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Archive for January 6th, 2014|Daily archive page

CSEC Admits to “Incidentally” Spying on Canadians

In Archive, Canada, CSEC, Surveillance on January 6, 2014 at 11:31 PM

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After months of denying it spies on Canadians, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) now admits it may “incidentally” read or hear Canadians’ communications.

“The National Defence Act acknowledges that this may happen and provides for the minister of national defence to authorize this interception in specific circumstances,” CSE said in a new posting on its website. “If a private communication is incidentally intercepted (e.g. a foreign individual we are targeting overseas is communicating with someone in Canada), CSE takes steps to protect the privacy of that information.”

CSE also admits it’s allowed to help CSIS, the Mounties and Canada Border Services Agency “in a variety of circumstances — including intercept operations against a Canadian or individuals in Canada.”

Bill Robinson/LuxExUmbra:

“Incidental” means that the person on the Canadian end of the communication was not the “target” of the collection, but it does not mean that the collection of that communication was unintentional. For CSE, the fact that it has been able since 2001 to collect communications that either begin or end in Canada (as long as the target of the collection is outside of Canada) is a feature, not a bug.

Note that the communications so acquired are also used and retained. Yes, there are elaborate procedures in place to protect the privacy of Canadians and persons in Canada, and there is every reason to believe that those procedures are taken very seriously by CSE, but if the information acquired corresponds to the government’s intelligence collection priorities, it is retained and it is used.

Describing such collection as “incidental” and implying that it is always unintentional is deliberately — and pointlessly — misleading.


The claims by CSE that it doesn’t spy on Canadians raised a few eyebrows among those who have kept tabs on the spy agency. Some found CSE claims simply unbelievable.

For instance, readers may recall the case of Fred/Stock in the 1990s. Stock went public, noting that he was forced out of CSE in 1993 after objecting to the organization’s emphasis on collecting economic intelligence and targeting civilian communications. Stock also said the agency received intelligence on a regular basis about environmental protest actions, focused largely on Greenpeace and its protests on the high seas.


CSEC began to slightly pull back the curtain on its operations by updating its website shortly before Christmas.

That followed months of controversy over its work, after documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed CSEC spied on Brazil’s Energy Ministry, authorized/assisted NSA spying on the 2010 G8/G20 summits in Toronto, and spied on countries (including trading partners) through covert sites for the NSA.

Related Links:

BC Civil Liberties Watchdog Sues CSEC Over Illegal Spying on Canadians

Federal Judge: CSIS Misled Court, Outsourced Spying on Canadians Abroad to Foreign Agencies, Operated Outside Law

(TOP SECRET Document) Canada CSEC Metadata Mining Program

The Pirate Bay to Launch P2P Anti-Censorship Browser

In Archive, Censorship, File-Sharing, Internet, Pirate Bay, Surveillance, Technology on January 6, 2014 at 8:54 PM




The Pirate Bay’s PirateBrowser just hit 2.5 million downloads but the notorious torrent site has much bigger plans in store for the new year. The team behind the site is developing a new tool that doesn’t rely on domain names or server farms. Instead, users will serve as the P2P hosts of the sites, with the system running its own alternative DNS. Today, the Pirate Bay team shares some more details on the technology.

Over the past few years The Pirate Bay has had to deal with its fair share of censorship, mostly through court-ordered blockades.

In response to these efforts the site launched the PirateBrowser last summer, and not without success. The tool, which allows users to circumvent ISP blockades, clocked its 2.5 millionth download a week ago.

However, there’s a much bigger project in the pipeline, one that will make The Pirate Bay and other sites more resilient than ever before. Instead of bypassing external censors, the new tool will create its own P2P network through which sites can be accessed without restrictions.

“The goal is to create a browser-like client to circumvent censorship, including domain blocking, domain confiscation, IP-blocking. This will be accomplished by sharing all of a site’s indexed data as P2P downloadable packages, that are then browsed/rendered locally,” a Pirate Bay insider explains.

In other words, when users load The Pirate Bay or any other site that joins the new platform, the site’s data will be shared among users and stored locally. The website doesn’t require a public facing portal and only needs minimal resources to “seed” the site’s files to the rest of the world.

“It’s basically a browser-like app that uses webkit to render pages, BitTorrent to download the content while storing everything locally,” the Pirate Bay insider says.

All further site updates are incremental, so people don’t end up downloading the entire site day after day. The disk space users need for the locally stored sites ranges from a few dozen megabytes for a small site, to several gigabytes for a larger torrent index.

The new software will be released as a standalone application as well as Firefox and Chrome plugins.

Since the site data comes from other peers, there is no central IP-address that can be blocked by Internet providers. Site owners will still offer webseeds to speed up loading, but sites are fully accessible when these are blocked.

Another important change is that the new software will not use standard domain names. Instead, it will use its own fake DNS system that will link the site’s name to a unique and verified public key. For example, within the application bt://mysite.p2p/ will load 929548249111abadfjab29347282374.p2p.

“Site owners will be able to register their own names, which will serve as an alias for the curve25519 pub-key that will identify the site,” the Pirate Bay insider notes.

“The “domain” registrations will be Bitcoin authenticated, on a first come first served basis. After a year the name will expire unless it’s re-verified.”

The entire project will be open source and built using existing code such as Libtorrent, Webkit, SQLite v3 and node-js. The Pirate Bay team is still looking for coders to assist, mainly on the Windows side, but thus far the development has been going steady.

It may take a few months before the first version is released in public, but it already promises to be a game changer in the ongoing censorship Whack-a-Mole.

(NGA) National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Organizational Chart

In Archive, NGA, Space, Surveillance on January 6, 2014 at 6:07 AM

via Matthew Aid

For those of you interested in the U.S. intelligence agency that controls all reconnaissance satellite imagery analysis and reporting, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), here is a current version of the agency’s organizational chart with the names of the officials commanding each component.


Director– Letitia A. Long
Deputy Director – Michael A. Rodrigue
Chief Operating Officer –  Ellen E. McCarthy
Military Deputy – Army Brig. Gen. Mark R. Quantock
Senior Enlisted Advisor — Air Force CMSgt. Rachel Zeigler

IT Services – David L. Bottom
Source Operations and Management – Jimmy R. Greene
Xperience – Geoffrey K. Fowler
InnoVision – Douglas P. McGovern
Analysis and Production – Lisa J. Spuria

Security and Installation Operations – Brig. Gen. Joseph Composto, USMC, Ret.
Human Development – Jennifer A. Daniel
International Affairs – Joseph P. Drummey

Corporate Communications – William M. Caniano
Contract Services – Tonya M. Crawford
Inspector General – Dawn R. Eilenberger
Diversity Management and Equal Employment Opportunity – Cardell K. Richardson
Chief Information Officer – David L. White
General Counsel – Cynthia R. Ryan
Chief Financial Executive – Misty A. Tullar
Geospatial Intelligence Management – Patrick D. Warfle

NSA Sugar Grove Listening Post

In Archive, Bamford, NSA, NSA Files, Surveillance on January 6, 2014 at 4:05 AM




References to a National Security Agency communications-intercept operation at the Navy Information Operations Command base at Sugar Grove, Pendleton County, are included among documents leaked to the news media by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

According to a Dec. 10 article in The Washington Post based on the documents Snowden leaked, the NSA collects international cellphone location information and other data from at least 10 “signals-intelligence activity designators,” or SIGADs, at stations around the world.

“Three of the SIGADs are believed to be in the United States,” according to the Post, including one code-named Timberline, “which is at Sugar Grove research station in West Virginia.”

In all, the NSA collects nearly 5 billion cellphone records a day worldwide and uses a sophisticated array of algorithms, or data-sorting tools, to sift through irrelevant information and focus on tracking the movements of targeted individuals, according to the Post.

A Dec. 20 New York Times article, also based on documents leaked by Snowden, dealt with the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters. The two spy agencies, according to the Times, are targeting not only suspected terrorists, but also allied leaders, international aid group officials and European business executives for surveillance.

“While few if any American citizens appear to be named in [Snowden’s] documents, they make clear that some of the intercepted communications either began or ended in the United States, and that NSA facilities carried out interceptions around the world in collaboration with their British partners,” according to the Times story. “Some of the interceptions appear to have been made at the Sugar Grove, W.Va., listening post run by the NSA and code-named Timberline, and some are explicitly tied to NSA target lists.”

A map appearing on a slide that was among NSA documents released by Snowden indicates that the Timberline operation at Sugar Grove, which began in 1984, is part of a global network of “FORNSAT,” or foreign satellite interception stations.


“Sugar Grove is part of a network of 12 other stations operated by the NSA and its British partners around the world,” said Matthew Aid, author of “The Secret Sentry,” a history of the NSA, and “Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror,” in a telephone interview.

“Timberline at Sugar Grove is paired with a similar station in Bude, England, codenamed Carboy,” said Aid, a former NSA employee and now a commentator on intelligence matters for The New York Times, the National Journal, CBS News and National Public Radio. “Timberline and Carboy intercept high-priority communications traffic moving through communications satellites parked over the Atlantic. Together, these two stations covered much of a region that was of interest to us during the Cold War.”

“Timberline is probably still performing its mission” at Sugar Grove, Aid said. “While a lot of attention has been focused lately on [the NSA] tapping into undersea communications cable, a lot of developing nations continue to rely on satellites, rather than fiber-optic cable, to communicate.”

The 117-acre Navy base at Sugar Grove, wedged between the South Fork of the Potomac River and Shenandoah Mountain in the George Washington National Forest, was established in 1955 as the site for a 600-foot parabolic antenna to be used for communications research, according to the official base history.

A 60-foot antenna was built on the site in 1956 to test the feasibility of the 600-foot dish. Work began on the huge antenna in 1958, but was halted in 1962, when advances in technology rendered the planned use for the 600-foot dish obsolete.

Then-Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., urged the Navy to find a new use for the base and, in 1963, the Navy began work on a new $11 million receiver to handle all Navy radio traffic coming into the Washington, D.C., area. A 150-foot parabolic antenna was completed at the base in 1968. Naval Radio Station Sugar Grove was formally commissioned in 1969.

A pair of 1,000-foot-diameter circular antenna arrays, called Wullenwebers, initially served as the station’s main receiving antennas but were later decommissioned and removed from the base.

In 1992, the Naval Radio Station role at Sugar Grove was merged with one at another Navy installation, and the Naval Security Group took over operation of the base. Because of “increased automation in Naval communications,” the Naval Security Group activity at Sugar Grove was phased out in 2005, and the Navy Information Operations Command assumed management of the base.

The base is divided into two sections. A lower base area along W.Va. 21, just north of the community of Sugar Grove, contains Navy housing, administrative offices, dining and recreation facilities. A much smaller operations base is found at a higher elevation, about a mile to the southeast, where an array of parabolic dishes and a multi-level underground building are located.

There is no mention of an NSA role at the base in the official history of NIOC Sugar Grove. The operational purpose of the base, according to a mission statement on its website, is to “perform communications research and development for the U.S. Navy, the Department of Defense, and various elements of the U.S. government.”

It was not until last year, when plans were announced to “disestablish” the Pendleton County Navy base that the NSA’s presence there was publicly acknowledged.

According to a notice issued by the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the disestablishment of NIOC Sugar Grove, to take effect in September 2015, “is a result of the determination by the resource sponsor [apparently the NSA] to relocate the command’s mission. All military billets will transfer to other NAVIOCOM [Navy Information Operations Command] sites. Operational functions at the [Sugar Grove] site will be absorbed by the National Security Agency.”

In October 2012, NIOC Sugar Grove’s commanding officer, Cmdr. William Kramer, told business and community leaders in Pendleton County that the NSA had conducted an “enterprise assessment” of the base, with an eye toward “reducing the footprint” of the Navy’s role there. Kramer said the NSA eventually would “transition the Navy presence out altogether,” according to an article in the Elkins Inter-Mountain.

Last May, Sen. Joe Manchin and members of Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s staff toured the Sugar Grove base and pledged to do all they could to find a new military mission for the facility.

“The NSA has been using a lot of new technology since 9/11 that allows them to do the same mission more efficiently, using fewer stations,” Aid said. “I think what they’re planning to do at Sugar Grove reflects that. It’s also closely tied to a decision Congress made prior to sequestration that calls for the national intelligence budget to be reduced in 5-percent increments.”

Aid said it could be possible for the NSA to close the lower Navy base and continue operating the upper, operational facility remotely. “You could keep the satellite dishes up and running with a small maintenance crew” and feed the downloaded data to the NSA’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., he said.

“The Canadians are remotely operating four stations” that were previously individually staffed, he said, saving $60 million to $70 million annually.

Author James Bamford, who has written four books about the NSA, starting with “The Puzzle Palace” in 1982, has described the Navy-NSA operation at Sugar Grove as “the country’s largest eavesdropping bug.”

In a 2005 New York Times piece, Bamford said the assortment of parabolic dish antennas at the West Virginia base, located in the National Radio Quiet Zone, “silently sweep in millions of private telephone calls and email messages an hour.”

Iraq – incoming missile

In Activism, Al-Qaeda, Iraq, LEAKSOURCE ORIGINAL NEWS, Military, World Revolution on January 6, 2014 at 3:01 AM

via digitalfolklore

On Sunday an Iraqi missile strike was released showing an explosion which killed twenty-five militants. US Forces have been quick to support Iraq with drones and missiles, but at this stage have ruled out “boots on the ground”.

ISIS have emerged as another force in the sectarian violence which was expected after the US withdrawal and the reciprocal power shift between Sunni and Shia factions.


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