Gjesteinnlegg: Hvorfor Aleris må vekk fra velferds-Norge

Av Thorleif Berthelsen

Det multinasjonale konsernet Aleris tar stadig over mer av norske helsetjenester. Dette utfordrer velferdsstaten på en negativ måte siden Aleris har som formål å skape profitt for sine aksjonærer.

I følge SSB kjøpte helseforetakene spesialisthelsetjenester fra private for 14 milliarder kroner i 2015. Dette utgjorde om lag 10 prosent av helseforetakenes driftsutgifter. Nesten to tredeler av de innkjøpte tjenestene fra private er kjøp av somatiske sykehustjenester. Det er grunn til å tro at dette beløpet og denne prosentandelen har økt under Erna Solberg. En stadig større del av disse utgiftene går i så fall til Aleris.

Fra 1.mai 2014 ble deres avtale med Helse Vest utvidet. I stedet for å sette ut stadig flere oppgaver, som kirurgi og ortopedi, burde politikerne bygge opp det offentlige tilbudet. Da vet man hva skattepengene går til, vi sørger for gode lønns- og pensjonsvilkår for alle i helsevesenet, og vi tar tilbake demokratisk kontroll over velferden.

Les meir på Gjestesida

Posta under Fagrørsle og kamp, Noreg - Norway, Politikk, samfunn | Merkt , , , , , , , | Éin kommentar

To av Noregs største skatteundragarar!

Penger i paradis

Penger i paradis | Foto: Peter Ringstad

Foto: Peter Ringstad

Vi har tatt en prat med Trond Gram, som nylig har gitt ut bok om Norges to kanskje største skatteunndragere gjennom tidene.

Dato 13.03.17 – taxjustice.no

I boka Penger i Paradis møter vi to av norgeshistoriens mest legendariske skipsredere, Hilmar Reksten (1897–1980) og Anders Jahre (1891–1982). Jahre og Reksten viste seg også å være blant landets største skatteunndragere. Boka tar for seg den lange kampen med å grave frem og hente hjem de skjulte formuene fra skatteparadis som Panama og Cayman Islands.Tax Justice Network – Norge møtte Trond Gram til en samtale om boka.

Hvorfor synes du det var viktig å fortelle denne historien?

Både Reksten- og Jahre-saken har jo vært mye omtalt. Men Jahre-saken har aldri vært fortalt i sin helhet før. To bøker kom ut på begynnelsen av åttitallet og begynnelsen av nittitallet, men så har det skjedd veldig mye etterpå. Vi snakker jo om – i begge sakenes tilfelle – to av Norges mest sentrale skipsredere, med to av de største formuene, og to av de viktigste skattejaktene i norsk historie.

Jeg ville prøve å synliggjøre hvordan Reksten og Jahre tenkte og hva de gjorde for å gjemme pengene. Men også synliggjøre den motstanden som norske myndigheter møtte da man begynte å lete etter pengene: Kreativiteten og den skamløse troen på at det var riktig å gjemme dem. For rederne mente jo at dette var deres egne penger, som de kunne gjøre som de ville med.

I introduksjonen til boka trekker du parallellen mellom disse historiene og fjorårets store dokumentlekkasje, Panama Papers. Panama Papers synliggjorde blant annet den rollen advokater og banker spilte i å skjule formuer. Hvordan var dette i Jahre- og Reksten-saken?

I disse sakene spiller advokater både helte- og skurke-rollen. Uten advokater som rådgivere, både i Reksten og Jahres tilfelle, hadde de sikkert ikke maktet å skjule disse pengene. Det er advokater, revisorer, bankfolk og ulike former for rådgivere som syr sammen dette opplegget. De finner jurisdiksjoner, skaffer stråmenn, setter opp skallselskaper, flytter penger fra selskap A til selskap B til C til D og så videre. Samtidig var også advokatene helt instrumentelle i å finne formuen igjen. Så man bruker jussen både til å gjemme og til å lete.

Og til slutt ender jo advokatene også opp som de store økonomiske vinnerne. Norske myndigheter lyktes riktignok å hente hjem over en milliard kroner av Jahre-formuen, men ikke før advokatregningen for arbeidet med dette hadde kommet opp på 600 millioner kroner. Boka reiser også et viktig spørsmål: Hvor tidlig visste norske myndigheter om disse forumene?

«Alle» visste at norske skipsredere hadde store formuer i utlandet på denne tiden, sies det. Men det er til slutt Fred Olsen, som eide Aker, som begynner å grave i Reksten-formuen. Han ville ha pengene sine etter at Reksten hadde gått konkurs, og han visste at det fantes penger der ute.

Anders Jahre hadde på 1950-tallet flagget hjem sju skip så myndighetene må ha visst at det fantes verdier i utlandet. Jahre så på dette som en slags blankofullmakt fra norske myndigheter om at han kunne fortsette å gjemme pengene sine. Han ble jo ikke tatt.

Så historien er også en politisk potent sak, fordi det hevdes at norske myndigheter visste om formuene, men likevel valgte å ikke gjøre noe på svært lang tid.


Trond Gram er historiker, forfatter og jobber i LO. Han har tidligere gitt ut boka Falitt om norske finanskriser.

Boka Penger i paradis er tilgjengelig fra Pax Forlag.

Trond Gram: Penger i paradis

Posta under Capitalism, Kapitalisme, Noreg - Norway, Our global world, Politic&Society | Merkt , , , , , , , | Kommenter innlegget

Turkey˙s Political-Military Crimes and The West˙s Silence

To Erdogan˙s so called “best allied” he tells them how to behave. The furious Erdogan tells the US to choose between Turkey and Syrian Kurds, as this report from rt.com shows (2016). But the imperialist power seems not to bother, it‘s more important to have Nato-Turkey as the important strategic country it is. Both countries have been accused by human rights organizations, academics and political experts of either be the direct or indirect supporter of IS.

And now: Erdogan calls the Dutch government ‘Nazi Remnants’ after two Turkish Ministers was barred from entering the Netherlands this weekand.

This furious comment comes when the Dutch government on Saturday intensified a diplomatic dispute between Turkey and its NATO allies in Europe by refusing to let the Turkish foreign minister fly into the Netherlands to campaign on behalf of a referendum that would augment the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

In response, Mr. Erdogan compared the Dutch to “fascists” and said they were “Nazi remnants,” echoing the description he used for the Germans last Sunday, 4th of March, after two Turkish politicians campaigning for Mr. Erdogan scrapped rallies when the German government told them it could not guarantee their safety. It˙s obvious that “sultan Tayyip” have election panic and want to reach out to severel million Turks who lives in Europe. It˙s estimated that around 1.5 million Turks lives in Germany and 400,000 Turks reside in the Netherlands and many have dual nationality. Erdogan wants loyalty and that all of them to vote for his extended power for making a dictatorship.

Many European governments actively oppose the efforts by Mr. Erdogan to expand his power and say he has shown dictatorial tendencies by imprisoning thousands of people after a coup attempt last year. The list includes journalists, human rights workers, political opponents and many Kurds — people seen as a threat to his power.

I quote former Prime Minister of France Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who said in 2016: “No place for Turkey in EU, refugee deal doesn’t change anything” (rt.com). So, in the aftermath of the coup attempt and Erdogan‘s crackdown on all opposition, and now his “scuffle” with Germany, Netherland, Austria and Switzerland, the way to a “cosy” relationship not to say membership in the EU might be farther away than ever. “Sorry”, Caliph Erdogan!

See the story and links bellow for another Turkey Erdogan runs, than the turists see, with the atrocities he and his government are doing to the Kurds and Turks in opposition. And one last note: Some of Mr. Erdogan’s opponents have noted that while the Turkish president is vigorously defending his right to free speech in Europe, he is eroding that right for Turks at home. Big deal, Mr. Sultan!

Ivar Jørdre

Turkey: UN report details allegations of serious rights violations in country’s southeast

Residents of Silvan, a city in Diyarbakir Province, southeastern Turkey, walk past their bullet-riddled homes. Photo: IRIN/Jodi Hilton

10 March 2017 – The UN human rights office today published a report detailing allegations of massive destruction, killings and numerous other serious human rights violations committed between July 2015 and December 2016 in southeast Turkey.

“I am particularly concerned by reports that no credible investigation has been conducted into hundreds of alleged unlawful killings, including women and children over a period of 13 months between late July 2015 and the end of August of 2016,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a news release published by his Office (OHCHR).

“It appears that not a single suspect was apprehended and not a single individual was prosecuted,” he added.

During that period, Government security operations affected more than 30 towns and neighbourhoods and displaced between 335,000 and half a million people, mostly of Kurdish origin.

Mr. Zeid acknowledged the complex challenges Turkey has faced in addressing the attempted coup of July 2016 and in responding to a series of terror attacks. However, he said the apparent significant deterioration of the human rights situation in the country is cause for alarm and would only serve to deepen tensions and foster instability.

The news release said that measures taken under the state of emergency following the attempted coup of July 2016, including the dismissal of more than 100,000 people from public or private sector jobs during the reporting period, have also deeply affected the human rights situation in the southeast.

Some 10,000 teachers were reportedly dismissed on suspicion of having links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the Government considers a terrorist organization, without due process.

The use of counter-terrorism legislation to remove democratically elected officials of Kurdish origin, the severe harassment of independent journalists, the closure of independent and Kurdish language media and citizen’s associations and the mass suspension of judges and prosecutors have also severely weakened checks and balances and human rights protections.

“The Government of Turkey has failed to grant us access, but has contested the veracity of the very serious allegations made in this report. But the gravity of the allegations, the scale of the destruction and the displacement of more than 355,000 people mean that an independent investigation is both urgent and essential,” Mr. Zeid said.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

In Turkey, UN chief Guterres discusses Syria, Iraq, Cyprus with President

See also:

Turkey-PKK conflict: UN report tells of ‘2,000 dead’ since truce collapse

Posta under Asia, Europa, Our global world, Politic&Society | Merkt , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Kommenter innlegget

The US and Saudi War Crimes in Yemen

Death in al Ghayil

Women and Children in Yemeni Village Recall Horror of Trump’s “Highly Successful” SEAL Raid

March 9 2017 – theintercept.com

Mabkhout Ali al Ameri stands with his 18-month-old son, Mohammed, in the village of al Ghayil in Yemen’s al Bayda province. Mabkhout’s wife, Fatim Saleh Mohsen, was shot in the back of the head by helicopter gunship fire as she fled with Mohammed in her arms during a U.S. raid on January 29, 2017. The vehicle in the background was also destroyed during the assault.

On January 29, 5-year-old Sinan al Ameri was asleep with his mother, his aunt, and 12 other children in a one-room stone hut typical of poor rural villages in the highlands of Yemen. A little after 1 a.m., the women and children awoke to the sound of a gunfight erupting a few hundred feet away. Roughly 30 members of Navy SEAL Team 6 were storming the eastern hillside of the remote settlement.

According to residents of the village of al Ghayil, in Yemen’s al Bayda province, the first to die in the assault was 13-year-old Nasser al Dhahab. The house of his uncle, Sheikh Abdulraouf al Dhahab, and the building behind it, the home of 65-year-old Abdallah al Ameri and his son Mohammed al Ameri, 38, appeared to be the targets of the U.S. forces, who called in air support as they were pinned down in a nearly hourlong firefight.

With the SEALs taking heavy fire on the lower slopes, attack helicopters swept over the hillside hamlet above. In what seemed to be blind panic, the gunships bombarded the entire village, striking more than a dozen buildings, razing stone dwellings where families slept, and wiping out more than 120 goats, sheep, and donkeys.

Three projectiles tore through the straw and timber roof of the home where Sinan slept. Cowering in a corner, Sinan’s mother, 30-year-old Fatim Saleh Mohsen, decided to flee the bombardment. Grabbing her 18-month-old son and ushering her terrified children into the narrow outdoor passageway between the tightly packed dwellings, she headed into the open. Over a week later, Sinan’s aunt Nadr al Ameri wept as she stood in the same room and recalled watching her sister run out the door into the darkness.

Nesma al Ameri, an elderly village matriarch who lost four family members in the raid, described how the attack helicopters began firing down on anything that moved. As she recounted the horror of what happened, Sinan tapped her on the arm. “No, no. The bullets were coming from behind,” the 5-year-old insisted, interrupting to demonstrate how he was shot at and his mother gunned down as they ran for their lives. “From here to here,” Sinan said, putting two fingers to the back of his head and drawing an invisible line to illustrate the direction of the bullet exiting her forehead. His mother fell to the ground next to him, still clutching his baby brother in her arms. Sinan kept running.

His mother’s body was found in the early light of dawn, the front of her head split open. The baby was wounded but alive. Sinan’s mother was one of at least six women killed in the raid, the first counterterrorism operation of the Trump administration, which also left 10 children under the age of 13 dead. “She was hit by the plane. The American plane,” explained Sinan. “She’s in heaven now,” he added with a shy smile, seemingly unaware of the enormity of what he had witnessed or, as yet, the impact of his loss. “Dog Trump,” declared Nesma, turning to the other women in the room for agreement. “Yes, the dog Trump,” they agreed.

According to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, the al Ghayil raid “was a very, very well thought out and executed effort,” planning for which began under the Obama administration back in November 2016. Although Ned Price, former National Security Council spokesperson, and Colin Kahl, the national security adviser under Vice President Biden, challenged Spicer’s account, what is agreed upon is that Trump gave the final green light over dinner at the White House on January 25. According to two people with direct knowledge, the White House did not notify the U.S. ambassador to Yemen in advance of the operation.

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A girl stands in the burnt-out remains of a house destroyed during the U.S. Navy SEAL raid in the village of al Ghayil in Yemen on January 29, 2017.

Photo: Iona Craig

The Intercept’s reporting from al Ghayil in the aftermath of the raid and the eyewitness accounts provided by residents, as well as information from current and former military officials, challenge many of the Trump administration’s key claims about the “highly successful” operation, from the description of an assault on a fortified compound — there are no compounds or walled-off houses in the village — to the “large amounts of vital intelligence” the president said were collected.

According to a current U.S. special operations adviser and a former senior special operations officer, it was not intelligence the Pentagon was after but a key member of al Qaeda. The raid was launched in an effort to capture or kill Qassim al Rimi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to the special operations adviser, who asked to remain anonymous because details behind the raid are classified.

Villagers interviewed by The Intercept rejected claims that al Rimi was present in al Ghayil, although one resident described seeing an unfamiliar black SUV arriving in the village hours before the raid. Six days after the operation, AQAP media channels released an audio statement from al Rimi, who mocked President Trump and the raid. The White House and the military have denied that the AQAP leader was the target of the mission, insisting the SEALs were sent in to capture electronic devices and material to be used for intelligence gathering. A spokesperson for CENTCOM told The Intercept the military has not yet determined whether al Rimi was in al Ghayil when the SEALs arrived.

Although some details about the mission remain unclear, the account that has emerged suggests the Trump White House is breaking with Obama administration policies that were intended to limit civilian casualties. The change — if permanent — would increase the likelihood of civilian deaths in so-called capture or kill missions like the January 29 raid.

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The village of al Ghayil in Yemen where U.S. Navy SEALs, attack helicopters, and drones launched an operation on January 29, 2017.

Photo: Iona Craig

The January mission was the fourth time U.S. forces have been involved in ground operations in Yemen. While none of those prior raids could be deemed successful — two were failed attempts to free an American hostage, photojournalist Luke Somers — they did not leave the same trail of destruction as the operation in al Ghayil.

The village is part of a cluster of settlements known as Yakla in the Qayfa tribal region of Yemen’s al Bayda province. A basic knowledge of the local political environment, combined with a grasp of the obvious challenges posed by the geographical layout of al Ghayil, would have provided substantial forewarning that this latest raid was a highly precarious undertaking. American military planners should have foreseen that their forces would face not only al Qaeda militants, but also heavy armed resistance from residents of al Ghayil and surrounding villages.

This area of al Bayda has been at war for more than 2 1/2 years, and the Qayfa tribe is renowned for its fighting prowess and a long-standing refusal to yield to the state. After the joint forces of Yemen’s northern Houthi rebels and military loyalists of the country’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized control of the capital, Sana, in September 2014, they swiftly moved southeast into al Bayda. Most of the Qayfa tribe, including the men of Yakla, have been fighting the Houthi-Saleh forces ever since. Saudi Arabia joined the fray in March 2015, leading a coalition of nations in a military intervention and aerial bombing campaign, supported by the U.S., to push back the Houthis, who the Saudis view as an Iranian proxy force. In theory, the residents of al Ghayil are on the same side as the United States in a civil war that has left more than 3 million people displaced and brought the country to the edge of famine.

Al Ghayil, just a few miles from Houthi-Saleh-controlled territory, came under Houthi rocket fire more than once in the early weeks of 2017, leaving the area of Yakla on high alert for attacks and residents in constant fear of losing their homes to a Houthi-Saleh incursion. The closest town, Rada — home to the nearest hospital — had been a no-go area for the population of Yakla since it fell under Houthi-Saleh control in October 2014.

When the U.S. Navy SEALs flew into al Ghayil in the early hours of January 29 — a deliberately chosen moonless night — local armed tribesmen assumed the Houthis had arrived to capture their village. After the firefight started, some of the men who ran to defend their families and homes saw colored lasers emanating from the weapons of their opponents, raising suspicions they might be facing Americans.

Shortly after the firefight erupted, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens was shot by a bullet that hit just above his armored chest plate and entered his heart, according to the former senior special operations official briefed on the raid. Owens died shortly after he was hit.

Further confusion set in when the attack helicopters joined the assault. Knowing the Houthi-Saleh forces do not have an air force, residents could only assume it was the Saudi-led coalition attacking them from the air. They were not entirely wrong. Troops from the United Arab Emirates — leading players in the coalition’s two-year fight against the Houthis — also took part in the raid and might have been involved in flying the helicopters that fired on civilians. Dozens of UAE Apache gunships are currently stationed in Emirati-run military bases across Yemen.

The UAE government did not respond to multiple requests for comment on its role in the raid or answer queries regarding any casualties among its personnel.

According to the former senior U.S. special operations official and a current military consultant, both of whom were briefed on the raid, the SEALs discovered by the time they arrived in the village that their operation had been compromised. It is still unclear how those on the ground were tipped off, but a current consultant to the Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees SEAL Team 6, said the command is investigating whether UAE forces involved in the raid revealed the details of the mission before the SEALs arrived in al Ghayil. (However, local residents, who are used to hearing the buzz of drones in the remote area, said they noticed the unusual presence of helicopters around 9 p.m. the night before the raid, which raised concern.)

Some men in the surrounding villages grabbed their weapons and ran to help defend their neighbors when they heard the sound of a battle unfolding, according to residents. Mohammed Ali al Taysi, from the nearby village of Husun at Tuyus, dashed to his battered SUV, tearing down a dry riverbed in the dark to reach al Ghayil from the north. But just short of the village, a helicopter flew low overhead, pounding warning shots into the ground on either side of his vehicle. Al Taysi jumped out, firing his rifle toward the Apache before retreating into the night. Other armed men closer to the village descended from the mountainside on foot to support the tribesmen of al Ghayil, who already held the advantage of the high ground on the western side of the village. The SEALs had come in from the low ground to the north, approaching the homes of Abdulraouf al Dhahab and Mohammed al Ameri from the eastern slopes below.

According to those present, the firefight quickly escalated around the al Dhahab house, halting the SEALs’ advance. As the U.S. forces fought from the lower ground and more men descended the mountainside to join the shootout, airstrikes obliterated Mohammed al Ameri’s house on the hill above, killing three of his children, ages 7, 5, and 4, and seemingly destroying any possibility of retrieving laptops, hard drives, or other intelligence material from inside without digging through piles of rubble in the dark.

With one Navy SEAL dead and two others seriously wounded, the special operations forces began to withdraw. But before they departed, according to local witnesses, the MV-22 Osprey used to extract the retreating soldiers crash-landed, forcing another aircraft to land to pull out the operators. Airstrikes then deliberately destroyed the abandoned Osprey.

The gunfight had lasted the better part of an hour. It would be another hour or more before the skies fell silent and the sound of helicopters, aircraft, and drones faded. It was in the dawn light that the mass of bodies was revealed, the missing accounted for, and dead children identified. Smoke swirled into the air from the roofs still burning and the carcass of the smoldering Osprey in the distance.

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Map of the village of al Ghayil in Yemen’s al Bayda province.

Map: The Intercept

This was not the first time residents of the remote Yakla area had lost family members to a U.S. attack. In December 2013, a drone strike on a wedding convoy killed 12 civilians. The groom, Abdallah al Ameri, survived that attack. But on January 29, the 65-year-old was killed standing unarmed beside his house as it was bombed. A picture posted online shortly after the raid showed his body lying in the rocky sand with his hand clasped around a blood-soaked head torch.

The aftermath of the raid’s destruction left villagers struggling to understand what the Americans were trying to accomplish. Abdulraouf, whose house appeared to be one of the targets, was no stranger to American attempts to kill him. He was the apparent target of at least three separate airstrikes between 2011 and 2013 in al Bayda province, including one in September 2012 that killed 12 civilians — a pregnant woman and three children were among the dead.

Following the deaths, Abdulraouf called on the families of victims to hire international lawyers to take their cases to court in the United States. Two of Abdulraouf’s brothers were also killed by American drone strikes as the U.S. was drawn into a long-running bloody feud that had split the family of some 18 brothers between those aligned with al Qaeda and those who stood with the state.

Although Abdulelah al Dhahab, a brother who survived the January raid but lost his 12-year-old son, denied Abdulraouf was an al Qaeda member, the bonds between the family and Yemen’s al Qaeda insurgency also extend to marital ties. Al Qaeda propagandist and American citizen Anwar al Awlaki married Abdularouf’s sister. Awlaki’s 8-year-old daughter, Nawar, was in the al Dhahab house the night of the raid. She bled to death after being shot in the neck — the second of Awlaki’s children to be killed by the United States since his own death by an American drone strike in September 2011. His eldest son, 16-year-old Denver-born Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone two weeks after his father.

Following the onset of civil war in March 2015, Abdulraouf played a key role in leading the self-described “resistance” of local armed militias loyal to the Saudi-led coalition, fighting on the pro-government side of Yemen’s internationally recognized president-in-exile, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. As a senior Qayfa tribal figure, Abdulraouf was a well-respected resistance leader. The day before the January raid, he was handing out salaries for pro-government fighters after collecting the money from the nearest Saudi coalition base in the neighboring province of Marib.

Although U.S. drone strikes killed a succession of leading AQAP figures in the first six months of 2015, drone, air, and sea-to-land bombings over the preceding 15 years were plagued by poor intelligence and numerous civilian casualties. Survivors of the al Ghayil operation were left to speculate what intelligence led American special operations forces to storm their village “as if they were coming to kill Osama bin Laden,” as one resident noted, puzzling over whether the U.S. thought it was going after the leader of the Islamic State rather than an apparent low-level al Qaeda militant of the same name, Abubakr al Baghdadi, who was killed in the raid. “Or the Americans were tricked into killing Abdulraouf, the leading fighter in Qayfa, to help the Houthis and Saleh,” hypothesized one anti-Houthi tribal fighter.

On at least one occasion in Yemen, the U.S. was deliberately fed false intelligence by the regime of then-President Saleh. In May 2010, it resulted in the erroneous killing of the deputy governor of Marib in a drone strike. As one anonymous American official was later quoted as saying, “We think we got played.”

Though the planning for the Yakla operation began many months ago, Abdulraouf’s house in al Ghayil was built recently. The modern cinder-block walls and PVC windows stood out among the simple stone huts dominating the rest of the village. The tribal leader had been living in a tent on the rocky hillside after being run out of the al Dhahab family homestead in the village of al Manasa by Houthi-Saleh forces in the fall of 2014.

One resident, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, stated that Mohammed al Ameri’s home was used as a guest house by passing al Qaeda militants — aggressive men whom the rest of the villagers avoided. To get to Mohammed’s house, the SEALs had to pass the al Dhahab home, where Abdulraouf, his brother Sultan, and their guests were holding a late-night gathering with another tribal leader, octogenarian Saif Mohammed al Jawfi, who also died in the raid. The witness claimed the meeting in al Dhahab’s house was held to resolve an issue regarding one of Saif’s relatives who had been arrested by militants connected to the guest house, as well as to arrange the distribution of the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition cash payments to anti-Houthi resistance fighters.

Those in the village speculated about the exact target of the January 29 raid. Was the house of Abdulraouf and the tent beside it the objective? Did the U.S. military believe that Qassim al Rimi, the AQAP leader, was inside the house? Or was it the next building on the hillside above, the home of Mohammed al Ameri, the Navy SEALs were aiming for? Others ventured that a woman, Arwa al Baghdadi, might have been the focus.

Arwa al Baghdadi, according to her own social media postings, was imprisoned in 2010 and tortured by authorities in Saudi Arabia after her brother was shot dead by security forces. She was later used as an apparent bargaining chip in the 2015 release of a Saudi diplomat who had been kidnapped by AQAP in Aden three years earlier (Saudi officials say there was no connection). Arwa al Baghdadi, who fled to Yemen after her release from prison, was killed in the raid along with her son Osama, and another brother, Abubakr al Baghdadi. Her pregnant sister-in-law was shot in the stomach. The unborn infant, grazed by the bullet fired into his mother’s stomach, died following an emergency caesarean section at the 26 September hospital, a five-hour drive away in the neighboring province of Marib.

Many of al Ghayil’s residents denied any presence of al Qaeda militants in the village that night. Al Rimi’s statement after the raid offered condolences to the families of those killed, and along with AQAP propaganda channels, listed 14 men among the dead, although al Rimi stopped short of calling them AQAP members. (Eight of those names were not included in the toll of the dead that villagers provided to The Intercept, as they were not known to local residents. Family members disputed claims the remaining six men were members of AQAP.)

In the current context of Yemen’s civil war, AQAP has sought to frame the conflict as a sectarian struggle against Shiite Houthis. In that narrative, AQAP regularly describes all opponents of the Houthis as Sunni “brothers” or “one of us” — part of a long-term strategy to create a more seamless blend with the local population and tribes.

IMG_4328-1488831920

Children stand in the rubble of houses destroyed during a raid by U.S. Navy SEALs in the village of al Ghayil in Yemen on January 29, 2017.

Photo: Iona Craig

The only evidence released so far to back up Sean Spicer’s claim that “the goal of the raid was intelligence gathering, and that’s what we received” was a video posted by U.S. Central Command on February 3. CENTCOM presented the clip as confirmation of the “valuable” material collected during the raid and labeled the video as an “AQAP course to attack the West.” But it was quickly taken down after it was discovered that the footage was 10 years old — pre-dating the existence of AQAP in Yemen — and was readily available online. The U.S. government has yet to produce any further proof of intelligence collected from the raid.

There are other suspect details in the U.S. version of events. In the days after the raid, the Pentagon claimed that the women killed were armed and fought the incoming U.S. special operations forces from “pre-established positions.” Yet all of the witnesses to the attack interviewed by The Intercept in al Ghayil strongly challenged this accusation, citing a culture that views the prospect of women fighting, as Nesma al Ameri put it, as “eib” — shameful and dishonorable — and pointing out the practical implausibility of women clutching babies while also firing rifles. A CENTCOM spokesperson refused to provide any details about female fighters to support its assertion.

However, the names of the dead that villagers gave to The Intercept did not include one woman listed by AQAP media channels. Propagandists and supporters of the militants claimed one unnamed woman “fought them with her own gun,” with an additional claim that Arwa, the former Saudi prisoner, had thrown a grenade killing a U.S. soldier — assertions strongly denied by Abdulelah al Dhahab, who survived the lengthy gunfight around his brother’s home. Sheikh Aziz al Ameri, the head of the al Ameri clan, lost 20 members of his extended family, six of them children, the youngest only 3 months old. “Everyone who tried to run, they killed them,” he said, standing on the hilltop outside his home 11 days later.

In response to The Intercept’s findings, Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project, called for a full investigation into the raid, including the legal basis for the operation, the adequacy of intelligence beforehand, what precautions were taken, and why any precautions failed.

“Each new revelation about this tragic operation is grievous and shocking,” Shamsi said. “Even in recognized armed conflict, there are rules to safeguard against the killings of civilians, and even under the Obama administration’s imperfect lethal force policy, which to the best of our knowledge remains in effect, there are constraints that should have prevented or at least minimized civilian deaths.”

Last week, the White House announced the Pentagon would be carrying out three reviews of the raid, looking into the death of Owens, the loss of the Osprey, and the civilian casualties.

During his first address to Congress on February 28, President Trump noted that Owens died “a warrior and a hero,” leading to a standing ovation for the Navy SEAL’s widow, Carryn Owens. Trump has made no mention of the relatives of the women and children who died that night.

By the time the whirring sound of drones returned to Yakla two days after the operation, the village of al Ghayil was largely deserted. With little reason to stay after their livestock had been eradicated, families fled in fear of further attack and imminent enemy takeover following the death of Abdulraouf al Dhahab, Qayfa’s most eminent adversary of the Houthi-Saleh forces. The majority of the men, women, and children who survived are now indefinitely displaced.

A month later, amid an unprecedented uptick in U.S. military activity in Yemen last week, the helicopters and drones returned to Yakla. Apaches descended on al Ghayil before dawn on March 2, carrying out “indiscriminate shelling,” according to Sheikh Aziz al Ameri, one of the few residents who remained in the village. Later that day, the Pentagon took responsibility for more than 20 airstrikes carried out in the early hours of the morning across three Yemeni provinces, including al Bayda.

Early on March 3, attack helicopters and drones returned yet again. An airstrike, apparently targeting Abduelah, the surviving brother of Abdulraouf al Dhahab, landed just outside the door of his house, killing three of his extended family members from their home village of al Manasa. Late that night, Abdulelah was yet again the apparent target of a drone strike that killed four men traveling with him in a car in Marib province. It is unclear if Abdulelah survived. At least six houses in al Ghayil were damaged the same night by yet more helicopter gunship fire. With the village coming under attack for the third consecutive night on March 5, Sheikh Aziz and his family finally fled; they are now living under trees several miles away. Less than 24 hours later, another drone strike killed two more children, brothers ages 10 and 12.

Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement that the strikes targeting AQAP were conducted in partnership with the government of Yemen and were coordinated with President Hadi. Anti-Houthi resistance fighters on the front lines of the civil war, not far from Yakla, were also killed, according to residents of al Bayda. The following day, Davis told reporters that additional strikes were carried out early on Friday, bringing the total to more than 30 strikes in less than 36 hours — exceeding the 32 confirmed U.S. drone strikes in Yemen during all of last year.

Although Davis stated that “U.S. forces will continue to target AQAP militants and facilities in order to disrupt the terrorist organization’s plots, and ultimately to protect American lives,” NBC News reported the strikes were also part of “new directives” to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans, citing a senior military intelligence source.

While the Yakla raid supposedly took place under presidential policy guidelines set up under the Obama administration — standards repeatedly used to defend the U.S. drone program — further developments last week indicate the Trump administration is no longer abiding by the condition of “near certainty” that civilians will not be killed or injured in operations.

A defense official speaking to the Washington Post stated that the military has been granted temporary authority to regard selected areas of Yemen as “areas of active hostility.” That change, while shortening the approval process for military action, effectively puts the U.S. on a war footing in any area of Yemen designated, but unlikely to be disclosed, by the military, noted Cori Crider, a lawyer at the international human rights organization Reprieve who has represented Yemeni drone strike victims. This authority has a lower bar: Civilian deaths have to be “proportionate” rather than avoided with a “near certainty,” as set out by the previous administration for the use of lethal force “outside areas of active hostilities.”

“This means that all of those much-vaunted ‘standards’ the Obama administration said they were using to minimize civilian casualties in drone strikes in Yemen have been chucked right out the window,” said Crider.

In a press briefing on March 3, Davis told reporters that the legal authority for carrying out the January raid and recent strikes “was delegated by the president through the secretary of defense” to U.S. Central Command. But when contacted by The Intercept, the Pentagon could not clarify whether al Ghayil was still considered to be outside areas of active hostilities during the botched raid.

In al Bayda, the continuing aerial bombardments are perceived by some as helping Saleh and the Houthis — who last month Spicer conflated with Iran and accused of attacking an American Navy vessel off Yemen’s western Red Sea coast. The Houthis had, in fact, hit a Saudi frigate.

Meanwhile, the villagers of al Ghayil are not calling for the usual tribal standard of compensation for the families of victims. Few wanted to be named saying so, but all expressed the same sentiment less than two weeks after the raid: This time, they want revenge, not a payout.

While President Trump continues to hail the mission as a success, quoting Defense Secretary James Mattis in Congress last week that intelligence gathered “will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy,” in Yakla, the clearest outcome appears to be lengthening the list of America’s adversaries beyond al Qaeda.

Mohammed al Taysi, the tribesman who tried to join the fight in al Ghayil, put it succinctly as we parted company at dusk along the track out of Yakla. “If they come back,” he said, referring to the SEALs, “tell them to bring their caskets. From now we are ready for any fight with the Americans and the dog Trump.”

Iona Craig’s reporting from Yemen was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

See also:

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/09/new-evidence-contradicts-pentagons-account-of-yemen-raid-but-general-closes-the-case/

https://theintercept.com/2015/11/16/u-s-and-saudi-bombs-target-yemens-ancient-heritage/

 

Posta under Imperialism, Our global world, Politic&Society | Merkt , , , , , , , , , , | Kommenter innlegget

Vault 7 – CIAs Crimes in Hacking Cyberspace

CIA logo being cleaned. Looks like it’s necessary now a days! Photo: Getty images.

Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

Press Release – WikiLeaks.org

 

Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7” by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, “Year Zero”, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

“Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency’s hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA’s hacking capacities.

By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware. Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its “own NSA” with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that “There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of “Year Zero” goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective.”

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the “Year Zero” disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in “Year Zero” for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in “Vault 7” part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

Analysis

 

CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs

CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA’s DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).

The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.

The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.

The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.

The CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone.

Despite iPhone’s minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA’s Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads. CIA’s arsenal includes numerous local and remote “zero days” developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.

A similar unit targets Google’s Android which is used to run the majority of the world’s smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year. “Year Zero” shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 “weaponized” Android “zero days” which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.

These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the “smart” phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.

 

CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers

The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized “zero days”, air gap jumping viruses such as “Hammer Drill” which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( “Brutal Kangaroo”) and to keep its malware infestations going.

Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA’s Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as “Assassin” and “Medusa”.

Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA’s Network Devices Branch (NDB).

The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB’s “HIVE” and the related “Cutthroat” and “Swindle” tools, which are described in the examples section below.

 

CIA ‘hoarded’ vulnerabilities (“zero days”)

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis — rather than hoard — serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or “zero days” to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.

Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.

The U.S. government’s commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities. The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.

“Year Zero” documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration’s commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA’s cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.

As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in “Year Zero” is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts. The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities (“zero days”) possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.

The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone &mdsh; at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.

 

‘Cyberwar’ programs are a serious proliferation risk

Cyber ‘weapons’ are not possible to keep under effective control.

While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber ‘weapons’, once developed, are very hard to retain.

Cyber ‘weapons’ are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.

Securing such ‘weapons’ is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces — sometimes by using the very same ‘weapons’ against the organizations that contain them. There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global “vulnerability market” that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such ‘weapons’. Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such ‘weapons’ sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling ‘hacking’ services.

Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booz Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.

A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.

Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information. The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

 

U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base

In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( “Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe” or CCIE) are given diplomatic (“black”) passports and State Department cover. The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany’s counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: “Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport”

Your Cover Story (for this trip)
Q: Why are you here?
A: Supporting technical consultations at the Consulate.

Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures.

Once in Frankfurt CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Shengen open border area — including France, Italy and Switzerland.

A number of the CIA’s electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity. These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace. The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media. For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use. To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos). But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlaying system is automatically infected and ransacked.

 

How the CIA dramatically increased proliferation risks

In what is surely one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory, the CIA structured its classification regime such that for the most market valuable part of “Vault 7” — the CIA’s weaponized malware (implants + zero days), Listening Posts (LP), and Command and Control (C2) systems — the agency has little legal recourse.

The CIA made these systems unclassified.

Why the CIA chose to make its cyberarsenal unclassified reveals how concepts developed for military use do not easily crossover to the ‘battlefield’ of cyber ‘war’.

To attack its targets, the CIA usually requires that its implants communicate with their control programs over the internet. If CIA implants, Command & Control and Listening Post software were classified, then CIA officers could be prosecuted or dismissed for violating rules that prohibit placing classified information onto the Internet. Consequently the CIA has secretly made most of its cyber spying/war code unclassified. The U.S. government is not able to assert copyright either, due to restrictions in the U.S. Constitution. This means that cyber ‘arms’ manufactures and computer hackers can freely “pirate” these ‘weapons’ if they are obtained. The CIA has primarily had to rely on obfuscation to protect its malware secrets.

Conventional weapons such as missiles may be fired at the enemy (i.e into an unsecured area). Proximity to or impact with the target detonates the ordnance including its classified parts. Hence military personnel do not violate classification rules by firing ordnance with classified parts. Ordnance will likely explode. If it does not, that is not the operator’s intent.

Over the last decade U.S. hacking operations have been increasingly dressed up in military jargon to tap into Department of Defense funding streams. For instance, attempted “malware injections” (commercial jargon) or “implant drops” (NSA jargon) are being called “fires” as if a weapon was being fired. However the analogy is questionable.

Unlike bullets, bombs or missiles, most CIA malware is designed to live for days or even years after it has reached its ‘target’. CIA malware does not “explode on impact” but rather permanently infests its target. In order to infect target’s device, copies of the malware must be placed on the target’s devices, giving physical possession of the malware to the target. To exfiltrate data back to the CIA or to await further instructions the malware must communicate with CIA Command & Control (C2) systems placed on internet connected servers. But such servers are typically not approved to hold classified information, so CIA command and control systems are also made unclassified.

A successful ‘attack’ on a target’s computer system is more like a series of complex stock maneuvers in a hostile take-over bid or the careful planting of rumors in order to gain control over an organization’s leadership rather than the firing of a weapons system. If there is a military analogy to be made, the infestation of a target is perhaps akin to the execution of a whole series of military maneuvers against the target’s territory including observation, infiltration, occupation and exploitation.

 

Evading forensics and anti-virus

A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, Siemens and anti-virus companies attribute and defend against attacks.

“Tradecraft DO’s and DON’Ts” contains CIA rules on how its malware should be written to avoid fingerprints implicating the “CIA, US government, or its witting partner companies” in “forensic review”. Similar secret standards cover the use of encryption to hide CIA hacker and malware communication (pdf), describing targets & exfiltrated data (pdf) as well as executing payloads (pdf) and persisting (pdf) in the target’s machines over time.

CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs. These are documented in AV defeats, Personal Security Products, Detecting and defeating PSPs and PSP/Debugger/RE Avoidance. For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window’s “Recycle Bin”. While Comodo 6.x has a “Gaping Hole of DOOM”.

CIA hackers discussed what the NSA’s “Equation Group” hackers did wrong and how the CIA’s malware makers could avoid similar exposure.

 

Examples

 

The CIA’s Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by “Year Zero”) each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools.

The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for penetration, infestation (“implanting”), control, and exfiltration.

Another branch of development focuses on the development and operation of Listening Posts (LP) and Command and Control (C2) systems used to communicate with and control CIA implants; special projects are used to target specific hardware from routers to smart TVs.

Some example projects are described below, but see the table of contents for the full list of projects described by WikiLeaks’ “Year Zero”.

 

UMBRAGE

The CIA’s hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency. Each technique it has created forms a “fingerprint” that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.

This is analogous to finding the same distinctive knife wound on multiple separate murder victims. The unique wounding style creates suspicion that a single murderer is responsible. As soon one murder in the set is solved then the other murders also find likely attribution.

The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch‘s UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.

UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.

 

Fine Dining

Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out. The questionnaire is used by the agency’s OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically “exfiltrating” information from computer systems) for specific operations. The questionnaire allows the OSB to identify how to adapt existing tools for the operation, and communicate this to CIA malware configuration staff. The OSB functions as the interface between CIA operational staff and the relevant technical support staff.

Among the list of possible targets of the collection are ‘Asset’, ‘Liason Asset’, ‘System Administrator’, ‘Foreign Information Operations’, ‘Foreign Intelligence Agencies’ and ‘Foreign Government Entities’. Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals. The ‘Case Officer’ is also asked to specify the environment of the target like the type of computer, operating system used, Internet connectivity and installed anti-virus utilities (PSPs) as well as a list of file types to be exfiltrated like Office documents, audio, video, images or custom file types. The ‘menu’ also asks for information if recurring access to the target is possible and how long unobserved access to the computer can be maintained. This information is used by the CIA’s ‘JQJIMPROVISE’ software (see below) to configure a set of CIA malware suited to the specific needs of an operation.

 

Improvise (JQJIMPROVISE)

‘Improvise’ is a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like Windows (Bartender), MacOS (JukeBox) and Linux (DanceFloor). Its configuration utilities like Margarita allows the NOC (Network Operation Center) to customize tools based on requirements from ‘Fine Dining’ questionairies.

 

HIVE

HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software. The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants.

The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.

Each cover domain resolves to an IP address that is located at a commercial VPS (Virtual Private Server) provider. The public-facing server forwards all incoming traffic via a VPN to a ‘Blot’ server that handles actual connection requests from clients. It is setup for optional SSL client authentication: if a client sends a valid client certificate (only implants can do that), the connection is forwarded to the ‘Honeycomb’ toolserver that communicates with the implant; if a valid certificate is missing (which is the case if someone tries to open the cover domain website by accident), the traffic is forwarded to a cover server that delivers an unsuspicious looking website.

The Honeycomb toolserver receives exfiltrated information from the implant; an operator can also task the implant to execute jobs on the target computer, so the toolserver acts as a C2 (command and control) server for the implant.

Similar functionality (though limited to Windows) is provided by the RickBobby project.

See the classified user and developer guides for HIVE.


See also:

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/07/wikileaks-dump-shows-cia-could-turn-smart-tvs-into-listening-devices/

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/07/cia-has-an-impressive-list-of-ways-to-hack-into-your-smartphone-wikileaks-files-indicate/

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/08/intercepted-podcast-ready-to-lie-2/

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/08/wikileaks-files-show-the-cia-repurposing-foreign-hacking-code-to-save-time-not-to-frame-russia/

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/08/cias-new-digital-innovation-division-cant-seem-to-keep-its-own-secrets/

Posta under Capitalism, Our global world, Politic&Society | Merkt , , , , , , , | Kommenter innlegget

8. mars – den internasjonale kvinnedagen! – And, in memory of the activist Berta Cáceres!

Den internasjonale kvinnedagen vert kvart år feira den 8. mars. Ein nasjonal kvinnedag vart først arrangert i USA i 1909. Ein internasjonal kvinnedag vart vedteke året etter på Sosialistinternasjonalen sin konferanse i København, der over 100 kvinner frå 17 ulike land deltok. Dagen vart etablert for å heidre rørsla for kvinners rettar, og å bygge opp støtte for allmenn stemmerett for kvinner. Sidan den gong har kampen for likeverd, verdigheit og medbestemming vorte dei fleste områder som omhandlar menneskelivet.

Foto: neitileu.no

Denne dagen handler ikkje berre om situasjonen for kvinner i Norge, som sjølvsagt er viktig, med kamp for likeløn, kamp mot vald, osb., men også om å vise solidaritet med kvinner i andre deler av verda som treng vår støtte. OG, det er nesten ikkje naudsynt å nemne kor sentralt det er å kjempe for endring av den uretten millionar på millionar av kvinner opplever dagleg av vald, diskriminering, ulikskap, verdilausheit, og i krig, osb.

Av overnemde grunnar er det difor avgjerande at t.d. denne kampdagen, 8. mars, vert brukt, feira og halden i hevd, for nettopp dette dyrbare i oss: FRIDOM, LIKSKAP, SØSTER/BROR SKAP! At denne kampen vert endå meir viktig i tida framover lyt både kvinner og menn hugse på. Det er også viktig at unge kvinner og menn kjenner til historia til kvinnedagen, det er dei som skal drive framtida, håpnadsfullt framover til det betre.

Ivar Jørdre

Her ei lita”historielekse” om Den internasjonale kvinnedagen, henta frå nettsida til Høgskolen i Vestfold, år 2000:

Historien om åttende mars
8. mars har vært den faste internasjonale kvinnedagen fra 1922. Det første forslaget om en slik dag kom fra Clara Zetkin på den andre internasjonale kvinnekonferansen i 1910, i forbindelse med den Andre Internasjonalen sin kongress. 130 kvinner fra 16 land var med på kongressen. I flere år varierte datoen for kvinnedagen  ved at man la den til en søndag i mars. I 1914 var det søndag 8. mars som ble feiret som kvinnedagen. Etter dette har man holdt fast på 8. mars.
Det var sosialistiske kvinner som sto bak kvinnedagen. Under første verdenskrig brukte de dagen til pasifistisk agitasjon. Etter den russiske revolusjon og etableringen av den Tredje Internasjonale (Komintern) i 1920, ble det etablert et eget kvinnesekretariat. I Norge var det før krigen særlig Norges kommunistiske Parti og husmorlaga som sto tilknytta NKP, som sto bak 8.mars-feiringer.
Fascismens frammarsj i Europa skjøv 8.mars-feiringa i bakgrunnen. Men allerede 8. mars 1945 (før hele Europa var frigjort) ble det holdt en internasjonal kvinnekonferanse i London hvor et par tusen kvinner fra 20 land deltok.  I den stemningen av optimisme som kom etter krigens slutt, ble Kvinnenes demokratiske Verdensforbund startet. Den norske greina av denne organisasjonen var Norsk Kvinneforbund som hver 8.mars bl.a. la ned krans på statuen av Camilla Collett.
Ny fart på 8. mars-feiringa ble det med oppblomstringa av den nye kvinnebevegelsen på 70-tallet. I Norge var det organisasjoner som Kvinnefronten, Norsk Kvinneforbund, Norsk Kvinnesaksforening og Nyfeministene som sto bak. I kvinneåret 1975 bestemte FN at 8. mars skulle være den internasjonale kvinnedagen.

I 2 artiklar i (nedafor) skriv Sofie Marhaug i “Strippet for kunnskap” og Thomas J. Rosenberg i “Den sunne moralismen – er det farlig?“, respektivt om strippeklubben After Dark Gentemen?s Club og Bergens Tidende sine haldningar til problematikken rundt strippeklubbar og skjenketillating, framsett i ein BT-leiar (24.02.2016), og om moralisme i høve den same problematikken, framsett i eit innlegg i BT (01.03.2016). To viktige svar på liberalistiske og dårleg argumenterte syn på eksistensen av sexistiske “tilbod” i vårt samfunn. Noko som etter mi og mange si meining går rett inn i sjølve innhaldet i 8. mars: Kampen for likeverd og menneskeleggjering – kamp mot sexisme, kvinnediskriminering og nyliberalisme der “alt” er til salgs!

Ingen av nemde artiklar vart teke inn i debattspaltene i BT.

NEI TIL STRIPPEKLUB I BERGEN! – 2 innlegg
(Publisert med tillating frå skrivarane)

Strippet for kunnskap

BTs leder «Strippet for prinsipper» (24.2.2015) er strippet for kunnskap,
og styrt av liberalistisk ideologi.

Har BT noensinne lest dagens skjenkereglement? Hvis man setter seg inn i               Bergens skjenkepolitikk- og praksis, må man nemlig lete med lys og lykte
etter de prinsippene BT ønsker å opprettholde.

I forrige uke fikk jeg ? i likhet med de andre gruppelederne ? et anonymt brev                    fra en av Bergens utelivsaktører. Denne personen ønsket å realitetsorientere bergenspolitikerne. BT kan ha godt av den samme orienteringen:

I dag har Bergen åpnet for at utesteder kan holde åpent til kl. 06.00, da
som «nattkafé». Den eneste plassen i Bergen som profitterer på en slik
ordning er After Dark Gentemen?s Club, finansiert av stripping,
inngangsbillett på 250 kr, salg av lettøl til svært stive priser og
alkoholfri vin til 1000 kr.

La meg gi enda et eksempel fra dagens «prinsippfaste» skjenkereglementet:
Reglement forbyr skjenkebevilling til såkalt én-prosents MC-klubber, og med
god grunn, vil nok mange mene. Årsaken er at disse klubbene er tett
forbundet med kriminell virksomhet. BT er i sin leder tydelig på at slike
ytre forhold ikke kan være styrende i skjenkepolitikken. Liberale Venstre
hadde derimot ikke problemer med å støtte dagens forbud mot MC-klubber da        bystyret sist behandlet saken om skjenkebevilling.

Det kommer neppe som noen overraskelse at jeg er uenig i selve premisset
om at sammenhengen med andre samfunnsforhold ikke skal påvirke
skjenkepolitikken. BT kaller det moralisme; jeg kaller det en politikk.

Dersom vi likevel ser bort ifra denne uenigheten, er det ikke til å komme
unna at de prinsippene BT forsvarer slett ikke eksisterer. BT vil kanskje
ikke kalle sin politikk for moralisme (det verste skjellsordet høyresiden vet om),             men BTs leder er heller ikke fundert på kunnskap eller prinsipper.

Sofie Marhaug, Raudt Bergen

——————————————————————————————————

Den sunne moralismen – er det farlig?

Den siste tiden har det som kjent vært en debatt i lokale medier, les Bergens Tidende, angående diskusjonen rundt stripteaseklubben “After Dark”.

Det kanskje overdrevet å kalle det debatt, da det er kun ett innlegg som har ytret motstand mot dette fenomenet. Til min forundring virker som det stort sett er forkjemperene for slike etablissementer som har sluppet til med leserinnlegg. Jeg skal ikke fundere for lenge på motivasjonen bak dette, men det er flere sider av denne saken som fortjener å bli belyst etter mitt syn.

I to av innleggene i denne debatten fremstilles motstandere av stripping som moralister og feminister på kognitiv vidvanke. Dette stiller jeg meg uforstående til. Moral er, i den deskriptive betydningen av uttrykket om et sett verdier, normer og holdninger som praktiseres av individ eller gruppe. Når strømninger i samfunnet gjør at de som ikke vil at kropp og seksualitet skal være noe som konsumeres eller stilles til utstilling for de som kan/vil betale kalles moralister, da mener jeg at samfunnet vårt er på vei i gal retning. Vi ser hvordan pornoindustrien gjennomsyrer media og reklame, og vi opplever at våre unge opplever kroppspresset såpass tøft at man føler, allerede som ung, at man er “stygg” eller ikke tiltrekkende nok.  Etter mitt syn blir det da en meget snever kanossagang å måtte balansere et begrep som moralisme opp mot enkle, menneskelige hensyn, og de menneskelige hensynene i dette tilfellet er lette å ta, etter mitt syn.

Stripping er lovlig, og forsåvidt godtatt, i flere land i Europa. Imidlertid er det et nokså klart faktum at strippingen, i de land det forekommer i stor del, er en bransje (og her bruker jeg uttrykket bransje i sin videste forstand), som hjemsøkes av organisert kriminalitet, prostitusjon, og ikke minst overgrep mot kvinner. Man kan gjerne hevde at undertegnede her trekker det langt, men faktisk finnes det forskning på dette – som så mye annet.
Undersøkelser fra nabolag i Europa og Usa, viser at det skjer en kriminalitetsøkning rundt såkalte “sexually oriented businesses”. To professorer ved University of Louisville, Eric S. McCord og Richard Tewkesbury, viser i en avhandling at kriminaliten øker i stort omfang i nærheten av slike etablissementer, og det er da tale om kriminalitet i hele spekteret, fra ran og vinningskriminalitet til narkotikalovbrudd og seksuelle overgrep. Man må ta forbehold for om dette er direkte overførbart til norske forhold, selvsagt, men hvorfor skulle det være annerledes for dette en for andre fenomen vi opplever i kriminalitet.

Det er ikke meningen å krisemaksimere, men dette er kjensgjerninger, men andre debattanter vil ikke gå så dypt i materien, kanskje fordi de dessverre ikke kjenner til forskningen. Man skal imidlertid være forsiktig med å la liberale ideologier fungere som skylapper mot virkeligheten. Det man heller trekker frem er da “jentenes levebrød” (Safine De Klerk, BT, 01.03.16).
Man kan saktens spørre seg om man mener at stripping er et levebrød? Noe man skal bygge karriere på? Jeg har en liten niese, og jeg håper hun får et annet syn på hva som kan regnes for yrke og levebrød når hun vokser opp.

Jeg har ved mitt innlegg forsøkt å nyansere debatten, uten å moralisere, men ved å vise til enkle hensyn man må ta til sine medmennesker og samfunnet generelt.

Det å forsvare et etablissement av en slik karakter, og skjule sine presumptivt edle motiver bak et slitt moralismebegrep på sine kritikere og motstandere, som enkelte debattanter gjør, faller på sin egen urimelighet. Kropp er ingen handelsvare, ei heller er det noe som skal være på utstilling for dem som er villig til å betale.

Thomas J. Rosenberg, Raudt Bergen

Alt i posten over vart først publisert 8. mars 2016

Ny post under: Deler av ein artikkel i theguardian, om den kjende miljø- og menneskerettsaktivisten Berta Cáceres frå Honduras som vart drept 2. mars 2016. Ho var ei klår røyst mot storselskap og styresmakter sine overgrep og tilraning av naturresursar frå fattige bønder og urfolk. Cáceres som fekk den viktige miljøprisen Goldman i 2015, sa sjølv ho hadde fenge opp mot 33 drapstrugsmål for at ho stod opp mot mektige krefter, spesielt frå damselskap. Det er no, eit år etter mykje som tyder på det som allereie rett etter drapet på Cáceres vart hevda: Mistankane peikar på USA og at lekka dokument frå saka hennar tyder på eit utanomrettsleg drap utført av militæretteretning med band til usansk trena spesialstyrkar i Honduras. Etterforskinga av drapet har gått skandalaust treigt og er truleg årsak av både usanske og honduranske styresmakters trenering. Dei vil ikkje ha sine “blodige hender” opp i dagsljos!

Tidlegare utanriksminister og presidentkandidat Hillary Clinton vart i 2016 på nytt spurt i ei kongresshøyring om handlinga hennar i høve kuppet i 2009 i Honduras, der den demokratisk valde president Manuel Zelaya vart avsett. Sidan kuppet har Honduras vorte ein av dei mest valdelege landa i verda. Berta Cáceres sa sjølv at Clinton spelte ei viktig rolle i å støtte kuppet.

På kvinnedagen kan det vera viktig å hugse på ei sterk kvinne som kjempa sitt folk sine rettar mot urett og storkapital sine overgrep, noko ho sjølv diverre betalte med livet for, og kravet må framleis vera full oppklåring i kven som planla og utførte drapet, der alle steinar skal snuast, og dei skuldige dømmast!

Ivar Jørdre

Berta Cáceres speaks to people near the Gualcarque river in 2015 where residents were fighting a dam project.
Berta Cáceres speaks to people near the Gualcarque river in 2015 where residents were fighting a dam project. Photograph: Tim Russo/AP

Leaked court documents raise concerns that the murder of the Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres was an extrajudicial killing planned by military intelligence specialists linked to the country’s US–trained special forces, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

Cáceres was shot dead a year ago while supposedly under state protection after receiving death threats over her opposition to a hydroelectric dam.

The murder of Cáceres, winner of the prestigious Goldman environmental prize in 2015, prompted international outcry and calls for the US to revoke military aid to Honduras, a key ally in its war on drugs.

Eight men have been arrested in connection with the murder, including one serving and two retired military officers.

Officials have denied state involvement in the activist’s murder, and downplayed the arrest of the serving officer Maj Mariano Díaz, who was hurriedly discharged from the army.

But the detainees’ military records and court documents seen by the Guardian reveal that:

  • Díaz, a decorated special forces veteran, was appointed chief of army intelligence in 2015, and at the time of the murder was on track for promotion to lieutenant colonel.
  • Another suspect, Lt Douglas Giovanny Bustillo joined the military on the same day as Díaz; they served together and prosecutors say they remained in contact after Bustillo retired in 2008.
  • Díaz and Bustillo both received military training in the US.
  • A third suspect, Sgt Henry Javier Hernández, was a former special forces sniper, who had worked under the direct command of Díaz. Prosecutors believe he may also have worked as an informant for military intelligence after leaving the army in 2013.

Court documents also include the records of mobile phone messages which prosecutors believe contain coded references to the murder.

Bustillo and Hernández visited the town of La Esperanza, where Cáceres lived, several times in the weeks before her death, according to phone records and Hernández’s testimony.

A legal source close to the investigation told the Guardian: “The murder of Berta Cáceres has all the characteristics of a well-planned operation designed by military intelligence, where it is absolutely normal to contract civilians as assassins.

“It’s inconceivable that someone with her high profile, whose campaign had made her a problem for the state, could be murdered without at least implicit authorisation of military high command.”

The Honduran defence ministry ignored repeated requests from the Guardian for comment, but the head of the armed forces recently denied that military deaths squads were operating in the country.

Five civilians with no known military record have also been arrested. They include Sergio Rodríguez, a manager for the internationally funded Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam which Cáceres had opposed.

The project is being led by Desarrollos Energéticos SA, (Desa), which has extensive military and government links. The company’s president, Roberto David Castillo Mejía, is a former military intelligence officer, and its secretary, Roberto Pacheco Reyes, is a former justice minister. Desa employed former lieutenant Bustillo as head of security between 2013 and 2015.

Cáceres had reported 33 death threats linked to her campaign against the dam, including several from Desa employees. Desa denies any involvement in the murder.

Cáceres was killed at about 11.30pm on 2 March, when at least four assassins entered the gated community to which she had recently moved on the outskirts of La Esperanza.

A checkpoint at the entrance to the town – normally manned by police officers or soldiers – was left unattended on the night she was killed, witnesses have told the Guardian.

read more at theguardian.com

Posta under Kvinne- og jentekamp, Noreg - Norway, Our global world, Politikk, samfunn, Vår globale verd | Merkt , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Kommenter innlegget

Kapitalismen spekulerar seg til døde – Capitalism and the bank cronies

Den globale kapitalismen går meir og meir på eit høggir mot stupet, for menneska, naturen, miljøet og livet sjølv. Dette let seg ikkje stagge av noko “restaurering”, systemet må endrast radikalt.
Kapitalismen er som system inne i si mest djupe strukturelle krise historisk sett sidan den verdsomspennande depresjonen på 1930-talet, som byrja i USA. Den noverande krisa tok til for fleire tiår sidan og har gradvis utvikla seg med oppblåst finanskapital og ekspanderande gjeld for både real- og finansøkonomien. Dette toppa seg i 2008 i USA med at spekulasjonsbobla i råtne bustadlån sprakk. Krisa har sitt grunnlag i overproduksjon av varer i kapitalismen og ikkje i finansmarknaden. Nasjonal gjeld og kutt fører til stor arbeidsløyse, dårlegare velferd, usikkerheit, privat profitt, osb.

I USA, Europa, Afrika og Asia, unnateke deler av Latin-Amerika, har det vore ei gigantisk deregulering av finansverda de siste 30 årene. Der det før var nokon lunde strenge reglar og avgrensingar vart det no fullt frislepp av den private bank- og kredittsektoren, mens spekulasjon og fiktive pengar vart normale omgrep i finansuniverset. Noko som har opna for enorme profittmulegheiter for kapitalistar over heile verda. Samstundes har nokon av kapitalismens mest spekulative sider ramla ut av skapet i ein skala ein aldri tidlegare har sett. Eit godt døme er innan helse verda over, der privatisering har alvorlege føljer. I denne marknadstankegangen senka ein også skattane for dei rike og skattane på store private selskap. Mange multinasjonale selskap får då mulegheit til å rane til seg store ressursar og kan med rette kallast globale konglomerat, der fleire av dei har større økonomiar enn mange land.

Det har gjennom desse 30 år med nyliberalisme hendt ei valdsam omfordeling av rikdommen i USA og Europa, men også i Afrika og Asia. Dei rikaste har fenge kontroll over ein endå større del av velstanden i landa enn tidlegare.

I Europa har resultata av denne nyliberalistiske politikken i desse tiåra vore katastrofale. Velferdsgodane som arbeidarklassen har kjempa fram ramlar for sparekniven éin etter éin. Men sparekniven gjeld ikkje «alle», makta har «råd» til å subsidiera dei rikaste gjennom skattekutt, nye privatiseringsbølgjer eller gjennom ”offentlige” anbodsordningar, som i helsevesenet. For endå meir å gjere denne tendensen muleg, tek makteliten i landa opp stadig større gjeld. I neste omgang fortel Europas leiarar at det er folk flest som må betala for dette. Slik vert sirkelen slutta og endå ein gong vert det arbeidarar, bønder, fiskarar og andre som må betala rekninga for kapitalens overflod.

Stadig fleire vert fattige og arbeidsledige i Europa og ein må undre på om ikkje fattigdom og arbeidsledigheit er eit villa permanent, systematisk problem i dagens økonomiske system. Leiarane har for lenge sidan vist at dei står på kapitalens side og er meir enn viljuge til å ofre folkets godar på marknadens alter. Det er på tide at folket i Europa reiser seg og seier nok er nok!

Som dei tre artiklane under frå mai 2015 viser, så er bankane – ein av kapitalsimens 5 søyler (dei andre er gjeld, profitt, eigendom og kjøp av folks arbeidskraft) – ein av dei sentrale aktørar i å prøve å formeire kapitalen sin profit. Det prøver dei på fleire måtar: Ein er å låne og låne ut pengar, altså sette seg sjølv og låntakarane i gjeld. Utan gjeld ingen kapitalisme! Ein annan ting er å spekulera i aksjar, obligasjonar og land sine valuta. Den globale valutamarknaden er noko av det minst regulerte som er. Så difor var det og lett å “berre køyre på” med innbyrdes handel i hemmelegheit. Dei fem bankane (Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland og den sveitsiske banken UBS) prøvde å manipulera global valuta (spesielt europeisk) ved å påverke den daglege valutahandelen med massiv deltaking frå bankane si side. Deira deltaking utgjorde meir enn ein fjerdedel av aktiviteten i valutamarknaden over mange år (2007-2013). Bankierar konspirerte for å oppnå høg forteneste ved å prøve å påvirke dagleg valutahandel ved å kommunisera i hemmelege “chatrooms”. “Handlarane” eller som dei sjølv omtalalte seg, “bank mafia”, gav kundeinformasjon over til konkurrentar, for å trigge prisen oppover og maksimera profitt. Denne gjengen i godt seldkap med resten av verdas kapitalistelite, har i materiell forstand: ALT FRÅ FØR, MEN LIKEVEL ER DET IKKJE NOK!

Les vidare i artiklane nedanfor og få “bakoversveis” og håpnadsfullt: SINNE TIL HANDLING FOR ENDRING!

Ivar Jørdre

5 big banks pay $5.4 billion for rigging currencies

U.S. regulators hit five global banks with $5.4 billion in penalties for trying to rig foreign currency markets in their favor.

publiced 21.05. 2015

Citigroup(C), Barclays (BCS), JP Morgan Chase (JPM), and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBSPF) were fined more than $2.5 billion by the U.S. after pleading guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of dollars and euros.

The four banks, plus UBS (UBS) , have also been fined $1.6 billion by the Federal Reserve, and Barclays will pay regulators another $1.3 billion to settle related claims.

The first four banks operated what they described as “The Cartel” from as early as 2007, using online chatrooms and coded language to influence the twice-daily setting of benchmarks in an effort to increase their profits.

The guilty banks “participated in a brazen display of collusion and foreign exchange rate market manipulation,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Lynch said bankers conspired to enrich themselves at the expense of “countless consumers, investors and institutions around the world.” She declined to comment on criminal charges against individual bank employees, saying only that the Justice Department’s investigation is ongoing.

The global foreign exchange market is massive yet lightly regulated. Officials said trading in the eurodollar exchange rate market is five times larger than trading on all global stock exchanges combined. The four banks that pleaded guilty accounted for about a quarter of all activity in that market.

The five banks involved in Wednesday’s settlement, plus HSBC (HSBC) and Bank of America (BAC), have now paid about $10 billion in total to authorities in the U.S. and Europe for their part in the foreign exchange scandal.

“These unprecedented figures appropriately reflect this breathtaking conspiracy,” said Lynch.

UBS admitted it had engaged in “unsafe and unsound business practices” in foreign exchange markets, and also pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in relation to the London Interbank borrowing rate, or Libor.

The bank had originally struck a deal over Libor with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2012, but the non-prosecution agreement was terminated after its role in the foreign exchange scandal came to light. It said it would pay a fine of $203 million related to Libor rigging.

Related: More bankers ok with breaking the law to get ahead

“The conduct of a small number of employees was unacceptable and we have taken appropriate disciplinary actions,” UBS chairman Axel Weber said in a statement.

UBS said it faces no criminal charges related to the currency market manipulation.

But it’s already racked up a hefty bill for market misconduct. Over the past year it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to authorities in the U.S. and Europe for dodgy dealing in foreign exchange. That’s on top of around $1.7 billion in penalties since 2012 related to the Libor probe.

Related: Deutsche Bank in $2.5 billion settlement over interest rate rigging

Some $5 trillion is traded in the global currency market each day, much of it in London. Foreign exchange rates affect the price of imported goods, company earnings and many investments held by pension funds and others.

The Big Five: Small Change or Significant Sums for a Big Banking Scandal

© Flickr/ Mariano Mantel

World

20.05.2015

Five of the world’s biggest banks are to pay fines totalling $5.7 billion and have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges accusing them of rigging the international currency market.

Between December 2007 and January 2013, traders at four of the banks, Citi, JPMorgan, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, which is still part owned by the British tax payer, “used an electronic chatroom and coded language to manipulate benchmark exchange rates,” according to the US Department of Justice.

The traders in question referred to themselves as members of “The Cartel” or “The Mafia” allegedly sharing customer orders on chat rooms.

Currencies trade nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The market pauses twice a day, a moment known as the ‘fix’. In the chat room, the traders, or members of the self-proclaimed “mafia” allegedly shared client orders with rivals ahead of the ‘fix’, pumping up currency rates to make profits.

The statement from the DOJ added that UBS had engaged in deceptive trading and sales practices, including “undisclosed mark-ups” on certain FX transactions and “UBS traders and sale staff used hand signals to conceal those mark-ups from customers”.

UBS, one of the five banks, has agreed to plead guilty to manipulating key interest rates and will pay a separate $203 million criminal penalty.

But the banking scandal on both sides of the Atlantic is far from being over. The New York State Department of Financial Services and the UK is still investigating Barclays over its electronic trading methods. The Royal Bank of Scotland is facing action from major investors over information it provided to the market during the financial crisis. It’s also facing an investigation over its mortgage business in the US.

Meanwhile, the fines imposed on the five banks do break a number of records — but they could be seen by some on the global financial market as relatively small change.

The guilty pleas on the other hand, are seen as significant. Settlements made in previous investigations have been made without an admission of guilt.

Related:
Britain’s Top Five Banks Spend 61 Percent of Profits on Misbehavior
Barclays and Deutsche Bank in Further Rate-Rigging Probe
Big Banks And The Millennials: Why You Can’t Have Nice Things
Tags:
crime, criminal case, bank, investigation, currency market, currency, exchange rates, UBS, US Department of Justice, JP Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank Plc, World, United States, United Kingdom

 

Nobody can keep track of all the big bank fraud cases

May 21, 2015

Nobody can keep track of all the big bank fraud cases #TBTF #OWS

If you’re anything like me, this week’s announcement that 5 banks – JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, RBS, and UBS – have pleaded guilty to manipulating foreign exchange markets is both confusing and more than vaguely familiar.

It was a classic price fixing cartel, and it went along these lines: these big banks had all the business, being so big, and the traders got on a chat room and agreed to manipulate prices to make more money. The myth of the free market was suspended, and eventually they got caught, in large part because of leaving stupid messages like “If you aint cheating, you aint trying”.

But hold on, I could have sworn that these same banks, or a similar list of them, got in trouble for this already. Or was that LIBOR interest rate manipulation? Or was that for mortgage fraud? Or was that for robosigning?

Shit. I mean, here I am, someone who is actively taking an interest in financial reform, and I actually can’t remember all the fines, settlements, and fake guilty pleas to criminal charges.

I say “fake” because – yet again – nobody has gone to jail, and the banks found guilty have immediately been given waivers by the SEC to continue business as usual. According to this New York Times article, the Justice Department even delayed announcing the charges by a week so those waivers could be granted in time so that business wouldn’t even be disrupted. For fuck’s sake.

But again, same thing as all the other “big bank events” that we’ve grown tired of in the last few years. What it comes down to is fines, but then again, the continued quantitative easing has essentially been a gift of cash to those same banks, so I wouldn’t even count the fines as meaningful.

In fact I’d call this whole thing theater. And really repetitive, boring theater at that, where we all nod off because every scene is the same and they’ve turned up the heat too high.

The saddest part is that, given how very little we’ve improved about the integrity of the markets – I’d argue that we’ve actually gone backwards on incentives not to commit fraud, since now everything has been formalized as pathetic – we are bound to continue to see big banks committing fraud and then not getting any actual punishment. And we will all be so bored we won’t even keep track, because nobody can.

Posta under Capitalism, Kapitalisme, Our global world, Politic&Society | Merkt , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 kommentarar