Archive | April 5th, 2012

Saudi royal family corruption

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الهاشمي للبقاء في قطر: المالكي يستهدف العرب السنّة

Posted By: Siba Bizri

Arabic Shoah Editor

صحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية

حرص المكتب الإعلامي لنائب الرئيس العراقي، طارق الهاشمي، المطلوب للقضاء في بغداد، أمس على نفي صحة التسريبات السعودية التي تحدثت عن إمكانية مكوثه المؤقت في المملكة، التي وصلها أول من أمس قادماً من قطر، التي من المفترض أن يعود إليها، حيث رحبت الدوحة بـ«إقامته فيها».

وكان مصدر سعودي رسمي قد أعلن أن الهاشمي، الذي التقى أول من أمس وزير الخارجية السعودي سعود الفيصل، «سيمكث في السعودية في الوقت الراهن»، من دون أن يستبعد أن يبقى في المملكة حتى رحيل رئيس الوزراء العراقي نوري المالكي «ديموقراطياً»، مشيراً إلى أن رئيس الوزراء العراقي «يمثل امتداداً لإيران، وسقوط المالكي ديموقراطياً سينهي التدخل الإيراني للمنطقة»، إلا أن مصدراً سعوديّاً آخر عمد إلى الإعلان أن نائب الرئيس العراقي «سيغادر الرياض بعد انتهاء زيارته للمملكة عائداً إلى دولة قطر التي رحبت بإقامته فيها».
من جهته، أوضح المكتب الإعلامي لنائب الرئيس العراقي أن الهاشمي سيعود إلى بلده في ختام جولته العربية. وقال مدير المكتب الإعلامي للهاشمي، مدحت أبو عبد الله، «إن الهاشمي، الذي سينتقل إلى الرياض يوم السبت المقبل للقاء الملك السعودي عبد الله بن عبد العزيز، يؤكد عودته إلى الوطن بمجرد إكمال جولته العربية».
وكان الهاشمي قد اتهم، في مقابلة مع «الجزيرة»، المالكي باستهداف السنة العرب في العراق. وأوضح أن قضيته «تحمل بعداً طائفياً» باعتبار أنه «خامس شخصية سنية تُستَهدَف». وأكد أن «90 في المئة من المعتقلين في العراق من العرب السنة».
من جهته، وصف النائب العراقي عن ائتلاف دولة القانون، ياسين مجيد، الهاشمي بأنه «فتنة متنقلة»، مطالباً بمنعه من العودة إلى أربيل عاصمة إقليم كردستان العراق؛ «لأنه يتحرك وكأنه فتنة متنقلة بين مكان وآخر ليصنع أزمات للعراق بعد أن صنع أزمة بين أربيل وبغداد». ورأى أن «وجود الهاشمي في كردستان صنع أزمة كبيرة بين الحكومة الاتحادية وحكومة الإقليم»، واصفاً قضية الهاشمي بـ«الفتنة الكبيرة التي امتدت إلى مكونات الشعب العراقي». ورأى أن «إصرار الكرد على وجود الهاشمي في الإقليم يخلق أزمة بين الحكومة الاتحادية وحكومة الإقليم».
في غضون ذلك، أعلن الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما، ونائبه جو بايدن، التزام الولايات المتحدة العلاقة التاريخية مع إقليم كردستان في إطار شراكة استراتيجية مع عراق ديموقراطي وموحد. وأفاد البيت الأبيض بأن أوباما انضم إلى اجتماع بين بايدن ورئيس إقليم كردستان مسعود البرزاني، الذي يزور واشنطن، فجدد المسؤولان الأميركيان التأكيد أن «الولايات المتحدة ملتزمة علاقتها الوثيقة والتاريخية مع كردستان والشعب الكردي، في إطار شراكتنا الاستراتيجية مع عراق فيدرالي وديموقراطي وموحد».
أما الرئيس العراقي، جلال الطالباني، فلفت إلى أن الشعب العراقي تمكن من بناء دولته على أسس الديموقراطية والحرية وسيادة القانون. ونقل بيان صادر عن الرئاسة العراقية عن الطالباني قوله، خلال استقباله أول من أمس رئيسة حزب الخضر النائبة الألمانية كلوديا روث والوفد المرافق لها، إن «الشعب العراقي شعب حي تمكن من بناء دولته الجديدة على أسس الديموقراطية والحرية والمواطنة والمساواة وسيادة القانون وضمان حقوق الإنسان».
في هذه الأثناء، أكدت وزارة النفط العراقية، توقف الصادرات النفطية عبر خط كركوك _ جيهان بين العراق وتركيا بسبب تعرّض أحد الأنابيب الناقلة لعمل تخريبي داخل الأراضي التركية. وأوضح المتحدث الإعلامي باسم الوزارة، عاصم جهاد، أن «انفجاراً استهدف أنابيب النفط الرابطة بين حقول نفط كركوك وميناء جيهان التركي داخل الأراضي التركية في الساعة الواحدة وعشرين دقيقة بعد منتصف ليل أمس الأربعاء، أدى إلى اندلاع حريق كبير فيها ووقف عمليات تصدير النفط الخام العراقي عبر الخط المذكور». وأضاف أن «وزارة النفط بانتظار إصلاح الأنابيب من قبل الجهات المعنية التركية من أجل استئناف عملية ضخ النفط إلى ميناء جيهان التركي المطل على البحر المتوسط».
إلى ذلك، اعتقلت السلطات العراقية أمس وزير المال في «دولة العراق الإسلامية»، إبراهيم ردام حسين، وأحد مساعديه في منطقة الصقلاوية قرب الفلوجة غرب بغداد، بحسب ما أفاد مسؤول عسكري، فيما أصيب 3 مدنيين عراقيين بجروح بينهم طفلة، بتفجير منزل ضابط عراقي في مدينة الفلوجة غرب بغداد.

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SURPRISE, SURPRISE–ICC rejects Palestinian bid to investigate IsraHelli war crimes during ‘Cast Lead’ Gaza operation

NOVANEWS

 http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com

International Criminal Court in The Hague says reason for decision is that Palestine is currently recognized by the United Nations as an ‘observer,’ not a ‘Non-member State’.

ed note–this is but one small instance explaining why there is this thing known as ‘Islamic terrorism’. As JFK said, ‘those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable’. Cast Lead was such an EGREGIOUS display of wanton, religiously-inspired human sacrifice, AND YET, expecting a Western court to do its job and investigate the perp for war crimes is suddenly ‘beyond its purview’ and then uses half-assed excuses such as this one in justifying it.  

Haaretz

The International Criminal Court prosecutor announced Tuesday that he has rejected a bid by the Palestinian Authority to have the war crimes tribunal investigate Israeli conduct during ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza.

The reason for his decision was that under the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, only internationally recognized states can join the court.

 In an official statement released Tuesday afternoon, the ICC said that “the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not as a “Non‐member State”,” and that only “relevant bodies at the United Nations” or the group of states that make up the court could determine whether Palestinians can sign up to the Rome Statute.

“[T]he Office has assessed that it is for the relevant bodies at the United Nations or the Assembly of States Parties to make the legal determination whether Palestine qualifies as a State for the purpose of acceding to the Rome Statute and thereby enabling the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court,” the statement said. “The Rome Statute provides no authority for the Office of the Prosecutor to adopt a method to define the term “State””.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Follow Haaretz.com on Facebook and share your views.

 The ICC explained that “Palestine has been recognized as a State in bilateral relations by more than 130 governments and by certain international organisations, including United Nation bodies. However, the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not as a “Non‐member State”.”

In the future, the statement continued, the ICC could “consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine, should competent organs of the United Nations or eventually the Assembly of States Parties resolve the legal issue” regarding Palestine’s membership status.

The bid was made in 2009, when Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Khashan sent a letter to the ICC saying the PA recognizes the court’s authority to deliberate “the actions taken in the Palestinian territories from July 1.”

Following the PA’s request, the ICC’s prosecutor began looking into the possibility of an investigation. During the discussions, Arab League representatives submitted a report to the ICC alleging war crimes committed by Israel during Cast Lead. In July 2011, the PA submitted its appeal in writing to the ICC.

  1. Ex UN IAEA Inspector Scott Ritter : US will go to War with Iran as Stooge of IsraHell

Posted in Palestine Affairs1 Comment

Shady Companies With Ties to IsraHell Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA

NOVANEWS

Wired.com

Army General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, is having a busy year — hopping around the country, cutting ribbons at secret bases and bringing to life the agency’s greatly expanded eavesdropping network.

In January he dedicated the new $358 million CAPT Joseph J. Rochefort Building at NSA Hawaii, and in March he unveiled the 604,000-square-foot John Whitelaw Building at NSA Georgia.

Designed to house about 4,000 earphone-clad intercept operators, analysts and other specialists, many of them employed by private contractors, it will have a 2,800-square-foot fitness center open 24/7, 47 conference rooms and VTCs, and “22 caves,” according to an NSA brochure from the event. No television news cameras were allowed within two miles of the ceremony.

Overseas, Menwith Hill, the NSA’s giant satellite listening post in Yorkshire, England that sports 33 giant dome-covered eavesdropping dishes, is also undergoing a multi-million-dollar expansion, with $68 million alone being spent on a generator plant to provide power for new supercomputers. And the number of people employed on the base, many of them employees of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, is due to increase from 1,800 to 2,500 in 2015, according to a study done in Britain. Closer to home, in May, Fort Meade will close its 27-hole golf course to make room for a massive $2 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot expansion of the NSA’s headquarters, including a cybercommand complex and a new supercomputer center expected to cost nearly $1 billion.

The climax, however, will be the opening next year of the NSA’s mammoth 1-million-square-foot, $2 billion Utah Data Center. The centerpiece in the agency’s decade-long building boom, it will be the “cloud” where the trillions of millions of intercepted phone calls, e-mails, and data trails will reside, to be scrutinized by distant analysts over highly encrypted fiber-optic links.

Despite the post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping of Americans, the NSA says that citizens should trust it not to abuse its growing power and that it takes the Constitution and the nation’s privacy laws seriously.

But one of the agency’s biggest secrets is just how careless it is with that ocean of very private and very personal communications, much of it to and from Americans. Increasingly, obscure and questionable contractors — not government employees — install the taps, run the agency’s eavesdropping infrastructure, and do the listening and analysis.

And with some of the key companies building the U.S.’s surveillance infrastructure for the digital age employing unstable employees, crooked executives, and having troubling ties to foreign intelligence services, it’s not clear that Americans should trust the secretive agency, even if its current agency chief claims he doesn’t approve of extrajudicial spying on Americans. His predecessor, General Michael V. Hayden, made similar claims while secretly conducting the warrantless wiretapping program.

Until now, the actual mechanics of how the agency constructed its highly secret U.S. eavesdropping net, code-named Stellar Wind, has never been revealed. But in the weeks following 9/11, as the agency and the White House agreed to secretly ignore U.S. privacy laws and bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, J. Kirk Wiebe noticed something odd. A senior analyst, he was serving as chief of staff for the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center (SARC), a sort of skunkworks within the agency where bureaucratic rules were broken, red tape was cut, and innovation was expected.

“One day I notice out in the hallway, stacks and stacks of new servers in boxes just lined up,” he said.

Passing by the piles of new Dell 1750 servers, Wiebe, as he often did, headed for the Situation Room, which dealt with threat warnings. It was located within the SARC’s Lab, on the third floor of Operations Building 2B, a few floors directly below the director’s office. “I walk in and I almost get thrown out by a guy that we knew named Ben Gunn,” he said. It was the launch of Stellar Wind and only a handful of agency officials were let in on the secret.

“He was the one who organized it,” said Bill Binney of Gunn. A former founder and co-director of SARC, Binney was the agency official responsible for automating much of the NSA’s worldwide monitoring networks. Troubled by the unconstitutional nature of tapping into the vast domestic communications system without a warrant, he decided to quit the agency in late 2001 after nearly forty years.

Gunn, said Binney, was a Scotsman and naturalized U.S. citizen who had formerly worked for GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, and later become a senior analyst at the NSA. The NSA declined Wired’s request to interview Gunn, saying that, as policy, it doesn’t confirm or deny if a person is employed by the agency.

Shortly after the secret meeting, the racks of Dell servers were moved to a room down the hall, behind a door with a red seal indicating only those specially cleared for the highly compartmented project could enter. But rather than having NSA employees putting the hardware and software together and setting up walls of monitors showing suspected terrorism threats and their U.S. communications, the spying room was filled with a half-dozen employees of a tiny mom-and-pop company with a bizarre and troubling history.

“It was Technology Development Corporation,” said Binney.

The agency went to TDC, he says, because the company had helped him set up a similar network in SARC — albeit one that was focused on foreign and international communications — the kind of spying the NSA is chartered to undertake.

“They needed to have somebody who knew how the code works to set it up,” he said. “And then it was just a matter of feeding in the attributes [U.S. phone numbers, e-mail addresses and personal data] and any of the content you want.” Those “attributes” came from secret rooms established in large telecom switches around the country. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says.

Formed in April 1984, TDC was owned by two brothers, Randall and Paul Jacobson, and largely run out of Randall’s Clarkesville, Maryland house, with his wife acting as bookkeeper. But its listed address is a post office box in Annapolis Junction, across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the NSA, and the company’s phone number in various business directories is actually an NSA number in Binney’s old office.

The company’s troubles began in June 1992 when Paul lost his security clearance. “If you ever met this guy, you would know he’s a really strange guy,” Binney said of Paul. “He did crazy stuff. I think they thought he was unstable.” At the time, Paul was working on a contract at the NSA alongside a rival contractor, Unisys Corporation. He later blamed Unisys for his security problems and sued it, claiming that Unisys employees complained about him to his NSA supervisors. According to the suit, Unisys employees referred to him as “weird” and that he “acted like a robot,” “never wore decent clothes,” and was mentally and emotionally unstable. About that time, he also began changing his name, first to Jimmy Carter, and later to Alfred Olympus von Ronsdorf.

With “von Ronsdorf’s” clearance gone and no longer able to work at the NSA, Randy Jacobson ran the company alone, though he kept his brother and fellow shareholder employed in the company, which led to additional problems.

“What happened was Randy still let him have access to the funds of the company and he squandered them,” according to Binney. “It was so bad, Randy couldn’t pay the people who were working for him.” According to court records, Ronsdorf allegedly withdrew about $100,000 in unauthorized payments. But Jacobson had troubles of his own, having failed to file any income tax statements for three years in the 1990s, according to tax court records. Then in March 2002, around the time the company was completing Stellar Wind, Jacobson fired his brother for improper billing and conversion of company funds. That led to years of suits and countersuits over mismanagement and company ownership.

Despite that drama, Jacobson and his people appeared to have serious misgivings about the NSA’s program once they discovered its true nature, according to Binney. “They came and said, ‘Do you realize what these people are doing?’” he said. “‘They’re feeding us other stuff [U.S.] in there.’ I mean they knew it was unconstitutional right away.” Binney added that once the job was finished, the NSA turned to still another contractor to run the tapping operation. “They made it pretty well known, so after they got it up and running they [the NSA] brought in the SAIC people to run it after that.” Jacobsen was then shifted to other work at the NSA, where he and his company are still employed.

Randall Jacobsen answered his phone inside the NSA but asked for time to respond. He never called back.

In addition to constructing the Stellar Wind center, and then running the operation, secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network.

According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon, which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not comment on such matters.

At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment.

What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.

In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”

Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been alerted to, but wasn’t.

“In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries, technically what they’re doing…. They didn’t do this that way, it was under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said. “For access.”

But Binney now suspects that Israeli intelligence in turn passed the technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic and diplomatic information back to them. “And then five years later, four or five years later, you see a Narus device,” he said. “I think there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.”

Narus was formed in Israel in November 1997 by six Israelis with much of its money coming from Walden Israel, an Israeli venture capital company. Its founder and former chairman, Ori Cohen, once told Israel’s Fortune Magazine that his partners have done technology work for Israeli intelligence.And among the five founders was Stanislav Khirman, a husky, bearded Russian who had previously worked for Elta Systems, Inc. A division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Elta specializes in developing advanced eavesdropping systems for Israeli defense and intelligence organizations. At Narus, Khirman became the chief technology officer.

A few years ago, Narus boasted that it is “known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.” The company says its equipment is capable of “providing unparalleled monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and government organizations around the world” and that “Anything that comes through [an Internet protocol network], we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails, along with attachments, see what Web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice over Internet Protocol] calls.”

Like Narus, Verint was founded by in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob 
“Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800 employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel, primarily working in research and development and operations, according to the Jerusalem Post. Among its products is STAR-GATE, which according to the company’s sales literature, lets “service providers … access communications on virtually any type of network, retain communication data for as long as required, and query and deliver content and data …” and was “[d]esigned to manage vast numbers of targets, concurrent sessions, call data records, and communications.”

In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S. eavesdropping and surveillance market. “Take NICE, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology,” said Gefen. “Check Point was founded by Unit alumni. Comverse’s main product, the Logger, is based on the Unit’s technology.”

According to a former chief of Unit 8200, both the veterans of the group and much of the high-tech intelligence equipment they developed are now employed in high-tech firms around the world. “Cautious estimates indicate that in the past few years,” he told a reporter for the Israeli newspaperHa’artez in 2000, “Unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to 40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall Street.” Referred to only as “Brigadier General B,” he added, “This correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”

Equally troubling is the issue of corruption. Kobi Alexander, the founder and former chairman of Verint, is now a fugitive, wanted by the FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes. And two of his top associates at Comverse, Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel William F. Sorin, were also indicted in the scheme and later pleaded guilty, with both serving time in prison and paying millions of dollars in fines and penalties.

When asked about these contractors, the NSA declined to “verify the allegations made.”

But the NSA did “eagerly offer” that it “ensures deliberate and appropriate measures are taken to thoroughly investigate and resolve any legitimate complaints or allegations of misconduct or illegal activity” and “takes seriously its obligation to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and comply with the U.S. laws and regulations that govern our activities.”

The NSA also added that “we are proud of the work we do to protect the nation, and allegations implying that there is inappropriate monitoring of American communications are a disservice to the American public and to the NSA civilian and military personnel who are dedicated to serving their country.”

However, that statement elides the voluminous reporting by the New York TimesWashington Post,USA TodayLos Angeles Times and Wired on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Also not reflected is that in the only anti-warrantless wiretapping lawsuit to survive the government’s use of the “state secrets” privilege to throw them out, a federal judge ruled that two American lawyers had been spied on illegally by the government and were entitled to compensation.

So take the NSA’s assurances as you will.

But as NSA director Alexander flies around the country, scissors in hand, opening one top-secret, outsourced eavesdropping center after another, someone might want to ask the question no one in Congress seems willing to ask: Who’s listening to the listeners?

They needed to have somebody who knew how the code works to set it up,” he said. “And then it was just a matter of feeding in the attributes [U.S. phone numbers, e-mail addresses and personal data] and any of the content you want.” Those “attributes” came from secret rooms established in large telecom switches around the country. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says.

Formed in April 1984, TDC was owned by two brothers, Randall and Paul Jacobson, and largely run out of Randall’s Clarkesville, Maryland house, with his wife acting as bookkeeper. But its listed address is a post office box in Annapolis Junction, across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the NSA, and the company’s phone number in various business directories is actually an NSA number in Binney’s old office.

The company’s troubles began in June 1992 when Paul lost his security clearance. “If you ever met this guy, you would know he’s a really strange guy,” Binney said of Paul. “He did crazy stuff. I think they thought he was unstable.” At the time, Paul was working on a contract at the NSA alongside a rival contractor, Unisys Corporation. He later blamed Unisys for his security problems and sued it, claiming that Unisys employees complained about him to his NSA supervisors. According to the suit, Unisys employees referred to him as “weird” and that he “acted like a robot,” “never wore decent clothes,” and was mentally and emotionally unstable. About that time, he also began changing his name, first to Jimmy Carter, and later to Alfred Olympus von Ronsdorf.

With “von Ronsdorf’s” clearance gone and no longer able to work at the NSA, Randy Jacobson ran the company alone, though he kept his brother and fellow shareholder employed in the company, which led to additional problems.

“What happened was Randy still let him have access to the funds of the company and he squandered them,” according to Binney. “It was so bad, Randy couldn’t pay the people who were working for him.” According to court records, Ronsdorf allegedly withdrew about $100,000 in unauthorized payments. But Jacobson had troubles of his own, having failed to file any income tax statements for three years in the 1990s, according to tax court records. Then in March 2002, around the time the company was completing Stellar Wind, Jacobson fired his brother for improper billing and conversion of company funds. That led to years of suits and countersuits over mismanagement and company ownership.

Despite that drama, Jacobson and his people appeared to have serious misgivings about the NSA’s program once they discovered its true nature, according to Binney. “They came and said, ‘Do you realize what these people are doing?’” he said. “‘They’re feeding us other stuff [U.S.] in there.’ I mean they knew it was unconstitutional right away.” Binney added that once the job was finished, the NSA turned to still another contractor to run the tapping operation. “They made it pretty well known, so after they got it up and running they [the NSA] brought in the SAIC people to run it after that.” Jacobsen was then shifted to other work at the NSA, where he and his company are still employed.

Randall Jacobsen answered his phone inside the NSA but asked for time to respond. He never called back.

In addition to constructing the Stellar Wind center, and then running the operation, secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network.

According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon, which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not comment on such matters.

At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment.

What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.

In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”

Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been alerted to, but wasn’t.

“In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries, technically what they’re doing…. They didn’t do this that way, it was under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said. “For access.”

But Binney now suspects that Israeli intelligence in turn passed the technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic and diplomatic information back to them. “And then five years later, four or five years later, you see a Narus device,” he said. “I think there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.”

Narus was formed in Israel in November 1997 by six Israelis with much of its money coming from Walden Israel, an Israeli venture capital company. Its founder and former chairman, Ori Cohen, once told Israel’s Fortune Magazine that his partners have done technology work for Israeli intelligence.And among the five founders was Stanislav Khirman, a husky, bearded Russian who had previously worked for Elta Systems, Inc. A division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Elta specializes in developing advanced eavesdropping systems for Israeli defense and intelligence organizations. At Narus, Khirman became the chief technology officer.

A few years ago, Narus boasted that it is “known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.” The company says its equipment is capable of “providing unparalleled monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and government organizations around the world” and that “Anything that comes through [an Internet protocol network], we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails, along with attachments, see what Web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice over Internet Protocol] calls.”

Like Narus, Verint was founded by in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800 employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel, primarily working in research and development and operations, according to the Jerusalem Post. Among its products is STAR-GATE, which according to the company’s sales literature, lets “service providers … access communications on virtually any type of network, retain communication data for as long as required, and query and deliver content and data …” and was “[d]esigned to manage vast numbers of targets, concurrent sessions, call data records, and communications.”

In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S. eavesdropping and surveillance market. “Take NICE, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology,” said Gefen. “Check Point was founded by Unit alumni. Comverse’s main product, the Logger, is based on the Unit’s technology.”

According to a former chief of Unit 8200, both the veterans of the group and much of the high-tech intelligence equipment they developed are now employed in high-tech firms around the world. “Cautious estimates indicate that in the past few years,” he told a reporter for the Israeli newspaperHa’artez in 2000, “Unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to 40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall Street.” Referred to only as “Brigadier General B,” he added, “This correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”

Equally troubling is the issue of corruption. Kobi Alexander, the founder and former chairman of Verint, is now a fugitive, wanted by the FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes. And two of his top associates at Comverse, Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel William F. Sorin, were also indicted in the scheme and later pleaded guilty, with both serving time in prison and paying millions of dollars in fines and penalties.

When asked about these contractors, the NSA declined to “verify the allegations made.”

But the NSA did “eagerly offer” that it “ensures deliberate and appropriate measures are taken to thoroughly investigate and resolve any legitimate complaints or allegations of misconduct or illegal activity” and “takes seriously its obligation to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and comply with the U.S. laws and regulations that govern our activities.”

The NSA also added that “we are proud of the work we do to protect the nation, and allegations implying that there is inappropriate monitoring of American communications are a disservice to the American public and to the NSA civilian and military personnel who are dedicated to serving their country.”

However, that statement elides the voluminous reporting by the New York TimesWashington Post,USA TodayLos Angeles Times and Wired on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Also not reflected is that in the only anti-warrantless wiretapping lawsuit to survive the government’s use of the “state secrets” privilege to throw them out, a federal judge ruled that two American lawyers had been spied on illegally by the government and were entitled to compensation.

So take the NSA’s assurances as you will.

But as NSA director Alexander flies around the country, scissors in hand, opening one top-secret, outsourced eavesdropping center after another, someone might want to ask the question no one in Congress seems willing to ask: Who’s listening to the listeners?

Posted in USAComments Off on Shady Companies With Ties to IsraHell Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA

Spying on the Spies

NOVANEWS

Outsourcing intelligence-gathering to the Israelis imperils national security

by Justin Raimondo

Stewart Nozette, a brilliant scientist whose work was instrumental in advancing the US space program, was convicted last year of attempting to spy on behalf of Israel, and this month was sentenced to 13 years in prison and a substantial fine. Under investigation for over-charging the government for various services performed by his nonprofit, Nozette was found to be in possession of classified documents – and, in the course of their inquiry, FBI agents discovered an email written by him threatening to turn over classified information to the Israelis if the government pursued its fraud case.

In the indictment [.pdf], prosecutors went out of their way to absolve the Israeli government of any fault, since agents had snared their prey by conducting a sting operation. Nozette was approached by an FBI agent who claimed to be a Mossad agent, and asked to hand over classified documents in return for money. As the prosecutors put it: “The indictment does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.”

However, Nozette worked as a consultant for Israel Aerospace Industries, an Israeli government-funded company with strong links to Israeli intelligence, from 1989 to 2009, during which time he had a “Q” security clearance which gave him access to our most closely guarded secrets. It’s worth noting that when the FBI agent masquerading as an Israeli intelligence operative first approached Nozette with the proposal that he work for the Mossad, the sneaky space scientist replied:I thought I was working for you already,” and said he had handed over sensitive intelligence to the Israelis in the past.

Israeli spying in the US is a topic the government, and the news media, don’t like to talk about, and yet the GAO has stated [.pdf] the Israelis run the “most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally” and that “classified military information and sensitive military technologies are high-priority targets for the intelligence agencies of this country.”

In view of this, a new Wired report that Israeli companies are a key link in the government’s top secret high-tech spying operation, code-named “Stellar Wind,” is sure to raise eyebrows. Intelligence expert James Bamford relates:

In addition to constructing the Stellar Wind center, and then running the operation, secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network. According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon, which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not comment on such matters.

At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment. What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.”

Paranoia? Anti-Israel Derangement  Syndrome? After all, Israel is one of our closest allies – right? Why should we be leery of out-sourcing intelligence-gathering to them? But it isn’t paranoia, as Bamford goes on to relate:

In fact, according to [former National Security Agency official Bill] Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, ‘who was a very strong supporter of Israel,’ said Binney, ‘gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.’”

There has been no prosecution, and this incident has never been made public: why is that? If someone high up in the NSA has been handing over sensitive technology to a foreign government, doesn’t this qualify as a criminal act – or  even news? Yet this is the first anyone has heard of it.

According to Bamford, Binney suspects “Israeli intelligence in turn passed the technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic and diplomatic information back to them. And then five years later, four or five years later, you see a Narus device,’ he said. ‘I think there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.’”

Don’t we? All’s fair in love, war, and espionage – which is nothing but war conducted covertly.

When we unpack the boxes within boxes within boxes of Israeli front companies, we find the foot soldiers of Israel’s undercover army inside an electronic Trojan horse. Narus, an Israeli company which boasts its spying capabilities are second to none, has had a working relationship with Israeli intelligence, according to founder and former chairman Ori Cohen. Another Narus founder, chief technology officer Stanislav Khirman, previously worked for our old friend, Israel Aerospace Industries – the company Nozette assumed was a Mossad front.

Verint, formerly Comverse/Infosys, is another familiar name to longtime readers of this column. Back in 2001, Carl Cameron of Fox News reported Israeli agents in the US had been tracking Mohammed Atta and his terrorist team prior to the 9/11 attacks, and may have had foreknowledge of the event.One leg of this steadfastly ignored four-part series detailed the Israeli government’s intimate connection to a company with the exclusive contract to work on the technical aspects of our eavesdropping operations: Comverse-Infosys, now known as Verint.

Verint makes customized computers and software designed to cut into the system of circuits and switches that make up the nation’s phone system in order to capture, store, and record wiretapped conversations, simultaneously sending them to government agents. The problem, however, is that the producers of this valuable tool have constant access to the computers and the information contained therein for “maintenance” purposes. This amounts to what many in law enforcement regard as a back door left wide open. What this means, in practice, is that the entire system has been compromised, as a letter from 15 law enforcement officials to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft asserted. Cameron concluded his report with these words:

What troubles investigators most, particularly in New York, in the counter terrorism investigation of the World Trade Center attack, is that on a number of cases, suspects that they had sought to wiretap and survey immediately changed their telecommunications processes. They started acting much differently as soon as those supposedly secret wiretaps went into place.”

Fox News has never retracted this story, which was broadcast in the first half of December, 2001. Although the smoke had barely cleared from the skies over Manhattan, they erased it from their web site three days after its release. A few honest journalists [.pdf] followed up the story, but it soon went down the Memory Hole and was never heard from again – until now, when a tentacle of the octopus surfaces for a moment, only to sink back down into the miasma of major media indifference, and official complicity.

The implications of this story – the pervasive penetration of America’s secure communications networks by Israeli intelligence and a possible connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks – are too hot to handle for the “mainstream” news media. Indeed, even reportage on matters such as Nozette’s trial is rare to nonexistent: we only heard about the duplicitous space scientist on two occasions – when he was arrested, and when he was sentenced.

Appended to most of these stories was the prosecutors’ contention that the Israeli government was not in any way involved. Nozette’s long association with a “company,” Israel Aerospace, that for all practical purposes is an adjunct of the Israeli government, makes nonsense of this claim, as does Nozette’s surprise at being double-recruited by the Mossad. “I thought I was working for you already”!

Why is the government not prosecuting whoever handed the NSA’s software over to the Israelis? Why does Washington deny or deflect all questions dealing with Israel’s extensive covert operations in the US?

When it came to light the FBI had issued a memo instructing local offices to conduct surveillance on Antiwar.com and its employees, the item that brought us to their attention and caused so much ire on their part  revolved around this issue of the Israeli connection to the events of 9/11. While we are still going through the long and involved legal process of discovering just what the extent of that surveillance was, what is clear at this point  is the peculiar sensitivity of the authorities whenever this subject comes up. It is as if someone had probed an old injury, or subjected them to an electric shock: the response is automatic and emphatic.

What are they so afraid of?

No, it’s not the vaunted power of the Israel lobby, or, at least, not only that. After all, what we’re talking about here is an Israeli “back door” into our most sensitive government communications, a penetration so complete that it places the security of the nation in mortal danger – and puts the privacy and civil liberties of all US citizens at risk. In Britain, they are proposing legislation that would allow real-time snooping on every sort of communication device, giving the government access to everyone’s phone conversations, emails, and web-surfing habits. We have the technology to do this, and no doubt are already doing it: that’s what operation “Stellar Wind” is all about.

If the Israelis have access to this comprehensive monitoring system, via an electronic “back door,” this means personal information could be readily passed around and used to discredit Israel’s perceived enemies in the US. Can fear be a big part of the explanation for the free pass given to Israel’s covert activities – fear of blackmail?

Oh, so you’re a vocal opponent of Israel’s policies in Palestine? Listen buddy, do we have a thick dossier on you! You’d better shut up – or else. What will your wife say when she sees that email – complete with lurid attachment – you sent the other night?

It’s the alleged function of government to protect us from foreign invaders, bad guys from overseas who would do us harm. In this instance, however, they haven’t just failed – they’ve shirked their sworn duty. This may be one of the biggest stories since September 11, 2001 – which is why you won’t hear a word about it from the legacy media and their online imitators. Kudos to Wired for breaking this latest aspect of an ongoing story. How long, I wonder, before they’re darkly accused of spreading pernicious “conspiracy theories”? Place your bets below, in the comments section.

Posted in USAComments Off on Spying on the Spies


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