Tag Archives: Edward Snowden

Finger in a dike

We have all heard the story of the boy who stopped a flood by putting his finger in a dike; Robin Williams made a reference to it and women in comfortable shoes in the past (whatever that means). The story is known, the act sounds just too ridiculous, because any flood that can be stopped with a finger is one that will not amount to much flooding. Yet the story behind it is very different. You see, the story is about the dangerous Muskrats, who dig themselves boroughs in dikes. These boroughs have canals that can go for hundreds of feet and as the Muskrat population grows, the dikes and dams they are in could be damaged beyond normal repair and that is when the dangers start, because dikes are important in the Netherlands. A large part of it is vastly below sea level, meaning that such a loss could have impacted safe living in that place. Muskrats are also fierce fighters and feeders, meaning that as their population grows, the other animals become extinct. Even as that rat has a usual lifespan for a year, in that year it can reap damage that only people can match. So as we consider the damage a year brings, we need to now consider todays story in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/14/freedom-of-information-act-document-leaks-could-become-criminal), where we see: “criminalise passing on information discoverable under FOI requests“, so basically any news given, even when it can be obtained by an FOI request can become an issue that follows prosecution and even conviction? How is anyone allowed to pass this as law allowed in office, especially as he lives by the motto that was a Herman Brood hit (read: I’ll never be clever). There is a weighting here. I for one have spoken out against the non-accountability of the press. The one time they got scared (read: The Leveson enquiry), they started to scream foul and promise bettering themselves. A promise some of the press broke even before the ink of that promised dried. Yet there is in equal measure a need to keep the people correctly and decently informed. There is a need to get cybersecurity on a decent level and there is a need to hunt down hackers. In this places like Sony are feeling the brunt of hackers and until the authorities are willing to execute the parents (or children) of these hackers, depending of the age of the hacker in front of their eyes, they will not ever see the light and these issues will happen. In this, the entire whistle-blower thing is another hot potato and some politicians seem to think that the one will stop the other, which is even more delusional than my idea of executions to make a point. There is another side to all this that is linked. You see, in the military there is a strict need of secrecy. In that this Bradley Manning person is just a traitor who did not realise just how stupid he really was. The fact that he did not spend life in prison until death is another failing which has been covered by too many for too long and too often. Julian Assange is another matter. Basically he was a mere facilitator, we might seem to consider him a traitor but in the end he did not break any laws and the US knows this, they just have another need to address the ego of certain people. I see Snowden as a traitor, plain and simple. As we were misrepresented with a movie, a book and all kinds of stories, there is still the issue that things did not add up. The never did and never will. In this light a whistle-blower seems to be a very different needed person (I will get to that later).

The three names mentioned all have their own role to play in all this. In case of Manning, it is treason plain and simple, whomever got him off lightly did a stellar Law job, but in the end, he committed treason under war time conditions. Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2013-08-02/bradley-manning-s-crime-is-smaller-than-treason) gives us the view of John Yoo, a legal expert, whose view I share: “His actions knowingly placed the lives of American soldiers, agents, and allies at grave risk. In the world of instant, world-wide communications and non-state terrorist groups, Manning committed the crime of aiding the enemy, and he is lucky to escape the death penalty“. As an operator, Manning had access to do his job and he abused the access he had endangering the lives of his ‘fellow’ soldiers. In this the less diplomatic view would be that he was more entitled to death by hanging than some of those executed at Nuremberg. So as we realise that Manning soon could have more rights than an optional member of the press is just a little too insane in my book. In all this, as we see that part in a little biased light, we need to realise that the press has a need to expose certain elements. Yet they too are biased and they are biased towards advertisers and stakeholders, which is why certain military documents are placed in a juicy sexy light, yet the issues of Microsoft, Sony and a few others that clearly food for thought for a generation of consumers seems to be misplaced. So how should we see the less responsible acts of the press in that light?

The second part is Snowden, again, as I see it a traitor, here the issue is severe on all sides, the Intelligence community failed miserably on several sides as one person has seemingly access to systems that should have been monitoring access on a few sides. I saw within two hours at least 3 issues for consideration of prosecution of certain heads of intelligence for mere gross negligence. The issues found with NSA contractor Harold Thomas Martin III just adds to the issues in Alphabet soup land. In this there would have been the need of a very different whistle blower, one that could have walked into the US supreme court stating that his nation is in serious danger giving evidence free from prosecution where an ‘uncle’ of the NSA walks into the office of Admiral Rogers (current director, not the director at that time) asking what the f**k he thinks he is doing on the farm. In a system that is about subterfuge and misdirection, those making errors are often chastised in unbalanced ways. As they are about deadlines and being flawless (which is a delusion all by itself) finding ways to clear issues, solve issues and give support in a place that is relying just a little too much on contractors is an essential need. In this the US is the most visible, but we can agree that the UK has its own demons, the most visible ones were in the 70’s, yet the cloud is now a dangerous place and in addition, I foresee that the near future will bring us more, because if a place like Sony cannot keep a lid on its data, do you actually believe that the cloud is secure? It is not, because some people were pushing too fast for a technology that has issues on several levels. As the cloud grows the customer is no longest charged per Gigabyte, but per Terabyte, so as the cost seems to be 0.1% of what was, they are all seeing the financial benefit and they are clearly ignoring the need to comprehends data sizes and what to put where. As the sales teams are giving nice presentations on security and no loss of data, they seem to be a little more silent on amount of data replicated somewhere else. Which in case of Intelligence is a bit of an issue under the best conditions. By the way that switch from GB to TB happened in the last 5 years alone, so this market is accelerated but in ways that seems to be a little too uncomfortable and I love tech and I embrace it whenever possible, so others should be a lot more mindful and worried than I am at present.

Last we get to Julian Assange, he is either loved or hated. I tried to remain in the balance of it as he basically broke no laws, but to shed the dirty laundry in the way he did was a little stupid. We read all the things on how certain stuff was removed and so on, but there is an issue. In all this we heard all the military stuff, yet when the mention and threats of bank presentations came, he went quiet and dark less than 48 hours later, so it seems that some issues are just not given to the people, especially certain facts that should have been brought out. Here we see another side of the whistle-blower. I get that certain events should not be allowed out, yet when I read: “We would expand the Freedom of Information act to stop ministers and departments from being able to block the publication of information they see as politically inconvenient“, which we get from Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson. We see another part of the conversation, one that needs scrutiny on a few levels. The entire issue that a conviction is possible for releasing information that is readily available under the FOI is dodgy to say the least. There is a side in my that there should be a certain level of control on whistle-blowers, yet in that same light as we see too often that corporate whistle-blowers are refused the light of day by the press calls for questions marks on the earliest given Mondays of any week.

If the dike is to stop the people from drowning we need to make sure that the muskrat is stopped for various reasons, yet when that dike is also the road that facilitates for the shipment of toxic waste, we need to wonder what the basic need of that specific dike is. And that is before we see that the road facilitates for ‘Big Pharma’ to ship its medication, whilst the 1000’s of tonnes of pharmaceutical waste is left ignored, which is ignored by the media when Dr Who (read: World Health Organisation) is telling people that there is now a direct danger to newborns, with in India alone an estimated 56,000 deaths of newborns dying from resistant infections. So as we see very little of that in the news, what are those opposing the whistleblowing actions crying about? They themselves have become filters on what the people are allowed to learn about. Doesn’t that sound slightly too sanctimonious to you?

The issue that goes on is that these events are less and less an issue of rarity. The Times (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/600-tonnes-of-waste-dumped-under-road-dmttlzrkh), gives us, when you are subscripted, a view that “Up to 600 tonnes of household rubbish have been dumped under the A40 in Buckinghamshire, in one of Britain’s worst incidents of fly-tipping”, this is not some issue that is done with a simple truck, this took time and staff. This was deliberate and orchestrated. In this the whistle-blower would have been essential in dealing with such a crime, as it stands now, it made someone an easy £90,000 and the damage could end up being considerable larger and more expensive. It is anyone’s guess if the CPS will ever secure an arrest and conviction. So as we see the toxicity of the changes the UK and others could face. When we consider the final part “Thomas Hughes, the executive director of Article 19, said: “The Law Commission’s proposals would move the clock backwards, undoing improvements in the UK’s 1989 Official Secrets Acts, and setting a dangerous example of eroding freedom of expression protections, which may be copied by oppressive regimes globally”, we must ask what the devils own sugar did the Law Commission have in mind when these changes were proposed. By the way, the moment it gets adopted, there is every chance that any person with direct links to Wall Street will see other sides. This is what we get from the NY Post, “The Financial CHOICE Act 2.0, which passed the House Financial Services Committee last week, has provisions to keep corporate whistle-blowers involved in any wrongdoing from collecting awards. The act would also require the whistle-blower to try to stop violations from happening within their company — a stipulation that advocates fear would force employees to choose between being fired or not reporting anything at all”, we see this at http://nypost.com/2017/05/14/whistleblower-bill-sparks-fear-among-advocates/, so you tell me who this is all supposed to benefit. As I see it, we see a shift where those who have not are stronger and stronger segregated from those who have and those who continuously want to have. A mere adaption from the battle strategy segregation, isolation and assassination? Assassination needs not resolve in death, today we see how economic and financial death could at times be much worse than anything permanently offered, although the mothers in India might disagree on that. The question becomes where does the press truly stand, with informing the people or with the advertisers they rely on nowadays?

 

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Missed it by THAT much?

It started last night. Actually, it started a little earlier, yet I get information from so many sides, that I have to make a choice what I focus on (my final assignment for my master degree being the big number one). So when I initially heard about a missile issue I had no real interest. You see, the things PwC is up to with added narration of missed issues on Tesco, BHS and two others is a lot more interesting to me. Any missile issue tends to be a simple engineering problem. At times it is about other matters, but that is once properly tested a mere 9% of the time, with 91% being engineering or interfacing, which is basically another realm of interfacing. Oh, for the underlying entertainment. I am writing this whilst listening to The Tales of Hoffmann, which is applicable to all this on more than one level.

So back to the Lockheed Trident we go. Let’s start with the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-38719346) with “Theresa May finds herself under pressure for refusing to answer whether she did, or did she not know that something had gone wrong with our nuclear weapons, when she asked MPs to vote to renew the costly Trident system?

So when I see “So the simple “who knew” question will keep being asked. And for as long as the opposition parties keep pushing for clearer responses, ministers will keep looking like they are awkwardly, even shiftily trying to evade a straight question“, I feel that asking the question is a loaded canon to say the least. In this day and age, regarding any issue on nuclear facilitation, do you really want the other players to openly know that UK defence does not work, so Russia and/or China only needs to work about each other and the USA? With pressures at present it is not the best idea to say the least.

My issue is with “A missile test involving Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent system ended in failure off the coast of Florida last year, a US defense official with direct knowledge of the incident told CNN on Monday“, so not only are US defense officials sanctimonious on the best of days. It seems that they have no problems revealing certain classified events when it concerns their allies.

OK, I can accept that, so how about I reserve a little space at the end and let the public at large know on the storage issues that PRISM is still bringing, not the observation part, but the fact that the storage as it had been one and how the list of people with access was a lot larger than anyone realises. With the New York Times bringing the people on June 6th 2013 ‘U.S. Confirms That It Gathers Online Data Overseas‘ (at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/us/nsa-verizon-calls.html), but that the quote by Josh Earnest “has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terror threats as it allows counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States.” is missing one important element, which is “it equally allows the better hackers to alert certain people of red flags they can scan for“, which is not something they wanted us to know. I’ll get back to that later.

Let’s focus on those Lockheed cigars named Trident. You see, there is a question why the US spokesperson opened his mouth in the first place. When we consider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/upgraded-trident-ii-missile-being-tested-from-us-nuclear-submarines-2016-9), the quote “This was the 161st successful Trident II launch since design completion in 1989“, now I have no idea how many test launches we have seen, but 161 good strikes sounds like a good deal, so why suddenly this ‘revelation‘? I am all for fair display of facts, including failures, but the air that this one flaw gives give in addition other considerations, so if this US spokesperson thinks that the UK is grateful for him opening his mouth, I think it is time we make sure his bosses make sure he never considers that ever again. This all gets us to the reasoning of that US spokesperson.

Brown University is/was housing a Nina Tannanwald, who had an interesting essay. Titled ‘Renewing a Regime of Nuclear Restraint‘, we get “the non-nuclear weapons states of the world are growing increasingly impatient with the failure of the nuclear weapons states to move toward what are seen as their moral and legal obligations to eliminate their nuclear stockpiles. The humanitarian consequences movement, a globally popular movement barely discussed in the United States, is one reflection of this frustration with the slow pace of nuclear disarmament. A similar tension plays out in the United States, as the Obama administration committed to move towards a world without nuclear weapons while concurrently authorizing a multi-decade, trillion-dollar modernization of American strategic nuclear forces“, there is a truth in this, there is also the realisation that even as most want to move into a non-nuclear era, with Iran and North Korea in the mix, that is a reality that will not come any day soon, if ever. Time has taught us that putting the genie back in the bottle is not an option. If that is not an indication, try to interview Pandora on what happened to hope. Good luck with the answer to that one in this day and age!

Yet when we consider Tannanwald, there is more and more the need to consider Robert McNamara’s presentation to NATO in Athens laying out flexible response doctrine. I think that Robert McNamara is one of those essential Americans that show the American spirit. Serving under both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, he has been confronted with the need to alter perspective and a dimensional scope that has been almost unheard of ever since. He is almost the founding father of policy analysis. In addition he is the person who consolidated functions that is amongst others now known as the Defense Intelligence Agency.

So you might think of him as a spooks Yoda, with a flair for pragmatism. Which gets us to the opposition in all this, namely Dr Julian Lewis, who in the Guardian stated yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/24/commons-watchdog-criticises-unnecessary-surreptitiousness-trident-missile-malfunction) “chairman of parliament’s defence watchdog has criticised the government’s “unnecessary surreptitiousness” over the Trident missile malfunction, as Michael Fallon declined an invitation to appear before his committee“, in this we congratulate Dr. Lewis for his ability to employ a 17 letter word, yet the issue in all this is twofold. the first is that as far as we can tell this is a 1 in 161 cases, making it an outlier that could have been addressed outside of the view of the public, second that the Government had already clarified a need much earlier (which I will point out a little further, with a link off course) that there was a certain need, that need is now directly undermined. Perhaps there is a political need to get something else started and scuttling one solution will open up a set of new problems onto which certain people with interests can throw a lot of money at, they would only need to get rid of 4 submarines. We know that a new HMS Dreadnought is coming, but what is possibly less known is that a refit of the Vanguard Class should start in 2019, which will impact the defense budget because an overhaul of this kind really requires a serious amount of coins. Now, the latter part is speculation, but is it far-fetched? It is 2017, these matters take time, there is no doubt about that, so there is a gap where certain actions have a lot of impact and the misfire is just a lucky break for some people. In all this I could be, and I am probably wrong in all this. Yet when you look at the facts as they are clear, as we know that our cold war opponent has satellites, so they know about the event, calling this into the open only serves another platform. I have no idea which one, but the visibility of these events call a lot into question, especially the actions of a blabbing yank. Now, for some this might actually be one of those democratic losers with no prospect considered ingratiating himself to optional future employers in the media as this person could be democratically replaced by the new party in charge if his function was high enough and the CNN quote “US defense official with direct knowledge of the incident told CNN on Monday” implies that he is higher up the ranks to some degree.

So how does this reflect back to Trident? Well, if we accept that regional tensions are made worse regarding nuclear policies by unstable regimes where the mental balance of the one in charge leaves a lot to be desired (examples: Kim Jong-un and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he was in office) , we should consider that the solution does not work, tension is not eased, it only invigorates that person to consider pressing the famous red button. This comes mainly from the premise of the thought ‘theirs might not work initially‘, which would only instigate a false sense of ego of that person pressing the button. I am going one step further stating that such a person could call in some simpleton cook, asking him ‘Can you press this button? My hand hurts!‘, so that unsavoury character now has the genuine option of remaining in denial.

Even as we consider that 2 out of 161 might not work, the stats are extremely unkind on the chances for the receiving party. Still the issue remains, what was that US spokesperson thinking off when he/she considered speaking on the matter at all was a good idea? Don’t get me wrong, I am not stating that we should be lied to, but there were clear security considerations in play and I wonder if that person was even high enough on the pay scale to make have this consideration, speaking out regarding an allied nation (read: the UK).

My view?

Well, personally, when I look into the error, I am considering that it was not a simple flaw, you see, when the missile is off by a degree, or even less. When it is that small it becomes an issue because that takes time. When the direction is off by a maximum dart score round (180), it tends to be a simple construction flaw, an interface that was not properly checked, basically, the kind of flaw that requires Lockheed (on average) to send the next missile at $0 (and they also have to pay for postage, packaging, gift wrapping and shipping too). Which would be another reason for some people not to speak, unless officially ordered to do so, as it would start an entirely different debate on the Trident Project. So in this light, as we see that 1 out of 161 went wrong, the dust cloud is very much disproportionate to the events as we see them. Even when we see the connected views on Jeremy Corbyn, who has been for the longest times in the light of ‘Jeremy Corbyn says he will put nuclear disarmament at the heart of his leadership re-election campaign‘. which  is what we saw in July 2016, in September 2016 we see: “to put to one side any attempt to reverse Labour’s support for renewing Trident in a bid to reduce tensions with unions and rebel MPs“, yet that ship has sailed, so he can ‘revive’ his lifelong view of being the soul that is anti-Trident. We might see that as a decent view, yet in all that we see evolve is it the correct one? I think that there is no clear answer and this is not on Jeremy, but it all now shows to be a valid political attack, which he cannot be faulted for. Yet how to proceed?

What makes a cigar a cigar?

So this Lockheed device has several elements. I will not some conceded jerk telling you what went wrong. We can speculate that the electronics were wrong, yet what if that is actually not the case? Consider the following sources. the first (at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmdfence/986/98605.htm) gives us at [40]: “‘De-targeting’ and ‘State of Readiness’: The SDR stated that the Trident missiles aboard the Vanguard-class submarines would not be targeted and would normally be at several days ‘notice to fire’. However, the SDR also noted that “we will… ensure that we can restore a higher state of alert should this become necessary at any time”. In the course of our inquiry, we were told that targeting the missiles does not take very long“, in that is it not interesting that an actual metric was not given?

In addition we get “Dr Rebecca Johnson, of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, argued that both de-targeting and the reduced state of readiness were essentially meaningless since they could be could be easily overridden“, which was in the same paragraph and it gave me the part that is soon to come. You see (at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nuclear-deterrence-factsheet/uk-nuclear-deterrence-what-you-need-to-know) we see ‘A minimum and credible deterrent‘, with the quote “we require a fleet of 4 submarines to maintain 1 continuously on patrol and retaining this posture is essential to assure the invulnerability of the deterrent“.

So, this is me speculating, the triviality that we saw regarding the ‘we were told that targeting the missiles does not take very long‘. So what if the targeting could be messed with? In this day and age, is that such a leap? If that is true and if the targeting can be messed with, the issue now becomes that Her Majesty’s Navy now has 4 cigar boxes that could potentially be regarded as useless, making them extremely expensive non-deterrents. Let’s not forget, this is pure speculation, so it becomes only the smallest of options if the missile was not malfunctioning in a normal way.

So how does this reflect on me making some other case earlier and why mention it?

Well, let’s take you through the motions, it will take a few paragraphs. First there is “NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden has denied he committed treason with his revelations that the US had been hacking Hong Kong and China since 2009. He said his revelations did not disclose military targets – a treasonable act – only civilian infrastructure“, try and focus on the red parts in all this. The next part is “Without asking for public permission, the NSA is running network operations that affect millions of innocent people. In a previous interview with the South China Morning Post, Snowden said he was releasing the information to demonstrate “the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries“, which gets us part of the first part. The source is the IB Times (at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/nsa-whistleblower-edward-snowden-479709) and they are only one of several sources.

From that same source we get “Internet companies – including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple and Microsoft – were reported to have given the NSA “direct access” to their servers under a data collection programme called Prism” as well as “US government agency had access to the raw databases of these companies. “They can enter and get results for anything they want [such as] phone numbers, email, user id, cell phone handset id,”” and “Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications. At GCHQ, the number of audited queries is only 5% of those performed.” now we need to consider that “He was employed by several outside contractors including his current employer, defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton“.

Now I make one step back to a statement I made some time ago. You see, there is a part that never rang true, especially as the amount of data he allegedly took with him, yet this data never saw the light of day. In addition, for one person to have this level of clearance and access is something I always questioned! On the 23rd June 2013 I wrote ‘Who are the real watchers?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/06/23/who-are-the-real-watchers/), in there I wrote “his account is broken down and thousands of dollars on internal communications, price agreements, customer’s details and many more details are now duplicated. It would be worth quite a few coins for the right competitor. As such the quiet student will have all his University debts paid off long before he gets his degree. So, what is this about?“, which I bring on January 18th 2014 in ‘Diary for a wimpy President‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/18/diary-for-a-wimpy-president/) with “The government will no longer store the phone call information of millions of Americans. But he did not say who should maintain the information, instead giving the intelligence community 60 days to come up with options” as well as former Presidents Obama quote “What I did not do is stop these programs wholesale, not only because I felt that they made us more secure, but also because nothing in that initial review, and nothing that I have learned since, indicated that our intelligence community has sought to violate the law or is cavalier about the civil liberties of their fellow citizens“, the point in all this is not just the traitor Edward Snowden, who decided to become the judge, what also happened is that several sides of this went to private contractors, some of them very much greed driven. It is my belief that one event is linked. It was given on October 5th 2016, I wrote about it, but I will not give the link. The Telegraph (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/05/nsa-contractor-charged-over-alleged-theft-of-secret-us-governmen/) gives us the parts we need. “Harold Thomas Martin, 51, was secretly arrested by the FBI in August for allegedly stealing classified information. The US Department of Justice says it found Top Secret documents in Mr Martin’s home, vehicle, and two storage sheds on his property in Glenn Burnie, Maryland during a search on August 27th” as well as “Those documents were reportedly “source code” developed by the NSA to hack its adversaries. The codes would allow the NSA to covertly place malware in the computer systems of foreign governments and to monitor or even attack the networks“. Now, the part that comes next remains speculation!

I think that is exactly what has been happening. I think that whatever Harold Thomas Martin did get out before the NSA/FBI could lock down on it. I think that these contractors have been doing their job, but I also believe that someone has been getting access because part two gave access to part one and those people aren’t sworn in executives of agents of any government.  What if we consider when we combine the ‘claimed facts‘ as published, where other parties have been gathering information from selected mobiles, and where users have been interfered with. You see, we all got the messages as seen (at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/russia-hack-election-dnc.html), where we see “At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government“, so even if we question whether this is a Yay or a Nae, the issue is that the DNC is not the gemstone. Yes, most foreign governments want to see in what direction policies are likely to go. Which is why people like Marine Le Pen are getting monitored and not just by the French. You remember the earlier quote “giving the intelligence community 60 days to come up with options“? What if that has been rolled out, don’t you think that both the Russians and the Chinese are a lot more interested in access to those systems (read: that data)? Now we see the dangers that Harold Thomas Martin brought to America, the fact that these intrusion tools are in the open and possibly in Russian hands. We now see that tools can be used against their collection points. They only need to open one port and slowly siphon data away. How much damage do you think that this brings. In addition, and this last part is pure speculation, as those Tridents rely on ‘targeting the missiles does not take very long‘ yet if the specifications come from the outside, can these tools interfere with that? Do not forget that “would normally be at several days ‘notice to fire’” implies that there is a track that the targeting goes through and only the final step is the most secure one. Can we even know how secure those previous steps are? Which tools have been pushed to less controlled civilian hands due to the entire Snowden debacle? What dangers has he placed us all in? We now see via the Wall Street Journal and The Australian that what is now published in 2017, I already covered to some degree in 2013, I was correct to the largest degree all along. We see the quote “According to a unanimous report declassified on December 22 by the house permanent select committee on intelligence, the investigation showed Snowden had “removed” 1.5 million documents“, with added “based on, among other evidence, electronic logs that recorded the selection, copying and moving of files“, another issue I raised due to my knowledge of SE-UNIX. The fact that he had done this over a period of 6 weeks implies that there is a level of what should be regarded criminal negligence concerning Intelligence matters which is truly unsettling. The fact is that this stuff went into the open void, the question was who else got a hold on that stuff? The Wall Street Journal gives one part I never had (due to a lack of specific knowledge). That part is seen in the quote “Since the NSA was created in 1952, Russia and other adversary nations had been trying to penetrate its Level-3 secrets without great success“, he fact that they clearly have access to some degree, both Edward Snowden and Harold Thomas Martin have made that a near certainty.

This now reflects back to the Lockheed devices. Consider that the UK has a different methodology regarding its missiles. If a test was performed through the normal track and if we accept that the Russians have to some degree Level-3 documentation ‘access’, when we also accept that they have a clear understanding on the PRISM system now and we already know that both China and Russia can interfere with data packages (read: transmitted data) whilst in motion, is it really far-fetched that they intervened (read: corrupted) the data meant for the failed Trident test? Let me reiterate, I am not stating they retargeted that missile as there are too many components they do not control, the package just needed to be corrupt to the smallest degree, which would get the missile into a wrong destination and then self-destruct. Now, as stated, this is speculative, yet based on data which after 3 years is now proving to be utterly (read: mostly) correct. Is the speculation that far-fetched? And Russia has every reason to scuttle the UK Vanguard units now before the newer and totally unknown entity HMS Dreadnought comes into play, as stated by other academics in this field that it is  ‘essential to assure the invulnerability of the deterrent‘, when that invulnerability is gone, what remains?

I can tell you that I might not be entirely correct, but I can tell you that based on 3 years of data coming true that my aim is a lot better than the latest Lockheed Trident missile, which was allegedly off by almost 180 degrees.

 

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The German mirror that does not show

Ever since the event took place, the news, the gossip and the untold stories that are set without direction have been all over the internet. Der Spiegel (at http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-knew-terrorist-was-dangerous-but-failed-to-stop-him-a-1128423.html) start their version with ‘Why Did Germany Fail to Stop Terrorist?‘ with the by-line ‘authorities identified Anis Amri as a potential terrorist threat months ago‘. This sounds nice and plenty accusing yet on what premise? Der Spiegel gives a timeline. Wanted in Tunisia for stealing a truck (2011), convicted for battery and arson. Yet at this point Der Spiegel ads the threat he gave ‘I’ll cut your head off. That is pretty much all they have on him. He had changed his identity to Ahmad Zaghoul. The German view is after this shown to be flawed as some substitute papers ID papers came without a photo. Still, none of this screams terrorist, because the amount of teenagers shouting similar words go into the 7 figure numbers, especially on Friday night. There was too much superficial information, so when we see: “Germany’s interior ministry is seeking to overhaul the country’s security apparatus“, I am very willing to state: “an overhaul when there is no clear evidence that it could have been prevented, whilst the intelligence players know the issues with lone wolves and with mere loons is a matter of greater concern than the German interior ministry realises“, I wonder if Thomas de Maizière, the minister mentioned in the Guardian has other motives in this, because he has been around long enough to know this. It is not the question Der Spiegel posed in the headline, it is the fact that they knew that the entire matter is staged in a ludicrous notion. So when we look at the quote: “chain of errors led to the deaths of 12 innocent people in Berlin shortly before Christmas” seems to have been inserted for dramatic reference. Yet the opposite comes to light. You see even with my limited knowledge could have acted and caused a lot more casualties than 12 death and 48 wounded. This brings out the issue that is in play, as I personally see it Der Spiegel is leaving its readers with a story, a fairy tale, a scary one, like the Grimm brothers would tell it. The second part is given by the Financial times with ‘De Maizière calls for German security overhaul to counter terrorism‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/2c03bed2-d1ad-11e6-9341-7393bb2e1b51). The Financial Times are not the ones trying to bring you anything deceptive, yet the quotes: “an overhaul of the country’s security apparatus, centralising more powers in a contentious response to last month’s Berlin terrorist attack“, “The reforms put forward by Thomas de Maizière would take power from the regions, replacing their domestic intelligence services with a single national agency” and “But Mr de Maizière’s plans follow renewed concern that Germany’s security network is too fragmented and allows potential terrorists to avoid surveillance, including possibly the chief suspect in the Berlin assault“. So in this day and age, a system that actually works in Germany is now overhauled because of one incident? This reads like the resetting of limelight positions. I personally believe that the 16 fragments had a good view on what was happening in their region. Now Germany would need centralisation, data systems that are centralised meaning that cyber security would be a rather large issue and the 16 fragments would not get the access they had in the past, if so there are additional cyber concerns. All these amounting issues because of one case and the clear evidence is given in the shape of ‘ISIL released a video of Amri pledging allegiance to the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi‘, the fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had the video gives rise to Anis Amri being a terrorist, yet with the fact that there were only 12 fatalities, was this a failed attack? Consider another fact. The one part that makes sense is the question Der Spiegel gives “How he became radicalized under the eyes of German security officials“. The question becomes, did he become radicalised, or was he self-radicalised? A failed person, a small time criminal (car thief) who seems to have grown on the lower edge of the crime scale. After all that hopping around a mere 11 casualties. The amount of travelling he did to get into Milan is equally a question. Now, I started by giving rise to the question whether he was a terrorist. I had to get through the motions with you. I needed to create some doubt. That doubt is still there, yet another part of this is not in question. For this we need to take a look at what Sky News got from the German police. The quote “A police official says German authorities knew of 14 different identities used by Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri” (at http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/europe/2017/01/06/police-say-berlin-attacker-used-14-identities.html). The question here is whether he went by 14 different names, like some teenagers do so that they can bed more women from the same college (or a fence dealing with different clients)? Did he have papers for these 14 separate identities? The second one is now the issue, you see, this now implies that there is a support structure in place. Not unlike the video on Heavy.COM, which I discussed in my blog ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/) where we see ‘a music video directed to recruit ISIS’ Turkish sympathizers‘.

Now we have the new situation, as the video could be made with a simple smartphone, forwarded to a place where the minions of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could download it and show it if such a wannabe or lone wolf makes a successful run. Mass marketing on an explosive ‘no cure, no acknowledgement’ foundation; the new methodology! In all this we need to recognise that Der Spiegel was all about the emotion and in some cases some of the information was made visible after the article was published, still plenty of facts have been missing and some statements are questionable. Were the speculated trips he took via Nijmegen and Lyon planned? Were they desperation or were they guided? In fact that part is extremely important, especially if it turns out that people like him have a support system that stays far behind the screens. The speculation becomes a lot more reliable if Anis Amri had papers for some of those 14 identities. Too many unknowns and more important, there is absolutely no evidence that the overhaul of German security and Intelligence will get any better with centralisation and there is plenty of experience around to see that the data quality take a massive dive as data systems get merged.

As I see it, the German political objective is getting in the way of the requirements of an efficient system and even if we accept that some level of centralisation is needed, until there is a clear path of how to resolve the refugee issues, align the logistics of a million refugees all over the place, making larger changes does not seem to be any solution. That is a given certainty. with Thomas de Maizière giving his ‘desires‘ to the Deutsche Welle we see the following: “more responsibilities for Germany’s federal police force“, “central tracking and investigation responsibilities“, “supplementary enforcement jurisdiction for residency termination” as well as “capable of truly recording all movement across the external borders“. There are a few more but let’s look at those another day. The first one makes perfect sense, as does the third one. It is the second one that seems to be not the greatest idea when we consider the issues involved, the path of changes and as stated the data. The fourth one makes sense to some degree, yet there are too many issues with that one, and I am not taking that one apart here.

In all this the German mirror (Der Spiegel) is not showing us all the parts and more important the reflection they bring is very incomplete, some parts make sense, but not all the missing parts, with all the ‘honest’ revelations we saw Der Spiegel bring regarding Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, they seem to be off their game a fair bit this time. I wonder why!

 

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What did I say?

Last night I got a news push from the Washington Post. It took me more than a second to let the news sink in. You see, I have been advocating Common Cyber Sense for a while and apart from the odd General being ignorant beyond belief, I expected for the most that certain players in the SIGINT game would have their ducks in a row. Yet, the opposite seems to be true when we see ‘NSA contractor charged with stealing top secret data‘ (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/government-contractor-arrested-for-stealing-top-secret-data/2016/10/05/99eeb62a-8b19-11e6-875e-2c1bfe943b66_story.html), the evidence becomes blatantly obvious that matters in the SIGINT industry are nowhere near as acceptable as we think they are. The quote “Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, who did technology work for Booz Allen Hamilton, was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, authorities said. According to two U.S. officials familiar with the case, he is suspected of “hoarding” classified materials going back as far as a decade in his house and car, and the recent leak of the hacking tools tipped investigators to what he was doing“, so between the lines we read that it took a mistake after a decade for the investigators to find out? No wonder the NSA is now afraid of the PLA Cyber Division!

In this light, not only do I get to tell you ‘I told you so‘, I need to show you a quote from July 1st 2013, where I wrote “So if we consider the digital version, and consider that most intelligence organisations use Security Enhanced Unix servers, then just accessing these documents without others knowing this is pretty much a ‘no no’. EVEN if he had access, there would be a log, and as such there is also a mention if that document was copied in any way. It is not impossible to get a hold of this, but with each document, his chance of getting caught grows quicker and quicker“, so I questioned elements of the Edward Snowden case, because my knowledge of Security Enhanced Unix servers, which is actually an NSA ‘invention’, now it seems to become more and more obvious that the NSA has no flipping clue what is going on their servers. They seem to be unaware of what gets moved and more important, if the NSA has any cloud coverage, there is with this new case enough doubt to voice the concern that the NSA has no quality control on its systems or who gets to see data, and with the involvement of a second Booz Allen Hamilton employee, the issue becomes, have they opened up the NSA systems for their opponents (the PLA Cyber division being the most likely candidate) to currently be in possession of a copy of all their data?

If you think I am exaggerating, then realise that two people syphoned off terabytes of data for the term of a decade, and even after Snowden became visible, Harold Thomas Martin III was able to continue this for an additional 3 years, giving ample worry that the NSA needs to be thoroughly sanitised. More important, the unique position the NSA had should now be considered a clear and present danger to the security of the United States. I think it is sad and not irony that the NSA became its own worst enemy.

This is seen not in just the fact that Harold Thomas Martin III moved top secret data home, whilst he was at work a mere FSB or PLA intern could just jimmy the front door and copy all the USB devices. So basically he was potentially giving away data on Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) systems, which would be nice for the PLA Cyber Unit(s), as they did not have the capacity to create this themselves. So whilst they were accused for allegedly trying to get a hold of data on the laptop of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez (2008), they possibly laughed as they were just climbing into a window and taking all day to copy all the sweet classified data in the land (presumption, not a given fact). So he in equal measure pissed off the US, India and Russia. What a lovely day that must have been. In that regard, the Affidavit of Special Agent Jeremy Bucalo almost reads like a ‘love story’. With statements like “knowingly converted to his own use, or the use of another, property of the United States valued in excess of $1,000“. Can we all agree that although essential and correct, the affidavit reads like a joke? I mean that with no disrespect to the FBI, or the Special agent. I meant that in regard to the required personal viewed text: “Harold Thomas Martin III, has knowingly and intentionally endangered the safety and security of the United States, by placing top secret information and its multi-billion dollar value in unmonitored locations“, I do feel that there is a truth in the quote “The FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit is working on a psychological assessment, officials said. “This definitely is different” from other leak cases, one U.S. official said. “That’s why it’s taking us awhile to figure it out.”“. It is my personal view that I agree with this, I agree because I think I speculatively figured out the puzzle. He was a reservist, Reserve Navy and a Lieutenant at 51. So the Navy might not see him as ‘full’ or ‘equal’, this might have been his way, to read these documents at night, knowing that they will never have this level of clearance for such an amount of Top Secret information. With every additional document he would feel more in par with Naval Captains and Admirals, he would feel above all the others and if there was ever a conversation with people who did know, he had the option to leave the slightest hint that he was on that level, perhaps stating that he was also an NSA contractor. He star would suddenly be high with Commanders and higher. It is a personal speculation into the mind of Harold Thomas Martin III.

When we look at 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES. We see at paragraph 2381 “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States“, now if we see the following elements ‘giving them aid and comfort within the United States‘ and the other elements are clearly stated as ‘or’ a case of treason could be made. In my view a person like that was guilty of treason the moment Top Secret materials were removed or copied from there assigned location and without proper clearance moved to an unsecure location. As an IT person Harold Thomas Martin III should have known better, there is no case of presumption of innocence. The fact that I made a case that he might have a mental issues does not mitigate it in any way, to do this in excess of a decade and even more insidious to do this for years after Edward Snowden got found out is also matter of concern.

The NSA has a sizeable problem, not just because of these two individuals, but because their servers should have has a massive upgrade years ago, in addition, the fact that contractors got away with all this is in equal measure even more insulting to a failing NSA. I can only hope that GCHQ has its ducks properly in a row, because they have had 3 years to overhaul their system (so tempted to put an exclamation mark here). You see, we have all known that for pretty much all of us, our value is now data. No longer people, or technologies, but data and to see 2 cases at the NSA, what was once so secret that even the KGB remained clueless is now, what we should regard as a debatable place. This should really hurt in the hearts of those who have faithfully served its corridors in the past and even today. In addition, the issues raised around 2005 by the CIA and other agencies regarding the reliability of contractors is now a wide open field, because those opposing it and those blocking data integration are proven correctly.

This now gets us to a linked matter. You see, it is not just the fact that the government is trailing in this field, because that has been an eternal issue. The issue is that these systems, due to the likes of Harold Thomas Martin III and Edward Snowden could be in danger of intrusions by organised crime.

For those thinking that I am nuts (on the road to becoming a Mars bar), to them I need to raise the issue of USB security, an issue raised by Wired Magazine in 2014. The fact that the USB is not just used to get data out, if malware was added to the stick, if it was custom enough, many malware systems might not pick up on it and that means that whomever got into the house, they could have added software, so that on the next run to copy a project, the system might have been opened up to other events. There is no way to prove that this happened, yet the fact remains that this is possible and the additional fact that this was happening for over 10 years is equally disturbing, because it means that the NSA monitoring systems are inadequate to spot unauthorised activities. These elements have at present all been proven, so there.

I think it is time for TRUSIX to convene again and consider another path, a path where USB sticks get a very different formatting and that its embedded encryption require the user, the location and the hardware id to be encrypted within the stick, in addition the stocks need to work with a native encryption mode that does not allow off site usage. Perhaps this is already happening, yet it was possible for Judas tainted Highwayman Harold to walk away with the goods, so something is not working at present. I am amazed that a system like that was not in place for the longest of times. I certainly hope that Director Robert Hannigan at GCHQ has been convening with his technology directors. In addition that there are some from Oxford and some from Cambridge, so that their natural aversion to the other, will bring a more competitive product with higher quality, which would serve all of GCHQ. #JustSaying

The one part where this will have an impact is the election, because this has been happening during an entire Democratic administration, so that will look massively sloppy in the eyes of pretty much every one, too bad Benghazi emails were not left that much under the radar, because that could have helped the Clinton election campaign immensely. Still, there are technology and resource issues. The fact that Booz Allen Hamilton gets mentioned again is unfortunate, yet this should only be a partial focus as they have 22,000 employees, so statistically speaking the number of transgressions is in that regard insignificant. What is significant is how these two got vetted and passed all their clearances. In addition to this there is the issue of operation centres. You see, if there has been data breaches, have there been system breaches? The question derives directly from the fact that data was taken off site and there were no flags or alerts for a decade. So at this point the valid question becomes whether NSOC and NTOC have similar flaws, which now places US Homeland Security in speculated direct data dangers. My consideration in this regard came from earlier mentions in this article. If any US opponent has a clue in this regard, what would be the repercussions, in addition, the question (due to my admitted ignorance) would be, did Edward Snowden have any knowledge of Harold Thomas Martin III, if so, was this revealed in any conversation Snowden would have had with a member of the FSB (there is absolutely no doubt that they had a ‘conversation’ with Edward Snowden whilst he was in sunny Moscow. If so, what data dangers is Homeland Security facing? If data was copied, it is not impossible that data was moved. If that has happened, any data event with any specific flag?

Now the next example is purely fictional!

What if conditionally an <!important> (or whatever flag the NSA uses in their data sets) was added or removed? If it was used to give weight to certain data observations, like a cleaning pass, the pass would either be useless, or misdirecting. All possible just because Harold Thomas Martin III had to ‘satisfy’ his ego. This is not whether it happened or not, this is about whether it was possible, which would give added voice to the NSA issues in play and the reliability of data. This is a clear issue when we consider that false journalistic stories give way to doubt anything the journalist has written, any issue with a prosecutor and all those cases need reviewing, so do you think it is any different for IT people who have blatantly disregarded data security issues? This is not some Market Researcher who faked response data, this is collected data which would have been intervened with, endangering the people these systems should protect. As stated, this is speculative, but there is a reality in all this, so the NSA will need to sanitise data and sources from the last 10 years. There is no telling what they will dig up. For me it is interesting to see this regarding Snowden, because I had my issues with him and how he just got data away from there. Now there is a chance that the NSA gets to rename their servers to NSA_Siff_01 to NSA_Siff_nn, wouldn’t that be the rudest wake up call for them? I reckon they forgot the old rules, the one being that technology moves at the speed of your fastest employee + 1 and the human ego remain the most dangerous opponent when it involves security procedures.

 

 

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The Right Tone

Today we do not look at Ahmad Khan Rahami, we look at the engine behind it. First of all, let’s get ugly for a second. If you are an American, if you think that Edward Snowden was a ‘righteous dude’, than you are just as guilty as Ahmad Khan Rahami injuring 29 people. Let’s explain that to those who did not get through life through logic. You see, the US (read: NSA) needed to find ways to find extremists. This is because 9/11 taught them the hard way that certain support mechanisms were already in place for these people in the United States. The US government needed a much better warning system. PRISM might have been one of these systems. You see, that part is seen in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/20/ahmad-khan-rahami-father-fbi-terrorism-bombing), the quote that is important here is “Some investigators believe the bombs resemble designs released on to the internet by al-Qaida’s Yemeni affiliate through its Inspire publication“, PRISM would be the expert tool to scan for anyone opening or accessing those files. Those who get certain messages and attachments from the uploading locations. To state it differently “the NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they travelled across the internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier“, so when a package is send through the internet and delivered, it gets ‘dropped’, meaning the file is no longer required. The important part is that it is not deleted, it is, if we use the old terms ‘erased’, this is not the same! When it is deleted it is removed, when it is erased, that space is set as ‘available’ and until something else gets placed there it is still there. An example you will understand is: ‘temporary internet files’. When you use your browser things get saved on your computer, smartphone, you name it. Until this is cleaned out, the system has that history and it can be recalled with the right tool at any given moment. PRISM allows to find the paths and the access, so this now relates to the bomber, because if correct, PRISM could see if he had actually gotten the information from Inspire magazine. If so, a possible lone wolf would have been found. Now, the system is more complex than that, so there are other path, but with PRISM in the open, criminals (especially terrorists) have gotten smarter and because PRISM is less effective, other means need to be found to find these people, which is a problem all by itself! This is why Edward Snowden is a traitor plain and simple! And every casualty is blood on his hands and on the hands of his supporters!

The right tone is about more than this, it is also about Ahmad Khan Rahami. You see, he would be a likely recruit for Islamic State and Al-Qaida, but the issue is that his profile is not clean, it is not the target recruit. You see, apart from his dad dobbing him in in 2014, he stands out too much. Lone wolves are like cutthroats. Until the deed is done, they tend to remain invisible (often remain invisible after the deed too). There is still a chance he allowed himself to be used as a tool, but the man could be in effect a slightly radicalised mental health case. You see, this person resembles the Australian Martin Place extremist more than the actual terrorists like we saw in Paris. I reckon that this is why he was not charged at present. For now he is charges with attempted murder (3 hours ago), yet not all answers have been found. You see, the quote “they had linked Rahami to Saturday’s bombing in Chelsea, another unexploded device found nearby, both constructed in pressure cookers packed with metallic fragmentation material. They also said he was believed to be linked to a pipe bomb that blew up in Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Saturday and explosive devices found in the town of Elizabeth on Sunday“, the proper people need to ascertain whether he is just the set-up, or a loser with two left hands. The FBI cannot work from the premise that they got lucky with a possible radicalised person with a 60% fail rate. If he is the start of actual lone wolves, PRISM should have been at the centre of finding these people that is if Snowden had not betrayed his nation. Now there is the real danger of additional casualties. I have always and still belief that a lot of Snowden did not add up, in many ways, most people with actual SE-LINUX knowledge would know that the amount of data did not make sense, unless the NSA totally screwed up its own security (on multiple levels), and that is just the server and monitoring architecture, yet I digress (again).

The big picture is not just the US, it is a global problem as France found out the hard way and new methods are needed to find people like that. The right tone is about keeping the innocent safe and optional victims protected from harm. The truth here is that eggs will be broken, because an omelette like this needs a multitude of ingredients and not to mention a fair amount of eggs. The right tone is however a lot harder than many would guess. You see, even if Man Haron Monis (Martin Place Sydney) and Ahmad Khan Rahami both could be regarded as mental health cases (Man more than Ahmad), the issue of lone wolf support does not go away. Ahmad got to Inspire magazine in some way. Can that be tracked by the FBI cyber division? It might be a little easier after the fact, so it becomes about backtracking, but wouldn’t it have been great to do this proactively? It will be a while until this is resolved to the satisfaction of law enforcement and then still the question becomes, was he alone? Did he have support? You see a lone wolf, a radicalised person does not grow from within. Such a person requires coaching and ‘guidance’. Answers need to be found and a multitude of people will need to play the right tune, to the right rhythm. The right tone is not just a mere consideration, in matters like these it is like a red wire through it all. It is about interconnectivity and it is always messy. There is no clear package of events, with cash receipts and fingerprints. It is not even a legal question regarding what was more likely than not. The right tone is also in growing concern an issue of resources. It isn’t just prioritisation, it is the danger that mental health cases drain the resources required to go after the actual direct threats. With the pressures of Russia and the US growing, the stalemate of a new cold war front works in favour of Islamic state and the lone wolves who are linked to someone, but not usually know who. The workload on this surpasses the power of a google centre and those peanut places tend to be really expensive, so resource requirements cannot be meet, so it becomes for us about a commonwealth partnership of availability which now brings local culture in play. The intelligence community needs a new kind of technological solution that is set on a different premise. Not just who is possibly guilty, but the ability of aggregation of data flags, where not to waste resources. For example, I have seen a copy of Inspire in the past, I have seen radicalised video (for the articles). I don’t mind being looked at, yet I hope they do not waste their time on me. I am not alone. There are thousands who through no intentional act become a person of investigative interest. You see, that is where pro-activity always had to be, who is possibly a threat to the lives of others? The technical ability to scrap possible threats at the earliest opportunity. Consider something like Missing Value Analyses. It is a technique to consider patterns. SPSS (now IBM Statistics) wrote this in its manual “The Missing Value Analysis option extends this power by giving you tools for discovering patterns of missing data that occur frequently in survey and other types of data and for dealing with data that contain missing values. Often in survey data, patterns become evident that will affect analysis. For example, you might find that people living in certain areas are reluctant to give their annual incomes, thus creating missing values in your data. If you leave these values out, are your statistical conclusions valid?” (Source: M.A. Hill, ‘SPSS Missing Value Analysis 7.5’, 1997). This is more to the point then you think. consider that premise, that we replace ‘people living in certain areas are reluctant to give their annual incomes’ with ‘people reading certain magazines are reluctant to admit they read it’. It sounds innocent enough when it is Playboy or penthouse (denied to have been read by roughly 87.4% of the male teenage population), but what happens when it is a magazine like Inspire, or Stormfront? It is not just about the radicalised, long term it must be about the facilitators and the guides to that. Because the flock is in the long term not the problem, the herder is and data and intelligence will get us to that person. The method of getting us there is however a lot less clear and due to a few people not comprehending what they were doing with their short sightedness, the image only became more complex. You see, the complexity is not just the ‘missing data’, it is that this is data that is set in a path, this entire equation becomes a lot more unclear (not complex) when the data is the result of omission and evasion. How the data became missing is a core attribute here. Statisticians like Hackman and Allison might have looked at it for the method of Business Intelligence, yet consider the following: “What if our data is missing but not at random? We must specify a model for the probability of missing data, which can be pretty challenging as it requires a good understanding of the data generating process. The Sample Selection Bias Model, by James Heckman, is a widely used method that you can apply in SAS using PROC QLIM (Heckman et al., 1998)“, this is not a regression where we look at missing income. We need to find the people who are tiptoeing on the net in ways to not get logged, or to get logged as someone else. That is the tough cookie that requires solutions that are currently incomplete or no longer working. And yes, all these issues would require to be addressed for lone wolves and mental cases alike. A massive task that is growing at a speculated 500 work years each day, so as you can imagine, a guaranteed billion dollar future for whomever gets to solve it, I reckon massive wealth would be there for the person who could design the solution that shrinks the resource requirements by a mere 20%, so the market is still lucrative to say the least.

The right tone is an issue that can be achieved when the right people are handed the right tools for the job.

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The Syrian Fuck Up

There are a few things playing, for one the Bremain group is trying to push again in some way to scare people and set uncertainty all over the place. To be quite honest, at what point are such people regarded as traitors? I know the term is much to harsh, yet the fact is that the vote has been passed, there is a direction and those people are actively trying to mislead left right and centre, like the roaches of the old ways of profit, profit for the few! How come that side is not placed into the limelight? The second issue is seen in NY and a few other places where bombs are exploding. We can speculate in several ways, but that is not my way and until solid intelligence is seen, only then can we form a view. The most likely being that the US is now seeing the direct consequence from lone wolf attacks. There is no likely answer immediately, it will take time, yet the numbers are on terrorism. Confirmation is outstanding for now, but the most likely scenario. We will see later, no matter what the answer is, for the US their issues have now become a lot more complex. It is my personal view that I still believe that Edward Snowden is to some extent a joke at best and a traitor at worst. By illuminating actual parts of projects like PRISM, the lone wolves are now taking other measures and what might have been prevented will now only be prevented after many casualties, so feel free to send him a card with the text “شكرا لمساعدتك” (source: Google Translate).

Where we are actually going is Syria. You see, there has been an issue for a long time, we can go with the idea that people have been lucky for too long and there is the idea that a truce was never an option in Syria. Yet when we read ‘Syria ceasefire on brink of collapse after raids on Aleppo, Syrian troops’ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-19/syria-ceasefire-teeters-after-raids-on-aleppo/7856670). You see, my view comes from the initial issue I had when President Obama claimed ‘No boots on the ground in Syria‘ (at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2015/10/30/16-times-obama-said-there-would-no-boots-ground-syria/74869884/), shows that this statements goes back as far as ‘meeting with Baltic State leaders, August 30th, 2013‘. Here we see the quote “In no event are we considering any kind of military action that would involve boots on the ground that would involve a long-term campaign. But we are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure that not only Syria, but others around the world, understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban and norm. So again, I repeat, we’re not considering any open-ended commitment. We’re not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach“. You see, my issue is that any air force strike needs quality intelligence. You see, as I personally see it, the Air force is meant to be force in support of the Army! That’s how it is supposed to be! This is not negativity, because the Air force is its own power in the sky, but when it is required to go after ground forces, it needs eyes on the ground, which implies boots on the ground. It is that simple. Of course they can try to rely on the INTEL that they get from third parties, but that tends to lead to wrong tagging, inaccurate intelligence and not to mention the wrong coordinates get to be transmitted. I reckon that this latest issue could be either one of those failures. And when we get to see this “Russia said the situation in Aleppo city was “especially tense” on Sunday, blaming the instability on rebels.” The amount of shelling by rebel groups against positions of the Syrian Government troops and of residential areas is increasing,” Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said“, so what ceasefire? If a ceasefire is one-sided, there is no ceasefire. It seems to me that the issues shown on the news is that there is inaccuracies on all sides, not just the military parts. That can be construed from the quote “Also on Sunday, a senior adviser to President Bashar al-Assad said Damascus believes Saturday’s strike that killed the Syrian soldiers was “intentional”.” None of the facts on the ground show that what happened was a mistake or a coincidence,” Buthaina Shaaban said.” This could be the case on one side, if there was no ceasefire. So what is the case? Al Jazeera gives us ‘Ceasefire terms pose major risks for Syrian rebels‘ (at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/09/ceasefire-terms-pose-major-risks-syrian-rebels-160915092126740.html), there we see the agreement painted as a one-sided solution for the Syrian government. Sharif Nashashibi writes in this article “This is a clear indication that, to him, such ceasefires are stepping stones to achieving that aim, not to a negotiated political solution. Indeed, pro-Assad forces continue to besiege rebel-held areas during the current ceasefire“, so from all this we can speculate that that fingers can be pointed on more than one issue. When we look at the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37398721) we see “The US said its planes had halted the attack in Deir al-Zour when informed of the Syrian presence. A spokesman for the US administration expressed “regret” for the “unintentional loss of life”.“, as I remember it, a meeting at the United Nations Security Council under these conditions tends to be not too boring, so my advice to the Honourable Matthew Rycroft and the Honourable Gerard van Bohemen would be to bring tea and cucumber sandwiches to the next meeting, it should be fun to watch the US and Russian incriminate back and forth!

Now, I am not going to give you the goods on those two, the upcoming cold war will be a fun job soon enough. What is essential is to realise that the Air force could possibly have acted on incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete data soon enough. This is however an issue on more than one level. If you recall the initial chemical attacks, the US was unable to give clear evidence on who did what, meaning that either the satellite lag is too great or lacking too much details. You see, this is not TV, this is not an episode of NCIS where we see that the satellite could be used to watch a topless girl sucking the sunshine. This is real life and even as we know that it can give clear mechanical movements, troop movements, especially in an urban environment like Aleppo could be an issue to some extent, this is corroborated in this event. There will be conspiracy minds giving the notion that the US is trying to win by striking Assad forces ‘accidently’, a scenario that is not impossible, but likely a lot more improbable. Without clear deniability President Obama would not got near this issue now, so close to the election with the possibility of wrecking the election chances of the Democratic Party. In addition, with minus 18 trillion and no exit strategy there, increasing actions and requirements in Syria is one part he cannot afford in any way shape or form. That leads back to the attacks on the US, if there is any possibility that this is indeed a lone wolf wave, the US will have dire need for many more resources soon. No matter how it looks in the news and how it is played. Syria has been an issue for too long and as politicians and ambassadors seem to try and find a solution that will make everyone winners, I have to look back at 1939 when the UK decided that Hitler had to be stopped. It would take 2 years and a large sacrifice of part of the US Navy until the US took that stance openly. The issue is that too many politicians are taking the Charlie Brown approach (Walk softly and carry a Beagle). I think that with so many political fires stating that you are the fireman and you are here to chop away flammable constructs is not the worst position to take. In all this there is a genuine issue of missing trust. The BBC stated “Russia’s defence ministry earlier said that if the US air strikes did turn out to be an error, it would be because of Washington’s refusal to co-ordinate military action with Moscow“, it is not that Russia has any level of record in creating trust. The Ukraine and the Crimea region both have visible scars regarding that issue, there is of course the MH-117 so I reckon that Sergey Shoygu should review his options and find a third solution all parties can work with. The simple truth is that during these election the US side (for now) will be flaccid and useless unless a clear and distinct order is given by the Obama administration. Russia might gain trust all over the field if an actual solution for Syrian battle intelligence is found.

The worst issue in all this is that this is a serious fuck up, because the intelligence as given, is now sitting on the premise of two sides. From the initial part we can go with the two possibly oversimplified sides. US Air force was either unable or unwilling to see the intel. This path is taken because it is a simple truth, when we cut away the sides these two give rise to the actions. If actions were taken whilst unable to see, they would be rash actions, showing that boots on the ground were essential to recon data. If they were unwilling to see the Intel, it becomes a very different discussion, one with large implications on the US military actions. This path is taken to show you that for the most the path was not that complex. The only complexity is the accountability of actions. Sometimes, especially in armed conflict the issue tends to remain simple, or better stated ‘lacking complexity’. So why was it a ‘fuck up’? Again, in my personal view, and standing aside human error, the air force relies on levels of quality intelligence. Whenever we add just one level of impurity, we see that actions become a risk or rash to say the least, the fact that there was no supporting recon team means that someone let US pilots enter a blind stage where identification is hard at best. That is not the fault of the pilot or his commander. In this arena where uniforms are very much alike, telling one party from another becomes nearly impossible. This explains why ‘no boots on the ground’ was close to idiotic from day zero. This would always happen and it is a near miracle that it did not happen more often. One could argue that the entire mission as set out as it was doomed to fail from the very beginning, which now makes us wonder if the current administration wanted a clear victory to begin with. If not, we have ample evidence that this American administrations wasted billions on posturing, which sounds odd too.

In the end, the reality around this will take years to clarify and even then messages, mails and documents will have been ‘accidently’ destroyed or classified for 2 generations at least. In the end, for the most it is easy to agree that the Syrian events were a fuck up, but to what extent and until which person and function (read: who’s desk) is a question not easily (if ever) answered.

 

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What the law allows

This is not the usual article for me. This is not a mere look at facts and at information, one could say that I have skin in the game (me using the loosest of all interpretations). You see, I know Paul Farrell. We might not be on the same side at times, for the same reason I am on opposite sides of Brendan Molloy, but we all went to the same University and I know them both to be good people, both with integrity and with a decent moral compass. These issues matter. For the same reason that I stand next to David Cameron, yet I remain holding a healthy respect for Ed Miliband. Ed sees things wrong (read: does not see them my way), but he truly believes that he was fighting the good fight for his party, which is all that mattered.

So how does this relate?

You see, whenever the name Edward Snowden comes up, it seems to raise a red flag for me, like a bull my horns go into battle mode. There is something really wrong about the Snowden case and it forever will be from my point of view, so when I read ‘Edward Snowden on police pursuing journalist data: the scandal is what the law allows‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/apr/17/edward-snowden-on-police-pursuing-journalist-data-the-scandal-is-what-the-law-allows) got my attention to the smallest degree, yet when the quote “singled out for critique the Australian government’s contention that it broke no laws in its leak investigation of Paul Farrell, a Guardian reporter who in 2014 exposed the inner workings of Australia’s maritime interception of asylum seekers“, I became wide awake. You see, I know Paul, which makes it another matter entirely. This links back to an article where Paul Farrell was part of a team (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/07/asylum-seekers-will-be-handed-to-police-on-return-sri-lanka-confirms), that reported on certain issues. The quote “a group of 53 legal experts have called on the federal government to reveal how asylum seekers are being assessed on board customs vessels” points towards an issue that is very valid to be raised upon. When we see “a group of 53 legal scholars from 17 Australian universities warned that the government’s conduct under its hardline military-led border regime “Operation Sovereign Borders” was in violation of international law“, that point of view does not change one bit. The press has every right and even a mandate to report on it (read: why this is not done more often in commercial cases remains a mystery). These elements are not part of the actual spying issue, but they are related to the issue.

The rest of the article reads nice, but there is a side that I saw missing. Where were these people stopped? You see that makes all the difference. How far have people looked into the matter? When we consider UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), we need to consider article 17 where we see “Subject to this Convention, ships of all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea“, which is at the heart of the matter. Refugee boats are for the most smugglers, meaning that they cannot rely on ‘innocent passage’, in addition, article 18 gives us the passage bit with “traversing that sea without entering internal waters or calling at a roadstead or port facility outside internal waters“, which is exactly what smugglers are intent on doing, and whilst doing so we get article 19 where we see “Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State“, which again is exactly what smugglers ignore, because the status of these people cannot be confirmed, as such they can be regarded as prejudicial to both the peace and the good order as well as the security of the coastal state. Perhaps these 53 legal experts looked at that part, perhaps not (read: if I get any documents proving that part, I will reopen this blog article at a later stage).

So at this point, I saw an article that has issues, but I see nothing short of a mere article, nothing that should have woken up Edward Snowden, more important, why did it wake up the AFP? The article gives more than just 53 legal experts, it mentions “Hanson-Young also called on the minister to reveal the fate of a second vessel of 153 asylum seekers believed to have departed from India“, it mentions “The Tamil Refugee Council of Australia” as well as “UNICEF Australia and Save the Children said they were also “seriously concerned” over the secrecy on the second boat“, which are clear quotes, clear issues to be raised by a member of the press, so why do we get: ‘Federal police admit seeking access to reporter’s metadata without warrant‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/14/federal-police-admit-seeking-access-to-reporters-metadata-without-warrant)? You see, in the 2014 case we have the quote “The Australian government’s “on-water” activities to turn back asylum seekers have been shrouded in secrecy under the military-led Operation Sovereign Borders. They led to several incursions into Indonesia’s territorial waters in December and January”, you see, this makes it not an AFP case, but an ASD case as this was a military led operation. The quote: “incorrect calculation of the boundaries of Indonesian waters” is even more hilarious especially when you realise that RADAR, SATNAV and other means tend to show shorelines, can we assume that those on board of the Ocean Protector should have known these little facts? If not, than let us meet with the captain and discuss the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, where we see in section 2(a):

Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.

Which gets us nicely to the duties of being a ship’s captain, where we could now conclude that the Ocean Protector could be regarded as in violation of that pesky UN law named UNCLOS, to be more precise in violation of section 19 of that one, because it could be seen as acting against the ‘security of the coastal State’. This is why I looked at the IRPCS, as that is foremost on the mind of any ship captain, which gives us section 2a and this now gets that person in hot water with section 19 of UNCLOS. Going from other sides there are now the 1st and second mate to consider of the Ocean Protector, as the transgression, unless clearly defined in a military agreement, could be cause for a tribunal and as such the captain could stand a chance to be ‘captain-no-more’, which means that the mates move up a position, this is sometimes regarded as promotion through termination (read: this doesn’t always require extreme prejudice).

My issue is less with the statements of Edward Snowden and much more about (as I see it) the stupidity of the AFP to look into a matter that has so many clear sources named, especially names of people who would know more than the article revealed that the investigation into Paul Farrell seems to be a waste of time to say the least. To be honest, I am much more worried about the escalations we get from the SMH with the title ‘Scott Morrison to share Australian Christian Lobby stage with anti-gay extremists‘ than anything Paul has written here (sorry Paul, I am not trying to diminish your work).

You see, the article Paul partially wrote asks questions, they ask the right question. What is a clear issue is: “the secrecy on the second boat and were worried that unaccompanied minors could be on board whom required additional assistance from Australia under international law“, now also consider “The council had previously stated that at least 11 of those on board had previously been tortured by the Sri Lankan authorities before fleeing“, we see a pattern. A pattern that some elements (I reckon mostly UNICEF) had data and information that was vital, in all this we see the statement that also matters “Morrison told Sydney radio that the second boat was no longer in Australian waters“, so basically Morrison has clearly stated that the second boat had entered Australian waters. Yet when and where? This does not change my view on UNCLOS and its interpretation of it, but it does have an issue with what happened afterwards and the Guardian does not really report on it, it asks questions. Now if Paul got Morrison to make the statement, than that does not make Paul a better investigative journalist, but it does make him an awesome and dangerous interviewer and no matter how he got the quote, he did get the quote and Morrison will have to place his virtually burned bum on a cushion for a little while. So why did the AFP need the metadata of Paul Farrell?

You see, I look at the article with different eyes, as a data miner I see other patterns and the article skates on one that seems to be ignored. We get that from “The AFP have undertaken a number of investigations targeting journalists’ sources, many related to stories about asylum seeker operations“, a statement where I see ‘many’ in a different light. I am wondering, especially in light of what was written why Paul’s data was sought for. My assumption is that there is another side to this. I personally reckon that Paul has had interactions with another person, on perhaps another story. I reckon that someone else is under investigation and Paul Farrell is only connected to some extent.

Can I prove this?

That is of course part of all this. You see, I cannot without seeing more than one source smitten with all this. But consider all the sources the Guardian has had. Any maritime issue can be much easier ascertained by the ASD (and it was a military led operation), they have a lot more resources and any maritime leak can more easily be traced at the maritime source (you know the instigating server side of things). In all this, the quote “Earlier this year Guardian Australia reported that the AFP had accrued a file of at least 200 pages on Farrell in an attempt to uncover and prosecute his confidential sources” from the ‘surveillance’ article now matters. It links to a Feb 12th article where we see the quote “In April 2014 I reported for Guardian Australia that one of the vessels involved in Australia’s unlawful incursions into Indonesian waters, the Ocean Protector, had gone far deeper into Indonesian waters than the government had disclosed“, which is the statement that caused all this. You see, the Ocean Protector is a government vessel, yet a civilian one that falls under the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. The ASD has options here, but it seems overkill to use them when it is not a military operation. The ASD can rely on “The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) provides foreign signals intelligence, known as SIGINT, to the Australian Defence Force and Australian Government to support military and strategic decision-making“. So why use the AFP instead of a much better equipped ASD? That is the question that comes to mind. What is without doubt is that this is not merely a Paul Farrell investigation. This is just a personal opinion, but when we see the amount of sources Paul Farrell had, in addition if the ship had an Automatic Identification System (AIS) on board, was it logged off and shut down? Even crew members with a smartphone turned on could have been enough of a source. A dozen sources all lower than open intelligence sources, were they looked at? In addition if the Ocean Protector had any switched on Esterline Technologies equipment on board, there might be additional ways to get certain information. I wonder how deep this was investigated before someone had the less than bright idea to, no matter how lawful I was, to the metadata of a journo?

The article raises questions, and what it does not tell us makes me wonder about several other questions, none of them considered.

In all this the by-line of a picture in the February article gives us “Michael Pezzullo, secretary of the immigration department, told a Senate committee this week he had referred a cabinet leak to the police. He also referred a Guardian Australia journalist to the AFP after a report that revealed a customs ship had entered Indonesian waters far deeper than previously disclosed“, which makes sense, yet that line gives me the issue of the Cabinet leak and a lot less about the Guardian leak. It seems to me that the massive file on Paul Farrell reads like a bright light, one that dissuades away from the cabinet investigation that is one that many parties would want to keep out of the press. I just wonder what Paul will find when he takes a look at that Cabinet member and the information that is being looked at. I am not certain that it will be about Asylum seekers or refugees, or another matter entirely, but that again is merely speculation from my side.

Can I be wrong?

Off course I can. You see, my speculations are merely the consequences of data I saw and other data I read. Now ask yourself, knowing the backlash spying on the press gets you; do you think that the AFP is actually this stupid? As I raised issues of location tracking in many forms, the essential part isn’t whether he got a hold of that data, the question becomes how many non-illegal methods could he have used to get it. So, the actions by the AFP seems to be a massive overreaction. That is even before we see whether the Ocean Protector is on http://www.marinetraffic.com. Even after that, there are Indonesian systems to consider. If anyone had revealed that data it would have been a political issue between Indonesia and Australia (the second party without any claim to secrecy within the territorial waters of Indonesia). All these mere issues, all clearly within the view of the public, the audience, the press and the governments at large.

So now ask yourself: ‘Is there any sense to exposing one’s self to internal investigation as the press demands visible answers?

That is why I got to the path I am on. Consider one additional path. If we consider a phone number, for example (purely a random example): 8816 273 14432, now consider that this is an Iridium sat phone. You see these puppies also tend to be on boats. They have been used in many non-metro environments since the mid 90’s. These puppy’s come with data and GPS enabled and Iridium is actually one of the better more secure solution, there are few cheap ones that offer very little security. So was this about Paul Ferrell, or did Mike Pezzullo (or one of his top minions) drop the ball in another way and was this his panic solution?

These are mere thoughts in all this. It took mere minutes to get to this place and I had initially read the article in February. We must acknowledge the issue that “Law enforcement did not need a warrant for accessing the information at the time“, which is not as much a cause for concern as people make it out to be. Let’s face it, we are all held to a need for results. So was the AFP wasting time? In my summary they were for other reasons. The need to give the image that they are looking in one area is adamant, for politicians the need for the AFP to look somewhere else is equally their personal need, yet where lies the real need? On the foundations given, it was clearly not looking aty Paul’s data I raised many issues on that matter.

This gets me to the final article. There is nothing about the article that is wrong, it is the reflection of Paul Farrell (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/15/australias-attacks-on-journalists-sources-are-about-politics-not-national-security). The title ‘Australia’s attacks on journalists’ sources are about politics, not national security‘ hits the mark on several issues. The quotes that I needed in my case were “It’s become a sadly normal reality that journalists’ sources can be targeted in Australia in an effort to hunt down whistle-blowers“, the operative word here is ‘can‘, which is not a given, just a mere option. It does not make the action correct. What is more an issue is “this is the first time the AFP has ever made such an admission in Australia“, you see, why is this the first time? Was there too much overwhelming evidence, or is was the clear visibility of the search a reason to hide something else?

You see, that could be seen as a clear case of ‘conspiracy theory’, but regarding the evidence. The document (at https://www.scribd.com/doc/298816051/Paul-Farrell-AFP-Decision-Letter-and-Documents) that reveals nothing really, there is too much marked out. So was this a clear case of wrongful investigation, or was that the case because it dims the lights of what the AFP is actually looking into. So when we see the quote “From the AFP’s point of view, it has done nothing wrong. As it has indicated in its statement, it has sought to undertake investigations within the scope of the law. It has “sought to identify the source of the disclosure, and then determine whether they had the appropriate authority to release that information”“, to me it shouts not ‘what was wrongfully looked at‘, in my personal belief it screams ‘We are actually sneakily looking at something else‘, again, it is a speculation and I could be massively wrong, yet there is enough in the air to wonder about that issue, not just by me.

 

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