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Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
04-29-2010, 11:42 PM,
#1
Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
check the original link for supportive links

Sunday, April 25, 2010
Cyberwar and Repression: Corporatist Synergy Made in Hell
Unfailingly, defense industry boosters and corporate media acolytes promote the disturbing hypothesis annunciated by former Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, that the nation is in peril.

In a February Washington Post op-ed, the latest version of the "grave and gathering danger" big lie repeated endlessly by former President Bush during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, McConnell claims that "the United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing."

Since leaving the secret state's employ, McConnell returned to his old beltway bandit firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, as a senior vice president in charge of the company's national security business unit, a position he held after "retiring" as Director of the National Security Agency back in 1996.

Critics, including security system design experts and investigative journalists, question the alarmist drumbeat that promises to dump tens of billions of federal dollars into the coffers of firms like McConnell's.

Indeed, Washington Technology reported two weeks ago that Booz Allen Hamilton landed a $20M contract to "foster collaboration among telecommunications researchers, University of Maryland faculty members and other academic institutions to improve secure networking and telecommunications and boost information assurance."

While we're at it, let's consider the deal that L-3 Communications grabbed from the Air Force just this week. Washington Technology reports that L-3, No. 8 on that publication's "2009 Top Ten" list of federal prime contractors, "will assist the Air Forces Central Command in protecting the security of its network operations under a contract potentially worth $152 million over five years."

Or meditate on the fact that security giant Raytheon's soaring first quarter profits were due to the "U.S. military demand for surveillance equipment and new ways to prepare soldiers for wars," MarketWatch reported Thursday.

Chump-change perhaps in the wider scheme of things, considering America's nearly $800B defense budget for FY2011, but fear sells and what could be more promising for enterprising security grifters than hawking terror that comes with the threat that shadowy "asymmetric" warriors will suddenly switch everything off?

As Bloomberg News disclosed back in 2008, both Lockheed Martin and Boeing "are deploying forces and resources to a new battlefield: cyberspace."

As journalist Gopal Ratnam averred, the military contractors and the wider defense industry are "eager to capture a share of a market that may reach $11 billion in 2013," and "have formed new business units to tap increased spending to protect U.S. government computers from attack."

Linda Gooden, executive vice president of Lockheed's Information Systems & Global Services unit told Bloomberg, "The whole area of cyber is probably one of the faster-growing areas" of the U.S. budget. "It's something that we're very focused on."

Lockheed's close, long-standing ties with the National Security Agency all but guarantee a leg up for the firm as it seeks to capture a large slice of the CYBERCOM pie.

The problem with a line of reasoning that U.S. efforts are primarily concerned with defending Pentagon networks reveals a glaring fact (largely omitted from media accounts) that it is the Pentagon, and not a motley crew of hackers, cyber-criminals or "rogue states" that are setting up a formidable infrastructure for launching future high-tech war crimes.

This is clearly spelled out in the DOD's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). In that document Pentagon planners aver that CYBERCOM "will direct the operation and defense of DOD's information networks, and will prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum cyberspace military operations. An operational USCYBERCOM will also play a leading role in helping to integrate cyber operations into operational and contingency planning."

The QDR promises to stand-up "10 space and cyberspace wings" within the Department of the Air Force that will work in tandem with Cyber Command.

Last week, Antifascist Calling reported how the mission of that Pentagon Command is primarily concerned with waging offensive operations against "adversaries" and that civilian infrastructure is viewed as a "legitimate" target for attack.

In that piece, I cited documents released by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), publicly available, though buried within a mass of Broad Agency Announcements, that solicited bids for contracts by the various armed service branches from private defense and security corporations for the design of offensive cyber weapons.

Accordingly, the Air Force Research Laboratory-Rome issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA-10-04-RIKA) February 25, for "Full Spectrum Cyber Operations Technology" that will address issues related to "the integration and better coordination of the day-to-day defense, protection, and operation of DoD networks as well as the capability to conduct full spectrum cyberspace military operations."

The BAA explicitly states that "research efforts under this program are expected to result in functional capabilities, concepts, theory, and applications ideally addressing cyber operations problems including projects specializing in highly novel and interesting applicable technique concepts will also be considered, if deemed to be of 'breakthrough' quality and importance."

Unsurprisingly, "technical information relevant to potential submitters is contained in a classified addendum at the Secret level to this BAA."

But the military aren't the only players leading the charge towards the development of highly-destructive cyberweapons. Indeed, the Cyber Conflict Research Studies Association (CCSA), a Washington, D.C. based think tank is top-heavy with former intelligence, military and corporate officials doing just that.

The group's board of directors are flush with former officers or consultants from the FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Air Force, National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security and the CIA. Other board members are top officers in the spooky "public-private" FBI-affiliated spy outfit InfraGard, the Council on Foreign Relations as well as high-powered firms such as General Dynamics, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Goldman Sachs.

Demonstrating the interconnected nature of domestic surveillance, repression and military cyberwar operations, CCSA's Treasurer, Robert Schmidt, is currently a member of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Council on Domestic Intelligence and the secretive Intelligence and National Security Association (INSA). Additionally, Schmidt is the President/CEO of InfraGard and "leads the operational side of private sector involvement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's InfraGard program." How's that for a hat trick!

What that "operational side" entails has never been publicly disclosed by the organization, but as I wrote back in 2008, citing Matthew Rothschild's chilling piece in The Progressive, martial law is high on InfraGard's agenda.

Members on CCSA's board of directors, like others whirling through the revolving door between government and the private sector were/are officers or consultants to the FBI, NSA, DHS and other secret state intelligence agencies. Others were/are key advisers on the National Security Council or serve as consultants to industry-sponsored associations such as the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and INSA.

Dovetailing with research conducted by the Pentagon and their Intelligence Community partners, one CCSA study will explore "the full spectrum of military computer network operations, defined as computer network defense (CND), computer network exploit (CNE) and computer network attack (CNA), and examines the potential synergies and tradeoffs between those three categories."

As befitting research conducted by the Military-Industrial-Security-Complex (MISC), CCSA's study "will involve key academicians, strategists, military and intelligence community leaders and operational cyber practitioners to analyze key dilemmas of doctrine, organization, training, and planning, particularly with respect to integrating cyber warfare capabilities with kinetic operations."

Key questions to be answered, among others, include "How can cyberwarfare capabilities be best integrated with other military forces?" and "How can leaders and personnel for conducting cyberwarfare be trained, educated and grown?"

Clearly, these are not academic issues.

DARPA to the Rescue

The Pentagon's "blue sky" research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is chock-a-block with programs investigating everything from Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts to Operationally-Focused Systems Integration (OFSI) "that align DARPA technologies with explicit opportunities for military operational impact."

Certainly, given the precarious state of the global capitalist economy, the enfeebled nature of American democratic institutions, and with no end in sight to planet-wide imperial adventures to secure access to increasingly shrinking energy reserves and other strategic resources, technological "silver bullets" are highly sought-after commodities by corporate and military bureaucracies. Such technophilic preoccupations by the MISC all but guarantee that the "state of exception" inaugurated by the 9/11 provocation will remain a permanent feature of daily life.

Several, interrelated DARPA projects feed into wider Pentagon cyberwar research conducted by the Army, Navy and Air Force.

One component of this research is DARPA's National Cyber Range (NCR). The brainchild of the agency's Strategic Technical Office (STO), NCR is conceived as "DARPA's contribution to the new federal Comprehensive National Cyber Initiative (CNCI), providing a 'test bed' to produce qualitative and quantitative assessments of the Nation's cyber research and development technologies."

While DARPA claims that it is "creating the National Cyber Range to protect and defend the nation's critical information systems," a "key vision" behind the program "is to revolutionize the state of the art of test range resource and test automation execution."

While short on specifics, DARPA's "vision of the NCR is to create a national asset for use across the federal government to test a full spectrum of cyber programs."

Many of the military programs slated for testing at NCR are highly classified, including those that fall under the purview of Pentagon Special Access or black programs. As defense analyst William M. Arkin pointed out in Code Names, such programs are hidden under the rubric of Special Technical Operations that have their own "entire separate channels of communication and clearances." STO's "exist to compartment these military versions of clandestine and covert operations involving special operations, paramilitary activity, covert action, and cyber-warfare." Arkin identified nearly three dozen cyberwar programs or exercises back in 2005; undoubtedly many more have since come online.

As Aviation Week reported in 2009, "Devices to launch and control cyber, electronic and information attacks are being tested and refined by the U.S. military and industry in preparation for moving out of the laboratory and into the warfighter's backpack."

But as "with all DARPA programs," the agency "will transition the operation of the NCR at a later date to an operational partner. No decision has been made on who will operate the final range."

Amongst the private defense, security and academic "partners" involved in NCR's development are the usual suspects: scandal-tainted BAE Systems; General Dynamics-Advanced Information Systems; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; Lockheed Martin; Northrop Grumman-Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems Division; Science Applications International Corporation; and SPARTA.

The aggressive nature of what has since evolved into CYBERCOM is underscored by several planning documents released by the U.S. Air Force. In a 2006 presentation to the Air Force Cyber Task Force, A Warfighting Domain: Cyberspace, Dr. Lani Kass unabashedly asserts: "Cyber is a war-fighting domain. The electromagnetic spectrum is the maneuver space. Cyber is the United States' Center of Gravity--the hub of all power and movement, upon which everything else depends. It is the Nation's neural network." Kass averred that "Cyber superiority is the prerequisite to effective operations across all strategic and operational domains--securing freedom from attack and freedom to attack."

Accordingly, she informed her Air Force audience that "Cyber favors the offensive," and that the transformation of the electromagnetic spectrum into a "warfighting domain" will be accomplished by: "Strategic Attack directly at enemy centers of gravity; Suppression of Enemy Cyber Defenses; Offensive Counter Cyber; Defensive Counter Cyber; Interdiction."

While the Pentagon and their embedded acolytes in academia, the media and amongst corporate grifters who stand to secure billions in contracts have framed CYBERCOM's launch purely as a defensive move to deter what Wired investigative journalist Ryan Singel has denounced as "Cyberarmaggedon!" hype to protect America's "cyber assets" from attack by rogue hackers, states, or free-floating terrorist practitioners of "asymmetric war," CYBERCOM's defensive brief is way down the food chain.

Indeed, "options for the Operational Command for Cyberspace" include the "scalability of force packages" and their "ease of implementation" and, as I wrote last week citing but two of the fourteen examples cited by the Senate, "research, development, and acquisition" of cyber weapons. This is attack, not defense mode.

Americans' Privacy: a Thing of the Past

Situating CYBERCOM under the dark wings of U.S. Strategic Command and the National Security Agency, is a disaster waiting to happen.

As we now know, since 2001 NSA under dubious Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) findings that are still classified, and the despicable 2008 FISA Amendments Act, the Executive Branch was handed the authority the spy on American citizens and legal residents with impunity.

During his confirmation hearing as Cyber Command chief on April 15, NSA Director Lt. General Keith Alexander sought to assure the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) that "this is not about the intent to militarize cyber-space. My main focus is on building the capacity to secure the military's operational networks."

He told the Senate panel that if called in to help protect civilian networks, both NSA and Cyber Command "will have unwavering dedication to the privacy of American citizens."

Alexander was far cagier however in his written responses in a set of Advanced Questions posed by the SASC.

While corporate media like the dutiful stenographers they are, repeated standard Pentagon boilerplate that the secret state has an "unwavering dedication" to Americans' privacy, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding answers and the release of the classified supplement.

Alexander stated in his written testimony that although "U.S. Cyber Command's mission will not include defense of the .gov and .com domains, given the integration of cyberspace into the operation of much of our critical infrastructure and the conduct of commerce and governance, it is the obligation of the Department to be prepared to provide military options to the President and SECDEF if our national security is threatened."

He also defended the statement that "DOD's mission to defend the nation 'takes primacy' over the Department of Homeland Security's role in some situations."

"Of greater concern" EPIC wrote in their brief, "may be the questions that Lt. Gen. Alexander chose to respond to in classified form. When asked if the American people are 'likely to accept deployment of classified methods of monitoring electronic communications to defend the government and critical infrastructure without explaining basic aspects of how this monitoring will be conducted and how it may affect them,' the Director acknowledged that the Department had a 'need to be transparent and communicate to the American people about our objectives to address the national security threat to our nation--the nature of the threat, our overall approach, and the roles and responsibilities of each department and agency involved--including NSA and the Department of Defense,' but then chose include that the rest of his response to that question in the 'classified supplement'."

"Most troubling of all" EPIC averred "is the classified nature of the responses to advance questions 27b) and 27c). After responding to the question of how the internet could be designed differently to provide greater inherent security by describing vague 'technological enhancements' that could enhance mobility and possibly security, Lt. Gen. Alexander responded to 'Is it practical to consider adopting those modifications?' and 'What would the impact be on privacy, both pro and con?' by referring the Senators to the 'classified supplement.' No answer to either question was provided in the public record."

But in considering these questions, perhaps the SASC should have referred to ex-spook McConnell's February Washington Post op-ed: "More specifically, we need to reengineer the Internet to make [it] more manageable. The technologies are already available from public and private sources and can be further developed if we have the will to build them into our systems and to work with our allies and trading partners so they will do the same."

Is this a great country, or what!
Posted by Antifascist at 12:28 PM
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04-30-2010, 06:59 AM,
#2
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
After reading this I have reconsidered the corporate threat to the internet. The Net Neutrality was a ruse and I got sucked in. I seriously underestimated an organized military presence. This kind of posturing will only instigate action from other nations (e.g. Russia, China, India).

They're reach will be deep with that kind of funding especially with the backing of government and corporations that stand to benefit. As evidenced by past actions like guarding pipelines big corporations that are 'integral' to the economy will be given priority leaving the rest of the net as fodder. Especially coupled with CYBERCOM's no holds barred offensive agenda.

The net is going to be destroyed because of this - time to seriously look into alternatives to the internet.
There are no others, there is only us.
http://FastTadpole.com/
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04-30-2010, 08:55 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-30-2010, 08:56 AM by h3rm35.)
#3
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
I've said it numerous times - Antifascist calling is one of the most well-researched, hard hitting blogs out there.
Burghardt tends to shift almost everyone's perspective that has ever taken the time to really dig into his stuff... he sees the chips falling long before the hand is over, reads the tells of the players, and spits out the probable outcomes on Antifscist calling... I've been reading his stuff for a while now, and saw the Yemeni conflict, the Mumbai "terrorist" attacks, the movement of the Afghan war more heavily into Pakistan, the focus on piracy in the gulf of Aden, and other things alluded to at least months before they happened. If his reporting follows it's trend, we're going to see some rather nasty occurrences with biological weapons, either accidentally or intentionally, more bubbling tension between nuclear Pakistan and India, (probably fomented by the ISI ties with the CIA,) and the birth of true and outright Orwellian existence in America.

He usually posts about once a week, and recently it's been on the weekends.

If you've got a few months to figure out what's really going on in the world, give yourself the opportunity to read his blog, and check out all the links he uses to support his posts. You'll end up mad as hell, depressed, and often hopeless, but at least you'll be informed.
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10-20-2010, 10:15 PM, (This post was last modified: 10-20-2010, 10:16 PM by h3rm35.)
#4
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
The "Cyberwar" Is Over and the National Security Agency Has Won
A "Memorandum of Agreement" struck last week between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA) promises to increase Pentagon control over America's telecommunications and electronic infrastructure.

It's all in the interest of "cybersecurity" of course, or so we've been told, since much of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) driving administration policy is a closely-held state secret.

Authority granted the über spy shop by the Bush and Obama administrations was handed to NSA by the still-classified National Security Presidential Directive 54, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54/HSPD 23) in 2008 by then-President Bush.

The Agreement follows closely on the heels of reports last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that DHS has been tracking people online and that the agency even established a "Social Networking Monitoring Center" to do so.

Documents obtained by EFF through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, revealed that the agency has been vacuuming-up "items of interest," systematically monitoring "citizenship petitioners" and analyzing "online public communication."

The documents suggest that "DHS collected a massive amount of data on individuals and organizations explicitly tied to a political event," the Obama inauguration.

This inevitably raises a troubling question: what other "political events" are being monitored by government snoops? Following last month's raids on antiwar activists by heavily-armed FBI SWAT teams, the answer is painfully obvious.

And with new reports, such as Monday's revelations by The Wall Street Journal that Facebook "apps" have been "transmitting identifying information--in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names--to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies," online privacy, if such a beast ever existed, is certainly now a thing of the past.

Project 12

With waning national interest in the "terrorism" product line, the "cybersecurity" roll-out (in stores in time for the holidays!) will drive hefty taxpayer investments--and boost the share price--for America's largest defense and security firms; always a sure winner where it counts: on Wall Street.

The DHS-NSA Agreement came just days after publication of a leaked document obtained by the secrecy-shredding web site Public Intelligence (PI).

"In early 2008," a PI analyst writes, "President Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD-54/HSPD-23) formalizing the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI). This initiative created a series of classified programs with a total budget of approximately $30 billion. Many of these programs remain secret and their activities are largely unknown to the public."

Amongst the programs stood up by CNCI "is an effort to encourage information sharing between the public and private sector called 'Project 12'."

The whistleblowing web site "recently acquired the key report from the Project 12 meetings: Improving Protection of Privately Owned Critical Network Infrastructure Through Public-Private Partnerships. This 35-page, For Official Use Only report is a guide to creating public-private partnerships that facilitate the implementation of 'actionable recommendations that [reflect] the reality of shared responsibility between the public and private sectors with respect to securing the nation's cyber assets, networks, systems, and functions'."

According to the document, under the rubric of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), Project 12 recommends that "critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) be brought into federal cybersecurity efforts through a variety of means."

As Antifascist Calling readers are well aware, for decades the secret state has outsourced "inherently governmental" functions to private entities. This process has served as a means to both shield illegal activities and avoid public accountability under a cloak of "proprietary business information."

PI's secret spillers tell us that Project 12 stresses the "promotion of public-private partnerships that legalize and facilitate the flow of information between federal entities and private sector critical infrastructure, such as telecommunications and transportation."

"The ultimate goal of these partnerships" the analyst writes, "is not simply to increase the flow of 'threat information' from government agencies to private industry, but to facilitate greater 'information sharing' between those companies and the federal government."

What information is to be shared or what the implications are for civil liberties and privacy rights are not spelled out in the report.

As can readily be seen in the dubious relationships forged amongst retired senior military personnel and the defense industry, a top level Pentagon position is entrée to an exclusive club where salary levels and perks, increase the higher one has climbed the food chain.

Much the same can be said for high-level intelligence officials. Indeed, former officials turned corporate executives constellating the security industry are among the most vociferous advocates for strengthening collaboration between the state and private sectors. And the more powerful players on the field are represented by lobby shops such as the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and Business Executives for National Security (BENS).

Last year I reported that BENS are key players driving the national "cybersecurity" panic. In that piece I wrote that the group is a "self-described 'nationwide, non-partisan organization' [that] claims the mantle of functioning as 'the primary channel through which senior business executives can help advance the nation's security'." Project 12 is one area where BENS power-brokers have excelled in mutual backscratching.

We are informed that "the cost of scoping and building a tool that meets the requirements for cyber real-time situational awareness is likely to be significant and would be a high-risk investment of Federal funding." In other words, while taxpayers foot the bill, private corporations will reap the benefits of long-term contracts and future high-tech development projects.

However, "before making that investment, the U.S. Government and its information sharing security partners must define a clear scope and mission for the development of common situational awareness and should evaluate a variety of interim or simplified solutions."

Those "solutions" won't come cheap.

Market Research Media informs us that "the U.S. government sector witnesses a blossoming of investments in cyber security technologies."

We're told that with a "cumulative market valued at $55 billion (2010-2015), the U.S. Federal Cybersecurity market will grow steadily--at about 6.2% CAGR [compound annual growth rate] over the next six years."

Those numbers reflect the merger and acquisition mania amongst America's largest defense and security firms who are gobbling up the competition at ever-accelerating rates.

Washington Technology reported earlier this month that "government contractors specializing in the most attractive niche segments of the market are experiencing much more rapid growth and, accordingly, enjoying much higher valuation multiples upon selling their businesses than their more generalist counterparts."

"The larger companies in the federal market" the insider publication reports, "continue to seek to aggressively position themselves as leaders in the cyber market."

Amongst the "solutions" floated by Project 12 is the notion that "real-time" awareness can be achieved when "government resources" are "co-located with private industry, either virtually or physically, to help monitor security," the PI's analyst avers.

Therefore, "physical or virtual co-location would maximize the U.S. Government's investment in network protection by facilitating collaborative analysis and coordinated protective and response measures and by creating a feedback loop to increase value for private-sector and government participants. Another key outcome would be stronger institutional and personal trust relationships among security practitioners across multiple communities."

One firm, the spooky Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) "formally opened its seven-story cyber innovation center in Columbia, not far from the site of the new Cyber Command at Fort Meade," NSA headquarters, The Washington Post reported.

Talk about "co-location"! It doesn't get much chummier than this!

In order to valorize secret state investments in the private sector, the development of "Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs)," or fusion centers, are encouraged. Who would control the information flows and threat assessments are unknown.

However, as the American Civil Liberties Union documented in their report, What's Wrong with Fusion Centers, private sector participation in the intelligence process "break[s] down the arm's length relationship that protects the privacy of innocent Americans who are employees or customers of these companies" while "increasing the risk of a data breach."

This is all the more troubling when the "public-private partnership" envisioned by Project 12 operate under classified annexes of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative.

NSA "Power-Grab"

Last year Rod Beckström, director of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC), resigned from his post, citing threats of a NSA "power grab."

In a letter highly-critical of government efforts to "secure" the nation's critical infrastructure, Beckström said that NSA "effectively controls DHS cyber efforts through detailees [and] technology insertions."

Citing NSA's role as the secret state's eyes and ears peering into electronic and telecommunications' networks, Beckström warned that handing more power to the agency could significantly threaten "our democratic processes...if all top level government network security and monitoring are handled by any one organization."

The administration claimed last week that the Agreement will "increase interdepartmental collaboration in strategic planning for the Nation's cybersecurity, mutual support for cybersecurity capabilities development, and synchronization of current operational cybersecurity mission activities," and that DHS and NSA will embed personnel in each agency.

We're informed that the Agreement's implementation "will focus national cybersecurity efforts, increasing the overalI capacity and capability of both DHS's homeland security and DoD's national security missions, while providing integral protection for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties."

Accordingly, the "Agreement is authorized under the provisions of the Homeland Security Act (2002); the Economy Act; U.S. Code Title 10; Executive Order 12333; National Security Directive 42; Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5; Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7; and National Security Presidential Directive­ 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive-23."

What these "authorizations" imply for civil liberties and privacy rights are not stated. Indeed, like NSPD 54/HSPD 23, portions of National Security Directive 42, HSPD 5, and HSPD 7 are also classified.

And, as described above, top secret annexes of NSPD 54/HSPD 23 enabling the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative means that the American people have no way of knowing what these programs entail, who decides what is considered "actionable intelligence," or where--and for what purpose--private communications land after becoming part of the "critical infrastructure and key resources" landscape.

We're told that the purpose of the Agreement "is to set forth terms by which DHS and DoD will provide personnel, equipment, and facilities in order to increase interdepartmental collaboration in strategic planning for the Nation's cybersecurity, mutual support for cybersecurity capabilities development, and synchronization of current operational cybersecurity mission activities."

The text specifies that the Agreement will "focus national cybersecurity efforts" and provide "integral protection for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties."

However, as the premier U.S. eavesdropping organization whose "national security mission" is responsible for setting data encryption standards, NSA was ultimately successful in weakening those standards in the interest of facilitating domestic spying.

Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 "the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records."

Investigative journalist Siobhan Gorman informed us that the "NSA enterprise involves a cluster of powerful intelligence-gathering programs" that include "a Federal Bureau of Investigation program to track telecommunications data once known as Carnivore, now called the Digital Collection System, and a U.S. arrangement with the world's main international banking clearinghouse to track money movements."

"The effort" the Journal revealed, "also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called 'black programs' whose existence is undisclosed," and include programs that have "been given greater reach" since the 9/11 provocation.

The civilian DHS Cybersecurity Coordinator will take a backseat to the Pentagon since the office "will be located at the National Security Agency (NSA)" and "will also act as the DHS Senior Cybersecurity Representative to U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM)."

Personnel will be assigned by DHS "to work at NSA as part of a Joint Coordination Element (JCE) performing the functions of joint operational planning, coordination, synchronization, requirement translation, and other DHS mission support for homeland security for cybersecurity," and will "have current security clearances (TS/SCI) upon assignment to NSA, including training on the appropriate handling and dissemination of classified and sensitive information in accordance with DoD, Intelligence Community and NSA regulations."

TS/SCI (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information) clearances mean that while civilian DHS employees may have access to NSA and Pentagon "black" surveillance programs, they will be restricted from reporting up their chain of command, or to congressional investigators, once they have been "read" into them. This makes a mockery of assertions that the Agreement does "not alter ... command relationships." The mere fact that DHS personnel will have TS/SCI clearances mean just the opposite.

DHS will "provide appropriate access, administrative support, and space for an NSA Cryptologic Services Group (CSO) and a USCYBERCOM Cyber Support Element (CSE) collocated with the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), at DHS, and integration into DHS's cybersecurity operational activities."

In other words, the civilian, though sprawling DHS bureaucracy will play host for NSA and CYBERCOM personnel answering to the Pentagon, and subject to little or no oversight from congressional committees already asleep at the switch, "to permit both CSG and CSE entities the capability to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities."

Despite boilerplate that "integral protection for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties" will be guaranteed by the Agreement, there is no hiding the fact that a NSA power-grab has been successfully executed.

The Agreement further specifies that DHS and NSA will engage "in joint operational planning and mission coordination" and that DHS, DoD, NSA and CYBERCOM "maintain cognizance" of "cybersecurity activities, to assist in deconfliction and promote synchronization of those activities."

Following Project 12 revelations, new secret state relationships will assist "in coordinating DoD and DHS efforts to improve cybersecurity threat information sharing between the public and private sectors to aid in preventing, detecting, mitigating, and/or recovering from the effects of an attack, interference, compromise, or incapacitation related to homeland security and national security activities in cyberspace."

However, we do not learn whether "information sharing" includes public access, or even knowledge of, TS/SCI "black programs" which already aim powerful NSA assets at the American people. In fact, the Agreement seems to work against such disclosures.

This is hardly a level playing field since NSA might "receive and coordinate DHS information requests," NSA controls the information flows "as appropriate and consistent with applicable law and NSA mission requirements and authorities, in operational planning and mission coordination." The same strictures apply when it comes to information sharing by U.S. Cyber Command.

As Rod Beckström pointed out in his resignation letter, NSA "effectively controls DHS cyber efforts through detailees [and] technology insertions."

Despite the Agreement's garbled bureaucratese, we can be sure of one thing: the drift towards militarizing control over Americans' private communications will continue.
Posted by Antifascist at 9:00 AM
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10-21-2010, 12:28 PM,
#5
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
The PI document that Antifacist refers to is supplanted with another one that followed on the 15th of October that is even more damning and expository given it's reach and interpretation of what scope and jurisdiction it covers. By the issues in server load it points to a wide array of computer activity being monitored given the resources NSA has access too. and is a portable protocol to monitor the USERS and flag DOCUMENTS accessed (honey pots, suspect keywords) by the public at large. Could be an upgrade of a carnivore type flagging system.

Although the PDF says internal use it mentions it will be ported as a pilot deployment of extraction modules on current and additional
platform types at various organizations (Fall 2010)
and additional platforms and use case research in progress.

Quote:(U//FOUO) NSA Progress in Near-Real Time Attack Detection Brief
15 October 2010

Progress in Near-Real Time Attack Detection at the Platform Level
* 13 pages
* September 13, 2010

The overall objective of the this task was to architect and implement a capability that will enable automated parsing, normalization, extraction, aggregation, filtering and then detection of attack patterns based on log and log like data in near real time depending on local network settings. We call this the Audit Data Extraction Utility (ADEU).

• Real World Problems
– Audit logs are created in many different variations.
• Attack identification using multi-platform analysis nearly impossible.
– Collecting all audit and audit like data and then identifying attacks
in near real time is difficult within the current architecture.
• The massive amount of data overloads our network resources.
• Dynamic anomaly detection using audit logs creates many false positives.

• Practical Solution
– Not all log data is needed.
• By minimizing the data elements based on detection needs, a deployed agent can collect only the audit data required to match defined attack use cases using static analysis.
• White-listing regular non-malicious log entries further reduces excessive data collection
• Data normalization to an evolving standard supports automated multiplatform analysis.



ADEU “Flag” Lists
• Detection of non-persistent memory executable.
• Generic, configurable capability to assign a flag value based on an event attribute:
– White-listed application (normal, ignore)
– Red-listed application (malware)
– Red-listed document (critical doc)
– Black-listed IP address (known bad)
– Yellow-listed user (suspect)
• Lookups executed client-side for false-positive reduction using Prefetch.
• Implemented via ADEU transformation plug-in API.
http://publicintelligence.net/ufouo-nsa-progress-in-near-real-time-attack-detection-brief/

Full PDF: http://info.publicintelligence.net/NSA-RealtimeThreats.pdf

There are no others, there is only us.
http://FastTadpole.com/
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10-21-2010, 06:20 PM,
#6
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
DoD Expanding Domestic Cyber Role
By WILLIAM MATTHEWS
Published: 20 Oct 2010 11:39
http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4939254&c=AME&s=TOP

The U.S. Defense Department is quietly taking on an expanding role in defending U.S. critical infrastructure from cyber attacks.

In a break with previous policy, the military now is prepared to provide cyber expertise to other government agencies and to certain private companies to counter attacks on their computer networks, the Pentagon's cyber policy chief, Robert Butler, said Oct. 20.
Related Topics
Americas

An agreement signed this month with the Department of Homeland Security and an earlier initiative to protect companies in the defense industrial base make it likely that the military will be a key part of any response to a cyber attack.

While the Department of Homeland Security officially remains the lead government agency on cyber defense, the new agreement "sets up an opportunity for DHS to take advantage of the expertise" in the Pentagon, and particularly the secretive electronic spying agency, the National Security Agency, said Butler, who is a deputy assistant defense secretary.

The two agencies - Defense and Homeland Security - "will help each other in more tangible ways then they have in the past," Butler told a group of defense reporters.

Among other things, a senior DHS cyber official and other DHS employees will move to the NSA to be closer to the heart of the military's cyber defense capability. Closer collaboration provides "an opportunity to look at new ways that we can do national cyber incident response, he said.

"DoD's focus is really about getting into the mix. We want to plan together and work together with other departments" to ensure that they understand the military's cyber capabilities and that the military understands what other agencies and private companies can do for cyber defense, Butler said.

Improving agency and industry "situational awareness" in cyberspace is a central objective, Butler said.

Developing and maintaining a clear picture of the threats in cyberspace remains difficult, apparently even for the NSA. In part, that's because new uses for the Internet are invented every day, Butler said, and it's not always clear whether new activity is harmful or benign. Even the Defense Department is still "in the mode of understanding."

In the event of a cyber attack, it's still extremely difficult to tell who is attacking. It's not even clear what constitutes an attack.

"As we move forward, one of the key things we have is to agree on is the taxonomy," he said. There is lots of discussion about "cyberwar," "cyber attacks," and "hostile intent," but there is no agreement on exactly what those terms mean.

Developing standard definitions remains under discussion among U.S. government agencies and between international governments and organizations, he said.



Pentagon Will Help Homeland Security Department Fight Domestic Cyberattacks
October 20, 2010
By THOM SHANKER
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/us/21cyber.html

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has adopted new procedures for using the Defense Department’s vast array of cyberwarfare capabilities in case of an attack on vital computer networks inside the United States, delicately navigating historic rules that restrict military action on American soil.

The system would mirror that used when the military is called on in natural disasters like hurricanes or wildfires. A presidential order dispatches the military forces, working under the control of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Under the new rules, the president would approve the use of the military’s expertise in computer-network warfare, and the Department of Homeland Security would direct the work.

Officials involved in drafting the rules said the goal was to ensure a rapid response to a cyberthreat while balancing concerns that civil liberties might be at risk should the military take over such domestic operations.

The rules were deemed essential because most of the government’s computer-network capabilities reside within the Pentagon — while most of the important targets are on domestic soil, whether within the government or in critical private operations like financial networks or a regional power grid.

The new approach will begin with a Department of Homeland Security team deploying to Fort Meade, Md., home to both the National Security Agency, which specializes in electronic espionage, and the military’s new Cyber Command. In exchange, a team of military networking experts would be assigned to the operations center at the Homeland Security Department.

The rules were detailed in a memorandum of agreement signed in late September by Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, but they were not released until last week.

Robert J. Butler, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for cyber policy, said the memorandum was intended to cut through legal debates about the authority for operating domestically, and to focus on how best to respond to the threat of attack on critical computer networks.

Mr. Butler said teams of lawyers would watch for potential violations of civil liberties. “We have put protection measures in place,” he said.

The Pentagon is expected to release a full National Defense Strategy for Cyber Operations this year, to be followed by broader interagency guidance from the White House, perhaps in the form of a presidential directive, in 2011.

Congress also is weighing legislation that would update domestic law to deal with advances in computer-based surveillance and cyberwarfare.

William J. Lynn III, the deputy defense secretary, underscored the Pentagon’s “need to protect our military networks,” but said that “it’s a national challenge as well.” In an interview with Charlie Rose broadcast Monday by PBS, Mr. Lynn added: “We need to protect our critical infrastructure. We need to protect our intellectual property. And that’s a whole-of-government effort.”

During a visit last week to NATO headquarters in Brussels, Mr. Gates lobbied for new partnerships to combat computer threats, while warning that the NATO networks were vulnerable.

“On cybersecurity, the alliance is far behind,” Mr. Gates said. “Our vulnerabilities are well known, but our existing programs to remedy these weaknesses are inadequate.”

Mr. Gates said he was not concerned that secret intelligence shared with allies would be compromised, but he said NATO had weaknesses in its defenses for computer networks at its headquarters and throughout the shared command structure.
Reply
11-05-2010, 03:11 AM,
#7
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
Finding the 'Cure' for the 'Cyber Epidemic'
As the "War on Terror" morphs into a multiyear, multitrillion dollar blood-soaked adventure to secure advantage over imperialism's geopolitical rivals (and steal other people's resources in the process), hitting the corporate "sweet spot," now as during the golden days of the Cold War, is as American as a preemptive war and the "pack of lies" that launch them.

Always inventive when it comes to ginning-up a profitable panic, U.S. defense and security grifters have rolled-out a product line guaranteed to scare the bejesus out of everyone: a "cyber epidemic"!

This one has it all: hordes of crazed "communist" Chinese hackers poised to bring down the power grid; swarthy armies of al-Qaeda fanatics who "hate us for our freedom;" "trusted insiders" who do us harm by leaking "sensitive information," i.e. bringing evidence of war crimes and corporate malfeasance to light by spilling the beans to secrecy-shredding web sites like WikiLeaks, Public Intelligence and Cryptome.

And to combat this latest threat to public order, the Pentagon's geek squad, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have launched several new initiatives.

Armed with catchy acronyms like SMITE, for "Suspected Malicious Insider Threat Elimination," and a related program, CINDER, for "Cyber Insider Threat," the agency's masters hope to "greatly increase the accuracy, rate and speed with which insider threats are detected and impede the ability of adversaries to operate undetected within government and military interest networks."

Just another day in our collapsing American Empire!

During an Executive Leadership Conference last week in Williamsburg, Virginia, deep in the heart of the Military-Industrial-Security corridor, Bob Dix, vice president for U.S. government and critical infrastructure protection for Juniper Networks cautioned that the United States is facing a "cyber epidemic."

According to Government Computer News, Dix told the contract-hungry hordes gathered at the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council's (ACT-IAC) conclave that "overall cyber defense isn't strong enough."

All the more reason then for the secret state to weaken encryption standards that might help protect individual users and critical infrastructure from malicious hacks and network intrusions, as the Obama administration will soon propose.

As I reported earlier this month, along with watering-down those standards, the administration is seeking authority from Congress that would force telecommunication companies to redesign their networks to more easily facilitate internet spying.

Add to the mix the recent "Memorandum of Agreement" between the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security that will usher in a "synchronization of current operational cybersecurity efforts," and it's a sure bet as I averred, that the Pentagon has come out on top in the intramural tussle within the security apparat.

During the ACT-IAC conference, greedily or lovingly sponsored (you make the call!) by "Platinum" angels AT&T, CACI, HP, Harris Corp. and Lockheed Martin, Sherri Ramsay, the director of NSA's Threat Operations Center, told the crowd: "Right now, we're a soft target, we're very easy."

Dix chimed in: "Nothing we're talking about today is new. What's new is the threat is more severe."

Music to the ears of all concerned I'm sure, considering the "cumulative market valued at $55 billion" over the next five years and the 6.2% annual growth rate in the "U.S. Federal Cybersecurity Market" that Market Research Media told us about.

Never mind that the number of "incidents of malicious cyber activity" targeting the Defense Department has actually decreased in 2010, as security journalist Noah Shachtman reported in Wired.

If we were inclined to believe Pentagon claims or those of "former intelligence officials" (we're not) that the United States faces an "unprecedented threat" from imperial rivals, hackers and terrorists, then perhaps (just for the sake of argument, mind you) their overwrought assertions and fulsome pronouncements might have some merit.

After all, didn't NSA and U.S. Cyber Command director, General Keith Alexander tell the U.S. Senate during confirmation hearings in April that he was "alarmed by the increase, especially this year" in the number of breaches of military networks?

And didn't former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, currently a top executive with the spooky Booz Allen Hamilton firm, whose cyber portfolio is well-watered with taxpayer dollars, pen an alarmist screed in The Washington Post claiming that "the United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing"?

Not to be outdone in the panic department, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn warned in a recent piece in the Council On Foreign Relations flagship publication, Foreign Affairs, that "the frequency and sophistication of intrusions into U.S. military networks have increased exponentially," and that "a rogue program operating silently, [is] poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary."

Oh my!

However, as Shachtman points out, "according to statistics compiled by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission ... the commission notes in a draft report on China and the internet, '2010 could be the first year in a decade in which the quantity of logged events declines'."

Better hush that up quick or else those government contractors "specializing in the most attractive niche segments of the market" as Washington Technology averred earlier this month, might see the all-important price per share drop, a real national crisis!

Panic sells however, and once the terms of the debate have been set by interested parties out to feather their nests well, it's off to the races!

After all as Defense Systems reported, "as cyberspace gains momentum the military must adjust its approach in order to take on an increasingly high-tech adversary."

Indeed, Major General Ed Bolton, the Air Force point man heading up cyber and space operations thundered during a recent meet-and-greet organized by the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association at the Sheraton Premier in McClean, Virginia that "we are a nation at war, and cyberspace is a warfighting domain."

Along these lines the Air Force and CYBERCOM are working out "the policy, doctrine and strategies" that will enable our high-tech warriors to integrate cyber "in combat, operation plans and exercises," Bolton explained.

And according to Brigadier General Ian Dickinson, Space Command's CIO, industry will "help the military take on an evolving war strategy--and [close] a gap between traditional and cyber-era defense," Defense Systems informed us.

"That's something we worry about," Space Command's Col. Kim Crider told AFCEA, perhaps over squab and a lobster tail or two, "integrating our non-kinetic capabilities with space operations."

"We think it's a good opportunity to partner with industry to develop and integrate these capabilities," Crider said, contemplating perhaps his employment opportunities after retiring from national service.

And why not, considering that AFCEA's board of directors are chock-a-block with executives from cyberfightin' firms like Booz Allen, SAIC, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics.

Perhaps too, the generals and full bird colonels on the Sheraton dais need reminding that "integrating our non-kinetic capabilities with space operations," has already been a matter of considerable import to U.S. Strategic Command's Gen. Kevin Chilton.

In 2009, the STRATCOM commander informed us that "the White House retains the option to respond with physical force--potentially even using nuclear weapons--if a foreign entity conducts a disabling cyber attack against U.S. computer networks."

That would certainly up the ante a notch or two!

Chilton said, "I think you don't take any response options off the table from an attack on the United States of America," Global Security Newswire reported. "Why would we constrain ourselves on how we respond?"

Judging by the way the U.S. imperial war machine conducts itself in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's no reason that the general's bellicose rhetoric shouldn't be taken seriously.

"I think that's been our policy on any attack on the United States of America," Chilton said. "And I don't see any reason to treat cyber any differently. I mean, why would we tie the president's hands? I can't. It's up to the president to decide."

Even short of nuclear war a full-on cyber attack on an adversary's infrastructure could have unintended consequences that would boomerang on anyone foolish enough to unleash military-grade computer worms and viruses.

All the more reason then to classify everything and move towards transforming the internet and electronic communications in general into a "warfighting domain" lorded-over by the Pentagon and America's alphabet-soup intelligence agencies.

As The Washington Post reported Friday, the secret state announced that "it had spent $80.1 billion on intelligence activities over the past 12 months."

According to the Post, the "National Intelligence Program, run by the CIA and other agencies that report to the Director of National Intelligence, cost $53.1 billion in fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, while the Military Intelligence Program cost an additional $27 billion."

By comparison, the total spent by America's shadow warriors exceeds Russia's entire military budget.

Despite releasing the budget figures, the Office of Director and National Intelligence and Defense Department officials refused to disclose any program details.

What percentage goes towards National Security Agency "black" programs, including those illegally targeting the communications of the American people are, like torture and assassination operations, closely guarded state secrets.

And with calls for more cash to "inoculate" the American body politic against a looming "cyber epidemic," the right to privacy, civil liberties and dissent, are soon destined to be little more than quaint relics of our former republic.

As security expert Bruce Schneier points out "we surely need to improve cybersecurity." However, "words have meaning, and metaphors matter."

"If we frame the debate in terms of war" Schneier writes, "we reinforce the notion that we're helpless--what person or organization can defend itself in a war?--and others need to protect us. We invite the military to take over security, and to ignore the limits on power that often get jettisoned during wartime."

As well, using catchy disease metaphors like "epidemic" to describe challenges posed by high-tech espionage and cyber crime evoke disturbing parallels to totalitarian states of the past.

Such formulas are all the more dangerous when the "antibodies" proposed by powerful military and corporate centers of power will be deployed with little in the way of democratic oversight and control and are concealed from the public behind veils of "national security" and "proprietary business information."
Posted by Antifascist at 9:10 AM
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Reply
11-06-2010, 02:48 AM,
#8
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/04/cyber_command_go/
US Cyber Command becomes 'fully operational'

Now witness the firepower

By Lewis Page

Posted in Enterprise Security, 4th November 2010 15:00 GMT


The US military's new Cyber Command has formally "achieved full operational capability", according to the Department of Defense (DoD).

“I am confident in the great service members and civilians we have here at US Cyber Command. Cyberspace is essential to our way of life and US Cyber Command synchronizes our efforts in the defense of DoD networks. We also work closely with our interagency partners to assist them in accomplishing their critical missions,” said General Keith Alexander, chief of Cyber Command and also of the feared National Security Agency (NSA), with which the Command shares a headquarters.

According to a statement issued yesterday announcing Full Operational Capability (FOC) for the cyber force:

Some of the critical FOC tasks included establishing a Joint Operations Center and transitioning personnel and functions from two existing organizations, the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations and the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare.

U.S. Cyber Command’s development will not end at FOC, and the department will continue to grow the capacity and capability essential to operate and defend our networks effectively. There are also enduring tasks that will be on-going after FOC, such as developing the workforce, providing support to the combatant commanders, and efforts to continue growing capacity and capability.

The central cyber command coordinates the activities of the separate US armed services' cyber forces - the 24th Air Force and corresponding cyber formations in the US Navy, Army and Marine Corps. It will also work closely with the NSA (formally speaking a "combat support agency" of the Defense Department) and will cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security.

The cyber command is responsible for defending the .mil domain, while .gov comes under the DHS. Both agencies' role in other parts of the internet is yet to become clear, though it is evident that the military cyber warriors will maintain the ability to attack the networks of others as well as defending their own. (The 24th AF contains an entire unit, the 67th Network Warfare Wing, dedicated to nothing else - though it has a subsidiary role in red-teaming friendly networks when there are no enemies to attack.)
Related stories

* Cameron to spend £1bn+ on cyber security (14 October 2010)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/14/cyber_budget/
* US military Cyber Command won't go operational as planned (30 September 2010)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/30/cyber_command_delay/
* Confusion over 'secret code' in US military Cyberforce crest (8 July 2010)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/08/cyber_command_crest_md5/
* NSA setting up secret 'Perfect Citizen' spy system (8 July 2010)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/08/perfect_citizen/
* NSA head confirmed as chief of US cyber command (12 May 2010)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/12/alexander_cyber_confirmation/
* US netwar-force Cyber Wings badge unveiled (4 May 2010)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/04/put_cyber_wings_on_my_sons_chest/
* South Korea sets up cyberwarfare unit to repel NORK hackers (12 January 2010)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/12/korea_cyberwarfare_unit/
* US Military cyber forces on the defensive in network battle (26 November 2009)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/26/24th_cyber_pinned_down/

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Reply
11-16-2010, 02:18 AM,
#9
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
Cyber Command Prepares the Ground for High-Tech War Crimes
While a bureaucratic turf war rages between the CIA and U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) over which secret state agency will be authorized to launch network attacks outside a "war zone," the big losers, as always, will be those unfortunate enough to find themselves on the receiving end of a military-grade "logic bomb."

Last week, The Washington Post reported that CYBERCOM "is seeking authority to carry out computer network attacks around the globe to protect U.S. interests." Leaving aside the thorny question of whose interests are being "protected" here, the Post tells us that unnamed administration lawyers are "uncertain about the legality of offensive operations."

Coming from a government that's incorporated the worst features of the previous regime into their repertoire, that's rather rich.

"The CIA has argued," the Post informs, "that such action is covert, which is traditionally its turf." Pentagon thrill-kill specialists beg to differ, asserting that "offensive operations are the province of the military and are part of its mission to counter terrorism, especially when, as one official put it, 'al-Qaeda is everywhere'."

That certainly covers a lot of ground! As a practical matter it also serves as a convenient justification--or pretext, take your pick--for our minders in Ft. Meade, Langley or Cheltenham to consummate much in the mischief department.

And with alarmist media reports bombarding us every day with dire scenarios, reminiscent of the "weapons of mass destruction" spook show that preceded the Iraq invasion, where China, Iran, Russia and North Korea are now stand-ins for "Saddam" in the cyberwar Kabuki dance, it is hardly surprising that "liberal" Democrats and "conservative" Republicans are marching in lockstep.

InfoSecurity reported last week that during a recent Manhattan conference, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) proclaimed that "the likelihood of a cyberattack that could bring down our [electrical] grid is ... 100%. Our networks are already being penetrated as we stand here. We are already under attack. We must stop asking ourselves 'could this happen to us' and move to a default posture that acknowledges this fact and instead asks 'what can we do to protect ourselves'?"

Why cede even more control to the secret state and their corporate partners who stand to make a bundle in the latest iteration of the endless "War on Terror" (Cyber Edition), of course!

An Offensive Brief

Despite all the hot air about protecting critical infrastructure and the mil.com domain, the offensive nature of Pentagon planning is written into Cyber Command's DNA.

As Antifascist Calling reported in April, the organization's aggressive posture is writ large in several Air Force planning documents. In a 2006 presentation to the Air Force Cyber Task Force for example, A Warfighting Domain: Cyberspace, Dr. Lani Kass asserted that "Cyber is a war-fighting domain. The electromagnetic spectrum is the maneuver space. Cyber is the United States' Center of Gravity--the hub of all power and movement, upon which everything else depends. It is the Nation's neural network."

Kass averred that "Cyber superiority is the prerequisite to effective operations across all strategic and operational domains--securing freedom from attack and freedom to attack."

Accordingly, she informed her audience that "Cyber favors the offensive," and that the transformation of the electromagnetic spectrum into a "warfighting domain" will be accomplished by: "Strategic Attack directly at enemy centers of gravity; Suppression of Enemy Cyber Defenses; Offensive Counter Cyber; Defensive Counter Cyber; Interdiction."

Two years later, the Strategic Vision unveiled by the Air Force disclosed that the purpose for standing up a dedicated cyber command is to "deceive, deny, disrupt, degrade, and destroy" an adversary's information infrastructure.

Air Force theorists averred that since "the confluence of globalization, economic disparities, and competition for scarce resources" pose significant challenges for the U.S. Empire, all the more pressing in light of capitalism's on-going economic crisis, an offensive cyber posture must move rapidly beyond the theoretical plane.

Echoing Kass, and in order to get a leg-up on the competition, we were told that "controlling cyberspace is the prerequisite to effective operations across all strategic and operational domains--securing freedom from attack and freedom to attack."

Shortly thereafter, Air Force Col. Charles W. Williamson III wrote in the prestigious Armed Forces Journal that "America needs the ability to carpet bomb in cyberspace to create the deterrent we lack." Williamson averred that "America must have a powerful, flexible deterrent that can reach far outside our fortresses and strike the enemy while he is still on the move."

His solution? Create a military-grade botnet that marshals the computing power of tens of thousands of Defense Department machines. "To generate the right amount of power for offense," Williamson wrote, "all the available computers must be under the control of a single commander, even if he provides the capability for multiple theaters."

And if innocent parties, not to mention a potential adversary's civilian infrastructure is destroyed in the process, Williamson declares that "if the botnet is used in a strictly offensive manner, civilian computers may be attacked, but only if the enemy compels us."

Indeed, "if the U.S. is defending itself against an attack that originates from a computer which was co-opted by an attacker, then there are real questions about whether the owner of that computer is truly innocent."

But as we know from observing the conduct of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, outside the imperial blast walls no one is "truly innocent."

While the Air Force may have lost the intramural skirmish to run the organization, a task now shared amongst the other armed services and NSA, their preemptive war doctrines are firmly in place. And with an operating budget of $120 million this year, to increase to $150 million in fiscal year 2011, excluding of course highly-secretive Special Access Programs hidden deep inside the Pentagon's "black" budget, it's off to the races.

As I reported last year, when Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates penned a Memorandum that marked its official launch, the former CIA chief and Iran-Contra criminal specified that CYBERCOM would be a "subordinate unified command" under U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM).

As readers are well aware, STRATCOM is the Pentagon satrapy charged with running space operations, information warfare, missile defense, global command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), global strike and strategic deterrence; in other words, they're the trigger finger on America's first-strike nuclear arsenal.

A Strategic Command Fact Sheet published in June told us that Cyber Command "plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries."

Gates ordered that the organization "must be capable of synchronizing warfighting effects across the global security environment as well as providing support to civil authorities and international partners."

What form that "support" will take is clear from previous agreements between the U.S. secret state and their "international partners." Beneath the dark banner of the UK-USA Security Agreement that powers the ECHELON signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network, agencies such as NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) keep a watchful eye on global communications.

On the domestic front, as I reported last month, a Memorandum of Agreement forged between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency means that "protecting" critical civilian infrastructure and communications assets, including the internet, is for all practical purposes now part of the Pentagon's cyberwar brief.

With authority to troll our communications handed to NSA by the Bush and Obama administrations under top secret provisions of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), the American people have no way of knowing what cybersecurity programs exist, who decides what is "actionable intelligence," or where private communications land after becoming part of the "critical infrastructure and key resources" landscape.

And with civilian control over "black" Pentagon programs off the table since the darkest days of the Cold War, the Defense Department's announcement last week that Cyber Command has achieved "full operational capability" should give pause.

Long-Running Feud

War criminal, arch geopolitical manipulator and corporate bag man Henry Kissinger once famously said, "covert action should not be confused with missionary work."

While true as far as it goes, bureaucratic blood-sport between the CIA and the Defense Department over control of world-wide cyber operations reflects a long-running battle within the secret state over which covert branch of government will command resources and run clandestine programs across the global "War on Terror" landscape.

Currently in the driver's seat when it comes to the deadly drone war in Pakistan and protecting America's opium-growing and heroin-dealing regional allies, the Agency vigorously objects to Pentagon maneuvers to carry out offensive cyber operations away from acknowledged war zones, because, so goes the argument, they have exclusive rights to the covert action brief.

Such claims have been challenged by the Pentagon, and considering the formidable assets possessed by Cyber Command and NSA, the Agency is likely to lose out when the Obama regime issues a ruling later this year.

This raises an inevitable question, not that its being asked by congressional grifters or corporate media stenographers: should NSA, the Pentagon or indeed any other secret state agency, including the CIA, be tasked with cybersecurity generally, let alone given carte blanche to conduct clandestine and legally dubious missions inside our computer networks?

As security expert Bruce Schneier wrote last year, "Cybersecurity isn't a military problem." In fact when the Bush and Obama governments gave the Pentagon a free hand to driftnet spy on the American people, Schneier averred that programs like the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program "created additional vulnerabilities in our domestic telephone networks."

Vulnerabilities not likely to be addressed by administration proposals that would further weaken encryption standards and order telecommunications and computer manufacturers to build surveillance-ready backdoors into their devices and networks, as The New York Times disclosed in September.

Despite a warning last year by former DHS National Cyber Security division head Amit Yoran that "the intelligence community has always and will always prioritize its own collection efforts over the defensive and protection mission of our government's and nation's digital systems," the securitization of America's electronic networks is proceeding at break-neck speed.

Describing the military's power-grab in benign terms, NSA/CYBERCOM director Alexander characterized Pentagon operational plans as an "active defense," one that "hunts" inside a computer network "for malicious software, which some experts say is difficult to do in open networks and would raise privacy concerns if the government were to do it in the private sector," The Washington Post reports.

An unnamed "senior defense official" described the process as an "ability to push 'out as far as we can' beyond the network perimeter to 'where the threat is coming from' in order to eliminate it."

Never mind that pushing out "as far as we can" will mean that the American people will be subject to additional constitutional breaches or that current Pentagon initiatives, such as NSA's warrantless wiretapping programs are not subject to meaningful public oversight and are hidden beneath top secret layers of classification and the continual invocation of the "state secrets" privilege by the Bush and Obama administrations.

Regardless of which secret state agency comes out on top in the current dispute, where choosing between the CIA and the Pentagon offers a Hobson's choice of whether one prefers to be poisoned or shot, as Doug Henwood points wrote in Left Business Observer following the mid-term elections: "A country that's rotting from the head, poisoned by alienation, plutocracy, and an aversion to thinking, careens from one idiocy to another."

And so it goes, on and on...
Posted by Antifascist at 11:04 AM
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09-20-2012, 11:55 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-21-2012, 12:04 AM by h3rm35.)
#10
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32497.htm

An Obama official seems to justify an Iranian attack on the US...

...By Glenn Greenwald

September 20, 2012 "The Guardian" - - ) It seems that a leading Obama official just endorsed the right of Iran to attack the US and Israel:

The Washington Post, today ("US official says cyberattacks can trigger self-defense rule"):

"Cyberattacks can amount to armed attacks triggering the right of self-defense and are subject to international laws of war, the State Department's top lawyer said Tuesday.

"Spelling out the US government's position on the rules governing cyberwarfare, Harold Koh, the department's legal adviser, said a cyber-operation that results in death, injury or significant destruction would probably be seen as a use of force in violation of international law.

"In the United States' view, any illegal use of force potentially triggers the right of national self-defense, Koh said …

"In our view, there is no threshold for a use of deadly force to qualify as an 'armed attack' that may warrant a forcible response,' he said … Koh also said that in responding to an attack, an action need not be taken in cyberspace, but it must be a necessary action and one that is proportionate, avoiding harm to civilians."

New York Times, 1 June 2012 ("Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran"):

"From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America's first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

"Mr Obama decided to accelerate the attacks – begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games – even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran's Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet …

"It appears to be the first time the United States has repeatedly used cyberweapons to cripple another country's infrastructure, achieving, with computer code, what until then could be accomplished only by bombing a country or sending in agents to plant explosives.

"Mr Obama, according to participants in the many Situation Room meetings on Olympic Games, was acutely aware that with every attack he was pushing the United States into new territory, much as his predecessors had with the first use of atomic weapons in the 1940s, of intercontinental missiles in the 1950s and of drones in the past decade."

Of course, Koh's argument would only constitute a defense of Iran's right to attack the US if the rights claimed by the US applied to other countries, so there's nothing to worry about.
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10-04-2012, 10:31 PM,
#11
RE: Cyberwar, the Internet and the Militarization of Civil Society
Energy New Front in Economic Warfare
By Global Research News
Global Research, October 03, 2012
Url of this article:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/energy-new-front-in-economic-warfare/
by Daniel J. Graeber

Opposition leaders in Canada suggested a string of cyber security threats to domestic companies might be the work of Chinese hackers. Twice last week, the Canadian government confirmed two separate companies -– both in the energy sector — were the target of cyber-attacks. In the United States, meanwhile, the Obama administration said national security interests trumped energy concerns and blocked a Chinese company from constructing wind turbines near a Navy installation in Oregon. While the Chinese military isn’t the overt threat like the Soviet Union was, Beijing’s rise as an economic power has seemingly sparked a war of economies.

The Canadian government last week confirmed that two energy companies were the target of a cyber-attack believed to have originated from China. Though Beijing denied it was responsible for the attacks, opposition leaders in Canada said there was cause for concern given the pending Chinese takeover of Canadian energy company Nexen.

“Cyber security is something we have to pay attention to and that … includes how deals are set up and trade deals are set up and acquisitions are made,” said legislator Paul Dewar, the foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition New Democratic Party.

Nexen in August backed a $15-billion takeover bid by China National Offshore Oil Corp. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has lobbied for Chinese investments in his country’s vast oil and gas riches. Those ambitions could be derailed, however, given political divisions in Canada and Dewar’s comments may further exacerbate tensions following a Chinese leader’s statement that Beijing can’t do business in Canada if deals like Nexen become politicized.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government last week blocked Ralls Corp from moving forward with plans to install wind turbines near or within restricted air space at a naval weapons training facility in the western state of Oregon. President George H.W. Bush was the last U.S. president to declare such action when, in 1990, he blocked a Chinese aerospace technology company from buying out a manufacturing company in the United States. Ralls has four wind farm projects in various stages of development and said it would take the matter before the courts. Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s “all-of-the-above” domestic energy policy, the administration said the move to build wind installations so close to a military site was a threat to national security interests.

Beijing on Monday celebrated the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. An opinion piece in China’s official Xinhua News Agency last week said the country is “confidently grasping opportunities” given the pace of economic growth since 1949. As economies expand, they must do so beyond their borders as domestic markets become saturated. With the Cold War over, it’s unlikely the geopolitical fears that dominated the international arena in the 1940s would redevelop in the early 21st century. But as low-grade conflict becomes the norm, so too may a different kind of global warfare.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Samuel Cox last week accusing Beijing of trying to crack into the Pentagon’s computer network.

“Their level of effort against the Department of Defense is constant,” he said.

Related:
Currency/Warfare:¨A new world order will emerge from the ashes.¨
http://concen.org/forum/thread-44448.html
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