TBR News June 29, 2011

Jun 29 2011

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., June 26, 2011: “’Now it has come to pass, that what was written’ and this describes what the hackers have done, and will continue to do to the secret archives of what have essentially become the enemies of the American people. I refer here to the so-called intelligence agencies sporting acronyms and spying on and trying to control everyone else. They are failing because the hackers have broken into even the most secure areas, lifted out files and have started publishing them. As a case in point, one group, loosely affiliated with Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, got into the Tucson, AZ police files and stole hundreds of secret and confidential files. They put these out for the public. It is also known that CIA, FBI and DHS files have been breached, along with the DEA and the BATF. Oh yes, and of course they got into the DoS material some years ago and let us not forget the notorious Bank of America, JPMorganChase and Goldman Sachs! According to the rumor people, all of these obscene revelations are being made public. Flights to Aruba will be booked solid very soon and Washington will be vacant, saving for the Left-Behind winos and stray dogs. God, what a wonderful prospect!”

Vision: How Hacker Activists Are Risking Jail for Everyone’s Right to Internet Freedom

Since WikiLeaks, authorities have been more aggressive about arresting citizen cyber activists. Yet new actions by the biggest “hacktivists” show they’re willing to risk it.

June 24, 2011


Last week, British authorities arrested an alleged member of the self-proclaimed “hacktivist” collective LulzSec, accusing the 19-year-old of breaking into websites belonging to the US Senate and the CIA. Ryan Cleary, allegedly outed by “snitches,” was arrested in Essex in a joint raid with the FBI, on the same day LulzSec claimed in a blog post it had obtained the databaseof the entire British census. “It’s a very significant arrest,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson told the Independent. “The challenges around cyber crime are extraordinarily significant and deeply worrying.”

For many in mainstream culture, the concept of hacking may still invoke quaint ‘90s images of Neil Stephenson books, bad Billy Idol phases and career-best Angelina Jolie movies. But since WikiLeaks’ pro-information dominance, a spate of high-profile arrests has propelled the hacker concept back into mass consciousness, proving that not only are web “hacktivists” a hugely influential, powerful bunch, but that the powers that be are taking them ever more seriously. Last month, the US government proved how grave an offense they perceive cyber sabotage to be; in May, the Pentagon ruled that any country caught trying to hack into state systems would be considered an act of war. Matthew Broderick Pong tricks, this ain’t.

Though their methods have changed since their emergence and cultural dominance — fanzines have been replaced with 4chan, targets range from Tumblr to State websites — clearly hacktivists remain some of the most important and powerful subversives in the global information society. It’s ironic, too, that a hacker is at the center of one of the biggest news stories in the world: Adrian Lamo, who was cuffed in 2004 for hacking into the websites of Yahoo and Microsoft, is now best known as the man who identified — or, as many put it, snitched on — alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning.

But with their power comes righteousness. While some hackers’ actions are just bent on mischief — Josh Holly, for instance, the 19-year-old who breached teen queen Miley Cyrus’ email and leaked her suggestive photos — the two largest groups, LulzSec and Anonymous, are increasingly dedicated to First Amendment ideals — freedom of information and the right of the people to know what their government is doing in their name.  As a whole, their tactics might be a little more radical than your average protester engaging in street actions. But they’re also extremely effective. This week, the two banded their amorphous groups together to declare “war” on governments and banks everywhere, stating in a manifesto, “Whether you’re sailing with us or against us, whether you hold past grudges or a burning desire to sink our lone ship, we invite you to join the rebellion. Together we can defend ourselves so that our privacy is not overrun by profiteering gluttons. Your hat can be white, gray or black, your skin and race are not important. If you’re aware of the corruption, expose it now, in the name of Anti-Security.” (There is, thank goodness, already an awesome, LulzSec-approved, Anti-Sec theme song, by the hacker/rapper YTCracker.)

And the actions have already started. Yesterday, LulzSec unleashed a Wikileaks-style data-dump protesting Arizona for being what they called a “racial-profiling, anti-immigrant police state.” Calling the action “Chinga La Migra” (“Fuck the Border Police”), they released “private intelligence bulletins, training manuals, personal email correspondence, names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords belonging to Arizona law enforcement.” Gizmodo, the leading technology website, offered this analysis: “This is the first time LulzSec’s purported to release personal information of government agents, rather than just disrupting their websites (see: CIA, US Senate). This is a powerful move. Home addresses are home addresses—about as personal as personal data gets.”

While LulzSec’s actions raise some legal issues as to how the information was attained, the more compelling — and inspiring — issue is the moral one: addresses are one thing, but what if the dump reveals information that shows the AZ police force was being overtly racist (on government computers!) orengaging in illegal behavior? Isn’t this the kind of thing the public has a right to know about? (And, in fact, they did discover that the AZ police force was being overtly racist, illegal and unethical — including hiring contracted Marines to go “migrant hunting” — in case that is somehow surprising to you.) In a way, LulzSec is transforming itself into a self-standing whistleblower, with an explicitly political manifesto: “Every week we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarassing [sic] personal details of military and law enforcement in an effort not just to reveal  their racist and corrupt nature but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to terrorize communities fighting an unjust ‘war on drugs.'” Think what you want about their tactics — the fact is, LulzSec is on our side. 

And in certain ways, these groups were been inspired and/or liberated by the global prominence (and power) of Wikileaks. Think back to December, when Anonymous launched “Operation Payback,” in which they crippled credit card companies and banks like Visa and Mastercard to punish them for blocking payments to the information site. The latter two sites were shuttered for the better part of a day, and a spokesperson for the group told Agence France Presse they were targeting those with an “anti-WikiLeaks agenda.” Not long after, Dutch authorities fingered two Dutch teenagers for the hack — 19-year-old Martijn Gonlag, and another 16-year-old, who allegedly confessed. In an interview with TechEye, Gonlag was calm but resolute, though he publicly renounced his hacker tactics (as many do… publicly). “While I want to keep working for the things I believe in, I will of course do it now, as always, in legal ways.” he said.

In January, a month after the Dutch teens were arrested for the WikiLeaks money hacks, five people — ranging in age from 15 to 26 — were detained in the UK for allegedly having a hand in it as well. Then, on January 27, the FBI announced they were conducting raids stateside, producing over 40 search warrants across the country. In response, Loz Kaye, leader of Pirate Party UK, condemned the arrests, and pointed out the hacks were a form of citizen’s resistance. “These arrests, and comments by ACPO threatening ‘more extreme tactics’ to deal with hacktivists represent a worrying ratcheting up of confrontation. Many in the online community frankly feel under siege. It is time for engagement from mainstream politicians, or otherwise radicalization can only increase.”

The Pirate Party is another groundbreaking group that non-web-entrenched progressives should familiarize themselves with; they run on a specific platform of “represent[ing] the changes demanded by technology that governments and industries are resisting with all their might.” And for them, perhaps said radicalization comes in the form of hacking masterclasses for senior citizens, held last month in order to teach the elderly how to obtain euthanasia assistance blocked by government filters. Earlier this month, they released a statement and action against the UK’s Digital Economy Act, which would block specific websites and “threat[en] freedom of expression, would harm innocent and vulnerable people, and are wholly disproportionate measures.”

This month has been a particularly banner one for the crackdown on hackers, yet most news outlets are focusing on their arrests rather than the reasons for their actions. For instance, on June 10, three alleged members of Anonymous were arrested in different Spanish cities for attacking government websites in Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand. The Spanish government called the hackers a “threat to national security.” Yet if you look at a list of the countries attacked, you note that each has enforced forms of internet censorship, keeping its citizens from information that could be vital to their liberation.  It’s hard to reconcile the hypocrisy that our own president thinks he can wage physical war in Libya without Congressional approval, yet a few hackers — likely very young — can’t get away with cyber crackdowns that aren’t killing anyone. The whole world praised Facebook for its role in disseminating information about the Egyptian uprising…. yet those protesting the government censorship of such sites are being arrested?

It seems quite backwards — and Anonymous seems to think so, too. In retaliation, the group kicked down the website of the Spanish police, taking credit for pulling it offline via Blogspot. The BBC:

In its statement, Anonymous said the DDOS attack was “a direct response to the Friday arrests of three individuals alleged to be associated with acts of cyber civil disobedience attributed to Anonymous.”

The group said DDoS attacks were a legitimate form of peaceful protest. Some of its members are thought to have carried out similar attacks on Turkish government websites to protest against net censorship.

Turkey will soon impose a new filter on the internet that some say will be used to illegally monitor the web activities of citizens. In protest, members of Anonymous took down various government websites in the country (on June 13, some 32 people were arrested for their alleged involvement).

Earlier this month, over 50,000 people in Istanbul took to the streets to peacefully protest the Turkish government’s web censorship. Anonymous’ retort was, simply, an act of cyber solidarity, waged in the very space that would be affected by the government’s actions. In ideology, there is little difference between the two forms of protest… it’s just that one is deemed legal (in some places), and one is not.

Last week, the BBC interviewed Peter Sommer, the man who helped forge hacking when he wrote The Hacker’s Handbook in the 1980s. “There has always been a streak within hackerdom of ideology mixed with technology,” he said:

The hacker, explains Mr Sommer, is distinct from the cyber-criminal, whose motivations are generally larceny and whose relationship with technology is akin to the housebreaker’s relationship to the jemmy – it is a tool of the trade.

Hackers are interested in the mechanism of attack as much as they are in the target.

“One strong element in hacking is seeing how things work. Here is a technology, can I make it do something else?” says Mr Sommer.

That love of technological innovation, and the internet in particular, gives rise to a philosophy.

And the philosophy is increasingly in action. Just this week, Anonymous reacted to Malaysia’s censorship of WikiLeaks and The Pirate Bay by taking down government sites. On June 20, various websites belonging to the city of Orlando, Florida, were pulled down to protest the arrests of members of Food Not Bombs, who were distributing food to the homeless in a city park (which, apparently, violated city ordinances).

While some hackers may simply be intent on causing mischief or flexing their programming chops, it’s plain to see that these actions are not for nothing… they’re forms of protest that we can recognize as parallel to our rallies, petitions and actions. Meanwhile, the media usually mis-assesses the situation when it paints hacktivists as simply online troublemakers — a concept rooted in the group’s more anarchic roots in the early ’00s, as characterized by a recent article in the Wall Street Journal . “This really is a techno arms race,” Pure Hacker security chief Robert McAdam told the Australia Herald-Sun. “Except this time instead of graduating from throwing rocks to bullets and bombs, technology is the weapon and it’s growing exponentially.” He was sort of right — while there’s a radical resistance at work, comparing web sabotage to the nuclear arms race is a little extreme.

But in December, Anonymous’ Coldblood agreed. In an interview with the BBC, he said, “I see this as becoming a war. Not a conventional war. This is a war of data. We are trying to keep the internet open and free for everyone, just as the internet has been and always was. But in recent months and years we have seen governments, the European Union trying to creep in and limit the freedom we have on the internet.”

As First Base Technologies’ Peter Wood put it to the BBC on June 22, “I can’t condone anyone breaking the law… but I do understand where they are coming from.” Another way to look at it: “hacktivism” is the future of peaceful protest; these brave, super-smart cyber activists are defending all of our right toexpression, defending our freedom on the battleground of now and the future. As more and more governments want to clamp down on the way we can use the internet, the best of the hacktivists are working on keeping it free.

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.

Project PM

by Barrett Brown


When President Eisenhower left office in 1960, he provided the American people with a warning .

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Sixty years later, the military-industrial complex has been joined by another unprecedented centre of what has increasingly proven to be “misplaced power”: the dozens of secretive firms known collectively as the intelligence contracting industry.

Last February, three of these firms – HBGary Federal, Palantir and Berico, known collectively as Team Themis – were discovered to have conspired to hire out their information war capabilities to corporations which hoped to strike back at perceived enemies, including US activist groups, WikiLeaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald. That such a dangerous new dynamic was now in play was only revealed due to a raid by hackers associated with the Anonymous collective, resulting in the dissemination of more than 70,000 emails to and from executives at HBGary Federal and affiliated company HBGary.

After having spent several months studying those emails and otherwise investigating the industry depicted therein, I have revealed my summary of a classified US intelligence programme known as Romas/COIN , as well as its upcoming replacement, known as Odyssey. The programme appears to allow for the large-scale monitoring of social networks by way of such things as natural language processing, semantic analysis, latent semantic indexing and IT intrusion. At the same time, it also entails the dissemination of some unknown degree of information to a given population through a variety of means – without any hint that the actual source is US intelligence. Scattered discussions of Arab translation services may indicate that the programme targets the Middle East.

Despite the details I have provided in the document – which is also now in the possession of several major news outlets and which may be published in whole or in part by any party that cares to do so – there remains a great deal that is unclear about Romas/COIN and the capabilities it comprises. The information with which I’ve worked consists almost entirely of email correspondence between executives of several firms that together sought to win the contract to provide the programme’s technical requirements, and because many of the discussions occurred in meetings and phone conversations, the information remaining deals largely with prospective partners, the utility of one capability over another, and other clues spread out over hundreds of email exchanges between a large number of participants.

The significance of this programme to the public is not limited to its potential for abuse by facets of the US intelligence community, which has long been proverbial for misusing other of its capabilities. Perhaps the most astonishing aspect is the fact that the partnership of contracting firms and other corporate entities that worked to obtain the contract was put into motion in large part by Aaron Barr, the disgraced former CEO of HBGary Federal who was at the centre of Team Themis’s conspiracy to put high-end intelligence capabilities at the disposal of private institutions. As I explain further in the linked report, this fact alone should prompt increased investigation into the manner in which this industry operates and the threats it represents to democratic institutions.

Altogether, the existence and nature of Romas/COIN should confirm what many had already come to realise over the past few years, in particular: the US and other states have no intention of allowing populations to conduct their affairs without scrutiny. Such states ought not complain when they find themselves subjected to similar scrutiny – as will increasingly become the case over the next several years.

For at least two years, the U.S. has been conducting a secretive and immensely sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once. And with an upgrade scheduled for later this year, the top contender to win the federal contract and thus take over the program is a team of about a dozen companies which were brought together in large part by Aaron Barr – the same disgraced CEO who resigned from his own firm earlier this year after he was discovered to have planned a full-scale information war against political activists at the behest of corporate clients . The new revelation provides for a disturbing picture, particularly when viewed in a wider context. Unprecedented surveillance capabilities are being produced by an industry that works in secret on applications that are nonetheless funded by the American public – and which in some cases are used against that very same public. Their products are developed on demand for an intelligence community that is not subject to Congressional oversight and which has been repeatedly shown to have misused its existing powers in ways that violate U.S. law as well as American ideals. And with expanded intelligence capabilities by which to monitor Arab populations in ways that would have previously been impossible, those same intelligence agencies now have improved means by which to provide information on dissidents to those regional dictators viewed by the U.S. as strategic allies.

The nature and extent of the operation, which was known as Romas/COIN and which is scheduled for replacement sometime this year by a similar program known as Odyssey, may be determined in part by a close reading of hundreds of e-mails among the 70,000 that were stolen in February from the contracting firm HBGary Federal and its parent company HBGary . Other details may be gleaned by an examination of the various other firms and individuals that are discussed as being potential partners.

Of course, there are many in the U.S. that would prefer that such details not be revealed at all; such people tend to cite the amorphous and much-abused concept of “national security” as sufficient reason for the citizenry to stand idly by as an ever-expanding coalition of government agencies and semi-private corporations gain greater influence over U.S. foreign policy. That the last decade of foreign policy as practiced by such individuals has been an absolute disaster even by the admission of many of those who put it into place will not phase those who nonetheless believe that the citizenry should be prevented from knowing what is being done in its name and with its tax dollars.

To the extent that the actions of a government are divorced from the informed consent of those who pay for such actions, such a government is illegitimate. To the extent that power is concentrated in the hands of small groups of men who wield such power behind the scenes, there is no assurance that such power will be used in a manner that is compatible with the actual interests of that citizenry, or populations elsewhere. The known history of the U.S. intelligence community is comprised in large part of murder, assassinations, disinformation, the topping of democratic governments, the abuse of the rights of U.S. citizens, and a great number of other things that cannot even be defended on “national security” grounds insomuch as that many such actions have quite correctly turned entire populations against the U.S. government. This is not only my opinion, but also the opinion of countless individuals who once served in the intelligence community and have since come to criticize it and even unveil many of its secrets in an effort to alert the citizenry to what has been unleashed against the world in the name of “security.”

Likewise, I will here provide as much information as I can on Romas/COIN and its upcoming replacement.

Although the relatively well-known military contractor Northrop Grumman had long held the contract for Romas/COIN, such contracts are subject to regular recompetes by which other companies, or several working in tandem, can apply to take over. In early February, HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr wrote the following e-mail to Al Pisani, an executive at the much larger federal contractor TASC , a company which until recently had been owned by Northrop and which was now looking to compete with it for lucrative contracts:

“I met with [[[Mantech]] CEO] Bob Frisbie the other day to catch up. He is looking to expand a capability in IO related to the COIN re-compete but more for DoD. He told me he has a few acquisitions in the works that will increase his capability in this area. So just a thought that it might be worth a phone call to see if there is any synergy and strength between TASC and ManTech in this area. I think forming a team and response to compete against SAIC will be tough but doable.” IO in this context stands for “information operations,” while COIN itself, as noted in an NDA attached to one of the e-mails, stands for “counter intelligence.” SAIC is a larger intelligence contractor that was expected to pursue the recompete as well.

Pisani agreed to the idea, and in conjunction with Barr and fellow TASC exec John Lovegrove , the growing party spent much of the next year working to create a partnership of firms capable of providing the “client” – a U.S. agency that is never specified in the hundreds of e-mails that follow – with capabilities that would outmatch those being provided by Northrop, SAIC , or other competitors.

Several e-mails in particular provide a great deal of material by which to determine the scope and intent of Romas/COIN. One that Barr wrote to his own e-mail account, likely for the purpose of adding to other documents later, is entitled “Notes on COIN.” It begins with a list of entries for various facets of the program, all of which are blank and were presumably filled out later: “ISP, Operations, Language/Culture, Media Development, Marketing and Advertising, Security, MOE.” Afterwards, another list consists of the following: “Capabilities, Mobile Development, Challenges, MOE, Infrastructure, Security.” Finally, a list of the following websites is composed, many of which represent various small companies that provide niche marketing services pursuant to mobile phones.

More helpful is a later e-mail from Lovegrove to Barr and some of his colleagues at TASC in which he announces the following:

Our team consists of: – TASC (PMO, creative services) – HB Gary (Strategy, planning, PMO) – Akamai (infrastructure) – Archimedes Global (Specialized linguistics, strategy, planning) – Acclaim Technical Services (specialized linguistics) – Mission Essential Personnel (linguistic services) – Cipher (strategy, planning operations) – PointAbout (rapid mobile application development, list of strategic partners) – Google (strategy, mobile application and platform development – long list of strategic partners) – Apple (mobile and desktop platform, application assistance -long list of strategic partners) We are trying to schedule an interview with ATT plus some other small app developers.

From these and dozens of other clues and references, the following may be determined about the nature of Romas/COIN:

1. Mobile phone software and applications constitute a major component of the program.

2. There’s discussion of bringing in a “gaming developer,” apparently at the behest of Barr, who mentions that the team could make good use of “a social gaming company maybe like zynga, gameloft, etc.” Lovegrove elsewhere notes: “I know a couple of small gaming companies at MIT that might fit the bill.”

3. Apple and Google were active team partners, and AT&T may have been as well. The latter is known to have provided the NSA free reign over customer communications (and was in turn protected by a bill granting them retroactive immunity from lawsuits). Google itself is the only company to have received a “Hostile to Privacy” rating from Privacy International. Apple is currently being investigated by Congress after the iPhone was revealed to compile user location data in a way that differs from other mobile phones; the company has claimed this to have been a “bug.”

4. The program makes use of several providers of “linguistic services.” At one point, the team discusses hiring a military-trained Arabic linguist. Elsewhere, Barr writes: “I feel confident I can get you a ringer for Farsi if they are still interested in Farsi (we need to find that out). These linguists are not only going to be developing new content but also meeting with folks, so they have to have native or near native proficiency and have to have the cultural relevance as well.”

5. Alterion and SocialEyez are listed as “businesses to contact.” The former specializes in “social media monitoring tools.” The latter uses “sophisticated natural language processing methodology” in order to “process tens of millions of multi-lingual conversations daily” while also employing “researchers and media analysts on the ground;” its website also notes that “Millions of people around the globe are now networked as never before – exchanging information and ideas, forming opinions, and speaking their minds about everything from politics to products.”

6. At one point, TASC exec Chris Clair asks Aaron and others, “Can we name COIN Saif? Saif is the sword an Arab executioner uses when they decapitate criminals. I can think of a few cool brands for this.”

7. A diagram attached to one of Barr’s e-mails to the group (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/7/pmo.png/ ) depicts Magpii as interacting in some unspecified manner with “Foreign Mobile” and “Foreign Web.” Magpii is a project of Barr’s own creation which stands for “Magnify Personal Identifying Information,” involves social networking, and is designed for the purpose of storing personal information on users. Although details are difficult to determine from references in Barr’s e-mails, he discusses the project almost exclusively with members of military intelligence to which he was pitching the idea.

8. There are sporadic references such things as “semantic analysis,” “Latent Semantic Indexing,” “specialized linguistics,” and OPS, a programming language designed for solving problems using expert systems.

9. Barr asks the team’s partner at Apple, Andy Kemp (whose signature lists him as being from the company’s Homeland Defense/National Programs division), to provide him “a contact at Pixar/Disney.”

Altogether, then, a successful bid for the relevant contract was seen to require the combined capabilities of perhaps a dozen firms – capabilities whereby millions of conversations can be monitored and automatically analyzed, whereby a wide range of personal data can be obtained and stored in secret, and whereby some unknown degree of information can be released to a given population through a variety of means and without any hint that the actual source is U.S. military intelligence. All this is merely in addition to whichever additional capabilities are not evident from the limited description available, with the program as a whole presumably being operated in conjunction with other surveillance and propaganda assets controlled by the U.S. and its partners.

Whatever the exact nature and scope of COIN, the firms that had been assembled for the purpose by Barr and TASC never got a chance to bid on the program’s recompete. In late September, Lovegrove noted to Barr and others that he’d spoken to the “CO [contracting officer] for COIN.” “The current procurement approach is cancelled [sic], she cited changed requirements,” he reported. “They will be coming out with some documents in a month or two, most likely an updated RFI [request for information]. There will be a procurement following soon after. We are on the list to receive all information.” On January 18th of next year, Lovegrove provided an update: “I just spoke to the group chief on the contracts side (Doug K). COIN has been replaced by a procurement called Odyssey. He says that it is in the formative stages and that something should be released this year. The contracting officer is Kim R. He believes that Jason is the COTR [contracting officer’s technical representative].” Another clue is provided in the ensuing discussion when a TASC executive asks, “Does Odyssey combine the Technology and Content pieces of the work?”

The unexpected change-up didn’t seem to phase the corporate partnership, which was still a top contender to compete for the upcoming Odyssey procurement. Later e-mails indicate a meeting between key members of the group and the contracting officer for Odyssey at a location noted as “HQ,” apparently for a briefing on requirements for the new program, on February 3rd of 2011. But two days after that meeting, the servers of HBGary and HBGary Federal were hacked by a small team of Anonymous operatives in retaliation for Barr’s boasts to Financial Times that he had identified the movement’s “leadership;” 70,000 e-mails were thereafter released onto the internet. Barr resigned a few weeks later.

Along with clues as to the nature of COIN and its scheduled replacement, a close study of the HBGary e-mails also provide reasons to be concerned with the fact that such things are being developed and deployed in the way that they are. In addition to being the driving force behind the COIN recompete, Barr was also at the center of a series of conspiracies by which his own company and two others hired out their collective capabilities for use by corporations that sought to destroy their political enemies by clandestine and dishonest means, some of which appear to be illegal. None of the companies involved have been investigated; a proposed Congressional inquiry was denied by the committee chair, noting that it was the Justice Department’s decision as to whether to investigate, even though it was the Justice Department itself that made the initial introductions. Those in the intelligence contracting industry who believe themselves above the law are entirely correct.

That such firms will continue to target the public with advanced information warfare capabilities on behalf of major corporations is by itself an extraordinary danger to mankind as a whole, particularly insomuch as that such capabilities are becoming more effective while remaining largely unknown outside of the intelligence industry. But a far greater danger is posed by the practice of arming small and unaccountable groups of state and military personnel with a set of tools by which to achieve better and better “situational awareness” on entire populations while also being able to manipulate the information flow in such a way as to deceive those same populations. The idea that such power can be wielded without being misused is contradicted by even a brief review of history.

History also demonstrates that the state will claim such powers as a necessity in fighting some considerable threat; the U.S. has defended its recent expansion of powers by claiming they will only be deployed to fight terrorism and will never be used against American civilians. This is cold comfort for those in the Arab world who are aware of the long history of U.S. material support for regimes they find convenient, including those of Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, and the House of Saud. Nor should Americans be comforted by such promises from a government that has no way of ensuring that they will be kept; it was just a few months ago that a U.S. general in Afghanistan ordered a military intelligence unit to use pysops on visiting senators in an effort to secure increased funding for the war, an illegal act; only a few days prior, CENTCOM spokesmen were confidently telling the public that such other psychological capabilities as persona management would never be used on Americans as that would be illegal. The fact is that such laws have been routinely broken by the military and intelligence community, who are now been joined in this practice by segments of the federal contracting industry.

It is inevitable, then, that such capabilities as form the backbone of Romas/COIN and its replacement Odyssey will be deployed against a growing segment of the world’s population. The powerful institutions that wield them will grow all the more powerful as they are provided better and better methods by which to monitor, deceive, and manipulate. The informed electorate upon which liberty depends will be increasingly misinformed. No tactical advantage conferred by the use of these programs can outweigh the damage that will be done to mankind in the process of creating them.

Stuxtnet: A CIA/Mossad Operation in Canada

by Brian Harring

R. Monhan Srivastava is a most interesting individual.

He is a former Indian naval cryptographer who attended Stanford, and later was employed by.SAIC, a private firm that worked for the DIA, the CIA and other government entities. SAIC is mostly remembered for their work on the hilarious “Remote Viewing” our-of-body program developed by Stanford Research Institute. This was a throughly bizarre program conceived by one Ingo Swann,, a batty Scientologist and a project that cost the American taxpayers many millions of dollars until it transpired it was nothing but an elaborate fraud.

Srivastava was listed in the British article as working for a firm called ‘FSS International’, operating in Vancouver, BC. This firm, it has been discovered, was founded by Srivastava himself and has no address or telephone number listed in that city. Technical papers authored by Srivastava and submitted by him to academic journals for publication always credit him as being an “associate” of this organization, which exists only in his mind and cannot be located anywhere in Canada or the United States.

This strange individual claims, in the main, that he can solve all problems and detect any fake document or theory, by using “mathematics and statistics” and no doubt the reading of tea leaves or goat intestines, to make his observations. Srivastava obviously must have learned much from his employment by the credulous SAIC.

But digging further into this strange creature has disclosed some extremely interesting information that I would like to pass on to your readers.

Srivastava‘s email address IP number is

A check of this IP address using the ipillion web-site:


turns up the fact that it is a Port Coquitlam address used by a company called Cipher Exchange Corporation. Their web-site:


This is very obviously a front organization.

The Cipher Exchange Corporation has been positively identified as the origin of several viruses and denial-of-service attacks. Here are a couple of web-sites where Web gurus have exchanged information and complaints about the activities of Cipher Exchange Corporation:



They are clearly engaged in research and experimentation on cyber invasions and remote manipulation of other computers (the “bots” that the first example refers to the so-called “Stuxnet” virus This is a very sophisticated one that seems to target control systems that use a particular Siemens controller commonly used in the centrifuges of the nuclear industry. Intensive digging has also exposed the role of the CIA in Cipher Exchange Corporation and specifically in the development of the Stuxnet virus.) This virus has a two-fold mission.

The first, and obvious one, is to block Iran’s use of Siemens centrifuges now used by Iran, but also by Pakistan and China in the development of nuclear projects. The second one deals exclusively with American domestic policy and will be addressed in turn.

Iran definitely uses the Siemens controllers. That’s why the Stuxnet virus is generally understood to be an attempt to sabotage the nuclear ambitions of Iran.

Siemens was originally the lead contractor for Iran’s reactor project just southwest of the town of Bushehr, but that was back in the 1970s, prior to the Revolution that overthrew the Shah, when Western companies were active in Iran. Siemens ceased work on the reactor by 1982, and Russia’s Atomstroyexport contracted in the mid-1990s to complete the reactor with a Russian design. But Russia’s nuclear firms entered talks in February 2009 with Siemens to establish a commercial partnership – a rather obvious red flag for intelligence – and by the summer of 2010, it had come to the attention of German authorities that Siemens was shipping parts to a Russian middleman who was then forwarding them to Iran.

It seems that the work on the Stuxnet virus began in the spring of 2009, with the specific intention of targeting the Siemens controllers, whose design was well known and whose software and firmware controller logic was well known. Some speculate that the re-introduction of the Siemens controllers has ended up being a kind of Trojan Horse … something that would have appeared to the Iranians to be a great gift but which has turned out to be a backdoor through which Western agencies can attempt to undermine the Iranian program.

As a former Indian intelligence operative, Srivastava also acts as liaison between elements of the U.S. government and India. That country has become increasingly alarmed by Chinese expansion into Burma as well as by obvious military build-ups along the Indian northern border with China. As both Pakistan and China are potential enemies, the Indians hope that by acquiring, under the counter as it were, the virus designed to sabotage the Siemens equipment now being used in Iran, India can effectively sabotage the atomic energy programs in their two major potential enemies.

The second use of the Stuxnet virus is being prepared for American domestic use.
The Obama administration has been attempting, for some time now, to find a method by which they could control the Internet. Obama views the Internet, with its unrestricted flow of generally unwelcome news, as a great danger to his administration and for this reason, he has hired one Cass Sunstein, an academic who also wants to be able to shut down the Internet. Part of this is political policy. Since the mass American media is not longer in control of the dissemination of news and has been replaced by the Internet, Obama’s people feel that they must somehow find a methodology to either control the Internet or find a way to shut it down.

Since the former course is virtually impossible due to diversity, the second choice is now being worked on. Initially, Obama hoped to coordinate his efforts with certain emergency plans of the U.S. military but eventually he came to distrust the military, and for good reason; The Pentagon simply does not trust Obama, who threatened to withdraw all troops from Iraq and shut down the very profitable Afghanistan war.

Sunstein then went to the CIA for assistance and was warmly greeted. Presidential needs and their ability to address them has made the CIA the immense power that it is today. That is why the Stuznet virus being developed in Vancouver is so valuable. Used properly, it could easily create a mass cyber-attack that Obama could then use to shut everything down “to defend the American people against Taliban attacks.”

They are, in essence, using the same tired ploy that the Bush people did with their worthless DHS and its growing control over the American people. This is called inside the CIA as the “fright quotient” but its use might work in theory but at this point in time, the American public has heard the cry of ‘wolf’ far too often. But if a cyber attack did happen, Obama would not need to appeal to anyone and could simply order a shut-down.

Joe Miller’s Joke Book: Joe Miller told to reimburse Alaska for election challenge

June 25, 2011

by Yereth Rosen


ANCHORAGE, Alaska ANCHORAGE, Alaska(Reuters) – Failed Senate candidate Joe Miller must reimburse Alaska more than $17,000 in legal fees and costs incurred during his fight to overturn Lisa Murkowski’s write-in victory, a state judge ruled on Friday.

Miller, a Tea Party favorite, beat the more moderate Murkowski in the Republican primary. But she then mounted a write-in candidacy in the general election and beat him by about 4.5 percentage points.

Miller sued to overturn the results, arguing that elections officials improperly counted write-in ballots, but was rejected by a Superior Court judge, a ruling that was upheld at the state Supreme Court.

State officials asked a judge to compel the former candidate to reimburse the state for part of the costs, a request that Superior Court Judge William Carey approved.

Carey, in his ruling, said that Miller did not qualify as a public interest litigant because his lawsuit sought to secure something of value for himself: A Senate seat with a $174,000-a-year salary and other personal benefits.

“The main thrust of this action was not, in this court’s view, to altruistically promote and preserve constitutional protections, but to win an election, with the political and pecuniary benefits that would accrue thereby,” Carey wrote.

Miller, a Fairbanks attorney who was backed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, had challenged Murkowski as too liberal and too prone to compromising with Democrats.

In a statement Miller said the judge missed the point of his election challenge.

“The Tea Party revolution is not about salary, position, or prestige: it’s about bringing America back to its constitutional foundations, where the rule of the law rather than the ruling class prevails,” Miller said in the statement.

Murkowski won the general election with the support of Alaska Native groups, labor unions and other voting blocs that typically back Democrats.

The state said in court motions that it spent about $100,000 in total to defend the election results against Miller’s legal challenge. State law allows prevailing parties to get partial reimbursement in certain cases.

John Tiemessen, Miller’s attorney, said he had not seen Carey’s order and could not comment on whether Miller would appeal.

Carey also ordered Murkowski to reimburse the state $400 in costs, as she did not prevail in her attempt to be credited for some of the dismissed write-in ballots.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Bohan)

Syria reinforces northern border as Turkey loses patience with Assad

Advance on Khirbet al-Jouz seen as a warning after Ankara seeks reforms and end to crackdown on Syrian protesters

June 25, 2011

by Martin Chulov , Istanbul

guardian.co.uk ,

Syrian officials have ordered military units to step up patrolling near the Turkish border in a warning to its increasingly irate northern neighbour not to establish a buffer zone inside Syria .

Diplomats in Ankara and Beirut believe the Syrian advance on the border village of Khirbet al-Jouz, initially portrayed as a sweep against dissidents, was a veiled threat to Turkey , which is steadily turning on President Bashar al-Assad as his regime’s crackdown on dissent continues.

In the wake of Assad’s speech last week, Turkish officials gave him one week to start reforms and stop the violent suppression of protests, which is estimated to have killed more than 1,400 people in less than four months. At least 18 were killed and dozens more wounded during nationwide protests on Friday – a relatively low toll compared with the past few Fridays. But the pattern of activists being attacked by the security forces remains the same.

British government officials travelled during the week to the south of Turkey to interview Syrian refugees. A Foreign Office official told the Observer that diplomats are compiling accounts of what happened in Jisr al-Shughour and the villages around it during the first two weeks of this month, when the Syrian army mounted a series of raids, followed by an assault that led almost every resident of the 41,000-strong town to flee, first for the nearby hills, then to Turkey.

Among the allegations being investigated are claims that Iranian soldiers operated alongside Syrian units – especially the Fourth Division of the army, which is led by Assad’s brother Maher and has a reputation for ruthlessness.

The European Union last week adopted sanctions against three leading officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, among them Qassem Suleimani, commander of the elite Al-Quds force, who is widely regarded as the leader of all the Iranian military’s clandestine missions abroad.

A senior diplomat in Beirut said on Friday that intelligence agencies had evidence that Iran sent weapons to Syria, but had not yet determined whether there had been an actual Iranian presence at demonstrations.

In a further sign of Turkish unease with Damascus, officials from the country’s Red Crescent who run the five refugee camps along the border no longer seem to be banned from talking to reporters. Embarrassment to Syria has clearly become less of a concern.

Refugee accounts are being used to compile a referral to the international criminal court, which will be asked to prosecute Assad and key regime officials for crimes against humanity. The referral is being prepared by several rights groups, including Insan, which is also compiling testimonies from defecting Syrian soldiers.

Turkey’s growing diplomatic anger at Syria has made Istanbul an attractive hub for the Syrian opposition movement, which has received scores of defectors in recent weeks. Beirut, which is less than three hours’ drive from Damascus and offers easy access to Syrian citizens, is now considered too dangerous for anti-regime dissidents. “It is a clearing house only,” said one Syrian activist who directs a network of dissidents across the border. “There are many ways that the regime can get to people here – they don’t even have to be here themselves. They just use their proxies.”

One Syrian journalist who fled to Beirut has told the rights group Avaaz of his capture by Lebanese military intelligence officers. The journalist says he was seized from a coffee shop in Jounieh, 25km north of Beirut. He said he was first asked by a stranger to step outside for a conversation, then seized and taken to a fetid barracks where he was interrogated for several days.

“During the days I spent in Beirut, some other Syrian activists were kidnapped and extradited to the Syrian security police,” he said. “The Lebanese authorities have also captured the few fugitive Syrian soldiers who had fled Syria through the borders, and then turned them in to Syria, claiming that it had to because of the security agreement signed between the two countries.”

At least 1,000 refugees crossed into Lebanon at the Wadi Khalled border point on Friday, including five men with gunshot wounds, after an assault on the Syrian city of Homs, according to Lebanese officials. A resident of the border village told the Observer that Syrian army units had opened fire towards the wounded as they attempted to enter Lebanon.

Conversations with the Crow

When the CIA discovered that their former Deputy Director of Clandestine Affairs, Robert  T. Crowley, had been talking with author Gregory Douglas, they became fearful (because of what Crowley knew) and outraged (because they knew Douglas would publish eventually) and made many efforts to silence Crowley, mostly by having dozens of FBI agents call or visit him at his Washington home and try to convince him to stop talking to Douglas, whom they considered to be an evil, loose cannon.

Crowley did not listen to them (no one else ever does, either) and Douglas made through shorthand notes of each and every one of their many conversation. TBR News published most of these (some of the really vile ones were left out of the book but will be included on this site as a later addendum ) and the entire collection was later produced as an Ebook.

Now, we reliably learn, various Washington alphabet agencies are trying to find a way to block the circulation of this highly negative, entertaining and dangerous work, so to show our solidarity with our beloved leaders and protectors, and our sincere appreciation for their corrupt and coercive actions, we are going to reprint the entire work, chapter by chapter. (The complete book can be obtained by going to:


Here is the eighty-third chapter

Conversation No. 83

Date: Tuesday, May 6, 1997

Commenced: 8:30 AM CST

Concluded: 8:55 AM CST

GD: What’s up, Robert?

RTC: At my age, Gregory, not a great deal. Yourself?

GD: My sheep are happy, Robert. Listen, I got a leaflet in the mail about the POWs and MIAs in Vietnam and your agency was purported to have proof that there were hundreds of poor Americans still locked up in hidden Vietnam camps. True or not?
RTC: Not. The Cong did have captives and they either died in captivity or we did get them back. After we pulled out and they said they won, relations got back to relative normalcy. No, the stories are basically just that, stories. But in this case, there are organizations interested and when organizations are interested, there are charity drives, requests for money and so on. If there were any number, say over ten, Americans still captive, we would know about it. Most of this is just self-serving hype and I would not believe any of it.

GD: Well, we know the Soviets had some American airmen under lock and key during the Stalin time.

RTC: Stalin was a crazy old man later in life. Mind you, very intelligent, ruthless and very clever but mad as a hatter. While he was slowly dying of hardening of the arteries, he got crazier and crazier. He was paranoid and fearful. Assassins were everywhere and once Joe got it into his head that some group, like the Soviet Jews, were plotting against him, he schemed and planned to kill them all off. Never in public but out in the camps although quite a few were shot in the head in various basements and dumped into pits along with quicklime. Stalin was in some sense, a great man, but typically Russian, or Georgian as you wish. Peter the Great was at one time a great visionary and at the same time, a paranoid creep. It must have something to do with the water.

GD: But you can say authoritatively that to your first hand knowledge there are no large numbers of Americans still held in prison in Vietnam?
RTC: You don’t quote me, of course, but yes, that is true. And what about the voluntary stay-behinds? There were a few in Korea and a few in Vietnam. And as to the missing in action, most of these are men killed when a chopper full of troops crashed into a quagmire of a rice paddy complex and the bits and pieces scattered all over the place and soon covered with mud. No, leave the dead alone, Gregory. Maybe in the future, some bones or a dog tag will show up and another missing man will be at least partially found.

GD: I felt that this was just another professional money machine.

RTC: Yes, just like the Jews howling about everyone giving them money because they suffered as no one else ever had. Entire families wiped out in some camp, including the pet cat, but then where did the survivors come from? Some ash heap somewhere? No, that business is for political gain and money, pure and simple. It never got started until well after the war because it wasn’t true and got invented about ’48. Now, it’s a huge money machine and they use it as an excuse for butchering Arabs, and a reason for attacking their perceived enemies by calling them Nazis and moaning about new holocausts being planned in some underground Nazi bunker in Des Moines. Only problem is that Americans don’t really care about such things and they get pushed aside by other, more interesting, schemes of enrichment. Oh, even the Irish have their weeping machines but nowhere as huge and sophisticated…and politically powerful as our Hebrew friends. And when one of them starts moaning about our eternal debt to them, I remind them of the Liberty. I suppose I brand myself as a Jew-hater but no one likes the truth. No, as far as I know, there are very few Americans missing that possibly could still be imprisoned by the Vietnamese or Koreans.

GD: How about the Japanese still holding enormous compounds of prisoners deep in the jungles of Borneo?

RTC: Gregory, we both know that is pure crap but please do not say such things, even in jest because some clever person will take it up and have a Freedom for American Prisoners of Imperial Japan foundation with a retired Marine Corps general as honorary chairman.

GD: The truth at last from the mouth of the great one.

RTC: And the Red Cross is the worst of all, Gregory.

GD: Oh tell me. We had a small flood in our town when a clogged creek backed up and poured water in one part of town. The Red Cross came into town, got the schools to open their gyms and local restaurants to donate free meals, all to people with six figure incomes and seven figure houses. Ah, but after the victims went back to their damp living rooms a day later, they were sent huge bills by the Red Cross. Know about this first hand. But the United Crusade is worse. I worked for Catholic Charities once and I can tell you that they do a great job. The Salvation Army, too, is good. Anyway, thanks for the input on the MIA business. I probably won’t write about it anyway because the people who run the business, will view me as an interloper who might be after some of their money so they would trash me. They’ll get some Medal of Honor winner to point at me and call me a crook when actually, he is the tool of crooks. Actually, Robert, most people are overweight, mentally deficient twits who haven’t seen their dicks or even their feet for ten years and will soon die of heart attacks. They cremated one really huge fatty recently and he melted and the river of fat caught on fire and destroyed the building. Well, if Malthus was right and we overgraze our ranges, we can put the fatties into pens and use them to feed our people, our skinny people that is.

RTC: I don’t think eating all that greasy fat is good for people.

GD: Well, we could flense them and use the blubber to make a kind of whale oil for our lamps. The flame of the Statue of Liberty run on human fat.

RTC: Now, be careful of that, Gregory, or the Jews will start to howl. They are sensitive about rendering people.

GD: I once went to a military show and commented to a Jewish attendee, who was pointing at some military badge with an evil swastika on it and moaning about the great suffering. I had seen a pile of soap bars on a table and I pointed it out to him. I told him he should check it out and that he might find a relative there.

RTC: (Laughter) Bad boy.

GD: Oh, I thought you said bad goy. When I come to see you, Robert, I will give you a lampshade made of human skin with a tattoo of a ship on it.

(Concluded 8:55 AM CST)

Dramatis personae:

James Jesus Angleton: Once head of the CIA’s Counterintelligence division, later fired because of his obsessive and illegal behavior, tapping the phones of many important government officials in search of elusive Soviet spies. A good friend of Robert Crowley and a co-conspirator with him in the assassination of President Kennedy

James P. Atwood: (April 16, 1930-April 20, 1997) A CIA employee, located in Berlin, Atwood had a most interesting career. He worked for any other intelligence agency, domestic or foreign, that would pay him, was involved in selling surplus Russian atomic artillery shells to the Pakistan government and was also most successful in the manufacturing of counterfeit German dress daggers. Too talkative, Atwood eventually had a sudden, and fatal, “seizure” while lunching with CIA associates.

William Corson: A Marine Corps Colonel and President Carter’s representative to the CIA. A friend of Crowley and Kimmel, Corson was an intelligent man whose main failing was a frantic desire to be seen as an important person. This led to his making fictional or highly exaggerated claims.

John Costello: A British historian who was popular with revisionist circles. Died of AIDS on a trans-Atlantic flight to the United States.

James Critchfield: Former U.S. Army Colonel who worked for the CIA and organizaed the Cehlen Org. at Pullach, Germany. This organization was filled to the Plimsoll line with former Gestapo and SD personnel, many of whom were wanted for various purported crimes. He hired Heinrich Müller in 1948 and went on to represent the CIA in the Persian Gulf.

Robert T. Crowley: Once the deputy director of Clandestine Operations and head of the group that interacted with corporate America. A former West Point football player who was one of the founders of the original CIA. Crowley was involved at a very high level with many of the machinations of the CIA.

Gregory Douglas: A retired newspaperman, onetime friend of Heinrich Müller and latterly, of Robert Crowley. Inherited stacks of files from the former (along with many interesting works of art acquired during the war and even more papers from Robert Crowley.) Lives comfortably in a nice house overlooking the Mediterranean.

Reinhard Gehlen: A retired German general who had once been in charge of the intelligence for the German high command on Russian military activities. Fired by Hitler for incompetence, he was therefore naturally hired by first, the U.S. Army and then, as his level of incompetence rose, with the CIA. His Nazi-stuffed organizaion eventually became the current German Bundes Nachrichten Dienst.

Thomas K. Kimmel, Jr: A grandson of Admiral Husband Kimmel, Naval commander at Pearl Harbor who was scapegoated after the Japanese attack. Kimmel was a senior FBI official who knew both Gregory Douglas and Robert Crowley and made a number of attempts to discourage Crowley from talking with Douglas. He was singularly unsuccessful. Kimmel subsequently retired, lives in Florida, and works for the CIA as an “advisor.”

Willi Krichbaum: A Senior Colonel (Oberführer) in the SS, head of the wartime Secret Field Police of the German Army and Heinrich Müller’s standing deputy in the Gestapo. After the war, Krichbaum went to work for the Critchfield organization and was their chief recruiter and hired many of his former SS friends. Krichbaum put Critchfield in touch with Müller in 1948.

Heinrich Müller: A former military pilot in the Bavarian Army in WWI, Müller  became a political police officer in Munich and was later made the head of the Secret State Police or Gestapo. After the war, Müller escaped to Switzerland where he worked for Swiss intelligence as a specialist on Communist espionage and was hired by James Critchfield, head of the Gehlen Organization, in 1948. Müller subsequently was moved to Washington where he worked for the CIA until he retired.

Joseph Trento: A writer on intelligence subjects, Trento and his wife “assisted” both Crowley and Corson in writing a book on the Russian KGB. Trento believed that he would inherit all of Crowley’s extensive files but after Crowley’s death, he discovered that the files had been gutted and the most important, and sensitive, ones given to Gregory Douglas. Trento was not happy about this. Neither were his employers.

Frank Wisner: A Founding Father of the CIA who promised much to the Hungarians and then failed them. First, a raging lunatic who was removed from Langley, screaming, in a strait jacket and later, blowing off the top of his head with a shotgun.

Robert Wolfe: A retired librarian from the National Archives who worked closely with the CIA on covering up embarrassing historical material in the files of the Archives. A strong supporter of holocaust writers specializing in creative writing

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