Saturday, June 22, 2013

Everything is starting to come together

Various disparate conspiracies are converging.

"REPORTS: Hours Before His Death, Michael Hastings Sent This Email Saying He Was Being Investigated By The FBI"  The message (my emphasis in red):
"Hey [words blurred out] — the Feds are interviewing my "close friends and associates." Perhaps if the authorities arrive "BuzzFeed GQ", er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.

Also: I'm onto a big story, and need to go off the [radar] for a bit.

All the best, and hope to see you all soon."

"Admit it, Michael Hastings’ Death is Weird and Scary":
"[update 3] A number of people on Twitter have told me that that among Hastings’ current projects was a piece on Barrett Brown, who is currently in jail awaiting trial for his role as a spokesperson for Anonymous. Hastings was a very strong advocate of Brown, as the tweets Gallagher has helpfully provided in the comment thread show. According to Gallagher, he had spoken to Hastings on June 3 to arrange a jail visit."

"Barrett Brown and Michael Hastings v. FBI"  "Why the Hacks Hate Michael Hastings" by Barrett Brown

"Why Is Barrett Brown Facing 100 Years in Prison?":
"It’s obvious by looking at the most recent posts on Barrett Brown’s blog that while he is highly interested in Stratfor, it wasn’t the credit card information that motivated him. When those five million emails leaked, a product called TrapWire, which was created by a company called Abraxas, was revealed to the public at large. And it caused a media shitstorm. In 2005, the founder of Abraxas and former head of the CIA’s European division, Richard Helms, described TrapWire as software that is installed inside of surveillance camera systems that is, “more accurate than facial recognition” with the ability to “draw patterns, and do threat assessments of areas that may be under observation from terrorists.” As Russia Today reported, one of the leaked emails, allegedly written by Stratfor’s VP of Intelligence, Fred Burton, stated that TrapWire was at “high-value targets” in “the UK, Canada, Vegas, Los Angeles, NYC.”

Now, the TrapWire software has largely been dismissed as, nothing to “freak out” over and that hopefully is the case. However, far beyond what the surveillance software itself can or can’t do, the revelation that TrapWire exists has caused a chain reaction of discoveries that have seemingly revealed a mob of very powerful cybersecurity firms.

Barrett Brown was doing some very serious investigating into a company called Cubic from San Diego, that was alleged to own TrapWire as a subsidiary of their firm. This is an allegation that they officially denied. However, these tax filings from 2010 that Barrett uncovered clearly state that Cubic had in fact merged with Abraxas Corporation. If you click through and take a look, you can see that Richard Helms’s name is right there on the top of the first page.

Alongside Abraxas and Cubic on those tax filings is another company called Ntrepid. According to Florida State’s records of corporations, Richard Helms is the director of that company. In 2011, Barrett’s work helped lead the Guardian to their report that Ntrepid won a $2.76 million-dollar contract from Centcom (U.S. Central Command), to create “online persona management” software, also known as “sockpuppetry.” To break it down in plain English, online persona management was created to populate social networks with a bunch of fake and believable social media personas to “influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.”

Ntrepid also has a product they call Tartan, that’s detailed in this internal presentation hosted by the Wall Street Journal. In Ntrepid’s own parlance, they describe Tartan as a program that can “Analyze illicit organizations and less structured social networks by identifying: Ranks of influence within human networks… [and can] end the use of [online] aliases.” Clearly they are looking to dismantle the smoke and mirrors that groups like Anonymous maintain, by hanging out in chatrooms where they do not need to identify themselves officially, with many private communications happening at once. This creates a difficult to penetrate den, where people can easily hide online. Evidently, Ntrepid is seeking to pull all of that apart with Tartan.

In another document on Ntrepid letterhead, titled “Tartan Influence Model: Anarchist Groups,” Tartan is positioned as a software tool that can help combat domestic protestors who operate in “an amorphous network of anarchist and protest groups” and suggests that these groups are prone to violence. They name Occupy Wall Street and Occupy D.C. as part of the problem, and have “built Occupy networks through online communication with anarchists.” By identifying the threat of anarchistic, supposedly violent protestors, Tartan sells its services by saying their software “identifies the hidden relationships among organizers of seemingly unrelated movements… To mitigate the ability of anarchists to incite violence… Law enforcement must identify the complex network of relationships among anarchist leaders.” So, beyond taking apart movements that exist solely online, Tartan is looking to come out and crush real world protest movements as well.

A lot of this information and the connections between it all would not be easy to figure out were it not for Barrett Brown. For one, Barrett started ProjectPM, a wiki that is completely dedicated to piecing together all of this information about surveillance companies in the United States. He even got on the phone with a representative at Cubic to tell them that their company was full of liars and that they do in fact own TrapWire. Without Barrett Brown, tons of this research would likely have gone unearthed. Besides a few journalists, not many people have been looking into this information. The one other group that does is called Telecomix, the guys who are famous for supplying dial-up internet lines to areas of the world with oppressive dictatorships, and who I interviewed about the Gaza conflict here. They operate the Bluecabinet Wiki, and they worked very closely with Barrett Brown to uncover more information about the network of cybersecurity firms.

I talked to one of the volunteers at Telecomix, who strongly believes in the work that Barrett did to connect all of these very confusing dots: “I haven't seen reporters really taking a hard look at what Barrett Brown, the investigative journalist, was researching and where it leads to. His discovery that TrapWire = Abraxas and that there is CIA involvement is very important.  Do you know in Berlin right now a game was started to destroy surveillance cameras in public places? Barrett apparently was reading through the emails of HBGary and Stratfor, linking the data to the specific surveillance companies and contractors… It is an extremely time consuming task.”"

"FBI Launches Probe of Todashev Shooting"  "The F.B.I. Deemed Agents Faultless in 150 Shootings"

"The Lies of Empire: Don’t Believe a Word They Say" by Glen Ford.  "USA Today, Maddow and Iran Misinformation"  "'Limited But Persuasive' Evidence - Syria, Sarin, Libya, Lies"

"Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA" by James Bamford.  Wired is usually just a house organ of the Pentagon, and I have to wonder if this explicitness reflects the disgust in the Pentagon at this latest War For The Jews against Syria forced on Barry by the Jewish Billionaires (and announced with the President conspicuously in absentia by an obvious agent of the Jewish Billionaires, almost as if there had been some kind of coup d'état).  Also note the comically shoddy outside contractors used by the NSA!  The details of the Israeli spying (note Pollard II):
". . . the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”
Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been alerted to, but wasn’t.
“In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries, technically what they’re doing…. They didn’t do this that way, it was under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said. “For access.”
But Binney now suspects that Israeli intelligence in turn passed the technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic and diplomatic information back to them. “And then five years later, four or five years later, you see a Narus device,” he said. “I think there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.”
Narus was formed in Israel in November 1997 by six Israelis with much of its money coming from Walden Israel, an Israeli venture capital company. Its founder and former chairman, Ori Cohen, once told Israel’s Fortune Magazine that his partners have done technology work for Israeli intelligence. And among the five founders was Stanislav Khirman, a husky, bearded Russian who had previously worked for Elta Systems, Inc. A division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Elta specializes in developing advanced eavesdropping systems for Israeli defense and intelligence organizations. At Narus, Khirman became the chief technology officer.
A few years ago, Narus boasted that it is “known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.” The company says its equipment is capable of “providing unparalleled monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and government organizations around the world” and that “Anything that comes through [an Internet protocol network], we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails, along with attachments, see what Web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice over Internet Protocol] calls.”
Like Narus, Verint was founded by in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800 employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel, primarily working in research and development and operations, according to the Jerusalem Post. Among its products is STAR-GATE, which according to the company’s sales literature, lets “service providers … access communications on virtually any type of network, retain communication data for as long as required, and query and deliver content and data …” and was “[d]esigned to manage vast numbers of targets, concurrent sessions, call data records, and communications.”
In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S. eavesdropping and surveillance market. “Take NICE, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology,” said Gefen. “Check Point was founded by Unit alumni. Comverse’s main product, the Logger, is based on the Unit’s technology.”
According to a former chief of Unit 8200, both the veterans of the group and much of the high-tech intelligence equipment they developed are now employed in high-tech firms around the world. “Cautious estimates indicate that in the past few years,” he told a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Ha’artez in 2000, “Unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to 40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall Street.” Referred to only as “Brigadier General B,” he added, “This correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”
Equally troubling is the issue of corruption. Kobi Alexander, the founder and former chairman of Verint, is now a fugitive, wanted by the FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes. And two of his top associates at Comverse, Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel William F. Sorin, were also indicted in the scheme and later pleaded guilty, with both serving time in prison and paying millions of dollars in fines and penalties."

"A Discussion With Cryptome" (my emphasis in red):
"Gawker: Do you think Snowden is a hero?
Young: Yeah, in so far as you want to play up that word. I think that he's quite courageous to do what he's doing. I'm not convinced that he's operating as an individual but he certainly gives all the appearance of being a hero. So I think until proved otherwise, you can look at it that way.
But I think he's playing a teasing game too, because he's not so dumb as to dump everything in one place. That's suicide because he knows he gets screwed if he does that. The recipients would screw him in their own defense. I think that it's worth seeing what they do next, because usually these things have steps. They're testing the market right now: Will he get public support by releasing more? Under what circumstances? Who will we give it to? Is this guy going to be badly burned?
The military calls this being a rabbit: he's being set up to draw fire and see what happens. And if someone takes a potshot at him, you watch who does. It's risky behavior, but it's a good way to smoke out the opposition.
Gawker: In a post on Cryptome, you suggested the leak was a "wargame". Do you think that this might be an elaborate government test?
Young: Well, it will certainly be used for that purpose. They're certainly watching the response to this. They not only run their own games, they watch other people's games. Some are fortuitous like this. Some are deliberate.
Natsios: I like this notion of the spontaneously combusting war games scenario. It's not top-down driven, it's just erupts and you study it as a phenomenon and information emerges that wouldn't otherwise in the carefully scripted modeling scenario."
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