InSecurityWatch: Cops, spooks, zones, drones


Today we open our coverage with the ongoing tragedy in Missouri, with a particular focus on the transformation of America’s cops from officers on the beat into an occupying paramilitary.

First up, a major development from Canada’s National Post:

Security of Ferguson will be taken over by Highway Patrol after local and county police lose community trust

Captain Ron Johnson of Highway Patrol, will be leading the security efforts in Ferguson, Missouri, going forward after several nights of racially charged provocation has left residents feeling little trust in local and county police forces.

The St. Louis suburb has been the scene of violent protests since a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on Saturday.

Gov. Jay Nixon said the change is intended to make sure “that we allow peaceful and appropriate protests, that we use force only when necessary, that we step back a little bit and let some of the energy be felt in this region appropriately.”

Johnson, who is black, said he grew up in the community and “it means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence.”

And on to our primary focus, first from Businessweek:

A Federal Effort to Reuse Military Gear Turned Cops Into Commandos

The heavily militarized police force in a St. Louis suburb is hardly an anomaly. Local police departments across the country deploy not just military-style equipment but actual castoffs from the U.S. military.

Federal grant programs fund the police acquisition of military weapons and vehicles, and a U.S. law has sent more than $4 billion of surplus Pentagon gear to law enforcement over the past 17 years. Now protests following the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.—and the heavily armed response by local police—seem likely to spark a national debate on the militarization of law enforcement. Do local cops from from Maine to New Mexico need military rifles and armored personnel carriers to do their jobs?

“I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by images we’ve seen in the heartland of our country,” President Barack Obama said Thursday, urging calm amid the investigation of the Aug. 9 shooting. Police have said Brown fought with a police officer and tried to grab his service weapon, while witness have said the 18-year-old did not struggle with police and was surrendering when he was shot.

But Businessweek is somewhat disingenuous, as witness this from Pacific Standard:

Lockdown Nation

How military-style policing became America’s new normal.

In the fascinating and sometimes terrifying Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, journalist Radley Balko traces the changes in American policing from colonial times to the present. His focus, though, is law enforcement’s increased reliance on military hardware and strategy in the last 45 years, especially in the form of SWAT (special weapons and tactics) teams.

As recently as 1969, the Los Angeles Police Department had one of the only SWAT teams in the country. Its first raid targeted a group of Black Panthers. Four police officers and four Panthers were shot and wounded. After hours of gunfire, the raid’s leader, Daryl Gates, called the mayor, who received permission from the Department of Defense to use a grenade launcher. “My words seemed unreal,” Gates would later remember. “Anytime you even talk about using military equipment in a civil action, it’s very serious business. You’re bridging an enormous gap.” The Panthers were charged with conspiracy to murder police officers, but acquitted on self-defense grounds. “Practically, logistically, and tactically,” Balko writes, “the raid was an utter disaster. But in terms of public relations, it was an enormous success.”

Paramilitary policing quickly spread across the country. Today there are more than 1,000 U.S. police forces with SWAT or SWAT-type units. In 1980, nationwide, they carried out an average of eight paramilitary raids a day; now there are well over 100. Balko attempts to explain why this happened, and why it matters.

Nextgov has some details:

The Pentagon Gave the Ferguson Police Department Military-Grade Weapons

According to Michelle McCaskill, media relations chief at the Defense Logistics Agency, the Ferguson Police Department is part of a federal program called 1033, in which the Department of Defense distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the U.S.

That surplus military equipment doesn’t just mean small items like pistols or automatic rifles; towns like Ferguson could become owners of heavy armored vehicles, including the MRAPs used in Afghanistan and Iraq. “In 2013 alone, $449,309,003.71 worth of property was transferred to law enforcement,” the agency’s website states.

All in all, it’s meant armored vehicles rolling down streets in Ferguson and police officers armed with short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters hovering near the citizens they’re meant to protect.

Glenn Greenwald offers a specific focus at The Intercept:

The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson

The intensive militarization of America’s police forces is a serious menace about which a small number of people have been loudly warning for years, with little attention or traction. In a 2007 paper on “the blurring distinctions between the police and military institutions and between war and law enforcement,” the criminal justice professor Peter Kraska defined “police militarization” as “the process whereby civilian police increasingly draw from, and pattern themselves around, the tenets of militarism and the military model.”

The harrowing events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri – the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager, Mike Brown, and the blatantly excessive and thuggish response to ensuing community protests from a police force that resembles an occupying army – have shocked the U.S. media class and millions of Americans. But none of this is aberrational.

It is the destructive by-product of several decades of deliberate militarization of American policing, a trend that received a sustained (and ongoing) steroid injection in the form of a still-flowing, post-9/11 federal funding bonanza, all justified in the name of “homeland security.” This has resulted in a domestic police force that looks, thinks, and acts more like an invading and occupying military than a community-based force to protect the public.

And one hopeful response, via BuzzFeed:

Democratic Congressman Will Introduce Police Demilitarization Bill

  • Rep. Hank Johnson pivots off Ferguson to introduce the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act”

Amid growing criticism of the military-style equipment and tactics deployed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, a Democrat from Georgia plans to introduce the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act” in Congress next month.

Rep. Hank Johnson asked his all his colleagues Thursday to join him in supporting the bill, which he said in a letter “will end the free transfers of certain aggressive military equipment to local law enforcement and ensure that all equipment can be accounted for.”

Images of assault rifle-carrying camouflaged police riding through Ferguson on military vehicles similar to the IED-resistant equipment used by American armed forces in combat have proven to be a jolt of energy for a long-simmering debate about police militarization.

While the Independent makes a telling point:

America is one nation, still divided: Protests over the shooting of a black teenager could have erupted in any number of US cities

While Ferguson is the latest flashpoint in America’s struggle to overcome a legacy of racial tension going back to slavery, it could just as easily have been somewhere else; Los Angeles, where 24-year-old Ezell Ford, also black, was shot and killed by a police officer on Monday, or perhaps New York, where the death of Eric Garner while in custody, after an officer held him in an illegal chokehold last month, is still fuelling anger.

The grievances still felt by many African-Americans are rooted in the life experiences of many of them, particularly young men, which are also reflected in the sometimes shocking statistics. Statistics just from Ferguson are startling but by no means unique to the town, which, on the edge of downtown St Louis, became majority black after whites fled decades ago to escape rising violence and sinking schools.

Until last weekend, few beyond Ferguson will have known that only three of its 53 police officers are black, even if the community is overwhelmingly more black than white. Or that 483 blacks were arrested in town last year but only 36 whites. Or that blacks, who make up less than two thirds of the driving-age population, account for 86 per cent of all traffic stops by police.

From International Business Times, an intersection of two threads:

Anonymous Twitter Suspended Amid St. Louis Police Hack; Other Anon Accounts Decry Naming Officer

The St. Louis County Police confirmed to multiple outlets Thursday that the department has been hit by a cyberattack, with the agency’s website and emails down since Wednesday. Word of the hack came at the same time Twitter suspended the account of the Anonymous hacker collective, who’ve been feuding with the police online over details withheld in the Mike Brown shooting.

The confirmation also comes after the Ferguson, Missouri, police reported their system was infiltrated, with Anonymous claiming responsibility for briefly rendering the department’s phones and computers useless.

More from The Wire:

Anonymous Stops Releasing Information on Alleged Officer Who Shot Michael Brown

The online activist group Anonymous has threatened to reveal the identity and other personal information of the police officer they say is responsible for the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. However, they have called that effort (for now) after denials from St. Louis area police that they had the right person, and after Twitter suspended one of their accounts. No other media outlets have been able to verify whether their information is correct or not. Read below for the latest updates…

The latest:

1:21 p.m.: After switching to a secondary account (@TheAnonMessage), the group that named the alleged shooter says they won’t be releasing any more information for the time being.

The McClatchy Washington Bureau takes us to another scene of conflict and a triumphant declaration:

U.S. declares Yazidi intervention a success, says rescue mission unneeded

The United States military has concluded that there are too few Yazidi refugees still trapped in the mountains of northern Iraq to warrant mounting a potentially risky rescue, the Pentagon said late Wednesday.

Military advisers who earlier in the day visited the Sinjar mountains, where as many as 30,000 people were thought to still be trapped, said that they found “far fewer” Yazidis than expected and that those who were there were in better condition than anticipated. Food and water dropped in recent days have reached those who remain, the Pentagon statement said.

The Pentagon said the visit proved that the actions the United States had taken in recent days had succeeded in preventing the Islamic State from capturing and executing the Yazidis, members of a religious sect that Sunni extremists view as heretics. It said the assessment team encountered no hostile forces during its visit and “did not engage in combat operations.”

While the Guardian foreshadows:

British SAS sent to Iraq on ‘intelligence’ mission before airlift of Yazidi refugees

  • Deployment to Mt Sinjar ahead of US-led rescue of civilians follows plan for RAF to deliver arms to Kurds fighting jihadists

British SAS soldiers have been deployed to northern Iraq to “gather intelligence” ahead of any potential rescue operation, led by the US, to airlift thousands of Yazidi refugees from Mount Sinjar.

In the most dramatic sign of Britain’s growing involvement in the Iraqi crisis, the SAS soldiers have moved to the region near Mount Sinjar where US special forces are coordinating the rescue effort.

Last night, a small team from the US landed on Mount Sinjar to assess the situation, and said that an evacuation mission was less likely as “there are far fewer Yazidis on Mount Sinjar than previously feared”, according to Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Deutsche Welle covers a related development:

Morocco breaks up recruitment cell for ‘Islamic State’

  • Moroccan police have dismantled a jihadist network suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight with the radical “Islamic State” group in Iraq and Syria. The operation was carried out with help from authorities in Spain.

The Moroccan Interior Ministry said on Thursday that it had broken up a network that was used to recruit and send volunteers to fight with the “Islamic State” (IS) in Iraq and Syria.

“The operation, based on detailed investigations carried out in close collaboration with Spain, stems from a proactive security approach aimed at battling terrorist threats,” a ministry statement said.

According to Moroccan police, the group was operating in the Moroccan cities of Fez and Tetouan, as well as the town of Fnideq, close to the Spanish exclave of Ceuta.

On to rampant Orwellianism, first with the New York Times:

Reagan-Era Order on Surveillance Violates Rights, Says Departing Aide

After President Obama delivered a speech in January endorsing changes to surveillance policies, including an end to the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ domestic calling records, John Napier Tye was disillusioned.

A State Department official, Mr. Tye worked on Internet freedom issues and had top-secret clearance. He knew the Obama administration had also considered a proposal to impose what an internal White House document, obtained by The New York Times, portrayed as “significant changes” to rules for handling Americans’ data the N.S.A. collects from fiber-optic networks abroad. But Mr. Obama said nothing about that in his speech.

So in April, as Mr. Tye was leaving the State Department, he filed a whistle-blower complaint arguing that the N.S.A.’s practices abroad violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. He also met with staff members for the House and Senate intelligence committees. Last month, he went public with those concerns, which have attracted growing attention.

While Techdirt notes another development:

Newly Released Documents Show NSA Abused Its Discontinued Internet Metadata Program Just Like It Abused Everything Else

  • from the so,-more-of-the-same,-then? dept

James Clapper’s office (ODNI) has released a large batch of declassified documents, most of which deal with the NSA’s discontinued Section 402 program. What this program did was re-read pen register/trap and trace (PR/TT) statutes to cover internet metadata, including sender/receiver information contained in email and instant messages. (Not to be confused with the Section 702 program, which is still active and harvests internet communications.)

Notably, this marks only the second time that the ODNI has acknowledged the document release has been compelled by a FOIA lawsuit.

Following a declassification review by the Executive Branch, the Department of Justice released on August 6, 2014, in redacted form, 38 documents relating to the now-discontinued NSA program to collect bulk electronic communications metadata pursuant to Section 402 of the FISA (“PRTT provision”). These documents are also responsive to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

As EPIC’s site notes (and the ODNI’s doesn’t), the program was authorized in 2004, but no legal justification was provided to Congressional oversight until a half-decade later

And Nextgov adds a touch of the Kafkaesque:

Watchdog: The FBI Spied on the Wrong People Because of Typos

The FBI unintentionally spied on the communications data of some Americans who were not targets of investigations because of typographical errors, according to a government watchdog.

The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded in a report Thursday that the FBI has improved its overall handling of national security letters, which permit the agency to collect telephone and Internet data of suspects believed to be tied to a national security investigation.

But the inspector general identified a number of areas that “require additional effort and attention,” such as a tendency to collect data on the wrong person because of routine mistakes.

From The Hill, another bizarre revelation:

IRS wrongly allowed contractors access to sensitive data

IRS contractors without background checks had access to sensitive information, potentially putting confidential taxpayer data at risk, according to a federal audit.

The Treasury inspector general for tax administration found more than a dozen cases in which the IRS awarded contracts that required access to taxpayer information without background investigations or before those checks were completed.

Under IRS policy, background checks are mandatory for contractors who work with that kind of data.

More from Nextgov:

IRS Gave Sensitive Data to Convict Sentenced to 21 Years

At the IRS, contractors hired for courier, printing, document recovery, and sign language and interpreter services who accessed sensitive information had not undergone investigations, which is a policy violation.

A Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report released today details several situations where employees had ample opportunity to steal data.

In one, a courier who daily delivered IRS documents and mail to post offices and other locations had previously served 21 years in prison for arson, retaliation and attempted escape.

The Intercept takes action:

Five Muslim-Americans Sue Feds Over Watchlisting

Relying in part on recent Intercept reporting on the vast breadth of the government’s watchlisting system, several Muslim Americans filed a complaint in a Michigan federal court today, arguing that they have been wrongly ensnared in an unaccountable system without any opportunity to defend themselves.

Citing “recent media accounts,” including secret government documents published exclusively by The Intercept, the complaint claims that the plaintiffs—five men on the terror watchlist—have been falsely stigmatized and punished without trial by a system motivated by “bigotry and misguided, counterproductive zeal.”

“This lawsuit is an expression of anger grounded in law,” the 28-page complaint begins. “Our federal government is imposing an injustice of historic proportions upon the Americans who have filed this action, as well as thousands of others.”

From the London Telegraph, a fascinating tale:

Google removes Telegraph stories about explosives arrests

  • Google has removed links to two Telegraph articles, each more than a decade old, describing arrests for possession of explosives after receiving requests under the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’

Google has removed links to two Telegraph articles from certain search results describing arrests for possession of explosives after receiving requests under the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’.

The first story is a news article from June 2001 reporting that three men had appeared in court after being arrested when explosives were found in a Dublin apartment.

The three men had been seen looking at something in a car, then refused to stop when police later attempted to pull them over. Inside the car were balaclavas and plastic boxes with switches attached to them, which “could be used as incendiary devices”.

Follow-up searches of a number of homes found explosives and similar equipment to that found in the car.

The second story is a collection of brief articles, one of which refers to the case above.

On to the hacking front, first with the National Post:

Several rallies planned to support alleged hacker Matt DeHart before his Canadian refugee hearing

The bizarre case of a former U.S. airman seeking asylum in Canada — claiming he was tortured by U.S. authorities probing his links to the shadowy Anonymous hacker collective — is sparking protest rallies and an international day of action.

Matt DeHart, 30, is in prison in Ontario awaiting an Aug. 20 refugee hearing in Toronto during which he will argue his claim for refugee protection.

“It is a very serious case that could set a lot of dangerous precedents for activists, hacktivists whistleblowers and journalists,” said Stacie Te Korako, director of #FreeMattDeHart, a support group based in New Orleans.

SecurityWeek covers another front:

Ukrainian Hackers Claim Attack on Polish Websites

Ukrainian hackers hostile to the government claimed Thursday to have launched a cyber attack against the websites of Poland’s presidency and the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

The hacker group Cyber Berkut said it blocked the sites, both down on Thursday afternoon, in response to what it said were Poland’s actions as “sponsors of fascism in Ukraine”.

“Our western neighbour on orders from Washington renders political, diplomatic and military assistance to nationalists and oligarchs who destabilise and wreck Ukraine,” the group alleged on its website.

SecurityWeek again, charting a hack attack whack:

Lockheed: Attackers Went Quiet After APT1 Report Exposed Chinese Hackers

Threat actors targeting Lockheed Martin immediately halted their cyberattacks against the defense contractor following the release of Mandiant’s APT1 report, Lockheed executives said Wednesday.

In February 2013, Mandiant released its bold, unprecedented report that made direct allegations and exposed a multi-year, massive cyber state-sponsored espionage campaign from a unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The threat actor group, dubbed APT1 by FireEye-owned Mandiant, is alleged to be one of the most persistent of China’s cyber threat actors, which the security firm claims has “systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data” from at least 141 organizations.

China Daily tracks another web crackdown that could make a reader Yelp!:

Micro-blogger in court charged with spreading rumors

A popular Chinese micro-blogger went on trial on Thursday for allegedly spreading rumors to attract followers and helping others delete posts for profit.

Yang Xiuyu, founder of Erma Co and with the online identity Lier Chaisi, was accused of illegal business operations after receiving 531,200 yuan ($86,312) for helping people remove Internet posts and publish rumors, according to Beijing Chaoyang District People’s Court.

Yang, 41, from Northeast China’s Jilin province, was charged with running the illegal operation between May 2012 and September 2013, the court said.

From the Independent, bids to cop a deal:

Chief Constable bombarded with offers for private contracts

One of Britain’s most senior police officers has repeatedly rebuffed attempts by former service colleagues to use their contacts to push for contracts on behalf of their new private sector employers.

Lynne Owens, the Chief Constable of Surrey Police, said that she had been “bombarded” with requests for meetings from people who used to work in policing to tap into the £2.3bn market in private police services.

Industry watchers say the approaches signal a new drive by security companies for deals with police forces after the political furore died down over the failure of the world’s biggest security company G4S to supply enough security staff for the 2012 Olympics. Under pressure from 20 per cent budget cuts, some police forces have done deals with outside companies for technology, human resources and detention services.

On the drone front, there’s this from Aviation Week & Space Technology:

France, U.K. Move Toward Joint UCAV

  • UCAV feasiblity study renews French-British aerospace industry cooperation

New low-observable technologies, a highly reliable turbofan engine and multifunction radar are among the technologies that could be destined for an Anglo-French unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) in the 2030s.

A two-year feasibility study, signed by defense ministers from the two countries at the Farnborough air show last month, could mark the return to an era of close cooperation between the British and French aerospace industries not seen since the development of the Concorde in the 1960s.

Now more details have emerged of some of the ambitious capabilities and technologies being envisaged for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), which both nations hope will give them a leading edge in air power and defense exports in the coming decades.

After the jump, it’s off to Asia with an allegation of a seditious Like and a non-illegal ISIS fan club, tensions in Pakistan, and the latest in the Game of Zones, including Korean missiles and a papal plea, Chinese arms developments, another “comfort women” demand, Japanese protests, Russo-Japanese tensions, the real Men in Black, and much, much more. . .

From the Jakarta Globe, a very curious and allegedly felonious Like:

Malaysian Teen’s Facebook ‘Like’ on Pro-Israel Posting Prompts Sedition Probe

A Malaysian teenager is being investigated by police for sedition after “liking” a pro-Israel Facebook posting, sparking outrage over perceived growing intolerance in the Muslim-majority country.

The 17-year-old student in the northern state of Penang had “liked” a post that declared “I love Israel” and featured a picture of the Jewish state’s flag, Penang police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi was quoted as saying on Wednesday by Malaysian media.

Abdul Rahim reportedly said a sedition probe was under way and that the student claimed to have accidentally clicked “like”. Police also are investigating death threats against the student.

The Jakarta Globe again, with another curious headline:

Police Release 7 Men Found With ISIS Flag

The release of seven men caught in Cilacap, West Java, carrying symbols and flags of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has highlighted the apparent lack of applicable laws to prevent the spread of the radical ideology in Indonesia.

Cilacap Police released ISIS Indonesia chairman Chep Hernawan and six other men on Wednesday after they were caught carrying the ISIS symbols and flag on their way home from visiting two terror convicts at the Nusakambangan penitentiary.

Cilacap Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Andry Triaspoetra said the police had no choice but to release the men because they were not authorized to detain them for longer.

On to Pakistan with Reuters:

Pakistani cleric, opposition leader begin protest marches

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters began a march to the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Thursday, raising fears for political stability and civilian rule in the nuclear-armed South Asian country.

Two protest groups – one led by cricketer-turned-opposition politician Imran Khan, the other by activist cleric Tahir ul-Qadri – are heading to the capital from the eastern city of Lahore. They say the government is corrupt and should step down.

Both marches were initially banned, then allowed to go ahead at the last minute. The protesters caused huge traffic jams, and by evening the leaders and most marchers had not left Lahore.

And a video report from Deutsche Welle:

Protesters march in Pakistan

Program note:

Demonstrators in Pakistan have begun an Independence Day protest march from Lahore to the capital, Islamabad. They’re calling for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down.

On to the Koreas, and a rocket from the Asahi Shimbun:

North Korea fires 5 short-range rockets as pope visits South Korea

Pope Francis became the first pontiff in 25 years to visit South Korea on Aug. 14, bringing a message of peace and reconciliation to the war-divided peninsula. Seoul’s never-timid rival, North Korea, made its presence felt by firing three short-range projectiles less than an hour before he arrived and two more a short time later, officials said.

Although North Korea declined an invitation to Seoul for the papal visit, Francis plans to reach out to North Korea during his five-day trip. But Pyongyang has a long history of making sure it is not forgotten during high-profile events in the South.

The apparent test firing was conducted from Wonsan on the North’s east coast and the projectiles flew about 220 kilometers (135 miles), according to a Defense Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules. It wasn’t immediately clear what the projectiles were. After the initial three firings, Pyongyang followed up with two more after Francis had arrived.

From the Associated Press, a papal plea in response:

Pope to Koreas: Avoid ‘fruitless’ shows of force

Pope Francis called Thursday for peace and unity on the war-divided Korean Peninsula and for both sides to avoid “fruitless” criticisms and shows of force, offering a message of reconciliation at the start of a five-day visit to South Korea that received a stark response from the North.

North Korea fired three short-range projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast about an hour before Francis landed in Seoul, and two others a short while later. North Korea has conducted several such tests this year, and it also has a long history of making sure it is not forgotten during high-profile events in the South.

Neither Francis nor South Korean President Park Geun-hye referred to the firings in their speeches at Seoul’s presidential palace, and the Vatican spokesman sought to downplay the incident altogether, saying he wasn’t even sure the pope had been told.

Global Times fires a counterblast:

DPRK urges S. Korea to cancel military drill with US unconditionally

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday urged South Korea to cancel its military exercises with the United States, warning that the drill “will push the situation to the brink of a war.”

Demanding unconditional cancellation of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military drill scheduled for this month, DPRK also asked South Korean authorities to stop depending on foreign forces and pull down barriers that impede the nation’s unity and reconciliation, the official KCNA news agency reported.

This is part of a three-point proposal to Seoul issued by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, one day ahead of the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Korea from Japan’s colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.

From Jiji Press, bulking up in a zone of contention:

Japan Ruling Party Outlines Bill for Assistance to Remote Islands

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has outlined a bill to build Self-Defense Forces facilities on Japanese remote islands and promote industrial development in an effort to prevent them from becoming uninhabited, informed sources said Thursday.

The LDP believes the government should take greater care of peripheral islands in border zones due to growing security concerns over China’s expanding maritime activities and possible purchases by foreigners of land tracts on such islands.

The LDP will submit the special legislation to the next ordinary parliamentary session starting in January, the sources said.

The Japan Times covers the legal front:

Filipino ‘comfort women’ demand justice from Japan

Four Filipinos forced into wartime sexual slavery by Imperial Japanese soldiers rallied Thursday in front of the Japanese Embassy in Manila to repeat their demand for justice from the Japanese government as they commemorated International Memorial Day for Comfort Women.

Backed by family members and supporters from a women’s rights group, the four women in their 80s from Lila Pilipina (League for Filipino Grandmothers) insisted that the government own up to the crimes perpetrated by its soldiers, apologize and put them in Japan’s official historical accounts so the next generation will be aware of them and provide just compensation.

“Our problem is not yet over. We need justice,” 84-year-old Estelita Dy, who was physically and sexually abused at the age of 14 in her home province of Negros Occidental in the central Philippines, said at the demonstration.

The Asahi Shimbun delivers a kiss-off:

Putin can kiss goodbye to Japan visit due to Russian military exercises

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have jeopardized his scheduled autumn visit to Japan with his country’s military exercises in territory claimed by Japan.

The drills, which began in the Kuril Islands on Aug. 12, are apparently in response to the additional sanctions imposed by Japan on Russia in late July over the Ukrainian crisis. At that time, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized Japan, saying, “The sanctions will bring damages to all aspects of bilateral relations and move relations backward.”

The Kuril Islands include the disputed Northern Territories off eastern Hokkaido that are occupied by Russia but also claimed by Japan.

The Asahi Shimbun again, with another protest:

Protesters blocked as study advances for U.S. air station in Okinawa

Japan Coast Guard vessels blocked protesters in canoes from entering the area of a government seabed study that will be used for the long-delayed relocation of a U.S. military base.

A fleet of about 30 boats belonging to geological research companies commissioned by the Okinawa Defense Bureau left Teima port around 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 14. The boats set up buoys in Oura Bay off Cape Henoko to mark the restricted area above the seabed where the study is planned.

Under an agreement between Tokyo and Washington, the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, currently in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, will be relocated to the area off Henoko, despite local opposition to the move.

Want China Times takes a stand:

New US deal makes Australia a threat to China: Global Times

Washington and Canberra have signed a 25-year agreement on Aug. 12 to allow American airmen and marines to train in Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, according to China’s nationalistic tabloid Global Times.

Rear Admiral Li Jie of the People’s Liberation Army Navy said Australia could add significant pressure to China’s maritime supply lines through the Strait of Malacca in the event of conflict over the South China Sea.

With bases in Guam, Japan and South Korea, the United States is capable to contain China from several different directions, Li said. If there were a war between China and Vietnam or the Philippines over maritime disputes in the South China Sea, US submarines and aircraft could be deployed from Australia to attack a Chinese fleet, an expert told the Global Times.

Want China Times again, beefing up:

PLA may deploy 10,000-tonne destroyers in future: military expert

China is planning to build a total of 12 Type 052D guided-missile destroyers, but it will eventually have the capability to construct larger destroyers with displacement of over 10,000 tonnes, said Fang Bing, a military expert, in an interview with the state-owned Beijing Television on Aug. 12.

Fang said Type 052D destroyers are likely to play a very important role in the People’s Liberation Army Navy for a period of time. Known as the Chinese Aegis, Fang said that the Type 052D destroyer is currently the most powerful warship China has constructed. He said that the primary mission of Type 052D destroyers, equipped with active phased array radar and a vertical launching system, is to serve as the core of China’s carrier battle group.

Fang said the Type 052D is still a very small vessel however when compared to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer of the US Navy and Kongo-class destroyer of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. To increase the amount of ammunition its ship can carry, Fang said that China will eventually develop its own 10,000-tonne destroyer in the future. As China gains more experience in operating Type 052D destroyers, the PLA Navy will commission larger warships, he said.

Australia is therefore likely to become a threat to China’s national security, the report said.

And for our final item, via the Guardian, the real Men in Black:

The real Men in Black, Hollywood and the great UFO cover-up

  • In a new documentary, US government agents claim they spent decades giving fake evidence of extraterrestrials to gullible ufologists. But why? And how can we trust them now?

Hidden among the avalanche of documents leaked by Edward Snowden were images from a Powerpoint presentation by GCHQ, entitled The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations. Images include camouflaged moths, inflatable tanks, women in burqas, and complex diagrams plastered with jargon, buzzwords and slogans: “Disruption Operational Playbook”, “Swap the real for the false and vice versa”, “People make decisions as part of groups” and, beneath a shot of hands shuffling a deck of cards, “We want to build Cyber Magicians”. Curiously, sandwiched in the middle of the document are three photographs of UFOs. Not real ones – classic fakes: one was a hub cap, another a bunch of balloons, and one that turned out to be a seagull.

Devout ufologists might seize upon this as further proof that our governments “know something” about aliens and their transportation methods, but really it suggests the opposite: the UFO community is a textbook case of a gullible group susceptible to manipulation. Having spent too long watching the skies and The X-Files, it’s implied, they’ll readily swallow whatever snippet of “evidence” suits their grand theory.

If there really is a UFO conspiracy, it’s surely the worst-kept secret in history. Roswell, Area 51, flashing lights, little green men, abductions – it’s all been fed through the pop culture mill to the point of fatigue. Even the supposed enforcers of the secret, the “men in black”, have their own movie franchise. But a new documentary, Mirage Men, unearths compelling evidence that UFO folklore was actually fabricated by the US government. Rather than covering up the existence of aliens, could it be that the real conspiracy has been persuading us to believe in them?

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One response to “InSecurityWatch: Cops, spooks, zones, drones

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