Very intriguing times we live in…If Russia and China teamed up to meddle in Mexico or Canada the way the U.S. and Europe (which gets quite of bit of natural gas from Russia through the Ukraine) meddled in the Ukraine, you would be the infant if you think the U.S. would not invade either country. We already invaded Iraq and Afghanistan after “meddling” based on lies. Enough already. Essentially, what we have here is an excuse for the U.S. to punish Russia for harboring Edward Snowden due to his leak of the extremely troubling things the NSA was doing to the entire world. But a much larger strategy at play here is the attempt to further weaken the east in order to raise Israel to be the new superpower of the world, at the expense of America. Is this worth it, White House and Congress? A Nobel Peace prize should not be turned upside down.
Simferopol, Ukraine (CNN) — Russia is not considering trying to make Crimea a part of Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. Only people who live in Crimea can determine their future, he said.
However, Putin, speaking to a handful of reporters Tuesday in Moscow, was harshly critical of Kiev’s new leaders.
He said ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych is the legitimate leader of the nation, and the country’s interim government is the result of an “anti-constitutional coup.”
He called the parliament in Ukraine “partly legitimate” but said the country’s acting president is not.
Putin also said that the shaky new government has destabilized the southern and eastern parts of the country since taking power, and that Yanukovych, who is wanted in Ukraine, did not give orders to shoot demonstrators during the protests that eventually led to his ouster.
Then, turning to the troop buildup in the Russian-dominated autonomous region of Crimea, Putin said Ukraine is a brotherly neighbor of Russia — and that the troops there have much in common. He also said Russian forces have not fired a shot since they crossed into Crimea.
He said any use of military force in Ukraine would be the last resort.
Russian Defense Ministry dismisses Ukraine ultimatum reports as ‘total nonsense’
Media reports about an alleged Russian ultimatum made to the Ukrainian armed forces in Crimea are “total nonsense,” a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said.
He said that no ultimatum had been made to the Ukrainian forces, Interfax reports.
“We have become accustomed to the daily accusations by the Ukrainian media of carrying out some sort of military actions against our Ukrainian colleagues,” Russian Black Sea Fleet representative said, adding that “those who want to pit us against each other in the Crimea won’t succeed.”
“There’s nothing new about such disinformation. It’s clear who is behind this. Those ‘puppeteers’ have been unable to come up with anything new since Yugoslavia, Iraq and Syria,” he added.
Also, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told RT that they are unaware of any Russian ultimatum toward the Ukrainian forces in Crimea.
The source revealed that they had only heard about the alleged ultimatum from a report by Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
“We’re interested in keeping friendly relations with the people of Ukraine and in preserving stability,” the source told RT.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also stressed that the Black Sea Fleet units in the Crimea aren’t interfering into the internal events of Ukrainian politics.
The self-deсlared Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed earlier Monday that the Russian Black Sea Fleet had delivered an ultimatum to the Ukrainian forces remaining on the Crimean peninsula.
“If they won’t give up by 05:00 local time (03:00 GMT) a full-scale assault on the units of Ukrainian military in Crimea will begin,” an unnamed source in the ministry told Interfax-Ukraine.
Yanukovich sent letter to Putin asking for Russian military presence in Ukraine
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin says ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has sent a letter to Putin asking him to use military force in Ukraine to restore law and order.
“Under the influence of Western countries, there are open acts of terror and violence,” Churkin quoted the letter from Yanukovich to Putin in the third emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
“People are being persecuted for language and political reasons,” Churkin read. ”So in this regard I would call on the President of Russia, Mr. Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine.”
After reading the letter, Churkin held up a copy of the original letter from Yanukovich to Putin for council members to look at.
Churkin also told the UN Security Council that it is about protecting the rights of the Russian-speaking population there.
Russia considers it necessary to ensure that the agreement between Viktor Yanukovich and the opposition on the crisis in Ukraine is fulfilled, Churkin told the UNSC.
Churkin clarified at the UNSC meeting that Russia’s goal is not to return ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich to power, but acknowledged that he is still the legitimate president of Ukraine and that his fate should be decided by the people of Ukraine.
Churkin added that new information is emerging about more provocations in the works against the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.
People’s self-defense units were formed in a situation where threats and forceful actions of ultra-nationalists puts at risk the lives of Russian citizens and the Russian-speaking population. The units already managed to prevent the capture of administrative buildings and the smuggling of large amounts of firearms and explosives by radicals, Churkin explained.
Ukraine Ambassador to the United Nations Yuriy Sergeyev said his country has “not received a compelling answer” on Russia’s stated reasons for moves into Crimea.
You call it a coup d’etat. We call it a revolution of dignity,” Sergeyev said, speaking in the direction of Russia’s Churkin.
“We [Ukraine] have a different understanding of human rights than you [Russia],” Sergeyev added.
Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said China condemns the recent extremist violence in Ukraine.
“We urge all sides to resolve differences through legal framework” and to protect rights of all people, Jieyi said.
The Ukrainian parliament in Kiev in its first days disturbed eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, where many Russian speakers live, by voting to repeal a law which gave regional status to the Russian language. Seeing this as part of an anti-Russian discriminatory stance of the government, some of the regions denounced Kiev and said they would not be taking orders from the new regime.
Authorities in Crimea requested Moscow’s assistance after parliament voted to repeal the law.
More than half of the Crimean population are Russian and use only the Russian language for their communication. The residents have announced they will hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.
Putin: Deploying military force is last resort, but we reserve right
Russia will not go to war with the people of Ukraine, but will use its troops to protect citizens, if radicals with clout in Kiev now try to use violence against Ukrainian civilians, particularly ethnic Russians, Putin told the media.
Putin, who was given a mandate by the Russian senate to use military force to protect civilians in Ukraine, said there is no need for such an action yet.
Putin cited the actions of radical activists in Ukraine, including the chaining of a governor to a stage as public humiliation and the killing of a technician during an opposition siege of the Party of Regions HQ, as justification for Russia to be concerned for the lives and well-being of people in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Incidents like those are why Russia reserves the option of troop deployment on the table.
“If we see this lawlessness starting in eastern regions, if the people ask us for help – in addition to a plea from a legitimate president, which we already have – then we reserve the right to use all the means we possess to protect those citizens. And we consider it quite legitimate,” he said.
Russia is not planning to go to war with the Ukrainian people, Putin stressed, when a journalist asked if he was afraid of war. But Russian troops would prevent any attempts to target Ukrainian civilians, should they be deployed.
“We are not going to a war against the Ukrainian people,” he said. “I want you to understand it unambiguously. If we do take a decision, it would only be to protect Ukrainian citizens. Let anybody in the military dare, and they’d be shooting their own people, who would stand up in front of us. Shoot at women and children. I’d like to see anyone try and order such a thing in Ukraine.”
Putin dismissed the notion that the uniformed armed people without insignia who are currently present in Crimea are Russian soldiers. He said they are members of the Crimean self-defense forces and that they are no better equipped and trained than some radical fighters who took part in the ousting of Yanukovich.
Putin stressed that the Ukrainian people had a legitimate reason to protest against Yanukovich’s power, considering the overwhelming corruption and other faults of his presidency.
But he objected to the illegitimate way his ouster took place, because it undermined the political stability in the country.
Asked about the presence of snipers during the violent confrontation in Kiev last month, Putin said he was not aware of any order from the Yanukovich government to use firearms against the protesters. He alleged that the shooters could have been provocateurs from one of the opposition forces. He added that what he was sure of is the fact that police officers were shot at with lethal arms during the confrontation.
[Note: In the 1905 Bloody Sunday massacre in Russia, anti-Czar snipers hired by the West deliberately shot at thousands of protesters in a false flag operation to have the international community blame the Christian Czars, thereby providing a pretext to massacre the Czar family and introduce the demonic, New York based Soviet Zionist system onto the hapless Russian people. History repeats itself...]
US hypocrisy over ‘Russian aggression’ in Ukraine
As divisions deepen between the eastern and western regions of Ukraine, the backers of the putsch regime in Kiev portray Russia as a reckless aggressor to absolve their own responsibility for engineering the crisis.
While denunciations of Moscow have streamed out of western capitals in recent days over the standoff in Crimea, it should be understood that the political crisis currently unfolding in Ukraine could have been wholly avoided. In attempts to defuse unrest and maintain legal and societal order, ousted President Yanukovich offered remarkable concessions in his proposal to install opposition leaders in top posts in a reshaped government, which was rejected. Russia expressed readiness to engage in tripartite negotiations with Ukraine and the European Union with the hope that both Moscow and Brussels could play a positive role in Ukraine’s economic recovery, but the EU was unwilling to accept such a proposal. The February-21 agreement was mediated by Russia, France, Germany and Poland and aimed to end the bloodshed in Kiev by reducing presidential powers and establishing a framework for a national unity government, in addition to electoral reform, constitutional changes, and early elections.
There was clearly no shortage of opportunities to ease the polarization of the Ukrainian state through an inclusive political solution, and yet the opposition failed to uphold its responsibilities, resulting in the ouster of Ukraine’s democratically elected leader to the detriment of the country’s political, economic, and societal stability.
As the new self-appointed authorities in Kiev dictate terms and push legislation through a rump parliament, the reluctance of western capitals to address the clearly dubious legitimacy of the new regime suggests that the US and EU condone what is effectively a coup d’état with no constitutional validity.
The leaked phone call between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, is a testament to Washington’s proclivity for foreign meddling and its brazen disregard of Ukraine’s sovereignty. It is no coincidence that Arseniy Yatsenyuk – handpicked by Nuland for the role of prime minister – now occupies that position in Kiev’s new leadership, and much like the reckless agitation strategies employed by the US elsewhere, extremist groups were manipulated to allow the nominal moderates to seize power on Washington’s behalf.
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s statements alluding to Russia behaving like a 19th century power by ‘invading’ Ukraine on a trumped up pretext encapsulates Washington’s infinite potential for hypocritical double standards and pathological dishonesty. The egregious violations of international law by the United States and its NATO allies are abundant and need not be evoked to rebut Kerry’s desperate and deceptive accusation.
The outrage expressed by western capitals over the so-called ‘Russian aggression’ is in stark contrast to the restraint showed when Saudi Arabia militarily intervened in Bahrain in 2011 to put down peaceful protests. Recent interventions by France in its former colonies, Mali and the Central African Republic, have roused no international condemnation, despite
Ukraine: Vladimir Putin attacks ‘unconstitutional takeover’
13.45 Reuters reports that an official travelling with John Kerry in Kiev said:
”We want to very visibly embrace Ukraine. Part of that is through an IMF package, part of it will be through bilateral assistance but in conjunction with our partners to try to support Ukraine.”
13.44 The Turkish Air Force scrambled eight F-16 fighter jets on Monday after a Russian surveillance plane flew parallel along its Black Sea coast, the military has said.
12.38 In the House of Commons, William Hague has praised Ukraine’s interim government for refusing to rise to Russia’s ”deliberate provocation”:
”I commend the Ukrainian authorities for refusing to rise to provocation and I urged them yesterday when I was in Kiev to maintain that posture through all circumstances and at all times. And I believe they will be determined to do so. “
This continues to be a serious risk, particularly that deliberate provocation could give rise to a dangerous incident.
12.32 US officials say the White House will announce $1 billion in energy aid to Ukraine, AFP reports.
12.25 John Kerry’s plane has landed in Kiev. [Note: It was only a few months ago during the government shutdown standoff that the White House said we couldn't afford various domestic programs. But now we can afford $1 billion to a country we didn't hear about during the standoff?]
12.18 Roland Oliphant reports from the Belbek airforce base that the standoff is now over. Ukrainian troops have retreated.
11.12 Vladimir Putin still speaking. He claims that sanctions will backfire on the West and denies that Russian forces had surrounded Ukraine bases in Crimea. He added that deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych had no political future but asserted he was legally still head of state. “I think that he has no political future. And I told him this,” Mr Putin said,
11.10 Observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe will go to the Crimea region where Russian forces have taken control, Ukraine’s top security official, Andriy Paruby, has said, adding that the situation in Crimea was complicated but stable.
10.40 Vladimir Putin is speaking, claiming there has been an “unconstitutional takeover” in Ukraine. Putin says that Yanukovich fulfilled all conditions of the February 21 agreement with the opposition and that he effectively gave up all power.
”There can only be one assessment of what happened in Kiev and Ukraine as a whole – this was an anti-constitutional takeover and armed seizure of power. The acting president is not legitimate. The legitimate president is Yanukovich. Ukraine is not our closest neighbour but is our brother. Ukrainian troops and Russian troops will not be on different sides of the barricade, they will be on the same side of the barricade.”
Russia and Ukraine edge closer to ‘gas war’
October 29, 2013
The possibility of a new “gas war” between Russia and Ukraine inched closer on Tuesday, as the Russian state energy giant Gazprom complained that Kiev had outstanding debts of over half a billion pounds and demanded swift payment.
Gazprom’s concern comes a month before Ukraine is due to sign up for closer ties with the European Union, a deal that has infuriated the Kremlin.
The complaint brought back memories of crises in 2006 and 2009 in which Russia turned off the gas to Ukraine, leaving many European nations that rely on pipelines passing through the country without energy in the middle of winter.
Russia wants Ukraine to join its own Customs Union of former Soviet states, and has repeatedly sent dire warnings that by signing the deal with Europe, Ukraine will lose billions of dollars and face myriad problems. One Kremlin economic adviser even predicted that if the deal is signed “political and social unrest” will ensue and Russia could cease to recognise Ukraine’s status as a sovereign state.
“We are deeply concerned about the arrears accumulated by Ukraine for supplies of Russian natural gas,” said Alexei Miller, Gazprom’s chief executive, on Tuesday. He said the Russian side has made a number of concessions to Ukraine, including paying for transit of gas across it in advance, and giving discounts. Nevertheless, he said, Ukraine has failed to pay $882m (£550m) for gas deliveries that was due by 1 October at the latest. Miller said the current situation was “a dire state of affairs” and added the issue “has to be addressed and settled quickly”.
Gas prices are a controversial issue in Ukraine, with the prime minister, Mykola Azarov, recently claiming that the country has overpaid by over $20bn over the past three years for Russian gas.
Former premier Yulia Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years in 2011 on charges of abuse of office, related to a gas deal she brokered with Russia in 2009 when she was prime minister. The current government says the deal forced cash-strapped Ukraine into paying unfairly high prices for gas.
Ukraine: Reform Now Rather Than Delaying Adjustment, Says The World Bank
…the World Bank highlighted the urgent need to reform residential gas and heating tariffs and better target social assistance to the poor in Ukraine. While Ukraine faces one of the highest average costs of gas supply, its residential gas and heating tariffs are among the lowest in Europe. To maintain this disparity, the Government provides direct budgetary and quasi-fiscal subsidies amounting to around 7 percent of GDP. These subsidies are regressive with about half of all subsidies going to the richest 50% of the population. The two dichotomies—high costs and low tariffs; low tariffs and regressive subsidies—are caused by distorted policies that underprice gas and district heating services and by poorly targeted social assistance programs. The current low tariffs and untargeted social assistance programs are not pro-poor, adversely affect service delivery, impose significant fiscal costs that Ukraine can ill afford and undermine the country’s energy efficiency and security.
MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine has stopped buying gas from Russian energy giant Gazprom as of Saturday, Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency reported Monday, citing a Russian energy official.
The head of Russia’s Central Dispatching Department of the Fuel and Energy Complex said Ukraine bought less gas than usual earlier this month before stopping gas purchases completely on November 9.
In the first days of November, Ukraine acquired about 9-10 million cubic meters of Russian gas daily, about 10 times less than the average amount, Nikolai Orlov said.
Alexei Grivach, who heads the Russia-based National Energy Security Foundation think tank, said the move “creates additional risks” for the transit of Russian gas to Europe during the winter season.
Tensions between the countries are running high as Ukraine has repeatedly rejected Russia’s overtures to join a Moscow-led customs union and is due to sign a series of free-trade and association deals with the European Union – a step Russia has called “suicidal.”
Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said last week that Kiev owed $882 million for supplies in August, raising fears of another politically tinged gas dispute.
Russian News Website Hacked After Military Action in Ukraine
A Russian news website was hacked temporarily, one day after the country’s military escalated an already tense situation in Ukraine.
The website RT.com, or Russia Today, was hacked this morning, the news site confirmed via its Twitter acount, but did not say who might be responsible. The RT website is the online presence of Russian news RT television network.
Obama: Russia ‘On The Wrong Side Of History’ On Ukraine
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says Russia is “on the wrong side of history” in Ukraine and its actions violate international law.
Obama told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday that the United States is considering economic and diplomatic options that will isolate Russia. The president called on Congress to work on an aid package to Ukraine and make it the “first order of business.”
Obama said continued military actions in Ukraine “will be a costly proposition for Russia.”
[Note: Keep in mind that "wrong side of history" is a code word for "against the new world order, which is centered on Israel becoming the new super power even above the United States. This objective is in line with Bible prophecy, where the "Kings of the East" will cross the Euphrates to fight the West in Jerusalem]
Obama to Russia: ‘There Will Be Costs’ for Ukraine Intervention
President Barack Obama said Friday that “there will be costs to any military intervention in Ukraine,” after Russian military forces reportedly entered that country’s Crimea region.
“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” Obama said at the White House, saying the United States is “deeply concerned” about the reports of the Russian presence there.
“The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future,” he said, adding that interference would be “a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine and international laws.”
[Note: Embedded in this statement is the notion that the democratically elected government that was ousted by this coup was not approved by Washington, and therefore a more Western-friendly democracy that brings the West closer to toppling Russia is ideal and sought after. Democracy isn't democracy unless the West says so. This form of bully democracy is what makes nations weak and easily broken, just as the Bible says in Daniel 2, the kingdom of clay and iron]
U.S. to Russia: Pull out of Ukraine immediately
MOSCOW — Stunned by Russia’s swift move into the autonomous province of Crimea and the Russian parliament’s endorsement of that brazen action, the United States called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the region and “refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine.”
Speaking by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since this crisis escalated, President Obama expressed concern over “Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to a White House statement.
“President Obama made clear that Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would negatively impact Russia’s standing in the international community,” the statement said.
However, Putin remained defiant, telling Obama that not only can Russia send its troops to Crimea, but to all of predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine due to “the existence of real threats” to Russian citizens in Ukrainian territory, according to a statement on the Kremlin’s website.
Russia And China Stand In Agreement On Ukraine – And That Is Very Bad News For The United States
So much for “isolating” Russia. The Chinese government is publicly siding with Russia on the crisis in Ukraine, and that is very bad news for the United States. Not only does it mean that the U.S. is essentially powerless to do anything about the situation in Ukraine, it also means that Russia and China are starting to understand how much economic leverage that they really have. Yes, the Obama administration can threaten to slap “sanctions” on Russia or threaten to kick Russia “out of the G8“, but those actions would not actually hurt too much. On the other hand, Russia and China hold approximately 25 percent of all foreign-owned U.S. debt, and if they started massively dumping U.S. debt it could rapidly create a nightmare scenario. In addition, it is important to remember that Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil in the world. And China now imports more oil than anyone else on the planet does, including the United States. If Russia and China got together and decided to kill the petrodollar, they could do it almost overnight. So when it comes to Ukraine, it is definitely not the United States that has the leverage.
Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine
Russia’s central bank raised its rate to 7% from 5.5% as the ruble hit an historic low against the dollar and the euro.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Ukraine by telephone with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday, and claimed they had “broadly coinciding points of view” on the situation there, according to a ministry statement.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later, Mr Lavrov said Russian troops were necessary in Ukraine “until the normalisation of the political situation” and dismissed threats of sanctions and boycotts.
He added: “We call for a responsible approach, to put aside geopolitical calculations, and above all to put the interests of the Ukrainian people first.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: “China has always upheld the principles of diplomacy and the fundamental norms of international relations.
“At the same time we also take into consideration the history and the current complexities of the Ukrainian issue.”
As the tense stand-off continues, the other seven nations of the G8 urged Moscow to hold talks with Kiev.
“We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission, join together today to condemn the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” they said in a statement.
“We have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G8 Summit in Sochi in June.”
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is in Kiev for talks on the crisis, said Russia has taken operational control of Crimea.
He described Russia’s intervention in Ukraine as the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st century.
At a news conference with Mr Yatseniuk, Mr Hague said: “If this situation cannot resolve itself, if Russia cannot be persuaded to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, there will have to be other consequences and other costs.”
Now we see why the FBI archived Nikola Tesla’s great discoveries and notes in the 1940s, including his impressive laser technology.
SINGAPORE – An Israeli state-owned arms company developing a laser-based missile shield that evokes “Star Wars” style technology says its deployment over the country is closer to becoming a reality.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said development of the system was advanced enough for the company to be comfortable with publicizing it at this week’s Singapore Airshow, which is Asia’s largest aerospace and defense exhibition.
The laser technology behind the missile shield called Iron Beam is not that far removed from fiction.
“It’s exactly like what you see in Star Wars,” said company spokesman Amit Zimmer. “You see the lasers go up so quickly like a flash and the target is finished.”
Iron Beam is designed to intercept close-range drones, rockets and mortars which might not remain in the air long enough for Israel’s current Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept.
Iron Dome batteries have shot down hundreds of rockets launched by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities. With no peace deal in sight and also threatened by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel wants to beef up that system and develop further protection.
Avnish Patel, an expert in military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said Iron Beam is potentially an effective addition to Israel’s defenses rather than a drastic change.
“Essentially, its military and tactical utility will be particularly useful in complementing the already proven Iron Dome system in tackling very short range threats such as rockets and mortar fire and in close quarter engagements,” he said.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said test data show Iron Beam lasers are blasting away more than 90 percent of their targets. The new system can also be modified so that multiple lasers can be used to hit a target, according to the company. But officials remain tight lipped as to when and how the Iron Beam will be deployed.
We have serious doubts about this civilian NSA worker story. Seems like the perfect face-saving cover story to avoid admitting that the NSA network in question has a very serious hole in it that Snowden discovered and the NSA won’t publicly admit to.
Feb 14, 2014
by Stephen Braun
WASHINGTON – A National Security Agency employee resigned from the agency after admitting to federal investigators that he gave former NSA analyst Edward Snowden a digital key that allowed him to gain access to classified materials, the NSA has told Congress. Snowden has previously said he did not steal any passwords.
The unnamed civilian employee who worked with Snowden resigned last month after the government revoked his security clearance, according to a letter that NSA legislative director Ethan L. Bauman sent this week to the House Judiciary Committee. A military employee and a private contractor also lost their access to NSA data as part of the continuing investigation by the FBI, Bauman said.
Bauman’s memo, dated Feb. 10, provides some of the first details about what authorities said they have learned about how Snowden retrieved so many classified documents before passing them to news organizations. Top U.S. national security officials have acknowledged they do not know many files Snowden took before he fled the U.S.
Snowden has denied that he stole computer passwords or tricked some co-workers into giving him their passwords. The NSA letter suggested Snowden tricked at least one co-worker and copied the employee’s password without his knowledge.
The civilian NSA worker told FBI investigators last June that he allowed Snowden to use an encrypted digital key known as a Public Key Infrastructure certificate to gain access to classified information on NSANet, the agency’s computer network. The system connects into many of the NSA’s classified databanks. The memo said that previously Snowden had been denied access to the network.
In an attempt by fact to imitate fiction, the US military’s “Iron Man” armor will take an important step towards reality in June, when multiple prototypes will be revealed and tested.
According to a report by Defense Tech, Navy Admiral William McRaven said three prototypes of the TALOS – Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – are currently being put together in the hopes that they’ll be ready for testing this summer.
If everything goes according to schedule, McRaven said the TALOS could become operational by 2018.
“That suit, if done correctly, will yield a revolutionary improvement in survivability and capability for special operators,” McRaven said Tuesday at a military conference in Washington, DC.
Although the prototypes scheduled for June will be unpowered, the military’s wish list of TALOS features is ambitious to say the least. As RT reported last year, the suit is being designed primarily with defense in mind and will likely include liquid armor, a synthetic substance being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This material has the capability to shift from a liquid state to a solid within milliseconds, making the suit’s wearer essentially impervious to gunfire.
Should an operator suffer an injury anyway, the suit will be capable of monitoring the individual’s health vitals and other information using a built-in system that rests against the skin and provides its own supply of heat, air, and oxygen. There are additional plans to incorporate a “wound stasis” program that could stop bleeding by spraying some kind of medical foam onto an injury.
China is developing its first national single mobile payment platform. It’s been created to lift domestic information consumption and boost economic growth, and could replace cash, credit and debit cards.
The system has been undergoing trials since the end of last year, China Daily reports.
Very few countries possess an operating national payment platform, Colin Light, China Digital Consulting Leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hong Kong told China Daily. China’s mobile platform based on Near Field Communication technology (NFC) has a bright future and potentially could abolish cash and plastic cards.
The platform enables communication between financial institutions that provide mobile payments, and mobile network operators, People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Li Dongrong revealed in an interview on Monday.
Li said 21st century mobile finance is undergoing a standardization process to integrate mobile payment providers into a single system. The NFC-platform “provides a solid infrastructure foundation to help China boost domestic information consumption and make the sector a new driver for economic growth.”
Mobile payment arms of China’s leading financial organizations, including China Construction Bank Corp, China CITIC Bank Corp Ltd, China Everbright Bank Co Ltd, China UnionPay have been connected to the country’s largest telecom operator China Mobile.
“The biggest obstacle for banks and mobile operators to operate in a unified way is to build scale. You need a scale advantage to reach wide acceptance of payments,” said Light.
Since Aaron Swartz’s death a lot of activists realize they’re facing huge battles, but everybody can be doing something to fight back in a way to address that, Parker Higgins from the Electronic Frontier Foundation told RT.
RT: ‘The Day We Fight Back’ protest scheduled for Tuesday coincides with the anniversary of internet activist Aaron Swartz’s death. How has privacy legislation progressed following his suicide, allegedly prompted by severe charges for unlawfully downloading academic journals online?
Parker Higgins: Obviously, a year ago we knew much less about the NSA, GCHQ and other Intelligence Agencies. In the last six to seven months we’ve learned things from Edward Snowden’s leaks that of course were issues that Aaron was himself very interested in. The privacy legislation has advanced a lot because of that and so we’ve seen things that are directly related to Aaron with move forward on cyber-crime law in the US, for example, but then there are a lot of things that he couldn’t really foresee a year ago.
RT: Swartz’s suicide has made him a martyr in the eyes of many internet freedom activists. Do you feel authorities effectively drove him to take his own life, with an impending potential 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines?
PH: I think suicide is very complex and there is no way to point at any single issue. Even if you don’t go as far as they’re saying: that the authorities drove him to this, it was an unjust and unnecessary display of power and a way to hound somebody, and they actually hounded him to death – we can’t know. But I do know that when you talk to the people that were close to him, that seems to be something that they think.
RT: How has what Aaron Swartz achieved and stood for motivated others to continue his cause?
PH: Aaron gave a great speech a couple of years ago now, just after we had won the SOPA battle, tactically. So the reason we won this was that people were inspired to become heroes of their own story, it really takes activism to their own hands. I think that this message has really resonated not just since his death, but especially in a year since his death, I think we’ve seen a lot of activists realize that we’re facing very large battles, but everybody can be doing something, everybody can be fighting back in a way to address that.
New York’s financial regulator will adopt rules to govern virtual currency firms with a view to combatting money laundering. The move comes in the wake of a series of hack attacks that have halted bitcoin transactions across the globe.
The state currency regulator announced on Tuesday that current regulations governing currency transmissions would be adapted to suit new digital currencies. The rules would make New York the first US state to legislate for alternative cyber-currencies such as bitcoin.
“Our objective is to provide appropriate guard rails to protect consumers and root out money laundering – without stifling beneficial innovation,” Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, said at a speech Tuesday in Washington.
As part of the regulations New York businesses wishing to use cyber-currencies would have to obtain a “BitLicense.” Lawsky highlighted the main obstacles in the fight against money laundering and fraud with the new currencies. In particular, he spoke about a possible ban on “tumblers” used to hide the record and source of virtual currency transactions.
However, he argued that a blanket ban on “tumblers” was a complex issue, because they could also have legitimate uses in the online marketplace. Lawksy also said other issues would have to be dealt with, such as the measures capital requirements firms should take to absorb unexpected losses and whether firms should be permitted to invest in cyber-currencies.
The discussion on virtual currency regulations comes after the value of bitcoin plummeted on a big, Japan-based exchange on Friday. Bitcoin lost 20 percent of its value, dropping to $960 per unit and prompting the exchange to halt customer withdrawals.
The volatile functions in the value of the currency had a knock-on effect in Slovenia on Tuesday, where a Bitstamp also froze customer withdrawals, blaming DDoS hack attacks.