Daily Archives: July 7, 2016

The wizard war in orbit (part 1)


Artist impression of early Samos F-2 signals intelligence satellite.

Early American signals intelligence satellites

Tales of espionage are filled with lanky men in trenchcoats walking through cold Berlin streets at the height of the Cold War. But the most important intelligence—in terms of volume and reliability—was gathered by reconnaissance satellites far overhead. These satellites were precise, they collected vast amounts of information, and unlike spies, they did not forget, embellish, lie, or go rogue. Photographic reconnaissance satellites like CORONA, GAMBIT, HEXAGON, and KENNEN were in many ways the most prolific spooks. But they were also accompanied by other satellites, signals intelligence, or SIGINT, satellites that listened for the electronic whispers of radars and radios, engaged in a high-tech war of electrons against an enemy that could vanish and emerge at will.

During the Cold War the United States intelligence community gathered signals intelligence from the Soviet Union via a variety of means. These included ground stations, cable-tapping and bugging operations, airborne platforms such as the RC-135 Rivet Joint and RB-47 Stratojet, and signals intelligence satellites. Any history of SIGINT satellite operations during the Cold War is going to be limited in scope because much of the story remains classified, and unlike the reconnaissance photographs, signals intelligence is an arcane and esoteric subject.

What the history reveals is that SIGINT satellite operations by the United States during the 1960s were far more complex than independent observers ever imagined.

In 1998, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which develops and operates intelligence satellites, declassified the first signals intelligence satellite named GRAB, which was launched in April 1960. GRAB was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NSL) in Washington, DC, and part of the NRL was later subsumed as a component of the super-secret NRO. In 2007 the NRO declassified the follow-on to GRAB, named POPPY. But both of these declassification actions were limited, leaving out many major details such as the appearance of some of the satellites, the variety and types of signals they collected, and even how long they operated. The NRO released further details in dribs and drabs over the next several years, but GRAB and POPPY operations remained shrouded in a certain amount of mystery and confusion. But while the GRAB and POPPY revelations were significant, the reality was that they represented only a small part of the story. Throughout the 1960s the NRO operated many other SIGINT satellites and platforms, most developed by the US Air Force, and these remained shrouded in secrecy. Until now.

Starting last year, the NRO declassified portions of its official history of signals intelligence satellites. Titled The SIGINT Satellite Story and written in 1994, it was produced by four authors: Major General David D. Bradburn, US Air Force (retired); Colonel John O. Copley, US Air Force (retired); Raymond B. Potts, National Security Agency (retired); and one other retired National Security Agency employee whose identity remains classified. One chapter of the history tells the story of the GRAB and POPPY satellites. Two chapters in The SIGINT Satellite Story explain much of the history of the other low Earth orbit satellites operated by the NRO during the Cold War. What the history reveals is that SIGINT satellite operations by the United States during the 1960s were far more complex than independent observers ever imagined, and the NRO operated satellites with names like MULTIGROUP and STRAWMAN, and numerous SIGINT payloads with names like NEW JERSEY, DONKEY, and OPPORKNOCKITY. Although other parts of this effort remain classified, over the years details have also emerged about a class of small SIGINT satellites with names like FARRAH, RAQUEL, and URSULA.

continue http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3011/1


Agena spacecraft being prepared for launch in August 1961. This mission carried both a TAKI payload for intercepting Soviet TALL KING air surveillance radar emissions and a SOCTOP payload for determining if the vehicle was being tracked or the Soviets were attempting to take control of it. The payloads may have been mounted under the gray box structure on the aft rack of the Agena. The CORONA photo-reconnaissance payload has not yet been attached to the front of the Agena. (credit: Peter Hunter)

The wizard war in orbit (part 2)

Black black boxes

Willis also learned about the Samos Subsystem F signals intelligence satellite program, which at the time consisted of the F-1 and F-2 payloads. The former was a relatively small payload that would fly attached to a Samos photo-reconnaissance satellite and the latter a larger and more capable payload that would occupy the front end of an Agena spacecraft. Although the specialized F-2 satellite might be able to detect Soviet transmissions or interference, it was then scheduled to fly years after CORONA became operational. Willis thought that the Soviet threat to CORONA and other military satellites could develop sooner and they should not wait for the Samos signals intelligence satellites to provide data. He was not simply worried about problems over the Soviet Union but even far out over the oceans: the Soviets also had ships and trawlers with radomes, and nobody knew what they were for.

continue http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3017/1

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Warmonger Hillary Now Being Portrayed as Political Peace-maker


Warmonger Hillary Now Being Portrayed as Political Peace-maker
By Daily Bell Staff

Editor’s Alert: At time of publication, Hillary Clinton was not indicted by the FBI over mishandling classified emails.

This conforms to what we have expected and additionally seems to make clear that she will indeed be the next President of the United States.

Enormous political capital has been expended on ensuring her innocence. It is surely unlikely that the elite establishment, having produced this outcome, will allow the election to go forward without Hillary victory.

The result of this FBI decision will not just involve a probable Hillary presidential victory, it will also ensure that the sociopolitical instability of the US will grow.

There will be a dramatic expansion of US debt, an explosion of regulatory activity and, most likely, serious conflicts overseas that may escalate into a kind of world war.

continue http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/1-warmonger-hillary-now-being-portrayed-as-political-peace-maker/

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EU parliament pushes ahead with plans to block, remove terrorist content online

Civil liberties MEPs on Monday night approved plans to create a law that will block terrorist content online.

The counter terrorism directive also deals with terrorism training and financing as well as “Internet propaganda, and the misuse of the Internet for terrorist purposes.” It was passed by 41 votes to four, with 10 abstentions meaning that the parliament’s chief negotiator, German MEP Monika Hohlmeier, can now start talks with the European ministers for justice and home affairs on a final text.

The initial draft proposal contained no reference to online activity, but Hohlmeier introduced two new sections taken in part from the EU law against child sex abuse. Under the latest wording, national authorities must take measures to ensure the prompt removal of illegal content hosted from within their territory that constitutes public incitement to commit a terrorist offence. If this is not feasible, they may take the necessary measures to block access to such content “while adhering to transparent procedure, adequate safeguards, and subject to judicial review.”

“It’s easy to ban something on the Internet, but of course you can’t ban everything, and if people use terrorist-related Internet facilities, then they will be correspondingly dealt with,” said Hohlmeier in a press conference.

continue http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/07/eu-parliament-pushes-ahead-with-plans-to-block-remove-terrorist-content-online/

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GAO Report – FBI Face-recognition Database Consists Of 411.9 Million Images

According to a recent report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the FBI’s face-recognition database has 411.9 million images and most of the people on the images are those who did not commit any crimes.

GAO also added that the FBI’s Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation Services Unit contains not only 30 million mug shots, but also has access to driver license photos from 16 states, the State Department’s visa and passport database, and the biometric database maintained by the Defense Department. The GAO report had been released nearly two years after the Federal Bureau of Investigation had confirmed that their face-recognition project reached the “full operational capability” phase. The whole project is combined with the fingerprint database. GAO describes the whole project, the privacy of the persons in the database and the accuracy in their report:

“The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System (NGI-IPS)—a face recognition service that allows law enforcement agencies to search a database of over 30 million photos to support criminal investigations. NGI-IPS users include the FBI and selected state and local law enforcement agencies, which can submit search requests to help identify an unknown person using, for example, a photo from a surveillance camera. When a state or local agency submits such a photo, NGI-IPS uses an automated process to return a list of 2 to 50 possible candidate photos from the database, depending on the user’s specification. As of December 2015, the FBI has agreements with seven states to search NGI-IPS and is working with more states to grant access. In addition to the NGI-IPS, the FBI has an internal unit called Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation (FACE) Services that provides face recognition capabilities, among other things, to support active FBI investigations. FACE Services not only has access to NGI-IPS, but can search or request to search databases owned by the Departments of State and Defense and 16 states, which use their own face recognition systems. Biometric analysts manually review photos before returning at most the top 1 or 2 photos as investigative leads to FBI agents.

The FBI has entered into agreements to search and access external databases—including millions of U.S. citizens’ drivers’ license and passport photos—but until FBI officials can assure themselves that the data they receive from external partners are reasonably accurate and reliable, it is unclear whether such agreements are beneficial to the FBI and do not unnecessarily include photos of innocent people as investigative leads.”

continue https://www.deepdotweb.com/2016/07/03/gao-report-fbi-face-recognition-database-consists-411-9-million-images/

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Facebook blocks another woman named Isis because of her name

by Facebook, much to the dismay of a 27-year-old British woman, still hasn’t gotten it through its social media noggin that somebody by the name of Isis who takes out an account is not necessarily a bloodthirsty jihadist looking to promote the Islamic State.

Yes, that’s right: Facebook’s real-name policy, or maybe its report abuse function, has struck again.

This time, the woman who’s named after the Egyptian nature goddess is Isis Thomas, of Bristol.

She’s got at least one friend trying to get her account back for her:

As The Mirror reports, Ms. Thomas found herself locked out of her account as of Monday, when Facebook asked her to change her name.

The Mirror quotes her:

continue https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2016/07/04/facebook-blocks-another-woman-named-isis-because-of-her-name/

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Woody Harrelson Video Message The Mainstream Media Does NOT Want You To Watch

In 2013, Hollywood actor, environmental activist, and “happy hippie”, Woody Harrelson brought non-wood, tree-free paper to the market to help our farmers, our forests, and our future. In 2014, Woody hosted Ethos, a powerful documentary aimed at encouraging us to engage in ethical consumerism by awakening our consciousness about what’s happening in the world. In 2015, he told The Guardian:

“We live in a completely corrupted world where every government is just a bunch of businessmen working for a bunch of bigger businessmen and none of them give a shit about the people. The sad fact is no one knows how to change it, because no one knows how to take on the corporations. So I guess we’re stuck with this system until the oil runs out.”

In 2016, Woody, who is no stranger to controversy, is back with a strong message the entire world needs to hear. In the less-than-two-minute video featured below, he tells us how we can utilize our power to support and promote the type of world we want to live in, right now, at this moment; why we should support the products and companies which resonate with our values and the planet; and why it’s time to take responsibility for our lives and take these matters into our own hands.

continue read transcript and watch video https://tinyurl.com/jh3qo8z

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