Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Signature reduction

The Russian microwave weapon story just won't die:  "Claims of Microwave Attacks Are Scientifically Implausible" (Rofer).

The French courts remain beneath contempt:  "Canadian academic Hassan Diab ordered to stand trial in French terrorism case" (Cochrane).  I wonder how many shekels Trudeau would get for extraditing him.

"Why Canada Owes Apology to Palestinians for the Nakba" (Engler) (see also).  Rand was a based 'anti-Semite' (and a very famous Canadian judge), but apparently was influenced by a Canadian Christian religious fruitcake.  This is one of the most shameful incidents in Canadian history.

Blinken and sidekick/goon Nudelman-Kagan are quite the thugs:  "Pictures of a Ukrainian Dream" (Escobar):

"Leaked info on the closed-door meeting between Blinken and Comedian-in-Charge Zelensky is no less than incandescent. Blinken seemed to have read a no holds barred riot act.

Here are the guidelines. All Ukrainian state corporations must be controlled by the proverbial “foreign interests”. So board majorities must be either foreign or 5th columnists. The entire anti-corruption vertical drive must also be foreign-controlled. Same for the judicial system.

Andriy Kobolyev – an American asset – must be reinstated as head of Naftogaz. Zelensky moved mountains to get rid of Kobolyev.

Blinken demanded a massive push against every Ukrainian oligarch, so that huge chunks of Ukrainian economy are transferred to – who else – foreigners. Same for land privatization.

Somewhat hilariously, Blinken warned that Russian troops might invade Ukraine. In this case, Zelensky can count only on huge political assistance, not military. So Zelensky in fact was ordered to stop asking to join NATO and cease provoking Russia, as President Putin, who already drew red lines, could make a “drastic decision”.

Blinken demanded that American assets should be untouchable by Ukrainian law, and named honored figures of civil society. Maidan cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland, also in the room, drew up a list of The Untouchables, and Blinken met with them separately.

Finally, the giant ghost hanging over the whole trip to Kiev had to make itself known. In practice, Zelensky was invited to turn in everyone in Ukraine who helped bring information about Hunter Biden to the media via Rudolph Giuliani.

According to the source who had access to the leak, Zelensky was left beyond speechless. That’s not exactly what he was expecting. Especially when it comes to transferring valuable assets controlled by Ukrainian oligarchs to “foreign interests”. Someone will inevitably whack him.

No one is touching this leak – as if it was radioactive poison. No one will confirm it. Its plausibility though cannot be denied."

Ze thus comes off as more victim than villain, but it appears he knows how to follow orders: "Zelensky targeting opposition leaders for ‘treason’ won’t help Ukraine’s unity problems – but could shatter the country for good" (Robinson).

"How India lost its way in Persian Gulf" (Bhadrakumar).  A country like India should be playing the Assholes off against the Chinese, and taken Iran seriously, but instead idiot Modi went all in with President Jared's disastrous Abraham Accords, and India is now out in the cold.

"Exclusive: Inside the Military's Secret Undercover Army" (Arkin).  Interesting descriptions of tradecraft (manufacturing fake identities):
"Every morning at 10:00 a.m., Jonathan Darby embarks on his weekly rounds of mail call. Darby is not his real name, but it is also not the fake name on his Missouri driver's license that he uses to conduct his work. And the government car he drives, one of a fleet of over 200,000 federal vehicles owned by the General Services Administration, is also not registered in his real or his fake name, and nor are his magnetically attached Maryland state license plates really for his car, nor are they traceable back to him or his organization. Where Darby works and the locations he visits are also classified.

Darby's retired from the Army, and he asks that neither his real nor his cover name be used. He served for 20 years in counterintelligence, including two African assignments where he operated in low profile in Ethiopia and Sudan, masquerading as an expat businessman. Now he works for a Maryland-based signature reduction contractor that he asked Newsweek not to identify.

As Darby makes his rounds to some 40 or so post offices and storefront mailbox stores in the DC Metropolitan area, he picks up a trunk full of letters and packages, mailing a similar number from rural addresses. Back at the office, he sorts through the take, delivering bills to the finance people and processing dozens of personal and business letters mailed from scores of overseas locations. But his main task is logging and forwarding the signature reduction "mechanisms" as they are called, passports and State driver's licenses for people who don't exist, and other papers—bills, tax documents, organization membership cards—that form the foundation of fake identities.

To register and double-check the authenticity of his daily take, Darby logs into two databases, one the Travel and Identity Document database, the intelligence community's repository of examples of 300,000 genuine, counterfeit and altered foreign passports and visas; and the other the Cover Acquisition Management System, a super-secret register of false identities where the "mechanisms" used by clandestine operators are logged. For false identities traveling overseas, Darby and his colleagues also have to alter databases of U.S. immigration and customs to ensure that those performing illicit activities can return to the United States unmolested.

For identity verification, Darby's unit works with secret offices at Homeland Security and the State Department as well as almost all 50 states in enrolling authentic "mechanisms" under false names. A rare picture into this world came in April 2013 when an enterprising reporter at Northwest Public Broadcasting did a story suggesting the scale of this secret program. His report revealed that the state of Washington alone had provided hundreds of valid state driver licenses in fictitious names to the federal government. The existence of the "confidential driver license program," as it was called, was unknown even to the governor.

Before the Internet, Darby says—before a local cop or a border guard was connected to central databases in real time—all an operative needed to be "undercover" was an ID with a genuine photo. These days, however, especially for those operating under deep cover, the so-called "legend" behind an identity has to match more than just a made-up name. Darby calls it "due diligence": the creation of this trail of fake existence. Fake birthplaces and home addresses have to be carefully researched, fake email lives and social media accounts have to be created. And those existences need to have corresponding "friends." Almost every individual unit that operates clandestinely—special operations, intelligence collections, or cyber—has a signature reduction section, mostly operated by small contractors, conducting due diligence. There they adhere to what Darby calls the six principles of signature reduction: credibility, compatibility, realism, supportability, verity and compliance. 
Compliance is a big one, Darby says, especially because of the world that 9/11 created, where checkpoints are common and nefarious activity is more closely scrutinized. To keep someone covert for real, and to do so for any period of time, requires a time consuming dance that not only has to tend to someone's operational identity but also maintain their real life back home. As Darby explains it, this includes clandestine bill paying but also working with banks and credit card security departments to look the other way as they search for identity fraud or money laundering. And then, signature reduction technicians need to ensure that real credit scores are maintained—and even real taxes and Social Security payments are kept up to date—so that people can go back to their dormant lives when their signature reduction assignments cease."
"The military doesn't conduct covert operations, the senior former official says, and military personnel don't fight undercover. That is, except when they do, either because individuals are assigned—"sheep dipped"—to the CIA, or because certain military organizations, particularly those of the Joint Special Operations Command, operate like the CIA, often alongside them in covert status, where people who depend on each other for their lives don't know each other's real names. Then there are an increasing number of government investigators—military, FBI, homeland security and even state officials—who are not undercover per se but who avail themselves of signature reduction status like fake IDs and fake license plates when they work domestically, particularly when they are engaged in extreme vetting of American citizens of Arab, South Asian, and increasingly African background, who have applied for security clearances."
"And Mallory had vials of fake blood provided by China; Connolly would not reveal what it would be used for."
"For the one percent, though, for those who have to make it through passport control under false identities, there are various biometrics defeat systems, some physical and some electronic. One such program was alluded to in a little noticed document dump published by Wikileaks in early 2017 and called "Vault 7": over 8,000 classified CIA tools used in the covert world of electronic spying and hacking. It is called ExpressLane, where U.S. intelligence has embedded malware into foreign biometrics and watchlist systems, allowing American cyber spies to steal foreign data. 
An IT wizard working for Wikileaks in Berlin says the code with ExpressLane suggests that the United States can manipulate these databases. "Imagine for a moment that someone is going through passport control," he says, hesitant to use his real name because of fear of indictment in the United States. "NSA or the CIA is tasked to corrupt—change—the data on the day the covert asset goes through. And then switch it back. It's not impossible.""
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