Australia Weighing ‘Extraordinary’ Powers to Identify, Disrupt Dark Web Cybercriminals

Legal experts urge caution as the government proposes new police powers for dark web takedowns, social media takeovers. Australian privacy, legal, and digital rights organisations have just weeks to comment on proposed federal legislation that would, among other things, let federal investigators take over suspects’ social media accounts as part of investigations into cybercriminal activity on the dark web.

Introduced last month by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, the proposed Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 (I&D Bill) introduces three new warrants designed to help Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) investigators to investigate and disrupt malicious online cybercriminal campaigns.

What the new warrants would allow

The new types of warrants outlined by the Department of Home Affairs include the data disruption warrant allowing investigators to access computers and “perform disruption activities [such as modifying, adding, copying, or deleting data on remote systems] for the purpose of frustrating the commission of criminal activity”.

The network activity warrant would allow AFP and ACIC officers to “collect intelligence” about criminal networks operating online, while the account takeover warrant would allow investigators to take over a person’s online account “for the purpose of gathering evidence of criminal activity”.

The new legislation, the government’s explanatory memorandum says, “addresses gaps in the legislative framework to better enable the AFP and the ACIC to collect intelligence, conduct investigations, [and] disrupt and prosecute the most serious of crimes” such as child abuse and exploitation, terrorism, and drug and human trafficking.

Although existing electronic surveillance powers are “useful for revealing many aspects of online criminality”, the memorandum says, they “are not suitably adapted to identifying and disrupting targets where those targets are actively seeking to obscure their identity and the scope of their activities.”

“On the dark web, criminals carry out their activities with a lower risk of identification and apprehension,” the memorandum says, noting that “many anonymising technologies and criminal methodologies can be combined for cumulative effect. … It is technically difficult, and time- and resource-intensive, for law enforcement to take effective action. … Without the critical first step of being able to identify potential offenders, investigations into serious and organised criminality can fall at the first hurdle.”

Australia’s increasingly intrusive laws raise concerns

Australian authorities have long invoked the spectre of online child abuse to justify increasingly intrusive laws in areas such as telecommunications data retention and the mandatory decryption of encrypted communications, as embodied in the troubled Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) (TOLA) Act 2018.

Between July 2018 and September 2020, Dutton said in his speech introducing the legislation, AFP investigations have led to 302 arrests and the removal of 229 children—including 113 in Australia and 116 overseas—from harm.

Despite this, the government’s Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE)—which has intercepted more than 250,000 child abuse files in the previous 12 months—had noted a 163% year-on-year increase in downloads of child-abuse material from dark websites during the June 2020 quarter. The AFP received 17,905 reports of child exploitation in 2018, with each potentially containing hundreds or thousands of images and videos.

“This bill will allow the AFP and ACIC to shine a light into the darkest recesses of the online world and hold those hiding there to account”, Dutton said.

Observers were quick to call for caution around the new legislation’s operation, with the Law Council of Australia warning that the “extraordinary” proposed powers provided unprecedented powers for authorities “to engage in offensive cyberactivities and online account takeovers.”

Law Council president Pauline Wright called for close examination of the stated operational case, criteria, thresholds, and process for issuance of warrants, and called for arrangements for independent oversight and review. “There must not be any repetition of the regrettable circumstances that led to the rushed passage of the TOLA,” she said, “where multiple post-enactment reviews of that legislation identified a need for major amendments to fix numerous, serious defects.”

An analysis by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills noted that Australia’s “complex web of overlapping regulations” was due for an overhaul in the wake of the recent Richardson Report, which concluded that the “undue complexity, and lack of inbuilt transparency and oversight” meant Australia’s intelligence-gathering legislation should be thrown out and completely rewritten.

“Even if the Surveillance Bill passes Parliament in its current form, it is likely that this will be further captured and refined as part of these reform processes,” the firm’s analysis noted. “This would be cause for significant concern amongst industry participants, and reinforces the need to engage consistently with the government consultation process in the coming years to ensure that the electronic surveillance legislation in Australia is appropriate, internally consistent and coherent, and adapted to the risks that it seeks to address.”

Submissions to the enquiry are due by 12 February, with Dutton asking the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to deliver its report by early March.

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The Military Would Not Participate in a Coup. Trump Can’t Understand Why….

Politicians from both parties have called on the armed forces to enforce election outcomes. The generals know better.

TheBulwark

The president of the United States considered using the military to overturn an election, according to press reports. Clearly, any president—any person—who would suggest such a thing doesn’t understand the whole point of American democratic politics. But more than that, the president clearly doesn’t understand the American military.

In the months before the election, there were concerns that Donald Trump might refuse to leave office. Some observers suggested that he might use his powers as the commander in chief to retain power. Others, including retired officers, pleaded with the military to enforce the will of the voters and remove him. Joe Biden saidback in June that he was “absolutely convinced” that the military would do so. Former Vice President Al Gore echoed him, as did some congressional candidates.

Since the election, Michael Flynn—retired Army general, Trump’s first national security advisor, a former lobbyist for the government of Turkey, recipient of a recent Trump pardon, and now a crackpot conspiracy theorist—has suggested that the president should invoke martial law (not “marshall law,” Senator Rubio, sheesh). How, in Flynn’s mind, martial law would prevent Biden from taking the oath of office or extend Trump’s term past its constitutionally mandated date of expiry is unclear.

First things first. Senior Defense Department leaders have already expressed that there is no role for the military in domestic political disputes. Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said as much in October—and repeated the point last week: “We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual. No, we do not take an oath to a country, a tribe or a religion. We take an oath to the Constitution.”

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville also issued a joint statement on Friday that “there is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election.”

Granted, none of these three men is in the chain of command between the president and combat troops, but they all represent the view of the military, including the combatant commanders who are in the chain of command.

In the unlikely scenario that Trump were to issue an order to use the military to prevent the transfer of power, the order would go to the secretary of defense. In the unlikely scenario that the secretary were to decide to enforce the order (which, it should go without saying, would be illegal), he would relay the order to commander of the Northern Command, Gen. Glen VanHerck. There, VanHerck would consult with his team of legal advisers, who would inform him that the order was a grotesque violation of the Constitution, and VenHerck would refuse the order and send it back to the secretary of defense. Because, as Gen. Milley said, VenHeck’s loyalty lies with the Constitution, not a king or queen, and certainly not Donald Trump.

At noon on January 20, Biden will be sworn in as president, and the military will immediately recognize him as the commander in chief, even if Trump refuses to concede. Concession is not a constitutional requirement but a ceremonial act, and the transfer of power does not require it.

Americans need not worry about a military coup, and they certainly should stop asking for military intervention either to keep Trump in power or to remove him from office. If he refuses to leave the White House after Biden is inaugurated, he will simply be a trespasser and will be removed by the Secret Service (part of the Department of Homeland Security)—not the military.

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Chinese APT Group Linked to Ransomware Attacks

A well-known Chinese state-backed APT group is believed to have been responsible for multiple ransomware attacks against firms last year, according to new research. A report from Security Joes and Pro reveals how the vendors uncovered the links after investigating an incident in which ransomware encrypted “several core servers” at an unidentified victim organization.

They found samples of malware linked to the DRBControl campaign which targeted major gaming companies and is associated with two well-known Chinese-backed groups, APT27 (aka Emissary Panda) and Winnti. Specifically, they claimed to have detected an older version of the Clambling backdoor used in that campaign, an ASPXSpy webshell previously used by APT27, and the PlugX RAT which is often used in Chinese attacks.

Although Winnti is known for financially motivated attacks, APT27 is generally more focused on data theft. However, the latter has previously been linked to one ransomware attack, featuring the Polar variant.

“There are extremely strong links to APT27 in terms of code similarities and TTPs,” the report noted. “This incident occurred at a time when where COVID-19 was rampant across China with lockdowns being put into place, and therefore a switch to a financial focus would not be surprising.”

The attack itself does not seem to have been particularly sophisticated. The initial vector was a third-party service provider that itself had been infected by a third party, and the attackers used Windows own BitLocker encryption tool to lock down targeted servers.

ASPXSpy was deployed for lateral movement and PlugX and Clambling were loaded into memory using a Google Updater executable vulnerable to DLL side-loading. Popular open source tool Mimikatz was also used in the attack and a publicly available exploit for CVE-2017-0213 was used to escalate privileges.

Gaming firms are an increasingly popular target among financially motivated attackers, according to new research released yesterday by Kela. The threat intelligence firm claimed to have discovered one million compromised internal accounts from gaming companies on the dark web, and 500,000 breached credentials belonging to employees.

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Fake Covid-19 Vaccines are Flooding the Dark Web as Slow Vaccine Rollout Frustrates

Scams include emails promising entry to supposedly secret lists for early vaccine access and robocallers impersonating government agencies. Message boards on the so-called dark web have added Covid-19 vaccines to more traditional illicit goods for sale.

Covid-19 vaccine scams are on the rise, according to European and US government officials who are warning the public of fraudsters out for money and personal data. A Reuters search online, in dark web forums and on messaging app Telegram found seven different offers for alleged Covid-19 vaccines.

Scams include emails promising entry to supposedly secret lists for early vaccine access and robocallers impersonating government agencies. Message boards on the so-called dark web have added Covid-19 vaccines to more traditional illicit goods for sale. The US FBI and Interpol, among others, have warned of emerging pandemic-related fraud schemes, saying false cures and vaccines advertised on fake websites could pose cyber threats and a significant risk to peoples’ health, or even lives.

Website domains containing the word vaccine in combination with Covid-19 or coronavirus more than doubled since October to roughly 2,500 in November, when the first legitimate vaccines were nearing regulatory approval, according to cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, which is tracking Covid-19 fraud online.

“So far a lot of these domains just appear to be opportunistic registrations, but some are going to be used for phishing attempts to have people click on (malicious) links,” said Lindsay Kaye, director of operational outcomes at Recorded Future. Kaye said her team, which also scours the dark web, so far has not come across any legitimate vaccine diverted from healthcare facilities or national stockpiles.

The scams are preying on concerns about the far slower-than-promised rollout of vaccines to protect against the virus that has claimed more than 1.8 million lives worldwide so far. Most people will likely have to wait well into the spring, or even summer, to get their shot.

In the United States, only about 4.5 million people had received their first shot as of Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. That is a fraction of the 20 million who were supposed to have been vaccinated by the end of 2020, according to earlier government forecasts.

Vaccines, guns, and money

On dark web forum Agartha, fake Covid-19 vaccines were offered next to cocaine, opioid medication, “super high quality fake money,” hand guns and gift cards. Posts showed stock photos of vaccines and offered vials for $500 and $1,000, or the equivalent in Bitcoin.

On another dark web site, a seller claiming to be from the “Wuhan Institute of Science” offered Covid-19 vaccines in exchange for a donation, and asked buyers to provide their medical history. On Telegram, several channels claimed to offer Covid-19 vaccines, accompanied by stock images. One user offered supposed Moderna Inc vaccines for $180, and claimed the vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE could be had for $150 and AstraZeneca’s for $110 per vial.

Asked how the vaccines would be shipped, the account creator said they were transported in “regulated temperature packs” and ice packs within a few days, or overnight for an additional charge.

Actual Covid-19 vaccines, particularly the Pfizer/BioNTech offering, must be temperature controlled to remain effective, with drugmakers equipping shipments with temperature trackers to ensure the cold chain. Vaccine shipments and distribution are also tightly controlled by officials and will be administered at no cost.

The United States has so far authorized two CovidD-19 vaccines for emergency use – the ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. The European Union to date has authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and is expected to clear the Moderna vaccine this week.

The UK has already authorized those two and just added the vaccine developed by Oxford University with AstraZeneca. Asked about vaccine scams, Pfizer said it had taken meticulous steps to reduce the risk of counterfeiting and tracked trends very carefully.

“Patients should never try to secure a vaccine online – no legitimate vaccine is sold online – and only get vaccinated at certified vaccination centers or by certified healthcare providers,” a Pfizer spokesman said in a statement. Moderna referred a request for comment to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which did not respond. AstraZeneca did not respond to a request for comment.

The HHS, FBI and US Department of Justice have urged the public to report any Covid-19 vaccine scams, including people asking for out-of-pocket payments for the vaccine and online vaccine advertisements. 

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Think tank claims over half of 13L Indian soldiers under severe stress, deletes report later

More than half of the over 13-lakh strong Indian Army personnel “seems to be under severe stress”, according to a study published by the tri-services think tank United Service Institution of India (USI). There have been over 1,100 cases of suicide among varous ranks since 2010.

The study, done by a serving Colonel and published on the USI website last month was, however, removed Friday.

“Prolonged exposure of Indian Army personnel to CI (counter- insurgency)/CT (counter-terrorism) environment has been one of the contributory factors for increased stress levels,” Colonel A.K. Mor, senior research fellow at the USI during 2019-20, noted in his study.

The Army, the study further noted, lost more personnel every year due to suicides, fratricides and untoward incidents than in response to enemy or terrorist activities.

While sources in the Army have debunked the study due to its small sample size of just 400 personnel, they did admit that stress was an issue.

On 14 January last year, the USI had also organised a presentation by Colonel Mor on the topic ‘Occupational Stress in Indian Army Due to Prolonged Exposure to Counter Insurgency/ Counter-terrorism Environment’.

Welcome remarks were made by Maj Gen Rajiv Narayanan, head, Research and Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation (CS3) at USI, followed by its Chairman, Brig Narender Kumar, SM, VSM (Retd) and distinguished fellow.

“The Director, USI suggested the scholar to focus on a selected sample size and diagnose the role and impact of stress on the unit,” the think tank had noted.

The study, which has now been completed, underlined that there has been a significant increase in stress levels among Indian Army personnel in the last two decades due to operational and non-operational stressors.

‘Stress management measures haven’t achieved results’

Talking about the steps taken by the Army and the defence ministry, the study also noted that various stress management measures implemented in the last 15 years “have not been able to achieve the desired results”.

It said that while operational stressors are well understood and accepted by Army personnel, non-operational stress factors are perceived as avoidable and resented against.

Indian Army officers, it added, experience much higher levels of stress as compared to the junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and other ranks (Ors).

Some of the major organisational causes of stress among Army officers have been identified as inadequacies in the quality of leadership, overburdened commitments, inadequate resources, frequent dislocations, lack of fairness and transparency in postings and promotions, insufficient accommodation and non-grant of leaves.

The main organisational stressors, as perceived by JCOs/ORs, were delay and denial of leaves, excessive engagement, humiliation by seniors, lack of dignity, zero error syndrome, unreasonable restrictions on the use of mobile phones, poor quality of ration and cooked food, besides lack of recreational facilities and conflict with seniors as well as subordinates.

However, the study added, “the overall job satisfaction and pride in uniform still remains high amongst JCOs/ORs. However, at the same time, it seems to be a growing matter of concern amongst officers, requiring urgent interventions from the highest levels of government”.

The study called for an institutionalised approach to stress prevention and management which should be treated “as a leadership role at Unit and Formation level.” The Print

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EU and UK Agreement for Exchanging and Protecting Classified Information

Article 9

For the purposes of this Agreement:
(a) all classified information released to the Union under this Agreement shall be sent through:
the Central Registry of the General Secretariat of the Council, if addressed to the European Council, the Council or the General Secretariat of the Council;
the Secretariat‐General Registry of the European Commission, if addressed to the European Commission;
the European External Action Service Registry, if addressed to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy or the European External Action Service;
all classified information released to the United Kingdom under this Agreement shall be sent to the United Kingdom via the Mission of the United Kingdom to the Union;
the Parties may mutually agree appropriate methods to ensure the efficient exchange of classified information, in accordance with the arrangements set out in points (a) and (b).

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Americans we lost in 2020

Illustration of baby in top hat sitting next to hourglass and holding calla lilies (State Dept./D. Thompson)
(Illustrations: State Dept./D. Thompson)

In recent days, many thousands of American families have faced holidays without loved ones who succumbed to COVID-19. Also in 2020 many notable Americans died — whether of COVID or another cause — who left an imprint on the world.

David Dinkins — the first African-American mayor of New York City, who died at 93 — had reshaped the U.S. political landscape. Actors Kirk Douglas (age 103) and Olivia de Havilland (104), two of the last surviving film stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, brought romance and drama to movie screens around the globe. Country music legend Charley Pride (86), the first African American to achieve stardom in his chosen genre, and country/folk singer and songwriter John Prine (73), known for his wry lyrics about life and love, were among those lost to COVID-19. And the death of soul singer Bill Withers (81) was especially poignant as Americans had been posting online their own versions of his song Lean on Mein support of health care workers affected by the pandemic.

Illustration of John Lewis walking on bridge (State Dept./D. Thompson)

Here are 11 other Americans who died in 2020, all of whom led extraordinary lives.

Civil-rights icon John Lewis helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, and in 1965, he led marchers across Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge in support of voting rights for African Americans. At the end of the bridge, he was attacked by state troopers, whose violence shocked the nation and hastened the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Serving as a U.S. congressman from Georgia from 1987 to 2020, Lewis was revered as the “conscience of the Congress.” He died July 17 at age 80.

Illustration of Ruth Bader Ginsburg sitting and holding gavel (State Dept./D. Thompson)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights, was the second woman and the first Jewish woman to serve on the Court. After graduating at the top of her class from Columbia Law School, she ultimately became a leader of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing during her 1993-2020 tenure by authoring passionate dissents in numerous cases. In popular culture, she became known as the “Notorious R.B.G.” (a play on a rapper’s nickname), which she embraced. She died September 18 at age 87.Illustration of Eddie Van Halen holding guitar (State Dept./D. Thompson)

Guitarist Eddie Van Halen co-founded (with brother Alex) the band Van Halen, one of the most successful acts in rock-music history. At age seven, he emigrated with his family from the Netherlands to southern California, taking up the piano before mastering the guitar. A 2007 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, he combined a joyful stage presence with a technical virtuosity that made him the most influential guitarist of his generation. He was named the best rock guitarist of all time by Guitar World magazine in 2012. He died October 6 at age 65.

Illustration of Flossie Wong-Staal with microscope (State Dept./D. Thompson)Molecular biologist Flossie Wong-Staal was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes, a major step in proving that HIV causes AIDS. She also completed genetic mapping of the virus, which led to the development of HIV tests. Born in China, she was raised in Hong Kong and left at 18 to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned degrees in bacteriology and molecular biology. Her work, which was instrumental in introducing new treatments for HIV/AIDS patients, is now being used in the fight against COVID-19. She died July 8 at age 73.

Illustration of Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther costume with arms crossed in front (State Dept./D. Thompson)Actor Chadwick Boseman starred in the groundbreaking superhero movie Black Panther, which smashed box-office records worldwide in 2018. He brought strength and dignity to Black Panther as T’Challa, ruler of a fictional country in Africa. Marvel Studios will release a Black Panther sequel in 2022, but in tribute to Boseman, his role will not be recast. He previously played barrier-breaking icons such as baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42 and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. He died August 28 at age 43.

Illustration of Chuck Yeager in uniform standing in front of plane (State Dept./D. Thompson)Test pilot Chuck Yeager became in 1947 the first pilot confirmed to have exceeded the speed of sound in level flight. Prior to breaking the sound barrier, he was a U.S. Army flying ace during World War II, at one point shooting down five enemy aircraft during a single mission. He later set several flight speed and altitude records, and his exploits paved the way for space exploration. Retiring from the military as a brigadier general, he was immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s book The Right Stuffand in a movie of the same name. He died December 7 at age 97.

Illustration of Frances Allen with laptop (State Dept./D. Thompson)Computer scientist Frances Allen, one of the few women in her field during the computer industry’s early years, performed pioneering research that laid the groundwork for today’s efficient, lightning-fast apps and other software for computers, smartphones and websites. For decades, she published landmark papers on compiler technology, the software that translates programs written by people into machine-language “code” that computers understand. In 2006, she became the first woman to win the A.M. Turing Award, known as the Nobel Prize of computing. She died August 4 at age 88.

Illustration of Tomie dePaola holding paintbrush and fountain pen (State Dept./D. Thompson)Author and illustrator Tomie dePaola, whose children’s books entertained several generations of readers, wrote or illustrated more than 270 books. Among them were his “Strega Nona” series, whose main character is a kindhearted “grandma witch” in Calabria, Italy, who uses her magic to help local townspeople. The first book in the series won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1976 and was voted one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time in a 2012 poll sponsored by School Library Journal. A recipient of many honors for his contributions to children’s literature, dePaola died March 30 at age 85.

Illustration of James Wolfensohn in business suit (State Dept./D. Thompson)Lawyer, investment banker and economist James Wolfensohn became known as a champion of the world’s poor, focusing on poverty alleviation during his 1995–2005 tenure as president of the World Bank. He also highlighted the problem of corruption in the area of development financing and carried out several other reforms at the Bank. Years earlier, the Australian-born Wolfensohn helped bring Chrysler Corporation back from the brink of bankruptcy, and he improved the finances of major U.S. cultural institutions, including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. He died November 25 at age 86.

Illustration of Little Richard at piano (State Dept./D. Thompson)Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Little Richard, who drew heavily on the sacred (gospel music) and the profane (blues) to forge a distinctive rock style in the 1950s, was one of the first crossover Black artists whose music attracted fans of all races. Born Richard Penniman, he brought an uninhibited, manic energy to his performances and played a role in the formation of the genres of soul and funk. He influenced countless other artists, including James Brown and Prince, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He died May 9 at age 87.

Illustration of Christo standing by walkway (State Dept./D. Thompson)Conceptual artist Christo (full name: Christo Vladimirov Javacheff), born in Bulgaria, became famous for his massive, ephemeral public installations around the world. The artist, who used only his first name, spent decades wrapping iconic monuments and landscapes in billowing fabric — including Paris’s Pont Neuf and the islands in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. While Christo’s projects often sparked hostility in the art world, his work was popular, and he ensured that his (mostly self-funded) installations were free to the public. He died May 31 at age 84.

State Department, Staff writer Lenore Adkins contributed to this story.

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Was 5G Invented as a Militarized Weapon to Cause Organ Failure?

Is 5G based on weapon technology? A concerned reader sent in an email to idrop news suggesting that 5G was developed based on military tech that was designed to cause organ failure. Here are the facts.

Let’s put it this way. Telecom companies did not take military technology and adapt it to cell towers. Both technologies rely on the same radio-frequency spectrum, but they were developed separately and concurrently. The U.S. Air Force has been experimenting with millimeter wave since the 1980s, but it doesn’t work with the telecom industry.

It’s also important to note that the military’s Active Denial System is specifically meant to be a non-lethal weapon. Under normal conditions, it’s not meant to cause organ failure or any lasting damage (although, like most non-lethal weapons, the possibility for that is still present during misuse).

Active Denial System

But fear-mongering can spread quickly in the age of misinformation. Maybe you’ve heard of a 5G test in the Netherlands that allegedly caused birds to fall out of the sky en masse? According to independent fact-checking by Snopes, 5G testing did not cause those bird deaths — which aren’t altogether uncommon.

Again, there isn’t enough evidence that cellphones cause cancer. On the flip side, there’s not enough evidence to completely exonerate them, either. But the burden of proof doesn’t work that way. Still, conclusive answers are frustratingly hard to find.

For example, the World Health Organization classifies cellphones are a Class 2B carcinogen. That means they can possibly cause cancer in humans. But pickles and aloe vera are also Class 2B carcinogens.

And in the decade since smartphones have reached ubiquity, brain tumor rates have not been going up. Don’t take our word for it; take the National Cancer Institute’s.

This is all important to note because the level of radio-frequency exposure of 5G networks will be about the same as current 3G and 4G networks, Dr. Eric van Rongen, the Chairman of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, wrote in an email to Snopes.

In other words, there just isn’t sufficient peer-reviewed scientific evidence to suggest that 5G millimeter wave is particularly dangerous. Of course, there needs to continual, independent research on the matter. But in the meantime, don’t freak out unnecessarily. – By Mike Peterson

Related articles

https://jnlwp.defense.gov/about/frequently-asked-questions/active-denial-system-faqs/

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The Missile War in Yemen

This timeline illustrates Arab coalition intercepts of ballistic missiles launched from within Yemen since the operation began. The Saudi-led coalition is employing PATRIOT ballistic missile defense units to defend against these strikes. Its first reported intercept of a ballistic missile fired by Houthi forces occurred in June 2015. Due to the limited reliability of information concerning the ongoing conflict, there may have been other intercepts or ballistic missile strikes not reflected here. The information on this timeline was obtained from the Saudi Press Agency, Kuwait News Agency, Emirates News Agency, and Al-Arabiya as well as Houthi sources such as Al-Masirah and Saba News. These sources are subject to biases and distortions, requiring the research team’s judgement for classification. – CSIS

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Feds: This Is the Face of a Serial Predator Who Worked in U.S. Embassies

The FBI is on the hunt for potential victims and information about Brian Jeffrey Raymond, a former U.S. embassy employee in Mexico City already accused of drugging and sexually assaulting nearly two dozen women across a decade and several countries.

A notice released this week by the bureau—which has been working with the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service’s Office of Special Investigations and Mexican law enforcement on the case—includes the first public photos of Raymond. It encourages anyone who may have dated Raymond or have information about him to provide details through an online questionnaire.

As The Daily Beast was first to report this fall, Raymond was arrested Oct. 9outside of a gym in La Mesa, California, where he had been staying with his parents after suddenly quitting his job.

Federal prosecutors described Raymond, 44, as an “experienced sexual predator” whose alleged attacks stretch back to at least 2011. He was initially detained in May by Mexico City police who responded to reports of a “naked, hysterical woman desperately screaming for help” from the balcony of an apartment rented by the U.S. Embassy in the well-heeled neighborhood of Poblado. After claiming diplomatic immunity, Raymond—who insisted the encounter had been consensual—was released and returned to the United States the next day.

In a subsequent search of Raymond’s phone, laptop, and iCloud account, agents from the FBI and the Diplomatic Security Service found hundreds of sickening photos and videos they say showed unconscious women being sexually abused. In some, a man holds open the women’s eyelids, waves their limp arms and legs, or puts his fingers in their mouth, eliciting no response, prosecutors said. In others, Raymond can apparently be seen nude and aroused. A number of the women could be heard snoring in the footage. At least nine of the alleged attacks occurred in embassy housing. 

According to investigators, the digital breadcrumbs left behind by Raymond also include “numerous” chats with women apologizing to him for blacking out, asking him if they had sex, or claiming to have no memory of the night before.

The FBI says its investigation has “revealed photographs and videos of additional adult women on Raymond’s devices and electronic accounts,” which could raise the total number of victims even further.

Court filings do not specify Raymond’s exact position at the Mexico City embassy, where he had been posted since 2018, and he has virtually no online presence. Prosecutors say Raymond speaks Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, and has worked in at least six different countries during his government career, including Mexico and Peru.

The Department of State declined to comment or provide further details, referring The Daily Beast to the Department of Justice, which declined to comment.

Raymond, who met the majority of his alleged victims through online dating apps, is charged with one count of coercion and enticement. He is due back in court on Jan. 20. His attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

If you have information regarding Brian Jeffrey Raymond, you can contact the FBI at ReportingBJR@fbi.gov, complete a secure online questionnaire, or call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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Recommendations of The Participants of The Expert Dialogue on NATO-RUSSIA Military Risk Reduction in Europe

The need for dialogue

1.1. Political dialogue should be revitalized at the ambassadorial level in the NATO-Russia Council and include briefings by military experts as appropriate.

1.2. As part of the NATO 2030 reflection process, Russia and NATO member states should analyze relations between NATO and Russia with a view to deve- loping the military-to-military dialogue. At a time when most NATO-Russia coop- eration remains suspended, such a dialogue should not be viewed as a departure from NATO’s “no business as usual” policy, but as a step that is necessary to increase predictability and reduce the risk of military incidents at sea, in the air and on land escalating to the level of military conflict.

1.3 Once Russia and NATO member states reach a formal or informal under- standing or agreement, they could take initial steps in the form of parallel unilat- eral measures that do not necessarily require conclusion of a formal agreement between NATO, or NATO member states, and Russia, which could prove politically difficult to achieve in the present environment.

1.4. Regular meetings should be held between the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, reinforced by military experts, to address issues of current concern.

1.5. In addition, NATO member states and Russia should resume contacts at the level of military representatives in the NATO Military Committee and restore the Russian military liaison mission at SACEUR Headquarters.

1.6. Furthermore, NATO member states and Russia should enhance military contacts in OSCE forums to provide a more efficient and inclusive format for dis- cussion and quick decision-making on current issues relating to military activities.

1.7. NATO and Russia should consider the possibility of establishing special NATO-Russia communication channels or hotlines in sensitive regions such as the Baltic, and Black sea regions and the High North area.

1.8. While the recommendations offered in this paper would be developed pri- marily in NATO-Russia channels, a number of them could be opened to discussion with and participation by other countries, such as Sweden and Finland in the Baltic and High North regions, and Ukraine and Georgia in the Black Sea region.

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Inside The GRU’s Psychological Warfare Program

To understand Unit 54777’s remit, it’s first necessary to understand its provenance.
In the Soviet Union, psyops were con- ducted by the Special Propaganda Director- ate, incorporated in the massive directorate of the army, GLAVPUR (Glavnoye Politich- eskoye Upravlenie, or the Main Political De- partment). GLAVPUR was a powerful testi- mony to Bolsheviks’ constant fear of the army going rogue or mutinying. In 2019 the Rus- sian army proudly celebrated the centenary of GLAVPUR, established by the Revolution- ary Military Council of Bolsheviks a year and a half after the October Revolution as the po- litical department to supervise thousands of commissars, Communists attached to military units to spy on and oversee their command- ers (the commissars had the final word in mil- itary operational planning).The Communists never fully trusted their soldiers since soldiers had played a decisive role in all attempted or successful seizures of state power in Russian history. It was the commissars who kept the Red Army loyal to the regime even during the first two disas- trous years of war with nazi Germany, when millions had been killed or captured, thanks to the incompetence of the officers’ corps, which had been hollowed by Stalin’s purges. (Hitler, inspired by Soviet experience, had his own commissars and version of GLAVPUR called the national Socialist Leadership Of- fice, or nSFO, whose officers embedded with the Wehrmacht to kindle a fighting spirit at the late stage of World War II.) After the war, ideological overseers in the Soviet military proliferated. By the late 1980s, there were 20,000 political depart- ments with 80,000 “political workers” – the new designation for commissars – and all were supervised by the ubiquitous and all-powerful GLAVPUR. The Special Propa- ganda Directorate was part of that empire. Then, in the early 1970s, the Soviet military established special propaganda training facilities in the Military Institute of Foreign
Languages, where Golyev studied, and for the faculty of Journalism at Moscow State University, the goals being to train officers in psyops and create a reserve of Soviet jour- nalists in the event of war mobilization, re- spectively.
The fidelity of the Soviet army remained a primary objective of GLAVPUR. The Special Propaganda Directorate was, in theory, busy developing methods of subverting the hostile armies’ morale but was mostly focused on its own military personnel rather than on West- ern soldiers. It was the body that played a largely defensive, not offensive, role.
Unless, of course, actual war broke out again. “As for special propaganda,” Arsen Kasyuk, one of the top authorities on Sovi- et-era special propaganda, told official Rus- sian Defense Ministry newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda in June 2011, “it is present wherev- er there is a conflict, where active hostilities begin. Prior to that, the special propaganda bodies are, so to speak, in a waiting-prepa- ratory mode, they assess the situation, im- prove their methods, their technical base.”
Whether by accident or design, this ex- act doctrine was articulated in a slightly more excitable fashion by Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of RT, the Kremlin’s En- glish-language propaganda channel. “Right now, we’re not fighting anyone,” Simonyan told the Russian newspaper Kommersant in a 2012 interview. “But in 2008 we were fight- ing. The Defense Ministry was fighting with Georgia, but we were conducting the infor- mation war, and what’s more, against the whole Western world. It’s impossible to start making a weapon only when the war [has] already started! That’s why the Defense Min- istry isn’t fighting anyone at the moment, but it’s ready for defense. So are we.”Golyev observes in his memoir that when the Soviet Union collapsed, the new Russian army, which was still very much the same as the old Red Army, was undergoing the trauma of depoliticization. With the al- mighty Party gone, GLAVPUR was destined to follow it into oblivion. And yet, accord- ing to Golyev, the army wanted to salvage at least some parts of GLAVPUR, especially the Special Propaganda Directorate. Where might it find a powerful and permanent new patron? It was a difficult question for the mil- itary bureaucracy to answer, although they finally did by transferring the directorate to the GRU – to the second floor of the Aquari- um, as the service’s Moscow headquarters is colloquially known, where it was rebranded Unit 54777 in 1994. (Vladimir Putin restored GLAVPUR in 2018, but Unit 54777 remains under GRU control.)

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Muslim Brotherhood IN AMERICA

“The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” – From the Explanatory Memorandum

ABOUT THE DOCUMENT
(FROM ‘SHARIAH: THE THREAT TO AMERICA’)
The following Muslim Brotherhood document was entered in- to evidence in the U.S. v Holy Land Foundation trial, and is a primary source threat document that provides new insights into global jihad organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. These documents (cov- ered extensively in chapter four) define the structure and outline of domestic jihad threat entities, associated non-governmental organiza- tions and potential terrorist or insurgent support systems. The Memo- randum also describes aspects of the global jihad’s strategic infor- mation warfare campaign and indications of its structure, reach and activities. It met evidentiary standards to be admissible as evidence in a Federal Court of law .
In the original document, the first 16 pages are in the original Arabic and the second are English translations of the same. It is dated May 22, 1991 and titled “ An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” (Memorandum). The document includes an Attachment 1 that contains “a list of our organi- zations and the organizations of our friends.”
The Memorandum expressly recognizes the Muslim Brother- hood (Ikhwan) as the controlling element of these organizations and expressly identifies the Muslim Brotherhood as the leadership element in implementing the strategic goals. The Memorandum is reproduced here in its official Federal Court translation, as Government Exhibit 003-0085 3:04-CR-240-G in U.S. v Holy Land Foundation, et al. with punctuation, line spacing and spelling intact.

A project for an explanatory memorandum for the General Strategic goal for the Group in North America mentioned in the long- term plan.

The Memorandum is derived from:

The general strategic goal of the Group in America which was approved by the Shura Council and the Organizational Conference for the year [1987] is “Enablement of Islam in North America, meaning: establishing an effective and a stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims’ causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and directing Muslims’ efforts, presents Islam as a civiliza- tion alternative, and supports the global Islamic State wherever it is”.

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UK Military Base Sites Overseas, 2020

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Dark Web Kidnapping: 7-Year-Old Russian Boy Rescued After 52 Days

A seven-year-old Russian boy has finally been rescued after a horrific alleged dark web kidnapping. The boy had been spotted on the dark web. The victim named Savely Rogovtsev was feared to have been murdered after he had vanished from his home.

The Western Intelligence web investigators had done a commendable job as Savely has been reunited with his overjoyed parents. His rescue had been termed as a ‘miracle’ discovery.

The Interpol had tipped off the Russian cops that a website on the dark web had revealed that the boy was with his abductor approximately 14 miles away from his home. He had gone missing in late September this year.

The tip source of the dark web kidnapping case is believed to be an unnamed international intelligence bureau that had been scouring hidden areas of the internet, the darknet, that the criminals use most frequently.

Police have lately detained a 26-year-old man who had allegedly abducted Savely by taking him into a car. But so far, the identity, along with other details of the abductor, had not been revealed. 

The child under the dark web kidnapping case is now receiving “strong psychological help”, as revealed by the cops.

After Savely had suddenly disappeared back in September, a massive search that involved the police, army and volunteers had been unsuccessful in locating him.

The boy’s father Alexander Rogovtsev, 47, told REN-TV: “He was thrilled to see his mother. He hugged and kissed her. We are overwhelmed with feelings…”

“It is an explosion of emotion and relief that the ordeal is over. Finally he is found.”

He added: “We have just left the doctors and he is healthy, he has not lost weight.”

“He is a normal child. He threw himself around our necks, sat on our laps, a happy child.”

“We always believed that we would find him.”

Image: Daily Mail

Savely had gone missing 52 days earlier after getting off his school bus in Gorki village of Vladimir region.

Alexander added: “My son said the man pushed him into his car.

“He has been detained already. We do not know where he kept our son.”

Regional children’s ombudsman Gennady Prokhorichev said: “This is a miracle. Thank God it is a story with a happy ending.”

He had admonished the parents of the victim that they had not escorted the boy to and from the school bus. 

He added: “This is a lesson for us all.”

Savely had gone missing 52 days earlier after getting off his school bus in Gorki village of Vladimir region.

Alexander added: “My son said the man pushed him into his car.

“He has been detained already. We do not know where he kept our son.”

Regional children’s ombudsman Gennady Prokhorichev said: “This is a miracle. Thank God it is a story with a happy ending.”

He had admonished the parents of the victim that they had not escorted the boy to and from the school bus. 

He added: “This is a lesson for us all.”

Savely is the youngest of four children, and now he needs “strong psychological help, according to Gennady.

“For a month and a half (52 days) he was kept in a strange house by a man for some reason – he was separated from his family.”

“Now we need to work with the child. He needs the love of his family.”

Colonel Irina Volk, an employee of the Russian Interior Ministry, said that the tip about the boy under the dark web kidnapping case had been received “from international colleagues via the Interpol channels”.

Irina mentioned that the boy’s whereabouts had become clear from “publications appearing in the shadow segment of the Internet. He was rescued from the village of Makarikha, also Vladimir region.

The man (abductor) aged 26 “had been detained on suspicion of the dark web kidnapping case” by police with military support from the Russian National Guard.

“The wanted boy was found in his private house,” she said.

Source: Mirror

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Money, Money, Money…….

President (Donald Trump) — $400,000
Holding the nation’s highest office comes with some nice financial perks, the most obvious of which is a $400,000 annual salary. Along with that tidy sum, the president also gets a $50,000 expense allowance each year, a $100,000 travel account and $19,000 for entertainment, according to CNBC. Every president since 2001, when George W. Bush took office, has earned this amount.

Jobs in politics aren’t the most lucrative — even at the highest level — but they certainly will keep you comfortable. Since it’s the American taxpayers who cover the paychecks for their elected officials, their salaries are all public record. Here is a look through the salary information for employees of President Trump’s White House staff to see what some of those jobs are worth.

Take a look at some of the pay information for people currently working at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as well as some comparisons to what the same positions paid during President Obama’s last year in the White House. All salary information was accurate as of July 2020.

Updated Oct. 14, 2020

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ANONYMOUS AMERICA LATINA

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A hidden world, growing beyond control

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Syria Regime Change is Necessary To Complete The Plans For The Qatari Oil Pipeline

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The Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)

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Act now for children: How a global pandemic is changing the lives of children in Middle East and Eastern Europe region

New research explores the stress children in World Vision programmes in the Middle East and Eastern Europe region are under due to COVID-19. In addition to their fear that they themselves or their loved ones will catch the disease, children worry about economic hardships, the loss of their education, increased violence and social isolation. But in the midst of it all, a clear message comes through – young people are hopeful about the future, they want to make a contribution and they want their voices to be heard.

Read Full Study

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THE COLLAPSE OF NORTH KOREA: A PROSPECT TO CELEBRATE OR FEAR?

If tomorrow’s media headlines were to announce the demise of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, aka North Korea), how would Americans react? Would we consider it good news or bad? Arguably, our initial response would be elation and we would rejoice that this volatile and hostile state, which threatens mankind with nuclear catastrophe and has starved millions of its own citizens to death, was no more. The Korean people, the Northeast Asian region, and the world as a whole would certainly feel safer for the loss. Except for the radical fringe, no one would shed a tear, no communist or non- communist, no Korean or non-Korean, no liberal or conservative.

For the past two decades, US decision-makers have molded our policy toward North Korea on two premises: first, the popular notion that North Korea is teetering on the brink of imminent systemic collapse and, second, the unquestioned assumption that such a collapse is in the best interest of the United States. In the mid-1980s, neither government experts nor academic analysts would have entertained the prospect of a DPRK continuing into the year 2005. We were mistaken, for North Korea still exists. Yet, very little effort has been devoted to understanding why we were wrong for twenty years. Even less effort is expended on reassessing US interests in a North Korean collapse, the range of options open to US policy in shaping the future of the DPRK, and the long-term implications for the United States.

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Infected: The impact of the coronavirus on the Middle East and north Africa

The coronavirus has hit the Middle East and north Africa at a time when the region is already burdened with multiple problems, including a series of long-running conflicts, sectarian tension, economic crises, and widespread political unrest. In this survey, experts at the European Council on Foreign Relations analyse the Covid-19 pandemic’s current impact on, and likely implications for, the region.

Iran

An economically hamstrung Iran has become the epicentre of the Covid-19 crisis in the Middle East. So far, Iran has announced that more than 18,400 people have tested positive for the virus, and 1,284 have died from the disease – although the real figures are likely to be much higher. The Iranian authorities have struggled to contain the epidemic, and have come under extensive scrutiny at home and abroad for their delayed response and lack of transparency. Health officials say that “50 new cases of infection are detected every hour and one death recorded every 10 minutes”.

The crisis has also highlighted the devastating humanitarian consequences of US sanctions on Iran, which have impeded the flow of urgently needed medical equipment and humanitarian goods into the country. This week, as the death toll climbed, the US administration introduced further sanctions despite European governments’ reported requests for the White House to relax these measures.

Domestically, the critical question facing the Iranian leadership is whether to impose a nationwide lockdown, as some doctors and local authorities have recommended. The authorities have belatedly restricted access to the worst-hit towns and provinces, taken the unprecedented step of closing shrines, launched a campaign to promote social distancing, and rolled out a nationwide online screening survey for the virus (which around 18 million people have reportedly completed). But Iranian leaders seem gravely concerned about the economic implications of measures that would further limit activity in the country. In reaction to the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, many neighbouring states that it relies on for trade have closed their borders. As such, the government in Tehran is eager to minimise any further damage. 

While calling on the United States to lift its sanctions, Iran has also made its first request to the International Monetary Fund in 60 years – asking for a $5 billion emergency loan. The latter move reflects the peril Iran faces as it tries to pay for imported goods at a time when US sanctions have largely blocked its access to foreign currency.

The political leadership has called for unity and evoked a spirit of national resistance against what Iran’s supreme leader has termed a “BiologicalAttack”, but there seems to be some competition between various domestic centres of power. President Hassan Rouhani, who was criticised by local news outlets and on social media for his absence in the early days of the outbreak, has rejected the notion of a nationwide lockdown (in part, perhaps, to avoid further empowering the armed forces). Rouhani’s announcement came shortly after Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mohammad Bagheri spoke of “cleaning roads and streets” within 24 hours, after receiving a directive from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The directive stressed that the armed forces should fully coordinate these efforts with the Rouhani government and the health ministry – in what was perhaps the supreme leader’s attempt to both assert control over the state response and prevent infighting at a time of national emergency.

As Iran’s health sector struggles to cope with growing infection rates, the United Nations and the US have called for the immediate release of Iranian political prisoners. This week, Iran’s judiciary announced the temporary release of 85,000 inmates and pardons for 10,000 prisoners, aiming to reduce the spread of the virus. According to Iranian officials, 50 percent of those released were “security-related prisoners” (although, in parallel, there have reportedly been several arrests of figures who criticised the state’s response). Among those temporarily released is the British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – although other dual nationals are reportedly still in detention. The crisis could create a narrow opening for states with nationals detained in Iran (including the United Kingdom, France, and the US) to intensify their concerted diplomatic efforts to secure the prisoners’ permanent release.

Another possible diplomatic opening created by the crisis has been in clear expressions of solidarity with Iran from some members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Qatar announced that it is sending urgent medical supplies to Iran. The United Arab Emirates has facilitated flights for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to deliver aid to Iran. The Emirati foreign minister has had a rare phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart – about the response to the virus. Kuwait has announced that it will donate $10 million to Iran’s healthcare fight. While it seems unlikely, a similar move by Saudi Arabia – and perhaps a GCC-Iran technical-level dialogue to coordinate medical and scientific efforts to combat the coronavirus – could open up a much-needed avenue for reducing tension between Tehran and Riyadh.

(Ellie Geranmayeh)

The Levant

Already crippled by conflict, as well as political and economic crises, the countries of the Levant – and, above all, the millions of people inhabiting overcrowded and unsanitary refugee camps there – are soon likely to face a brutal confrontation with the coronavirus. While the number of confirmed cases remains low for the moment, the virus seems certain to spread widely in the region, because of the strong links that Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon have with Iran, and because these countries lack the state capacity to contain the disease.

With governments now locking down their populations and suspending international flights, the outlook is particularly grave due to a series of deep, long-running crises across the Levant that have already severely debilitated states’ capabilities. Civil war in Syria and de facto state failure in neighbouring Iraq and Lebanon have emptied these countries of strong and legitimate political leadership, as well as the institutional structures needed to deal with the threat posed by the global pandemic – such as functioning healthcare systems in Syria and Iraq. Syrians, meanwhile, will need to navigate this crisis under the gaze of a government that has long been indifferent to their fate and may see the international community’s distraction as welcome cover to launch a new military offensive in rebel-controlled Idlib. Damascus still seems in denial about the spread of the virus, with officials maintaining there are no cases within government-controlled territory.

This challenging situation will be further exacerbated by economic collapse, whose effects the coronavirus will dramatically intensify as business activity grinds to a halt. The dynamic threatens to push these countries into a vicious cycle. The Lebanese pound and the Syrian lira have undergone dramatic devaluations in the past six months, while widespread dollar shortages in Lebanon have hampered imports of medical supplies. For its part, Iraq is enduring a sharp drop in much-needed oil revenue, due to the oil-price war recently launched by Saudi Arabia. In Syria, the regime’s corruption and economic mismanagement are compounded by international sanctions that restrict the inflow of medical equipment.

Across the Levant, there is particular concern about the welfare of the region’s huge number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). There are now more than 5.5 million Syrian refugees in the region, and more than 6 million Syrian IDPs, including 1 million people who have fled the recent fighting in Idlib. Iraq is home to 1.5 million IDPs. These refugees and IDPs live in overcrowded camps characterised by unsanitary conditions and limited medical facilities, making them deeply vulnerable to the ravages of the coronavirus. The Norwegian Refugee Council has raised the prospect of “carnage” if the virus hits these locations.

(Julien Barnes-Dacey)

The GCC States and Yemen

With more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 between them, the monarchies of the GCC have begun applying stringent measures to contain the spread of the pandemic. The countries can rely on their healthcare systems – which are some of the most efficient in the region, and are freely and easily accessible to all citizens. As such, the GCC monarchies will likely be able to manage Covid-19 from a healthcare perspective, in light of the stringent social distancing measures they have applied throughout the crisis. However, the contagion risk is far higher in communities of foreign labourers, many of whom lack access to healthcare and live in conditions in which social distancing is not an option.

A major concern for the GCC authorities is the implications of the virus for international tourism and mega-events. The UAE is anxious about the likely impact of the crisis on Expo 2020, due to begin in Dubai in October. Saudi Arabia is concerned about the potential impact of the virus on its current presidency of the G20, a role of paramount importance to the country’s leadership. Oman, whose strained budget increasingly relies on international tourism, is already counting on major losses from the crisis.

The connection between the pandemic and the collapse of the oil market is even more significant for GCC countries. The fall in demand from a disease-hit China, the top export destination for Saudi Arabia’s oil, was the initial reason that Riyadh sought an agreement to cut production with other energy producers. Russia’s refusal to play along led Saudi Arabia to unilaterally cut its export prices by nearly 10 percent. For a time, this strategy, combined with the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, caused the oil price to plummet. This is problematic for all GCC monarchies, which rely on energy revenue for the lion’s share of their budgets. The situation presents an especially significant challenge to countries whose public finances are in a dire condition, such as Bahrain and Oman. These two states have not announced stimulus packages to weather the crisis – in contrast to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which have allocated billions in support to private businesses.

While borders remain open to goods and commerce even in countries that have halted all air and land international travel for individuals, any further disruption to trade would be particularly damaging for GCC countries. This is especially true in terms of food security, given that the six monarchies rely on imports for most of their food consumption. Saudi Arabia, which is the only one of the countries with an agrifood industry, has also seen swarms of locusts descend on its crops in the past two months.

The virus also has potential implications for the political and sectarian dimensions of the GCC states’ confrontation with Iran. Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE have sent medical and humanitarian aid worth millions of dollars to Iran. However, humanitarian cooperation won’t necessarily ease political tension, particularly in light of the position taken by Saudi Arabia, the GCC’s most influential actor. Both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have strongly condemned Iran for its allegedly reckless response to the coronavirus – pointing to, for example, its failure to stamp the passports of GCC citizens who have defied bans on travel to Iran. There is a widespread narrative in all GCC countries that they imported the virus from either Iran, the regional epicentre of the crisis, or Iraq, via Shia citizens. As a result, on 8 March, Saudi Arabia placed the entirety of Al Qatif – a traditionally restive, Shia-majority province – under lockdown to contain the virus. This could deepen sectarian fault lines within the kingdom, whose Shia citizens have long felt marginalised.

Yemen has not reported any coronavirus cases among its citizens so far. Yet many Yemenis doubt that the country is free of the virus, as it remained open to air traffic and returning migrants until recently. Yemen is not only home to a huge number of IDPs but also hosts almost 300,0000 refugees (most of them Africans). As such, it seems unlikely that the country will be able to isolate itself from the crisis. In the last four years, a cholera outbreak affecting an estimated 2 million people has demonstrated Yemen’s vulnerability to infectious disease. And a major outbreak of Covid-19 would be disastrous in light of Yemen’s continuing conflict, already-precarious humanitarian situation, and dysfunctional healthcare system.

(Cinzia Bianco and René Wildangel)

Israel-Palestine

Covid-19 highlights the extent to which West Bank settlers, Israelis living within Israel, Palestinians, and their respective economies are intertwined. At a time of increasing political tension between them, the virus is forcing Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Hamas to cooperate with one another to prevent a full-scale outbreak. Such an outbreak could easily spill over from one area into the next, with severe consequences for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Israel has taken one of the strongest stances against the coronavirus of any country. In addition to adopting containment measures that match those of other states, Israel has – in a similar way to Iran and China – authorised its domestic security service to track the mobile phones of confirmed and potential coronavirus victims. In doing so, Israel is repurposing the surveillance techniques it has long used to control Palestinians in the occupied territories. Crucially, this is happening without any oversight or approval from the Knesset – Israel’s legislative body – which has yet to convene following national elections at the beginning of March.

While many Israelis may feel that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is doing a good job of handling the crisis, they are simultaneously concerned that his actions could violate their civil liberties and hurt Israeli democracy. Never one to miss an opportunity, Netanyahu has used the outbreak to delay his trial on corruption charges. All of this has occurred as Israel continues to be governed by a caretaker government. There is growing public pressure on the country’s two main political factions – Netanyahu’s Likud and the opposition, Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan – to form a government of national unity, which would avoid the disruption of a fourth election in less than a year and thereby help steer Israel through the Covid-19 crisis.

In the West Bank, the PA has replicated many of the measures taken in Israel and elsewhere. For instance, it has implemented a lockdown in Bethlehem, where the first major outbreak took place. At a time when the PA is seen by many Palestinians as a burden on their national movement, there is relatively strong support for Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s handling of the situation. And, despite the strain on their relationship created by the deterioration of the peace process, the Israeli government and the PA have cooperated effectively to contain the spread of the virus on both sides of the 1967 Green Line. This has included the establishment of Joint Command Centre. Nevertheless, the West Bank’s healthcare system may struggle to manage a significant uptick in Covid-19 cases.

It is in Gaza where the virus poses the greatest threat. While Gaza has so far reported no infections – due in part to Israel’s decades-long restrictions on the area, and to limited testing there – its 1.8 million residents are extremely vulnerable. As the most densely populated area in the world, Gaza already suffers from a protracted humanitarian crisis, a debilitated health infrastructure, and restricted electricity supplies. Long-running efforts by the US, the European Union, Israel, and PA to isolate Hamas leaders will complicate an effective response in Gaza. As such, the UN mission based in Jerusalem and the WHO have now taken the lead in helping with contingency planning and coordination between Israel and Hamas.

For Palestinians and Israelis, the virus also poses an economic threat. A near-total collapse in tourism will hurt both Israel and Palestinian cities such as Bethlehem. The Palestinian economy is reliant on the approximately 95,000 Palestinian labourers who commute to Israel from Gaza and the West Bank each day. In addition, access to cheap labour remains important to the well-being of the Israeli economy.

The Israeli government, the PA, and Hamas need to take all this into account as they engage in a collective balancing act: reducing the likelihood of cross-border transmission of the virus while maintaining the flow of Palestinian labour to Israel. One of the options Israel is considering (with the blessing of Hamas and the PA) is to allow Palestinians under the age of 50 who work in the construction industry and healthcare to remain in Israel for two months, in anticipation of a coordinated move to seal Israel’s crossings with Gaza and the West Bank during that time.

(Hugh Lovatt)

North Africa

So far, the coronavirus has had a fairly limited impact on north African countries, most of which have swiftly implemented containment measures. Nevertheless, these countries generally have fragile healthcare systems that may struggle to deal with the spread of the virus. In the long term, Covid-19’s most serious effects on north Africa are likely to be economic, given that the region is dependent on trade and tourism, and already struggles with widespread youth unemployment.

Egypt has been the worst-hit north African country, reporting many cases connected to cruises on the Nile. As of 19 March, Covid-19 had officially infected 210 people in the country (around half of whom were Egyptian nationals), resulting in six deaths. But the true figures could be significantly higher. A Canadian study suggested that at least 6,000 people, and possibly many more, had been infected in Egypt. The Egyptian authorities have reacted strongly to the study, announcing that they would withdraw the press licence of the Guardian journalist who broke the story and threatening to take legal action against her and a New York Times journalist who contributed to the report. There have also been accountsof the authorities arresting Egyptians who circulated rumours about Covid-19. The virus could spread quickly through Egyptian cities (above all, Cairo) due to their high population density. There are also widespread concerns about its possible impact in Egypt’s overcrowded prisons, which are notorious for neglecting the medical needs of their inmates. Egypt suspended all flights to and from its territory on 16 March, initially until the end of the month. Government officials estimate that the country’s loss of income from tourism could reach $1 billion per month – in valuable hard currency – if these measures remain in place.

Libya, which has been protected by the relative lack of foreigners entering the country, has not reported any cases of Covid-19. However, following nine years of state deterioration, a long period of competition between governments, and a year of conflict in the country’s most populated region, people in Libya are highly vulnerable to an outbreak. This is especially true of those who live in precarious conditions in the country, including hundreds of thousands of IDPs housed in makeshift shelters, and an estimated 700,000 migrants and refugees, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa. Both the Government of National Accord (GNA) and its counterpart in eastern Libya have taken measures to encourage social distancing, such as school closures, and launched public information campaigns. The GNA has also announced the creation of a $358 million fund to combat the virus (although the lack of an accompanying strategy suggests that the money could go astray). Covid-19 may spread through Libya as thousands of Libyans return home, and as mercenaries and foreign forces continue to circulate through its territory. Although US and European officials have called for a ceasefire to allow Libyan authorities to better tackle this threat, renegade general Khalifa Haftar has stepped up his offensive in the last few days, as he and his backers look to use the rest of the world’s distraction to their advantage.

In Tunisia, the coronavirus is the first major test for a government that only came to power in February, following an election late in 2019. So far, the new leadership’s actions to combat Covid-19 seem to be effective and to enjoy public support. Despite only reporting a couple of dozen cases, Tunisia has imposed strong containment measures: a curfew, a ban on international flights, and the closure of its land borders. Yet, even if it limits the spread of Covid-19, Tunisia is already struggling with persistent economic problems that the virus will only exacerbate, given the resulting collapse in income from tourism and likely decline in trade with Europe.

Morocco will also take a major economic hit from the virus, at a time when years of economic inequality and regional disparities have generated significant public discontent within the country. Morocco has implemented a series of flight suspensions and containment measures – which are largely voluntary, at this stage, but most Moroccans appear to be observing.

Algeria was identified by the WHO as being at unusually high risk from the coronavirus, because of its extensive links with China. However, only a few dozen cases have been reported in the country. Algeria has instituted a series of containment measures, suspending travel and closing schools and mosques, while importing equipment to support its strained healthcare system. The biggest obstacle to countering the virus in Algeria concerns the government’s lack of political legitimacy. Official measures designed to limit public gatherings are widely seen as an opportunistic attempt to end the year-long protest movement that demands change in Algeria’s political system. However, many people with influence over the protest movement have called for the suspension of the demonstrations to protect public health. And there are signs that protests may at least diminish in the coming months, as the movement’s supporters look for other ways to show their opposition to the regime.

(Anthony Dworkin and Tarek Megerisi)

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Iranian cyber-activities in the context of regional rivalries and international tensions

Introduction

Iran is a significant actor in the Middle East and also in cyberspace. Because of its history, economy, religion and political ambitions, Iran cannot be ignored as a regional power and is considered as a threat by its neighbors. While access to certain internet content is strictly controlled inside Iran, Iranian Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)3 have become infamous for targeting energy companies in neighboring countries with destructive malware4and cyberespionage campaigns. However, Iran is also known for being the target of highly sophisticated cyberattacks, the most famous being Stuxnet, which was jointly developed by the US and Israel. This Hotspot Analysis analyzes cyber-activities in relation to Iran in the context of its regional rivalry with its neighbors and its relationship with the US, which has come under renewed strain. In this context, cyberattacks are instruments that states can deploy in case of tensions, whether to defuse heightened tension (e.g. Stuxnet), to harass, to spy on rivals and dissidentsor as a warfare technique. Cyber-activities also enable weaker states to cause damage to more powerful states in asymmetrical warfare. The objective of this Hotspot Analysis is to better understand the dynamics of cyber-activities in regional rivalries and broader international tensions related to Iran.Iranian-related cyber-activities are primarily focused on spear phishing and credential theft with occasional destructive attacks. These cyberattacks, which are relatively low-level, are rooted in the regional rivalry between Iran and its neighbors and in the tensions with the US. Additionally, while current open-source research suggests that Iranian threat actors are highly active, it is in reality more likely that Iranian systems are regularly targeted by Western states. Information on these latter cyberattacks is unfortunately very limited.This Hotspot Analysis is organized in four sections. Section 2 gives an account of the historical and international context of Iranian cyber-activities and cyberattacks against Iran. The goal of the chronology in this section is to place cyber-activities relating to Iran within their political and historical setting.Section 3 describes first some of the multiple actors involved in cyber-activities related to Iran. This section only examines the main APTs from Iran, the main Iranian patriotic hackers, and actors in the US and Israel. It details targets of cyber-activities related to Iran and shows that Iranian APTs have targeted Iranian opposition groups both in Iran and abroad, while alsocarrying out cyberespionage and destructive campaigns against companies in multiple states in the Middle East. Iranian APTs also conducted cyberespionage campaigns 3 Abbreviations are listed in Section 10.against industries, government institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Western statesand in the Middle East. Finally, the section looks at tools and techniques used in the Iranian context. This section demonstrates that Iranian patriotic hackers used Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, that Iranian APTs created fake personas on social media for spear phishing campaigns and used a mix of freely available, commercialand custom-made malware in their cyberattacks, and that Western actors used sophisticated malware against Iranian targets.Section 4 examines the effects of cyber-activities at the national and international levels. The first subsection analyzes the effects of Iranian authorities’ control over internet content and online surveillance of dissidents. The second subsection details the economic effects of destructive cyberattacks on energy companies and the economic effects of DDoS attacks. The third subsection examines the fact that Iranian APTs are not technically sophisticated but still manage to achieve their strategic goals. This subsection also looks at how the discovery of Stuxnet was a wakeup call for the international community. The final subsection looks at the effects of cyber-activities related to Iran on international relations. First, Iran considers cyberspace as a space for asymmetrical warfare against its regional rivals and its more powerful adversaries. Second, proxy wars between Iran and its regional rivals unfold primarily in the physical realm but are also transposed to cyberspace. Third, after the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) between Iran, the US, China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK was signed in 2015, malicious cyber-activities between the US and Iran seemed to diminish but restarted after the US withdrawal. This change in malicious activities shows that cyber-activities evolvetogetherwith the development of relations between the two states.Fourth, Iranian APTs started to conduct online influence campaigns targeting US citizens. They copied Russian tactics and tried to influence political opinion in favor of Iranian interests. Finally, Section 5 contributes some generic policy recommendations for mitigating the risks of being impacted by cyberattacks from the Iranian context. This section recommends that cybersecurity be improved, information about Iranian APTs be shared, awareness about Iranian influence campaigns be raised and US-Iran relations be monitored. This Hotspot Analysis will be updated as new information concerning cyber-activities relating to Iran is published. The goal is to keep the Hotspot Analysis as accurate as possible. This report will also be integrated in a broader study comparing multiple Hotspot Analyses.

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America has a golden opportunity to forge a more stable Middle East – Stephen Horenstein

The Obama Administration’s outlook on the Middle East was to blame past American mistakes, rather than hard-line Islamists for the regions woes. It is an error of perspective that has borne very real consequences today. His presidency was essentially to engage with America’s foes, as seen with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Mullahs in Iran. The price of this was eschewing close relations with traditional U.S. allies in the region and generating greater instability.

Today the Trump administration have been struggling to find a solution to these deep-rooted problems. This has especially proven the case in Syria, where American abandonment of the Kurds left them exposed to Turkish aggression. However, despite a number of missteps, the prospect of stability across the region looks rosier than when he stepped into office just under 4 years ago.

The normalisation deals between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel has created a more stable platform for the region’s like-minded countries to cooperate against Iranian and Turkish backed aggression, in the form of violent proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Whereas Obama cooled relations with these long-standing allies, Trump has recognised that an America less involved in the region needs these nations to band together.

However, the next administration, whoever is at the helm, has some major Middle East issues in the intray that must be dealt with and can help further the slow march to stability breaking out across the region..

Firstly the Kurdish issue. Understandably, they feel let down by American actions last year, however there is still the potential to foster a close alliance with them. America must play carrot and stick, offering greater support for the Self Administration but demand they cut all links and ties to the PKK. A stable, unified and autonomous Kurdish nation is potentially a silver lining of the very dark cloud of violence in Iraq and Syria over the past decade.

An independent Kurdistan would act as a bulwark against Turkish and the Iranian regime, likely forming close parntership with the alliance already blossoming between the Gulf and Israel. Simultaneously the new administration would be able to also curb Russian inflience in the region without a large American troop presence in the region through a strong Kurdish state.

Secondly, countering the narrative of political Islam across the region should be a major strand of American Middle East policy. Obama sought an accommodation with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, failing to recognise the harder line, undemocratic societies they sought to implement. Trump has gone some way to rectify this, however his admiration of the increasling Islamist Erdogan shows there is a considerable way to go. Biden or Trump should therefore make repudiating the damaging impacts of Islamism a top priortiy of their Middle East policy.

In this respect, Biden arguably recognises the threat Erdogan and his ideology poses better than his opponent, who has shown a penchant for courting autocratic leaders. The former has labelled him an autocrat and called on them to recommit to their NATO commitments in light of closer partnership with Russia and aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya.

The difficulty in assessing which candidate is best placed to take the opportunity of building a more stable Middle East which rejects the violent ideology of Islamism is that foreign policy has barely featured in the race for the White House. The two debates we’ve had between the candidates have been dominated by name-calling and mud-slinging. In Biden concerns are that his foreign policy team doesn’t get the true nature of the Islamist threat, given the approach the previous administration took. Conversely Trump’s mistreatment of the Kurds and apparent cozyness with President Erdogan is also an impediment.

The Obama Administration’s outlook on the Middle East was to blame past American mistakes, rather than hard-line Islamists for the regions woes. It is an error of perspective that has borne very real consequences today. His presidency was essentially to engage with America’s foes, as seen with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Mullahs in Iran. The price of this was eschewing close relations with traditional U.S. allies in the region and generating greater instability.

Today the Trump administration have been struggling to find a solution to these deep-rooted problems. This has especially proven the case in Syria, where American abandonment of the Kurds left them exposed to Turkish aggression. However, despite a number of missteps, the prospect of stability across the region looks rosier than when he stepped into office just under 4 years ago.

The normalisation deals between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel has created a more stable platform for the region’s like-minded countries to cooperate against Iranian and Turkish backed aggression, in the form of violent proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Whereas Obama cooled relations with these long-standing allies, Trump has recognised that an America less involved in the region needs these nations to band together.

However, the next administration, whoever is at the helm, has some major Middle East issues in the intray that must be dealt with and can help further the slow march to stability breaking out across the region..

Firstly the Kurdish issue. Understandably, they feel let down by American actions last year, however there is still the potential to foster a close alliance with them. America must play carrot and stick, offering greater support for the Self Administration but demand they cut all links and ties to the PKK. A stable, unified and autonomous Kurdish nation is potentially a silver lining of the very dark cloud of violence in Iraq and Syria over the past decade.

An independent Kurdistan would act as a bulwark against Turkish and the Iranian regime, likely forming close parntership with the alliance already blossoming between the Gulf and Israel. Simultaneously the new administration would be able to also curb Russian inflience in the region without a large American troop presence in the region through a strong Kurdish state.

Secondly, countering the narrative of political Islam across the region should be a major strand of American Middle East policy. Obama sought an accommodation with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, failing to recognise the harder line, undemocratic societies they sought to implement. Trump has gone some way to rectify this, however his admiration of the increasling Islamist Erdogan shows there is a considerable way to go. Biden or Trump should therefore make repudiating the damaging impacts of Islamism a top priortiy of their Middle East policy.

In this respect, Biden arguably recognises the threat Erdogan and his ideology poses better than his opponent, who has shown a penchant for courting autocratic leaders. The former has labelled him an autocrat and called on them to recommit to their NATO commitments in light of closer partnership with Russia and aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya.

The difficulty in assessing which candidate is best placed to take the opportunity of building a more stable Middle East which rejects the violent ideology of Islamism is that foreign policy has barely featured in the race for the White House. The two debates we’ve had between the candidates have been dominated by name-calling and mud-slinging. In Biden concerns are that his foreign policy team doesn’t get the true nature of the Islamist threat, given the approach the previous administration took. Conversely Trump’s mistreatment of the Kurds and apparent cozyness with President Erdogan is also an impediment.

Whatever the outcome, America and the West have a golden opportunity to build a coalition of stability in the Middle East, between like-minded allies. The cost of failing to do so and reverting to the mistakes of the past will be seen in a harder line, more Turkish/Iranian influenced and violent Middle East.

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Europe has lost 60 percent of its Jewish populaton since 1970

Europe has lost 60 percent of its Jewish populaton since 1970 according to a new study by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research. Its key findings were published by The Guardian with the decline attributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union which resulted in many Jews leaving Eastern Europe as borders were opened. Across Eastern Europe, the Jewish population fell 85.3 percent over the past 50 years while Western Europe has experienced an 8.5 percent decline.

It is estimated that 1.3 million Jews live in Europe in 2020 with two-thirds of that total living in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. As this infographic shows, Russia’s Jewish population contracted by 81 percent between 1970 and 2020 while Poland experienced a 44 percent drop. The disappearance of the USSR has led to a considerable increase in Germany’s Jewish population which has climbed 293 percent over the past five decades.

source statista

Infographic: Europe Lost 60% Of Its Jewish Population In 50 Years | Statista
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Forget China: Iran’s Hackers Are America’s Newest Cyber Threat – Defense PK

In March 2012, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, publicly announced the creation a new Supreme Council of Cyberspace to oversee the defense ofthe Islamic republic’s computer networks and develop news ways of infiltrating or attacking the computer networks of its enemies. Less than two years later, security experts and U.S. intelligence officials are alarmed by how quickly Iran has managed to develop its cyber warfare capabilities — and by how much it’s willing to use them.

For several years, Iran was believed to possess the ambition to launch disruptive attacks on Western, Israeli or Arab computer networks, but not necessarily the technological capability of actually doing so. Those doubts have largely evaporated. In late 2012, U.S. intelligence officials believe hackers in Iran launched a series of debilitating assaults on the Web sites of major U.S. banks. The hackers used a well-honed technique called a denial of service attack, in which massive amounts of traffic are directed at a site’s servers until they crash. But the traffic flow in the bank attack was orders of magnitude greater than anything U.S. security officials had seen up to that point, indicating a remarkable degree of technical sophistication.

Last year, U.S. officials say that Iranian hackers infiltrated a large unclassified computer network used by the Navy and Marine Corps. Officials now say it took the Navy four months to fully clear its systems and recover from thebreach, which was first reported by theWall Street Journal.

“Iran should be considered a first-tier cyber power,” Gabi Siboni, a cyber security expert with Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, said during a speech in Washington last December.

Western analysts see Iran’s embrace ofcyber attacks as a strategic attempt to counter the conventional military forces ofthe United States and Iran’s regional rivals, particularly Saudi Arabia. Some analysts have blamed Iran for an attack on the computers of Saudi Aramco, the national energy company that supplies about 10 percent oftheworld‘s oil. The attack erased data from 30,000 computers, but it didn’t affect oil and gas production and distribution facilities.

Analysts debate whether Iran should yet be included in the same league as the United States, Israel, or China, which each possess extensive capabilities to launch attacks on computer networks and the critical infrastructure connected to them, including electrical power facilities. But U.S. intelligence agencies now judge that Iran is well on the path to becoming a formidable cyber force. James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, recently warned that Iran’s “development ofcyber espionage or attack capabilities might be used in an attempt to either provoke or destabilize the United States or its partners.

The heart of Iran’s national cyber efforts is the cyberspace council set up in 2012. It’s chaired by the Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani and its members include senior government officials, including the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, which controls military units believed to conduct offensive cyber operations and electronic warfare, such as jamming communications systems. Iran was motivated to ramp up its cyber security efforts, particularly the defense of its internal networks and vital infrastructure facilities, after a cyber attack on an Iraniannuclear facility by the United States and Israel that disabled 1,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium, a key component of a nuclear weapon. Iran’s defensive capabilities today are devoted to preventing another such attack, as well as monitoring and suppressing domestic political opponents who threaten the regime, Siboni wrote in a recentanalysisof Iran’s capabilities.

The Revolutionary Guard now owns and controls the biggest communications company in Iran, Siboni said. Thegovernment restricts access to the public Internet and monitors computers in Internet cafes. A domestic police force, known as FETA is charged with monitoring online activity and speech, as well as combating fraud and theft.

But it’s the offensive side ofthe ledger that worries U.S. officials the most. In the past week, Iranian leaders have threatened to use cyber warfare against Tehran’s enemies. “One ofthe options on the table ofthe U.S. and its allies is a cyber war against Iran. But we are fully prepared to fightcyber warfare,” said Gen. Mohammad Aqakishi, the commander ofthe information technology and communication department ofthe armed forces’ general staff, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

“[Aqakishi] said the U.S. has been making ‘empty threats’ against Iran for several years, noting that Washington itself is mindful ofthe Islamic Republic’s military might in the arena of information technology and communication,” Tasnim reported.

Last week, Khameini, Iran’s supreme leader, reportedly exhorted Iranian students, whom he called “cyber war agents,” to prepare to fight Iran’s enemies in cyberspace. “Get yourselves ready for such war wholeheartedly,” Khameini said.

“If any war is launched against Iran, we won’t give any ground to the enemy and they themselves know this very well,” Iran’s military chief of staff, Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, said last week, declaring that Iran was prepared for a “decisive battle” with the United States and Israel.

Such provocations haven’t gone unnoticed. And U.S. military officials have acknowledged that if the United States uses cyber weapons against Iran, Americans should expect some retaliation. “That’s a valid assumption,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview in January 2013. “There are reports that destructive cyber tools have been used against Iran. I’m not-I’m neither confirming nor denying any-any part in that. What that should tell you is that that capability exists. And if it exists…whoever’s using those can’t assume that they’re the only smart people in theworld.”

A few days before Dempsey’s remarks, Gen. William Shelton, the commander of Air Force Space Command, warned that Iran was a growing offensive threat in cyberspace. “They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with, with the potential capabilities that they’ll develop over the years and the potential threat that they’ll represent to the United States,” Shelton said. In other words, Chinese hackers aren’t the only ones Washington needs to worry about.

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New-Zealand: Reporting of potential terrorist financing more than doubles

Reporting of potential terrorist financing has more than doubled in New Zealand since the March 15 mosque shootings.

Police said people are far more vigilant when it comes to potential terrorist acts after the Christchurch attacks, which killed 51 and injured scores more.

The organisation has also ramped up its counter-terrorism capabilities but is keeping the details of that improvement secret.

The Financial Intelligence Unit looks into suspicious financial activity when reports are sent through by banks, lawyers, accountants and other entities with access to transactions.

In the 15 months after the March 15 attack, 15,918 reports were sent to the unit about suspicious financial activity that could relate to crime.

Of those, 188 reports were specifically indicated as relating to terrorist financing.

By comparison, in the 15 months before the Christchurch attacks, 74 reports of possible terrorist financing were sent to police.

In response to an Official Information Act request seeking the figures, police director of National Intelligence Dan Wildy said it is unlikely that more people are trying to fund terrorist activities.

“There was a spike on terrorist financing reporting following the March 15, 2019, incident which has been attributed to a general heightened awareness among reporting entities, rather than an actual increase in terrorist-financing-related activity,” he said.

RNZ understands the vast majority of reports are harmless, but there are some reports that need further investigation.

Investigations can be launched if someone is suspected of funding terror organisations, but police said it is hard to prove intent and to work across borders.

Some individuals are simply monitored by police as a result of their transaction histories.

Reports shared worldwide

The Financial Intelligence Unit is also part of the Egmont Group, which is an international organisation which monitors terrorist funding and money laundering.

It has members in almost every country, and police are able to share information with other jurisdictions through an encrypted network.

Meanwhile, police say they have boosted their counter-terrorism capabilities since the Christchurch terror attack, with increased staffing and technology.

But they won’t reveal any further details, saying it could compromise their work. –nzherald.com

Posted in COUNTER TERRORISM, HOMELAND TERRORISM, ISLAMIC MILITARY COUNTER TERRORISM COALITION | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dark web hackers selling 400,000 South Korean & USA credit card data -darkwebmag

“The Planet’s most valuable resource is No more oil, but data,” The Economist. The cyber-criminal community is well aware of the Fact, and that is why every now and then, we read about the trove of personal and financial data being sold on the dark web or arbitrary hacker forum.

From the latest, while taking a break from COVID-19 related scams, Cyber-criminals are caught selling 400,000 payment detail (debit and credit card) records. These documents were identified by Group IB — a cybersecurity business.

According to the company, the database Is being marketed on Joker’s Stash market, which happens to be among the largest marketplaces for Carding online.

Totaling 397,365; the documents are from different financial organizations and could be broken down geographically as the following:

  1. 198,233 records are from South Korea: Around 49.9 percent
  2. 199,132 records are out of the US: Around 49.3 percent 

All These are being sold for a price of $1,985,835, which translates to $5 per document. However, not all these would work as is the case with such stolen info and thus, the hackers themselves have promised only a 30-40% validity rate.

As seen in the above advertisement Found for the database, there’s absolutely not any mention of South Korea that is odd considering that such accounts form most the records.

The importance of the stems from the Fact that usually, we could discover US-based records underground, but the South Korean game is a new one using all the investigators commenting,

How it Is the largest sale of South Korean recordings on the dark web in 2020, which leads to the rising popularity of APAC-issued card dumps from the underground. 

As seen from a photo of the documents obtained below, they are sometimes categorized as containing track two information, which comprises the lender identification number, the account number, expiration date, and sometimes can also contain the card verification value (CVV).

Moreover, although where this information Originated from remains a mystery, it’s very likely that it might have been as a consequence of infected POS programs, from skimmed ATM machines or even infected payment merchant systems.

It’s worth noting that Joker’s Stash is the identical market where countless stolen Wawa credit card data, the largest database of Indian charge card documents, and most recently half a million payment card documents stolen from some of the biggest banks in India were marketed.

As for the latest record, an intelligence analyst in Group-IB has said how,

Although there is not enough information in this ditch to make online purchases, fraudsters who purchase this data can still money out records that are stolen. 

Furthermore, attention should also be paid to how attackers can make cloned cards using the information obtained to withdraw money or make fraudulent purchases.

Concluding, the episode has been reported to the proper authorities, and action is already being taken. A good step for users to employ is to enable two-factor authentication for all online transactions using their credit/debit cards.

But if you are from those Respective countries and believe you might have been compromised, calling your lender and obtaining their information at this time is highly suggested. You can also alter your own card pin or ask the lender to re-issue a new card. All these would keep your money safe.

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Blood of supposedly recovered coronavirus patients being sold on dark web

Scammers On the dark web are providing vials of blood they allege belong to recovered coronavirus patients as a vaccine for the deadly virus, a new report has found.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said she’s been “personally Horrified” by a number of the remedies advertised on Social Media and other casual online platforms.

“People should be very careful when posting or committing information without actually checking it first,” she said.

Dr. Chant urged Australians to follow public health advice and exercise Caution about any treatments not approved by a professional health body.

“They Are a good deal of therapies which have been put forward to take care of COVID-19. I Would urge people to visit the facts and thoroughly explore, talk to Your health practitioner before doing anything that contradicts with Conventional health advice.”

Researchers In the ANU’s Australian Institute of Criminology discovered While studying how cybercriminals are harnessing the health crisis by Selling antiviral medications, items of personal protective equipment (PPE), And, in some instances, what they claim is human blood.

Based On the study, PPE such as sprays, sanitizers, and HAZMAT suits Accounted for two-thirds of listings, with one user requesting more Than $1700 for 10,000 ‘lab analyzed face masks’.

After PPE, the report discovered antiviral and ‘repurposed medicines’ were the Next most common dark web offering, accounting for nearly half of all listings.

These contain antibacterial and malarial medications like the highly publicized, yet widely disproved Hydroxychloroquine medication.

Purported Vaccines and antidotes made around six percent of the listings with ‘human blood’ allegedly given from recovered coronavirus cases one of them.

Virologists Are seeking to antibodies in the bloodstream of coronavirus survivors for Molecular clues that can offer a design of future therapies. Still, There’s absolutely not any evidence that ingesting or injecting human blood can heal the virus.

Research head Professor Rod Broadhurst said the blood was being offered as a Kind of “passive vaccination,” where somebody who thinks they might be At the risk of disease receives antibodies for the virus by injecting the plasma.

“Fake Vaccines could help out with the spread of this virus because users may Behave as though they’re immune but become exposed to the coronavirus,” Prof. Broadhurst said.

“The premature release of vaccines undergoing animal or human trial would Also misguide users concerning immunity but may also affect the success of These clinical trials.

“We Really should close down underground sales of vaccines and experimental Drugs because there are a whole lot of nasty side effects.” – darkwebmagazine

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A pragmatic partnership: Why China and Iran try to collaborate

IranReview
Iran’s rumoured talks with China on a partnership agreement could have significant economic benefits and provide it with valuable geopolitical bargaining chips.

China and Iran are in the spotlight for their reported talks on a long-term partnership agreement even before any details of it have formally emerged. The green light for these negotiations came shortly after the finalisation of the Iran nuclear deal in 2016, when Chinese President Xi Jinping made a historic visit to the country and met with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Back then, the two countries issued a broad statement of intent to pursue a more formalised partnership. According to Iranian officials, the partnership road map was approved by the Rouhani government a few weeks ago and further negotiations with China will follow. This reported 25-year deal – which has political, economic, and security dimensions – and the negotiations around it have important economic and geopolitical implications.

It could take months for the details of the agreement to become public. According to speculation in the media and an alleged leaked draft, the deal is designed to pave the way for considerable Chinese investment in Iran’s strategically important sectors, including transport, energy, telecommunications, tourism, and healthcare. The deal is rumoured to involve security cooperation and intelligence sharing. Any Chinese-Iranian military and security collaboration – while viewed as a provocative move by the West – is likely to be a slow-burner. When Iran, China, and Russia took the unprecedented step in 2019 of conducting joint naval drills, one Chinese security expert outlined in discussions with the European Council on Foreign Relations that this was much more about signalling to the United States rather than Beijing’s appetite to engage heavily in security operations with Iran.

Tehran and Beijing largely have a pragmatic, business-oriented, and non-ideological relationship with each other. Iran fully understands the implications of China’s swift rise as a global power. Indeed, in light of the extensive impact of US secondary sanctions on European trade with Iran, Iranian leaders now view China as the only major world power that can challenge US economic dominance – and, therefore, provide their country with economic and political protection against mounting US pressure. China, meanwhile, understands that Iran is a major regional power located at the crossroads of the Middle East and Central Asia – an area that is important to its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). While China ranks as one of its top trade partners, Iran still has a great deal of untapped potential for foreign investment – something that Beijing can capitalise on.

After Xi’s 2016 visit, talks over the partnership agreement were slow to begin. During an ECFR research trip to Beijing last year, Chinese experts discussed how China’s government and commercial actors were disappointed that, following the nuclear deal, Iran seemed fixated on attracting European and US companies at the expense of their Chinese counterparts. This precedent came back to bite Iran when, in 2018, the Trump administration brashly withdrew from the nuclear agreement and reimposed secondary sanctions on Iran.

It was also clear from discussions with Chinese experts and officials that, so far, China has been unwilling to allow Iran issues to jeopardise its delicate trade talks with the US. According to Iranian interlocutors, following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, China began to levy heavy commissions on Iranian actors in return for access to its financial networks. Some Chinese state banks reportedly stepped back from most of their business with Iran. In October, China pulled out of a major gas project in Iran. Moreover, after the US attempted to impose an oil embargo on Iran in May 2019, China’s purchases of the product from Iran also nosedived (although China remains the top destination for Iranian oil exports).

It now seems that, in the past year, Iran and China – both of which have been left in a precarious position by the Trump administration – have accelerated their talks. For Iran, formalising its bilateral relations with China in a more concrete fashion can bring tangible economic benefits as well as serving a geopolitical goal. In recent years, Iran has been keenly aware that it has not benefited from the kind of increase in Chinese investment and infrastructure projects seen in Israel and Gulf Cooperation Council countries. A long-term partnership agreement can lock in Chinese commitments in ways that help Tehran demand greater economic cooperation with Beijing and ensure that lofty statements about Iran’s importance to the BRI translate into projects in Iran that create jobs.

The Sino-Iranian deal also has a large political dimension. For Tehran, pursuing this partnership is as much about Beijing as it is about Washington. Iran is clear-eyed about the fact that great power competition between the US and China is likely to intensify in the coming years. Negotiations over the Sino-Iranian deal present Iran with an opportunity to gain Western states’ attention as they debate their economic ties with China. This can provide Iran with some useful bargaining chips in future negotiations with Europe and the US over sanction easing: Tehran can portray itself as a balancing force in Western capitals’ relationships with Beijing and Moscow.

Iran has looked to both China and Russia for protection against US pressure at the United Nations, and will push for a bold response from them if the Trump administration attempts a highly contentious move to snap-back UN sanctions on Iran in the coming months. China has become a more vocal defender of Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency, even pushing back last month against a European-led resolution that rebuked Iran. And Iran has sought to exchange its observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation for full membership – a move that requires China’s approval.

Iran’s enthusiasm for a partnership agreement with China also plays heavily into domestic politics. The supreme leader has long been a proponent of forming more strategic alliances with non-Western powers, which he has viewed as more trustworthy than the US or Europe – a sentiment that only became stronger after the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani may have pushed for an opening with the West, but he has also supported greater integration with Asian economies such as those of China, Japan, and South Korea. His mentor, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was a major advocate of modelling Iran’s economy on that of Deng Xiaoping’s China. And Rouhani has his legacy to consider as he enters the final year of his administration. After the failed attempt to reopen Iran’s economy to the West following the nuclear deal, he is now looking to cement an equitable arrangement with the only major world power whose economic weight can match that of the US or Europe.

After years of attacking him for opening up to the West, Rouhani’s domestic opponents – who are eyeing a run for the presidency in 2021 – are now attacking him for conducting “secret” negotiations with China. Such a major deal will require approval from Iran’s new ultra-conservative parliament – some members of which have already voiced strong opposition to the move. There is also a polarised public debate over deepening relations with China. Ultimately, however, the final call on Iran’s participation in the deal will be made by the supreme leader.

Both Iran and China stand to gain from a formal and long-term framework that organises their bilateral relations. While an overarching agreement will almost certainly make their partnership stronger, it is highly unlikely to develop into a full strategic alliance. Clearly, such a move would face strong resistance from within Iran. China – which has yet to substantively comment on the deal – will also need to carefully balance deepened relations with Iran against the concerns of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – which have in recent years become important economic partners in the Middle East. And it is unclear how far China’s commercial and banking sectors will be willing to engage with Iran under the threat of US sanctions. Moreover, the extent to which Beijing and Tehran develop this partnership will be tied to the fate of their respective relations with Washington. Ellie Geranmayeh

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The No Name ATM/Debit & Credit Card

We are pleased to present our offshore card solution – a no-name offshore Visa Electron pre-paid debit card denominated in USD issued by a stable Caribbean based bank. This can be purchased as a separate product or can be a part of any corporation and/or foundation package you order from us.

These cards have the 3 digit CVC code on the back activated so that they can be used like a credit card for internet and mail/telephone order transactions. They are accepted at all merchants anywhere Visa is accepted worldwide so long as the merchant processes their cards electronically which is now almost universal. The card is accepted at all ATM’s with the Plus and/or Visa logo and has a USD 2,500 daily cash withdrawal maximum. There is a USD 1,000 maximum per single swiped ATM transaction, but just about all ATM’s allow multiple transactions in succession with the same card. The POS daily maximum is the same as well, however it is possible to do a single transaction up to the daily USD 2,500limit in this way.

Each card can be loaded with a maximum of USD 25,000 per month and this amount can be loaded in its entirety upon activation if desired. Maximum load on the card at any one time is USD10,000. One card only is allowed per cardholder.

Card fees are as follows: ATM cash withdrawal fee: US$ 3.80, POS transaction fee US$ 1.50, monthly fee US$ 3.80, load fee US$ 3.80 (+ 1% by wire transfer, + 3% by cheque, + 7.5% by Western Union)/

The card cost is US$ 495 PLUS your first load of US$500, total US$995, which is included in your package. One card only per person. Shipping can be by international postal mail which is free but can take quite a few weeks so we strongly recommend paying extra for courier delivery which is US$ 30. You will also need to send US$ 100 per card as an initial card load as the bank will not activate a card account without a minimum deposit just like a regular bank account cannot be opened without an initial deposit.

A minimum US$ 20 balance must be maintained and if the card balance falls below US$ 10 at any time the account is automatically closed and cannot be re-opened without going through the account opening procedure all over again, paying the replacement card fee and obtaining a new card. Due to constantly changing currency exchange rates we advise that the initial minimum load amount be kept on the card as a buffer in case you miscalculate the currency conversion rate from your local currency to US$ and/or forget to take into account ATM and POS transaction fees.

1. Once we receive your order and paid funds, your application will be emailed to you for you to complete and print out.

2. You then send this signed application original and identity document copies – [Please find below a guide] and courier to source direct.

3. The following documents are acceptable forms of KYC: A. Proof of identification: (Please provide us with the following photo identification documents)

A passport is as of now a compulsory piece of ID verification document.In the event that a card applicant can not provide his passport, we will require:

  • A. Two separate and distinct ID verification documents (e.g. drivers license AND id card) or One ID verification document certified by local authorities
  • Other ID allowed:
    • National ID
    • Armed forces ID card
    • Photo credit/debit card issued by a bank
    • Disabled drivers pass or Disability ID
  • B. Proof of address: (Please provide us with an original or a copy of one of the following documents)
    • Current Utility bills (mobile/cell phone bills, internet access bills, cable and Satellite TV bills are not acceptable) (original or copy)
    • Current Bank/Building society/Credit Card statements (original or copy)
    • Current Mortgage statement (original or copy)
    • Current Home or motor insurance certificate or motor vehicle registration documents (copy)
    • Inland Revenue/IRS tax notifications (copy)
    • Current, signed passport (copy of the page showing the Residential address)
    • Current photocard driving license (copy)
    • Current National ID (copy)
    • Current Armed forces ID card (copy)
    • Current Disabled drivers pass or Disability ID (copy)

NOTE: The utility bill must be on an Applicant’s Name and make reference to the RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS, except for family members that live with their parents in which a handwritten note referencing the relationship will suffice.

4. From the time we receive your documents to the time you receive your cards, please allow 3 to 4 weeks for the bank to process and ship your card directly to you.

5. As soon as your card has been received, you will need to send us a confirmation of delivery with your card number so that we can load your card. This means that by that time we should have handy at least the minimum initial loading in order to complete the activation process.

Loading funds and courier fee could be wire to the following coordinates, remembering to include at least 10 US$ to cover incoming bank wire charges.

Loading Options – You can remit loads for your card via a bank wire OR Western Union.

To order please proceed to our on-line order form just Euro 995 including your first Euro 500 load and card delivery!

Thank you for your interest in our products and services.

Bob Williams
Offshore-Banking-Singapore

Posted in MONEY LAUNDRY | Leave a comment

Shocking Confessions of a Chinese Fentanyl Trafficker

An investigative team from VICE News made a podcast titled Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis to report on the illegal fentanyl drug business. The team managed to trace the supply chain links that indicated sources in Mexico and China.

The reporters reached out to a host of China-based online vendors who offered fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to interested buyers. In an exclusive interview1, the team caught up with a fentanyl trafficker in China called Mr. Yue (not his real name) who elucidated the nature of his business and confessed the concerns he had about the dangerous nature of drugs he sold.

Dozens of Drug Listings

The VICE team came face-to-face with realities about Yue’s drug business, which included the operation of an online platform with a dozen drug listings. The website advertised various chemicals for sale and, in highlight, the platform promoted methoxyacetyl fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

On being questioned about the fentanyl listing, Yue clarified that his website was outdated as he had move on to other ventures. The man is currently training people on fentanyl manufacture through a step-by-step guide he developed – he also teaches people about how they can operate a clandestine fentanyl lab.

As far as his knowledge is concerned, Yue said that there’s a long list of methodologies used by drug manufacturers to synthesize fentanyl. He noted that while some people depend on chemicals banned in both the U.S. and China, a number of basic substances can be used to synthesize the dangerous drug.

Shifting to Coronavirus-Related Supplies

Yue said that he ventured into the drug trade by accident, as he was keen to transform his financial situation at the time. He had succeeded to establish networks online and worked hard to build a foundation for his business, but the government crackdown on fentanyl has scared him off the trade.

According to his confession, the drug trafficker halted his fentanyl production and sales operation in May. The trafficker changed his scope to target the sale of coronavirus-related supplies like COVID-19 testing kits and respirator masks, which have become scarce and in high demand2 across the U.S.

The decision was arrived in response to the Chinese law enforcement move to regulate synthetic opioids as controlled substances. The fentanyl business has become risky owing to the current law enforcement and regulatory circumstances, although Yue confirmed the continued existence of synthetic opioid listings on his website.

Reportedly, synthetic opioids had long been unregulated by the government – which allowed people to manufacture and distribute. In fact, the synthetic opioid industry in China had flourished as some pharmaceutical export firms benefited from government support3 while the U.S. had banned the drug altogether. The Chinese resolution to begin regulating synthetic opioids was therefore considered due to external pressure from the U.S.

In Yue’s view, it appears that the new regulations have caused the desired effect since Chinese sources have been responsible for the fentanyl crisis in the U.S. Statistical data by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection reflect a 45 percent reduction in fentanyl seizures from 2018 figures.

Notes

1- https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/5dzyba/confessions-of-a-chinese-fentanyl-trafficker-im-really-afraid-of-hurting-people

2- https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/business/coronavirus-ecommerce-sites.html

3- https://choice.npr.org/index.html?origin=https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/09/04/757089868/fentanyl-as-a-dark-web-profit-center-from-chinese-labs-to-u-s-streets

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Two Chinese Charged for Aiding North Korean Crypto Theft

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), recently identified two Chinese individuals involved in the theft of about $250 million worth of digital money from an unknown exchange.

The two individuals were identified as Tian Yinging, and Li Jiadong helped Korean hackers launder funds stolen from crypto exchanges. In a twist, however, the two found themselves in a privileged position given that the US is unable to extradite them from their home country to face the law.

Legal Speed Bump

This legal speed bump has happened despite American agencies providing comprehensive records proving expressly and showing evidence that the two schemers were behind the digital raid. Aside from facilitating the money laundering scheme, the two are also accused of running an exchange platform without any licenses.

How it Happened

The grand scheme involving the Chinese believed to have happened between December 2017 and April 2019. A well designed and highly effective malware rapidly compromising and gaining control of an anonymous exchange platform is confirmed to be the ingenious waft of the wand that triggered the whole process.

After neutralizing the platform’s security protocol, the malware then proceeded to siphon out all the private keys belonging to the users of the exchange. The actors behind the malware then moved to withdraw all the assets through Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin.

The entry point of the malware was later identified to be through an email sent to one of the exchange’s employees. A sum of $250 million worth of cryptocurrency was nabbed with the specific units being $94 million in Bitcoin (10,777 BTC), $131 million in Ethereum (218,780 ETH) and the deficit belonging to other digital tokens.

Using specialized mixing and tumbling techniques, the attackers managed to obscure their operation from any external suspicion. They made many consecutive complex transactions through various accounts, thereby blurring the address path of the digital assets.

Celas, the Unregulated Exchange

The hacker group is then traced to have invested half of the stolen digital assets in their exchange platform, which they called Celas.

When cybersecurity experts later investigated the exchange platform, it was discovered to have malicious intent in that it collected private data such as passwords and private keys. It was mainly a smoking mirror for phishing malware.

Celas was not shy in marketing. Reports gather that it sent many potential customers emails in the pretense of being a security download in a bid to lure users.

The attackers operating it even went so far as to register many fake accounts in its database and other social media platforms to make it seem more credible and believable.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), recently identified two Chinese individuals involved in the theft of about $250 million worth of digital money from an unknown exchange.

The two individuals were identified as Tian Yinging, and Li Jiadong helped Korean hackers launder funds stolen from crypto exchanges. In a twist, however, the two found themselves in a privileged position given that the US is unable to extradite them from their home country to face the law.

Legal Speed Bump

This legal speed bump has happened despite American agencies providing comprehensive records proving expressly and showing evidence that the two schemers were behind the digital raid. Aside from facilitating the money laundering scheme, the two are also accused of running an exchange platform without any licenses.

How it Happened

The grand scheme involving the Chinese believed to have happened between December 2017 and April 2019. A well designed and highly effective malware rapidly compromising and gaining control of an anonymous exchange platform is confirmed to be the ingenious waft of the wand that triggered the whole process.

After neutralizing the platform’s security protocol, the malware then proceeded to siphon out all the private keys belonging to the users of the exchange. The actors behind the malware then moved to withdraw all the assets through Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin.

The entry point of the malware was later identified to be through an email sent to one of the exchange’s employees. A sum of $250 million worth of cryptocurrency was nabbed with the specific units being $94 million in Bitcoin (10,777 BTC), $131 million in Ethereum (218,780 ETH) and the deficit belonging to other digital tokens.

Using specialized mixing and tumbling techniques, the attackers managed to obscure their operation from any external suspicion. They made many consecutive complex transactions through various accounts, thereby blurring the address path of the digital assets.

Celas, the Unregulated Exchange

The hacker group is then traced to have invested half of the stolen digital assets in their exchange platform, which they called Celas.

When cybersecurity experts later investigated the exchange platform, it was discovered to have malicious intent in that it collected private data such as passwords and private keys. It was mainly a smoking mirror for phishing malware.

Celas was not shy in marketing. Reports gather that it sent many potential customers emails in the pretense of being a security download in a bid to lure users.

The attackers operating it even went so far as to register many fake accounts in its database and other social media platforms to make it seem more credible and believable.

The cybersecurity team managed to beat the hackers and gain access to the website, which was heavily concealed in layers of VPN. This case is just but an additional file on the heap given that the global economy is at risk due to the frequency of such cyber attacks.

Posted in CYBER CRIME | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

FOREIGN ISIS FIGHTERS IN SYRIA

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. Firearm Sales Break All Records Last Month

General Concern over the Proliferation of COVID-19, as well as recent protests, during which there were calls to disband the police, led to increased arms sales. Moreover, most often it was purchased by people, who have never owned guns or rifles before.

This is written by Peter Suchu in an article, published by the American edition of National Interest.

Hard times can cause sales to rise.. At least, this applies to firearms. Unlike many other consumer products, for which demand may fall in bad economic conditions or in times of uncertainty, arms sales remain resistant to downturns.

Mark Oliva from the National Shooting Sports Fund (NSFF) considers, that riots, robberies and calls for the dissolution of the police are motivating factors for the growth in the sale of firearms in the United States. According to the fund, arms sales in June 2020 years exceeded the same figure for June last year by 137,7 percent.

It should also be noted, that the sale of rifles and pistols tends to increase during the presidential election. This is largely fueled by concerns among gun owners, that a new president could limit the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing Americans the right to store and carry weapons.

The recent increase in sales has not only boosted gunsmiths revenue, but also raised the value of shares of such companies, как Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. и Sturm Ruger & Company.

Posted in FIREARMS | Leave a comment

Leaked Images From Paypal Seminar Reveals Explicit Racial Bias Against White Customers

Like most Silicon Valley tech firms, PayPal like to keep their terms of service as opaque as possible. Even more shrouded in secrecy is how decisions to discriminate against customers are made, and who makes them. Leaks provided to National Justice from a private Paypal seminar give us some clues. In the above slide, [paypal5.jpg] Paypal lists targets for censorship. Some noteworthy categories are “White Advocacy,” something vaguely described as “Hate Event Involvement” (suggesting they target individuals, not actions on their platform), “Prejudiced News/Commentary,” Holocaust “denial,” and even views critical of mass immigration. The majority of Americans are guilty of at least one of these thought-crimes, which makes one wonder who can even use this service. Some categories discriminate against customers based on race (“white advocacy”), while gray areas abound regarding what exactly constitutes prejudiced news, hate or religious intolerance.

So then what entity decides who gets access to online money transfers and who doesn’t?

According to another slide, this work is deferred to the Jewish organization the Anti-Defamation League, a group funded by the Democracy Alliance called Color of Change, the FBI’s Civil Rights Division, Scotland Yard and others. Government and non-governmental organizations are both presented as “external partners” helping make decisions on what political views and personalities are allowed. The ADL and the FBI have been very aggressively deplatforming dissidents. According to another training slide,1800 accounts belonging to individuals, non-profits and businesses in the last year have been eliminated for political reasons using guidelines provided by their “partners.” 65% were for what they categorize as white nationalist activity, while the next most censored group is people and organizations who advocate for immigration restrictions. [Trump supporting bullshit removed]. There is even a category for “prejudiced academic work.” The company goes on to give specific examples to train censors in spotting ideas and individuals that must be silenced. Most of the individuals and groups mentioned are not particularly radical, much less violent or dangerous. 

The Proud Boys, Stefan Molyneux, Gemma O’Doherty, and Katie Hopkins all have fairly mainstream conservative political views, showing just how little freedom of expression is allowed in America today. The only left-wing extremist on this list is Matthew Rupert, who also happens to be the only one who engaged in illegal activity. Rupert is an anarchist criminal who went to a Black Lives Matter protest and handed out explosives for people to use in terrorist acts. The way everyone except for Rupert is characterized on this chart shows the power of extremely prejudiced sources, like the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL is an espionage and influence organization that operates on behalf of the state of Israel. The president and CEO of Paypal, Dan Schulman, is himself Jewish and eager to work with the ADL. China and the Chinese Communist Party — who conservatives sometimes like to blame for the censorship — is not mentioned anywhere on these slides. Trump’s executive order on tech censorship has had no effect whatsoever even as a deterrent [no shit – he’s a kike]. Silicon Valley and various Jewish groups have responded to it by doubling down and intensifying their attempts to control what we can see, say, read and do.

https://national-justice.com/national-justice-exclusive-leaked-images-paypal-seminar-reveals-explicit-racial-bias-against-white

Posted in RACISM | Leave a comment

“PIZZAGATE”………….

2 years of compiled research available as PDF download or video format proves Pizzagate is 100% real.

PART 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VKNxHpRSO0&t=6573s

0:00 – John Podesta’s Creepy Emails 09:53 – John and Tony Podesta  21:12 – Comet Ping Pong/Pizza 39:39– James Alefantis – Jimmy Commet Instagram Profile  01:26:24 – Wherkinonmahnightcheese Instagram Profile – CHILD SIZED COFFINS 01:28:29 – Pegasus Museum – Location of The Kill Room 01:42:12 – Underground Tunnels 01:49:43 – Pegasus Museum – Amos Connection – Child Sacrifice Worship

PIZZAGATE PDF PART 1 = http://www.mediafire.com/file/r07ylij4a5fwaj6/PART_1_-_The_Truth_About_Pizzagate_%2528Killing_Children%2529.pdf/file

PART2  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtE-WpMhjfo&t=5636s

0:00 – James Alefantis Threatens To Kill Researcher (Ryan O’neill) For Kill Room Video 10:14 – The Dark Truth – Child Torture  16:00 – Paedophile Symbols Known To The FBI 42:41 – Beyond Borders – Clinton Foundation  48:42 – Laura Silsby – Convicted Child Trafficker Saved By The Clinton Mafia  57:16 – Anthony Weiner, Hume Abedin, Hilary Clinton Connection 01:03:50 – Seth Rich  01:15:52 – Huma Abedins Connection To The Muslim Brotherhood – How The West Created Extremist Ideologies To Promote Violence Worldwide

PIZZAGATE PDF PART 2 = http://www.mediafire.com/file/6f41jt0okoqlvok/PART_2_-_The_Truth_About_Pizzagate_%2528Killing_Children%2529.pdf/file

PART 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tULHUwKjMQ&t=3s

0:00 – How The UK and Western Nations Fund Terrorism  48:50 – Conclusion on Huma Abedin’s Connections With The Muslim Brotherhood 01:02:54 – Jeffery Epstein, The Clintons and Orgy Island 01:18:27 – FBI Anonymous  01:27:37 – The Washington DC Spider Web

PIZZAGATE PDF PART 3 = http://www.mediafire.com/file/x6ceczpaz5mk6y1/PART_3_-_The_Truth_About_Pizzagate_%2528Killing_Children%2529.pdf/file

PART 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZjLxSArk7M&t=1820s

0:00 – James Alefantis’s Powerful Connections in Washington DC 02:50 – James Alefantis, Coded Language, Symbolism and Occult Hidden Messages 27:53 – James Alefantis and Marina Abrovamich Connection 01:00:23 – Thought Provoking Truth – The Elite Power Structure on Planet Earth 01:11:40 – THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS STRONGER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER  01:26:13 – Obvious Media Cover Up of Pizzagate  01:36:35 – “Fake News” term Was Created By The Media Because Of The Pizzagate Scandal

PIZZAGATE PDF PART 4 = http://www.mediafire.com/file/hf671wbimr7vjzv/PART_4_-_The_Truth_About_Pizzagate_%2528Killing_Children%2529.pdf/file

PART 5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEj9W9IL9-c

0:00 – Hacker “Big Fish” Finds Child Porn Hidden on Comet Pizza Servers  3:00 – Commet Pizza False Flag Shooting 8:25 – Crisis Actors  25:01 – Hacker “Big Fish” Reports Findings To FBI + Hidden Blockchain Network Found On Comet Pizza Severs For Elite Individuals  37:11 – Palintir – Quin Michaels Research 45:58 Pizzagate Death Threats To Credible Researchers Trying To Expose This Scandal  47:55 – Silencing Ben Swann  49:05 – How The CIA Procure Children For The Elite  55:31 – Potential Video of John Pedestal Abusing a Child  01:05:08 – DEMAND A NON-BIAS LAW ENFORCEMENT INVESTIGATION INTO PIZZAGATE IMMEDIATELY WHICH IS OPEN TO PUBLIC SCRUTINY AND INVOLVEMENT  02:12:00 – What Needs To Happen Next

PART 6 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM68PS8MTbg&t=1s

0:00 – Pizzagate Special Mentions  06:51 – Robertos Pizza and Its Connections  29:18 – Marina Abromovich – Random Acts Connection

#FREEDOMGATE

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South Africa: Built by Whites, Wrecked by Blacks – Will We Let It Happen in America?

Kyle Hunt

South Africa was a country created by White people. These pioneers came from far away and struggled for hundreds of years so that they could create a place where they and their descendants could live as free people, making an honest living on the land. The story of South Africa is actually rather similar to that of America in many ways.

The White people of South Africa made the counThe White people of South Africa made the country a great success, spilling their blood and tears along the way, and their prosperity caused black Africans from surrounding areas to migrate to the country, so as to share in its wealth. Apparently they did not care about White people’s “racism” enough to stay away, just like the invaders of White homelands today come from faraway lands to take from the civilizations Whites have built over the ages.try a great success, spilling their blood and tears along the way, and their prosperity caused black Africans from surrounding areas to migrate to the country, so as to share in its wealth. Apparently they did not care about White people’s “racism” enough to stay away, just like the invaders of White homelands today come from faraway lands to take from the civilizations Whites have built over the ages.

In the latter half of the 20th century, as the great White empires of the world “returned” their colonies (after world jewry won World War II), South Africa stood strong against the growing tide of anti-White sentiment being pushed from governments and the mass media. White South Africans realized the realities of racial differences and were not willing to change their minds simply because the rest of the world had gone insane with judeo-bolshevik talking points about “equality.” They were isolated from the rest of the world for their “racism,” for wanting to live separately from the low-IQ blacks who they employed and governed.

The rest of the world ganged up on South Africa. Ronald Reagan even demanded that communist terrorist Nelson Mandela be released from prison, even though he was guilty of killing many innocent people.

outh Africa was a country created by White people. These pioneers came from far away and struggled for hundreds of years so that they could create a place where they and their descendants could live as free people, making an honest living on the land. The story of South Africa is actually rather similar to that of America in many ways.

The White people of South Africa made the country a great success, spilling their blood and tears along the way, and their prosperity caused black Africans from surrounding areas to migrate to the country, so as to share in its wealth. Apparently they did not care about White people’s “racism” enough to stay away, just like the invaders of White homelands today come from faraway lands to take from the civilizations Whites have built over the ages.

In the latter half of the 20th century, as the great White empires of the world “returned” their colonies (after world jewry won World War II), South Africa stood strong against the growing tide of anti-White sentiment being pushed from governments and the mass media. White South Africans realized the realities of racial differences and were not willing to change their minds simply because the rest of the world had gone insane with judeo-bolshevik talking points about “equality.” They were isolated from the rest of the world for their “racism,” for wanting to live separately from the low-IQ blacks who they employed and governed.

The rest of the world ganged up on South Africa. Ronald Reagan even demanded that communist terrorist Nelson Mandela be released from prison, even though he was guilty of killing many innocent people.

Through trickery and deceit, and incredible financial pressure, the White people of South Africa were removed from power in their country. Nelson Mandela was released, became the new ruler, and has since become a saint.

Rather quickly South Africa descended from the heights of the first world into a third world hellhole. The country that had pioneered so much, including the first heart transplant in 1967, suddenly couldn’t even keep the power running for its citizens, with rolling blackouts now commonplace. Crime, especially cold-blooded murder and rape, are rampant. White people are disproportionately targeted, as blacks are whipped up into a frenzy of hate from their leaders, who want to point to the White man for all of their failures.

Neighboring Rhodesia had previously become Zimbabwe, then Whites were murdered and expelled, then the blacks starved and became very poor, then they begged the White people to return.

No one who is “politically correct” is willing to admit why Black-run countries always result in terrible failure.

IQ map

Dr. James Watson, discoverer of the DNA double helix, has been publicly vilified and stripped of his honors for pointing out the obvious. He once told a reporter he had a “gloomy” outlook for the future of Africa because:

all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really”.

Anyone who states these facts in today’s world is condemned as a “racist,” which is far worse in the (((public mind))) than a rapist.

Dr. Watson also commented on the state of black Americans.

Environmental differences … including the sort that affect Black Americans, are known to have large effects on IQ. Moreover, we currently have no way to quantify these effects. So we should draw no conclusion about the probability of any Black genetic IQ advantage or disadvantage.”

Blacks in today’s America have been given many of the same advantages as White Americans, and in many cases they are given even more advantages, thanks to the anti-White policy of affirmative action. And yet their IQs are still much lower than the White people with whom they live. Any IQ advantage black Americans have over Africans appears to be due to the White admixture most of them have, but they are still dysfunctional.

Black criminality and shortcomings are blamed on systemic racism that forces them into a low socio-economic status. Anti-Whites also claim that White people’s prejudices about blacks cause them to behave poorly, which essentially amounts to, “we act like niggers because you all think of us as niggers.” All one has to do is look at impoverished White areas, like West Virginia, where crime is much, much lower than even middle class black areas.

None of this is allowed to be discussed, though, because it would make it harder for our jewish overlords to implement their plans for a bolshevik-style revolution that results in White people becoming the ultimate underclass, confined to “squatter camps” just like in South Africa. Think about the situation now, with many White people already living in trailer parks, being told that they are given unearned “privileges” in this society just for being White. Anything a White person does or says is now a form of “White supremacy,” which is equated with domestic terrorism by the highest levels of government.

This kind of garbage is hammered into young minds at colleges, which are communist indoctrination centers.

The only kind of interracial violence that is even discussed on the mainstream media is when a White person hurts someone of another race, even if it is just emotionally, like “Karen” in Central Park calling the police on a “bird-watching” black man. The reality is that White people are victimized dis-proportionally by black people and it is only going to get worse in the wake of the anti-White assault coming at us from all angles.

The only kind of interracial violence that is even discussed on the mainstream media is when a White person hurts someone of another race, even if it is just emotionally, like “Karen” in Central Park calling the police on a “bird-watching” black man. The reality is that White people are victimized dis-proportionally by black people and it is only going to get worse in the wake of the anti-White assault coming at us from all angles.

Whites are the biggest victims of inter-racial crime! We are the real ones facing literal and systemic racism!

Posted in DOMESTIC TERROR | 2 Comments

Crippling new sanctions punish Syrian civilians for US defeat in proxy war

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TERROR………..

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Internet Rumor Ties Antisemitic Fliers to Black Lives Matter

Internet Rumor Ties Antisemitic Fliers to Black Lives MatterIn the midst of ongoing, nationwide protests in response to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, an internet rumor has circulated accusing Black Lives Matter of distributing antisemitic fliers.

The flier reads, “Ending white privilege…intersects [sic] ending Jewish privilege,” and claims that Jewish Americans receive special privileges at leading universities. “Challenging White Privilege and Jewish Privilege is not anti-semitic [sic]. It is not defamatory. It does not insult anyone. It is Social Justice,” the flier says. It also includes the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter, #WeAreAllMuslim, and #WhitePrivilege.

The claim that Jews are able to manipulate institutions, including universities, to benefit themselves at the expense of non-Jews, is a classic antisemitic trope.

As of this writing, there is no indication that any Black Lives Matter activists have shared, printed or distributed these fliers during the current protests. Nevertheless, the fliers may have the effect of driving a wedge between Jews and Black Americans.

Speculation about this antisemitic flier comes at a time when other fliers promoting conspiracy theories are also circulating online, including some alleging that George Soros is involved in fomenting street violence.

Images of this flier have circulated online since at least as early as March 2017, when a news report reported that unknown perpetrators had distributed a physical flier at the University of Illinois at Chicago. At the time, a representative of Black Lives Matter condemned the flier, as well as several additional fliers bearing antisemitic messages and the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

Since 2017, ADL has received reports of this and similar fliers at the University of Colorado at Denver, Kansas State University, Princeton University and California State University at Northridge, as well as in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The flier in Cape Canaveral was distributed by the New Jersey European Heritage Association, a white supremacist group. The perpetrators in the rest of the fliering incidents are unknown.

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U.S. Government Places a $5 Million Bounty on North Korean Hackers

The U.S. government is offering $5 million for leads about North Korea’s hackers and their ongoing cybercriminal operations.

The latest news comes hot in the heels of a joint advisory produced by the U.S. Departments of State, the U.S. Treasury, Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which sought to provide guidance on the North Korean cyber threat.

Apart from spelling out the intended reward targeting North Korean hackers, the advisory also went further to prescribe mitigation mechanisms that the global community, cyber defenders, and the general public can use in cybersecurity. 

Specifically, the measures are aimed at helping various stakeholders to build defenses against state sponsored hacking groups supported by North Korea (referred to as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea aka DPRK).

The Joint Report on the North Korean Threat

The U.S. government has acknowledged the fact that North Korean cybercriminals continue to pose significant threat to the financial health and stability of global economies.

The joint report bears a bundle of information regarding North Korea’s cyber operations that have existed in the recent past by plugging into data provided by the UN Security Council Report.

The document contains detailed information about the North Korean tactic of employing hacking groups in raising money for the country’s regime in an effort to bypass the effects of the longstanding international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

Importantly, the report has issued warnings to financial institutions and organizations across various economic spectra to reinforce their defenses against the North Korean cyber attackers. 

In addition, the report has documented relevant information concerning the U.S. government resources that have been placed on standby (targeting DPRK activities) so that organizations can study and build on their protections to stay shielded against North Korean malware and cyber tactics.

Also in the report, the U.S. government has cautioned companies against sympathizing with North Korean hacking machinery, including the organizations whose activities have directly or indirectly assisted North Korean hacking groups to launder dirty money. 

The document has outlined a number of punitive actions that would be levelled against companies found to act as accomplices to North Korean cybercriminal acts – including the imposition of sanctions and the seizure of assets.

DPRK Activity

A host of past cyber-enabled criminal activity and espionage campaigns suffered by digital asset exchanges and financial entities have been blamed on North Korean hacking groups which constitute hackers, cryptology experts and software developers.

The U.S. government has identified the range of malicious activities from North Korea, otherwise referred to under the moniker HIDDEN COBRA which, like mentioned before, have been used to raise funds illegally for the current North Korean regime. Specifically, the following tactics have been used:

  • Cyber-enabled financial heists and money laundering activities.
  • Crypto-jacking operations.
  • Extortion campaigns.

According to the DPRK Cyber Threat Advisory, North Korean cybercriminals have been executing extortion campaigns targeting third-country entities by attacking networks and threatening to shut down the entities’ networks until a ransom is paid.

In some cases, the cyber actors have demanded payment from victims while disguised under long-term remunerated consulting agreements that would mean that the malicious actors will forgo any plans to launch cyber-attacks in the future.

Further, it has gone on record that DPRK cybercriminals have also been used by third part actors to hack websites and extort organizations. The fact that North Korean hackers have been used in hackers-for-hire contracts is mindboggling, and exposes the fact that the Pyongyang regime has heavily invested in its cyber capability with an intention to heavily monetize it.

To conclude, while the international community hopes that the North Korean cyber threat will be dealt with as it comes, the latest joint guidance by the U.S. government may be the new sheriff in town after all.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

UN Security Council Report

HIDDEN COBRA

https://www.syxsense.com/north-korea-hack

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA17-164A

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Russian Cybercrime Operation Leads to 25 Arrests and the Closure of BuyBest Marketplace

Russian law enforcement have apprehended 25 people as part of an investigation to wipe out a network of illegal online platforms that supported the illicit buying and selling of payment cards and stolen personal information.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested the more than two dozen persons, among them Russian nationals and foreigners, who have allegedly been masterminding a digital identity theft racket via dark web.

It is reported that the cybercriminals operated a dark web marketplace called BuyBest/GoldenShop, and several other mirror websites that facilitated the illicit trade.

According to a Russian court file document, a threat intelligence firm had issued an alert on the cybercriminal ring that implicated the accused hacker Alexey Stroganovto (alias Flint24) be among the arrested individuals.

Apart from running dark web sites, it is alleged that Flint24 and his counterparts operated online shops that existed in the surface web, including wuzzup[.]com and dumpsmania24[.com].

In highlight of how big a role the 25 people played in sustaining a cybercriminal underworld, investigators discovered that the arrests had become a hot topic across Russian-language cybercriminal platforms.

Among the defendants arrested by Russian authorities included Ukranian and Lithuanian nationals spread around 11 Russian regions. In material terms, the arrests led to searches that yielded about $1 million in cash, 3 million rubles, gold bars, devices such as computers and servers, guns, fake IDs including Russian and government identification documents.

The Dark Web Marketplace

According to the FSB, the arrested persons ran about 90 mirror sites associated with BuyBest – pages that served to keep the platforms operational in the event that the main website was taken down by authorities of hackers. Specifically, a host of sites with names such as “BuyBestCC” and “BuyBestBiz” became conduits for the movement of stolen personal data. Detectives also found out that the criminals promoted their services on another platform called CarderBazar.

Reflecting on the FSB’s takedown of the BuyBest platform along with its mirror sites, Gemini Advisory (a New York-based fraud intelligence company) confirmed that BuyBest/GoldenShop had gone offline. At this point, cached pages can still be accessed online – which promote databases of payment cards, including debit PIN numbers that most cybercriminals struggle to acquire.

In terms of market activity, Gemini Advisory wrote that the BuyBest/GoldenShop platform was created in 2013 and had so far been a highly profitable venture for its operators. The firm estimates that 7 years since its creation, the entire enterprise garnered $70 million – about $18 million being remitted to the platform’s owners, and about $52 million earned by the market’s suppliers of stolen data.

Overtime, BuyBest/GoldenShop became a leader is the trade of phished data, including Social Security Numbers (SSNs), dates of birth (DOBs) and people’s IP addresses. By the time the Russian authorities descended on the platform, BuyBest had managed to sell millions of stolen card information – with some of the stolen records being tied to breaches like the 2018 data security case that hit Caribou Coffee.

Posted in CYBER CRIME | Leave a comment

When “History Matters No More”: Virginia taking Robert E. Lee’s Monument Down

Rainbow over the General Robert E. Lee statue

In the last several years, monuments to Confederates has disappeared across the nation. Should this be condoned?

Should Americans demand that any or all of the following be removed? If not, why?

1. The Connecticut Twenty-Ninth Colored Regiment, C. V. Infantry; New Haven, Connecticut.
2. The African-American Civil War Memorial – The Spirit Of Freedom; Washington, District of Columbia
3. Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment; Washington, District of Columbia
4. 2nd Regiment Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops; Fort Myers, Florida
5. Memorial to the Forgotten Soldiers; Key West, Florida
6. Colored Soldiers Monument (AKA Kentucky African American Civil War Veterans Monument); Frankfort, Kentucky
7. In Memory of More Than 400 Prominent United States Colored Troops from Kent County; Chestertown, Maryland
8. Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment; Boston, Massachusetts
9. African American Monument; Vicksburg, Mississippi
10. 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Civil War Monument – “Battle of Island Mound”; Butler, Missouri
11. 56th United States Colored Troops Monument; St. Louis, Missouri
12. Soldiers’ Memorial at Lincoln University, Missouri; Jefferson City, Missouri
13. In Memory of the Colored Union Soldiers; Hertford, North Carolina
14. Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Cleveland, Ohio
15. United States Colored Troops National Monument; Nashville, Tennessee
16. West Point Monument (AKA Norfolk African-American Civil War Memorial); Norfolk, Virginia
17. Civil War Monument; Portsmouth,Virginia

Related Article https://richmondmagazine.com/news/sunday-story/a-monument-avenue-mystery/

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PRESS LENSE….


Community activist Jedidiah Brown yells as Chicago police officers clash with hundreds of protesters Monday outside a store that had been looted near East 71st Street and South Chappel Avenue in South Shore.
PROTESTS
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General Mattis (ret) issues rebuke of Trump

Here is the text:

I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.

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LIBYA

AMBUSH

President Erdogan

▪️ “We are repeating our call to prevent the attempted coup by the Putschist Hafter to sell oil, which is the right of the Libyan people, through illegal ways.”

▪️ “We will act with Serrac on all international platforms to solve the problem in Libya on the basis of legitimacy and equity.”

▪️ “(With Libyan Prime Minister Serrac) We reached a consensus on expanding our cooperation areas in Libyan territory.”

Libyan Prime Minister Serrac:
▪️ “We want to see Turkish companies in Libya during the reconstruction of Libya”

Posted in libya | 1 Comment

Silk Way West Diplomatic Cargo Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Moved

Document preview

extracted from flight clearance request documentation 
Flight Date 
23/05/2017 
26/05/2017 
26/05/2017 
27/05/2017 
29/05/2017 
29/05/2017 
30/05/2017 
30/05/2017 
2/06/2017 
5/06/2017 
5/06/2017 
6/06/2017 
9/06/2017 
9/06/2017 
9/06/2017 
10/06/2017 
11/06/2017 
12/06/2017 
12/06/2017 
13/06/2017 
13/06/2017 
13/06/2017 
16/06/2017 
19/06/2017 
20/06/2017 
23/06/2017 
28/06/2017 
29/06/2017 
30/06/2017 
30/06/2017 
6/07/2017 

Flight No 
AZG 9532 
AZG 2124/5 
AZG 9532 
AZQ 4542 
AZG8801/2 
AZQ 4542 
AZG 9132 
AZG 2124 
AZQ 9532 
AZG 9452 
AZQ 4622 
AZQ 9532 
AZQ 9532 
AZQ 4142 
AZQ 4541/2 
AZQ 4542 
AZQ 4541/2 
AZQ 4542 
AZG 9452 
AZQ 9331 
AZQ 4118 
AZQ 4119 
AZQ 9534 
AZQ 9451/2 
AZQ 9531 
AZQ/7L 9335 
AZQ 4011 
AZQ 4013 
AZQ 9451/2 
AZQ 4015 
AZQ 4017 

Shipper 
Arsenal Co. Bulgaria 
Cherming Ordinance Inc. USA 
Arsenal Co. Bulgaria 
Gim Doo, Serbia 
Dunarit Corp, Bulgaria 
Gim Doo, Serbia 
CN Romarm SA, Romania 
Cherming Ordinance Inc. USA 
Yugoimport SDPR, Serbia 
Yugoimport SDPR, Serbia 
Elbit Systems Land & C4L Ltd, Israel 
Yugoimport SDPR, Serbia 
Yugoimport SDPR, Serbia 
German Military Forces 
Gim Doo, Serbia 
Gim Doo, Serbia 
Gim Doo, Serbia 
Gim Doo, Serbia 
Yugoimport SDPR, Serbia 
Arsenal Co. Bulgaria 
Swedish Armed Forces 
Swedish Armed Forces 
Dynarit Corp. Bulgaria 
Yugoimport SDPR, Serbia 
Dynarit Corp. Bulgaria 
Dunarit Corp, Bulgaria 
Culmen Intl LLC, VA USA 
Culmen Intl LLC, VA USA 
Yugoimport SDPR, Serbia 
Culmen Intl LLC, VA USA 
Culmen Intl LLC, VA USA 

Flight From 
LBBG (Burgas, Bulgaria) 
KJFK (Ney York, USA) 
LBBG (Burgas, Bulgaria) 
LYNI (Belgrade, Serbia) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
LYNI (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LROP (Romania) 
KJFK (Ney York, USA) 
LYBE (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LYBE (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LLOV (Ovda, Israel) 
LYBE (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LYBE (Belgrade, Serbia) 
EDDP (Leipzig, Germany) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
LYNI (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LYBE (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LYNI (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LYBE (Belgrade, Serbia) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
ESOE (Orebro, Sweden) 
ORER (Erbil, Iraq) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
LBBG (Burgas, Bulgaria) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 
UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 

Flight Via 

Consignee 

UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 

LBBG (Burgas, Bulgaria) 

UBBB (Baku, Serbia) 

LYNI (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LYNI (Belgrade, Serbia) 

LBBG (Burgas, Bulgaria) 
ORBI (Baghdad Intl, Iraq) 
LBBG (Burgas, Bulgaria) 
LYBE (Belgrade, Serbia) 
LBBG (Burgas, Bulgaria) 

LYBE (Belgrade, Serbia) 

Afghan National Army 
Min of Interior, Iraq 
Afghan National Army 
MoD Saudi Arabia 
US Army, Indiana, USA 
MoD Saudi Arabia 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
Min of Interior, Iraq 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
MoD Azerbaijan 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
ISAF German Forces, Afghanistan 
MoD UK, Saudi Arabia 
MoD Saudi Arabia 
MoD UK, Saudi Arabia 
MoD Saudi Arabia 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
Swedish Armed Forces, Iraq 
Swedish Armed Forces, Iraq 
Afghan National Army 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
Afghan National Army 
Afghan National Army 
MoD Azerbaijan 
MoD Azerbaijan 
MoD Islamic Rep of Afghanistan 
MoD Azerbaijan 
MoD Azerbaijan 

Flight To 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
ORBI (Baghdad Intl, Iraq) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
OEPS (Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia) 
KJFK (Ney York, USA) 
OEPS (Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
ORBI (Baghdad Intl, Iraq) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
UBBI (Nasosni, Azerbaijan) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
OAMS (Sharif, Afghanistan) 
OEPS (Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia) 
OEPS (Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia) 
OEPS (Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia) 
OEPS (Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
ORER (Erbil, Iraq) 
ESOE (Orebro, Sweden) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
LDRI (Rijeka) 
LDRI (Rijeka) 
OAKB (Kabul, Afghanistan) 
LDRI (Rijeka) 
LDRI (Rijeka) 

Weight(kg) 
24,336 
20,307 
42,084 
24,650 
90,000 
21,584 
96,699 
101,000 
53,568 
104,405 
46,908 
50,344 
65,960 
69,480 
1,662 
24,650 
1,662 
21,584 
104,405 
95,000 
287,408 
128,542 
105,000 
70,838 
105,000 
64,736 
41,430 
42,336 
70,838 
42,119 
41,700 

Weapons / Items Shipped 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge, grenades 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge 
Grenades, hand or rifle with bursting charge 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge (122mm HE Frag) 
Projectiles, detonating fuzes 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge (122mm HE Frag), grenades M75 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge (73mm HE Frag) 
Cartridges for weapons 
Cartridges for weapons (mortar shells 60mm) 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge (122mm HE Frag) 
SPG DANA MI-CZ Self-propelled Howitzer, other assorted armaments 
Cartridges for weapons (mortar shells 60mm) 
Cartridges for weapons (cartridge 23mm), ammunition incendiary (23mm) 
Aerial flares, igniters 
Cartridges for weapons (mortar shells 60mm, 81mm), grenades M75 
Cartridges for weapons (mortar shells 60mm) 
Cartridges for weapons (mortar shells 60mm, 81mm), grenades M76 
Cartridges for weapons (mortar shells 60mm), grenades M75 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge 
Cartridges, small arms (7.62), Grenades 40mm OG-7V HE/Frag 
Various materials (Paints, adhesives, fluids) 
ODD: Returns with similar manifest – Various materials (Paints, adhesives, fluids) 
Projectiles, detonating fuzes 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge 
Projectiles, detonating fuzes 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge 
Grenades, hand or rifle with bursting charge & Cartridges for weapons 
Grenades, hand or rifle with bursting charge & Cartridges for weapons 
Cartridges for weapons with bursting charge 
Grenades, hand or rifle with bursting charge & Cartridges for weapons 
Grenades, hand or rifle with bursting charge & Cartridges for weapons 

2,060 Tons transported between 23rd May and 6th July 

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