A paste reposted from Cryptome.
Be seeing you.
|This gorgeous portrait of Julian Assange by Abode of Chaos.|
Do check his photostream out. It kicks ass.
Used with permission (Creative Commons, some rights reserved)
Assange Accuses U.S. of a ‘Witch Hunt’
By RAVI SOMAIYA: August 19, 2012
Since June, Mr. Assange has been confined to the embassy, a small office in a red-brick apartment block where he fled and was granted asylum from British efforts to extradite him to Sweden. He is wanted for questioning on accusations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion brought by two women in Stockholm in 2010, allegations he has denied.
U.S. says WikiLeaks' Assange trying to deflect rape allegations
(Reuters) WASHINGTON | Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:41am -
The United States on Monday accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of making "wild assertions" about an alleged U.S. vendetta against him to deflect attention from rape allegations he faces in Sweden.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland dismissed Assange's latest broadside, which he delivered on Sunday from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has sought refuge from arrest.
(Reuters, continued from above)
"He is making all kinds of wild assertions about us," Nuland told a news briefing, saying Assange's current legal problems stemmed from allegations of sexual misconduct and were unrelated to the WikiLeaks case.
"He is clearly trying to deflect attention away from the real issue, which is whether he's going to face justice in Sweden, which is the immediate issue. So that case has nothing to do with us. It's a matter between the UK, Sweden, and now Ecuador has inserted itself," Nuland said.
|Bahia Santa Maria, Costa Rica|
Jennifer Gallagher-Pinson, 46, the Denver based Irish woman who cared for the Aurora Batman shooting victims in the aftermath of the horrific attack has drowned. She was a critical care emergency room nurse.
President Obama and his wife Michelle had earlier paid tribute to Jenny and to her hospital colleagues, who were credited with saving the lives of many injured in the senseless massacre.
But now her family has a tragedy of their own to contend with. Meath native Jenny was reportedly swimming in a lake near her home when she she got into difficulties and drowned
'Jenny was excited to be back playing football this year and was enjoying the Friday night games at Infinity Park and also played on the Denver Gaels ladies football team at the recent Irish festival, beating teams from San Francisco and Dallas to win the tournament. She so loved to be with the Ladies that were her team mates and so many who were her very close friends. Memories of trips with the Gaels whether it was for tournaments, camping in Moab, or surfing in Costa Rica would never have been so fond had Jenny not been there. We will always remember her wonderful smile, her loving and sharing nature.'
|Costga Rica Surf, Image Search, not under copyright|
Moab is a city in Grand County, in eastern Utah, in the western United States. ... Moab hosts a large number of tourists every year ...The town is a popular base for mountain bikers who ride the extensive network of trails including the famed Slickrock Trail, and off-roaders who come for the annual Moab Jeep Safari..... During the 1800s the area around what is now Moab served as the Colorado River crossing along the Old Spanish Trail.
Taken from http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/08/americas-vassal-acts-decisively-and-illegally/ which is currently down.
America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally
by craig on August 16, 2012 11:30 am in Uncategorized
I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided – after immense pressure from the Obama administration – to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.
This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries – arguably millennia – of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.
The provisions of the Vienna Convention on the status of diplomatic premises are expressed in deliberately absolute terms. There is no modification or qualification elsewhere in the treaty.
1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter
them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises
of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the
mission or impairment of its dignity.
3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of
transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.
Not even the Chinese government tried to enter the US Embassy to arrest the Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen. Even during the decades of the Cold War, defectors or dissidents were never seized from each other’s embassies. Murder in Samarkand relates in detail my attempts in the British Embassy to help Uzbek dissidents. This terrible breach of international law will result in British Embassies being subject to raids and harassment worldwide.
The government’s calculation is that, unlike Ecuador, Britain is a strong enough power to deter such intrusions. This is yet another symptom of the “might is right” principle in international relations, in the era of the neo-conservative abandonment of the idea of the rule of international law.
The British Government bases its argument on domestic British legislation. But the domestic legislation of a country cannot counter its obligations in international law, unless it chooses to withdraw from them. If the government does not wish to follow the obligations imposed on it by the Vienna Convention, it has the right to resile from it – which would leave British diplomats with no protection worldwide.
I hope to have more information soon on the threats used by the US administration. William Hague had been supporting the move against the concerted advice of his own officials; Ken Clarke has been opposing the move against the advice of his. I gather the decision to act has been taken in Number 10.
There appears to have been no input of any kind from the Liberal Democrats. That opens a wider question – there appears to be no “liberal” impact now in any question of coalition policy. It is amazing how government salaries and privileges and ministerial limousines are worth far more than any belief to these people. I cannot now conceive how I was a member of that party for over thirty years, deluded into a genuine belief that they had principles.
Trapwire and data mining: What we know
Submitted by sosadmin on Sat, 08/11/2012 - 18:21 - ACLU sosadmin's blog
These days every news cycle brings us more thoroughly disturbing reasons to be concerned about pervasive digital monitoring in the United States. This week things got extra interesting with the revelation of an enormous, shadowy surveillance company with deep ties to the CIA: Trapwire exploded on the surveillance scene like a bat out of hell. And people are justifiably freaked out about it.
But people are also publishing a lot of information that seems to have appeared out of the ether, grounded in no documentation whatsoever. There is no need to speculate or conjure surveillance bogeymen where they do not exist. The documented facts speak loudly enough.
Furthermore, we don’t even have to look to pre-crime, globally networked spook software like Trapwire to be concerned about where we stand vis a vis privacy rights and government powers. Take the following stories from just the past month as just a small sample of our problems to illustrate the seriousness of our current predicament:
• On NSA dreams: “NSA Boss Wants More Control Over the Net: The Internet should be adapted to allow for oversight by the National Security Agency, the organization’s boss says” (Technology Review, MIT, July 27, 2012)
• On NSA vacuum style digital surveillance: “HOPE 9: Whistleblower Binney says the NSA has dossiers on nearly every US citizen” (NetworkWorld, July 15, 2012)
• On the feds using our cellphones as bugs: “Ninth Circuit OKs Feds Use of Cellphones as Roving Bugs” (The New American, July 28, 2012)
• On impunity and secrecy in spying: “The Feds Violated the Constitution but the Administration Won’t Say How” (The Atlantic, July 24, 2012)
• On the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) collecting unimaginably large amounts of data about every single person and storing it for a very long time: “The Biggest New Spying Program You’ve Probably Never Heard Of” (ACLU, July 30, 2012)
• On impunity for warrantless spying on a mass scale: “Appeals Court OKs Warrantless Wiretapping” (Wired, August 7, 2012)
• On face recognition: “FBI’s Facial Recognition is Coming to a State Near You” (EFF, August 8, 2012)
• On the Microsoft and NYPD attempt to recreate “Total Information Awareness”: “The NYPD’s Domain Awareness System Is Watching You” (New York Magazine, August 9, 2012)
And for those worried that the government will use its vast, unaccountable surveillance powers to intimidate and harass political activists or religious minorities, there’s some news for you, too:
• On the targeting of political anarchists: “Political Convictions? Federal Prosecutors in Seattle Are Dragging Activists into Grand Juries, Citing Their Social Circles and Anarchist Reading Materials” (The Stranger, August 7, 2012)
• On JTTF raids of activist homes: “FBI and JTTF Raid Multiple Homes, Grand Jury Subpoenas in Portland, Olympia, Seattle” (Green is the New Red, July 25, 2012)
• On the NYPD’s relentless and remorseless targeting of Muslims: “Gov jabs at NYPD again over spying on Muslims” (Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2012)
In other words, we are in a rough spot, Trapwire or no Trapwire. Having established that, let's move on to what we can prove Trapwire is, and what we cannot.
Unproven claims about Trapwire
Given what we know about other, active surveillance programs, there’s no need to speculate that we are living in dangerous times. But unfortunately that’s precisely what’s happening on the internet this week.
This article, for example, called “Confirmed: New Nationwide “Trapwire” Surveillance System is Actively Recording, Monitoring Everything,” makes a series of extremely disturbing allegations that it supports with absolutely no documentation, beginning with its headline.
Among other unproven and somewhat hysterical allegations, the article claims that “The Trapwire system is actively monitoring every major city in the country.” Really? The documents I’ve been able to locate show that the company's "TrapWire Community Member" program -- which importantly is not the same as its critical infrastructure monitoring program or its law enforcement program -- is operative in a number of major cities, including Washington DC, Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles.
But I can't find any evidence to support the claim that it is operating where I live, for example, in Boston -- or in Providence, RI, or Portland, OR, or Seattle, WA, etc.. It very well might be operating in every US city, but there is no evidence to back up such a claim.
The article further states that Trapwire’s software integrates its license plate and CCTV data with “what you bought on your credit card today and who you interacted with via text message or your favorite social network” without providing a shred of evidence for the latter. Trapwire’s website and its patent filings confirm that its software attempts to integrate license plate and CCTV data, but makes zero mention of credit card information or SMS metadata. That's not to say the company's database doesn't have this information, but it is a fact that there's no documentation or other proof to give credence to these claims.
Salon.com is the most high profile outlet to publish a claim I've seen batted about the internet for a few days -- that Trapwire's system is more advanced than face recognition. Again, there's been zero evidence presented to back up this claim.
Speculating about Trapwire's prowess and reach is dangerous and unnecessary. After all, the facts the company laid out for us through its limited but nonetheless revealing digital trail are enough to raise the alarm.
Let’s turn to what we know about Trapwire.
Trapwire's early history
The first documentation of Trapwire’s existence comes from filing papers to the US patent office dated September 7, 2004. The papers ask for a patent on Goods: "computer software for use in detecting terrorist surveillance of a facility and other pre-attack preparations on a facility or on persons associated with a facility". The patent application was filed by a company called Abraxas Corporation, represented by a Danielle O. Saunders of McLean, Virginia -- the heart of CIA country.
On April 5, 2005 the US patent office responded by denying the trademark application because of "likelihood of confusion" with two other companies' trademarks: "The applicant’s mark, TRAPWIRE, is similar to the registered marks, TRIPWIRE and TRAPWARE. The marks are compared for similarities in sound, appearance, meaning or connotation."
On October 4, 2005 the patent office received a response from Abraxas Corporation, arguing that the products the three companies produce are different enough to warrant granting Abraxas the Trapwire trademark. Furthermore, it argues, its product will only be sold to an elite batch of discriminating clients who would engage in extensive research and consultation with the firm before buying it. This isn't "food snacks" you grab at the market without thinking twice, it says. It's a big, costly computer surveillance network made for the "discriminating purchaser." Indeed.
Somewhat hilariously, Abraxas points out that the two other companies -- Tripwire and Trapware -- make computer software products that allow individual computer users and large networks to detect unwanted attacks on their systems. Trapwire doesn't do that, the lawyers wrote. You can say that again.
The US patent office overturned its initial rejection on November 14, 2005, about a month after Abraxas' appeal. Four days before Christmas, on December 21, 2005, the patent office mailed an official notice of publication for the Trapwire mark to attorney Danielle O. Saunders. The company had its trademark, and likely a very Merry Christmas.
The next document in the Trapwire file at the patent office is a notice to revoke power of attorney from Danielle O. Saunders, filed January 5, 2006. The company's power of attorney would change again multiple times over the next five years.
Finally, on September 26, 2005 the patent office received some more substantive information from the company, describing what it set out to do with its patent. That document is titled "TrapWireTM: Pre-Attack Terrorist Detection System for Protecting Critical Infrastructure". You can read it yourself here.
The basics: what does Trapwire do?
The whitepaper sketches out the contours of a pre-crime surveillance system that the former CIA agents who run Trapwire Inc. hoped would work to "intercept a terrorist strike before it begins."
TrapWire dramatically increases the ability to detect pre-attack preparations and to take appropriate action to detect, deter and intercept terrorist attacks. A visual monitor of the entire system -- a map with dynamic status indicators for each entity connected to the TrapWire network -- facilitates the ability of decision-makers to absorb vast quantities of information quickly and efficiently. The dynamic status indicators show the threat level at each facility and highlight those that have moved to a higher threat level over the preceding 24 hours. Security officials can thus focus on the highest priorities first, taking a proactive and collaborative approach to defense against attacks. The information collected by TrapWire can also be shared with law enforcement agencies to assist in their counterterrorism efforts.
The company says "the basic premise behind" the technology "is as follows: Through the systematic reporting of suspicious events and the correlation of those events with other event reports for that facility and for related facilities across the network, terrorist surveillance operations can be identified..."
The services Trapwire offers to major corporations and governments can be broken down into three categories: critical infrastructure "hardening", suspicious activity report management, and data mining.
Using open-source information it is very difficult to determine what kinds data-inputs the system accesses. The only confirmed sources of data to the system are CCTV cameras, license plate readers and open source databases. (The latter contain a wealth of information about each and every one of us, so the combination of these three data sets alone is troubling.)
The Wikileaked Stratfor emails that revealed the existence of this shadowy surveillance network to the world contain at least 189 references to Trapwire. They reveal much more about what the program is used for than does the Trapwire public website.
Among the most disturbing emails in the Wikileaks GIF files is this one, written by a Stratfor analyst to the head of the firm. It gives us a troubling taste of how these private security companies view their role as intermediary between the government and the people:
Regarding SF landmarks of interest--they need something like Trapwire more for threats from activists than from terror threats. Both are useful, but the activists are ever present around here.
Look out for more on Trapwire in this space over the coming weeks. There's lots more to dig up on this sprawling security infrastructure and much more to say about its implications for our privacy and democracy, so stay tuned.
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Reprinted with permission of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts
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