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Wed, 07 Jun 2023
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Puppet Masters

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US-based Israeli company sold internet "kill-switch" technology to Egypt

As we speak, Egypt is struggling with a near-total Internet and communications shut-off, and not just Egyptians are grappling with the implications. Can the flow of social media information to an entire country simply be cut? Apparently, yes. And that's not just an Egyptian concern.

It's very much an American concern, in that a US-based company seems to be the maker of the Internet off-switch. As Tim Karr of Free Press notes, the US company Narus was founded in 1997 by Israeli security experts. Based in Sunnyvale California, Narus has devised what business fans call a "social media sleuth."

As boosters put it: "Narus is the leader in real-time traffic intelligence for the protection and management of large IP networks.... Used by the world's service providers and governments, Narus has developed and patented state-of-the art algorithms to detect network anomalies and manage unwanted IP traffic. Additionally, Narus has the unique ability to precision target and fully reconstruct all types of IP traffic, including e-mail, Web mail and instant messages."


US Embassy staff (CIA) in Oslo 'armed'


The US Embassy in Oslo
Various monitoring groups formed at the US embassies around the world could have been armed, American Foreign Service documents show.

The US Embassy in Oslo's Surveillance Detection Unit (SDU), which was set up to spy on Norwegians, could have been one of these armed embassies.

"It's had the opportunity. They could have been carrying concealed weapons in high threat level situations or exceptional circumstances, providing the embassy and the host nation granted them permission," Vegard Valter Hansen, senior adviser at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), told Norwegian state TV NRK.

Spokesman for the American Embassy in Oslo, Timothy Moore, said he was unaware of whether the SDU staff were carrying weapons or not, according to The Foreigner.

"They only have to keep an eye on things and observe, so why should they be armed? SDU members are just regular US embassy employees [and] are paid the same way. Some of them work full-time, others part-time," he said.

No Entry

Germany bans anti-Israeli movie


'The Valley of the Wolves - Palestine' promotional poster
Germany has banned the public screening of a movie, which depicts that atrocities Israel has committed against activists aboard an Ankara-backed Gaza-bound aid convoy.

The German Movie Control Association took issue with the content of The Valley of the Wolves - Palestine, preventing its screening, which had been planned to open on Thursday, Israeli NGO Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported on Sunday.

Modeled after the TV series of the same name, the movie tells the story of how the protagonist captures the Israeli military commander, who had planned and ordered the May 31 attack on the Freedom Flotilla.

The assault on the relief mission, which had set off to take relief supplies to the Tel Aviv-blockaded Gaza Strip, killed nine Turkish activists and injured about 50 other people.

The production also caused political furor in Germany, English-language Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported on Tuesday.

Top Secret

Ireland expels Russian diplomat


Republic of Ireland Passport
The Republic of Ireland is expelling a Russian diplomat after an investigation found the identities of six Irish citizens had been used for providing fake passports for Russian spies.

The Russian intelligence services faked the Irish passports for Russian spies working in the United States, said an Irish foreign ministry statement, adding that Moscow's action was "completely unacceptable."

In response, Ireland asked the Russian diplomat to "leave this jurisdiction" without specifying a date, the ministry said, according to the state-funded BBC.

In July 2010, the US deported 10 Russian agents after uncovering a spy network in the country, accused of infiltrating policymaking systems and reporting back to Moscow.

The case was part of the biggest US-Russia spy swap since the Cold War.

Eye 1

Choking the Internet: How much longer will your favorite sites be on line?

Internet censorship. It did not happen overnight but slowly came to America's shores from testing grounds in China and the Middle East.

Progressive and investigative journalist web site administrators are beginning to talk to each other about it, e-mail users are beginning to understand why their e-mail is being disrupted by it, major search engines appear to be complying with it, and the low to equal signal-to-noise ratio of legitimate e-mail and spam appears to be perpetuated by it.

In this case, “it,” is what privacy and computer experts have long warned about: massive censorship of the web on a nationwide and global scale.

Comment: This is another of those areas where we have been warning our readers for years. We have had the same experiences of mysterious shifts in ranking of our pages, one reason we are working to get as much as possible into book form so that readers can have the material after the internet goes down and the lights go out.


Gibbs: Some Things "Have To Be Done Away From TV Cameras"

Reporter Question: "Finally, we have not had a chance to ask President Obama any questions since this crisis began. There have been at least a couple of occasions that could have been open to the press that weren't. Can you explain why we haven't been able to talk to him?"

Light Saber

Yemen's president says he won't seek re-election or hand power to son

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not seek re-election once his current term ends in 2013, he said Wednesday, after more than three decades in office.

He won't install his son to replace him, he said. He also has asked his political opponents "to re-engage in dialogue in hopes of reaching a sustainable and reconcilable political agreement," the Yemeni government said.

Saleh made the announcement as unprecedented protests sweep across North Africa and the Middle East. The demonstrations have forced Tunisia's president from office, and they prompted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to say Tuesday he would not run for re-election this year.

King Abdullah of Jordan, meanwhile, has sacked his government and appointed a new prime minister in the face of protests there.

In Yemen, Saleh had called an emergency parliamentary meeting ahead of a "day of rage" protests scheduled for Thursday.


America in the Middle East?

Given that policy makers in Washington D.C. say they want to see democracy alive and well in the Arab world, why, really, are they so alarmed by what is happening?

© unk
Riot police force protestors back across the Kasr Al Nile Bridge as they attempt to get into Tahrir Square on January 28, 2011 in downtown Cairo.
If more and more Arabs breach the wall of fear that has prevented them for decades from demanding their rights, expressing their rage at the corruption and repression of their governments and at regime impotence in the face of Israel's arrogance of power, there's one question above all others America's policy makers will have to ask themselves. Who do we need most if America's own real interests are to be best protected - the Arabs or Israel? And that, of course, begs the mother and father of all questions for them: Is Israel our most valuable ally in the region or our biggest liability?

Eisenhower was the first and last president to contain Zionism's territorial ambitions. Kennedy might have been the second if he had been allowed to live. But from Johnson to Obama, and whether they really believed it or not (I think most if not all of them didn't), every American president has paid extravagant lip-service to the idea that Israel is the U.S.'s most valuable ally in the Middle East.


Propaganda!! 'Al-Qaida on brink of using nuclear bomb'

Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build "dirty" bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.

A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a "nuclear 9/11".

Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing "workable and efficient" biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.


WikiLeaks suspect is deteriorating mentally, physically, friend says