Latest Snowden release: NSA has been bugging EU offices

The United States has bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks, according to secret documents cited in a German magazine on Saturday, the latest in a series of exposures of alleged U.S. spy programs.

Der Spiegel quoted from a September 2010 “top secret” U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) document that it said fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had taken with him, and the weekly’s journalists had seen in part.

The document outlines how the NSA bugged offices and spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the United Nations, not only listening to conversations and phone calls but also gaining access to documents and emails.

The document explicitly called the EU a “target”

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said that if the report was correct, it would have a “severe impact” on relations between the EU and the United States.

“On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations,” he said in an emailed statement.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel: “If these reports are true, it’s disgusting.

Another day in the life and times of transparency in the government of the United States.

US army blocks access to Guardian website to preserve “network hygiene”

The US army has admitted to blocking access to parts of the Guardian website for thousands of defence personnel across the country…A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve “network hygiene” and prevent any classified material appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.

The confirmation follows reports in the Monterey Herald that staff at the Presidio military base south of San Francisco had complained of not being able to access the Guardian’s UK site at all, and had only partial access to the US site, following publication of leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden…

…A spokesman for the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom) in Arizona confirmed that this was a widespread policy, likely to be affecting hundreds of defence facilities.

“In response to your question about access to the guardian.co.uk website, the army is filtering some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks,” said Gordon Van Vleet, a Netcom public affairs officer.

“The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative ‘network hygiene’ measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks…”

You have to love government doublethink. They say “We’re not blocking the website. Just the website’s content.”

Not too much different from President Obama’s excuse for the NSA spying on Americans – it’s legal – with no consideration for whether or not it’s ethical, egregious bordering on criminal.

They are so afraid of someone else in the military reflecting upon Edward Snowden’s decision to blow the whistle on our government spying on the entire sentient world. I wonder what else there is to be revealed?

Priest from Vatican Bank busted in plot to smuggle €40 million into Italy from Swiss bank accounts

A senior Catholic cleric with connections to the Vatican bank was arrested on Friday for plotting to help rich friends smuggle tens of millions of euros in cash into Italy from Switzerland, in the latest blow to the Vatican’s image.

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, 61, who worked as a senior accountant in the Vatican’s financial administration, was arrested along with an Italian secret service agent and a financial intermediary in a tale that reads like a spy novel.

It involves police wiretaps, a private plane rented to collect the cash from Locarno, burned cell phones and an allegedly corrupt secret services agent who promised to get the money past customs.

Details of the case against Scarano will come as an acute embarrassment to Pope Francis, who, since his election in March, has pointedly eschewed many of the trappings of office and sought to stress the importance of a simple life of devotion…

Scarano, who was arrested in a Rome parish and taken to Rome’s Queen of Heaven jail, had hatched a plot to bring up to €40 million into Italy for a family of shipbuilders in his hometown of Salerno in southern Italy, magistrate Nello Rossi told reporters.

Rossi is already investigating the Vatican bank for money laundering, and the latest arrests stemmed from that…

According to Rossi, in July last year Scarano engaged Giovanni Zito, a paramilitary Carabiniere policeman on loan to the secret services, to help him get the money, which was in a Swiss bank, into Italy without tax and customs controls.

The third person arrested was Giovanni Carenzio, a financial broker with offices in Switzerland and the Canary Islands and who was acting as the fiduciary for the owners of the money…

It was not clear how or when the money got to Switzerland in the first place.

Rossi said his office would seek permission from the Vatican, which is a sovereign state, to question officials. “This is just a piece in a much larger mosaic,” he said.

Scarano, who Rossi said had worked for a German bank before he became a priest, was for years a senior accountant for a Vatican department known as APSA, whose official title is the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See…

Seriously, does any of this surprise anyone? Aren’t we beyond the era of naïveté about the Roman Catholic church and corrupt wealth?

RTFA for lots of details. A farce worthy of being made into a comic Italian movie.

Former high-ranking US general under investigation for leaks


General Cartwright and his boss

One of the highest ranking military officers in the US is under investigation for allegedly leaking top secret information about a cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear programme…

NBC news channel reported…that retired General James Cartwright, a former second-highest-ranking officer, was under investigation for leaking information on a covert computer virus, called Stuxnet.

The virus was used in 2010 to temporarily disable 1,000 centrifuges used for enriching uranium by Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Cartwright, who was the number two person in the joint chiefs of staff from 2007 to 2011, was instrumental in the development of Stuxnet, and his role was publicised in a New York Times article published last year.

The article exposed that the virus was the Obama administration’s key weapon against Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

President Barack Obama responded to the article sternly: “My attitude has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks. These are criminal acts when they release information like this.”

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington DC, said that there was ongoing speculation about Cartwright’s motive behind the leaks.

“It’s simply a stunning development when you consider that the Obama administration has always said that ‘people who leak are going to be prosecuted if we figure out who they are.'”

Will Cartwright be treated as cruelly as Bradley Manning? Will he be prosecuted for espionage the way Ed Snowden is threatened by scumbags like Dick Cheney and Peter King?

I need a new pair of rubber boots if I’m to wade through Obama’s hypocrisy. So much of his ideology is typical Democrat Cold War crappola. He authorizes a criminal attack on another nation – then, villainizes a participant for leaking the tale.

As much of an historic event was his election, that doesn’t change the fact that the core of his politics remains the same old barely useful and timid pragmatism we’re accustomed to from Democrats since Truman. It’s all we’re allowed by our tired TweedleDeeDumb two old parties.