Thursday, April 26, 2018

UK attack on Belgian telecom used Daddy NSA technology. UK spy agency GCHQ frequently hacks governments and businesses from countries including Russia, North Korea, UAE, Iran, Turkey, and Belgium. UK never admits hacking and 'gets away with it' because of its sick relationship with the deeply corrupt US political class-The Intercept, 2/17/18

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In UK's attack on Belgium telecom, "Initially, the NSA was suspected, but the presentation shows that it was a British operation using surveillance technology developed by the NSA."... 9/20/2013, "Britain's GCHQ Hacked Belgian Telco: Report," securityweek.com, Rochford 

UK "got away with" the Belgium telecom attack because their corrupt US Daddy protected them. UK opted to become subservient to the US when for example it secretly accepted $139 million in new spy equipment from the Obama admin. 2009-2012. UK is said to be desperate to maintain approval of corrupt US elites believing it's all that stands between them and global irrelevance.

UK GCHQ's brutal hacks on the Belgium telecom network caused millions of dollars in damages,  was ongoing since at least 2010, but to this day, the UK hasn't admitted what it did. Belgium chose not to pursue the matter with required aggressiveness fearing political repercussions. Meaning, they knew UK had Daddy US behind them:

"But we [Belgium telecom giant of which Belgian gov. is majority owner] were fighting against two big cyber armies from the UK and the US. We knew we could never win this."
 
2/17/18, "How U.K. Spies Hacked a European Ally and Got Away With It," The Intercept, Ryan Gallagher 

"It was the summer of 2013, and European investigators were looking into an unprecedented breach of Belgium's telecommunications infrastructure. They believed they were on the trail of the people responsible. But it would soon become clear that they were chasing ghosts – fake names that had been invented by British spies.

The hack targeted Belgacom, Belgium's largest telecommunications provider, which serves millions of people across Europe. The company’s employees had noticed their email accounts were not receiving messages. On closer inspection, they made a startling discovery: Belgacom’s internal computer systems had been infected with one of the most advanced pieces of malware security experts had ever seen.

As The Intercept reported in 2014, the hack turned out to have been perpetrated by UK surveillance agency  Government Communications Headquarters, better known as GCHQ. The British spies hacked into Belgacom employees’ computers and then penetrated the company’s internal systems. In an eavesdropping mission called “Operation Socialist,” GCHQ planted bugs inside the most sensitive parts of Belgacom’s networks and tapped into communications processed by the company.

The covert operation was the first documented example of a European Union member state hacking the critical infrastructure of another. The malware infection triggered a massive cleanup operation within Belgacom, which has since renamed itself Proximus. The company of which the Belgian government is the majority owner was forced to replace thousands of its computers at a cost of several million euros. Elio di Rupo, Belgium’s then-prime minister, was furious, calling the hack a “violation.” Meanwhile, one of the country’s top federal prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the intrusion.



but no details about its activities have been made public. Now, following interviews with five sources close to the case, The Intercept – in collaboration with Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant – has gained insight into the probe and uncovered new information about the scope of the hack. The sources, who are subject to confidentiality agreements and not authorized to talk to the media, spoke on the condition of anonymity. Their accounts reveal an extraordinary investigation that was hindered from the outset by political, diplomatic, technical, and legal difficulties.

The Belgacom breach sparked outrage in Europe’s political institutions and made global headlines. But Belgium’s effort to identify the spies responsible and hold them accountable faced roadblocks at almost every turn. Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, refused to assist. Prosecutors overseeing the case feared triggering a major diplomatic dispute and were reluctant to pursue it aggressively. Meanwhile, 



“We wanted to show that as a small country, we would not be bullied,” said a source close to the investigation. “But we were fighting against two big cyberarmies from the U.K. and the U.S. We knew we could never win this.”

At first, it was not clear how severely Belgacom’s systems were compromised or who was responsible for the breach. Inside a grayish, four-story office building on Lebeau Street in Brussels, one of the company’s email servers kept malfunctioning. The problem, first identified in the summer of 2012, was assumed then to be a routine technical fault. But about a year later – in June 2013 – the issue flared up again, and Belgacom’s security experts realized there was a more sinister explanation: The company’s systems had been hacked.

Belgacom notified the authorities that it had been targeted, and in July 2013, filed a formal complaint with a federal prosecutor. The complaint triggered a major investigation that was code-named “Trinity,” led by a group that included members of Belgium’s federal police, domestic secret service, military intelligence, and a specialist unit known as a Computer Emergency Response Team. Belgacom also recruited help in the form of Netherlands-based cybersecurity firm Fox-IT; it called in the U.S. technology company Cisco to assess the damage, as well.

Once they had the chance to analyze Belgacom's infected computers, the Belgian authorities realized  that they were not dealing with a routine cyberattack. Instead, they assessed that it was an “advanced persistent threat” – a deep-reaching hack perpetrated by a well-funded, highly skilled actor. They had never encountered anything like it before.

The malware that had infected Belgacom’s systems was disguised as legitimate Microsoft software, the investigators found. It was secretly collecting data from the company’s networks before storing it in compressed containers with several layers of encryption. Assessing the extent of the damage was no easy task. 

The Belgians could not completely decrypt the files and were therefore unable to identify exactly what had been taken from Belgacom’s computers.

The hackers were retrieving the stolen information from Belgacom’s systems during business hours, masking their activity within the normal flows of data passing to and from the company’s networks. But in late August 2013, the malware suddenly began deleting itself, vanishing in minutes from Belgacom’s infected computers. “The attackers knew they’d been discovered,” said a security expert who worked on the case. “They pushed a button to destroy the malware.”

Luckily, the investigators had already made copies of the bug. They followed the digital evidence, forensically analyzing it for clues. They found that the stolen data had been sent out of Belgacom’s systems to a network of servers seemingly operated by the hackers. 

They identified the servers by tracing IP addresses – a series of numbers assigned to computers when they connect to the internet – to countries including India, the Netherlands, Indonesia, and Romania.

The hackers had rented the servers from private companies operating in each of these countries. Belgian police contacted the companies and asked them to turn over any information they had about the customers who had purchased the servers. The companies complied, providing the police with names, addresses, and payment records. The police now had a list of people they believed could be responsible for the hack. But that’s where the trail began to go cold.

The addresses were for people who appeared to live in Germany and Denmark. Belgian federal police officers reached out to their counterparts in these countries, sharing the details about their suspects. But there were no records of anyone with the suspects’ names having lived at the addresses. In Germany, the address the hackers had used turned out to be a theater. It quickly became obvious to the investigators that the information was fraudulent. 

Their prime suspects were people who did not exist.

“There was nothing there – just ghosts,” said a source close to the investigation. “They are spies. They put up smokescreens.”

One detail would later take on significance, however. The servers had in some cases been purchased with payment cards that appeared to have been issued to people based in the U.K.

In June 2013, shortly before the discovery of the intrusion at Belgacom, journalists began publishing documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents exposed controversial mass surveillance programs operated by the NSA [ie US taxpayers] and its British counterpart, GCHQ.

Some of the Belgacom investigators initially suspected that the NSA was involved in the hack, partly due to the complexity of the malware. It bore similarities to Stuxnet and Flame, U.S.-created digital viruses designed to sabotage and collect intelligence about Iran’s uranium enrichment program. “This was by far the most sophisticated malware I’ve ever seen,” recalled Frank Groenewegen, a researcher who analyzed Belgacom’s infected systems for the cybersecurity firm Fox-IT.

It was not until September 2013 that the Belgians would learn the truth: The Belgacom intrusion had in fact been carried out by another of their close allies, the British. Documents from Snowden, published that month by Der Spiegel, showed that a GCHQ unit called the Network Analysis Centre had hacked into the computers of three Belgacom engineers who had access to sensitive parts of the company’s systems.

When the details about the hack went public, Belgacom tried to play down the extent of the breach. 

The company circulated a press release insisting there was “no indication of any impact” for its customers and their data. But the reassurance turned out to be false. As The Intercept revealed in December 2014, the most sensitive parts of Belgacom’s networks were compromised in stages between January and December 2011.

After installing malware on the engineers’ computers by luring them to a fake version of the LinkedIn website, GCHQ was able to steal their keys to the secure parts of Belgacom’s networks and begin monitoring the data flowing across them. The agency [GCHQ] boasted in classified reports that the operation was “hugely successful.” It gained access to Belgacom “both deep into the network and at the edge of the network” and hacked into data links carrying information over a protocol known as GPRS, which handles cellphone internet browsing sessions and multimedia messages.

The British spies appear to have targeted Belgacom due to its role as one of Europe’s most important telecommunications hubs. Through a subsidiary company called Belgacom International Carrier Services, it maintains data links across the continent and also processes phone calls and emails passing to and from the Middle East, North Africa, and South America. But tapping into a broad range of global communications is only one possible motive. GCHQ may also have sought access to Belgacom’s networks to snoop on NATO and key European institutions, such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council. All of those organizations have large offices and thousands of employees in Belgium. And all were Belgacom customers at the time of the intrusion.

Over the last decade [2008-2018], as the internet and smartphone use have boomed, GCHQ has increasingly turned to hacking to collect intelligence on matters related to economics, geopolitics, and security. Aside from Belgacom, the agency has broken into the computer systems of the oil production organization OPEC; the Netherlands-based security company Gemalto; and organizations that process international cellphone billing records, including Switzerland’s Comfone. The agency [GCHQ] has also hacked several governments and companies from countries including  

Ireland, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Iran, Argentina, Russia, North Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe, 

according to previously undisclosed lists of some of its targets, contained in the archive of classified documents that The Intercept obtained from Snowden.

The hacking attacks are among GCHQ’s most sensitive and risky operations, mainly because the method is not as discreet as more traditional forms of electronic surveillance, like monitoring a phone line. Challenges the agency faces during its computer intrusions include “avoiding detection by [the] target or another agency” and “remaining within the law,” according to a previously undisclosed top-secret GCHQ document from the Snowden archive. All of GCHQ’s hacking activities “must be U.K. deniable,” the document says, meaning it should be impossible for those targeted by the hacks to trace them back to GCHQ’s computers. The agency’s hackers use what they call “intermediary machines” and “covert infrastructure” to disguise themselves before they steal information from hacked computers or phones.

In the Belgacom case, these protections failed and GCHQ’s biggest fear was realized. Its operation was discovered and its identity as the perpetrator was publicly exposed. For the authorities in Belgium, however, seeking justice for the damage that the agency caused still proved a remarkable challenge.

As news organizations began publishing the Snowden documents in 2013, the Belgians studied them with interest. The classified files revealed details about the planning and execution of the hack [by GCHQ]. But because the documents appeared in the press, were partly redacted, and had not been handed straight to the police, the law enforcement officials overseeing the criminal investigation did not consider them direct evidence, though they did enter the documents into their case file.

According to a source close to the investigation, there were informal discussions over whether it would be possible to ask Snowden to testify as a witness in the case, so he could verify the documents and potentially provide his own statement about the hack of Belgacom. However, senior prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw poured cold water on the idea, on the grounds that it would be too damaging diplomatically. Snowden was in Russia, where he had sought asylum, and interviewing him could upset the U.S., a powerful ally of the Belgian government. At the time, there were rising concerns about the movement of potential Islamist terrorists in Europe. The Belgians needed U.S. assistance in tracking that threat and feared any move that could jeopardize the cooperation. (A spokesperson for Van Leeuw declined to comment for this story.)"...

[Ed. note: It's the exact opposite! Belgium has allowed itself to become a haven for Islamic terrorists: "Belgium has a central location in Europe; few border controls; a common language with prime jihadi target France; and a political divide between French and Dutch speakers that has long created bureaucratic disarray in justice and security." 11/25/2015, "Why terrorists find Belgium a haven," AP] 

(continuing); "The investigators knew the U.K. was responsible for the hack. But they wanted to build their own case, based on their own sources, that nailed GCHQ as the perpetrator. Some of the forensic evidence they had obtained from Belgacom’s systems pointed toward the U.K., but it was not conclusive and could still be denied.

There were the payments they had been able to trace to the U.K., but those turned out to have been made using pre-paid credit cards that were obtained anonymously – in the Kent area of England and elsewhere – and not linked directly to GCHQ. The investigators also found the names “Daredevil” and “Warriorpride” embedded within the code of the malware that had infected Belgacom’s systems. 

These are the names of a hacking tool used by GCHQ and NSA, according to the Snowden documents, and their discovery within Belgacom was as close as the investigators got to a smoking gun. But the Belgians felt these details were still too circumstantial. They needed more.

In late 2013, Belgian police decided to approach the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol, for assistance. Europol helps E.U. member states fight terrorism and serious crime. It has a specialist unit called the European Cybercrime Centre, whose mandate is to “strengthen the law enforcement response to cybercrime in the E.U.” The Belgians hoped the unit would help them gather more evidence about the hack.

However, Europol wanted nothing to do with the investigation and refused to assist, according to two sources familiar with the interaction. Europol asserted that it would not carry out investigations into other European Union member states – in this case, the U.K. The Belgians were frustrated and believed Europol had stonewalled them for political reasons; they noted with suspicion that the organization was led by Rob Wainwright, who is British.

Jan Op Gen Oorth, a spokesperson for Europol, told The Intercept in an email that regulations restricted the organization to “investigating acts affecting two or more EU Member States, involving serious and organized crime and terrorist actors only.” Questioned on which regulations he meant, Op Gen Oorth pointed to a policy that did not exist at the time the Belgians asked for assistance with the hack of Belgacom. (The policy was in fact brought into force in May 2017; it states that Europol is empowered to investigate hacks “of suspected criminal origin,” but says nothing about hacks perpetrated by governments.)

At every turn in the case, the Belgian investigators encountered a dead end. They knew that even if they identified specific GCHQ personnel responsible for the hack, they would likely never be able to arrest or extradite them from the U.K. It might have been possible to place the names of particular GCHQ employees on a watch list, and if they ever traveled to Belgium, police could detain and interrogate them. But that would pose its own set of problems. Arresting a British spy would trigger a massive public dispute with the U.K. and there was insufficient political appetite for such a showdown. As such, the Belgian Trinity investigation came to be viewed as little more than symbolic in value.

“We could see GCHQ was behind it, but we knew it was never going to go to court,” said a source close to the case. “But still, we wanted to gather information and make it known to the world that in Belgium if you try to hack our national telecoms we won’t look away, we will investigate.”

The British government has never publicly acknowledged any role in the Belgacom hack. GCHQ declined to answer questions for this story and instead issued a statement asserting that its work is carried out “in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate.” Any GCHQ hack that targets foreign organizations must be approved at a senior level within the agency, and particularly sensitive operations sometimes require the sign-off of the government’s foreign secretary, who at the time of the Belgacom intrusion was William Hague. A spokesperson for Hague refused to discuss the case, saying he would not comment on “national intelligence matters.”

In the aftermath of the incident, it is likely that the Belgian government lodged diplomatic protests with its British counterparts. According to U.K. government records obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act, British officials held a series of meetings with Belgian government representatives after the Belgacom intrusion was publicly exposed. In October 2013, for instance, foreign secretaries of each country and senior diplomats attended a two day “Belgian-British conference” at Lancaster House in London’s West End. Two weeks later, the British ambassador to Belgium met in Brussels with Johan Delmulle, a top Belgian federal prosecutor, who was overseeing the Belgacom investigation at the time.

Even within the Belgian government and law enforcement community, however, there was a lack of clarity about how the case was being handled. The country’s law enforcement personnel were not informed about whether a diplomatic dialogue was underway with the British. Meanwhile, Alexander De Croo, the Belgian government minister responsible for telecoms services, appears to have been kept in the dark about the incident. During a January 2016 talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, De Croo made the extraordinary suggestion that his own [Belgian] government might even have secretly allowed the British to go ahead with the hack.

“The whole question is: Did we agree or not,” De Croo said. “I am not the Minister of Justice so I don’t get access to everything .… It might very well be that the Belgian intelligence services said, ‘Yes please go ahead, why not?’”

De Croo declined to be interviewed for this story. Belgium’s Ministry of Justice and intelligence services refused to discuss De Croo’s comments, citing an ongoing investigation.

The police file on the Belgacom hack numbers thousands of pages and is expected to be handed over soon to the prosecutor now overseeing the case. That prosecutor, Geert Schoorens, will decide what to do next, including whether to charge anyone over the breach.

Despite the political uproar the incident triggered in 2013, it is unlikely that any action will be taken. 

That GCHQ was responsible is beyond doubt, but the agency will face no consequences, say sources with knowledge of the case. 

There will be no sanctions for the U.K., no compensation to cover the damage caused, no arrests, no interrogations, no apology, and no admission of guilt. Rather, Schoorens will turn over a report to the Belgian parliament and the investigation will be quietly closed.

Despite this, the hack has had a palpable impact in Belgium. Belgacom – or Proximus, as it is now known – committed to spend more than $55 million to reform its internal security procedures. The company created a cyberdefense unit and recruited “ethical hackers” who routinely try to break into its networks, which helps identify and fix any potential vulnerabilities. It has also trained its employees in how to spot potential hacking attempts, introduced new systems that constantly monitor activity within its internal networks, and reduced the number of its computers that have access to sensitive parts of its systems.

The Belgian authorities, too, were forced to embrace changes after the breach. The criminal investigation brought the country’s law enforcement and secret services closer together, and now the agencies are more cooperative on cybersecurity issues. For them, GCHQ's actions were a rude awakening – and the sign of a looming new threat, for which they are now preparing. “In the next few years, this malware is going to be in the hands of criminals and terrorists, said a source close to the investigation. “Belgacom was a learning curve. We learned how to respond to a crisis before the next crisis.”"
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Documents published with this article:
 https://theintercept.com/document/2018/02/17/computer-network-exploitation-presentation/




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Mob rule may be fine for you, but not for me: 'LET ME BE,' 1965 by the Turtles: 'Don't try to change me or rearrange me to satisfy the selfishness in you. I'm not a piece of clay to mold to your moves each day. I'm sorry, I'm not the fool you thought would play by your rules'

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Video with lyrics



The Turtles: Let Me Be (Lyrics), You Tube
..................  
"Let me be," lyrics
..................  
 

"Please don't mistake me or try to make me
The shadow of anybody else

I ain't the him or her you think I am
I'm just trying hard to be myself
Though society's goal is to be part of the whole
That may sound good to you, not to me

....................
Let me be, let me be
To think like I want to
Let me be, let me be
That's all I ask of you
I am what I am and that's all I ever can be
.................
Don't try to plan me or understand me
I can't stand to be understood
I could never give in to or ever live up to
Being like you think I should

I've got some inner need that I'm tryin' to heed
I can't take hand-me-down destiny
.......................
Let me be, let me be
To think like I want to
Let me be, let me be
That's all I ask of you
I am what I am and that's all I ever can be
...............
Don't try to change me or rearrange me
To satisfy the selfishness in you

I'm not a piece of clay to mold to your moves each day
And I'm not a pawn to be told how to move
I'm sorry I'm not the fool you thought would play by your rules

'To each his own' philosophy

Let me be, let me be
To think like I want to
................
Let me be, let me be
That's all I ask of you

I am what I am and that's all I ever can be
...............
I said that's all I ever can be
I said that's all I ever can be
I said that's all I ever can be"
...
About The Turtles


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Added: Mobs need to get a life of their own. The US isn't Europe. We don't accept rule by monarchies:

"The American people made it quite clear that they do not want to follow in Western Europe’s footsteps. They do not want to give their country away. They want to preserve their nation, their freedoms, their prosperity....Against the media, against the establishment, against the elites, against all the odds, Donald Trump won the American elections. And what a victory!"...11/9/2016, Geert Wilders  



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President LBJ complained that CIA was running "a goddamn Murder Inc. in the Caribbean," which was true. The beneficiaries were US corporations rather than organized crime-NY Times, 11/8/2013 review of book about John Foster Dulles and brother Allen who over decades made US into global champs of "regime change," government sanctioned murder, whatever corporate interests wanted

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"President Johnson privately complained that the C.I.A. had been running “a goddamn Murder Inc. in the Caribbean.”"

Nov. 8, 2013, "Overt and Covert,‘The Brothers,’ by Stephen Kinzer," NY Times, Adam LeBor 

"Anyone wanting to know why the United States is hated across much of the world need look no farther than this book. “The Brothersis a riveting chronicle of government-sanctioned murder, casual elimination of “inconvenient” regimes, relentless prioritization of American corporate interests and cynical arrogance on the part of two men who were once among the most powerful in the world. 

John Foster Dulles and his brother, Allen, were scions of the American establishment. Their grandfather John Watson Foster served as secretary of state, as had their uncle Robert Lansing. Both brothers were lawyers, partners in the immensely powerful firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, whose New York offices were for decades an important link between big business and American policy making. 

John Foster Dulles served as secretary of state from 1953 to 1959; his brother ran the C.I.A. from 1953 to 1961. But their influence was felt long before these official appointments. In his detailed, well-­constructed and highly readable book, Stephen Kinzer, formerly a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and now a columnist for The Guardian, shows how the brothers drove America’s interventionist foreign policy....

Eventually, the United States government tired of Allen Dulles’s schemes. President Johnson privately complained that the C.I.A. had been running “a goddamn Murder Inc. in the Caribbean,” an entirely accurate assessment except the beneficiaries were American corporations rather than organized crime. Nowadays, the Dulles brothers have faded from America’s collective memory. The bust of John Foster, once on view at the airport west of Washington that bears his name, has been relocated to a private conference room. Outside the world of intelligence aficionados, Allen Dulles is little known. Yet both these men shaped our modern world and America’s sense of its “exceptionalism.” 

They should be remembered, Kinzer argues, precisely because of their failures: “They are us. We are them.”"



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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Republican Debbie Lesko wins Arizona special election for US House: “You want the wall? I say build it.”

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4/24/18,Republican Debbie Lesko wins Arizona House special election,” Fox News, Benjamin Brown

“Republican candidate Debbie Lesko won a special election for a U.S. House seat in Arizona Tuesday night, to replace former Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned in December over sexual misconduct allegations.
Lesko, a former state senator, defeated Democrat Hiral Tipirneni to keep the 8th Congressional District seat in Republican control.

National Republican groups funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Lesko in the hotly contested race that spanned heavily conservative areas of western Phoenix suburbs.

“I congratulate Congresswoman-Elect Debbie Lesko and look forward to welcoming her to our conference,” said Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Debbie is a strong conservative whose values truly reflect those of the voters in Arizona’s Eighth District. The NRCC was proud to support her and our targeted and early investments proved to be a difference maker in the race.”

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for Lesko, pointing out her stance on border patrol, immigration and crime.

“Time is ticking down — get out and VOTE today,” the tweet read. “We need Debbie in Congress.”
Several Republicans who spoke to the Associated Press said they backed Lesko for her support of the president’s stance on border security, including building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border – which Tipirneni had opposed.

Lesko also criticized Tipirneni, a doctor, for supporting government-run health care. The Republican beat the Democrat by almost six points in a district where Trump won by 20.

Democrats had hoped to extend a string of special election victories that saw them post victories in Alabama and Pennsylvania.”




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Tech group backs out of House Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Diamond and Silk. Electronic Frontier Foundation says meeting no longer appears to be substantive-Axios, 4/24/18

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4/24/18, "Tech group won't appear at social media hearing with Diamond and Silk," Axios, David McCabe 

"When the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing Thursday on whether online platforms censor conservative voices, one advocacy group that had been expected to give in person testimony won't be at the witness table. 

Why it matters: The Electronic Frontier Foundation cited concerns the discussion wouldn't be substantive. Its absence could make the hearing, featuring conservative video stars Diamond and Silk and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, even more political.

What they're saying: When the committee announced its hearing focusing, in part, on "whether viewpoints have been silenced on some of the most popular and widely used platforms," it said EFF legal director Corynne McSherry would be a witness. But EFF's legislative counsel Ernesto Falcon said that the group had never committed to testify in person and will instead submit written testimony.
  • The hearing we thought they were having kind of changed a lot, he told Axios. “It didn’t look like it was digging into substance.”
  • "Anyone who implies that the loss of engagement and earned media due to social media filtering is not a serious issue deserving of Congress’s attention grossly underestimates the influence of social media in our society," said a House Judiciary Committee aide. "Witnesses who decide to attend will have the opportunity to address these issues head-on and shape future policy."
  • McSherry is still listed as a witness on the committee's website.
What's next: Facebook, Google and Twitter have all been invited to send representatives to the hearing but haven't yet said publicly whether they plan to accept the invitation."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Joseph Mifsud exemplifies stench of the so-called UK-US 'special relationship' in which UK political types apparently have no interest in their own country so are intricately involved assisting US shadow governments desperate to silence the American people. Our Deep State slave masters will pair with anyone these days-Disobedient Media

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4/23/18, "A Conversation with Chris Blackburn on the Contradictions Surrounding Mifsud," Disobedient Media, Elizabeth Lea Vos (Chris Blackburn is a UK Political Analyst focusing on International Relations and Security)
 
"After the publication of Disobedient Media’s coverage of eclectic scholar’ Joseph Mifsud’s unexamined ties to UK intelligence officials, this author was contacted by Chris Blackburn, a UK Political Analyst focusing on International Relations and Security, whose Twitter post instigated this writer’s research into the matter.

This writer’s interest in Mifsud and in turn, the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, was heightened by a Twitter threadon the subject published by WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange shortly before Ecuador cut off his connection to the outside world.

Mifsud and Claire Smith
(Image via 4/4/18, Disobedient Media: "Claire Smith standing with Joseph Mifsud, on the left side of the back row.")

Chris Blackburn’s initial Tweets on the matter included of a photograph showing UK Joint Intelligence Committee member Claire Smith and Joseph Mifsud together at LINK Campus in Rome, where they collaborated on a training program involving Italian military officials. Disobedient Media was able to confirm the photograph’s authenticity, finding that the program was organized by the London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD), which Mifsud directed. 

The event took place in 2012 a significant date because, at that time, Claire Smith was a member of the UK intelligence security vetting panel.

2017, Mifsud w. Boris Johnson
As Blackburn informed us, there is more to this story than is told by that single photograph, or by the October 2017 photograph of Mifsud standing with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The following discussion took place electronically."...

[Ed. note: Caption for image "at Brexit dinner" on 10/19/17 from UK Guardian, 11/11/2017 article: "Boris Johnson pictured at the dinner with the ‘London professor’, Joseph Mifsud (left) and Prasenjit Kumar Singh." Article, "Boris Johnson met 'London professor' linked to FBI's Russia investigation," "Fresh questions as photograph emerges of Joseph Mifsud and foreign secretary at Brexit dinner." Described as a "fundraising dinner."]

(continuing): ..............."Disobedient Media asked Chris [Blackburn] to explain the process of his research into Joseph Mifsud’s most important ties:

Chris Blackburn: “When Joseph Mifsud’s name was leaked by The Washington Post as being the ‘professor’ named in George Papadopoulos’ court papers, bloggers and journalists took to Twitter to try to understand who he was. Everyone was looking for connections to Russia. They quickly found them. The London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP) had been working on hosting financial sanctions workshops, and LINK Campus in Rome and the London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD) had provided a vehicle for Mifsud to make connections with Russian universities and academics.”

“Before the story broke, I had heard of the London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP) where George Papadopoulos and Mifsud both worked. The relatively new legal firm had been trying to move into the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) sector in the UK. They had done some research into ISIS territorial gains in the Middle East and wrote a widely circulated report on the group. They also hosted a few seminars with [UK] Foreign Office types on terrorism. LCILP had also tried to reach out to a couple of Bangladeshi activists working on the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunals. I didn’t think much of it, but I couldn’t ignore it. Why would a suspected Russian intelligence front try to engage with Bangladesh’s War Crimes Tribunal from London?”... 

Mifsud worked with diplomats and NATO allies, so they would need to know the potential damage he had caused. I found that two of Joseph Mifsud’s closest colleagues, who the FBI would have designated as high-frequency, were Claire Smith and Gianni Pittella. They had followed him between LAD [London Academy of Diplomacy], Stirling University and LINK Campus in Rome. Claire Smith was a former member of Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). As a team, Smith and Mifsud trained Italian law enforcement on intelligence at LINK Campus in Rome. LINK Campus’ ties to the Italian Foreign Ministry and intelligence agencies had been quickly skimmed over by The Washington Post, The New York Times, Buzzfeed and The Guardian.”

Gianni Pittella has known Mifsud for a while. They met at the European Parliament and have collaborated on numerous projects together. In July 2016, Pittella gave a rousing speech at Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign launch in Philadelphia, calling Donald Trump ‘a virus’ which needed to be stopped, while his close collaborator Mifsud was supposedly helping Trump’s campaign to conspire with Russia. If the FBI had been doing a proper investigation into Joseph Mifsud, these two connections should have raised red flags immediately.”...

“While other researchers were looking into Mifsud’s academic links to Russia, I decided to conduct a more wide-ranging investigation. The London Academy of Diplomacy was being built up in the press as a shady operation. It wasn’t. British diplomats and Foreign Office ministers often visited LAD. Sir Tony Baldry, Alok Sharma MP and former Foreign Secretary William Hague all visited LAD or spoke at their conferences.” 

“If Mifsud was working with western intelligence agencies that would be rather pertinent in an espionage scandal. Italian journalists have been slow to pick up the story, but they are now calling LINK Campus the ‘007 university’ because Vincenzo Scotti, a former Italian Foreign Minister, and director at LINK University, has been trying to defend himself from suggestions he’s in Russia or the CIA’s pocket.”

The venue for the alleged acts of treachery involving Papadopoulos and Mifsud– LINK Campus Rome – should have set alarm bells ringing for the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigators. The CIA has a long history of working there. David Ignatius of The Washington Post even wrote about a CIA-sponsored event he attended at LINK Campus in 2004.”

“The FBI’s Legat [Legal Attache office] in Rome also sends its agents to train Italian and Maltese law enforcement at the small private campus. Mifsud had worked at LINK Campus for quite some time. Before the story broke in August last year, Mifsud had been working with CNN’s Freedom Project to host a televised debate on modern slavery. After Mifsud had been named, CNN continued with the event. Richard Quest hosted while one of Mifsud’s colleagues, Franco Frattini, acted as one of the panelists.”...

..............."Disobedient Media asked Chris for his thoughts on why multiple red flags easily spotted by due diligence may have been missed regarding Mifsud, intentionally or otherwise.

Chris Blackburn: “If Mifsud is a genuine Russian asset, he has been enabled by the United States’ most trusted allies. His relationship with senior intelligence and political leaders in Europe should constitute one of the greatest security breaches in decades. He had access to diplomats in training, sanctions targets and counter-terrorism strategy in the Middle East and South Asia. However, government reactions don’t show that. The FBI doesn’t appear to have warned their closest allies.”...

...............Disobedient Media asked Chris [Blackburn] to explain what conclusions can be drawn, or questions raised, by the evidence he’s shared.

Chris Blackburn: “There are too many contradictions and blatant omissions concerning Joseph Mifsud, in the media and the judicial system, to ignore. The NSA would have been monitoring Mifsud’s communications with the production crew that worked on the CNN Freedom Project before the George Papadopoulos indictment was made public. Why didn’t CNN Europe’s producers come out and say anything? It’s one of the greatest scandals in US history. Does CNN’s European division not read the news?”

“After Mifsud allegedly engaged George Papadopoulos in trying to set him up with allegedly stolen data, he went on to host conferences with US Treasury officials, ex-CIA agents, congressmen and State Department officials in numerous venues. If the investigation were genuine, US authorities would have alerted the British government and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mifsud would not have been able to get into a position to be photographed with the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson if he was a security threat or an agent of influence.” 

“Mifsud still hasn’t been named by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or indicted by his team. The first time an official named him was when Rep. Adam Schiff (D), the minority chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), mentioned him in a rebuttal to the majority memo on FISA abuses in the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ).”

“There are enough red flags here to suggest that Mifsud was potentially tied to efforts to kick-start a phony investigation that was designed to be leaked to the American press. Peter Strzok, the counter-intelligence official that started the Joseph Mifsud investigation, has been demoted and removed from Mueller’s investigative team. Mifsud is a mystery to people that can’t be bothered to look, but many journalists are aware of his links.”

“They don’t want to ruin a narrative. Trump is a divisive figure, but if we let intelligence officials illegally taint and sabotage candidates in a democratic election, it sets a dangerous precedent. Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has previously stepped into contemporary politics to malign Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, and the Liberal Democrats during British elections. He guided Christopher Steele on his strategy with his infamous dossier. It’s a trend which needs to be addressed.”

“For those that still believe we are living in democratic, free and open societies it is sadly starting to look like fantasy. Democracies flourish when the checks and balances in the system are robust. We need them to work now more than ever.”

............[Elizabeth Vos] As a closing thought on Blackburn’s findings, it’s important to set the exposure of Mifsud’s ties to the UK establishment and intelligence community into context.

Julian Assange brought this matter to the public’s attention just before being silenced by the Ecuadorian government. Although this particular story is most likely not causative in terms of Assange being relegated to solitary confinement, it is important to remember Assange’s interest in Mifsud’s ties to UK intelligence. It is one among many subjects that Assange has been prevented from discussing at the time of writing.

Ultimately, Disobedient Media’s previous coverage of Mifsud’s links to UK intelligence and Chris Blackburn’s thorough research suggest that the same interests involved in the fabrication of Russian hacking fingerprints via the anonymous Guccifer 2.0 persona are associated with the concoction of faulty evidence for the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Even reports casting Mifsud as a Russian intelligence asset do not object to the conclusion that Mifsud worked as a spy. Their claim simply depicts him as working for the wrong master, and in so-doing, rests the beating heart of the Trump-Russia collusion scandal on a single inaccurate premise. In exposing this sleight of hand, Chris Blackburn, Julian Assange, and others have debunked a narrative which, if successful, could have fatally raised tensions between two nuclear powers already facing off on the geopolitical playing field.

In the Trump-Russia and Russian hacking narratives, American and UK intelligence agencies appear to have recklessly and deceptively acted in the interest of a single political candidate, Hillary Clinton.  

This singularity of purpose speaks to the insecurity and magnitude of the unelected Western power structure, equaled by the scale of lies propping up the Trump-Russia and Russian hacking narratives."




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UK Royals are just a big welfare family. At least the Kardashians work for their money (and can be fired)-Mark Simone

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Above, 4/23/18, Mark Simone twitter


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MSNBC doing hours on whether Pres. Trump should pardon Michael Cohen who can't be pardoned because he hasn't committed any crime-Mark Simone

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Above, 4/23/18, Mark Simone twitter



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