Monday, October 20, 2014

NSA-Telecom Inc?

Click here for related story [Forbes]
[An update (21OCT2014) on this story follows the text of this post

Forbes reports a highly unusual transaction from one of our most revered Blue Chip companies -- none other than Big Blue!

Reportedly, IBM had "steep operating losses" and "... will PAY $1.5 BILLION to get rid of its [micro]chip division."
[For IBM, $1.5 Billion is slightly more than a "rounding error" - why get rid of a future profit center?]

Further, "... IBM has essentially agreed to GIVE its Microelectronics OEM semiconductor business and manufacturing operations to Globalfoundaries."

So, why would one of the largest companies in the world, with $100 Billion in operating revenue, not only GIVE away its microchip subsidiary -- a GROWTH industry, but PAY $1.5 BILLION to get rid of it!

What's the story behind the story!

Let's review the unusual factors in this transaction.

1) "IBM has agreed to essentially give its Microelectronics OEM semiconductor business 
     and manufacturing operations to GlobalFoundries."

2)  The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the owner of GlobalFoundaries
      through its subsidiary Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC).

      a) Abu Dhabi has become a prime Middle East ally of US Intelligence, as well as a key
          money-laundering conduit for NSA and CIA [and drug cartels] for a covert
          corporate acquisitions process.
          [Think of a sophisticated, high-tech Iran-Contra operation; Janet Reno, Clinton's 
           Attorney General, shut down investigations of BCCI and its control of US banks]

      b) This acquisition will make Abu Dhabi the controlling entity in supplying integrated circuits
          for telecom companies AMD, Broadcom, Qualcomm and STMicroelectronics.
          [Will NSA add in firmware to these chips to track and reroute data to NSA servers?]

3)  ATIC acquired AMD [Advanced Micro Devices] in 2009 and Chartered Semiconductor in 2010

     a)  AMD is the second largest [Intel is first] global supplier of microprocessors and dominant as
          a major global supplier of graphics processing units [e.g., your cell phone screen imagery].
          [If you have a PC, it likely has either an AMD or an Intel processor in it.]

     b)  AMD acquired the low-power micro-server manufacturer SeaMicro
           (1) Collaborated with Verizon to power cloud services - and cell phone transmissions.
           (2) Signal processing bandwidth at peak of 1.28 Tb/s [terabytes per second]
                 [that's per second; Comcast limits users to 500 GB per month!]
           (3) Cloud Computing capacity [supporting cell-phone data links] per server storage unit
                 is five (5) petabytes [or 5,000 terabytes, or 5 million GB].
                 [Size is important; up to 1,800 servers can fit in a single server rack - or 9 million TB!]

     c)  AMD is also a major global supplier of motherboard chipsets, embedded processors and
          graphics processors for servers, workstations, personal computers, and embedded systems
          applications -- supporting the telecommunications industry.
          [thus, the path for NSA to embed firmware on most computers and cell phones.

4)  This acquisition will make Abu Dhabi the controlling entity in supplying integrated circuits for telecom companies AMD, Broadcom, Qualcomm and STMicroelectronics.

5)  Sanjay Jha, CEO of GlobalFoundries, was the Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility [cell phones/technology currently being acquired by Lenovo of China].  Earlier, he was the CEO of Qualcomm.

His spin-offs, subsidiaries, and acquisitions include
      a) ON Semiconductor [integrated passive (monitoring) devices,
      b) Solomon Systech [image processing]
      c) Iridium [network of 66 communications satellites; principal
          client is DOD]
      d) subsidiary is Motorola Solutions [RFID (Radio Frequency
          identifies, tracks and exploits electronic cell phone tags containing stored data
      e) acquisition is Sendo [created Symbian, a closed-source mobile Operating System (OS);
          notable for its graphics user interface [GUI]  and multiple language capabilities.
       f) Freescale Semiconductor [digital signal processors/controllers], was purchased by the
          Blackstone Group [assets: $35 Billion; and the Carlyle Group [assets: $40 Billion].
          Reportedly engaged in an electronic "cloaking" process which would hide aircraft from
          ground radar; additionally, their R&D projects include radar interference and electronic
          countermeasures designed to disrupt electric grids, the Internet, the Cellular network, and
          emergency frequencies used by police and fire departments.

      - Freescale Semiconductor is particularly notable since 20 of its employees were on Malaysian Flight 370, which went missing.  Nine of those passengers were the owners of a patent which contributed to the "cloaking" process.  In addition, there were 20 US Special Operations passengers aboard - whom some believe carried out the hijacking, flying the plane to Diego Garcia and imprisoning the passengers.

Our conclusion?

We'll take a wild guess here and conclude that NSA has joined forces with private sector financiers and the Abu Dhabi leadership to gain control of a select group of companies which dominate the cellular communications industry, to include those involved in manufacture of the microprocessor components integral to computers, storage, and processing -- which are then integrated into computer systems and cellular devices.  With the corporate structure based in Abu Dhabi, there is no concern over running afoul of the US legal system.

Having control over the manufacture of all those components would allow for the insertion of dormant coding on the microprocessors which could be activated at some point in the future to allow a "back door" into computers, servers and cellular devices to either initiate a virus, or to transmit all signal data to a remote server -- defeating all installed anti-virus measures.

We've seen some of this activity in action, and have to presume that the rest is at least on the drawing board, waiting for the opportunity to seize control of your cell phone calls and texts, your laptop, and your company's servers.

As a footnote, we'll add a new Congressional Inquiry to this account.
It seems that General Keith Alexander, former head of NSA, created a company called IronNet -- designed primarily to win NSA contracts and retain access to all of NSA's capabilities.

It seems that he's carried this to an extreme by bringing NSA's Chief Technical Officer [CTO], Patrick Dowd, over to his company 20 hours per week, which, of course, blatantly violates federal law and government regulations.  Alexander defended his actions by agreeing to pay Dowd for his time.

Rep Alan Grayson [D-FL] is investigating, and called this arrangement
" obvious violation of standards of ethical conduct for employees of the Executive Branch"

Those of us who served in the Military with Alexander are gratified that this obsequious twit is finally being revealed for the charlatan that he is.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NSA Helps Cops Spy


Click here for related story [Bloomberg]

We've commented earlier about NSA sharing their high tech capabilities with local police agencies, which was the basis for much of Mr Snowden's leaks of NSA Top Secret briefing slides.

As you may recall, NSA's mission was to spy on foreign powers, both enemy and friendly, to assure US national security.  However, after 9/11 [well, in reality, long before], NSA began spying on US citizenry; they started with Congress and political candidates, and moved from there down to Joe the Plumber -- for no other reason than that they could.

NSA: Rogue Agency                                          [FARSNews]
Of late, the NSA is an agency without portfolio.

With all their whiz-bang hardware and software, they still can't break most encrypted communications since the protective technology is much stronger than NSA's hacking capabilities.

Think in terms of encryption between two communicators in which the call is transmitted over a broad bandwidth, changing frequencies hundreds of times a minute, with the encryption changing modes every few seconds.

It takes time to even locate a transmission, much less to lock on to it; and then there's the key word search -- but if it's encrypted, NSA won't hear it.
[Recently, rumors of a Chinese deciphering app have floated -- without confirmation]

So, NSA focuses on clear, open text communications which they can gather in huge volume, store in massive vaults, and then sort -- very efficiently by computers.  That helps analysts, but leaves the barrier of access to the really good intelligence.

So, NSA turns inward, to collect all the metadata on American citizens which DHS has now declared as "potential terrorists".  The definition of "terrorist" has now been adjusted to cover anyone who is critical of the government -- especially the President.

NSA, via DHS, has now assumed a training and support mission to local police forces monitor the local population; of late, DHS has "showered more than $35 Billion on states and localities for 'terrorism prevention'."  Sadly, Congress has now passed a bill to legitimize police access to the private communications of citizens.

 In the story linked to this blog, we learn that police are now using NSA equipment at the local level to not only track citizen telecommunications, but to disrupt, re-route, and block telecommunications -- particularly cell phones.
[Our own personal communications have been disrupted in this manner, and photos from our computer have mysteriously appeared in texts to us from anonymous sources. Interestingly, photos from computers of former colleagues have also appeared -- with warnings that Mr Clapper regards us as a threat]
Since targets are usually unaware they are being monitored, and the equipment is essentially unregistered and used by street level cops, there is no judicial link to such surveillance in which court orders are required.

Harris StingRay II
The Harris Corporation, a Defense contractor, is authorized by the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] to sell a mobile/cell phone tracking system the size of a suitcase called the StingRay - an IMSI-catcher [International Mobile Subscriber Identity].  The function of the StingRay is to send signals which mimic cell towers, thereby accessing all the identifying data from cell phones up to a mile away.

Its capabilities include:
1) Extracting data from cellphone internal storage [e.g., all phone numbers, logs, voicemails, etc.]
2) Writing Metadata to internal storage [e.g., boosting power to extend the transmission range to assist monitoring of the call; making it easy to track.
3) Tracking and Locating the cell phone or compatible cellular device even when the device is turned off.
4)  Denial of Service [DOS], or blocking of all transmissions while the StingRay conducts its surveillance.
5)  Interception of Communications Content by simulating a cell site which forces a connection with the target device [cell phone] to
     a) conduct "GSM Target Key Extraction"  to obtain the target device encryption key
     b) download the target device's IMSI and other identifying data;
     c) simulates the target device to connect to the legitimate service provider;
     d) forwards signals between the target device and the legitimate cell site -- while decrypting
         and recording the communications content

Police say they purchase these systems to "detect mobile phone detonated bombs like those used in Middle East IEDs".  In reality, the police use the StingRay to monitor and disrupt cell phones of private citizens -- and protestors at rallies, or just to monitor their personal friends, family, neighbors and adversaries.

Chicago spent $150,000 on StingRay equipment; Harris has also peddled its equipment to San Francisco, Takoma, and Miami, but they will not disclose the purpose for which their equipment is being used.

Local law enforcement and the federal government have blocked judicial enforcement simply by refusing to turn over records demanded by the courts.  In one case, when the court demanded police documents, the US Marshalls Service seized the records to ensure the court could not access them.

The term "above the law" has taken on a completely new meaning!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Social Security: RIP?

Closing down Social Security      [Fellowship of Minds]

Click here for related article []

There have been renewed reports that this Administration is closing down Social Security offices and reducing services as demand increases by an aging population.  Employee reductions of 21,000 are in the works - to be replaced by "external partners", i.e., other government agencies and contractors.

Future applicants may be subject to eligibility screening by the credit-rating firm Experian [currently under "multi-state investigation" for violating consumer protection laws.

Mr Obama has been quietly, but steadily reducing funding for the Social Security Administration -- by about $1 billion in recent years.  The secret [draft] plan, created by a specious but impressively titled entity [The National Academy of Public Administration] is outlined at this link calling for a "smaller workforce" [i.e., layoffs], and "reduced physical infrastructure" [closing field offices].  Members of this National Academy include current and former employees of:
Grant Thornton
and career bureaucrats and the editor of Government Executive magazine.

The operative, but unintelligible phrase in the study is
"Our communication and business practices enable a dispersed workforce that is no longer working in centralized, traditional offices"

We're closing down the field offices, replacing them with on-line connections; and you can no longer have a human to deal with, except "in very limited circumstances."

174,000 .357 magnum rounds for SSA
Visits to Social Security offices now include screening by aggressively arrogant guards who are heavily armed; the SSA last year purchased a billion rounds of hollow point ammunition - for what purpose we're not sure.

Perhaps they fear a frontal attack by cane-waving seniors.

Now, to be clear, Social Security is not funded by the federal government, even though it is administered by the federal government.

All funding is derived from mandatory contributions by Americans who are and have been employed throughout their adult lives.  These contributions are made as a percentage of pre-tax income; when the taxpayers eventually are eligible to receive Social Security "benefits",  they are taxed on those benefits again as "income".

Officially, Social Security "is the largest social welfare program in the United States, constituting 37% of government expenditure and 7% of GDP."

Originally, Social Security funds were separate front the US Treasury, and payments were made directly to recipients.  Traditionally, there was always a surplus, and it was expected this would always be the case.

But, under the Democratic Administration of Lyndon Johnson, Social Security revenue was transferred to Treasury's General Revenue pot and used to fund LBJ's Great Society welfare programs; subsequently, these funds have become a slush fund for every Democratic sponsored welfare program since -- leading to Congressional wailing that
"Social Security is running out of money!"
thus the need to raise taxes again.

Democrats blame the Republicans for Social Security shortcomings since the GOP works diligently to reduce welfare and the public dole.  In the meantime, the Democrats continue to generate more expensive social welfare programs to be funded by employed Americans.

Return the Social Security Administration to its status as separate from the federal government and fence in its budget to dispense benefits ONLY to eligible Social Security contributors, and this fund will return to solvency and surpluses.

But, that would mean the US could no longer support illegal aliens and the permanently unemployed Welfare Class that functions as a generational parasite on our economy.