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Showing posts from February 25, 2014

Inside the Mind of James Clapper

By Glenn Greenwald

- "The Intercept" - - I’m going to have a story published later today about a new document, but until then, this new interview with (and profile of) Director of National Intelligence James Clapper by the Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake is worth spending a few moments examining. Last week, Lake published one excerpt of his interview where Clapper admitted that the U.S. Government should have told the American people that the NSA was collecting their communications records: as pure a vindication of Edward Snowden’s choice as it gets, for obvious reasons. But there are several new, noteworthy revelations from this morning’s article:


Thanks to rogue contractor Edward Snowden, the machinations of the shadow bureaucracy Clapper heads have for the last eight months been exposed one news story at a time. Clapper is often the guy who has to call newspaper editors to tell them not to print stories that they usually publish anyway.

This process of pre-publication notice to th…

The Brown Revolution of the Ukraine

By Israel Shamir

- I am a great fan of Kiev, an affable city of pleasing bourgeois character, with its plentiful small restaurants, clean tree-lined streets, and bonhomie of its beer gardens. A hundred years ago Kiev was predominantly a Russian resort, and some central areas have retained this flavour. Now Kiev is patrolled by armed thugs from the Western Ukraine, by fighters from the neo-Nazi -Right Sector, descendants of Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian Quisling’s troopers, and by their local comrades-in-arms of nationalist persuasion.



After a month of confrontation, President Viktor Yanukovych gave in, signed the EC-prepared surrender and escaped their rough revolutionary justice by the skin of his teeth. The ruling party MPs were beaten and dispersed, the communists almost lynched, the opposition have the parliament all to themselves, and they've appointed new ministers and taken over the Ukraine. The Brown Revolution has won in the Ukraine. This big East European country of fif…

Western Spy Agencies Build ‘Cyber Magicians’ to Manipulate Online Discourse

By RT

- "RT" - Secret units within the 'Five Eyes" global spying network engage in covert online operations that aim to invade, deceive, and control online communities and individuals through the spread of false information and use of ingenious social-science tactics.

Such teams of highly trained professionals have several main objectives, such as “to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet” and “to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald reported based on intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The new information comes via a document from the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), entitled 'The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations,' which is top secret and only for dissemination within the Five Eyes intell…

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

By Glenn Greenwald



A page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit

- One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on fourclassifiedGCHQdocuments presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations”.

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discr…

Myanmar Confronts Its Geography

Summary


Editor's Note: This is the first installment in a four-part series on Myanmar's struggle to become a modern nation-state.

After decades of civil war between Myanmar's central government and ethnic minority insurgent groups, the government is moving forward on a nationwide cease-fire, sweetened by political and business concessions to ethnic minorities. Naypyidaw hopes this unprecedented push at nation-building will bring it closer to its core geopolitical imperative of national integration. However, the process is a delicate one. Modern Myanmar is defined by geography fractured along ethnic and religious lines, with an artificial and porous border threading through remote highlands separated from a lowland consolidated under Naypyidaw's rule. Myanmar has never been a nation-state in the true sense.

Certain regional powers -- namely China, India and Thailand -- have tried to exploit this division, contributing to the insurgencies that have plagued Myanmar for more…

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Feb. 24, 2014

Analysis


Editor's Note: The following is an internal Stratfor document listing significant meetings and events planned for the next week. Stratfor analysts use this to stay informed of the activities and travel of world leaders and to guide their areas of focus for the week.

EUROPE
Feb. 24-27: European Parliament will hold its plenary session in Strasbourg, France.
Feb. 24: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her entire Cabinet will visit Israel.
Feb. 24: In Greece, the troika -- composed of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the EU Commission -- is expected to resume bailout talks with Athens.
Feb. 25: The French Parliament is expected to vote on extending France's military deployment in the Central African Republic.
Feb. 26: The German constitutional court will announce its ruling on whether German political parties need to pass a 3 percent threshold in order to gain seats in the European Parliament.
Feb. 27: EU foreign ministers will hold an informal me…

Venezuela: Mass Protests Continue to Intensify

Summary


Venezuelans gathered in the streets in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, Feb. 22, in the third major protest in 10 days. Demonstrations are ongoing in Caracas and throughout the country, including in San Cristobal, Valencia and Maracaibo. The list of grievances is long, but there is no single unifying theme behind the protests beyond a staunch rejection of the status quo in Venezuela. The country's leadership appears to be holding on, but it is showing signs of stress.

Analysis


The energetic Venezuelan rumor mill is filled with reports that Cuban troops have arrived in the country to help manage the protests, but such rumors are sketchy at best. Several photos of Venezuelan-owned Shaanxi Y-8 aircraft with troops offloading have been published in social media. The first such image was posted Feb. 16, and the most recent may show troop movements as recently as Feb. 21. The photos show troops carrying substantial baggage, as if prepared for a long stay. Ther…

Italy's New Prime Minister Faces Familiar Problems

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks in the Senate on Feb. 24. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Italy's new prime minister, Matteo Renzi, presented his government agenda Feb. 24 and is expected to win a vote of confidence in the Senate later in the day and in the Chamber of Deputies on Feb. 25. In the past few days, Renzi promised to reduce state bureaucracy, cut payroll taxes, loosen employment rules, apply higher taxes on financial investments and approve public spending cuts.

But the new prime minister will be working under the same constraints as his predecessors; he will have to rely on a fractious Parliament and a fragile government coalition. This will undermine the new government's ambitious plans for reforms, since decision-making will remain difficult and slow. While political instability in Italy is unlikely to affect the rest of the eurozone in the short term, it will keep weakening the country's prospects for a substantial economic recovery and c…