that part of Homs is completely destroyed and I am concerned to know what has happened to the people who live in that part of the city,” Baroness Amos told Reuters news agency.

Activists said troops committed massacres after they went in to the district, but Damascus blamed the rebels for many deaths.

The BBC’s Jim Muir in neighbouring Lebanon says activist groups continue to report the summary execution of men from Baba Amr, the butchering of entire families, and the systematic mass rape of women.

Our correspondent says opposition groups are urging Baroness Amos to go back and delve deeper.

The UN says more than 7,500 people have died as a result of the violence in Syria over the past 12 months.


‘Brutal campaign’

In a YouTube message posted late on Wednesday, Mr Hussameddin, one of two deputy oil ministers, accused the government of “barbarism”.

He read out a four-minute denunciation of the regime he said he had served for the past 33 years.

“I am joining the revolution of the people who reject injustice and the brutal campaign of the regime,” he said.

“I tell the regime, which claims to own the country, you have nothing but the footprint of the tank driven by your barbarism to kill innocent people.”

He said he was stepping aside although he knew that his house would be burnt and his family persecuted by the regime.

The Syrian government has not publicly commented on Mr Hussameddin’s announcement.

Observers say public defections have been rare among civilian officials of the Syrian state, which is controlled by Mr Assad’s minority Alawite sect.

However, there have been high-profile defections from the military, including Gen Mustapha al-Sheikh who fled to Turkey earlier this year. Also thousands of chiefly Sunni soldiers and conscripts are reported to have deserted since the start of the uprising.

A spokeswoman from the opposition National Transitional Council of Syria said she believed many more cabinet members and their deputies were prepared to defect.

‘No to force’

In further diplomatic efforts to halt the violence, special envoy Kofi Annan is due to meet representatives of both sides in Damascus at the weekend.

Speaking after talks in Cairo on Thursday, Mr Annan, joint envoy for the UN and Arab League, rejected military intervention in Syria.

“I hope no-one is thinking very seriously of using force in this situation. I believe further militarisation will make the situation worse,” he said after meeting Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi.

Separately, Beijing announced on Thursday that its envoy had talks in Syria this week with representatives of the government and the opposition.

China’s foreign ministry said envoy Li Huaxin met Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem and his deputy during a two-day visit.

Observers say Mr Li’s visit is Beijing’s latest attempt to counter charges by Western and Arab leaders that by vetoing two previous UN resolutions, China and Russia have aided the growing violence by Syrian government forces.

Russia calls for Syrian violence to end ‘immediately’

March 8, 2012 

by Zoi Constantine

The National

             BEIRUT // Russia urged the Syrian regime and opposition rebel fighters yesterday to “immediately” halt the violence that has killed thousands and to deal with acute humanitarian problems hitting the country

Russia’s foreign ministry said it told Syria’s ambassador to Moscow the “violence must end immediately, no matter where it comes from”.

The slight change in Russia’s tone on the crisis came as Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, also yesterday shot down rumours he was considering granting asylum to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

In a statement, the foreign ministry also stressed the “critical need to solve acute humanitarian problems in Syria”, as a senior United Nations humanitarian official arrived in Damascus yesterday.

A Syrian Red Crescent aid team yesterday made it into Homs, one of the worst-hit cities and with severe shortages of food, water, fuel and medicine, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. A seven-truck convoy of aid supplies has been waiting for permission to enter since Friday.

Valerie Amos, the UN humanitarian chief, made her way from the capital to Homs, a UN spokesperson said.

While in Damascus Ms Amos – who this month was denied entry to the country – met Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Moallem.

She previously said her visit aimed “to urge all sides to allow unhindered access for humanitarian relief workers so they can evacuate the wounded and deliver essential supplies”.

Despite growing international condemnation and pressure to end the violence, in comments published yesterday by the state news agency Sana, Mr Al Assad said Syrians would continue to confront “foreign-backed terrorism”, which the regime has blamed for the bloodshed.

In Washington, the US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, said the United States was reviewing possible military action.

“We are reviewing all possible additional steps that can be taken with our international partners to support efforts to protect the Syrian people, end the violence, and ensure regional stability, including potential military options if necessary,” Mr Panetta said in written testimony prepared for a Senate armed services committee hearing yesterday.

“Although we will not rule out any future course of action, currently the administration is focusing on diplomatic and political approaches rather than a military intervention.”

Speaking on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama rejected the idea of unilateral American military action, saying it would be a mistake. But he stressed it was only a matter of time before Mr Al Assad left office.

“For us to take military action unilaterally, as some have suggested, or to think that somehow there is some simple solution, I think is a mistake,” Mr Obama said during a news conference.

“What happened in Libya was we mobilised the international community, had a UN Security Council mandate, had the full cooperation of the region, Arab states, and we knew that we could execute very effectively in a relatively short period of time. This is a much more complicated situation.”

US military officials have warned Syria’s air defences are five times more powerful than Libya’s.

And Marine General James Mattis, the US miliary commander in the Middle East, told the Senate armed services committee a significant military commitment would be needed just to create the safe havens in Syria that some members of the Syrian opposition have urged.

“I think he [Mr Al Assad] will continue to employ heavier and heavier weapons on his people. I think it will get worse before it gets better,” he said.

Washington is now trying to build support for a new UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to the violence as well as unrestricted humanitarian access.

Russia and China have previously vetoed Security Council resolutions calling for tougher action against the Syrian government, which is accused of killing thousands of its own citizens.

The most recent UN estimate placed the number of people killed since the uprising began a year ago at more than 7,500.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights yesterday said as many as 8,500 had died, including more than 6,000 civilians, close to 2,000 members of the security forces and around 400 rebel soldiers.

Syrian tanks reportedly shelled districts of Homs on Tuesday night, while attacks were also reported in areas including Deraa province where the revolt began a year ago.

Activists said a bridge and tunnel near the border with Lebanon that had been used as an escape path for people fleeing Homs province were also bombed.

The Syrian National Council, an opposition alliance, said yesterday tanks and troop carriers were headed in the direction of the province of Idlib, where it said “several martyrs were killed”.

These reports could not be independently verified.

Thousands of Syrians have fled across the border to neighbouring Lebanon to escape the fighting.


  • With additional reporting by Bloomberg, the Associated Press, Agence-France Presse and Reuters



FBI says spying has hindered terror fight

March 8, 2012

by Peter J. Sampson and John P McAlpin

The Record

HACKENSACK, N.J. — The FBI chief for New Jersey called reporters to his office Wednesday to describe how news about the New York Police Department’s secret surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey has had a chilling effect on terrorism investigations.

“We’re starting to see cooperation being pulled back,” said Michael Ward, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark Division. “People are concerned that they’re being followed … that they can’t trust law enforcement, and it’s having a negative impact.”

But an NYPD spokesman responded Wednesday, saying the department continues to cultivate strong relations in the Muslim community and that surveillance has prevented several terrorist attacks.

Also on Wednesday, a Paterson mosque leader said that a group of clergy representing Jewish, Catholic and Episcopal faiths will gather alongside Muslims at a news conference Thursday in Jersey City. Mohamed El Filali, executive director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County in Paterson, said the event is scheduled for noon at St. Peter’s College.

Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday said he’s concerned by Ward’s observation that the NYPD surveillance may have hampered the Muslim community’s cooperation with law enforcement.

Ward summoned reporters to his offices in downtown Newark to counter concerns that he said have begun to surface about the FBI’s credibility and its capability to combat terrorism.

“Our job in counterterrorism is to prevent the event before it happens, and that requires a certain amount of intelligence (and) effort, what I call having your finger on the pulse,” Ward said. “Now with that comes a tremendous amount of responsibility because techniques necessary to get ahead of the game and be preventive are very intrusive.”

He said it’s important that the public know that the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force are “being as aggressive as possible” while at the same time “following leads that are warranted and … not out just chasing anything, but there’s a specific law enforcement reason behind what you’re doing, and that you used the least intrusive means possible, when available.

“But again, bottom line is you do what it takes to get the job done and we’re doing that here in New Jersey,” he said.

Ward also said that his office has a good relationship with the NYPD and that as far as he knows, their surveillance operation broke no laws.

An NYPD spokesman, Paul Browne, countered Ward’s remarks, saying the NYPD “has established strong, ongoing relations in the Muslim community,” and cited the disruption of several terrorist plots over the years that resulted from NYPD operations.

“We are proactive because New Yorkers’ lives depend on it,” Browne said.

Ward said his agents have a good relationship with NYPD’s counterterrorism branch, which has two officers on the Newark JTTF who keep their superiors in New York informed on what is going on in New Jersey. The problem is with the NYPD’s Intelligence Division, a separate branch that operates largely on its own, he said. While they have worked collaboratively and successfully in the past, Ward said, the FBI and JTTF in New Jersey “do not have great clarity in everything that they do” in the state, and he would like that to change.

“I don’t like having blind spots, blind spots equal risk,” he said. “If we’re a day late in connecting a dot, it could be a problem.”

In a series of articles, The Associated Press reported that the NYPD’s Intelligence Division was conducting surveillance of Muslim businesses and houses of worship in Newark and a mosque in Paterson, and monitoring Muslim student associations at Rutgers University in Newark and New Brunswick, with no apparent indication that any were suspected of engaging in criminal activity.

Asked whether Ward sought authorization to speak about the NYPD surveillance, the White House did not comment. FBI headquarters could not be reached.

Ward’s office in Newark declined to comment.


What is TEMPEST?

TEMPEST is a U.S. government code word that identifies a classified set of standards for limiting electric or electromagnetic radiation emanations from electronic equipment. Microchips, monitors, printers, and all electronic devices emit radiation through the air or through conductors (such as wiring or water pipes). An example is using a kitchen appliance while watching television. The static on your TV screen is emanation caused interference. (If you want to learn more about this phenomena, a company called NoRad has an excellent discussion (X) of electromagnetic radiation and computer monitors (and Chomerics has a good electromagnetic interference 101 page), that you don’t need to bean electrical engineer to understand. Also, while not TEMPEST-specific, a journal called Compliance Engineering (O), typically has good technical articles relating to electromagnetic interference. There’s also the Electromagnetic Compliance FAQ.)

During the 1950’s, the government became concerned that emanations could be captured and then reconstructed. Obviously, the emanations from a blender aren’t important, but emanations from an electric encryption device would be. If the emanations were recorded, interpreted, and then played back on a similar device, it would be extremely easy to reveal the content of an encrypted message. Research showed it was possible to capture emanations from a distance, and as a response, the TEMPEST program was started. (For some interesting perspectives on the history of TEMPEST, see this timeline and do a text search for TEMPEST at this UK list archive.)

The purpose of the program was to introduce standards that would reduce the chances of “leakage” from devices used to process, transmit, or store sensitive information. TEMPEST computers and peripherals (printers, scanners, tape drives, mice, etc.) are used by government agencies and contractors to protect data from emanations monitoring. This is typically done by shielding the device (or sometimes a room or entire building) with copper or other conductive materials. (There are also active measures for “jamming” electromagnetic signals. Refer to some of the patents listed below.)

Bruce Gabrielson, who has been in the TEMPEST biz for ages, has a nice unclassified general description of TEMPEST that was presented at an Air Force security seminar in 1987.

In the United States, TEMPEST consulting, testing, and manufacturing is a big business, estimated at over one billion dollars a year. (Economics has caught up TEMPEST though. Purchasing TEMPEST standard hardware is not cheap, and because of this, a lesser standard called ZONE (O) has been implemented. This does not offer the level of protection of TEMPEST hardware, but it quite a bit cheaper, and is used in less sensitive applications.)

Emanation standards aren’t just confined to the United States. NATO has a similar standard called the AMSG 720B Compromising Emanations Laboratory Test Standard. In Germany, the TEMPEST program is administered by the National Telecom Board. In the UK, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the equivalent of the NSA, has their own program.


The original 1950s emanations standard was called NAG1A. During the 1960s it was revised and reissued as FS222 and later FS222A.

In 1970 the standard was significantly revised and published as National Communications Security Information Memorandum 5100 (Directive on TEMPEST Security), also known as NACSIM 5100. This was again revised in 1974.

Current national TEMPEST policy is set in National Communications Security Committee Directive 4, dated January 16, 1981. It instructs federal agencies to protect classified information against compromising emanations. This document is known as NACSIM 5100A and is classified. The National Communications Security Instruction (NACSI) 5004 (classified Secret), published in January 1984, provides procedures for departments and agencies to use in determining the safeguards needed for equipment and facilities which process national security information in the United States. National Security Decision Directive 145, dated September 17, 1984, designates the National Security Agency (NSA) as the focal point and national manager for the security of government telecommunications and Automated Information Systems (AISs). NSA is authorized to review and approve all standards, techniques, systems and equipment for AIS security, including TEMPEST. In this role, NSA makes recommendations to the National Telecommunications and Information Systems Security Committee for changes in TEMPEST polices and guidance.

Just how prevalent is emanation monitoring?

There are no public records that give an idea of how much emanation monitoring is actually taking place. There are isolated anecdotal accounts of monitoring being used for industrial espionage (see Information Warfare, by Winn Schwartau), but that’s about it. (However, see a very interesting paper written by Ian Murphy called Who’s Listening that has some Cold War TEMPEST spy stories.)

Unfortunately, there’s not an emanation monitoring category in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. (While not TEMPEST-specific, the San Jose Mercury News printed a November 11, 1998 article(O) on how much money American businesses are losing to economic espionage. Considering some of the countries involved, hi-tech spying techniques are likely being used in some cases.)


There are a few data points that lead one to believe there is a real threat though, at least from foreign intelligence services. First of all, the TEMPEST industry is over a billion dollar a year business. This indicates there’s a viable threat to justify all of this protective hardware (or it’s one big scam that’s making a number of people quite wealthy).

This scope of the threat is backed up with a quote from a Navy manual that discusses “compromising emanations” or CE. “Foreign governments continually engage in attacks against U.S. secure communications and information processing facilities for the sole purpose of exploiting CE.” I’m sure those with appropriate security clearances have access to all sorts of interesting cases of covert monitoring.

Or not?

In 1994, the Joint Security Commission issued a report to the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence called “Redefining Security.” It’s worthwhile to quote the entire section that deals with TEMPEST.

TEMPEST (an acronym for Transient Electromagnetic Pulse Emanation Standard) is both a specification for equipment and a term used to describe the process for preventing compromising emanations. The fact that electronic equipment such as computers, printers, and electronic typewriters give off electromagnetic emanations has long been a concern of the US Government. An attacker using off-the-shelf equipment can monitor and retrieve classified or sensitive information as it is being processed without the user being aware that a loss is occurring. To counter this vulnerability, the US Government has long required that electronic equipment used for classified processing be shielded or designed to reduce or eliminate transient emanations. An alternative is to shield the area in which the information is processed so as to contain electromagnetic emanations or to specify control of certain distances or zones beyond which the emanations cannot be detected. The first solution is extremely expensive, with TEMPEST computers normally costing double the usual price. Protecting and shielding the area can also be expensive. While some agencies have applied TEMPEST standards rigorously, others have sought waivers or have used various levels of interpretation in applying the standard. In some cases, a redundant combination of two or three types of multi-layered protection was installed with no thought given either to cost or actual threat.

A general manager of a major aerospace company reports that, during building renovations, two SAPs required not only complete separation between their program areas but also TEMPEST protection. This pushed renovation costs from $1.5 million to $3 million just to ensure two US programs could not detect each other’s TEMPEST emanations.

In 1991, a CIA Inspector General report called for an Intelligence Community review of domestic

TEMPEST requirements based on threat. The outcome suggested that hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on protecting a vulnerability that had a very low probability of exploitation. This report galvanized the Intelligence Community to review and reduce domestic TEMPEST requirements.

Currently, many agencies are waiving TEMPEST countermeasures within the United States. The rationale is that a foreign government would not be likely to risk a TEMPEST collection operation in an environment not under their control. Moreover, such attacks require a high level of expertise, proximity to the target, and considerable collection time. Some agencies are using alternative technical countermeasures that are considerably less costly. Others continue to use TEMPEST domestically, believing that TEMPEST procedures discourage collection attempts. They also contend that technical advances will raise future vulnerabilities. The Commission recognizes the need for an active overseas TEMPEST program but believes the domestic threat is minimal.

Contractors and government security officials interviewed by the Commission commend the easing of TEMPEST standards within the last two years. However, even with the release of a new national TEMPEST policy, implementation procedures may continue to vary. The new policy requires each Certified TEMPEST Technical Authority (CTTA), keep a record of TEMPEST applications but sets no standard against which a facility can be measured. The Commission is concerned that this will lead to inconsistent applications and continued expense.

Given the absence of a domestic threat, any use of TEMPEST countermeasures within the US should require strong justification. Whenever TEMPEST is applied, it should be reported to the security executive committee who would be charged with producing an annual national report to highlight inconsistencies in implementation and identify actual TEMPEST costs.

Domestic implementation of strict TEMPEST countermeasures is a prime example of a security excess because costly countermeasures were implemented independent of documented threat or of a site’s total security system. While it is prudent to continue spot checks and consider TEMPEST in the risk management review of any facility storing specially protected information, its implementation within the United States should not normally be required.

The Commission recommends that domestic TEMPEST countermeasures not be employed except in response to specific threat data and then only in cases authorized by the most senior department or agency head. It’s also interesting to note that the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) eliminated the need for domestic TEMPEST requirements in 1992.


The main difficulty in tracking instances of emanation monitoring is because it’s passive and conducted at a distance from the target, it’s hard to discover unless you catch the perpetrator red-handed (a bad Cold War pun). Even if a spy was caught, more than likely the event would not be publicized, especially if it was corporate espionage. Both government and private industry have a long history of concealing security breaches from the public. As with any risk, you really need to weigh the costs and benefits. Is it cheaper and more efficient to have a spy pass himself off as a janitor to obtain information, or to launch a fairly technical and sophisticated monitoring attack to get the same data? While some “hard” targets may justify a technical approach ,traditional human intelligence (HUMINT) gathering techniques are without a doubt, used much more often than emanation monitoring.

TEMPEST Urban Folklore

Because of the general lack of knowledge regarding TEMPEST topics, there is a fair amount of urban folklore associated with it. Here’s some common myths. And if you can provide a primary source to prove me wrong, let me know (no friends of friends please).

 It’s illegal to shield your PC from emanation monitoring. Seline’s paper suggests this, but there are no laws that I’ve found that even come close to substantiating. Export of TEMPEST-type shielded devices is restricted under ITAR, and most manufacturers will only sell to government authorized users, but there are no laws banning domestic use of shielded PCs.

 Emanation monitoring was used to snare CIA spy Aldrich Ames and also during the Waco incident. Winn Schwartau appears to have started the speculation on these two events. While conventional electronic surveillance techniques were used, there’s no published evidence to support a “TEMPEST attack.”

You can put together a emanation monitoring device for under $100 worth of Radio Shack and surplus parts. Perhaps for a dumb video display terminal (VDT), but certainly not for a VGA or SVGA monitor. And definitely not for doing serious remote monitoring. There have been anecdotal accounts of television sets with rabbit ears displaying fragments of a nearby computer screen. Beyond that, effective, cheap, easy-to-build devices don’t seem to exist. If they did, the plans would be available on the Net at just about every hacker site.

 LCD displays on laptops eliminate the risks of TEMPEST attacks. Maybe, maybe not. The technology behind LCD monitors versus typical CRT monitors may somewhat reduce the risk, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. There have been anecdotal accounts of noisy laptop screens being partially displayed on TVs. If laptops were emanation proof, I seriously doubt there would be

TEMPEST standard portables on the market.

TEMPEST is an acronym. Maybe. There have been a variety of attempts to turn TEMPEST into a meaningful acronym (such as Transient ElectroMagnetic Pulse Emanation STandard) by government and non-government sources. The official government line denies this, and states

TEMPEST was a code word originally given to the standards, and didn’t have any particular meaning.

 There’s virtually no information about TEMPEST on the Net because it’s so secret. Nonsense.

The world does not revolve around AltaVista. You just need to dig a little deeper

General  TEMPEST Information


Online Sources

 August 11, 2000 – The Wall Street Journal published an article on TEMPEST on August 7, 2000.

I did several e-mail interviews with the reporter, and was pretty disappointed to see the final result. A whole lot of good information on TEMPEST went by the wayside, in favor of a lot of fairly sensational column inches. On August 10, the folks at Forbes questioned the credibility of the WSJ article. See their response (which I completely agree with) here. I’m always willing to help journalists with questions about TEMPEST. But figure it out folks. Every time your article totally blows it, your source isn’t going to want to play with you or your fellow journalists again.

I know a whole bunch of intelligent, well-informed people who have sworn off dealing with the media because of misquoted information or general cluelessness when an article is finally published (and for those reporters in the house, please don’t whine and blame your editors).

Unfortunately, the ranks of decent and willing sources will continue to thin as long as this behavior continues…

Ross Anderson and Markus Kuhn (from Cambridge, UK) have written a new paper that I consider one of the most definitive sources of contemporary research on TEMPEST. Soft Tempest: Hidden Data Transmission Using Electromagnetic Emanations (X), looks at the software side of the topic, including TEMPEST viruses that can enhance interceptions. The most startling aspect, and the issue that has a lot of spook’s knickers in a knot, is the use of special fonts to defeat monitoring. This .PDF file is a must read. You can now also download the anti-TEMPEST fonts. Demcom, makers of the excellent Steganos security suite have released a freeware Windows text editor (called Zero Emission Pad) that incorporates anti-TEMPEST font technology.

 One of the most distributed sources of TEMPEST information on the Net is a paper by

Christopher Seline called “Eavesdropping On the Electromagnetic Emanations of Digital Equipment: The Laws of Canada, England and the United States.” It deals with laws relating to eavesdropping on the electromagnetic emanations of digital equipment. Seline postulates that it is illegal for a U.S. citizen to shield their hardware against emanation eavesdropping. There are no laws to support this contention. Other information in the Seline paper has been questioned by informed sources, however, there is good source material contained in it.

The other widely distributed source is Grady Ward’s “TEMPEST in a teapot” (X) post to the Cypherpunks list that discusses practical countermeasures based on techniques radio operators use to reduce electromagnetic interference. Good technical source material.

 “Electromagnetic Radiation from Video Display Units: An Eavesdropping Risk?” (X) by Wim van Eck, Computers & Security, 1985 Vol. 4. This is the paper that brought emanation monitoring to the public’s attention. Van Eck was a research engineer at the Dr. Neher

Laboratories of The Netherlands’ Post, Telegraph, and Telephone (PTT) Service. His paper was purposely incomplete on several points, and modifications were required to actually build a working device based on his plans. (.PDF format)

 “Electromagnetic Eavesdropping Machines for Christmas?” (X) Computers & Security, Vol. 7, No. 4 [1988] A follow-up article to the van Eck paper. Excellent source material regarding why (and what) certain details weren’t included in the original. .PDF and HTML formats.

 “The Threat of Information Theft by Reception of Electromagnetic Radiation from RS-232 Cables”, Peter Smulders, Dept of Electrical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology,1990. Many people just think their computer monitors are vulnerable to emanation monitoring. This paper clearly shows that cabling is equally at risk. (.PDF format)

 “Protective Measures Against Compromising Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted by Video Display Terminals” (X) by Professor Erhart Moller, Aachen University, Germany, 1990. A good introduction. Reprinted in Phrack 44.

 “Data Security by Design” was written by George R. Wilson and appeared in Progressive Architecture, March 1995. It offers some interesting facts on shielding structures from emanation leakage.

PC Week, March 10, 1987 v4 p35(2) has an article by Vin McLellan (O) about emanation monitoring and TEMPEST.

TEMPEST Industry and People Grapple with Changing Perspectives is a 1991 paper by Dr. Bruce C. Gabrielson (a very respected name in the TEMPEST community) that discusses some of the economic challenges of the industry. Good background. Gabrielson also has a variety of EMC and INFOSEC papers online.

Winn “Mr. Information Warfare” Schwartau gave a presentation at DefCon II (the annual Vegashacker get together) in 1994. Real Media audio links: Winn Schwartau: Overview of Tempestand VanEck shielding and radiation and somewhat related, Winn Schwartau – HERF Guns, EMPBombs and Weapons of Mass Disruption (Unclassified) – parts 1, 2.

TEMPEST MONITORING: A MAJOR THREAT TO SECURITY appears to be a universitystudent paper. Decently written and fairly comprehensive.

Truthnet, Issue 2 (an e-zine) has a short, general layman’s article on TEMPEST.

             COMPUTERWOCHE, August 8, 1986, #34 Lauschangriff auf unbekannte Schwachstelle is a German article regarding TEMPEST shielded terminals. Thanks to Ulf Möller for the following summary:

            The article says that authorities had long known about compromising radiation, but the

information had leaked to business only recently. It was usually neglected by commercial

computing centers and completely unknown to users. Experts estimate that screen

contents can be received over a distance of 1 km, and of 300 m using amateur equipment.

SCS GmbH gave recommendations on low-radiation screens determined in experiments.

Room protection with Faraday cages is explained. Radiation-free computers, typically

implemented by a Faraday cage inside the box, existed but were not available to the

market. Beginning March 1 that year, authorities processing sensitive data were required

by order of the ministry of interior to use only Tempest-protected devices approved by the

ZfCH (= central office for encipherment, the predecessor of the BSI). The producers of

those devices are obliged to secrecy and may deliver to authorities only. Ericsson was the

market leader for security screens with a special version of the S41 terminal with an

annual turnover of 10,000,000 DM. They would have liked to sell more of them, but were

not allowed to deliver them to private companies.

Illegal Communications Interception Equipment Was Destined for Vietnam (from iPartnership) 7/9/99



by Bill Pietrucha

             Vietnam was the intended final shipping point for restricted U.S. communications

Intercept equipment, iPARTNERSHIP has learned. Shalom Shaphyr, arrested earlier this week for allegedly possessing and selling Tempest computer intercept equipment, planned to first

falsify the nature of the equipment in export papers, ship it to a U.S. NATO ally, then to

Israel, and finally to Vietnam.

            The Tempest computer intercept equipment, also known as a video intercept receiver, is

considered a defense article under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR),

and cannot be shipped to Vietnam without an export license.

            In the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District Virginia late yesterday, Shaphyr, an

Israeli citizen living in the U.S. under a business visa, requested his detention hearing be

postponed until July 20, to give his lawyers “time to review the charges against me.”

Shaphyr will continue to be held in the City of Alexandria, Va. detention center until the

July 20 detention hearing date.

            In papers filed with the court, FBI Special Agent Christian Zajac testified Shaphyr was

“looking for a Tempest monitoring system” capable of remotely capturing computer

emanations. The reason for the equipment, Shaphyr had said, was to view what was on a

computer monitor from a distance of “a few tens of feet maybe to a few hundred feet”


            Zajac, an FBI Special Agent for the past two years, told the court Shaphyr indicated the

equipment would be used by the Vietnamese government “in a joint venture.” Along with

the equipment, Zajac told the court, Shaphyr also asked for a syllabus outlining the

training that would be provided on the Tempest equipment, indicating the trainees would

be Vietnamese. Shaphyr, iPARTNERSHIP learned, operates a business with offices in Vietnam and England, and is an FAA certified pilot, flight engineer and navigator listing his address  inHo Chi Minh City, Viet Nam Zajac said the joint FBI-U.S. Customs Service investigation, which began in November 1998, led to Shaphyr’s arrest this past Wednesday after Shaphyr paid an FBI undercover agent $2,000 in U.S. currency to export the Tempest equipment to Israel without a  license.The total price Shaphyr allegedly agreed to pay for the Tempest equipment was $30,000, Zajac said the investigation did not end with Shaphyr’s arrest, and is continuing.

Slashdot has a short thread on TEMPEST (7/19/99) with some interesting personal  accounts of ex-military types.

Berke Durak has some interesting test results as well as source code that demonstrates  how easy a CPU can transmit data in the FM band.

 Some general notes on a presentation and workshop given by Professor Mueller  (Moller?) during the 1997 HIP conference. Some interesting technical notes.

 Tempest – een beeldige opsporingsmethode – 1997 Dutch article by Bert-Jaap Koops.  Quick summary by an anonymous reader:

            In the article Drs. B.J. Koops — a researcher at the Katholieke Universiteit Brabant and

the Technische Universiteit Tilburg (Catholic University Brabant and Technical

University Tilburg, both in the Netherlands) gives a short introduction to what TEMPEST

is, what it can be used for.

He notes that there are three ways of tapping info: wires (electrical), direct radiation and

radiation emitted by screen-to-PC cable.

            He continues talking about wether or not it is legal for individuals and the police to use

TEMPEST monitoring. It turns out that it is illegal for individuals (due to some

amendments to wiretapping laws), and it is illegal for police (since they need explicit

permission to do so, and TEMPEST nor radiation monitoring is mentioned in Dutch law).

He ends the article proposing a discussion in the parliament on wether or not PC-tapping

would be allowed in the Netherlands, since that is a political decision.

l can’t interview (4/94) with surveillance expert Hans-Georg Wolf on industrial espionage.  Some interesting TEMPEST tidbits. There’s also another general article in the same issue with  some eavesdropped monitor photos.

November 13, 1999 – Issue 21 of the hacking magazine SET (think of a Spanish  Phrack), has a lengthy text file on TEMPEST with some interesting schematics. Check out the Spanish version here, or cut and paste interesting bits into Babelfish for translation here (any readers more fluent in Spanish than I are encouraged to submit a decent translation).

November 8, 1999 – New Scientist has a short TEMPEST article, where Markus Kuhn  predicts intercept devices for under £1000 within the next five years (and although not TEMPEST specific, an interview with Ross Anderson included). Slashdot also has a thread going regarding the article.


A quick search of IBM’s patent server service revealed several interesting patents:

  • Patent number 4965606 – Antenna shroud tempest armor (1989)
  • Patent number 5165098 – System for protecting digital equipment against remote access  (1992)
  • Patent number 4932057 – Parallel transmission to mask data radiation (1990)
  • Patent number 5297201 – System for preventing remote detection of computer data from  tempest

signal emissions (1994)

  • Patent number 5341423 – Masked data transmission system (1994)

A note about patent 5297201. It references patent 2476337 that was issued July 1, 1949.  Unfortunately, the details aren’t available online, but the reference may be telling as tjust how long emanation monitoring has been taking place.

Paper Sources

“Cabinets for Electromagnetic Interference/Radio-Frequency Interference and TEMPEST Shielding” by Kenneth F. Gazarek, Data Processing & Communications Security, Volume 9, No. 6 [1985].l Information Warfare, Winn Schwartau, Thunder’s Moth Press, New York, 1996 (second edition)

Chapter 7, The World of Mr. van Eck, is devoted to TEMPEST-related topics. There’s some good information, but it’s painted pretty broadly, and really doesn’t get into technical details (the second edition does present much more material on HERF guns and other topics, but nothing has been added to the van Eck chapter). Still, a good read, also someadditional sources not mentioned on this page in the Footnotes section.

 Computer Security Basics, (X) Deborah Russell and G. T. Gangemi Sr., O’Reilly & Associates Sebastpol, CA, 1991. Chapter 10, TEMPEST, provides an excellent overview of the risks of emanations as well as the government TEMPEST program. This is a must read.

 I don’t have a citation, but in 1997 the German computer magazine c’t apparently published an article that described a home-built TEMPEST monitor. It consisted of an old Russian television (because it wasn’t limited to receiving certain channels – stepless frequency tuning) and a piece of copper for the antenna. The testers couldn’t target individual computers though, and received images from a variety of screens when cruising through a neighborhood. Anyone that has access to an original copy of the article, please contact me.

EMSEC Those in the know no longer generically use the term TEMPEST to refer to emanations security. The current buzzword d’jour is EMSEC, or Emissions Security. If you read between the lines, the change to the term EMSEC is interesting. A quote from an Air Force site(O):

“Emission Security (EMSEC) better known as TEMPEST has taken a drastic change over

the past few years. These changes have necessitated a complete revision of rules and regulations, causing the need for new publications. While these new publications have been drafted and are in the coordination stages, we must continue to keep informed and upto-date on EMSEC policy and procedures.” Hmmm. Just what drastic changes are we talking about? Idle speculation might include:

 Budget cuts and directives have cut back on TEMPEST use forcing new policies.

 Other types of emissions have been discovered that pose a security threat.

From the same site comes this quote:

            “WHAT IS COMPROMISING EMISSIONS (sic)? Compromising emissions are

unintentional intelligence-bearing signals which, if intercepted and analyzed, disclose the

classified information transmitted, received, handled, or otherwise processed by any

information processing equipment.” It’s curious that the term “electromagnetic radiation” isn’t used in the definition. So, there are other monitoring vulnerabilities besides TEMPEST. Which leads us to HIJACK and NONSTOP.


In my quest for open-source material regarding TEMPEST, I’ve started to run into two new codewords, HIJACK and NONSTOP. At first there was only some sketchy information:

References to NONSTOP and HIJACK testing is starting to appear in outlines for TEMPEST training courses (with a reference to NACSEM 5112). Secret clearances are required for attending the classes. A Department of Defense course description reads, “The course will train students in the operation of the Honeywell and HLDS test detection systems and in the

fundamental requirements of NONSTOP/HIJACK testing.”

 An Air Force training glossary(O) lists the definitions of HIJACK and NONSTOP as classified. l Countermeasures are apparently being used against NONSTOP, with a reference to NSTISSI 7001.

NONSTOP has been around for awhile, NACSEM-5112 (RP-4) 1, 2, 3 & 4 NONSTOP

Evaluation Techniques (SECRET) dates back to April 1975.Then, thanks to publicly available documents I found on the Net, we now know a little bit more.

Although the documents had classified information excised, there were still enough tidbits to put together a speculative guess regarding what HIJACK and NONSTOP related to.

NONSTOP is a classified codeword that apparently relates to a form of compromising emanations, but involves the transmittal of the signals from radio frequency devices (handheld radio, cell phone, pager, alarm system, cordless phone, wireless network – AM/FM commercial broadcast receivers are excluded) in proximity to a device containing secure information. There are specific guidelines for either turning the RF device off, or keeping it a certain distance away from the secure device (PC, printer, etc.).

HIJACK is a classified codeword that apparently relates to a form of compromising emanations, but involves digital versus electromagnetic signals. An attack is similar in nature to a TEMPEST attack, where the adversary doesn’t need to be close to the device that’s being compromised. It does require access to communication lines (these can be wire or wireless). The adversary uses antennas, receivers, a display device, a recording device, and one additional piece of equipment (a special detection system that is supposedly very sensitive and very expensive; and there are not very many of them in existence -sorry, I don’t have any other details). Also, the technician using this special equipment will supposedly require a great deal of training and experience.

Remember, the above is speculation. And whether the guesses are accurate or not, at this point you’d need to have a security clearance to know for sure.

Monitoring Devices

John Williams (Consumertronics, P.O. Box 23097, Albuquerque, NM 87192) sells the Williams Van Eck System, an off the shelf emanation monitoring device. He also has a demonstration video and and a book called “Beyond Van Eck Phreaking.” The updated Consumertronics Web site has a variety of interesting products (the $3 paper catalog is a good read too). In past written correspondence with Mr. Williams, he has provided a considerable amount of technical details about his products.

Ian Murphy, CEO of IAM/Secure Data System wrote a very interesting paper on TEMPEST, including a Radio Shack parts list for building a receiver.

Do It Yourself Shielding Sources

If you’re handy with a soldering iron, Nelson Publishing produces something called the EMI/RFI

Buyers’ Guide. This is a comprehensive list of sources for shielding material, ferrites, and other radio frequency interference and electromagnetic interference type products. There’s even listings for TEMPEST products and consultants. Unfortunately, most of the sources don’t have links. But company names, addresses, and phone/FAX numbers are supplied.

A more general electronics manufacturer data base is electroBase. They have over 7,800 manufacturers of all types listed.

There’s an interesting product called Datastop Security Glass, that’s advertised as the only clear EMF/ RFI protection glass on the market. It’s free of metal mesh, so has excellent optical clarity. This is the same stuff the FAA uses in air traffic control towers. Contact TEMPEST SECURITY SYSTEMS INC. for more details.

Just remember, effective emanation security begins with the physical environment. Unless you can shield the wiring (telephone lines, electrical wiring, network cables, etc.), all of the copper around your PC and in the walls isn’t going to stop emanations from leaking to the outside world. In shielding, also remember that emanations can pass from one set of wires to another.

Regicide: The CIA and the Assassination of JFK

by Gregory Douglas

The DIA Analysis

18. The Dallas trip had been in train since late July of 1963. Texas was considered to be a key state in the upcoming 1964 Presidential elections. It was the disqualification of over 100,000 Texas votes, in conjunction with the known fraudulent voting in Chicago in 1960 that gave President Kennedy and his associates a slim margin of victory.

19. The actual route of Kennedys drive through downtown Dallas was made known to the local press on Tuesday, November 19. The sharp right turn from Main St. onto Houston and then the equally sharp left turn onto Elm was the only way to get to the on ramp to the Stemmons Freeway. A traffic divider on Main St. precluded the motorcade from taking the direct route, from Main St. across Houston and thence right to the Stemmons Freeway exit.

20. Just after the Presidents car passed the Texas Book Depository, a number of shots were fired. There were a total of three shots fired at the President. The first shot came from the right front, hitting him in the neck. This projectile did not exit the body. The immediate reaction by the President was to clutch at his neck and say, I have been hit! He was unable to move himself into any kind of a defensive posture because he was wearing a restrictive body brace.

21. The second shot came from above and behind the Presidential car, the bullet striking Texas Governor Connally in the upper right shoulder, passing through his chest and exiting sharply downwards into his left thigh.

22. The third, and fatal shot, was also fired at the President from the right front and from a position slightly above the car. This bullet, which was fired from a .223 weapon, struck the President above the right ear, passed through the right rear quadrant of his head and exited towards the left. Pieces of the Presidents skull and a large quantity of brain matter was blasted out and to the left of the car. Much of this matter struck a Dallas police motorcycle outrider positioned to the left rear of the Presidential car.

23. Photographic evidence indicates that the driver, SA Greer, slowed down the vehicle when shots were heard, in direct contravention of standing Secret Service regulations.

24. Reports that the initial hit on the President came from above and behind are false and misleading. Given the position of the vehicle at the time of impact and the altitude of the alleged shooter, a bullet striking the back of the Presidents neck would have exited sharply downward as did the projectile fired at Governor Connally purportedly from the same shooter located in the same area of the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository.

25. The projectile that killed the President was filled with mercury. When such a projectile enters a body, the sudden decrease in velocity causes the mercury to literally explode the shell. This type of projectile is designed to practically guarantee the death of the target and is a method in extensive use by European assassination teams.

26. The disappearance of Kennedys brain and related post mortem material from the U.S. National Archives was motivated by an official desire not to permit further testing which would certainly show the presence of mercury in the brain matter.

27. Official statements that the fatal shot was fired from above and behind are totally incorrect and intended to mislead. Such a shot would have blasted the brain and blood matter forward and not to the left rear. Also, photographic evidence indicates that after the fatal shot, the President was hurled towards his left, against his wife who was seated to his immediate left.

28. The so-called magic bullet theory, i.e., a relatively pristine, fired, Western Cartridge 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano projectile produced in evidence, is obviously an official attempt to justify its own thesis. This theory, that a projectile from above and behind struck the President in the upper back, swung up, exited his throat, gained altitude and then angled downwards through the body of Governor Connally, striking bone and passing through muscle mass and emerging in almost undamaged condition is a complete impossibility. The bullet in question was obtained by firing the alleged assassination weapon into a container of water.

29. Three other such projectiles were recovered in similar undamaged condition. One of these was produced for official inspection and was claimed to have been found on Governor Connallys stretcher at Parkland Hospital. As a goodly portion of the projectile was still in the Governors body (where much of it remained until his death some years later), this piece of purported evidence should be considered as nothing more than an official plant.

Authors Comments

Almost all of the revisionist works on the Kennedy assassination deal with forensics. The main, and only, purpose for the existence of the Warren Commission was to firmly establish that a lone individual who had no accomplices had shot President Kennedy. Any evidence in existence at the time the commission sat that furthered this thesis was used; any evidence that would refute their thesis was ignored.

Oswald, the lone individual with no accomplices, had to have shot the President, and Governor Connally, with a surplus Italian Army 6.5-mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle equipped with a cheap telescopic sight. He had to have fired from the sixth floor of a building, down at a moving target and have fired three shots in a five-second period of time. The Carcano was a very clumsy bolt-action rifle. The turned-down bolt handle was difficult to manipulate and the field of vision of the scope was so small as to virtually render it useless against a moving target.[1]

Tests by numerous firearms experts were never able to duplicate either the rate of fire or the alleged accuracy of the weapon purported to have been the sniper’s only weapon.[2] While the muzzle velocity of the 6.5-mm round tip bullet was very low, nevertheless, if it hit a human being within a reasonable distance, it could inflict a fatal shot.

The “magic bullet” thesis is a piece of impossible nonsense that nevertheless was eagerly accepted and promulgated by the Warren Commission and, decades after the event, is still shrilly supported by those members of the media who have a vested interest in doing so. The nearly pristine bullet conveniently planted on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital could never have hit or passed into anything other than a container of water.

Bumper stickers noted


1.Jesus loves you… but everyone else thinks you are an asshole
2. Impotence… Nature’s way of saying “No hard feelings”
3. The proctologist called… they found your head
4. Everyone has a photographic memory…some just don’t have any film
5. Save your breath…You’ll need it to blow up your date
6. Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them
7. I used to have a handle on life… but now it is broken
8. WANTED: Meaningful overnight relationship
9. Hang up and drive
10. If you can read this… I can slam on my brakes and sue you
11. Heart Attacks… God’s revenge for eating His animal friends
12. Your ridiculous little opinion has been noted
13. Try not to let your mind wander… It is too small to be out by itself
14. Some people just don’t know how to drive… I call these people “Everybody But Me”
15. Don’t like my driving… Then quit watching me
16. Guys… just because you have one… doesn’t mean you have to be one
17. Welcome to America… NOW speak English

18. Hire the Handicapped: They’re fun to watch!

19. Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.

20. Asians don’t drive cars, they aim them .

[1]    Terry Gander and Peter Chamberlain, Weapons of the Third Reich, Doubleday: New York, 1979.

[2]    Robert J. Groden and Harrison E. Livingstone, High Treason, New York: Conservatory Press, 1989, p. 58. Carl Oglesby, Who Killed JFK? Berkeley: Odonian Press, 1992, pp. 26f.

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