Meldungen (Feeds)

FEC Commissioner Wants Help Getting Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections

The Intercept - Engl. - Ven, 19/08/2016 - 19:26

Ann Ravel, one of six members of the Federal Election Commission, called last week for the FEC to take a stand against foreign money in U.S. elections — and on Thursday, she appealed for public reaction.

At issue are advisory opinions that gave a green light to domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations who wanted to make donations to U.S. political campaigns. In her proposal to rescind those opinions, Ravel cited The Intercept‘s recent reporting about American Pacific International Capital, a California corporation owned by Chinese citizens which — thanks to Citizens United and that FEC opinion — was able to give $1.3 million to the Jeb Bush Super PAC Right to Rise USA.

In a new post on Medium headlined “Citizens United, Foreign Money, and Your Voice,” Ravel asks interested citizens to contact her with their views on this issue:

There are serious concerns about how foreign money may influence elections in the United States, at the federal, state and local level. … That’s why I would like to hear directly from you before the FEC meeting in September where this will be discussed. After you read this, send me your thoughts by emailing CommissionerRavel@fec.gov. The FEC’s job, because we exist in the public interest, is to hear from the public.

Ravel points to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’s 2010 dissent in Citizens United, in which he predicted that the ruling would open the door to foreign money to flow into U.S. politics. Citizens United allowed corporations to make overtly political donations.

“Unlike voters in U. S. elections, corporations may be foreign controlled,” Stevens wrote, and the majority’s decision “would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans.”

As Ravel stated last week in her proposal to the full FEC, given the story of American Pacific International Capital, “This is not a hypothetical concern.”

Ravel’s proposal will be discussed at the FEC’s next open meeting, on September 15.

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Arquivo Snowden confirma que novo vazamento da NSA é autêntico

The Intercept - Engl. - Ven, 19/08/2016 - 16:41

Na segunda-feira, um grupo de hackers, ShadowBrokers anunciou um leilão para o que chamaram de “armas cibernéticas” criadas pela NSA (Agência de Segurança Nacional dos EUA). Com base em documentos inéditos, fornecidos por Edward Snowden, o The Intercept confirma que o arsenal contém softwares autênticos da NSA, que são parte de um conjunto de ferramentas usadas para infectar secretamente computadores de todo o mundo.

A origem da linha de código tem sido motivo de uma discussão acirrada entre especialistas em segurança cibernética nessa semana, mas, embora seja incerto como o software foi obtido — alguns analistas responsabilizam os russos e outros levantam a hipótese de uma ação unilateral por parte de um funcionário insatisfeito da NSA —, uma coisa é certa: o malware está coberto de impressões digitais virtuais da NSA e a origem é indiscutivelmente a agência.

A prova que vincula os documentos dos ShadowBrokers à NSA vem na forma de um manual da agência sobre como implantar malware, classificado como top secret (ultraconfidencial) e não publicado até o momento. A versão provisória do manual instrui operadores da agência a monitorar o uso de um programa de malware usando uma sequência de 16 caracteres específica: “ace02468bdf13579”. A mesma sequência aparece por todo o material vazado pelos ShadowBrokers, em linhas de código associadas ao mesmo programa, SECONDDATE.

O SECONDDATE tem uma função especializada em complexo sistema global criado pelo governo dos EUA para infectar e monitorar aquilo que um dos documentos estima serem milhões de computadores por todo o mundo. A divulgação do programa, acompanhada da divulgação de dezenas de ferramentas maliciosas, é primeira vez em que cópias completas de softwares de ataque da NSA são disponibilizados para o público, mostrando um pouco de como funciona um dos elaborados sistemas presente nos documentos fornecidos por Snowden quando implementados no mundo real, assim como exibindo provas concretas de que os hackers da NSA nem sempre têm a palavra final quando o assinto é exploração de computadores.

Mas softwares maliciosos com esse nível de sofisticação não são uma ameaça apenas para outros países, contou ao The Intercept o criptógrafo Matthew Green:

O risco desse tipo de software é que podem ser usados contra qualquer roteador vulnerável. É como deixar ferramentas de arrombamento de cadeado na cantina de uma escola secundária. Na verdade, é pior do que isso, porque muitos desses softwares maliciosos não se encontram disponíveis por outros meios, portanto, só estão sendo descobertos agora pelos fabricantes, e usuários vulneráveis, que precisam atualizar seus firewalls e roteadores.

Então o risco é duplo: parte dele é que essas informações já podem ter sido usadas contra os EUA pelos responsáveis pelo roubo. Se, de fato, tiverem sido roubadas pela Rússia, conclui-se que os russos já têm seus próprios softwares maliciosos, não se fazendo necessário fornecê-los com mais deles. E agora, que os softwares maliciosos foram revelados, corre-se o risco de que criminosos comuns os usem contra alvos corporativos.

A NSA não respondeu às perguntas sobre o grupo ShadowBrokers, os documentos de Snowden ou o malware.

SECONDDATE (segundo encontro)

As ferramentas de ataque divulgadas pelos ShadowBrokers encontram-se organizadas sob uma lista de codinomes, como POLARSNEEZE e ELIGIBLE BOMBSHELL, mas suas finalidades exatas ainda estão sendo estudadas. No entanto, temos mais informações sobre uma das armas em específico: SECONDDATE.

SECONDDATE é uma ferramenta desenvolvida para interceptar solicitações da web e redirecionar os navegadores dos computadores atacados para um servidor da web da NSA. O servidor, por sua vez, foi desenvolvido para infectá-los com malware. A existência do SECONDDATE foi publicada pela primeira vez pelo The Intercept em 2014, como parte de uma matéria sobre os esforços de exploração de computadores de todo o mundo, chamado TURBINE. O servidor de malware, conhecido como FOXACID, também foi descrito em documentos dos arquivos de Snowden anteriormente publicados.

Outros documentos, publicados pelo The Intercept hoje, ligam o SECONDDATE ao vazamento dos ShadowBrokers, bem como oferece novos detalhes sobre a função da ferramenta na rede de infecção e vigilância como um todo. Além disso, mostram como o SECONDDATE tem sido usado para espionar o Paquistão e um sistema de computadores no Líbano.

O manual confidencial, que confirma que o SECONDDATE encontrado on-line é o mesmo usado pela NSA, é um documento de 31 páginas intitulado “FOXACID SOP for Operational Management” (FOXACID SOP para Gerenciamento Operacional) e é classificado como uma versão provisória. O documento é recente, no máximo de 2010. Uma das seções do manual descreve ferramentas administrativas para monitor como vítimas são encaminhadas para o FOXACID, incluindo um conjunto de marcadores usados para indexar os servidores. De acordo com o documento, quando um marcador é criado em relação a uma infecção gerada pelo SECONDDATE, um identificador específico precisa ser usado:

Em negrito: “Se o projeto for usar o SECONDDATE, use o MSGID “ace02468bdf13579″.

A mesma sequência de caracteres do SECONDDATE MSGID aparece em 14 arquivos diferentes do material vazado pelos ShadowBrokers, inclusive no arquivo chamado SecondDate-3021.exe: O número secreto da NSA pode ser encontrado facilmente quando os arquivos são visualizados através de um programa de edição de código:

Ao todo, em muitas das pastas contidas no pacote fornecido pelos ShadowBrokers (captura de tela abaixo), há 47 arquivos com nomes relacionados ao SECONDDATE, incluindo diferentes versões do código bruto necessário para executar um ataque SECONDDATE, instruções de uso e outros arquivos relacionados.

Após examinar o código, Matthew Green disse ao The Intercept que é “improvável que” a presença da sequência de caracteres do MSGID tanto no documento de treinamento da NSA quanto no vazamento desta semana “seja uma coincidência”. O pesquisador de segurança de computadores, Matt Suiche, fundador de uma startup, que tem analisado o caso ShadowBrokers esta semana, contou ao The Intercept que a existência das sequências de caracteres do MSGID nos dois lugares não é uma coincidência “de jeito nenhum”.

Onde entra o SECONDDATE

Essa visão geral confirma, através dos documentos confidenciais fornecidos por Snowden e publicados hoje, que o SECONDDATE é apenas um componente do BADDECISION, uma ferramenta de infiltração da NSA ainda mais ampla. O SECONDDATE ajuda a NSA a realizar um ataque man in the middle (intermediário) contra os usuários de um rede sem fio, se passando por um site seguro, quando, na verdade, os usuários receberam conteúdo malicioso de um servidor da NSA.

De acordo com uma apresentação de PowerPoint de dezembro de 2010, chamada “Introdução ao BADDECISION”, a ferramenta foi desenvolvida para direcionar usuários de uma rede sem fio, por vezes denominada rede 802.11 na apresentação, para servidores de malware do FOXACID. Ou, como a apresentação descreve, BADDECISION é “uma ferramenta CNE [exploração de redes de computadores] 802.11 que usa um ataque de intermediário e a técnica frame injection (injeção de quadros) para redirecionar um cliente para um servidor FOXACID”. Confirme coloca outro slide ultraconfidencial, o ataque explora “a maior vulnerabilidade de seu computador: o navegador”.

Visão geral do BADDECISION
– BADDECISION é uma “ferramenta CNE 802.11 que usa um ataque man in the middle e a técnica frame injection para redirecionar um cliente de destino para um servidor do FOXACID”.
– Tira proveito de um meio aberto compartilhado e do protocolo HTTP
– Funciona com WPA/WPA2!

Um dos slides indica que o ataque funciona em usuários com uma conexão à Internet, sem fio e criptografada.

Tudo indica que essa manobra envolva o BADDECISION e o SECONDDATE, com o segundo sendo usado como “componente” do primeiro. Uma série de diagramas na apresentação “Introdução ao BADDECISION” mostra como um operador da NSA “usa o SECONDDATE para injetar conteúdo de redirecionamento em [um] cliente-alvo”, sequestrando de forma indetectável o navegador do usuário enquanto tenta acessar um site benigno (CNN.com, no exemplo). O arquivo explica que, quando executado corretamente, a “vítima continua a navegar normalmente, de forma completamente alheia”, chega a um servidor da NSA repleto de malware e é infectado ao máximo — ou como coloca a apresentação, o usuário é “WACKED” (espancado). Nas outras apresentações ultraconfidenciais, coloca-se de forma franca: “Como redirecionamos a vítima para o servidor do FOXACID sem sermos notados?” Simples: “Usando o NIGHTSTAND ou o BADDECISION.”

É impressionante o número disponível de ferramentas que se interconectam para invadir um computador. No manual do FOXACID, hackers do governo são informados que um hacker da NSA deve se familiarizar com o uso do SECONDDATE, em conjunção com ataques man in the middle de redes Wi-Fi de codinome MAGICSQUIRREL e MAGICBEAN. Uma apresentação ultraconfidencial sobre o FOXACID lista mais formas de redirecionar vítimas para o sistema de servidores de malware.

Injeção
– Operador usa SECONDDATE para injetar conteúdo de redirecionamento no cliente de destino.
– HTTP original do cliente de destino recebe solicitação e continua no caminho normal.

Para se posicionarem dentro do alcance de uma rede sem fio vulnerável, operadores da NSA podem se valer de um sistema de antenas móveis executando um software de codinome BLINDDATE, exibido abaixo no campo de batalha no que parece ser Cabul, no Afeganistão. O software também pode ser usado em um drone. Por sua vez, o BLINDDATE pode executar o BADDECISION, permitindo assim um ataque SECONDDATE:

Em outras partes dos arquivos, há ao menos dois casos documentados do SECONDDATE sendo usado para infectar um computador fora dos EUA com êxito: Uma apresentação de abril de 2013 se vangloria de ataques bem-sucedidos em sistemas de computadores no Paquistão e no Líbano. No primeiro, hackers da NSA usaram o SECONDDATE para invadir “alvos na Divisão VIP do NTC (Corporação Nacional de Telecomunicações) do Paquistão”, que continha documentos pertencentes à “espinha dorsal da rede de comunicações do Paquistão, Linha Verde,” usada por dirigentes civis e militares”.

No segundo, a NSA usou o SECONDDATE para realizar um ataque man in the middle ao Líbano “pela primeira vez na história”, infectando um ISP libanês para extrair “mais de 100 MB de dados da Unidade 1800 do Hezbollah”, uma unidade do grupo militante dedicada ao socorro de palestinos.

O SECONDDATE é apenas um dos métodos usados pela NSA para direcionar os navegadores de suas vítimas a um servidor do FOXACID. Outros métodos usados incluem o envio de spam com o intuito de explorar erros de provedores de e-mail conhecidos ou atrai vítimas a clicar em links maliciosos que levam a um servidor do FOXACID. Um dos documentos, um boletim informativo da Divisão de Operações de Fonte Especial da NSA, descreve como outros softwares da NSA, além do SECONDDATE, eram constantemente usados para direcionar vítimas no Paquistão a servidores de malware do FOXACID e, por fim, infectar os computadores das vítimas.

Uma invasão possivelmente mundana

Snowden, que trabalhou para provedores de serviço da NSA, como Dell e Booz Allen Hamilton, contextualizou e ofereceu uma possível explicação, relativamente simples, para o vazamento: o quartel-general da NSA pode não ter sido hackeado e um dos computadores usados pela agência para planejar e executar ataques pode ter sido comprometido. Em uma série de tweets, o ex-funcionário da agência contou que, com frequência, a NSA mantém presença em sistemas que são supostamente controlados por outros e que, possivelmente, alguém na agência tenha tomado o controle de um servidor e deixado rastros. Um regime, um grupo de hackers ou uma agência de inteligência pode ter obtido os arquivos e, por consequência, uma bela oportunidade de constranger a agência.

6) What's new? NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new. A rival publicly demonstrating they have done so is.

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 16, 2016

5) Sabendo disso, os hackers da NSA (TAO) são instruídos a não deixar ferramentas de hack (“binários”) no servidor depois de uma operação. Mas as pessoas são preguiçosas.
6) Qual a novidade? Servidores contendo malware da NSA sendo hackeados por um rival não é novidade. Um rival mostrando que o fez, é.

Tradução de Inacio Vieira

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U.S. Defense Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business

The Intercept - Engl. - Ven, 19/08/2016 - 16:20

The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries.

Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.

In particular, the arms industry — both directly and through its arsenal of hired-gun think tank experts and lobbyists –  is actively pressuring NATO member nations to hike defense spending in line with the NATO goal for member states to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

Retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest U.S. defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity. Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”

Now, Cody argued, Russia “is resurgent” around the world, putting pressure on U.S. allies. “Nations that belong to NATO are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it.”

Speaking to investors at a conference hosted by Credit Suisse in June, Stuart Bradie, the chief executive of KBR, a military contractor, discussed “opportunities in Europe,” highlighting the increase in defense spending by NATO countries in response to “what’s happening with Russia and the Ukraine.”

The National Defense Industrial Association, a lobby group for the industry, has called on Congress to make it easier for U.S. contractors to sell arms abroad to allies in response to the threat from Russia. Recent articles in National Defense, NDIA’s magazine, discuss the need for NATO allies to boost maritime military spending, spending on Arctic systems, and missile defense, to counter Russia.

Many experts are unconvinced that Russia poses a direct military threat. The Soviet Union’s military once stood at over 4 million soldiers, but today Russia has less than 1 million. NATO’s combined military budget vastly outranks Russia’s — with the U.S. alone outspending Russia on its military by $609 billion to less than $85 billion.

And yet,  the Aerospace Industries Association, a lobby group for Lockheed Martin, Textron, Raytheon, and other defense contractors, argued in February that the Pentagon is not spending enough to counter “Russian aggression on NATO’s doorstep.”

Think tanks with major funding from defense contractors, including the Lexington Institute and the Atlantic Council, have similarly demanded higher defense spending to counter Russia.

Stephen Hadley, the former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush now serving on the board of Raytheon, a firm competing for major NATO military contracts, has argued forcefully for hiking defense budgets and providing lethal aid to Ukraine. Hadley said in a speech last summer that the U.S. must “raise the cost for what Russia is doing in Ukraine,” adding that “even President Putin is sensitive to body bags.”

The business press has noticed the development. The Washington Business Journal noted that “if anyone is benefiting from the unease between Russia and the rest of the world, it would have to be Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp,” noting that the firm won a major contract from Poland, which is revamping its military in response to Russia. Roman Schweizer, an analyst for the defense industry with Guggenheim Securities, predicted last year that U.S. arms sales would continue to rise, particularly because “eastern NATO countries will increase procurements in the wake of continued Russian activity in Ukraine.”

At the Defence Security Exposition International, an arms dealer conference held in London last fall, contractors were quick to use Russia and rising defense budgets to hawk their products. “The tank threat is … much, much more closer to you today because Putin is doing something” in eastern Ukraine, a shoulder-fired-rocket touting representative from Saab told Defense One.

“Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have pledged to increase the share of exports in their overall revenues, and they have been seeking major deals in East and Central Europe since the 1990s, when NATO expansion began,” said William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Hartung noted that as some nations ramp up spending, U.S. firms will be “knocking at the door, looking to sell everything from fighter planes to missile defense systems.”

“Russian saber-rattling has additional benefits for weapons makers because it has become a standard part of the argument for higher Pentagon spending — even though the Pentagon already has more than enough money to address any actual threat to the United States,” he said.

Top photo: Cutaway sections of 30mm x 173mm munitions are displayed on the Nammo stand during the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition in 2015.

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Die Hetze gegen Russland geht weiter

Hintergrund.de - Ven, 19/08/2016 - 14:50

Aleppo, Ukraine, Krim

Ein Kommentar von WOLFGANG BITTNER, 19. August 2016 -

Die Bundesregierung forderte eine längere Waffenruhe in Aleppo und warf dem Kreml Zynismus vor.(1) Das war wieder Wasser auf die Mühlen der Atlantiker-Medien. In der Süddeutschen Zeitung schrieb Stefan Kornelius, Leiter des außenpolitischen Ressorts und Mitglied der Atlantik-Brücke: „In Aleppo wird die Welt Zeuge von Verbrechen an der Menschlichkeit unter massiver russischer Mitwirkung. Moskau befeuert eine militärische Auseinandersetzung, die Assoziationen an die Trümmerschlachten des Zweiten Weltkriegs auslöst. Deswegen sind die öffentliche Mahnung und die Forderung nach einem Waffenstillstand das Mindeste, was man Russland antun kann. Die Welt soll wissen, dass

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The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm

The Intercept - Engl. - Ven, 19/08/2016 - 14:00

On Monday, a hacking group calling itself the “ShadowBrokers” announced an auction for what it claimed were “cyber weapons” made by the NSA. Based on never-before-published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide.

The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.

The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, “ace02468bdf13579.” That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.

SECONDDATE plays a specialized role inside a complex global system built by the U.S. government to infect and monitor what one document estimated to be millions of computers around the world. Its release by ShadowBrokers, alongside dozens of other malicious tools, marks the first time any full copies of the NSA’s offensive software have been available to the public, providing a glimpse at how an elaborate system outlined in the Snowden documents looks when deployed in the real world, as well as concrete evidence that NSA hackers don’t always have the last word when it comes to computer exploitation.

But malicious software of this sophistication doesn’t just pose a threat to foreign governments, Johns Hopkins University cryptographer Matthew Green told The Intercept:

The danger of these exploits is that they can be used to target anyone who is using a vulnerable router. This is the equivalent of leaving lockpicking tools lying around a high school cafeteria. It’s worse, in fact, because many of these exploits are not available through any other means, so they’re just now coming to the attention of the firewall and router manufacturers that need to fix them, as well as the customers that are vulnerable.

So the risk is twofold: first, that the person or persons who stole this information might have used them against us. If this is indeed Russia, then one assumes that they probably have their own exploits, but there’s no need to give them any more. And now that the exploits have been released, we run the risk that ordinary criminals will use them against corporate targets.

The NSA did not respond to questions concerning ShadowBrokers, the Snowden documents, or its malware.

A Memorable SECONDDATE

The offensive tools released by ShadowBrokers are organized under a litany of code names such as POLARSNEEZE and ELIGIBLE BOMBSHELL, and their exact purpose is still being assessed. But we do know more about one of the weapons: SECONDDATE.

SECONDDATE is a tool designed to intercept web requests and redirect browsers on target computers to an NSA web server. That server, in turn, is designed to infect them with malware. SECONDDATE’s existence was first reported by The Intercept in 2014, as part of a look at a global computer exploitation effort code-named TURBINE. The malware server, known as FOXACID, has also been described in previously released Snowden documents.

Other documents released by The Intercept today not only tie SECONDDATE to the ShadowBrokers leak but also provide new detail on how it fits into the NSA’s broader surveillance and infection network. They also show how SECONDDATE has been used, including to spy on Pakistan and a computer system in Lebanon.

The top-secret manual that authenticates the SECONDDATE found in the wild as the same one used within the NSA is a 31-page document titled “FOXACID SOP for Operational Management” and marked as a draft. It dates to no earlier than 2010. A section within the manual describes administrative tools for tracking how victims are funneled into FOXACID, including a set of tags used to catalogue servers. When such a tag is created in relation to a SECONDDATE-related infection, the document says, a certain distinctive identifier must be used:

 

The same SECONDDATE MSGID string appears in 14 different files throughout the ShadowBrokers leak, including in a file titled SecondDate-3021.exe. Viewed through a code-editing program (screenshot below), the NSA’s secret number can be found hiding in plain sight:

All told, throughout many of the folders contained in the ShadowBrokers’ package (screenshot below), there are 47 files with SECONDDATE-related names, including different versions of the raw code required to execute a SECONDDATE attack, instructions for how to use it, and other related files.

.

 

After viewing the code, Green told The Intercept the MSGID string’s occurrence in both an NSA training document and this week’s leak is “unlikely to be a coincidence.” Computer security researcher Matt Suiche, founder of UAE-based cybersecurity startup Comae Technologies, who has been particularly vocal in his analysis of the ShadowBrokers this week, told The Intercept “there is no way” the MSGID string’s appearance in both places is a coincidence.”

Where SECONDDATE Fits In

This overview jibes with previously unpublished classified files provided by Snowden that illustrate how SECONDDATE is a component of BADDECISION, a broader NSA infiltration tool. SECONDDATE helps the NSA pull off a “man in the middle” attack against users on a wireless network, tricking them into thinking they’re talking to a safe website when in reality they’ve been sent a malicious payload from an NSA server.

According to one December 2010 PowerPoint presentation titled “Introduction to BADDECISION,” that tool is also designed to send users of a wireless network, sometimes referred to as an 802.11 network, to FOXACID malware servers. Or, as the presentation puts it, BADDECISION is an “802.11 CNE [computer network exploitation] tool that uses a true man-in-the-middle attack and a frame injection technique to redirect a target client to a FOXACID server.” As another top-secret slide puts it, the attack homes in on “the greatest vulnerability to your computer: your web browser.”

One slide points out that the attack works on users with an encrypted wireless connection to the internet.

That trick, it seems, often involves BADDECISION and SECONDDATE, with the latter described as a “component” for the former. A series of diagrams in the “Introduction to BADDECISION” presentation show how an NSA operator “uses SECONDDATE to inject a redirection payload at [a] Target Client,” invisibly hijacking a user’s web browser as the user attempts to visit a benign website (in the example given, it’s CNN.com). Executed correctly, the file explains, a “Target Client continues normal webpage browsing, completely unaware,” lands on a malware-filled NSA server, and becomes infected with as much of that malware as possible — or as the presentation puts it, the user will be left “WHACKED!” In the other top-secret presentations, it’s put plainly: “How do we redirect the target to the FOXACID server without being noticed”? Simple: “Use NIGHTSTAND or BADDECISION.”

The sheer number of interlocking tools available to crack a computer is dizzying. In the FOXACID manual, government hackers are told an NSA hacker ought to be familiar with using SECONDDATE along with similar man-in-the-middle wi-fi attacks code-named MAGIC SQUIRREL and MAGICBEAN. A top-secret presentation on FOXACID lists further ways to redirect targets to the malware server system.

To position themselves within range of a vulnerable wireless network, NSA operators can use a mobile antenna system running software code-named BLINDDATE, depicted in the field in what appears to be Kabul. The software can even be attached to a drone. BLINDDATE in turn can run BADDECISION, which allows for a SECONDDATE attack:

Elsewhere in these files, there are at least two documented cases of SECONDDATE being used to successfully infect computers overseas: An April 2013 presentation boasts of successful attacks against computer systems in both Pakistan and Lebanon. In the first, NSA hackers used SECONDDATE to breach “targets in Pakistan’s National Telecommunications Corporation’s (NTC) VIP Division,” which contained documents pertaining to “the backbone of Pakistan’s Green Line communications network” used by “civilian and military leadership.”

In the latter, the NSA used SECONDDATE to pull off a man-in-the-middle attack in Lebanon “for the first time ever,” infecting a Lebanese ISP to extract “100+ MB of Hizballah Unit 1800 data,” a special subset of the terrorist group dedicated to aiding Palestinian militants.

SECONDDATE is just one method that the NSA uses to get its target’s browser pointed at a FOXACID server. Other methods include sending spam that attempts to exploit bugs in popular web-based email providers or entices targets to click on malicious links that lead to a FOXACID server. One document, a newsletter for the NSA’s Special Source Operations division, describes how NSA software other than SECONDDATE was used to repeatedly direct targets in Pakistan to FOXACID malware web servers, eventually infecting the targets’ computers.

A Potentially Mundane Hack

Snowden, who worked for NSA contractors Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton, has offered some context and a relatively mundane possible explanation for the leak: that the NSA headquarters was not hacked, but rather one of the computers the agency uses to plan and execute attacks was compromised. In a series of tweets, he pointed out that the NSA often lurks on systems that are supposed to be controlled by others, and it’s possible someone at the agency took control of a server and failed to clean up after themselves. A regime, hacker group, or intelligence agency could have seized the files and the opportunity to embarrass the agency.

6) What's new? NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new. A rival publicly demonstrating they have done so is.

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 16, 2016

 

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Der „Aufrechte Gang“ für Bernhard Raubal

Stop G7 - Elmau 2015 - Ven, 19/08/2016 - 02:43

Die Humanistische Union Südbayern zeichnet besonderes Engagement mit dem Preis „Der Aufrechte Gang“ aus.

In diesem Jahr entdeckte sie dafür den Verpächter der Garchinger Wiese für das „Stopp-G7-Camp“, Bernhard Raubal – eine ausgesprochen gelungene Wahl.

Die Preisverleihung findet am 28. September 2016 im Saal des EineWeltHauses München statt, 19:30 Uhr.

Zum Preis: „Gemeint ist der aufrechte Gang von Bürgerinnen und Bürgern, die das Handeln des Staates und anderer gesellschaftlicher Organe, aber auch die öffentlichen Machtansprüche sonstiger ideologischer Gruppierungen nicht kritiklos hinnehmen. Dagegen leisten sie persönlichen Widerstand und verteidigen damit den Geist unseres Grundgesetzes“.

Dafür ist Bernhard Raubal ein gutes Beispiel: Staatsregierung und die Gemeinde veranstalteten ein Trommelfeuer an Einschüchterung gegen das geplante Camp der Gipfelkritiker, ein willkürliches Verbot des Camps musste gerichtlich überwunden werden. Das war aber nur möglich mit der Standhaftigkeit und Verlässlichkeit des Verpächters, der allen Schikanen widerstand – das Camp auf dessen Wiese konnte so durchgesetzt und ausgesprochen erfolgreich durchgeführt werden!

Aus der Begründung: „Die HUMANISTISCHE UNION will Bernhard Anton Raubal auszeichnen, weil er Zivilcourage gezeigt und dafür auch persönliche Nachteile in Kauf genommen hat. Seinem Einsatz für die Verwirklichung des Demonstrationsrechts zollen wir unsere Anerkennung.“

Hier sind die Preisankündigung bei der HU und die Einladung.

Die Verleihung erfolgt durch Dr. Hansjörg Siebels-Horst (HU), die Laudatio trägt York Runte bei, Mitorganisator des Camps.

Die HU bittet für die Teilnahme an dem Abend um Anmeldung bis 10.9.2016

Mehr zur gerichtlichen Durchsetzung des Camps

Donald Trump Casts Himself as Mr. Brexit, Mistaking Depth of Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in U.S.

The Intercept - Engl. - Ven, 19/08/2016 - 00:32

Donald Trump tried to reassure his millions of Twitter followers on Thursday that all is not lost. He did so by giving himself a new nickname: Mr. Brexit.

They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2016

Although he did not explain what parallels he sees between his faltering campaign for the American presidency and the results of the British referendum vote in favor of an exit from the European Union, just minutes later, the London editor of the conservative website Breitbart, Raheem Kassam, suggested that Trump was referring to the surprise victory of the anti-immigrant Leave campaign despite a raft of bad poll numbers.

I now understand this is a reference to how polls have him down but he believes they are incorrect/he'll win. https://t.co/zsui2N17lD

— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) August 18, 2016

Kassam did not say if he based this reading of Trump’s tweet on any inside information — but the message was posted one day after the Republican candidate put Breitbart’s chairman, Stephen Bannon, in charge of his campaign.

“Mr. Trump,” Kassam wrote on the Breitbart web site, “is said to believe that the U.S. presidential election is similar to the United Kingdom’s European Union referendum campaign, where pollsters consistently underestimated the Brexit vote, leading to a shock victory for the populist Leave campaigners.”

Although Trump’s current deficit in opinion polls looks far more serious than the numbers for the Leave campaign — which actually led in several surveys — the candidate himself suggested during a visit to Scotland in June, the day after the referendum passed, that his own campaign had tapped into a similar strain of anti-immigrant populism. Ignoring, or unaware of, the fact that a vast majority of Scots had voted to Remain in the E.U., Trump told reporters at one of his Scottish golf course, “Basically, they took back their country.”

Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2016

On Thursday, after a pro-Brexit member of Briton’s Conservative party, Daniel Hannan, scolded Trump for his comparison, Breitbart’s London editor argued that the two campaigns were united by a focus on concerns over immigration and national identity.

Brexit supporters won by being upbeat, civil and open to global trade. Mr Trump, you're no Mr Brexit. https://t.co/Z4arMk8nr0

— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) August 18, 2016

Brexit supporters won by addressing immigration, culture, identity, and nationhood. Just. Like. Trump. https://t.co/nrWDKCgf1i

— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) August 18, 2016

It is undoubtedly true that the Leave campaign’s principal focus was immigration, certainly in the final weeks before the vote, which is when it started to pull even or ahead in many polls.

As John Lanchester noted in the London Review of Books, the campaign appealed primarily to white working class voters who, with good reason, felt left behind by the increasingly globalized economy, and vented their anger on migrants. Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign has been structured like this from the beginning, and he clearly hopes for a similar result from the people who attend his rallies waving signs that say, “The Silent Majority Supports Trump.”

What that argument overlooks, however, are quite different demographics — and the crucial difference between attitudes about immigration in the two countries.

As a Pew Research Center survey published in July showed, residents of the U.K. were closely divided on the question of whether “having an increasing number of people of many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities in our country” made Britain a better or worse place to live — with 33 percent saying “better” and 31 percent saying “worse”. By contrast, a majority of Americans, 58 percent, said “better,” and just 7 percent said “worse.”

What is perhaps more telling is that while 13 percent of the population of England and Wales was born overseas in the most recent data — a number comparable to the modern United States –mass migration is much more recent in the U.K.

And 86 percent of the population is white.

The American electorate is far more diverse, and, as Pew notes, nearly a third of eligible voters on Election Day this year, 31 percent, will be Hispanic, black, Asian or members of another racial or ethnic minority.

And, as the United States Census Bureau has found, most Americans are also well aware of the fact that they are descended from immigrants. In a new section of census surveys that asks Americans for their ancestry, 80 percent specified which other nations their people came from originally.

“In 2000,” the bureau reported, “42.8 million people (15 percent of the population) considered themselves to be of German (or part-German) ancestry, the most frequent response to the census question. Other ancestries with over 15 million people in 2000 included Irish (30.5 million, or 11 percent), African American (24.9 million, or 9 percent), English (24.5 million, or 9 percent), American (20.2 million, or 7 percent), Mexican (18.4 million, or 7 percent), and Italian (15.6 million, or 6 percent).”

Top photo: A mural in Bristol, England of Trump sharing a kiss with former London Mayor Boris Johnson, a major Brexit supporter

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Die Regelung der Reparationsfrage

German Foreign Policy - Ven, 19/08/2016 - 00:00
(Eigener Bericht) - Der griechische Ministerpräsident Alexis Tsipras stellt eine neue Initiative zur Erzwingung deutscher Reparations- und Entschädigungszahlungen an Griechenland in Aussicht. Wie Tsipras am Dienstag während der Gedenkfeier für die Opfer eines Wehrmachts-Massakers in dem westgriechischen Dorf Kommeno ankündigte, wird Athen "auf diplomatischer und falls nötig auf gerichtlicher Ebene" gegen Berlin vorgehen, sollte die Bundesregierung sich weiterhin weigern, in Reparationsverhandlungen einzutreten. Anfang September soll das griechische Parlament über einen kürzlich fertiggestellten Bericht diskutieren, der die deutsche Reparationsschuld auf 269 Milliarden Euro beziffert. Behauptungen der Bundesregierung, die Reparationsfrage sei "erledigt", treffen nicht zu: Tatsächlich ist die Zahlung einer 1946 verbindlich anerkannten Reparationssumme mit dem Londoner Schuldenabkommen vom Februar 1953 zwar gestundet, aber nicht aufgehoben worden; nur ein Bruchteil von ihr wurde beglichen. Wie Horst Teltschik, ein ehemaliger Berater von Bundeskanzler Helmut Kohl, bestätigt, hat Bonn sich der Reparationspflicht zu entziehen versucht, indem es den Zwei-plus-Vier-Vertrag explizit nicht als "Friedensvertrag" einstufte. Man habe befürchtet, mit einem Friedensvertrag plötzlich "Reparationsforderungen von über 50 Staaten auf dem Tisch" zu haben, erklärt Teltschik.

The Justice Department Is Done With Private Prisons. Will ICE Drop Them Too?

The Intercept - Engl. - Gio, 18/08/2016 - 21:53

The Justice Department’s announcement on Thursday that it would seek to end the use of private contractors to run its federal prisons was a monumental one that quickly sent private prison stocks plunging and drew praise from dozens of human and civil rights groups that for years had been denouncing abuse and neglect in private facilities.

In a memo explaining the decision, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates wrote that private prisons “simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources,” “do not save substantially on costs,” and “do not maintain the same level of safety and security” as facilities operated by the Bureau of Prisons.

But as the criminal justice community began to take stock of the news, many also expressed hopes that the DOJ would not be the only government agency to cut ties with the private companies, which also operate state prisons and immigration detention centers.

In particular, advocates directly called on the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement — which is responsible for holding a growing number of detainees with pending immigration cases or awaiting deportation — to end its multimillion-dollar relationship with the private corrections industry.

A spokesperson for ICE did not specifically comment on the impact of the Justice Department’s announcement on its own relationship with private prison companies, noting that “ICE detainees are housed in a variety of facilities across the United States, including but not limited to ICE-owned-and-operated facilities; local, county, or state facilities contracted through Intergovernmental Service Agreements; and contractor-owned-and-operated facilities.”

The spokesperson added that the agency “remains committed to providing a safe and humane environment for all those in its custody” and “provides several levels of oversight in order to ensure that detainees in ICE custody reside in safe, secure, and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement.”

A man waits in a processing cell at the GEO Group-operated Adelanto Detention Facility, the largest immigration detention facility in California, on Nov. 15, 2013.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

While the Justice Department’s decision is set to impact 13 privately run federal prisons and some 22,660 prisoners, the potential impact of a similar decision by ICE would be considerably more significant for the agency. ICE did not provide the number of detainees it oversees, but while the immigration detention population fluctuates and is hard to pin down, it had jumped to over 32,000 people in 2014, a 47 percent increase over the prior decade. Immigration advocates say that growth is both unjustified by public safety needs and sets the stage for neglect and abuse.

“As of today, the Bureau of Prisons’ two-decades experiment with private prisons is finally beginning to come to an end,” David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project, told The Intercept, calling the decision “historic.” “We hope that ICE and the states will follow the lead of the Justice Department.”

Grace Meng, a Human Rights Watch senior researcher focusing on immigration issues, called the DOJ’s announcement “incredibly exciting news.” “This should prompt Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop their use of private immigration detention facilities, run by the same companies,” she added, while also noting that “focus on private companies shouldn’t remove scrutiny from county jails and other ICE facilities that are also rife with problems.”

States have traditionally taken the federal Bureau of Prisons as a model for best practices, but for ICE, severing ties would be a logistical feat of immense proportions. The exact percentage of immigrants in private detention centers isn’t easy to calculate because ICE technically contracts with local governments for many of them, and those counties then contract with the private companies — a decentralized approach to the privatization of detention that has also made these facilities harder to monitor.

But more than half, and by some estimates, as many as 62 percent of ICE detainees are living in privately run facilities, where unsafe and abusive conditions have been amply documented. By comparison, the federal prison population in privately run facilities never exceeded 16 percent and the state prison population in such facilities is around 6 percent.

“In terms of percentage, ICE is the agency that has the biggest share of its prisoners and detainees in private prisons,” said Fathi, also noting that while the federal prison population has decreased quite significantly in recent years, “the same is not true of the ICE detainee population.”

“It’s definitely going to be harder for them,” he said.

Hard or not, corrections operators are under obligation to guarantee a number of protections, regardless of law enforcement needs, Meng noted.

“The assumption that ICE can’t do this is completely false, because the fact that the detention system is as large as it is now has not been historically true,” she said. “There’s an inflated sense of how many people actually need to be in detention at any given time. What we have seen is there is a huge number of people who should not be there at all: children, families, people who are not a current threat to public safety, who have really strong claims to release.”

Details on the exact cost of privately run immigration detention are also opaque, but as immigration detention spending as a whole skyrocketed from $700 million in 2005 to more than $2 billion today, so did revenues for the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, by far the two largest private companies operating immigration detention facilities.

According to a report released last year by the Center for American Progress, federal contracts, including those from the Bureau of Prisons and ICE, jumped from 39 percent of CCA’s total revenues in 2005 to 44 percent — $724.2 million — in 2014. That year, ICE contracts alone made up 13 percent of CCA’s revenue — $221 million. Similarly, federal contracts rose from 27 percent of the GEO Group’s revenues in 2005, to 42 percent in 2014, with ICE accounting for 15.6 percent of the pie.

Just days ago, ICE signed a new four-year, $1 billion contract with CCA to house Central American asylum seekers in Texas.

The GEO Group and CCA did not immediately respond to questions about the impact of the DOJ’s decision on their other government contracts.

But as they are slated to lose millions and wield significant lobbying power, it’s unlikely they’ll go without a fight.

“Their stock is dropping like a stone. I’m sure they’re not happy and I’m sure they’ll complain they’re being unfairly treated, but the fact is, there is abundant evidence that private prisons are not as safe and not as secure and the services they provide to prisoners are inferior,” Fathi said. “Certainly the government has every right to decide that their services are no longer needed.”

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Revealed: The Secret Donor Behind “Children of Israel,” the 2nd-Largest Ghost Corporation Funding GOP Super PACs

The Intercept - Engl. - Gio, 18/08/2016 - 21:17

The 2016 elections have seen a surge in contributions from “ghost corporations,” so-called because they are not functioning businesses or non-profits, and hence seem to exist solely to shield their owners’ identities.

Ghost corporations are a particularly dangerous and alarming new twist in campaign financing in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. They make a mockery of one of the central claims of that decision: that “prompt disclosure” and “transparency” would allow U.S. democracy to survive the unlimited flood of money into elections from individuals, corporations and unions.

So exposing the real donors hiding behind ghost corporations is essential. And The Intercept has now determined the identity of the donor behind this cycle’s second-most generous ghost corporation, Children of Israel LLC. He is Saul Fox, a California private equity CEO.

Children of Israel LLC contributed $150,000 in 2015 to Pursuing America’s Greatness, a Super PAC supporting Mike Huckabee’s presidential run; $400,000 in 2016 to Stand for Truth, a Super PAC supporting Ted Cruz; and $334,000 to the Republican National Committee.

Fox’s motive in masking his identity is unknown. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Fox’s funding of Children of Israel LLC can be pieced together via a close examination of corporate and FEC filings, specifically a twice-amended Republican National Committee year-end filing for 2015.

According to the Republican National Committee’s initial January 31, 2016 filing with the FEC, Saul Fox personally gave the RNC the annual legal maximum of $334,000 on December 10, 2015. (Congress recently crafted new rules that allow individuals to give $33,400 to national parties’ general accounts, and then $100,200 each to accounts for their headquarters, conventions and legal funds. There are therefore technically four separate donations.)

In that original filing, Fox’s address is listed as being on a street in Cupertino in Silicon Valley. This address is the same as the home address of Shaofen Gao — a realtor in Silicon Valley who, in filings with the state of California, is listed as the registered agent for Children of Israel LLC.

The RNC then amended that filing twice, most recently in May. The May filing has new information: it says for the first time that when the RNC received $334,000 on December 10, 2015, the money came from Children of Israel. And the amended filing lists Fox, immediately after the Children of Israel entries — with the same transaction ID as the Children of Israel donations, with an “M” added at the end.

The “M” stands for “memo,” and signifies that the entry is not a separate donation but exists to provide additional information about the Children of Israel contribution. In this case, the entry’s additional information is that the contribution from Children of Israel is attributable in full to Saul Fox.

A screen grab from the Republican National Committee’s amended disclosure of May 13, 2016, showing one of the four donations by Children of Israel and its paired memo entry listing Saul Fox.

If limited liability companies like Children of Israel make political donations, and the LLC is treated as a partnership for tax purposes, federal regulations require the LLC to inform the recipients who the actual humans behind the company are. Then the recipients of the donations must disclose this in their filings with the Federal Election Commission. By May of this year, Fox and the RNC were doing that.

But Children of Israel either failed to do so with its contributions  to Pursuing American’s Greatness and Stand for Truth, or the two Super PACs simply chose to ignore it. According to Brendan Fisher, associate counsel of the political money watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, Fox and/or Children of Israel therefore violated prohibitions on “straw donor” contributions made in someone else’s name. (The CLC filed a complaint with the FEC against Children of Israel in March before Fox’s identity became known.)

Pursuing America’s Greatness did not respond to questions. Stand for Truth’s treasurer stated that the Super PAC is “confident that its filings are accurate and comply with FEC regulations,” but would not say anything further because of “the complaint pending before the FEC.”

The RNC’s amended, legally-compliant filing came after the Campaign Legal Center filed its Children of Israel complaint. After a similar Campaign Legal Center complaint in 2011 about several corporate donations to Restore Our Future, the main Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, a former Bain Capital official revealed that he had funded one of them. The RNC did not respond to requests to a request for comment.

This is not the first time Fox has been connected to donations whose true sources were obscured. During the 2012 campaign, a company called Mercury Trust gave $1 million to American Crossroads, a Super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, and made a donation of $425,000 to Restore Our Future. Mercury Trust was later discovered to be affiliated with Fox Paine.

Fox is also a prolific, longtime GOP donor under his own name. He most recently gave $100,000 to Team Ryan, a joint fundraising committee set up by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and $25,000 to Donald Trump’s joint fundraising committee.

In addition to his Children of Israel contributions to their Super PACs, Fox personally gave $2,700 to Huckabee’s presidential campaign and $5,400 to Cruz’s.

Fox also gave $5,400 to Marco Rubio’s campaign, as well as — surprisingly — $5,400 to campaign-finance reformer Lawrence Lessig’s abortive presidential run.

The FEC took over four years to vote on whether to open an investigation into the similar Restore Our Future donations during the 2012 election cycle, and then deadlocked without taking any action. So imminent action at this point seems unlikely.

The donor or donors behind Freedom Frontier, the most generous ghost corporation, remain unknown. Freedom Frontier is a Dallas 501(c)(4) non-profit — a type of organization that can engage in political activity as long as that is not its primary focus. Freedom Frontier does not appear to have ever done anything except give $2,575,000 to various conservative Super PACs this election cycle.

“It’s a great thing and a tribute to their investigative acumen that [journalists] will in some cases be able to identify the secret funders of our elections,” said Robert Weissman, president of the nonprofit advocacy organization Public Citizen. However, “the public cannot rely on investigative reporters to unearth the names of the super-rich buying our elections. It’s just common sense that this information must be disclosed in real time, every time – a positioned favored almost unanimously by the American public.”

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US-Wahl: Wird Jill für Hill zum Stolperstein?

Hintergrund.de - Gio, 18/08/2016 - 18:54

Von FLO OSRAINIK, 18. August 2016 -

Die Studie „Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens“ (1) der US-Universität Princeton aus dem Jahr 2014 kam zu dem Ergebnis, dass die USA von der Wirtschaftslobby und einer kleinen Zahl einflussreicher Amerikaner regiert wird. Trotzdem steht im Zweiparteiensystem der USA – deutsche Konzerne spenden (2) regelmäßig an die beiden führenden US-Parteien – im November die 58. Wahl des Präsidenten an. Für die Demokraten wurde Multimillionärin Hillary Clinton nominiert. Ihr Wahlbüro teilte vor Kurzem mit, dass die Clintons in den Jahren 2007 bis 2014 knapp 141 Millionen Dollar eingenommen haben.

Weiterlesen...

White House Official Cozied Up to Google Before Antitrust Lawsuit Was Shelved

The Intercept - Engl. - Gio, 18/08/2016 - 18:21

When the Federal Trade Commission neared a momentous decision on whether to charge Google with violating antitrust laws in January 2013, the White House was watching closely.

New emails uncovered by the Campaign for Accountability, a public interest watchdog organization, show that a White House advisor met with top Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton and top Google antitrust counsel Matthew Bye twice in the weeks before the FTC announcement.

And hours prior to the final decision – in which FTC commissioners took the unusual step of overriding their staff’s recommendation to sue, and voted to settle the case instead – the White House official even sought Google’s talking points in the matter.

The FTC is an independent agency within the executive branch. As with the Justice Department, the White House political staff is prohibited from contacting federal regulators who might bring a formal case on behalf of the government. And ever since Richard Nixon stifled the antitrust investigation into ITT, a major donor, White House interference in antitrust cases has been particularly forbidden.

When Donald Trump threatened to bring up Amazon on antitrust charges because he was getting bad press from the Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, it was correctly seen as chilling.

The revelation about the White House’s contacts with Google prior to the FTC decision is another example of the extraordinarily close relationship between Google and the Obama White House. In April, the Campaign for Accountability found — and The Intercept published — evidence from the White House’s own records of frequent meetings between Google staff and Obama administration personnel – over one a week since the beginning of his presidency – and spins through the revolving door between Google and the U.S. government. Nearly 250 people have shuttled from government service to Google employment or vice versa over the course of Obama’s tenure.

This close contact, as well as Google’s partnership with the executive branch on a host of projects, almost inevitably breeds a camaraderie that is at odds with the ability of the government to actually regulate a private company. The West Wing’s coziness with Google officials prior to the antitrust decision speaks to that.

At the time, the FTC was looking into allegations that Google harmed Internet customers and its rivals by prioritizing its own companies and affiliates in search engine results and its placement of online advertising on its search sites. The staff of the Bureau of Competition at the FTC recommended suing after concluding that Google engaged in anticompetitive conduct that “has resulted – and will result – in real harm to consumers and to innovation.”

But in the end, the FTC reached a settlement that forced Google into voluntary changes to its business.

“Johanna, I hear big news coming out momentarily,” wrote White House internet advisor R. David Edelman to Shelton on January 3, 2013, referring to the FTC’s imminent decision. “Do you have the release and any accompanying materials from Google’s side? Obviously, lots of interest here at the WH.”

TK

 

The FTC announced its decision that day. Within 20 minutes, Shelton responded to Edelman with links to Google’s statement on the closing of the antitrust case, and its “commitment letter” to voluntary changes, as per the FTC’s order. “Please let me know if you have any questions,” Shelton said. A minute later, Edelman replied. “I’m watching the webcast now,” he wrote, presumably referring to the FTC’s announcement of closing the case. “Thanks for the links!”

TK

 

The newly released emails reveal that the White House was interested in and actively discussing the case before the FTC made their decision, and let the target of the investigation know that. Based on previous open records requests, we also know that meetings between Google executives and White House personnel spiked in the months leading up to the FTC decision.

Edelman met personally with Shelton and Bye twice in the final weeks of the investigation. Between 2012 and 2015, Edelman held at least 18 meetings with Google officials in the White House, per previously released records.

That does not include informal meetings outside the White House at D.C. coffee shops, a technique the White House has been accused of using to get around public records. Edelman’s emails include references to these meetings.

Obama Administration officials have maintained that they did not pressure the FTC in any way to close the investigation into Google. “Our staff is cognizant that it is inappropriate to discuss issues relating to regulatory enforcement,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman in 2015, adding that the FTC “is an independent agency and we respect their independent decision-making.”

Many tech industry rivals claim that Google still biases its search engine results and advertising. The European Union, operating with the same evidence, has filed three antitrust charges against Google over this behavior, the most recent in July.

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Forças Armadas investem na própria imagem ao “patrocinar” atletas olímpicos

The Intercept - Engl. - Gio, 18/08/2016 - 17:41

Quando o primeiro brasileiro subiu ao pódio nesta Olimpíada, ela estava ali: a continência. O gesto – que quase foi banido dos jogos por contrariar a regra 50 da carta olímpica – é uma espécie de agradecimento ao suporte financeiro e estrutural que as forças armadas estão dando aos atletas da delegação brasileira.

Desde sua criação, em 2008, o Programa Atletas de Alto Rendimento (PAAR), do Ministério da Defesa, injetou aproximadamente R$126 milhões em atletas nacionais. O apoio se converteu em nove medalhas, das 11 conquistadas pela delegação nos doze primeiros dias de Olimpíadas. A meta dos militares é chegar a dez pódios até o fim dos Jogos. Para 2017, já está assegurado o repasse anual de R$ 18 milhões. Programa similar criado pelo Ministério do Esporte, o Bolsa Pódio foi lançado em 2011 visando especificamente atletas com chances de medalha. Foram investidos mais de R$ 60 milhões em 318 atletas desde 2013.

Com o PAAR, a torcida brasileira viu subir de 51, em Londres 2012, para 145 o número de atletas militares. O programa não é criação nacional. Atrás da equipe brasileira ficam, em ordem, a da Alemanha, com 131 atletas militares, e a da Itália, com 125 –dois países que já passaram por governos totalitários e altamente militarizados.

“O principal interesse do Estado em esporte de alto rendimento reside no potencial de melhorar sua reputação internacional.”

Em seus livros, o professor de administração e política esportiva Mick Green, da Universidade de Loughborough, na Inglaterra, analisa as estratégias adotadas por diferentes nações. Ele explica que a União Soviética e a Alemanha Oriental financiavam seus atletas indiretamente através das forças armadas em um modelo semelhante ao brasileiro.

Militares hasteiam a bandeira olímpica durante cerimônia de abertura dos Jogos no Rio de Janeiro.

Foto: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

“O principal interesse do Estado em esporte de alto rendimento reside no potencial de melhorar sua reputação internacional. Isso é demonstrado, em particular, pelo fato de que os esportes olímpicos mais prestigiados recebem prioridade em relação a outros esportes em termos de suporte estatal”, explica Green em “Comparação do desenvolvimento de Esportes de Elite”.

O diretor do Departamento de Desporto Militar do Ministério da Defesa, almirante Paulo Zuccaro, confirma que o PAAR foi criado “seguindo exemplos das Forças Armadas de diversos países, principalmente Alemanha, França, China, Rússia e Itália, que possuem programa semelhante”. Ele também conta que foram escolhidas 27 modalidades para o investimento.

O pesquisador alemão Helmut Digel, da Universidade de Tübingen, na Alemanha, em seu estudo “Comparação de sistemas esportivos de sucesso” explica que, na Alemanha e na Rússia, as forças armadas “possuem instituições esportivas especiais de alta performance, que oferecem a atletas de alto nível as condições ideais de competir. O mesmo acontece para a França, particularmente em esportes de inverno”. Entre outras nações que também utilizam muito de seu aparato militar em auxílio do esporte, Digel dá atenção em especial a China, Japão e Coreia do Sul, todos com histórico recente de totalitarismo. 

“Conceitos como ufanismo e disciplina são comuns aos militares e aos esportistas de alto rendimento.”

Em entrevista a The Intercept Brasil, o professor José Renato Araújo, que leciona gestão de políticas públicas na Universidade de São Paulo (USP), disse acreditar que não se trata de algo relacionado ao autoritarismo, mas sim ao nacionalismo. “Acontece em nações totalitárias ou não. Na Guerra Fria, esporte e militarismo eram quase sinônimos para os dois lados. Historicamente as forças armadas estão ligadas à educação física. Conceitos como ufanismo e disciplina são comuns aos militares e aos esportistas de alto rendimento. A primeira escola de educação física do país é militar, por exemplo. Parece-me que aqui o objetivo é elevar o nome do Brasil no exterior. A questão é: no momento em que vivemos, de crise econômica e política, é prioritária a projeção da imagem do país no exterior?”

O Esquadrão de Demonstração Aérea da Marinha Americana sobrevoa o Estádio Levi’s em Santa Clara, California (EUA) no dia 7 de fevereiro de 2016, durante o Super Bowl 50.

Foto: Harry How/Getty Images

Além da imagem do Brasil, a própria imagem das Forças Armadas é alçada ao ser ilustrada por casos de superação e vitória. Mesmo em países onde não há programas de recrutamento de atletas, o esporte continua sendo um meio de propaganda militar. Nos Estados Unidos, eventos esportivos tornam-se um momento de exaltação das Forças Nacionais com jatos sobrevoando estádios e veteranos sendo exaltados nos telões.

Essas ações acontecem porque, apesar de haver quem propague o esporte como algo apolítico, esporte é política sim. Não à toa, as continências e placas de manifestações causaram controvérsia desde o início dos Jogos.

Durante a ditadura militar, por exemplo, os governos de Costa e Silva e, posteriormente, de Médici tentaram aproximar a figura do presidente à seleção brasileira de futebol, a ponto de Médici comemorar o milésimo gol de Pelé com desfile em Brasília, medalha de mérito nacional e título de comendador para o jogador.

A alta brasileira no número de atletas militares é reflexo não apenas do programa das forças armadas, mas também do fato de ser o país sede, o que garante mais vagas na competição. Por isso, se em números totais, o Brasil é o que mais levou militares aos jogos, quando o critério do ranking é mudado para proporção, cai para o oitavo lugar, com 29,9%. Na mesma faixa encontram-se nações como Síria (28,6%) e a Namíbia (30%).

“Para os atletas foi um meio de receber um rendimento financeiro permanente e digno para manter seus treinamentos e participação em competições.”

O professor Fernando Starepravo, do departamento de Educação Física da Universidade Estadual de Maringá (UEM), também especialista em políticas públicas, explica que a reaproximação entre esportes e forças armadas no Brasil se deu, inicialmente, como uma estratégia para ter bons resultados nos V Jogos Mundiais Militares, realizados no Rio de Janeiro em 2011. Com o resultado extremamente significativo – o Brasil pulou da 33 colocação para a primeira –, a estratégia foi mantida para os Jogos Olímpicos.

“Para os militares representou maior visibilidade das forças armadas no país e um bom desempenho do esporte militar a nível internacional. Para os atletas foi um meio de receber um rendimento financeiro permanente e digno para manter seus treinamentos e participação em competições. E para o governo federal foi um meio de atender as demandas de apoio aos atletas olímpicos, visando uma melhoria do país no quadro de medalhas olímpico”, avalia Starepravo

Tornando-se referência entre toda a delegação, aqueles que não foram agraciados passaram a reivindicar a ajuda. Nos primeiros dias dos Jogos do Rio de Janeiro, o atleta Roberto Schmits, do tiro ao prato, desabafou ao sair da prova em 15º lugar: “Eu saio de casa para trabalhar. O tiro ao prato não é militar. Poderia ser, mas não é. Desde setembro minha família é baseada na renda da minha esposa”.

Atualmente, 670 militares fazem parte do Programa Atletas de Alto Rendimento, mas apenas 76 – 11,3% – são militares de carreira

Os Estados Unidos também possuem um programa militar para esportes, o World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). No entanto, o programa, criado em 1948, segue o fluxo completamente oposto ao modelo adotado por Alemanha, Rússia e Brasil. “Em vez de recrutar atletas, ele dá a oportunidade a soldados para treinar e demonstrar que ele ou ela já atingiu um status de elite. No entanto, sua principal responsabilidade é militar”, explica o especialista britânico Mick Green em seu estudo. Ou seja, caso sejam convocados, devem parar de treinar para servir, o que não acontece com os brasileiros.

Atualmente, 670 militares fazem parte do Programa Atletas de Alto Rendimento, mas apenas 76 são militares de carreira. Os outros 594 são temporários. O período máximo de serviço para militares temporários é de oito anos, renováveis, ou não, a cada 12 meses.

Arthur Zanetti durante cerimônia de premiação da prova de argolas masculino, no Rio de Janeiro.

Foto: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Essa espécie de patente temporária foi o alvo de reclamações do técnico Marcos Goto, que orienta o ginasta Arthur Zanetti, militar há apenas um mês. “Eles não treinam lá, são apenas contratados por eles. Quem dá treino para os atletas sou eu, não os militares”, criticou o técnico após seu atleta, que é Sargento da Força Aérea, prestar continência no pódio.

Os atletas são selecionados por seu desempenho em competições nacionais e internacionais, depois frequentam um Estágio de Habilitação para Praças por 45 dias. Neste treinamento, constam disciplinas sobre prestação do serviço militar, obrigações, direitos e deveres do militar, conduta sobre uniformes, postos e graduações, tiro e sobrevivência. Em paralelo, podem continuar treinando e competindo por seus clubes enquanto recebem todos os benefícios da carreira, como soldo de cerca de R$ 3 mil, 13º salário, plano de saúde, férias, direito à assistência médica, incluindo nutricionista e fisioterapeuta, além de disporem de todas as instalações esportivas militares.

O sargento da Força Aérea Zanetti, por exemplo, treina desde os sete anos na Associação de Ginástica di Thiene, criada em 1993 por uma organização de pais e professores em São Caetano do Sul (SP). Já o sargento do Exército Felipe Wu treinava em casa, em São Paulo, até o ano passado, alternando com viagens aos fins de semana Clube de Campo Santa Mônica, em Curitiba (PR). A menos de um ano dos jogos, no final de setembro, foi convidado para treinar no Clube Hebraica, em São Paulo. Ambos respondem às Comissões de Desporto de suas respectivas instituições, à distância.

Segundo o almirante Zuccaro, “a profissão deles é ser atleta, assim como a Marinha, o Exército e a Aeronáutica têm médicos, advogados e dentistas”. A diferença é que médicos, advogados e dentistas são pessoas necessárias a qualquer Força Armada, com funções diretamente ligadas ao trabalho militar, principalmente em momentos de confronto. Já um atleta de vôlei de praia, por exemplo, qual seria sua função, além de propaganda?

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The post Forças Armadas investem na própria imagem ao “patrocinar” atletas olímpicos appeared first on The Intercept.

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