Security vendor Kaspersky outs a group capable of inserting spying software onto hard drives around the world, while Reuters fingers the NSA as the culprit.
by Lance Whitney @lancewhit February 17, 2015 9:56 AM PST
The National Security Agency is able to infect hard drives with surveillance software to spy on computers, Reuters said on Tuesday, citing information from cyber researchers and former NSA operatives.
In a new report, Kaspersky revealed the existence of a group dubbed The Equation Group capable of directly accessing the firmware of hard drives from Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, IBM, Micron, Samsung and other drive makers. As such, the group has been able to implant spyware on hard drives to conduct surveillance on computers around the world.
In a blog posted on Monday, Kaspersky said this threat has been around for almost 20 years and "surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques." The security researcher called the group "unique almost in every aspect of their activities: they use tools that are very complicated and expensive to develop, in order to infect victims, retrieve data and hide activity in an outstandingly professional way, and utilize classic spying techniques to deliver malicious payloads to the victims."
Surveillance software implanted on hard drives is especially dangerous as it becomes active each time the PC boots up and thus can infect the computer over and over again without the user's knowledge. Though this type of spyware could have surfaced on a "majority of the world's computers," Kaspersky cited thousands or possibly tens of thousands of infections across 30 different countries.
Infected parties and industries include government and diplomatic institutions, as well as those involved in telecommunications, aerospace, energy, nuclear research, oil and gas, military and nanotechnology. Also, included are Islamic activists and scholars, mass media, the transportation sector, financial institutions and companies developing encryption technologies.
There is a brouhaha underway about an American journalist who told a story about being in a helicopter in a war zone. The helicopter was hit and had to land. Which war zone and when I don’t know. The US has created so many war zones that it is difficult to keep up with them all, and as you will see, I am not interested in the story for its own sake.
It turns out that the journalist has remembered incorrectly. He was in a helicopter in a war zone, but it wasn’t hit and didn’t have to land. The journalist has been accused of lying in order to make himself seem to be “a more seasoned war correspondent than he is.”
The journalist’s presstitute colleagues are all over him with accusations. He has even had to apologize to the troops. Which troops and why is unclear. The American requirement that everyone apologize for every word reminds me of the old Soviet practice, real or alleged by anti-communists, that required Soviet citizens to self-criticize.
National Public Radio (February 5, 2015) thought this story of the American journalist was so important that the program played a recording of the journalist telling his story. It sounded like a good story to me. The audience enjoyed it and was laughing. The journalist telling the story did not claim any heroism on his part or any failure on the part of the helicopter crew. It is normal for helicopters to take hits in war zones.
Having established that the journalist had actually stated that the helicopter was hit when in fact it wasn’t, NPR brought on the program a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, an expert on “false memory.” The psychologist explained various reasons a person might have false memories, making the point that it is far from uncommon and that the journalist is most likely just another example. But the NPR presstitute still wanted to know if the journalist had intentionally lied in order to make himself look good. It was never explained why it made a journalist look good to be in a helicopter forced to land. But few presstitutes get to this depth of questioning.Read More
A five-year-old girl from the Las Vegas area died Tuesday after coming down with the strain of flu she had been vaccinated against earlier this year.
Kiera Driscoll started showing symptoms including a cough and fever on Jan. 18, according to KVVU. Her family took her to a walk-in clinic on Monday, and she was given a nebulizer and steroids.
However, Kiera collapsed later that day. Her mother performed CPR while they waited for the ambulance.
The little girl’s health worsened after she was hospitalized and she passed away on Tuesday from influenza A, her family said.
Kiera’s family said the spirited kindergartner had received her flu shot and did not have any underlying illnesses.Read More
During a visit to the region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged $100 million for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
In a joint press conference with the Palestinians Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Abe announced the Japanese pledge to help reconstruct the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed during a 51-day Israeli war last summer.
The Israeli war left more than 2,260 Palestinians dead and around 11,000 others wounded. It also caused the partial or complete destruction of more than 100,000 houses.
Abe said: "We are concerned about the deteriorating situation between the two sides since the last year. I exchanged views with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas and found they are real friends."
Abbas thanked Japan for its role in enhancing peace opportunities in the Middle East. "Palestinians will never forget Japan's support for Palestine, which started when it aided Palestinian refugees and continued after the Oslo Accords," he said.Read More
Jerusalem (AFP) - The United Nations has accused Israel of illegally demolishing the homes of 77 Palestinians, mostly children, this week in annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
"In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement issued Friday evening.
"Some of the demolished structures were provided by the international community to support vulnerable families.
"Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel's obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately," said OCHA.
The demolitions took place in east Jerusalem and the districts of Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron, it added.
OCHA said that during 2014 Israel carried out a record number of demolitions in east Jerusalem and a zone of the West Bank under full Israeli control known as Area C.
"In 2014, according to OCHA figures, the Israeli authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and east Jerusalem, displacing 1,177 people -- the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began systematically monitoring the issue in 2008."
It did not specify how many of the structures were homes or animal shelters or other outbuildings.
Israel says such demolitions are carried out because the structures have been built without the required construction permits. Palestinians and rights groups say such authorisation is routinely denied, forcing unlicensed building.
"The planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and east Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits," said OCHA.
"As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished.
"Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met," it said.Read More
What really winds up Israel is that this rejection comes from a famous scientist, and it is science that drives its economy, prestige and military strength
Stephen Hawking's decision to boycott the Israeli president's conference has gone viral. Over 100,000 Facebook shares of the Guardian report at last count. Whatever the subsequent fuss, Hawking's letter is unequivocal. His refusal was made because of requests from Palestinian academics.
Witness the speed with which the pro-Israel lobby seized on Cambridge University's initial false claim that he had withdrawn on health grounds to denounce the boycott movement, and their embarrassment when within a few hours the university shamefacedly corrected itself. Hawking also made it clear that if he had gone he would have used the occasion to criticise Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.
While journalists named him "the poster boy of the academic boycott" and supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement celebrated, Ha'aretz, the most progressive of the Israeli press, drew attention to the inflammatory language used by the conference organisers, who described themselves as "outraged" rather than that they "regretted" Hawking's decision.
That the world's most famous scientist had recognised the justice of the Palestinian cause is potentially a turning point for the BDS campaign. And that his stand was approved by a majority of two to one in the Guardian poll that followed his announcement shows just how far public opinion has turned against Israel's relentless land-grabbing and oppression.Read More
John Baird, the Foreign Minister, was pelted with eggs and shoes thrown by angry protesters as he left a meeting at the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ramallah on Sunday.
He was unhurt, and managed to get into a vehicle as an egg splattered on the roof, with another striking a wall behind him. No shoe came close, but the embarrassing episode, which lasted a few seconds as security minders realized they were being egged and quickly drove off, punctuated the cold reception the Canadian delegation has received from the Palestinian Authority during its brief visit.
Mr. Baird laughed it off. “I was in Mike Harris’ cabinet for four years, I’ve had rougher,” he later told reporters, referring to the former Progressive Conservative Ontario premier, whose spending cuts Mr. Baird helped enact. But Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, hinted at a grander significance to the insult, saying in a statement that Canada was on “the wrong side of history by blindly supporting the Israeli occupation and its apartheid policies.”Read More
A former Guantanamo Bay prison guard and Marine explained in details what makes him believe three problematic detainees were killed at CIA black site in Guantanomo and their death was covered up as a triple suicide.
Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman was on duty at the notorious prison camp when the three men died, and insists the official version of events is “impossible,” he told Vice News.
The three men were Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, 37, from Yemen, Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, 30, from Saudi Arabia, and Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, 22, also from Saudi Arabia. None of them had been charged with any crime.
He explained in an incendiary interview with Vice News that the three men would have had to have committed suicide at exactly the same time in a cellblock where guards check on detainees every four minutes.
“They would have had to all three tie their hands and feet together, shove rags down their throats, put a mask over their face, made a noose, hung it from the ceiling on the side of the cellblock, jumped into the noose and hung themselves simultaneously,” he said.Read More
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has made a parallel between last summer’s Israel-Gaza conflict and the recent attacks in Paris, putting equal blame “against humanity” on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and the Islamist terrorists.
At a Thursday news conference in Ankara Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu compared Israel's bombardment of Gaza in the summer of 2014, as well as the storming in 2010 of a Turkish-led Gaza bound aid convoy which lead to the deaths of nine Turks, to last week’s attacks in Paris.
“Just as the massacre in Paris committed by terrorists is a crime against humanity, Netanyahu, as the head of the government that kills children playing on the beach with the bombardment of Gaza, destroys thousands of homes ... and that massacred our citizens on an aid ship in international waters, has committed crimes against humanity,” Davutoglu said.
Alongside 40 world leaders, Davutoglu attended Sunday’s rally in Paris to commemorate the 17 victims of the three days of terror in the French capital.Read More
Published time: November 23, 2014 23:51
Edited time: November 25, 2014 11:59
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has warned it would be a “grave mistake” for the French parliament to follow the suit of several other European nations in recognizing a Palestinian state in a vote scheduled early December.
“Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake," Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem. “Do they have nothing better to do at a time of beheadings across the Middle East, including that of a French citizen?” apparently referring to Herve Gourdel executed by Algerian jihadists in September.
"The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, the only state that we have, and the Palestinians demanding a state do not want to recognize the right to have a state for the Jewish people," Netanyahu added.
Just hours before the statement, the Israeli government approved a controversial ‘Jewish state bill’, which the critics already called anti-democratic. If approved by the parliament on Wednesday, it will redefine Israel as the “national homeland of the Jewish people” instead of a “Jewish and Democratic State.”
A symbolic vote planned in the French parliament on December 2 will call on the government to “use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict” and follows a similar motion adopted by Spain last week.
Earlier the UK adopted a similar non-binding resolution calling for recognition of the Palestinian state as a step to securing a two-state solution.
Meanwhile Sweden has become the first West-European EU state to officially recognize the occupied state of Palestine, infuriating Israel who recalled its ambassador in Sweden.Read More
Governments from Around the World Admit They Do It
Governments from around the world admit they’ve used the bully’s trick … attack first, and then blame the victim:
- Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the “Incident” was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….” And see this
- A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson
- Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the “Winter War” against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War, and Putin
- Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this)
- The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
- The Turkish Prime Minister admitted that the Turkish government carried out the 1955 bombing on a Turkish consulate in Greece – also damaging the nearby birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – and blamed it on Greece, for the purpose of inciting and justifying anti-Greek violence
- The British Prime Minister admitted to his defense secretary that he and American president Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan in 1957 to carry out attacks in Syria and blame it on the Syrian government as a way to effect regime change
- The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: “You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security” (and see this)(Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special
- As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960′s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
A Libyan man accused of masterminding the 1998 al-Qaida bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania has died just days before he was due to stand trial in New York for the crimes.
Abu Anas al-Liby, 50, died on Friday from complications following liver surgery, his wife said.
He had a $5m (£3.3m) bounty on his head and was high on the FBI’s most-wanted list when he was captured by US forces in Tripoli in October 2013.
He and a Saudi businessman Khalid al-Fawwaz were due to stand trial on 12 January over the attacks, in which 244 people were killed and more than 5,000 wounded.
His wife, Um Abdullah, accused the US government of “kidnapping, mistreating, and killing an innocent man”, according to Associated Press.
She said that Liby’s experiences had made his illnesses, including hepatitis C, worse and that had contributed to his death. He was also reported to have had advanced liver cancer.
Liby had previously pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in relation to the 1998 attacks. A third suspect, the Egyptian Adel Abdel Bary, pleaded guilty last year to playing a role in the bombings.
In December 2013, Bernard Kleinman, a lawyer for Liby, said his client was only accused of participating in visual and photographic surveillance of the US embassy in Nairobi in late 1993, and researching potential sites for other attacks with members of al-Qaida in 1994.
Liby is believed to have been an early associate of Osama bin Laden, and is thought to have been granted asylum in Britain in 1995. Scotland Yard arrested him four years later but police were forced to release him for lack of evidence.
When officers later raided his home, they found terrorist training material, dubbed the Manchester manual. Liby, however, had already fled the country.
He was indicted by a New York grand jury in 2000 for the 1998 attacks.Read More
Under pressure to restart negotiations with the Palestinians, the Israeli government continues to expand settlements deeper into occupied territory, today announcing 380 new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem.
The bulk of the expansion is in the northern Ramot neighborhood, 307 new homes, with another 73 in Har Homa, which is further to the south. The Har Homa construction is part of a massive 1,000+ unit expansion dating back to 2011.
Council members from opposition parties were critical of the move, saying it is making efforts to come to an agreement with the Palestinians impossible. Israel’s ruling far-right parties insist they never intended to return any of metro East Jerusalem to the Palestinians anyhow.
Ramot has a population of 70,000, while Har Homa has a population of around 25,000. Since Israel annexed occupied East Jerusalem, they treat the settlements as part of the city, though it is not recognized internationally.Read More
No joy to the world in Palestine. No peace and good will. No most wonderful time of the year.
Not this year. Or previous ones for decades. Or future ones without top-to-bottom fundamental change. What's nowhere in sight.
Militarized occupation harshness continues. Gaza remains besieged. Collective punishment is official Israeli policy. So is state terror.
Israel denies millions of Palestinians fundamental rights everyone deserves. Ruthlessness defines its agenda.
Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in its gulag. Guilty of wanting to live free. Separated from loved ones.
On December 23, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) decorated a Manger Square Christmas tree with leftover Israeli terror remnants.
Including tear gas canisters. Stun grenades. Missile fragments. Photos of martyred or injured children along with them. Delivering a clear message.
Saying Palestinians suffer year-round. Including during what Christians call the most joyous time of year. PSCC member Mazen Al-Azzeh said tree decorations are dedicated to dozens of Palestinian martyrs.
Killed by Israeli forces. Including PA Minister Ziad Abu Ein. Its committee against Israel's Separation Wall and settlements head. Murdered by Israeli soldiers.
Beaten to death. With rifle butts and helmets. From tear gas inhalation. While leading a peaceful demonstration.
Planting olive trees on Palestinian land. Threatened by Israeli confiscation. In Turmus'ayya village. Near Ramallah.
Popular struggle activist Abdullah Abu Rahma said Abu Ein wanted a symbolic Christmas tree display. In Bethlehem's Hall of Nativity.
Decorated with remnants of weapons Israel uses to kill Palestinians. Manger Square's exhibit complied with his wish.
Honoring him. Other non-violently resisters. Around 2,200 Palestinians Israel killed last summer.
In Gaza. Mostly noncombatant men, women, children, the elderly and infirm. Willfully targeted. Killed in cold blood. Unaccountably.Read More