May 10, 2013
Abby Martin breaks down the nearly unbelievable tactics used by the FBI to bug homes, including sedating your pets, and staging traffic accidents, and putting up a giant replica of your home as a tarp.
May 10, 2013
Abby Martin breaks down the nearly unbelievable tactics used by the FBI to bug homes, including sedating your pets, and staging traffic accidents, and putting up a giant replica of your home as a tarp.
Anonymous has sure been quiet lately, but today’s federal bust of Megaupload riled ‘em up good: a retaliatory strike against DoJ.gov (and plenty of other foes) leaving them completely dead.
DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com is reporting the department’s site as universally nuked, and an Anonymous-affiliated Twitter account is boasting success. This is almost certainly the result of a quickly-assembled DDoS attack—and easily the widest in scope and ferocity we’ve seen in some time. If you had any doubts Anonymous is still a hacker wrecking ball, doubt no more.
The combination of the hacking nebula’s SOPA animosity—they’ve been a vocal opponent of the bill since its inception—combined with today’s sudden Megaupload news has made the group bubble over: hundreds upon hundreds of Anon operatives are in a plotting frenzy, chatting about which site will go down next. In Anon’s eyes, the government and media interests are responsible for the undue destruction of Megaupload (and the arrest of four of its operators), so it’ll be exactly those entities that’re feeling the pain right now. Pretty much every company that makes movies, TV, or music, along with the entirety of the federal government, is in Anonymous’ crosshairs.
Update: Anonymous says they’ve also knocked off the RIAA‘s site—looks down for us at the moment as well.
Update 2: Universal Music Group has also fallen off an e-cliff.
Update 3: Goodbye for now, MPAA.org.
Update 4: Affected sites are bouncing in and out of life, and are at the very least super slow to load. Anon agents are currently trying to coordinate their DDoS attacks in the same direction via IRC.
Update 5: The US Copyright Office joins the list.
Update 6: This Anon sums up the mood in their “official” chat room at the moment:
Danzu: STOP EVERYTHING, who are we DoSing right now?
Update 7: Russian news service RT claims this is the largest coordinated attack in Anonymous’ history—over 5,600 DDoS zealots blasting at once.
Update 8: the Anonymous DDoS planning committee is chittering so quickly, it’s making my laptop fan spin.
Update 9: Major record label EMI is down for the count.
Update 10: La résistance est international—French copyright authority HADOPI bites the dust under Anon pressure.
Update 11: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has fallen and can’t get up.
Update 12: Anonymous has released a statement about today’s attacks.
At the very foundation of perhaps every modern day conflict between the expansive powers of unchecked bureaucracy and the dwindling freedoms of the ordinary citizen dwells the vital issue of privacy.Privacy and the right to hold personal and political views without being singled out and scrutinized by government is absolutely essential to any society which dares to deem itself “fair and just”.Ultimately, without the presence of these two liberties, and without people to defend them, a nation is ill equipped to circumvent the growth of tyranny, and anyone claiming to be “free” in the midst of such a culture is living a delusion of the highest order.
Often, social engineers attempt to direct debate over the issue of privacy towards rationalizations of relative morality, or artificially delineated priorities.We quibble over the level of government intrusion that should be tolerated for the sake of the “greater good”.We struggle with questions of bureaucratic reach, wondering at which point we should consider government a threat to the safety and liberty of the people, rather than a servant and protector.The dialogue always turns towards “how much” room government should be given to lumber about our personal lives.Rarely do we actually confront the idea that, perhaps, government should not be welcomed at all into such places.
Really, what makes a governmental entity so special that it should be allowed free access to the activities of the average citizen?Why should ANY intrusion of privacy be tolerated, let alone the kind that goes on today?Our most important concern is not how much leeway our government should be given to snoop into our pocket books, our medical records, our education, our political leanings, or our child rearing philosophies, but rather, whether or not they fulfill any purpose whatsoever through these actions.Is the government, as it exists now, even necessary, or does it cause only harm?
Under tyranny, privacy is usually the first right to be trampled in the name of public safety.Its destruction is incremental and its loss a victim of attrition in the wake of more immediate crisis.Disturbingly, many people become so fixated upon the threats of the moment that they lose complete track of the long term derailment of their own free will in progress.Government, no matter how corrupt, is seen as an inevitability.Conditioned by fear, desperation, insecurity, and sometimes greed, we begin to forget what it was like to live without prying eyes constantly over our shoulders.In the past decade alone, Americans have witnessed a substantial invasion of our individual privacy as well as a destabilization of the legal protections once designed to maintain it.Not just America, but most of the modern world has undergone a quiet program of surveillance and citizen cataloging that goes far beyond any sincere desire for “safety” and into the realm of technocratic domination.
Spying on U.S. citizens by a host of alphabet agencies has been going on for decades, but the actual cataloging of the public by government became most direct during WWII, which saw the use of the Census Bureau as a tool for collecting the names and residencies of Japanese Americans, as well as the highly illegal and unconstitutional internment of these innocents and their families:
The creation of lists designed to brand dissenters, activists, and even average passive persons has only become more prevalent since.From the McCarthy witch hunts (based on some real threats but skewed by McCarthy’s ignorance of the bigger picture), to the Cointelpro antics of the Vietnam era, government spying and cataloging has been a way of life and an expected prerequisite part of the relationship between citizenry and leadership.Though consistently opposed, surveillance has become ingrained into our social framework.
In 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Information Act (FISA) was signed by Jimmy Carter into law.The claimed purpose of this act was to confront the extensive abuses of power initiated by the Nixon administration, and to ensure that intelligence agencies were never used again as tools for suppressing political opposition or activist groups.Instead, the act merely became a cover for even more surveillance of American citizens.FISA’s use was expanded far beyond the realm of “foreign intelligence” by both the Bush and Obama Administrations to include vast warrantless wire tapping programs and internet monitoring against U.S. citizens in tandem with telecom companies who are now immune from civil litigation should their intrusions ever be discovered.In 2010, orders for FISA surveillance were up 19%, and not a single request was turned down.This included over 24,287 national security information requests by the FBI pertaining to over 14,000 U.S. persons:
In 2002, the Bush Administration established the Information Awareness Office (IAO) under the supervision of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).Using what they call “Total Information Awareness”, and stemming from the usurping authority of the Patriot Act, this project’s purpose is to monitor vast swaths of domestic communication, as well as collect a massive database of the personal information of every U.S. citizen, including phone calls, emails, social networking records, medical records, and financial records without search warrant authorization:
In the UK, a national database including biometrics has been ordered for completion by 2017, including the issuance of a microchipped ID card:
A similar action has been taken by the government of India for citizens “below the poverty line”, supposedly, to make welfare programs easier to administer.Of course, nearly half of India’s population is under the international poverty line:
In 2009, the Russian government gave itself sweeping powers to spy on citizens, including unlimited access to all private mail without a warrant:
Last month, the Obama Administration launched a website called ‘Attack Watch’.Its purpose?To monitor and catalog all internet based opponents of the Obama presidency.Obama supporters can “report” attacks on the White House using the website by sending an email or twitter:
And most recently, the Federal Reserve itself launched a new strategy called the “Social Listening Platform”, which is designed to compile and monitor lists of Fed opponents and critics in a vast database, while at the same time watching billions of web conversations and blogs for negative influence against the central bank:
Obviously, the current levels of surveillance against citizens has gone way beyond the old excuse of “defense against terrorism”, and jaunted into the realm of Orwellian thought police.The Fed, for instance, has always claimed that its privately controlled banking structure is valuable to the U.S. government and the economy because it allows them a level of political independence that is useful in applying “objective” solutions to economic problems.Yet, they now insist on tracking the political views and opinions of their opponents in the general populace!This hardly sounds “objective” to me…
If the Fed wants to know what we think of them, they certainly don’t need to covertly monitor our communications or writings.All they have to do is ask us!Of course, this kind of tactic has less to do with knowing our opinions, and more to do with silencing our opinions.
To understand the concept of the subversion of dissent through surveillance, we must examine two factors.First, is the reality of the spying itself, which we just outlined clearly above.Second, are the common arguments and talking points used by the champions of Big Brother culture, and how nonsensical they can be.Let’s take a look some of these arguments now…
1)If You Have Nothing To Hide, Then You Have Nothing To Fear From Government Surveillance
At bottom, whether we have “something to hide” or not is none of the government’s concern unless they can provide probable cause.This issue is directly dealt with in the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.It is NOT subject to wild interpretations or matters of stipulation.No national emergencies, wars, terrorist enemies, nor little green men from outer space take precedence over the rights of the individual to be secure from constant and unwarranted scrutiny.In a free country, all men are innocent until proven guilty, but in a surveillance slave culture, everyone is treated as a potential criminal.
2)Surveillance Makes Our Country Safer
Regardless of the society at risk, or the government involved, history has shown that the act of government spying is rarely if ever about citizen safety.Rather, it is invariably about protecting the establishment power structure itself, especially when that structure has committed heinous transgressions and criminal behavior that inspire the citizenry to overthrow it.The more offensive and corrupt the government, the more surveillance that government thrusts upon the public.Guaranteed.The safety provided by the state is, in general, an illusion, and the prevention of danger is hardly successful enough to warrant the faith that the populace places in the establishment.Citizens ultimately provide their own safety, or none at all.Governments cannot save you from danger, they can only give you a superficial sense of comfort.A social placebo to ease the constant paranoia they simultaneously strive to perpetuate.
3)The Authorities Already Know Everything About Us Anyway, So A Little More Surveillance Won’t Matter
The magic of faulty logic is apparent in its circular nature.One lie feeds into another until a complete, but erroneous, idea is born.Again, the question needs to be raised; what makes the inhabitants of government so trustworthy or upright that they deserve to expect full knowledge of our personal lives?What they know or do not know already is utterly irrelevant to this question.Being privy to public information databases does not qualify an individual to walk into your home, track your phone calls and emails, or place you on a list of undesirables.So, why should it be any different for a government?
4)Our Government Is Elected By The People, So If You Don’t Like Surveillance, Vote Them Out
The ignorance of this response is hopefully apparent to most readers.In an election dynamic controlled by a two party system in which both parties represent the top 1% or less of global elitists, and not the people, voting on the national level is hardly meaningful or effective.There is only one Ron Paul, and few others in government with similar convictions or principles.Therefore, regardless of how we vote, the system is designed to continue forward in the construction of a surveillance society.Our government today is NOT elected by the people.Not as long as the false left/right paradigm remains.
5)All Individuals Should Make Sacrifices For The Greater Good
The “greater good” is a matter of perspective.My definition is certainly much different from that of an elitist or a collectivist.Ideally, any widely applied view of this elusive greater good should be built upon the foundation of inherent conscience, and be driven by true sincerity and empathy for the future of humanity.This future, if it is to be any future worth living in, must include those liberties and desires for self determination that exist in every one of us.There is no group (an abstract concept) that is worth the sacrifice of these principles.There is no group that is worth more that the individuals which make its existence possible.The greater good then, logically, should revolve around the nurturing of strong individuals, without which, the group crumbles into chaos and dust.Supplanting individualism for the sake of a surveillance society always leads to such an end.
As stated above, government spying and cataloging of citizens is a means to several ends.It is meant to create fear, doubt, and self censorship.It is meant to divert attention away from the legitimate criminal behaviors of authorities and towards the inevitable and justifiable reactions of those in opposition.It is meant to create efficiency in subversion.Meaning, when smaller forces (corrupt governments) seek to destabilize and diminish larger forces (populations), efficiency of action is the key.By identifying, then targeting and defaming specific and prominent critics of the Fed, for example, rather than making broad based attacks on all of us, the central bank is more likely to dissuade the growth of dissent, and chill the air for leadership figures in the movement.That is, if they are successful…
The great anxiety here is one of “what if”?What if they target you?Or me?What happens then?My personal response; who cares!The more people who effectively endure as obstacles to centralization of control, the more people they have to add to their ridiculous lists.Eventually, with catalogs of millions cluttering the war room, the very tactic of government spying becomes futile.The key is to cast off the dread of the machine and realize that none of us is alone in the fight.The juggernaut is hollow.Its terrible roar is choked with smoke.It rolls forward only because we have not yet dared to stand in its path.It is weak, and indeed, we may find, its doubts are far heavier than ours.
LulzSec gained instant notoriety by targeting the CIA, multi-nationals and government websites. Then, at the height of its popularity, it disbanded. One of its founders tells why
Its audacity was brazen and apparently fearless. Among its high-profile victims were Sony, the CIA, the FBI, the US Senate and even the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency. Exposing frailties in government and corporate networks, the group leaked hundreds of thousands of hacked passwords, and in the process garnered more than a quarter of a million followers on Twitter. But after just 50 days, on 25 June, LulzSec suddenly said it was disbanding.
Just hours before this announcement, the Guardian had published leaked internet chat logs revealing the inner workings of the group, which appeared to consist of six to eight members. The logs showed that authorities were often hot on their heels, and that after an attack on an FBI-affiliated website two hackers had quit LulzSec as they were “not up for the heat”. As media attention mounted, Ryan Cleary, an Essex-based 19-year-old suspected of affiliation to LulzSec, was arrested in a joint UK-US “e-crime” investigation. Had the pressure simply got too much to handle?
To find out, the Guardian tracked down one of LulzSec’s founding members, “Topiary”. A key figure in the tight-knit group, he was revealed in the logs to have managed LulzSec’s Twitter account and to have written their press releases. After verifying his identity by asking him to send a direct message from the account – “This is the captain of the Lulz Boat,” he confirmed – we began a long conversation by Skype.
“I know people won’t believe this, but we genuinely ended it [LulzSec] because it was classy,” he says. “The leaks we promised happened . . . 50 days were reached, we just about hit 275,000 Twitter followers, things were on a high, so we redirected our fans to [hacker collective] Anonymous and [hacking movement] AntiSec and wrapped it up neatly . . . A high note, a classy ending, a big bang, then a sail into the distance.”
LulzSec’s jovial public image undoubtedly helped it achieve unusual popularity within a short time. Its stated aim was to provide “high-quality entertainment at your expense,” and the word “Lulz” is itself internet slang for laughs. The group’s popularity spiked after it planted a fake story on US news outlet PBS.com in protest over what it claimed was a misrepresentative WikiLeaks documentary made by the broadcaster. The story falsely reported that rapper Tupac Shakur, who was killed in a shooting 15 years ago, had been found alive and well in New Zealand.
“What we did was different from other hacking groups,” says Topiary. “We had an active Twitter (controlled by me), cute cats in deface messages, and a generally playful, cartoon-like aura to our operations. We knew when to start, we knew when to stop, and most of all we knew how to have fun.”
But the group’s mission, Topiary explains, was not calculated. Almost everything LulzSec did – from choosing its name to its next target – happened spontaneously. “We made it up as we went along. We were originally @LulzLeaks on twitter, but I forgot the password so we became @LulzSec. My first name was The Lulz Train, then The Lulz Cannon, then The Lulz Boat. I had no idea what The Love Boat was, it was a complete accident . . . I wrote every press release in Notepad without planning. That’s what made us unique, we just came out and made stuff up out of nowhere . . . We released when it felt right, we tweeted what felt right, we wrote what we felt needed to be wrote. We weren’t burdened by plans or board meetings, we just did it.”
The leaked chat logs also revealed the hackers appeared to revel in the international attention they received. However, Topiary says it wasn’t that LulzSec was media-hungry, but that the media was LulzSec-hungry.
“We didn’t contact a single media outlet for at least the first 40 days, they just kept reporting on our humble tweets,” he says, though he admits the attention “gave us more reasons to leak more. It was a thrill, sure, and it did play a role. We enjoyed occasionally confusing and pranking media with weird tweets, or giving exclusives to certain journalists to piss off other certain journalists. It was another aspect of the situation that helped us leverage the entertainment.”
Yet although many of LulzSec’s attacks were perpetrated “for the lulz”, the group was accused of attempted extortion by one US security company, Unveillance – a charge Topiary staunchly denies. It was also criticised after it hacked and dumped thousands of Sony Pictures Europe customers’ usernames and passwords online, some of which were reportedly later used in scams by fraudsters. But Topiary is unapologetic.
“It’s Sony’s fault for not defending – and encrypting – its customers’ data,” he says. “Similarly, in a perfect world, we’d have dumped said data and nothing would have happened. These scams simply prove that other people (our fans/spectators) are more evil than us.”
Towards the end of LulzSec’s reign, it seemed to gravitate towards more overtly political causes. It occasionally compared itself to WikiLeaks in tweets, and its penultimate leak was a joint effort with Anonymous to expose Arizona police as “racist and corrupt”, and to “sabotage their efforts to terrorise communities fighting an unjust ‘war on drugs’.”
Anonymous is well known for its acts of political “hacktivism”. On Monday it reportedly threatened to attack the Metropolitan police over News International’s phone hacking and the possible extradition to Sweden of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Earlier this year the group claimed responsibility for a series of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on government websites in Tunisia, Iran, Egypt and Bahrain, and in 2008 it attacked the Church of Scientology after it allegedly attempted to suppress a leaked video interview with actor and scientologist Tom Cruise. Topiary has been heavily involved with Anonymous in the past, occasionally acting as its spokesman in televised interviews.
“Anonymous has been a great way for the younger generations to get involved through methods they understand, like utilising the internet,” he says. “My main goal with Anonymous was to spread the word of revolution to those who might be seeking something new.”
Though Topiary will not disclose his age, he describes himself as a teenager and “an internet denizen with a passion for change”. He believes he is part of a generational shift in the way technology – specifically the internet – is increasingly being used as a tool to influence the world. The actions of Anonymous in particular, he says, have brought attention to the idea that actions taken online can have a major impact in real life – “linking the two realities”. But he also recognises that the actions of Anonymous, LulzSec and other affiliated hackers can be used by governments as justification for greater control of the internet. So how does he balance his actions with that knowledge?
“It only results in greater government control if we remain apathetic and let it happen,” he says. “The goal with Anonymous is to brutally cut down the middle of that decision and shout ‘NO’ to laws we don’t agree with. Laws are to be respected when they’re fair, not obeyed without question.”
For now, however, Topiary is taking a break from law-breaking. He says he will continue operating on the margins of Anonymous, but will not engage in any more hacking. Instead, he intends to create art, video and graphics for the group to help with a new public relations project, to be titled Voice.
“I’ve been at this non-stop for a while, it’s a big time-sink,” he says. “Some people can handle it for years on end, and I respect those people. I just needed some air and a new page in the Anonymous/LulzSec era.”
After the arrest of Cleary last month, suspected US hackers believed to be affiliated with LulzSec had their homes raided in Ohio and Iowa. In the past, hackers have been offered immunity from prosecution if they cooperate with the authorities. But, if caught, Topiary says he would “never snitch” on other hackers and that he would “pretty much” rather go to jail than work for the government in any capacity.
“Not sure I’d have a place in government security, unless they enjoy bizarre tweets,” he says. “But again, no, I wouldn’t accept a job that would fight against the things I’ve fought for. As for the authorities, well, if they have their claws in, they have their claws in, there’s not much I can do about it. But I can only hope that they haven’t pinned any of us, especially my friends from LulzSec.”
Canadian Stanton Friedman is a superstar in the UFO world, a man who can walk into a conference about aliens and be recognized the way that golf fans recognize Tiger Woods prowling the fairways of the Masters.
Roswell, Area 51, UFOs, aliens — the New Brunswick resident can cite fine details about each.
A nuclear physicist by training, Friedman keeps busy writing books, doing interviews and attending numerous conferences (he’s lectured in 18 countries so far), as well as appearing in documentaries, all geared to one of the great mysteries of the human experience: do aliens exist and have they visited Earth?
Friedman will quickly tell you they have, and he will quickly tell you it is being covered up on a grand scale. Doubters beware: he will also tell you he has not lost a debate yet about the existence of extraterrestrial life.
“I have had only 11 hecklers of whom two were drunk. In addition, I have appeared on hundreds of TV and radio shows, been involved in five books, numerous documentaries and won several debates, and lost none,” Friedman responded in an emailed answer to questions from CBCNews.ca.
One of the main lecturers this year at the annual UFO conference in Roswell, which starts July 1, he clearly doesn’t shrink from defending his great quest, more than 40 years in the making, as you can see in this interview with CBCNews.ca.
Do you remember the moment, or moments, that you looked at the skies and thought, ‘There’s life out there?’
There were no epiphany moment. I read a lot of science-fiction stories when I was young and pretty much assumed there was other life out there. I read my first serious book, The Report On UFOs by air force captain Edward J. Ruppelt, former head of United States Air Force project Blue Book, in 1958.
I was a 24-year-old nuclear physicist working at the General Electric Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Department in Cincinnati. The USAF was co-sponsor with the Atomic Energy Commission and we spent $100 million that year and employed 3,500 people of which 1,100 were engineers or scientists. In the next three years I read about a dozen other books, some of which were trash.
Then, to my surprise, in about 1961, at the library of the University of California, Berkeley, I found a copy of a privately published version of the largest study ever done for the U.S. government — Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14.
It hadn’t been mentioned in any of the books I had read and had over 200 charts, tables, graphs and maps about the more than 3,200 UFO cases studied.
Most astonishing was the widely distributed press release of Oct. 25, 1955, in which the secretary of the air force, Donald Quarles, flat out lied when he said: “Even the unknown three per cent could have been identified as conventional phenomena or illusions if more complete observational data had been available.”
In reality, 21.5 per cent of the cases couldn’t be explained, completely separate from the 9.3 per cent listed as “insufficient Information.” Thus began my crusade in the early 1960s.
How do people react to you in a social setting when they find out what you do?
No, I don’t get taken to be a nut. Many people have seen me on TV and heard me on radio. Some have even read one of my books. Most people agree with me once they hear the evidence.
Fewer than two per cent have read any of the five large-scale scientific studies on which I focus. I raise the objections of the debunkers and then demolish them. It is a complete myth that most people, especially professionals, think the subject is nonsense.
I have spoken to many professional groups. There is an entire chapter in my 2008 book Flying Saucers and Science about the actual opinion poll results.
Despite the false claims of a small group of nasty, noisy negativists, most people accept ET reality even though they think most others don’t. I check my audiences and find at the end of my lecture that about 10 per cent of the attendees have had a sighting. But 90 per cent didn’t report it because of a fear of ridicule.
I am trying to lift the laughter curtain.
What will happen to the Earth when we discover for certain that aliens exist? And will the aliens be friendly or will they do harm to us?
I have no idea how the world will respond. I believe it will depend entirely on how the information is presented.
Cars coming from the A27 highway take the Houten exit and ride their vehicles around a UFO landing pad on the outskirts of Houten, central Netherlands. Reuters
If we are told the visitors are evil and plan to destroy us, that would give a very different reaction from what would happen if we find out they are here primarily to make sure that we don’t go out there until we learn to behave in a civilized fashion.
Clearly, from an alien viewpoint, we are a primitive society whose major activity is tribal warfare. In the Second World War, we earthlings killed 50 million of our own kind and destroyed 1,700 cities. This year we will spend $1 trillion on things military, while more than 25,000 children die needlessly of preventable disease or starvation every day.
Roswell, Area 51 and other U.S. locations play a big role in what you and others are investigating. Are there any Canadian connections to the UFO mystery?
I am the original civilian investigator of the Roswell incident and will once again be there in early July for the annual festival.
Area 51 is not a primary focus at all despite a new book with an outlandish explanation for Roswell. [The book suggests the Russians were behind UFO sightings.]
There is real evidence from all over the world including more than 4,000 physical trace cases from more than 70 countries. The Mutual UFO Network receives more than 300 reports per month.
Some interesting (Canadian) cases include the Shag Harbor, N.S., crash, in October 1967. I will be there in early August for their conference. The Stephen Michalak case of Falcon Lake, Man., was an excellent case. Chris Rutkowski of Winnipeg collects reports from all over the country.
Seek and ye shall find.
When people doubt that there are aliens and doubt they have visited here, what do they say is needed to convince them?
There aren’t many doubters. The four primary rules for the debunkers are: (A) Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is made up. (B) What the public doesn’t know, I won’t tell them. (C) If one can’t attack the data, attack the people. (D) Do one’s research by proclamation, because investigation is too much trouble. All together the attitude is to put down what one is not up on.
I deal with such silly objections as governments can’t keep secrets, or one can’t get here from there in Flying Saucers and Science and also in Science Was Wrong, co-authored by Kathleen Marden. We also wrote Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience. Marden is Betty’s niece. Again, the skeptics haven’t done their homework. Their disbelief is primarily a result of ignorance of the evidence.
There are some who insist that religion teaches there are no aliens. I refer them to Dr. Barry Downing’s excellent book The Bible and Flying Saucers.
It seems more people believe these days that life is out there in the stars. Are they getting sucked in by the hype of popular movies or is it something more?
I think most people have come to realize that we live in an enormous universe, which is not only huge but billions of years old and there seems to be nothing special about Earth that would lead us to believe our situation is unique.
It is easy to forget that it was less than 90 years ago that we realized that there is more than one galaxy. It is less than 20 years since we discovered many exoplanets.
The Kepler spacecraft in just a short part of its life seems to have found more than 1,200 exoplanets in a relatively tiny portion of the heavens. Many more will follow. We didn’t realize until less than 75 years ago that nuclear fusion provides 10 million times as much energy per reaction as does chemical combustion. I worked on a study of fusion rockets.
We are slowly beginning to realize that technological progress comes from doing things differently in an unpredictable way and the future is not an extrapolation of the past.
Until Copernicus, we thought we were at the centre of the universe and all the heavenly bodies including the sun revolved around the Earth. Now we know the sun isn’t in the centre either, and we are clearly not the big shots we would like to think we are.
People aren’t being sucked in by science fiction, but a growing awareness of our relative unimportance in the larger scheme of things.
Some say the world will change more than we can understand if aliens reveal themselves to us. Do you think this is true? How might things change?
Again I can’t predict how people will react since it will depend upon how information about alien reality is presented and what facts are given.
It is easy to forget that from the viewpoint of many governments of alien visitation, there is a strong national security concern. Namely how can we duplicate the alien technology for military benefit and not permit our “enemies” to know what we have learned.
I talk about this in my paper to be presented at the 42nd annual Mutual UFO Network symposium in Irvine, Calif., on July 31.
‘It is time for a wake-up call. We are not alone.’
—Stanton Friedman, UFO hunter
The biggest problem is with nationalism. No government wants its citizens to owe their allegiance to the planet instead of that individual government.
People in power want to stay in power. Governments have a past history of often not taking courageous steps for the benefit of their people, but rather looking out for themselves first. The wave of unrest in the Middle East suggests some things are changing and more freedom is being sought.
One more thing that certainly needs to change is for the press to do its job and dig out the facts. One of a dozen PhD theses about UFOs (By Dr. Herbert Strentz) has some strong comments to make about the inadequacy of the press efforts. For example, how could the New York Times blindly accept the crazy notion that crash test dummies dropped in New Mexico were the explanation for bodies supposedly seen in Roswell in 1947.
In fact, none were dropped until at least six years later and all were the size and weight of pilots (175 pounds and six feet tall) and were in pilot uniforms. Witnesses talked of short skinny guys with big heads. Hardly the same thing.
It is time for a wake-up call. We are not alone.
The hacking collective LulzSec says it has hacked into the website and database of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) and released details of staff, emails and correspondence on public file-sharing sites.
A number of DPS officers told the Associated Press that they had been inundated with calls to their home and mobile phones from strangers on Thursday night, and that they were trying to change their numbers.
A DPS spokesman confirmed that the agency’s computer system had been breached and was taking additional security safeguards that he wouldn’t disclose.
The hackers said they had specifically targeted the department in that state because of its tough immigration law “and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona”. Arizona has introduced tough identification laws which have been criticised by President Obama and others. However, they have been frozen due to legal challenges.
But even as the details were being released, pressure was growing on the group from rival hackers unhappy about what they see as a lack of discretion in the choices of its targets. LulzSec has taken credit for hacking into Sony Pictures Europe, a number of games sites including Eve Online and Sega, defacing the PBS website and attacking the CIA website, the US Senate computer systems and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency.
The collective said on its website that it was releasing “hundreds of private intelligence bulletins, training manuals, personal email correspondence, names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords belonging to Arizona law enforcement.”
The LulzSec group also said it planned to release “more classified documents and embarrassing personal details of military and law enforcement” every week but it was unclear whether other Arizona agencies have been targeted.
Meanwhile rival hackers, including one called The Jester – an ex-US military member – have been concentrating on tracking down the group’s website and identifying its members. The Jester said on Twitter on Thursday that he had traced the Lulz Security website to an ISP in Malaysia, and provided a program for people to help track it down.
Other hackers are also trying to gather data about the group, which the Guardian understands was weakened earlier this month after some members worried about the outcome of attacking US government sites. In the UK one man, Ryan Cleary, has been arrested by the police and charged with offences under the Computer Misuse Act relating to attacks on a number of sites including Soca’s.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona was taking unspecified countermeasures to protect its computer system, officials there said on Thursday night.
Manuel Johnson, a spokesman for the FBI‘s Phoenix division, said the agency was aware of the situation but couldn’t comment on whether the FBI was investigating it.
The Arizona Republic reported that experts worked Thursday evening to close external access to DPS’ system.
Friday, June 17, 2011 6:02
If this starts happening, it would certainly up the ante. Thus far jihadists have not targeted individuals in the U.S. If they begin doing so, one may only hope that it would awaken the media and raise the general awareness of the jihad. “Possible Al-Qaida Hit List Targets Specific Americans,” by Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz for NBC New York, June 16 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
An al-Qaida-linked website has posted a potential hit list of targets that include names and photos of several U.S. officials and business leaders, calling for terrorists to target these Americans in their own homes, NBC New York has learned.The FBI has sent out a new intelligence bulletin to law enforcement agencies, warning that this new web-based threat, while not a specific plot, is very detailed. The bulletin said the list includes leaders “in government, industry and media.”
The FBI has notified those individuals who are named.
NBC New York will not identify them or their companies. The list includes Wall Street firms, political leaders, leaders with think tanks and contractors who do business with the military.
The websites contain 40 specific names, 26 of them with photos attached, and they call for posting home addresses. One jihadist called for sending package bombs to any listed address as just one possibility. [...]
The FBI is calling the list of names the most detailed web-based al-Qaida-linked threat since Osama bin Laden was killed. The list has also been discussed on another al-Qaida-linked web forum.
The concern is a lone actor could try to use the specific information for a plot.
The FBI letter says the information on the overseas websites “is aspirational and it’s unknown if the threat will progress beyond these discussion forums.”
These specific postings follow calls by Adam Gadahn — al-Qaida’s American-born communication chief — for individual attacks.
Officials are concerned the list has been shared on numerous jihadist sites.
“What’s scary about this is how specific the individual information is,” said former New York State Homeland Security Director Michael Balboni. “What you don’t know is, when does aspirational become operational in cases like this, involving a possible lone actor here inspired by a website.”…
Nearly 180 passwords belonging to members of the Atlanta chapter of InfraGard were stolen, according to the non-profit organisation, which connects businesses with law enforcement authorities.
Copies of the passwords – which appeared to include users from the US military, cybersecurity organisations and major communications companies – were posted online by the anonymous hacking collective, Lulz Security.
“Someone did compromise the website,” the Associated Press was told by InfraGard Atlanta president, Paul Farley. “We do not at this time know how the attack occurred or the method used to reveal the passwords.”
InfraGard started out as an FBI programme and now works with the bureau in the exchange of information concerning terrorism, intelligence, criminal and security matters.
Lulz Security claimed, in a statement, to have used one of the passwords to steal nearly 1,000 work and personal emails from the chief executive of Unveillance LLC, a data leak intelligence company based in Delaware. The group claimed it was responding to a recent report that said the Pentagon was considering whether to classify some cyberattacks as acts of war.
The FBI said on Sunday it was aware of the incident and that steps were being taken to mitigate the damage.
Details of the attack on InfraGard came after Nintendo said it had been targeted by Lulz Security, which describes itself as a collective of hackers who attack weakly protected websites for fun. The group published a server configuration file purportedly from a Nintendo secure server on the internet after a separate security breach.
A Nintendo spokesman said on Sunday: “We are always working to make sure our systems are secure.” Nintendo is preparing to launch a new online service this week at E3, the annual video games conference in Los Angeles.
On Thursday, Lulz Security boasted of a major breach in which tens of thousands of Sony users’ details were posted to the internet. Sony has contacted the FBI.
The incidents are the latest in a series of high-profile hacking attacks. The military firm Lockheed Martin and the US public news service PBS have also come under attack recently.
Hackers thought to be based in China last week broke into Gmail accounts used by US government officials while Anonymous, the hackers’ collective that launched a series of attacks against financial institutions, recently made public more than 10,000 emails it stole from Iran’s ministry of foreign affairs.