Young Iranians combat Netanyahu with ‘jeans protest’
October 6, 2013

One of the crowning glories of Benjamin Netanyahu’s “media blitz” last week, following his speech at the United Nations General Assembly was an interview with the BBC’s Persian service. In an attempt to characterize the interview as historic, the prime minister’s bureau pointed out that this was the first time Netanyahu had given an interview to a Persian-speaking media outlet, addressing the Iranian people directly.

The prime minister’s bureau marketed the interview aggressively. In addition to text messaging journalists direct quotes from the interview and sending out detailed press releases, Netanyahu’s spokespeople circulated video clips from the interview to the Israeli television channels, posted parts of the interview on YouTube, tweeted on it and shared it on Facebook.

To be honest, I was surprised by this initiative. Netanyahu has been giving fiery speeches about the Iranian nuclear threat for 18 years and only now has he found it appropriate to address the Iranian people or try to speak to Iran over the ayatollahs’ heads. But it’s better late than never.

The interview with Netanyahu wasn’t really in Persian. Most of it was simultaneously translated in subtitles. In fact, Netanyahu said about two words in the Iranian’s language: “harf-e pootch,” which can loosely be translated as “nonsense,” and “Sadeh-lowh” - “sucker.”

According to one of the announcements made by the prime minister’s bureau, some 12 million Iranians watch BBC Persian every week. Netanyahu’s words were received loud and clear on the other end, although instead of eliciting positive reactions they spurred antagonism and fury, especially among Iran’s liberal youth who voted for Iranian President Hassan Rohani en masse in the last election.

The young Iranians were not angry over Netanyahu’s strange choice of Persian expressions, rather a single, ridiculous sentence that he uttered in English: “If the people of Iran were free they could wear jeans and listen to Western music.”

Over the past 24 hours, dozens of young Iranians responded to Netanyahu with a “jeans protest” - tweeting pictures of themselves in jeans. Some of them mocked Israel’s intelligence agencies, saying they were so busy with the surveillance of the Iranian nuclear program that they neglected to update Netanyahu on fashion trends in Tehran.

“2day I’m wearing jeans, I can send my photo 4 Netanyahu if his spies in Iran didn’t see people who wear jeans and listen to Western songs by their Iphone!” Sadegh Ghorbani, a young journalist from Tehran, posted on Twitter.

Mohamad Nezamabadi, a student at Tehran University, was even more cynical. “Not only we wear jeans, but also listen to the foreign language musics! I bet he thinks that we ride horses instead of cars!” he tweeted.

It is not clear who advises Netanyahu on Iran’s internal politics, the attitudes of its young or the daily life in Tehran or Isfahan. 

In conclusion, if Netanyahu is interested in contemporary fashion in Teheran, he can enter an album titled “Tehran Street Style" on the image-sharing website Imgur. 

Source

The moral outrage evoked to provide a rational cover for the compulsion-to-intervene—“We cannot allow the use of poisonous gases on civil population!”—is a such a sham, it doesn’t even take itself seriously. As we now know, the United States more than tolerated the use of poisonous gases against the Iranian army by Saddam Hussein. During the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-1988, the United States sided with the Iraqis to quell Iranian influence in the Gulf, despite being well aware of Iraq’s liberal use of mustard and tear gas, according to declassified government reports. The United States even secretly supplied Iraq with satellite images of Iranian battlefield weaknesses to aid in the targeting of Iranian troops. Where were moral concerns then?
CIA files prove America helped Saddam as he gassed IranAugust 26, 2013
The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.
In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.
The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.
U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein’s government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture.
"The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn’t have to. We already knew," he told Foreign Policy.
According to recently declassified CIA documents and interviews with former intelligence officials like Francona, the U.S. had firm evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks beginning in 1983. At the time, Iran was publicly alleging that illegal chemical attacks were carried out on its forces, and was building a case to present to the United Nations. But it lacked the evidence implicating Iraq, much of which was contained in top secret reports and memoranda sent to the most senior intelligence officials in the U.S. government. The CIA declined to comment for this story.
In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.
In the documents, the CIA said that Iran might not discover persuasive evidence of the weapons’ use — even though the agency possessed it. Also, the agency noted that the Soviet Union had previously used chemical agents in Afghanistan and suffered few repercussions.
It has been previously reported that the United States provided tactical intelligence to Iraq at the same time that officials suspected Hussein would use chemical weapons. But the CIA documents, which sat almost entirely unnoticed in a trove of declassified material at the National Archives in College Park, Md., combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States’ knowledge of how and when Iraq employed the deadly agents. They show that senior U.S. officials were being regularly informed about the scale of the nerve gas attacks. They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.
Full article

CIA files prove America helped Saddam as he gassed Iran
August 26, 2013

The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.

U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein’s government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture.

"The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn’t have to. We already knew," he told Foreign Policy.

According to recently declassified CIA documents and interviews with former intelligence officials like Francona, the U.S. had firm evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks beginning in 1983. At the time, Iran was publicly alleging that illegal chemical attacks were carried out on its forces, and was building a case to present to the United Nations. But it lacked the evidence implicating Iraq, much of which was contained in top secret reports and memoranda sent to the most senior intelligence officials in the U.S. government. The CIA declined to comment for this story.

In contrast to today’s wrenching debate over whether the United States should intervene to stop alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government, the United States applied a cold calculus three decades ago to Hussein’s widespread use of chemical weapons against his enemies and his own people. The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted.

In the documents, the CIA said that Iran might not discover persuasive evidence of the weapons’ use — even though the agency possessed it. Also, the agency noted that the Soviet Union had previously used chemical agents in Afghanistan and suffered few repercussions.

It has been previously reported that the United States provided tactical intelligence to Iraq at the same time that officials suspected Hussein would use chemical weapons. But the CIA documents, which sat almost entirely unnoticed in a trove of declassified material at the National Archives in College Park, Md., combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States’ knowledge of how and when Iraq employed the deadly agents. They show that senior U.S. officials were being regularly informed about the scale of the nerve gas attacks. They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched.

Full article

The Guardian has an awesome tool for educating yourself about the first year of ‘the Arab Spring’ called ‘The Path to Protest’

For those who weren’t old enough or who weren’t interested at the time but who have since become interested (maybe for those whose interest has been sparked by the uprising in Turkey), this is a great tool to learn a little more about politics in various regions of the Middle East.

Covering from December 19, 2010 to the very end of 2011, scroll through this interactive tool packed full of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of protests & news stories relevant to protests across the Middle East just after the inception of ‘the Arab Spring’.

Here’s the tool.

littlemissconceptions
littlemissconceptions:

To mark the five year anniversary of the wrongful imprisonment of the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders, the Baha’i International Community is today launching a campaign to call for their immediate release – and to draw attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.
“On 14 May, the seven innocent Baha’i leaders will have been behind bars for five full years, unjustly imprisoned solely because of their religious beliefs,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.
“We are asking people of good will around the world to raise their voices in an effort to win their freedom and the freedom of other innocent prisoners of conscience in Iran,” she said.
The campaign will run from today through 15 May, under the title “Five Years Too Many.” Around the world, Baha’i communities and others are planning public events that focus on the plight of the seven, who face 15 more years in prison, and whose 20-year sentences are the longest of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.
“The arrest of the seven Baha’i leaders on false charges, their wrongful imprisonment, and severe mistreatment while in detention are emblematic of the suffering of the Iranian Baha’i community as a whole – and, indeed, the situation of the hundreds of other innocent prisoners of conscience who have been incarcerated for their beliefs,” said Ms. Dugal.
“Their long sentences reflect the Government’s determination to completely oppress the Iranian Baha’i community, which is the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority.”
Six of the seven Baha’i leaders were arrested on 14 May 2008 in a series of early morning raids in Tehran. The seventh had been detained two months earlier on 5 March 2008.
Since their arrests, the seven – whose names are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm – have been subject to an entirely flawed judicial process.
During their first year in detention, the seven were not told of the charges against them and they had virtually no access to lawyers. Their trial, conducted over a period of months in 2010 and amounting to only six days in court, was illegally closed to the public, demonstrated extreme bias on the part of prosecutors and judges, and was based on non-existent evidence.
“Human beings should be free as birds.” - Art work by Brazilian Artist Siron Franco for the “Five Years Too Many” Campaign.
Click through for more information. 

I try to be careful not to reblog stuff targeted at enemies of ‘the West’ unless they are overtly violating human rights, indigenous sovereignty, etc, - simply because there is so much misinformation put out by Western media & the military-industrial-complex (which are closely tied together). This seems like legitimate human rights concerns. 
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted by an overwhelming margin in March for a continuing investigation into human rights violations against the Baha’i community in Iran.
"For years, the Iranian government has made excuses or blamed others in the face of mounting documentation that it severely represses its citizens in gross violation of international law – but the wide margin of today’s vote confirms that the world is not buying its justifications," said Diane Ala’i, the Baha’i International Community’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva.Read more

littlemissconceptions:

To mark the five year anniversary of the wrongful imprisonment of the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders, the Baha’i International Community is today launching a campaign to call for their immediate release – and to draw attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.

“On 14 May, the seven innocent Baha’i leaders will have been behind bars for five full years, unjustly imprisoned solely because of their religious beliefs,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

“We are asking people of good will around the world to raise their voices in an effort to win their freedom and the freedom of other innocent prisoners of conscience in Iran,” she said.

The campaign will run from today through 15 May, under the title “Five Years Too Many.” Around the world, Baha’i communities and others are planning public events that focus on the plight of the seven, who face 15 more years in prison, and whose 20-year sentences are the longest of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.

“The arrest of the seven Baha’i leaders on false charges, their wrongful imprisonment, and severe mistreatment while in detention are emblematic of the suffering of the Iranian Baha’i community as a whole – and, indeed, the situation of the hundreds of other innocent prisoners of conscience who have been incarcerated for their beliefs,” said Ms. Dugal.

“Their long sentences reflect the Government’s determination to completely oppress the Iranian Baha’i community, which is the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority.”

Six of the seven Baha’i leaders were arrested on 14 May 2008 in a series of early morning raids in Tehran. The seventh had been detained two months earlier on 5 March 2008.

Since their arrests, the seven – whose names are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm – have been subject to an entirely flawed judicial process.

During their first year in detention, the seven were not told of the charges against them and they had virtually no access to lawyers. Their trial, conducted over a period of months in 2010 and amounting to only six days in court, was illegally closed to the public, demonstrated extreme bias on the part of prosecutors and judges, and was based on non-existent evidence.

“Human beings should be free as birds.” - Art work by Brazilian Artist Siron Franco for the “Five Years Too Many” Campaign.

Click through for more information.

I try to be careful not to reblog stuff targeted at enemies of ‘the West’ unless they are overtly violating human rights, indigenous sovereignty, etc, - simply because there is so much misinformation put out by Western media & the military-industrial-complex (which are closely tied together). This seems like legitimate human rights concerns.

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted by an overwhelming margin in March for a continuing investigation into human rights violations against the Baha’i community in Iran.

"For years, the Iranian government has made excuses or blamed others in the face of mounting documentation that it severely represses its citizens in gross violation of international law – but the wide margin of today’s vote confirms that the world is not buying its justifications," said Diane Ala’i, the Baha’i International Community’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

Read more

Kurdish men in Iran have launched a cross-dressing campaign to redress outmoded concepts of masculinity & femininity and outlandish, sexist punishment administered by the government.
April 24, 2013

Over the last week, over 150 Kurdish men have posted photographs of themselves in women’s clothing to campaign against the sexist nature of a court sentence which led to the public humiliation of a man by dressing him in women’s clothing.

The campaign, entitled Kurd Men for Equality is a response to a sentence given to a convicted man by the Marivan County tribunal court on 15 April. The campaign’s tagline reads: ‘Being a woman is not a way for humiliation or punishment.’ According to Saman Rasoulpour, the convicted man was paraded down the streets of Marivan in a red tchador (traditional Kurdish women’s clothing).

Rasoulpour stated that public humiliation is a common punishment for troublemakers. Rasoulpour told us: ‘[In] this way, authorities are able to both demean the accused and deliver a warning to the public.’ However, Rasoulpour emphasized: ‘This is the first time in Iran that an accused is paraded in women’s clothes in the streets to humiliate him. It is unprecedented anywhere in Iran.’

In response to the judge’s sentence, a local feminist organization of Marivan called the Marivan Womens’ Community held a protest against the misogynistic punishment. The protest brought one hundred women on the streets of Marivan in a civil resistance campaign for gender equality.

In solidarity with the women’s protest, a man named Massoud Fathipour posted a photograph of himself dressed in women’s clothing. According to Rasoulpour, ‘he ignited the spark’. Since the Kurd Men for Equality campaign has been launched on 18 April, it has quickly gained an international following of over 7,000 fans. Over 150 men have submitted photographs of themselves in women’s clothing to emphasize the message that being a woman should not be considered humiliating.

In parliament 17 Iranian MPs have signed a petition addressed to the Justice Ministry which decries this sentence as ‘humiliating to Muslim women’. Supporters of the campaign have written messages in support of the gender equality on the Facebook wall.

Ala M writes: ‘For many years, women in my country have been side-by-side with men, wearing men’s clothes, struggling. Tonight I am happy and honored to wear women’s clothes and be even a small part of the rightful struggle of people to express gratitude and excellence to the women of my country.’

Another supporter, Namo Kurdistani writes: ‘We should gather together and condemn this stupidity, brutality and inhumanity against women. This is the least I can do to support women.’

In one of the protest images posted on Facebook, two LGBT rainbow flags can be seen on the wall in the background. People have commented on the image supporting homosexuality. Women have also supported the campaign by posting photographs of themselves wearing men’s clothing.

Iran claims it treats transgender people well but an expert told GSN the punishment in this case also indicates the stigma and discrimination trans people still face in the country as well as being a sign of simple sexism. According to Rasoulpour, no public apology has been made by authorities and security forces in Iran have strongly criticized the campaign.

Source

silas216
anarcho-queer:

Obama May Attack Iran In June According To Israeli Media
President Barack Obama says the United States could launch an attack on Iran as early as this June, Israeli media reports.
According to a report on Israel’s Channel 10 News that has since been picked up by the Times of Israel, Pres. Obama will use an upcoming meeting overseas to discuss a military strike on Iran. Pres. Obama is scheduled to visit Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month, and during the get-together the two leaders will reportedly work out the details for a possible assault.
Pres. Obama will tell Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June (when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s term is up), Channel 10 claims.
Israel has long-urged the White House to use its military prowess to intervene in Iran’s rumored nuclear weapon procurement plan, demands which have by-and-large been rejected by the Obama administration. According to the latest reports, though, the United States might finally be willing to use its might to make a stand against Iran’s race for a nuke.
Only days earlier, The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu said the details of a confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggested that that Iran had begun installing advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility, sparking “very grave” concerns that Israel could be hit with a nuke.
Right now, five members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany are holding talks with Iranian officials in Kazakhstan, with the goal of reaching a diplomatic answer to the nuclear crisis. However, domestic tensions within Iranian political elite do not make the prospect of a solution any more viable for now. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second and final term in office is set to wrap up this June, and political fights within the country’s top contenders for the position has prompted possible presidents to take harsh stance on the issue and resist outside pressure

anarcho-queer:

Obama May Attack Iran In June According To Israeli Media

President Barack Obama says the United States could launch an attack on Iran as early as this June, Israeli media reports.

According to a report on Israel’s Channel 10 News that has since been picked up by the Times of Israel, Pres. Obama will use an upcoming meeting overseas to discuss a military strike on Iran. Pres. Obama is scheduled to visit Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month, and during the get-together the two leaders will reportedly work out the details for a possible assault.

Pres. Obama will tell Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June (when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s term is up), Channel 10 claims.

Israel has long-urged the White House to use its military prowess to intervene in Iran’s rumored nuclear weapon procurement plan, demands which have by-and-large been rejected by the Obama administration. According to the latest reports, though, the United States might finally be willing to use its might to make a stand against Iran’s race for a nuke.

Only days earlier, The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu said the details of a confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggested that that Iran had begun installing advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility, sparking “very grave” concerns that Israel could be hit with a nuke.

Right now, five members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany are holding talks with Iranian officials in Kazakhstan, with the goal of reaching a diplomatic answer to the nuclear crisis. However, domestic tensions within Iranian political elite do not make the prospect of a solution any more viable for now. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second and final term in office is set to wrap up this June, and political fights within the country’s top contenders for the position has prompted possible presidents to take harsh stance on the issue and resist outside pressure

‘West pitting Syrian rebels against Hezbollah’
February 23, 2013

RT: You have recently been to Syria - with the West pushing for democratic change there, do you think the Syrians will actually get that after the violence they’ve endured for so long?

Danny Makki: I think there is much consensus among the Syrian people and in Syria that there has to be democratic change but there is a very big difference between democratic change from the grassroots level and what is being supported and funded by Western countries in Syria now. What we see now is terrorism. And people have to differentiate between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. I don’t think this is pathway to democracy, I think in fact this is a  pathway to a failed state.

RT: The Free Syrian Army has apparently set an ultimatum for Hezbollah, threatening to shell its positions in Lebanon. Lebanon is itself divided over the civil war in neighboring Syria, what could the consequences be if large-scale violence spills over there?

DM: With the Syrian crisis there is a danger of it spilling across borders to Iraq, or Lebanon, or even Turkey. The biggest problem in Lebanon is that some of the Western countries are really trying to pit one of the Islamist movements against each other – the Sunni FSA against the Shia Hezbollah. It’s essentially a policy of divide and conquer, which is being instigated media-wise by the West, create divisions and fractures within Arab Syrian and Lebanese societies. And this is the issue they are working today.

By pitting the FSA Hezbollah they are create more division and tension between Syria and Lebanon. And we’ve seen with recent conflict in Tripoli in northern Lebanon that the Syrian crisis is not necessarily in Syria. Syria is the linchpin of the region and there is great tension both in Syria and Lebanon. And there is great fear and anxiety that the struggle in Syria could spill into Lebanon. Lebanon had its own civil war which was very bloody and killed hundreds of thousands. So Lebanon is very scared at the moment of the Syria crisis turning into a Lebanese crisis.

RT:  On Monday, Syria said it is prepared to talk to the armed opposition groups, which it has long-dismissed as terrorists – is it a positive change on the way?

DM: In any state terrorism inside the country is a red line that cannot be crossed. We cannot accept terrorism in any country in the world – whether in Syria, America or Britain, or Russia. However there has to be a level of negotiations and dialogue internally speaking to at least have a ceasefire.

There has to be a level of openness between the Syrian government and between rebel forces maybe to instigate exchanges of prisoners, ceasefires in certain areas, to let humanitarian aid reach areas which are under rebel control. These all are issues that have to be negotiated for. And it shows that the Syrian government is not taking the path of an in-transition government. They truly do want to see diplomacy and dialogue to solve this and the fact that they are willing to negotiate with theses armed groups signifies a change of policy in terms of [that] they comprehend there can be no military solution and that any solution which comes within the Syrian crisis at this current moment in time has to be a political solution to stop the suffering of the people and to find a real exit and negotiated settlement to his ongoing crisis.

Source

Cartoons’ source

US cyberwar virus aimed at Iran, infects Chevron accidentally 
November 9, 2012
America’s cyberwar is already seeing collateral damage, and it’s hitting the country’s own billion-dollar companies. Oil giants Chevron say the Stuxnet computer virus made by the US to target Iran infected their systems as well.
California-based Chevron, a Fortune 500 company that’s among the biggest corporations in the world, admits this week that they discovered the Stuxnet worm on their systems back in 2010. Up until now, Chevron managed to make their finding a well-kept secret, and their disclosure published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday marks the first time a US company has come clean about being infected by the virus intended for Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Mark Koelmel of the company’s earth sciences department says that they are likely to not be the last, though.
“We’re finding it in our systems and so are other companies,” says Koelmel. “So now we have to deal with this.”
Koelmel claims that the virus did not have any adverse effects on his company, which generated a quarter of a trillion dollars in revenue during 2011. As soon as Chevron identified the infection, it was taken care of immediately, he says. Other accidental targets might not be so lucky though, and the computer worm’s complex coding means it might be a while before anyone else becomes aware of the damage.
“I don’t think the US government even realized how far it had spread,” Koelmel adds.
Discovered in 2010, the Stuxnet worm was reported with all but certainty to be the creation of the United States, perhaps with the assistance of Israel, to set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program as a preemptive measure against an eventual war. Only as recently as this June, however, American officials with direct knowledge of the worm went public with Uncle Sam’s involvement.
In a June 2012 article published by The New York Times, government agents with direct knowledge of Stuxnet claimed that first President George W. Bush, then Barack Obama, oversaw the deployment of the worm as part of a well-crafted cyberassault on Iran. Coupled with another malicious program named Flame and perhaps many more, Stuxnet was waged against Iran as part of an initiative given the codename “Olympic Games.” Rather than solely stealing intelligence through use of computer coding, the endeavor was believed to be the first cyberattack that intended to cause actual hard damage.
“Previous cyberattacks had effects limited to other computers,” Michael Hayden, the former chief of the CIA, explained to the Times earlier this year. “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction.”
On the record, the federal government maintains ignorance on the subject of Stuxnet. With American companies perhaps soon coming out of the woodwork to discuss how they were hit, though, the White House may have to finally admit that they’ve had direct involvement.
After the Times published their expose in June, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation to track down how the media was first made aware of America’s involvement in Olympic Games.
"I am deeply disturbed by the continuing leaks of classified information to the media, most recently regarding alleged cyber efforts targeting Iran’s nuclear program,” Feinstein said through a statement at the time. “I made it clear that disclosures of this type endanger American lives and undermine America’s national security."
When Feinstein spoke to DC’s The Hill newspaper, she said, “the leak about the attack on Iran’s nuclear program could ‘to some extent’ provide justification for copycat attacks against the United States.” According to the chairwoman, “This is like an avalanche. It is very detrimental and, candidly, I found it very concerning. There’s no question that this kind of thing hurts our country.”
Just last month, a shadowy Iranian-based hacking group called The Qassam Cyber Fighters took credit for launching a cyberattack on the servers of Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp., two of the biggest names in the American banking industry. Days earlier, Google informed some of its American users that they may be targeted in a state-sponsored cyberattack from abroad, and computer experts insist that these assaults will only intensify over time.
“We absolutely have seen more activity from the Middle East, and in particular Iran has been increasingly active as they build up their cyber capabilities,” CrowdStrike Security President George Kurtz told the Times.
Speaking of the accidental impact Stuxnet could soon have in the US, Chevron’s Koelmel tells the Journal, “I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished.”
Source

US cyberwar virus aimed at Iran, infects Chevron accidentally 

November 9, 2012

America’s cyberwar is already seeing collateral damage, and it’s hitting the country’s own billion-dollar companies. Oil giants Chevron say the Stuxnet computer virus made by the US to target Iran infected their systems as well.

California-based Chevron, a Fortune 500 company that’s among the biggest corporations in the world, admits this week that they discovered the Stuxnet worm on their systems back in 2010. Up until now, Chevron managed to make their finding a well-kept secret, and their disclosure published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday marks the first time a US company has come clean about being infected by the virus intended for Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Mark Koelmel of the company’s earth sciences department says that they are likely to not be the last, though.

“We’re finding it in our systems and so are other companies,” says Koelmel. “So now we have to deal with this.”

Koelmel claims that the virus did not have any adverse effects on his company, which generated a quarter of a trillion dollars in revenue during 2011. As soon as Chevron identified the infection, it was taken care of immediately, he says. Other accidental targets might not be so lucky though, and the computer worm’s complex coding means it might be a while before anyone else becomes aware of the damage.

“I don’t think the US government even realized how far it had spread,” Koelmel adds.

Discovered in 2010, the Stuxnet worm was reported with all but certainty to be the creation of the United States, perhaps with the assistance of Israel, to set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program as a preemptive measure against an eventual war. Only as recently as this June, however, American officials with direct knowledge of the worm went public with Uncle Sam’s involvement.

In a June 2012 article published by The New York Times, government agents with direct knowledge of Stuxnet claimed that first President George W. Bush, then Barack Obama, oversaw the deployment of the worm as part of a well-crafted cyberassault on Iran. Coupled with another malicious program named Flame and perhaps many more, Stuxnet was waged against Iran as part of an initiative given the codename “Olympic Games.” Rather than solely stealing intelligence through use of computer coding, the endeavor was believed to be the first cyberattack that intended to cause actual hard damage.

“Previous cyberattacks had effects limited to other computers,” Michael Hayden, the former chief of the CIA, explained to the Times earlier this year. “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction.”

On the record, the federal government maintains ignorance on the subject of Stuxnet. With American companies perhaps soon coming out of the woodwork to discuss how they were hit, though, the White House may have to finally admit that they’ve had direct involvement.

After the Times published their expose in June, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation to track down how the media was first made aware of America’s involvement in Olympic Games.

"I am deeply disturbed by the continuing leaks of classified information to the media, most recently regarding alleged cyber efforts targeting Iran’s nuclear program,” Feinstein said through a statement at the time. “I made it clear that disclosures of this type endanger American lives and undermine America’s national security."

When Feinstein spoke to DC’s The Hill newspaper, she said, “the leak about the attack on Iran’s nuclear program could ‘to some extent’ provide justification for copycat attacks against the United States.” According to the chairwoman, “This is like an avalanche. It is very detrimental and, candidly, I found it very concerning. There’s no question that this kind of thing hurts our country.”

Just last month, a shadowy Iranian-based hacking group called The Qassam Cyber Fighters took credit for launching a cyberattack on the servers of Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp., two of the biggest names in the American banking industry. Days earlier, Google informed some of its American users that they may be targeted in a state-sponsored cyberattack from abroad, and computer experts insist that these assaults will only intensify over time.

“We absolutely have seen more activity from the Middle East, and in particular Iran has been increasingly active as they build up their cyber capabilities,” CrowdStrike Security President George Kurtz told the Times.

Speaking of the accidental impact Stuxnet could soon have in the US, Chevron’s Koelmel tells the Journal, “I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished.”

Source

The People’s Record Daily News Update - Whose news? Our news!

November 9, 2012 

Here are some stories you may not otherwise hear about today:

  • Seven NAVY Seals face disciplinary action after consulting for EA on the videogame ‘Medal of Honor: Warfighter’ and “disclosing classified information”. While these soldiers will face “disciplinary action” for selling classified information, alleged Wikileaks informant Bradley Manning remains imprisoned without conviction for more than 900 days for leaking human rights violations and war crimes committed by the United States military. 

Follow us on Tumblr or by RSS feed for more daily updates.

US and Israel to launch major military drill ”Austere Challenge 2012”, involving nearly 5,000 troops aimed at Iran.
October 19, 2012
The United States and Israel are set to launch a major military exercise in a show of unity aimed at Iran, despite friction between American and Israeli leaders over how to counter Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The air defence drills, dubbed “Austere Challenge 2012,” will unfold later this month and last about three weeks, with 3,500 US troops and 1,000 Israeli forces taking part, officers said on Wednesday.
"This is the largest exercise in the history of the longstanding military relationship between the US and Israel," said Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, 3rd Air Force Commander, who is overseeing the drill along with his Israeli counterpart, Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel.
"This exercise will improve the cooperative missile defence of Israel and will promote regional stability and help ensure a military edge," Franklin told reporters in a teleconference.
But the drill is about more than missile defenses.
The elaborate exercise takes place at a politically charged moment, amid speculation about a possible Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran, a hotly contested US presidential election weeks away and parliamentary polls expected in Israel within a few months.
'Strong message'
The drill’s “scenario is to deal with threats from all fronts”, Nuriel, the Israeli commander, told the same phone conference.
"Anybody can get any type of message he wants from this exercise. The fact we are practicing together and working together is a strong message by itself."
In a report this year to congress, the Pentagon warned that Iran’s missiles could hit Israel and Eastern European countries, including an extended-range version of the Shahab-3 and a medium-range ballistic missile with a range of 2,000km.
The missile threat, combined with the crisis over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, prompted Israeli authorities in August to test a SMS public alert system designed to warn the population of an imminent attack.
In the works for two years, the joint exercise originally was scheduled for April but was postponed at Israel’s request, without an official explanation.
Source
Despite widespread disapproval, we keep moving closer and closer to war with Iran. If you listen to the election rhetoric, it sounds like the United States and Israel will be engaging Iran militarily either way, unfortunately. 

US and Israel to launch major military drill ”Austere Challenge 2012”, involving nearly 5,000 troops aimed at Iran.

October 19, 2012

The United States and Israel are set to launch a major military exercise in a show of unity aimed at Iran, despite friction between American and Israeli leaders over how to counter Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

The air defence drills, dubbed “Austere Challenge 2012,” will unfold later this month and last about three weeks, with 3,500 US troops and 1,000 Israeli forces taking part, officers said on Wednesday.

"This is the largest exercise in the history of the longstanding military relationship between the US and Israel," said Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, 3rd Air Force Commander, who is overseeing the drill along with his Israeli counterpart, Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel.

"This exercise will improve the cooperative missile defence of Israel and will promote regional stability and help ensure a military edge," Franklin told reporters in a teleconference.

But the drill is about more than missile defenses.

The elaborate exercise takes place at a politically charged moment, amid speculation about a possible Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran, a hotly contested US presidential election weeks away and parliamentary polls expected in Israel within a few months.

'Strong message'

The drill’s “scenario is to deal with threats from all fronts”, Nuriel, the Israeli commander, told the same phone conference.

"Anybody can get any type of message he wants from this exercise. The fact we are practicing together and working together is a strong message by itself."

In a report this year to congress, the Pentagon warned that Iran’s missiles could hit Israel and Eastern European countries, including an extended-range version of the Shahab-3 and a medium-range ballistic missile with a range of 2,000km.

The missile threat, combined with the crisis over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, prompted Israeli authorities in August to test a SMS public alert system designed to warn the population of an imminent attack.

In the works for two years, the joint exercise originally was scheduled for April but was postponed at Israel’s request, without an official explanation.

Source

Despite widespread disapproval, we keep moving closer and closer to war with Iran. If you listen to the election rhetoric, it sounds like the United States and Israel will be engaging Iran militarily either way, unfortunately. 

Has the Afghan surge been a complete failure?
October 2, 2012

As new data suggests that the US surge in Afghanistan has failed, we ask how it will impact the upcoming US elections.

It was arguably the most important foreign policy decision of Barack Obama’s first term as US president. Now new data suggests that the Afghan surge has been a military failure.
“Afghanistan is an extremely varied country and there are a lot of different attitudes. I think that we sometimes assume that bringing in services would automatically win over hearts and minds, when in reality sometimes just the intrusion of any outsider … was actually destabilising.”
- Frances Bown, a fellow at the council on foreign relations
With just over a month until the election, the US military has withdrawn the last of the 33,000 troops Obama sent to Afghanistan in December 2009.
But according to data released by the NATO command in Afghanistan or ISAF obtained by Wired magazine the Taliban’s momentum is fiercer now than before the surge.
Insurgent attacks may be lower than last year, but they are significantly higher when compared to 2009 before the surge was launched. And the number of civilian casualties caused by insurgent attacks in August 2012 was the highest for three years.
The surge was presented as the culmination of Obama’s careful deliberation - a sign of the qualities he brought to his role as commander in chief.
That the decision has so little to show for the cost in lives and money should be a major issue on the campaign trail. But with Republican candidate Mitt Romney seemingly loathe even to mention Afghanistan, it is not.
“The fact is that the Taliban has been able to vastly increase the numberof IED attacks that are effective in causing casualties on the part of the foreign troops. If you look at the figures for actual casualities from those attacks - its really quite dramtic.”
Gareth Porter, an investigative reporter
And beyond a vague promise to withdraw American troops by the end of 2014 neither the president nor Romney seem to have any clear vision for the future.
NATO’s lack of confidence in the Afghan forces that were meant to be strengthened by the surge was made abundantly clear when the US temporarily scaled back joint operations earlier this month after a string of so-called green on blue attacks. Operations did resume on Thursday but with far stricter safeguards in place.
So has the surge been a complete failure? And how will it impact the upcoming US presidential elections?
Inside Story US 2012, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, discusses with guests: Lieutenant colonel Tony Shaffer, a former US intelligence officer who has served two combat tours in Afghanistan; Frances Bown, an international affairs fellow at the council on foreign relations; and Gareth Porter, an investigative reporter and historian.
"From day one of the surge all we [the US] have been doing is adding fiction to the friction - there’s no actual achievable objectives within the military context of this effort … The real issue is something that this administration has not been able to grasp. It’s all about the ideology – the tribal nature of the environment. Because they’ve never grasped that, they have continued to use a western methodology without understanding what they are actually going to try to achieve and what is sustainable."
Tony Shaffer, a former US intelligence officer
Source

Has the Afghan surge been a complete failure?

October 2, 2012

As new data suggests that the US surge in Afghanistan has failed, we ask how it will impact the upcoming US elections.

It was arguably the most important foreign policy decision of Barack Obama’s first term as US president. Now new data suggests that the Afghan surge has been a military failure.

Afghanistan is an extremely varied country and there are a lot of different attitudes. I think that we sometimes assume that bringing in services would automatically win over hearts and minds, when in reality sometimes just the intrusion of any outsider … was actually destabilising.

- Frances Bown, a fellow at the council on foreign relations

With just over a month until the election, the US military has withdrawn the last of the 33,000 troops Obama sent to Afghanistan in December 2009.

But according to data released by the NATO command in Afghanistan or ISAF obtained by Wired magazine the Taliban’s momentum is fiercer now than before the surge.

Insurgent attacks may be lower than last year, but they are significantly higher when compared to 2009 before the surge was launched. And the number of civilian casualties caused by insurgent attacks in August 2012 was the highest for three years.

The surge was presented as the culmination of Obama’s careful deliberation - a sign of the qualities he brought to his role as commander in chief.

That the decision has so little to show for the cost in lives and money should be a major issue on the campaign trail. But with Republican candidate Mitt Romney seemingly loathe even to mention Afghanistan, it is not.

The fact is that the Taliban has been able to vastly increase the numberof IED attacks that are effective in causing casualties on the part of the foreign troops. If you look at the figures for actual casualities from those attacks - its really quite dramtic.

Gareth Porter, an investigative reporter

And beyond a vague promise to withdraw American troops by the end of 2014 neither the president nor Romney seem to have any clear vision for the future.

NATO’s lack of confidence in the Afghan forces that were meant to be strengthened by the surge was made abundantly clear when the US temporarily scaled back joint operations earlier this month after a string of so-called green on blue attacks. Operations did resume on Thursday but with far stricter safeguards in place.

So has the surge been a complete failure? And how will it impact the upcoming US presidential elections?

Inside Story US 2012, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, discusses with guests: Lieutenant colonel Tony Shaffer, a former US intelligence officer who has served two combat tours in Afghanistan; Frances Bown, an international affairs fellow at the council on foreign relations; and Gareth Porter, an investigative reporter and historian.

"From day one of the surge all we [the US] have been doing is adding fiction to the friction - there’s no actual achievable objectives within the military context of this effort … The real issue is something that this administration has not been able to grasp. It’s all about the ideology – the tribal nature of the environment. Because they’ve never grasped that, they have continued to use a western methodology without understanding what they are actually going to try to achieve and what is sustainable."

Tony Shaffer, a former US intelligence officer

Source

Apple feels reporting drone strikes is ‘objectionable & crude’; rejects app
August 31, 2012
It seems that today you can’t spit in the wind without hitting a story about some US drone killing a bunch of people in a country somewhere overseas. Every known drone strike is accompanied by news reports of the location and the number of people killed. Yet, even with all these stories about drone strikes, it can a daunting task for those interested in following them to keep up with them all. So what is a drone enthusiast, or someone just appalled by the frequency of the strikes, to do?
One creative iPhone developer, Josh Begley, took the time to create an app that sought out news articles about drone strikes. When it would find one, it would send a push notification to the owner of the iPhone and then display a Google map of the area with a push pin of the location of the strike. He had hoped to have it released in the wild by now, but Apple keeps rejecting his application.
It’s the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program’s New York-based developer. The company’s reasons for keeping the program out of the App Store keep shifting. First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia “not useful.” Then there was an issue with hiding a corporate logo. And now, there’s this crude content problem.
It’s this last rejection that has Josh scratching his head. How can a news aggregating application be in any way crude or objectionable? Yes, I know that many people feel that news reports from the mainstream media could easily be classified as such, but that is beside the point. This app provides a useful service for those who want to keep abreast of the latest news regarding drone strikes. It doesn’t show graphic images or other caricatures of the attacks, merely a push pin and a link to the story. If it is the content that is objectionable, he may just turn to a less strict operating system for the next version.
Begley is about at his wits end over the iOS version of Drones+. “I’m kind of back at the drawing board about what exactly I’m supposed to do,” Begley said. The basic idea was to see if he could get App Store denizens a bit more interested in the U.S.’ secretive, robotic wars, with information on those wars popping up on their phones the same way an Instagram comment or retweet might. Instead, Begley’s thinking about whether he’d have a better shot making the same point in the Android Market.
Its this kind of rejection of an interesting and thought provoking app that will turn people away from walled gardens. We talked recently about Microsoft’s moves toward further locking down Windows resulting in developers seeking the more open alternative of Linux. The same will happen with the iPhone. As more developers continue to have their apps rejected with little to no context, those developers will become much more frustrated with the whole process and leave for Android. Is this really the lesson that Apple wants young developers taking from this and similar experiences? 
Source

Apple feels reporting drone strikes is ‘objectionable & crude’; rejects app

August 31, 2012

It seems that today you can’t spit in the wind without hitting a story about some US drone killing a bunch of people in a country somewhere overseas. Every known drone strike is accompanied by news reports of the location and the number of people killed. Yet, even with all these stories about drone strikes, it can a daunting task for those interested in following them to keep up with them all. So what is a drone enthusiast, or someone just appalled by the frequency of the strikes, to do?

One creative iPhone developer, Josh Begley, took the time to create an app that sought out news articles about drone strikes. When it would find one, it would send a push notification to the owner of the iPhone and then display a Google map of the area with a push pin of the location of the strike. He had hoped to have it released in the wild by now, but Apple keeps rejecting his application.

It’s the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program’s New York-based developer. The company’s reasons for keeping the program out of the App Store keep shifting. First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia “not useful.” Then there was an issue with hiding a corporate logo. And now, there’s this crude content problem.

It’s this last rejection that has Josh scratching his head. How can a news aggregating application be in any way crude or objectionable? Yes, I know that many people feel that news reports from the mainstream media could easily be classified as such, but that is beside the point. This app provides a useful service for those who want to keep abreast of the latest news regarding drone strikes. It doesn’t show graphic images or other caricatures of the attacks, merely a push pin and a link to the story. If it is the content that is objectionable, he may just turn to a less strict operating system for the next version.

Begley is about at his wits end over the iOS version of Drones+. “I’m kind of back at the drawing board about what exactly I’m supposed to do,” Begley said. The basic idea was to see if he could get App Store denizens a bit more interested in the U.S.’ secretive, robotic wars, with information on those wars popping up on their phones the same way an Instagram comment or retweet might. Instead, Begley’s thinking about whether he’d have a better shot making the same point in the Android Market.

Its this kind of rejection of an interesting and thought provoking app that will turn people away from walled gardens. We talked recently about Microsoft’s moves toward further locking down Windows resulting in developers seeking the more open alternative of Linux. The same will happen with the iPhone. As more developers continue to have their apps rejected with little to no context, those developers will become much more frustrated with the whole process and leave for Android. Is this really the lesson that Apple wants young developers taking from this and similar experiences?