Thank you America and its Allies for damaging our countries and collecting the spoils.. We the people and our Nations pay the price..
Do you remember the Safe-Cyber instructions they taught you in the mandatory Computer Ed class (operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology)? First you fire up your Secured Computing Device (SCD) and its hardware token authenticator.
Then you enter the six-digit algorithmically generated password displayed (a new one flashes every 60 seconds) and are asked to supply your biometric identifier. You place your thumb on the built-in fingerprint pad, click, and wait for the Internet connection to begin. But it doesn’t.
Instead, the screen goes black for a second before the dreaded words appear: “Malware has been detected on this SCD. As mandated by federal law, it has been placed in quarantine.” Then the machine shuts down.
This is not just conjecture, but an imminent scenario. Policies, such as the White House proposed “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace,” which will transform the character, culture and freedom of the Internet, are already in place. The 20 cybersecurity-related bills introduced in the Senate in 2011, and the dozen introduced in the House of Representatives, have wound their way through committees and, according to Senator Harry Reid, are scheduled to be voted on in the first quarter of 2012. Almost all of them, with the blessing of the White House, would make the Department of Homeland Security the overseer of private-sector networks.
Considering the apocalyptic rhetoric coming from Washington and the ranks of cybersecurity experts – echoed by media reports that portray every picayune data breach as Armageddon – it would appear that the vulnerability of the Internet has been underplayed for many years.
In the Internet’s start-up decades, both industry and government were committed to establishing an atmosphere of trust that would draw the public into conducting more and more digital business. Though data breaches, theft of trade secrets, identity theft and bank robbery have been a fact of Internet life since its beginnings, there were few laws requiring disclosure. Banks and credit card firms ate their losses as a cost of doing business, and the giant corporations kept mum rather than roil the public. Recently, the pendulum has swung in the other direction and a raucous alarm has been sounded regarding the great danger posed by the Internet.
The Nation is at a crossroads. The globally-interconnected digital information and communications infrastructure known as “cyberspace” underpins almost every facet of modern society and provides critical support for the U.S. economy, civil infrastructure, public safety, and national security. This technology has transformed the global economy and connected people in ways never imagined. Yet, cybersecurity risks pose some of the most serious economic and national security challenges of the 21st century. The digital infrastructure’s architecture was driven more by considerations of interoperability and efficiency than of security. Consequently, a growing array of state and non-state actors are compromising, stealing, changing, or destroying information and could cause critical disruptions to U.S. systems. (White House Cyberspace Policy Review, 2011)
While there may be other factors behind the current wave of cybersecurity alarmism, we have identified three major forces: The Government, the Cybersecurity-Industrial complex, and the so-called “Hacktivists.”
The Hacktivists LulzSec and Anonymous, the most-publicized of the hacktivists, along with a growing community of ad hoc cyberactors, have had a multi-faceted impact on the cybersecurity environment that goes far beyond the number of hackers at work or the amount of actual damage their exploits have inflicted.
They have skillfully publicized their outsized, headline-ready cyberintrusions. Their attacks, which are something other than the garden variety cybercrime, have compromised the web assets of Sony, the CIA, Fox News, the Church of Scientology, Bank of America and many more. Beyond the financial damage and security breaches, they’ve created a public relations nightmare forcing these major institutions to go public with what they would otherwise go to great lengths to conceal.
As a result, attention has been focused on the inadequacies of Internet security. If organizations as large, powerful and security-conscious as these are vulnerable, who then is safe? Not only have the targets been breached and embarrassed, consumer trust in the Internet has also been shaken.
These high profile, anarchic Internet exploits – compounded by the role of social media in evading and undermining government control of the political and media arena (Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, etc.) – have intensified government efforts to clamp down on the Internet … while providing the media with scary cyber-stories to further that agenda.
The Government The US government agenda to control the Internet is at least a decade old. Just three months after the Bush White House created the Department of Homeland Security, it issued “The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.” The document begins:
My Fellow Americans:
The way business is transacted, government operates, and national defense is conducted have changed. These activities now rely on an interdependent network of information technology infrastructures called cyberspace. The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace provides a framework for protecting this infrastructure that is essential to our economy, security, and way of life.
In the past few years, threats in cyberspace have risen dramatically. The policy of the United States is to protect against the debilitating disruption of the operation of information systems for critical infrastructures and, thereby, help to protect the people, economy, and national security of the United States.
Nearly a decade later, the basic message from the White House sounds much the same, if louder and more urgent. But there is a big difference. President Obama, and the rest of the Beltway insiders, have now formally defined cyberspace as a “strategic national asset.”
On the face of it, this appears to be a reasonable approach for a world that has become, in a relatively short time, totally dependent on digital resources. Unfortunately, it is an approach that provides a straight path to the militarization of the Internet and the loss of liberty that will follow. It is an approach that will elevate the most common forms of cybercrime (bank robbery, credit card theft) to the high-alert status of a cyberwar attack.
This government mindset will lead to the same abrogation of individual rights in cyberspace as the National Defense Appropriations Act of 2012 has codified in “Battlefield America.”
Given the integrated nature of cyberspace, computer-induced failures of power grids, transportation networks, or financial systems could cause massive physical damage and economic disruption. DoD operations – both at home and abroad – are dependent on this critical infrastructure. As military strength ultimately depends on economic vitality, sustained intellectual property losses erode both U.S. military effectiveness and national competitiveness in the global economy. Cyber hygiene must be practiced by everyone at all times; it is just as important for individuals to be focused on protecting themselves as it is to keep security software and operating systems up to date. (Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, July 2011)
Many Internet experts and cybersecurity professionals have deemed 2011 “The Year of the Hack,” in recognition of the unending stream of headlines related to data breaches and thefts. We believe that – aside from any real uptick in cybercrime or cyberwarfare skirmishes – this perception is the result of the government’s determination to soften up the public to meekly accept an upcoming barrage of Internet regulation. It is a digital-age version of the tried and true fear mongering that is always employed to further empower the president and further enrich the military/industrial and Homeland Security complex. The government says it’s not fear mongering, just education.
The national dialogue on cybersecurity must begin today. The government, working with industry, should explain this challenge and discuss what the Nation can do to solve problems in a way that the American people can appreciate the need for action. People cannot value security without first understanding how much is at risk. Therefore, the Federal government should initiate a national public awareness and education campaign informed by previous successful campaigns. (White House Cyberspace Policy Review, 2011)
The Prominence of the Non-military Aspects of Warfare. Non-military means of warfare, such as cyber, economic, resource, psychological, and information-based forms of conflict will become more prevalent in conflicts over the next two decades. In the future, states and non-state adversaries will engage in “media warfare” to dominate the 24-hour news cycle and manipulate public opinion to advance their own agenda and gain popular support for their cause. (“Global Trends 2025,” National Intelligence Council, 2008)
The Money Card A key point being used to “educate” the public is the putative astronomical monetary loss caused by cybercrime in all its forms. There is, of course, no way to ascertain the validity of these numbers or even to figure out just what kind of losses are included in the estimates, which are generally arrived at by the large cybersecurity corporations. Some loss-figures appear to include the fall in a company’s stock price that usually follows revelation of a major hack (but doesn’t adjust that figure when the stock price climbs back up), as well as adding in an arbitrary sum attributable to time lost in recovery.
The largest global estimate of money lost to cybercrime currently floating around – as totted up by McAfee, the world’s largest cybersecurity company and endorsed by the White House – is $1 trillion a year. Symantec Corp., another cybersecurity giant, calculates the annual toll of global cybercrime to be about $388 billion. For dramatic impact, Symantec notes that figure is greater than the black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined. Either of those (wildly divergent) sums is impressive, but do they mean anything? Or are they just part of a government “education campaign modeled on previous successful campaigns,” such as selling the public on the certainty of WMDs in Hussein’s Iraq?
Far from being broadly based estimates of losses across the population, the cyber-crime estimates that we have appear to be largely the answers of a handful of people extrapolated to the whole population. A single individual who claims $50,000 losses, in an N = 1000 person survey, is all it takes to generate a $10 billion loss over the population. One unverified claim of $7,500 in phishing losses translates into $1.5 billion.
Our assessment of the quality of cyber-crime surveys is harsh: they are so compromised and biased that no faith whatever can be placed in their findings.
There has long been a shortage of hard data about information security failures, as many of the available statistics are not only poor but are collected by parties such as security vendors or law enforcement agencies that have a vested interest in under- or over-reporting. (“Sex, Lies and Cyber-crime Surveys,” Microsoft Research)
The Cybersecurity-Industrial Complex The fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) surrounding cyberspace has helped turn cybersecurity into an enormously profitable business, worth between $60 and $100 billion a year, depending on who’s providing the statistics. The sector is expected to grow 10 percent annually for at least the next five years. You don’t have to attribute any ethical lapses in the cybersecurity industry to recognize that it, like the government, has a great interest in “educating” the public in cybersecurity awareness.
Security experts say that it is virtually impossible for any company or government agency to build a security network that hackers will be unable to penetrate. (Reuters, 27 May 2011)
“I am convinced that every company in every conceivable industry with significant size and valuable intellectual property and trade secrets has been compromised (or will be shortly), with the great majority of the victims rarely discovering the intrusion or its impact …. In fact, I divide the entire set of Fortune Global 2,000 firms into two categories: those that know they’ve been compromised and those that don’t yet know.” – Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of Threat Research for McAfee
The military-industrial complex of the Cold War era has morphed into the cybersecurity-military/industrial-Homeland Security complex of the Cyber War era … to which there is no end in sight. With the cybersecurity industry creating the technology required to stem the very cyberattacks they are in charge of discovering and monitoring, we face an endless cyberarms race that will undoubtedly be fed on exaggerations of the virtual menace and our vulnerability to it.
On the heels of the fear and hysteria will come the firm push for strict control and regulation of the Internet. It will be championed by government and industry as the necessary response to cyberwar, cyberterrorism, and cybercrime which, since cyberspace is considered a “strategic national asset,” are essentially all the same.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) for instance, which is scheduled for a vote in 2012, will take a page from the National Defense Appropriation Act of 2012. In order to protect the rights of copyright holders to profit from their intellectual property, SOPA would permit the dissolution of due process and open the door wide to censorship and the denial of the right to free speech. The bill, supporters suggest, is not just about recovering the billions lost to bootlegged movies and music, rather, it’s about protecting the military strength that ultimately depends on economic vitality.
We agree with The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has called SOPA the most extreme, anti-Internet, anti-privacy, anti-free speech copyright proposal in US legislative history. It is, however, only one of many legislative proposals likely to be steamrollered through Congress in the coming year.
Computer security expert Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder of Kaspersky Labs, envisions the “passportization” of the Internet. In his opinion, to access critical online services, such as banking or electronic voting, “it should be made mandatory to log-on only with the use of a unique personal identifier [for example, a token – a sort of cyber-passport] and establish a secure authoring connection.”
Microsoft has proposed what it calls a “public health model” for the Internet. Cybercitizens would be required to have a “clean bill of health,” make their computers open to inspection, and, if contaminated by a virus or other malware, be prepared for quarantine.
President Obama’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is pushing for development and public adoption of Internet user authentication systems that will function as a driver’s license for the cyberhighway.
Government control of the flow of information will strike a blow against Internet anonymity and the free speech it has made possible. Driver’s license, bill of health, passport, whatever you call it – it’s all about the ability to track and control the individual. Today, traffic in copyrighted digital material is the criminal behavior supposedly under attack; tomorrow, it will be the ability to speak out against corrupt government.
Hello, Big Brother.
Trendpost: The demand for ever-more effective cybersecurity tools to counter the ever-more inventive depredations of cybercriminals and cyberwarriors will be with us far into the foreseeable future. Clearly, this situation will create many jobs, both for the formally educated and the creative hacker. In addition, The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education – established to provide cyber-awareness training to students in Kindergarten through post-graduate programs – will need many specialized teachers.
Somewhat farther along on the timeline, there is a high likelihood that the manufacture of cyber-components will be repatriated to the US. The 2011 Department of Defense’s “Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace” notes: “The majority of information technology products used in the United States are manufactured and assembled overseas. The reliance of DoD on foreign manufacturing and development creates challenges in managing risk at points of design, manufacture, service, distribution, and disposal.”
A high probability exists that 2012 will bring revelations about contamination in the global IT hardware and software supply chain and proof that computer components are providing our “enemies” with entry to critical networks or transmitting sensitive information to them. This will turn the DoD’s security concern into a hot imperative.
There have been a lot of people over the last twenty years of my life who have told me that I should say those words, others only hoped I would and more still believed that I never would. But here I am with them writ large as the title, you see, they are just words and it will only become clear as you read through this exactly how I mean them. Let me just say for clarification,( because I’ve had a few people recently tell me that I tar all Americans with the same brush, which I don’t) that when I say America, I do not mean every man woman and child that lives on the continent of America, I mean the Administration (and whomever happens to be the picture in front, presently it’s Obama) with special mention to it’s foreign policy. As the last troops pull out of Iraq to KUWAIT (so far away) but leave behind the biggest US Embassy in the world in Baghdad, you can’t help but see that it’s all just words. Recently when the Iraqis made comment about the 3,000 staff and 21,000 security that the American Administration were leaving in the Embassy in Baghdad they were told that if they didn’t like the US Army as security for the Embassy they (the US) could replace them with civilian staff (mercenaries). Somehow, somewhere, someone misinterpreted the whole idea of “leaving”. Leaving is everybody leaving, not 24,000 staying. But then, I have said it before, America never goes somewhere and leaves, look at Germany and Japan for instance it’s 66 years since the end of the Second world war yet they still have a presence in those countries. Sometimes I really do just sit and wonder, this isn’t news, so why do we not care? Why is it okay for America to get on it’s high horse about Human rights in other countries when compared to Europe for instance it doesn’t really have any and the great irony is that America never signs into Human rights legislation. Why have we let America become the police of the world? Historically America has never attacked a country that it knew could really fight back, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, it’s military capabilities and population were severely weakened after 13 years of sanctions, Iraq was a soft target, but I am proud to say not as soft as the American’s first thought. So after 8 years in Iraq they are “leaving” they have “installed a democracy” that’s a misnomer in itself and after all their drum beating about Iran have left them in charge of Iraq! If you don’t believe me, just the other week when Noori al-Maliki visited the graves of US soldiers, something I might add that he has never done for the soldiers of Iraq, instead of flying straight back to Baghdad he flew to Tehran to discuss what he did in the States and get the “Okay”. So Thank You America for getting rid of Saddam Hussein and replacing him with an Iranian government, and 300 members of Parliament who all want to be Saddam and act accordingly. Thank You America for finding, training and supporting Saddam Hussein in Egypt in 1958 just so you could oust the socialist President of Iraq. Thank You America, for being in Iraq for 8 years, leaving 24,000 soldiers and staff behind at your embassy and moving next door to Kuwait. Thank You America for not rebuilding Iraq, leaving it to the new assholes in charge who haven’t built a wall, let alone an infrastructure, Iraqis are very happy that they don’t have water, electricity or proper sewerage. Thank You America, because of the invasion of iraq in 2003 there are nearly 1.5 million Iraqi deaths, Saddam didn’t manage that in 35 years. We have 5 million refugees around the world of which only a few thousand are actually in America because America only takes the Iraqis who worked for them in Iraq as refugees, Europe has taken the brunt. We have over 1 million widows and orphans, another 3 million refugees inside Iraq’s borders because of the civil war that no-one acknowledges because it would “look bad” on America. Thank You America, for bringing democracy in the shape of men who sat in the UK , US, Canada, Sweden, France, Germany, Ireland and other countries, lived on social welfare, swore allegiance to that country and upon their return to Iraq bought votes with blankets, generators and white goods. Thank You America, for finding the weapons of mass destruction that were such a threat to your homeland that you needed to travel halfway around the world to defend yourself. Thank you America for showing me the true meaning of “Human rights” when the CIA had me imprisoned and tortured for ten and a half months in Vienna because I wouldn’t co-operate. Thank you America for making sure that I have remained stateless since my flight from Iraq in 1991. Just like you promised, you’re certainly true to your word in this case. Thank You America for letting Al-Qaeda into Iraq, we never had them before. Thank You America for supporting and training Osama Bin Laden, he did a great job against those Russians in Afghanistan, it makes you wonder why he turned against you? Thank you America for making Terrorism the disease of this century, you will have plenty of “terrorists” to fight as you have created laws that make people who speak out against “America” terrorists, what happened to the “freedom of speech and Democracy” that you go around liberating other countries in the name of? Thank You America for getting the media so “on-side” that we only really see and hear what you want us to, the only Free speech is the speech you decide is Free. Thank You America for dragging the rest of the world into economic chaos, you try to arrest the 99% and leave the 1% free to do as they please that’s definitely democratic. More liberties are lost through the ballot boxes than they are by tanks! Thank You America for creating all the Dictators of the last century and today, we know you’ve been having great fun going around liberating us. Thank You America, you’ve really outdone yourself this time! A special thanks to Mr. Obama the President of America, during his speech in the White House with Noori al-Maliki who was visiting, he said the following:
A few months ago as you can see from the first date on his messages befriended me on Facebook, I get a lot of requests and added him. After I did he sent me the first message. I didn’t reply to it for two reasons, firstly Iw as very busy and secondly I don’t give out that kind of information to people that I do not know personally or have dealings with, you just don’t know who they are not matter what they tell you on Facebook!
What I want or should I say would like is for you to read everything and give me your opinion.
Here are his messages and my answer
Elliot Collier lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA.
• Al-Rashid 8/March/2011
Mr Yahia, I hope this message finds you and is not dismissed by an assistant. My name is Elliot Collier; back in 2005 and 2006 I lived at the former Al-Rashid training facility in Baghdad described in your book (I was not a soldier). I am writing to inquire if you would be willing to provide some basic information about the facility such as former uses of the various buildings and things of that nature. If so I have several maps I can send for reference. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, I am a big fan of your books and blog, and I would be honored to have your assitance in this matter. Sincerely, Elliot Collier PS: I have also sent a request through your website via Mr. Rolls.
After I posted a photo on my Facebook page and on Twitter that I received from a Solider in the American Army today, he sent me this message.
I’m ashamed of you Mr. Yahia. I sympathized with your past experiences, but even still, how can you of all people attack America like this without pause? You know better than anyone that the actions of certain leaders, agencies, or persons are not a reflection of their country. Look at the atrocities committed by Iraqis, Afghanis, Iranians, and other people in the middle east; yet you are not posting pictures of their soldiers with dead bodies or slamming their governments. Why are you not outraged about insurgents decapitating civilians? Why are you not protesting Al-Jazira for broadcasting these murders? These pictures and videos do exist… why are you not posting them and condemning the terrorists? Why are we not to assume all Iraqis are murderous, barbaric monsters because of what Uday did? You criticize the US for invading Iraq but might I remind you if we hadn’t Saddam would still be in power, and Uday would still be alive. You claimed it was Iraq’s war to fight and the US shouldn’t have been involved, but do you really think anything would have happened? Who would have stepped up to challenge his power? I will admit war crimes were committed, on both sides; but these are not the actions of a whole people. I spent a year being shot at (by whom?) in Iraq yet never fired a shot myself. We were all taught to take the diplomatic approach first. I have befriended many Iraqis and even assisted several in immigrating to the United States. Does this place me in the same lot as the man in that picture because of our birthplace? Not all Americans are evil, just as not all Iraqis are terrorists. You cannot judge a country based on the perverse actions of a few deranged individuals (which again, exist on BOTH sides). Your hatred and negativity is what is preventing you from finding asylum in another country. Who would want a man who continually spouts off hatred at every government he does not agree with? Yes, you’ve been through some terrible situations that I personally cannot even imagine, but positive actions will carry you a lot further in life. You claim that out of you, Saddam, and Uday, you were the only one left standing… but are you? You claim to support peace, but nothing you do supports this claim. You are a bitter, resentful man that has no future if you don’t follow your own teachings and start practicing tolerance and not hatred. You are different than Uday… but are you any better?
Here is my answer to Mr. Collier.
I am ashamed of you Mr. Collier. To spout off at me with no regard or understanding of what I am saying to you or the world except your own vision, that I am attacking all the people in America. If you had truly read anything that I have written you would know that I continually repeat that I am not against American people, but I am most definitely against American foreign policy.
You say that you have been shot at yet did not return fire, that is because you are not a soldier, but I ask the question what were you doing in Iraq? Why would you risk your life in a barbaric country like Iraq, if it were not for the love of your country or maybe the huge wage that you were being paid to be there, I guarantee it was not because you loved Iraq, the Iraqi people or wanted to see us a free nation. Ask yourself this, how can we be a free nation when we were invaded by a foreign force without provocation?
Yes, it was for Iraqi people to depose Saddam, how can you tell me that we would not have had an “Arab Spring” ? Who would have thought that Mubarak would have been brought down by his own people? I cannot say the same for Libya as we all know foreign hands were a part of that also.
If America had not invaded and Saddam was still in power there would not be Sunni on Shia killings, people would not be being beheaded, murdered or paid to change their name from Sunni to Shia, Under Saddam no matter how much I hated his regime, people had electricity, clean water and medicines, the only time that they did not was under sanctions, yet another weapon used by foreign hands against the people of Iraq.
You accuse me of being bitter etc. I am not bitter, I am telling the truth, just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that I am wrong and maybe you should take your own advice. As for the people you helped to Immigrate to America, well done to you I hope that they make you proud.
As for Al-Jazeera TV if you don’t know who is behind them and paying their wages ask your government. All of these insurgents and militias were made after America invaded.
Ask yourself this, if I had posted a picture of Iraqis standing with “job well done” smiles outside of a car with dead Americans inside how would you feel?, no matter what your politics or feeling for your government? Why is it that every other life has more value and is entitled to more feelings of outrage than an Iraqis?? Also if I had posted that type of picture you would have accused me of being a supporter of the insurgents, so really it’s a no win situation for me isn’t it? the best example would have been the photos that were put on the internet of insurgents who had killed Mercenaries in Fallujah, what did the American army do to Fallujah? They fired everything legal and illegal at it until it was not much more than powder in the ground, anyone who survived will see generations of their children disfigured and deformed from the chemical weapons that were used and until now Fallujah has the highest cancer level in Iraq. Those mercenaries were not even American or legally attached to the US forces. So again many were killed for a few.
So I stay true to myself Mr. Collier no matter what you think of me.
If you want to tell me that Iraq is safer today under the puppets that have been installed by America and it is not controlled by Iran then I think you need to take a step back and let yourself see things clearly.
Where do you think that I get these photos? I get them from other Americans who disagree with what is going on with their own people but are not in a position to do anything about it.
This is a quote from your message above:
Firstly I am not seeking asylum, I have lived 20 years in the west and what I am seeking is Citizenship which I am entitled to by law. I do not spout off hatred at governments and even if I did what about freedom of speech or is that only for Western people? And if so, what is the point of bringing Democracy to the middle east if we are not truly allowed to practice it? Your words prove that anyone who had some sort of authority in Iraq be you a soldier/fireman etc (because let’s face it anyone who went to Iraq had authority over the Iraqi people) believes that anyone who had an opinion different to your American one is wrong! You see what I have learned in my 20 years in the West is that it is fine to criticize dictators, despots and tyrants but not democracies, which is strange because that is truly what democracy is all about isn’t it? So, although I understood perfectly well before, I am thankful that somebody finally said it out loud. It is more than clear now why people like Uday’s pimps, murderers from militias etc have attained Citizenship in the West, they are able to put their heads down and say Yes, yes, yes, that is until they get the citizenship and then you see them on Arabic TV (because after years they still can’t speak the language of their new country) saying things like “Uday was a Martyr” and “down with America”. What you see is what you get with me, I am not two faced.
As I said earlier, I HOPE THE IRAQIS THAT YOU HELPED TO IMMIGRATE TO THE US DO YOU PROUD.
Good day Sir.
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