position:spy

  • How Chinese spy app allows officials to harvest personal data
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/02/how-chinese-spy-app-allows-officials-to-harvest-personal-data

    Intrusive software collects emails and texts and could be used to track movement The tourists travelling into China were never supposed to know their phones had been compromised. The surveillance app being installed on their devices should have been removed by the border officers tasked with the job. But their apparent carelessness has provided a rare insight into the techniques used by China to snoop on visitors and the kind of information being harvested from their phones. Reverse (...)

    #smartphone #spyware #géolocalisation #surveillance #voyageurs

    ##voyageurs

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/6e1c1ffe12d887d51547dd34edf6a42b797c7c32/0_55_2007_1204/master/2007.jpg

  • How Israeli spies are flooding Facebook and Twitter | The Electronic Intifada
    https://electronicintifada.net/content/how-israeli-spies-are-flooding-facebook-and-twitter/27596

    Act.IL is run by a former Israeli spy who has argued that his outfit is involved in “a new kind of war.”

    While Act.IL publicly denies being supported by the Israeli government, the group’s chief executive has admitted in Hebrew to working closely with Israeli ministries, and in English that his staff are mostly former Israeli spies.

    His name is Yarden Ben Yosef. Last year, he explained his group’s methods in an article for a journal aimed at Israeli diplomats. He lamented that – in #Gaza that May – “the Palestinian narrative prevailed in world media over the Israeli one.”

    Israeli snipers had massacred more than 60 unarmed Palestinian protesters on a single day during the Great March of Return protests, injuring thousands more.

    Ben Yosef advocated for “inserting ourselves” into online discussions, because readers nowadays see the comments section under articles published by websites as part of the story.

    Using sophisticated “monitoring software,” he wrote, Act.IL closely watched news and social media the week before the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem – one of the triggers for the Palestinian protests.

    Ben Yosef explained that “controlling the online media discussion became our top priority.”

    He claimed victory in these efforts, successfully “bumping the pro-Israeli comments to the top of the list in 85 percent of the cases.”

    #hasbara #propagande #Palestine

  • Spy used AI-generated face to connect with targets
    https://mamot.fr/system/media_attachments/files/004/862/107/original/0f2b67672f8aa011.mp4

    Last month I my attention was drawn to something suspicious: A fake LinkedIn profile connecting to Washington think tank types and senior US officials.

    Even weirder: Her face itself appeared to be fake.

    https://apnews.com/bc2f19097a4c4fffaa00de6770b8a60d

    via https://social.tcit.fr/@manhack/102274512502562853

  • U.S. and Russia trade blame over near collision in East Asian waters - Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-navy-incident-idUSKCN1T80LR
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QeNcKRkvDY

    Russia and the United States blamed each other for a near collision between their warships in East Asian waters on Friday with both countries accusing one another of dangerous and unprofessional behavior.

    Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Washington would lodge a formal diplomatic protest to Russia, while a senior Russian parliamentarian said such episodes could easily escalate tensions, which he said were already balanced “on a razor’s edge”.

    Russia’s Pacific Fleet said that the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, had come within just 50 meters (165 feet) of the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov which was forced to take emergency action to avoid a collision, Russian news agencies reported.

    They cited a Russian Pacific Fleet statement as saying the incident took place in the early hours of Friday morning in the eastern part of the East China Sea at a time when a group of Russian warships was on a parallel course with a U.S. naval strike group.

    The U.S guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville suddenly changed course and cut across the path of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov coming within 50 meters of the ship,” the statement said.

    A protest over the international radio frequency was made to the commanders of the American ship who were warned about the unacceptable nature of such actions,” it said.

    The U.S. Navy rejected that version of events, saying the behavior of the Russian ship had been “unsafe and unprofessional”.

    While operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer ... made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville,” U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman Commander Clayton Doss said.

    This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision.

    He described a Russian assertion that the U.S. ship had acted dangerously as “propaganda”. The Russian destroyer came within 50 to 100 feet of the Chancellorsville, he said, putting the safety of its crew and the ship at risk.

    Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Shanahan said Washington would formally protest.

    We’ll have military-to-military conversations with the Russians, and of course we’ll demarche them, but to me safety at the end of the day is the most important (part),” he told reporters outside the Pentagon.

    It will not deter us from conducting our operations.

    The incident comes days after Washington and Moscow sparred over an allegedly unsafe spy plane intercept by a Russian fighter jet near Syria.

    Alexei Pushkov, a senior Russian parliamentarian, said the near naval miss and other incidents like it were dangerous.

    We’re balancing on a razor’s edge,” he wrote on social media.

    Pour les Russes, ça s’est passé à l’est de la #Mer_de_Chine_orientale, pour les États-Uniens en #mer_des_Philippines


    WP


    WP

    • Vues de l’hélicoptère de l’USS Chancellorsville :


      et

      sur le site de la Marine états-unienne, ainsi que le communiqué.
      7th Fleet Statement on Unsafe Maneuver by Russian Destroyer
      /submit/display.asp ?story_id=109833

      PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) — At approximately 11:45 am on June 7, 2019 while operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer (UDALOY I DD 572) made an unsafe maneuver against guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), closing to approximately 50-100 feet putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk. 

      While USS Chancellorsville was recovering its helicopter on a steady course and speed when the Russian ship DD572 maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville accelerated and closed to an unsafe distance of approximately 50-100 feet. This unsafe action forced USS Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision. 
      We consider Russia’s actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional and not in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), “Rules of the Road,” and internationally recognized maritime customs.

    • Les images aériennes sont impressionnantes et montrent bien qu’on est passé tout près d’une collision. Ce dont ne rendent absolument pas compte les vidéos tournées de la passerelle du Chancellorsville où l’on ne voit que les deux navires en route parallèle. On jurerait presque qu’ils sont en manœuvre de ravitaillement à la mer…

      Les sillages montrent sans ambiguïté que c’est le navire russe qui a manœuvré in extremis. Tout le reste est difficile à interpréter.

      • d’après les É.-U., le Chancellorsville récupère son hélicoptère. Or d’après les images celui-ci est déjà à une distance certaine sur l’avant du navire. On pourrait imaginer qu’il a interrompu son approche (forcément par l’arrière) au vu de l’incertitude de la situation tactique, en ce cas je ne connais pas la procédure de dégagement, certainement une reprise d’altitude, mais dans quelle direction relative au navire ? Ça me paraît étonnant que l’hélico puisse se retrouver aussi loin sur l’avant aussi rapidement.

      Quant à l’application des règles de route du #RIPAM, elle ne me paraît pas aussi évidente que certains commentateurs l’affirment.
      • certes le russe est sur le tribord de l’états-unien, ce qui normalement oblige ce dernier à laisser le passage, mais,…
      • s’il est en route aviation pour l’appontement de son hélico (cf. premier point, douteux) il est alors en manœuvrabilité restreinte et il doit en arborer à son mat la marque (1 boule, 1 icône, 1 boule superposées .
      • on peut aussi se poser la question de l’angle entre les deux sillages. S’il fait moins de 67,5° (de nuit, le russe ne verrait que le feu de poupe, pas le feu de tribord), alors le navire russe est en situation de dépassement et c’est à lui de manœuvrer. Dans le cas contraire, c’est à l’américain. _A priori
      , on est autour des 45°, mais la projection de l’angle due à la perspective vue de l’hélico rend l’évaluation malaisée.
      • enfin, il est aussi difficile de juger si le Chancellorsville bat effectivement en arrière toute. L’absence de sillage sur la deuxième image, alors que sur la première on en perçoit un léger, ainsi que l’écume sur l’arrière du bateau vont dans ce sens, mais des nuages commencent à s’interposer. Par ailleurs, sur les vidéos on ne perçoit pas vraiment de changement de la vitesse relative entre les deux bateaux.

      Au vu de tout ça, il me semble bien que l’Admiral Vinogradov est effectivement navire rattrapant et que la manœuvre qu’il effectue est extrêmement tardive…

  • Snapchat Employees Abused Data Access to Spy on Users
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xwnva7/snapchat-employees-abused-data-access-spy-on-users-snaplion

    Multiple sources and emails also describe SnapLion, an internal tool used by various departments to access Snapchat user data. Several departments inside social media giant Snap have dedicated tools for accessing user data, and multiple employees have abused their privileged access to spy on Snapchat users, Motherboard has learned. Two former employees said multiple Snap employees abused their access to Snapchat user data several years ago. Those sources, as well as an additional two (...)

    #famille #surveillance #géolocalisation #écoutes #SnapLion #Snapchat #Snap

  • ضابط إسرائيلي : قمنا باغتيال سمير القنطار في سوريا بمساعدة أحد قادة فصائل المعارضة السورية | رأي اليوم
    https://www.raialyoum.com/index.php/%d8%b6%d8%a7%d8%a8%d8%b7-%d8%a5%d8%b3%d8%b1%d8%a7%d8%a6%d9%8a%d9%84%d9%8a

    Un officier israélien à la retraite déclare sur une chaîne israélienne que l’assassinat de Samir Kountar, proche du Hezbollah, en 2015 à Damas a été rendu possible grâce à des informations d’un « membre de l’opposition syrienne »... On apprend aussi que des commandos israéliens se seraient infiltrés en Syrie en prétextant apporter des soins aux blessés syriens [de l’opposition on suppose].

    #syrie #israël

    • L’original du Jerusalem Post en anglais

      Mossad, Saudi intel officials get along well, says former chief - Arab-Israeli Conflict - Jerusalem Post
      https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Mossad-Saudi-intel-officials-get-along-well-says-former-chief-590531

      “You can be an enemy when you are walking from the room, but when you are sitting together, you can share your experience, you can talk a lot, and you can deal with many obstacles,” he continued.

      Mossad and Saudi Arabian intelligence agents communicate well, the agency’s former chief indirectly revealed in an interview with Intelligence Matters podcast host and former CIA director Michael Morell Wednesday.

      Discussing the strength of cooperation between agents of different countries’ intelligence agencies, Tamir Pardo started rattling off many of the usual suspects with whom the Mossad cooperates, and then unexpectedly tossed in the Saudis.

      Before talking about the relationship between the CIA and Israel and the United States, even to speak to Arab countries that you don’t have any kind of relation, when you meet people from your profession, it’s so easy, okay?” Pardo said.

      You can be an enemy when you are walking from the room, but when you are sitting together, you can share your experience, you can talk a lot, and you can deal with many obstacles,” he continued.

      Finally, Pardo said that when intelligence agencies “are looking for certain qualities, and whether you’re serving in the CIA, the MI6, or one of any other country, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, you need the same people, the same qualities. So it’s quite easy… They can fight each other very well, but they can talk and communicate very well.

      In November and December 2017, there was a flurry of rare public confirmation of contacts between Israel and the Saudis by former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, minister Yuval Steinitz and then-CIA director Mike Pompeo.

      However, Pardo’s statement dated the Israeli-Saudi intelligence cooperation back to an earlier period, since he served as Mossad director from 2011 until March 2016.

      Furthermore, Pardo’s statement was a much more personal reflection about his dealings with intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia and other countries – implying that Mossad-Saudi dealings are often similar to dealings with traditional allied intelligence agencies.

      Besides cooperation, Pardo reflected on the current tensions between Iran, Israel and the US.

      Asked by Morell if Iran sought “the elimination of the State of Israel,” he replied: “Look, that’s what they are stating, okay? I think that they know that that’s an illusion. Maybe it’s good for their own propaganda, and it might serve us if we want to do a few things, but it’s – come on. When they are facing reality, they will never be able to do it. It doesn’t matter which kind of weapon they’re going to hold.

      The reason, he said, is “because I believe that we know how to defend ourselves. We showed it when we were a very young country, against, let’s say, combined forces from all Arab countries. Now we have peace with some of them, and quite good relations with others. So I think that maybe for them, it’s a dream, but it’s more an illusion than a dream.

      Despite Pardo’s confidence that Iran does not endanger Israel’s existence, he did warn of multiple threats from the Islamic Republic.

      One is the nuclear program,” said the former Mossad chief. “The other [is] their vision that they’re going to have a corridor between Tehran and the Mediterranean Sea. And the third thing is [to] be dominant in many other countries by supporting minorities like they’re doing in Yemen, like they did in South America, in certain places in Africa.

      Pardo also told Morell that cyberattacks pose a major concern.

      I believe it’s the biggest threat that the free world, our planet, is dealing with these days,” the spy chief said. “You can compare it to a nuclear threat that we used to see during the Cold War days.

  • Upgraded Russian SPY PLANE makes maiden flight over US nuclear & military sites – report — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/457679-russian-spy-plane-us


    A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-214ON at Ramenskoye Airport in Moscow region.
    © Wikipedia / Oleg Belyakov

    A Russian Tu-214ON spy plane has reportedly made a reconnaissance tour over the southwestern US, taking a glimpse at an array of military bases as well as nuclear and chemical weapons depots as part of the #Open_Skies treaty.

    The Drive reported, citing FlightRadar 24 tracking service data, that the newest version of the Tu-214 observation aircraft graced US skies after taking off from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph, Missouri on Thursday.

    The flight reportedly lasted six hours and saw the surveillance aircraft fly over a series of US defense and storage facilities scattered over the territory of West Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. The plane is reported to have flown over the Kirtland Air Force Base, which hosts the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and functions as a nuclear storage site. In Colorado, the plane passed over the Pueblo Chemical Depot, one of the last two sites in the US with chemical munitions and materials.

    The flight itself had been authorized by the US under the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows its signatories to conduct short inspections of each other’s territory. The treaty was signed in 1992, but did not come into force until 2002. The US and Russia are among its 34 members.

    The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the details of the mission. Earlier, Sergey Ryzhkov, head of the Russian Center for Reduction of Nuclear Threat, announced that the Tu-214ON would be conducting surveillance from Missouri Airport between 22 April and April 27. Under the treaty, the flight has to be monitored by US specialists on board the plane.

    Washington eventually greenlighted the Tu-214ON flyover after initially refusing to certify the Russian “spy eye,” claiming that its digital surveillance equipment was more advanced than Moscow had declared and might manipulate digital data. After some back-and-forth, the US approved the plane for the flights over its territory in September last year.

    Tu-214ON is an updated version of the regular Tu-214. Its cockpit can fit two more people, which allowed the manufacturer to install more modern electronics. Its range has increased to a reported 6,500km (4,040 miles). The aircraft boasts three sensor arrays that include a digital photo camera, an infrared camera, and a TV camera complete with a sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar.

    • Il y a 2 mois, c’était en sens inverse.

      ‘Sign of good will’: US spy plane carries out 1st observation flights over Russia in 2 years — RT Russia News
      https://www.rt.com/russia/452169-us-open-skies-russia


      An American OC-135B taxiing to the runway
      © AFP / US AIR FORCE / CHARLES J. HAYMOND

      On Thursday and Friday, a US spy plane performs observation flights over Russia as part of the Open Skies pact, the first action of the kind in months. It can be also considered a sign of “good will” from Moscow, RT was told.
      The Pentagon has confirmed that an OC-135B plane, fitted with high-resolution cameras and infrared sensors, is indeed performing the flyovers, and that Moscow is fully aware of the action. The flights are the first since November 2017, according to spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis.

      He said Russia is aware of the flight and the American spy plane has six of the country’s military observers on board to ensure the mission goes according to the treaty. The Pentagon did not expand on this, nor did the Russian military comment on it.

      Moscow “is demonstrating goodwill” quite apart from treaty obligations by allowing an American plane in its airspace despite major strains in relations, Konstantin Sivkov, a military expert and retired navy officer, told RT. The US is unlikely to stick to the treaty for very long, as accords like this are seen as unnecessary restraints in Washington, he believes.

      The Open Skies Treaty, a crucial multinational accord that allows signatories to perform mutual surveillance flights, has recently been placed in jeopardy by US lawmakers. In August of last year, Congress suspended US-Russia ties under the pact, citing alleged violations by Moscow. The latter denied all of the claims.

      Separately, Washington also curbed funding for any modifications to America’s own surveillance planes. Technical glitches on the ageing US Open Skies aircraft have left the country unable to carry out its missions over Russia. In 2017, only 13 of the 16 missions were actually flown.

      The OC-135B, specifically built for Open Skies missions in 1993, is based up the OC-135 Stratolifter cargo plane. It seats 35, including cockpit crew, aircraft maintenance staff, and foreign observers.

      Russia uses the Tu-214 ON and the Tu-154 ON derived from civilian versions of Tupolev airliners. The former was finally cleared for Open Skies flights over the US last year after months of political flip-flops and media frenzy, with numerous publications claiming Russia benefits too much from the Open Skies initiative.

    • L’article original de The Drive cité par RT

      Russia’s New Surveillance Plane Just Flew Over Two Of America’s Top Nuclear Labs - The Drive
      https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/27678/russias-new-surveillance-plane-just-flew-over-two-of-americas-top-nuclear-


      The route across Los Alamos National Laboratory.
      FLIGHTRADAR24

      One Russia’s two Tu-214ON aircraft has conducted what appears to be its first-ever flight over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty. This agreement allows member states to conduct aerial surveillance missions, with certain limitations in hardware and in the presence of monitors from the surveilled country, over each other’s territory. Today’s sortie took the Russian plane over parts of West Texas, through New Mexico, and into Colorado, including overflights of Fort Bliss, White Sands Missile Range, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and finally hitting up the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

      et photos aériennes des différentes bases et sites avec trajectoire de l’avion de reconnaissance.

    • RF-64525 is set to depart Rosecrans at around 12:30 PM on Apr. 26, 2019 for another mission over areas of Colorado and Nebraska. This could take it over a number of other strategic sites, such as Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex bunker outside Colorado Springs.

      The plane is then scheduled to head back to Russia on Apr. 27, 2019, but with Open Skies back in full swing, we could easily be seeing one of the Kremlin’s surveillance planes come back later in the year for another visit.

  • Dolphins Seem to Use Toxic Pufferfish to Get High | Smart News | Smithsonian
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dolphins-seem-to-use-toxic-pufferfish-to-get-high-180948219

    Now, dolphins may join that list. Footage from a new BBC documentary series, “Spy in the Pod,” reveals what appears to be dolphins getting high off of pufferfish. Pufferfish produce a potent defensive chemical, which they eject when threatened. In small enough doses, however, the toxin seems to induce “a trance-like state” in dolphins that come into contact with it, the Daily News reports:

    The dolphins were filmed gently playing with the puffer, passing it between each other for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, unlike the fish they had caught as prey which were swiftly torn apart.

    Zoologist and series producer Rob Pilley said that it was the first time dolphins had been filmed behaving this way.

    At one point the dolphins are seen floating just underneath the water’s surface, apparently mesmerised by their own reflections.

    The dolphins’ expert, deliberate handling of the terrorized puffer fish, Pilley told the Daily News, implies that this is not their first time at the hallucinogenic rodeo.

  • New report exposes global reach of powerful governments who equip, finance and train other countries to spy on their populations

    Privacy International has today released a report that looks at how powerful governments are financing, training and equipping countries — including authoritarian regimes — with surveillance capabilities. The report warns that rather than increasing security, this is entrenching authoritarianism.

    Countries with powerful security agencies are spending literally billions to equip, finance, and train security and surveillance agencies around the world — including authoritarian regimes. This is resulting in entrenched authoritarianism, further facilitation of abuse against people, and diversion of resources from long-term development programmes.

    The report, titled ‘Teach ’em to Phish: State Sponsors of Surveillance’ is available to download here.

    Examples from the report include:

    In 2001, the US spent $5.7 billion in security aid. In 2017 it spent over $20 billion [1]. In 2015, military and non-military security assistance in the US amounted to an estimated 35% of its entire foreign aid expenditure [2]. The report provides examples of how US Departments of State, Defense, and Justice all facilitate foreign countries’ surveillance capabilities, as well as an overview of how large arms companies have embedded themselves into such programmes, including at surveillance training bases in the US. Examples provided include how these agencies have provided communications intercept and other surveillance technology, how they fund wiretapping programmes, and how they train foreign spy agencies in surveillance techniques around the world.

    The EU and individual European countries are sponsoring surveillance globally. The EU is already spending billions developing border control and surveillance capabilities in foreign countries to deter migration to Europe. For example, the EU is supporting Sudan’s leader with tens of millions of Euros aimed at capacity building for border management. The EU is now looking to massively increase its expenditure aimed at building border control and surveillance capabilities globally under the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework, which will determine its budget for 2021–2027. Other EU projects include developing the surveillance capabilities of security agencies in Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Iraq and elsewhere. European countries such as France, Germany, and the UK are sponsoring surveillance worldwide, for example, providing training and equipment to “Cyber Police Officers” in Ukraine, as well as to agencies in Saudi Arabia, and across Africa.

    Surveillance capabilities are also being supported by China’s government under the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and other efforts to expand into international markets. Chinese companies have reportedly supplied surveillance capabilities to Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador [3]. In Ecuador, China Electronics Corporation supplied a network of cameras — including some fitted with facial recognition capabilities — to the country’s 24 provinces, as well as a system to locate and identify mobile phones.

    Edin Omanovic, Privacy International’s Surveillance Programme Lead, said

    “The global rush to make sure that surveillance is as universal and pervasive as possible is as astonishing as it is disturbing. The breadth of institutions, countries, agencies, and arms companies that are involved shows how there is no real long-term policy or strategic thinking driving any of this. It’s a free-for-all, where capabilities developed by some of the world’s most powerful spy agencies are being thrown at anyone willing to serve their interests, including dictators and killers whose only goal is to cling to power.

    “If these ‘benefactor’ countries truly want to assist other countries to be secure and stable, they should build schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure, and promote democracy and human rights. This is what communities need for safety, security, and prosperity. What we don’t need is powerful and wealthy countries giving money to arms companies to build border control and surveillance infrastructure. This only serves the interests of those powerful, wealthy countries. As our report shows, instead of putting resources into long-term development solutions, such programmes further entrench authoritarianism and spur abuses around the world — the very things which cause insecurity in the first place.”

    https://privacyinternational.org/press-release/2161/press-release-new-report-exposes-global-reach-powerful-governm

    #surveillance #surveillance_de_masse #rapport

    Pour télécharger le rapport “Teach ’em to Phish: State Sponsors of Surveillance”:
    https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/Teach-em-to-Phish-report.pdf

    ping @fil

    • China Uses DNA to Track Its People, With the Help of American Expertise

      The Chinese authorities turned to a Massachusetts company and a prominent Yale researcher as they built an enormous system of surveillance and control.

      The authorities called it a free health check. Tahir Imin had his doubts.

      They drew blood from the 38-year-old Muslim, scanned his face, recorded his voice and took his fingerprints. They didn’t bother to check his heart or kidneys, and they rebuffed his request to see the results.

      “They said, ‘You don’t have the right to ask about this,’” Mr. Imin said. “‘If you want to ask more,’ they said, ‘you can go to the police.’”

      Mr. Imin was one of millions of people caught up in a vast Chinese campaign of surveillance and oppression. To give it teeth, the Chinese authorities are collecting DNA — and they got unlikely corporate and academic help from the United States to do it.

      China wants to make the country’s Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, more subservient to the Communist Party. It has detained up to a million people in what China calls “re-education” camps, drawing condemnation from human rights groups and a threat of sanctions from the Trump administration.

      Collecting genetic material is a key part of China’s campaign, according to human rights groups and Uighur activists. They say a comprehensive DNA database could be used to chase down any Uighurs who resist conforming to the campaign.

      Police forces in the United States and elsewhere use genetic material from family members to find suspects and solve crimes. Chinese officials, who are building a broad nationwide database of DNA samples, have cited the crime-fighting benefits of China’s own genetic studies.

      To bolster their DNA capabilities, scientists affiliated with China’s police used equipment made by Thermo Fisher, a Massachusetts company. For comparison with Uighur DNA, they also relied on genetic material from people around the world that was provided by #Kenneth_Kidd, a prominent #Yale_University geneticist.

      On Wednesday, #Thermo_Fisher said it would no longer sell its equipment in Xinjiang, the part of China where the campaign to track Uighurs is mostly taking place. The company said separately in an earlier statement to The New York Times that it was working with American officials to figure out how its technology was being used.

      Dr. Kidd said he had been unaware of how his material and know-how were being used. He said he believed Chinese scientists were acting within scientific norms that require informed consent by DNA donors.

      China’s campaign poses a direct challenge to the scientific community and the way it makes cutting-edge knowledge publicly available. The campaign relies in part on public DNA databases and commercial technology, much of it made or managed in the United States. In turn, Chinese scientists have contributed Uighur DNA samples to a global database, potentially violating scientific norms of consent.

      Cooperation from the global scientific community “legitimizes this type of genetic surveillance,” said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who has closely tracked the use of American technology in Xinjiang.

      Swabbing Millions

      In Xinjiang, in northwestern China, the program was known as “#Physicals_for_All.”

      From 2016 to 2017, nearly 36 million people took part in it, according to Xinhua, China’s official news agency. The authorities collected DNA samples, images of irises and other personal data, according to Uighurs and human rights groups. It is unclear whether some residents participated more than once — Xinjiang has a population of about 24.5 million.

      In a statement, the Xinjiang government denied that it collects DNA samples as part of the free medical checkups. It said the DNA machines that were bought by the Xinjiang authorities were for “internal use.”

      China has for decades maintained an iron grip in Xinjiang. In recent years, it has blamed Uighurs for a series of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, including a 2013 incident in which a driver struck two people in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

      In late 2016, the Communist Party embarked on a campaign to turn the Uighurs and other largely Muslim minority groups into loyal supporters. The government locked up hundreds of thousands of them in what it called job training camps, touted as a way to escape poverty, backwardness and radical Islam. It also began to take DNA samples.

      In at least some of the cases, people didn’t give up their genetic material voluntarily. To mobilize Uighurs for the free medical checkups, police and local cadres called or sent them text messages, telling them the checkups were required, according to Uighurs interviewed by The Times.

      “There was a pretty strong coercive element to it,” said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at the University of Washington who studies the plight of the Uighurs. “They had no choice.”

      Calling Dr. Kidd

      Kenneth Kidd first visited China in 1981 and remained curious about the country. So when he received an invitation in 2010 for an expenses-paid trip to visit Beijing, he said yes.

      Dr. Kidd is a major figure in the genetics field. The 77-year-old Yale professor has helped to make DNA evidence more acceptable in American courts.

      His Chinese hosts had their own background in law enforcement. They were scientists from the Ministry of Public Security — essentially, China’s police.

      During that trip, Dr. Kidd met Li Caixia, the chief forensic physician of the ministry’s Institute of Forensic Science. The relationship deepened. In December 2014, Dr. Li arrived at Dr. Kidd’s lab for an 11-month stint. She took some DNA samples back to China.

      “I had thought we were sharing samples for collaborative research,” said Dr. Kidd.

      Dr. Kidd is not the only prominent foreign geneticist to have worked with the Chinese authorities. Bruce Budowle, a professor at the University of North Texas, says in his online biography that he “has served or is serving” as a member of an academic committee at the ministry’s Institute of Forensic Science.

      Jeff Carlton, a university spokesman, said in a statement that Professor Budowle’s role with the ministry was “only symbolic in nature” and that he had “done no work on its behalf.”

      “Dr. Budowle and his team abhor the use of DNA technology to persecute ethnic or religious groups,” Mr. Carlton said in the statement. “Their work focuses on criminal investigations and combating human trafficking to serve humanity.”

      Dr. Kidd’s data became part of China’s DNA drive.

      In 2014, ministry researchers published a paper describing a way for scientists to tell one ethnic group from another. It cited, as an example, the ability to distinguish Uighurs from Indians. The authors said they used 40 DNA samples taken from Uighurs in China and samples from other ethnic groups from Dr. Kidd’s Yale lab.

      In patent applications filed in China in 2013 and 2017, ministry researchers described ways to sort people by ethnicity by screening their genetic makeup. They took genetic material from Uighurs and compared it with DNA from other ethnic groups. In the 2017 filing, researchers explained that their system would help in “inferring the geographical origin from the DNA of suspects at crime scenes.”

      For outside comparisons, they used DNA samples provided by Dr. Kidd’s lab, the 2017 filing said. They also used samples from the 1000 Genomes Project, a public catalog of genes from around the world.

      Paul Flicek, member of the steering committee of the 1000 Genomes Project, said that its data was unrestricted and that “there is no obvious problem” if it was being used as a way to determine where a DNA sample came from.

      The data flow also went the other way.

      Chinese government researchers contributed the data of 2,143 Uighurs to the Allele Frequency Database, an online search platform run by Dr. Kidd that was partly funded by the United States Department of Justice until last year. The database, known as Alfred, contains DNA data from more than 700 populations around the world.

      This sharing of data could violate scientific norms of informed consent because it is not clear whether the Uighurs volunteered their DNA samples to the Chinese authorities, said Arthur Caplan, the founding head of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s School of Medicine. He said that “no one should be in a database without express consent.”

      “Honestly, there’s been a kind of naïveté on the part of American scientists presuming that other people will follow the same rules and standards wherever they come from,” Dr. Caplan said.

      Dr. Kidd said he was “not particularly happy” that the ministry had cited him in its patents, saying his data shouldn’t be used in ways that could allow people or institutions to potentially profit from it. If the Chinese authorities used data they got from their earlier collaborations with him, he added, there is little he can do to stop them.

      He said he was unaware of the filings until he was contacted by The Times.

      Dr. Kidd also said he considered his collaboration with the ministry to be no different from his work with police and forensics labs elsewhere. He said governments should have access to data about minorities, not just the dominant ethnic group, in order to have an accurate picture of the whole population.

      As for the consent issue, he said the burden of meeting that standard lay with the Chinese researchers, though he said reports about what Uighurs are subjected to in China raised some difficult questions.

      “I would assume they had appropriate informed consent on the samples,” he said, “though I must say what I’ve been hearing in the news recently about the treatment of the Uighurs raises concerns.”
      Machine Learning

      In 2015, Dr. Kidd and Dr. Budowle spoke at a genomics conference in the Chinese city of Xi’an. It was underwritten in part by Thermo Fisher, a company that has come under intense criticism for its equipment sales in China, and Illumina, a San Diego company that makes gene sequencing instruments. Illumina did not respond to requests for comment.

      China is ramping up spending on health care and research. The Chinese market for gene-sequencing equipment and other technologies was worth $1 billion in 2017 and could more than double in five years, according to CCID Consulting, a research firm. But the Chinese market is loosely regulated, and it isn’t always clear where the equipment goes or to what uses it is put.

      Thermo Fisher sells everything from lab instruments to forensic DNA testing kits to DNA mapping machines, which help scientists decipher a person’s ethnicity and identify diseases to which he or she is particularly vulnerable. China accounted for 10 percent of Thermo Fisher’s $20.9 billion in revenue, according to the company’s 2017 annual report, and it employs nearly 5,000 people there.

      “Our greatest success story in emerging markets continues to be China,” it said in the report.

      China used Thermo Fisher’s equipment to map the genes of its people, according to five Ministry of Public Security patent filings.

      The company has also sold equipment directly to the authorities in Xinjiang, where the campaign to control the Uighurs has been most intense. At least some of the equipment was intended for use by the police, according to procurement documents. The authorities there said in the documents that the machines were important for DNA inspections in criminal cases and had “no substitutes in China.”

      In February 2013, six ministry researchers credited Thermo Fisher’s Applied Biosystems brand, as well as other companies, with helping to analyze the DNA samples of Han, Uighur and Tibetan people in China, according to a patent filing. The researchers said understanding how to differentiate between such DNA samples was necessary for fighting terrorism “because these cases were becoming more difficult to crack.”

      The researchers said they had obtained 95 Uighur DNA samples, some of which were given to them by the police. Other samples were provided by Uighurs voluntarily, they said.

      Thermo Fisher was criticized by Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and others who asked the Commerce Department to prohibit American companies from selling technology to China that could be used for purposes of surveillance and tracking.

      On Wednesday, Thermo Fisher said it would stop selling its equipment in Xinjiang, a decision it said was “consistent with Thermo Fisher’s values, ethics code and policies.”

      “As the world leader in serving science, we recognize the importance of considering how our products and services are used — or may be used — by our customers,” it said.

      Human rights groups praised Thermo Fisher’s move. Still, they said, equipment and information flows into China should be better monitored, to make sure the authorities elsewhere don’t send them to Xinjiang.

      “It’s an important step, and one hopes that they apply the language in their own statement to commercial activity across China, and that other companies are assessing their sales and operations, especially in Xinjiang,” said Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch.

      American lawmakers and officials are taking a hard look at the situation in Xinjiang. The Trump administration is considering sanctions against Chinese officials and companies over China’s treatment of the Uighurs.

      China’s tracking campaign unnerved people like Tahir Hamut. In May 2017, the police in the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang drew the 49-year-old Uighur’s blood, took his fingerprints, recorded his voice and took a scan of his face. He was called back a month later for what he was told was a free health check at a local clinic.

      Mr. Hamut, a filmmaker who is now living in Virginia, said he saw between 20 to 40 Uighurs in line. He said it was absurd to think that such frightened people had consented to submit their DNA.

      “No one in this situation, not under this much pressure and facing such personal danger, would agree to give their blood samples for research,” Mr. Hamut said. “It’s just inconceivable.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/business/china-xinjiang-uighur-dna-thermo-fisher.html?action=click&module=MoreInSect
      #USA #Etats-Unis #ADN #DNA #Ouïghours #université #science #génétique #base_de_données

  • Undercover agents target cybersecurity watchdog who detailed Israeli firm NSO’s link to #Khashoggi scandal
    Haaretz.Com
    https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-undercover-agents-target-watchdog-who-detailed-israeli-firm-nso-s-

    Operatives with fake identities are pursuing members of #Citizen_Lab, the group that uncovered the connection between Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and Israel’s surveillance company #NSO
    The Associated Press | Jan. 26, 2019 | 4:19 PM

    The researchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle before his gruesome death are being targeted in turn by international undercover operatives, The Associated Press has found.

    Twice in the past two months, men masquerading as socially conscious investors have lured members of the Citizen Lab internet watchdog group to meetings at luxury hotels to quiz them for hours about their work exposing Israeli surveillance and the details of their personal lives. In both cases, the researchers believe they were secretly recorded.

    Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert described the stunts as “a new low.”

    “We condemn these sinister, underhanded activities in the strongest possible terms,” he said in a statement Friday. “Such a deceitful attack on an academic group like the Citizen Lab is an attack on academic freedom everywhere.”

    Who these operatives are working for remains a riddle, but their tactics recall those of private investigators who assume elaborate false identities to gather intelligence or compromising material on critics of powerful figures in government or business.

    Citizen Lab, based out of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, has for years played a leading role in exposing state-backed hackers operating in places as far afield as Tibet , Ethiopia and Syria . Lately the group has drawn attention for its repeated exposés of an Israeli surveillance software vendor called the NSO Group, a firm whose wares have been used by governments to target journalists in Mexico , opposition figures in Panama and human rights activists in the Middle East .

    In October, Citizen Lab reported that an iPhone belonging to one of Khashoggi’s confidantes had been infected by the NSO’s signature spy software only months before Khashoggi’s grisly murder. The friend, Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, would later claim that the hacking had exposed Khashoggi’s private criticisms of the Saudi royal family to the Arab kingdom’s spies and thus “played a major role” in his death.

    In a statement, NSO denied having anything to do with the undercover operations targeting Citizen Lab, “either directly or indirectly” and said it had neither hired nor asked anyone to hire private investigators to pursue the Canadian organization. “Any suggestion to the contrary is factually incorrect and nothing more than baseless speculation,” NSO said.

    NSO has long denied that its software was used to target Khashoggi, although it has refused to comment when asked whether it has sold its software to the Saudi government more generally.

    The first message reached Bahr Abdul Razzak, a Syrian refugee who works as a Citizen Lab researcher, Dec. 6, when a man calling himself Gary Bowman got in touch via LinkedIn. The man described himself as a South African financial technology executive based in Madrid.

    “I came across your profile and think that the work you’ve done helping Syrian refugees and your extensive technical background could be a great fit for our new initiative,” Bowman wrote.

    Abdul Razzak said he thought the proposal was a bit odd, but he eventually agreed to meet the man at Toronto’s swanky Shangri-La Hotel on the morning of Dec. 18.

    The conversation got weird very quickly, Abdul Razzak said.

    Instead of talking about refugees, Abdul Razzak said, Bowman grilled him about his work for Citizen Lab and its investigations into the use of NSO’s software. Abdul Razzak said Bowman appeared to be reading off cue cards, asking him if he was earning enough money and throwing out pointed questions about Israel, the war in Syria and Abdul Razzak’s religiosity.

    “Do you pray?” Abdul Razzak recalled Bowman asking. “Why do you write only about NSO?” ’’Do you write about it because it’s an Israeli company?" ’’Do you hate #Israel?"

    Abdul Razzak said he emerged from the meeting feeling shaken. He alerted his Citizen Lab colleagues, who quickly determined that the breakfast get-together had been a ruse. Bowman’s supposed Madrid-based company, FlameTech, had no web presence beyond a LinkedIn page, a handful of social media profiles and an entry in the business information platform Crunchbase. A reverse image search revealed that the profile picture of the man listed as FlameTech’s chief executive, Mauricio Alonso, was a stock photograph.

    “My immediate gut feeling was: ’This is a fake,’” said John Scott-Railton, one of Abdul Razzak’s colleagues.

    Scott-Railton flagged the incident to the AP, which confirmed that FlameTech was a digital facade.

    Searches of the Orbis database of corporate records, which has data on some 300 million global companies, turned up no evidence of a Spanish firm called FlameTech or Flame Tech or any company anywhere in the world matching its description. Similarly, the AP found no record of FlameTech in Madrid’s official registry or of a Gary Bowman in the city’s telephone listings. An Orbis search for Alonso, the supposed chief executive, also drew a blank. When an AP reporter visited Madrid’s Crystal Tower high-rise, where FlameTech claimed to have 250 sq. meters (2,700 sq. feet) of office space, he could find no trace of the firm and calls to the number listed on its website went unanswered.

    The AP was about to publish a story about the curious company when, on Jan. 9, Scott-Railton received an intriguing message of his own.

    This time the contact came not from Bowman of FlameTech but from someone who identified himself as Michel Lambert, a director at the Paris-based agricultural technology firm CPW-Consulting.

    Lambert had done his homework. In his introductory email , he referred to Scott-Railton’s early doctoral research on kite aerial photography — a mapping technique using kite-mounted cameras — and said he was “quite impressed.

    We have a few projects and clients coming up that could significantly benefit from implementing Kite Aerial Photography,” he said.

    Like FlameTech, CPW-Consulting was a fiction. Searches of Orbis and the French commercial court registry Infogreffe turned up no trace of the supposedly Paris-based company or indeed of any Paris-based company bearing the acronym CPW. And when the AP visited CPW’s alleged office there was no evidence of the company; the address was home to a mainly residential apartment building. Residents and the building’s caretaker said they had never heard of the firm.

    Whoever dreamed up CPW had taken steps to ensure the illusion survived a casual web search, but even those efforts didn’t bear much scrutiny. The company had issued a help wanted ad, for example, seeking a digital mapping specialist for their Paris office, but Scott-Railton discovered that the language had been lifted almost word-for-word from an ad from an unrelated company seeking a mapping specialist in London. A blog post touted CPW as a major player in Africa, but an examination of the author’s profile suggests the article was the only one the blogger had ever written.

    When Lambert suggested an in-person meeting in New York during a Jan. 19 phone call , Scott-Railton felt certain that Lambert was trying to set him up.

    But Scott-Railton agreed to the meeting. He planned to lay a trap of his own.

    Anyone watching Scott-Railton and Lambert laughing over wagyu beef and lobster bisque at the Peninsula Hotel’s upscale restaurant on Thursday afternoon might have mistaken the pair for friends.

    In fact, the lunch was Spy vs. Spy. Scott-Railton had spent the night before trying to secret a homemade camera into his tie, he later told AP, eventually settling for a GoPro action camera and several recording devices hidden about his person. On the table, Lambert had placed a large pen in which Scott-Railton said he spotted a tiny camera lens peeking out from an opening in the top.

    Lambert didn’t seem to be alone. At the beginning of the meal, a man sat behind him, holding up his phone as if to take pictures and then abruptly left the restaurant, having eaten nothing. Later, two or three men materialized at the bar and appeared to be monitoring proceedings.

    Scott-Railton wasn’t alone either. A few tables away, two Associated Press journalists were making small talk as they waited for a signal from Scott-Railton, who had invited the reporters to observe the lunch from nearby and then interview Lambert near the end of the meal.

    The conversation began with a discussion of kites, gossip about African politicians, and a detour through Scott-Railton’s family background. But Lambert, just like Bowman, eventually steered the talk to Citizen Lab and NSO.

    “Work drama? Tell me, I like drama!” Lambert said at one point, according to Scott-Railton’s recording of the conversation. “Is there a big competition between the people inside Citizen Lab?” he asked later.

    Like Bowman, Lambert appeared to be working off cue cards and occasionally made awkward conversational gambits. At one point he repeated a racist French expression, insisting it wasn’t offensive. He also asked Scott-Railton questions about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and whether he grew up with any Jewish friends. At another point he asked whether there might not be a “racist element” to Citizen Lab’s interest in Israeli spyware.

    After dessert arrived, the AP reporters approached Lambert at his table and asked him why his company didn’t seem to exist.
    He seemed to stiffen.

    “I know what I’m doing,” Lambert said, as he put his files — and his pen — into a bag. Then he stood up, bumped into a chair and walked off, saying “Ciao” and waving his hand, before returning because he had neglected to pay the bill.

    As he paced around the restaurant waiting for the check, Lambert refused to answer questions about who he worked for or why no trace of his firm could be found.

    “I don’t have to give you any explanation,” he said. He eventually retreated to a back room and closed the door.

    Who Lambert and Bowman really are isn’t clear. Neither men returned emails, LinkedIn messages or phone calls. And despite their keen focus on NSO the AP has found no evidence of any link to the Israeli spyware merchant, which is adamant that it wasn’t involved.

    The kind of aggressive investigative tactics used by the mystery men who targeted Citizen Lab have come under fire in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal. Black Cube, an Israeli private investigation firm apologized after The New Yorker and other media outlets revealed that the company’s operatives had used subterfuge and dirty tricks to help the Hollywood mogul suppress allegations of rape and sexual assault.

    Scott-Railton and Abdul Razzak said they didn’t want to speculate about who was involved. But both said they believed they were being steered toward making controversial comments that could be used to blacken Citizen Lab’s reputation.

    “It could be they wanted me to say, ’Yes, I hate Israel,’ or ’Yes, Citizen Lab is against NSO because it’s Israeli,’” said Abdul Razzak.
    Scott-Railton said the elaborate, multinational operation was gratifying, in a way.

    “People were paid to fly to a city to sit you down to an expensive meal and try to convince you to say bad things about your work, your colleagues and your employer,” he said.

    “That means that your work is important.”

  • Ex-U.S. marine held in Russia for spying was misled, says lawyer | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-espionage-whelan-idUSKCN1PG0Y4


    Former U.S. marine Paul Whelan, who was detained by Russia’s FSB security service on suspicion of spying, looks out of a defendants’ cage before a court hearing in Moscow, Russia January 22, 2019.
    REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

    The lawyer for a former U.S. marine accused of spying by Russia said on Tuesday that his client had been misled before his arrest and believed that a thumb drive handed to him in a hotel room had contained holiday snaps rather than secret information.

    Russia’s Federal Security Serviced detained Paul Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, in a Moscow hotel room on Dec. 28.

    Whelan appeared in a Moscow court on Tuesday, where a judge rejected a release on bail. If found guilty of espionage, he could be jailed for up to 20 years.

    Whelan, who denies the charges, was detained after receiving a thumb drive containing a list of all the employees of a secret Russian state agency, the Russian online news portal Rosbalt.ru reported this month.

    Rosbalt cited an unnamed Russian intelligence source as saying that Whelan had been spying for 10 years, using the internet to identify targets from whom he could obtain information, and that the list he was caught with had long been of interest to U.S. spies.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared to support that version of events, later telling reporters Whelan had been “caught red-handed” carrying out “specific illegal actions” in his hotel room.

    But Vladimir Zherebenkov, Whelan’s lawyer, said on Tuesday that his client had accepted the information unknowingly.

    Paul was actually meant to receive information from an individual that was not classified,” Zherebenkov told reporters.

    These were cultural things, a trip to a cathedral, Paul’s holiday ... photographs. But as it turned out, it (the thumb drive) contained classified information.”

    The lawyer said Whelan had not been able to see what was on the thumb drive because he had been detained before he had a chance to do so.

    • McFaul: Whelan’s Arrest Is ‘Very Strange’ – Foreign Policy
      (article du 8/01/2019)
      https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/01/08/mcfaul-whelans-arrest-is-very-strange

      The former U.S. ambassador to Russia says the former Marine’s detention doesn’t fit the pattern of previous ones.
      […]
      _FP_spoke to former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who has himself been harshly criticized by the Russian government, about his experience in dealing with such arrests and why he has many unanswered questions about Paul Whelan’s detention. What follows is an edited version of that conversation.
      […]
      FP: What for you is still to be answered? What are the big questions?
      MM: Well the biggest one is what espionage was he doing. The story in the Russian press is quite convoluted, that he was asking for the names of some low-level officials on a USB drive. But you know that sounds all very strange to me. And again, the Russians are very good at counterintelligence—probably one of the best countries in the world at running that. They have extremely effective and pervasive monitoring systems in that country. If they caught him red-handed in this act, why haven’t we seen those photos? Why haven’t we seen tapes? That’s strange to me. And, by the way, they oftentimes make up this stuff. So it’s also even strange to me that they haven’t given us the made-up stuff as they’ve done with other people that they’ve detained. I want to learn more. This does not strike me as somebody familiar with intelligence operations in Russia. Mr. Whelan doesn’t strike me as a typical spy given his background. This doesn’t fit what I typically think of an intelligence operation inside Russia, which is a very risky place to do any kinds of operations. It doesn’t fit the normal standard operating procedure for me.
      […]
      FP: Is it unusual that we haven’t heard from the president or the White House on this?
      MM: No, I don’t know if it’s unusual or not. It’s striking to me how little the president’s talked about it. Not just talking about it but, do something about it. He has put forward a hypothesis about diplomacy that if he develops and nurtures these personal relationships with people like Putin, that will lead to concrete results that are good for the American people. He’s made that argument for years now. Well, here it is, here’s an American arrested.

      FP: Trump has made it a point in the past of getting Americans held abroad released, he’s been quite proud of that.
      MM: Exactly. Interacting with dictators and doing that as he did with the North Korean government. So, why not here? Maybe it’s happening behind the scenes, I don’t know, but I do think it’s odd.

  • Quantitative Look at the 2018 #cryptocurrency Market in 4 Graphs
    https://hackernoon.com/quantitative-look-at-the-2018-cryptocurrency-market-in-4-graphs-918ff073

    Plus, a Comparison to the Stock MarketNow that 2018 is over, I decided to take an objective look at the Crypto currency market from 4 important investment perspectives that Wall Street often looks at for most of its portfolios and investment decisions:Annual PerformanceTrading Volume (an indicator of liquidity)Volatility (an indicator of uncertainty and risk)Bitcoin correlations (is the crypto market diversified?)To make things interesting, I also add in S&P (using the SPY ETF) and 5 Tech stocks (Amazon, Tesla, Google, Apple, Facebook) to provide an unique and holistic picture for investors who invest across different asset classes and non-crypto investors who are curious.These four aspects are crucial to understand for investor success at both individual and institutional levels. (...)

    #data-science #crypto-stock-market #bitcoin #stock-market

  • The Chart That Broke Our Brains — Data For Progress
    https://www.dataforprogress.org/blog/2018/12/24/the-chart-that-broke-our-brains

    The New York Times recently published a piece that explored why many of the people who depend on government #assistance end up voting for Republicans, the one political party which is not only determined to cut all forms of government assistance but is openly hostile to the concept of government itself (at least the parts of government that don’t kill, imprison, or spy on people). The article offered several important insights, although we will add a few caveats to it here, but mostly the article caught our attention because of a very strange trendline on a chart.

    https://twitter.com/portereduardo/status/1076171039955144705/photo/1

    #données #vote #data

  • Matthew Hedges: jailed British academic pardoned by UAE | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/26/matthew-hedges-jailed-british-academic-pardoned-by-uae

    Faudra juste qu’il change de sujet de thèse.

    #Matthew_Hedges, the 31-year-old British academic jailed for life on espionage charges last week by the United Arab Emirates, has been granted a presidential pardon by the country’s rulers.

    His release once formalities are completed follows intense lobbying by the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, amid an international outcry that left the UAE scrambling to produce evidence to justify claims that Hedges was a spy.

    #émirats_arabs_unis #droits_humais #golfe

    • Par ailleurs,

      Some commentators predict that the Saudi crown prince is now so indebted to Trump that his support for the plan will be even more emphatic, but it’s more reasonable to assume that his newly-precarious hold on power will dissuade him from expressing emphatic support for a peace plan that is bound to enrage Palestinians as well as the proverbial “Arab street” in Riyadh, Mecca and other Arab cities.

      Netanyahu might actually welcome Saudi reticence that could help convince the Trump administration to hold off once again with its plan. The recent coalition crisis made it crystal clear that Netanyahu could be one of the first victims of his Washington BFF’s blueprint. Any peace plan published by the White House, even one viewed by Palestinians and the world as completely one-sided in Israel’s favor, will necessarily include relinquishment of territory, in East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank. It will be uniformly rejected by most of the Israeli right. Netanyahu is certainly loath to reject the fruit of Trump’s pro-Israel peace team’s labor, but anything less than a resounding “no” on his part could persuade even more voters to opt for parties to his right in the upcoming elections.

      The bottom line is that even the friendliest U.S. president in human history, as Netanyahu often describes him, is carrying a ticking time bomb that could soon blow up in the prime minister’s face. And as Netanyahu has recently learned from the botched military incursion in Gaza, the downing of the Russian plane and the horrid Khashoggi killing in Istanbul, unexpected developments can shake up the Middle East and demolish his image as its master manipulator. When lady luck thumbs her nose at the start of an election year, even the conventional wisdom about Netanyahu’s inevitable victory could dissipate in an instant, along with his hitherto-lauded grand strategies.

  • British academic accused of spying jailed for life in UAE | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/21/british-academic-matthew-hedges-accused-of-spying-jailed-for-life-in-ua

    Les terrains de thèse les plus risqués au monde : les Etats du Golfe.

    A British academic who has been accused of spying for the UK government in the United Arab Emirates after travelling to Dubai to conduct research has been sentenced to life in jail.

    Matthew Hedges, 31, has been in a UAE prison for more than six months. The Durham University student who went to the country to research his PhD thesis, was handed the sentence at an Abu Dhabi court in a hearing that lasted less than five minutes, and with no lawyer present.

    Hedges was detained in May at Dubai airport as he was leaving the country following a research trip, and was held in solitary confinement for five months.

    The UAE attorney general, Hamad al-Shamsi, said Hedges was accused of “spying for a foreign country, jeopardising the military, political and economic security of the state”.

    Hedges has denied the charges, and maintains that he was in the country to research the impact of the Arab spring on the UAE’s foreign policy.

  • War hero must sell his house to pay for care because ’he’s survived too long’ | Metro News
    https://metro.co.uk/2018/11/10/war-hero-must-sell-his-house-to-pay-for-care-because-hes-survived-too-long-


    Cet homme doit vendre sa maison parce qu’il a vécu trop longtemps. C’est encore un exemple pour la détérioration du système de soins au Royaume Uni.

    Bob Frost, from Sandwich, Kent, had hoped to pass the £300,000 property to his children but this may no longer be possible after his NHS funding was withdrawn when he recovered from an illness.

    Mr Frost is now in the care of Kent County Council social services, who told him he will have to contribute to his care.

    Mr Frost’s partner Mildred Schutz, 94, who is a former British spy, said he had saved £25,000 for himself but a relative stole it. The couple met 20 years ago but they don’t live together. Ms Shutz lives in London and visits him several times a month. Ms Shutz added: ‘I suppose you could say that we have become inseparable.’

    Mr Frost, who grew up in Camden, north London, was shot down by Nazis in 1942 while operating as a rear gunner in a jet for the RAF. He managed to evade capture until he was eventually smuggled to Spain and then made it to the British embassy. He added: ‘The Germans were after me, and the resistance were trying to help me,’

    #santé #retraites #viellesse #Royaume_Uni #guerre

  • Revealed: Israel’s cyber-spy industry helps world dictators hunt dissidents and gays

    Haaretz investigation spanning 100 sources in 15 countries reveals Israel has become a leading exporter of tools for spying on civilians. Dictators around the world – even in countries with no formal ties to Israel – use them eavesdrop on human rights activists, monitor emails, hack into apps and record conversations
    By Hagar Shezaf and Jonathan Jacobson Oct 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-s-cyber-spy-industry-aids-dictators-hunt-dissident

    During the summer of 2016, Santiago Aguirre divided his time between part-time university lecturing and working for an organization that helps locate missing people. Mexico was then in the news internationally because of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall on the American border with its southern neighbor. However, for Aguirre, a Mexican human rights activist, the problems of the present were far more pressing than any future wall. At the time, he was in the midst of a lengthy investigation to solve the mystery of the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 students in the city of Iguala two years before. It was becoming increasingly clear that his findings were incompatible with the results of the investigation conducted by the government.
    Aguirre wasn’t concerned when he received a series of text messages containing broken links. “Please help me with my brother, the police took him only because he is a teacher,” one message read. And another: “Professor, I encountered a problem. I am sending back my thesis, which is based on your dissertation, so that you can give me your comments.” The messages looked no different from many of the legitimate messages he received every day as part of his work. And therein lay the secret of their power. When Aguirre clicked on the links, however, he was inadvertently turning his smartphone into a surveillance device in the hands of the government.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

    “Those text messages had information that was personal,” Aguirre notes, “the kind of information that could make the message interesting for me so I would click. It wasn’t until later that I actually thought – well, it is actually pretty weird that I received three messages with broken links.”

    Mexican human rights activist Santiago Aguirre, left, and colleague Mario Patron. Centro Prodh
    The discovery had a brutally chilling effect on the work of his organization. For the first time, he says, speaking with Haaretz by phone, he really and truly feared that every step he took was being watched, and that perhaps his family too was under surveillance.
    “Over the past 10 years, we have a figure of around 30,000 people who disappeared” in Mexico, Aguirre explains. “Many places in Mexico are controlled by organized crime. It has under its influence and power the authorities of some regions of the country, so they use the police to detain and then disappear people that they think are the enemy. I can tell you of many examples in which the Mexican military, for example, has presented the work human rights defenders as [benefiting] the drug cartels and organized crime. So there’s a pattern of thinking about the human rights sector in Mexico as a sector that needs to be surveilled.”

    The public revelation of the fact that Aguirre was under surveillance was made possible by cooperation between Mexican organizations and the Canadian research institute Citizen Lab. It turned out that Aguirre was one of a group of 22 journalists, lawyers, politicians, researchers and activists who were being tracked by local authorities. An examination of Aguirre’s telephone revealed that the links in the text messages were related to Pegasus spyware, which the authorities were using.
    But how did Pegasus get to Mexico? The trail of the malware led to Herzliya Pituah, the prosperous Tel Aviv suburb that is one of the major hubs of Israel’s high-tech industry. It’s there, in a narrow stretch of land between Israel’s coastal highway and the Mediterranean Sea, that NSO Group, the company that developed this Trojan-horse program, has its headquarters. Pegasus, which Forbes magazine called “the world’s most invasive mobile spy kit” in 2016, allows almost unlimited monitoring, even commandeering, of cellphones: to discover the phone’s location, eavesdrop on it, record nearby conversations, photograph those in the vicinity of the phone, read and write text messages and emails, download apps and penetrate apps already in the phone, and access photographs, clips, calendar reminders and the contacts list. And all in total secrecy.
    Pegasus’ invasive capability was rapidly transformed into dazzling economic success. In 2014, less than five years after entering the world from a space in a chicken coop in Bnei Zion, a moshav in the country’s center, 70 percent of the company’s holdings were purchased for $130 million. The buyer was Francisco Partners, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, which specializes in high-tech investments. That deal followed Francisco Partners’ earlier purchases of Israeli firms Ex Libris and Dmatek, According to Reuters, a year after the NSO takeover, Francisco Partners enjoyed a profit of $75 million.
    But the big money of NSO is only a small part of the big picture. Within a few years, the Israeli espionage industry has become the spearhead of the global commerce in surveillance tools and communications interception. Today, every self-respecting governmental agency that has no respect for the privacy of its citizens, is equipped with spy capabilities created in Herzliya Pituah.

  • The Grand Refugee Hotel: The Sequel to My Grandfather’s Germany

    On a visit to one of Germany’s most radical refugee integration experiments, U.S. migration journalist and academic Daniela Gerson went in search of her family history and found an increasingly uneasy relationship between past and present.

    At the #Grand_Hotel_Cosmopolis, an African teenager served cappuccinos to European travelers below clocks telling the time in Kabul, Damascus, Grozny and other global centers of crisis.

    Lamin Saidy – sporting a style he described as “American proper” with tight jeans, lots of earrings and a big smile – was 13 when he fled violence in the Gambia. After he arrived in Germany as a refugee, he was told about this place, where tourists, asylum seekers and artists all share one building. The hotel is run by staff composed of a core group of resident German artists and a diverse team that includes volunteers who may be refugees like Saidy or local college students who want to join the experiment.

    Then, in the fall of 2016, at a meeting in Washington, D.C., on immigration, a public artist gave a presentation on cultural integration initiatives in #Augsburg like none I had seen in more than a decade of reporting on immigration in the United States and Europe.

    The artist flashed images of the migrant job center, cafe and immigrant rights organization called Tuer an Tuer, which helped convince the city to take a stance against large institutional centers. Instead, all asylum seekers in Augsburg have been housed in residences of 100 or fewer people. She also showed photos of the colorful, boundary-bending Grand Hotel. This was Augsburg? It was definitely not the city of my imagination.

    Soon after, my mother forwarded me an invitation. In summer 2017, there was going to be a gathering of Jews from Augsburg and their families to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the synagogue. I set off, eager to explore my family’s past and to see if a city I associated with historic brutality had succeeded in building a more welcoming society as a result.
    A Welcoming Nation

    When I arrived in Munich, the Bavarian capital, I borrowed a friend’s bike and pedaled down to the vast main train station. In 2015, in what was known as the Welcoming Summer, more than 1 million asylum seekers came to Germany and the station was full of arriving migrants. There was such an outpouring of public support for them that they had to close the station to donations.

    Two years later, the backlash was mounting. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had taken steps to slow the tide of arrivals, limiting countries from which people are eligible for asylum and speeding up deportations of people whose applications had been rejected.

    Munich’s size has helped mask the impact of the refugee influx. Augsburg, founded more than 2,000 years ago, is a different story. With a population approaching 300,000, and a popular destination for refugees and foreign laborers, it was a contender to become the first majority minority city in Germany. Now almost 50 percent residents have a “migration background.”

    After a quick train trip an hour east of Munich, I biked across Augsburg’s picture-perfect main square of churches and beer gardens, passing by women strolling in hijabs and Chechnyan kids racing in circles on scooters. And near one of the largest cathedrals, down a cobblestone street, I found the Grand Hotel Cosmopolis. On first impression, it hardly felt grand, but rather like the 1960s old-age home it once was, converted into a lively Berlin artists’ squatter house.

    In a sun-drenched garden, I joined two of the artist founders and a refugee artist for a vegetarian lunch cooked in the communal basement kitchen. As we ate, they explained that the building had been abandoned for six years when some local artists spotted it and inquired about renting it out as a temporary exhibition space. But the owners, a Protestant social enterprise, said they had already entered into negotiations with the government to house asylum seekers.

    That’s when the idea came up to merge the two concepts, and add a hotel. The artists take care of the hotel, cafe and ateliers. The social enterprise, with government support, provides housing for the migrants.

    Three days after the first asylum seekers moved in, it became clear to the artists this was not just a utopian experiment in aesthetics and communal living when the first deportation letter for one of its residents arrived. “Many of the artists stopped their artistic work,” one of my guides, Susa Gunzner, told me. Instead, they focused all of their energies on learning about immigration laws and how to help the refugees.

    After lunch, I toured the 12 uniquely designed hotel rooms: One was bordello hot pink, another constructed to feel like a container ship, a third had a forest growing through it. My stark room, with a long wooden bench of a bed and simple, low table, struck me as a very elegant prison cell.

    Three days after the first asylum seekers moved in, it became clear to the artists this was not just a utopian experiment in aesthetics and communal living when the first deportation letter for one of its residents arrived.

    Gunzner, who teamed up with an Iranian artist to create the room, told me it symbolized freedom. The room is a homage to a Persian woman who moved with her family to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and later became a spy against the Nazis. Gunzner pointed out illustrations of trees on the wall from Shiraz. “We are always trying to enrich each other and find out – sometimes through very slow processes – who the other person is,” she told me.

    Left on my own, I walked downstairs to the refugee floor, and passed a half-dozen or so baby carriages crowding the stairwell. I had been warned I was only allowed to intrude if an asylum seeker invited me in. The founders of the hotel like to say they “only have guests – with and without asylum.” I was also struck by the strangeness of putting us all in one building as fellow travelers: people on holiday rubbing elbows with people who have been running for their lives.

    Not far from Augsburg, in the aftermath of World War II, my other grandparents – on my father’s side – landed in a very different type of refugee camp, set up by the United Nations and largely funded by the United States. They were Polish Jews whose families had been slaughtered in the streets and in concentration camps. They survived the war in Siberian labor camps and in Uzbek villages, where my father was born.

    In the desperate limbo of the displaced persons camp, they created a community – my grandfather took part in local governance; my father remembers a pet dog, Blackie, a synagogue and a school. What would my grandmother have said if artists lived upstairs and American tourists stayed for a week or two, temporarily sharing her first home outside Poland, the place where my father formed his first memories? Would she have appreciated the attention, or would she have felt like a monkey in the zoo?
    The Shadow of the Past

    It was not the first time that I had traveled to Germany and discovered echoes of my family’s past in my present, as I grapple with issues of migration, persecution and intolerance today as a journalist and academic.

    A decade ago, I spent a little over a year researching contemporary guest worker policies in Berlin and Bonn. Despite my last living relative who survived the Holocaust reprimanding me that Germany was no place for a nice Jewish girl, I fell for the country’s bike and cafe culture, numerous lakes and deliberate approach to its troubled history. I almost always felt welcome as a Jew. Even my neighbor who was a neo-Nazi was dating a Venezuelan and liked to come over and chat with me. Another neighbor, whose grandfather had been active in Hitler Youth, became one of my closest friends.

    Though I was sometimes disturbed by the recent stance that Germany was not a country of immigration, as well as the focus on integration – this notion some leaders interpreted as demanding that newcomers should cede their other cultural identities – I, in many ways, felt that Germany had dealt with its past in ways that could be a lesson to all nations.

    Ten years later, I visited a Germany increasingly conflicted about its moral obligations as it confronted the refugee crisis. And in Augsburg the juxtaposition of this tolerant, generous nation and the pernicious shadow of its intolerant past were in stark relief.

    I left the Grand Hotel on Sunday morning to meet other descendants of Augsburg Jews in the glorious sanctuary of the synagogue built in 1917. The descendants of those who fled the Nazis, or had the foresight or luck to leave before the war, had traveled from South Africa, Norway, Israel and across the United States. Civil leaders turned out in large numbers to pledge “never again.” It was a familiar message. But the synagogue’s attic museum reminded me how quickly a nation can shift toward hate. For the first time, it felt less like a history lesson and more like a warning that struck very close to home.

    In Augsburg, the juxtaposition of this tolerant, generous nation, and the pernicious shadow of its intolerant past were in stark relief.

    Created in 1985, the Augsburg synagogue houses the first independent museum in Germany dedicated to Jewish history. It tells the story of how there were only 1,500 Jews in Augsburg when the Nazis came, but they enjoyed comfortable local prominence. The synagogue is a clear sign of that position. Congregants built the sanctuary – one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, with its 95ft (29m) dome and an architectural style that spans from Byzantine and Oriental elements to Art Noveau – investing in what they imagined would be a vibrant future in Augsburg.

    I was struck by a slide titled “Integration through Achievement.” The museum describes the dreams of these Jews, and it reminded me of the aspirations of many of the asylum seekers I met during my stay in Augsburg. They did not want just to live free from danger, they wanted an opportunity to be productive, successful German citizens. Chillingly, the museum concludes, the local Jewish communities were “extinguished totally.”
    Looking Back, Looking Forward

    In the year since my visit to the synagogue, I have covered U.S. authorities tearing apart asylum-seeking families as part of a larger, often vicious, crackdown. While I wish I could at least point to Germany today as a model of how to do things differently, the picture is unfortunately not so black and white.

    In German elections last fall, the far-right anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party – whose senior member maintains that the country should be more positive about its Nazi past – won 13 percent of the popular vote. According to current polls, the party is on track to win around a similar proportion of votes in upcoming regional parliamentary elections in Bavaria on October 14.

    This year, the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s sister party in Bavaria, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, pushed her to clamp down on border policy. In the eastern German city of Chemnitz, far-right protests against immigrants in recent weeks were accompanied by xenophobic tirades.

    In August Seehofer instituted the beginning of a new plan in Bavaria that could soon transform how asylum seekers are treated. In what he described as a national model, the goal is to expedite rapid deportations. Most new asylum seekers will be transported to institutions that can house more than 1,000 people, where they will not be in contact with anyone who is not an official or a lawyer or has specific permission.

    “That’s the opposite of what we tried to do in the last years, now we are going two steps back,” said Tuelay Ates-Brunner, the managing director of Tuer an Tuer. “For people who will be rejected, nobody will see them, nobody will know them.”

    “My first impression was that I felt like I was in a new world,” Saidy told me to the beat of Afro Pop on the jukebox. “The hotel is kind of incomparable.”

    The Grand Hotel is located in Augsburg, an ancient German city on Bavaria’s tourist-trod Romantic Road. It is also the place where my mother’s father was born. He was one of the first boys to have a bar mitzvah in the ornate, domed synagogue in Augsburg – just a few years before the Jews were forced to flee or perished at the hands of the Nazis.

    Nearly a century later, I went to stay at the Grand Hotel – one of Germany’s most radical refugee integration experiments.

    Like so many inherited homelands, Augsburg was a mythical place for me, formed from family memories I had never lived – portraits of stern ancestors, the men with elaborate waxy mustaches, the buxom women with beautifully tailored clothes and lace collars. My Augsburg froze when the Nazis took over.


    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2018/10/08/the-grand-refugee-hotel-the-sequel-to-my-grandfathers-germany

    #Allemagne #hôtel #réfugiés #travail #migrations #asile

  • The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-compa

    The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.

    […]

    There are two ways for spies to alter the guts of computer equipment. One, known as interdiction, consists of manipulating devices as they’re in transit from manufacturer to customer. This approach is favored by U.S. spy agencies, according to documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The other method involves seeding changes from the very beginning.

    One country in particular has an advantage executing this kind of attack: China, which by some estimates makes 75 percent of the world’s mobile phones and 90 percent of its PCs.

    #espionnage #Chine #États-Unis #informatique

  • Notes sur l’“arrogance israélienne” et conséquences
    http://www.dedefensa.org/article/notes-sur-larrogance-israelienne-et-consequences

    Notes sur l’“arrogance israélienne” et conséquences

    26 septembre 2018 – Pour mieux appréhender les derniers développements entre la Russie et Israëlaprès la destruction de l’Il-20 dans les conditions qu’on sait, ce texte(ci-dessous) de E.J. Magnier nous paraît intéressant. Il y a d’abord la compétence, l’expérience et les sources du commentateur, que nous connaissons bien ; mais il y a aussi et surtout son point de vue, qui nous permet de mieux éclairer la situation en Syrie.

    Magnier, en effet, perçoit la position de Poutine et l’intervention russe en Syrie d’une manière qui est assez peu habituelle aux commentateurs occidentaux, et notamment aux antiSystème pro-Poutine, et notamment à ceux que nous avons nommés affectueusement “hyper-antiSystème”. Pour lui, Poutine est beaucoup moins un allié de la Syrie (...)

    • D’une façon générale, DEBKAFiles estime que la mesure la plus importante décidée par les Russes est la livraison vers la Syrie de matériels de guerre électronique, notamment les stations Krashuka-4 qui, dans l’architecture électronique que les Russes ont mis en place en Syrie, pourraient se révéler comme un élément déterminant en réduisant considérablement sinon radicalement les capacités d’action israéliennes (le Saker-US parle d’une “no-fly-zone”de facto). Le site assortit cette considération de l’annonce que Netanyahou, qui rencontre Trump aujourd’hui à New York, va sans doute lui demander que les USA offrent des concessions à Poutine pour que la Russie retire ses Krashuka-4 qui ont d’ores et déjà commencé à être déployés en Syrie…

    • Russia’s first Krasukha-4 electronic warfare unit lands in Syria. It can jam spy satellites, enemy radar - DEBKAfile
      https://www.debka.com/russias-first-krasukha-4-electronic-warfare-unit-lands-in-syria-it-can-jam-sp

      The Russian Krasukha-4 mobile electronic warfare system, which can neutralize spy satellites and ground-and airborne radars and damage enemy EW, landed in Syria on Tuesday, Sept. 25. It was unloaded at the Russian Khmeimim Air Base near Latakia, one day after Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu pledged systems for jamming satellite navigation and the on-board radars and communication systems of combat aircraft attacking Syria, in punishment for Israel’s alleged role in downing the Russian IL-20 spy plane.
      The Krasukha-4 is highly advanced, although not the most sophisticated EW system in the Russian arsenal. But it fits Shoigu’s book. The system can jam communications systems, disable guided missiles and aircraft, and neutralize Low-Earth Orbit spy satellites and radars (AWACS) at ranges of 150-300km, which cover northern and central Israel. The Krasukha-4 can also damage opposing EW.
      Israel’s military has focused its response to Russia’s hostile measures on the eight S-300 aid defense batteries promised the Syrian army in the coming weeks. Little mention has been made by Israeli spokesmen of the electronic warfare duel awaiting the IDF with Russia. Israel’s military and air force know about the Krasukha-4 but have never met it in action. However, it is well known to the Americans. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to ask Donald Trump when they meet at UN Center on Wednesday to offer Vladimir Putin some incentive for removing the EW jamming threat. There is scarcely any chance of any such a trade-off. Our sources believe that Putin will hold out for nothing less than the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, to which President Trump will not agree.

  • Press release: UK intelligence agency admits unlawfully spying on Privacy International | Privacy International
    https://privacyinternational.org/press-release/2283/press-release-uk-intelligence-agency-admits-unlawfully-spying-
    http://privacyinternational.org

    Thames House, Offices of MI5. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    MI5 collected Privacy International’s private data and examined it
    GCHQ, MI5, and MI6 unlawfully collected data relating to UK charity Privacy International
    Privacy International has written to the UK’s Home Secretary demanding action against spy agencies
    Disclosures come less than a fortnight after UK laws on mass surveillance ruled unlawful at European Court of Human Rights

    The UK’s domestic-facing intelligence agency, MI5, today admitted that it captured and read Privacy International’s private data as part of its Bulk Communications Data (BCD) and Bulk Personal Datasets (BPD) programmes, which hoover up massive amounts of the public’s data. In further startling legal disclosures, all three of the UK’s primary intelligence agencies - GCHQ, MI5, and MI6 - also admitted that they unlawfully gathered data about Privacy International or its staff.

    The intelligence agencies have repeatedly denied that their BPD and BCD programmes are tantamount to mass surveillance of people not suspected of any wrongdoing. Documents published today demonstrate that Privacy International, an international NGO, has been caught up in MI5’s investigations because its data was part of the UK intelligence agencies vast databases.

    These revelations came during the course of Privacy International’s challenge to the BPD and BCD powers, which is currently pending before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), a court which is set up to hear claims against the UK intelligence services. The IPT is required to inquire into any unlawful activity by the UK intelligence agencies, and to provide a summary of such activity to any claimant that comes before it.

  • Russia Is Hunting For Its Crashed Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile And The U.S. Might Be Too - The Drive
    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/23058/russia-is-hunting-for-its-crashed-nuclear-powered-cruise-missile-and-the-u


    (je reprends ici l’intégralité de l’article, non accessible en France)

    Russia is reportedly set to launch an operation to recover a prototype of its Burevestnik nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed cruise missile that came down in the Barents Sea in 2017. At the same time, the wreckage presents a prime opportunity for other countries, particularly the United States, to gain major insights into its design and true capabilities.

    CNBC was first to report the Russian expedition, citing unnamed U.S. government sources with knowledge of an American intelligence report on the matter, on Aug. 21, 2018. These individuals said that the Kremlin would dispatch three unspecified ships, including one specially configured to recover the missile’s nuclear reactor, but said there was no set timeline for when the operation would begin or how long it might last. 
    Russia test-fired four Burevestniks in total between November 2017 and February 2018, according to the new information. The longest test flight reportedly lasted over two minutes and saw the weapon travel a total of 22 miles, while the shortest experiment saw the missile fail within seconds, but it still managed to cover a distance of five miles. The missile reportedly uses a nuclear reactor to power its propulsion system, giving it theoretically unlimited range.

    The Russians have otherwise been very tight-lipped about the design, which read more about here. So, it’s not surprising that they would want to recover any wrecks both to prevent foreign intelligence services from getting their hands on it and to gather more information for their test program.

    The official video below offers the best views of the Burevestnik cruise missile available to date.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuwMsJlM-pg

    Though CNBC did not say which Russian ships might be heading out on the recovery mission, it is very possible that the Yantar might be among them. Officially an “oceanographic research vessel,” this spy ship has specialized equipment that can reportedly tap or cut submarine cables and investigate and retrieve objects from depths of up to 18,000 feet.

    In 2017, the vessel reportedly sailed off the coast of Syria to recover the remnants of two fighter jets, a Su-33 and a Mig-29KR, that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during operations from Russia’s aircraft carrier Kuznetsov. In that case, the goal was also, at least in part, to make sure other countries could not retrieve the wrecks for their own purposes.

    In June 2018, the U.K.’s Royal Navy escorted Yantar through the English Channel as it headed into the North Sea. Pictures showed a Saab SeaEye Tiger deep-sea robot on the ship’s deck. Russia acquired this piece of equipment after the Kursk submarine disaster. The Tiger can reach depths of 3,280 feet and private companies have previously used them to do work at sites with heavy radioactive contamination.


    The Russian spy ship Yantar.

    It’s not clear what state the missile wreckage, or the weapon’s reactor, might be in. We at The War Zone have previously explored in detail what might happen if these weapons came down on land or over water after reports that they were crashing first emerged earlier in 2018. It’s also worth noting that these apparent failures might have been successes depending on the actual test points and would have provided Russia important information for further development of the Burevestnik regardless.

    Of course, if the weapon is at all salvageable, the race may be on for the Russians to get it off the bottom of the Barents Sea before anyone else does. The United States has already reportedly been keeping a close eye on the tests and could have a good idea of where the missiles have landed. 

    If they spread any substantial amount of radioactive material when they came down, it might make them even easier to locate. In February 2017, well before the reported test flights, a U.S. Air Force WC-135 atmospheric reconnaissance aircraft was flying around the Barents Sea on what the service has insisted was a routine mission. This coincided with reports of increased radioactivity in the region, but that might have been linked to leaking Russian nuclear waste facilities.

    That U.S. Navy has its own deep sea intelligence gathering and salvage capabilities, notably the super-secret Seawolf-class submarine the USS Jimmy Carter. In September 2017, again before Russia reportedly began firing Burevestniks, that boat returned to its homeport at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington State flying a Jolly Roger flag, a symbol representing the completion of a particularly successful mission.


    USN
    The secretive USS Jimmy Carter flying a Jolly Roger flag as it returns to port in September 2017.

    The U.S. government has a long history of trying to steal sensitive Russian equipment from the bottom of the ocean, as well. In the 1970s, the Central Intelligence Agency famously used the Hughes Glomar Explorer to pull a portion of the Soviet Golf II-class ballistic missile submarine K-129 up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

    Getting ahold of or even examining pieces of a #Burevestnik, one of six super weapons Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted in a speech in March 2018, would be a major coup for American intelligence agencies and the U.S. government’s foreign partners. NATO as a whole is also becoming more concerned with Russia’s aggressive policies and various advanced weapons developments, amid threatening training exercises, electronic warfare attacks, and deceptive information operations.

    All told, it might be worth keeping an eye on Yantar’s movements to see if she heads out into the waters above the Arctic Circle any time soon.

    Update: 5:20pm EST
    Canadian analyst Steffan Watkins has found that Russia’s Akademik Primakov, a seismic research vessel has been recently sailing a very deliberate pattern in the Kara Sea, which is to the east of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. To the west of Novaya Zemlya is the Barents Sea and the area was home to Soviet nuclear weapon testing.


    @steffanwatkins
    Russian seismic research vessel Akademik Primakov (MMSI:273392760) is certainly looking for something in the Kara Sea at 5kn. (Before you get too excited, it could be mapping the Arctic shelf, to aid in Russian claims to it.)

    It is possible that the initial report of where the missile went down was inaccurate and that it instead crashed into the Kara Sea. However, as Watkins notes, the Akademik Primakov is more likely mapping the region. The Russian company JSC Sevmorneftegeofizika acquired the ship in June 2017 specifically to conduct geological exploration activities in the Arctic Shelf.