Category Archives: Security

Google Exposed for Funding Pro-Slavery Candidates Calling for Lynchings

The Seth Meyers show does a pretty good job capturing the unapologetic racism of white supremacist candidates in America

A crucial bit of analysis is missing, however.

You might, like most rational people watching this video, wonder why someone saying “a public hanging, I’d be on the front row” (death penalty) suddenly pivots to throw out anti-abortion platitudes as their best defense against criticism. I mean on the one hand they’re saying lynchings are like their favorite spectator sport, while on the other hand they’re saying not a single life can be ended.

Isn’t this an obvious contradiction?

Alas, historic context explains the white supremacist perspective here, such as why they see no contradiction in carelessly taking lives while telling others lives can’t be taken under any circumstances.

Slavery was an industry of owning humans and birth was the means of production and enrichment for the slave owners. They did not give slaves any rights, let alone choices, when they demanded that children be born as quickly as possible to the detriment and death of those involved.

And then these same owners of humans also claimed to reserve the right to kill humans indiscriminately, murdering whomever they wanted, and brag about their desire for front row seating in any lynchings.

I’ve written about this before, and in particular how Abraham Lincoln described the situation in 1838 America:

Thus went on this process of hanging, from gamblers to negroes, from negroes to white citizens, and from these to strangers; till, dead men were seen literally dangling from the boughs of trees upon every road side; and in numbers almost sufficient, to rival the native Spanish moss of the country, as a drapery of the forest.

Turn, then, to that horror-striking scene at St. Louis. A single victim was only sacrificed there. His story is very short; and is, perhaps, the most highly tragic, of any thing of its length, that has ever been witnessed in real life. A mulatto man, by the name of McIntosh, was seized in the street, dragged to the suburbs of the city, chained to a tree, and actually burned to death; and all within a single hour from the time he had been a freeman, attending to his own business, and at peace with the world.

Such are the effects of mob law; and such are the scenes, becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of law and order; and the stories of which, have even now grown too familiar, to attract any thing more, than an idle remark.

And hopefully that gives proper context and the analysis needed for a white supremacist candidate today saying “a public hanging, I’d be on the front row”.

The story gets worse, far worse, however. Several people have pointed out to me that very large silicon valley technology companies are funding these white supremacist platforms.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) was caught on tape “joking” about her willingness to attend a lynching at a campaign event in November. […] One corporation that apparently was unbothered by Hyde-Smith’s remarks: Google. On Tuesday, Google donated $5000 to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, according to documents filed with the FEC.

This is no joke. Google after a widely-discussed lynching statement threw campaign donations at a white supremacist candidate. One might be tempted to think this is a one-off, a strange coincidence. However, investigators already have pointed out that Google is funding an even more well known white supremacist candidate:

Google previously donated $10,000 to the Making America Prosperous PAC, the leadership PAC of Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX). Making America Prosperous gave Congressman Steve King (R-IA) a cash infusion after other corporate donors abandoned him over his ties to white nationalism.

After other corporate donors had abandoned candidates with a white nationalism (Nazi) platform, and after a candidate made comments in favor of lynchings, Google apparently sent funds to help the white supremacists win.

Recently, as I met with many Chief Security Officers (CSO) to discuss cross-cloud security architectures, I heard several times from different leaders “do not mention Google in this room, they are not an option”. It seemed so harsh. And it came without detail, as If I already should know. I had to learn more, to find out what was driving the hard line eliminating the giant brand.

Turns out it is…ethics.

I had figred it related to the history of lying about privacy controls and failing to monitor staff abusing access to private data. That was bad, for sure, and Google hasn’t done the best job clearing their name. It also isn’t the sort of thing that writes off a brand entirely, as controls evolve and trust returns through operations monitoring.

However, that wasn’t the only issue. People sent me stories about Google continuing to fund campaigns even AFTER widespread condemnation. I mean Steve King…come on. This is an awkward timing issue for a brand claiming to be the most up-to-date source of knowledge.

And it gets worse again. Google now has been caught in further controversy after an attempt to claim ignorance and make a “we do not condone” explanation for their contribution.

Google claimed it made the donation on Nov. 2—the same day Hyde-Smith made her comments. “This contribution was made on November 2nd before Senator Hyde-Smith’s remarks became public on November 11th,” Google representatives said. “While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would not have made such a contribution had we known about them.” If Google’s claim were true, that would mean the Hyde-Smith campaign filed a false report. It would also mean the campaign failed to report on time. Federal law requires than any donations made within 20 days of an election be reported within 48 hours.

“We do not condone” is not “we condemn”. Historians again are needed here, because context helps explain what’s really going on.

Mississippi had the highest rate of lynchings of African Americans, which of course was linked inexorably to economics.

Once black were given their freedom, many people felt that the freed blacks were getting away with too much freedom and felt they needed to be controlled. Mississippi had the highest lynchings from 1882-1968 with 581.

As you can see in the quoted writings of Lincoln above, citing mob law before the civil war, white supremacist candidates always have and always are positioning lynchings as “pro-growth policies for business and technology”. It is more plainly described here:

March 1892, a white mob lynched three black men — Thomas Moss, Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell — and left their mangled bodies in a field a mile north of downtown Memphis….their crime was their temerity. They dared to challenge white businessmen accustomed to having a monopoly on economic activity.

A Google inability to straightforwardly condemn such a statement about public hangings (see the redemption train video above), while further endorsing white nationalists as being pro-business and technology…should be more in the news. At least I know a wide group of CSOs are monitoring the situation, as a function of deciding how and when to trust a cloud service provider.

Major Win for the Right to Repair Movement

Motherboard has details of the latest news, which has big implications for hacking and security

Librarian of Congress and US Copyright Office just proposed new rules that will give consumers and independent repair experts wide latitude to legally hack embedded software on their devices in order to repair or maintain them. This exemption to copyright law will apply to smartphones, tractors, cars, smart home appliances, and many other devices.

This goes directly to the heart of the matter with lawyers at companies like Apple, who convince engineering to penalize owners of technology who attempt to fix things they own

Apple has a built-in kill switch that can prevent new MacBook Pros from functioning if they have been repaired by anyone who is not authorized to do so by Apple.

As a former authorized Apple repairman, I totally disagree with Apple’s thinking here. And to be fair Apple is not the only one. Back in 2015 I wrote a few thoughts about what’s at stake

US Regime Leader Openly Calls for Military to Murder Foreign Civilians

You may recall earlier this year when the United Nations charged a U.S.-led coalition with humanitarian law violations, due to airstrikes on a school that killed 150 civilians.

Basically U.S.-led coalition forces were formally called out because they “failed to take proper precautions” before launch of airstrikes.

Families were known for years to be seeking shelter from harm in that school. While the military said it feared militants were present, it instead killed innocent civilians and then failed to produce any evidence of an actual threat.

Russia was accused of having a similarly careless policy as the U.S.-led coalition, murdering civilians indiscriminately:

Pinheiro, commenting on the Russian strike, said that under international humanitarian law, using certain weapons in civilian areas automatically amounts to the war crime of launching indiscriminate attacks because of the nature of the weapons used.

And three U.S.-led coalition strikes on a school near Raqqa in March 2017 killed 150 residents – roughly five times the toll acknowledged by the Pentagon, which said at the time that dozens of militants and not civilians were killed.

The U.N. investigators found no evidence that Islamic State fighters were at the school and said the U.S.-led coalition had violated international law by failing in its duty to protect displaced civilians known to be sheltered there since 2012.

The above tragedy and charges of humanitarian law violations now seems like foreshadowing. In today’s news the U.S. regime leader has called upon the military to begin firing indiscriminately into unarmed crowds of civilians:

…he wants the military to treat anyone doing that as if they are armed with a deadly weapon.

“When they throw rocks, consider it a rifle”

To be fair, this is an old talking point of extremist groups around the world who have long said whites only can survive if guns are used indiscriminately as a means to maintain white nationalist power over non-white civilians.

These extremist groups were upset recently when evidence collected about U.S. Border Patrol excessive use of force had led to reports showing that rocks and bottles rarely ever justify armed response.

Eight people have been killed by agents in rock throwing incidents since 2010, according to the ACLU. According the IG report, there were 185 rock assaults in the 2012 budget year, and agents responded with gunfire 12 percent of the time.

The studies were initiated, in part, because of cases like the Rojas death in 2013 when a large group of U.S. enforcement officers basically physically tortured a man in front of many witnesses, yet avoided any charges of wrongdoing. That case was settled last year with $1M paid to Rojas’ family due to Rojas’ inhumane treatment.

Naturally the outcome was “a government-commissioned internal review that recommended to end the practice of shooting people who throw rocks and bottles at agents”. And naturally the Border Patrol ignored the review.

That’s where politics as usual was sitting on a 12%-of-the-time issue that needed serious consideration. Only the white nationalists believed strongly in excessive use of force as a natural (god given, genetic) right. Others argued things like 12% meant they couldn’t rule out shooting in defense, or looked for ways to get the 12% number down to something else.

What seems to just have happened is the U.S. publicly declared gunfire should be used 100% of the time a civilian could be judged as hostile; 100% of the time that someone carrying something that looks like a rock or even just carrying a bottle, they should be targeted with lethal force.

Considering someone a target for a rifle when they carry anything that looks like a rock, is the language of…guess what? That is white nationalist policy.

It is a radical, extreme, abrupt change to U.S. policy to openly call for murdering foreign civilians. Nevermind the nuance of data/reports since Rojas’ death or the settlement, and the U.N. charges earlier this year. The latest news of the U.S. regime leader is that he is declaring himself a “nationalist” leader of the U.S. military who doesn’t care about indiscriminate civilian death.

“Trump’s ‘I’m a Nationalist’ comment will likely represent the biggest boon for white supremacist recruitment since the film Birth of a Nation glorified the Klan in 1915 and gained the KKK 4 million members by 1925,” tweeted reformed neo-Nazi Christian Picciolini.

What kind of nationalist wants to shoot unarmed civilians of foreign countries 100% of the time?

It’s fairly obvious the association, based on who has applauded loudest at his use of that term alongside extremist xenophobic doctrines

The effort to plant the seeds of white nationalism in the political mainstream, where they might blossom into pro-white political coalitions that appeal to a broader swath of Caucasian voters, will not be easy, according to the chairman of the American Nazi Party.

But Rocky Suhayda thinks there is one political figure who presents a “real opportunity” to lessen the load.

Who is it? Donald Trump

I mention all this mostly because it proves my earlier blog post true, that there is no way under the current regime that their brand new statement “US offensive cyberattacks will not target civilian infrastructure” can be true.

If a water treatment plant has rocks in or around it, or an energy plant is used to make bottles, what really prevents a “nationalist” leader from dictating cyberattacks commence regardless of humanitarian laws or logic?

This departure from logic is truly a dangerous turn away from what should be a carefully constructed decision-tree. Allowing someone to hold a rifle when they are told to see every rock as an imminent threat is a certain recipe for disaster.

It also has very important implications in terms of automation and big data technology such as driverless cars (urban missiles). Will the person working on an algorithm to control all the cars on the border of the U.S. identify anyone holding a bottle as an imminent threat to “nationalist” power?

Perhaps we also should consider how sending 7,000 soldiers and associated equipment to the border is to transfer lethal equipment to white nationalist terror cells, who more egregiously and readily want to violate humanitarian law, given how troops are preparing for militias stealing their gear.

There are many good counter-examples to this U.S. shift towards ignorance and highly insecure logical fallacies (again, the U.S. regime is claiming that anyone with a bottle is equivalent threat to an American soldier with a rifle, which is as stupid as it sounds).

To see what other models have been used, and should be explored in our immediate driverless future, look at historic discussions of grey areas, small percentages, tight timelines and attempts at precise targeting.

Here’s just one such exploration of avoiding putting targets on innocent civilians:

Tension was heightening. The minutes dragged on.

And then, five minutes before 5 o’clock, 25 minutes after the fighters took off, a phone jangled in Canary. It was the secure line that connected directly to Mossad headquarters. “Doubts have arisen,” said the voice on the line…

Nine Bombs Sent to Critics of US Regime, Just This Week

Per my earlier post about terror attacks under the current US regime, the BBC says the number this week has jumped to nine:

The device arrived at the Tribeca Grill in Manhattan early on Thursday local time, US media said, citing police.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden has also reportedly received packages.

If linked to previous incidents, this would be the ninth perceived critic of President Donald Trump to receive a suspected explosive device this week.


Update: An suspect has been arrested, according to NYT story with the byline “Van With Pro-Trump Stickers Seized”

Speaking on CNN on Friday, Mr. Clapper said he was not surprised that a device had been sent to him. He has been a frequent critic of President Trump, a similarity shared with everyone whose names have appeared on the packages discovered so far.

“This is definitely domestic terrorism,” Mr. Clapper said. “Anyone who has in any way been a critic, publicly been a critic of President Trump, needs to be on an extra alert.”

The regime leader meanwhile, in an attempt to condemn terrorism, instead lashed out again at his critics and denied having accountability for lashing out at his critics

“Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, ‘it’s just not Presidential!'”

Boots in the Datacenter Don’t Mean an Enemy is Denied Virtual Power

This post title easily could be a new book cover. Catchy, no?

There is an interesting discussion over C4ISRNET (Media for the Intelligence Age Military) about US military training and plans to hack civilian infrastructure

Part of this discussion is the notion of a commander needs to dominate in what’s called gray space — space that is not owned by either friendly forces or the enemy — to seize certain objectives as part of their overall campaign. This could manifest itself in the seizing of an oil pumping station due to its importance on the national economy. In the future, Army leaders believe it won’t be enough to physically control the pumping station and surrounding territory, but forces must control the virtual network as well.

“What good is it to win the terrain if the enemy can simply by computer network turn off the pumping,” Wittstruck asked.

Ok, to be fair, they’re talking about preventing infrastructure being hacked remotely by an enemy. Still, you have to admit turnabout is common in planning exercises. Also, not sure why network gets modifiers here. First it’s a virtual network. Then it’s a computer network. People, if you control THE network, you get both virtual and computer domination.


Alternate title: Black VPC Squadron (Baa Baa Black VPC).

“They were a collection of misfits and screwballs who became the terrors of the network. They were known as the Black VPC”

US Secret Service Intercepts “Functional” Bombs

News station WFSB is reporting that four attempted bomb attacks over three days have been thwarted by the Secret Service and others:

The bombs were found just two days after an explosive device was discovered in the mailbox of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who frequently donates to liberal causes.

Official investigators told the Associated Press the attacks are linked. A DC law enforcement official told CNN the devices appear rudimentary but functional.

After the attack on Soros Tuesday, the following attacks happened Weds morning:

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Barack Obama
  • Time Warner Center, home of CNN

The Secret Service statement (PDF) says two of the attacks were blocked because “routine mail screening procedures” that detects “potential explosive devices”. It does not mention processes that detected a bomb in the mail room of CNN.

The bomb attack at the New York residence of Soros has been described as hand-delivered.

…markings on the envelope were likely intended to make it appear as though the package was sent through the mail, though they believed it was not.

Related: “Trump links New York bomb attack to immigration debate

“Today’s attempted mass murder attack in New York City … once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people,” Trump said in a statement.

[…]

It is not the first time that Trump has quickly seized on a terrorist attack, in this country or abroad, to argue for his … agenda. Yet the president’s reaction contrasts with his response after violence involving American nationals.

Scooter Companies Charged With ‘Gross Negligence’

File this lawsuit news under things that anyone with a history degree could have predicted:

The suit alleges that e-scooter companies knew their riders were injuring pedestrians and –– by failing to stop the collisions from occurring –– assisted and encouraged scooter riders as they committed “assaults.”

The suit also states that both companies’ scooters contain defective electronics and mechanical parts, as well inadequate safety instructions for riders and that they have “a wanton disregard for the safety of others.” The risks posed by the devices, the suit states, “were known and/or knowable” based on “professional knowledge” known within the transportation community.

Scooters weren’t going to magically become safe, by increasing their supply and decreasing barriers to abuse (i.e. powered to a quick and high top speed at no cost to rider).

Another way of looking at this is to consider how Vespa was born out of WWII and became wildly successful, was banned, and then returned again.

Conversion of Italian warplane engineering to civilian mobility in war-ravaged Europe birthed the famous aeronautical-looking scooters of the 1950s. They were cheap and convenient for rebuilding markets after war, so the concept boomed.

Fast-forward to the 1970s and the scooters were being banned due to air quality concerns, in a large part related to their success. So many engines had been accumulating massive technical and healthcare debt, dumping toxins into the air without paying for consequences, legislation had to be passed:

Having returned to the US in 2000 after exiting the market in 1985 because of new emissions legislation that targeted two stroke engines, the Vespa was an immediate success all over again

And being a success all over again is a good thing, right? I believe that’s called innovation.

The birthplace of the Vespa has even banned 2-stroke engine versions for the same reason, air quality harms:

…environment assessor Italo Porcile is determined not to give in to the pressure.

‘I love the Vespino, I used to have one myself,’ he said. ‘But the ‘Euro 0′ (a model produced before 1999) pollutes terribly and public health is more important’.

Piaggio, which started off producing locomotives and then fighter planes, came up with the Vespa after the Second World War, when the country’s roads, severely damaged by bombing, were crying out for an alternative to cars for the masses.

With the 2-stroke air negligence version banned, scooter manufacturers are only now investing in superior engineering options:

Elettrica is propelled by an electric motor claiming peak output of 5.3 hp (with a continuous output of 2.7 hp) and more than 147.5 lb-ft. of torque, which Piaggio says is superior performance to a traditional 50cc gasoline-powered scooter

Scooters being dumped on sidewalks and running into pedestrians is literally the opposite of innovation. The lawsuit again negligent scooter manufacturers is an unfortunate start, though clearly what scooter developers really needed sooner was a regulatory wake-up to spur them into more innovative designs.

USAF Needs to Get a Handle on Costs

Nothing says AirForce like spending $1300 to replace a coffee mug because…safety

The cups, which plug into outlets on cargo planes to reheat liquids such as water or coffee, have a faulty plastic handle that easily breaks when the cups are dropped. And because replacement parts for the cup are no longer made, the Air Force has had to order a whole new cup when the handle breaks.

In an Oct. 2 letter to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Grassley said that 25 replacement cups, each costing roughly $1,280 each, have been bought this year alone, for a total of roughly $32,000.

That’s a latte money.

Congress apparently wants to get a grip on the situation and a brewhaha has started.

Quick, someone introduce these air crews to iced coffee before the bean counters bring the entire program to a grinding halt.

They Shall Not Grow Old: Color and Dub Revives WWI Footage

When you watch the footage from this new film, based on old footage, you should ponder if adding color and voices give it more impact as an educational tool:

All school children in the UK now are expected to watch it. The title comes from Binyon’s 21 September 1914 poem “For the Fallen

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

His words were meant to capture the tone after an August 1914 outbreak of war, where the German Army invaded Luxembourg and Belgium on the “Western Front”. British commitments to uphold Belgian neutrality (as well as Anglo-French naval agreement of 1912) led it to declare war in response and send forces into France.

Some have pointed out England’s response was very unlike their entry into Napoleonic wars where England delayed until 1803 coming to the aid of other nations. However, this provocative thinking is ignorant of history, as Britain faced a very different geo-political situation with the German invasion. Napoleon initially presented the opposite scenario, as his seizure of power within France came with an offering to stabilize and end hostility, given the “1801 Peace of Amiens“.

The treaty was welcomed with such enthusiasm by the British public that on returning to London with Bonaparte’s ratification of the preliminaries the First Consul’s ADC, Lauriston, was welcomed by a huge crowd that unhitched the horses and pulled his carriage through the streets shouting ‘Vive Bonaparte!’. […] “In less than two and a half years that is from 18 Brumaire (9 November, 1799) to 25 March, 1802, the date of the Peace of Amiens, France passed from the debasement into which the Directory had plunged her, to the foremost rank in Europe.”

That moment of celebration and hope for peaceful trade definitely was not the situation a year later, when Britain suddenly realized in 1803 they faced complete loss of economic control (Napoleon stated England deserved no voice in global affairs). Germany in 1914, like France in 1803, was threatening Britain’s empire. Delay didn’t seem to be a real option in 1914, given early attempts at German defeat (no matter how unlikely) could avoid another protracted decade-long Napoleonic war situation (1803–1815).

The 1914 German attack threatened stability and safety across Europe and beyond as it violently pushed all the way into France reaching the eastern Paris outskirts. From September 6th to the 10th, six French armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) counter-attacked along the Marne River and defeated the German Army, forcing retreat northwest.

On 9 September Bülow learned that the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was advancing into the gap between his 2nd Army and Kluck. He ordered a retreat, obliging Kluck to do the same. The counterattack of the French 5th and 6th Armies and the BEF developed into the First Battle of the Marne, a general counter-attack by the French Army. By 11 September the Germans were in full retreat.

This remarkable change in fortunes was caused partially by the exhaustion of many of the German forces: some had marched more than 240km (150 miles), fighting frequently. The German advance was also hampered by demolished bridges and railways, constricting their supply lines, and they had underestimated the resilience of the French.

France suffered approximately 250,000 casualties in this battle as German forces desperately tried to take Paris. Germany refused to acknowledge their losses. And BEF casualties were recorded as 12,733. Perhaps most significantly, BEF losses signaled the significance of an allied front against German aggression. Some still debate had the BEF and French armies gone further, whether they could have ended German campaigns early and entirely.

A battle in September 1914 thus is considered one of the most important in WWI history, as German retreat at Paris destroyed the “Schlieffen Plan”; quick victory in the West was meant to allow focus on attacking Russia. Instead, Germany was forced to dig in for a protracted war on two fronts. Despite being able to regroup after this battle, ultimately German defeat four years later meant nearly 3 million of its own people killed.

“They Shall Not Grow Old”, named after a September 1914 poem, commemorates in new ways how the British decided to act early and decisively in response to German aggression, saving France and Russia from occupation.

An original written copy of “For the Fallen” has been digitized by the British Library.

‘FOR THE FALLEN’: autograph copy of poem by Robert Laurence Binyon, C.H., made for presentation to the Museum; 1938. First published in The Times, 21 Sept. 1914, and in book form in The Winnowing-Fan, 1914, pp. 28, 29.

Now, as you just read it, did you ponder whether adding color would help? Is that ink black or blue? What is the true shade of the paper?