Posts tagged DR. RICHARD SENNA

ALLEGED LEADER OF HAITIAN MONEY LAUNDERING, MURDER + KIDNAPPING RING HAS ALL CHARGES DROPPED BY PROSECUTOR

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ABOVE – NOW PRESIDENT MICHEL MARTELLY OF HAITI “DRAG DANCING” IN 2011
BELOW – NOW PRESIDENT MICHEL MARTELLY OF HAITI  WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA IN 2014

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/21/world/africa/us-expresses-concern-about-dismissal-of-haiti-kidnapping-case.html?_r=0

 

The Obama administration expressed concern on Monday over the speed of a court ruling in Haiti that dropped charges against a man accused in a kidnapping ring who had close ties to the family of President Michel Martelly.

On Friday, the judge freed Woodly Ethéart, who has known Mr. Martelly since they both worked in the music business, and Renel Nelfort. Mr. Ethéart and Mr. Nelfort are suspected of being the leaders of the Galil Gang, and they were indicted in March on charges of masterminding a host of violent crimes, including murder, money laundering and more than a dozen kidnappings.

Shortly after the indictments were announced, the minister of justice dismissed the prosecutor, saying his deputies had asked the judge to free the men because they did not think they could win a conviction.

“We are concerned about the ruling, including the speed in which it was made,” a State Department spokesman said in an email on Monday in response to a request for comment. “This is an ongoing case in the Haitian courts, and we understand the ruling could be appealed.”

Mr. Ethéart, a former music promoter, is a friend of Mr. Martelly’s brother-in-law, Charles Saint-Rémy, and his family owns La Souvenance, a restaurant where the president often dines.

Critics say that the president has surrounded himself with a network of friends and associates who have been arrested or figured in criminal investigations.

“The prosecutor in Port-au-Prince was removed because the government was not satisfied with the performance at the trial,” Péguy Jean, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said on Monday. “At the end of the trial, the prosecutors asked the charges to be dropped.”

Mr. Martelly’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

REPORTED, NSA USES QUANTUM SYTSEMS TO TRACK + HACK TARGET EMAILS

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http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-nsa-uses-powerful-toolbox-in-effort-to-spy-on-global-networks-a-940969-3.html

 

The insert method and other variants of QUANTUM are closely linked to a shadow network operated by the NSA alongside the Internet, with its own, well-hidden infrastructure comprised of “covert” routers and servers. It appears the NSA also incorporates routers and servers from non-NSA networks into its covert network by infecting these networks with “implants” that then allow the government hackers to control the computers remotely. (Click here to read a related article on the NSA’s “implants”.)

In this way, the intelligence service seeks to identify and track its targets based on their digital footprints. These identifiers could include certain email addresses or website cookies set on a person’s computer. Of course, a cookie doesn’t automatically identify a person, but it can if it includes additional information like an email address. In that case, a cookie becomes something like the web equivalent of a fingerprint.

A Race Between Servers

Once TAO teams have gathered sufficient data on their targets’ habits, they can shift into attack mode, programming the QUANTUM systems to perform this work in a largely automated way. If a data packet featuring the email address or cookie of a target passes through a cable or router monitored by the NSA, the system sounds the alarm. It determines what website the target person is trying to access and then activates one of the intelligence service’s covert servers, known by the codename FOXACID.

This NSA server coerces the user into connecting to NSA covert systems rather than the intended sites. In the case of Belgacom engineers, instead of reaching the LinkedIn page they were actually trying to visit, they were also directed to FOXACID servers housed on NSA networks. Undetected by the user, the manipulated page transferred malware already custom tailored to match security holes on the target person’s computer.

The technique can literally be a race between servers, one that is described in internal intelligence agency jargon with phrases like: “Wait for client to initiate new connection,” “Shoot!” and “Hope to beat server-to-client response.” Like any competition, at times the covert network’s surveillance tools are “too slow to win the race.” Often enough, though, they are effective. Implants with QUANTUMINSERT, especially when used in conjunction with LinkedIn, now have a success rate of over 50 percent, according to one internal document.

Tapping Undersea Cables

At the same time, it is in no way true to say that the NSA has its sights set exclusively on select individuals. Of even greater interest are entire networks and network providers, such as the fiber optic cables that direct a large share of global Internet traffic along the world’s ocean floors.

One document labeled “top secret” and “not for foreigners” describes the NSA’s success in spying on the “SEA-ME-WE-4″ cable system. This massive underwater cable bundle connects Europe with North Africa and the Gulf states and then continues on through Pakistan and India, all the way to Malaysia and Thailand. The cable system originates in southern France, near Marseille. Among the companies that hold ownership stakes in it are France Telecom, now known as Orange and still partly government-owned, and Telecom Italia Sparkle.

The document proudly announces that, on Feb. 13, 2013, TAO “successfully collected network management information for the SEA-Me-We Undersea Cable Systems (SMW-4).” With the help of a “website masquerade operation,” the agency was able to “gain access to the consortium’s management website and collected Layer 2 network information that shows the circuit mapping for significant portions of the network.”

It appears the government hackers succeeded here once again using the QUANTUMINSERT method.

The document states that the TAO team hacked an internal website of the operator consortium and copied documents stored there pertaining to technical infrastructure. But that was only the first step. “More operations are planned in the future to collect more information about this and other cable systems,” it continues.

But numerous internal announcements of successful attacks like the one against the undersea cable operator aren’t the exclusive factors that make TAO stand out at the NSA. In contrast to most NSA operations, TAO’s ventures often require physical access to their targets. After all, you might have to directly access a mobile network transmission station before you can begin tapping the digital information it provides.

Spying Traditions Live On

To conduct those types of operations, the NSA works together with other intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, which in turn maintain informants on location who are available to help with sensitive missions. This enables TAO to attack even isolated networks that aren’t connected to the Internet. If necessary, the FBI can even make an agency-owned jet available to ferry the high-tech plumbers to their target. This gets them to their destination at the right time and can help them to disappear again undetected after as little as a half hour’s work.

Responding to a query from SPIEGEL, NSA officials issued a statement saying, “Tailored Access Operations is a unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling NSA to defend the nation and its allies.” The statement added that TAO’s “work is centered on computer network exploitation in support of foreign intelligence collection.” The officials said they would not discuss specific allegations regarding TAO’s mission.

Sometimes it appears that the world’s most modern spies are just as reliant on conventional methods of reconnaissance as their predecessors.

Take, for example, when they intercept shipping deliveries. If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called “load stations,” agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.

These minor disruptions in the parcel shipping business rank among the “most productive operations” conducted by the NSA hackers, one top secret document relates in enthusiastic terms. This method, the presentation continues, allows TAO to obtain access to networks “around the world.”

Even in the Internet Age, some traditional spying methods continue to live on.

TAO: THE NAME OF NSA’S TOP SECRET HACKING UNIT

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Photo Gallery: A Powerful NSA Toolbox

 

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-nsa-uses-powerful-toolbox-in-effort-to-spy-on-global-networks-a-940969.html

 

The NSA’s TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency’s top secret weapon. It maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.

In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors. They wanted to drive to work or head off to do their grocery shopping, but their garage door openers had gone dead, leaving them stranded. No matter how many times they pressed the buttons, the doors didn’t budge. The problem primarily affected residents in the western part of the city, around Military Drive and the interstate highway known as Loop 410.

In the United States, a country of cars and commuters, the mysterious garage door problem quickly became an issue for local politicians. Ultimately, the municipal government solved the riddle. Fault for the error lay with the United States’ foreign intelligence service, the National Security Agency, which has offices in San Antonio. Officials at the agency were forced to admit that one of the NSA’s radio antennas was broadcasting at the same frequency as the garage door openers. Embarrassed officials at the intelligence agency promised to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, and soon the doors began opening again.

It was thanks to the garage door opener episode that Texans learned just how far the NSA’s work had encroached upon their daily lives. For quite some time now, the intelligence agency has maintained a branch with around 2,000 employees at Lackland Air Force Base, also in San Antonio. In 2005, the agency took over a former Sony computer chip plant in the western part of the city. A brisk pace of construction commenced inside this enormous compound. The acquisition of the former chip factory at Sony Place was part of a massive expansion the agency began after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

On-Call Digital Plumbers

One of the two main buildings at the former plant has since housed a sophisticated NSA unit, one that has benefited the most from this expansion and has grown the fastest in recent years — the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. This is the NSA’s top operative unit — something like a squad of plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked.

According to internal NSA documents viewed by SPIEGEL, these on-call digital plumbers are involved in many sensitive operations conducted by American intelligence agencies. TAO’s area of operations ranges from counterterrorism to cyber attacks to traditional espionage. The documents reveal just how diversified the tools at TAO’s disposal have become — and also how it exploits the technical weaknesses of the IT industry, from Microsoft to Cisco and Huawei, to carry out its discreet and efficient attacks.

The unit is “akin to the wunderkind of the US intelligence community,” says Matthew Aid, a historian who specializes in the history of the NSA. “Getting the ungettable” is the NSA’s own description of its duties. “It is not about the quantity produced but the quality of intelligence that is important,” one former TAO chief wrote, describing her work in a document. The paper seen by SPIEGEL quotes the former unit head stating that TAO has contributed “some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen.” The unit, it goes on, has “access to our very hardest targets.”

A Unit Born of the Internet

Defining the future of her unit at the time, she wrote that TAO “needs to continue to grow and must lay the foundation for integrated Computer Network Operations,” and that it must “support Computer Network Attacks as an integrated part of military operations.” To succeed in this, she wrote, TAO would have to acquire “pervasive, persistent access on the global network.” An internal description of TAO’s responsibilities makes clear that aggressive attacks are an explicit part of the unit’s tasks. In other words, the NSA’s hackers have been given a government mandate for their work. During the middle part of the last decade, the special unit succeeded in gaining access to 258 targets in 89 countries — nearly everywhere in the world. In 2010, it conducted 279 operations worldwide.

Indeed, TAO specialists have directly accessed the protected networks ofdemocratically elected leaders of countries. They infiltrated networks of European telecommunications companies and gained access to and read mails sent over Blackberry’s BES email servers, which until then were believed to be securely encrypted. Achieving this last goal required a “sustained TAO operation,” one document states.

This TAO unit is born of the Internet — created in 1997, a time when not even 2 percent of the world’s population had Internet access and no one had yet thought of Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. From the time the first TAO employees moved into offices at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, the unit was housed in a separate wing, set apart from the rest of the agency. Their task was clear from the beginning — to work around the clock to find ways to hack into global communications traffic.

Recruiting the Geeks

To do this, the NSA needed a new kind of employee. The TAO workers authorized to access the special, secure floor on which the unit is located are for the most part considerably younger than the average NSA staff member. Their job is breaking into, manipulating and exploiting computer networks, making them hackers and civil servants in one. Many resemble geeks — and act the part, too.

Indeed, it is from these very circles that the NSA recruits new hires for its Tailored Access Operations unit. In recent years, NSA Director Keith Alexander has made several appearances at major hacker conferences in the United States. Sometimes, Alexander wears his military uniform, but at others, he even dons jeans and a t-shirt in his effort to court trust and a new generation of employees.

The recruitment strategy seems to have borne fruit. Certainly, few if any other divisions within the agency are growing as quickly as TAO. There are now TAO units in Wahiawa, Hawaii; Fort Gordon, Georgia; at the NSA’s outpost at Buckley Air Force Base, near Denver, Colorado; at its headquarters in Fort Meade; and, of course, in San Antonio.

One trail also leads to Germany. According to a document dating from 2010 that lists the “Lead TAO Liaisons” domestically and abroad as well as names, email addresses and the number for their “Secure Phone,” a liaison office is located near Frankfurt — the European Security Operations Center (ESOC) at the so-called “Dagger Complex” at a US military compound in the Griesheim suburb of Darmstadt.

But it is the growth of the unit’s Texas branch that has been uniquely impressive, the top secret documents reviewed by SPIEGEL show. These documents reveal that in 2008, the Texas Cryptologic Center employed fewer than 60 TAO specialists. By 2015, the number is projected to grow to 270 employees. In addition, there are another 85 specialists in the “Requirements & Targeting” division (up from 13 specialists in 2008). The number of software developers is expected to increase from the 2008 level of three to 38 in 2015. The San Antonio office handles attacks against targets in the Middle East, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia, not to mention Mexico, just 200 kilometers (124 miles) away, where the government has fallen into the NSA’s crosshairs.

CHINA’S WAR ON DRUGS

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CLICK BELOW LINKS FOR OTHER DRUG DEALERS/SMUGGLERS EXECUTED BY CHINA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaZe6Z8pfko

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG2ALvJ4Pbs

ISIS HAS LOST GROUND IN IRAQ BUT GAINED GROUND IN SYRIA

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http://the-levant.com/losses-offset-gains/

 

ISIS has lost control over approximately 25 percent of the land it held in Iraq last summer, a new Pentagon assessment released on Monday concludes.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters on April 13 that the militants are “no longer the dominant force” in about 5,000 to 6,000 square miles of territory that they once held in northern and western Iraq. He said the “combination of coalition airpower and Iraq ground forces are having an effect” in pushing the front lines to the west and south.

“I’m not yet ready to say that the tide has turned,” Warren said, especially since the Islamic State still holds plenty of ground, including control of major cities like Fallujah and Mosul.

The U.S. military’s assessment of the Islamic State’s reach in Iraq also says that the group still has some kind of presence in areas of Tikrit — which Iraqi forces claim to have cleared recently. A new map lists as Tikrit and the western city of Ramadi as “contested.”

While punishing airstrikes by American and allied fighter jets have steadily targeted the Islamic State since August, wars against small groups of irregular fighters who exist with the help or even acquiescence of the local population are rarely won though airpower alone. That means Iraqi and Kurdish forces still have thousands of miles of dirt to clear, and plenty of cities and villages to push through.

Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces and the Iranian-linked Shiite militias fighting with them have been involved in near-constant small engagements with Islamic State formations in and around population centers like Tikrit, Hit, the Baiji oil refinery, and in areas northeast of Baghdad, according to U.S. military officials. The security forces also have been pushing to cut the resupply lines into Mosul for several weeks now, the officials said.

Much of this work has been helped along by Iranian Quds force advisors working with Shiite militias. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 12 that some Shiite Iraqi soldiers currently being trained by U.S. troops are even fighting with the Iranian-supported militias when on leave from their units.

When asked about the role of Iranians in Iraq during an April 13 “Twitter Q&A” session with the public, Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. Lukman Faily tweeted that “Iraq seeks support from all regional and international partners. Let us not forget our common fight against ISIS.” He was using an acronym for the full name of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

But where the Islamic State may be losing some of its footholds in Iraq, it is expanding its presence in Syria, according to the Defense Department’s assessment.

The group has gained ground around the Syrian capital of Damascus and in the city of Homs, and is currently fighting it out with other militias for control of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp.

While there are no American troops in Syria, U.S. and allied forces have so far identified 2,200 potential Syrian fighters to be part of a moderate militia to protect areas from Syrian government forces and the Islamic State, and are currently putting 450 of them though the next level of screening before officially kicking off training in Turkey and Jordan.

About 300 American troops have been sent to the region as part of a 450-strong training force. There continues to be no real timeline for the training program, which eventually seeks to create a force of about 20,000 militia members.