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Archive for January 26th, 2014|Daily archive page

Battle for the Internet’s Future

In Anonymous, Archive, Hacking, Internet, LulzSec, News, WikiLeaks, World Revolution on January 26, 2014 at 10:55 PM

via KStAngelo1

As the struggle intensifies between those who would limit access to information and those who believe the internet should remain entirely unregulated, the cyber war has gone offline: in bedrooms and boardrooms, in the streets, in court, even in prison, hackers, trolls and associated free speech activists are fighting against governments and corporations over the digital world’s greatest resource: data. Esquire went inside the Internet Underground – Anonymous, LulzSec and other groups of pranksters and protesters – to find that as the authorities harden their stance, the hackers are regrouping, wounded but defiant. And the battle has only just started.

On 10 July 2011, in a secret chat room in cyberspace, a 20-year-old hacker who calls himself Lolcat waits by his laptop for the stroke of midnight. He’s joined by 10 others, several of whom he’s hacked with before, though he only knows them by their tags – according to the group’s rules of operational security, they are not to meet, Skype, reveal real names or key biographical details. Some have voice-chatted and as a result, Lolcat reckons he can guess the age and hometown for four of them, and the country for two. But that’s about it. What he knows for certain, however, is that these hackers make headlines.

Several members of Anonymous are here, as are some key members of LulzSec: the elite hacker group that had broken away from Anonymous earlier that year. And at this point, Anonymous and LulzSec could scarcely be more notorious. It’s as though WikiLeaks, which started in 2010, passed a baton to its anarchic cousins, and now no one’s safe.

Whether pulling pranks like hacking Google’s Hot Trends (the list of the US’s fastest-rising search terms) and placing a swastika at Number One, or stoking the Arab Spring revolutions by taking down Middle East government websites and releasing email addresses and passwords of government officials, Anonymous (tagline: “Expect us”) has managed to pique the powerful at a time when the spirit for protest is high, but the old methods, the chants and marches, feel stagnant.

At this point, its targets included the Church of Scientology (for trying to force US gossip blog Gawker to take down some “crazy” footage of Tom Cruise); Visa, MasterCard and PayPal (for refusing to process donations to WikiLeaks); the CIA (just because); the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Australia, Malaysia and Italy; and sundry other victims including the Arizona Police, the NHS and, more than once, Sony.

Tonight, they’re about to add Rupert Murdoch to the list, even though LulzSec officially retired the month before, on 26 June, after a blistering hacking spree, which it christened “50 Days of Lulz”. But then a vulnerability was discovered at News International and the temptation was too great.

It all started a week previously when one of their number – who may be as young as 17 – became enraged by the Milly Dowler scandal: the revelation that the News of the World [then published by News International], had been hacking into the voicemail of a 13-year-old Surrey girl who’d been abducted – and, it turned out, murdered – simply to break new stories about the case. He started looking for a way into sister paper The Sun.

“Just sailing around and poking at it,” is how Lolcat puts it.

“Then he found a Local File Inclusion bug,” he says, “but we had to wait till midnight for it to work. So I told [fellow LulzSec member] Topiary and we decided to pwn The Sun.” (Pwn, a tech and gaming term, means “perfectly own” or take complete control.)

A gang was assembled, 11 strong, and once the clock struck 12, the attack was on – a breach so easy that the 17-year-old performed it alone. Lolcat popped out for a cigarette and by the time he got back, they were in.

“First thing we did was build a ‘shell’,” he says. “That gives you basic control over a website and allows you to browse through files and execute commands via your web browser. Then we backdoored everything. It’s like if we went through the building rigging all the locks and leaving the windows open. So if one breach is found, at least there are 9,001 others.”

They couldn’t get root access – complete control of the site – because the passwords were too difficult to decrypt. So they tried a “local root exploit”: a piece of code that, from Lolcat’s description, is akin to using dynamite to blow a safe rather than cracking the combination.

Read More . . .

Related Links:

Anonymous ~ Million Mask March ~ 5th November 2014

On the Anniversary of the Death of Aaron Swartz, Anonymous Hacks MIT Again

We are Legion ~ The Story of the Hacktivists

Our Almost Orwellian State & NSA Surveillance Forum (Solomon, Cohn, Bhuttar, Ellsberg)

In Archive, Assange, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Manning, NSA, Snowden, Surveillance, WikiLeaks on January 26, 2014 at 5:57 PM

“Our ‘Almost Orwellian’ State & NSA Surveillance” Forum
January 23, 2014, @ 7:30 pm in the Sanctuary- St. John’s Presbyterian Church

This event is a fund-raiser for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee & the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Introduction — Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Rainey Reitman

Moderator — Robert Jaffe — Volunteer Attorney, Hedges v. Obama

Norman Solomon — Journalist, media critic, anti-war activist, co-founder of, founding director of Institute for Public Accuracy, and author of War Made Easy

Cindy Cohn — Legal Director and General Counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Ms. Cohn serves as counsel in First Unitarian Church v. NSA and Jewel v. NSA, each seeking to stop the ongoing dragnet warrantless surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans

Shahid Bhuttar — Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, constitutional lawyer, grassroots organizer, independent columnist, musician, and poet

Daniel Ellsberg — America’s most well-known whistleblower, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers and changed Americans’ understanding of and support for the Vietnam War

DEA – Sinaloa Connection: A Dark Narco Alliance Reborn

In Archive, DEA, Drugs, News on January 26, 2014 at 2:22 PM

via KStAngelo1

US Involvement Affirms Economic Dependence on Drug Trade and “War”

In 1996, investigative reporter Gary Webb shocked readers of the San Jose Mercury News with a series of articles he titled, “Dark Alliance.” In it, he chronicled the relationship between the CIA, Nicaraguan Contras, and crack cocaine dealers in Los Angeles during the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s.

As would be expected with a story of this magnitude, the Dark Alliance series was received with a great deal of skepticism and resentment, as corporate media staples like the New York TimesLos Angeles Times, and Washington Post swooped in to abscond the CIA’s sins.

With the passage of time, however, Webb’s claims — based on documented evidence and testimony from credible sources — have stood up to scrutiny. In many ways his courageous reporting and reputation as a journalist have been posthumously vindicated.

Still, almost 20 years after the series was published, the drug war rages on. Further, new evidence continues to surface, affirming an ongoing role for sections of the US government in the management of the drug trade through covert action.

Even the title of this column may not be entirely accurate in a technical sense. This alliance between narcotrafficking cartels and agencies like the CIA or DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) may not have been “reborn” so much as it has matured, or evolved.

The latest revelations in this enduring saga originate from statements given to the US District Court in Chicago relating to the case of Jesus Vincente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa Cartel capo “El Mayo.” Documents obtained by Mexican news outlet El Universal prove a reciprocal relationship between the DEA and the Sinaloa Cartel, further strengthening claims made by Zambada, and others, of an explicit agreement in place to consolidate the drug trade in Mexico in the hands of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the Cartel de Sinaloa (CDS).

Skeptics have been quick to point out that while the statements provided by DEA agent Manuel Castañon and former Department of Justice prosecutor Patrick Hearn do establish Zambaba-Niebla’s role as a cooperative “informant,” they do not prove the broader conspiratorial designs of CDS as a government-sponsored cartel.

While accurate, it cannot be denied that the statements entered into the public record by the DEA in this case not only corroborate Zambada-Niebla’s “I am protected by the US government” defense, they add credence to a long-standing understanding of drug war reality in Mexico, and do absolutely nothing to weaken it.

As noted previously, world renowned Mexican journalist Anabel Hernández recently spent five years investigating the narcotics trade in Mexico, only to conclude that the collusion between the cartels and her government went all the way to the top. With regard to CDS and El Chapo Guzman specifically, Hernández contends they would be nothing if not for the concerted efforts of Mexico’s federal government and large business interests.

Read More . . .

Related Links:

Organized Crime: An American Tradition ~ The DEA and the Sinaloa Cartel

A Mexican Drug Cartel’s Rise to Dominance

Why the DEA Let the World’s Tech-Savviest Drug Cartel Do As It Pleased for 12 Years

State of Power 2014: Exposing the Davos Class

In Archive, Economy, Environment, Occupy, Politics on January 26, 2014 at 2:19 PM


Transnational Institute (TNI):

In its third annual ‘State of Power’ report, TNI uses vibrant infographics and penetrating essays to expose and analyse the principal power-brokers that have caused financial, economic, social and ecological crises worldwide.

Related Link: Just Don’t Talk About Power: Exposing the Davos Class

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