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Showing posts from September, 2014

Defense Contractors Are Making a Killing

Stock prices for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman set all-time record highs last week as it became increasingly clear that President Obama was committed to a massive, sustained air war in Iraq and Syria.

It’s nothing short of a windfall for these and other huge defense contractors, who’ve been getting itchy about federal budget pressures that threatened to slow the rate of increase in military spending.

Now, with U.S. forces literally blowing through tens of millions of dollars of munitions a day, the industry is not just counting on vast spending to replenish inventory, but hoping for a new era of reliance on supremely expensive military hardware.

“To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment — that could present an opportunity,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, whose $66 billion portfolio includes Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. shares, told Bloomberg.

Defense contractor stocks ha…

The Ghost of Ronald Reagan Authorizes Most NSA Spying

U.S. intelligence agents have broad authority to spy on U.S. companies as long as they are “believed to have some relationship with foreign organizations or persons” — a description that could conceivably apply to any company with foreign shareholders, subsidiaries, or even employees—according to newly released government documents published this morning by the ACLU.

The trove, which includes documents from the NSA, Department of Justice, and Defense Intelligence Agency, confirms long-standing suspicions that the bulk of U.S. foreign surveillance operations are governed not by acts of Congress, but by a 33-year-old executive order issued unilaterally by President Ronald Reagan.

The documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, and they detail the extent of the order — which is extraordinarily broad and until recently largely obscure — and which underpins expansive U.S.…

Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat To Justify Bombing Syria

By Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain

As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.

The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.” After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat — too radical even for Al Qaeda! — administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terro…

ISIS+Al-Nusra Front? Islamists reportedly join forces, new threat against West issued

Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra members gesture while posing on a tank on Al-Khazan frontline of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province.( Reuters / Hamid Khatib)


Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front has issued a new threatening audio message featuring its leader warning the West “will pay the heaviest price” for its actions. The Syrian group is reportedly now joining up with the estranged Islamic State militants.

The leader of Syria’s most prominent terrorist group, Abu Mohamad al-Golani, in denouncing the US-led air strike campaign, has urged Westerners everywhere to do the same “by standing against the decisions of your rulers,” otherwise bloodshed would be brought to their soil.

"Muslims will not watch while their sons are bombed. Your leaders will not be the only ones who would pay the price of the war. You will pay the heaviest price," Reuters cited him as saying. He threatened viewers that the fight would be brought “to the hearts of your homes.”

The US-led coaliti…

By mistake? US-led jets bomb grain silos in Syria, 'civilians killed'

Syrians check a damaged house, reportedly hit by US-led coalition air strikes, in the village of Kfar Derian in the western Aleppo province on September 23, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sami Ali)



US-led coalition airstrikes destroyed grain silos and other targets in parts of northern and eastern Syria dominated by Islamic State, killing civilians while only wounding ISIS fighters, according to an organization monitoring war in Syria.

The overnight bombings hit mills and grain storage facilities in Manbij, a militant-held town in northern Syria. Coalition forces possibly mistook the structures for Islamic State holdings, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Monday.

The US military responded to the claims later Monday morning, according to Reuters, saying that Islamic State vehicles were adjacent to the grain storage facility, and that there is no evidence of civilian casualties.

 The United States and Arab allies have conducted airstrikes against Islamic State and other jihadist groups i…

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Russian TV sees US plot behind Ukraine and IS militants

By Stephen Ennis BBC Monitoring

Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky: US is training "a new generation of killers" in the Middle East and Ukraine




Russia is the target of a global plot orchestrated by the United States and involving fighters from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) and nationalist Ukrainian troops - that is the latest conspiracy theory broadcast on Russian state TV.



"America is everywhere, the West is everywhere, Nato is everywhere. Everything is organised against Russia," the veteran Russian nationalist MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky railed during a talk show on Channel One, Russia's most popular TV station.



There was a "certain link", he hinted, between Ukrainian troops "raiding our western regions" and IS, which he said was being armed by the US.



Joining the studio discussion by video link, pro-Moscow Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov alleged that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a "CIA employee". He suggested that he had…

Surveillance – How to secretly track cellphone users position around the globe

by Pierluigi Paganini





Using the proper surveillance systems available on the market it is easy and quick to track cellphone and the movements of targets everywhere on the globe.

We recently discussed about the decision of Wikileaks to publish copies of the criticized surveillance software FinFisher, highlighting the dangers for the militarization of the cyberspace and in particular for the use of spyware to track users.

The principal vendors of surveillance platforms defend their business declaring that the solutions are only for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Unfortunately the reality is quite different, because many threat actors worldwide use surveillance malware to track individual for different reasons.

The Washington Post published an interesting article a few weeks ago on surveillance technology that can be used to track individuals anywhere in the world through the localization of their mobile devices.

The post explains that surveillance vendors using the SS7 protocol,…

The journalist Erich Möchel leaked photos reported alleged NSA monitoring stations in Vienna which are used by the Intelligence to spy on UN.

Photos published by the journalist Erich Möchel in a blog post seems to confirm the presence of an NSA surveillance infrastructure, mentioned in the Snowden’s leaked documents “Vienna Annex”, in the attics of IZD Towers next to the UNO-City. In the head of this film, the NSA “Vienna Station” and the “Vienna Annex” are explicitly mentioned. One of the acronyms that are listed right under “FORNSAT” must stand for the king waiting. Under “FORNSAT” are to be understood spy satellite stations which are not operated by the NSA itself. According to the journalist the NSA has deployed a monitoring station in Vienna used for listening in on what’s happening at the UN complex, the structure in fact is not far from the UN headquarters. The photos show a hut on the roof, which cannot be seen from the street, that is enclosed by solid steel bars and protected by a significant video surveillance system equipped with a ten cameras.


Möchel explains that the hut appears like “a maintenance building”, …

What is the Pentagon’s Secret Space Drone Doing?

By Sharon Weinberger



For almost two years, an unmanned space plane bearing a remarkable resemblance to NASA’s space shuttle has circled the Earth, performing a top-secret mission. It’s called the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle — but that’s pretty much all we know for certain.


The Pentagon’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. Officially, the only role the Pentagon acknowledges is that it’s used to conduct experiments on new technologies.

Officially, the only role the Pentagon acknowledges is that the space plane is used to conduct experiments on new technologies. Theories about its mission have ranged from an orbiting space bomber to an anti-satellite weapon.

The truth, however, is likely much more obvious: According to intelligence experts and satellite watchers who have closely monitored its orbit, the X-37B is being used to carry secret satellites and classified sensors into space — a little-known role once played by NASA’s new retired space shuttle.

For a decade between the 1980s and early 1…

U.S. counterinsurgency operatives deployed to Ukraine

Soldiers of Ukrainian army ride on a tank in the port city of Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. The Ukrainian president declared a cease-fire Friday to end nearly five months of fighting in the nation’s east after his ...

 By Maggie Ybarra


The Pentagon has dispatched more than a dozen military personnel to Kiev this week to provide tips to Ukrainian security forces on counterinsurgency and military planning tactics.

Military staff will share with the Ukrainians some of the Pentagon’s planning tactics, techniques and procedures while collecting data on the needs of its security forces, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez. Staff arrived in Kiev, the country’s capital, on Thursday and Friday and are beginning to assess the operations of the Ukraine Ministry of Defense, Ms. Lainez told The Washington Times.

The eight military personnel have been split up into two teams, according to Ms. Lainez. One team has been told to assess the security needs of the Ukraini…