The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.
That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (reut.rs/1L5knm0) Continue reading »
The ‘smallest Air Force in history’ is dealing with more missions than ever. So the flyboys are calling in the military contractors to operate their jets.
The U.S. Air Force fleet of planes and pilots is stretched so thin, the service is considering hiring private military corporations flying supersonic jets to train its fighter jocks in mock air combat.The Air Force is being forced to consider such desperate measures because it doesn’t have enough fighter jets and trained aircrew to fly missions where they would simulate enemy warplanes—also called “red air” in military slang. Continue reading »
The United States “occupation strategy” involves a cycle of invading a country of interest, turning it into a chaotic mess and then using the chaos as “a justification” for longer military presence in that country, says American political commentator and peace activist Brian Becker.
A day after US President Barack Obama declared the end of the war in Afghanistan, the longest conflict in America’s history, Republican Senator John McCain said the White House should abandon its strict schedule for the withdrawal of US troops from the country and replace it with a “plan based on conditions on the ground”. Continue reading »
Since June, the U.S. military has been slowly stockpiling massive amounts of its gear coming out of Afghanistan at a depot in Kuwait adjacent to a bustling commercial port, in preparation for ultimately shipping it across the border into Iraq for an allied offensive against the Islamic State group, US News reports. Air Force Maj. Gen. Rowayne “Wayne” Schatz admitted, “from June to December, we’ve worked a lot on moving items into Kuwait,” including 3,100 vehicles, most of them MRAPs. While the military stands by President Barack Obama’s repeated pledge that he will not put U.S. combat forces on the ground, an increasing number of U.S. troops has slowly trickled back into Iraq, as the US and its allies are reportedly planning for a massive spring offensive to retake territory from ISIS.
Since June, the U.S. military has been slowly stockpiling massive amounts of its gear coming out of Afghanistan at a depot in Kuwait adjacent to a bustling commercial port, in preparation for ultimately shipping it across the border into Iraq for an allied offensive against the Islamic State group. Continue reading »
As the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan comes to an end and allied troops depart, the Taliban has proclaimed itself the victor in the protracted war.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission will cease to exist on January 1. However thousands of NATO troops will stay in war-torn Afghanistan on a “training and support” mission.
For the Taliban, NATO’s pullout from Afghanistan is a clear demonstration of the alliance’s weakness. Continue reading »
The US defense secretary Chuck Hagel on a visit to the Afghan capital Kabul has said that up to 1,000 US troops will not be withdrawn from Afghanistan as planned.
The extra troops will cover a temporary shortfall in NATO forces as the vast majority of them leave Afghanistan for good at the end of 2014.
“President Obama has provided US military commanders the flexibility to manage any temporary force shortfall that we might experience for a few months as we allow for coalition troops to arrive in theatre,” Hagel told reporters. Continue reading »
“This last 1900 point Dow Jones push upwards – and the Ebola events leading into it – it was so orchestrated and heightened at critical points but the ascent and push straight up in price, and sideways nonreaction after was completely unlike anything I’ve seen before. After going up for a record-breaking amount of time the last five or so years, in a nonlinear exponential mania type of ascent, there should normally be tremendous volatility that follows… After this year and especially this last 1900 point Dow run up in October, and post non-reaction, that I am 100 percent confident that that one buyer is our own Federal Reserve or other central banks with a goal to “stimulate” our economy by directly buying stock index futures.”
American Epidemic? NYPD cop shoots dead unarmed man ‘without warning':
The global financial system has come unglued. Everywhere the real world evidence points to cooling growth, faltering investment, slowing trade, vast excess industrial capacity, peak private debt, public fiscal exhaustion, currency wars, intensified politico-military conflict and an unprecedented disconnect between debt-saturated real economies and irrationally exuberant financial markets.
Yet overnight two central banks promised what amounts to more monetary heroin and, presto, the S&P 500 index jerked up to 2070. That is, the robo-traders inflated the PE multiple for S&P’s basket of US-based global companies to a nose bleed 20X their reported LTM earnings.
I’ve long written about how the percentage of sociopaths within a group of humans becomes increasingly concentrated the higher you climb within the positions of power in a society, with it being most chronic amongst those who crave political power (see: Humanity is Rising).
The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed.
Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle.
Ah, national security. Remember that the next time you are lectured that we need to give up our civil liberties in the name of “national security.” Think about what that really means. It really means the security of the status quo to continue to behave like insane criminals with zero accountability.
It is unclear whether the person in charge of the Lois Lerner “disappeared IRS emails” strategy was also Dr. Gruber, but whoever conceived of the idiotic idea that the fatal failure of a local hard disk means that emails which are stored on at least one server miles away, and subsequently downloaded via POP3, IMAP or some other protocol, have vaporized, clearly also relied on the stupidity (and laziness) of the American people. And like in the case of Obamacare, the lies worked, if only for a short period of time. And because when it comes to lies coming from the very top, there is never just one cockroach, and they always inevitably scatter, the latest headache for a scandal-ridden president is that Lois Lerner’s email, supposedly gone in perpetuity, have mysteriously reappeared, and as the Washington Examiner reports, “up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.”
In the wake of the failure of the U.S. Senate to move forward on the USA Freedom Act, many activists and civil liberties advocates have come to the conclusion that we can’t rely on the feds to do anything decent on the subject. One of the proposed grassroots ways to fight back has been an emphasis on increased use of encryption (recall my pre-Snowden era post, Bitcoin and Kim Dotcom: Why it’s Time to “Encrypt Everything”). Another obvious solution is for people to revolt at the local level. It appears that the citizens of Utah are doing just that.
I am a United Sates Army general, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous; step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem, to wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry.
“The situation has become so bad… that a middle-aged investor, fearing that a local developer wouldn’t be able to make his promised interest payments, threatened to commit suicide in dramatic fashion last summer. After hearing similar stories of desperation, city officials reminded residents that it is illegal to jump off the tops of buildings.”
As The West shows its fortitude (and apparent philanthropy) with mere 32-degree Fahrenheit ice-bucket-challenges, Russian chemistry professor Yury Zhdanov goes 290-degrees better…
Nikolay Novosyolov, founder of a science popularization project, poured a bucket of liquid nitrogen, which temperature was minus 322 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 197 Celcuis), as part of the #IceBucketChallenge campaign, taking the world’s social media charity craze to a whole new level.
The ultimate goal of the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by some Western nations is to stir public protests and oust the government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
“Western leaders publicly state that the sanctions must hurt [Russia’s] economy and stir up public protests. The West doesn’t want to change Russia’s policies. They want a regime change. Practically nobody denies that,” he told a leading think-tank in Moscow.
Lavrov said that the tensions between Russia and the West had been brewing for years before the Ukrainian crisis, adding that now the Europeans had decided to go for all-or-nothing and play chicken with Russia. But at least the positions have been made clear, Lavrov said.
German police used pepper spray and clashed with anti-EU protesters, who stormed and vandalized the new European Central Bank building, which is under construction now in central Frankfurt.
Calling themselves Blockupy, thousands of activists gathered in the city center on Saturday and marched to the goal of their protest, the new ECB office, which is to be inaugurated next March.
The cost of the new office is almost 1.3 billion euros and this fact has caused a lot of criticism while the policy of austerity is applied all over Europe.
“While our colleagues, friends and comrades in Southern Europe continue to rebel against the depletion and impoverishment policies of the Troika, the ECB moves into its new palace,” Blockupy website says. “Blockupy moves on to the road. We will make our own move to the new building and give back to the ECB the garbage – in and with many moving boxes – that should have been thrown into the dustbin of history: racist and sexist division, impoverishment, privatization of public funds and goods and wars to secure resources.”
The news this week of China’s largest corporate bankruptcy - Haixin Iron & Steel Group – amid crashing iron ore and steel prices was followed by analysts noting it “will be followed by others,” as the major flaw of producers of iron ore, the most traded commodity after oil, is they tend to be “over-bullish.” Distressed debt funds are starting to circle in preparation for what they expect to be a bloodbath as Bloomberg reports, bad debts in China are well underestimated because authorities persist in propping up weak companies and bailing out local investors, according to DAC Management, “we’ve yet to see it because if you look at corporate defaults, they keep getting covered by the government. At some point, they can’t cover every single one.” Most worryingly though, as KPMG points out, “when you see restructuring advisers getting hired by SOEs… you know it’s coming.”
Healthcare workers at Hope Assisted Living & Memory Care Center in Dacula, Georgia, whose identities have not been made known as of this writing, have informed Health Impact News that on November 7, 2014, five residents of the center received flu vaccinations, only to die one week later.
Once a market leader among Western 24-hour news channels, CNN has now become infamous for its slipshod mislabeling of maps across the world. This week the network hit a new low, transforming a synagogue into a mosque.
Are you in better shape financially than you were last Thanksgiving? If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate because most Americans are not. As you chow down on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce this Thursday, please remember that there are millions of Americans that simply cannot afford to eat such a meal. According to a shocking new report that was just released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 2.5 million. And right now one out of every seven Americans rely on food banks to put food on the table. Yes, life is very good at the moment for Americans at the top end of the income spectrum. The stock market has been soaring and sales of homes worth at last a million dollars are up 16 percent so far this year. But most Americans live in a very different world. The percentage of Americans that are employed is about the same as it was during the depths of the last recession, the quality of our jobs continues to go down, the rate of homeownership in America has fallen for seven years in a row, and the cost of living is rising much faster than paychecks are. As a result, the middle class is smaller this Thanksgiving than it was last Thanksgiving, and most Americans have seen their standards of living go down over the past year.
In 2014, there are tens of millions of Americans that are anonymously leading lives of quiet desperation. They are desperately trying to hold on even though things just keep getting worse. For example, just consider the plight of 49-year-old Darrell Eberhardt. Once upon a time, his job in a Chevy factory paid him $18.50 an hour, but now he only makes $10.50 an hour and he knows that he probably would not be able to make as much in a new job if he decided to leave…
Nation #1 spends and issues tens of trillions in taxpayer funds and debt, crushing the growth potential of future generations, just to bail out a banking sector full to the brim with criminal “riggers” (as today’s settlements once again prove), where bubble mania was so pervasive not a single bank would have survived absent a global central bank bailout, and where bank executives wouldn’t bend over for anything less than a million.
Nation #2 just sentenced two senior officials of a bank that collapsed under (a measly by New Normal standards) $1 billion in debt to 15 years in prison each for embezzlement and fraud.
Nation #1 is, of course, the US (or any other western nation). Nation #2 is Afghanistan.
Despite Washington spending $7.6 billion on counter-narcotic initiatives in Afghanistan, 2013 witnessed a record surge in the amount of opium poppy cultivation, according to the US inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.
The Central Asian country cultivated a record 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres) of opium poppy in 2013, beating the previous highest level of 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) in 2007, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Battle-hardened Afghanistan produces more than 80 percent of the world’s opium. Continue reading »
The top ten recipients slated to receive US foreign assistance in 2014 all practice torture and are responsible for major human rights abuses, according to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other major human rights organizations.
The violators and degree of aid they are expected to receive are: 1. Israel – $3.1bn, 2. Afghanistan – $2.2bn, 3. Egypt – $1.6bn, 4. Pakistan – $1.2bn, 5. Nigeria – $693m, 6. Jordan – $671m, 7. Iraq – $573m, 8. Kenya – $564m, 9. Tanzania – $553m, 10. Uganda -$456m
Each of the listed countries are accused of torturing people in the last year, and at least half are reported to be doing so on a massive scale. Continue reading »
Bilateral Security Agreement, signed Tuesday, will allow thousands of US troops to remain in the country for at least another decade
Locking in at least another decade of U.S. military entanglement, the United States and Afghanistan signed a controversial Bilateral Security Agreement at a ceremony in Kabul on Tuesday.
The provisions of the pact will allow for U.S. training, funding, and arming of the Afghan military and keep thousands of U.S. troops beyond what President Obama has repeatedly called the “end of the war” later his year. A key part of the agreement also extends immunity to U.S. service members under Afghan law. Continue reading »
American jets hit targets in Syria on Tuesday in the US-led fight against Islamic State. Although the US has not declared war since 1942, this is the seventh country that Barack Obama, the holder of the Nobel Peace Prize, has bombed in as many years.
Syria has become the latest country to have been openly targeted by the US, with Washington predictably not seeking the approval of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The US and NATO started a bombing campaign in the north of the country on Tuesday against Islamic State militants, who have taken over parts of the north and east of the country. The death toll from Tuesday’s campaign was put at 120, though this figure could rise, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who also said that eight civilians had lost their lives. Continue reading »
“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.
Murray said part of the motive in hyping up the threat of Islamic terrorism in Uzbekistan through forced confessions was to ensure the country remained on-side in the war on terror, so that the pipeline could be built.
“There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”
You’ve got to hand it to the brain surgeons running America’s foreign policy. They possess an uncanny ability to seamlessly forge alliances, break alliances and turn former allies into existential enemies, while simultaneously demonizing regimes, making amends with demonized regimes, and then quickly forming alliances with the same bitter enemies.
Friends become enemies and enemies become friends in the blink of an eye. This is what happens when a global empire possesses no real foreign policy other than the pursuit of economic opportunities for mega corporations and the military-industrial complex. The result is perpetual war, countless dead and injured young men and women, and billions of riches for a small and ruthless cadre of oligarchs. This is American foreign policy and those are its results.
Of course, I’m not the only one to notice the repercussions of America’s for profit foreign policy. Former U.S. darling and outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai slammed American foreign policy in his farewell speech earlier today. Here are excerpts from New York Times’ coverage: Continue reading »
In an unusual turn of events, ISIS has released a ‘news’ video – absent gruesome beheadings and threats – that features ISIS captive UK report John Cantlie explaining, calmly, how “there are two sides to the story,” in Iraq and Syria and attempting to “dispel the manipulated truths” of the Western media… “think you’re getting the whole picture.. as history repeats itself yet again.”
According to Cantlie, this is the first in a series – “You may be surprised at what you learn.”
The USA started carrying out coups, assassinating leaders, and sponsoring terrorism and extremists in Syria in 1948, continuing to the present moment, as everyone knows, under Obama. Examples, provided by David North:
“The Eisenhower administration was troubled by the popularity of the “progressive front,” which was backed by elements in the Syrian army led by Colonel Adnan Malki. The United States was particularly angry that Malki’s faction opposed Syrian membership in the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact, modeled on NATO, which the Eisenhower administration set up in January 1955. On April 22, 1955, Malki was assassinated while attending a soccer match by a member of the pro-US and right-wing Syrian Social National Party. An official investigation into the assassination found that the US was a major supporter and financier of the SSNP. It was well known that the SSNP had close ties with the CIA.”
“Working closely with its counterparts in British intelligence, the CIA and the British SIS developed Operation Straggle. In what appears today to be an early model of the present US-orchestrated “rebel” insurgency [in Syria]:” Continue reading »
Despite the anti-Russian sanctions drive, the US DoD opposes American lawmakers in wanting to buy Russian-made helicopters for the Afghan forces, said Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
“Despite the protests from the congressmen, suggestions of American-made alternative options, the Pentagon-level US officials are insisting on buying the Russian helicopters,” Rosoboronexport deputy head Igor Sevastyanov told journalists on Thursday. Continue reading »
Apparent war crimes committed by US and NATO troops in Afghanistan have gone uninvestigated, leaving the families of thousands of the victims without justice, Amnesty International said in a new report.
“Thousands of Afghans have been killed or injured by US forces since the invasion, but the victims and their families have little chance of redress. The US military justice system almost always fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.
“None of the cases that we looked into – involving more than 140 civilian deaths – were prosecuted by the US military. Evidence of possible war crimes and unlawful killings has seemingly been ignored.” Continue reading »
A two-star US General has been killed in Afghanistan, according to ABC News, which appears to be the highest-ranked US officer KIA since The Vietnam War. The attack took place in the relative safety of the officers academy at Camp Qargha, Kabul, when a gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform apparently turned his weapon against Americans and other Afghans. In addition to the US general’s death, a German brigadier general was injured along with 15 other ISAF personnel. Afghan President Karzai said the attack was “an act by the enemies who don’t want to see Afghanistan have strong institutions.”
The Pentagon confirmed to ABC News today that in addition to one fatality, 15 International Security Assistance Force personnel were injured. Karzai said that both Afghan and foreign soldiers were hurt.
Gen. Mohammmad Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry, tweeted in Dari that the gunman was wearing an Afghan military uniform and was shot dead after opening fire on Afghan and international colleagues.
The soldiers were visiting the military academy to help with the buildup of Afghan security forces, Karzai said. He blamed the attack on “enemies who don’t want to see Afghanistan have strong institutions.”
Qargha, which is overseen by the British military, is sometimes called “Sandhurst in the sand” – a reference to the British military’s own officers’ training school.
“We are in the process of assessing the situation,” the ISAF Joint Command said in a statement. “More information will be released as we sort out the facts.”
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Sadly, NBC News reports, officials said the death toll is expected to rise given the severity of troops’ injuries.
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Perhaps it is not yet time to turn the page on war in Afghanistan, Mr.President.