March 2018_______________________________________

U.S. Foreign Policy Aligns Russia and Turkey - (2018-03-19)

"President Putin withdrew the Russian air umbrella protecting Afrin, enabling the Turkish air force to bomb at will. This was decisive"

U.S. Support for Saudis Explained - (2018-03-19)

"Raytheon is courting lawmakers and the State Department to allow it to sell 60,000 precision-guided munitions to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates... Last year, Saudi Arabia said it was engaging in a $750 million, multiyear training program through the American military... In 2017, the United States sold roughly $610 million in weapons and munitions to Saudi Arabia"

UK's Boris Johnson Claims to Have Proof - (2018-03-19)

"He said the UK had evidence that Russia, within the last 10 years, had been developing and stockpiling Novichok, as well as investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purpose of assassination"

Putin Wins 4th Term - (2018-03-19)

"Asked if he was also planning any changes in the Constitution, particularly any that would allow him to remain in power beyond 2024, he said it was an odd night to ask such a question."

Uber Self-Driving Car Kills Someone - (2018-03-19)

"A 49-year-old woman was hit by a car and killed as she crossed the street in Tempe, Arizona."

Turkey Raises Flag in Afrin - (2018-03-18)

"Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels captured the centre of Afrin in northwest Syria after Kurdish fighters who were in control evacuated the city in order to fight another day."

Global War on Drugs/Terror Fails in Afghanistan - (2018-03-18)

"Last year 9,000 tonnes were produced, an increase of 87 percent."

Russia Expels 23 UK Diplomats - (2018-03-18)

"The Russian foreign ministry said the UK staff would be expelled from Moscow within a week in response to Britain's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats"

Kiriakou: Haspel Message Loud and Clear - (2018-03-18)

"Putting Haspel in charge of the CIA would undo attempts by the agency — and the nation — to repudiate torture. The message this sends to the CIA workforce is simple: Engage in war crimes, in crimes against humanity, and you’ll get promoted. Don’t worry about the law. Don’t worry about ethics. Don’t worry about morality or the fact that torture doesn’t even work. Go ahead and do it anyway. We’ll cover for you. And you can destroy the evidence, too."

Israeli Meddling in American Politics - (2018-03-18)

"The Lobby, which secretly filmed pro-Israeli US activists and Israeli government officials and was completed last autumn, is still no nearer to being shown – and Swisher himself has taken a paid leave of absence"

Cambridge Analytica: Billionaire Election Meddling - (2018-03-18)

"The firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission... Cambridge paid to acquire the personal information through an outside researcher who, Facebook says, claimed to be collecting it for academic purposes."

"Mr. Nix and his colleagues courted Mr. Mercer, who believed a sophisticated data company could make him a kingmaker in Republican politics... Mr. Bannon was intrigued by the possibility of using personality profiling to shift America’s culture and rewire its politics"

Cheap knock-off of billion-dollar mainstream media propaganda engine.

Silicon Valley Insider Threat Programs - (2018-03-18)

"Contractors would be questioned if they took photographs in the office or printed emails or documents."

"Security teams would leave 'mouse traps' – USB keys containing data that were left around the office to test staff loyalty"

"Facebook can infer someone's location from wifi access points."

"Pinkerton offers to send investigators to coffee shops or restaurants near a company's campus to eavesdrop on employees’ conversations."

Tesla CEO Compensation Astronomic - (2018-03-18)

"Under the plan, Mr Musk could receive stock awards worth an estimated $2.6bn - among the largest in US history"

Definitive List of U.S. Election Meddling - (2018-03-17)

"Slightly abridged version of chapter 18 in William Blum's Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower"

Until American spy masters stop doing it, they have no right to complain about it.

False Piety of the Press - (2018-03-17)

"The Public Broadcasting System, along with National Public Radio [see p. 43] dependent on corporate money, including the Koch brothers, is as loath to take on the corporate establishment as its for-profit competitors"

Oligarchy is bipartisan.

Syria: Over 100 Perish During Airstrikes - (2018-03-16)

"The majority of the deaths occurred in eastern suburbs of Damascus, known as eastern Ghouta, where government forces have been on a crushing offensive for three weeks capturing 70 percent of the once besieged rebel-held area. The weekslong violence left more than 1,300 civilians dead"

Saudis Pledge to Develop Nuclear Weapons if Iran Does - (2018-03-16)

"The Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring"

Countries Issue Statement on Spy Attack - (2018-03-16)

While Corbyn cautions that:

"We are willing to back further sanctions as and when the investigation into the Salisbury attack produces results."

PM Resigns in Slovakia - (2018-03-16)

"Many of the demonstrators who have taken to the streets in the largest numbers since the Velvet Revolution of 1989 have demanded the fall of the government and a new round of elections."

U.S. Announces More Sanctions Against Russia - (2018-03-15)

"Ranging from interference in the 2016 U.S. election to conducting destructive cyber-attacks, including the NotPetya attack, a cyber-attack attributed to the Russian military on February 15, 2018... The recent use of a military-grade nerve agent in an attempt to murder two UK citizens further demonstrates the reckless and irresponsible conduct of its government."

DHS, FBI: Russia Targeted Energy Companies - (2018-03-15)

"A multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors who targeted small commercial facilities’ networks where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks"

Questions for Theresa May - (2018-03-15)

"whatever happened to the burden of proof and the requirement for evidence? Why, from Day One, was the finger pointed straight at Moscow – followed by the demand that it demonstrate its innocence within 36 hours?"

The Deep State Backs Bloody Gina - (2018-03-15)

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta, they same guy who showed up at the Democrat's convention in 2016. Because, as Hayden and Brennan will tell you, Bloody Gina was only following orders.

Oligarchy is bipartisan.

Senate Passes Dodd-Frank Rollback - (2018-03-15)

"Not one single person at any of my town halls, or meetings, or press interviews, or picking up pizza at Armando's, asked for Congress to work on rolling back the rules on some of the biggest banks in the country so they’ll have a chance to crash the economy again"

Shkreli Sentence Takeaway - (2018-03-15)

"Your betters don't want someone cheating them, but they don’t care if you live or die."

UK Responds to Spy Poisoning - (2018-03-14)

"Britain has called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the Salisbury attack, as Theresa May prepares to expel Russian diplomats from the UK."

Pompeo Could Shift National Security Council Stance - (2018-03-14)

"On covert action, though the details of most operations remain secret, Mr. Pompeo has taken an aggressive approach... A longtime beneficiary of conservative superdonors Charles G. and David H. Koch"

See also:

"A true believer in President Trump’s 'America First' views and a bitter critic of the Iran nuclear deal — but also a deep skeptic about whether negotiations will persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal."

U.S. Senate Food for Thought - (2018-03-14)

"It was clear that CIA analysts were wrong when they had identified Zubaydah as the number three or four in al-Qaida after Osama bin Laden. The waterboarding failed to elicit valuable intelligence not because he was holding back, but because he was not a member of al-Qaida, and had no knowledge of any plots against the United States."

Former Equifax CIO Charged by SEC - (2018-03-14)

"The SEC alleges that before Equifax's public disclosure of the data breach, Ying exercised all of his vested Equifax stock options and then sold the shares, reaping proceeds of nearly $1 million. According to the complaint, by selling before public disclosure of the data breach, Ying avoided more than $117,000 in losses."

High Cost of American Health Care - (2018-03-14)

"There were two areas where the United States really was quite different: We pay substantially higher prices for medical services, including hospitalization, doctors' visits and prescription drugs. And our complex payment system causes us to spend far more on administrative costs."

POTUS Blocks Qualcomm $117 Billion Takover - (2018-03-13)

"I hereby reserve my authority to issue further orders with respect to the Purchaser and Qualcomm as shall in my judgment be necessary to protect the national security of the United States."

Tillerson Fired, Pompeo Promoted, Haspel Named - (2018-03-13)

New CIA Director may be Gina Haspel. "She ran a prison in Thailand where suspected al-Qaeda members were tortured by waterboarding in 2002."

House Intel Committee: No Collusion - (2018-03-13)

"Several witnesses thought to be central to the investigation never came before the panel, including Mr. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Mr. Manafort's deputy, Rick Gates; Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn; and Mr. Trump's former campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, all of whom are under indictment by the special counsel."

Chemical Weapon Used to Attack Sergei Skripal - (2018-03-13)

"The chance that perhaps some of these Novichoks have been stolen by criminals or terrorists from Russia is a possibility, and we wait to see an explanation from the Russian Ambassador to London tomorrow, but I think highly unlikely."

Taliban Take Police HQ in Anar Dara District - (2018-03-12)

"Additional troops that were later sent in retook the district and pushed the Taliban back out"

Former Spies Running for Congress - (2018-03-12)

"If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress."

'Slingshot' Malware Targets MikroTik Routers - (2018-03-12)

"The complexity of Slingshot could mean that it is the group behind it is highly organized and potentially state sponsored. Similarities in technique also exist between Slingshot and GRAYFISH operation, by the Equation Group, as well as Gray Lambert."

Turkey Conducts Airstrikes in Iraq - (2018-03-11)

"Turkish warplanes destroyed at least 18 targets belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq over the weekend"

U.S. Moves to Placate Turkey in Syria - (2018-03-11)

"Officials gave no timeline for moving the Kurds from Manbij to positions east of the Euphrates, 20 miles away, and did not indicate how the relocation would be accomplished."

China Alters Constitution to Remove Term Limits - (2018-03-11)

"The vote was widely regarded as a rubber-stamping exercise. Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes."

Xi's great leap backwards...

Portable Telescreens in China - (2018-03-11)

"At a highway check point on the outskirts of Beijing, local police are this week testing out a new security tool: smart glasses that can pick up facial features and car registration plates, and match them in real-time with a database of suspects"

Chief of Staff Shuts Down Pruitt Climate Debate - (2018-03-11)

"Mr. Kelly is a retired four-star Marine Corps general who is said to share the pragmatic view held by military leaders including Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, that climate change is happening and poses a serious national security challenge"

Quandary of Verification in North Korea - (2018-03-10)

"We don't know how many nuclear weapons they have operational or under construction; we don't know where all their nuclear facilities are; and we have never implemented a treaty that counts warheads, simply because it is so difficult to verify... Our nuclear treaties with the Soviet Union and Russia counted missiles, not warheads"

Threat of Nuclear Cruise Missiles - (2018-03-10)

"These missiles are very hard to detect since their launch does not generate a strong thermal signal, they fly most of their trajectory at subsonic speeds (only accelerating at the end), their thermal signature is therefore very low, their shape results in a very low radar cross-section and they can fly very low (nap of the earth) flight courses which further conceals them. Best of all, however, is that they can be launched from what externally appears to be a regular commercial container."

Türk Telekom's Using MITM Attacks - (2018-03-10)

"Targeted users in Turkey and Syria who downloaded Windows applications from official vendor websites including Avast Antivirus, CCleaner, Opera, and 7-Zip were silently redirected to malicious versions by way of injected HTTP redirects."

Shkreli Gets 7 Years - (2018-03-10)

A sacrificial gesture. What about all the other price gouging CEOs in big pharma?

Attacks Continue in Afghanistan - (2018-03-09)

"At least 30 people died in a burst of violence around Afghanistan on Friday, including 10 mostly civilian victims of a suicide bombing outside a mosque in Kabul's Shiite community and 18 Afghan police and soldiers killed in scattered fighting in northern Takhar province, officials said."

Trump Agrees to Talk to North Korea - (2018-03-09)

"Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests. He understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue. And he expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible."

UK Sells 48 Fighter Jets to Saudis - (2018-03-09)

"On Thursday, Prime Minister Theresa May and the crown prince reached an agreement designed to generate $90 million in trade and investment between the two countries."

Lots of Secret Ops in Libya - (2018-03-09)

"The United States military has carried out twice as many airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Libya since President Trump took office as it has publicly acknowledged"

Olympics Hack Was a False Flag - (2018-03-09)

"The 'Olympic Destroyer' computer virus used to attack last month's Pyeongchang Winter Games was embedded with forged code to make investigators believe the attack was done by hackers linked to North Korea"

Remaining TPP Nations Sign CPTPP - (2018-03-09)

"The third-largest trade bloc in the world, behind only the North American Free Trade Agreement and the European Union"

POTUS Implements Steel Tariff - (2018-03-09)

Ditto that for Aluminum. Wilbur Ross offers commentary.

"Today the U.S. has only one steel mill that can produce the advanced alloys used in armored-vehicle plating; one aluminum smelter that makes the high-grade aluminum needed for defense aerospace applications; and one steel mill that makes the materials needed for infrastructure like electrical transformers."

House Passes Bill on Social Media in Clearance Checks - (2018-03-09)

For specifics, see here. H.R.3737 - Social Media Use in Clearance Investigations Act of 2017.

Turkey Stakes a Claim in Syria - (2018-03-08)

"Afrin the last remaining town under Kurdish YPG's control after Turkey-led forces reportedly take Jandaris 20km away"

France Threatens Military Action in Syria - (2018-03-08)

"Activists in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, released videos on Wednesday showing what appears to be phosphorus bombs being dropped"

Drone Strike in Afghanistan Kills 20 - (2018-03-08)

"A suspected U.S. drone strike on a training camp in an isolated part of Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar on Wednesday killed more than 20 Pakistani Taliban preparing to launch suicide attacks in Pakistan, officials said."

For NYT: Trillion Dollars' Worth of Nukes Is 'Little' Response - (2018-03-08)

"CSIS releases a report saying the Russians are getting the better of us, major outlets like the New York Times uncritically spread this message, their reporting is used as further evidence we need more military spending, that military spending is lavished on CSIS's clients"

NSA Field Attribution Weak - (2018-03-08)

"In most cases the NSA used between two and five indicators of compromise for each threat group it was hunting, even though security researchers can generally amass dozens or, in some cases, even hundreds for a hacking group"

Turkey Whines to U.S. about Syrian Kurds - (2018-03-07)

"The Turkish government took the extraordinary step on Wednesday of asking the United States to stop Kurdish commanders from diverting their forces from areas of eastern Syria to the fight in Afrin in the west."

Power of Organized Workers in W. Virginia - (2018-03-07)

"Gov. James C. Justice signed a bill giving state workers a 5 percent raise on Tuesday, after a nearly two-week teacher strike"

Democrats Defect on Dodd-Frank Rollback - (2018-03-07)

"The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 67-32 in favor of beginning to debate a bipartisan bill that would ease rules for mid-sized and small lenders introduced following the 2007-2009 financial crisis"

Mechanics Behind Russian Meddling Narrative - (2018-03-07)

"It isn't a question of deception, belief, gullibility, or even intelligence. It is a question of power, social pressure, and fear of ostracization and exile."

Drone Program Use Google's AI - (2018-03-07)

"Google's TensorFlow AI systems are being used by the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Project Maven, which was established in July last year to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyse the vast amount of footage shot by US drones. The initial intention is to have AI analyse the video, detect objects of interest and flag them for a human analyst to review."

North Korea Sends a Message - (2018-03-06)

"It made it clear that it would have no reason to keep nuclear weapons if the military threat to the North was eliminated and its security guaranteed"

Hamilton 68: Ignore the Billionaire Meddling - (2018-03-06)

"The palmed card in this propaganda trick was the mere fact that right-wing media, too, were now accepting the core principle of projects like Hamilton 68: that a foreign enemy lurks everywhere in our midst, and the source of political discontent in this country comes not from within, but from without."

Yet More iPhone Hacks - (2018-03-06)

Why toil at Apple for a couple hundred grand when "accidental" design flaws can be leveraged to set up shop and make millions? Poor security is baked in because there's big money at stake!

Blockchain Pipe Dream Hype - (2018-03-06)

"Blockchains are less efficient than existing databases. When someone says they are running something on a blockchain, what they usually mean is that they are running one instance of a software application that is replicated across many other devices."

Election Results in Italy - (2018-03-05)

"Five Star Movement 32.22, +6.62 Democratic Party 18.9, -6.5 Lega 17.69, +13.59"

Russian Merc Deaths in Syria Fabricated - (2018-03-05)

"Witnesses say that no Russian mercenaries took part in the attempted crossing"

Important Notes About the Strike in West Virginia - (2018-03-05)

"At the heart of the matter, teachers say, isn't their salaries. It's their soaring healthcare costs."

Grid Threats: Climate Change Dwarfs Cyber Risk - (2018-03-04)

"Tens of thousands of utility workers in the Northeast raced to restore power to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses"

The defense industry can't sell based on climate change risks, so they inflate cyber risks.

North Korea Gets By With Help from Egypt - (2018-03-04)

"Egypt has purchased North Korean weapons and allowed North Korean diplomats to use their Cairo embassy as a base for military sales across the region"

Turkey's Internet Restrictions Increase - (2018-03-04)

"Wikipedia has been blocked for months, pro-Kurdish news sites are frequently closed down, and a leftist website has renamed itself 62 times to get around government blocks."

U.S. Mulls Oil Sanctions on Venezuela - (2018-03-04)

"The official, who is close to U.S. internal deliberations on Venezuela policy and who spoke on condition of anonymity, would not rule out an eventual full-scale ban on Venezuelan oil shipments to the United States... Venezuela was the fourth largest supplier of crude oil and products to the United States in 2017"

Fighting Rages in Yemen - (2018-03-03)

"Yemeni medical officials say fighting outside the capital between Shiite rebels and forces loyal to an internationally recognized government has killed more than 55 people on both sides."

Turkey Bombs Assad Forces in Afrin - (2018-03-03)

"At least 36 pro-Syrian government troops have been killed by a Turkish air strike in the region of Afrin"

FATF Votes to Put Pakistan on Terrorism List - (2018-03-03)

"China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, which during the initial phase of the meeting resisted U.S. pressure to place Pakistan on the list of states that lack effective regulations to combat terrorism financing, withdrew their support during the final phase, allowing the motion to go through successfully."

Chinese Spies Bypass WhatsApp Strong Crypto - (2018-03-03)

"Experts said the information was likely gleaned from somebody within Mr. Zhang's WhatsApp group or by accessing Mr. Zhang’s phone directly"

Strike in West Viriginia Passes 7-Day Mark - (2018-03-03)

"Senator Carmichael has made every effort to derail the agreement with the Governor and keep our public schools closed again next week. His rhetoric, posturing, and actions has inflamed educators, state superintendents, parents, citizens as well as his fellow legislators"

Completely ignored by Maddow and pals.

600 Bitcoin Mining Servers Stolen in Iceland - (2018-03-03)

"Police tracking the stolen computers are monitoring electric consumption across the country in hopes the thieves will show their hand"

Another Reason for Turkey's Action in Syria - (2018-03-02)

"We are not in a position to continue hosting 3.5 million refugees forever. We'll solve the Afrin situation … and we would like our refugee brothers and sisters to return to their own country"

Trump Indicates New Tariffs - (2018-03-02)

"Mr Trump tweeted that the US had been 'decimated by unfair trade and bad policy'. He said steel imports would face a 25% tariff and aluminium 10%"

Putin Pokes U.S. in Guns-and-Butter Speech - (2018-03-02)

"He cleverly focused on a vulnerability of American-designed defenses: They are based on the assumption that enemy nuclear missiles fly high and can be destroyed well before they reach their targets. The new class of Russian weapons, he said, travel low, stealthily, far and fast — too fast for defenders to react."

The two sides keep each other in business. Just remember: regardless of how many trillions you spend... nobody wins a nuclear war.

Corporate Spy Running for Office in NY - (2018-03-02)

"Ryan, then working at a firm called Berico Technologies, compiled a plan to create a real-time surveillance operation of left-wing groups and labor unions"

Egyptians Using Cluster Bombs Made in U.S.A. - (2018-03-01)

"On 21 February, the Egyptian military released a video on its official twitter account of what it claimed were improvised explosive devices planted by 'terrorist elements'. However, Amnesty International has analysed this video and confirmed it shows an unexploded US made Mk 118 cluster munition, which could only have been dropped by the Egyptian air force."

China Censors Responses to Xi Power Play - (2018-03-01)

"Amid fallout from the decision to allow Xi to be president for life, censors also crack down on letters, phrases and George Orwell’s Animal Farm"

Equifax Breach Just Got Worse - (2018-03-01)

"Equifax was able to identify approximately 2.4 million U.S. consumers whose names and partial driver's license information were stolen, but who were not in the previously identified affected population discussed in the company's prior disclosures about the incident."

DHS Rebukes NBC Hacking Story - (2018-03-01)

"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is denying the accuracy of an NBC News report that alleged Russia breached voter sites or registration systems in seven U.S. states prior to the 2016 election."

Germans Detect Malware on Internal Govt Networks - (2018-03-01)

"He said the attack was 'isolated' and had been 'brought under control' but declined to comment on reports of Russian involvement"

Private Equity Co. Gifts Kushner Family a Loan - (2018-03-01)

"The job never materialized, but in November, Apollo lent $184 million to Mr. Kushner's family real estate firm, Kushner Companies. The loan was to refinance the mortgage on a Chicago skyscraper."

Tor as a Regime Change Tool - (2018-03-01)

"Tor didn't threaten American power. It enhanced it."

See also:

"While the documents do not show Tor employees providing backdoors into their software, they do reveal that they have no qualms with privately tipping off the federal government to security vulnerabilities before alerting the public, a move that would give the feds an opportunity to exploit the security weakness long before informing Tor users."