From the Guardian, of course they did:
HSBC files: Swiss bank hid money for suspected criminals
- Documents detail customers who faced allegations including drug-running, corruption, doping and money laundering
HSBC’s Swiss bank concealed large sums of money for people facing allegations of serious wrongdoing, including drug-running, corruption and money laundering, leaked files reveal.
Despite being legally obliged since 1998 to make special checks on high-risk customers, the bank provided accounts for clients implicated in six notorious scandals in Africa, including Kenya’s biggest corruption case, blood diamond trading and several corrupt military sales.
HSBC also held assets for bankers accused of looting funds from former Soviet states, while alleged crimes by other account holders include bribery at Malta’s state oil company, cocaine smuggling from the Dominican Republic and the doping of professional cyclists in Spain.
The Swiss bank also held accounts for “politically exposed people” – defined as senior political figures or their relatives at heightened risk of involvement in corruption, money laundering, or avoiding international sanctions – with little evidence of any extra scrutiny of their activities.
From the Independent, plutocratic hypocrisy:
HSBC leaks: Owners of Le Monde attack paper’s ‘Swissleaks’ coverage in tax row
The newspaper behind the “Swissleaks” revelations about tax evasion has been attacked as irresponsible and “populist” by its proprietor.
To the fury of the staff and editors of Le Monde, Pierre Bergé, 84, a millionaire businessman and long-time lover of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, accused the paper of “acting like informers” and “throwing people to the wolves”.
The incident is the latest in a series of acrimonious disputes between Mr Bergé and Le Monde since he became part-owner of France’s most respected newspaper in 2010. The chairman of Le Monde’s board, Alain Beuve-Méry, accused him of violating his written commitment to the paper’s editorial freedom.
From United Press International, getting ready for another war:
Air Force: A-10s headed to Europe
The U.S. Air Force has announced it is sending 12 A-10 Thunderbolts, also known as Warthogs, to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
The A-10s will be sent to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and forward deployed to partner nations in Eastern Europe.
“The Air Force is increasing rotational presence in Europe to reassure our allies and partner nations that our commitment to European security is a priority,” Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, vice commander, United States Air Forces in Europe, said in a statement.
From the Miami Herald, enduring torture:
9/11 defendant still suffering from ‘black site’ injuries, lawyer says at Guantánamo
A defense lawyer for an alleged 9/11 plotter said Thursday that his Saudi captive client was rectally abused in CIA custody — and continues to bleed now, at least eight years later.
Attorney Walter Ruiz made the disclosure in open court in a bid to get a military judge to intervene in the medical care of Mustafa Hawsawi, 46, accused of helping the Sept. 11 hijackers with travel and money.
He was captured in March 2003 with the alleged 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 49, and at the CIA’s secret prison was subjected to unauthorized “enhanced interrogation techniques,” according to the recently released so-called Senate Torture Report. He got to Guantánamo in September 2006.
The Toronto Globe and Mail covers cops behaving badly:
RCMP rebuked for firearms seizures during 2013 Alberta floods
The RCMP is being rebuked for a series of “failings” as part of the unauthorized seizure of 609 firearms during its response to the massive High River floods in Alberta in 2013.
In a report released Thursday, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP said that officers who conducted the “warrantless” seizures were undersupervised. The subsequent anger in the population was badly handled by the RCMP communications teams, the report also found, as citizens complained that “their homes were forcibly entered, and in some cases windows were broken, doors were kicked in and firearms were taken.”
“The community’s reaction was somewhat predictable, given that the sanctity of one’s home from state interference is a deeply rooted principle,” the report said.
From the American Civil Liberties Union, they’ve got your number — and your picture:
License Plate Scanners Also Taking Photos of Drivers and Passengers
The Drug Enforcement Administration is using its license plate reader program not only to track drivers’ locations, but also to photograph these drivers and their passengers, according to newly disclosed records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom of Information Act request.
One internal 2009 DEA communication stated clearly that the license plate program can provide “the requester” with images that “may include vehicle license plate numbers (front and/or rear), photos of visible vehicle occupants [redacted] and a front and rear overall view of the vehicle.” Clearly showing that occupant photos are not an occasional, accidental byproduct of the technology, but one that is intentionally being cultivated, a 2011 email states that the DEA’s system has the ability to store “up to 10 photos per vehicle transaction including 4 occupant photos.”
The DEA documents are just the latest indication that license plate scanners are not always focused just on license plates.
Wired threat level covers suspicious circumstances:
Did the NSA and the UK’s Spy Agency Launch a Joint Cyberattack on Iran?
An NSA document newly published today suggests two interesting facts that haven’t previously been reported.
The Intercept, which published the document, highlighted that in it the NSA expresses fear that it may be teaching Iran how to hack, but there are two other points in the document that merit attention.
One concerns the spy tool known as Flame; the other refers to concerns the NSA had about partnering with the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters and Israeli intelligence in surveillance operations.
In the document, prepared in April 2013 for a meeting between the NSA director and GCHQ, the author cites the Flame attack against Iran as an example of a US/GCHQ partnership. Flame was a massive spy platform exposed by Kaspersky Lab and Symantec in 2012. Flame targeted more than 10,000 machines in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, the Israeli Occupied Territories and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa and was active for at least six years before it was discovered. It used some of the same code that Stuxnet used, leading researchers to conclude that it had been created by the same US/Israel teams that had created Stuxnet. The Washington Post reported in 2012 that the US and Israel were both behind Flame, quoting anonymous US officials. But the new Snowden document hints that GCHQ might have been involved in Flame with the US.
And on the subject of irrational Middle Eastern extremists, consider this from the Washington Post:
Israel Prize judges resign, say Netanyahu meddling
Israel’s prime minister faced accusations on Thursday of politicizing the country’s most prestigious award after moving to disqualify some of the judges because he disagreed with their political views.
A number of judges for the Israel Prize have resigned in protest, while nominees say they won’t accept the award. One of the nominees, author David Grossman, told Channel 10 TV on Thursday that he pulled out in response to the “prime minister’s campaign of incitement,” calling it an attack on “freedom of thought.”
Netanyahu recently rejected the nominations of two judges in the literature category. In a Facebook post, he said the panel is controlled by judges with “extremist views” on the far left of the political spectrum, such as encouraging soldiers not to serve in the army. He said the committee needs to reflect the wider public.
“This man who is supposed to be taking care of the Iranian issue at his speech before the U.S Congress, or the country’s welfare or health issues, is dealing with this? For heaven’s sake what is going on here?” asked filmmaker Hayim Sharir, who was originally supposed to be on the committee.
On to the war with Defense One, and a blank check:
Obama’s ISIS War Powers Request Has Few Limits on Who, Where, How
- President Obama’s requested authorization for the use of force against ISIS has few limits on how, where, and whom the fight is against
President Barack Obama, who won the White House on promises to end never-ending wars and the Bush-era laws that permitted them, on Wednesday sent Congress a new request for legal authorities to fight the Islamic State, or ISIS, that places few limits on the U.S. war against the terrorist group.
“The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria. It is not the authorization of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq,” Obama said in his announcement at the White House. “I’m convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East … At the same time, this resolution strikes the necessary balance by giving us the flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances.”
Already, lawmakers are criticizing the request for being too “ambiguous” about the president’s powers to wage or limit ground combat.
CBC News covers a celebrity interview:
Hayat Boumeddiene, widow of Paris kosher market attacker, gives interview with ISIS
- Woman believed to have left Paris while Charlie Hebdo and kosher market attacks were unfolding
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group published what it described as an interview with the widow of the French gunman who attacked a kosher supermarket and a police officer in Paris last month, claiming for the first time that she was among extremist fighters.
The text interviews in French and English, published Wednesday and Thursday, did not directly name Hayat Boumeddiene or show images of her, instead identifying her only as the wife of Amedy Coulibaly, or Umm Basur al-Muhajirah. She is considered key to the investigation into the attacks in Paris, which left 20 people dead including the gunmen, although she left France just beforehand.
The publication appeared to be the first confirmation from ISIS that she had joined the group in Syria, as was widely believed after a posthumous video emerged of Coulibaly, pledging allegiance to its leader.
Another development from Reuters:
Islamic State says it’s holding ‘Israeli spy’ in Syria
Islamic State said on Thursday it was holding an Israeli Arab who had posed as a foreign fighter in order to spy for Mossad, an account denied by Israel and by the man’s family, who said he had been kidnapped.
In an interview published by Islamic State’s online English-language magazine Dabiq, Muhammad Musallam, 19, said he had joined the insurgent group in Syria so as to report to the Israelis on its weapons caches, bases and Palestinian recruits.
After his conduct aroused the suspicion of Islamic State commanders, Musallam was quoted as saying, he broke cover by phoning his father in East Jerusalem, leading to his capture.
From Deutsche Welle, trying to cut off the pipeline:
Security Council seeks to block ‘Islamic State’ petrofunding
- The UN Security Council has passed a resolution to stop “Islamic State” from raising funds through oil, antiquities and hostages. The EU is debating antiterrorism steps that could prove palatable to the 28-nation bloc.
More than 35 countries co-sponsored Thursday’s show of resolve to confront the “ Islamic State” (IS). The council banned all trade in antiquities from besieged areas, threatened sanctions on anyone buying oil from IS and al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front militants and urged states to stop ransom payments on kidnapped citizens. Fifteen nations unanimously adopted the resolution, drafted by Russia, which gives the council authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions but does not authorize using military force.
“We took yet another very important step in suppressing the funding of terrorists,” Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, said on Thursday.
Following attacks that started January 7 at a magazine in Paris and ended January 9 in a supermarket, France and other EU countries have sought more effective ways to deal with armed militancy, especially the problem of Europeans who leave to fight in Syria or Iraq and then return home. As heads of state and government gathered in Brussels on Thursday, EU President Donald Tusk, the host of an official summit, said he would seek the leaders’ agreement on a “work plan to step up the fight against terrorism.”
From TheLocal.no, eclectic fundamentalists:
New Norwegians take top roles in Isis jihadi group
Several Norwegian citizens have risen to leadership positions in Isis, the militant group battling to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, according to the latest information gathered by Norwegian military intelligence.
“We believe that some of the Norwegians in Isil [Isis] have risen to middle-management functions,” Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen, head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service, told Dagbladet newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.
The most prominent Norwegian Isis commander, Bastian Vasquez, a Norwegian Chilean from Bærum, outside Oslo, was reportedly killed in the autumn. But Grandhagen said several others had also been given senior ranks in the organisation.
After the jump, Israel alarmed by an anti-ISIS coalition, a lethal Al Qaeda data breach, Anthem’s healthcare data grows more serious, phishing kits go on sale — cheap, Washington protests new Chinese cybersecurity rules, Jeb Bush spills vital data of his former constituents, West Africa under cyber siege, the Cameroonian president promises Boko Haram defeat, Boko Haram escapees speak out, Al Qaeda seizes a Yemeni army base as the nation borders on collapse, thousand flee from Boko Haram Niger assaults, Afghanistan slides into narco-statehood, Pakistan seeks school massacre planners, a former Pakistani spy says the ISI knew of Osama’s whereabouts, Chinese World War II slave laborers demand retribution from Mitsubishi, Shinzo Abe pushes hard for Japanese constitutional revision, his party promises but his foreign minister ppromises continued passivity, Japan hits a road block on North Korean abductions, and a reminder of dark forces that just won’t die. . . Continue reading