The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates — though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

Source: Politico

For years, an enduring mystery has surrounded the Stuxnet virus attack that targeted Iran’s nuclear program: How did the U.S. and Israel get their malware onto computer systems at the highly secured uranium-enrichment plant?

The first-of-its-kind virus, designed to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, effectively launched the era of digital warfare and was unleashed some time in 2007, after Iran began installing its first batch of centrifuges at a controversial enrichment plant near the village of Natanz.

The courier behind that intrusion, whose existence and role has not been previously reported, was an inside mole recruited by Dutch intelligence agents at the behest of the CIA and the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, according to sources who spoke with Yahoo News.

An Iranian engineer recruited by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD provided critical data that helped the U.S. developers target their code to the systems at Natanz, according to four intelligence sources. That mole then provided much-needed inside access when it came time to slip Stuxnet onto those systems using a USB flash drive.

Source: Yahoo News

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a federal government database that compiles people deemed to be “known or suspected terrorists” violates the rights of American citizens who are on the watchlist, calling into question the constitutionality of a major tool the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security use for screening potential terrorism suspects.

Being on the watchlist can restrict people from traveling or entering the country, subject them to greater scrutiny at airports and by the police, and deny them government benefits and contracts. In a 32-page opinion, Judge Anthony J. Trenga of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia said the standard for inclusion in the database was too vague.

“The court concludes that the risk of erroneous deprivation of plaintiffs’ travel-related and reputational liberty interests is high, and the currently existing procedural safeguards are not sufficient to address that risk,” Judge Trenga wrote.

Source: The New York Times

On june 22nd there was an alleged coup attempt in Ethiopia. The army chief of staff was murdered, as was the president of Amhara, one of the country’s nine regions. Ordinary Ethiopians were desperate to find out what was going on. And then the government shut down the internet. By midnight some 98% of Ethiopia was offline.

“People were getting distorted news and were getting very confused about what was happening…at that very moment there was no information at all,” recalls Gashaw Fentahun, a journalist at the Amhara Mass Media Agency, a state-owned outlet. He and his colleagues were trying to file a report. Rather than uploading audio and video files digitally, they had to send them to head office by plane, causing a huge delay.

Source: The Economist

The prosecutor and the judge said it was because I had a lot of USB flash drives, — a lot of computers and a lot of books, they said that these were suspicious.

Source: Ola Bini

I guess, we’re all just one step away from being jailed.

I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.

Read more …

President Trump has promised to cure cancer, eradicate AIDS, and ensure that American astronauts land on Mars if he wins a second term. “We will push onward with new medical frontiers. We will come up with the cures to many, many problems, to many, many diseases—including cancer and others and we’re getting closer all the time,” Trump said to a cheering crowd at his rally in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday night. “We will eradicate AIDS in America once and for all and we’re very close. We will lay the foundation for landing American astronauts on the surface of Mars.”

Source: The Daily Beast

To my mind there are more important things to do than landing astronauts on the surface of Mars. Like having proper and affordable health care.

A global survey of attitudes towards science has revealed the scale of the crisis of confidence in vaccines in Europe, showing that only 59% of people in western Europe and 50% in the east think vaccines are safe, compared with 79% worldwide.
Around the globe, 84% of people acknowledge that vaccines are effective and 92% say their child has received a vaccine. But in spite of good healthcare and education systems, in parts of Europe there is low trust in vaccines. France has the highest levels of distrust, at 33%.
There have been major measles outbreaks in a number of countries, which have spread across the continent, linked to vaccine hesitancy.

Source: The Guardian

This is entirely good news, as it will solve lots of issues in this world. People who vaccinate and those who don’t are like the yin and the yang. We need you!

The Irish government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, as part of a major strategy to protect the environment.
The aim is to ensure that all new cars and vans on Irish roads in 11 years’ time are electric vehicles.
The proposed legislation was among 180 measures in the government’s Climate Action Plan, published on Monday.
The document also includes a target to implement an EU-wide ban on non-recyclable plastic by 2030.

Source: BBC

That will cause a massive raise on the second-hand car market.

Hackers at the Central Intelligence Agency, with the help of colleagues from the British spy agency MI5, developed malware to secretly spy on targets through their Samsung Smart TVs, according to new documents published by WikiLeaks.
On Tuesday, WikiLeaks dumped a large cache of documents allegedly coming from the CIA’s hacking unit. Julian Assange’s organization dubbed the release, which it says it’s the first in a series, as “Vault 7,” and billed it as the largest-ever of confidential CIA intelligence documents.

Source: VICE

I said it once and I say it again: Using smart-home technology maybe convenient, but it’s not smart.


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