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Obama administration bypasses CISPA by secretly allowing Internet surveillance

RT | April 24, 2013

Scared that CISPA might pass? The federal government is already using a secretive cybersecurity program to monitor online traffic and enforce CISPA-like data sharing between Internet service providers and the Department of Defense.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has obtained over 1,000 pages of documents pertaining to the United States government’s use of a cybersecurity program after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, and CNET reporter Declan McCullagh says those pages show how the Pentagon has secretly helped push for increased Internet surveillance.

“Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws,” McCullagh writes.

That practice, McCullagh recalls, was first revealed when Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn disclosed the existence of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Pilot in June 2011. At the time, the Pentagon said the program would allow the government to help the defense industry safeguard the information on their computer systems by sharing classified threat information between the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internet service providers (ISP) that keep government contractors online.

“Our defense industrial base is critical to our military effectiveness. Their networks hold valuable information about our weapons systems and their capabilities,” Lynn said. “The theft of design data and engineering information from within these networks greatly undermines the technological edge we hold over potential adversaries.”

Just last week the US House of Representatives voted in favor of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA — a legislation that would allow ISPs and private Internet companies across the country like Facebook and Google to share similar threat data with the federal government without being held liable for violating their customers’ privacy. As it turns out, however, the DIB Cyber Pilot has expanded exponentially in recent months, suggesting that a significant chunk of Internet traffic is already subjected to governmental monitoring.

In May 2012 less than a year after the pilot was first unveiled, the Defense Department announced the expansion of the DIB program. Then this past January, McCullagh says it was renamed the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS) and opened up to a larger number of companies — not just DoD contractors. An executive order signed by US President Barack Obama earlier this year will let all critical infrastructure companies to sign-on to ECS this June, likely in turn bringing on board entities in energy, healthcare, communication and finance.

Although the 1,000-plus pages obtained in the FOIA request haven’t been posted in full on the Web just yet, a sampling of that trove published by EPIC on Wednesday starts to show just exactly how severe the Pentagon’s efforts to eavesdrop on Web traffic has been.

In one document, a December 2011 slideshow on the legal policies and practices regarding the monitoring of Web traffic on DIB-linked systems, the Pentagon instructs the administrators of those third-party computer networks on how to implement the program and, as a result, erode their customers’ expectation of privacy.

In one slide, the Pentagon explains to ISPs and other system administrators how to be clear in letting their customers know that their traffic was being fed to the government. Key elements to keep in mind, wrote the Defense Department, was that DIB “expressly covers monitoring of data and communications in transit rather than just accessing data at rest.”

“[T]hat information transiting or stored on the system may be disclosed for any purpose, including to the government,” it continued. Companies participating in the pilot program were told to let users know that monitoring would exist “for any purpose,” and that users have no expectation of privacy regarding communications or data stored on the system.

According to the 2011 press released on the DIB Cyber Pilot, “the government will not monitor, intercept or store any private-sector communications through the program.” In a privacy impact assessment of the ECS program that was published in January by the DHS though, it’s revealed that not only is information monitored, but among the data collected by investigators could be personally identifiable information, including the header info from suspicious emails. That would mean the government sees and stores who you communicate with and what kind of subject lines are used during correspondence.

The DHS says that personally identifiable information could be retained if “analytically relevant to understanding the cyber threat” in question.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers in Congress that overwhelmingly approved CISPA just last week could arguably use a refresher in what constitutes a cyberthreat. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told his colleagues on the Hill that “Recent events in Boston demonstrate that we have to come together as Republicans and Democrats to get this done,” and Rep. Dan Maffei (D-New York) made unfounded claims during Thursday’s debate that the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks is pursuing efforts to “hack into our nation’s power grid.”

Should CISPA be signed into law, telecommunication companies will be encouraged to share Internet data with the DHS and Department of Justice for so-called national security purposes. But even if the president pursues a veto as his advisers have suggested, McCullagh says few will be safe from this secretive cybersecurity operation already in place.

The tome of FOIA pages, McCullagh says, shows that the Justice Department has actively assisted telecoms as of late by letting them off the hook for Wiretap Act violations. Since the sharing of data between ISPs and the government under the DIB program and now ECS violates federal statute, the Justice Department has reportedly issued an undeterminable number of “2511 letters” to telecoms: essentially written approval to ignore provisions of the Wiretap Act in exchange for immunity.

“The Justice Department is helping private companies evade federal wiretap laws,” EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg tells CNET. “Alarm bells should be going off.”

In an internal Justice Department email cited by McCullagh, Associate Deputy Attorney General James Baker is alleged to write that ISPs will likely request 2511 letters and the ECS-participating companies “would be required to change their banners to reference government monitoring.”

“These agencies are clearly seeking authority to receive a large amount of information, including personal information, from private Internet networks,” EPIC staff attorney Amie Stepanovich adds to CNET. “If this program was broadly deployed, it would raise serious questions about government cybersecurity practices.”

April 24, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Comments Off on Obama administration bypasses CISPA by secretly allowing Internet surveillance

Nuclear warheads in US, Europe threaten all of humanity, Soltanieh says

Press TV – April 24, 2013

The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that the tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in the United States and around Europe pose a direct threat to humanity.

Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh made the remarks in a speech at meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

“The continued existence of tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in the stockpile of the nuclear-weapon states, most of them on high-trigger alert, and their day by day modernization, constitute the most serious threat to the survival of mankind,” Soltanieh told the committee.

He also condemned the US for conducting its 27th subcritical nuclear test in Nevada in December 2012, saying the experiment was “a flagrant violation” of Washington’s “international obligations” and “a recipe for global destabilization.”

“Such subcritical tests and computer simulations to design new weapons, a case of non-compliance by the United States with its international obligations under the NPT, could be a resumption of the nuclear arms race and a revival [of the] risk of global disaster,” the Iranian ambassador stated.

The US National Nuclear Security Administration said the experiment, known as Pollux, was conducted to ensure that the United States “can support a safe, secure and effective stockpile” of nuclear weapons.

According to the United Nations, the US — which is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons against human beings — has conducted over 1,000 nuclear tests since 1945.

Soltanieh noted that spending on nuclear weapons has increased dramatically since 2010 and will reach at least one trillion US dollars over the next decade, adding, “The United States itself will spend untold billions of dollars to operate its nuclear armada during its 50-year planned lifespan (from 2030 to 2080).”

He added that the British government’s plan to spend 100 billion pounds to upgrade its Trident nuclear-armed submarines is a “clear breach of Article VI of the NPT and the commitments [made] during the 2010 NPT Review Conference.”

He went on to say that the sale of German-made Dolphin-class submarines to the Israeli regime, which is not a signatory to the NPT, is “an unconcealed case of proliferation and non-compliance,” since the submarines are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Since 1958, when Israel began building its Dimona plutonium- and uranium-processing facility in the Negev desert, it has secretly manufactured over 200 nuclear warheads, making it the only player in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons.

April 24, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nuclear warheads in US, Europe threaten all of humanity, Soltanieh says

Every Day Terror

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | April 24, 2013

Every year, 4,600 Americans are killed in work place related accidents. Every 28 hours a black person is killed by police, corrections officers, security guards or vigilantes. Every year more than 30,000 people are killed by gun violence in this country. The odds of being killed by a terrorist are only 1 in 20 million.

These statistics are rarely mentioned and never had a chance to be addressed after two bombs were exploded during the Boston marathon. Death under horrific but commonplace circumstances attracts scant media attention or political action. Acts labeled as terrorism, which are unlikely to kill anyone, bring an inordinate amount of hysteria among the populace and cynical attention from press and politicians.

Just two days after the Boston marathon a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded, killing 14 people, most of them the much worshiped “first responders.” The risk of dying in an industrial accident is far greater than the odds of being killed by a terrorist, but no matter. The people were whipped into a frenzy and told to cast their eyes in the place where they should pay less attention rather than more.

It is frightening that the risks which Americans are subjected to on a daily basis are ignored as if they are unwanted background noise. Some of the passivity is understandable. Black people in particular are able to function in large part because the ever present risk of stop and frisk, false arrest, and police brutality are difficult to bear. There is a thin line between being conscious and losing one’s mind.

All Americans’ behavior is understandable if one acknowledges that we are constantly subjected to propaganda of various kinds. We have been propagandized to believe that some lives, white Americans’, are more valuable than others, namely anyone not white nor from the United States. There is no other way to explain why the government’s killing of thousands of people abroad is met with a shrug, if it is acknowledged at all. Americans are like spoiled children, whining over their suffering, while showing no empathy for anyone else’s. They feel that only their victimization is worthy of note, and in fact many of them support their government’s acts of violence carried out around the world.

That feeling of entitlement is a direct result of centuries of white supremacy which has never been examined or challenged. It has been fed as corporate power has grown and corrupted the media who now aren’t even very good at the basics of their profession. CNN, NPR, the Associated Press and other supposedly reputable news organizations reported wrongly on basic facts of the case such as the number of suspects, whether arrests had been made or not, or who was or wasn’t a person of interest. A “dark skinned man” was said to be under arrest but actually wasn’t. An Indian student missing since March was named as a suspect on social media and his family were threatened as a result.

After the wave of manufactured hysteria an easily frightened people were then convinced to accept tanks in their streets and heed government calls to “shelter in place.” The nonsensical overreaction was superseded only by the use of Orwellian jargon used to create an even more compliant public.

The predictably maudlin moments of silence weren’t restricted to Boston. More than $20 million in monetary contributions were raised without the donors knowing who needed it or for what purpose. Tributes flowed along with money and no one ran a race anywhere on earth without mentioning the bravery of Bostonians. The president showed up and as always on such occasions uttered words seemingly written by his worst speechwriters. The full force of the government would catch the cowards and the people would not be frightened because they are the best and freest in the world and the prayers of the nation went out to them because of democracy and the whole world stood beside them. Amen.

There is another kind of terror that goes on continually. Most reported terror plots of recent years were created entirely by government agents. The FBI had some contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was killed by police in the bombing after math. It is possible that the FBI moved from creating phony terror plots to actually carrying one out. The likelihood that there will ever be impartial fact finding on this and other questions are slim to none.

Dzokhar Tsarnaev now lies in a hospital wounded by police gunfire and questioned without being read his rights. That treatment is a result of an Obama executive order which states that in cases of a “public safety exception” we have no such rights. Now that is everyday terror.

Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

April 24, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Comments Off on Every Day Terror


By Damian Lataan | April 24, 2013

Neoconservatives are grasping at the finest of straws in their search for links between the Boston Marathon bombers and al-Qaeda and, more importantly for the neocons, the two Canadian Muslims accused of plotting to destroy a train on orders from al-Qaeda in Iran.

The reality is that no matter how hard the various intelligence authorities look, there is no evidence at all linking the Boston Marathon bombers to al-Qaeda or an al-Qaeda linked group. And, while most clear thinking analysts have agreed that the notion of Iran hosting al-Qaeda is far-fetched, senior neocon warmonger “Mad Max” Boot writing in Commentary claims that there are some obscure links between the Taliban and Iran and that, therefore, there can be no reason why there can’t be a link between Iran and al-Qaeda despite al-Qaeda being Sunni and Iran being Shia. What Mad Max forgets, however, (he doesn’t actually forget, he just hopes his readers don’t know) is that any association Iran has with the Taliban is purely for geo-political expediency reasons whereas an alliance between Iran and al-Qaeda would require an ideological association – an association that would be out of bounds for both entities especially considering the current state of play in Syria.

The reason a link between Iran and al-Qaeda is important to the neocons is because any link, if it actually resulted in a terrorist act inside the US as the Canadian so-called plot may have if the train was derailed or destroyed while inside the US or even New York where it was bound, could well become a trigger for a US attack against Iran.

Any link at all to al-Qaeda is also important to the neocons. It drives their obsessive anti-Islam propaganda which, in turn, feeds the Israeli Zionist cause of a Greater Israel which the neocons support and are a part of.

April 24, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Comments Off on NEOCONS GETTING DESPERATE FOR AL-QAEDA AND IRAN LINKS

Fukushima decommissioning to last for up to 40 years – IAEA

RT | April 23, 2013

It could take 30 to 40 years to fully decommission the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant due to complexity of the task, UN nuclear watchdog IAEA has reported. However, the plant’s infrastructure may not last that long.

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection last week of the ruined Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma has exposed certain bottlenecks in the plan to clean up the nuclear disaster. A statement by the IAEA released Monday criticized TEPCO’s progress on the cleanup.

Experts of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology believe that a chain of equipment failures of the plant’s essential systems that took place over the last few weeks could become a serious problem in the future. The IAEA called on to TEPCO to maintain plant’s equipment properly to avoid potentially hazardous situations, especially disconnections of the cooling systems of the shutoff reactors and fuel storage pools.

“As for the duration of the decommissioning project, it will be nearly impossible to ensure the time for decommissioning such a complex facility in less than 30 to 40 years as it is currently established in the roadmap,” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, the IAEA’s Director of the Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology (NEFW).

The IAEA statement stressed that Japan must still develop technology and equipment to locate and remove melted uranium fuel, given the harsh conditions and strong radiation levels at the Fukushima facility.

Fukushima saw a chain of incidents over the last five weeks, at least three of which were caused by rats that damaged wires in critically important electrical equipment. And on Monday, TEPCO personnel conducted an emergency shutdown of the cooling system of one of the fuel storage pools after two dead rats were found inside a transformer box.

Lentijo, who headed the IAEA delegation to Fukushima, explained that water management is “probably the most challenging” task for the plant at the moment.

Another issue was the multiple leakages of radioactive water from storage tanks and cooling systems, which are not only further contaminating the area around the plant, but may also be expelling radioactive pollution deep underground, where it could pollute underground water tables.

Earlier, TEPCO reported that a steady inflow of groundwater in the basements of the damaged reactor buildings resulted in about 400 tons of contaminated water daily. With the Fukushima nuclear plant’s storage tanks already housing 280,000 tons of liquid radioactive waste, this means the amount of contaminated water would double within just a few years.

Lentijo urged TEPCO to “implement additional countermeasures to regain confidence.” IAEA experts also noted that TEPCO needs to step up protections against “external hazards” similar to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that followed it, which devastated the plant on March11, 2011. “It is important to have a very good capability to identify as promptly as possible failures and to establish compensatory measures,” he said.

“You have to adopt a very cautious position to ensure that you always are working on the safe side,” Lentijo added.

A final report by the 12-member IAEA delegation to Fukushima is expected to be published in May.

April 24, 2013 Posted by | Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Fukushima decommissioning to last for up to 40 years – IAEA