TBR News September 28, 2016

Sep 28 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C.  September 28, 2016: “1. Internet access can be controlled or its use directed according to the server configuration, thus creating an excellent disinformation weapon.  In previous times, a national media report that was deemed to be offensive or problematical to the government could be censored, or removed at governmental request. Now, however, the government cannot control the present Internet in the same manner in which it has previously controlled the public media. The Internet permits uncensored and unfiltered versions of events, personalities and actions to be disseminated worldwide in seconds and the so-called “blogs,” chat rooms and websites are almost completely uncontrolled and uncontrollable. This unfortunate situation permits versions of events to find a far wider and far more instantaneous audience than the standard print and, to a lesser degree, the television mediums ever could.

  1. The Internet can be used to send coded messages that cannot be interdicted by any government or law-enforcement agency. If man has devised a code or protection program that is supposed to be unbreakable, it is axiomatic that another man can break it. Even the DoD’s algorithmic field codes were easily broken by the Russian GRU during the initial stages of the Iraqi war and it is now known that CIA/USIA codes were also broken, allowing hostile entities to read Top Secret messages. In unfortunately many cases, individual computer experts are more skilled than their counterparts in the government and while, indeed, their encryptions can be broken, they can only be done so by exerting a great deal of effort and when this happens, new encryptions and firewalls can be almost instantly reerected.

3.The Internet can be utilized to steal and disseminate highly damaging, sensitive government or business data. Although highly sensitive official websites are routinely put under strict control, it seems that intruders always seem to succeed in breaking into them. Once this has happened, highly sensitive, and even damaging, information can, and has, been removed and put out on the Internet without any form of control

4.The Internet permits anti-government groups or individuals with few resources to offset the efforts of far larger, and far better funded, government and its national media sources. This is known as the ‘David and Goliath’ syndrome and is a subject of constant concern to all government agencies. Hitherto secure systems can be broken into, information can be extracted or the site (s) can be infected with malicious viruses and destroyed. All it takes to do this is a relatively inexpensive computer, programs that unfortunately are available to individuals seeking them. The best and most effective manner to deal with this kind of threat is the dummy site, designed to lure potential dissidents into joining with it. Skillful questioning of new members has been known to develop important leads to be followed up by conventional law enforcement methods.

5.The Internet can be used to create serious disruptions of governmental agencies and the business communities. It is known that certain dissidents, either as individuals or as groups, have developed devastating computer viruses. These viruses, which are capable of destroying large banks of computer information, both governmental or business. These rumors are very persistent and it is strongly believed that they exist as a dormant entity that can lie concealed in a target system until activated by some kind of a trigger mechanism.

  1. The Internet can serve as an excellent tool for organizing groups of anti-government individuals. (Redacted)
  2. The Internet can be used to expose government actions and military operations in advance of said actions. The immense proliferation of Internet sites has made it possible for adverse elements to break into hitherto secure systems, extract highly sensitive information and either supply it to foreign intelligence agencies such as the Russian SVR or the Israeli Mossad or simply to either publish it or mail it out. A discussion of foreign-based official U.S. computer hacking can be found elsewhere and this study deals solely with ad hoc domestic dissidents.
  3. The Internet is capable of hiding the identities of those launching attacks on the actions and personnel of various government agencies. (Redacted)

9.The Internet can materially assist an underfunded, anti-government group to raise money for continued operations. The use of such firms as PayPal facilitate the relatively secure transfer of money. Again, although it is possible to pressure such firms officially, if one agrees to cooperate, it is only a matter of time that this information will be leaked. We have once had excellent cooperation from SBC, ATT and AOL in conducting overview of millions of system users but lawsuits and Internet activists have published this information, rendering this valuable cooperation null and void.

10.The Internet can be utilized to locate and publicize the personnel of government agencies. It is routine practice in the CIA to have the DoS Passport Division issue official U.S. passports to our operatives working outside the country in names other than their own. The discovery of the real names of the passport holders could result in this material being maliciously posted on the Internet and this could not only subject the agent to serious compromise in the country they are operating in but can also subject them to local exposure and often contempt and harassment.

  1. The Internet is capable of limiting the risk of identification of the members of anti-government groups. The FBI, which is responsible for overview and action against counter-terrorism inside the United States. With the advent of the Internet, identification and penetration of anti-government groups has proven to be nearly impossible. The main cause of this failure is due almost entirely to the Internet which has proven a haven for dissidents of all kinds. Given that all domestic telephone calls and all Internet email is readily available to various domestic law enforcement agencies, it is still a monumental task to track and identify possible activists and other anti-government individuals or groups. We have assisted in setting up dummy anti-government sites, peopled them with professionals and provided them with almost-believable information to post for the purpose of establishing importance and also in disseminating disinformation. Persons viewing these sites can readily be identified and tracked, Further, we have an ongoing relationship with several information sites, such as Google, and whenever any viewer seeks information on subjects we deem as potentially negative, this information is automatically forwarded to the concerned agency.
  2. The Internet, while impossible to control, is also an excellent recruiting ground for sympathetic or easily-convinced “bloggers” who will quickly disseminate official dissemination for pay or public acclaim. It is invaluable to distract the public from questioning various governmental actions, both domestic and foreign. For this reason, our organization, and others, have “disinformation” centers that prepare information of a sensational nature which is then released to paid sources who, in turn, disseminate it onto the Internet. The purpose of this is to create a cloaking movement that will point the curious into innocuous areas. As a case in point, it was imperative to prevent the public sector from looking too deeply into the origins of the 9/11 attacks. To prevent exposure of the actions of members of the top levels of government in this attack, many stories were released, over a long period, to the public through wholly-controlled sites. Claims of devious plots, mystery methodologies, and often laughable conclusions have proven to be extraordinarily effective in constructive diversion. The collapse of the WTC buildings have been attributed to Thermite bombs, clouds of plasmoid gas and other nonsense but a very gullible American public has easily swallowed all of the fictions. As another example, the DoD has always under-declared its casualty rates in Iraq and Afghanistan because a full accounting could easily lead to public discomfiture and resulting action.

13.The Internet can be utilized to create an atmosphere of fear or of compliancy in furtherance of official policy. This is a particular ploy that worked very effectively during the two Bush administrations. A constant, on-going threat of vague “terrorist” actions inside the United States was material in gaining, and keeping, public support for the actions of the aforesaid administration. However, it must be noted, that threats must occasionally be proven to be true or too many “duds” tend to dull the public sense and, if continued, will lead to disillusion and anger.”

‘Tens of thousands to stand trial in Turkey’

Turkey has said 32,000 have been detained over links to Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for the July coup attempt. Turkey continues to press the US to extradite the Pennsylvania-based religious leader.

September 28, 2016


Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told NTV television that 70,000 people had been investigated after the coup and of them 32,000 remanded in custody. “This process is continuing,” Bozdag told the private broadcaster Wednesday in remarks broadcast live.

This staggering number of coup suspects marks an increase of more than 10,000 from those previously given by the government. Bozdag said that as courts review individual cases there could be new arrests, and some of those detained could also be released.

The logistic of conducting criminal trials of tens of thousands will be the biggest legal process in Turkey’s history and are set to put the system under unprecedented pressure.

“It is not entirely clear how the trials will be carried out,” Bozdag admitted as authorities struggle to set up venues for court hearings. “People are not going to be put on trial in just one place but trials will take place in all of Turkey … We will build new courthouses as needed.”

Extradition saga strains US-Turkey relations

Turkey’s allies, including Germany and the US, have expressed concern over the magnitude of the crackdown, but Ankara has insisted that the rule of law is being observed. Gulen, who has lived in self-exile in the United States since 1999, has denied that he was linked to the coup even as Ankara continues its full court press for extradition of the 75-year-old.

US officials have repeatedly said Ankara must provide material evidence to satisfy federal legal requirements over any extradition. Gulen is a permanent legal resident of the Untied States.

In addition to the tens of thousands being held, more than 50,000 Turkish citizens have been expelled from the civil service, including in the military, police, judiciary, and education, through decrees under the state of emergency declared after the failed coup.

MH17 shot down by rebels using Buk system brought from Russia – int’l investigators

September 28, 2016


A Dutch-led team of international investigators has released its findings in the criminal probe of the MH17 crash, concluding the plane was shot down by rebels in eastern Ukraine, using a Buk missile system “brought from Russia.” Moscow has repeatedly denied supplying weapons to the rebels.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) consists of investigators and experts from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and Ukraine. The team was tasked with determining who was responsible for the incident in which Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

“Based on the results of the criminal investigation, it may be concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, by a 9M38-series missile from a Buk missile launcher and [it] was brought from the territory of the Russian Federation and after launch subsequently returned to the Russian Federation territory,” said Wilbert Paulissen, the director of the National Criminal Investigation Division of National Police of the Netherlands.

The report by the JIT says the findings on the Buk route from Russia are based on various sources, including “intercepted telephone conversations, witness statements, photographs and videos that had been posted on social media.”

However, the criminal investigation has not directly linked Russia to the downing, Dutch chief-prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said.

“We have determined that the weapons came from the Russian Federation. Having established this, we do not make statements about the participation of the Russian Federation as a nation or people from the Russian Federation,” the official said.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team says that a technical problem and an “attack within the aircraft,” such as a terrorist assault, can be ruled out.

“An accident and evidence for a terrorist attack from inside the aircraft have been ruled out. Results from the forensic investigation support the scenario of an attack from outside the aircraft,” the JIT said in the report published on Wednesday following the official presentation.

No other aircraft could have shot down the plane either, the JIT says, citing various radar data, including that provided by Russia.

The JIT presented an audio recording that allegedly proves that rebel forces voiced a need for a Buk missile system, and subsequently received one.

According to the JIT, the team investigated the claims by Russia that the plane was shot down from the village of Zaroshchenskoye, held by Ukrainian forces. Citing an alleged audio interception of the rebels, the JIT concluded that the missile did not come from that territory.

International investigators instead say that flight MH17 was shot down from the village of Pervomayskoye (Pervomaiskyi), held by rebel forces at the time of the incident.

The findings are “being backed by the US data, which evaluated that the launch site was located 6km south to Snezhnoye,” which at that time was controlled by rebel forces, the JIT says.

About 100 people could be linked to the alleged transportation of the Buk missile system to eastern Ukraine and the missile launch, the JIT announced. There should however be a further investigation, the team added.

According to the JIT, it is not clear how long it will take for investigators to establish the exact roles of the people allegedly linked to the incident.

The JIT added that it is also not clear whether the downing might have been a mistake. However, according to some audio recordings, “people were surprised” after it was revealed which plane had been brought down, the JIT said.

During the press conference on Wednesday the Dutch-led investigators said they did not have an opportunity to analyze new Russian radar data on the incident.

Almaz-Antey, which produces the Buk missile system, said that last week it handed over raw radar data from the airspace around the crash site of MH17 on the very day of the tragedy. The radar, located in Russia, had not spotted any objects that came from the rebel-held territories towards the crashed jet, the radar producer said.

The JIT says that the radar images provided by Russia will be reviewed by the investigation team.

The Russian Defense Ministry and Buk producer Almaz-Antey have repeatedly said that flight MH17 might have been shot down from the village of Zaroshchenskoye, which was held by Ukrainian forces at the time of the incident.

Almaz-Antey carried out two full-scale experiments aimed at recreating the MH17 crash, checking the potential trajectory of the Buk missile.

On Monday, Andrey Koban, the head of the Russian Air Forces’ radar troops, said that Ukraine has still not disclosed its radar data.

“The Ukrainian side has air situation data in the area of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 crash from both civilian and military sources. The fact that Ukraine has not published radar data leads us to the conjecture that the missile, if it was a Buk, was launched from territory under the control of the Ukrainian military,” the general said.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said Monday that since Ukraine is withholding the radar data, the investigation “is following the wrong path – starting with the contradictory data about the warhead elements to the wrong identification of the missile – and hence its launch site.”

Ukraine and its foreign sponsors repeatedly accused Russia of arming and supporting the rebels, an accusation that Moscow denies. Almost immediately after MH17 was downed, Western media and some governments blamed Russia, claiming Moscow had either provided the Buk system to the rebels or sent its regular troops to take down Ukrainian warplanes on their behalf.

Russia denied the accusations on numerous occasions. It also challenged Kiev’s claims that Ukraine had neither warplanes nor Buk systems in the area by producing public satellite and radar images showing evidence to the contrary.

Were Paper Losses the Goal All Along?

September 27, 2016

by David Dayen

The Intercept

Part 6

If your goal is to launder money through a brokerage account, paper losses are worth serious money. Buying imaginary shares of a stock guaranteed to lose value is an awesome way to do that. You just need someone to set it up.

Say you’re a Swiss bank and you want to launder some money for high-net-worth clients.

Here’s one way: Start by placing large quantities of the funds into a brokerage account at the bank under the name of a shell corporation.

Then, conduct multiple financial transactions with the funds, confusing the true source of the money. Once the transactions “wash” the money, it can be spent out of the brokerage account as simply as writing a check or using a credit card.

Wealthy clients will pay handsomely for this activity. Not only do they get access to funds laundered through the banking system, but by placing the money offshore in a shell corporation, they can avoid taxation in their host country. “Money laundering is tax evasion in process,” said John Cassara, a 26-year intelligence and law enforcement official and former special agent for the Treasury Department. “Shell companies make it more complicated to figure out who that money belongs to and where it’s going.”

UBS, the giant Swiss bank that self-appointed investigator Chris DiIorio suspected was part of the kind of penny-stock manipulation that wiped out his penny-stock investment in 2006, has a checkered history with these types of activities.

The bank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department over cross-border activities for its clients in February 2009, paying a $780 million fine. UBS admitted that it established secret accounts for roughly 17,000 wealthy American clients “in the name of offshore companies, allowing United States taxpayers to evade reporting requirements and trade in securities as well as other financial transactions (including … using credit or debit cards linked to the offshore company accounts).”

The government dismissed criminal charges against UBS in 2010, claiming the bank had fully dismantled its cross-border tax evasion activity.

DiIorio believes UBS never stopped. Years of digging through public records and connecting dots led him to that conclusion.

But this is also where DiIorio’s accusations get considerably harder to substantiate, and his theories start to multiply, sometimes even contradicting one another.

His suppositions up to this point come with swaths of data that bolster them. From this point onward, DiIorio’s main argument is the absence of alternate explanations.

Here, however, is the way DiIorio thinks it worked — and continues to work: UBS clients use their brokerage accounts to invest in penny stocks issued by companies that appear to conduct no business activity and have no revenue potential — all they do is issue billions of shares of stock. These stocks, he figures, are the same ones Knight Capital is naked shorting: selling shares it doesn’t really have.

UBS’s clients, according to DiIorio, purchase the penny stocks because they know they will drop in price. That way, they can use capital losses to offset any capital gains in the brokerage account, “resulting in a reduction in their reported income-tax liability and the underpayment of millions in taxes,” according to DiIorio’s 2013 complaint to the SEC.

That happens at the same time that the money placed in the brokerage account is being commingled with the various trades, he argues — effectively laundering it.

The IRS rarely suspects trading in equity markets is a vehicle for money laundering or tax evasion, because it assumes stock investors are trying to make money. “It’s a lot more efficient than stuffing diamonds into toothpaste,” DiIorio says.

In fact, illicit financial flows through brokerage accounts are rarely scrutinized at all. “In federal law enforcement, we have skilled people, but we have a whole lot of people in there, they don’t get the securities markets,” said Cassara, the former Treasury agent. “They don’t get trade-based money laundering. The bad guys know this so they pile on the layering.”

He cited statistics from Raymond Baker, president of the research group Global Financial Integrity, that indicate money-laundering enforcement fails 99.9 percent of the time. “I use his line, total failure is only a [decimal] point away.”

DiIorio argues that client losses from the drops in value of the penny stocks are a small price to pay for the layering activity and tax avoidance. That’s if they’re even losses at all. Because if the stock shares never really existed, maybe the payments never happened either.

In fact, DiIorio also alleges that many of the transactions go through outside hedge funds, which convert promissory notes from the penny stock companies into equity, in private stock offerings. (The CEO of E Mobile tried to sell DiIorio a private placement back in 2006, you may recall.)

Normally, a company issues a promissory note in return for cash — the note representing a promise to pay it back later, plus interest. But some notes, called convertible promissory notes, are also convertible to stock.

DiIorio claims that in some cases, penny stock issuing companies were simply creating convertible promissory notes as a way of issuing more stock. The funds from these investments never appeared on the balance sheet of the companies — suggesting that no money changed hands for the purchase of the note, which was then converted to stock. That would make the losses merely on-paper losses: a classic tax evasion play.

One example DiIorio provides comes from FreeSeas, the shipping company referenced earlier (see The Penny Stock Chronicles, Part 3). It engaged in four convertible promissory note sales with stated values of between $500,000 and $600,000 in five months in 2015, with Alderbrook Ship Finance Ltd. (April), Casern Holdings Ltd. (June), the AMVS Value Fund (July), and Casern again (September). Alderbrook Ship Finance didn’t exist until two days before the sale; AMVS had a lifespan of four days before it purchased FreeSeas’s promissory note. The two companies share the same Toronto address and the same director, Justine Kerrivan of Ber Tov Capital. And despite all the cash flow, FreeSeas only had $20,000 cash on hand at the end of 2015, per its annual SEC filing.

“FreeSeas is a structured tax evasion/money laundering scam being perpetrated on the investing public as we speak,” DiIorio wrote in an email to SEC officials last September.

A contact for Casern, a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (a location notorious for shell corporations), did not respond to a request for comment. Ber Tov Capital, the company that apparently set up Alderbrook and AMVS, also declined to comment.

DiIorio jumps back and forth in his claims. Sometimes he says there’s no money changing hands, just a bunch of paper losses. Sometimes he says there are some losses, but less than the tax liability avoided. And sometimes he says the losses are real, but worth the cost in exchange for laundering large sums of money. To DiIorio, it’s all variations on the same basic scheme: using sham companies and stock manipulation to generate losses on purpose, tailored to clients’ individual needs.

The Intercept asked UBS about all of these allegations. The only response, from Director of Media Relations Peter Stack, came in a single line: “UBS applies strict due diligence and anti-money-laundering standards to all its business.”

Collateral Damage

DiIorio’s initial investment in 2006 — where the on-paper value dropped from $1.3 million to next to nothing in a matter of months — was a fluke, he now believes. Sure, naked shorting rips off investors, but that’s not the true aim. In his view, penny stocks like FreeSeas or NewLead or Colorado Goldfields were structured tax evasion vehicles for the benefit of unknown people with money looking to hide their activities.

He was unlucky enough to be collateral damage.

The theory has an internal logic to it but is based on a fair bit of speculation. While trading activity can be used to launder money, some experts argue there are far simpler ways to do so instead of actually losing a share of the money to throw regulators off the trail.

For example, Jack Blum, a former U.S. Senate investigator and white-collar crime expert, suggests that launderers can more easily wire money through international markets, use bogus tax shelters, or even lend themselves money to buy property while falsifying the records of the transfer. (“Each case requires a small book to explain,” he said.)

And none of those tactics involves actually losing money intentionally. Even in his complaint to the SEC, DiIorio acknowledged that he was “alleging a massive and nefarious conspiracy based, at least in part, on circumstantial evidence.” And in a separate complaint, he admitted that he does not have the taxpayer records that would be critical to pinpointing the scheme.

But John Cassara found the theory relatively plausible. “People do what they know,” he said. “If you’re talking about financiers that work in a world I can’t relate to, for them it may be, let’s construct this financial instrument, this trade, I’ll work with my guy, a wink and a nod and it’s done.”

Furthermore, many of the facts DiIorio based the alleged conspiracy on checked out. There was an array of penny stocks that kept undergoing reverse splits. Knight and UBS did trade in them. Knight’s balance sheet appeared to expand strangely, including an increase in the “sold not yet purchased” liability. And UBS had a history of helping its clients evade taxes, often through shell corporations.

UBS’s admission and fine in 2009 came only after whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS banker, divulged the schemes that the bank used to encourage American citizens to dodge their taxes. But Birkenfeld’s information exposed the undeclared bank accounts. “How did the cash get there, and how do they get the cash back?” DiIorio said. “I explained how.”

DiIorio added UBS to his list of claims with the SEC. The list would grow over the years to take in several of the microcap stocks the bank traded, such as FreeSeas and NewLead. DiIorio amended his initial complaint in November 2011 and continued to send dozens of emails directly to SEC officials, including Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower Sean McKessy and even Chair Mary Schapiro. But the SEC remained mute.

The SEC wouldn’t answer our questions, either. And through spokesperson Sophie Sohn, Knight also declined to comment for this story.

And then something happened that changed DiIorio’s entire perception of how the securities regulators were dealing with his claims. He went from thinking that the SEC and its counterparts just didn’t understand the sophisticated scheme — to believing they were waving it through.

Apple Logs Your iMessage Contacts — and May Share Them With Police

September 28 2016

by Sam Biddle

The Intercept

Apple promises that your iMessage conversations are safe and out of reach from anyone other than you and your friends. But according to a document obtained by The Intercept, your blue-bubbled texts do leave behind a log of which phone numbers you are poised to contact and shares this (and other potentially sensitive metadata) with law enforcement when compelled by court order.

Every time you type a number into your iPhone for a text conversation, the Messages app contacts Apple servers to determine whether to route a given message over the ubiquitous SMS system, represented in the app by those déclassé green text bubbles, or over Apple’s proprietary and more secure messaging network, represented by pleasant blue bubbles, according to the document. Apple records each query in which your phone calls home to see who’s in the iMessage system and who’s not.

This log also includes the date and time when you entered a number, along with your IP address — which could, contrary to a 2013 Apple claim that “we do not store data related to customers’ location,” identify a customer’s location. Apple is compelled to turn over such information via court orders for systems known as “pen registers” or “tap and trace devices,” orders that are not particularly onerous to obtain, requiring only that government lawyers represent they are “likely” to obtain information whose “use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.” Apple confirmed to The Intercept that it only retains these logs for a period of 30 days, though court orders of this kind can typically be extended in additional 30-day periods, meaning a series of monthlong log snapshots from Apple could be strung together by police to create a longer list of whose numbers someone has been entering.

The Intercept received the document about Apple’s Messages logs as part of a larger cache originating from within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Electronic Surveillance Support Team, a state police agency that facilitates police data collection using controversial tools like the Stingray, along with conventional techniques like pen registers. The document, titled “iMessage FAQ for Law Enforcement,” is designated for “Law Enforcement Sources” and “For Official Use Only,” though it’s unclear who wrote it or for what specific audience — metadata embedded in the PDF cites an author only named “mrrodriguez.” (The term “iMessages” refers to an old name for the Messages app still commonly used to refer to it.)

Phone companies routinely hand over metadata about calls to law enforcement in response to pen register warrants. But it’s noteworthy that Apple is able to provide information on iMessage contacts under such warrants given that Apple and others have positioned the messaging platform as a particularly secure alternative to regular texting.

The document reads like a fairly standard overview that one might forward to a clueless parent (questions include “How does it work?” and “Does iMessage use my cellular data plan?”), until the final section, “What will I get if I serve Apple with a [pen register/tap and trace] court order for an iMessage account?”:

Apple maintains a log of phone numbers you’ve entered into Messages and potentially elsewhere on an Apple device, like the Contacts app, even if you never end up communicating with those people. The document implies that Messages transmits these numbers to Apple when you open a new chat window and select a contact or number with whom to communicate, but it’s unclear exactly when these queries are triggered, and how often — an Apple spokesperson confirmed only that the logging information in the iMessage FAQ is “generally accurate,” but declined to elaborate on the record.

Apple provided the following statement:

When law enforcement presents us with a valid subpoena or court order, we provide the requested information if it is in our possession. Because iMessage is encrypted end-to-end, we do not have access to the contents of those communications. In some cases, we are able to provide data from server logs that are generated from customers accessing certain apps on their devices. We work closely with law enforcement to help them understand what we can provide and make clear these query logs don’t contain the contents of conversations or prove that any communication actually took place.

And it’s true, based on the sample information provided in the FAQ, that Apple doesn’t appear to provide any indication whatsoever that an iMessage conversation took place. But a list of the people you choose to associate with can be just as sensitive as your messages with those people. It requires little stretching of the imagination to come up with a scenario in which the fact that you swapped numbers with someone at some point in the past could be construed as incriminating or compromising.

Andrew Crocker, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the document prompted further questions:

“How often are lookups performed? Does opening [an iMessage] thread cause a lookup? Why is Apple retaining this information?”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not return a request for comment.

The fact that Apple is able and willing to help the government map the communications networks of its users doesn’t necessarily undermine the company’s posturing (and record) as a guardian of privacy, though this leaked document provides more detail about how the iMessages system can be monitored than has been volunteered in the past. Ideally, customers wouldn’t need to read documents marked “For Official Use Only” in order to know what information Apple may or may not disclose to the police. In a section of its website devoted to touting the privacy safeguards in its products, Apple claims that “your iMessages and FaceTime calls are your business, not ours. … Unlike other companies’ messaging services, Apple doesn’t scan your communications, and we wouldn’t be able to comply with a wiretap order even if we wanted to.”

In 2013, after Apple was revealed to be among the tech companies caught up in an NSA surveillance program known as PRISM, which tapped into customer information on the central servers of nine leading internet companies, the company released a rare statement regarding its “commitment to customer privacy,” insisting that it would be unable to share sensitive customer data even if it wanted to:

For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data. Similarly, we do not store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.

Questions of how much Apple could or would aid police if asked vaulted back into headlines following the mass shooting in San Bernardino last year, which left the FBI in possession of the shooter’s iPhone, which it was unable initially to decrypt. Apple balked at demands that it help crack the phone, allowing it to enjoy a reputation as not just a maker of expensive electronics, but a determined privacy advocate. We need more technology companies that are willing to take public, principled stands in defense of our private lives, but these same companies should follow through with technical transparency, not just statements.

Greenland’s receding icecap to expose top-secret US nuclear project

Camp Century – part of Project Iceworm – is an underground cold war network that was thought to have been buried forever

September 27, 2016

by Jon Henley

The Guardian

A top-secret US military project from the cold war and the toxic waste it conceals, thought to have been buried forever beneath the Greenland icecap, are likely to be uncovered by rising temperatures within decades, scientists have said.

The US army engineering corps excavated Camp Century in 1959 around 200km (124 miles) from the coast of Greenland, which was then a county of Denmark.

Powered, remarkably, by the world’s first mobile nuclear generator and known as “the city under the ice”, the camp’s three-kilometre network of tunnels, eight metres beneath the ice, housed laboratories, a shop, a hospital, a cinema, a chapel and accommodation for as many as 200 soldiers.

Its personnel were officially stationed there to test Arctic construction methods and carry out research. Scientists based at the camp did, indeed, drill the first ice core samples ever used to study the earth’s climate, obtaining data still cited today, according to William Colgan, a climate and glacier scientist from the Lassonde school of engineering at Toronto’s York University, and the lead author of the study.

In reality, the camp served as cover for something altogether different – a project so immense and so secret that not even the Danish government was informed of its existence.

“They thought it would never be exposed,” said Colgan. “Back then, in the 60s, the term global warming had not even been coined. But the climate is changing, and the question now is whether what’s down there is going to stay down there.”

The study suggests it is not.

Project Iceworm, presented to the US chiefs of staff in 1960, aimed to use Camp Century’s frozen tunnels to test the feasibility of a huge launch site under the ice, close enough to fire nuclear missiles directly at the Soviet Union.

At the height of the cold war, as the US and the USSR were engaged in a terrifying standoff over the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba, the US army was considering the construction of a vast subterranean extension of Camp Century.

A system of about 4,000 kilometres of icy underground tunnels and chambers extending over an area around three times the size of Denmark were to have housed 600 ballistic missiles in clusters six kilometres apart, trained on Moscow and its satellites.

Eventually the engineers realised Iceworm would not work. The constantly moving ice was too unstable and would have deformed and perhaps even collapsed the tunnels.

From 1964 Camp Century was used only intermittently, and three years later it was abandoned altogether, the departing soldiers taking the reaction chamber of the nuclear generator with them.

They left the rest of the camp’s infrastructure – and its biological, chemical and radioactive waste – where it was, on the assumption it would be “preserved for eternity” by the perpetually accumulating snow and ice.

Thus far their assumption has proven correct. Up to 12 metres deep at the time it was abandoned, the ice covering Camp Century has since thickened to around 35 metres and will continue to deepen for a while yet.

Climate change, however, looks certain to reverse that process, Colgan and his six-strong team from Canadian, US and European universities said in their report, which was published last month in Geophysical Research Letters.

Greenland’s temperatures broke new records this spring and summer, hitting 24C (75F) in the capital, Nuuk, in June – a figure that shocked meteorologists so much they had to recheck their measurements.

Between 2003 and 2010, the ice that covers much of the island melted twice as fast as during the whole of the 20th century. This year it began melting a month earlier than usual.

The researchers studied US army documents and drawings to work out how deep the camp and its waste – estimated to include 200,000 litres of diesel fuel, similar quantities of waste water and unknown amounts of radioactive coolant and toxic organic pollutants such as PCBs – were buried.

Then they ran regional and global climate change simulations to work out how much longer they would remain interred. Based on the “business as usual” climate change scenario, Colgan said, snowfall would continue to be greater than ice melt for a few more decades. “But after that, melt will be greater than snow. Every year, another layer of ice will be removed. Our estimate is that by 2090, the exposure will be irreversible. It could happen sooner if the magnitude of climate change accelerates.”

Once that starts to happen, the question of who is responsible for the clear-up – already the subject of discussion – will become more pressing, the report said, presenting “an entirely new form of political dispute resulting from climate change”.

With no established agreement on the question, the report says the “multinational, multi-generational” problem posed by Camp Century and its waste could become a source of tension between the US, Greenland and Denmark.

Denmark allowed the US to build Camp Century and other bases on Greenland in a 1951 agreement, but it is not clear how much it was told about the work being done there or the waste left behind. Complicating matters further, Greenland became largely self-governing in 1979.

Vittus Qujaukitsoq, Greenland’s foreign minister, said he was concerned about the camp’s future and determined to establish responsibility. His Danish counterpart, Kristian Jensen, has said the issue was being examined in close contact with Greenland.

The Pentagon has said it “acknowledges the reality of climate change and the risk it poses” for Greenland, adding that the US government has pledged to “work with the Danish government and the Greenland authorities to settle questions of mutual security”.

Greenland’s huge annual ice loss is even worse than thought

Ice cap is disappearing far more rapidly than previously estimated, and is part of a long-term trend, new research shows

September 21, 2016

by Damian Carrington

The Guardian

The huge annual losses of ice from the Greenland cap are even worse than thought, according to new research which also shows that the melt is not a short-term blip but a long-term trend.

The melting Greenland ice sheet is already a major contributor to rising sea level and if it was eventually lost entirely, the oceans would rise by six metres around the world, flooding many of the world’s largest cities.

The new study reveals a more accurate estimate of the ice loss by taking better account of the gradual rise of the entire Greenland landmass. When the ice cap was at its peak 20,000 years ago, its great weight depressed the hot, viscous rocks in the underlying mantle. As ice has been shed since, the island has slowly rebounded upwards.

Previous satellite estimates of modern ice losses tried to take this into account, but precise new GPS data showed much of Greenland is rising far more rapidly than thought, up to 12mm a year. This means 19 cubic kilometres more ice is falling into the sea each year, an increase of about 8% on earlier figures.

The faster rebound is thought to be the result of hotter, more elastic mantle rocks under eastern Greenland, a remnant from 40m years ago when the island passed over the hot spot that now powers Iceland’s volcanoes.

The new work was also able to reconstruct the ice loss from Greenland over millennia and found that the same parts of Greenland – the north-west and south-east – were where most ice is being lost both in the past and today.

This means the rapid ice loss recorded by satellite measurements over the last 20 years is not likely to be a blip, but part of a long-term trend being exacerbated by climate change. Global warming is driving major melting on the surface of Greenland’s glaciers and is speeding up their travel into the sea.

“The fact that we are seeing such a similarity of past and present behaviour suggests we could lose ice in these regions for decades into the future,” said Prof Jonathan Bamber, at the University of Bristol, UK, and one of the international team of scientists who carried out the new study, published in Science Advances.

Bamber said the presence of a long-term trend does not mean global warming is not a crucial factor: “One thing we can be certain of is that a warmer atmosphere and a warmer ocean is only going to accelerate this trend.”

“The headlines of climate change and melting polar ice are not going to change,” said Dr Christopher Harig, at the University of Arizona, who was not involved in the study. “The new research happening now really speaks to the question: ‘How fast or how much ice can or will melt by the end of the century?’ As we understand more the complexity of the ice sheets, these estimates have tended to go up. In my mind, the time for urgency about climate change [action] really arrived years ago, and it’s past time our policy reflected that urgency.”

Dr Pippa Whitehouse, at the University of Durham and also not involved in the new research, said: “This study highlights the powerful insight that GPS measurements can give into past and present ice loss. Using such measurements, this study demonstrates that some of the highest rates of ice loss across Greenland – both in the past and at present – are found in areas where the ice sheet flows directly into the ocean, making it dangerously susceptible to future warming in both the atmosphere and the ocean.”

The team behind the new research said better estimates of continental rebound rates could be even more significant in estimates of ice loss from the world’s biggest ice cap, in Antarctica, but that sparse data from the remote continent made analysis difficult.

In April, very high temperatures led to a record-breaking early onset of glacier melting in Greenland, while another satellite study in August reaffirmed the rapid loss of ice.

Government Creates a Fake Expert, Won’t Release Files on Him Because Privacy

In search of Guy Sims Fitch

September 27, 2016

by Jesse Walker


“Guy Sims Fitch” was a persona created by the U.S. Information Agency in the early Cold War era. Various people on the agency’s payroll would write articles on economics under Fitch’s name, and those pieces then appeared in news outlets around the world. It would be nice to know who exactly was writing those articles, and it would be nice to know if those pseudonymous scribes were writing under any other names as well. But when a reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act request for more info on the Fitch program, the government told him he’d first have to get permission from the writers involved—that is, from the very people whose identities he was trying to uncover. Alternately, he could prove that they’re dead.

“Under the Freedom of Information Act,” Gizmodo’s Matt Novak explains, “federal agencies are required to take into consideration the privacy rights of living individuals. Dead people don’t have privacy rights under US law…[b]ut Guy Sims Fitch can never die, because he was never born.” So when Novak asked the Central Intelligence Agency for its Fitch files, this happened:

They’ve asked that I submit verification of identify for the editors and journalists who wrote under the name Guy Sims Fitch in the 1950s and 60s, along with documents showing that those people consent to having their information made public. And in the case of any editors who wrote under Guy Sims Fitch who might be dead, I’m supposed to submit proof of death. Unfortunately, I don’t have a list of government agents from the 1950s that wrote under the name Guy Sims Fitch. I was kind of hoping that the CIA would fill me in on that. Or, at the very least, tell me a bit more about why they were using fake people to support causes that presumably real people could have written about.

Remember: The federal government has no trouble redacting information that it doesn’t want to reveal. It would not be terribly difficult for it to release these documents with the names of any still-living figures blacked out. That could still provide plenty of useful data about where the articles were placed, what they said, what other people were involved, and perhaps even whether any parallel programs were underway.

This is a program that began more than half a century ago. The agency that spearheaded it doesn’t even exist anymore. There should be tons of information whose release would not violate even the most absurdly stringent conceptions of privacy rights or national security.

But then, we aren’t exactly living in an age of maximum federal transparency. This isn’t even an age of moderate federal transparency. This is an age when “FOIA Denial Officer” is a job title. Novak is appealing the decision, but there’s no guarantee that common sense will prevail. Could someone please send the Guy Fitch files to WikiLeaks?

Germany used to be the promised land for migrants. Now, it’s turning back more of them

September 27, 2016

by Anthony Faiola.

Washington Post

Where are you going?” the officer asked slowly. Sarwari tugged nervously at her pink headscarf. In her arms, her son squirmed and whined. Her daughter, terrified, was on the verge of tears.

“To Germany,” Sarwari said. “To Germany.”

The officer shook his head.

“You’ll have to come with us,” he said.

In September 2015, as thousands of migrants a day were converging on Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued an astounding pledge. In the face of raging wars in the Middle East, she said there was “no limit” to the number of refugees Germany could accept. That promise — along with some of the most generous refugee benefits in the world — made the same country that sparked World War II an asylum seeker’s paradise.

But that has already begun to change. Since March, tougher controls in the Balkans, Greece and Turkey have sharply reduced the number of new arrivals. But hundreds of migrants each week — mostly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa — are still attempting to enter Germany.

Yet the nation that took in more migrants last year than the rest of Europe combined is making it harder to get in. In August, Germany refused entry to 1,070 of the 2,300 migrants — or 46 percent — it stopped on its side of the Austrian border. In January, when arrival numbers were far higher, only 7 percent of migrants were turned back.

The smaller number of arrivals now, German officials say, has allowed them to more rigorously question migrants and apply rules meant to weed out economic migrants and opportunists. But critics say the policy is too sweeping and that there’s a good chance that people who qualify for German asylum are not being given a chance to apply. A large portion of those coming now also already have family in Germany and are trying to skirt years-long waiting periods for family reunions .

Yet the German message to migrants is clear: It’s not so easy anymore.

“The reality of today’s Germany is a different one than the refugee fairytale of last summer,” said Karl Kopp, spokesman for the migrant aid group Pro Asyl.

It happens as Germany is drowning in a backlog of hundreds of thousands of asylum requests. Last year, it paid $5.91 billion in aid and shelter, more than double the cost in 2014. A violent standoff last week between migrants and right-wing Germans became the latest sign of rising tensions. Germans are investigating 60 cases of migrants allegedly conspiring with Islamist militants.

Perhaps the most important factor: The chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union is suffering steep political losses because of her refugee stance, losing ground in a string of local elections and surrendering voters to the anti-migrant, Alternative for Germany party only a year before Merkel’s possible reelection bid. After another bitter defeat in liberal Berlin, Merkel this week offered a mea culpa.

“If I could, I would turn back time, many, many years in order to be able to better prepare myself, the whole government and all those responsible, for the situation that hit us rather unexpectedly in late summer of 2015,” she said.

Germany is now rejecting more than a third of all asylum applications for those already there, and it is trying to negotiate mass returns to countries like Afghanistan. The tough-talking interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, has even suggested that Germany wants to send many refugees back to bankrupt Greece, where most of them first entered Europe.

In the graceful city of Salzburg — the birthplace of Mozart that last year turned into the main gateway into Germany for migrants — German police are going further. Since June, they have been boarding trains here to pull off irregular migrants with Austria’s blessing. Some migrants are briefly detained in Austrian jails. Most get 14 days to leave the country or apply for asylum in Austria. Still others could get pushed back by the Austrians to Italy or Slovenia.

It is all part, observers say, of Europe’s closing door.

As the German police led Shakira Sarwari off the train in Salzburg, her daughter, Setayesh, dressed in pink sneakers and an Elsa shirt from Disney’s “Frozen,” broke down in tears. In the busy terminal, and flanked by cops, they walked past gawking passengers as Sarwari tried to comfort her crying son.

“Ssh, ssh,” she said softly, cradling Mohammed in her arms.

The German police showed the three of them into an industrial-looking room fitted with a computer terminal, a few wooden desks and a bench behind a partial fence. She went behind the fence with a male officer, who did a cursory check. She placidly complied when he asked her to remove her headscarf. Mohammed cried as the police took his mother’s digital fingerprints.

As requested, she emptied her possessions onto a table — the most important being a plastic bag with a few hundred euros, all that she had left. She flushed as she was presented with, and asked to sign, a document in her native Pashtun language stating that she was being denied entry to Germany. She would later tell an interpreter that she couldn’t read or write.

Via a telephone interpreter, she was able to communicate with the police, telling them that her husband was already in Germany and she was trying to join him there.

“I want to go to Germany,” she said.

“You cannot go,” an officer explained. “Because of European law.” She was told she would need to stay in Austria.

“I do not want to stay here,” she said, shaking her head. “My husband is in Germany.”

Her girl could not stop crying now. One of the German officers, Horst Auerbach, gave her daughter a gentle look and a glass of water.

“It gets to you,” he said, a lump in his throat.

Within two hours, the family was handed over to the Austrian police. A sturdy female cop with plastic gloves took Sarwari away for a more thorough search. Afterward, the family spent the night at the main Salzburg police station.

The next morning, like most migrants taken off the trains here, she was issued an order to leave the country or apply for asylum in Austria. Some Austrian politicians are bitterly complaining that the German policy is leaving more migrants on Austria’s doorstep — although Austria, too, is trying to send some migrants back to Italy and Slovenia. Officials in Vienna say both they and the Germans are simply following European rules.

It remains unclear how efficient the German measures are at thwarting migrants. All the migrants in Salzburg are indeed being stopped. But farther north, at other border crossings, more asylum seekers are managing to get across the German border, where German officers decide whether to push them back. Almost 1 out of every 2 are refused. Decisions, officials say, are made on a case-by-case basis.

As Sarwari prepared to leave the police station, she said she had no real plan. She did not speak German or English. She did not know which way to go.

“I made it this far by myself, with the kids, and I am going to go to Germany,” she said, determined. “I will manage to find a way.”

Stephanie Kirchner contributed to this report.

At your service: cyber criminals for hire to militants, EU say

September 28, 2016


Cybercriminals offering contract services for hire offer militant groups the means to attack Europe but such groups have yet to employ such techniques in major attacks, EU police agency Europol said on Wednesday.

“There is currently little evidence to suggest that their cyber-attack capability extends beyond common website defacement,” it said in its annual cybercrime threat assessment in a year marked by Islamic State violence in Europe.

But the internet’s criminal shadow the Darknet had potential to be exploited by militants taking advantage of computer experts offering “crime as a service”, Europol added: “The availability of cybercrime tools and services, and illicit commodities (including firearms) on the Darknet, provide ample opportunities for this situation to change.”

Overall, the report found, existing trends in cybercrime continued to grow, with some of the European Union’s member states reporting more cyber crimes than the traditional variety.

“Europol is concerned about how an expanding cybercriminal community has been able to further exploit our increasing dependence on technology and the internet,” its director, Rob Wainwright, said in a statement. “We have also seen a marked shift in cyber-facilitated activities relating to trafficking in human beings, terrorism and other threats.”

“Ransomware” – programs which break into databases and demand payment for unlocking codes via virtual currencies such as Bitcoin – continued to expand as a problem, as did highly targeted “phishing” attacks to extract security data from senior figures – “CEO fraud” – and video streaming of child abuse.

Attacks on bank cash-machine networks were also increasing, the report found, as were frauds exploiting new contactless payment card transactions, while traditional scams involving the physical presence of a card had been successfully reduced.

(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Brussels; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

A Little Fraud Among Friends

International Israeli Internet Spying & Fraud

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

For the past ten years, there have been growing fears that somehow, outsiders have been able to penetrate into the confidential computer files of government agencies, business entities such as banks and defense contractors and individuals.

Some of this appeared to be an attempt to obtain highly classified information that could be of use to others and in other instances, attempts to get into the personal, and corporate, bank accounts of individuals and corporations.

This is a brief study of some of the salient aspects of this problem of computer theft and espionage and we will start with the discovery of massive computer penetration in Israel. We will then consider further penetrations of American business and intelligence computer systems by agents of a foreign government as opposed to confidence men and then conclude with the use of the same methods to commit frauds on the gullible in the United States and elsewhere.

Some of the first public notice of this problem surfaced first in Israel in 2004 when  Israeli law enforcement cyber crime experts discovered that what is known as a Trojan Horse (illicit spyware planted on an unsuspecting computer) had been inserted into about 60 major Israeli businesses. Isreali law enforcement subsequently indicted various members of three of Israel’s largest private investigative agencies on charges of criminal fraud. These spyware plants were in various commercial areas such as : Israeli military contracting, telephone systems, cable television, finance, automobile and cigarette importing, journalism and high technology. These intrusive spyware plants were nearly identical with ones developed by the American NSA and widely used inside the United States to glean political, economic and counter-intelligence information from a huge number of American businesses and agencies. Israeli investigators believed that there was illicit cooperation between the American agency and a counterpart in Israel.

These Trojan horses that penetrated the Israeli  computers came packaged inside a compact disc or were sent as an e-mail message that appeared to be from an institution or a person that the victims thought they knew very well. Once the program was installed, it functioned every time the victim’s computer system was in use, logging keystrokes or collecting sensitive documents and passwords before transmitting the information elsewhere.

This clandestine theft of valuable commercial, military and political secrets is certainly not limited to Israel and many important agencies and individuals have become increasingly concerned about what is called “phishing” in which both con men and foreign (and domestic) intelligence agencies can locate, capture and use valuable personal, political and financial information. In September of 2005, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, an ad hoc group  of corporate and law enforcement groups that track identity theft and other online crimes, said it had received more than 13,000 unique reports of phishing schemes in that month alone, up from nearly 7,000 in the month of October, 2004..

In late 2005, a new form of phishing, called “spear-phishing” emerged.

.So-called spear-phishing is a highly concentrated and far more effectove version of phishing. That’s because those behind the schemes bait their hooks for specific victims instead of casting a broad, ill-defined net across cyberspace hoping to catch throngs of unknown victims.

Spear-phishing, say security specialists, is much harder to detect than phishing. Bogus e-mail messages and Web sites not only look like near perfect replicas of communiqués from e-commerce companies like eBay or its PayPal service, banks or even a victim’s employer, but are also targeted at people known to have an established relationship with the sender being mimicked. American banks such as Chase and Bank of America are among those whose names are faked and also the online auction house of Ebay and the international money transfer firm of PayPal receive considerable attention from the international conmen and credit thieves. These thieves are not necessarily gangs operating for financial gain but also include theft of trade secrets, private corporate banking and highly sensitive military and political information.

While some of these phishers are merely out to make money, others are interested in securing military secrets and political activities, all at the highest and what is hopefully considered as the most secure.

As a case in point, in June of 2005 , the National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre, a British government agency that monitors national UK computer security, took the step of publicly warning about a spear-phishing campaign of “targeted Trojan e-mail attacks” aimed at industrial and government computer networks. The warning noted that the e-mail messages appeared to come from a trusted sender, that antivirus software and firewalls was completely incapable of  protecting  recipients, and that, in fact, there was no way to completely protect any computer connected to the Internet from the Trojan attacks once recipients opened and downloaded a faked e-mail message containing a virus.

The report noted that: “Files used by the attackers are often publicly available on the Web or have been sent to distribution lists,” the warning said. “The attackers are able to receive, trojanise and resend a document within 120 minutes of its release, indicating a high level of sophistication.”

In December of 2005, a more traditional phishing scam infected about 30,000 individual computers worldwide, according to CipherTrust, a computer security firm. Consisting of what CipherTrust said was about 50 million e-mail messages that a German hacker deployed simultaneously, the communiqués purported to come from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and a German intelligence agency and tried to convince recipients to provide personal information and open a file containing a virus. The F.B.I. issued a warning about the scheme and a spokeswoman said that thousands of people swamped the agency with phone calls inquiring about it. Public awareness and FBI actions sharply reduced and finally obliterated this specific form of fraud but no information has been released to the public by the FBI concerning the identity or motives of many of the hackers. No bank or financial institution ever contacts their depositors and customers by email with warnings about misuse of their credit cards or errors in their personal accounts. The phishers have advanced technologically to the point where actual company logos can be snatched from Web sites to build customized databases of corporate logos. Any email message purporting to come from any bank or financial institution, most especially one that has the proper company logo and format but contains grammatical errors should ever  be responded to.

Some computer security specialists suggest at least one basic approach that might allow e-mail recipients to learn right away that a communiqué appearing to come from a company like Amazon.com actually originated somewhere in the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia or any of the other places that law enforcement officials say are hot spots for phishing scams According to CipherTrust, a spear-phisher can rent a server for about $300 month after paying a $100 setup fee; install spam-sending software on the server for about $1,200 a month; and get spam-sending proxies, a database of e-mail addresses, and other necessary add-ons for another $1,900 a month. How much phishers make depends on how many victims they hook, but the relatively small expense means the work can be lucrative. According to a research report issued in June by Gartner Inc., a consulting firm, about 2.4 million Americans reported losing about $929 million to phishing schemes during the previous year.

It has been estimated by the FBI and private cyper-protection agencies that about 73 million American adults who use the Internet believed that they received an average of more than 50 phishing e-mails during the prior 12 months. And that, of course, is just what Internet users actually know might be happening.

Phishers main goal is to obtain a victim’s checking-account number and, in addition,  credit card and A.T.M. card numbers, which they can copy onto bogus cards they have manufactured for the purpose of extracting money and goods from a victim’s account.

It should be noted that many American banks have serious security gaps in the software used to analyze magnetic stripe coding on the back of A.T.M. cards, and these gaps have permitted card hijackers to use bogus copies. American regulators, concerned about online vulnerabilities at the country’s banks, have sharply tightened security requirements at financial institutions.

Although Interner Provider (IP) numbers lead to Italy, the Netherlands, the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, and Russia, a secret investigation by NSA and other American domestic and foreign intelligence agencies has disclosed that almost all of the scams originate inside Israel and that while the Israeli authorities are aware of this, the fact that information considered “vital to the interests of the State of Israel” is part of the intercepts, no action has been taken against operations that are not directed against Israeli agencies or individuals.  Further, one of the caveats to the continued functioning of these enormously profitable computer frauds is that any monies gleaned from them must be deposited in Israeli, and not foreign, banks.

Isreali intelligence, having formed a cooperative association with Israeli internet swindlers, has, according to an NSA report, not hesitated to spy on their American counterparts.

Among the Israeli corporations on the receiving end of stolen information were two telecommunications affiliates of Bezeq, the country’s largest telephone company. The Israeli government held a controlling interest in Bezeq until it sold most of its stake to private investors, including Los Angeles media mogul Haim Saban, shortly before the Trojan horse scandal became public. A lawyer representing Bezeq and the two affiliates, YES and Pele-Phone, declined to comment on the investigation; Mr. Wismonsky said that Bezeq itself appeared to have been a victim, not a recipient, of stolen information.

Israeli intelligence also is able to oversee almost all telephonic contacts, to include internet usage, in the United States.

This is accomplished by obtaining and analyzing data that is generated every time someone in the U.S. makes a telephone call.

Here is how the system works. Most directory assistance calls, and virtually all call records and billing inside the U.S. are done for the telephone companies by Amdocs Ltd., an Israeli-based private telecommunications company.

Amdocs has contracts with the 25 biggest telephone companies in America, and even more worldwide. The White House and other secure government phone lines are protected, but it is virtually impossible for any American to make a call on any American phone without generating an Amdocs record of it.

In recent years, the FBI and other government agencies have investigated Amdocs more than once. The firm has repeatedly and adamantly denied any security breaches or wrongdoing. In 1999, the super secret National Security Agency, headquartered in Ft. George Meade in northern Maryland, issued what is called a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information report, TS/SCI, warning that records of calls in the United States were getting into foreign hands – in Israel, in particular.

Investigators do not believe such calls are being listened to, but the data about who is calling whom and when is extremely valuable in itself. An internal Amdocs memo to senior company executives suggests just how Amdocs generated call records could be used. “Widespread data mining techniques and algorithms…combining both the properties of the customer (e.g., credit rating) and properties of the specific ‘behavior….’” Specific behavior, such as who the targeted customers are calling is also noted.

The Amdocs memo says the system should be publicly advertised as “helping to prevent telephone fraud.” However, U.S. counterintelligence analysts say it could, and unquestionably was, also be used to spy via the records of the American telephone system. The N.S.A has held numerous classified conferences to warn the F.B.I. and C.I.A. how Amdocs records could be used.

At one classified NSA briefing, a diagram by the Argonne National Laboratory was used to show that if phone records are not completely secure, major security breaches are more than possible.

Another NSA briefing document said, “It has become increasingly apparent that systems and networks are vulnerable…Such crimes always involve unauthorized persons, or persons who exceed their authorization…citing on exploitable vulnerabilities.”

Those vulnerabilities are growing, because according to another briefing, the U.S. relies too much on foreign companies like Amdocs for high-tech equipment and software. “Many factors have led to increased dependence on code developed overseas…. We buy rather than train or develop solutions.”

U.S. intelligence does not officially believe the Israeli government is involved in a misuse of information, and Amdocs insists that its data is secure. What U.S. government officials are worried about, however, is the possibility that Amdocs data could get into the wrong hands, particularly organized crime. And that would not be the first time that such a thing has happened.

In a 1997 drug trafficking case in Los Angeles, telephone information, specifically of the type that Amdocs collects, was used to “completely compromise the communications of the FBI, the Secret Service, the DEA and the LAPD.”

There has been considerable but very quiet concern about the 60 Israelis who were detained in the anti-terror investigation, and the suspicion that some investigators have that they may have picked up information on the 9/11 attacks ahead of time and not passed it on.

There exists a classified Justice Department report stating that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, did indeed send representatives to the U.S. to warn, just before 9/11, that a major terrorist attack was imminent. How does that leave room for the lack of a warning?

What investigators have stated is that that warning from the Mossad was nonspecific and extremely vague and general, and they believe that it may have had something to do with the Israeli desire to protect what are called “sources and methods” in the intelligence community while at the same time attempting to convince American authorities that they were being cooperative and friendly. There is very substantive and documented evidence that those sources and methods were, and still are, taking place in the United States.

The question arose in the Select Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, chaired by former CIA agent, Porter Goss. Concern was expressed concerning this Mossad spying issue but nothing came of this and the matter was very quickly, and quietly, shelved

An official listing of known Mossad agents and a much larger one listing Mossad informants in the United States is perhaps the best indicator of the degree and extent that this official Israeli organ has penetrated American security, business and military organizations. Its publication would certainly create terrible havoc and would very adversely impact on American/Israeli diplomatic and military relations.

Reports indicate that such established agencies as the Anti Defamation League, several identified national newspapers and one major television network also harbor and assist a significant number of active Mossad agents engaged in espionage activities.

The concern about telephone security extends to another company, founded in Israel, that provides the technology used by the U.S. government for electronic eavesdropping. The company is Comverse Infosys, a subsidiary of an Israeli-run private telecommunications firm, with offices throughout the U.S. It provides wiretapping equipment for law enforcement. Investigative reports also indicate that these offices have been and are being used as bases for intelligence operations directed against the United States via the Mossad agents working in this country.

Here is the method that foreign wiretapping works in the U.S.

Every time a call is made in America, it passes through the nation’s elaborate network of switchers and routers run by the phone companies. Custom computers and software, made by companies like Comverse, are tied into that network to intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls, and at the same time transmit them to investigators.

The manufacturers have continuing access to the computers so they can service them and keep them free of technical errors. This process was authorized by the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. Senior government officials have reluctantly acknowledged that while CALEA made officially authorized, and unauthorized, wiretapping much easier for Federal authorities, it has led to a system that is seriously vulnerable to compromise, and may have undermined the whole wiretapping system.

Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller were both warned on October 18, 2001 in a hand-delivered letter from 15 local, state and federal law enforcement officials, who complained that “law enforcement’s current electronic surveillance capabilities are less effective today than they were at the time CALEA was enacted.”

Congress insists the equipment it permits to be installed is secure. But the complaint about this system is that the wiretap computer programs made by Comverse have, in effect, a back door through which wiretaps themselves can be intercepted by unauthorized parties.

In this case, the unauthorized parties is the Israeli Mossad and through them, the government and commercial interests of Israel itself.

Adding to the suspicions is the fact that in Israel, Comverse works closely with the Israeli government, and under special programs and gets reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade. But investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all privately stated that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying through Comverse is considered career suicide because of the enormous political and political power wielded by the Israeli lobby, the extremely pro-Israeli American television and print media and many Jewish financial organizations in the United States.

And sources say that while various F.B.I. inquiries into Comverse have been conducted over the years, they have been halted before the actual equipment has ever been thoroughly tested for leaks. A 1999 F.C.C. document indicates several government agencies expressed deep concerns that too many unauthorized non-law enforcement personnel can access the wiretap system. The FBI’s own small office in Chantilly, Virginia that actually oversees the CALEA wiretapping program, is among the most agitated about the Israeli ongoing threat.

It is the FBI’s office in Quantico, Virginia, that has jurisdiction over awarding contracts and buying intercept equipment. And for years, they have awarded the majority of the business to Comverse. A handful of former U.S. law enforcement officials involved in awarding Comverse lucrative U.S. government contracts over the years now work for the Israeli-based company.

Numerous sources say some of those individuals were asked to leave government service under what knowledgeable sources call “troublesome circumstances” that still remain under administrative review within the Justice Department.

And what troubles investigators the most, particularly in New York City, in the counter terrorism investigation of the World Trade Center attack, is that in a number of cases, suspects they had sought to wiretap and survey immediately changed their telecommunications processes. This began as soon as those supposedly secret wiretaps went into place

There are growing and very serious concerns in a very significant number of top-level American intelligence and counterintelligence. Many of these agencies have begun compiling evidence, and instigating a very highly classified investigation, into the very strong probability that the Israeli government is directly involved in this matter and has been from the outset.

Speaking confidentially, top U.S. intelligence agencies indicate that “the last thing needed is another Pollard scandal.”

Following the 9/11 attacks, Federal officials have arrested or detained nearly 200 Israeli citizens suspected of belonging to an “organized intelligence-gathering operation.” The Bush administration has deported most of those arrested after Sept. 11, although some are in custody under the new anti-terrorism law. Some of these detainees are being investigated for their possible penetration of known Arab terrorist groups located in the United States, Canada and Europe and through this, having gained specific knowledge of the time and location of the September 11 attacks.

It has been established that an Israeli firm generated billing data that could be used for intelligence purpose, and a recent Justice Department report describes concerns that the federal government’s own wiretapping system may be vulnerable.

In Los Angeles, in 1997, a major local, state and federal drug investigation suddenly collapsed. The suspects: Israeli organized crime organizations, composed mostly of Russian Jews, with ongoing operations in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Canada, Israel and Egypt.

The allegations: cocaine and ecstasy trafficking, and sophisticated white-collar credit card and computer fraud. . A DEA report under date of December 18 stated that there existed serious security breaches in DEA telecommunications by unauthorized “foreign nationals” — and cites an Israeli-owned firm with which the DEA contracted for wiretap equipment .

The problem: according to classified law enforcement documents, is that the Israeli-based gangsters had the Federal and State law enforcement beepers, cell phones, even home phones under constant surveillance. Some identified Israeli gangsters who did get caught, readily admitted to having hundreds of confidential law enforcement telephone and beeper numbers and had been using them to avoid arrest.

An official LAPD intelligence report states:

“This compromised law enforcement communications between LAPD detectives and other assigned law enforcement officers working various aspects of the case. The Israeli-based criminal organization discovered communications between organized crime intelligence division detectives, the FBI and the Secret Service.”

Shock spread from the DEA to the FBI in Washington, and then the CIA. An investigation of the problem, according to law enforcement documents, concluded, “The (criminal) organization has apparent extensive access to database systems used to identify pertinent personal and biographical information.”

When investigators tried to find out where the information might have come from, they looked at Amdocs, a publicly traded firm based in Israel. Amdocs generates billing data for virtually every call in America, and they do credit checks. The company denies any leaks, but investigators still fear that the firm’s data is getting into the wrong hands.

When investigators checked their own wiretapping system for leaks, they grew concerned about potential vulnerabilities in the computers that intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls. A main contractor is Comverse Infosys, which works closely with the Israeli government, and under a special grant program, is reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. Asked about another sprawling investigation and the detention of 60 Israeli since Sept. 11, the Bush administration treated the questions with frightened circumspection. The reason for this is also contained in the body of several U.S. investigative and highly classified reports. The extremely competent Israeli Foreign Intelligence branch, the MOSSAD, had penetrated the groups of terrorists who planned, and eventually executed, the hijacked aircraft attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House. After some debate in the highest official circles in Tel Aviv, the Israeli government decided to pass the very concrete and specific information about the September 11th attack to competent authority in the United States. This was done on three specific occasions, the Department of State, the CIA and the NSC all having been given MOSSAD reports. The nature of the attacks were specified as were two different dates of attack. That the Bush Administration was informed of this planned attack by a putative ally and in specific detail and did nothing to attempt to circumvent it, came as a great surprise to Israeli officials.  When it became obvious to them that their specific and timely warnings were obviously ignored, it then put Israel politicians in the position of having information which, if released to the American public, would cause terminal political damage, they decided, according to intercepted internet communication, that discretion was the better part of valor

Examples of typical email frauds

Example No 1

From :           <information_vital@virgilio.it>

Reply-To :      <information_vital@virgilio.it>

Sent : Tuesday, May 2, 2006 7:33 AM

Subject :       Ticket No: 007802199001

Ticket No: 007802199001






We happily announce to you the draw (#360) of the LOTTO NL INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY PROGRAMM, held on monday 1st of march 2006. It is yet to be unclaimed and you are getting the final NOTIFICATION as regards this.Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 363775668993 7659 with Serial number 4571/06drew the lucky numbers:4-8-16-32-42-52(bonus no.50), which subsequently won you the lottery in the 3rd category i.e match 5 plus bonus.

You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 2.450,000 (Two million four hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling) in cash credited to file KTU/7034818304/06. This is from a total cash prize of 10,000,000 shared amongst the (5) lucky winners in this category i.e. Match 5 plus bonus. All participants for the online version were selected randomly from World Wide Web sites through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 unions, associations, and corporate bodies that are listed online. This  promotion takes place weekly.Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon. In view of this, your 2.450,000 (Two million four hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling) will be released to you by any of oupayment offices in Europe.

Our European agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact her. For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claim is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize.

This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program.

Please be warned.To file for your claim, please contact our fiduciary agent:

Mr. Wim Molly


Fax: ++31-847-136-657



  1. FULL NAMES:_______________________________________________________


  1. AGE________________________________________
  2. SEX:_________________________
  3. MARITAL STATUS:_____________________________________

6.CONTACT ADDRESS:_____________________________________________

7.TELEPHONE NUMBER:___________________


9.BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF COMPANY/INDIVIDUAL:_______________________________________

10.WINNING E-MAIL ADDRESS:________________________________

11.WINNING NUMBER:_________________________________________

12TOTAL AMOUNT WON:_________________________________________

Endeavour to email/fax him your full names, winning numbers, email address, telephone and fax

numbers immediately.

Congratulations from me and members of staff of LOTTO NL LOTTERY.

Yours faithfully,

Mary Evens

Online coordinator for


Sweepstakes International Program.


From: Ernest Kemp <gvva@boskma.nl>

To: <brianharring@yahoo.com>

Subject: practical

Sent: Friday, April 28, 2006 10:11 PM

News was released.

Cyberhand Technologies International Starts Construction on Sound Activated Anti-Personnel

Fighting Robot Prototype. Go to yahoo financial and read it now…

Cyberhand Technologies International, Inc


Michael Burke, CEO of Cyberhand Technologies said, “Bexcause of the potential collateral damage caused by some of today’s weapons and missiles in enemy urban environments, we believe that our products will reduce the chances of injuring or killing innocent people in surrounding areas in which we strike.”

About Cyberhand Technologies International Inc.

Cyberhand Technologies International Inc. focuses on Aerospace Weapons Systems that provide the world’s fastest controllers and most accurate target acquisition, generating the best field results, as well as innovative wireless ergonomic products  for private and military purposes.

Do your research now and start watching  CYHD like a hawk.

Information within this report contains forward looking statements within the meaning of Section 27a of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21b of the SEC Act of 1934. Statements that involve discussions with projections of future events are not statements of historical fact and may be forward looking statements. Don’t rely on them to make a decision. The Company is not a reporting company registered under the Exchange Act of 1934. We have received two million free trading shares and twenty five thousand dollars c ash from a third party not an officer, director or affiliate shareholder. We intend to sell our shares now which could cause the shares to go down, resulting in losses for you.. This company has an accumulated deficit, nominal cash and no revenues in its most recent quarter with the float current increasing. The company may need financing to continue as a going concern. A failure to finance could cause the company to go out of business. Read the Company’s Annual Report and Information Statement before you invest. This report shall not be construed as any kind of investment advise or solicitation. You can lose all your money by investing in this stock.

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