Thursday, December 2, 2010

9/11 and Wikileaks: a ramble of little consequence

On March 4th, 2001, "The X-Files" television episode described a hit on New York City with a passenger aircraft, and the perpetrators were a small group inside the US Government.

My mantra is, "Stop Believing! Start Investigating!"

I have followed the 9/11 fiasco in great detail. I am familiar with all the Conspiracy Theories, including the Official Conspiracy Theory.

I still do not feel I have enough information to discount any of them. The failed investigation, held behind closed doors, that excluded hundreds of professional observers (firefighters and police) as well as long-term service staff, was an obvious whitewash, conducted despite strenuous resistance from the White House, and severely hobbled as a result.

There are some recurring themes that have arisen again and again.

The first is the failure of the three buildings, and the collapse that is identical to controlled demolition using explosives, that collapses a building into its own basement. If this was what actually happened, an examination of the debris for thermite by several independent organizations would have resolved this question. The unseemly speed with which the steel reinforcing was sold to Chinese smelters, destroying the evidence, in itself makes the Government story far less believable.

And when you add to this that foreign scientific investigations claim to have found a high-tech form of thermite in the dirt from the WTC site, this raises the ante. The US Government has no cards to play against these assertions, because they never investigated.

The second is the recurring story of the jubilant Israelis dancing at the sight of the fallen towers. First thought to be arabs, when stopped by the police and ID'ed, they turned out to be Israelis, and bomb-sniffing dogs reacted to their van as though it had recently contained explosives. Mossad (the Israeli secret service) has a long history of murder and mayhem, most publicly in their recent foray in Dubai. There is a lot of conjecture regarding the motivation Mossad would have to get involved, but this is simply conjecture, and requires my acceptance of Mossad as a truly evil organization, which I do not accept. Again, more investigation please.

The Missing Links movie is made by people with profound beliefs about who they believe are the guilty parties. I am only interested in the information they provide, not their conclusions.

The entire Missing Links movie can be viewed here.

Then, the third element is the backtracking on the Official Conspiracy Theory. As large pieces of it were deconstructed as fabrications ('lies', for the more direct commentators), we learned that there were no cell phone calls from the planes, that the 'box cutter' story was a fabrication, and that the Government authorities responsible for the investigation have now agreed that all the information that was published as inside stories from the people on the aircraft were utterly fictitious.

But what makes me even more suspicious is that, as each of these "facts" imploded into fiction, there was no investigation, and no explanation of how the fiction arose. The people who were supposed to have received phone calls seem to have receded from view, possibly back into the spook agencies that 'created' these characters in the first place?

Which brings me to the spook agencies. There are some 45 Top Secret organizations in the US. Murder in the pursuit of national security is above the law, and all of these organizations are beyond Congressional and Senatorial oversight.

Have a look at this graphic. "Mouse over" the picture, and each organization, and its activities, are highlighted for further overview. Take ten minutes, and have a look at just how much of the US Government is beyond democratic review already.

The US is not a democracy. It is a representative Government, where you can freely elect any candidate you choose to represent you.

In practice, this has evolved into a two-party system, and the parties decide who you may vote for. This has a lot on common with the old Russian Communist system, where you had a choice of two candidates. There, both were members of the Communist Party.

This two-party system has slowly pulled the teeth of the elected officials, using national security as the excuse. The defense of the nation must be kept secret, and accordingly, elected officials do not have access to the 45 US Government organizations, or their subcontractors.

Conspiracy theorists have suggested that this is the reason a small criminal group inside the top echelon of the US Government pulled off the 9/11 hit. It moves us further towards a benevolent dictatorship by powerful organizations of permanent appointees, rather like the old Roman Empire.

For me, I sit on the sidelines, watching the play. I am concerned, because buried in the concepts of the founding Fathers are some of the finest and best political ideals ever proposed, and, amazingly, they made them work!

America was built on Washington, Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, and the other great and brave thinkers of the age. Their writing is still inspirational today.

But it is time to face reality. The honor of gentlemen is long past, and it has taken me some time to grasp this, because I like to think the best of the people who control our lives.

The final nails in the coffin of the US as keeper of world ethics are being driven home by Wikileaks. It has not yet occurred to the US Government that the leaks are driven by the disgust
of people on the inside, who feel that the world should know what is going on. And in this electronic age, a few minutes can deliver a trove of information that in the past would have required a convoy of trucks.

I am baffled by the Government anger. I am surprised at their past and continuing hyperbole ("People will DIE!! .... Really? Name one. Just one.)

Now, the wheels seem to be coming off the sexual tirade against Julian Assange. Seems that "Rape" in Sweden is having sex with a woman without a condom.

Ah well. The US want him in a safe US prison (Guantanamo Bay?) where he can be waterboarded and held without representation. If the Swedes can grab him, they will be off and running.

But what about that X-files clip, huh?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You thought your surfing and email were private? Hah. Haha. Hahahaha.

Your computer is being spied on by organizations all over the world. There are over 1 billion spy computers in the global network tracking every move you make. They read your email (unless you use an encryption option), and track your surfing habits.

You probably fit into the profile of the average user, who has no idea this is going on. But organizations from all over the world are tracking your activity for their own purposes, whatever they may be.

Let me start by explaining how you retrieve information from the World Wide Web (WWW).

When you click on a link in a web page, your request goes first to your Internet provider, for example, AT&T or Comcast. They pass on this request to the Internet backbone, and it is picked up by another server, that passes on your request, until eventually you arrive at the web page you are requesting. Once your request arrives at the server that is storing the web page you want, everything reverses, as packets of information are passed back to you by the same process. This path is routed at the whim of the management of the servers in the path, and every web site you visit will follow a different route.

As you can see, you are broadcasting your surfing habits, and this information is being intercepted, and passed on, by a large number of random servers, and infrequently by the same path twice, as you surf to different web sites.

Your request may go around the world to access a site that is virtually next-door. At each server along the way, your computer's address on the Internet (IP address) is passed along, with all your requested information, so that the server that eventually finds the particular web site can pass the information back to you. What you are looking for, and where you live, are known by every computer in the link, both there and back.

When the web page is returned to you, it comes back to your computer's HTML port. But all those servers along the way, now they have your IP address, can discreetly come back to your IP address, and gently prod for access on the other ports on your computer, to try to get more information on your activities.

And so, you blithely surf the web, completely unaware that you are being spied upon. These attacks are usually made using other ports on your computer (most commonly the UDP port).

The mind-boggling aspect of this is the sheer number of organizations involved globally in this kind of activity.

If you are interested in seeing who is spying on you, here is a simple solution that is easy to install.

"Good morning, Mr. Phelps. Your mission ....."

There is an application called Peerblock, which actively blocks these intrusions. It uses a database from, which is continually updated by volunteer participants, to decide which IP addresses to block.

Currently, PeerBlock tells me it is actively blocking 1,001,871,255 IP addresses! Over 1 billion IP addresses?

In a few hours, over 600 clandestine requests are made, according to Peerblock's log.

If you want to see which sites generate the most activity, install Peerblock. It runs in the background, and has no visible impact on computer performance. When you start PeerBlock, the first thing it will do is update the list of IP addresses it will be blocking. Then, it will open as a background application, and appear as a little blue box on the right-hand-side of the taskbar. Double-click on this, and you can watch the window as your computer is attacked.

If your monitor is large enough, open the PeerBlock window and a browser window side-by-side, and surf the web, and look at which web sites generate the most activity.

You will quickly understand that your entire Internet profile is kept on file by thousands of organizations around the world, who can profile you, and your interests. And, in the US, all your email.

Personally, I accept that we have already witnessed the death of privacy. Even before 9/11, the US Federal Government was keeping track of every piece of email that traveled the web, using a program they developed called Carnivore. In 2005, this was abandoned in favor of commercial software that does the job better, and more efficiently, such as Narusinsight, which can also perform a far wider range of espionage activities on your surfing habits as well as your email.

If the idea that your activities are so transparent alarms you, or that your business activities are laid open to such scrutiny, then I wouldn't worry too much. The sheer load of data that is being gathered is too overwhelming to be deeply analysed.

But wait ten years. The data will still be there, but by then, we will see computer systems emerging that are over 100 times as powerful than the computers we have today (Moore's law). And in 20 years time, they will be over 8,000 times as fast.

There will come a time when there is enough computing horsepower to fine-tooth-comb your past activities. And your data will still be around.