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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Government Spies On Innocent People Via Webcams, Laptops, Xbox

Latest Snowden Leak confirms story Infowars first broke EIGHT YEARS AGO

Steve Watson
Infowars.com
February 27, 2014

The latest revelation concerning mass government spying confirms an issue that Infowars has been covering for close to a decade. British and American governments are spying on people in their own homes via web cams, laptop microphones and devices such as the X-box.

The London Guardian has the details in a report based on information leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The British surveillance agency GCHQ, with help from the NSA, actively spied on nearly 2 million Yahoo users via webcams built into their computers. The documents show that the agency intercepted millions of images as part of a secret program codenamed OPTIC NERVE.

The report also states that Americans were almost certainly targeted as part of the bulk collection of data, and that there is no law to prevent such activity in Britain.

NSA ragout 4

The documents show that images were collected from webcams at regular intervals, one image every five minutes, and were used by the spy agency to trial automated facial recognition programs.

The Guardian describes the process as “eerily reminiscent of the telescreens evoked in George Orwell’s 1984.”

NSA ragout 3

The documents dub the practice as “bulk access to Yahoo webcam images/events”, and spies working at GCHQ compared it to a police database of mugshots. “Face detection has the potential to aid selection of useful images for ‘mugshots’ or even for face recognition by assessing the angle of the face,” the papers read. “The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright.”

Essentially, the spy agency appear to have been building a huge digital database containing the faces of Yahoo users.

The documents advise employees at GCHQ on how to use the system, noting “[I]f you search for similar IDs to your target, you will be able to request automatic comparison of the face in the similar IDs to those in your target’s ID”.

In one presentation contained within the documents, more technologically advanced systems, such as iris recognition cameras, are discussed as potential surveillance tools. The paper even chillingly states “think Tom Cruise in Minority Report”.

The documents state that Yahoo users were specifically singled out because “Yahoo webcam is known to be used by GCHQ targets”.

The papers also note that a large quantity of the data collected contained nudity or sexually explicit imagery. The spy agency seemingly made no effort to prevent the collection of such images.

Yahoo described the practice as “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy,” and strenuously denied having any knowledge of the program.

Infowars first reported in 2006, EIGHT YEARS AGO, that innocent people were being spied on through their computers. We specifically described the practice as Minority Report style technology, as the GCHQ had done.

We have since covered the issue consistently, warning that “Hundreds of millions of Internet-active Americans will all be potential targets for secret surveillance.”

Of course, some quarters dismissed our reports as “conspiracy theories”, while worried internet users questioned whether the reports were accurate.

The GCHQ program was seemingly not limited to Yahoo user web cams either. Another presentation within the leaked internal papers discusses the capabilities of the Xbox 360′s Kinect camera, saying it generated “fairly normal webcam traffic” and that it was being evaluated as a potential surveillance tool.

We have also documented the potential use of Xbox for surveillance purposes, noting that Skype calls made on the devices can be intercepted. We have also warned that the ‘always on’ camera of the new Xbox One, which is so powerful it can see through clothing, is wide open to abuse by hackers and government agencies.

According to the leaked documents, the OPTIC NERVE program began as a prototype in 2008 and was still active in 2012. There is no indication that the program has been deactivated.

Security expert Bruce Schneier writes that this latest revelation highlights how there is no distinction between actively spying on a person and what he called “Eavesdropping by algorithm”, in other words, automated computer surveillance. The NSA and the Obama administration have attempted to argue that what they are doing cannot be called “spying” or even “collecting” data, because when the data is gathered, a person is not looking at it. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper still uses this explanation to claim he never lied to Congress when he answered ‘no’ to the question “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

The fallout from the OPTIC NERVE program, the creation of facial recognition databases, and the fact that spooks provably looked at images of people, even NAKED images of people, highlights the fact, Schneier argues, that the “NSA’s definition of ‘collect’ makes no sense whatsoever”, and that our governments are indeed actively spying on us.

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Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

By 24 Feb 2014, 6:25 PM EST
Featured photo - How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations A page from a GCHQ top secret document prepared by its secretive JTRIG unit

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations”.

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:

Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title “discredit a target”:

Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets:

GCHQ describes the purpose of JTRIG in starkly clear terms: “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world”, including “information ops (influence or disruption)”.

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the newly created NSA review panel announced by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

Then there is the use of psychology and other social sciences to not only understand, but shape and control, how online activism and discourse unfolds. Today’s newly published document touts the work of GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell”, devoted to “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”:

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack”, while dissecting how human being can be manipulated using “leaders”, “trust, “obedience” and “compliance”:

The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:

We submitted numerous questions to GCHQ, including: (1) Does GCHQ in fact engage in “false flag operations” where material is posted to the Internet and falsely attributed to someone else?; (2) Does GCHQ engage in efforts to influence or manipulate political discourse online?; and (3) Does GCHQ’s mandate include targeting common criminals (such as boiler room operators), or only foreign threats?

As usual, they ignored those questions and opted instead to send their vague and nonresponsive boilerplate: “It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position.”

These agencies’ refusal to “comment on intelligence matters” – meaning: talk at all about anything and everything they do – is precisely why whistleblowing is so urgent, the journalism that supports it so clearly in the public interest, and the increasingly unhinged attacks by these agencies so easy to understand. Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.

Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.

School Shooting Expert Threatened Over Sandy Hook Investigation

Was told if he didn’t back off “bad things are going to happen”

Adan Salazar
Infowars.com
February 18, 2014

The Sandy Hook school shooting was a giant, elaborate hoax and no one really died; that’s the conclusion Wolfgang Halbig, a former educator, US Customs agent and Florida state trooper, has reached after ten months of investigation and multiple disputes with federal, state and school authorities.

Halbig is convinced a deluge of discrepancies prove that the whole scenario was a scripted event.

“..I suspect, in my professional opinion as a consultant and doing this a long, long time, I think it’s a scripted event that took place. I think it was in planning for maybe two, two and a half years,” Halbig said recently in an explosive interview with American Free Press.

Halbig is not your average conspiracy theorist. In fact he’s not one at all.

He’s a former educator and law enforcement officer who now contracts out as a national school safety consultant.

His job is to help schools prevent incidents like the one that unfolded in Newtown. In order to do that, he needs to know exactly what happened at Sandy Hook.

“How do I tell people how to make their school safer when we don’t even have the truth about Sandy Hook?” asked a frustrated Halbig. “See, there is a nexus, I do this for a living.”

But school, state and federal officials aren’t making his job easy, and the state’s even threatened him for meddling in their affairs.

“They were in plain clothes,” Halbig recalled, describing a visit from Lake County homicide investigators. “They introduced themselves, they showed me their identification, their badges, and they basically said, ‘We need to have a conversation,’ and I said, ‘Well come on in, sit down, make yourselves comfortable,’ and then they read off my resumé. I mean, somehow, they did a lot of homework.. Basically the next thing they said was if I don’t stop, the Connecticut state police were gonna file charges and they recommended that I hire an attorney.”

The retired school principal, however, affirmed he’s in the right. “I said there is no way in the world that I’m gonna hire an attorney, because I’m following the procedures of the Connecticut state Freedom of Information Act. I mean, if anybody ought to be arrested, I said you tell those guys they ought to be arrested for failing to comply by the law of Connecticut.”

He says they also treated him in a threatening manner, stating “if I don’t comply that bad things are going to happen to me.”

Nevertheless, Halbig says, like any homicide investigation, Sandy Hook is a giant puzzle, but one which the public hasn’t been provided all the pieces to solve.

“..[T]his crime that was committed is a puzzle and no one can show me the pieces to put together to finish this puzzle. They don’t fit no matter how hard you try.. you and your listeners will not be able to put this puzzle together,” Halbig attested to host Dave Gahary.

Unanswered Questions

National school safety consultant Wolfgang Halbig.

National school safety consultant Wolfgang Halbig.

For Halbig, there are unanswered questions, lots of them.

For instance, why in the immediate aftermath of the shooting were no medical helicopters summoned?

“Think about it: you have 20 children, 6 staff members who were supposed to have been shot. They’re seriously injured. Where’s the trauma helicopters? Those are the quickest and the best medical services that any child or any school staff member can receive, and no trauma helicopters were ever requested?”

Halbig also called Life Star emergency services, who confirmed they were never summoned that morning. “[T]hey said, ‘Mr. Halbig we were never requested on that morning. We were shocked and surprised, we were ready, we thought we were going to go to Sandy Hook.’ They had helicopters ready to go, but they were never asked.. Here’s my premise.. there wasn’t anybody there to be treated.”

Halbig also questions why EMT and firefighters, who were mere minutes away from the scene, were prevented from entering the school and possibly saving lives, and additionally, he wants to know how, within the first 11 minutes, America was already presented with a death toll.

“Who declared all those 26 people dead within the first 11 minutes? Connecticut law states that only a doctor can declare them dead, legally dead.”

Moreover, Halbig says the FBI’s classification of the school shooting report is something he’s never witnessed in his entire career. “I can tell you [out of] all the shootings, never has an FBI agency ever classified an investigative report on a school shooting.”

More Unanswered Questions

There are also a whole host of peculiarities Halbig is still baffled by.

For example, why was Sandy Hook elementary torn down? Even in the Columbine tragedy, whose crime scene Halbig assisted with and in which he testified as a key witness, the school was cleaned up, but was never torn down.

According to Halbig, no one could tell him which environmental company cleaned up the bloody mess, or who installed the school’s security system, all things his job would require him to know.

He has other pressing questions, such as: Why was there a registered nurse found in the building four hours after the shooting? Why was there a sign flashing “Everyone must sign in?” Why were there port-a-potties on site within three hours? Why were children turned around by officers and sent back into rooms supposedly littered with dead bodies? How did someone with Asperger’s have the physical coordination to carry the large amount of munitions Adam Lanza supposedly carried? Why did no parents file a lawsuit against the school, when in every other school shooting suits have been filed? And ultimately, why would the state threaten Halbig?

“The things [we’re] talking about.. they should never offend any parent…These are simple questions that we as homicide investigators, we need to know and we should know.”

Sandy Hook elementary / Image: Wikimedia Commons

Sandy Hook elementary / Image: Wikimedia Commons

Truth Seeking Won’t Stop

Altogether, from the puzzle pieces he’s collected and analyzed, Halbig concludes there is a massive cover up.

“Absolutely… It is.. when you refuse to respond to simple requests, something is not right.”

The next step legally, Halbig says, would be to hire attorneys and depose the key players of the investigation, because, “The only way you’re ever gonna get the truth is by getting them to raise their right hands..” “..[I]f you lie in a deposition and if you’re caught in that lie, there’s a lot of things that you can lose, you can go to jail and you can lose your retirement..” warns the safety consultant.

When asked if he feels his life could be in danger if the cover-up goes all the way up to the White House, Halbig answered he is not fearful because he’s led a rich life, but that for him, people showing up and knocking on his door was the final straw.

“Here’s the problem and this is what got me fired up even more, is when they start bringing people to my house.”

Halbig says next he’s traveling to Newtown, Conn. and scoping out the crime scene, and that he’s possibly planning a Sandy Hook event in Orlando, Florida sometime in the near future.

He says he won’t stop until he gets some answers.

Below, check out Infowars’ report on why so many people think the Sandy Hook school shooting was a staged event.

This article was posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm

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