Category Archives: National security, Terrorism, Cyber Terrorism & Related Crimes

REMEMBER, REMEMBER The 5th of November… On November 5, 1605, Guy was foiled as he plotted to destroy the Houses of Parliament during the state opening and kill all inside it, including the King!

On November 5, 1605, Guy was foiled as he plotted to destroy the Houses of Parliament during the state opening and kill all inside it, including the King

 

Mirror / UK
by Steve Myall
November 5, 2014

 

 

Guido "Guy" Fawkes
Guido “Guy” Fawkes

 

He’s world famous thanks to his distinctive moustached face which has been adopted as a mask by anti capitalists but Guy Fawkes is best known for failing to blow up Westminster Palace.

On November 5, 1605, Guy was foiled as he plotted to destroy the Houses of Parliament during state opening and kill all inside it including the King in what became known as the Gunpowder Plot.

But aside from that what do we know about the conspirator who was just 35 when he died.

He was born on April 13th 1570 in Stonegate in York, and was educated at St. Peter’s School in York, preferring to be called Guido Fawkes.

As a boy he lived near York with his father Edward and his mother Edith.

 

 The Gunpowder Plot conspirators (pic; Getty)
The Gunpowder Plot conspirators (pic; Getty)

 

His father was a Protestant and worked as a solicitor for the religious court of the church however in 1579 he died and three years later his mother remarried a man called Denis Bainbridge, a Catholic and so the young Guy converted.

Converting to Catholicism which in those days was a big deal as the ruling religion was led by Church of England which would not tolerate Roman Catholicism.

It was incredibly hard to worship so devotees were driven underground and it was from that oppression the plot sprung.

There have been rumours that Guy met and married Maria Pulleyn in 1590 – but there are no parish records to show this which has led it being open to dispute.

 

 A lantern belonging to Guy Fawkes Relic: A lantern belonging to Guy Fawkes (pic: Getty)
Relic: A lantern belonging to Guy Fawkes (pic: Getty)

 

So fervent were Guy’s religious beliefs that he first choose to leave Protestant England and enlist in the Spanish army in Holland in the Eighty Years War.

There he won a reputation for great courage and cool determination and this is where he gained experience with explosives, and also where he decided to call himself Guido, probably because it sounded Spanish.

In 1604 at Ostend, Guy met another Englishman called Thomas Winter, who had also been in Spain trying to drum up support for English Catholics.

As the two travelled back to London Thomas told Guy that he and his friends including Yorkshiremen John and Christopher Wright, from Welwick, and Robert Catesby, were going to take action but needed the help of a military man who would not be recognised by the authorities.

 

 Guy Fawkes Caught: The arrest of Guy Fawkes in the cellars of Parliament (pic: REX)
Guy Fawkes
Caught: The arrest of Guy Fawkes in the cellars of Parliament (pic: REX)

 

Guy was not the mastermind behind the plot despite his subsequent fame – that was Warwickshire born Robert Catesby, the son of a persecuted Roman Catholic.

Catesby, a wealthy man, knew most of his co-conspirators through a network of friendships with various Roman Catholic families.

The exception was Guy, who he likely to have met when he was briefly employed as a footman by Anthony Browne, 2nd Lord Montague, a family which Catesby’s sister had married into.

October 18, 1605 is a crucial date with regards to the conspiracy as it is when the conspirators discussed how Catholic peers might be spared from the planned explosion.

 

 Execution of Guy Fawkes Crime and punishment: The execution of Guy Fawkes and associates (pic: Getty)
Crime and punishment: The execution of Guy Fawkes and associates (pic: Getty)

 

This led to the famed ‘Monteagle Letter’ written on October 26 to catholic MP William Parker, the 4th Baron Monteagle warning him not to come near Westminster.

In order to get close enough to their targets a cellar below the Houses of Parliament was rented by the members of the plot which was filled with 36 barrels of gunpowder.

There was enough to completely destroy the building and damage buildings within a one mile radius of it.

The plot was undone when the anonymous letter was sent to the Baron of Monteagle, warning him not to go to the House of Lords was made public.

 

Famed: Guy Fawkes (pic: Getty)
Famed: Guy Fawkes (pic: Getty)

 

This led to a search of Westminster Palace being ordered and in the early hours of November 5, Guy was discovered guarding the explosives.

Initially he pretended to be a servant and said the wood belonged to his master Thomas Percy but when this was reported to the King, and the fact that Percy was a Catholic, the King ordered a second search, the gunpowder was found and Guy arrested.

During his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, Fawkes called himself John Johnson and when he was arrested and asked to give his name, this is the name he gave.

Shortly after being found early in the morning of November 5, the Privy Council met in the King’s bedchamber, and Fawkes was brought in under guard and asked explain why he wanted to kill him and blow up Parliament.

 

 

 London Houses of Parliament Tradition: The Yeoman of the Guard prepares to carry out a search of the vaults below Westminster (Pic: REX)
London Houses of Parliament
Tradition: The Yeoman of the Guard prepares to carry out a search of the vaults below Westminster (Pic: REX)

 

He answered that he regarded the King as a disease since he had been excommunicated by the Pope.

Asked why he he needed such a huge quantity of gunpowder, he apparently said: “To blow you Scotch beggars back to your own native mountains!”

Guy was sent to the Tower of London King James indicated in a letter of 6 November that “The gentler tortours are to be first used unto him, and so by degrees proceeding to the worst, and so God speed your goode worke”

And over the next four days, he was questioned and tortured on the “rack” and eventually confessed and gave the names of his conspirators.

His signature on the written confession after torture, which is still held by the National Archives, was very faint and weak, and another taken a few days later was much bolder indicating how weakened he must have been by torture.

 

 

 Bonfire societies parade through the streets during the Bonfire Night celebrations on November 5, 2013 in Lewes, Sussex in England Heritage: Bonfire Night celebrations in Lewes (pic: Getty)
Bonfire societies parade through the streets during the Bonfire Night celebrations on November 5, 2013 in Lewes, Sussex in England
Heritage: Bonfire Night celebrations in Lewes (pic: Getty)

 

Fawkes and others involved were tried on January 31st 1606 and then hung, drawn and quartered in the Old Palace Yard in Westminster.

The Attorney General Sir Edward Coke told the court that each of the condemned would be drawn backwards to his death, by a horse, his head near the ground.

They were to be “put to death halfway between heaven and earth as unworthy of both”.

Their genitals would be cut off and burnt before their eyes, and their bowels and hearts removed.

They would then be decapitated, and the dismembered parts of their bodies displayed so that they might become “prey for the fowls of the air”.

 

 

November 5th Bonfire
November 5th Bonfire

 

But Guy had the last laugh as immediately before his execution on January 31, he jumped from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of the mutilation.

He also did not have his body parts distributed to “the four corners of the kingdom”, to be displayed as a warning to other would-be traitors.

 

Despite being involved in what is basically a terrorist plot, Guy Fawkes was named the 30th Greatest Briton in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2002.

 

Today the word “guy” is used to refer to a man but originally it was a term for an “ugly, repulsive person” in reference to Fawkes.

Straw effigies made of Guy Fawkes and thrown onto bonfires to remember the Gunpowder Plot were also known as “guys” and over time the meaning has blurred.

Following the thwarting of the plot Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the King’s escape from assassination by lighting bonfires and this tradition continues today.  

 

Direct Link:  http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bonfire-night-guy-fawkes-story-4570317

EXCLUSIVE: TSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID, Says Border Patrol Union

 

EXCLUSIVE: TSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID, Says Border Patrol Union

 

BreitBart.com
by Brandon Darby
July 11, 2014

 

 

TSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID, Says Border Patrol Union (pic: AP)
TSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID, Says Border Patrol Union (pic: AP)

 

MCALLEN, Texas—Illegal aliens are being allowed to fly on commercial airliners without valid identification, according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). “The aliens who are getting released on their own recognizance are being allowed to board and travel commercial airliners by simply showing their Notice to Appear forms,” NBPC’s Local 2455 Spokesman, Hector Garza, told Breitbart Texas.

“This is not the CBP [Customs and Border Protection] or another federal agency renting or leasing an aircraft, these are the same planes that the American public uses for domestic travel,” said Garza. “This just adds insult to injury. Not only are we releasing unknown illegal aliens onto American streets, but we are allowing them to travel commercially using paperwork that could easily be reproduced or manipulated on any home computer. The Notice to Appear form has no photo, anyone can make one and manipulate one. They do not have any security features, no watermark, nothing. They are simply printed on standard copy paper based on the information the illegal alien says is the truth.”

Spokesman Garza continued, “We do not know who these people are, we often have to solely rely on who they say they are, where they say they came from, and the history they say they have. We know nothing about most of them, ICE releases them into the American public, and now they are boarding aircraft at will with a simple paper document that anyone can easily alter or reproduce themselves.”

 

Department of Homeland Security Form #I-862 given to unidentified illegals as a promise to appear and permission to fly.
Department of Homeland Security Form #I-862 given to unidentified illegals as a promise to appear and permission to fly.

 

The shocking assertions by Garza were further validated by the national body of the NBPC. Breitbart Texas obtained an exclusive statement from the NBPC.

“The National Border Patrol Council adamantly opposes the decision of DHS to release the illegal aliens who have been transported from the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector to other locations for processing. The lack of consequences has furthered this crisis and will only continue to do so. The fact that TSA is accepting the I-862 (Notice to Appear) as a form of identification and allowing illegal aliens to travel commercially shows just how little regard the federal government has for its own immigration laws.”

Breitbart Texas also spoke with Shawn Moran, the vice president of the NBPC and he stated, “Why waste money and effort transporting people from the RGV if we are only going to release them with no real way to track them? Why are we allowing them to travel commercially using paperwork that could easily be reproduced or manipulated on any home computer.”

Spokesman Garza highlighted the significance of the NBPC’s assertions regarding security threats posed to the American public and stated, “The threat this poses from terrorists upon the American people is absolutely unacceptable. Central Americans are not the only people crossing our border and being released. Does anyone actually think that cartels and others criminal or possible terrorist organizations are not taking advantage of the fact that we are having to leave our border wide open while we reassigning the majority of our agents to process family units and minors? Of course this situation is being exploited by such threats.”

The concerns raised by the NBPC about possible security risks, especially in regards to the safety of commercial airliners, are reinforced by a 2012 United Nations (UN) report previously covered by this reporter. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s “Transnational Organized Crime in Central America and the Caribbean” revealed that individuals from the terror-prone Somalia were traveling to Central America in efforts to illegally enter the United States. The report states:

“Central Americans are not the only ones being smuggled through Mexico to the United States. Irregular migrants from the Horn of Africa (Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia), as well as South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, India), China, and other African and Asian states are being smuggled through Central America.”

In light of the UN report, possible public safety risks posed by illegal aliens who claim to be from Central America flying unidentified and without effective documentation are further illuminated by a previous in-depth analysis of Somalia by the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations. They wrote on Somalia:

“Its porous borders mean that individuals can enter without visas, and once inside the country, enjoy an almost complete lack of law enforcement. Somalia has long served as a passageway from Africa to the Middle East based on its coastal location on the Horn of Africa, just a boat ride away from Yemen. These aspects make Somalia a desirable haven for transnational terrorists, something Al-Qaeda has tried to capitalize on before, and is trying again now.”

Breitbart Texas reached out to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) for comment without receiving a response at the time of this article’s publication.

 

Direct Link:  http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/07/11/Exclusive-TSA-Allowing-Illegals-to-Fly-Without-Verifiable-ID-Says-Border-Patrol-Union

 

 

N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images

N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images

The New York Times
by
May 31, 2014

 

The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.

The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed.

Read the full article at… Direct Link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-web-images.html?hpw&rref=us&_r=0

Obama administration tight-lipped on NSA surveillance of allies

Obama administration tight-lipped on NSA surveillance of allies

 

CBS News
by Rebecca Kaplan
October 28, 2013

 

The U.S. Embassy, right, sits near Germany's legislative buildings in Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel is among the leaders of U.S.-allied nations who have complained in recent days over reports of U.S. spying. (Sean Gallup / Getty Images / October 28, 2013)
The U.S. Embassy, right, sits near Germany’s legislative buildings in Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel is among the leaders of U.S.-allied nations who have complained in recent days over reports of U.S. spying. (Sean Gallup / Getty Images / October 28, 2013)

 

The White House is under fire to explain exactly how much President Obama knows about U.S. surveillance programs in the wake of a Wall Street Journal article that suggested the National Security Agency (NSA) had been monitoring the phones of 35 world leaders until an internal Obama administration review discovered and ended the program.

The White House has avoided confirming or denying whether the report is true, instead choosing to reiterate that they are not currently and will not monitor the phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who raised the issue in a phone call with Mr. Obama last week.

“I don’t want to get into the specifics of how the president is briefed on different intelligence operations,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes in an interview with CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett, regarding whether Mr. Obama knew about the monitoring. “What I will say is that he sets priorities as a commander in chief…he is briefed on a regular basis and the fact of the matter is what he’s focused on in the intelligence are threats. What is the state of counterterrorism around the world?”

 

 

 

Rhodes echoed White House spokesman Jay Carney’s briefing earlier Monday, stressing that the administration is in the process of reviewing its intelligence collection. One of the reason Rhodes declined to discuss whether Merkel’s phone was monitored was because the administration wants to deal with the larger question of how information is gathered and what constraints are placed on the collection, “not on an ad hoc basis,” he said.

“If we got into the business of briefing out every aspect of our intelligence operations we couldn’t operate with the necessary secrecy that intelligence gathering depends upon,” Rhodes said. “At the same time we can be more transparent about how we gather information.”

CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate said the president should know about surveillance programs at that level, and that it would be the responsibility of the Director of National Intelligence – currently James Clapper – to ensure that Mr. Obama knows the scope of what the intelligence community is doing.

Zarate also noted that Mr. Obama pledged to review Bush-era intelligence operations when he entered office, “so in some ways if the president didn’t know, shame on him, and shame on him and his leadership for not asking the question, but also it may not be believable [that he didn’t know] given the intensity and scope of this type of surveillance.”

“At the end of the day the administration is responsible for the programs and authorizes these programs so the president has to answer for them,” Zarate said.

The NSA, led by Keith Alexander, told CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, a former deputy director of national intelligence, that the president was never briefed in 2010 on any surveillance of Merkel.

 

NSA spying on foreign leaders: What did the President know about, and when?

“The way this works is the president gets the president’s daily briefing,” Miller said. “What you get in there is a lot of really good information that is meant to give American policy makers, starting with the president, what they call ‘decision advantage’ – which way are other people leaning, what are they thinking, what turmoil is going on inside their government, we call that the intelligence business.”

But the revelations about the surveillance is already straining U.S. relationships. “If you get the feeling that your closest allies spying on you, then that’s difficult to talk to such an ally in an open way anymore. And I think we have to make a clear distinction between fight together terrorism and not spying on friends,” said Elmar Brok, a German member of the European Parliament who had a closed-door session with House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Monday morning. Brok added that if the German people – some of whom lived under the East German police state during the Cold War — feel like the U.S. was spying on all of them, “people do not love America anymore…that is a very damaging thing.”

“We’re not spying on everybody in Europe,” Rhodes said. “That’s a dramatic overstating of the situation.”

Brok said Germany will seek a “no-spying” pledge like the so-called “Five Eyes” agreement in which the U.S. and four other countries – the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – share intelligence but do not spy on one another. Rhodes said broadly that the U.S. is open to discussion with its European allies about how to better coordinate intelligence gathering. He also noted that there are already longstanding intelligence relationships that exist, and that U.S. intelligence has helped to foil terrorist plots in a number of European countries.

The frustration is reaching members of Congress as well. On Monday afternoon, Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called for a total review of all intelligence programs and said that the Senate had been inadequately informed of surveillance activities.

“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies–including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany–let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers. The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort.”

 

Direct Link:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57609690/obama-administration-tight-lipped-on-nsa-surveillance-of-allies/

UK cyber defence unit ‘may include convicted hackers’

UK cyber defence unit ‘may include convicted hackers’


BBC News

October 22, 2013

 

 

Watch Susan Watts' full Newsnight film, in which former Lulzsec hacker Mustafa al-Bassam and Dr David Day, who helped convict him, meet for the first time
Watch Susan Watts’ full Newsnight film, in which former Lulzsec hacker Mustafa al-Bassam and Dr David Day, who helped convict him, meet for the first time

 

Convicted computer hackers could be recruited to the UK’s cyber defence force if they pass security vetting, the head of the new unit has said.

Lt Col Michael White told BBC Newsnight he would “look at individuals in the round” when assessing applicants.

Recruitment would be focused on “capability development” rather than “personality traits”, he added.

The Joint Cyber Reserve Unit was announced by the government in September.

Under the £500m initiative, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to recruit hundreds of reservists as computer experts to work alongside regular armed forces.

The unit will defend national security by safeguarding computer networks and vital data, and it will also launch strikes in cyberspace if necessary.

It is hoped the move will address the shortage of people with the technological skills and knowledge to protect corporations, the military, and government systems from cyber attacks.

 

‘Civil liberties’

The MoD said the recruitment, which started in early October, would target regular personnel leaving the armed forces, current and former reservists with the required skills, and civilians with the appropriate technological knowledge.

When asked by Newsnight whether someone with the right skills would be ruled out if they had a criminal record for hacking, Lt Col White said: “I think if they could get through the security process, then if they had that capability that we would like, then if the vetting authority was happy with that, why not?

“We’re looking at capability development, rather than setting hard and fast rules about individual personality traits.”

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond unveiled plans for the cyber defence unit last month.

 

 

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond: "The armed forces, overall, do not have an absolute bar on people with criminal convictions"
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond: “The armed forces, overall, do not have an absolute bar on people with criminal convictions”

 


Defence Secretary Philip Hammond: “The armed forces, overall, do not have an absolute bar on people with criminal convictions”

Mr Hammond also told Newsnight he could foresee circumstances in which convicted hackers could be employed.

“Each individual case would be looked at on its merits,” he said.

“The conviction would be examined in terms of how long ago it was, how serious it was, what sort of sentence had followed. So I can’t rule it out.”

But one former hacker told Newsnight the government had already undermined its chances of attracting talented individuals.

Mustafa al-Bassam, now a computer science student at King’s College London, was the youngest hacker in the Lulzsec group – which recently targeted organisations such as the FBI in the US and Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) in a 50-day hacking campaign.

He told the BBC that revelations by former US contractor Edward Snowden about the extent of mass surveillance carried out by intelligence agencies – including the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s GCHQ – had dissuaded him from using his cyber skills to protect UK national security.

“I can understand the need for a government to protect itself, but when you go ahead and stomp on everyone’s civil liberties – as we’ve seen with all the mass surveillance stories that have been out over the past year – I think you can rest assured that you’re going to repel talented people,” he said.

 

‘Industrial scale’ attacks

Dr David Day, a Sheffield Hallam University computer forensics expert who provided evidence for Mr Al-Bassam’s conviction, told Newsnight it was a “terrible shame” someone convicted of malicious hacking would find it difficult to get a job in the industry.

“If they have those abilities and those skills, then some of the best talent we can’t use,” he said.

Cyber attacks and crime have become more common in recent years.

In July, it emerged Britain was seeing about 70 sophisticated cyber espionage operations a month against government or industry networks,

GCHQ director Sir Iain Lobban told the BBC business secrets were being stolen on an “industrial scale”.

And in a written statement in December last year, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said 93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses had reported a cyber breach in 2012.
Direct Link:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24613376