Monday, July 31, 2006

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Qana: Exterminating the Ants
Monday July 31st 2006, 8:41 am

In order to understand the racist brutality of the latest Qana massacre, it is instrumental to look at the previous Qana massacre. James Bovard writes: “When you see the photos of corpses of young children being dragged from the Qana rubble, remember: These are not human beings. These are terrorists. And Israel announced ahead of time that, because they were in south Lebanon, they were legitimate targets,” as Haim Ramon made sure to inform us. In his blog entry, Bovard quotes from his book, Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil:

On April 18, 1996 the IDF artillery shelled a United Nations compound near Qana that was overflowing with 800 Lebanese civilians “who had fled from their villages on IDF orders.” The barrage killed 102 refugees and wounded hundreds of others. Hezbollah guerillas had fired Katyusha rockets a few hundred yards from the compound. A spokesman for United Nations forces in Lebanon quickly denounced the attack as a “massacre.” Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, the commander of the Israeli offensive, insisted that the shelling of the camp could not possibly have been deliberate because “that thing cannot happen in a democratic country like Israel.” Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres declared that “the sole guilty party, still on the ground, is Hezbollah…. We are dealing here with a horrible, cynical and irresponsible organization. Hezbollah’s grand strategy all along has been to hide behind the backs of civilians.” A United Nations investigation concluded that “it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors.” The IDF insisted that it was unaware that the camp was chock full of refugees; the UN report retorted: “Contrary to repeated denials, two Israeli helicopters and a remotely piloted vehicle [drone] were present in the Qana area at the time of the shelling.” An Amnesty International report concluded that the IDF “intentionally attacked the UN compound.” A few weeks after the attack, two of the Israeli gunners involved in the shelling were interviewed by a Jerusalem newsweekly. One of the gunners commented: “In a war, these things happen…. It’s just a bunch of Arabs.” A second gunner said that, after bombarding the refugee camp, a commander told the gunners that “we were shooting well and to continue this way and that Arabs, you know, there are millions of them.” Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit, who had fought at Qana 18 years earlier while serving in the IDF, observed: “An Israeli massacre can be distinguished in most respects from an Arab massacre in that it is not malicious, not carried out on orders from High Above and does not serve any strategic purpose. . . . An Israeli massacre usually occurs after we sanction an unjustifiable degree of violence so that at some point we lose the ability to control that violence. Thus, in most cases, an Israeli massacre is a kind of work accident.”

Note the overt racism here: things happen, it was a work accident, it wasn’t malicious, just a bunch of Arabs, there are millions of them, not to worry. Of course, this racism is never reported in the corporate media, although as of late it has surfaced in the form of articles and editorials, most notably by Noah Feldman and Alan Dershowitz, who argue that civilians, including newborn babies, are responsible for their own slaughter and some civilians are more innocent than others. If you watch Fox News and, to a lesser degree, although not much, CNN and the other corporate alphabet propaganda organizations, you will notice these sinister arguments arising in response to the inexcusable slaughter in Qana and elsewhere. Considering the absolute suffusion of Zionist propaganda and conditioning in the corporate media, this obvious slant in favor of (or making excuses for) Israeli crimes against humanity is quite normal.

We are told, ad nauseam, Israel is a democracy, certainly true if one is Jewish. However, Israel is not a democracy for Israeli Arabs (who “enjoy” citizenship, so long as they don’t mind second class citizen status) and especially not for Palestinian Arabs, who are considered little more than an infestation of cockroaches. In fact, according to a 2003 opinion poll in Israel (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies), 31% of Jewish Israeli citizens support the expulsion of the Arab minority, and 46% support clearance of the territories, that is to say stolen land. Imagine likewise numbers in America in regard to Blacks or Mexicans or for that matter any racial or ethnic minority. It would be unacceptable. But for Israel this racism is quite natural—and it is glossed over or completely ignored in the corporate media. As Henryk M. Broder observes, in Israel “biology determines fate” and it is not far off the mark to state this mindset extends beyond the borders of Israel—in fact, Israel has no international accepted borders, but this is another issue—as people in neighboring countries of Arab biology are subjected to a harsh and often murderous fate, i.e., they are simply a bunch of Arabs, there are millions of them, same as there are millions of ants.

The last time we heard the “biology determines fate” argument, the Nazis were storming across Europe.

In addition to Israel’s long term desire to steal Lebanese land (at least to the Litani River), the fact the ants of Hezbollah dealt the racist state of Israel a decisive defeat drives not only Israeli leaders but average Israelis bonkers. “Israel never forgot the feeling of humiliation the country—and particularly its military—experienced when a jubilant Hezbollah celebrated the Israeli army’s departure,” writes Claude Salhani for United Press International. “But much as Hezbollah and the Israelis are at the forefront of this conflict, which is not the root cause of hostilities by any length of imagination. The root cause of the conflict was, and remains, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Solve it and you solve 90 percent of the region’s problems.”

Under current conditions, however, with massive support for the racist Israeli state in the United States—including millions of pretrib Christians—and the unrelenting propaganda campaign dismissing Israeli crimes underway in the corporate media, the “root cause of the conflict” will not be addressed, let alone solved. Imagine the “humiliation” of an actual and honest brokered peace—including the establishment of a Palestinian state—on the part of Israelis, so outraged by the mere fact the Lebanese evicted them from their country after a long and illegal occupation. It will never happen. Instead, we can expect a cataclysmic and possibly nuclear confrontation, including the genocide of all Palestinians and no shortage of others.

No, the only way to solve the problem is to go after Israel where it hurts—in the pocketbook. If the United States cut off the succor—in the form of billions of dollars every single year, every year since the early 1950s—Israel would have no choice but to make peace with its neighbors and the Palestinians. Of course, this is far less than certain—in fact, as this point, a fanciful pipedream–and may instead result in a nuclear reaction, as Israel has more than 400 nuclear bombs and the stated desire to use them against their enemies.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The “Honest Broker’s” Plan for occupying Southern Lebanon

By Mike Whitney

“The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually ever talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised quite a clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It is a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.” Harold Pinter; Nobel Prize acceptance speech 12-7-05

“Misery and war are children of the same father.” Eduardo Galeano

07/29/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- The Bush administration has played an integral part in the war on Lebanon. They blocked the “peace initiative” proposed by the 15-member coalition at the Rome Conference and they supplied “precision-guided weapons” during the hostilities so Israel could continue to pulverize Beirut and the cities in the south. They have been as engaged in the fighting as any combatant in the field and should not be regarded an “impartial arbiter”.

The United States participation in the conflict precludes it from participating in any settlement of the dispute. The administration cannot be trusted as an “honest broker”.

President Bush and Tony Blair have come up with a plan for sending a UN multinational force into southern Lebanon to provide a buffer-zone for Israel.


The UN just withdrew its observers after their compound was “deliberately” flattened by a well-placed Israeli missile killing 4 of its staff.

What makes Bush and Blair believe that a multinational force would fare any better?

The real motive behind the initiative is to “militarize” the area south of the Litani River and “ethnically cleanse” the predominantly Muslim population. This is how Bush intends to stealthily annex more Lebanese land and create a new de-facto northern border for Israel.

Hezbollah should reject this offer outright as a violation of its national sovereignty and an obvious attempt occupy its southern flank.

If Bush and Blair believe that this is a reasonable offer, then they should not object to “militarizing” the ’67 borders between Israel and Palestine. That would force Israel to accept the “unanimous ruling of the international body” in resolution 242 demanding that Israel withdraw to the pre-war borders. Hezbollah chief, Hassan Nasrallah would undoubtedly give greater consideration to the present plan if the UN demonstrated that it was as willing to provide the same security guarantees for the Palestinians as it is for the Israelis.

Let the multinational force protect the Palestinians first; then, we’ll see.

Israel’s claim that it has the right to unilaterally enforce UN resolution 1559 (“Disarming” Hezbollah) is a non-starter. UN member states are forbidden from taking military action that hasn’t been formally authorized by the Security Council. Israel’s assertion implies that other nations in the region would be equally free to enforce any of Israel’s 46 or so violations of UN resolutions without UNSC approval. That’s just crazy. Israel’s sudden conversion to international law is nothing more than a public relations stunt devoid of meaning.

The Final Demise of the UN

The only “silver lining” to Israel’s lethal rampage is that it signals the death-knell for the enfeebled United Nations. The Bush administration has torpedoed every effort to reach a peace agreement and blocked all resolutions criticizing Israeli aggression. This, of course, is why Israeli-loyalist, John Bolton, was installed as US Ambassador in the first place; to oversee the destruction of the UN and pave the way for a wider regional war. So far, he has succeeded admirably. Working in tandem with Condi Rice, Bolton has delivered a ferocious “one-two” punch that has KO’d the diplomatic work of EU, the Arab League and the bumbling foreign ministers from around the globe. Now, whenever Condi or Bolton speaks, it looks like the entire world stands behind them lending international credibility to Israel’s ongoing depredations in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the feckless Kofi Annan is scampering away as fast as possible from his bombed-out outpost on the Lebanese border. The UN’s humiliating retreat is bound to be the final nail in the coffin for the toothless organization. The UN has done nothing to defend Lebanon’s civilians just as it did nothing during Israel’s 18-year reign of terror from 1982 to 2000. While innocent people are being cut down in their homes and cars and the country’s infrastructure is being reduced smoldering heaps of twisted iron and rubble; the so-called “international community” is breezily debating how to punish Hezbollah.

What a farce. Some one should remind the Secretary General that the Daisy Cutters, cluster-bombs and napalm descending hourly on Beirut are not the work of Hezbollah, but their marauding neighbor to the south.

The UN is powerless to stop the fighting and Kofi Annan is too frail to call for an emergency meeting of the General Assembly to eject the US from the Security Council. Thus, the institution continues to slip further into disrepute lacking the moral authority to be effective and quickly becoming a “rubber-stamp” for US/Israeli aggression.

Bush’s delusional vision of a “New Middle East” now extends from Baghdad to Gaza City, and from Beirut to Kabul; each “failed state” now bearing the imperial imprimatur; each decimated Muslim homeland is just an inconsequential part of the grand colonial schema.

This is the war on terror promised to us by western, white elites who aim to control the world’s last dwindling resources and reshape the Middle East into a modern-day Israeli Kingdom. (“A Clean Break; Strategy for Securing the Realm”)

Now that 4 countries are awash in the blood of civilians and progressively deteriorating into chaos; who will still foolishly argue that this is not a war on Muslims?

Will the world continue to stand by while Bush and Olmert bulldoze their way to Damascus and Tehran creating even larger mountains of carnage? Or will the grumblings in Moscow, Caracas, Beijing, and New Delhi coalesce into some tangible form of resistance?

So far, the silence from the foreign capitals is deafening.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 15/16, 2006 -- EXCLUSIVE TO WMR. Our U.S. intelligence sources in Lebanon have exclusively reported to us the extent of Israel's Blitzkrieg attack on Lebanon, which has destroyed most of the country's critical infrastructures. Beirut International Airport's newly-restored terminal, where many passengers, including Americans, were stranded after the Israelis carpet bombed the runway during flight operations, was bombed in the latest Israeli attack. Israel has turned Lebanon into another Iraq -- there is no electricity and airports, roads, and bridges have been knocked out across the country. Israel has even bombed small ports preventing civilians from escaping to Cyprus. CNN and other Israeli lobby-influenced broadcasters are understating the number of civilian casualties in the repeated Israeli attacks. CNN's Washington bureau is editorially controlled by Wolf Blitzer, a one time employee of the Jerusalem Post and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). According to our U.S. intelligence sources, the numbers of dead are in the hundreds. In south Lebanon, Israeli planes bombed three vans carrying families after they were turned away from a UN outpost while seeking protection. A total of 23 people were killed, including nine small children. The Israeli attacks have been described by various sources in Lebanon as "sub-human," "monstrous," and "animalistic." Our intelligence sources phoned us before what they believe will be the targets of the next wave of Israeli attacks against the nation's telecommunications networks, including cell phone towers and exchanges.

The Israel regime is acting with the full approval of the Bush administration, both regimes that are totally beholden to neo-con interests intent on throwing the entire Middle East into a firestorm of destruction and death.
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Beware Isreali False Flag
Ops Planned Via Cheney
Hold IDF, Mossad, Shin Beth Responsible
For 25,000 Americans In Lebanon
By Webster G. Tarpley

WASHINGTON, DC -- The escalating Israeli assault on Lebanon clearly represents a conscious bid to provoke a general war in the Middle East. The captured Israeli soldiers are only the pretext for the present massive military operations. Israeli spokesmen are making constant allegations that Hezbollah missiles being fired at Israel have been manufactured or delivered by Iran. At the same time, the Israelis accuse Hezbollah of wanting to transfer the two captured Israeli soldiers to Syria or Iran. These statements are an attempt to build a case for an Israeli sneak attack on Syria and/or Iran. US spokesmen, including the Nietzschean fascist Bolton, constantly repeat the litany that Syria and Iran are the supporters of Hezbollah.
How might the Israelis and their Bush-Cheney allies escalate to a Middle East regional war? A linear scenario is that, after further bombardment of Israel by rockets allegedly made in Iran and allegedly delivered with the connivance of Syria, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) lashes out at Damascus and Teheran. Syrian and Iranian retaliatory measures would then be seized upon by the Bush-Cheney regime as a pretext for US entry into the war. Here the US would be openly dragged into war as the tail of the Israeli dog. But this is a deeply flawed scenario, sure to generate huge waves of resentment against the Israelis and their US partners as the body bags begin to come home.
False flag scenarios would be entirely more effective from the point of view of the war planners. CNN and MSNBC coverage this Saturday morning has been stressing the situation of the 25,000 Americans now stuck in Lebanon. These Americans are being invited to register with the US consulates for possible evacuation. The State Department and the US military have been remarkably slow to begin such an evacuation.
One possible provocation scenario to bring the US into the war is that a helicopter carrying US citizens being evacuated out of Lebanon is hit by a missile and destroyed, killing all on board. The missile might be fired by the Israelis or by their allies among the fascist Lebanese Phalangists. The Israelis would announce that the helicopter had been destroyed by Hezbollah, opening the way for a hysterical campaign by Fox News and the rest of the neocon mass brainwashing apparatus to secure an early US attack on Syria and Iran.
An alternative: a group of Arabic-speaking Israeli Mossad or Shin Beth special forces, or a group of Phalangist militia round up a few dozen Americans and machine-gun them to death. The controlled media then blame the massacre on Hezbolllah, thus stampeding the US population into war.
The "Christian" Phalangist (or "Kataeb Party") have long been a willing cat,s paw for the US and Israelis in Lebanon. It was the Phalangists, controlled by the Gemayel family, who did most of the actual killing at the infamous Tel-al-Zaatar massacre in August 1976, the midst of the Kissinger-provoked Lebanese civil war. The Phlangists in that case did the dirty work under the supervision of the Israelis. Although the controlled media have been silent about the Phalange, it is clear that they are still available for dirty operations.
In an ominous sign, CNN broadcasts have featured first-person interviews with Caroline Shamoun, supposedly an American stuck in Lebanon. This reference recalls Camille Chamoun, the CIA puppet president of Lebanon who called in US forces in 1958. The goal of the current campaign is manifestly to call US forces to intervene into a Lebanese-centered crisis once again.
All peace-loving governments and all Americans of good will should make it clear that they hold the Israeli Mossad, Shin Beth, and Israeli Defense Forces directly responsible for the safety and welfare of the Americans trapped in Lebanon by the present aggression. Any atrocities against these Americans cannot be attributed to Hezbollah, Syria, or Iran, none of whom has any conceivable interest in provoking the US into an attack. It is Israel and Cheney who have such an interest, as is likely to have been discussed during Olmert,s visit to the US in May and Netanyahu,s visit here in June.
It is imperative that the US and world population be inoculated against the provocation scenarios now being propagandized by CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the controlled media.
Washington DC, July 15 - (11 PM EDT) The above hypothesis has received further corroboration from Fox News Saturday evening. According to Silva Boghossian, a US citizen stuck in Lebanon interviewed by Greta van Susteren at 10:25 Eastern Daylight Time, "the US has no plan" for an effective evacuation of American citizens in Lebanon. According to Ms. Boghossian, Italian and South African citizens staying in her hotel were evacuated "two days ago," meaning on Thursday, one day after the Israeli bombi9ng began on Wednesday morning. Ms. Boghossian said that she has registered with US consular authorities, but that "nothing had happened so far." She added that the persons she spoke with were of undetermined nationality. The hotel where she is staying is now "full of Americans," Ms. Boghossian told Fox.
All parts of Lebanon are within easy flying distance by helicopter from sovereign British bases on the nearby island of Cyprus (Larnaka, etc.) Nothing would be easier than to set up a speedy airlift which could bring all Americans in Lebanon quickly to safety. Bush, despite his constant demagogy about protecting the lives of Americans, is pursuing a policy of flagrant indifference to what happens to these 25,000 American citizens. They are being hung out to dry, left as sitting ducks for whatever bloody false flag operation may be cooked up by the Israeli intelligence services. This is criminal negligence infinitely worse than Katrina, in that any mass casualties among these Americans will represent a one-way ticket for this entire nation to World War III, a war which sooner or later will be fought with nuclear and thermonuclear weapons. A real US president would right now be warning Israel that it will be held responsible for the lives and safety of every American in Lebanon.

The feckless Bush, totally isolated in St. Petersburg, is instead focused on showing his subservience to Olmert. It is therefore up to US public opinion to demand effective security measures for Americans stranded in Lebanon, with immediate evacuation to Cyprus or other safe areas. - WGT

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israel Prepars to Invade Syria

Israel Prepares to Invade Syria
Saturday July 15th 2006, 8:13 am

As to be expected, the story about a Hezbollah drone hitting an Israeli warship was tweaked this morning to fit the emerging agenda. “Senior Israeli army officers said Saturday that the rocket which hit an Israeli missile boat off the Lebanese coast Friday night was an Iranian-built radar-guided C-802,” reports the Bangkok Post.

How Israel mistook an “aircraft rigged with explosives” for a missile, as the Associated Press reports, is not explained. However, blaming Iran certainly fits the picture, as both Israel and the United States are trying to drag Iran and Syria into Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and thus widen the conflict, as planned.

In a Market Watch article provocatively entitled “Bush points finger at Hezbollah, Syria,” we learn that our ruler, attending a globalist confab in St. Petersburg, Russia, has blamed Syria for Israel’s invasion.

“In my judgment, the best way to stop the violence is to understand why the violence occurred in the first place,” said Bush. “And that’s because Hizbullah has been launching rocket attacks out of Lebanon into Israel and because Hizbullah captured two Israeli soldiers,” Naharnet reports.

No mention here of the hundreds of Lebanese held illegally in Israeli torture dungeons. Earlier this month, the Lebanese government complained to the UN Secretary General representative in Beirut about “the nonstop arrest of detainees, and … the hundreds of missing persons, which poses as a violation of human rights.”

Israel has admitted abducting Lebanese for political purposes, but for some reason this fact is not mentioned in the corporate media. In the late 90s, before Israel was evicted from southern Lebanon by Hezbollah, it was a common practice for Israel to abduct entirely innocent Lebanese and hold them as “bargaining chips, ” and not hold them, according to Amnesty International, “for their own actions but in exchange for Israeli soldiers missing in action or killed in Lebanon.” As usual, these facts are ignored by our appointed ruler and the corporate media.

According to the al-Hayat newspaper in London, “Israel gave Syria 72 hours to stop Hizbullah’s activity, bring about release of kidnapped IDF troops,” or else, reports Yedioth Internet, “it would launch an offensive with disastrous consequences,” in other words Syria will suffer the same sort of attacks Lebanon is now suffering.

Not unusually, word of this warning emerged from the Pentagon, currently under the control of Likudite neocons. Al-Hayat reported “a senior Pentagon source warned that should the Arab world and international community fail in the efforts to convince Syria to pressure Hizbullah into releasing the soldiers and halt the current escalation Israel may attack targets in the country,” in other words civilian infrastructure will be targeted.

As if to confirm Israel’s impending invasion of Syria, Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja of Finland said the European Union considers “the situation to be very bad and there is still the possibility that it could get worse and that the conflict could spread, especially to Syria…. This is in no way desirable. The consequences could be really uncontrollable,” reports Reuters.

Of course, it is eminently “desirable” for the Israeli government and the neocon faction currently riding high in the government of the United States, as they have plotted for some time to go after Syria and Iran, that is to say blowing up its civilian infrastructure and slaughtering its citizens.

Al Bawaba reports “Israeli warplanes launched four missiles at a border crossing point between Lebanon and Syria on Saturday, witnesses said. A Syrian army position is located in the area” near Masnaa. “Witnesses said Israeli planes fired four rockets at the Masnaa crossing point between the last Lebanese post and the first Syrian army position on the Beirut-Damascus road,” Reuters adds. Moreover, according to the al-Mustaqbal Lebanese news network, “the IAF hit targets belonging to the Syrian army” prior to the Masnaa raid, Yedioth Internet reports.

As if to remind us the real target is not puny little Hezbollah and Hamas, but rather Syria and Iran, neocon kingpin William Kristol, writing from his perch at the Murdoch funded Weekly Standard, tells us the “war against radical Islamism is likely to be a long one. Radical Islamism isn’t going away anytime soon. But it will make a big difference how strong the state sponsors, harborers, and financiers of radical Islamism are. Thus, our focus should be less on Hamas and Hezbollah, and more on their paymasters and real commanders—Syria and Iran.” No translation is in order—the United States must attack Iran and Syria, that is after Israel stirs up the cauldron with a provocative bombing campaign. “For while Syria and Iran are enemies of Israel, they are also enemies of the United States. We have done a poor job of standing up to them and weakening them. They are now testing us more boldly than one would have thought possible a few years ago. Weakness is provocative. We have been too weak, and have allowed ourselves to be perceived as weak.”

Israel’s enemies are the enemies of the United States, as Israel has the White House, Pentagon, and Congress under its thumb, from rabid pro-Israel activists in decisive positions in the Bush administration to AIPAC’s stranglehold over Congress.

Syria and Iran are next on the bombing sortie. Syria will be an easy target, as it is nearly as helpless as Lebanon, but Iran will be a tough nut to crack.

If Israel attacks Iran, as it has threatened for months (and has acquired the military hardware to do so), all hell will break loose, especially for the U.S. troops in Iraq, currently facing the distinct possibility of a Shia revolt and “civil war.”

Expect the United States to react accordingly.


According to Stratfor Intelligence, Israel plans not only to launch “a major, sustained assault into southern Lebanon to eliminate the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah,” up to the Litani River, of course, but also plans to “make a pre-emptive strike against the Syrian air defense network, which Israeli planes successfully penetrated in June, buzzing Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s private residence,” a sort of warning of things to come, as I noted the other day. Stratfor has more confidence in Syria’s air force than I do, but then I’m not an “intelligence expert,” as Strafor claims to be:

Despite the political stunt flyby, Syria’s air defense network is still amply equipped and its air force boasts, among other aircraft, 80 MiG-29 and 10 Su-27 fighters. Operationally, Syria has always crumbled when it faced the IDF, and its air defense and pilot training regimens are certainly below par. But nevertheless, Syria’s air defense network extends over much of southern Lebanon and poses a very real danger to IAF operations over Lebanon. Israel successfully devastated this air force in 1982 in a pre-emptive strike. If the Israelis decide that Syria might resist their efforts in Lebanon, Israel will not hesitate to take the network out. A devastating pre-emptive strike is preferable to a protracted engagement with the whole air defense network at full alert—a much more complex endeavor that would detract from operations in Lebanon. As long as the Israelis leave Syrian assets intact, they fight with an exposed right flank.

As Strafor views it, Israel will launch a ground offensive as soon as July 16 “when the reservists of the Israeli Northern Command who were just activated will have had 72 hours to spin up. However, since rockets fired from Lebanon hit Israel’s port city of Haifa on July 13, Israel’s 7th Armored, Golani and Barak Brigades—some of the elite and most decorated units of the regular Israeli army—might push ahead as far as the Litani and let the reservists catch up later.”

As the Lebanese well understand, another occupation of their country will result in human rights abuses, as the Israelis consider the Lebanese on par with the Palestinians.

In 1998, the Commission on Human Rights deplored “the continued Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied zone in southern Lebanon and western Bekaa, demonstrated in particular by the abduction and ongoing arbitrary detention of Lebanese citizens [in the Khiyam and Marjayoun torture centers], the destruction of their dwellings, the confiscation of their property, their expulsion from their land, the bombardment of peaceful villages and civilian areas, and other practices violating the most fundamental principles of human rights.” In short, the Lebanese may expect the same sort of brutality meted out to the Palestinians.

Of course, this criminal behavior, stretching over nearly two decades, has nothing to do with the formation and radicalization of Hezbollah.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

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Crap for Preznit


July 4, 2006 -- Even Bush's crap is classified top secret. According to our Austrian sources, Austrian newspapers are currently abuzz with special security details of George W. Bush's recent trip to Vienna. Although the heavy-handed Gestapo-like security measures meted out to Viennese home owners, business proprietors, and pedestrians by US Secret Service agents and local police before and during Bush's visit received widespread Austrian media attention, it was White House "toilet security" ("TOILSEC"), which has Austrians talking the most. The White House flew in a special portable toilet to Vienna for Bush's personal use during his visit. The Bush White House is so concerned about Bush's security, the veil of secrecy extends over the president's bodily excretions. The special port-a-john captured Bush's feces and urine and flew the waste material back to the United States in the event some enterprising foreign intelligence agency conducted a sewage pipe operation designed to trap and examine Bush's waste material. One can only wonder why the White House is taking such extraordinary security measures for the presidential poop.

In the past, similar operations were conducted against foreign leaders to determine their medical condition. However, these intelligence operations were directed against dictators in countries where even the medical conditions of the top political leaders were considered "state secrets." The Israeli Mossad conducted one such operation against Syrian President Hafez Assad when he visited Amman, Jordan in Feb. 1999 for the funeral of King Hussein. The Mossad and its Jordanian counterpart installed a special toilet in Assad's hotel room that led not to a pipe but to a specimen canister. Assad suffered from diabetes and cancer and the operation was designed to discover the actual medical condition of the ailing leader. During Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's visit to Washington in 1987, the CIA reportedly placed a special trap under a sewage tank to collect the Soviet leader's bodily waste for analysis. More recently, the CIA was reported to have collected waste samples from Ugandan President-dictator Yoweri Museveni's toilet when he visited Washington.

Even Bush's toilet paper was flown in from the U.S. Air Base at Ramstein, Germany. In addition, Bush's food was flown in from the United States and tested with special chemicals before he ate it. Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was shot by a firing squad in 1989, was the last major European leader to constantly use a food tester. The last frequent state visitor to Vienna, who always relied on a food tester, was Adolf Hitler.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

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FBI plans new Net-tapping push

By Declan McCullagh

The FBI has drafted sweeping legislation that would require Internet service providers to create wiretapping hubs for police surveillance and force makers of networking gear to build in backdoors for eavesdropping, CNET has learned.
FBI Agent Barry Smith distributed the proposal at a private meeting last Friday with industry representatives and indicated it would be introduced by Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.

The draft bill would place the FBI's Net-surveillance push on solid legal footing. At the moment, it's ensnared in a legal challenge from universities and some technology companies that claim the Federal Communications Commission's broadband surveillance directives exceed what Congress has authorized.

The FBI claims that expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act is necessary to thwart criminals and terrorists who have turned to technologies like voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

"The complexity and variety of communications technologies have dramatically increased in recent years, and the lawful intercept capabilities of the federal, state and local law enforcement community have been under continual stress, and in many cases have decreased or become impossible," according to a summary accompanying the draft bill.

Complicating the political outlook for the legislation is an ongoing debate over allegedly illegal surveillance by the National Security Administration--punctuated by several lawsuits challenging it on constitutional grounds and an unrelated proposal to force Internet service providers to record what Americans are doing online. One source, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of last Friday's meeting, said the FBI viewed its CALEA expansion as a top congressional priority for 2007.

Breaking the legislation down
The 27-page proposed CALEA amendments seen by CNET would:

• Require any manufacturer of "routing" and "addressing" hardware to offer upgrades or other "modifications" that are needed to support Internet wiretapping. Current law does require that of telephone switch manufacturers--but not makers of routers and network address translation hardware like Cisco Systems and 2Wire.

• Authorize the expansion of wiretapping requirements to "commercial" Internet services including instant messaging if the FCC deems it to be in the "public interest." That would likely sweep in services such as in-game chats offered by Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming system as well.

• Force Internet service providers to sift through their customers' communications to identify, for instance, only VoIP calls. (The language requires companies to adhere to "processing or filtering methods or procedures applied by a law enforcement agency.") That means police could simply ask broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast or Verizon for wiretap info--instead of having to figure out what VoIP service was being used.

• Eliminate the current legal requirement saying the Justice Department must publish a public "notice of the actual number of communications interceptions" every year. That notice currently also must disclose the "maximum capacity" required to accommodate all of the legally authorized taps that government agencies will "conduct and use simultaneously."

Jim Harper, a policy analyst at the free-market Cato Institute and member of a Homeland Security advisory board, said the proposal would "have a negative impact on Internet users' privacy."

"People expect their information to be private unless the government meets certain legal standards," Harper said. "Right now the Department of Justice is pushing the wrong way on all this."

Neither the FBI nor DeWine's office responded to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

DeWine has relatively low approval ratings--47 percent, according to is enmeshed in a fierce battle with a Democratic challenger to retain his Senate seat in the November elections. DeWine is a member of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee charged with overseeing electronic privacy and antiterrorism enforcement and is a former prosecutor in Ohio.

In other news:
Dog-day forecast for PC makers?
Photos: Hits and misses for Microsoft gear
Photos: Robots at work and at play Extra: Five dampers on IT worker confidence
Video: Space shuttle does backflip
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., decided 2-1 last month to uphold the FCC's extension of CALEA to broadband providers, and it's not clear what will happen next with the lawsuit. Judge Harry Edwards wrote in his dissent that the majority's logic gave the FCC "unlimited authority to regulate every telecommunications service that might conceivably be used to assist law enforcement."

The organizations behind the lawsuit say Congress never intended CALEA to force broadband providers--and networks at corporations and universities--to build in central surveillance hubs for the police. The list of organizations includes Sun Microsystems,, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of American Universities and the American Library Association.

If the FBI's legislation becomes law, it would derail the lawsuit because there would no longer be any question that Congress intended CALEA to apply to the Internet.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

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M. Kane Jeeves (sometimes credited as Ed Naha) 7/3/2006
The Star-Spangled Bungle
Filed under: Constructive Criticism — MrBogle @ 4:41 pm
Ah, July 4th. Independence Day. A day we pay tribute to the Declaration of Independence and our founding fathers by getting blotto, nuking burgers, cremating hot dogs, wiping globs of mustard from our gobs with American Flag napkins, watching NASCAR racers drive around in circles real fast and, if we are still conscious, taking in fireworks displays.

George W. Bush got an early taste of fireworks last week when the Supreme Court ruled, 5-3, that Bush had overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trails for Guantanamo Bay detainees, saying in a stinging rebuke that the trials were illegal under both U.S. and international law.

Ripples in the already wild-eyed Republican Party were tsunami-sized and immediate, with some Republicans wondering aloud if American troops and/or their commanders could be tried as war criminals. Funny they should mention that. While unlikely, sure.

Nearly all of the world has gone on record condemning the detainee camps at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and the secret detention centers in Europe. So, of course, Republican pundits were shocked, shocked that the Supreme Court would be “pro-terrorist.”

Wringing their hands, they wondered aloud if this activist court’s ruling would impact all the other super-duper secret programs that Bush has put into place to fight terriers; everything from the illegal wiretaps, to the phone monitoring, to the bank account snooping to the “up-skirt” cams that Dick Cheney wears on his shoes.

On the plus side, the ruling got them off their “New York Times” whining jag for a couple of days.

For his part, Bush was all over the place. “ I assure you that we take them very seriously.” (Good for you, Sparky.)

“The American people need to know that this ruling, as I understand it, won’t cause killers to be put out on the streets.” (It was a ruling, Dude. Not the script of “Con-Air.”)

Vowing to “conform” with the Court’s ruling (Very big of him, eh?), he also said: “One thing I’m not going to do, though, is I’m not going to jeopardize the safety of the American people.” (What does that actually mean. You’d defy the Court? Put on a jeweled crown and a pair of tights?)

Seemingly caught in the grip of a military tribunal “Jones,” he said “…As I understand it…there is a way forward with military tribunals in working with the United Sates Congress….To the extent that the Congress has given any latitude to develop a way forward using military tribunals, we will work with them.” (Better late than never, I guess.)

Of course, the next day, he was cavorting in Graceland with that hunka-hunka burning Junichiro Kouizumi.

The ruling itself was astonishing in a couple of ways. First off, it came from the same outfit that installed our belligerent buckaroo into The White House. Secondly, Bush has jammed two conservatives onto the court, making many fear that the Supremes would trade in their black robes for white ones. Still, Bush got a solid Moe Howard legal poke in the eye.

Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the court, said the Bush administration lacked the authority to take the “extraordinary measure” of scheduling special military trials for inmates, in which defendants have fewer legal protections than in civilian U.S. courts.

The Supreme Court ruling embraced Article 3 of the Geneva conventions. Article 3 prohibits outrages upon personal dignity, “in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,” and bars violence, including murder, mutilation and torture. Or, as it’s known in the White House, “Tough Love, American Style.”

“Trial by military commission raises separation-of-powers concerns of the highest order,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his opinion. “Concentration of power (in the executive branch) puts personal liberty in peril of arbitrary action by officials, an incursion the Constitution’s three-part system is designed to avoid.”

In his own opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said, “Congress has not issued the executive a ‘blank check.’”

“Indeed, Congress has denied the president the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary,” Breyer wrote.

So, of course, Congress has already announced plans to give the boy King whatever he wants because, as we all know, we’re winning the war on terror.

Uh, not really.

Last Wednesday, 100 national security and terrorism analysts surveyed for a poll conducted by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank headed by John Podesta (former Clinton chief of staff), released their findings.

More than eight in 10 of the national security experts don’t agree with President Bush’s claims that the U.S. is winning the fight against terrorism, and the Iraq war is the biggest reason why.

Asked whether the United States is “winning the war on terror,” 84 percent said no and 13 percent answered yes. Asked whether the war in Iraq is helping or hurting the global anti-terrorism campaign, 87 percent answered that it was undermining those efforts. A similar number, 86 percent, said the world is becoming “more dangerous for the United States and the American people.”

They refused to offer opinions on the whole “Freedom Fries” thing.

87 percent believed that Gitmo has had a negative impact on our national security, along with the US policy towards Iran (60 percent) and the US’s energy policy (64 percent).

Of the experts queried, 45 identified themselves as liberals, 40 said they were moderates and 31 called themselves conservatives. The pollsters then weighted the responses so that the percentage results reflected one-third participation by each group.

Nearly 80 percent of the participants had worked in the U.S. government–of these more than half were in the executive branch, one third in the military, and 17 percent in the intelligence community.

“The war in Iraq broke our back in the war on terror,” said former CIA official and conservative Republican Michael Scheuer, author of “Imperial Hubris,” a book highly critical of the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism efforts. “It has made everything more difficult and the threat more existential.”

Perfect, now Bush has led us into existentialism. What’s next? Nihilism? Cheney getting into Absurdism? No, strike that. He’s beaten me to the punch on that one.

“Foreign-policy experts have never been in so much agreement about an administration’s performance abroad,” said Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and an index participant. “The reason is that it’s clear to nearly all that Bush and his team have had a totally unrealistic view of what they can accomplish with military force and threats of force.”

Please, God. Don’t let anyone in the White House read “Waiting for Godot.”

Eighty-four percent of the experts said they believe a terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001, is likely or certain to happen in the next five years. More than a quarter said a 9/11-scale attack is certain to occur in America within the next decade. Asked about the likelihood of a smaller strike akin to the July 2005 London bombings, 91 percent agreed that such an attack is likely or certain by 2016; more than half said that such an attack could happen this year. But, how can this be? Bush says we’re winning!

(A recent study by the Rand Corp. found that 81 percent of all suicide attacks in the past three decades have occurred since September 11th, 2001 and the primary motivational force was America’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Well, if nothing else, BushCo.’s policy can be seen as inspirational.)

Almost 80 of those surveyed thought that diplomacy and cultural sensitivity is the best way to lead to the global rejection of extremist ideologies, yet they rated America’s current diplomatic efforts a stunning 1.8 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Okay, these weirdoes would probably burn a flag if they got the chance. I mean, don’t they know we’re protected by Homeland Security? Oh, yeah. They do. They rated it’s effectiveness at a whopping 2.9, with 36 percent of those polled saying DHS has actually negatively impacted national security.

So how did the Republican warriors react to this devastating assessment. Correct! They didn’t! Hot off the heels of trying to save the flag from anti-patriotic pyros and calling for the imprisonment of “New York Times” reporters, they let this one slide, moving on to staining themselves over the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Republicans were tripping over themselves this past weekend on the political shows, trying to figure out a legal way to overrule the Geneva conventions. Sniff. It was truly inspiring…like watching a dozen people accidentally sitting on a live fireworks tube.

Speaking of fireworks, the first July 4th celebration occurred in 1877, while Americans waged war against tyranny. The Declaration of Independence was written to tell THEIR King George to butt out. “No taxation without representation!” was the battle cry. Today it would be “We have no taxation and no representation. We got bupkiss.”

On July 4, 2001, President George W. Bush spoke outside Independence Hall, Philadelphia, birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. That document, he said, continues to represent “the standard to which we hold others, and the standard by which we measure ourselves. Our greatest achievements have come when we have lived up to these ideals. Our greatest tragedies have come when we have failed to uphold them.”

And he said that with a straight face.

Perhaps we can all sign a second Declaration of Independence this November in the ballot box.

Throw the royal scalawags out.

Let the fireworks begin!
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While You Were Sleeping.......

C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden
WASHINGTON, July 3 — The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.

The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice "dead or alive."

The realignment reflects a view that Al Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, intelligence officials said, and a growing concern about Qaeda-inspired groups that have begun carrying out attacks independent of Mr. bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and that the decision to disband the unit was not a sign that the effort had slackened. Instead, the officials said, it reflects a belief that the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals.

"The efforts to find Osama bin Laden are as strong as ever," said Jennifer Millerwise Dyck, a C.I.A. spokeswoman. "This is an agile agency, and the decision was made to ensure greater reach and focus."

The decision to close the unit was first reported Monday by National Public Radio.

Michael Scheuer, a former senior C.I.A. official who was the first head of the unit, said the move reflected a view within the agency that Mr. bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was.

Mr. Scheuer said that view was mistaken.

"This will clearly denigrate our operations against Al Qaeda," he said. "These days at the agency, bin Laden and Al Qaeda appear to be treated merely as first among equals."

In recent years, the war in Iraq has stretched the resources of the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, generating new priorities for American officials. For instance, much of the military's counterterrorism units, like the Army's Delta Force, had been redirected from the hunt for Mr. bin Laden to the search for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed last month in Iraq.

An intelligence official who was granted anonymity to discuss classified information said the closing of the bin Laden unit reflected a greater grasp of the organization. "Our understanding of Al Qaeda has greatly evolved from where it was in the late 1990's," the official said, but added, "There are still people who wake up every day with the job of trying to find bin Laden."

Established in 1996, when Mr. bin Laden's calls for global jihad were a source of increasing concern for officials in Washington, Alec Station operated in a similar fashion to that of other agency stations around the globe.

The two dozen staff members who worked at the station, which was named after Mr. Scheuer's son and was housed in leased offices near agency headquarters in northern Virginia, issued regular cables to the agency about Mr. bin Laden's growing abilities and his desire to strike American targets throughout the world.

In his book "Ghost Wars," which chronicles the agency's efforts to hunt Mr. bin Laden in the years before the Sept. 11 attacks, Steve Coll wrote that some inside the agency likened Alec Station to a cult that became obsessed with Al Qaeda.

"The bin Laden unit's analysts were so intense about their work that they made some of their C.I.A. colleagues uncomfortable," Mr. Coll wrote. Members of Alec Station "called themselves 'the Manson Family' because they had acquired a reputation for crazed alarmism about the rising Al Qaeda threat."

Intelligence officials said Alec Station was disbanded after Robert Grenier, who until February was in charge of the Counterterrorist Center, decided the agency needed to reorganize to better address constant changes in terrorist organizations.
Note: Osama Bin Asset has been dead since December 2001.

The real terrorists are at 1600 Pennsylania Avenue Washington D.C. and their runner-ups are the Israelis

Monday, July 03, 2006

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Shuttle Lauch on for July 4th

Gawd...can we say "distraction du jour" as Israel continues to commit war crimes against the Palestinians,as the Bush junta continues its assault on America,as the illegal wars and occupation continue unabated in Afghanistan and Iraq,they need one,fer sure...Think about it.....7 dead(sacrificed/murdered)astronauts in a blaze of glory(!?) when the shuttle explodes would certainly "distract" the sheeple long enough(and the MSM=snewz)to not notice the assault on Iran before they can implement the oil bourse.The next few days will be interesting to say the least.I can only warn those who have awakened enough to see this for what it is or could be.One word sums it all....VIGILANCE.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

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The Madness of King George

Insanity Defense - US
Presidential Dictatorship
By Chris Floyd
The Moscow Times

That the United States, once touted as the world's greatest democracy, is now ruled by a presidential dictatorship is a fact beyond any serious dispute. Indeed, the nation's political establishment seems to have accepted this revolutionary system with remarkable docility, even as its lineaments are further exposed week by week. The Bush administration no longer bothers to hide the novel theory of government that undergirds its coup, but declares it openly, in court, in Congress, everywhere.

The theory holds that the president has the arbitrary right to ignore any law that he feels is an unconstitutional infringement of his power -- and a law is automatically unconstitutional if the president feels it infringes on his power. This neatly squared circle makes Congress irrelevant and removes the judiciary from the loop altogether. Thus, the only effective instrument of power left in the land is the "unitary executive": the fancy modern name that the legal minions of President George W. Bush have given to the ancient concept of "tyranny."

The true nature of this presidential dictatorship has been laid bare in a harrowing new book from reporter Ron Suskind, "The One Percent Doctrine." Suskind, who once coaxed the regime's defining ethos from an arrogant Bushist -- "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality" -- paints a portrait of an administration drunk on lawless power, a junta operated from the shadows by the grim and literally heart-dead husk called Vice President Dick Cheney and his long-time companion in skulduggery, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld.

As Suskind notes, it was Cheney who enunciated the certifiably paranoid principle that governs the regime's behavior: If there is even a 1 percent chance that some state or group might do serious harm to the United States, then America must respond as if that threat were a certainty -- with full force, pre-emptively. Facts, truth, law are unimportant; the only thing that matters is the projection of unchallengeable power. "It's not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence," Cheney said. "It's about our response."

This is plainly madness. Whether the insanity of the "doctrine" is genuine -- i.e., a pathological panic reaction by gutless, pampered fat-cats scared of the slightest murmur from the dusky tribes out there, beyond the iron gates and razor wire of privilege -- or if, more likely, it is simply the chosen rationalization for a gang of predators tired of the few restraints that constitutional government has placed on their lust for loot and domination, the end result is the same: The most powerful country in the history of the world is being run by moral degenerates in thrall to a lunatic policy.

To Our Readers

The Moscow Times welcomes letters to the editor. Letters for publication should be signed and bear the signatory's address and telephone number. Letters to the editor should be sent by fax to (7-495) 232-6529, by e-mail to, or by post. The Moscow Times reserves the right to edit letters.

Email the Opinion Page Editor Suskind's book is full of chilling passages, such as one about the pointless tortures inflicted, at Bush's explicit suggestion, on Abu Zubaydah, a mentally ill al-Qaida flunky. His capture in March 2002 was trumpeted as a "major victory" in the war on terror, the bagging of a "top terrorist operative." But interrogators quickly realized that he was just a low-level factotum with multiple personality disorder and no knowledge of al-Qaida operations or strategy.

So the administration had to create another reality. Told that Zubaydah had revealed nothing of value under ordinary interrogation, Bush first whined to CIA boss George Tenet ("You're not gonna make me lose face on this, are ya?"), then pointedly asked: "So, do these harsh techniques work?" He was referring to the "torture memos" drawn up at his order by the White House legal team -- Machiavellian documents which declared that anything less than deliberate murder or permanent maiming should no longer be regarded as torture, The Washington Post reports.

Bush's sinister nod and wink were clearly understood. The wretched Zubaydah was "waterboarded," beaten repeatedly and threatened with death. He was battered with white noise and deprived of sleep, and his medication was taken away. His broken mind snapped completely. He began spewing out whatever his tormentors wanted to hear, fantastic tales of plots aimed at targets all over America -- meat for countless "terror alerts" whenever the political situation called for a nice, juicy scare to goose the rubes.

But perhaps the most revealing moment in Suskind's book is a brief vignette that captures the quintessence of Bush's callous disregard for the American people -- and the regime's strange, preternatural calm in the face of imminent attack. In August 2001, while Bush dawdled on his Texas dude ranch, the entire national security system was, in Tenet's words, "blinking red" in expectation of a major terrorist strike. On Aug. 6, a CIA official brought the infamous "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." memo to Crawford and read it out personally to the president. In response, he got nothing but a snide dismissal: "All right, you've covered your ass now."

That was it. Bush had nothing else to say about this stark threat of impending slaughter. He had no questions, no advice, no commands -- just smirking contempt. Even if we give Bush every benefit of the doubt, even if we put the most charitable construction possible on his behavior, the very best you could say of his reaction is that it represents a blood-curdling degree of depraved indifference and criminal negligence worthy of Nero.

Beyond this "best-case" scenario, you tumble into an abyss of ever-darker implications, a deep murk that may never be dispelled. But what we know, what is plain as day, is bad enough: Tyranny has come -- aggressive, remorseless, murderous, mad.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Newbie's Guide to Detecting NSA

The Newbie's Guide to Detecting the NSA
It's not surprising that an expert hired by EFF should produce an analysis that supports the group's case against AT&T. But last week's public court filing of a redacted statement by J. Scott Marcus is still worth reading for the obvious expertise of its author, and the cunning insights he draws from the AT&T spy documents.

An internet pioneer and former FCC advisor who held a Top Secret security clearance, Marcus applies a Sherlock Holmes level of reasoning to his dissection of the evidence in the case: 120-pages of AT&T manuals that EFF filed under seal, and whistleblower Mark Klein's observations inside the company's San Francisco switching center.

If you've been following Wired News' coverage of the EFF case, you won't find many new hard revelations in Marcus' analysis -- at least, not in the censored version made public. But he connects the dots to draw some interesting conclusions:

The AT&T documents are authentic. That AT&T insists they remain under seal is evidence enough of this, but Marcus points out that the writing style is pure Bell System, with the "meticulous attention to detail that is typical of AT&T operations."

There may be dozens of surveillance rooms in AT&T offices around the country. Among other things, Marcus finds that portions of the documents are written to cover a number of different equipment rack configurations, "consistent with a deployment to 15 to 20" secret rooms.

The internet surveillance program covers domestic traffic, not just international traffic. Marcus notes that the AT&T spy rooms are "in far more locations than would be required to catch the majority of international traffic"; the configuration in the San Francisco office promiscuously sends all data into the secret room; and there's no reliable way an analysis could infer a user's physical location from their IP address. This, of course, directly contradicts President Bush's description of the "Terrorist Surveillance Program."

The system is capable of looking at content, not just addresses. The configuration described in the Klein documents -- presumably the Narus software in particular -- "exists primarily to conduct sophisticated rule-based analysis of content", Marcus concludes.
My bullet points don't come close to conveying the painstaking reasoning he lays out to back each of his conclusions.

Perhaps the most interesting -- and, in retrospect, obvious -- point Marcus makes is that AT&T customers aren't the only ones apparently being tapped. "Transit" traffic originating with one ISP and destined for another is also being sniffed if it crosses AT&T's network. Ironically, because the taps are installed at the point at which that network connects to the rest of the world, the safest web surfers are AT&T subscribers visiting websites hosted on AT&T's network. Their traffic doesn't pass through the splitters.

With that in mind, here's the 27B Stroke 6 guide to detecting if your traffic is being funneled into the secret room on San Francisco's Folsom street.

If you're a Windows user, fire up an MS-DOS command prompt. Now type tracert followed by the domain name of the website, e-mail host, VoIP switch, or whatever destination you're interested in. Watch as the program spits out your route, line by line.

C:\> tracert

1 2 ms 2 ms 2 ms
7 11 ms 14 ms 10 ms []
8 13 12 19 ms []
9 18 ms 16 ms 16 ms
10 88 ms 92 ms 91 ms []
11 88 ms 90 ms 88 ms []
12 89 ms 97 ms 89 ms []
13 89 ms 88 ms 88 ms []
14 102 ms 93 ms 112 ms
15 94 ms 94 ms 93 ms
16 * * *
17 * * *
18 * *

In the above example, my traffic is jumping from Level 3 Communications to AT&T's network in San Francisco, presumably over the OC-48 circuit that AT&T tapped on February 20th, 2003, according to the Klein docs.

The magic string you're looking for is If it's present immediately above or below a entry, then -- by Klein's allegations -- your packets are being copied into room 641A, and from there, illegally, to the NSA.

Of course, if Marcus is correct and AT&T has installed these secret rooms all around the country, then any entry in your route is a bad sign.