Alejandro December 8, 2017 1:37 PM


Hayden is especially disreputable. However, the Binney/Hayden feud has been covered again and again.

My view is Congress does not hold the military responsible or accountable on purpose, because in reality it’s a vast welfare program (the biggest the world has ever known) for defense contractors, lobbyists, working class kids who can’t find a real job, assorted hangers-on, charlatans and some evil fake soldiers dressed in uniforms with equally fake medals.

And, maybe that’s the way America wants it.

book_review December 8, 2017 4:24 PM

From Fresh Air,, above

“… DAVIES: So you had all this material – hard copies. I mean, this wasn’t a day when we had thumb drives. What did you do with that stuff?

ELLSBERG: I gave it to my brother to keep separately from the other because it might be a year or two or more before I put it out. And unfortunately he put it in a big box in a trash bag inside a trash dump to keep it away from the FBI who had been poking at his compost heap where he had earlier put it. So he put it underneath a big, iron stove on the – on a bluff in the trash dump in order to mark where it was.

Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Doria came about that very summer, 1971, and scattered the trash dump over the road, down the hill and all over the place. The stove itself was scattered for about a hundred yards. For the next year or two – actually about two years – my brother, with some help, tried to retrieve that box so that I could put it out. …”

Also, regarding “The Doomsday Machine”
… “a clip from the film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Ellsberg has joked that it could be a documentary. The black comedy was released in 1964, just two years after the Cuban missile crisis.” … Ellsberg speaking:

“But I was given the job of improving the Eisenhower plans, which was not a very high bar, actually, at that time, because they were, on their face, the worst plans in the history of warfare. A number of people who saw them, but very few civilians ever got a look at them. In fact, the joint chiefs couldn’t really get the targets out of General LeMay at the Strategic Air Command.

And there was a good reason for that: They were insane. They called for first-strike plans, which was by order of President Eisenhower. He didn’t want any plan for limited war of any kind with the Soviet Union, under any circumstances, because that would enable the Army to ask for enormous numbers of divisions or even tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the Soviets. So he required that the only plan for fighting Soviets, under any circumstances, such as an encounter in the Berlin corridor, the access to West Berlin, or over Iran, which was already a flashpoint at that point, or Yugoslavia, if they had gone in—however the war started—with an uprising in East Germany, for example—however it got started, Eisenhower’s directed plan was for all-out war, in a first initiation of nuclear war, assuming the Soviets had not used nuclear weapons.

And that plan called, in our first strike, for hitting every city—actually, every town over 25,000—in the USSR and every city in China. A war with Russia would inevitably involve immediate attacks on every city in China. In the course of doing this—pardon me—there were no reserves. Everything was to be thrown as soon as it was available—it was a vast trucking operation of thermonuclear weapons—over to the USSR, but not only the USSR. The captive nations, the East Europe satellites in the Warsaw Pact, were to be hit in their air defenses, which were all near cities, their transport points, their communications of any kind. So they were to be annihilated, as well.”



Preoccupy to Occupy December 8, 2017 4:44 PM

A proven field-tested method to win a non-lethal war against North Korea is to build social media compulsions.

If graphite nano-clouds disable existing infrastructure then creating a life-line social media account would become essential for survival. Distribute boatloads of free hermetically sealed smart-phones while enabling portable free-basics Internet distribution system. Have Google network engineers work side-by-side with aid workers.
The goal is to repurpose the void in-between just as in the West. Then everyone would walk-around preoccupied heads-down oblivious to any geo-political issues.

Tailor their social media feeds with personalized western ideals of news, fast-food, advertising and porn. Wall St, Silicon Valley, Intelligence community and congressional lobbyists would all unite to support these new data-mining frontiers. For security Inject a tracking chip into their hand or forehead.

But who would supply the 20 million phones? This time around try retaining the soldiers to assist in making the world a better place to live.

Davidh December 8, 2017 7:41 PM

Re lsmar. FIDO built into lenovo laptop.

It may be the first FIDO device built into a laptop, but I’ve been using a FIDO dongle for a while.

Where I’ve found a USB FIDO dongle can be used:
1. To use Chromium open-source browser on Debian to log into gmail as a second factor.
2. To log into a chromebook, It can be required for login on vanilla (not developer mode) device.

Option 2 is most interesting from a security standpoint. When the Chromebook is used with an email like Protonmail that has the secret key encrypted and stored on the host, it becomes pretty darn secure.

The Chromebook can be reset to a factory fresh state with an operation known as “powerwash’. Ideal for crossing US border.

Thoth December 8, 2017 7:52 PM


How FIDO UAF/U2F works is you generate a ECDSA signing key and register your public key to the website supporting FIDO schemes. When you login, you use your private key to sign a challenge together with a website password (for U2F scheme as a 2FA case).

If you are going to use Intel’s FIDO implementation (and that means Lenovo’s FIDO product making use of Intel FIDO platform), that means your signing key is bound to the particular Intel chip. If you want to login with FIDO on another computer, you can’t do that and thus you are forever bound to that particular Intel/Vendor setup and thus the pure stupidity of Intel/Lenovo products where they have never considered such impacts when they roll out a product line. Also, you are almost unlikely to be able to export your signing key as the signing key is generated from a hardware-backed master key or master seed and do you really trust Intel/Lenovo handling your FIDO master key/seed ?

You are better off buying a Smart Card and then download an Open Source FIDO smart card applet to manual inspect the applet codes and then load the Smart Card yourself with the FIDO applet code. That way, you have the ability to have more control over the execution and hardware selection and also you are not bound by a single Intel/Lenovo or some vendor backdoored and vendor locked implementation/setup.

Here are the Open Source JavaCard FIDO U2F applet codes:

You will need to be able to read and understand Java + JavaCard language and if you want to compile the source, you need Java JDK to compile with JavaCard language support in the JDK. I would advise you get the full Java JDK and a Java IDE (i.e. NetBeans with JavaCard support) and then clone the Github codes and compile it.

If you are not paranoid enough to inspect the codes and want the executable applet files to load into the JavaCard enabled smart card (smart card should have JavaCard V2.2.2 and ECDSA P-256 support), you can download the CAP executables:

You also need to download the Open Source CAP file manager software called GlobalPlatformPro Java program and load the CAP file yourself.

Or if you are really really lazy, just go buy one from Yubico, Feitian or NitroKey and give up your control over the codes 🙂 .

Have fun and good luck to anyone trying to figure things out 😀 .

Thoth December 8, 2017 8:01 PM


And the Chromebook with it’s nasty backdoors listening to your ‘very secure’ and ‘very secret’ secret key material 🙂 . Nice try but that’s still a big nasty fail no matter how you look at it.

You are better off setting up a single board computer with no Internet connections over a Live ISO image as shown in the link below.

You then store three USB Flash drives with one Flash drive containing your OpenPGP Key Chain and keys and the other Flash drive containing your ISO image.

Boot the ISO on USB and remove the USB with the ISO image (technically a runnable copy of OS should already be in RAM memory but who knows) and then you insert the OpenPGP flash drive and copy your OpenPGP stuff and then load the third USB drive containing your message to encrypt and sign or decrypt and verify.

If those are too troublesome and you ‘hope’ that your shortcuts and Chromebook would save you from the Orwellian state of society we are in now, you have made a very bad bet 🙂 .

I think you can search for Chromebook backdoor discussions here via the sidebar search on this blog. I remember we had some discussions going on on such topics in the past.


Alejandro December 8, 2017 9:03 PM


Re: “You then store three USB Flash drives with one Flash drive containing your OpenPGP Key Chain and keys and the other Flash drive containing your ISO image.”

How many of us really NEED that kind of protection? We are NOT crooks, crackers or crazies.

Look at one of the worlds best hackers, Ar3s. OPSEC flubs did him in.

Maybe it’s better to be like a Zebra….lots of stripes to look at, but no single target e.g. Dell Windows 10 home edition, loaded with social networks.

(Of course, there would be no harm in running some strong firewall rules and script blockers.)

Frankly, I see a time of choosing sides coming soon. It’s hard to say which is the right side.

I’d like to say those willing to take the high road will prevail. But, there are strong arguments against it.

Thoth December 8, 2017 9:31 PM


Read carefully what I wrote !

You are missing so many things.

Don’t like the USB flash drive and think you really have a need to hide too secret stuff ?

Maybe an OCR scanner and a printer would give you ‘peace of mind’ when the scanner and printer also have their own processing chips and who knows what’s in it ?

Do pencil and paper with ‘invisible ink’ with paper OTP keys on flammable paper like @Clive Robinson mentioned and hope for the best that your OTP randomness is strong and that you have time to dispose the paper keys and data.

Clive Robinson December 9, 2017 4:27 AM

@ Alejandro,

How many of us really NEED that kind of protection? We are NOT crooks, crackers or crazies.

You left out “sitting ducks” from your list.

What I’m about to say would have once made me sound crazily paranoid, now just more cautious than most.

The big change for most who had their eyes open was the FBI making “terrorists for trial” out of people who were to be honest, angry with their lives but not dangerous (as many are in WASP nations at the bottom of the pile). What the FBI did was as they could not get their own agents into such communities was set people up in one way or another to be not just their ears and eyes but in reality “Agent de provocateurs”.

The reason this happened was that those that had been setup usually had a big prison sentence or deportation etc hanging over their heads, thus had to deliver goods. FBI officers with their eye on the greasy pole needed results to rise. Thus both were focused on delivering, whilst not asking questions and looking the other way moraly, ethically and in most other ways society expects of law enforcement officers.

So they found unhappy and angry people, befriended them and in various ways issolated them and controled them like any cult or radicalisation team. They then over time pushed their anger into targeted hate then revenge whilst treating the person with faux respect etc. Then effectively brain washed them into becomming either another Agent de provocateur or if not very bright or suffering from mental illness becomming a sacrificial goat in some way. One of which would be by commiting some act that could be made to look like terrorism. Thus the FBI agents would rush in at the last minute and grab the goat and as much glory for promotion as they could out of it. The problem with such officers is that like many criminals they may plan meticulously towards the crime but not how to clear up afterwards, so it becomes known to a wider and wider group untill somebody makes it sufficiently public that it becomes an embarrassment to the agency.

So whilst one type of setting up stops there are still plenty of other officers looking to do exactly the same thing in some other type of crime. So we have seen invented crimes and show trials over and over again to the point it could be argued that it’s a “Common MO” in the FBI and other LEAs.

The whole point about backdoors/frontdoors is not about catching criminals, we know they don’t need it for that as history clearly shows. So you have to ask what it is for… Cardinal Richelieu is credited with the “Give me six lines by the most honest of men and I will find something within to hang him” thought and phrase… But it realy is why the FBI and others want access to every word you write or say so they can hang you by them.

They care not if you are guilty of anything or not just that you can be used as part of their promotion plan. Thus the people it’s most likely to happen to are the “low hanging fruit” on the ComSec side of things. Currently it’s a very target rich environment, but that will change as those with a lot to lose “wise up”. Thus the first people to develop better ComSec will be the terrorists, then organised crime etc, which means the pool of poor ComSec practising individuals will be where they will look for their prommotion plan targets…

Thus as with 20th Century history and evolution you either develop defences or become some preditors lunch/entertainment/message… So it’s your choice…

But this device’s security is illusory at best.

As I’ve pointed out on the odd occasion if the communications end point open to an attacker reaches beyond your security end point, then the attacker will simply do an “end run” attack around the security end point and get at your plaintext secrets. Building this authenticator into the computer where the keyboard is shared between the communications and secure keymat channel is a gold edged invitation to an end run attack of one form or another, thus it’s just another helping of security theatre… But it does make you fractionaly less low hanging fruit to the modern day Cardinal Richelieu’s of this world….

Alejandro December 9, 2017 7:50 AM


Re: “We are NOT crooks, crackers or crazies…”

…and “sitting ducks”

Of course. I suppose the corollary would be:

“Yet, we are ALL targets of crooks, crackers or crazies”.

And, I would include most governments as part of one or more of those three categories.

Well, at least it’s helpful to know who your most serious and principal enemy might be: government.

That’s unfortunate if you think about it. I wonder if the internet should be rebuilt from scratch with security and privacy built in from the very start. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all text communication was via PGP? All hardware was either hard wired or inspected to be backdoor free? I assume governments have addressed those issues for communication of their own secrets, so some of the groundwork is laid. Then it gets messy of course.

George H.H. Mitchell December 9, 2017 7:59 AM

Robert X. Cringely ( is recommending ZeroTier as a way of demonetizing anit-neutrality by ISPs. At a cursory glance, this looks very much like Tor, with some commercially supported infrastructure above the free service level. Am I misunderstanding it? Can anyone offer a better explanation?

JonKnowsNothing December 9, 2017 9:52 AM

Is it live or Memorex?

Looks like we are on a roll to Memorex World.

Prisoners in USA no longer getting physical (although separate) visits. Monetizing prison video-phone visits at @$13 / 20 minutes. Doesn’t work of course.

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(url fractured to prevent autorun)

My health care provider is nagging me to use Video MD. SOOOOO much cheaper than an office visit. Just dialup and video all my WhositsWhatsits over a live feed. It’s bad enough having to do the 20 questions with appointment booking by voice but now it can be done in perpetual live captured video feed right from …

Well best be somewhere LEGAL when you show your WhositsWhatsits over the video lines. In the USA that’s a criminal offense.

That “fantastic 2FA” that comes via Other Methods (phone, email etc)?

Well… Not So Fast Thru the Pass There Pardner… or rather it’s a Faster 2FA to Paradise/Panama.

MiTM attack mimicking Bank/Credit Card validation calls/texts with “more knowledge than ever before” but it’s Not Your Bank or Credit Card calling/texting.

ht tps://
(url fractured to prevent autorun)

The oddest question in that article is (cough) “How do the bad guys know?”…

Well they don’t have to really steal this information anymore – you can buy it by the bucket load from any data harvester.

Can you imagine the havoc of a MiTM video medical attack gathering all those WhositsWhatsits on “famous folks”? A bit of Fake-2FA + Video MD and All Your Whatsits Are On Global Display.

The NSA won’t have to work so hard to get it either, they will just do a full take on Video MD. Very cost effective.

Clive Robinson December 9, 2017 10:00 AM

@ Alejandro,

Well, at least it’s helpful to know who your most serious and principal enemy might be: government.

In the longterm, yes, then the likes of Alphabet, then the more common criminal, who want’s to cash in and dash out… They are all threats short term, including the likes of Cloudfare with it’s SSL breakers similar to those AV companies are reputed to use, only they do it to all the network traffic they can… Supposadly to stop DDOS etc…

I wonder if the internet should be rebuilt from scratch with security and privacy built in from the very start.

The simple answer is yes, but there are way way to many larhe rice bowls that will get broken. You can see this from the behaviour of the W3C and browser developers.

GNU have GNUnet on the slow cooker but I’m not conviced the meal will be worth the wait, or anything other than very difficult to swallow.

I’ve been known to have a pop at the Tor developers on more than one occasion because their system is quite frankly 5h1t when dealing with US based entities or any entity that knows how to put a choke point in effectively…

Whilst the contents might be secure traffic analysis will give one heck of a lot of meta-meta-data which you don’t hear people talking about. Which is a shame because it’s that the likes of the SigInt agencies use for the first steps of Find, Fix and Finish, and it’s that they send drones in on to wipe out people and have collateral damage caused by…

I know it all sounds depressing but there is so much money involved with those rice bowls that I sometimes think the chance of working things back to sanity is going to be a several generational effort. With the first step slowing their excessis down, which means getting at their lobyists in any which way that will keep them away from the politicos and legislators.

But the real problem is the IC, SigInt and LE agencies, they all want at your data and will use any lie, blackmail or direct threat they can to get there. They are also not frightened of being beaten at every stage of the game. As far as they are concerned it’s a war not just of attrician but perception as well. They spew their poison out continuously knowing that each time a little mud sticks or atleast roughens up the surface so it has a better chance of sticking next time. Whilst the do not have unlimited resources they might as well do. Thus campaigning to cut them back very hard in any which way possible is the only thing that has the chance of scaring them back. It will without doubt be a long and bitter dispute and as I’ve noted some are not above creating threats imagined or real to sway the public against politicos that try to stand in their way, then of course there is always the “wet work” option. The US long ago crossed the barrier with going after other nations heads of state and politicians, which begs the question of if US politicos are realy sacrosanct. Quite a few people belive that atleast one US President and several political activists have met untimley ends at the hands of the self appointed “good guys”…

Even if you don’t happen to belive the US agencies would, it would be unwise to ignore the possibility, after all we know it’s as regular as clock work in other nations where military coups etc are more than common.

Who? December 9, 2017 10:04 AM

@ George H.H. Mitchell

If I get an artificially slowed-down 100 Mbps link, how can a “virtual Ethernet port” provided by ZeroTier turn this link into, let us say, a 1 Gbps one? Just another example of fear-based business. VPNs run at the speed of the physical links they are traversing at most.

While here… paying a U.S. corporation for access to its VPN? Over my dead body!

From $30 up to a few thousands USD/month looks like a very expensive price for a service that sells “GPL license,” whatever it is, as one of its services. To me it just looks like another example of business of fear targeted to people that have read “something” about VPNs and free software and think these technologies are magic.

albert December 9, 2017 11:09 AM

@alejandro, et al,
-Anyone- who criticizes the US gov’t or any of its toadies (mostly corporations, politicians, the MSM, and many academics) is going to be considered a person of interest. In totalitarian states of today, as in days of yore, they are considered “enemies of the State”. Even -reading- such criticism can put you on a list.

Fear of terrorism here is mostly theatre, but fear of our own gov’t is very real.

“… I wonder if the internet should be rebuilt from scratch with security and privacy built in from the very start….” At the risk of stating the obvious, you’re stating the obvious. I agree, but,

That’s the last thing ‘they’ want. Our information is far too valuable to be secret, whether to the LE/IC or commercial businesses. As with BitCoin, they’ll use the excuse: Crime will increase, dope dealers will run amuck, etc.

I may criticize the US, but it really doesn’t matter where you live, governments are pretty much the same everywhere.

I have hope for change, but no faith, at least until we can get off the down-hill slide towards the obliteration of humanity on this Earth.

Artists have tried, but it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful planet anywhere.
. .. . .. — ….

JonKnowsNothing December 9, 2017 11:33 AM


it really doesn’t matter where you live, governments are pretty much the same everywhere.

I have hope for change, but no faith, at least until we can get off the down-hill slide towards the obliteration of humanity on this Earth.

Artists have tried …


There is/was an exhibition of art created by Gitmo detainees at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York. The US DoD was so incensed that the prisoners could create ART that they have confiscated and destroyed/archived the works still located in Gitmo.

What was previously OKed by the Pentagon is now Not_OK in the ever shifting rules of what is “permitted”.

These same shifting sands are not just at Gitmo but everywhere.

The amazing thing is the resilience of people in the face of pure hatred. The image shows that even under the most brutal environment that the USA can publicly construct, there is still humanity among the forgotten.

Governments live in fear of such endeavors.

Art isn’t just something on paper or canvas. Programming is an art. Logic is an art form. These are also to be feared.

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(url fractured to prevent auto-run)

albert December 9, 2017 12:18 PM


Gitmo is a -military- operation. While military personnel are obliged to comply with military law, ‘rules’ established by the Pentagon, if legal, must also be observed.

This is yet another form of punishment. It’s illegal to punish detainees who have not been tried and sentenced in a court of law. Even then, international law sets standards for the treatment of prisoners of war, who are also in that situation.

The ‘rule of law’ is a sick joke. The sad part is the behavior of those in charge of ‘enforcement’. They behave like petulant, spoiled brats with way too much power. Mass psychosis has indeed invaded Western cultures.

“…Artworks were given as gifts to lawyers, after being thoroughly checked for secret messages…” By all means, ensure that no secret messages get -into- Gitmo. What a joke. These people are -morons-.

These ‘rules’ from the Pentagon must have come from -someone-. I wonder who? I would love to hear their explanation.

We’ve got to stop glorifying violence and encouraging hate. Even wild animals don’t behave like this.

. .. . .. — ….

Nick P December 9, 2017 12:45 PM

News on Software Assurance

SPARK is getting safe pointers, I did a quick revision of my post on techniques for software assurance, and got quite a few people using techniques like that. One of them, Hillel Wayne, even just got a book deal from Apress for TLA+ based on his work at Might be the first of many bringing obscure topics in CompSci with lightweight, formal methods being among them if we’re lucky. He’s been doing lots of good analyses and write-ups on these topics with a recent example showing Design-by-Contract from various languages’ perspectives.

AndyF December 9, 2017 1:11 PM

Christopher Steele, Russia and Trump

The Guardian Long Read column has a very interesting article on the investigations by Christopher Steele into connections between the Russians and Trump. If it is only half accurate then the whole thing is a huge success for Putin.



Like all good stories it reads like the “truth” but in this world what looks like the truth can often be anything but!

I would love to hear the views of some of the old-timers on this blog about how reliable the dossier from Christopher Steele is likely to be and other general observations. Can you say anything Clive?



hmm December 9, 2017 2:20 PM

“I would love to hear the views of some of the old-timers on this blog about how reliable the dossier from Christopher Steele is likely to be”

Yes, listening to extrapolated assumptions whole-spun into storytime cloth is sure entertaining.
But it isn’t terribly good at determining if something is accurate in fact.

As the dossier has been repeatedly shown to be valid over and over and over as more lies and defections and guilty please are made public, whether or not actual kremlin-pal-supplied whores micturated on our now-President on video as part of a compromat, we know there is plenty of actual fire where the huge volume of smoke has been coming from – that Trump’s whole regime has been desperate to deny, lie about, discredit as able, and finally tries to say “the President cannot commit obstruction or a high crime, because he’s the President” in defense of.

Paul Manafort and General Flynn didn’t exactly get tricked by the FBI into a mistake.
These scumbags knew exactly what they were doing, over years. Documented extremely well.

There is exactly one way this ends. Republicans in the House are shamed into impeaching the traitor and those around him who are (already) proven to have committed obstruction (or worse) end up serving prison sentences.

The alternative would be Trump attempting to burn down the Reichstag and blame it on Mexicans in some kind of neo-nazi power grab adventure. I almost expect it, he’s an idiot.

hmm December 9, 2017 4:39 PM

We don’t have the full document publicly but AFAIK NOTHING in it has been proven false publicly either.
Sometimes they won’t get to the bottom of the individual allegations, that’s expected.
For example we’ll never see the video. If KGB had it for the stated purpose, never-ever. It’d hurt them.
Nyet hyeppening.

Yet that ANY of the dossier facts line up – and in this case a VERY LARGE % – that’s a BIG implication. Uge.
Regardless of who wanted it originally, R or D, who paid for it – both. If factually verified, it’s verified.

The FBI isn’t making stuff up, they have plenty to work with. TMI applies. It’s nuts.
The dossier was just the jumping off point, it’s not evidence. It’s a hand-drawn map.
Dig here.

Trump’s constantly lied about his business dealings, not just with Russia but explicitly so in that case too.
We know that. We can point to it outside of the dossier. The dossier is just another well of info.

Each tiny bit that corroborates any of it is a FIELD of potential investigatory evidence for Mueller’s team.
They have Manafort and Flynn by the smooth spot where their balls should be. This is over for them.
They are proven guilty. Don Jr. and Jared are proven liars to Congress and FBI. Pence very soon.
Face it now or face it later.

They want to pretend facts don’t matter in a casual attempt in EVERY THING THEY SAY.
Well, America knows KellyAnne to be a liar. We know Huckfinn-Sanders to be a liar.
Nobody has to question whether Trump lies constantly. We can read. Most of us.

“I’ve never had deals with Russia” -etc etc. You lose credibility, you can’t just pretend it never happened.
You can’t grow it back either. Once a public liar, you are a liar sir. No quarter, no McDonalds.

Trump’s on Twit’r trying desperately to undermine societal trust in the special counsel & DOJ, his lawyers claim the law doesn’t apply and he can’t be guilty and anyone who proves otherwise is the Devil’s own nephew.

The FBI has been playing the long game in letting the public react and adapt to this information drip.

The question isn’t whether they are guilty of high crimes, it’s which ones are now considered high enough for the borderline-treasonous leadership in Congress that is now supporting a known child molester for the Senate.

Ultimately if the GOP is too cowardly to stand up to directly provable treason for partisan control motivations, it’s up to voters to put country before party to deal with this. It’s beyond the dossier. It’s beyond politics.

Conservatism is being redefined as nazism – from within. It’s time to wake up and smell the napalm.

Clive Robinson December 9, 2017 5:50 PM

@ AndyF,

Can you say anything Clive?

Yes but only on what we have all seen.

There are several problems, but importantly is that Chris Steel obviously became emotionally involved and blew his own cover, thus committed career suicide… Which is not what you would expect of an MI6 intel weenie.

As is known MI6 runs an “Editor from hell” system. In essence the difference between HumInt type activities and investagitive journalism are small. Likewise the writing of a report is similar to the process an investagitive journalist piece would go through. In essence a paper won’t publish unless the Editor is satisfied that the piece is acurate etc. The same at MI6 and other older IC entities. When you get close to finishing a report you “go in the barrel” and get attacked from all sides and have to justify what you are saying to what are other experts. If you can defend your report to their satisfaction it gets the formal stamp.

This sometimes hostile review process is essential for a number of reasons, not least is few intel analysts get to see the whole picture. Thus they may need to be “read in” to other methods and source compartments. The people who give the barreling are often from other compartments as well. Another reason is to ensure there is no “personal investment”, the problem with Methods and Sources is that whilst you might see a sanitized view you rarely get to see the raw intel, which can make a major difference. This means you end up in a smoke and mirrors potentialy alternative reality. Thus “pet theories” and hunches are easy to develop closely followed by personal investment. Which is the professional equivalent of a “conspiracy theory”, where shadows develop their own faux reality and the simple becomes rejected in favour of one or more of the three C’s (Complexity, Conspiracy, Confusion). Which is not to say they are not correct because False Flag and Red Flag operations are designed to do exactly that.

Mr Steel was not getting the “in the barrel” treatment on this report thus may well have wandered into a reality that was his alone. Or failed to realise that things were to pat etc. The odds of this were higher as he did not talk to the sources first or second hand but third hand at best. Thus the chances of being told what people thought he wanted to hear was high, what we do not know is if or how he veracity checked. It’s important because people tend to forget that the questions they ask and the way they ask them tells a lot to the person being asked about the questioners motives and direction. Thus if the person being talked to has a financial or other interest to keep the association going with the questioner they will know how to frame their answers appropriately…

As we know from the “Yellow Cake” debacle a lie can go a very long way fast and gain credibility with every mile traveled. This gets worse because intel entities generaly play bridge/poker thus bid up a weak hand to get a better price. Also one entity might well have told more entities, thus when talking to another entity to get confirmation you may well be told the same story but apparently from another source thus apparently getting confirmation, but in reality nothing of the sort.

One thing that stands out is the “Obamas bed” story… Apparently the hotel they stayed in was blatently under FSB control yet the US Secret Service knew nothing of it, thus let the Obamas stay there… Either the US IC had a monumental fail on simple inteligence or the story is a monumental invention. It’s difficult to see both versions being true. Especially when we know how protective of Presidential DNA the secret service usually is…

But the question remains is there a Trump-Putin tie up? The argument is Russia made very lucrative offers to get in close going back before Obama riled Trump into running as President, and Trump turned them down. Does this actually sound likely? Ask your self what you would expect to see if instead ofvtrying to get in close to Trump Russia was/is running a false flag operation?

Then there is the question of just how long that report was out there. Motives of malice are ascribed to the FBI’s Comey, yet other reports say the report was not just known to many but openly discussed and joked about in Washington in general not just the IC/FBI.

We’ve also been told that Chris Steel had taken money from the Republicans, then the Democrats, then he carried on “self financed”

Does that realy sound like professional detatchment?

Then there are comments from others who worked with Chris Steel at MI6 and they are not exactly flattering let alone glowing. There are implications he had lost the plot and thus had to leave MI6, others that he had been outed by persons unknown for reasons unknown, thus in effect had been burned in Russia, yet we also know the Russian’s knew exactly who he was from their surveillance when he was a diplomat in Russia…

The more we look the more of these contradictions we find…

We have been told he has been ousted / fired from the company he founded. Whilst not unknown for founders to get kicked out there are generaly substantive financial reasons for doing so.

But if Chris Steel was self funding on this, you would expect his colleagues to know what he was doing, thus keep tabs on him. Further you would expect for their own sake to have “review rights” over any report he wrote. The fact they apparently did not suggests that in effect a split had happened quite a while prior to the time he did officialy. If that is the case then there is a lot that is not being said.

I could go one but there appears to be way to many loose ends in the various stories / time lines. Further we do not know any real substance from the report just the salacious / titillating aspects that are in all probability false.

The result is we have not seen anything substantive by which we can judge. Which means we are all effectively cherry picking the gossip to justify an existing view point.

So I’m in effect sitting this one out as the little we have seen can not be verified one way or the other. So it could be a Trump-Putin tie up, or equally so a false flag operation by Putin to weaken if not depose Trump…

Either way Putin is portrayed as the smart one and Trump the ventriloquists dummy. Which is almost directly out of some Republicans “play book” for the MSM to run…

The fact that the Special Investigator is finding things neither confirms or denies a Trump-Putin tie up likewise neither confirms or denies a Putin False Flag operation…

The only thing that appears true is that no mater what is going on both the US MSM and Russia are, gaining benifit from this report. Thus Putin is going to win which ever way it goes…

Ojex December 9, 2017 5:55 PM

Hmmm is correct except he has the wrong foreign enemy for the treason charge. Open-source documentation proves Jared Kushner to be acting as an unregistered agent of the government of Israel

True too what hmmm says about the infinite FIELD for the evidence-fabrication unit of FBI. We can see in this case how CIA rigs the courts to prosecute political crimes:

Note especially CIA focal point (c.f. Fletcher Prouty), their illegal domestic CIA mole in DOJ, Strzok. It is clear that CIA was trying to have Flynn pre-emptively fired so that evidence of Israeli espionage wouldn’t have to be presented.

hmm December 9, 2017 7:01 PM

” or equally so a false flag operation by Putin to weaken if not depose Trump…”

Oh that’s why Trump has been constantly praising Putin and trying to remove the sanctions?

Putin’s amazing powers include mind control, or Trump is complicit. Equally plausible? Hmm.

hmm December 9, 2017 7:07 PM – lol?

Yes of course, Trump’s being set up by a deep-state CIA mind control operation.

They’ve been secretly poisoning him with 12 diet cokes per 8 hour work-tm day of watching cable TV.

Obama didn’t secretly pull him aside and say “don’t hire Flynn, he’s a bad dude” because he cares, he did it to TRICK Flynn because he would have known the GOP does the opposite of whatever is sensible now.

Dastardly Kenyan operative!

Oh that was debunked, and Trump was the lead proponent of that horsecrap? Oh right.

(Mutters something about Hillary controlling the weather as he limps back to the double-wide…)

Let’s all pretend Trump didn’t bring all of this on himself with greed and lack of moral compass.
It’s double-secret Hillary’s deep-state! I KNEW SHE EATS PIZZA, IT ALL FITS!

Oyay December 9, 2017 7:34 PM

We note that hmmm has responded as required by statist divide-and-rule propaganda, dismissing the source as partisan political enemies without addressing the linked facts therein. This is as expected. As predicted by our hypothesis of statist indoctrination, hmmm reflexively assumes that cognitively dissonant evidence is obtruded by a supporter of his chosen political enemy.

Hmmm affects a cop-show tough guy persona consistent with a person of the margins of the security state, but he appears unaware that Pizzagate is a CIA-orchestrated diversion from the Epstein/Boy’s Club/Geffen child trafficking enterprise used by Mossad (with dotted-line report and full take for CIA) for VIP kompromat.

Redscare December 9, 2017 7:52 PM

Case study of CIA divide-and-rule victim ideations: “Oh that’s why Trump has been constantly praising Putin and trying to remove the sanctions?”

  • If Trump were to faithfully execute the law as required by his oath of office he would have no choice but to remove the sanctions, which are manifestly in breach of UN Charter Articles 39 and 41, supreme law of the land by Constitution Article 6.

  • If Trump objectively regarded Putin and Russia, he would necessarily praise the Russian government as Russia meets human-rights world standards that the US fails to meet including the Paris Principles and multiple key OHCHR indicators. (hmm’s personal animus against the propaganda demon Putin is the tell here)

  • But Trump is just an ordinary kleptocrat who simply doesn’t want to lose a nuclear war on his watch.

Oh I'm sure December 9, 2017 7:56 PM

“statist divide-and-rule propaganda” – As opposed to the zero-credibility alt-nazi counter-narrative?


Now that you’ve cracked the case, what’s next for you? Carmen Sandiego chasing?

I’m sorry you want to whine about the FBI investigating things as if they’re being unfair to criminals.

I’m sorry your chosen blog isn’t accredited journalists, just conspiracy theorist bloggers circle-jerking.

I’m sorry that your chosen political champion has a 32% approval rating, achieved nothing.

I’m sorry that Trump decided to appoint traitors to high level cabinet positions, some pleading guilty now.

I’m sorry that Hillary didn’t turn out to be a child molester at pizza parlors in DC.

Really, this is my apology for being such a deeeeeeep, deep state enabler/agent. This is all propaganda.

I’m part of the conspiracy -According to an overlarge amygdala, as opposed to a fully developed frontal lobe.

Oh I'm sure December 9, 2017 8:01 PM

The fact is… Trump’s cabinet members, sons, lawyers, lots of them are going to prison for lying.
Deal with it or scream “red scare” until your eyes bug out, but he’s going.

Did the FBI trick them into lying? Not in most cases. They just kept lying.

Did the DOJ trick them into lying? Like when Jared “forgot” his contacts on his clearance forms?

Did Obama? When he warned Trump not to hire Flynn because he was tainted?

Did Hillary? When she allowed Russia to hack her emails, then have them given to Trump who lied?

I know… Joe Biden’s been AWFULLY QUIET, maybe he’s your double-secret deep state mastermind of it all!

You knew it all along.

Trust your gut because the media, laws of nature, science, teachers, everything else is lies. Sure kid.

Hope you like orange jumpsuits.

Anura December 9, 2017 8:10 PM


“Conservatism is being redefined as nazism – from within. It’s time to wake up and smell the napalm.”

Nonsense. Conservatism is nihilism and it has been for a long time; they are just caucusing with Nazis (enemy of their enemy and all that).

hmm December 9, 2017 8:11 PM

” as Russia meets human-rights world standards that the US fails to meet ”

Whataboutism is a helluva drug, comrade.

Punchy McGrrrrk December 9, 2017 8:12 PM

Still can’t bring yourself to address the timeline linked above, Can you? Q.E.D.! Consistent with standard statist partisan indoctrination, you would view any acknowledgement of unauthorized evidence as emasculation. That’s what makes you such a juicy propaganda victim for CIA media control.

Your indoctrination has effectively suppressed the habits of mind required for inductive logic. You may be susceptible due to a weakness in the Big Five personality axis known as intellect. In any case you are unable to grasp what you’re told because you’re fighting tooth-and-nail with the CIA partisan strawman that suits to your personality type.

Until you can outgrow this synthetic left-right nonsense, you’re going to keep getting screwed by Ds and Rs in turn.

hmm December 9, 2017 8:18 PM

“That’s what makes you such a juicy propaganda victim for CIA media control.”

The CIA is certainly affecting one of our brains… it seems they rent yours for free…

hmm December 9, 2017 8:26 PM

Comey and Mueller are lifelong Republicans. McCain, Flake, Bush, Steele, the list is pretty long now.

Attacking everyone as if they’re hyper-partisan because they draw attention to Trump’s OBVIOUS, ODIOUS LIES and provable paper-trail to committing treason… doesn’t really get you out of jail, or in this case, federal prison.

Be sure to desperately try to pardon yourselves on the way out. Gerald Ford knows he’s guilty too.

Moderator December 9, 2017 9:23 PM

@hmm, @all, please do not feed the trolls. @Trolls, begone, your comments will be deleted.

Clive Robinson December 9, 2017 9:23 PM

Distrust Everything…

Is the advice from the Quebs developer to Black hat Europe attendies

Well no “5h1t Sherlock” I don’t know how long I’ve been saying that, but it’s certainly many years now. My advice is “mitigation” is the only way to go, because as I’ve likewise said when discusing the “Castles-v-Prisons” (CvP) model, “You can not trust the hardware, you have to mitigate it”. This was a long time before people had heard of Intel’s Managment Engine (ME) let alobe get their “knickers in a twist” about it.

As @Nick P will probably confirm the lady concerned has been well behind the security design curve for a very long time now… As well as parroting what she has been repeatedly told after a long while for it to sink in. From some accounts she has given up on Qubes develoment for the “Security Guru” life style…

On another note,

I suspect few of you will have heard of, let alone know what the “Diameter” protocols are?

Well simplistically they form a backend protocol for 3G/4G LTE/LTE-A mobile networks to replace RADIUS for authentication, authorisation, and accounting for roaming… (draws in breath to avoid turning blue 😉

Got that[1]? Maybe it’s easier to say it’s a “next-gen telco protocol” apparently “With some very time before last-gen failings”. According to research carried out by German security consultancy ERNW.

This includes some of the well-known weaknesses of SS7 Roaming Networks, they told attendees at Blackhat EU.

The “Diameter protocol” has been designed with the same fundemental flaw of all the preceading protocols in that “It’s designed for trusted environments” which have never been more than an assumption/myth for the past fifty years or so… In essence there is a “walled garden” extension assumption by telcom operators that the interfaces between service providers that alow roaming interconnections to work are as secure as the service providers internal networks (they are not nor ever have been).

As assumptions go it could not be less valid so that attacks including metadata evesdropping, spoofing, fraud and a lot more are not just possible but quite practical, as the interconnection networks, messages and functions can be effectively abused, often quite remotely (think Germany from UK or US SigInt agencies).

The ERNW researchers have developed a testing framework for Diameter, which they have released at their talk, and are thus urging telcoms service providers to secure these interfaces for the interconnection networks by assess the suitability of the configurations of the infrastructure components involved,

[1] If you realy fancy a “head thwack” here is a “glossary” description of one tiny part of Diameter, which is a routing agent offering,

Clive Robinson December 9, 2017 10:06 PM

@ Bruce, All,

With regards cryptocurancy, you might find this blog post from an English Solicitor (lawyer) an interesting read.

Especially with regards the NY legislation he has dug up.

Just remember the NY DA is not adverse to sending SWAT teams to faimily homes early in the morning to intimidate software developers and drag them into courts to force agreement on installing backdoors into their finacialy related products that are only used in other countries quite legally…

hmm December 10, 2017 12:18 AM

“We’ve also been told that Chris Steel had taken money from the Republicans, then the Democrats, then he carried on “self financed””

“Does that realy sound like professional detatchment?”

Except… He’s independently wealthy, not a sleazy dealmaker type. His word is his value.

His business is discretion, there’s no reason to think that he’d sell out his business and firm with shoddy work either for a relatively tiny amount of money or any other reason.

It would simply be found out, he’d be disgraced by it – instead, what we see is he’s vindicated by corroborations.

(Pretty much the exact opposite of how you’re trying to frame the scenario, I think.)

A little wikipedia background info so future paraphrasing is a little better supported :

In September 2015, the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication, retained the services of Fusion GPS, a private Washington D.C. political research firm, to conduct research on several primary Republican Party candidates including candidate Trump. The research was unrelated to Russia and was ended once Trump was determined to be the presidential nominee.

The firm was subsequently hired by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee through their shared attorney at Perkins Coie, Marc Elias. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele [21] to investigate Trump’s Russia-related activities.[18] According to CNN, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee took over the financing of the inquiry into Donald Trump and produced what became known as the Trump dossier.[22]

In July 2016, Steele, on his own initiative, supplied a report he had written to an FBI agent in Rome.[23] His contact at the FBI was the same senior agent with whom he had worked when investigating the FIFA scandal.[11] By early October 2016, he had grown frustrated at the slow rate of progress by the FBI investigation, and cut off further contact with the FBI.[21]

In September 2016, Steele held a series of off the record meetings with journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo! News, The New Yorker and CNN.[5] In October 2016, Steele spoke about his discoveries to David Corn of the progressive American political magazine Mother Jones. Steele said he decided to pass his dossier to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that the material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Trump, but was a matter of national security for both countries.[24] Corn’s resulting 31 October article was the first to publicly mention the dossier, although the article did not disclose Steele’s identity.[24] The magazine did not publish the dossier itself, however, or detail its allegations, since they could not be verified.[25]

Post-election work on the dossier[edit]
The project was no longer of interest to the Democrats, following Trump’s victory in November 2016. Steele[26] continued to work for Fusion GPS on the dossier without a client to pay him.[27] After the election, Steele’s memos “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, as reporters — including from The New York Times — scrambled to confirm or disprove them.”[27]

On 18 November 2016, Sir Andrew Wood, British ambassador to Moscow from 1995 to 2000, met with U.S. Senator John McCain at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, and told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump.[28] Wood vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[29] In early December, McCain obtained a copy of the dossier from David J. Kramer, a former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University.[27] On 9 December 2016 McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[28]

Compromised identity[edit]
On 11 January 2017, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Steele was the author of the controversial dossier about Trump, citing “people familiar with the matter.”[3] Although the dossier’s existence had been “common knowledge” among journalists for months at that point and had become public knowledge during the previous week, Steele’s name had not been revealed. The Telegraph asserted that Steele’s anonymity had been “fatally compromised” after CNN published his nationality.[21]

The Independent reported that Steele left his home in England several hours before his name was published as the author of the dossier, as he was fearful of retaliation by Russian authorities.[21] In contrast, The Washington Post reported that he left after he had been identified earlier in the day by the initial Wall Street Journal report.[30]

Christopher Burrows, director of Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., said he would not “confirm or deny” that Orbis had produced the dossier.[31]

On 7 March 2017, as some members of the United States Congress were expressing interest in meeting with or hearing testimony from Steele, he reemerged after weeks in hiding, appearing publicly on camera and stating, “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today.

Having read all that, does it really seem like the actions of someone without integrity?

Come on Clive. He has people vouching for him who aren’t accused of lying to Congress.

The contrast is quite clear.

hmm December 10, 2017 12:23 AM

He put himself on the line and got information vital to US and UK national security.
Most has been corroborated in great detail and at length. Some of it cannot be.

To try to tarnish him professionally without anything solid in defense of a known liar is just worthless logic.

Wesley Parish December 10, 2017 1:44 AM

Well, bringing the topic somewhat back toward being On Topic, may I present this interesting detail about the Intel Management Engine and Minix 3:

ht tp://

For recent Intel CPUs, security researchers have shown that the remote management software is probably running its own operating system based on Minix 3 which is released under a Free Software licence. This license, like many other Free Software licenses, require a legal notice to be given to the recipient when the software is distributed. Alas, it seems like Intel has not done so and as a result the distribution of Minix 3 inside the recent Intel CPUs could be copyright infringement.

Nothing like the taste of one’s own toes, is there, Intel Corp?

Now, it does not seem like Intel has provided the proper legal notice for the Minix 3 software. The surprise of the security researchers and Tanenbaum indicates that this knowledge has been purposefully hidden. Unfortunately for Intel, a Free Software license with a clause requiring a legal notice is not compatible with secretive distribution.

Effective Security Measures December 10, 2017 5:55 AM

When NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group assembles, the highest level of classification is applied: “Cosmic Top Secret.” Even defense ministers from the alliance are required to turn in their mobile phones before entering the small, windowless meeting room at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. Aside from the ministers, only a few advisers are allowed in.

So the Chinese, Russians, Israelis, Iran and North Korea and the allies get to follow every activity of top Western Defense officials everywhere else? Why do these primary targets (and senior staff) even own a ‘smart’ phone?
The whole world knew they were all meeting simply because their phones were in the same location.

Positive Muller Effect
Even at the White house recently revealed they are starting to feel uncomfortable using smartphones and email. Something about a creepy feeling they might be under surveillance.

Convenience and Addiction
Rest assured as everyone should feel secure of our politicians impressive intellectual capabilities.
Our last grossly negligent leader exposed Above-Top-Secret public emails.
Humor: but that was a Democrat. At least the Republicans offer $5million for a good romp!

Completely unrelated, which currency is safest in large scale war?
Is Bitcoin competition for Elon Musk space ventures?

Rachel December 10, 2017 10:13 AM


There was an engineer named Wael
Who spun Arabic Gold in his tale
He tripped and he stuttered
He flitted and flutted..

Okay so tale also means tail.
Gold in your tale means speaking wisdom. Stutterring because you have literal gold in your mouth. Stutterring because wisdom sounds like crypto to those without ears to hear. And stutterring because of gold thread in your mouth- because of spinning it into your tail. Which is why you trip – having a tail with gold in it.
And trip because speaking wisdom to the wrong kind gets one into trouble.

Flitted and flutted – thats Cassius Clay behaviour. Because of speaking tales and having a precious tail. Gotta dance and sting. A flutter is also slang for betting/ gambling. You are gambling or taking risks with the aforementioned

The final line is’ having trouble seperating facts from truth/fable’.
first, see fable as Myth in the Joseph Campbell sense. Then see facts and truth as being distinct. They belong to seperate spheres. Then see yourself inhabiting both simaltaneously. Perilous – take into account all the previous.
Theres more than this but a quick explain. Arabic Gold is a dense and esoteric reference.

Rachel December 10, 2017 10:23 AM

you are just itching for me to tackle the song. i wont explain the kinds of logistic
challenges that define my reality but lets hope i get there soon. We wont let your taste in music be an issue

ps ‘ there was an engineer named Wael’

Engineer as a grade, office or status rather than occupation

Rachel December 10, 2017 10:35 AM

There was a grand Security Blog
Helped one not become a well boiled frog
But US politics swamped
With Trolls & pests like Rolf
And Schneiers troops ran off in a UNIMOG

nothing hidden this time

bttb December 10, 2017 11:29 AM

@Effective Security Measures

Regarding Mueller, Trump may be out of his league.

“Do the Russians have something on Donald Trump? The question has been asked since the early days of Trump’s Presidential campaign, in an attempt to make sense of his vocal admiration for Vladimir Putin, and his advocacy for improved relations with the Kremlin. It’s possible, of course, that the answer is no. Trump is an instinctive authoritarian, and he may simply, genuinely admire Putin, and see in him a potential ally for the United States’ global efforts against Islamic extremism.”

and from national public radio, npr,

… TOOBIN: … “I do think there’s a middle ground that is far more likely than Mueller simply folding up his tent and saying there’s nothing here and indicting the president like an ordinary criminal.

GROSS: What’s the middle ground?

TOOBIN: The middle ground is what Leon Jaworski did, the Watergate special prosecutor. It’s what Kenneth Starr, did the Whitewater special prosecutor. It’s for the independent counsel, which was what Starr was, the special counsel, which is Mueller’s title, to write a report and to say we believe based on our investigation that Congress may find impeachable offenses in the following areas for the following reasons. And then simply turn that report over to Congress. That, I think, is well within Mueller’s purview. It is constitutionally entirely appropriate, and it makes the decision. It puts the decision, I think, where it really belongs, in the political arena, of whether the House of Representatives wants to impeach Donald Trump.”

For those wanting to remove Trump and his ilk from power, perhaps it is worth, among other things, trying to change ASAP some of the elected officials in the House and the Senate.

In the USA from Wikipedia
“At the federal level, the impeachment process is a two-step procedure. The House of Representatives must first pass, by a simple majority of those present and voting, articles of impeachment, which constitute the formal allegation or allegations. Upon passage, the defendant has been “impeached”. Next, the Senate tries the accused. In the case of the impeachment of a president, the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the proceedings. For the impeachment of any other official, the Constitution is silent on who shall preside, suggesting that this role falls to the Senate’s usual presiding officer, the President of the Senate who is also the Vice President of the United States.

In theory at least, as President of the Senate, the Vice President of the United States could preside over the impeachment of him/herself, although legal theories suggest that allowing a defendant to be the judge in his own case would be a blatant conflict of interest. If the Vice President did not preside over an impeachment (of anyone besides the President), the duties would fall to the President pro tempore of the Senate.

To convict the accused, a two-thirds majority of the senators present is required. Conviction removes the defendant from office. Following conviction, the Senate may vote to further punish the individual by barring him or her from holding future federal office, elected or appointed. Conviction by the Senate does not bar criminal prosecution. Even after an accused has left office, it is possible to disqualify the person from future office or from certain emoluments of his prior office (such as a pension). If there is no charge for which a two-thirds majority of the senators present vote “guilty”, the defendant is acquitted and no punishment is imposed.” … and

… “Bill Clinton, Democrat, was impeached on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives on articles charging perjury (specifically, lying to a federal grand jury) by a 228–206 vote and obstruction of justice by a 221–212 vote. The House rejected other articles: one was a count of perjury in a civil deposition in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton (by a 205–229 vote), the second accused Clinton of abuse of power (by a 148–285 vote). President Clinton was acquitted by the Senate. The votes to remove him from office fell short of the necessary two-thirds: 45–55 on obstruction of justice and 50–50 on perjury.

Impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon were referred to the full House of Representatives for consideration and ended with his resignation.” …

hmm December 10, 2017 12:07 PM

There once was a deliberate attempt
to smear all governance with contempt.
With the public distracted,
and their futures impacted,
The traitors assumed they’re exempt.

hmm December 10, 2017 12:16 PM

” Completely unrelated, which currency is safest in large scale war? ”

Nuclear war? Low-becquerel fresh water, or last rites.

echo December 10, 2017 12:37 PM

Autocratic government can now buy its own NSA

The question I have is the kinds of tools used by NSA and GCHQ et al, like PRISM, strike me as being very useful to human rights and other campaign organisations if the basic ideas are repurposed.

By making research of large free form databases easy using collections of rulesets to identify abuses of power in policy or differentiate fact from opinion in documents obtained by freedom of information requests or public media such as newspapers and social media this might help both improve the quality of and democratise discussion?

bttb December 10, 2017 12:41 PM

Regarding Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and attempts to renew it before 1 January

“The US government does not need the approval of its secret surveillance court to ask a tech company to build an encryption backdoor.

The government made its remarks in July in response to questions posed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), but they were only made public this weekend.”

also, regarding a government answer

“But that answer is non-responsive to the totality of Wyden’s question, which asks if the government ordered a provider to “circumvent or weaken” encryption. The government only addresses the latter question, whether the government has altered (presumably by weakening) encryption. It hasn’t answered, at all, whether it has ordered a provider to “circumvent” encryption.

That’s an important point regardless. These QFRs are always carefully crafted, particularly in responses to Wyden (or the few other people who actually exercise oversight).

I think it’s particularly important given something that happened with iOS in the last year: rather than just answering, yes or no, before a phone trusts a computer (meaning it will share its contents with iTunes and therefore potentially with Apple), iOS 11 now requires you to enter your password before a phone will trust a computer.”


“In a presentation hosted by The Heritage Foundation, [FBI Director] Wray warned of a metaphorical policy “wall” that, more than 15 years ago, stood between the U.S. government’s multiple intelligence-gathering agencies. That wall prevented quick data sharing, he said. It prevented quick “dot-connecting” to match threats to actors, he said. And, he said, it partly prevented the U.S. from stopping the September 11 attacks.

“When people, now, sit back and say, ‘Three thousand people died on 9/11, how could the U.S. government let this happen?’” Wray said. “And one of the answers is, well, they had this wall.”

Wray is concerned with the potential expiration of the one of the government’s most powerful surveillance tools. It’s called Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and it allows the NSA to collect emails, browser history and chat logs of Americans. Section 702 also allows other agencies, like the FBI, to search through that data without a warrant. Those searches are called “backdoor searches.”

Anura December 10, 2017 12:55 PM

@Effective Security Measures

Completely unrelated, which currency is safest in large scale war?

Cryptocurencies will be the first to become useless as access to the internet becomes spotty. The safest currency will be money held by countries that are not being bombed, but are largely self-sufficient with the ability to produce large amounts of equipment for military, relief, and rebuilding efforts. Individual commodities will keep value for as long as the war is on, but when the war ends there will be a shift in demand from military equipment to construction, which can result in huge swings in prices.

Wael December 10, 2017 2:56 PM


Okay so tale also means…

Thank you.

but lets hope i get there soon….

I’ll inspire you: Al Bundy is a TLA.
Burritos represent Private Data, basic human rights; Tacos represent browsing habits, emails, keystrokes, etc…
Tabasco sauce is anti virus software.

Or it could be the other way around: Al Bundy is a security-savvy citizen who defeats all TAO tools by gobbling them up. Tabasco sauce could be information on this blog or from Wikileaks. Make up your own security story.

Take your time. If I have a chance, I’ll help you. This one ain’t easy. This was a lot easier, and so was this (I should’ve replaced ‘sweet’ with ‘deep’), especially if you consult 🙂


With Trolls & pests like Rolf

Reminds me of:

The limerick, peculiar to English,
Is a verse that’s hard to extinguish.
Once Congress in session
Decreed its suppression
But people got around it by writing the last line without any rhyme or meter.


There once was a deliberate attempt


Sancho_P December 10, 2017 5:41 PM

@Wesley Parish re Minix

Yes, that’s terrible because nobody will take them by their nose.
They’d have to cringe or open the books.

Btw., anybody heard about full disk encryption under user control?
Oh, missed a rendezvous?
A horrible scenario if anything goes wrong or if your country is called Schurkistan by the supreme Donald:
Intel Remote Disable and Destroy
and see:

I have a very bad feeling even for energy gapped computers and required (mandatory?) updates of modern / future OS, the kill switch is built in already.
Can’t reach a certain server? Too bad, sorry.

Sancho_P December 10, 2017 5:44 PM

@bttb re Wray’s speech

OK, now they have Section 702.
Who is liable for the cruel attacks they couldn’t prevent since they got it?

Let’s turn it around:
If they renew 702, who will be liable for the next successful attack?
For not “keeping America safe”?

Douglas Coulter December 10, 2017 10:29 PM

My previous comment was a joke, I’m part of the conspiracy also.
It was boring of me but somehow I can’t give it up.

tyr December 11, 2017 12:47 AM

I was particularly thrilled to see that
EFF thinks FCC doesn’t know how the Net
works. I can hardly wait til someone
throttles Comcast because Net neutrality
is no longer necessary.

If you don’t own the whole length of the
transmission path then it bites both ways.


One other skill that comes in handy is the
identification of plants. It will keep you
from starving to death in a potato field.
You should be able to find edibles locally
even if they aren’t part of your usual diet.
Do not assume that you can depend on the
local animals to show you what is safe to
eat. That will lead you to nasty surprises.

Knowledge has always been the currency of
humans, constructing fanciful VR to live in
doesn’t change that.

Clive Robinson December 11, 2017 2:53 AM

@ tyr,

If you don’t own the whole length of the transmission path then it bites both ways.

Whilst that is true for the “little fish” I can see the large bandwidth users coming to deals with the leaf ISP’s. We see this in the UK where certain well know entertainment sites have come to arrangements with mobile providers, where by traffic from those sites does not count towards the user data alowance cap.

Not being someone with interests in streaming media I’m effectively disadvantaged in two ways. Firstly everything I do comes out of my data cap so an OS download takes a big old chunk. Secondly it’s clear that some form of QoS is already in place with streaming getting regular paced bandwidth, whilst I get the available bread crumbs inbetween…

Rachel December 11, 2017 7:24 AM


Thanks for the most hilarious message ever. I was expecting to write out a new version of Thorogoods song by hand after finding a text of the lyrics. Reread your post with the context ‘Rachel cannot access youtube’. Your cryptic explaination with references to a serial killer and Texan food I’ve not eaten before, was simply priceless!

True Cost of Total Information Awareness December 11, 2017 7:44 AM

Since the early 1990s the Intelligence community relentlessly funded Total Information Awareness type programs. Established under the Clinton administration, consolidated under Bush, and firmly entrenched under Obama, this bipartisan network was managed inside the US Department of Defense.

In 1994 two young PhD students at Stanford University, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, made their breakthrough on the first automated web crawling and page ranking application.

Now over twenty years later a steady stream of executives from within the industry are sounding the alarm over the Monster they helped create. Here is the latest:

Facebook’s former vice president for user growth Chamath Palihapitiya recently gave a talk at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that’ll probably make you think twice about your social media use. The entire talk is well worth a watch, but some of his most prominent remarks included:
That he feels “tremendous guilt” about Facebook. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created [including the hearts, likes, and thumbs up of various social media channels] are destroying how society works.” He added, “[There’s] no civil discourse, no cooperation; [only] misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem–this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”
Regarding an incident in which seven innocent men in India were lynched after a hoax about kidnappings spread through WhatsApp: “That’s what we’re dealing with. And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.”

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to social media, his children “aren’t allowed to use that shit.”

Dirk Praet December 11, 2017 8:17 AM


I hope both @Moderator and our host will indulgence this blatant off-topic post, but I am urgently looking for an expert WordPress/PHP/MySQL developer to give us a hand in troubleshooting some seriously f*cked up, totally undocumented WP custom code originally built by an Indian company and subsequently made worse by cheap code monkeys who from my analysis of said code didn’t have a clue what they were doing. The job pays badly, won’t get you any useful references and most probably will drive you insane. On top of that, there is no staging environment. The ideal candidate is a nerd with no social life willing to put in a great deal of effort for a very ungrateful boss. Experience with detecting buffer overflows and SQL injection is a plus.

Bob Paddock December 11, 2017 9:35 AM

For the conspiratorial minded, or how important Wall Clock Time is to security and logging:

Many places are reporting that “New York City Officials confirm explosion in midtown Manhattan … near 42nd St and 8th Ave.” – CNBC reports happened 10 hours ago. “Device in New York City explosion went off prematurely: WNBC” – 8 hours ago CNBC.

Problem is the event happened at 7:30 AM Eastern Standard Time Dec 11th 2017. That is FAR less than 10 hours ago.

Either CNBC had foreknowledge of the event or they need to set their clock…

Do a search for “New York City” on Bing to see this time anomaly.

Apparently the only major injury was to the person with the bomb that went off early.

Rachel December 11, 2017 10:10 AM

True Cost Of…

Apparently Steve Jobs and Bill Gates wouldnt let their kids use the products they had created. Same too for other critical siliconvalley execs regarding smart phones and related.

Dirk Praet
Fantastic recruitment pitch. Clearly inspired by Shakleton

Thanks for post currency skills post. I am sharing it with parents. Great to see Maslow incorporated in that context. Not considered. Would add building and construction skills. And for social currency, entertainment. Singing, dancing, theatre. guitar. etc.

Old school signals and comms for connecting with other tribes.
And teaching skills’ mathematics, lingustics. etc

Rachel December 11, 2017 10:19 AM


your post currency post: I am reminded of hitch hiking in Australia and being collected by a very wealthy man whose car would auto correct when driven at high speed into the embankment. He delighted in demonstrating repeatedly on winding country roads with no street lighting at night. He was very rich owing to making the worlds only fully 100% pure total beeswax candle by secret method, apparently its extremely difficult. re your skills description, He quoted Goethe something about a worthy occupation is that which has stood the test of time. Things that humans have always done.

Josh December 11, 2017 10:58 AM

@Effective Security Measures

Completely unrelated, which currency is safest in large scale war?

There is no large scale war in present times and likely won’t happen in our generations. The US of A had just about taken over the majority of the world thru influence. There is only a handful of nations that still exist outside of this influential sphere. Take a look at where sancations are currently imposed, you get the idea.

Taking a quick look back in history, we can easily see that bankers/financiars are keen to finance both sides of a conflict(s). This doesn’t necessarily mean they prefer conflicts but it’s a living testimony that everything in the world of finance is “hedged” in one way or another, especially in currencies.

When chaos assumes, those who hoard assets must either keep it hidden or have means of defending it.

albert December 11, 2017 11:20 AM


Thanks for the Gitmo link.

I sent it to everyone on my General Interest list, i.e. -all- of my email contacts.

. .. . .. — ….

JG4 December 11, 2017 12:07 PM

Thanks for the good discussion.

I probably recommended American in the Gulag: Alexander Dolgun’s Story before. His three business models were storyteller, spoon-maker and physician.

When I was quite young, I read the six books in this series. Now there are twelve.

The Foxfire Book: Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining, and Other Affairs of Plain Living

Clive Robinson December 11, 2017 5:27 PM

@ Sancho_P,

With regards the “Intel Anti-theft Technology” (Intel AT) in Vpro2 etc, that PGP-RRD from Symantec sits on top of.

That technology was “four Intel Generations” old more than half a decade ago…

Some people liked it when Intel started pushing it into the Small Busines Architecture (SBA),,review-32528-9.html

However you get licensing issues and your whole business “clocks out” on you… The Insurance won’t pay up as it’s your fault thus liability. Thus it can have the same “business killing” effect of no backups and a fire…

As I understand it from the grapevine it’s already been used as legal ransomware by IT staff leaving and not ensuring that those behind know all the paperwork etc etc etc.

Thus Intel AT has some real nasty teeth on it if you don’t drain the swamp properly before putting it into place… Oh and I don’t know about current pricing but I have heard several grumbles about “money for old rope” and “held to ransom”. The latter because it apparently is not as easy to remove as it could be for the ligitimate owner who has decided to “sell on” computers for business reasons.

I did hear one funny story though, apparently a business installed it on all their machines shortly before Bailifs arrived to take “goods and chattles”. The bailifs apparently were told but took the computers any way (not the brightest lightbulbs). The company owner sent out the poisoned pill and the computers went dead… Apparently the owner had little warning stickers on all the kit, so got away with it… And because the Bailf knew some Tech-bloke who realy messed things up big time… Apparently Balifs do not like it when you hit on their “liability insurance” big time with threats of criminal damage hanging over their future employment prospects.

The thing is things like FDE and Intel AF sound very seductive to certain managment types. Who then when things inevitably go wrong due to their mismanagement start blaiming everbody else…

The real message that gets hidden is that,

1, Cost of managment.
2, Cost of recovery.
3, Cost of withdrawing.

Are way higher than you would think, especially if you forget people are human and they “err” in ways you can not imagine. Worse there are road blocks in the way you have no control over. Especially now the FCC think net neutrality is dead… Imagine what fun Cloudfair could inflict if some hacker did a DDOS on either the Intel ports, or PGP-RRD ports… (what’s the betting now I’ve mentioned it somebody will try it on as a “jolly wheeze”).

Oh and the software that the PGP-RRD runs on… It’s Linux/Apache open source, and needs patching, rapidly especially as it has to be connected to the Internet. Any one else remember what can happen if you are a little tardy on patching Apache OSS…

You might not be as big as a credit checking agency, but the pain is going to be atleast as bad if not worse…

My advice, unless you can show a very very clear business case for Intel AT stear a very wide birth around it, the downside cost is very high, and the real world upside advantage comparatively minor, very minor. In most cases FDE is more than sufficient on it’s own and a lot less problematic to manage both on the upside and the down side.

And that’s before you consider the “Universal Kill Switch” idea of a Dr Strangelove type being used to keep one’s bodily fluids pure etc[1][2]. What was once said in jest has a habit of haunting us…

[1] “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”[2], is a very strange film and even though a comedy, is still frightening to this day, when you consider expressions like “Dead Hand” and “Fail Safe” in the hands of the non rational… Oh and it’s original test screening day was supposed to be 22nd Nov 1963 54 years ago. However as some may remember other events got in the way down in Dallas that day…


    A film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button — and it played the situation for laughs. U.S. Air Force General Jack Ripper goes completely insane, and sends his bomber wing to destroy the U.S.S.R. He thinks that the communists are conspiring to pollute the “precious bodily fluids” of the American people.

Clive Robinson December 11, 2017 5:41 PM

@ Dirk Praet,

The ideal candidate is a nerd with no social life willing to put in a great deal of effort for a very ungrateful boss.

Is the “boss” more or less ungrateful after attending the gym?

One way to “manage a boss” is a big bowl of sweets on your desk. You can send others away from your desk if they are “beneath you” but getting the boss addicted to a sugar rush is a good way to make them come to you and be nice 😉

Just make sure you have an emergency reserve of chocolate bars and bottle of spirits locked in your desk incase others have stolen your “boss bribes” whilst your back is turned… Or it’s getting late in the day…

Clive Robinson December 11, 2017 6:33 PM

@ Rachel,

He quoted Goethe something about a worthy occupation is that which has stood the test of time.

Often it needs to also be done at a “measured pace”…

Fine wine, spirts and food are better with age, likewise well found buildings and careers, and importantly as is wisdom.

Life has to be reflectively appreciated before full enjoyment can be had, a lesson learnt with time. If you don’t take the time to learn when you can, you can not appreciate, you can not love or build the memories and confidence that comes with them.

Thus those who hasten to beat the clock or feel the rush end up like an addict desperatly dashing for the next fix just to stop the pain of the fix before. A Life devoid of meaning, satisfaction or the ability to reflect and quietly appreciate the real achievements that can be made in life.

Many are hurrying so fast they nolonger understand what a foundation is for. Thus all they do is built on the vageries of shifting sands and tides, destined to have no perminance, thus be a waste not just of their life but also the resources that they have ill used.

We supposadly come into life with nothing, and our measure is the love we bring, and leave behind. Thus if we leave the world a better place than mankind has benifited and we will live on in their memories. If however we take from the world it is left a worse place, and we cease with our last breath as the jackles and vultures close in to pick what meat there is from our bones and their hate that there is not more to take.

It’s a lesson that gets told with every year that dies, and has done for a century or so. Perhaps best with Dicken’s a “Christmas Carol” from 1843. The best version of which I still think is the 1951 film “Scrooge” with Alistair Sim as old Scrooge and George Cole as the young hopeful Scrooge, yet to turn miser.

Wesley Parish December 12, 2017 12:35 AM

@Usual Suspects

After wading through the OT comment-storm on Donald Trump etc ad nauseam, I had to dive into JG Ballard‘s The Atrocity Exhibition to recover.

I would suggest the ideal way to ground oneself in discussions on that particular person, is to read JG Ballard’s two short pieces in that book on one Ronald Reagan, now deceased. To wit: Chapter 14: Why I Want To F*ck Ronald Reagan, and in the appendices The Secret History of World War 3.

They cover the current recumbent in the Oval Office as well as his predeceased predecessor Ronald Reagan. (I am using the ReSearch edition of The Atrocity Exhibition. It has the author’s annotation.)

Dirk Praet December 12, 2017 4:28 AM

@ Clive

One way to “manage a boss” is a big bowl of sweets on your desk.

A known trick that almost always works. Unfortunately, the boss is managing the business out of his villa at a sunny beach and hardly ever drops by at the office. The part I forgot to mention is that anyone interested can do all required work remotely and will be briefed/guided by myself.

Rachel December 12, 2017 4:47 AM

wesley Parish

we are now officially friends. I read Ballard with the same awe people reserve for Joyce.
Nice recommendations and not the only ones relevant for a mention here. I had a tome of the entire collection of short stories, thousand odd pages. You’d do well to source it.

Clive Robinson December 12, 2017 9:26 AM

@ All.

It appears that Police shootings of civilians in the US is considerably worse than thought.

In part because of the way things were reported… In essence there are three types of shot taken,

1, Shot and missed.
2, Shot and wounded.
3, Shot and killed.

However there is a fourth category that has been used where a civilian has been shot by a police officer but the shot has been attributed to another gun or person. Little or no information is avialable on this as a recovered bullet will at best identify the gun not the finger on the trigger. And many bullets are not recovered as amongst other things trauma surgeons may for good reason not remove them (even though your quality of life and life expectancy drop significantly for every bullet left in you).

Untill proper records are kept of police shootings and shootings where the police have been present then it is likely much will be hidden behind the lack of records.

For all my dislike of Ex FBI James Comey’s policies and behaviour, he did push the FBI into making better records requirments. Something that appears to be being rolled backwards under the current administration, to the detriment of US Citizens.

Anyway have a read of the Vice article and as always come to your own thoughts on the matter,

Clive Robinson December 12, 2017 11:36 AM

@ Anders,

Recent incident in Tallinn.

From the article it appears the person shot may have had a mental disorder. There is a higher than expected number of people subject to Police attention when mentaly unwell.

I guess the question is how would the police have behaved if they were unarmed? In the UK the police routinely have to deal with those who are unwell both physically and mentally, as well as those either “off prescribed meds” or those under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Untill recently it was rare to see armed officers and each shot fired was investigated. As a general rule of thumb most UK Police officers are unarmed, and arms training is voluntary.

Whilst even “non lethal” weapons can and do kill, the question is would they reduce the total numbers killed? Atleast one study I’ve read suggests that moving to non-leathal weapons makes the average police officer more “trigger happy” and less likely to consider alternative types of passivation type action. That is they engender “might is right” thinking even if only at the subconscious level.

As I’ve mentioned before –even having worn the green– is that “Guns should not be in anybodies hands on the streets of a civilised society” because the risks are to dam high for all parties.

That said I did notice another article on the BNN website…

@ Bruce,

You might want to add this to your collection of non bomb bomb scare events,

There is to little information to say what might have triggered the scare other than it was a “mans sex toy”. So it’s quite possible that batteries and wires inside a plastic body could have looked like a crude bomb on an X-Ray scanner for baggage.

Anders December 12, 2017 11:49 AM

@Clive Robinson

Jaanus Käärmann walked through the Old Town with knives without harming anyone, he didn’t even look badly toward anyone. He only start running towards cops when he sees them.

Regarding Tallinn airport the culprit was high-tech vagina 🙂

Wesley Parish December 13, 2017 12:28 AM


Thanks. I’ve been a fan of Ballard’s for ages. I’ve also got that tome of short stories, now divided into two volumes for purposes of paperbackery.

He is incredibly perceptive. And this isn’t the first time I’ve recommended people read something of his – I recommended a book of interviews with him some time ago. In the context of Bruce Schneier’s blog, I’d recommend The Watch-Towers. And The Overloaded Man in relation to the discussion of pterorism. He learnt such a lot about the tolerances and overloading of the human soul in Lunghua Internment Camp!

Now we’re officially friends, I suspect you’re on the other side of the world and it’s going to be a little hard to invite you around for a coffee or beer and a chinwag … 🙂

225 December 13, 2017 5:57 AM

@Clive Robinson

“Oh and the skill to split out the hydrogen from the carbon monoxide so you can have gas for cutting and welding tools.”
What hydrogen is there in CO? Is this some alchemy trick you could share with the chemist hobbyists reading?

bttb December 13, 2017 9:32 AM

“Edward Snowden Retweeted
Fight for the Future‏
Dec 11
NEW: Some of the people who literally invented the Internet are calling on Congress to #StopTheFCC from killing #NetNeutrality, calling the vote this week an “imminent threat””

Clive Robinson December 13, 2017 9:57 AM

@ 225,

What hydrogen is there in CO?

None, but there is in “town gas” which is the output of gassification. TG if things are working well is a mixture of very light hydrogen gas and the heavier carbon monoxide. If you dont split them before putong it under preasure you end up with some chrmical combination of the two that gives you water and soot as byproducts. Hydrogen burns with oxygen at a very high temperature and can be used to cut steel. Carbon monoxide burns at a lower temprature and though fine for domestic cooking, heating and occasional lighting (with mantels) it is not so good for engineering activities.

bttb December 13, 2017 10:03 AM

regarding Net Neutrality

“Earlier this year nearly 200 Internet engineers and computer scientists sent a letter to the FCC that explained facts about the structure, history, and evolving nature of the Internet. The reasons we laid out in that letter for writing it then still apply to the draft now:”

Perhaps something like this coming to the USA soon
“Last spring, Swedes got a tantalizing offer: If they subscribed to Sweden’s biggest telecom provider, Telia Company AB, they could have unlimited access on their mobile phones to Facebook, Spotify, Instagram and other blockbuster apps.

Swedish regulators tried to put a stop to it. They argued that the arrangement violated the so-called net neutrality rules in the European Union, which require internet providers to offer equal access to all web content. Essentially, once a user’s data cap was reached, Telia would restrict other apps, but not the big ones.

The issue is now working its way through the courts. As it does, the offer is still available.

Such deals may be gaining momentum in the United States.”

From the Guardian
“This Thursday, Trump Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai will force a vote to repeal net neutrality protections for broadband providers. This is an important step backwards for our democracy. It will affect what consumers pay for broadband and what we can buy. More importantly, it will affect what we as citizens can say and to whom we can say it.

In the age of Trump, a move to concentrate the power of speech in the hands of telecommunications giants whose financial fate depends on Republican political control is terrifying.”

Finally, how to contact your member of Congress
or contact the FCC
from Reddit
“Contact the FCC by phone:

press 1, then 4, then 2, then 0
say that you wish to file comments concerning the FCC Chairman’s plan to end net neutrality
Or on the web:
Under Proceedings, enter 14-28 and 17-108
Suggested script:

It’s my understanding that the FCC Chairman intends to reverse net neutrality rules and put big Internet Service Providers in charge of the internet. I am firmly against this action. I believe that these ISPs will operate solely in their own interests and not in the interests of what is best for the American public. In the past 10 years, broadband companies have been guilty of: deliberately throttling internet traffic, squeezing customers with arbitrary data caps, misleading consumers about the meaning of “unlimited” internet, giving privileged treatment to companies they own, strong-arming cities to prevent them from giving their residents high-speed internet, and avoiding real competition at all costs. Consumers, small businesses, and all Americans deserve an open internet. So to restate my position: I am against the chairman’s plan to reverse the net neutrality rules. I believe doing so will destroy a vital engine for innovation, growth, and communication.

= = = = =

Sources for this post:

Rachel December 13, 2017 10:07 AM

Wesley Parish

is that your name? it always makes me think of a church.
Appreciate the comments. Ballard has an extraordinary amount to offer readers of this blog. Even his biography from a few years ago was fantastic. Actually am reminded of James Clavells King Rat re a novel based on internment camp experiences.
I am in France and I visit Australia occasionally. I am familiar with your Aus references such as Redgum. Not an Oils fan really but they’ve a Schneier blog relevance here and there.

Wesley Parish December 14, 2017 1:58 AM


Wesley Parish is a pretty neat pseudonym, isn’t it? It’s the alias on my birth certificate … now let some spook try to parse that! FWIW, Parish appears to derive from (de) Paris, so some ancestor of mine must’ve been a Parisian, probably around the time of those reprobates the Plantagenets.

Now we’ve finished laughing – I meant to post this yesterday, but didn’t know if the moderators would let me post again:

ht tp://

Why bother cracking PCs? Spot o’ malware on PLCs… Done. Industrial control network pwned
Jumping the air gap

@Clive Robinson, this appears to be right up your alley.

bttb December 14, 2017 3:37 PM

“Let’s turn it around:
If they renew 702, who will be liable for the next successful attack?
For not “keeping America safe”?

I don’t know. Perhaps we need more money. Perhaps it’s the going dark problem. Perhaps with the lone-wolf problem it’s hard, and expensive, to surveil everybody.

Years ago I enjoyed reading a book called “The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century”, by Phillip Knightley.

iirc, in that book common excuses include, something like:
a) we need more money
b) your too stupid to understand or you don’t understand what’s going on (it’s classified anyway and we can’t talk about it to protect sources and methods)
c) we told you so. (The write-up said A and the footnotes in the write-up said not A)

emptywheel had a couple of posts recently about FBI Director Christopher Wray.
on a positive note
” Wray seemed genuinely willing to accept HJC’s [House Judiciary Committee’s] mandate to conduct oversight.”

Sancho_P December 14, 2017 5:53 PM


Hmmm, I hear ya, but I don’t know if I made clear what I wanted to express:

Their rhetoric is “keeping … safe”, “protect our people”, “prevent bad things (terrorism) from happen” a.s.f.
This is kind a promise, a small light at the horizon, a smell of hope for the worried citizen, similar to the carrot for the donkey.
On the other hand, simultaneously, they’ll warn that the next attack may change our mind anyway, like slapping the donkey’s backside.

I smell dishonesty in that attempt, sorry. Don’t sell me the future.
It’s like a life insurance with the only beneficiary being the deceased, if still alive.
And nobody would be reliable, only the money is gone.

Everything they ask for can only help after the fact, not before.
No one can predict the future [1], and there is practically no (LE) remedy for probable future crimes. Our justice system doesn’t work that way.

So it’s this wiliness that drives me crazy. It’s open fraud. A slap in my face, not a pat on my back.
I can’t discuss merits or disadvantages of anything under false pretenses.

OK, granted, I can: Meddling in the ME will keep terrorism alive.

Clive Robinson December 15, 2017 12:36 AM

@ Sancho_P,

OK, granted, I can: Meddling in the ME will keep terrorism alive.

Meddling in all sorts of places will do the same thing.

The question you have to ask is “What is the cause of the meddling?”

The answers are many and varied but under most of them is the issue of “differentials in status”.

The easiest for most to see is that the average US Citizen has a standard of living –supposadly– ten times that of the world average. That is a little under 5% of the worlds population uses a little under 50% of the worlds disposable income/resources. But worse apparently 8 people in the US control amongst them as much wealth as the lower half of the worlds population. You could look at it in other ways such as the carbon footprint of the average member of the population, but the figures still comes down in the same outfield…

But one thing is clear such a differential can only be obtained and maintained by the consumption of resources. The US for various reasons started off with hugh resources three centuries ago. They have in effect consumed their geographic share within a very short time span. After WWII the US started a series of military / political policies to maintain that resource consumption from other geographic locations.

As gets pointed out from time to time such a position can only be maintained by Guard Labour that are prepared to follow orders. The US spending on it’s military is supposadly the same as the next twenty nations spending…

It thus begs the question of what that non domestic guard labour is being used for and why.

Others have noted that the US has had a history of creating wars in far away places since the 1950’s. Various reasons can be ascribed, one of which is nuclear weapons make wars between super powers way to dangerous for direct conflict. Thus they fight proxy wars. All of which appear to happen in mainly undeveloped nations untill more recent times. However further study shows that the wars from the latter quater of the last century are increasingly about the control of resources that feed the US stratigic or domestic interests.

A more blunt appraisal that is made more vocaly these days is that it is US foreign policy to every decade pick a developing nation that is transitioning into second world status on their own resources and blast them back to basic agrarian subsistance to “send a message” to the rest of such resource providing nations.

It became clear to a number of people that the US Trade Treaties that were launched under the Obama administration were in the end about maintaining US status via it’s corporate entities, irrespective of how it may have started out.

Likewise it’s become clear that US interests have for some time been in preventing other second and third world nations getting their own independent energy sources which would in effect give them the potential to first world status, thus be in a position to aquire / compeate / demand access to the resources to have a first world or better living standard for their citizens.

As most resources on this planet are finite this is a problem. Because a larger slice of the resource pie for one nation comes at the expense of other nations slices… And if you have by far the largest slice you actually have a lot to lose and as a politician you would know that such loses would be far from popular with the voters…

Thus the proplem of how to maintain the status becomes a big issue. Various people have thought about this over the years and have realised that the first step is to ensure that it is more than self interest that will push the citizens into the desired actions.

George Orwell realised during the Second World War that propaganda was very important and that a nation needs an existential threat as a diversion to in effect keep the citizens in line. Importantly the existential threat needs to be sufficiently far away that there is little or no cultural ties. Further that something obviously different that your own citizens could easily see could be used to “despise” the distant people. Importantly though the existential threat must only come from one direction at a time, and that a victory should be more than possible. But a more subtle element has to be put in place in the home nation, in effect a cast or class system to maintain devission thus control. But for it to survive their must appear to be a way for people to progress up such that those who don’t rise can be looked down upon as being feckless etc. You in effect create a “Red Queen’s Race” where people have to run as hard as they can just to stay where they are. The point is that there has to be a mechanism by which the upper most class can keep their status and push back the lower orders in various ways. One of which is to maintain disproportionate control on assets and use them via rent seeking activities to keep them away from the lower orders. A very valuable tool in this respect is inflation as it removes the ability of those without assets to aquire them. In effect their savings depreciate faster than assets appreciate thus they have to enter the “Red Queen’s Race” to get a toe hold in the race to acquire assets on which a rentable income may be acquired…

Importantly though people need to remember that as the population rises with resources either being fixed or diminishing that the individual slice of the pie must shrink. There are three basic solutions to this problem,

1, Control the population size.
2, Use resources more effectively.
3, Aquire new sources of resources.

The first to have certain problems to do with either the laws of society or the laws of nature. Which is why the third option is the way we will end up going. The problem is getting there as the first two options have to happen as well to enable the third to happen. Interestingly despite the contrary behaviour of many we have started in on all three ways.

The decrease in population numbers has been found to happen in industrialised nations, so much so that it is causing real issues with a now aging population. In fact there appears to be an inverse birth ratio to intelligence along with that of the socio-economic differentiation intelligence brings.

Much though it appears otherwise, we are starting to recycle resources. The simple fact is that the cost of obtaining raw resources out of the ground rises considerably faster as the stocks deplete, thus a line gets crossed where it is less expensive to recover used resources than to extract new ones. A primary example of this would be the recycling of iron and steel, whilst we still mine iron ore, it is a fraction of what we recover from used now waste products.

But aquiring new resources is also part of the process. Compared to iron aluminium is abundant, just more difficult to exstract. As the cost of extracting aluminium has droped it’s use has become more common which has taken preasure off of the use of iron. Likewise entirely new materials like glass reinforced plastics and spun carbon fiber in resins has further displaced the use of both iron and aluminium. In most cases this is down to more efficient use of energy. Energy is an interesting resource, because in the main it is in effect a real renewable, we get it from the Sun in a quite coherent way and it gets stored in various mostly inefficient ways that give us the likes of coal oil and gas. As we both store and use energy it becomes decoherent and moves down in frequency to the ultimate form of polution “heat” which is radiated off into space again (or atleast it should be…). Getting better access to the Suns energy is mostly about what the press and others call “renewable” or “green” energy and we are getting better at it. The big problem though is solar energy levels change constantly at any point on the earths surface and we are still not very good at either storage or transmission of energy. Thus our continued dependence on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are infact a form of energy storage, in that via various processes solar energy has been converted to chemical energy over time. Which is why some energy initiatives are looking to shorten the time span in various ways via biomass convertion and direct chemical synthesis. As neither technology works well in the very short term storage of energy other methods are being looked at. The biggest breakthrough though will almost certainly be when we find more efficient methods to transmit energy over distance especially without the need of significant infrastructure. As this will enable us to not just transmit energy more efficiently and use it more efficiently, it will also open up new ways to use and gather energy in some cases beyond the confines of the earth.

However there is another serious issue, whilst the fact that scirntists and engineers are moving us forwards on the latter two points, this is against the wishes of a few. For these few the entire reason for their existance is to maintain their status over others. To them a reduction in their slice of the pie is acceptable, as long as others slices diminish faster, thus maintaining if not improving the status gap. Unfortunately their current control of assets alows them to gain considerable control over those who in turn make the laws that govern society that are enforced through the various forms of guard labour…

I could go on with behaviour models from history like that of “water rights wars” but I think most can see how things fit into the various arguments people have raised over the years.

Thus the questions of how to make the required adjustments that benifit the majority of the worlds population not just the self selecting few.

Clive Robinson December 15, 2017 1:17 AM

@ Anura, Girondins

EAL4+ means “Developed with the rigor of Windows 2000 and up.”

Which @Nick P would say “Is not a lot…”.

The problem we still have after more than half a century is that we appear to have a seesaw relationship with “Usability-v-Security”. Which is odd, because in non IS technology improving usability often means an increase in security…

The reason I suspect is that in the more general case outside of IS tech an increase in both usability and security comes about by a decrease in complexity at various levels.

In IS tech there appears to be a mistaken belief that usability improves with complexity. That is that some how the graphical windows environment with a mouse etc is more usable than the Command Line Interface (CLI). Many studies have shown that this is actually not the case and we are actually more productive with complex tasks at the CLI, once we have got above a certain ability threashold. The price we pay in hidden complexity for the windows interface is very high. The problem as we know is that as complexity grows, vulnerabilities grow at some power law of complexity, thus systems become less secure…

The thing is we appear quite bad at managing complexity in IS tech, which is odd because we manage it quite well in most other technical fields of endeavor… Even historically we know that the likes of Lord Nelson understood quite well the advantages of “Divide and conquer” as had most successful military leaders befor him going back just about as far as written records go. Likewise that natural “choke points” can hold off a vast hord of attackers. For some reason in IS tech people believe that things are somehow different.

They are not. Examination of the majority of secure communications equipment actually developed to be secure from the ground up shows that the guiding principles are,

1, Segregation of function.
2, Confining access.

Which are in practice divide and conquer and choke points. It’s also easy to see mathematically why these procrdures work.

The downside of such features is that they tend to limit the flexability available. Thus arguably the desire of IS tech “To be all things to all men” is the root cause of it’s complexity thus insecurity.

bttb December 15, 2017 9:54 AM

“However further study shows that the wars from the latter quater of the last century are increasingly about the control of resources that feed the US stratigic or domestic interests.”
perhaps, relevant footnotes

Regarding nationalism propoganda, Clive wrote
“Further that something obviously different that your own citizens could easily see could be used to “despise” the distant people. Importantly though the existential threat must only come from one direction at a time, and that a victory should be more than possible.”

Winning wars these days appears to be rare. Andrew Bacevich has said, I think, that the USA military is good at managing, not winning, wars. For example,
“A conundrum: Today’s American soldier is by common consent the world’s finest, even history’s finest, but the United States doesn’t win its wars. Time and again, the mission – the overall aim of the exercise – goes unaccomplished, while the war itself continues as if on autopilot. Why?”

OT, as the USA tax package lurches forward, let current and future USA citizens eat cake, assuming USA’s national debt is a great liability regarding its’ national security and future prosperity.
As of 2013 current USA war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan may be 4 to 6 trillion USD.

dredmorbius December 15, 2017 10:24 AM

OT: Blog / Moveable Type log in / registration?

I’m having trouble logging in to and other Moveable Type blogs, with both old and a newly-created account.

I don’t see any support links in obvious places.

If someone would point me off in the right direction I’d appreciate it.


Clive Robinson December 15, 2017 1:54 PM

@ bttb,

Winning wars these days appears to be rare.

That rather depends on who is looking for the win.

As I said the wars should be more than winable, and your quote from Andrew Bacevich, says similar. Likewise impartial observers would say the same.

Thus the question about “IF” arises… That is “If those in command want to win”, they may well not want to for various reasons.

Not so long ago generals would say “The military can win the war, but the politicians have to win the peace”. The implication was that there was no third party who had alternative wishes… A retiring US President some years ago warned about the Military Industrial Complex. Likewise a retiring general Stanly Buttler warned of the money machine war had become. So there is certainly a large financial interest as well as the usuall empire building. Put there is another perhaps more insidious reason. Politically there is a lot of difference in what executive powers are alowed during peace and war, thus it is in the political interest to “stay at war” rather than return to a state of peace.

Thus you have to consider who realy wins with a continuous low level war? Finding the answer will take you to places you very probably do not want to go…

Sancho_P December 15, 2017 5:27 PM

@Clive Robinson, re meddling in the ME (12:36 AM)

While I already heard most of your reasoning (or similar) in other circles I’d oppose all but one: Greed (a basic human disposition) is the driving force.
I see the rest as a mixture of indisputable facts, half-truth and muddled theories / predictions, sorry.
But this is going into geopolitics, a reply would be lengthy and take us far away from the forum’s intention so I’ll skip it.

tyr December 16, 2017 2:49 AM


You might want to look at Giaps book to
see further confirmation of your point.

He says the US won the VietNam war twice
but were too stupid to realize it and
finally snatched a defeat from the jaws
of victory.

Nothing particularly new about it in the
history of the world, Britain fed her own
empire into the toilet at the Somme.

Smedley was a real piece of work, when he
was approached to lead a fascist takeover
of USA he blew the whistle and there was
some active scurrying to do the coverup by
our elected overlords.

Most educated people had to read Caesar and
the descriptions of divide and conquer used
in Gaul. I doubt that you can find that level
of education these days with all the Googling
used as a substitute for a brain.

Clive Robinson December 16, 2017 4:20 AM

@ tyr,

Most educated people had to read Caesar and the descriptions of divide and conquer used in Gaul

But did they learn the important lessons of Gaul, both the Korean and Vietnam wars, suggests that they realy did not…

One of lifes little lessons is characterized by such expressions of “Quit whilst you are ahead”, “Don’t throw good money after bad” oh and “Doubling down is for the dumb”.

We see this in many corporates that either implode sucking in all that are close, or worse explode sending shrapnel far and wide. They overly fixate on the upside of a deal, and don’t watch the potential downside on the bottom line… thus “glug glug and the unsinkable drops beneath the waves”.

bttb December 18, 2017 8:57 PM

@Clive Robinson

Regarding General Butler and War is a Racket and your reference I found this download site.

“Smedley was a real piece of work, when he
was approached to lead a fascist takeover
of USA he blew the whistle and there was
some active scurrying to do the coverup by
our elected overlords.”
Your words led to this in the Wikipedia entry on General Smedley
… “In November 1934, Butler claimed the existence of a political conspiracy by business leaders to overthrow President Roosevelt, a series of allegations that came to be known in the media as the Business Plot.[61][62] A special committee of the House of Representatives headed by Representatives John W. McCormack of Massachusetts and Samuel Dickstein of New York, who was later alleged to have been a paid agent of the NKVD,[63] heard his testimony in secret.[64] The McCormack–Dickstein committee was a precursor to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

In November 1934, Butler told the committee that one Gerald P. MacGuire told him that a group of businessmen, supposedly backed by a private army of 500,000 ex-soldiers and others, intended to establish a fascist dictatorship. Butler had been asked to lead it, he said, by MacGuire, who was a bond salesman with Grayson M–P Murphy & Co. The New York Times reported that Butler had told friends that General Hugh S. Johnson, former head of the National Recovery Administration, was to be installed as dictator, and that the J.P. Morgan banking firm was behind the plot. Butler told Congress that MacGuire had told him the attempted coup was backed by three million dollars, and that the 500,000 men were probably to be assembled in Washington, D.C. the following year. All the parties alleged to be involved publicly said there was no truth in the story, calling it a joke and a fantasy.[64]

In its report, the committee stated that it was unable to confirm Butler’s statements other than the conversations with MacGuire.[65] No prosecutions or further investigations followed, and historians have questioned whether or not a coup was actually contemplated. Historians have not reported any independent evidence apart from Butler’s report on what MacGuire told him. One of these, Hans Schmidt, says Maguire was an “inconsequential trickster”.[66][67][68][69] The news media dismissed the plot, with a New York Times editorial characterizing it as a “gigantic hoax”.[70] When the committee’s final report was released, the Times said the committee “purported to report that a two-month investigation had convinced it that General Butler’s story of a Fascist march on Washington was alarmingly true” and “… also alleged that definite proof had been found that the much publicized Fascist march on Washington, which was to have been led by Major. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, retired, according to testimony at a hearing, was actually contemplated”.[71] The individuals involved all denied the existence of a plot, despite evidence to the contrary. Though the media ridiculed the allegations, a final report by a special House of Representatives Committee confirmed some of Butler’s statements.[72][n 1]

The McCormack–Dickstein Committee said of Butler’s testimony in its final report. “In the last few weeks of the committee’s official life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country…There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient.”[72][n 1][n 2]”


I enjoyed watching the PBS series on Vietnam.

A search of “ giap” yielded two of your posts regarding General Giap, in addition to your reference above.

“The military won the war twice
once in 68 and again in 72, but the politicals failed
so they kept going. That last is according to Giap

“You might want to get a copy of Vo Nguyen
Giaps book to help you understand Dirks
point about the leadership failures of
the policy makers of USA.”

What book are you referring to? page # or page range would be nice?
Are you referring to presidents not wanting to withdrawal troops because they will lose an election? Or what?

I found the Burns/Novick PBS Vietnam interesting in that a letter was sent to a US President by Ho Chi Minh early on, but the CIA never gave the letter to the US President.

Clive Robinson December 19, 2017 1:53 AM

@ bttb, tyr,

The “alleged” fascist uprising, is all to plausible when you consider the later actions of the CIA on behalf of US Corp “Economic Security”, and more recent times of Banking Crisis One and Two, and of course more recent events.

The French critic and journalist Alphonse Karr penned the immortal words that translate to,

    The more things change, the more they stay the same…

The reason perhaps, can be found in the deliberate play on a Shakespeare quote by the Irish dramatist Sean O’Casey,

    All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.

Even through our seven acts, till,

    Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

bttb December 20, 2017 10:16 AM

@Clive Robinson, tyr, Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained Spook, Dirk Praet, Thoth, ab praeceptis, Figureitout, Sancho_P, hmm, Shaved Whiskers, Nick P, Wael, etc.

Clive wrote:
“The reason perhaps, can be found in the deliberate play on a Shakespeare quote by the Irish dramatist Sean O’Casey,

All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.
Even through our seven acts, till,

Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.””

One of my favorite psychologists is James Hillman who said somewhere something like:
‘Did you hear what’s good about alzheimers disease?’
You get to hide your own easter eggs’

I recently learned that Hillman studied in Ireland. He was perhaps the only American to ever head the Jung Institute in Switzerland.

Russia and the Firebird are in the following Men and the Life of Desire, part 2, about an hour Men and the Life of Desire, part 3, “”

another recorded live event, I think,

Misc. Books
Hillman, The Soul’s Code
Bly, Iron John- A Book About Men, The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: Poems for Men Co-edited with James Hillman and Michael Meade
Meade, Men and the Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of Men

Warren Farrel, The Myth of Male Power: Why Men are the Disposable Sex

Happy Holidays

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained Spook December 21, 2017 4:29 AM


Did you hear what’s good about alzheimers disease?’
You get to hide your own easter eggs’

I can never find my “device”! Early signs. I do get to reset my passwords every day, and my username too.

Clive Robinson December 21, 2017 9:17 AM

@ BS PM BS, bttb,

I can never find my “device”! Early signs.

The question is “Are you an old enough git to wear spectacles?”, I am, and guess what I loose most often?

The trouble is, even they might be in arms reach, you can not see the “bl@@dy things”…

I have a buding theory coming along… When you are young and still stightly vein you wear rimless or thin metal rims, however as you age you go through the full “Clark Kent” and on towards the “Edna Everage”. The reason as your eye sight gets worse big chunky frames are atleast vaguely visable…

But the ultimate in failing sight, ie “half moon varifocals” on “brightly coloured neck straps” such that,

A, You don’t need to put them down.
B, You stare disparagingly across the top of them at those younger whipper snappers in a dismissive way.

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained Spook December 21, 2017 11:19 PM

@Clive Robinson,

The question is “Are you an old enough git to wear spectacles?”

Older, and I do wear them although they don’t help very much. Eyesight keeps deteriorating…

The trouble is

The trouble is sometimes I look for them at a time when I’m already wearing them. Staring at CRTs for 10 – 12 hours a day took its toll on my eyes, and there is some genetics involved too.

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