Puppet MastersS


MI5 Chief: Massive Cybercrime Wave Putting Businesses at Risk

© Security ServiceMI5 boss Jonathan Evans has warned that companies in the UK are fending off an 'astonishing' level of cyberattacks.
Businesses in Britain are under sustained attack from governments and gangs bent on intellectual-property theft and other cybercrime, with one company suffering millions of pounds in losses, the head of MI5 has revealed.

They are victims of the black cyber-economy, which has a huge pool of resources to draw on for conducting state-sponsored cyber-espionage and cybercrime, MI5 director general Jonathan Evans said in a speech on Monday.

"Vulnerabilities in the internet are being exploited aggressively, not just by criminals but also by states," Evans told an audience at the Mansion House in London. "The extent of what is going on is astonishing - with industrial-scale processes, involving many thousands of people, lying behind both state-sponsored cyber-espionage and organised cybercrime."

MI5 worked with one major London-listed company that estimated it had lost £800m in revenue as a result of a hostile cyberattack from a state, he said. The damage came through intellectual-property loss and commercial disadvantage during contract negotiations.

"They will not be the only corporate victim of these problems," Evans said.

While the MI5 head did not mention particular attacks, companies have been grappling with threats such as Flame, which Kaspersky Labs has described as "a sophisticated cyber-espionage toolkit primarily targeting Windows computers in the Middle East". The US and Israel developed Flame to collect data on the Iranian nuclear programme, so that the countries could develop cyber-sabotage tools, according to the Washington Post.


Best of the Web: The Evils of Humanitarian Wars - Iraq, Libya, Syria: We Have No Right to Play God

humanitarian intervention
© Ingram Pinn
In a traditional cowboy movie, we know what to do: we look for the guy wearing the white hat to be sure who to cheer, and for the one wearing the black hat to know who deserves to die, preferably gruesomely, before the credits roll. If Hollywood learnt early to play on these most tribal of emotions, do we doubt that Washington's political script-writers are any less sophisticated?

Since 9/11, the United States and its allies in Europe have persuaded us that they are waging a series of "white hat" wars against "black hat" regimes in the Middle East. Each has been sold to us misleadingly as a "humanitarian intervention". The cycle of such wars is still far from complete.

But over the course of the past decade, the presentation of these wars has necessarily changed. As Hollywood well understands, audiences quickly tire of the same contrived plot. Invention, creativity and ever greater complexity are needed to sustain our emotional engagement.

Declarations by Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu aside, there are only so many times we can be convinced that there is a new Hitler in the Middle East, and that the moment is rapidly approaching when this evil mastermind will succeed in developing a doomsday weapon designed to wipe out Israel, the US, or maybe the planet.

Better Earth

Palestinian Gov't Asks Mursi to Remove Gaza Blockade

The Palestinian government asked Egypt's President-elect Mohammad Mursi to remove the siege of Gaza after the Islamist ascended to power in the first presidential election since the fall of Israel's ally Hosni Mubarak.

A political advisor to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urged Mursi to reopen the Rafah border crossing to end the siege of Gaza which, he said, has caused deep pain and agony among the residents of the Palestinian enclave.

"We hope that the first action to be taken by the new Egyptian president will be the removal of the siege of the Gaza Strip, reopening of the border crossings and facilitating transit of the construction materials and financial aids dispatched by international Arab organizations for the reconstruction of this war-stricken region," Yousef Rezqeh said.

He further stated that the win of the Islamic candidate has deeply gladdened the Palestinians, specially those in Gaza.

Che Guevara

'Fake government': Paraguay's Ousted President Fernando Lugo Defiant After 'Coup'

© Jorge Adorno / ReutersParaguay's ousted President Fernando Lugo holds a news conference outside his home on Sunday.
Ousted Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo branded the country's new government illegitimate on Sunday and called for democracy to be restored as neighboring countries intensified criticism of his sudden impeachment.

Lugo, a leftist former Roman Catholic bishop, said his removal from office was "a parliamentary coup against the will of the people" and said he would back any peaceful effort to restore democracy in the South American nation.

Congress voted overwhelmingly on Friday to remove Lugo from office, saying he had failed in his duty to maintain social order following a bloody land eviction.

Under the Paraguayan constitution, the impeached president was replaced by Vice President Federico Franco, a vocal critic of Lugo for much of his presidency.

Evil Rays

Syrian pro-government news channel attacked

State TV reports station three employees killed in assault

Gunmen stormed the headquarters of a Syrian pro-government news channel on Wednesday morning, planted explosives and killed three employees, state media said.

"The terrorists planted explosive devices in the headquarters of al-Ikhbariya following their ransacking of the satellite channel studios, including the newsroom which was entirely destroyed," the state media said.

"Three colleagues were killed as a result of the brutal terrorist attack," it added, without giving details on how the employees died.

Comment: Checklist?
Syria ..then off to?


"Arab Spring" Coming to Latin America?

© AFP Photo / Leo RamirezVenezuelans stand a demonstration in support of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Caracas
A wave of protests have rolled across Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia - countries taking a strong stance against the US and its allies' policies in the region. Are we witnessing a "Latin American Spring"?

­Whilst engineering violent insurgency does not yet seem to be on the agenda of the Global Power Masters, there are indications of growing PsyWar activity by "pro-democracy", "pro-human rights", "aid" agencies and NGO's acting through local players aligned to US/UK/EU interests.


Assad: Syria at war as battle reaches capital

© REUTERS/SANA/HandoutSyria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks to the new government in Damascus in this handout photo distributed by Syrian News Agency (SANA) June 26, 2012.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared on Tuesday that his country was at war and ordered his new government to spare no effort to achieve victory, as the worst fighting of the 16-month conflict reached the outskirts of the capital.

Video published by activists recorded heavy gunfire and explosions in suburbs of Damascus. A trail of fresh blood on a sidewalk in the suburb of Qudsiya led into a building where one casualty was taken. A naked man writhed in pain, his body pierced by shrapnel.

Syria's state news agency SANA said "armed terrorist groups" had blocked the old road from Damascus to Beirut.

The declaration that Syria is at war marks a change of rhetoric from Assad, who had long dismissed the uprising against him as the work of scattered militants funded from abroad.

"We live in a real state of war from all angles," Assad told a cabinet he appointed on Tuesday in a speech broadcast on state television.

"When we are in a war, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war."

The rambling speech - Assad also commented on subjects as far afield as the benefits of renewable energy - left little room for compromise. He denounced the West, which "takes and never gives, and this has been proven at every stage".

Monkey Wrench

Senate Rejects Sanders' Food Labeling Amendment

© cen.acs.org
The Senate today rejected an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to let states require clear labels on any food or beverage containing genetically engineered ingredients.

The vote on the amendment to the farm bill was 26 to 73.

"This is the very first time a bill on labeling genetically engineered food has been brought before the Senate. It was opposed by virtually every major food corporation in the country. While we wish we could have gotten more votes, this is a good step forward and something we are going to continue to work on. The people of Vermont and the people of America have a right to know what's in the food that they eat."

In the past year, 36 bills dealing with the labeling of genetically engineered foods have been introduced in Vermont, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia.

Bad Guys

Drones vulnerable to 'terrorist' hijacking

A small surveillance drone flies over an Austin stadium, diligently following a series of GPS waypoints that have been programmed into its flight computer. By all appearances, the mission is routine.

Suddenly, the drone veers dramatically off course, careering eastward from its intended flight path. A few moments later, it is clear something is seriously wrong as the drone makes a hard right turn, streaking toward the south. Then, as if some phantom has given the drone a self-destruct order, it hurtles toward the ground. Just a few feet from certain catastrophe, a safety pilot with a radio control saves the drone from crashing into the field.

From the sidelines, there are smiles all around over this near-disaster. Professor Todd Humphreys and his team at the University of Texas at Austin's Radionavigation Laboratory have just completed a successful experiment: illuminating a gaping hole in the government's plan to open US airspace to thousands of drones.

They could be turned into weapons.

Comment: Yeah, right. It just means that they can get the drones to do their dirty work and blame it on 'terrorists'.


Turkey's PM Erdoğan threatens to strike back at Syria

Turkish PM also warns that armed forces will respond to any Syrian encroachment on the border