NSA prepares for cyberwar. Their cyberwar.

Pleasant working conditions, clean air, good pay and no ethical standards whatsoever

According to top secret documents from the archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden seen exclusively by SPIEGEL, they are planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role, with the aim of being able to use the net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money.

During the 20th century, scientists developed so-called ABC weapons — atomic, biological and chemical. It took decades before their deployment could be regulated and, at least partly, outlawed. New digital weapons have now been developed for the war on the Internet. But there are almost no international conventions or supervisory authorities for these D weapons, and the only law that applies is the survival of the fittest…

The US Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force have already established their own cyber forces, but it is the NSA, also officially a military agency, that is taking the lead. It’s no coincidence that the director of the NSA also serves as the head of the US Cyber Command. The country’s leading data spy, Admiral Michael Rogers, is also its chief cyber wagrrior and his close to 40,000 employees are responsible for both digital spying and destructive network attacks.

From a military perspective, surveillance of the Internet is merely “Phase 0” in the US digital war strategy. Internal NSA documents indicate that it is the prerequisite for everything that follows. They show that the aim of the surveillance is to detect vulnerabilities in enemy systems. Once “stealthy implants” have been placed to infiltrate enemy systems, thus allowing “permanent accesses,” then Phase Three has been achieved — a phase headed by the word “dominate” in the documents. This enables them to “control/destroy critical systems & networks at will through pre-positioned accesses (laid in Phase 0).” Critical infrastructure is considered by the agency to be anything that is important in keeping a society running: energy, communications and transportation. The internal documents state that the ultimate goal is “real time controlled escalation”.

But, our Commander-in-Chief says that United States is a victim of constant assaults. We muct prepare for cyber warfare. We must obey.

Warning, warning, Will Robinson.

Meanwhile, like every other aspect of the most militarized imperial economy in the history of our world – the United States dedicates more energy, funds and propoganda to our own assault on privacy than the sum of the rest of the world. No doubt.

RTFA. Lots of detail. A strong piece of research based – once again – on the crimes committed in our name, for our “defense” by politicians and their wooden-hearted puppets.

Royal Mail suspends deliveries in Elgin — dangerous seagulls!

Royal Mail has suspended deliveries to homes in the Scottish town of Elgin, claiming its postwoman was being attacked by seagulls…residents have been told they will have to collect their mail from the post office until the nesting season ends due to what are described as “swooping attacks”.

The Royal Mail was adamant its staff member been “attacked” while attempting to deliver mail there. The gulls are protected by law and next on the roofs of homes on the road.

George McPhee, 66, said: “The seagulls are a bloody pest, but I have been 41years in the same house and they have never hurt anybody – and that’s including kiddies, dogs and cats.

“Even during The Blitz everybody was getting their post. If they have to issue them hard hats then so be it,” he said.

He has offered to accompany the postmen and women to prove the birds pose no danger.

Newspaper and milk deliveries are unaffected.

Perhaps the seagulls aren’t expecting to receive any mail; but, do enjoy occasional deliveries of milk and the TELEGRAPH. Or the Royal Mail may have new delivery staff who have seen too many Alfred Hitchcock movies?

EU approves attacks on Somali pirates on land as well as at sea

Royal Marines board a pirate skiff after an attack on a Spanish fishing boat
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

The European Union has agreed to expand its mission against Somali pirates, by allowing military forces to attack land targets as well as those at sea. In a two-year extension of its mission, EU defence ministers agreed warships could target boats and fuel dumps…

Up to 10 EU naval ships are currently on patrol off the Horn of Africa. They have policed shipping routes and protected humanitarian aid since 2008. The extension means they will stay until at least December 2014.

An EU official said the new mandate would allow warships or helicopters to fire at fuel barrels, boats, trucks or other equipment on beaches…Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters: “The EU plan is to allow attacks on land installations when ships are assaulted at sea,” adding that “much care” would be taken to avoid civilian deaths.

A two-decade war has wrecked Somalia, leaving it without a proper government. The transitional government only controls the capital Mogadishu, while al-Shabab militants, who recently joined with al-Qaeda, hold large swathes of territory.

The EU says the main tasks of the mission are the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme delivering food aid to displaced people in Somalia, and the fight against piracy off the Somali coast…

Brussels also said the Somali government [what there is of it] had told the UN secretary general that it accepted its new offer of collaboration.

You might think the US government or one of our surrogates like NATO might upgrade to this level of backbone.

On one hand, President Obama is trying to appear less than impetuous in the face of Republican electioneering that wants us to remain cops of the world. On the other hand, permission for anything like this might require support from Congress and they aren’t likely to approve anything other than their salaries.

The United States intensifies drone attacks in Pakistan

A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal region killed four suspected militants Friday, intelligence officials said.

It was the latest in a spate of suspected drone attacks that the United States has carried out in Pakistan since U.S. forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the early morning hours of May 2.

Why must American journalists speak lawyerese? I understand why media owners, editors and producers crack the whip on “suspected perpetrator” and similar crap in daily domestic news. We’re talking about military operations on the other side of the planet.

The suspected drone fired two missiles on a vehicle in the area of Miran Shah of North Waziristan, a region near Pakistan’s border that is rife with Islamic extremists, two intelligence officials said. They asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Suspected U.S. drone strikes, a source of tension between the two nations, have increased in pace in Pakistan since bin Laden’s death.

The United States has carried out six suspected drone strikes in Pakistan in the past 15 days, according to a CNN count based on information from Pakistani intelligence sources. That works out to an average of one strike every 2.5 days.

From January 1 through May 5, by contrast, the United States conducted 20 suspected strikes, an average of one drone strike every six days, according to CNN’s count.

The recent increase, however, probably is not due to intelligence gained from bin Laden’s compound, Bill Roggio, a military affairs analyst and editor of the Long War Journal, has said.

This uptick is not unusual from a recent historical perspective, he said. “What has happened, since the bin Laden raid, is that the U.S. has not felt pressured to dial back the attacks due to Pakistani sensibilities.”

Makes sense to me. Apparently, the White House and the State Department don’t feel much pressure to keep up the patent leather pretense that the Pakistan government has broad-based control over all departments, everyone follows political guidance as expressed by President Zardari.


Cyber warfare risk is mostly hype

The vast majority of hi-tech attacks described as acts of cyber war do not deserve the name, says a report.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development study is part of a series considering incidents that could cause global disruption. While pandemics and financial instability could cause problems, cyber attacks are unlikely to, it says.

Instead, trouble caused by cyber attacks is likely to be localised and short-lived…

Attempts to quantify the potential damage that hi-tech attacks could cause and develop appropriate responses are not helped by the hyperbolic language used to describe these incidents, said the OECD report.

“We don’t help ourselves using ‘cyberwar’ to describe espionage or hacktivist blockading or defacing of websites, as recently seen in reaction to WikiLeaks,” said Professor Peter Sommer…who co-wrote the report with Dr Ian Brown…

“Nor is it helpful to group trivially avoidable incidents like routine viruses and frauds with determined attempts to disrupt critical national infrastructure,” added Prof Sommer…

The report concludes that it is unlikely that there will be a cyberwar. Most of the hype – like a great deal of politics involving the military in Western nations – is designed to promote the profits of corporations and their officer-class flunkies.

No surprises there, either.

A [geriatric] Tiger [near Leeds] stops the post

Tiger defends his cat-door

Mail deliveries have been stopped to a house after postal workers were attacked by an elderly cat, Royal Mail said.

Nineteen-year-old Tiger has attacked three people delivering at his home recently. Now Royal Mail has told owner Tracey Brayshaw her pet is aggressive and it will not be delivering post to the house in Farsley, near Leeds.

The black-and-white cat, which is aged 93 in human terms, sleeps for 20 hours a day, Mrs Brayshaw said.

The 43-year-old pharmacy dispenser said she cannot believe her cat has now been labelled a health and safety risk…

The service has been suspended for two weeks and Tiger’s trick of pouncing on postal workers and chasing them down the garden path is forcing Mrs Brayshaw to collect her mail from the local sorting office…

In a statement Royal Mail said : “We are sorry for the inconvenience to Mrs Brayshaw and, as we want to resume delivery of mail to her address as quickly as possible, we’re trying to agree a way to do this and avoid our employees suffering further nasty injuries as has happened three times already.”

What is there to say?

Private guards repel pirate attack off Somalia, kill one!

A suspected pirate has been shot dead as private guards repelled an attack on a cargo ship off Somalia, in what may have been the first such incident. Guards aboard the Panamanian-flagged MV Almezaan returned fire after the ship was attacked – the third time in a year that pirates had targeted the ship.

The EU naval force (Navfor) said a team from an EU warship found the dead man after responding to a distress call. Six other suspected pirates were detained by a Spanish Navfor ship…

The ESPS Navarra found one pirate mother ship and two skiffs. The mother ship was destroyed after the suspects were taken into custody, Navfor said.

Bullet-holes were found in the skiffs in which they were found, he added…

The Navarra received a distress signal early on Tuesday from a merchant ship off the Somali coast and sped to the area, Navfor said in a statement…

Pirates had launched an attack on the MV Almezaan. This was successfully repelled by members of an “armed private vessel protection detachment” on board the ship, who returned fire.

A second attack was also repelled and the pirates fled the area, Navfor said.

A helicopter from the Navarra sighted the suspected pirates’ boats and ordered them to stop, firing warning shots when they refused to do so. When a team from the Navarra boarded the vessels, they found three suspected pirates in one skiff and three in the second, along with the body of a fourth man…

Somalia has not had a functioning government for nearly two decades and analysts believe that attacks on shipping will continue as long as there is no central government capable of taking on the pirate gangs.

Bravo! One less to worry about.

Latest nutball debate tactic – smashing windows!

Kristallnacht returns as a right-wing tactic

Democratic offices in at least three states have reported instances of vandalism that party members say possibly were tied to Sunday’s historic vote on health care reform.

Early Monday morning, a glass panel at the Tucson office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, was shattered, spokesman C.J. Karamargin said. It wasn’t clear how the window was shattered, but visitors have to go through a gated courtyard to enter the office, and staffers suspect someone may have shot a pellet gun at the glass, he said…

In upstate New York, two similar incidents were reported before Sunday night’s vote, according to CNN affiliate WHEC. A brick was thrown through the window of the Monroe County Democratic Committee headquarters in Rochester, and another was tossed through a window of Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter’s office in Niagara Falls early Friday…

Another incident was reported earlier in the weekend by the Sedgwick County Democratic Party in Kansas. Party Executive Director Lyndsey Stauble told CNN that a brick with anti-Obama and anti-health care messages was thrown at the headquarters sometime late Friday or early Saturday. Nothing was taken, and no one was injured, she said, adding that a bakery next door called police…

An Alabama-based blog…says it has launched a “window war” against Democrats and has kept a tally of the recent incidents of damage, including the ones in New York and Kansas.

Michael B. Vanderboegh of Pinson, Alabama, told CNN…he called for people to break windows at Democratic headquarters at the city and county level. He said he didn’t call for the damages to congressional offices because, “I didn’t want to be responsible for anybody breaking a federal law…”

My answer is violence, by getting their attention,” he said, adding, “If we can get across to the other side, that they are within inches of provoking a civil war in this country, then that’s a good thing.”

The most corrupt political vermin gravitate to their own kind. Threats of violence escalate to overt acts of violence – and those who excuse such behavior are as corrupt as the dimwits they encourage.

Regulars here know what contempt I have for so-called anarchists who commit cruel and stupid acts of violence in the name of their purity. The history of American bigots is laced with as much violence and more. Do the bosses of the Republican Party think their reliance on mob threats would result in anything different?

OK. I calmed down a little bit. I watched a useful discussion, last night, among educated adults which included Ed Rollins. I hope his is the opinion, the guidance followed by his fellow Republicans. His description of the people I generally refer to as nutballs – is that they are despicable bigots and deserve no voice whatsoever in American politics.

I wait for Boehner and McConnell, good ol’ boys like Haley Barbour who wants to be president so bad he can taste it – to stand up like men and denounce these prototype Nazis – or will they put their hands in their pants and mumble something about how we all need more understanding?

Because that won’t stop the idiots who repudiate democracy, who would deny people’s right to vote and speak out.

BTW – It took Boehner and McConnell 3 days to stand up on their hind legs and denounce the vandals. Update: 25th March.

US ‘escalates covert Iran missions’

US congressional leaders have agreed to a presidential request for up to $400 million in funding for covert operations against Iran, according to a report in the New Yorker magazine.

Previous cross-border operations have included the capture of Iranian security officers and the backing of anti-Tehran armed groups, said the report by Seymour Hersh, the investigative reporter.

The operations have been taking place since last year, the article said.

Bush’s request, made through a Presidential Finding document, was approved by US congressional leaders, including Democrats, late last year, the report said.

I find none of this surprising including collusion and collaboration by Congressional Democrats.
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