Wednesday, 19 March 2014

An uncommon analysis of US foreign policy regarding Ukraine

March 19, 2014
John Kerry shakes the hand of the new, unelected leaders of Ukraine.

A lot of people have been talking about Ukraine. Most of the talk has been regurgitation of talking points from corporate media controlled by the East or West. In order to understand the US's policy in the region, I think it's important to frame it properly and some of the important context is not being talked about at all.

The Petrodollar
The US used to complain about China's "manipulation of currency". You don't hear this talk anymore. Why? The US is actively manipulating currency (and gold, but that's another topic). The dollar has been continually inflated through quantitative easing in order to keep bankers happy, keep Wall Street happy, and keep exports up. The power of the dollar comes from it's tie to oil. Oil is traded in dollars. This forces countries to keep reserves of US dollars. This is a very unique position for a currency to have and keeping this advantage is THE top national security priority of the US. If the petrodollar is successfully overthrown, the dollar will immediately collapse. Some OPEC nations that were talking about trading their oil for other currencies (thereby challenging the petrodollar) include: Iraq (for Food in Euros while also supporting the Gold Dinar), Libya (for Gold Dinars), and Iran (for Euros and Gold - They began talking about trading oil for gold with India in 2006. When did anti Iran rhetoric get stepped up? Oh... 2006! What a coincidence).

Unlike Iraq and Libya, the US was unable to get its troops into Iran for a number of reasons. The next tool to apply pressure would be sanctions. The only problem is that Iran has been dealing with sanctions for a long time now. It's not been effective. So what does that leave? Negotiations.
As some of you may know, the sanctions against Iran are being dropped in a move spearheaded by the US. What does the US get in return? Well... the biggest thing their getting is Iran forgetting all that nonsense about trading oil for Gold or anything that's not the dollar. Petrodollar crisis temporarily avoided - check. But what does this mean?

Proposed pipelines feeding Europe
Assad is a horrible leader. A thug. But this is not why the US, Israel, and the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, etc.) were actively fighting against Assad. The true motivation behind attacking Assad was attacking their proposed natural gas pipeline. Both the Syria/Iraq/Iran pipeline & Qatar/Saudi Arabia/Iraq pipeline are attempting to send natural gas into Turkey (and from Turkey, to the rest of Europe. Qatar and Saudi Arabia did not like this competition and sought to take Syria/Iran out of the picture.
Prince Bandar, the former head of Saudi Intelligence, and Qatar conspired to use radical islamist to foment a civil war in Syria. Those foreign fighters in Syria? You can mostly thank Qatar and Bandar. Prince Bandar took a calculated risk in the hopes that, with Israel's help via AIPAC, they could ensnare the US into the war and stifle Syria's pipeline plans. Unfortunately for them, it seems the Obama administration found a way to duck the will of Israel without openly defying AIPAC. Kerry's flub of an answer was not a mistake. His SOLE job is to field questions like the one he got from Margaret Brennan. That 'flub' was a way to back out of a confrontation with Syria without facing the wrath of AIPAC.
Bandar, Qatar, and Israel's failure to draw the US into Syria (and hopefully Iran thereafter) resulted in some repercussions. Bandar and Qatar have been using jihadists (Wahabbi & Salafi) as political tools. But they are dangerous political tools. The Gulf States already have to worry about democracy driven challenges to their power. Now, Bandar and Qatar have increased the size, influence, and power of islamists, who are also a threat to their power, and have nothing to show for it in return. This is why Bandar was fired and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE pulled their ambassadors from Qatar. Qatar and Bandar played a dangerous game and lost. And now the world has to deal with their mistakes.

Dilma Rousseff, Dimitry Medvedev, Manmohan
Singh, Hu Jintao and Jacob Zuma 
Brazil, Russia, India, China, & South Africa (collectively known as 'BRICS') are preparing for the new word. Empires wax and empires wane. The US is currently waning and a new order will arise with BRICS countries in the lead - specifically Russia and China. Gaining control will also mean that the petrodollar will be replaced. Since it is the world's reserve currency, if the dollar fails, all currencies are damaged. This is why countries are stocking up on gold. ALL BRICS countries are stocking up on gold. China, Russia, and India are the top gold buyers in the world. Brazil is exponentially increasing it's reserves, and South Africa has about 50% of the world's gold reserves. This is a group preparing for a new global monetary order.

Also, the World Bank and IMF, which are able to effect global economies through loans tied to neoliberal strings is going to be challenged by BRICS's World Bank. Using such a mechanism will allow BRICS to better counter the dollar's dominance and position as the global reserve currency.

And finally... Ukraine
The US is able to clearly see the threat to the dollar and the collapse of the dollar is the collapse of the US and many other economies that are backed by the dollar. BRICS plans must be stopped. So how is that best done? To kill the dragon, you must chop the head.
The most active force within BRICS pushing the dollar confrontation forward is Russia. China is, no doubt, a huge power, but it is more focused on home, dealing with corruption, and traditionally avoids imperialist machinations. Russia, on the other hand, is an experienced Empire that craves the glory it once tasted. Russia currently sees much of its income from its natural resources. It supplies one third of Europe's natural gas through a pipeline that traverses Ukraine. In 2006, Russia removed some of the subsidies it was giving to Ukraine for natural gas. This move was ill received and Ukraine decided to take the gas they needed from the pipeline traversing their country. This caused Russia to cut the pipeline and get the gas to Europe through less efficient, more expensive routes.
Now that Iran is on the way to possibly aligning themselves more closely with the US, their proposed pipeline to Turkey means trillions of dollars. Iran has the second largest reserves of natural gas in the world (after Russia) and they are on their way to being sanction free and supplying Europe with its gas.
Iran's ability to take business from Russia is a happy thought for the US, especially if the US is able to control Iran. This will also sever some of the ties that exist between Russia and Europe and further isolate Russia.

The simplistic narratives being offered by the media about Ukraine, or nearly any other topic for that mater, is a dumbed-down smokescreen for the real drivers of policy. Corporate media will not inform you, they will only misinform you. Please pay attention to what is happening in the world. It is the only way you have a chance at gaining an accurate narrative. Always know your source and recognize the bias and the reasons of bias in their reporting. It takes a bit of work, but you have a shot at finding truth - a rare commodity these days.

Conclusion #2
If you're a nation and you plan on challenging the dollar, know that the US is going to suddenly be interested in bringing 'freedom' to your country.

Author: Lai

Monday, 14 May 2012

BREAKING: th3j35t3r "The Patriot Hacker" To Be Unmasked

th3j35t3r "The Patriot Hacker" To Be Unmasked? Edit: Or Is it All A Ruse? 

A hacker known for attacking jihadist websites, wikileaks, and feuding with various anonymous groups and individuals, appears to have had his real life identity compromised. There have been several previous attempts by numerous individuals, but it appears that one man does indeed know @th3j35t3r's identity.

@th3j35t3r, 'The Jester' in 'leet' hacker speak, was contacted on Twitter by another account named Smedley Manning (@cubespherical) who publicly tweeted that Jester should read the DM (direct message in Tweet speak) he sent or that he would live to regret it. Early this morning, a series of screenshots appeared to show the contents of the DMs that followed.

If this is genuine, the Jester knows he's been doxed as @cubespherical DMed Jester his real name (redacted in the screenshot), former Army assignment (partially redacted in the screenshot) which appears to be the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the type of vehicle Jester owned in 2003 (and, apparently, still owns - it a Chevy Silverado if you're curious). @cubespherical then told him that, as his name suggested, he was a Wikileaks supporter and that, some years ago, he knew Jester personally... and did not like him. They had had a previous run-in of some sort that had left a bad taste in @cubespherical's mouth. Jester, realizing he had been d0x'd (hacker speak for having your cover blown), asked what they could work out only to be informed that @cubespherical was going to post his real ID,  resume, and other information, but not before raising a large donation for Wikileaks and himself. A recent tweet from @cubespherical reads "Jesters ( @th3j35t3r ) full creds as soon as BTC here:15JDgkwFVXvuxCt66eUQ434ty3jrvwPfGe hits 100K -". BTC refers to Bitcoin, an online currency in an amount equivalent to $100,000 (approx. 20,000 Bitcoin).

A source that has been in contact with @cubespherical states that he will donate 51% ($51,000) to Wikileaks and then disappear. This is deeply ironic as Jester has loudly criticized Wikileaks and claimed credit for a DDoS attack on Wikileak's site which drew the ire of some anons.

@cubespherical gave the source a small preview of who Jester is. Jester is, as he had himself previously claimed, former military. He was at Fort Benning in 2002 and, at some point in 2003, transferred to Fort Brag. He was known to disappear from time to to for 2 or 3 week periods. He left people guessing as to to where he'd been and what he'd done. He got a gig with SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and, according to Jester's own limited biography, he spent some time in Afghanistan. Currently, he works an a consultant in the information security industry. He has very recently deleted his real Facebook account. And he may be someone to take seriously. @cubespherical has indicated that he will use his 49% to "hide".

Jester has admitted to committing crimes but there's not yet any word on what charges could/would be brought against him. Jester has recently been a subject of controversy in the hacker scene as it has been alleged he has taken credit for attacks that never happened or for attacks that others have done. He also claimed to have launched an attack on a large numbers of iphones  who snapped a photo of a new avatar he placed on his Twitter account. It was a QR Code that Jester claimed executed a multi layered attack. One of the people he targeted was a Rhode Island State Representative named Dan Gordon (R), a vocal supporter of the anonymous movement and Occupy Wall Street and a strong opponent of both SOPA and CIPSA. He ran afoul of Jester and, according to Jester, had his phone contacts, text messages, and emails sent to Jester's own server. He also engaged in a Twitter flamewar with Lulzsec that resulted in the CIA's website being crippled by a DDoS attack.

The @J35t3r account has been uncharacteristically quiet. His last tweet, dated May 10, reads "@cubespherical ummm dude. DM pls." I've been informed that there has been no further communication between the two since the last direct message shown here.

As for @cubespherical, he'll be tweeting updates on the donations total until the goal is reached and @th3j35t3r's true identity is revealed. There's been no word on how @cubespherical was able to idenitify Jester but he did have these final words, "I feel Wikileaks is advancing everyone to more open government, which ultimately cannnot be bad. Bradley needs to be released. #freebrad"

One of Jester's favorite phrases, when taunting anons that are being hunted by law enforcement, is "Tick Tock". But it appears that today, it's Jester who the clock is bearing down on.


Update 1 05/14 9:30 a.m.: Jester is erasing posts on his blog:

Update 2 05/14 3:12 p.m.: Jester has erased all Tweets from his Twitter account.

Update 2 05/14 3:24 p.m.: Jester has deleted his entire Twitter account.

Update 3 05/14 3:40 p.m.: @cubespherical has revealed to a source how he was able to uncover the Jester's identity.

Did he forget to remove exif (hidden datat embedded in a file) data from a photo he posted? Was he back-traced in an IRC chat? Was he tricked into downloading an exploit of some sort? These are the questions going through the minds of individuals familiar with the hacker scene.

According to @cubespherical, the explanation is, incredibly, low tech. Recently, @cubespherical bumped into a mutual acquaintance of @th3j35t3r's real life identity. When his name was brought up in conversation, the third party slipped up and linked this identity to Jester. Using this information, @cubespherical confronted Jester online with his real identity. This can be seen here.

There are many people in the hacker scene who feel that @cubespherical may himself be Jester and this may be an elaborate ruse to get his enemies to send him money (and will use a portion of the proceeds to donate to his charity of choice: The Wounded Warrior Project). Such conspiracy theories are common in the hacker game as elaborate ruses are common in Ops (operations - hacker planned and executed actions).

Others believe it to be genuine as, at this point, @th3j35ter has completely deleted his Twitter account which had tens of thousands of followers. Since @th3j35ter has revealed himself to have quite an ego, there are many who doubt he would go to these lengths for an operation with no goal other than raising money.

Update 4 05/14 3:56 p.m. A source has revealed that @cubespherical has stated he is a mercenary that works in PMAs (Personal Military Army). @cubespherical has indicated that the key for Jester to uncover HIS identity lays in his Twitter handle. He has also stated that, "I have the memory of an elephant." It seems one of those memories includes an incident, years prior, when Jester crossed @cubespherical. When asked if he wants Jester to know who he is he replied, "Payback wouldn't be the same without it."

Update 5 05/14 4:35 p.m. @cubespherical has revealed Jester's initials, R.C.D. (corrected from my earlier post which read R.D.C.)

Update 6 05/15 1:46 a.m. A photo that was said to be from @th3j35t3r's true identity's Facebook has been found online. A reverse image lookup returns an image here shows the same photo. The used-car lot is 2.5 hours from Fort Brag, the place of the alleged incident that caused ill feelings. The photo was taken by the dealership in the dealer's lot. Some have have concluded this proves it's all a ruse led by @th3j35t3r and some compatriots. If it IS a ruse, what does @th3j35t3r plan to do with any money he raises? Conspiracies have been flying around the Twittersphere all day.

The website turned up another detail, the trucks VIN (vehicle identification number). The truck is listed as SOLD and a call to the dealership verified the fact. The manager declined to give further details as she said it would be illegal to do so. It is almost certain that an anon will gain access to DMV resources and run the VIN to pull up ownership records. As of yet, such documentation has not been released.

We are waiting on comment and further details from @cubespherical.

Update 7 05/15 3:16 p.m. Suspicions are mounting that @cubespherical is actually Jester or one of his compatriots. The account's avatar now has a Guy Fawkes mask superimposed over the original image. The BTC address has been removed and @cubespherical has been unable to provide any answers as to why the photo he posted (alleged to be from Jester's personal Facebook account) was one from a dealership lot.

Update 8 05/15 4:24 p.m. The case is growing that this was all a ruse by @th3j35t3r to escape answering to charges of fraud. While @th3j35t3r has been quite adept at gaining media attention and followers, his hacking claims have been challenged and evidence has been presented to suggest that many of his previous claims were lies, or that he was claiming credit for other's work.

For instance, in his alleged QR Code attack, he claimed to have successfully ensnared Representative Dan Gordon. The problem with this claim is that Rep. Gordon has stated that he never even snapped the QR Code with his iPhone.

There is a growing list of incidents that challenge Jester's claims. Now that he has disappeared, he won't have to answer to them. Some are finding this all too convenient.

Combine that with @cubespherical's inability to address the vehicle question, his previous claim that Jester had owned it for years, and recent claims that @cubespherical is an Anonops operaration that has been ongoing for for months (which contradicts his original statements).

If it was, indeed, an anon op, why haven't they released Jester's identity? Why assume a different persona when confronting Jester in the first place? Either they knew his identity and could prove it, or they didn't.

It appears that, currently, the strongest case is that Jester had been uncovered for fraud and concocted an elaborate scheme to escape being discredited.  More to follow.

Update 8 05/17 6:58 p.m. @th3j35t3r has resurfaced with a story of what has transpired. He claims that he was playing along, pretending that he had, indeed, been dox'd. This is contrary to the theory that Jester was @cubespherical. Here's a comparison of the two scenarios. The first is the one Jester proposes to be the truth. The second is what most anons believe to be the truth.

Scenario 1: Someone thinks they have dox'd Jester and contact him to rub it in before they do so (and will, ironically, attempt to raise money for Wikileaks and himself in the process). Jester then deactivates his Twitter account and removes all blog posts. The 'doxer' fails to raise Bitcoin. Then, the doxer dons the symbols and language of anonymous and does not release Jester's identity (or what he believes to be his identity). It is clear that whoever controlled @cubespherical at the time was either Jester, or was someone that REALLY thought they had the goods on Jester.  If it were the latter, why didn't they release the name? (a name may be dropped in the near future to tie up this loose end).

Scenario 2: Jester controls both accounts and manufactures a ruse to: disappear/retire, not answer to evidence of fraud (taking credit for attacks/hacks he had nothing to do with), and/or to make people forget about the one of the more recent doxes linking him to @tomryanblog, one of the more credible claims. Here is the @spoolfiend's pastebin which presents evidence that Jester is Tom Ryan.

While Jester was absent, the main narrative accepted as truth was the latter. His 'legacy' would have been one of a fraud (as he had/has yet to answer to the accusations of fraud relating to Saladin (amongst others), and/or his cover may have been blown (as the last reasonable doxing would have been Tom Ryan - his, perhaps, true identity). Having seen that neither objective was achieved and only made things worse, he would have no choice to return, offer an explanation, and find another strategy.

While there are a few other explanations as to what could have occurred, Occam's Razor narrows it down to two scenarios. And out of those two scenarios, only one makes real sense. It now appears that Jester was, most certainly, @cubespherical. And unless new information/rebuttals are released, one is left to wonder: Was Jester guilty of fraud? Is Jester Tom Ryan? Or are both true?

Author: Lai

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hard Road Ahead For Canada

Stephen Harper's Omnibus Crime Bill, C-10, passed a couple of days ago. This bill imposes mandatory minimums on non-violent criminals, fewer conditional sentences, harsher sentences for young offenders and will, by all accounts, lead to a higher prison population in Canada. 

This Has Already Been Tried - And It FAILED... Miserably
The United States has already gone down this path and there is clear data that these policies have had a negative effect on rehabilitation, recidivism, spending, and society. United States officials have tried to warn Canada and prevent us from making the same mistakes but Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has ignored the sound advice.
Many government officials in Canada have acknowledged that Canada's correctional services are ALREADY under strain and are struggling to provide proper rehabilitative services and health services to the current population. When (it's no longer a matter of 'if') prison populations swell as a result of this bill, the situation will become worse. That is, we will have even MORE prisoners we are unable to rehabilitate and service. We will be sending greater numbers of young, non-violent offenders into a hardened, violent atmosphere that is already to properly rehabilitate the population they already have.

Tough On Crime? Or Dumb On Crime?
The US has warned the Conservatives about the danger of C-10. Eric E. Sterling, who once served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, said imposing long jail terms for minor drug offenses has been a mistake in the U.S. and won't work in Canada. All data agrees with this supposition. 
Correctional officers have also been vocal in their opposition to C-10The president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), James Clancy, recently voiced their position, "When people talk about Harper being tough on crime, I think Bill C-10 demonstrates that the Harper government is dumb on crime."

Democracy Is Endangered By C-10
Experts are against C-10. Correctional officers are against C-10. Most Canadians are against C-10 (CBC voting on the issue has showed that the vast majority of Canadians are opposed). LEgal professionals are against C-10 and warn about the eroding of democracy and public safety. The data unequivocally show C-10 to be a horrible idea. Yet, in the face of all this, C-10 was passed. 
One has to ask WHY? Upon asking myself this question, the answers I returned are two-fold.
1. "Tough on Crime" is an easy political score. It's a politically popular stance. It's a great buzzword. And those who voted against C-10 will and have been accused of being "soft on crime". 
2. In the United States, one of the main forces behind the mandatory minimum legislation was the Private Prison Industry. They've spent millions of dollars lobbying congress to pass such laws and have made millions more housing prisoners when the government ran out of places to house inmates. 
This is a subversion of democracy. As learned in the U.S., these laws have hurt the inmates, state budgets, correctional officers, and society. Yet these laws were passed after private corporations saw a way to profit. All of society suffers while an industry laughed their way to the bank while subverting democracy. 
We can expect the same to happen in Canada as the federal justice minister assures us, that “this is not the end; this is just the beginning of our efforts.” So you can expect the Private Prison Industry to begin re-writing our Criminal Code to ensure overcrowded prisons and maximum corporate profits. 
Although I have yet to see the connections between MPs supporting C-10 and personal investments in the Private Prison Industry, I am absolutely certain they are there and implore the mainstream media to investigate and uncover these ties. 
Our government has made a horrible decision that flies in the face of all reasonable analysis and the only logical reasons are driven by politics or personal gain at the expense of our country. Our Democracy and Public Safety are threatened by the passing of this bill and there is only one way to protect them - Repeal C-10.

Author: Lai