07/20/18

Iran to Hit Infrastructure with Cyber Attack

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer: (Reuters) – Iran has built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day, the head of its atomic agency said on Wednesday, upping the stakes in a confrontation with Washington over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work.

Under the terms of the 2015 agreement, which was also signed by Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The other signatories have been scrambling to save the accord, arguing it offers the best way to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb.

*** At the Aspen Security Summit on Iran

In part:

ASPEN, Colo. — Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork to carry out extensive cyberattacks on U.S. and European infrastructure and private companies, and the U.S. is warning allies, hardening its defenses and weighing a counterattack, say multiple senior U.S. officials.

Despite Iran having positioned cyber weapons to carry out attacks, there is no suggestion an offensive operation is imminent, according to the officials, who requested anonymity in order to speak.

Cyber threats have been a major theme of the 2018 Aspen Security Forum, with administration officials from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Chris Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein all warning of the pervasive danger from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.

In Aspen Thursday, DNI Coats said that Russia was a more active cyber foe than Iran or China — “by far” the most aggressive, he said.

While Russia may be the most aggressive, the U.S. officials said Iran is making preparations that would enable denial-of-service attacks against thousands of electric grids, water plants, and health care and technology companies in the U.S., Germany, the U.K. and other countries in Europe and the Middle East.

“Iran has a penchant for using such tools against the West,” said Ben Taleblu. “The cyber domain permits the Islamic Republic to engage in graduated escalation, a hallmark of Iranian security policy.”

U.S. officials have alerted America’s allies in Europe and the Middle East to the potential Iranian threat and have begun preparing a menu of possible responses, according to both current and former US officials. It’s unclear if the options include a preemptive cyberattack to deter Iran from launching one.

Senior U.S. officials remain divided over the use of a preemptive cyberattack. More here.

Perhaps it is almost important to be reminded about the bomb plot last month in Paris. For a full summary of events at the #FreeIran event in Paris, go here.

Israel’s Mossad spy agency thwarted a terror attack in a Paris suburb last month, giving authorities in France, Germany, and Belgium crucial intelligence that led to arrests of a cell headed by an Iranian diplomat, Hebrew media reported Thursday.

The cell, headed by an Iranian diplomat at the Austrian embassy in Vienna, also consisted of  two Belgian nationals and an alleged accomplice in France. They planned to bomb a June 30 conference organized by an Iranian dissident group, the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran.

The operation included tracking the suspects and eavesdropping on them,  Hadashot said.

The Belgian nationals, a husband and wife identified as Amir S. and Nasimeh N., were charged earlier this month with their role in the plot.

The couple, described by Belgian prosecutors as being “of Iranian origin,” carried 500 grams (about a pound) of the volatile explosive TATP along with a detonation device when an elite police squad stopped them in a residential district of Brussels.

The arrests came days before Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif met with European nations to try to shore up the 2015 nuclear accord, after US President Donald Trump walked away from the deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to the operation ahead of the meeting.

“There is a meeting this week by the P4 without the United States…” and “the P4 invited Iran’s President Rouhani to attend,” Netanyahu said derisively at an event to mark US Independence Day. More here.

Also see: Iran has laid groundwork for extensive cyberattacks on U.S., say officials

07/18/18

4Vets4Life – Winning Dreams For Wounded Veterans

4Vets4Life

4VETS4LIFE is a program created to allow the American public to express their appreciation and gratitude to the brave men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our freedom. We are selecting 10 deserving disabled American Veterans to participate in a program that will help to reclaim the dreams and futures they had before they were injured. Share your story with your countrymen and women and let us help build a brighter future for you and your family. Fill out the information below and tell us your story: who you are, where you grew up and where you served, but, most of all, where you would like to end up.

What is your dream for your life and what assistance do you need to make it a reality? Each selected Veteran will tell his or her story through 4VETS4LIFE and all 10 Veterans will receive $100,000 to start them on the path to their futures. The public’s top choice will also receive a home modified to his or her specific needs. These Veterans are our most dedicated men and women and they represent one of our greatest resources in building a better future.

Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions about the application process.

07/2/18

Question China And They Were Uninvited To RIMPAC

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The U.S. Navy and allies are drilling in the Pacific Ocean as part of the massive Rim of the Pacific naval exercise. After years continuing to sail alongside China in RIMPAC, even as the peer competitor militarized man-made islands in the South China Sea, the U.S. decided enough is enough and rescinded the invitation. (Andrew Jarocki/Staff)

Twenty-six nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 27 to Aug. 2, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s interconnected oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971. The theme of RIMPAC 2018 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.” Participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy operations, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations. This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. This is the first time Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in RIMPAC. Additional firsts include New Zealand serving as sea combat commander and Chile serving as combined force maritime component commander. This is the first time a non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold a component commander leadership position. This year will also feature live firing of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from a U.S. Air Force aircraft, surface to ship missiles by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from a launcher on the back of a Palletized Load System (PLS) by the U.S. Army. This marks the first time a land based unit will participate in the live fire event during RIMPAC. RIMPAC 18 will also include international band engagements and highlight fleet innovation during an Innovation Fair. Additionally, for the first time since RIMPAC 2002, U.S. 3rd Fleet’s Command Center will relocate from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to support command and control of all 3rd Fleet forces in 3rd Fleet’s area of responsibility to include forces operating forward in the Western Pacific. The Fleet Command Center will be established at a deployable joint command and control on Hospital Point for the first part of the exercise and then transition to USS Portland (LPD 27) for the remainder of the exercise. Hosted by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC 2018 will be led by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. John D. Alexander, who will serve as combined task force (CTF) commander. Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Bob Auchterlonie will serve as CTF deputy commander, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Hideyuki Oban as CTF vice commander. Fleet Marine Force will be led by U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Mark Hashimoto. Other key leaders of the multinational force will include Commodore Pablo Niemann of Armada de Chile, who will command the maritime component, and Air Commodore Craig Heap of the Royal Australian Air Force, who will command the air component. This robust constellation of allies and partners support sustained and favorable regional balances of power that safeguard security, prosperity and the free and open international order. RIMPAC 2018 contributes to the increased lethality, resiliency and agility needed by the joint and combined force to deter and defeat aggression by major powers across all domains and levels of conflict.

Continue reading

06/27/18

New Citizenship Applications for Asgardia

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

For those that are as old as me, you may remember Ralph Cramden telling his wife Alice, “To the moon!” Well, that time is here. Except, Alice would be an Asgardian if she launched and landed on the moon. Send postcards when you can.

Space Platform

Asgardia will be a fully fledged, independent nation inhabited on a low Earth orbit. It began with a satellite, Asgardia-1, that was launched in 2017, to be followed by an orbital satellite constellation launch in 2019-2020 and later by other satellite constellations and Space Arks, as well as by settlements on the Moon.

Who will be your leader? Well there is one already. And there is a Constitution.

There are already citizens. Asgardia Nation: Citizens 203,865 Residents 218,396

Click here to see where they are from.

There is also an anthem for Asgardia.

FIRST IN HISTORY INAUGURATION OF THE HEAD OF THE FIRST SPACE NATION ASGARDIA

Asgardia’s first Head of Nation, Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli, was inaugurated on the 25th of June at the Hofburg Palace with guests from over 40 countries from across the world.

In attendance were ambassadors of more than 10 countries, representatives of a number of major public organizations affiliated with UN structures, newly elected Asgardian Members of Parliament, astronauts, space industry managers, scientists, international lawyers and media from all over the world.

Taking part in the ceremony was the Chairman of Parliament, Lembit Öpik, a former leader of the Welsh Assembly and Member of the British Parliament. The Head of the Supreme Court, Dr. Yun Zhao, also took part—a well-known lawyer in the field of space law, a professor at Hong Kong University and a member of a number of arbitration courts.

After taking his oath of office, Dr. Ashurbeyli announced that, within the next 25 years, Asgardia will have habitable space stations and stationary settlements on the Moon equipped with artificial gravity and protection from cosmic radiation which will effectively enable permanent human habitation in space. In the coming months, he also announced that Asgardia’s first government administration will be formed, during which time a Cabinet of Ministers will be appointed, alongside the formation of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the National Audit Office and the Supreme Space Council.

Why Become an Asgardian

Shape the Future of Space Law

Let your voice be heard! Join our discussion on a new legal platform for the exploration of space. Be part of the movement that will define the future of humanity’s off-planet expansion.

Connect with Forward – Thinking People

Our community is the perfect place to network and brainstorm with innovators, engineers, scientists, business people and investors. Asgardians can transform a dream into reality.

Protect Our Planet and Future Generations

Faced with threats such as sun storms and potentially dangerous asteroids, we need to prioritise our collective efforts to protect the Earth. Help us accelerate this process and find solutions.

06/19/18

Bin Qumu of Benghazi Attack Captured in Libya

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Bin Qumu was in Afghanistan in the 80’s, then Sudan in the 90’s and back to Libya and Afghanistan and back to Libya. In 2011, he was working to overthrow Qaddafi, which is precisely what Hillary was trying to do. Heck, the Hillary operation hired bin Qumu. For an interesting read, click here to read his GITMO file. That pesky left wing radical law group, The Center for Constitutional Rights, that represented several GITMO detainees, published a statement in 2011 that bin Qumu was a harmless man.

Osama Bin Laden’s driver who was linked to 2012 Benghazi attack that killed a US diplomat ‘is captured in Libya’, 11 years after he was released from Guantanamo

  • Reports: Libya National Army have captured a ‘high-ranking al-Qaeda’ operative
  • Suspect found in Derna is named as Ansar al-Sharia leader Abu Sufian Bin Qumu
  • Bin Qumu was once personal driver to al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden
  • He has links to the diplomatic compound attack by gunmen that killed US envoy Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi in 2012

Reports have emerged that the Libyan army has arrested Abu Sufian Bin Qumu, a leader of an Islamist militia group and former driver of Osama Bin Laden.

He was reportedly captured in raids in ‘one of the last strongholds’ of extremist groups in Derna.

Bin Qumu had purported links to attacks in Benghazi that killed US diplomat Chris Stevens in 2012.

It is believed Bin Qumu was arrested after his group ran out of ammunition at a hideout in Derna, according to Al Arabiya.

The 59-year-old is considered a high-ranking operative of al-Qaeda based on his associations with the terrorist group around the time it was founded.

He was said to be the personal driver to Osama Bin Laden in Sudan where the al-Qaeda leader lived for three years during the 1990s. But Bin Qumu denies this.

Washington Post reported he fought alongside the Taliban against US forces in Afghanistan before he was detained at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in Pakistan.

The US military characterised him as a ‘medium to high’ risk to national security while he was in US custody and he refused to cooperate with authorities and explain his past associations with Islamic extremists.

He was extradited to Libya in 2007 where he served jail time before being released by Muammar Gaddafi.

Bin Qama returned to Derna to establish the Ansar al-Sharia extremist group, who advocate the implementation of Sharia law across Syria.

It was also suggested by Washington Post that the Islamic faction’s militiamen were present during the Benghazi attacks in 2012.

Last year, Ahmed Abu Khattala was on trial in the US capital as the suspected mastermind of the attacks on a diplomatic compound in the Libyan city that killed four Americans.

It resulted in the death of Chris Stevens — the first US Ambassador killed by violence overseas since 1979.

Al Arabiya said Bin Qama, despite being a leader of Ansar al-Sharia, no longer played a prominent role in the group.

He is set to be questioned by the Libyan National Army according to reports.

06/19/18

Here Comes a 6th Branch of the Military, Space Force

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Getty Images

It has been a concept that has been floated for several months. The Pentagon and the Air Force are actually asking for this. The United States is vulnerable in this frontier which is but one reason for Space X. Consider what is in space: navigation, guided missiles, warning systems and satellites for drones, naval ships, communications and more.

Russia and China are increasing their space operations and General John Hyten of U.S. Strategic Command has warned of the vulnerabilities for quite some time. China and Russia both have laser weapons designed to damage our systems. Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin as well as Raytheon are poised to be recipients of Pentagon dollars and the future programs.

Steve Isakowitz, CEO of The Aerospace Corporation says ‘we are approaching a point where Star Wars is not just a movie.’

Seems, Ronald Reagan had great vision. And in 2001, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also expressed significant concerns on space systems being attacked by an adversarial country. Read more here.

As part of the National Defense Strategy, the Air Force asked for an 8% increase in space funding. Watch out too, as Boeing and Apple are examining the option of building a parallel Internet in space.

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is directing the Department of Defense to create a new “space force” to become the sixth branch of the U.S. military.

“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest spacefaring nation,” Trump said at a meeting of the National Space Council, with Vice President Mike Pence standing by him. “The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers, but our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security, so important for our military.”

“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space; we must have American dominance in space, so important,” Trump said. “Very importantly, I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces.”

Trump said the Air Force and future Space Force would be “separate, but equal.”

Trump ordered Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to begin implementing the directive.

Trump has previously spoken about creating a space force, but this is the first concrete move, at least publicly, in that direction. The Air Force is currently responsible for space warfare, with the Air Force Space Command in charge of operating and protecting military satellites.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is responsible for the country’s civilian space program. Budget cuts in recent have resulted in fewer Americans going into space, leading some observers to call for the U.S. to explore space in a way not done since before the space shuttle came into existence.

06/13/18

Chinese Front Company Used to Recruit Double Agents

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Mallory, who had top secret security clearance, worked as a CIA officer and was stationed in Iraq, China and Taiwan.

Mallory is a self-employed consultant with GlobalEx, LLC. and resides in Leesburg, Virginia. According to the criminal complaint, he graduated from Brigham Young University in 1981 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science.

Shortly thereafter, Mallory worked full-time in a military position for five years. Once he left that job, he continued his military service as an Army reservist and worked as a special agent for the State Department Diplomatic Security Service for three years (1987-1990).

Kevin Mallory Criminal Complaint by Chris on Scribd

Revealed: Chinese Front Company Used to Recruit U.S. Double Agents

A single reference buried deep within hundreds of pages of court filings in the case of convicted CIA turncoat Kevin Mallory reveals the name of a Shanghai-based “executive search firm” that bears the hallmarks of a classic espionage front, former intelligence operatives from the U.S. and Russia tell The Daily Beast.

The U.S. government’s evidence against Mallory, who was found guilty Friday of espionage-related charges, included a photograph of a business card belonging to alleged Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) agent Richard Yang, who presented himself as a corporate headhunter. Prosecutors said he was one of Mallory’s handlers. According to court documents, the picture was taken at Darren & Associates, a supposed corporate recruiter with no listed phone number or executives and an address that traces back to a rent-by-the-hour space on Shanghai’s Hubin Road.

Darren & Associates’ connection to the Mallory case has not been previously reported. The firm has been in business for either “around 40 years,” as its website claims, or since 2014, as stated on its LinkedIn page. The job networking site lists no actual former or current employees, and the company has a near-zero web presence, which is highly unusual for an organization that describes itself as a successful global enterprise.

“Clearly this is phony,” said former KGB sleeper agent Jack Barsky. “The first thing you do to figure out how real [a company is] is look at their website, and this is just not the footprint of a solid company.”

“Clearly this is phony… The first thing you do to figure out how real [a company is] by looking at their website, and this is just not the footprint of a solid company.” — former KGB sleeper agent Jack Barsky

It’s a “flimsy mechanism for them to use,” agreed former CIA officer Christopher Burgess. “To me, this is what someone would put up so that their business contact isn’t naked. But what it doesn’t do is talk about who they are, where they are, doesn’t give you names, and their mission is so general that it can cover anything.”

Richard Yang subsequently introduced Mallory to an associate, Michael Yang, who claimed to be affiliated with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). It has a close relationship with the Shanghai State Security Bureau (SSSB), a sub-component of the Ministry of State Security, according to the FBI. The Shanghai security bureau “uses SASS employees as spotters and assessors,” says one court filing, and “FBI has further assessed that SSSB intelligence officers have also used SASS affiliation as cover identities.”

Chinese think tanks like the Shanghai academy “can be used to invite someone over who is either a person of interest or a source,” Peter Mattis of the Jamestown Foundation’s China Program told Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Elias Groll of Foreign Policy last year. “That person comes over and gives a talk, and they’ll be met and have meetings with the local state security element or the People’s Liberation Army.”

via Facebook

Others are based in the U.S., they pointed out. The China Institute of Contemporary International Relations describes itself as a “comprehensive research institution” but is also “an official numbered bureau of the Ministry of State Security, functioning rather like the CIA’s Open Source Center.”

Darren & Associates, the erstwhile headhunting firm, seems rather less sophisticated. Either the MSS was “too lazy” to create a more realistic front company, or they thought “no one would give a shit about this Mallory guy and no one would be checking it,” said a former Russian FSB officer now living in the U.S. under the pseudonym “Jan Neumann.”

But U.S. authorities did care, and Mallory’s scheme unraveled in 2017 when he was selected for secondary screening at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport after a trip to China. Although he said he had nothing to declare, customs officers found $16,500 in cash on him.

““An individual like Mallory, with 20-plus years of high-end intelligence community engagement should have known better than [to use] this weak cover story that the Chinese gave him.” — former CIA officer Christopher Burgess

“An individual like Mallory, with 20-plus years of high-end intelligence community engagement should have known better than [to use] this weak cover story that the MSS gave him,” said Burgess. “He should have picked up the phone and called the FBI and said, ‘Hey, these people say they’re legitimate businesspeople, and I don’t think they are.’ And he should have done that years ago.”

The details of exactly what Mallory gave up have yet to be publicly revealed, and probably won’t ever be, said Burgess. But according to prosecutors, Mallory gave away the most precious secrets of all—the names of U.S. agents in China.

A CIA information review officer said in court last year that the documents Mallory gave to the Chinese contained sensitive intelligence, analysis, and the names of assets that “could reasonably be expected to cause the loss of critical intelligence and possibly result in the lengthy incarceration or death of clandestine human sources.”

”It’s a betrayal in the truest sense of the term,” former CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz told The Daily Beast.

FBI analysts further determined that Mallory “had completed all of the steps necessary to securely transmit at least four documents…one of which contained unique identifiers for human sources who had helped the U.S. government.”

Some of these files were stored on a Toshiba SD card, which Mallory concealed in aluminum foil and hid in his bedroom closet.

“We overlooked it twice,” FBI Special Agent Melinda Capitano testified Thursday.

“What made you think to open it?” the prosecutor asked.

“Usually in my training, small bits of foil like this contain drugs,” Capitano replied.


via PACER – The foil-wrapped SD card found in Mallory’s home.

Mallory’s defense team claims that the documents were worthless and that he was actually operating as an independent, self-directed counterintelligence officer of sorts to reel in the Chinese agents so he could eventually turn them into U.S. authorities. Burgess calls that “hogwash.” Mallory wasn’t freelancing in counterintelligence, he “was all-in” as an asset, in Burgess’ opinion.

“He was responsive to tasking, he used covert communications to reduce face-to-face interactions with his PRC contact,” said Burgess. “If I was validating a source, those are all indications that I have a good one.”

“He’s throwing something at the wall to see if it sticks,” laughed former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Ray Semko. “Just as long as they get one fool [on the jury] to believe it.”

Mallory’s attorney, Geremy Kamens, declined a request for comment.

Mallory, his wife, and one of his three kids lived in a four-bedroom, four-bathroom, 7,100-square foot house in Leesburg, Virginia, complete with a home theater and two fireplaces. He paid $1.15 million in 2005, a lot of money for a guy prosecutors said earned only $25,000 in the three years—all of it from his Chinese handlers.

He also has three adult children from a previous marriage. A court filing said Mallory had $50,000 in credit card debt, and about $2,500 in cash and investments. His wife, Mariah Nan-Hua Mallory, drives a school bus and earns roughly $9,000 a year.

In a motion previously filed with the court arguing against Mallory’s release pending trial, prosecutors said he had “demonstrated a pattern of dishonesty.”

“The defendant says and does anything he wishes to suit his particular needs, which seem largely to be finding an easy path out of his financial hardship, by betraying his government,” the motion stated.

A disguise kit found by FBI agents during a search of Mallory’s home.

However, Patsy Harrington, a real estate broker and close friend of Mallory’s who sold him his home, insists that Mallory is being totally mischaracterized.

“He is a loyal serviceman that was hurt in the line of duty in the Middle East, he’s a wonderful family man and a devoted Mormon with a wonderful wife and three highly accomplished grown children,” Harrington told The Daily Beast. “He’s a good man. I was a single mom and he was wonderful to me. He’s much better than 97 percent of the human beings I know.”

A LinkedIn recommendation from Min Xu, an associate professor at Central China Normal University describes Mallory as “a very faithful, honest, loyal, serious but kind, helpful, contagious person, very nice to everyone around, I will always remember his timely help and the warmth he gave to us when we were in trouble. He is really an amazing man.”

In fact, the Chinese agents who targeted Mallory initially reached out to him on LinkedIn. It’s a virtual goldmine for those looking to identify members of the “cleared community,” said Christopher Burgess, who has been contacted by people he assumed were foreign intelligence operatives more times than he can count.

via PACER

Yet Chinese intelligence isn’t only interested in people with active security clearances. Anyone with access or influence can potentially be of value, and everyone from professors to scientists to journalists have received overtures from foreign spy services.

National security reporter Garrett Graff was targeted on LinkedIn by Evgeny Buryakov, a Russian SVR operative posing as a New York City investment banker. And a Chinese agent used LinkedIn to reach out to journalist Nate Thayer last year.

“On the day I received my first message from Chinese intelligence agents from the Ministry of State Security, they, of course, didn’t say they were Chinese spies,” Thayer wrote on his blog. “The note was from ‘Frank Hu,’ a ‘project assistant’ from Shanghai Pacific & International Strategy Consulting Co, saying he had found me on the Internet and was writing to ‘seek potential cooperation opportunities.’”

Predictably, there is no “Shanghai Pacific & International Strategy Consulting Co,” which doesn’t even maintain a rudimentary Darren & Associates-style website. “Hu” told Thayer the company was “a consulting firm, specializing in independent policy analysis and advisory services. We strive to help our clients properly assess political dynamics, risks and opportunities in countries and regions they operate in.”

“In terms of human source operations, the PRC ‘services’ are not all that sophisticated,” an intelligence community source told Thayer, “until they get you on their turf. So don’t go there–to Shanghai, that is–for any reason.”

Of course, there is no such thing as a foolproof system in espionage, and breaches like Mallory’s will surely happen again.

As Joseph Wippl, a 30-year veteran of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told The Daily Beast, “It’s part of the business.”

06/11/18

When a Fishing Ship is a Chinese Spy Ship

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Photo: The HMAS Adelaide is expected to be carefully scrutinized by its temporary neighbor. (File Photo: CPL Kyle Genner)

The Chinese are relentless in all parts of the world.

It may not have looked like much of a match — or a showdown for that matter — but when Australia’s largest warship HMAS Adelaide arrived at the Fijian port of Suva on Saturday, it had an interesting neighbour.

Key points:

  • Chinese fishing boat believed to be carrying wide range of surveillance equipment
  • Fiji tipped off Australian Navy about Chinese spy ship expected to dock next to HMAS Adelaide
  • China has a strong commercial and military presence in the South Pacific

A Chinese ship fitted with communications equipment docked alongside the new Canberra-class landing helicopter dock.

The Royal Australian Navy suspects the Chinese vessel is a spy ship, which deliberately arrived at the same time to carry out surveillance on the Australians.

HMAS Adelaide and other Australian warships visiting Fiji will “take the appropriate security precautions”, but the surveillance craft is “just another ship”, Captain Jim Hutton, Commander of the Navy’s Joint Task Group 661, said.

Deputy Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Mark Hammond also played down concerns about the presence of the Chinese vessel.

“That’s a space surveillance ship, it’s a scientific ship,” he told reporters on board HMAS Adelaide.

ABC News understands the primary purpose of the Chinese ship is to track satellite launches from out on the ocean, but it does have the capability to also collect intelligence on other naval vessels.

Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes also revealed the skipper of the Chinese vessel had even been invited to an on-board reception, although it is not clear whether the offer was accepted.

Australia’s Navy, like every navy around the world, is well-versed in these sorts of nautical games.

“If you’re in the Navy you presume that anytime that a fishing vessel or even merchant fleets of nations like China are around that they may have a dual purpose,” ANU academic and retired Australian Naval Commodore Richard Menhinick said.

“You just presume that they may well be tasked by government for other activities.”

China’s looking for South Pacific foothold

Chinese presence — both commercial and military — is common in the South Pacific.

Beijing sees economic opportunity in the region and economic imperatives commonly herald other strategic interests.

Agriculture and aquaculture projects in Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and other Pacific nations have been given significant help by the Chinese over the years, as have roads, ports and other infrastructure.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Audio: Chinese spy ship tipped to dock next to HMAS Adelaide in Suva (AM)

When you have more than 1.3 billion people back home to feed, finding secure food supplies are critical.

As China grows, Mr Menhinick said it was not surprising that the nation’s presence in the Pacific was also increasing.

“China’s a rising power… economic power’s always led and the military’s followed, and the Chinese economic interest in the south-west Pacific has increased substantially over the last fifteen year,” he said.

But Australia and its strategic partners are anxious China does not use its presence to jeopardise regional structures — political, economic and diplomatic.

Now a visiting US General has given the strongest public indication yet that his nation would like Australia to join in naval and air patrols to challenge Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.

Asked whether joint American-Australian patrols would be welcomed by America, the commander of US Marines in the Pacific, Lieutenant General David Berger gave an enthusiastic response.

“Obviously that’s Australia’s decision, would we welcome that? Absolutely yes,” Lt Gen Berger said.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Singapore…. but in advance of the talks between the United States and North Korea in Singapore, there was a LOT of nefarious activity.

Related reading: Emissary Panda – A potential new malicious tool

Independent: Hackers from China and Russia are targeting South Korea with cyber espionage attacks ahead of the summit between the US and North Korea, a leading security firm has claimed.

The foreign ministry and financial institutions were identified as potential targets by, US cyber security firm FireEye.

The company’s analysts noted the timing of the attacks and said they expected the intensity of the operations to increase in the build up to the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un.

“South Korea has frequently been the target of cyber espionage. Though the biggest threat is North Korea actors. [FireEye] believes that China- and Russia- [based hackers] also target South Korea,” Ben Read, a cyber espionage analyst at the firm, told The Independent.

“With the heightened attention to inter-Korean relations in the lead up to a potential Trump–Kim meeting, we expect this targeting to continue at an increased pace.”

Scheduled to take place on 12 June in Singapore the leader are expected to discuss the denuclearisation of North Korea.

It will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and leader of North Korea.

Some experts have suggested that a formal end to the  Korean War – more than six decades after the 1950-1953 conflict – could be declared.

Although an armistice was signed, no peace treaty has ever been signed to formally end the war.

The two hacking groups identified by the FireEye researchers were TempTick and Turla, both of which are suspected of being state-sponsored operations.

TempTick has previously been involved in attacks on Chinese dissident organisations, as well as Japanese public and private sector institutions. It has been active since 2009.

The earliest known attacks linked to the group known as Turla are from 2006.

FireEye researchers noted: “They consistently target governments worldwide in search of information that can inform Russian government decision making.”

06/8/18

The Denise Simon Experience – 06/07/18

The Denise Simon Experience

Hosted by DENISE SIMON, the Senior Research / Intelligence Analyst for Foreign and Domestic Policy for numerous flag officers and intelligence organizations.

THIS WEEK’S GUESTS: Steve Mosher / Clare Lopez / Sam Faddis / Ethan Blevins

BROADCAST WORLDWIDE:
THURSDAYS: 9:00PM (eastern) on:

WJHC – Talk 107.5FM
WDDQ – Talk 92.1FM
WLBB – News Talk 1330AM

And on her Digital Flagship Station: TALK AMERICA RADIO – The NEW Dominant Force in Conservative Talk Radio

VISIT DENISE’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.FoundersCode.com

06/6/18

Why are feds trying to hide info on Blackwater?

By: J.M. Phelps | One News Now

With seemingly “nothing to hide,” why is the government hiding evidence about who was in Baghdad’s Nisour Square on September 16, 2007? It’s unethical – not to mention illegal – to withhold information that might right a legal wrong.

Many equate Blackwater’s involvement in the Nisour Square incident of 2007 to the death of innocent civilians. Some have even questioned whether a security team had actually received incoming fire before executing what they’d been hired to do: provide security and protection to a diplomatic team in Baghdad.

Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, says it is unquestioned the security team had taken fire, “because there was an incoming round that disabled one of the State Department armored vehicles. When an AK round skips off the pavement, severs a drain hose for a radiator in one of the vehicles, and then the bullet is found lodged in the radiator, you can say conclusively they were taking incoming fire.”

One has to ask, exactly who was killed on this fateful day in November 2007 – and which so-called civilian(s) was carrying an AK-47 on this fateful day of September 2007? The government has maintained that members of Blackwater’s Raven 23 team were involved in a varying number of deaths to innocent civilians, while contending there were no insurgent or terrorist groups present.

Surprisingly, on May 29, 2018, Nicholas Slatten – a team member who is now serving a life sentence – and his legal team filed an expedited request for a “motion to compel immediate production of intelligence files reflecting that alleged victims or Iraqi officers are affiliated with insurgent or terrorist groups.”

Will the motion uncover facts the government has brushed aside since Day 1 of this lengthy trial? Do the alleged victims or Iraqi police officers who were present during the firefight or the investigation have ties to insurgent or terrorist groups? The government is required to reveal this highly exculpatory intelligence information, whether it is admissible or not. The immediate production of this evidence is necessitated by the Due Process Clause.

The Department of Justice produced no information pursuant to similar requests prior to Slatten’s 2014 trial. Thus, the defense sent a request for discovery to the government on February 2, 2018, yet the government took months to reply to multiple follow-up inquiries. On May 25, 2018, the government finally responded by not confirming or denying the information actually exists. On the same day, they also filed an under seal ex parte motion with the judge seeking protection under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) not to disclose.

Why file under CIPA? Is the government hiding evidence about who was in Nisour Square on September 16, 2007? Prince says, “There’s nothing that’s worth keeping classified 11 years later, particularly when American citizens’ lives are hanging in the balance.” He believes “it is disgusting that the Justice Department would be slow-rolling on that. Even if they receive a court order, it will go to one of the other intelligence functions – whether it’s the Department of Defense or CIA. And they never like to give up anything for any reason – even to help their own people.”

Continuing, he suggests, “This speaks to the gross unresponsiveness of the permanent state bureaucracy, and that is a problem for the country.” This is exactly how things get slow-rolled, he says.

Since the first trial of this case, not only have numerous errors been made by the government, but they have also repeatedly argued that not one of the victims was anything other than an innocent civilian, which feeds to the circumstantial massacre claim. If these are indeed the facts of the case, then why file the ex parte motion to avoid answering the question about the involvement of insurgent or terrorist groups?

Jury selection for Slatten’s retrial is currently scheduled to begin on June 18, 2018. While the government refuses to confirm or deny there are any insurgent or terrorist ties to the Nisour Square incident, it is most probable they will continue to maintain the deaths or injuries are only attributed to unarmed innocents – which has clearly become a prejudicial claim against Slatten. When evidence or information is so openly suppressed, how can the defense expect a fair trial?

Withholding this kind of information is clearly a blatant Brady violation (Brady v. Maryland), as the prosecution is supposed to be required to provide exculpatory evidence to the defense as soon as it becomes available. Additionally, if those present in Nisour Square on the day of the shooting are, in fact, associated with insurgent or terrorist groups, this would completely discredit them as witnesses according to Giglio v. UnitedStates in addition to nullifying the massacre claim. These violations undoubtedly threaten the reliability of investigations conducted by the Iraqis and the FBI.

With a pending retrial for Slatten, these very distinct issues are gravely important as he remains incarcerated after his first conviction was overturned, which resulted in a life sentence. If the government can’t clearly define who was being shot at on September 16, 2007, how is this fair for the defendant who could have, in fact, been shooting a terrorist while upholding his contracted State Department assignment to protect a U.S. diplomat? The defense deserves answers.

In court transcripts, the judge stated the Iraqis deserved justice. Slatten also deserves justice. It’s up to the judge to ensure he gets it by forcing the government to turn over the intelligence it is holding onto.


J.M. Phelps is a Christian activist and journalist based in the Southeastern U.S. He is also editor and publisher of the website Lantern of Liberty.