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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 43833 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #855 on: Aug 25th, 2010, 9:37pm »

on Aug 25th, 2010, 12:55pm, Luvey wrote:
I forgot to mention the other picture of scenery is lovely too, and it looks similar to where I live here in Australia...

And...... your puppies are gorgeous!!! smiley I am a dog lover and have 2 King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and a very old Bichon Frise. They are our adored babies... and we spend lots of time making them special treats because homemade is better for them. At least when we make their treats we know what is in them.

Pen



Hello Pen,
Your doggies sound wonderful! I'm a huge dog fan, I think they are a higher life form. grin

I think it's great that you cook for them. There is so much junk in their food.
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« Reply #856 on: Aug 25th, 2010, 9:39pm »

Washington Post

WikiLeaks releases CIA paper on U.S. as 'exporter of terrorism'

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 25, 2010; 8:29 PM

America has long been an exporter of terrorism, according to a secret CIA analysis released Wednesday by the Web site WikiLeaks. And if that phenomenon were to become a widely held perception, the analysis said, it could damage relations with foreign allies and dampen their willingness to cooperate in "extrajudicial" activities, such as the rendition and interrogation of terrorism suspects.

That is the conclusion of the three-page classified paper produced in February by the CIA's Red Cell, a think tank set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet to provide "out-of-the-box" analyses on "a full range of analytic issues."

Titled "What If Foreigners See the United States as an 'Exporter of Terrorism'?," the paper cites Pakistani American David Headley, among others, to make its case that America is a terrorism exporter. This year Headley pleaded guilty to conducting surveillance in support of the 2008 Lashkar-i-Taiba attacks in Mumbai, which killed more than 160 people. The militant group facilitated his movement between the United States, Pakistan and India, the agency paper said.

Such exports are not new, the paper said. In 1994, an American Jewish doctor, Baruch Goldstein, emigrated from New York to Israel, joined the extremist group Kach and killed 29 Palestinians praying at a mosque at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, it said. That helped trigger a wave of bus bombings by the extremist Palestinian group Hamas in 1995, the paper noted.

As WikiLeaks disclosures go, this paper pales in comparison with the organization's recent releases. Last month the group published 76,000 classified U.S. military records and field reports on the war in Afghanistan. That disclosure prompted criticism that the information put U.S. soldiers and Afghan informants at risk, along with demands from the Pentagon that the documents be returned. WikiLeaks says it is still planning to release 15,000 more Afghan war records that it has been reviewing to redact names and other information that could cause harm.

CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf played down the significance of the paper: "These sorts of analytic products - clearly identified as coming from the Agency's 'Red Cell' - are designed simply to provoke thought and present different points of view."

While counterterrorism experts focus on threats to the homeland, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups "may be increasingly looking for Americans to operate overseas," the paper said.

And if the made-in-America brand becomes well-known, foreign partners may become balky, perhaps even requesting "the rendition of U.S. citizens" they deem to be terrorists. U.S. refusal to hand over its citizens could strain alliances and "in extreme cases . . . might lead some governments to consider secretly extracting U.S. citizens suspected of foreign terrorism from U.S. soil."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/25/AR2010082506591.html?wprss=rss_world

Crystal

edit to add WikiLeaks link:
http://www.wikileaks.com/wiki/Main_Page
see "latest leaks" on the right hand side of the page.


« Last Edit: Aug 25th, 2010, 9:44pm by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

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« Reply #857 on: Aug 25th, 2010, 9:40pm »

on Aug 25th, 2010, 1:07pm, philliman wrote:
Thanks for the doggy and the landscape pics. Those are some nice dogs and you do live in a beautiful region. smiley


Hey Phil,
The dogs own us, we don't own them. laugh
Glad you liked the photos. We are lucky to live here.
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« Reply #858 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 08:28am »

New York Times

August 25, 2010
Key Karzai Aide in Corruption Inquiry Is Linked to C.I.A.
By DEXTER FILKINS and MARK MAZZETTI
KABUL, Afghanistan —

The aide to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation is being paid by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Afghan and American officials.

Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council, appears to have been on the payroll for many years, according to officials in Kabul and Washington. It is unclear exactly what Mr. Salehi does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both.

Mr. Salehi’s relationship with the C.I.A. underscores deep contradictions at the heart of the Obama administration’s policy in Afghanistan, with American officials simultaneously demanding that Mr. Karzai root out the corruption that pervades his government while sometimes subsidizing the very people suspected of perpetrating it.

Mr. Salehi was arrested in July and released after Mr. Karzai intervened. There has been no suggestion that Mr. Salehi’s ties to the C.I.A. played a role in his release; rather, officials say, it is the fear that Mr. Salehi knows about corrupt dealings inside the Karzai administration.

The ties underscore doubts about how seriously the Obama administration intends to fight corruption here. The anticorruption drive, though strongly backed by the United States, is still vigorously debated inside the administration. Some argue it should be a centerpiece of American strategy, and others say that attacking corrupt officials who are crucial to the war effort could destabilize the Karzai government.

The Obama administration is also racing to show progress in Afghanistan by December, when the White House will evaluate its mission there. Some administration officials argue that any comprehensive campaign to fight corruption inside Afghanistan is overly ambitious, with less than a year to go before the American military is set to begin withdrawing troops.

“Fighting corruption is the very definition of mission creep,” one Obama administration official said.

Others in the administration view public corruption as the single greatest threat to the Afghan government and the American mission; it is the corrupt nature of the Karzai government, these officials say, that drives ordinary Afghans into the arms of the Taliban. Other prominent Afghans who American officials have said were on the C.I.A.’s payroll include the president’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, suspected by investigators of playing a role in Afghanistan’s booming opium trade. Earlier this year, American officials did not press Mr. Karzai to remove his brother from his post as the chairman of the Kandahar provincial council. Mr. Karzai denies any monetary relationship with the C.I.A. and any links to the drug trade.

Mr. Salehi was arrested by the Afghan police after, investigators say, they wiretapped him soliciting a bribe — in the form of a car for his son — in exchange for impeding an American-backed investigation into a company suspected of shipping billions of dollars out of the country for Afghan officials, drug smugglers and insurgents.

Mr. Salehi was released seven hours later, after telephoning Mr. Karzai from his jail cell to demand help, officials said, and after Mr. Karzai forcefully intervened on his behalf.

The president sent aides to get him and has since threatened to limit the power of the anticorruption unit that carried out the arrest. Mr. Salehi could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. A spokesman for President Karzai did not respond to a list of questions sent to his office, including whether Mr. Karzai knew that Mr. Salehi was a C.I.A. informant.

A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to comment on any relationship with Mr. Salehi.

“The C.I.A. works hard to advance the full range of U.S. policy objectives in Afghanistan,” said Paul Gimigliano, a spokesman for the agency. “Reckless allegations from anonymous sources don’t change that reality in the slightest.”

An American official said the practice of paying government officials was sensible, even if they turn out to be corrupt or unsavory.

“If we decide as a country that we’ll never deal with anyone in Afghanistan who might down the road — and certainly not at our behest — put his hand in the till, we can all come home right now,” the American official said. “If you want intelligence in a war zone, you’re not going to get it from Mother Teresa or Mary Poppins.”

Last week, Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, flew to Kabul in part to discuss the Salehi case with Mr. Karzai. In an interview afterward, Mr. Kerry expressed concern about Mr. Salehi’s ties to the American government. Mr. Kerry appeared to allude to the C.I.A., though he did not mention it.

“We are going to have to examine that relationship,” Mr. Kerry said. “We are going to have to look at that very carefully.”

Mr. Kerry said he pressed Mr. Karzai to allow the anticorruption unit pursuing Mr. Salehi and others to move forward unhindered, and said he believed he had secured a commitment from him to do so.

“Corruption matters to us,” a senior Obama administration official said. “The fact that Salehi may have been on our payroll does not necessarily change any of the basic issues here.”

Mr. Salehi is a political survivor, who, like many Afghans, navigated shifting alliances through 31 years of war. He is a former interpreter for Abdul Rashid Dostum, the ethnic Uzbek with perhaps the most ruthless reputation among all Afghan warlords.

Mr. Dostum, a Karzai ally, was one of the C.I.A.’s leading allies on the ground in Afghanistan in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The agency employed his militia to help rout the Taliban from northern Afghanistan.

Over the course of the nine-year-old war, the C.I.A. has enmeshed itself in the inner workings of Afghanistan’s national security establishment. From 2002 until just last year, the C.I.A. paid the entire budget of Afghanistan’s spy service, the National Directorate of Security.

Mr. Salehi often acts as a courier of money to other Afghans, according to an Afghan politician who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation.

Among the targets of the continuing Afghan anticorruption investigation is a secret fund of cash from which payments were made to various individuals, officials here said.

Despite Mr. Salehi’s status as a low-level functionary, the Afghan politician predicted that Mr. Karzai would never allow his prosecution to go forward, whatever the pressure from the United States. Mr. Salehi knows too much about the inner workings of the palace, he said.

“Karzai will protect him,” the politician said, “because by going after him, you are opening the gates.”

Mr. Salehi is a confidant of some of the most powerful people in the Afghan government, including Engineer Ibrahim, who until recently was the deputy chief of the Afghan intelligence service. Earlier this year, Mr. Salehi accompanied Mr. Ibrahim to Dubai to meet leaders of the Taliban to explore prospects for peace, according to a prominent Afghan with knowledge of the meeting.

Mr. Salehi was arrested last month in the course of a sprawling investigation into New Ansari, a money transfer firm that relies on couriers and other rudimentary means to move cash in and out of Afghanistan.

New Ansari was founded in the 1990s when the Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan. In the years since 2001, New Ansari grew into one of the most important financial hubs in Afghanistan, transferring billions of dollars in cash for prominent Afghans out of the country, most of it to Dubai.

New Ansari’s offices were raided by Afghan agents, with American backing, in January. An American official familiar with the investigation said New Ansari appeared to have been transferring money for wealthy Afghans of every sort, including politicians, insurgents and drug traffickers.

“They were moving money for everybody,” the American official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The flow of capital out of Afghanistan is so large that it makes up a substantial portion of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product. In an interview, a United Arab Emirates customs official said it received about $1 billion from Afghanistan in 2009. But the American official said the amount might be closer to $2.5 billion — about a quarter of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product.

Much of the New Ansari cash was carried by couriers flying from Kabul and Kandahar, usually to Dubai, where many Afghan officials maintain second homes and live in splendorous wealth.

An American official familiar with the investigation said the examination of New Ansari’s books was providing rich insights into the culture of Afghan corruption.

“It’s a gold mine,” the official said.

Following the arrest, Mr. Salehi called Mr. Karzai directly from his cell to demand that he be freed. Mr. Karzai twice sent delegations to the detention center where Mr. Salehi was held. After seven hours, Mr. Salehi was let go.

Afterward, Gen. Nazar Mohammed Nikzad, the head of the Afghan unit investigating Mr. Salehi, was summoned to the Presidential Palace and asked by Mr. Karzai to explain his actions.

“Everything is lawful and by the book,” a Western official said of the Afghan anticorruption investigators. “They gather the evidence, they get the warrant signed off — and then the plug gets pulled every time.”

This is not the first time that Afghan prosecutors have run into resistance when they have tried to pursue an Afghan official on corruption charges related to New Ansari.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/world/asia/26kabul.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #859 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 08:31am »

New York Times

August 25, 2010
Victims of Massacre in Mexico Said to Be Migrants
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD

MEXICO CITY — The bullet-pocked bodies of 72 people, believed to be migrants heading to the United States who resisted demands for money, have been found in a large room on a ranch in an area of northeast Mexico with surging violence, the authorities said Wednesday.

Initial reports after the victims were found Tuesday suggested that the mass of bodies was the largest of several dumping grounds, often with dozens of dead, discovered in recent months and attributed to the violence of the drug business.

But if the victims, found after a raid on a ranch in Tamaulipas State by Mexican naval units, are confirmed as migrants, their killings would provide a sharp reminder of the violence in human smuggling as well.

It was not clear if the victims, from Central and South America, were shot all at once. The police were relying on a harrowing but sketchy account from a wounded survivor, published by the newspaper Reforma and confirmed by government officials, who said several people were killed in short order after the migrants refused to pay or cooperate with the gunmen.

A law enforcement official said all were found in a large room, some sitting, some piled atop one another.

Alejandro Poiré, the government’s spokesman for security issues, said that though the investigation was just beginning, the killings seemed to be an outgrowth of pressure on drug gangs by a government crackdown.

“This act confirms that criminal organizations are looking to kidnapping and extortion because they are going through a difficult time obtaining resources and recruiting people willingly,” Mr. Poiré told reporters here.

United States law enforcement officials have warned that drug trafficking groups have increasingly moved into the lucrative business of human smuggling, extorting fees from migrants for safe passage across the border and sometimes forcing them to carry bundles of drugs. Smugglers are also known to rob, kidnap and sometimes kill migrants on both sides of the border.

The unidentified survivor, an Ecuadorean traveling with people from Ecuador, Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador, told investigators that the migrants had entered Mexico from the south and that they were making their way to Texas when they were confronted by the gunmen in San Fernando, about 100 miles south of Brownsville, Tex.

In a statement to the police, he said the leaders of the armed group had tried to extort fees from them and, when the migrants resisted, ordered their gunmen to open fire.

Wounded in the neck by the gunfire, the survivor heard screams and pleas for mercy. Once the men retreated, the witness said, he ran from the ranch where they were being held Monday and found a military checkpoint.

The military units reached the ranch on Tuesday and engaged in a firefight in which one marine and three suspects were killed. One Mexican, a minor, was taken into custody.

The authorities said 58 men and 14 women had been killed in the room by the gunmen. It was unclear how long they had been dead or detained.

The discovery of the bodies was the largest of at least three such finds this year. In May, 55 bodies were pulled from an abandoned mine south of Mexico City, and in July, 51 bodies were discovered in a field near Monterrey, an industrial and commercial hub in northeast Mexico that had been relatively quiet until this year.

A shootout last week in Monterrey outside the American School Foundation, a private school popular with American expatriates and Mexican business executives, prompted the United States Consulate to advise families to keep their children home pending an assessment of security at the school.

More than 28,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón began a crackdown on organized crime in 2006.

In a meeting with mayors on Wednesday, Mr. Calderón said, “We’re in the middle of a criminal spiral that we have to cut.”

“I don’t know of any crime that isn’t organized,” Mr. Calderón said. “They are all very organized, and much more than the police.”

Antonio Betancourt contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/world/americas/26mexico.html?ref=world

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« Reply #860 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 08:33am »

New York Times

August 25, 2010
Military Computer Attack Confirmed
By BRIAN KNOWLTON

WASHINGTON — A top Pentagon official has confirmed a previously classified incident that he describes as “the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever,” a 2008 episode in which a foreign intelligence agent used a flash drive to infect computers, including those used by the Central Command in overseeing combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Plugging the cigarette-lighter-sized flash drive into an American military laptop at a base in the Middle East amounted to “a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control,” according to William J. Lynn 3d, deputy secretary of defense, writing in the latest issue of the journal Foreign Affairs.

“It was a network administrator’s worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary,” Mr. Lynn wrote.

The incident was first reported in November 2008 by the Danger Room blog of Wired magazine, and then in greater detail by The Los Angeles Times, which said that the matter was sufficiently grave that President George W. Bush was briefed on it. The newspaper mentioned suspicions of Russian involvement.

But Mr. Lynn’s article was the first official confirmation. He also put a name — Operation Buckshot Yankee — to the Pentagon operation to counter the attack, and said that the episode “marked a turning point in U.S. cyber-defense strategy.” In an early step, the Defense Department banned the use of portable flash drives with its computers, though it later modified the ban.

Mr. Lynn described the extraordinary difficulty of protecting military digital communications over a web of 15,000 networks and 7 million computing devices in dozens of countries against farflung adversaries who, with modest means and a reasonable degree of ingenuity, can inflict outsized damage. Traditional notions of deterrence do not apply.

“A dozen determined computer programmers can, if they find a vulnerability to exploit, threaten the United States’s global logistics network, steal its operational plans, blind its intelligence capabilities or hinder its ability to deliver weapons on target,” he wrote.

Security officials also face the problem of counterfeit hardware that may have remotely operated “kill switches” or “back doors” built in to allow manipulation from afar, as well as the problem of software with rogue code meant to cause sudden malfunctions.

Against the array of threats, Mr. Lynn said, the National Security Agency had pioneered systems — “part sensor, part sentry, part sharpshooter” — that are meant to automatically counter intrusions in real time.

His article appeared intended partly to raise awareness of the threat to United States cybersecurity — “the frequency and sophistication of intrusions into U.S. military networks have increased exponentially,” he wrote — and partly to make the case for a larger Pentagon role in cyberdefense.

Various efforts at cyberdefense by the military have been drawn under a single organization, the U.S. Cyber Command, which began operations in late May at Fort Meade, Maryland, under a four-star general, Keith B. Alexander.

But under proposed legislation, the Department of Homeland Security would take the leading role in the defense of civilian systems.

Though the Cyber Command has greater capabilities, the military operates within the United States only if ordered to do so by the president.

Another concern is whether the Pentagon, or government in general, has the nimbleness for such work. Mr. Lynn acknowledged that “it takes the Pentagon 81 months to make a new computer system operational after it is first funded.” By contrast, he noted, “the iPhone was developed in 24 months.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/technology/26cyber.html?ref=technology

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« Reply #861 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 08:39am »

Wired

YouTube Globalization Continues with Four New Languages (Exclusive)
By Eliot Van Buskirk August 25, 2010 | 9:00 pm | Categories: People, Video

Google’s YouTube just reached more of the planet, with Wednesday’s release of native-language versions available for four more of the world’s languages, for a total of 28.

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The new tongues are Croatian, Filipino, Serbian and Slovak. Hebrew was on the list at one point too, but its right-to-left orientation presents a formidable localization challenge. YouTube hopes to add as many as 12 more localized versions by the end of 2010 — part of a major trend since the then-English-only site expanded to Europe and Japan in 2007, and one which YouTube apparently intends to continue, as shown by the arrow pointing up and to the right on the chart above.

These 28 officially supported languages are accompanied by YouTube’s script translator, which can toggle video captions between a total of 50 languages. In addition to encouraging more uploaders and downloaders around the world to participate with instructions and navigational elements in their own languages, localization has the side effect of giving YouTube an easy way to block content that’s against the law only in certain countries, such as Germany’s laws against Nazi content.

Localization also lets record labels make a music video available only in countries where advertising rates are high, and ads can be depended upon to sell. For example, videos on Vevo.com, a partnership between the major labels and YouTube, only appear in the U.S. and Canada. (Some of those videos appear in those countries on YouTube, according to Vevo; the company promised in January to launch Vevo in more countries before the end of 2010 but has yet to do so.)

For Google and YouTube, though, embracing the languages of the world is more about making a growing number of people feel at home on the site than controlling where videos appear.

“By opening YouTube up to include more languages we make the YouTube experience and our vast library of videos more accessible to those who want to explore it,” YouTube product manager Brian Truong told Wired.com. “The challenge is, our site has well over a quarter million words and translating this many words can take a lot of time. YouTube has always been about fostering greater cultural understanding and appreciation for how interconnected the world is. Every time we roll out support for a new language, we open YouTube up to more people, people like my mother, who speaks only Chinese. Seeing my mother on YouTube enthusiastically sharing with me videos she discovered on the site brings home the impact the work we do here can have on so many.”

It’s commendable, in a way, that as other forces of globalization and the internet devalue less-common languages, Google has money to spend on localizing a service this populist — even in countries where music videos won’t play, and some content is censored after being flagged by that country’s users. In many languages, YouTube could be the only video-sharing horse in town, so to speak, or at most one of a few.

Google needs one thing more than anything else, and that is to grow. Maybe it’s running out of the speakers of the 24 languages for which it already had local versions, so it has no other choice than but to grow outwards in addition to upwards.

Regardless of the reason, YouTube’s growing fluency brings more people into the global conversation — whether through political statements or dancing panda bears.

Follow us for disruptive tech news: Eliot Van Buskirk and Epicenter on Twitter.

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/08/youtube-globalization-continues-with-five-new-languages-exclusive/

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« Reply #862 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 08:42am »

Wired

Insiders Doubt 2008 Pentagon Hack Was Foreign Spy Attack (Updated)
By Noah Shachtman August 25, 2010 | 4:02 pm | Categories: Info War

In the fall of 2008, a variant of a three year-old, relatively-benign worm began winding its way through the U.S. military’s networks, spread by troops using thumb drives and other removable storage media. Now, the Pentagon says the infiltration — first reported by Danger Room — was a deliberate attack, launched by foreign spies. It’s a claim that some of the troops who worked to contain the worm are finding hard to back up.

In the upcoming issue of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn writes that the worm entered the military’s classified systems “when an infected flash drive was inserted into a U.S. military laptop at a base in the Middle East. The flash drive’s malicious computer code, placed there by a foreign intelligence agency, uploaded itself onto a network run by the U.S. Central Command.”

“That code spread undetected on both classified and unclassified systems, establishing what amounted to a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control,” Lynn adds. “It was a network administrator’s worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary.”

The worm, dubbed agent.btz, caused the military’s network administrators major headaches. It took the Pentagon nearly 14 months of stop and go effort to clean out the worm — a process the military called “Operation Buckshot Yankee.” The endeavor was so tortuous that it helped lead to a major reorganization of the armed forces’ information defenses, including the creation of the military’s new Cyber Command.

But exactly how much (if any) information was compromised because of agent.btz remains unclear. And members of the military involved in Operation Buckshot Yankee are reluctant to call agent.btz the work of a hostile government — despite ongoing talk that the Russians were behind it.

“Some guys wanted to reach out and touch someone. But months later, we were still doing forensics. It was never clear, though,” one officer tells Danger Room. “The code was used by Russian hackers before. But who knows?” Left unsaid is a second question: Why would an intelligence agency launch a limp attack?

Agent.btz is a variant of the SillyFDC worm that copies itself from removable drive to computer and back to drive again. Depending on how the worm is configured, it has the ability (as Lynn notes) to scan computers for data, open backdoors, and send through those backdoors to a remote command and control server.

But the methods for containing it are relatively straightforward. To keep SillyFDC from spreading across a network, you can ban thumb drives and the like, as the Pentagon did from November 2008 to February 2010. Or you can disable Windows’ “autorun” feature, which instantly starts any program loaded on a drive. In 2007, the security firm Symantec rated SillyFDC as “Risk Level 1: Very Low.”

What’s more, agent.btz’s ability to compromise classified information is fairly limited. SIPRNet, the military’s secret network, and JWICS, its top secret network, have only the thinnest of connections to the public internet. Without those connections, “intruders would have no way of exploiting the backdoor, or, indeed, of even knowing that agent.btz had founds its way into the CENTCOM network,” as our sister blog Threat Level observed in March.

The havoc caused by agent.btz has little to do with the worm’s complexity or maliciousness — and everything to do with the military’s inability to cope with even a minor threat. “Exactly how much information was grabbed, whether it got out, and who got it — that was all unclear,” says an officer who participated in the operation. “The scary part was how fast it spread, and how hard it was to respond.”

U.S. Strategic Command, which is supposed to play a key role in military network defense, couldn’t get simple answers about the number of infected computers — or the number of computers, period.

“We got into Buckshot Yankee and I asked simple questions like how many computers do we have on the network in various flavors, what’s their configuration, and I couldn’t get an answer in over a month,” U.S. Strategic Command chief Gen. Kevin Chilton told a conference last May.

“Buckshot Yankee was a seminal event because we understood that we weren’t as protected as we thought we were. And we weren’t paying attention as well as we should’ve been,” another officer involved in the operation tells Danger Room.

As a result, network defense has become a top-tier issue in the armed forces. “A year ago, cyberspace was not commanders’ business. Cyberspace was the sys-admin guy’s business or someone in your outer office when there’s a problem with machines business,” Chilton noted. “Today, we’ve seen the results of this command level focus, senior level focus.”

Implementation of a new, Host-Based Security System was accelerated, for better threat detection. Information security training and patch updates are mandatory. The Defense Department has a better sense of what’s connected to its networks. And, in what may prove to be the most significant move, there’s now a Cyber Command under Chilton that’s responsible for coordinating threat monitoring, network defense, and information attack. The Pentagon brass was already considering such a consolidation before November of 2008. Operation Buckshot Yankee turbo-charged that process — no matter who was responsible for the worm.

Update: Spencer and I just got off of the phone with Lynn. I asked him about his claim that agent.btz was an intelligence operation. His answer: “It was tied to a foreign intelligence service. I’m not going to go in to any further detail on the forensics that we’ve done in terms of where the intrusion came or how it occurred beyond what I said in the article.”

But what spy service would launch such a lame attack?

“It isn’t the most capable threat, I agree with that,” Lynn replies. “But that kind of makes the point. If you had something of the kind of capability you described and we suffered a compromise as the result of it, it clearly means that we need to have a new strategic approach and that’s what started a couple years ago. I’ve tried to lay out where we’re going going forward.”

OK, so Lynn wouldn’t specify which intelligence service he considers responsible for agent.btz. But did the United States take any retaliatory measures after it established culpability? “I’m going to have to keep resisting,” Lynn replies. “The reason to talk about that was to highlight the policy responses that we’ve taken to it.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/08/insiders-doubt-2008-pentagon-hack-was-foreign-spy-attack/

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« Reply #863 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 08:48am »

Telegraph

British spy may have been poisoned or strangled, police say
The mystery over the murder of Gareth Williams, a British spy whose body was found in a sports bag in his bathroom, has deepened after police said they had been unable to determine whether he was poisoned, strangled or smothered.

By Ben Leach
Published: 6:55AM BST 26 Aug 2010

Detectives have ordered further tests to be carried out on the body of Gareth Williams after a post-mortem examination proved inconclusive.

Toxicology tests have been ordered to see if any unexpected substances are present in the 31-year-old's body.

But police sources have dismissed reports that he had been stabbed or even dismembered.

Mr Williams had been working for MI6 on a one-year posting but was due to return to his regular job at the GCHQ listening station in Cheltenham at the start of next month.

Detectives are still investigating whether his death was linked to his work or to his private life, with one theory suggesting he might have had a violent row with a lover. However a connection with his work has not been ruled out.

Officers were yesterday examining Mr Williams’s mobile phone, which was found with several sim cards neatly laid out beside it, to find out his last contacts and when they were made.

They were also studying CCTV images from cameras near the Georgian townhouse where Mr Williams had lived alone for the past year.

There was no sign of forced entry at the flat in Pimlico, central London, suggesting the killer was someone Mr Williams knew. Nothing had been stolen.

Mr Williams’s parents, Ellen and Ian, from Valley, Anglesey, flew back to Britain from a foreign holiday to identify their son’s body after being told of his death on Monday.

The spy’s uncle, William Hughes, said: “It was a terrible shock when we had the phone call. I couldn’t believe such a thing could happen.”

Mr Hughes said the family had been given no clues as to the motive for the murder, adding that Mr Williams was “quiet and unassuming” and never talked about his job. “He would never talk about his work and the family knew not to ask,” he said.

Mr Williams was a maths graduate who began a masters in advanced mathematics at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, in 2000, but failed an exam the following year and left the course.

He immediately began working at Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, in Cheltenham, where he rented a room for nine years from Jennifer Elliott, 71.

Mrs Elliott said: “I spoke to him three weeks ago, he rang me to say he was coming back on Sept 3. I don’t think he was very happy in London, he told me he missed the countryside.”

Mrs Elliott said Mr Williams, a cycling enthusiast, lived quietly in his self-contained flat, “didn’t have any friends as such” and had never had a girlfriend in the time he lived there.

“He was an extremely intelligent person but would not talk about his job as it was a secret. All he told me was it was something to do with codes.

“Occasionally you could hear tapes whirring from his flat, which must have been audio cassettes he used for work, but he never told me what they were.”

Security sources refused to be drawn on why it took so long for Mr Williams to be reported missing, but it is thought he was taking annual leave before returning to his old job.

Mr Hughes described his nephew as a “brilliant” man, adding: “The family knew this from a very, very young age. He was a very clever lad. When he was at secondary school he would go to university one day a week.”

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, was given updates on the investigation as part of a scheduled intelligence briefing yesterday.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7965103/British-spy-may-have-been-poisoned-or-strangled-police-say.html

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« Reply #864 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 08:51am »

Telegraph

Chinese state TV broadcasts launch of new submarine
Published: 12:42PM BST 26 Aug 2010

China has announced that it has successfully launched a domestically-made submarine in the South China Sea, Chinese state media reported today.
CCTV news channel broadcast the above video of submariners on the maiden voyage of the vessel, including the moment a robot planted a Chinese national flag at the bottom of the South China Sea.

The China-made submarine reached depths of more than two miles, according to CCTV.

China has declared that it is the fifth country to produce a submarine that can withstand depths of more than two miles below sea level, after the United States, Russia, France, and Japan.

Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, Ma Yanhe, head of social development at the Ministry of Technology said the test was successfully carried out.

"The submarine made a record of operating under sea for 9 hours and 3 minutes, so the the equipment on board successfully passed the test and operated at depths of more than 3,000 metres and met the relevant standards," Ma said.

The date the mission was carried out is not known.

:: Guidance: Video contains original soundtrack

video after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/7965562/Chinese-state-TV-broadcasts-launch-of-new-submarine.html

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« Reply #865 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 08:56am »

Newslite

Four-in-ten Brits have seen a ghost or UFO
August 25, 2010 5:30 PM

Forty percent of Brits claim they've had a paranormal experience and seen a ghost or UFO, it has been found.

A survey of 3,000 people discovered one-in-five of of those reckon they have seen a ghost, while 19 per cent have spotted a mysterious object in the sky.

Another 16 per cent believe they've had premonitions while six percent even believe they have a guardian angel.

44 percent of Brits were also found to believe aliens visit Earth and one-in-five even believe aliens could be living amongst us.

In that case, it's probabbly worth us pointing out that we don't know how many of the respondents in the survey were actually aliens themselves.
Paranormal expert Malcolm Robinson, founder of Strange Phenomena Investigations, said: "The people of the UK have overwhelmingly shown their belief in ghosts, UFOs and life on other planets and this survey is the clearest indication yet of the British public's acceptance of the weird and the wonderful.

"What this survey has clearly shown is that people believe that not all in the world is as cut and dried as we may like to think.

"Science does not know it all, there are many more things afoot that have still to be understood and as science progresses, it is my contention that those discoveries will be made.

"Belief is one thing, proving things is another hence the reason to continue research."

Top five paranormal events Brits have witnessed:

1. A ghost
2. A UFO sighting/unexplained objects in the sky
3. Premonitions
4. Accurate psychic readings
5. Guardian angel

The research was commissioned by Penguin Books to mark the launch of sci-fi thriller 'I Am Number Four'.

http://newslite.tv/2010/08/25/fourinten-brits-have-seen-a-gh.html

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« Reply #866 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 4:03pm »



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« Reply #867 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 4:13pm »

Hey all... been lurking a bit lately since I've been busy writing stuff and hanging around another board.
Nice pic Crystal... made me laugh haha.
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« Reply #868 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 4:17pm »

Guardian

Parents are forgetting how to play with their children, study shows
Family games becoming 'lost art' as survey cites overwork, boredom and generation gap
Amelia Hill guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 August 2010 16.04 BST

Parents should think back to their own childhood playing. One in five parents say they have forgotten how to play with their children, with a third admitting that taking part in games and activities with their family is boring, according to research.

But while more than half the children questioned for the report by Professor Tanya Byron said they want more quality time with their parents, one in 10 said they know that their parents feel family playtimes are dull and a waste of time.

The State of Play, Back to Basics report interviewed 2,000 parents and 2,000 children aged five to 15 about their play habits. It concludes that play is in danger of becoming a "lost art" for British families, with 21% of parents admitting they no longer remember how to play and struggle to engage their children in creative and imaginative activities that will help their development.

"There are four key ingredients to a successful playtime between parents and children: education, inspiration, integration and communication," said Byron, a psychologist and child therapist best known for her work on television shows, including Little Angels and The House of Tiny Tearaways.

Byron also headed the 2008 independent review commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools, and Families, and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport into the potentially harmful effects of the internet and video games on children.

"Parents need to take a step back and think back to how their own childhood games used these four pillars and how they can implement them now," added Byron.

"Cross-generational enjoyment, where no family member feels inhibited, under pressure, bored or stressed is key to making these four pillars become part of everyday play."

The report identified a lack of communication between the generations around the types of games and activities they should play together as a key contributor to the problems faced at family playtime.

"Nearly one in three parents choose to play computer games with their children thinking that's what their kids will most enjoy," said Byron. "However, nine out of 10 children said computer games were something they would rather play on their own, while three-quarters said they would prefer to spend time with their parents enjoying more traditional pursuits, such as challenging each other at board games or playing outdoors together."

Time pressures were also cited by parents, with half of those interviewed blaming work and chores for reducing the amount of quality time they are able to spend with their children. Nearly a third of children said that they were aware that work worries prevented their parents from playing with them. This, said Byron, "shows that parents need try to put playtime first – for their children's sake".

Sibling rivalry was identified as a cause of tension for family play, with nearly a third of parents claiming it as the biggest problem when they try and play with their children.

One in 10 adults questioned admitted they felt so overwhelmed and confused by the conflicting information available that it prevented them from playing with their children.

"A lack of clear advice and direction generally on how to engage children in effective play and deal with problems they encounter is a clear issue for parents," said Francois Banon, vice-president of communications at Disneyland Paris, which commissioned the research.

"Play is vital to a child's development. It improves the way they interact, communicate and develop key life skills. Play should be educational and inspirational but above all, it should be fun."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/26/parents-children-playtime?CMP=twt_gu

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« Reply #869 on: Aug 26th, 2010, 4:22pm »

on Aug 26th, 2010, 4:13pm, CA519705950 wrote:
Hey all... been lurking a bit lately since I've been busy writing stuff and hanging around another board.
Nice pic Crystal... made me laugh haha.


Hi CA519705950,

I saw your "What're You Thinking Right Now?" blog. Nice blog CA. Thanks for stopping by and saying, "Hello". Glad you liked my little jab at the POTUS.

Crystal
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