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06-17-2013, 10:28 PM #1
The World Affairs, Both Highlighted & Not
Here I will start a thread for miscellaneous news in today's world, any news that is interesting whether it's highlighted or being pushed out of the mainstream media limelight. Loh's thread 'Singapore Also Can' gives the inspiration to this new thread, with attention to the various world affairs in any aspect!
06-17-2013, 11:13 PM #2
Wendi Deng: Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from third wife
Rupert Murdoch has 'jaw-dropping' reason for divorcing Wendi Deng
Twittersphere lights up with feverish speculation over mogul’s wife’s links to other powerful men amid looming inheritance tussle
Saturday, 15 June, 2013 [UPDATED: 2:27PM]
Staff Reporters and The New York Times
Rupert Murdoch and wife Wendi Deng. Photo: Reuters
The reason behind Rupert Murdoch's decision to divorce his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng Murdoch was "jaw-dropping', it was claimed yesterday.
Twitter was awash with speculation as to why the 82-year-old media mogul filed for divorce on Thursday, with the New York court filing stating that the relationship had "broken down irretrievably".
Robert Peston, a BBC financial correspondent said to be close friends with key Murdoch executives, yesterday hinted at a shocking reason, writing on Twitter: "Undisclosed reasons for Murdoch divorcing Deng are jaw-dropping".
Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff added to the speculation on Twitter: "I'm hearing the why, the big reveal, the scandal details, could come tomorrow".
Everyone is trying to figure it out ... Everyone is wondering what went wrong
MICHAEL WOLFF, BIOGRAPHER
Wolff told The Guardian newspaper: "I think he genuinely loved her. Everyone is wondering what went wrong."
There was no comment from the Murdoch camp.
Questions swirling around about Deng's reportedly close friendships with various powerful men began circulating on the internet soon after news of the divorce broke.
Yesterday, a spokesman for former British prime minister Tony Blair flatly denied media rumours that Deng was romantically involved with him, The Hollywood Reporter said on its website. It said other names linked to Murdoch's wife, included MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe, and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
Whatever the reason for the split, friends of the couple have noticed for the past several years that they seemed to live separate lives. She developed an interest in producing films, and he busied himself steering his US$73 billion media empire, News Corp.
By most accounts, the couple had grown apart and spent long periods away from one another, but people close to the Murdochs did not expect Murdoch to divorce his Chinese-born wife. Such a move would be too messy financially, and it wouldn't be good for their daughters - Grace, 11, and Chloe, 9 - said sources who would only discuss their marriage anonymously.
Deng, born in Jiangsu , found global fame in July 2011 after leaping to attack a protester who threw a pie at her husband during a House of Commons select committee hearing in London into the News International phone-hacking scandal. She gained the nickname "tiger wife".
Click to enlarge
The couple, who met at a Hong Kong cocktail party in 1997, were in New York at their Fifth Avenue penthouse when news of the divorce, said to be his decision, emerged. A spokeswoman for News Corp confirmed the divorce filing and said it would have no impact on the company.
The Murdoch family controls 38.4 per cent of News Corp's voting shares. Deng has no financial stake in the firm.
It could prove to be a highly contentious split. Murdoch's divorce in 1998 from his second wife, Anna, cost US$1.7 billion, including US$110 million in cash.
The divorce filing comes as Murdoch - a former owner of the South China Morning Post, which he sold in 1993 - readies News Corp for a split into two companies on June 28. Entertainment assets such as Fox Broadcasting, Fox News and the Hollywood studio will form 21st Century Fox. Publishing assets including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Harper Collins and a handful of Australian TV assets will form the new News Corp.
Murdoch first met Deng, 44, in 1998 on a business trip. A recent graduate of the Yale School of Management, she was working at Star TV, a unit of News Corp with a news headquarters in Hong Kong.
Murdoch hosted a "town hall meeting" and fielded a tough question about his company's China strategy from an eager and well-prepared Deng.
That year Murdoch and his wife of more than three decades, Anna, separated. The couple had three children, Lachlan, James and Elisabeth. Murdoch divorced his first wife, Patricia, in 1967. They had one daughter, Prudence.
In 1999, Murdoch married Deng in front of 82 guests aboard his 50-metre yacht, the Morning Glory, in New York Harbour.
As head of Star TV, James Murdoch worked with his new mother-in-law to help build News Corp's presence in China. Deng slowly began to win his respect, said a person close to the family.
In 2006, a marital battle erupted after Murdoch declared in a TV interview that while Grace and Chloe would have an economic interest in the family's trust, they would not have the same voting rights as his four other children. It was the first time Deng had heard this.
His six children have equal shares in the firm through a family trust, but only Prudence, Lachlan, James and Elisabeth can appoint trustees for it, giving them control over it when he dies.
Several people close to the Murdochs pointed to the battle over Grace and Chloe's inheritance as a sign that future fights could ensue over how his net worth - which Forbes estimates at US$11.2 billion - is divided.
Additional reporting by The Guardian
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Murdoch split fires up rumour mill
Wendi Deng: Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from third wife | The Guardian
Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Murdoch: irretrievable breakdown | Michael Wolff | guardian.co.uk
The mythical $1.7bn of Rupert Murdoch's second divorce | Michael Wolff | guardian.co.uk
06-18-2013, 12:35 AM #3
Edward Snowden: The PRISM Whistle-blower
EXCLUSIVE: Whistle-blower Edward Snowden talks to South China Morning Post
Ex-CIA contractor speaks to reporter from secret location in Hong Kong, revealing fresh details of US surveillance, pressure on Hong Kong, snooping and cyber attacks on China.
Edward Snowden has revealed more details of US surveillance operations
Surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden has spoken for the first time since blowing his own cover in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.
The ex-CIA analyst has been holed up in secret locations in Hong Kong since fleeing Hawaii ahead of highly sensitive leaks revealing details of US top-secret phone and internet surveillance of its citizens.
Snowden's actions have been both praised and condemned globally.
More... Edward Snowden: US government has been hacking Hong Kong and China for years
More... Whistle-blower Edward Snowden tells SCMP: 'Let Hong Kong people decide my fate'
But he told Post reporter Lana Lam: "I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."
Today, he reveals:
- more explosive details on US surveillance targets
- his plans for the immediate future
- the steps he claims the US has taken since he broke cover in Hong Kong
- his fears for his family
The 29-year-old was working for defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the National Security Agency (NSA), the biggest spy surveillance organisation in the world, when he leaked information claiming the US was systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data. Snowden fled to Hong Kong after using Britain’s Guardian newspaper to expose the agency’s PRISM program which gives officials easy access to data held by nine of the world’s top internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Skype.
“People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden told the Post earlier today.
He vowed to fight any extradition attempt by the US government, saying: “My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt your system.’’
It is believed the US is pursuing a criminal investigation, but no extradition request has yet been filed. Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the US, although analysts say any attempts to bring Mr Snowden to America may take months and could be blocked by Beijing.
His actions have been both praised and condemned globally, with some hailing him a hero while others a traitor. Some senators have accused Snowden of treason.
FEW related links:
NSA leak fallout: LIVE UPDATES | RT.com
Published time: June 10, 2013 15:49
Edited time: June 17, 2013 17:22
Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has carried out one of the biggest leaks in US history, exposing a top-secret NSA surveillance program to the media. Leading tech companies were revealed to be involved in intelligence gathering through PRISM spy tool.
Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations | guardian.co.uk (2013-06-09)
"I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good... The NSA routinely lies in response to Congressional inquiries about scope of surveillance in America. The NSA is intent on making EVERY CONVERSATION and EVERY FORM OF BEHAVIOUR IN THE WORLD known to them.... What they're doing poses an EXISTENTIAL THREAT to democracy."
~ Edward Snowden, 29, PRISM Whistleblower
"Finally, we would like to thank Snowden for putting a nail into the coffin of all those who use the term "CONSPIRACY THEORIST" PEJORATIVELY. Because whatever his motives, whatever the outcome of this dramatic escalation between the people's right to know and a government intent on HIJACKING ALL CIVIL LIBERTIES one by one, Snowden has showed that the distance from Conspiracy Theory to CONSPIRACY FACT is just one ethical judgment away."
• Q&A with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I do not expect to see home again'
Apple, Google, Microsoft and 6 other companies reportedly feeding NSA, FBI info through data sharing pact [Updated] - The Next Web (2013-06-07)
Today the Washington Post reported that through a $20 million program known as PRISM, a number of US-based Internet companies have allowed the US government to tap “directly into [their] central servers.” Companies that are said to be participating knowingly include: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, AOL, PalTalk, with Dropbox tipped to be coming up next.
Inside the United States | The GlobalPost
GlobalPost goes inside the United States to uncover the regime’s dramatic descent into authoritarian rule and how the opposition plans to fight back.
This is satire. Although the news is real, very little actual reporting was done for this story and the quotes are imagined. It is the first installment of an ongoing series that examines the language journalists use to cover foreign countries. What if we wrote that way about the United States?
The Guardian's reporter, Glenn Greenwald's twitter feed
The news related to PRISM at Twitter:
The NSA revelations and Obama’s “pivot to Asia”
Startpage Web Search
"For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself.” - George Orwell, English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950 in "1984" - Welcome to Oceania - http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/0.html
06-18-2013, 11:34 AM #4
Friend kelana, I applaud your move. Good job. Keep it up.
06-18-2013, 12:58 PM #5
06-21-2013, 01:26 AM #6
The New York Times - Der Spiegel - Foreign Policy on BIG BRO's clouts on the Internet
The Latest Breaking News about Edward Snowden | Edward Snowden
Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders
By JAMES RISEN and NICK WINGFIELD
Published: June 19, 2013 178 Comments
WASHINGTON — When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he did not go to Google, Twitter or a similar Silicon Valley concern. Instead the man who was responsible for protecting the personal information of Facebook’s more than one billion users from outside attacks went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency.
Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business. Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.
The only difference is that the N.S.A. does it for intelligence, and Silicon Valley does it to make money.
The disclosure of the spy agency’s program called Prism, which is said to collect the e-mails and other Web activity of foreigners using major Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, has prompted the companies to deny that the agency has direct access to their computers, even as they acknowledge complying with secret N.S.A. court orders for specific data.
Yet technology experts and former intelligence officials say the convergence between Silicon Valley and the N.S.A. and the rise of data mining — both as an industry and as a crucial intelligence tool — have created a more complex reality.
Silicon Valley has what the spy agency wants: vast amounts of private data and the most sophisticated software available to analyze it. The agency in turn is one of Silicon Valley’s largest customers for what is known as data analytics, one of the valley’s fastest-growing markets. To get their hands on the latest software technology to manipulate and take advantage of large volumes of data, United States intelligence agencies invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, award classified contracts and recruit technology experts like Mr. Kelly.
“We are all in these Big Data business models,” said Ray Wang, a technology analyst and chief executive of Constellation Research, based in San Francisco. “There are a lot of connections now because the data scientists and the folks who are building these systems have a lot of common interests.”
Although Silicon Valley has sold equipment to the N.S.A. and other intelligence agencies for a generation, the interests of the two began to converge in new ways in the last few years as advances in computer storage technology drastically reduced the costs of storing enormous amounts of data — at the same time that the value of the data for use in consumer marketing began to rise. “These worlds overlap,” said Philipp S. Krüger, chief executive of Explorist, an Internet start-up in New York.
The sums the N.S.A. spends in Silicon Valley are classified, as is the agency’s total budget, which independent analysts say is $8 billion to $10 billion a year.
Despite the companies’ assertions that they cooperate with the agency only when legally compelled, current and former industry officials say the companies sometimes secretly put together teams of in-house experts to find ways to cooperate more completely with the N.S.A. and to make their customers’ information more accessible to the agency. The companies do so, the officials say, because they want to control the process themselves. They are also under subtle but powerful pressure from the N.S.A. to make access easier.
Skype, the Internet-based calling service, began its own secret program, Project Chess, to explore the legal and technical issues in making Skype calls readily available to intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials, according to people briefed on the program who asked not to be named to avoid trouble with the intelligence agencies.
Project Chess, which has never been previously disclosed, was small, limited to fewer than a dozen people inside Skype, and was developed as the company had sometimes contentious talks with the government over legal issues, said one of the people briefed on the project. The project began about five years ago, before most of the company was sold by its parent, eBay, to outside investors in 2009. Microsoft acquired Skype in an $8.5 billion deal that was completed in October 2011.
A Skype executive denied last year in a blog post that recent changes in the way Skype operated were made at the behest of Microsoft to make snooping easier for law enforcement. It appears, however, that Skype figured out how to cooperate with the intelligence community before Microsoft took over the company, according to documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the N.S.A. One of the documents about the Prism program made public by Mr. Snowden says Skype joined Prism on Feb. 6, 2011.
Microsoft executives are no longer willing to affirm statements, made by Skype several years ago, that Skype calls could not be wiretapped. Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment.
In its recruiting in Silicon Valley, the N.S.A. sends some of its most senior officials to lure the best of the best. No less than Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the agency’s director and the chief of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, showed up at one of the world’s largest hacker conferences in Las Vegas last summer, looking stiff in an uncharacteristic T-shirt and jeans, to give the keynote speech. His main purpose at Defcon, the conference, was to recruit hackers for his spy agency.
N.S.A. badges are often seen on the lapels of officials at other technology and information security conferences. “They’re very open about their interest in recruiting from the hacker community,” said Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.
But perhaps no one embodies the tightening relationship between the N.S.A. and the valley more than Kenneth A. Minihan.
A career Air Force intelligence officer, Mr. Minihan was the director of the N.S.A. during the Clinton administration until his retirement in the late 1990s, and then he ran the agency’s outside professional networking organization. Today he is managing director of Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm based in Washington that in part specializes in financing start-ups that offer high-tech solutions for the N.S.A. and other intelligence agencies. In effect, Mr. Minihan is an advanced scout for the N.S.A. as it tries to capitalize on the latest technology to analyze and exploit the vast amounts of data flowing around the world and inside the United States.
The members of Paladin’s strategic advisory board include Richard C. Schaeffer Jr., a former N.S.A. executive. While Paladin is a private firm, the American intelligence community has its own in-house venture capital company, In-Q-Tel, financed by the Central Intelligence Agency to invest in high-tech start-ups.
Many software technology firms involved in data analytics are open about their connections to intelligence agencies. Gary King, a co-founder and chief scientist at Crimson Hexagon, a start-up in Boston, said in an interview that he had given talks at C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., about his company’s social media analytics tools.
The future holds the prospect of ever greater cooperation between Silicon Valley and the N.S.A. because data storage is expected to increase at an annual compound rate of 53 percent through 2016, according to the International Data Corporation.
“We reached a tipping point, where the value of having user data rose beyond the cost of storing it,” said Dan Auerbach, a technology analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an electronic privacy group in San Francisco. “Now we have an incentive to keep it forever.”
Social media sites in the meantime are growing as voluntary data mining operations on a scale that rivals or exceeds anything the government could attempt on its own. “You willingly hand over data to Facebook that you would never give voluntarily to the government,” said Bruce Schneier, a technologist and an author.
James Risen reported from Washington, and Nick Wingfield from Seattle. Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.
Berlin Profits from US Spying Program and Is Planning Its Own - SPIEGEL ONLINE (2013-06-17)
The German government has been largely silent on revelations of US Internet spying. Berlin profits from the program and is pursuing similar plans.
Just a few days ago, the man whom many Germans now see as one of the greatest villains in the world visited Berlin. Keith Alexander, the head of the world's most powerful intelligence operation, the National Security Agency (NSA), had arranged meetings with important representatives of the German government, including top-ranking officials in Germany's intelligence agencies and leading representatives of the Chancellery and the Interior Ministry.
Alexander gave his usual presentation about how the world could be more effectively spied on and allegedly made safer. At such presentations, the NSA chief likes to extol the virtues of his agency's "incredible technical expertise," and he urges allies to invest more in controlling and monitoring today's new technologies. Alexander maintains there has to be more intensive surveillance of the Internet.
But while they were still chatting about the Internet in Berlin government offices, news stories were breaking around the world that Alexander's NSA may already have the Web firmly under its control. A former US intelligence official named Edward Snowden had leaked information to the press on the virtually all-encompassing Prism online surveillance program.
The world soon learned that Alexander's NSA, with the help of direct access to the servers of US Internet giants, is able to secretly read, record and store nearly every type of digital communication worldwide. The public also discovered that the Americans have a preference for spying on Germany -- more so than on any other country in Europe. During the days of the Cold War, when Germans referred to the US as "big brother" it had a positive connotation. Now, that term has an entirely different meaning.
Snowden's leak raises important questions: How much surveillance of the Internet is a free society willing or able to tolerate? Does the fear of attacks justify a comprehensive monitoring of e-mails, search queries on Google and conversations on Skype? And can a country like Germany allow its citizens to be spied on by another country?
* * * * *
Gaff Gone Viral: Merkel Mocked for Calling Internet 'Neuland' (2013-06-20)
Chancellor Angela Merkel's 'Neuland' gaff is now trending on Twitter.
Chancellor Merkel described the Internet as "uncharted territory" on Wednesday while answering a question about the Prism spying program at an appearance with US President Obama. Now "Neuland" is a fully formed meme, and Merkel's gaff has gone viral.
While Barack Obama's whirlwind visit to Berlin largely resulted in good publicity for the president, his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel, wasn't so lucky. A comment she made during a joint press conference on Wednesday has gone viral in Germany and been met with a wave of ridicule on Twitter.
When asked about her response to the Prism data spying scandal involving the National Security Agency (NSA), Chancellor Merkel commented that the Internet is "Neuland" -- uncharted territory -- "for all of us.
Within minutes, #Neuland was trending on Twitter, and as of Thursday morning, the meme continues to grow, inspiring custom images, gifs and countless cracks at the chancellor, who is up for re-election in September.
"A new era has begun -- The Internet has finally reached Germany!!" tweeted @S_ButterFinger.
"Angela Merkel at Obama meeting: 'The Internet is virgin soil [#Neuland] for all of us.' How distant can politics get?" added @jerry weyer on the social media platform.
Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the opposition center-left Social Democrats, used the gaff as an occasion to poke fun at the Christian Democratic chancellor. "I actually feel quite good for the most part in this #Neuland," he tweeted on Wednesday.
Merkel's spokesman took to the Web in Merkel's defense, tweeting that she was talking about a "legal and political Neuland."
MORE on PRISM related stories at SPIEGEL ONLINE:
Inside the NSA's Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group
Deep within the National Security Agency, an elite, rarely discussed team of hackers and spies is targeting America's enemies abroad.
BY MATTHEW M. AID | JUNE 10, 2013
This weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama sat down for a series of meetings with China's newly appointed leader, Xi Jinping. We know that the two leaders spoke at length about the topic du jour -- cyber-espionage -- a subject that has long frustrated officials in Washington and is now front and center with the revelations of sweeping U.S. data mining. The media has focused at length on China's aggressive attempts to electronically steal U.S. military and commercial secrets, but Xi pushed back at the "shirt-sleeves" summit, noting that China, too, was the recipient of cyber-espionage. But what Obama probably neglected to mention is that he has his own hacker army, and it has burrowed its way deep, deep into China's networks.
When the agenda for the meeting at the Sunnylands estate outside Palm Springs, California, was agreed to several months ago, both parties agreed that it would be a nice opportunity for President Xi, who assumed his post in March, to discuss a wide range of security and economic issues of concern to both countries. According to diplomatic sources, the issue of cybersecurity was not one of the key topics to be discussed at the summit. Sino-American economic relations, climate change, and the growing threat posed by North Korea were supposed to dominate the discussions.
Then, two weeks ago, White House officials leaked to the press that Obama intended to raise privately with Xi the highly contentious issue of China's widespread use of computer hacking to steal U.S. government, military, and commercial secrets. According to a Chinese diplomat in Washingtonwho spoke in confidence, Beijing was furious about the sudden elevation of cybersecurity and Chinese espionage on the meeting's agenda. According to a diplomatic source in Washington, the Chinese government was even angrier that the White House leaked the new agenda item to the press before Washington bothered to tell Beijing about it.
So the Chinese began to hit back. Senior Chinese officials have publicly accused the U.S. government of hypocrisy and have alleged that Washington is also actively engaged in cyber-espionage. When the latest allegation of Chinese cyber-espionage was leveled in late May in a front-page Washington Post article, which alleged that hackers employed by the Chinese military had stolen the blueprints of over three dozen American weapons systems, the Chinese government's top Internet official, Huang Chengqing, shot back that Beijing possessed "mountains of data" showing that the United States has engaged in widespread hacking designed to steal Chinese government secrets. This weekend's revelations about the National Security Agency's PRISM and Verizon metadata collection from a 29-year-old former CIA undercover operative named Edward J. Snowden, who is now living in Hong Kong, only add fuel to Beijing's position.
But Washington never publicly responded to Huang's allegation, and nobody in the U.S. media seems to have bothered to ask the White House if there is a modicum of truth to the Chinese charges.
It turns out that the Chinese government's allegations are essentially correct. According to a number of confidential sources, a highly secretive unit of the National Security Agency (NSA), the U.S. government's huge electronic eavesdropping organization, called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People's Republic of China.
Hidden away inside the massive NSA headquarters complex at Fort Meade, Maryland, in a large suite of offices segregated from the rest of the agency, TAO is a mystery to many NSA employees. Relatively few NSA officials have complete access to information about TAO because of the extraordinary sensitivity of its operations, and it requires a special security clearance to gain access to the unit's work spaces inside the NSA operations complex. The door leading to its ultramodern operations center is protected by armed guards, an imposing steel door that can only be entered by entering the correct six-digit code into a keypad, and a retinal scanner to ensure that only those individuals specially cleared for access get through the door.
According to former NSA officials interviewed for this article, TAO's mission is simple. It collects intelligence information on foreign targets by surreptitiously hacking into their computers and telecommunications systems, cracking passwords, compromising the computer security systems protecting the targeted computer, stealing the data stored on computer hard drives, and then copying all the messages and data traffic passing within the targeted email and text-messaging systems. The technical term of art used by NSA to describe these operations is computer network exploitation (CNE).
TAO is also responsible for developing the information that would allow the United States to destroy or damage foreign computer and telecommunications systems with a cyberattack if so directed by the president. The organization responsible for conducting such a cyberattack is U.S. Cyber Command (Cybercom), whose headquarters is located at Fort Meade and whose chief is the director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander.
Commanded since April of this year by Robert Joyce, who formerly was the deputy director of the NSA's Information Assurance Directorate (responsible for protecting the U.S. government's communications and computer systems), TAO, sources say, is now the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA's huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate, consisting of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.
The sanctum sanctorum of TAO is its ultramodern operations center at Fort Meade called the Remote Operations Center (ROC), which is where the unit's 600 or so military and civilian computer hackers (they themselves CNE operators) work in rotating shifts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
These operators spend their days (or nights) searching the ether for computers systems and supporting telecommunications networks being utilized by, for example, foreign terrorists to pass messages to their members or sympathizers. Once these computers have been identified and located, the computer hackers working in the ROC break into the targeted computer systems electronically using special software designed by TAO's own corps of software designers and engineers specifically for this purpose, download the contents of the computers' hard drives, and place software implants or other devices called "buggies" inside the computers' operating systems, which allows TAO intercept operators at Fort Meade to continuously monitor the email and/or text-messaging traffic coming in and out of the computers or hand-held devices.
TAO's work would not be possible without the team of gifted computer scientists and software engineers belonging to the Data Network Technologies Branch, who develop the sophisticated computer software that allows the unit's operators to perform their intelligence collection mission. A separate unit within TAO called the Telecommunications Network Technologies Branch (TNT) develops the techniques that allow TAO's hackers to covertly gain access to targeted computer systems and telecommunications networks without being detected. Meanwhile, TAO's Mission Infrastructure Technologies Branch develops and builds the sensitive computer and telecommunications monitoring hardware and support infrastructure that keeps the effort up and running.
TAO even has its own small clandestine intelligence-gathering unit called the Access Technologies Operations Branch, which includes personnel seconded by the CIA and the FBI, who perform what are described as "off-net operations," which is a polite way of saying that they arrange for CIA agents to surreptitiously plant eavesdropping devices on computers and/or telecommunications systems overseas so that TAO's hackers can remotely access them from Fort Meade.
It is important to note that TAO is not supposed to work against domestic targets in the United States or its possessions. This is the responsibility of the FBI, which is the sole U.S. intelligence agency chartered for domestic telecommunications surveillance. But in light of information about wider NSAsnooping, one has to prudently be concerned about whether TAO is able to perform its mission of collecting foreign intelligence without accessing communications originating in or transiting through the United States.
Since its creation in 1997, TAO has garnered a reputation for producing some of the best intelligence available to the U.S. intelligence community not only about China, but also on foreign terrorist groups, espionage activities being conducted against the United States by foreign governments, ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction developments around the globe, and the latest political, military, and economic developments around the globe.
According to a former NSA official, by 2007 TAO's 600 intercept operators were secretly tapping into thousands of foreign computer systems and accessing password-protected computer hard drives and emails of targets around the world. As detailed in my 2009 history of NSA, The Secret Sentry, this highly classified intercept program, known at the time as Stumpcursor, proved to be critically important during the U.S. Army's 2007 "surge" in Iraq, where it was credited with single-handedly identifying and locating over 100 Iraqi and al Qaeda insurgent cells in and around Baghdad. That same year, sources report that TAO was given an award for producing particularly important intelligence information about whether Iran was trying to build an atomic bomb.
By the time Obama became president of the United States in January 2009, TAO had become something akin to the wunderkind of the U.S. intelligence community. "It's become an industry unto itself," a former NSA official said of TAO at the time. "They go places and get things that nobody else in the IC [intelligence community] can."
Given the nature and extraordinary political sensitivity of its work, it will come as no surprise that TAO has always been, and remains, extraordinarily publicity shy. Everything about TAO is classified top secret codeword, even within the hypersecretive NSA. Its name has appeared in print only a few times over the past decade, and the handful of reporters who have dared inquire about it have been politely but very firmly warned by senior U.S. intelligence officials not to describe its work for fear that it might compromise its ongoing efforts. According to a senior U.S. defense official who is familiar with TAO's work, "The agency believes that the less people know about them [TAO] the better."
The word among NSA officials is that if you want to get promoted or recognized, get a transfer to TAO as soon as you can. The current head of the NSA's SIGINT Directorate, Teresa Shea, 54, got her current job in large part because of the work she did as chief of TAO in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when the unit earned plaudits for its ability to collect extremely hard-to-come-by information during the latter part of George W. Bush's administration. We do not know what the information was, but sources suggest that it must have been pretty important to propel Shea to her position today. But according to a recently retired NSA official, TAO "is the place to be right now."
There's no question that TAO has continued to grow in size and importance since Obama took office in 2009, which is indicative of its outsized role. In recent years, TAO's collection operations have expanded from Fort Meade to some of the agency's most important listening posts in the United States. There are now mini-TAO units operating at the huge NSA SIGINT intercept and processing centers at NSA Hawaii at Wahiawa on the island of Oahu; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon, Georgia; and NSA Texas at the Medina Annex outside San Antonio, Texas; and within the huge NSA listening post at Buckley Air Force Base outside Denver.
The problem is that TAO has become so large and produces so much valuable intelligence information that it has become virtually impossible to hide it anymore. The Chinese government is certainly aware of TAO's activities. The "mountains of data" statement by China's top Internet official, Huang Chengqing, is clearly an implied threat by Beijing to release this data. Thus it is unlikely that President Obama pressed President Xi too hard at the Sunnydale summit on the question of China's cyber-espionage activities. As any high-stakes poker player knows, you can only press your luck so far when the guy on the other side of the table knows what cards you have in your hand.
Inside the NSA's Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group - By Matthew M. Aid | Foreign Policy
"First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."
"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater." - Frank Zappa
06-21-2013, 05:31 AM #7
Sometimes certain contentious topics bring out Big Brother.
I will not be surprised that topics about Snowden and NSA will be closely monitored.
Or even apparently harmless topics such as Singapore Also Can can attract the attention of Big Brother.
I believe the real reason why the US had earlier made such a big fuss about China's cyber attack on US military sites is that in this area the US may not have any great advantage over China, and certainly no where near the great disparity between their military capability. But such military advantage can be neutralized by cyber attack.
China does not use the global system of communication for their government or even the GPS system. They know this a long time ago. That is why China is using their own Quantum communications system, a state of the art next generation quantum encryption technology. The NSA's network backbones method of hacking without the host knowing does not work with this new system.
I think Obama must have been deeply embarrassed when he brought up this in his meeting with Xi, because Xi probably came with loads of evidence about China being a victim of US cyber attack too.
The joint statement they both issued on cyber hacking was very even-ended and the US probably went away with red faces.
06-22-2013, 09:30 AM #8
Detroit in pictures and news
Even the central business district in Downtown Detroit is not immune to abandonment. It is unclear just how much vacant office space there is in the central business district, but there are a handful of skyscrapers that are currently completely empty and abandoned: The Book Building, David Broderick Tower, and The Lafayette Building to name a few. Those buildings are pictured in this gallery.
1. Two abandoned towers in downtown Detroit.
2. Book Tower, the 9th tallest building in Detroit, is completely abandoned.
3. Facade of the abandoned Book Tower.
4. Bus terminal, and the one light still burning atop abandoned Book Tower.
5. The David Broderick Tower in downtown Detroit is completely abandoned.
6. Book Tower, the 9th tallest building in Detroit, is completely abandoned.
7. Only one light in the stairwell of this abandoned tower remains on."My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Water lily in Exponential growth
French children are told a story in which they imagine having a pond with water lily leaves floating on the surface. The lily population doubles in size every day and if left unchecked will smother the pond in 30 days, killing all the other living things in the water. Day after day the plant seems small and so it is decided to leave it to grow until it half-covers the pond, before cutting it back. They are then asked, on what day that will occur. This is revealed to be the 29th day, and then there will be just one day to save the pond.
Detroit Municipal Crisis (2013-06-14)
Eventually the money runs out. Much of America was shocked when the city of Detroit defaulted on a $39.7 million debt payment and announced that it was suspending payments on $2.5 billion of unsecured debt. Anyone with caution and information could see this coming from a mile away. But people kept foolishly lending money to the city of Detroit, and now many of them are going to get hit really hard.
Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has submitted a proposal that would pay unsecured creditors about 10 cents on the dollar. Similar haircuts would be made to underfunded pension and health benefits for retirees. Orr is hoping that the creditors and the unions that he will be negotiating with will accept this package, but he concedes that there is still a "50-50 chance" that the city of Detroit will be forced to formally file for bankruptcy.
"The fiscal crisis in Michigan is setting up as a gigantic clash between bondholders and city retirees over what money Detroit has left to pay them. Public finance experts have warned that broad societal problems could follow a loss of faith in municipalities' commitments to honor their pledges."
06-23-2013, 05:50 AM #9
06-23-2013, 07:14 AM #10
CONTRARIAN VIEW about the Snowden case by Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley
CONTRARIAN VIEW about the Snowden case as elaborated by Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, an expert of authority in this field.
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D. - June 18, 2013
"There is ample reason to believe that the case of Edward Joseph Snowden fits into this pattern. We are likely dealing here with a limited hangout operation, in which carefully selected and falsified documents and other materials are deliberately revealed by an insider who pretends to be a fugitive rebelling against the excesses of some oppressive or dangerous government agency."
Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley - Biography
Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1946. A philosopher of history, Tarpley seeks to provide the strategies needed to overcome the current world crisis. He first became widely known for his book George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (1992), a masterpiece of research which is still a must read. During 2008, he warned of the dangers of an Obama presidency controlled by Wall Street with Obama: The Postmodern Coup, The Making of a Manchurian Candidate and Barack H. Obama: The Unauthorized Biography. His interest in economics is reflected in Surviving the Cataclysm: Your Guide Through the Worst Financial Crisis in Human History Against Oligarchy. His books have appeared in Japanese, German, Italian, French, and Spanish. Tarpley holds a Ph.D. in early modern history from the Catholic University of America.
Dr. Tarpley is an occasional contributor at GlobalResearch (Canada) and Asia Times as well.
06-24-2013, 03:41 AM #11
Gordon Duff | Veterans Today
Additional info and analysis about 'Elvis' recent highlighted shows are also available at Gordon Duff's collection of articles at Veterans Today. ( i like the alias, pcll99 )
Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, a combat infantryman, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, surveillance technologies, intelligence analysis,defense technologies or acting as a UN diplomat and "special consultant."
06-27-2013, 01:11 AM #12
US Supreme Court in Historic Rulings on Gay Marriage
Is this an effective, carefully laid out non-violent way to help depopulation of the Earth?
For sure this very hot topic will stir plenty of much heated debates (in particular among the religious societies) that will drive away the attention of the sheer number of American population from the many core issues...
US high court hands win to gay couples
27 JUN 2013, 9:48 AM - SOURCE: AAP
In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court has overturned a 17-year-old anti-gay federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
In a huge victory for gays and lesbians, the US Supreme Court has struck down a law denying federal benefits to homosexual couples and cleared the way for same-s ex marriage in California.
Cheers rang out among the estimated 1000 supporters of same-s ex marriage who gathered under brilliant sunshine outside the high court in Washington for the historic rulings, which will have a major impact on US society.
In a 5-4 decision, the court first struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to married gay and lesbian couples by strictly defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
"DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment" of the Constitution, said the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
President Barack Obama hailed the DOMA decision, saying in a statement: "We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
The court also said a case on Proposition 8, a 2008 voter initiative in California that prohibited same-s ex marriage in the nation's most populous state, was not properly before them.
That 5-4 decision - which indicated gay marriages would likely resume in California - enabled the justices to dodge the thornier issue of whether same-s ex marriage is a constitutional right throughout the US.
Twelve US states plus the District of Columbia now recognise same-s ex marriage, but about 30 states have decreed that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.
"Now we will be married and be equal to every other family in California," said Kris Perry, a plaintiff in the Proposition 8 case, alongside her partner Sandy Stier on the Supreme Court steps.
"Thank you to the Constitution ... but it's not enough," added Stier. "It's got to go nationwide. This can't wait decades" for marriage equality to be legalised in all 50 states.
Fifty-three per cent of Americans say same-s ex marriage should be legally recognised, according to a Gallup survey in May that echoed a string of similar findings by other polling organisations.
- Historic US rulings for gay marriage
- Openly gay man to be next US ambassador
- Obama applauds ruling on gay marriage
- Gays celebrate landmark US marriage ruling
The US Supreme Court ruled against the 17-year-old anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act
In what is likely to cause a storm of controversy, the Supreme Court ruled against the 17-year-old anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act:
- *DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT PROVISION STRUCK DOWN BY TOP U.S. COURT
- *SUPREME COURT VOTES 5-4 ON U.S. DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT
- *COURT SAYS MARRIAGE LAW VIOLATES EQUAL PROTECTION GUARANTEE
Kennedy: DOMA "humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-s ex couples"
Scalia: "By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-s ex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition,"
"DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment."
Full Timeline of Gay Marriage (via Global Post):
Following is a timeline of important events in the history of gay marriage in the United States.
- The modern gay liberation movement unofficially kicks off with the Stonewall Riots, demonstrations by gays in response to a police raid in New York City.
- The U.S. Supreme Court lets stand a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that the law does not allow for same-s ex marriage, and that the issue is different from interracial marriage.
- Maryland becomes the first state to pass a statute banning gay marriage.
- Harvey Milk becomes the first openly gay elected official in San Francisco, winning a seat on the Board of Supervisors. He later appeals to gays to come out and run for office, saying "for invisible, we remain in limbo." Milk was shot and killed in 1978.
- The U.S. Supreme Court says "we are quite unwilling" to find a fundamental right to sodomy, even in the privacy of one's home, in Bowers v. Hardwick ruling.
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy writes an opinion striking down a Colorado ban on protections for gays, saying the ban "seems inexplicable by anything but animus."
- President Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes.
- Comedian Ellen DeGeneres reveals she is gay. Shortly afterward, her TV situation comedy character says "I'm gay" - inadvertently speaking into an airport public address system.
- Debut of television show "Will and Grace" about a gay man and his best friend, a straight woman.
- Vermont becomes the first U.S. state to allow civil unions for same-s ex couples.
- Republican vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney, who has a lesbian daughter, indicates he supports gay marriage, saying "freedom means freedom for everybody" and "people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into." He said states should regulate the matter, not the federal government. Cheney serves as vice president for eight years.
- The U.S. Supreme Court, in another decision written by Kennedy, strikes down Texas anti-sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas case and reverses the 1986 Bowers ruling. Kennedy writes that this does not mean the government must recognize gay relationships. "Do not believe it," Justice Antonin Scalia dissents, saying the logic of the opinion points to allowing same-s ex marriage.
- The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules in favor of same-s ex marriage, and gay weddings begin in 2004.
- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom directs the county to allow same-s ex marriages, arguing the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, Proposition 22, is unconstitutional. The state Supreme Court stops the weddings on grounds unrelated to the constitutionality of marriage.
- U.S. northern neighbor Canada allows gay marriage.
- California gay marriages become legal when the California Supreme Court strikes down the Proposition 22 ban. That November, voters add a ban to the state constitution - Proposition 8 - ending a summer of gay marriage.
- Iowa state Supreme Court legalizes same-s ex marriage.
- Federal court challenge to Proposition 8 filed, days before California Supreme Court lets Proposition 8 stand as a valid change to the state constitution. Eventually, federal district and appeals courts agree to strike down the ban, which heads to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- The U.S. Congress passes legislation to end a policy put in place in 1993 called "don't ask don't tell" that had barred gays from serving openly in the U.S. military. President Barack Obama signs the measure. The policy officially ends in 2011.
- Obama becomes the first U.S. president to endorse gay marriage, acknowledging that his views on the matter had evolved.
- North Carolina approves a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in May. In November, Maine, Maryland and Washington become the first states where voters approve same-s ex marriage, and Minnesota rejects a new ban.
- The U.S. Supreme Court in March hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
- The Boy Scouts of America organization votes in May to lift a century-old ban on openly gay scouts in a victory for gay rights activists. A prohibition on openly gay adult leaders remains in place.
- Minnesota, Rhode Island and Delaware in May become the latest U.S. states to allow same-s ex couples to marry, bringing to 12 the number of states permitting it. The other states allowing same s ex marriage are: Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington state, as well as the District of Columbia.
- Supreme Court Strikes down DOMA...
Last edited by kelana; 06-27-2013 at 01:20 AM. Reason: formatting
06-29-2013, 01:02 AM #13
The illusion of deposit insurance
The FDIC Illusion of Insured Bank Deposits
This infographic shows the size of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Fund vs. the total deposits FDIC covers.
The Illusion of Deposit Insurance
This article visualizes the illusion of safety.
There is ~370 times more money in deposits at US banks than the size of the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund. FDIC almost went bankrupt during the 2008/9 crisis.
$100 - Most counterfeited money denomination in the world. Keeps the world moving.
$10,000 - Enough for a great vacation or to buy a used car.
Approximately one year of work for the average human on earth.
$1 Million Dollars
$1,000,000 - Not as big of a pile as you thought, huh?
Still, this is 92 years of work for the average human on earth.
$100 Million Dollars
$100,000,000 - Plenty to go around for everyone.
Fits nicely on an ISO / Military standard sized pallet.
The couch is made from $46.7 million of crispy $100 bills.
$100 Million Dollars could provide 2000 jobs @ $50,000 / year
Here are 2000 people standing shoulder to shoulder, looking for a job.
The Federal Reserve's mandate is to maintain price stability and low unemployment.
The Federal Reserve prints money based on the assumption that increasing money supply will boost jobs.
$100 Million Dollars
Enough to keep 2000 people employed for 1 year @ $50,000 / year
$1 Billion Dollars
$1,000,000,000 - You will need some help when robbing the bank.
Interesting fact: $1 million dollars weighs 10kg exactly.
You are looking at 10 tons of money on those pallets.
FDIC Building - San Francisco
$25 Billion - FDIC Insurance Fund
$25 Billion - FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Fund
FDIC insures 7,181 financial institutions. The FDIC is funded by financial institutions that pay for deposit insurance coverage.
During the 1980's/1990's savings and loan crisis, a parallel insurer- the FSLIC (Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation) went bankrupt.
The FSLIC replacement named RTC was merged into the FDIC. The savings and loan crisis cost tax payers $150 Billion.
The FDIC takes control of failed banks and financial institutions, where it first moves to find a buyer of all the bank's assets, including the toxic ones. After the sale of assets (including toxic, usually at discounted prices) the FDIC attempts to cover losses. The FDIC will first pay-out all insured accounts, followed by
applying “hair-cuts” to uninsured deposits. Safe deposit boxes, bond holders, stocks, money funds, etc. are not insured by FDIC.
Due to bank failures during the 2008/2009 bank crisis, the FDIC fund fell to $0.648 billion by August of 2009. Subsequent bank failures almost bankrupted the FDIC, so it demanded a 3 year pre-payment from banks to shore up its capital. Wikipedia - "According to the FDIC.gov website (as of March 2013), 'FDIC deposit insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.'"
This is less than clear, since there are no laws binding the U.S. government to make good on FDIC insurance liabilities.
The details of FDIC are found on Wikipedia | Source Wikipedia & ZeroHedge
The Five "High Towers" (left to right): Citibank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America (the rightmost).
. . .
US Bank Deposits vs. Currency in Circulation
The discrepancy between deposits and currency in circulation is shown above. This means in the case of a nationwide bank run in United States, the Cyprus-style hair-cut on deposits ( a.k.a. deposit confiscation) would be over 80% for US commercial bank deposits. There are not enough dollars circulating to cover all deposits if they were to be pulled at the same time. In case of bank runs this means withdrawal limits at ATMs and FDIC trying to help out to cover the losses.
United States Derivative Exposure
$300 Trillion ($300,000 Billions)
Derivatives are wild financial bets made by banks order to speculate or hedge risk,
ranging from stocks, bonds all the way to weather. In essence a casino-style bet.
The total notional derivative exposure of the top 25 holding companies is $297,514 Billion.
Notional means "a small amount of money controlling a large position"
Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citibank and others have a massive derivative exposure and have moved its derivatives into FDIC insured accounts due to their downgraded credit ratings.
Bank of America alone moved $75 Trillion to FDIC insured accounts.
There's a lot of legal jargon in the way of protecting depositors before derivative
counter-parties. In the 2008 crash it was derivatives based on likelihood that
debt would be paid that triggered the global economic crisis of 2008.
The high rollers of Las Vegas don't know how to roll compared to bankers.
The viability of FDIC to save a large scale bank failure is in question.
$300 Trillion ($300,000 Billions) - Total US Financial Derivative Exposure
07-01-2013, 10:14 AM #14
European Politicians Are Realizing – Blackmail is the Game | Armstrong Economics
European Politicians Are Realizing – Blackmail is the Game
Posted on July 1, 2013 by Martin Armstrong
"This is not about terrurizts. This is about monitoring society and blackmailing politicians to do as the unelected bureaucracy demands."
Behind the Curtain politicians are targets NOT TERRURIZTS and the agenda is to blackmail them to direct the political changes the UNELECTED bureaucracy demands. This is the real object of collecting absolutely everything.
07-01-2013, 10:41 AM #15
07-01-2013, 11:48 AM #16
"You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."
07-01-2013, 12:29 PM #17