Il est coutumier du fait. Seymour Hersh, vétéran du journalisme d’investigation américain, a jeté un nouveau pavé dans la mare en publiant un rapport sur la mort d’Oussama Ben Laden. Dans ce document, le journaliste qui s’est vu décerner le prix Pulitzer en 1970 pour sa couverture de la guerre du Vietnam, en particulier la révélation du massacre de My Lai perpétré en 1968 par l’armée américaine contre des centaines de civils, assure que la version défendue par la Maison-Blanche est fausse.
« C’est un énorme mensonge, il n’y a pas un seul mot de vrai », dit-il. L’ancien journaliste de New York Times cite d’anciennes sources du renseignement américaines et pakistanaises, aussi bien que des Navy Seals. « La Maison-Blanche maintient toujours que la mission était une affaire cent pour cent américaine et que les généraux supérieurs de l’armée du Pakistan et de l’agence Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) n’ont pas été prévenus de l’incursion. C’est faux. » Faux encore, selon lui, le fait que les deux chefs militaires les plus hauts gradés du Pakistan – le général Ashfaq Parvez Kayani et le général Ahmed Shuja Pasha, directeur général de l’ISI – n’étaient pas au courant de la mission des États-Unis.
D’après Hersh, la tête pensante d’Al-Qaïda était depuis 2006 le prisonnier de l’ISI, qui le gardait assigné à résidence et acceptait des fonds de l’Arabie saoudite pour assurer sa captivité. La CIA aurait localisé Ben Laden par le biais d’un ancien haut agent du renseignement pakistanais qui a trahi le secret en échange d’une grande partie de la récompense de 25 millions de dollars offerte par les États-Unis.
L’assaut donné le 2 mai 2011 par les Américains ne se serait pas déroulé comme le scénario « écrit » par la Maison-Blanche, assure Seymour Hersh. Les forces américaines sont entrées « tranquillement » dans la villa occupée par le terroriste et auraient tué « un homme faible et sans armes ». La dépouille de Ben Laden n’aurait ensuite pas été jetée en mer, comme l’affirme l’administration Obama, mais enterrée au Pakistan.
Le rapport de Hersh accuse également l’administration d’Obama d’avoir présenté Al-Qaïda comme une menace plus grande qu’elle ne l’était réellement avant la mort de son leader. La Maison-Blanche n’a pas encore réagi.
Washington fabricated several key claims regarding the 2011 mission in which a US Navy SEAL team killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to legendary journalist Seymour Hersh in the latest challenge to the White House’s narrative of the raid.
Hersh, writing in the London Review of Books, has alleged that the United States government and Pakistani officials in fact worked closely–attempting to smooth political and financial concerns between the two nations–prior to the May 2011 assault on bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan compound.
“The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account,” Hersh wrote.
“The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations?”
Contrary to US claims, bin Laden was not located through tracking of his couriers but through a “walk-in,” Hersh wrote in the piece, which was sourced mainly by a “retired senior intelligence official,” among a handful of anonymous others.
In August 2010, a “former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad” approached the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad to report bin Laden’s whereabouts. Once deemed reliable, the unnamed source — later moved to Washington to work as a CIA consultant — collected the outstanding $25 million reward offered by the US for information about bin Laden.
Bin Laden, Hersh wrote, was captured by Pakistan in 2006 and kept warehoused at the expense of Saudi Arabia, which wanted to keep the Al-Qaeda leader under wraps based on Riyadh’s close ties to the jihadist group. In addition, bin Laden was also considered a bargaining chip for Pakistan against Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
“The ISI was using bin Laden as leverage against Taliban and al-Qaida activities inside Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the retired official told Hersh. “They let the Taliban and al-Qaida leadership know that if they ran operations that clashed with the interests of the ISI, they would turn bin Laden over to us. So if it became known that the Pakistanis had worked with us to get bin Laden at Abbottabad, there would be hell to pay.”
Once confronted by the US about bin Laden’s location following the “walk-in” source’s information, Pakistan sought increased military aid and a « freer hand in Afghanistan” from the US in exchange for bin Laden.
Pakistani Army Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of Pakistan’s ISI, negotiated and facilitated terms surrounding the raid, including the assurance that “Pakistan’s army and air defence command would not track or engage with the US helicopters used on the mission.” The Pakistani officials operated under the assumption that President Barack Obama would not trumpet the killing in public for at least a week — which was not the eventual result.
— Jonah Blank (@JonahBlank) May 11, 2015
“Then a carefully constructed cover story would be issued: Obama would announce that DNA analysis confirmed that bin Laden had been killed in a drone raid in the Hindu Kush, on Afghanistan’s side of the border,” Hersh wrote.
Upon reaching the facility in Abbottabad, Navy SEAL Team Six encountered no resistance, as an “ISI liaison officer flying with the Seals guided them into the darkened house and up a staircase to bin Laden’s quarters,” Hersh wrote.
The “invalid” bin Laden « was cowering and retreated into the bedroom. Two shooters followed him and opened up. Very simple, very straightforward, very professional hit, » the retired official said. Bin Laden was not, as the White House said, killed by the SEALs out of self-defense amid a firefight.
by Tyler Durden
Since 2001, a group of hackers – dubbed the « Equation Group » by researchers from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab – have infected computers in at least 42 countries (with Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Syria most infected) with what Ars Technica calls « superhuman technical feats » indicating « extraordinary skill and unlimited resources. »
The exploits – including the ‘prized technique’ of the creation of a secret storage vault that survives military-grade disk wiping and reformatting – cover every hard-drive manufacturer and have many similar characteristics to the infamous NSA-led Stuxnet virus.
According to Kaspersky, the spies made a technological breakthrough by figuring out how to lodge malicious software in the obscure code called firmware that launches every time a computer is turned on.
Disk drive firmware is viewed by spies and cybersecurity experts as the second-most valuable real estate on a PC for a hacker, second only to the BIOS code invoked automatically as a computer boots up.
« The hardware will be able to infect the computer over and over, » lead Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu said in an interview.
Kaspersky’s reconstructions of the spying programs show that they could work in disk drives sold by more than a dozen companies, comprising essentially the entire market. They include Western Digital Corp, Seagate Technology Plc, Toshiba Corp, IBM, Micron Technology Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
The group used a variety of means to spread other spying programs, such as by compromising jihadist websites, infecting USB sticks and CDs, and developing a self-spreading computer worm called Fanny, Kasperky said.
Fanny was like Stuxnet in that it exploited two of the same undisclosed software flaws, known as « zero days, » which strongly suggested collaboration by the authors, Raiu said. He added that it was « quite possible » that the Equation group used Fanny to scout out targets for Stuxnet in Iran and spread the virus.
Which, as Reuters reports, strongly suggests the « extraordinary skills and unlimited resources » were funded by the NSA…
The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.
That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said.
The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.
A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the intelligence agency valued these spying programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.
As Kasperskey exposes, victims generally fall into the following categories:
• Governments and diplomatic institutions
• Nuclear research
• Oil and gas
• Islamic activists and scholars
• Mass media
• Financial institutions
• Companies developing cryptographic technologies
As an interesting note, some of the “patients zero” of Stuxnet seem to have been infected by the EQUATION group. It is quite possible that the EQUATION group malware was used to deliver the STUXNET payload.
So far, Kaspersky have identi?ed several malware platforms used exclusively by the Equation group. They are:
EQUATIONDRUG – A very complex attack platform used by the group on its victims. It supports a module plugin system, which can be dynamically uploaded and unloaded by the attackers.
DOUBLEFANTASY – A validator-style Trojan, designed to con?rm the target is the intended one. If the target is con?rmed, they get upgraded to a more sophisticated platform such as EQUATIONDRUG or GRAYFISH.
EQUESTRE – Same as EQUATIONDRUG.
TRIPLEFANTASY – Full-featured backdoor sometimes used in tandem with GRAYFISH. Looks like an upgrade of DOUBLEFANTASY, and is possibly a more recent validator-style plugin.
GRAYFISH – The most sophisticated attack platform from the EQUATION group. It resides completely in the registry, relying on a bootkit to gain execution at OS startup.
FANNY – A computer worm created in 2008 and used to gather information about targets in the Middle East and Asia. Some victims appear to have been upgraded ?rst to DoubleFantasy, and then to the EQUATIONDRUG system. Fanny used exploits for two zero-day vulnerabilities which were later discovered with Stuxnet.
EQUATIONLASER – An early implant from the EQUATION group, used around 2001-2004. Compatible with Windows 95/98, and created sometime between DOUBLEFANTASY and EQUATIONDRUG.
Although the implementation of their malware systems is incredibly complex, surpassing even Regin in sophistication, there is one aspect of the EQUATION group’s attack technologies that exceeds anything Kaspersky has ever seen before.
This is the ability to infect the hard drive ?rmware.
The plugin version 4 is more complex and can reprogram 12 drive “categories”
So to summarize:
1) US sanctions Russia
2) a Russian-based research group (Kaspersky Lab is an international group operating in almost 200 countries and territories worldwide. The company is headquartered in Moscow, Russia, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom. Kaspersky Lab currently employs over 2,850 qualified specialists) reveals that through Equation group’s code, there is NSA presence across the supply chain of the highest margin US products .
3) As Reuters notes, the exposure of these new spying tools could lead to greater backlash against Western technology, particularly in countries such as China, which is already drafting regulations that would require most bank technology suppliers to proffer copies of their software code for inspection.
4) And Peter Swire, one of five members of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, said the Kaspersky report showed that it is essential for the country to consider the possible impact on trade and diplomatic relations before deciding to use its knowledge of software flaws for intelligence gathering. « There can be serious negative effects on other U.S. interests, » Swire said.
It appears the ‘boomerang’ is boomerang-ing…
* * *
Full Kaspersky Labs report below:
source : Zero Hedge
Image Credits: ASPACS
A large-scale attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, last month left 132 school children and 10 teachers dead.
Among the alleged victims emerged the familiar face of Noah Pozner, one of the children supposedly killed in the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Without explanation, Pozner’s image has appeared in multiple photos and reports of the high-profile Army Public School shooting, reportedly carried out by 9 members of an elite Taliban terror group on December 16.
Despite his death over two years ago, Pozner also managed to be memorialized on a wall dedicated to the APSACS massacre victims, according to a photo taken by Agence-France Press.
Pozner’s smiling face is also prominently displayed in a photo meme appearing on the website aworldatschool.org, who lists among its supporters the globalist NGO USAID and several United Nations sub-branches, and his photo is also tagged with the name “Huzaifa Huxaifa” on the “Army Public School & College – Boys Peshawar” Facebook page.
A large poster-sized image of Pozner also appears on a memorial wall in Peshawar, and can be spotted in at least two BBC world news reports.
The BBC and its American counterpart “CNN also played a central role in publicizing the Sandy Hook massacre,” notes Florida Atlantic University Professor James Tracy. “The emergence and apparent use of the well-known photo to memorialize the December 16 Taliban school attack victims calls into question the authenticity of both events.”
As yet, no official explanation has emerged as to why Pozner’s photo has been inserted among the APSCS victims, but the BBC speculates that internet “recycling” of images is to blame, as another photo featuring a bloody shoe was also misattributed to the same event.
Can the photo’s misuse simply be brushed off as another bumbling Google image search mistake? Is it be willful subterfuge aimed at poking fun at those who question the validity of the Sandy Hook event?
Professor Tracy also notes the massacre enabled Pakistani authorities to pass some rather draconian legislation:
Pakistan’s political and military leaders have seized upon the mid-December incident to force through drastic measures targeting political prisoners and anti-government militants. One day after the massacre event the Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cited the event as it lifted a six-year moratorium on capital punishment in a vow “to eliminate terrorists in Pakistan irrespective of whether they targeted it or neighboring Afghanistan or India,” McClatchey News reports. “Officials said those 23 terrorists would be executed within days, and they’re likely to be followed by dozens more hangings at prisons around the country.” Pakistan presently has over 3,000 prisoners on death row. 
On December 26 Pakistan’s politicians lifted formal constraints on the army to pursue a two year military campaign against “Islamist terrorists.” “We owe it to our coming generations to eliminate this scourge of terror, for once and for all,” army chief of staff General Raheel Shariftold advised political leaders gathered at the prime minster’s residence. Almost immediately following the December 16 massacre, Shariftold advised “unchallengeable powers for the military to pursue, detain and pass verdict on Islamist militants and their abettors.”