Sunday, November 18, 2018

Paid off Congress members now anchor permanent War Industry which cashes in on endless stream of unwinnable global conflicts-Gareth Porter, American Conservative…(Trump lavishly protects thousands of miles of borders of countries near Russia but refuses to order a desperately needed 2000 mile military blockade of our border with violent terror state of Mexico)

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Eisenhower was prophetic in his warning about the threat of the original complex (which he had planned to call the military-industrial-congressional complex) to American democracy.”…

This is the lethal blending of neoliberalism and neoconservatism.” Commenter Clyde Schechter

11/15/18, “America’s Permanent-War Complex,” Gareth Porter, theamericanconservative.com

“Eisenhower’s worst nightmare has come true, as defense mega-contractors climb into the cockpit to ensure we stay overextended.”

“What President Dwight D. Eisenhower dubbed the “military-industrial complex” has been constantly evolving over the decades, adjusting to shifts in the economic and political system as well as international events. The result today is a “permanent-war complex,” which is now engaged in conflicts in at least eight countries across the globe, none of which are intended to be temporary.

This new complex has justified its enhanced power and control over the country’s resources primarily by citing threats to U.S. security posed by Islamic terrorists. But like the old military-industrial complex, it is really rooted in the evolving relationship between the national security institutions themselves and the private arms contractors allied with them.The first phase of this transformation was a far-reaching privatization of U.S. military and intelligence institutions in the two decades after the Cold War, which hollowed out the military’s expertise and made it dependent on big contractors (think Halliburton, Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI). The second phase began with the global “war on terrorism,” which quickly turned into a permanent war, much of which revolves around the use of drone strikes.

The drone wars are uniquely a public-private military endeavor, in which major arms contractors are directly involved in the most strategic aspect of the war. And so the drone contractors—especially the dominant General Atomics—have both a powerful motive and the political power, exercised through its clients in Congress, to ensure that the wars continue for the indefinite future.

The privatization of military and intelligence institutions began even before the end of the Cold War. But during the 1990s, both Congress and the Bush and Clinton administrations opened the floodgates to arms and intelligence contractors and their political allies. The contracts soon became bigger and more concentrated in a handful of dominant companies. Between 1998 and 2003, private contractors were getting roughly half of the entire defense budget each year. The 50 biggest companies were getting more than half of the approximately $900 billion paid out in contracts during that time, and most were no-bid contracts, sole sourced, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

The contracts that had the biggest impact on the complex were for specialists working right in the Pentagon. The number of these contractors grew so rapidly and chaotically in the two decades after the Cold War that senior Pentagon officials did not even know the full extent of their numbers and reach. In 2010, then-secretary of defense Robert M. Gates even confessed to Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William M. Arkin that he was unable to determine how many contractors worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which includes the entire civilian side of the Pentagon.

Although legally forbidden from assuming tasks that were “inherent government functions,” in practice these contractors steadily encroached on what had always been regarded as government functions. Contractors could pay much higher salaries and consulting fees than government agencies, so experienced Pentagon and CIA officers soon left their civil service jobs by the tens of thousands for plum positions with firms that often paid twice as much as the government for the same work.

That was especially true in the intelligence agencies, which experienced a rapid 50 percent workforce increase after 9/11. It was almost entirely done with former skilled officers brought back as contractor personnel. Even President Barack Obama’s CIA director Leon Panetta admitted to Priest and Arkin that the intelligence community had for too long “depended on contractors to do the operational work” that had always been done by CIA employees, including intelligence analysis, and that the CIA needed to rebuild its own expertise “over time.”

By 2010, “core contractors”—those who perform such functions as collection and analysis—comprised at least 28 percent of professional civilian and military intelligence staff, according to a fact sheet from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The dependence on the private sector in the Pentagon and the intelligence community had reached such a point that it raised a serious question about whether the workforce was now “obligated to shareholders rather than to the public interest,” as Priest and Arkin reported. And both Gates and Panetta acknowledged to them their concerns about that issue.

Powerfully reinforcing that privatization effect was the familiar revolving door between the Pentagon and arms contractors, which had begun turning with greater rapidity. A 2010 Boston Globe investigation showed that the percentage of three- and four-star generals who left the Pentagon to take jobs as consultants or executives with defense contractors, which was already at 45 percent in 1993, had climbed to 80 percent by 2005—an 83 percent increase in 12 years.

The incoming George W. Bush administration gave the revolving door a strong push, bringing in eight officials from Lockheed Martin—then the largest defense contractor—to fill senior policymaking positions in the Pentagon. The CEO of Lockheed Martin, Peter Teets, was brought in to become undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office (where he had responsibility for acquisition decisions directly benefiting his former company). James Roche, the former vice president of Northrop Grumman, was named secretary of the Air Force, and a former vice president of General Dynamics, Gordon R. England, was named the secretary of the Navy.

In 2007, Bush named rear admiral J. Michael McConnell as director of national intelligence. McConnell had been director of the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1996, then became head of the national security branch of intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Not surprisingly McConnell energetically promoted even greater reliance on the private sector, on the grounds that it was supposedly more efficient and innovative than the government. In 2009 he returned once again to Booz Allen Hamilton as vice chairman.

The Pentagon and the intelligence agencies thus morphed into a new form of mixed public-private institutions, in which contractor power was greatly magnified. To some in the military it appeared that the privateers had taken over the Pentagon. As a senior U.S. military officer who had served in Afghanistan commented to Priest and Arkin, “It just hits you like a ton of bricks when you think about it. The Department of Defense is no longer a war-fighting organization, it’s a business enterprise.”
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The years after 9/11 saw the national security organs acquire new missions, power, and resources—all in the name of a “War on Terror,” aka “the long war. The operations in Afghanistan and Iraq were sold on that premise, even though virtually no al Qaeda remained in Afghanistan and none were in Iraq until long after the initial U.S. invasion.

The military and the CIA got new orders to pursue al Qaeda and affiliated groups in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and several other African countries, parlaying what the Bush administration called a “generational war” into a guarantee that there would be no return to the relative austerity of the post-Cold War decade.

Drone strikes against targets associated with al Qaeda or affiliated groups became the common feature of these wars and a source of power for military and intelligence officials. The Air Force owned the drones and conducted strikes in Afghanistan, but the CIA carried them out covertly in Pakistan, and the CIA and the military competed for control over the strikes in Yemen.

The early experience with drone strikes against “high-value targets” was an unmitigated disaster. From 2004 through 2007, the CIA carried out 12 strikes in Pakistan, aimed at high-value targets of al Qaeda and its affiliates. But they killed only three identifiable al Qaeda or Pakistani Taliban figures, along with 121 civilians, based on analysis of news reports of the strikes.

But on the urging of CIA Director Michael Hayden, in mid-2008 President Bush agreed to allow “signature strikes” based merely on analysts’ judgment that a “pattern of life” on the ground indicated an al Qaeda or affiliated target. Eventually it became a tool for killing mostly suspected rank-and-file Afghan Taliban fighters in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly during the Obama administration, which had less stomach and political capital for outright war and came to depend on the covert drone campaign. This war was largely secret and less accountable publicly. And it allowed him the preferable optics of withdrawing troops and ending official ground operations in places like Iraq.

Altogether in its eight years in office, the Obama administration carried out a total of nearly 5,000 drone strikes—mostly in Afghanistan—according to figures collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

But between 2009 and 2013, the best informed officials in the U.S. government raised alarms about the pace and lethality of this new warfare on the grounds that it systematically undermined the U.S. effort to quell terrorism by creating more support for al Qaeda rather than weakening it. Some mid-level CIA officers opposed the strikes in Pakistan as early as 2009, because of what they had learned from intelligence gathered from intercepts of electronic communications in areas where the strikes were taking place: they were infuriating Muslim males and making them more willing to join al Qaeda.

In a secret May 2009 assessment leaked to the Washington Post, General David Petraeus, then commander of the Central Command, wrote, “Anti-U.S. sentiment has already been increasing in Pakistan…especially in regard to cross-border and reported drone strikes, which Pakistanis perceive to cause unacceptable civilian casualties.”

More evidence of that effect came from Yemen. A 2013 report on drone war policy for the Council on Foreign Relations found that membership in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen grew from several hundred in 2010 to a few thousand members in 2012, just as the number of drone strikes in the country was increasing dramatically—along with popular anger toward the United States.

Drone strikes are easy for a president to support. They demonstrate to the public that he is doing something concrete about terrorism, thus providing political cover in case of another successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Donald Trump has shown no interest in scaling back the drone wars, despite openly questioning the stationing of troops across the Middle East and Africa. In 2017 he approved a 100 percent increase in drone strikes in Yemen and a 30 percent increase in Somalia above the totals of the final year of the Obama administration. And Trump has approved a major increase in drone strikes in Afghanistan, and has eliminated rules aimed at reducing civilian casualties from such strikes.

Even if Obama and Trump had listened to dissenting voices on the serious risks of drone wars to U.S. interests, however, another political reality would have prevented the United States from ending the drone wars: the role of the private defense contractors and their friends on Capitol Hill in maintaining the status quo.
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Unlike conventional bombing missions, drone strikes require a team to watch the video feeds, interpret them, and pass on their conclusions to their mission coordinators and pilots. By 2007 that required more specialists than the Air Force had available. Since then, the Air Force has been working with military and intelligence contractors to analyze full-motion videos transmitted by drones to guide targeting decisions. BAE, the third-ranking Pentagon contractor according to defense revenues, claims that it is the “leading provider” of analysis of drone video intelligence, but in the early years the list of major companies with contracts for such work also included Booz Allen Hamilton, L-3 Communications, and SAIC (now Leidos).

These analysts were fully integrated into the “kill chain” that resulted, in many cases, in civilian casualties. In the now-famous case of the strike in February 2010 that killed at least 15 Afghan civilians, including children, the “primary screener” for the team of six video analysts in Florida communicating via a chat system with the drone pilot in Nevada was a contract employee with SAIC

That company had a $49 million multi-year contract with the Air Force to analyze drone video feeds and other intelligence from Afghanistan.

The pace of drone strikes in Afghanistan accelerated sharply after U.S. combat ended formally in 2014. And that same year, the air war against ISIS began in Iraq and Syria. The Air Force then began running armed drones around the clock in those countries as well. The Air Force needed 1,281 drone pilots to handle as many “combat air patrols” per day in multiple countries. But it was several hundred pilots short of that objective.

To fulfill that requirement the Air Force turned to General Atomics—maker of the first armed drone, the Predator, and a larger follow-on, the MQ-9 Reaper—which had already been hired to provide support services for drone operations on a two-year contract worth $700 million. But in April 2015 the Air Force signed a contract with the company to lease one of its Reapers with its own ground control station for a year. In addition, the contractor was to provide the pilots, sensor operators, and other crew members to fly it and maintain it.

The pilots, who still worked directly for General Atomics, did everything Air Force drone pilots did except actually fire the missiles. The result of that contract was a complete blurring of the lines between the official military and the contractors hired to work alongside them. The Air Force denied any such blurring, arguing that the planning and execution of each mission would still be in the hands of an Air Force officer. But the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Office had published an article in its law review in 2010 warning that even the analysis of video feeds risked violating international law prohibiting civilian participation in direct hostilities.

A second contract with a smaller company, Aviation Unlimited, was for the provision of pilots and sensor operators and referred to “recent increased terrorist activities,” suggesting that it was for anti-ISIS operations.

The process of integrating drone contractors into the kill chain in multiple countries thus marked a new stage in the process of privatizing war in what had become a permanent war complex. After 9/11, the military became dependent on the private sector for everything from food, water, and housing to security and refueling in Iraq and Afghanistan. By 2009 contractors began outnumbering U.S. troops in Afghanistan and eventually became critical for continuing the war as well.

In June 2018, the DoD announced a $40 million contract with General Atomics to operate its own MQ-9 Reapers in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. The Reapers are normally armed for independent missile strikes, but in this case, the contractor-operated Reapers were to be unarmed, meaning that the drones would be used to identify targets for Air Force manned aircraft bombing missions.
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There appears to be no braking mechanism for this accelerating new reality. U.S. government spending on the military drone market, which includes not only procurement and research and development for the drones themselves, but the sensors, modifications, control systems, and other support contracts, stood at $4.5 billion in 2016, and was expected to increase to $13 billion by 2027. General Atomics is now the dominant player in the arena.

This kind of income translates into political power, and the industry has shown its muscle and more than once prevented the Pentagon from canceling big-ticket programs, no matter how unwanted or wasteful. They have the one-two punch of strategically focused campaign contributions and intensive lobbying of members with whom they have influence.

This was most evident between 2011 and 2013, after congressionally mandated budget reductions cut into drone procurement. The biggest loser appeared to be Northrop Grumman’s “Global Hawk” drone, designed for unarmed high-altitude intelligence surveillance flights of up to 32 hours.

By 2011 the Global Hawk was already 25 percent over budget, and the Pentagon had delayed the purchase of the remaining planes for a year to resolve earlier failures to deliver adequate “near real time” video intelligence.

After a subsequent test, however, the Defense Department’s top weapons tester official reported in May 2011 that the Global Hawk was “not operationally effective” three fourths of the time, because of “low vehicle reliability.” He cited the “failure” of “mission central components” at “high rates.” In addition, the Pentagon still believed the venerable U-2 Spy plane—which could operate in all weather conditions, unlike the Global Hawk—could carry out comparable high-altitude intelligence missions.

As a result, the DoD announced in 2012 that it would mothball the aircraft it had already purchased and save $2.5 billion over five years by foregoing the purchase of the remaining three drones.

But that was before Northrop Grumman mounted a classic successful lobbying campaign to reverse the decision.

That lobbying drive produced a fiscal year 2013 defense appropriations law that added $360 million for the purchase of the final three Global Hawks. In Spring 2013, top Pentagon officials indicated that they were petitioning for “relief” from congressional intent. Then the powerful chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, California Republican Buck McKeon, and a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Democrat Jim Moran of Virginia, wrote a letter to incoming Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on May 13, 2013, pressing him to fund the acquisition of the [proven worthless] Global Hawks.

The Pentagon finally caved. The Air Force issued a statement pledging to acquire the last three Northrop Grumman spy planes, and in early 2014, Hagel and Dempsey announced that they would mothball the U-2 and replace it with the Global Hawk. 

Northrop spent nearly $18 million on lobbying in 2012 and $21 million in 2013, fielding a phalanx of lobbyists determined to help save Global Hawk. It got what it wanted.

Meanwhile, Northrop’s political action committee had already made contributions of at least $113,000 to the campaign committee of House Armed Services Committee Chairman McKeon, who also happened to represent the Southern California district where Northrop’s assembly plant for the Global Hawk is located. Representative Moran, the co-author of the letter with McKeon, who represented the northern Virginia district where Northrop has its headquarters, had gotten $22,000 in contributions.

Of course Northrop didn’t ignore the rest of the House Armed Services Committee: they were recipients of at least $243,000 in campaign contributions during the first half of 2012.
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The Northrop Grumman triumph dramatically illustrates the power relationships underlying the new permanent-war complex. In the first half of 2013 alone, four major drone contractors—General Atomics, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing—spent $26.2 million lobbying Congress to pressure the executive branch to keep the pipeline of funding for their respective drone systems flowing freely. The Center for the Study of the Drone observed, “Defense contractors are pressuring the government to maintain the same levels of investment in unmanned systems even as the demand from the traditional theatres such as Afghanistan dies down.”

Instead of dying down, the demand from drones in Afghanistan has exploded in subsequent years. By 2016, the General Atomics Reapers had already become so tightly integrated into U.S. military operations in Afghanistan that the whole U.S. war plan was dependent on them. In the first quarter of 2016 Air Force data showed that 61 percent of the weapons dropped in Afghanistan were from the drones.

In the new permanent-war complex the interests of the arms contractors have increasingly dominated over the interests of the civilian Pentagon and the military services, and dominance has became a new driving force for continued war. Even though those bureaucracies, along with the CIA, seized the opportunity to openly conduct military operations in one country after another, the drone war has introduced a new political dynamic into the war system: the drone makers who have powerful clout in Congress can use their influence to block or discourage an end to the permanent war—especially in Afghanistan—which would sharply curtail the demand for drones.

Eisenhower was prophetic in his warning about the threat of the original complex (which he had planned to call the military-industrial-congressional complex) to American democracy. But that original complex, organized merely to maximize the production of arms to enhance the power and resources of both the Pentagon and their contractor allies, has become a much more serious menace to the security of the American people than even Eisenhower could have anticipated. Now it is a system of war that powerful arms contractors and their bureaucratic allies may have the ability to maintain indefinitely.”

“Gareth Porter is an investigative reporter and regular contributor to The American Conservative. He is also the author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.”
 
 
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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Republican Brian Kemp is certified Governor-elect of Georgia with 54,723 vote margin-Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/17/18

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11/17/18, ELECTION UPDATE: Georgia certifies election results after nearly two weeks of drama,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mark Niesse

“Georgia’s top election official certified the state’s vote count Saturday, confirming Republican Brian Kemp’s victory in the race for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Kemp led Abrams by 54,723 votes, a 1.4 percentage point margin of victory. Abrams narrowed the gap as additional absentee and provisional votes were counted since Election Day, but she was still 17,488 short of the votes she needed to force a runoff.

Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden certified the election the day after she was allowed to. A federal judge’s order prevented her from certifying the election before 5 p.m. Friday to give county election officials time to review absentee and provisional ballots. That review resulted in an additional 93 absentee and 67 provisional ballots counted, along with 572 new ballots tabulated separately Thursday in Gwinnett County….

The race ended with Kemp at 1,978,408 votes, Abrams with 1,923,685 and Libertarian Ted Metz with 37,235….

Abrams said Friday she was ending her run for governor, and there was no legal way for her to continue to contest the election. Abrams said she will file a “major federal lawsuit” over allegations of election mismanagement….

The results also showed that Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall won re-election against Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux by about 400 votes. Bourdeaux is requesting a recount.

Runoffs will be required Dec. 4 for race for secretary of state between Republican Brad Raffensperger will face Democrat John Barrow, and in the contest for Public Service Commission between Republican Chuck Eaton and Democrat Lindy Miller.”



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US is a dictatorship run by weapons contractors such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon. We’re even told selling weapons to Saudi is good for US “jobs.” We voted for a Multi-Polar World but now find we’re slaves of the War Industry-The Meaning of a Multi-Polar World, Eric Zeusse

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11/13/18, The Meaning of a Multi-Polar World, Eric Zeusse, Washingtons Blog, originally posted at The Saker 

“Right now, we live in a mono-polar world. Here is how U.S. President Barack Obama proudly, even imperially, described it when delivering the Commencement address to America’s future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014: 

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. [Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future U.S. military leaders that they are to fight for the U.S. aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.]In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War.

Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away.
 
[He was proud of the U.S. Government’s effectiveness at propaganda, just as Hitler was proud of the German Government’s propaganda-effectiveness under Joseph Goebbels.] Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine. 

Actually, his–Obama’s–regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup, and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there. It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine

Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush’s term about Saddam Hussein) “regime-change” in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the U.N. asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it. Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate against bombing by Syria’s Government and by Syria’s ally Russia, while the U.S. bombed Syria’s army, which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to “regime-change” Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to “regime-change” Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the “U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees and Blame. This Is Insane.” And Obama’s successor Trump continues Obama’s policies in this regard. And, of course, the U.S. and its ally UK invaded Iraq in 2003, likewise on the basis of lies to the effect that Iraq was the aggressor. (Even Germany called Poland the aggressor when invading Poland in 1939.)

No other nation regularly invades other nations that never had invaded it. This is international aggression. It is the international crime of “War of Aggression”; and the only nations which do it nowadays are America and its allies, such as the Sauds, Israel, France, and UK, which often join in America’s aggressions (or, in the case of the Sauds’ invasion of Yemen, the ally initiates an invasion, which the U.S. then joins). America’s generals are taught this aggression, and not only by Obama.  

Ever since at least George W. Bush, it has been solid U.S. policy. (Bush even kicked out the U.N.’s weapons-inspectors, so as to bomb Iraq in 2003).

In other words: a mono-polar world is a world in which one nation stands above international law, and that nation’s [the US] participation in an invasion immunizes also each of its allies who join in the invasion, protecting it too from prosecution, so that a mono-polar world is one in which the United Nations can’t even possibly impose international law impartially, but can impose it only against nations that aren’t allied with the mono-polar power, which in this case is the United States. Furthermore, because the U.S. regime reigns supreme over the entire world, as it does, any nations — such as Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador — that the U.S. regime (which has itself been scientifically proven to be a dictatorship) chooses to treat as an enemy, is especially disadvantaged internationally. Russia and China, however, are among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and therefore possess a degree of international protection that America’s other chosen enemies do not. And the people who choose which nations to identify as America’s ‘enemies’ are America’s super-rich and not the entire American population, because the U.S. Government is controlled by the super-rich and not by the public.

So, that’s the existing mono-polar world: it is a world that’s controlled by one nation, and this one nation is, in turn, controlled by its aristocracy, its super-rich….

Democracy can only shrivel in a mono-polar world, because all other nations then are simply vassal nations, which accept Obama’s often-repeated dictum that all other nations are “dispensable” and that only the U.S. is not. Even the UK would actually gain in freedom, and in democracy, by breaking away from the U.S., because it would no longer be under the U.S. thumb — the thumb of the global aggressor-nation.

Only one global poll has ever been taken of the question “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” and it found that, overwhelmingly, by a three-to-one ratio above the second-most-often named country, the United States was identified as being precisely that, the top threat to world-peace. But then, a few years later, another (though less-comprehensive) poll was taken on a similar question, and it produced similar results. Apparently, despite the effectiveness of America’s propagandists, people in other lands recognize quite well that today’s America is a more successful and longer-reigning version of Hitler’s Germany. Although modern America’s propaganda-operation is far more sophisticated than Nazi Germany’s was, it’s not entirely successful. America’s invasions are now too common, all based on lies, just like Hitler’s were.

On November 9th, Russian Television headlined “‘Very insulting’: Trump bashes Macron’s idea of European army for protection from Russia, China and US” and reported that “US President Donald Trump has unloaded on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, calling the French president’s idea of a ‘real European army,’ independent from Washington, an insult.” On the one hand, Trump constantly criticizes France and other European nations for allegedly not paying enough for America’s NATO military alliance, but he now is denigrating France for proposing to other NATO members a decreasing reliance upon NATO, and increasing reliance, instead, upon the Permanent Structured Cooperation (or PESCO) European military alliance, which was begun on 11 December 2017, and which currently has “25 EU Member States participating: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.” Those are the European nations that are now on the path to eventually quitting NATO. 

Once NATO is ended, the U.S. regime will find far more difficult any invasions such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2016-, and maybe even such as America’s bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected Government of Ukraine and installed a racist-fascist or nazi anti-Russian regime there in 2014. All of these U.S. invasions (and coup) brought to Europe millions of refugees and enormously increased burdens upon European taxpayers. Plus, America’s economic sanctions against both Russia and Iran have hurt European companies (and the U.S. does almost no business with either country, so is immune to that, also). Consequently, today’s America is clearly Europe’s actual main enemy. The continuation of NATO is actually toxic to the peoples of Europe. Communism and the Soviet Union and its NATO-mirroring Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended peacefully in 1991, but the U.S. regime has secretly continued the Cold War, now against Russia, and is increasingly focusing its “regime-change” propaganda against Russia’s popular democratic leader, Vladimir Putin, even though this U.S. aggression against Russia could mean a world-annihilating nuclear war. 

On November 11th, RT bannered ‘Good for multipolar world’: Putin positive on Macron’s ‘European army’ plan bashed by Trump (VIDEO)”, and opened: 

“Europe’s desire to create its own army and stop relying on Washington for defense is not only understandable, but would be “positive” for the multipolar world, Vladimir Putin said days after Donald Trump ripped into it. 

“Europe is … a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and … sovereign in the field of defense and security,” Putin told RT in Paris where world leader gathered to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.

He also described the potential creation of a European army “a positive process,” adding that it would “strengthen the multipolar world.” The Russian leader even expressed his support to French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently championed this idea by saying that Russia’s stance on the issue “is aligned with that of France” to some extent.

Macron recently revived the ambitious plans of creating a combined EU military force by saying that it is essential for the security of Europe. He also said that the EU must become independent from its key ally on the other side of the Atlantic, provoking an angry reaction from Washington.” 

Once NATO has shrunk to include only the pro-aggression and outright nazi European nations, such as Ukraine (after the U.S. gang accepts Ukraine into NATO, as it almost certainly then would do), the EU will have a degree of freedom and of democracy that it can only dream of today, and there will then be a multi-polar world, in which the leaders of the U.S. will no longer enjoy the type of immunity from investigation and possible prosecution, for their invasions, that they do today.
 
The result of this will, however, be catastrophic for the top 100 U.S. ‘defense’ contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, because then all of those firms’ foreign sales except to the Sauds, Israel and a few other feudal and fascist regimes, will greatly decline. Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep the Sauds to the agreements he reached with them back in 2017 to buy $404 billion of U.S. weaponry over the following 10 years. If, in addition, those firms lose some of their European sales, then the U.S. economic boom thus far in Trump’s Presidency will be seriously endangered. [US weapons industry is a “jobs program.“] So, the U.S. regime, which is run by the owners of its ‘defense’-contractors, will do all it can to prevent this from happening.”… 

[US arms deal with Saudi: ““Tremendous investments in the United States,” Trump…said…and jobs, jobs, jobs.“…A White House official said the arms deal package demonstrates “the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia and our Gulf partners,…and supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S. defense industrial base.”” 5/20/2017, “U.S.-Saudi Arabia Sign More Than $110B Arms Deal Amid Trump Visit,” nbcnews.com]

(continuing): “However, right now, Chris Hedges reports that Ecuador is in the process of killing Julian Assange, who is a major and well-known bane of America’s sellers to the U.S. ‘Defense’ Department. Hedges wants to keep his American aristocratic funder (the owner of Truthdig), and so he doesn’t say that--nor how--

the U.S. regime itself is actually forcing Ecuador’s Government to do this.
 
Hedges seems not even to care much about the ultimate perpetrator of this slow murder that he describes as being in process. Hedges instead focuses only against what Ecuador’s President, Lenín Moreno, is doing, that’s slowly murdering Assange. He also implicates Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the U.K. government, and U.S. V.P. Mike Pence. But actually, the top decision-maker, who ordered this crime, this murder, is Donald Trump, who won the U.S. Presidency with Assange’s investigative-journalism help. That’s the kingpin, and all the others are merely soldiers in the U.S. President’s organized crime. They all represent the U.S. aristocracy, but only Trump is the commander here. The U.S. regime — first under Obama, and now under Trump — is 100% of what’s forcing Ecuador’s Government to kill Julian Assange inside its London Embassy. 

Ecuador is doing this job, for the U.S. regime, so excruciatingly that Assange will either soon be committing suicide, or else he will die more slowly, from the ever-increasing “torture” that Ecuador’s Government is applying, and which is also destroying Assange’s health. Or else, he will give himself up to the American ‘justice’ system (which Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, explained on November 3rd would likely mean either to charge him with ‘espionage’, or else to apply indefinite detention at Guantanamo, without charge, trial or any access to the public). 

There will then be ‘news’-coverage by the American propaganda-media, to demonize him. Ecuador’s President wants to do his job for his U.S. masters (the U.S. aristocracy) but not to get blame for the inevitable result. All along the line, the aristocracy know how to preserve deniability, and advise their agents so as to shift blame downward, whenever they can’t succeed in shifting it to the victim that they’re destroying.

However, the ultimate blame belongs truly to the owners of the U.S. regime. Even most ‘alternative news’ media might not (and they, in fact, do not) report this fact (because most of even the ‘alternative’ media are owned by aristocrats), but it’s clearly the case. And most of the public don’t care much about it, anyway, and continue to subscribe to those ‘news’ media, which the aristocrats are actually controlling, and to buy the products they advertise, producing yet more income for the aristocracy. The public thus helps the aristocracy to fund the aristocracy’s propaganda-vehicles, to control the public, to vote for the aristocrats’ candidates, and so control the government. 

A multi-polar world could enable this to change. But it can’t change in a mono-polar world. Julian Assange has been trapped by, and in, this fascist mono-polar world. He is its enemy, and they are murdering him; but, above all, Donald Trump is murdering him. 

But this is not a partisan operation on behalf of only a faction of the U.S. aristocracy. The Hedges article links through to an important June 29th news-report in the Washington Times, titled “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms”. It makes clear that Moreno is doing the bidding of the White House, and that the White House is “heeding calls from Democrats wary of Mr. Assange.”

America, after all, is a two-party dictatorship: both parties represent the same aristocracy, and murdering Assange is in the agenda of both of its factions, not of just one of the two parties.

The U.S. aristocracy are united on this matter. And that’s how this mono-polar world is being run.” 

————— 

Added, linked above: Since billionaires actually run US government, they should pay most of the taxes and expenses. The voting public is ignored, so should pay very little: 

7/4/18, America is one-dollar-one-vote, not really one-person-one vote.,” Eric Zuesse, rinf.com 

The basic problem in America, therefore, isn’t Democratic versus Republican; it is instead democracy versus dictatorship

And this problem exists within each Party: each Party is controlled by its billionaires, not by its voting-public. If billionaires (and perhaps a few of the centi-millionaires) have almost entirely been controlling the U.S. Government, then they should be almost entirely funding (by their taxes and fees) the U.S. Government. If the rest of the public haven’t had any significant control of the Government, then the rest of the public shouldn’t pay any significant percentage of the Government’s costs. And any of the federal debt that has been engendered and accumulated, should likewise be charged proportionately — and not charged, to any sigificant extent, against the public. This would certainly be the democratic solution to the federal debt.”…
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Comment: Many who once hated the weapons industry (especially in the 1960s) are deeply in love with it today. Nothing you could say would change their mind. As it happens, all the big money in the world agrees with them, loves the war industry. Free speech is what bothers these groups most in my experience, drives them nuts. They’re in a frenzy to silence us, would happily give up their own freedom as long as views opposing their own would never be heard again. They’re so serious about this that as Mr. Zeusse observes above, even most of the so-called ‘alternative’ media are also owned by aristocrats.



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Friday, November 16, 2018

We're very grateful to Julian Assange, citizen of Ecuador, for allowing us to know that US gov. has lost control of its vast "classified" intelligence operations including cyber weapons. Wall St. Journal claims-without evidence-that US public opinion of Mr. Assange has dropped. Not so. Mr. Assange is our hero. US taxpayers desperately needed to know our corrupt government gives away elite hacking tools to the world

.
Wall St. Journal provides no evidence for this statement: "Public opinion of Mr. Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the [2016 US presidential] campaign." Not so, he's our hero.

Thanks to Mr. Assange, US taxpayers know CIA has completely lost control of its operations: 3/2017: "Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal....This extraordinary collection [2013-2016]...gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive."...

WSJ: "Ecuador granted Mr. Assange citizenship in December, thinking he could then leave the embassy if he had diplomatic status, but the British government [which accepted $130 million in free spy equipment from Obama and proudly "kickstarted" anti-Trump Russiagate in the US] said that wouldn’t protect him from arrest if he stepped outside the building."...

Update, 11/16: US filed criminal charges against Julian Assange in August 2018. The charges were to remain under seal but were inadvertently made public: "Prosecutors sought to keep the charges confidential until after Mr Assange's arrest, the document shows, saying the move was essential to ensure he did not evade or avoid arrest and extradition in the case."
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11/15/18, "U.S. Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute Assange," Wall St. Journal, Aruna Viswanatha, Ryan Dube

"Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against the WikiLeaks founder" 

"The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter. 

Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Mr. Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments.

Ecuador’s relationship with Mr. Assange has deteriorated sharply since last year’s election of President Lenin Moreno, who has described him as a “stone in our shoe” and said his continued presence at the embassy is unsustainable.

An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of [allegedly] hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Mr. Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Mr. Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign. [No evidence is provided for this claim about public opinion].

Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Mr. Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over.

The exact charges Justice Department might pursue remain unclear, but they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.

In an interview last week, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division, John Demers, declined to comment on the possibility of prosecuting Mr. Assange, saying, “On that, I’ll just say, ‘we’ll see.’”

Ecuador has been looking to improve relations with the U.S., hosting Vice President Mike Pence in 2018 amid interest in increasing trade.

Ecuador’s Foreign Relations Ministry declined to comment. This month, Foreign Relations Minister José Valencia told a radio station the government hadn’t received an extradition request for Mr. Assange....

Any extradition and prosecution would involve multiple sensitive negotiations within the U.S. government and with other countries

[Current President] Mr. Moreno, who was vice president when the country granted Mr. Assange asylum, likely wants to avoid being blamed if the WikiLeaks founder is imprisoned and has repeatedly said he wouldn’t hand him over to a country with the death penalty. Ecuador granted Mr. Assange citizenship in December, thinking he could then leave the embassy if he had diplomatic status, but the British government said that wouldn’t protect him from arrest if he stepped outside the building.

The Justice Department has investigated Mr. Assange for years, beginning in 2010 after disclosures by WikiLeaks of thousands of classified Afghan War reports and other material, for which former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was found guilty at a court-martial.

Under the Obama administration, then-Attorney General Eric Holder drew a distinction between WikiLeaks and news organizations, saying WikiLeaks didn’t deserve the same First Amendment protections. Investigators, however, were unable to uncover evidence that Mr. Assange had induced Ms. Manning to leak the documents and didn’t bring a prosecution.

President Trump has sent conflicting messages about Mr. Assange, saying “I love WikiLeaks” during the 2016 campaign and praising the group after its disclosures of the [allegedly] hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone told an associate earlier this year he was working to get Mr. Assange a blanket pardon from Mr. Trump, according to text messages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. He wrote editorials and publicly advocated for such a pardon, though he told the Journal that he had never discussed his efforts with the president.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, said last year when he was CIA director that WikiLeaks is akin to a foreign “hostile intelligence service” and a U.S. adversary. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Mr. Assange’s arrest was a “priority.”

The Trump Justice Department has considered several potential cases against Mr. Assange, including prosecuting him in connection with the cables Ms. Manning provided and his more recent involvement in the DNC disclosures. Prosecutors have also considered tying Mr. Assange to foreign intelligence services, people familiar with the discussions said.

Mr. Mueller obtained an indictment earlier this year against a dozen Russian officers accused of [allegedly] hacking into Democrats’ computer networks and staging the release of the documents, including through WikiLeaks, during the 2016 campaign.

After a series of criminal cases against Russian and other foreign intelligence officers [no link to examples of such cases], U.S. officials have grown more comfortable with disclosing the sensitive material required for such prosecutions [again, no examples provided of such prosecutions that disclosed sensitive material], people familiar with the matter said. Prosecutors would need to rely on such evidence if they wanted to portray Mr. Assange as an agent of a foreign government.

In October, a judge threw out the lawsuit Mr. Assange had filed against Ecuador to prevent the government from implementing stricter rules for his stay.

Ecuador issued a written document saying that while at the embassy, Mr. Assange is prohibited from political activities that could affect Ecuador’s relations with other nations. It also said the embassy would provide Mr. Assange with Wi-Fi, but he had to pay for phone calls and other communication.

His visitors would need to provide the embassy with information about cellphones and social media activities, the government said.

The rules also include housekeeping duties Ecuador says are needed to create a “harmonious relationship” between Mr. Assange and embassy staff. Mr. Assange and his guests will need to clean the bathroom, the document said, and the WikiLeaks founder must feed and clean up after his cat.

“Ecuador hasn’t violated the rights of anyone,” Attorney General Íñigo Salvador said after the court ruling. “It has provided asylum to Mr. Assange, and he should comply with the rules to live harmoniously inside Ecuador’s public installations in London.” Assange’s attorneys said they would appeal the ruling.

Ecuador issued its rules seven months after the Foreign Relations Ministry cut Mr. Assange’s internet connection at the embassy in response to his criticism of Britain on social media for expelling Russian diplomats for the [alleged] poisoning of a former Russian spy."
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Among comments at WSJ
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Added: CIA data published on Wikileaks is from 2013-2016, per FAQ. From March 2017 press release: "Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal....This extraordinary collection...gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive."

3/7/2017, "Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed," Wikileaks, Press Release

"Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.

By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of "Year Zero" goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. 

These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.
Analysis

CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs

CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA's DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).

The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.

The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.

The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom's MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on.

In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.

The CIA's Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones.

Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user's geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone's camera and microphone.

Despite iPhone's minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA's Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads. CIA's arsenal includes numerous local and remote "zero days" developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.

A similar unit targets Google's Android which is used to run the majority of the world's smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year. "Year Zero" shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 "weaponized" Android "zero days" which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.

These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the "smart" phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.

CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers

The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized "zero days", air gap jumping viruses such as "Hammer Drill" which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ("Brutal Kangaroo") and to keep its malware infestations going.

Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA's Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as "Assassin" and "Medusa".

Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA's Network Devices Branch (NDB).

The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB's "HIVE" and the related "Cutthroat" and "Swindle" tools, which are described in the examples section below.

CIA 'hoarded' vulnerabilities ("zero days")

In the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis — rather than hoard — serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or "zero days" to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.

Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.

The U.S. government's commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities. The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.

"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.

As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts. The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.

The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.

'Cyberwar' programs are a serious proliferation risk

Cyber 'weapons' are not possible to keep under effective control.

While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber 'weapons', once developed, are very hard to retain.

Cyber 'weapons' are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.

Securing such 'weapons' is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces — sometimes by using the very same 'weapons' against the organizations that contain them. There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global "vulnerability market" that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such 'weapons'. Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such 'weapons' sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling 'hacking' services.

Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booz Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.

A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.

Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information. The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools. 

Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike. 

U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base 

In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( "Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe" or CCIE) are given diplomatic ("black") passports and State Department cover.   

The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany's counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: "Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport" 

Your Cover Story (for this trip)
 
Q: Why are you here?
A: Supporting technical consultations at the Consulate.


Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures. 

Once in Frankfurt CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Shengen open border area — including France, Italy and Switzerland.

A number of the CIA's electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity. These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace. The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media. For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use. To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos). But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlaying system is automatically infected and ransacked.

How the CIA dramatically increased proliferation risks

In what is surely one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory, the CIA structured its classification regime such that for the most market valuable part of "Vault 7"the CIA's weaponized malware (implants + zero days), Listening Posts (LP), and Command and Control (C2) systems — the agency has little legal recourse.

The CIA made these systems unclassified.

Why the CIA chose to make its cyberarsenal unclassified reveals how concepts developed for military use do not easily crossover to the 'battlefield' of cyber 'war'.

To attack its targets, the CIA usually requires that its implants communicate with their control programs over the internet. If CIA implants, Command and Control and Listening Post software were classified, then CIA officers could be prosecuted or dismissed for violating rules that prohibit placing classified information onto the Internet. 

Consequently the CIA has secretly made most of its cyber spying/war code unclassified. The U.S. government is not able to assert copyright either, due to restrictions in the U.S. Constitution. This means that cyber 'arms' manufactures and computer hackers can freely "pirate" these 'weapons' if they are obtained. The CIA has primarily had to rely on obfuscation to protect its malware secrets.

Conventional weapons such as missiles may be fired at the enemy (i.e into an unsecured area). Proximity to or impact with the target detonates the ordnance including its classified parts. Hence military personnel do not violate classification rules by firing ordnance with classified parts. Ordnance will likely explode. If it does not, that is not the operator's intent.

Over the last decade U.S. hacking operations have been increasingly dressed up in military jargon to tap into Department of Defense funding streams. For instance, attempted "malware injections" (commercial jargon) or "implant drops" (NSA jargon) are being called "fires" as if a weapon was being fired. However the analogy is questionable.

Unlike bullets, bombs or missiles, most CIA malware is designed to live for days or even years after it has reached its 'target'. CIA malware does not "explode on impact" but rather permanently infests its target. In order to infect target's device, copies of the malware must be placed on the target's devices, giving physical possession of the malware to the target. To exfiltrate data back to the CIA or to await further instructions the malware must communicate with CIA Command and Control (C2) systems placed on internet connected servers. But such servers are typically not approved to hold classified information, so CIA command and control systems are also made unclassified.

A successful 'attack' on a target's computer system is more like a series of complex stock maneuvers in a hostile take-over bid or the careful planting of rumors in order to gain control over an organization's leadership rather than the firing of a weapons system.   

If there is a military analogy to be made, the infestation of a target is perhaps akin to the execution of a whole series of military maneuvers against the target's territory including observation, infiltration, occupation and exploitation.

Evading forensics and anti-virus

A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, Siemens and anti-virus companies attribute and defend against attacks.

"Tradecraft DO's and DON'Ts" contains CIA rules on how its malware should be written to avoid fingerprints implicating the "CIA, US government, or its witting partner companies" in "forensic review". Similar secret standards cover the use of encryption to hide CIA hacker and malware communication (pdf), describing targets and exfiltrated data (pdf) as well as executing payloads (pdf) and persisting (pdf) in the target's machines over time.

CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs. These are documented in AV defeats, Personal Security Products, Detecting and defeating PSPs and PSP/Debugger/RE Avoidance. For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window's "Recycle Bin". While Comodo 6.x has a "Gaping Hole of DOOM".

CIA hackers discussed what the NSA's "Equation Group" hackers did wrong and how the CIA's malware makers could avoid similar exposure...

Frequently Asked Questions

Why now?

WikiLeaks published as soon as its verification and analysis were ready.

In Febuary [2017] the Trump administration has issued an Executive Order calling for a "Cyberwar" review to be prepared within 30 days.

While the review increases the timeliness and relevance of the publication it did not play a role in setting the publication date.

Redactions

Names, email addresses and external IP addresses have been redacted in the released pages (70,875 redactions in total) until further analysis is complete.
  1. Over-redaction: Some items may have been redacted that are not employees, contractors, targets or otherwise related to the agency, but are, for example, authors of documentation for otherwise public projects that are used by the agency.
  2. Identity vs. person: the redacted names are replaced by user IDs (numbers) to allow readers to assign multiple pages to a single author. Given the redaction process used a single person may be represented by more than one assigned identifier but no identifier refers to more than one real person.
  3. Archive attachments (zip, tar.gz, ...) are replaced with a PDF listing all the file names in the archive. As the archive content is assessed it may be made available; until then the archive is redacted.
  4. Attachments with other binary content are replaced by a hex dump of the content to prevent accidental invocation of binaries that may have been infected with weaponized CIA malware. As the content is assessed it may be made available; until then the content is redacted.
  5. The tens of thousands of routable IP addresses references (including more than 22 thousand within the United States) that correspond to possible targets, CIA covert listening post servers, intermediary and test systems, are redacted for further exclusive investigation.
  6. Binary files of non-public origin are only available as dumps to prevent accidental invocation of CIA malware infected binaries....

What time period is covered?

The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first).

WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA's creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order. If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.

What is "Vault 7"

"Vault 7" is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.

When was each part of "Vault 7" obtained?

Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication....

Isn't WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series?

No. That would be certainly counter-productive.

Has WikiLeaks already 'mined' all the best stories?

No. WikiLeaks has intentionally not written up hundreds of impactful stories to encourage others to find them and so create expertise in the area for subsequent parts in the series. They're there. Look. Those who demonstrate journalistic excellence may be considered for early access to future parts.

Won't other journalists find all the best stories before me?

Unlikely. There are very considerably more stories than there are journalists or academics who are in a position to write them."

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Comment: The charade must end. The US can no longer be defined as a country. The US political class has made clear for many years it refuses to protect the 2000 mile US southern border. Not one tank from the vast US taxpayer funded military has been used to protect our own border. There's no basis for having a military. They should all be called home. There's no basis for collecting income taxes. There's no reason for the lavishly funded CIA, FBI, and NSA to exist. We have begged for a border for decades if only for safety reasons. Not one person in the entire US political class has had the slightest interest in our safety or in the survival of the US as a country. All the money in the world is behind selling out this country. None of the billionaires in politics today is on our side, including Trump.




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