SUPPORT THIS U.S. MARINE!… Former Marine fired for tattoo quoting Mattis

Former Marine fired for tattoo quoting Mattis


 Marine Corps Times
By Bethany Crudele / Staff writer
Aug 27, 2012


A former Marine says his ink got him canned from his civilian railroad job.

What was so offensive that his superiors could not stand for it? A quote from one of the Marine Corps’ most revered generals.

Union Pacific Railroad fired conductor Carl Newman of Kansas City, Mo., in 2010 because his tattoo violated the company’s “Violence in the Workplace” policy, according to a complaint filed in federal court Aug. 9.

The words were spoken by Gen. James Mattis, now head of U.S. Central Command, when he led Marines in Iraq in 2003.

Mattis, then a tough-talking major general known as “the Warrior Monk,” commanded 1st Marine Division during the invasion. According to Washington Post reporter Thomas E. Ricks’ book “Fiasco,” Mattis sent his tanks and artillery home after the successful invasion. He met with Iraqi tribal leaders and said, “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I am pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f— with me, I’ll kill you all.”

Newman, who served on active duty from 1997 to 2001, had Mattis’ statement tattooed on his arm before joining Union Pacific. The complaint states that a fellow employee photographed his arm. According to the complaint, Union Pacific Railroad’s policy is not to discipline people for offensive tattoos unless they are directed to cover the ink and fail to comply, and Newman was never asked to cover up his tattoo.

But the complaint also makes the case that the railroad company used the tattoo as an excuse to fire him in retaliation for whistle-blowing phone calls to the company’s safety hotline about hazards along the tracks. According to a report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Newman called the hotline hundreds of times.

The complaint alleges that Newman was discouraged from making formal reports to the Union Pacific Railroad hotline.

Newman first filed a complaint with OSHA in September 2010. Following an OSHA investigation in 2011, the Department of Labor found reasonable cause that Union Pacific Railroad was in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act, which protects employees who report violations of railroad safety.

“Workers have the right to report work-related injuries and safety concerns without fear of retaliation,” said Assistant Secretary for OSHA David Michaels in a news release.

Nearly two years after he was fired, Newman continues to fight his termination. Holtsclaw & Kendall, LC, the Kansas City firm representing Newman, declined comment on his behalf because the case is pending.

Mark Davis, director of corporate relations and media for Union Pacific Railroad, also declined to respond to Newman’s accusations.

“I cannot comment any further than telling you the facts of this case will be presented to the court,” he said.

Newman is seeking a jury trial and compensation for loss of pay and benefits, incurred medical expenses, mental anguish, punitive damages and legal fees.


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U.S.: We hacked the enemy in Afghanistan

U.S.: We hacked the enemy in Afghanistan


 Marine Corps Times
The Associated Press
Friday Aug 24, 2012

The U.S. military has been launching cyber attacks against its opponents in Afghanistan, a senior officer says, making an unusually explicit acknowledgment of the oft-hidden world of electronic warfare.

Marine Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills’ comments came last week at a conference in Baltimore during which he explained how U.S. commanders considered cyber weapons an important part of their arsenal.

“I can tell you that as a commander in Afghanistan in the year 2010, I was able to use my cyber operations against my adversary with great impact,” Mills said. “I was able to get inside his nets, infect his command-and-control, and in fact defend myself against his almost constant incursions to get inside my wire, to affect my operations.”

Mills, now a deputy commandant with the Marine Corps, was in charge of international forces in southwestern Afghanistan between 2010 and 2011, according to his official biography. He didn’t go into any further detail as to the nature or scope of his forces’ attacks, but experts said that such a public admission that they were being carried out was itself striking.

“This is news,” said James Lewis, a cyber-security analyst with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. He said that while it was generally known in defense circles that cyber attacks had been carried out by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, he had never seen a senior officer take credit for them in such a way.

“It’s not secret,” Lewis said in a telephone interview, but he added: “I haven’t seen as explicit a statement on this as the one” Mills made.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart declined to elaborate on Mills’ comments, saying in an email that “for reasons of security . we do not provide specific information regarding our intentions, plans, capabilities or operations.”

The email said that the Pentagon’s cyber operations were properly authorized and that they took place within the bounds of international law and the “confines of existing policy.”

U.S. defense planners have spent the past few years debating that policy, asking how and under what circumstances the Pentagon would launch a cyber attack against its enemies, but it’s only recently become apparent that a sophisticated program of U.S.-backed cyber attacks is already under way.

A book by The New York Times reporter David Sanger recently recounted how President Barack Obama ordered a wave of electronic incursions aimed at physically sabotaging Iran’s disputed atomic energy program. Subsequent reports have linked the program to a virus dubbed Flame, which prompted a temporary Internet blackout across Iran’s oil industry in April, and another virus called Gauss, which appeared to have been aimed at stealing information from customers of Lebanese banks. An earlier report alleged that U.S. forces in Iraq had hacked into a terrorist group’s computer there to lure its members into an ambush.

Herbert Lin, a cyber expert at the National Research Council, agreed that Mills’ comments were unusual in terms of the fact that they were made publicly. But Lin said that the United States was, little by little, opening up about the fact that its military was launching attacks across the Internet.

“The U.S. military is starting to talk more and more in terms of what it’s doing and how it’s doing it,” he said. “A couple of years ago it was hard to get them to acknowledge that they were doing offense at all — even as a matter of policy, let alone in specific theaters or specific operations.”

Mills’ brief comments about cyber attacks in Afghanistan were delivered to the TechNet Land Forces East conference in Baltimore on Aug. 15, but they did not appear to have attracted much attention at the time. Footage of the speech was only recently posted to the Internet by conference organizers.


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I Personally SURVIVED IT… Hurricane Andrew at 20: Miami Herald Reporters Remember

Hurricane Andrew at 20: Miami Herald Reporters Remember

Miami New Times
By Chuck Strouse
August 22, 2012




>>>>   See the Slide Show of 80 Heart Breaking Pictures from Hurricane Andrew’s Devastation! <<<<


Hours after Hurricane Andrew leveled Miami 20 years ago this Friday, the farmland of South Dade’s Redland was desolate. No one for miles. No running water. Little electrical power. Few phones.

I slalomed my rusty Chevy pickup down a strip of black asphalt littered with shingles and downed trees. Then, in the middle of the road, there was a washing machine. It had been plucked from a home far away and dropped there whole. I steered to miss it, and my truck suddenly jerked from 30 mph to a dead stop. Bang. I would have been dog meat if it weren’t for the seat belt. No cell phones back then. No way to call for help.

I flopped out to find a power line thick as a wrist jammed in the suspension. I stripped off my shirt as insulation, wrapped it around a metal wrench, and touched the cable. No juice. Then I lay down, scorched my back on the pavement, and began tugging. It didn’t move. Not a hair.

So I grabbed a tiny pair of pliers and began snipping, one strand at a time. Three hours and a gallon of sweat later, I started her up and hurried to a trailer in Homestead. I was a Miami Herald reporter then, and I typed out the story, barely making deadline on an interview with a guy who had escaped a home that Andrew blew away and then found temporary refuge in another, also demolished by the worst wind.

Amid this week’s remembrances of the storm that cost the United States more than $25 billion, claimed 26 lives, and left more than 250,000 people homeless, little has been said of the reporters who covered it. The Herald, then a much larger paper, won a Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for its journalists’ coverage.



That storm shaped how the media covered Katrina, 9/11, this year’s drought, and myriad other disasters. So I asked some former Herald reporters for their memories.

Ana Menendez (then a Broward reporter, now an author of two novels and two short-story collections): Two days before the storm, I was on rotation in the Hollywood bureau. I had been scheduled to cover some firefighter event, but the editor on duty said, with a trace of contempt, that the Sun-Sentinel had made a big deal about some storm out there, so I should probably head over to Publix instead and see if people were stocking up. At the store, no one I interviewed knew anything about an impending hurricane. Finally, I ran into an elderly man with a shopping cart full of water and canned goods. He knew all about Andrew, was tracking the coordinates, and was taking no chances. Soon we were all going to become that elderly fellow. We just didn’t know it.

Marty Merzer (then a senior writer, now a North Florida freelancer and grandpa): As an intensifying Andrew approached, I was tapping away like crazy about the first hurricane to threaten South Florida in decades, when assistant managing editor Ileana Oroza walked by. She stopped for a second, smiled impishly, and said, “As you write, don’t even think about the fact that you’re writing the story that every Herald reporter has waited to write for the last 30 years.”

Marie Dillon (then an assistant state editor, now a Chicago Tribune editorial writer): As the storm approached the Herald building, we couldn’t stop ourselves from watching out the windows over the bay, even though everyone kept telling everyone else to stand back from the glass. The water was sometimes churning up so high it washed over the bridge. Once in a while, a lone car would come flying over the bridge, carrying a driver who, I assume, had decided not to try to ride it out on the island after all.

Later, as I settled in on the state desk, I looked across at my boss, John Pancake, and said, “Is this building hurricane-safe?”

He gave me his wry little smile and said, “We don’t know.”


Lizette Alvarez (then a reporter, now a New York Times Miami bureau chief) and Don Van Natta (then a reporter, now a senior reporter for ESPN the Magazine and Lizette’s husband): When Hurricane Andrew hit the coast, we thought the storm had bypassed us altogether. We were at the Comfort Inn in Florida City, one of several cities randomly chosen by editors who hoped to have reporters on the ground when the storm hit. From our rooms, we heard a stream of radio reports of people describing vicious, house-rattling winds from their bathrooms and closets. Every five minutes or so, we would open our motel door, walk out, and feel nothing but stillness and disappointment.

Just as we settled in for a night of boredom, Andrew spun our way, launching us on a game of hide-and-seek that would last all night. The winds hit the Comfort Inn so abruptly we were forced to dash from room to room as the roof flipped off in chunks. We met up with a dozen or so tourists during this race to outrun the motel’s demolition. The hotel manager saved all our lives by warning us that the winds would shift after the eye of the storm and we should head for the intact rooms facing north.

Then, at the tail end of the storm, a group of us was trapped in one room. The air pressure outside wouldn’t let us open the door. The roof rattled, and the walls started to buckle. We dragged a mattress to the bathroom and tried to shield our heads. One woman started crying. A couple of us kept racing to the door to force it open, but it wouldn’t budge. I stepped into the bathtub with several others and we started to pray.

Don and another man pushed up on the bathroom roof with all their brawn. The roof lifted and slammed back down. It did it again and again. The howls were so deafening it was hard to stay calm.

Somebody ran to the door again — and this time it finally opened. By the time we rushed out of the room, it was cracking open.

We waited out the storm a few more hours and then found a German tourist, terrified but unscathed, under a mattress in a room that had been torn to shreds. When the sun finally peeped over the horizon, we stood on an untouched slice of balcony and looked out. Florida City was unrecognizable.



Joe Tanfani (then a reporter, now a Los Angeles Times Washington bureau reporter): I was considered a tiny, dwarfish talent and pretty much stuck in the office after the first day. One thing they had me doing was trying to track down the estimable Dade County mayor, Steve Clark. I wrote this story that pretty much said he was missing in action, and some time later, he chewed me out: “You know what I was doing? I was trying to get the water turned on at the Herald building!”

Ileana Oroza (then an assistant managing editor, now a University of Miami instructor): I spent the night on the floor in my office, and my visiting nephew was with me. I had just managed to fall asleep around 3 or 4 a.m. when the phone rang. It was a journalist from Israel wanting a report on the hurricane. After the storm, we gathered around the copy desk to plan our next move. It was about 8 a.m. when the phone rang. One of the editors answered, and after a few seconds, said in a pleading voice: “Sir, we just had a hurricane.” The caller was an annoyed reader asking why his newspaper hadn’t been delivered.

Andrew Innerarity (then a staff photographer, now a freelancer): When the storm hit, I was on a three-month leave of absence to backpack Europe. I came back a week after the storm with no idea how serious the whole thing was. The flight from London to MIA landed at night, and on approach, I’ll never forget seeing a huge line of emergency vehicles, lights flashing someplace in Southwest Dade.

Once back at work in early September, I headed to Homestead every day for months. At city hall, the smell from the tons of donated clothing, which had been rained on daily, was unreal. The devastation was so thorough I could hardly recognize anything in the region.

I remember an Airborne soldier telling me how trashed the Air Force base was. He said the devastation was so complete that if the military “had attacked the place, the only thing [it] would have done different was crater the runway.”


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Don’t trust that text: How the iPhone SMS spoof works

Don’t trust that text: How the iPhone SMS spoof works

Digital Trends
by Daniel McKlienfeld
August 19, 2012

A hacker claims to have found an SMS trick to which iPhones are particularly vulnerable, but how does it work, and why can’t Apple stop it?


Late Friday, a blog focused on iOS security research claimed to have found a severe security flaw in iOS. It’s not a way to install malware or otherwise run destructive code, but it is an effective way to create fraudulent text messages that could be used in phishing schemes. While any phone that uses SMS text messaging is vulnerable, UI aspects of the iPhone make it a particularly tempting target. Since then, Apple has claimed the vulnerability lies in SMS technology, not iOS, and that it has no way of fixing it. So how does such a gaping hole in SMS security work?

As pod2g’s security blog explains, the vulnerability originates in the Protocol Description Unit system that’s used to transmit text messages. When you create an SMS message on your phone and hit the Send button, your phone translates the message into PDU terms, tosses it across the network to its recipient, and the phone at the other end catches the bundle of PDU code and translates it into whatever display format the recipient phone uses. But if you’re handy with raw code, you can bypass all the technology that UI designers have worked so hard to make nice and instead create a message in raw PDU text format.

That’s where shenanigans can begin. Just by typing a few words into a text string, a nasty spammer can change the User Data Header in the PDU code, and make it appear to the recipient that the text is coming from their beloved “Mother,” “The FBI,” “Messengers From Space,” or any other recipient they choose to specify. So you could get a message from “Mom” asking you to “Please log into this bank site so we can pay for your Uncle’s kidney surgery” or some other piece of  phishing trickery. Even more maliciously, someone who knew the name of your trusted contacts could send, for example, a message that appears to be from your buddy Dave claiming to have had an affair with your house-pet, driving you into a jealous frenzy for nothing but their own amusement. More seriously, courts have used SMS messages as evidence, so this scam could be used to falsely prove that someone violated a restraining order, or is engaged in criminal conspiracy.

The iPhone is especially vulnerable because of its SMS user interface. In a typically Jobsian pursuit of cleanliness, the iPhone doesn’t display the phone number of whoever sent you a message, only the name of the sender. So if “Uncle Jed” is texting you from a phone number in Kazakhistan, there’s no way to tell that you’re getting messages from a suspicious number. Obviously, the iPhone isn’t the only phone to keep those ugly integers tucked away in the pursuit of elegance, but it’s by far the most prominent, and therefore the one with the most to lose if its interface gets regarded as a security risk.

Apple has dealt with phishing vulnerabilities on the iPhone before, as well as phishing scams built around the Apple ID. Unfortunately, this vulnerability is inherent to the SMS protocol, making it much harder for Apple to unilaterally fix it. Seth Bromberger, a security consultant at NCI Security, suggests that the iPhone should display an originating number but it’s hard to imagine Apple cluttering up its clean lines with the kind of numeral strings that we all stopped remembering the day we got a built-in contacts list. For now, Apple has issued a statement telling users to be careful, and mentioning that hey, by the way, if you and all your friends just used iPhones exclusively then you would automatically be texting with the iMessage system, where these problems can’t happen. So perhaps the solution to this iPhone vulnerability is to buy an iPhone for all the people who might text you. Everybody wins. 


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Change In RIM Technology Signals Beginning Of End

Change In RIM Technology Signals Beginning Of End


By Chris Spera (BYTE)
August 22, 2012




Grab the opera glasses, the fat lady is singing. BGR reports that Blackberry 10 (BB10) devices won’t work with current Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) servers. Stick BES with a fork, kids, because if this is accurate, RIM is done. The next version of BES, 5.0.4, is a maintenance update, and after that, RIM is closing the books on BES–and the Blackberry way of life.

Why is it over? RIM can’t make QNX work with BES features and security functions. That means all of the new devices RIM has planned to introduce with the release of BB10 can’t be used with any current BES installation. And that means that the mobile device management software that provides healthcare companies, security firms, and the U.S. government with secure push email services has reached end of life. RIM isn’t going to update the software after version 5.0.4.


What’s worse is that current Java-based Blackberry devices won’t work with the new version of BES. Enterprises that plan on running both BB10 and BB7 devices together will have to run both BES 5.0.4 and BES NG for next generation. BES NG also doesn’t support email sync, calendar sync, or contact sync. Unfortunately, BES NG appears to be really nothing more than a glorified VPN tunnel from the device to the server, which syncs directly with Exchange, Gmail, and, I would suspect, any POP-compatible mail server.


Did I mention that BES NG doesn’t support push? Currently, mail is pulled off the mail server. All of the heavy lifting for the sync? It’s done on the device end of the equation, which has me really wondering who would want to license the software in the first place.


The BGR article doesn’t mention anything about the BES NG MDM console. I have no idea if or how the new MDM will manage devices on the domain, or whether it will provide secure remote wipe, or any kind of device location services. One can hope, but if BES NG really is nothing more than a glorified VPN tunnel, this represents a huge reduction in functionality. At this point, RIM is taking the one thing that distinguishes it from the rest of the smartphone market–that users find of value and that might have saved RIM’s bacon–and appears to be leaving it behind.


RIM issued a statement refuting most of the BGR report. But given the challenges RIM has experienced recently–the layoffs it has announced and executed, the talent it has undoubtedly lost both voluntarily and involuntarily, the technology issues it ran into with its delayed Playbook native PIM apps and the delayed release of BB10–it’s clear RIM is having issues with technology and platform updates. And given that RIM CEO Thorsten Heins seems willing to give ground in order to appear to be moving the company toward a technology and platform release in a quickly closing window of opportunity, the changes BGR outlines make sense.


The latest news feels like the other shoe has dropped. If it’s wrong, I’d love to hear from RIM how BES NG works with BB7 devices, and how it provides the same secure push mail, calendar, and contact sync services we’ve enjoyed for the last 10 years.


But if it’s right, this truly is the beginning of the end for RIM. Your thoughts? Please leave a comment below.


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