While environmental news was in short supply today, not so stories from the realms of the bellicose, the intrusive, and the criminal.
First up, from the Los Angeles Times, that way madness lies:
Cameron vows to destroy Islamic State ‘and what it stands for’
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday praised slain British aid worker David Haines as a hero and pledged to continue working as part of an international coalition to “hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes.”
The militant group Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, released a video Saturday purporting to show his beheading. Britain’s Foreign Office said the video appeared to be authentic.
“Step by step we must drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIL and what it stands for,” Cameron said. “They are not Muslims, they are monsters.”
From BBC News, boots on the way to meet ground:
Islamic State crisis: Australia to send 600 troops to UAE
Australia says it is sending 600 troops to the Middle East ahead of possible combat operations against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the deployment, initially to the United Arab Emirates, was in response to a specific US request.
Nearly 40 countries, including 10 Arab states, have signed up to a US-led plan to tackle the extremist group. France is hosting a regional security summit on Monday.
From the New York Times, piling on:
Arab Nations Offer to Conduct Airstrikes Against ISIS, U.S. Officials Say
Several Arab countries have offered to carry out airstrikes against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, senior State Department officials said on Sunday.
The offer was disclosed by American officials traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry, who is approaching the end of a weeklong trip that was intended to mobilize international support for the campaign against the group, also known as ISIS.
“There have been offers both to Centcom and to the Iraqis of Arab countries taking more aggressive kinetic action,” said one of the officials, who used the acronym for the United States Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East.
The Associated Press covers the revenue front:
Oil smuggling, theft, extortion: How ISIS earns $3M a day
Islamic State militants, who once relied on wealthy Persian Gulf donors for money, have become a self-sustaining financial juggernaut, earning more than $3 million a day from oil smuggling, human trafficking, theft and extortion, according to U.S. intelligence officials and private experts.
The extremist group’s resources exceed that “of any other terrorist group in history,” said a U.S. intelligence official who, like others interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments. Such riches are one reason that American officials are so concerned about the group even while acknowledging they have no evidence it is plotting attacks against the United States.
The Islamic State group has taken over large sections of Syria and Iraq, and controls as many as 11 oil fields in both countries, analysts say. It is selling oil and other goods through generations-old smuggling networks under the noses of some of the same governments it is fighting: Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.
From BuzzFeed, the hyperbolic:
Arizona Congressman Claims It’s “True That We Know That” ISIS Is On The U.S. Border
“It is true that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez or they were within the last few weeks.” It appears he’s citing a report that federal authorities have dismissed.
A Republican Arizona congressman says ISIS currently is or has operated on the U.S. border in the past couple weeks, appearing to cite a report that federal authorities have dismissed.
Rep. Trent Franks, appearing on E.W. Jackson’s radio program over the weekend, appeared to cite a report from a conservative website that has been dismissed by federal law enforcement officials about ISIS operating in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on the border with El Paso.
“It is true, that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez or they were within the last few weeks,” Franks said. “So there’s no question that they have designs on trying to come into Arizona. The comment that I’ve made is that if unaccompanied minors can cross the border then certainly trained terrorists probably can to. It is something that is real.”
BBC News eavesdrops:
US and UK spy agencies ‘have access to German telecoms’
US and British intelligence services are able to secretly access information from German telecoms operators, according to a German newspaper report.
A programme called Treasure Map gives the NSA and its UK counterpart, GCHQ, data from operators including Deutsche Telekom, Der Spiegel said. The data is said to include information from networks as well as from individual computers and smart-phones.
Der Spiegel cites documents provided by US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
And from Der Spiegel itself:
Treasure Map: The NSA Breach of Telekom and Other German Firms
According to top-secret documents from the NSA and the British agency GCHQ, the intelligence agencies are seeking to map the entire Internet, including end-user devices. In pursuing that goal, they have broken into networks belonging to Deutsche Telekom.
When it comes to choosing code names for their secret operations, American and British agents demonstrate a flare for creativity. Sometimes they borrow from Mother Nature, with monikers such as “Evil Olive” and “Egoistic Giraffe.” Other times, they would seem to take their guidance from Hollywood. A program called Treasure Map even has its own logo, a skull superimposed onto a compass, the eye holes glowing in demonic red, reminiscent of a movie poster for the popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, starring Johnny Depp.
Treasure Map is anything but harmless entertainment. Rather, it is the mandate for a massive raid on the digital world. It aims to map the Internet, and not just the large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables. It also seeks to identify the devices across which our data flows, so-called routers.
Furthermore, every single end device that is connected to the Internet somewhere in the world — every smartphone, tablet and computer — is to be made visible. Such a map doesn’t just reveal one treasure. There are millions of them.
From Spiegel via Cryptome [PDF], the cover of the Treasure Map PowerPoint:
And Deutsche Welle has more:
While NSA ‘maps’ the Internet landscape, German tech companies want Cloud cover
Microsoft Germany wants Cloud services to be regulated at home in a bid to protect data from foreign espionage. The announcement coincides with a new report pointing to NSA activities targeting German telecommunications.
In the latest efforts toward warding off foreign hackers, the head of Microsoft Germany is planning to develop Cloud technology that would be offered only within Germany.
Microsoft’s current computing centers in the Netherlands and Ireland are becoming more popular with the company’s biggest clients, Microsoft Germany head Christian Illek told the German daily Tagesspiegel on Sunday.
“But this is obviously not enough for medium-sized German companies,” Illek said.
And from the Intercept, still more:
Map of the Stars
- The NSA and GCHQ Campaign Against German Satellite Companies
“Fuck!” That is the word that comes to the mind of Christian Steffen, the CEO of German satellite communications company Stellar PCS. He is looking at classified documents laying out the scope of something called Treasure Map, a top secret NSA program. Steffen’s firm provides internet access to remote portions of the globe via satellite, and what he is looking at tells him that the company, and some of its customers, have been penetrated by the U.S. National Security Agency and British spy agency GCHQ.
Stellar’s visibly shaken chief engineer, reviewing the same documents, shares his boss’ reaction. “The intelligence services could use this data to shut down the internet in entire African countries that are provided access via our satellite connections,” he says.
Treasure Map is a vast NSA campaign to map the global internet. The program doesn’t just seek to chart data flows in large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables. Rather, it seeks to identify and locate every single device that is connected to the internet somewhere in the world—every smartphone, tablet, and computer—”anywhere, all the time,” according to NSA documents. Its internal logo depicts a skull superimposed onto a compass, the eyeholes glowing demonic red.
From the Guardian, another country, semantics elevated:
New Zealand PM deceiving public over spying claims, says Glenn Greenwald
- Journalist says he will produce documents by Edward Snowden that prove John Key approved mass surveillance of citizens
An already tumultuous New Zealand election campaign took another dramatic turn less than a week before polling day when the prime minister, John Key, responded angrily to claims by the American journalist Glenn Greenwald that he had been “deceiving the public” over assurances on spying.
Greenwald, who is visiting New Zealand at the invitation of the German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, says he will produce documents provided by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that prove the New Zealand government approved mass surveillance of its residents by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), New Zealand’s equivalent of the NSA.
Dotcom, who is sought for extradition from New Zealand by the US on copyright charges relating to his now defunct Megaupload file-storage site, is hosting an event in Auckland on Monday called The Moment of Truth, which doubles as a rally for the Dotcom-founded Internet party.
From the Independent, the latest police flap:
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Daniele Watts, an African-American actress who has starred in Hollywood films such as Django Unchained, has claimed she was “handcuffed and detained” by Los Angeles police officers after being mistaken for a prostitute.
Two police officers approached Watts and her white husband Brian James Lucas when they were seen showing affection in public, the actress said in a Facebook post.
She claims she refused to produce her photo ID when asked by police, and was then handcuffed and held in a police car as the officers tried to figure out who she was. She reportedly cut her wrist as she was handled roughly by the LAPD officers.
Watts also posted pictures to Facebook, in which she is handcuffed and crying. She was released shortly afterwards.
And from RT America, how ‘bout them apples, eh?:
American police scammed Canadian visitors out of $2.5 billion
American police are targeting their northern neighbors, according to a travel warning from the Canadian government. State and federal law enforcement officers are reportedly shaking down Canadians visiting the US, illegally confiscating legally carried cash. Over 61,000 of these incidents have occurred since 9/11, resulting in $2.5 billion being seized, according to The Washington Post. RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky has more details on the trend.
From the Guardian, a ghost from the past:
Italy targets former Uruguayan naval officer over role in alleged torture
- Jorge Néstor Fernández Troccoli denies any wrongdoing after accusations relating to South American’s dirty wars
Italian prosecutors are poised to seek charges of murder and kidnapping against a former Uruguayan naval intelligence officer accused of participating in South America’s dirty wars.
Jorge Néstor Fernández Troccoli has denied any wrongdoing. But in a 24-page document, he was said to have acknowledged that, in the 1970s when Uruguay’s civil-military government was cracking down on suspected leftwing insurgents and sympathisers, torture was a “normal procedure” in his unit. He insisted, however, that it did not go beyond “keeping prisoners for several hours on their feet without eating or drinking”.
In what La Stampa reported was his only statement to investigators, he was quoted as saying: “I declare myself innocent. I do not accept the accusations.”
After the jump, on to Asia starting with penal tourism, a Chinese anniversary, Sino/Canadian rapprochement, a Game of Zones escalation, and a rejection. . . Continue reading