The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize. The pernicious background of such groups, their duplicity, and devious maneuvers must be exposed to public scrutiny where such publicity will have a neutralizing effect.
—J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, 1967 (in the letter above)
When Mike Brown was killed by Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson on Saturday, August 9, in Ferguson, Missouri, the outrage from the community was palpable and started within seconds of the shooting. Not only did dozens of people see or hear the shooting, which took place at the peak of a hot, sunny day, but hundreds of gathering people witnessed Brown’s lifeless body laying in the middle of the street for four more hours.
Protests of raw grief and despair didn’t come a few days later, but started that very day on Canfield Drive—very much fueled by the horrific wails from Brown’s parents, friends, and relatives. As soon as the protests began, something else happened and it has devolved into a much uglier narrative than one could have imagined over two months ago when Brown was killed. It’s as if we’ve gone back in time.
Police and government tactics to intimidate, criminalize, humiliate, and undermine activists started on Day 1 in Ferguson and have only gotten worse, and the tactics used echo those of an earlier era.
Officially started in 1956 by the FBI, COINTELPRO (short for counterintelligence program) subversively investigated and undermined virtually every prominent African-American leader in the country for 15 years. A veritable Who’s Who of leaders, ranging from Malcolm X to Fannie Lou Hamer to Jackie Robinson to Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King were investigated and interfered with on the deepest levels. Undercover agents spied on leaders, federal informants were planted inside of their organizations, disinformation was often deliberately spread with the intention of sowing discord and strife between leaders and organizations. To this day, huge volumes of the COINTELPRO documents are redacted, fueling speculation on just what they may be hiding 40 years later.
While the program was officially ended in 1971, echoes of COINTELPRO are reverberating in Ferguson, Missouri, today and leaders on the ground and supporters around the world report feeling the attempts to discredit them are constant. Read on for more ….
While rumors of FBI involvement in Ferguson existed for weeks, it wasn’t until this Reuters report was released that the FBI was actively meeting with St. Louis officials “two to three times per week” that it was fully confirmed. Since then, instances of COINTELPRO-like activities by local police and government officials appear to have had a dramatic uptick.
What you will see below is a regularly updated list of documented cases of police abuse, humiliation, misinformation, outright lies, coercion, informants, plants, and more. This list will be updated regularly.
—When asked to justify the use of military-grade equipment and weapons, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, speaking to the press said, referring to the protestors, “people are using pipe bombs and so forth.” To this very day, not one shred of evidence exists that any protestor ever set off a single pipe bomb.
—At the press conference in which Ferguson Police Chief Jackson first planned to announce the identity of the officer who killed Brown, he instead released a packet of information with photos and a link to a video, against the explicit request of the Department of Justice, showing Brown in a local convenience store allegedly stealing cigars the day he was killed. His implication throughout the press conference, as he then pivoted to identifying Darren Wilson, was that Wilson was aware that Brown committed what Jackson was calling “a strong-armed robbery” and that the shooting was related to the “robbery.” Later that day, after the damage was already done, Jackson held a small press conference to clarify that Wilson was unaware of the convenience store incident when he confronted Brown. Later, changing his story for the third time, Jackson said Wilson “may” have known about the incident after all, but that he wasn’t sure.
When asked why he released the video footage from the convenience store at the exact moment he planned to release the identity of Wilson, Jackson claimed that the department was “forced” to do so after repeated Freedom of Information Act requests were made for that specific information. When asked to produce documents proving the requests were made, he said they were made verbally and that the department didn’t document them.
Not one media outlet to date has reported pressing a request for access to this footage.
—The St. Louis County medical examiner decided not to release its autopsy report on Brown to the public, butdid choose to leak that traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, were found in his system. Not only can traces of THC remain in the body for over 40 days, but marijuana is usually recognized as a calming agent and not something that makes someone more aggressive. In spite of the reality that its presence in Brown’s body could be completely irrelevant, this basic fact was released anyway.
- Christine Byers of the St. Louis Dispatch claims a police source told her that twelve eyewitnesses have backed up Darren Wilson’s story of being attacked. It’s her most shared tweet ever. Conservative media across the country, including Rush Limbaugh, take her tweet as the truth and run with it. Her tweet on this is still live today.
—At the height of unrest in Ferguson, Fox News released a grossly misleading story from an anonymous source, with the headline, “Missouri cop was badly beaten before shooting Michael Brown.” Shared over 40,000 times on social media, the story became gospel for those who believed Brown deserved to die. Further misleading its audience, Fox News couched the outrageous headline with a video of Chief Jackson, as if he made the announcement. All photos and videos and eyewitnesses from the immediate aftermath of the shooting discredit this claim. Fox News, uncharacteristically, disabled all comments on the article.
—Police performed a mass arrest during a very tense night of protests. One protestor who was being arrested could be overheard by another protestor telling the police that they accidentally arrested the wrong man. The crowd of protestors erupted in frustration. Police escorted the man away. He had been seen by other protestors joining the crowd for days, and after the incident, no reports were made of seeing him again.
—Ferguson activist Alexis Templeton was erroneously charged with the more serious count of resisting arrest (instead of a noise violation) although she can be clearly seen in this video, at 0:50, in a black T-shirt, with her hands up.
—Leaving a protest at the Hollywood Casino, protestors reported noticing police officers writing down license plate numbers.
—Ferguson activist and livestream videographer Bassem Masri was arrested during a peaceful protest at a St. Louis area Walmart. Held in jail longer than any other protestor, Masri, a Palestinian American, reported that he was threatened by detectives with exaggerated charges if he didn’t identify and discuss inside information about fellow protestors.
A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test.
“This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against people of a certain class,” Jordan said today from his Waterford home. “I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else.”
He said he does not plan to take any further legal action.
Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took the exam in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training.
Most Cops Just Above Normal The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average.
Jordan alleged his rejection from the police force was discrimination. He sued the city, saying his civil rights were violated because he was denied equal protection under the law.
But the U.S. District Court found that New London had “shown a rational basis for the policy.” In a ruling dated Aug. 23, the 2nd Circuit agreed. The court said the policy might be unwise but was a rational way to reduce job turnover.
Jordan has worked as a prison guard since he took the test.
Among all the scams and thievery in the bitcoin economy, one recent hack sets a new bar for brazenness: Stealing an entire chunk of raw internet traffic from more than a dozen internet service providers, then shaking it down for as many bitcoins as possible.
Researchers at Dell’s SecureWorks security division say they’ve uncovered a series of incidents in which a bitcoin thief redirected a portion of online traffic from no less than 19 Internet service providers, including data from the networks of Amazon and other hosting services like DigitalOcean and OVH, with the goal of stealing cryptocurrency from a group of bitcoin users. Though each redirection lasted just 30 second or so, the thief was able to perform the attack 22 times, each time hijacking and gaining control of the processing power of a group of bitcoin miners, the users who expend processing power to add new coins to the currency’s network.
The attacker specifically targeted a collection of bitcoin mining “pools”–bitcoin-producing cooperatives in which users contribute their computers’ processing power and are rewarded with a cut of the resulting cryptocurrency the pool produces. The redirection technique tricked the pools’ participants into continuing to devote their processors to bitcoin mining while allowing the hacker to keep the proceeds. At its peak, according to the researchers’ measurements, the hacker’s scam was pocketing a flow of bitcoins and other digital currencies including dogecoin and worldcoin worth close to $9,000 a day. “With this kind of hijacking, you can quite easily grab a large collection of clients,” says Pat Litke, one of the Dell researchers. “It takes less than a minute, and you end up with a lot of mining traffic under your control.”
The Dell researchers believe the bitcoin thief used a technique called BGP hijacking, which exploits the so-called border gateway protocol, the routing instructions that direct traffic at the connection points between the Internet’s largest networks. The hacker took advantage of a staff user account at a Canadian internet service provider to periodically broadcast a spoofed command that redirected traffic from other ISPs, starting in February and continuing through May of of this year. The Dell researchers won’t name that ISP, and they’re not sure how the hacker gained access to the account or whether he or she might have in fact been a rogue staffer.
That BGP hijack allowed the hacker to redirect the miners’ computers to a malicious server controlled by the hijacker. From that server, the hacker sent the mining machines a “reconnect” command that changed the mining computers’ configuration to contribute their processing power to a pool that stockpiled the bitcoins they produced rather paying them out to the mining pool’s participants. “Some people are more attentive to their mining rigs than others,” says Joe Stewart, a Dell researcher whose own computers were caught up in one victimized mining pool. “Many users didn’t check their setups for weeks, and they were doing all this work on behalf of the hijacker.”
In total, Stewart and Litke were able to measure $83,000 worth of cryptocurrency stolen in the BGP attack. But the total haul could be larger; The researchers stopped collecting data for several weeks of the attack because Stewart broke his ankle in the midst of the study.
Compared to those large-scale digital hijackings, the latest bitcoin heist was a much smaller and targeted traffic-stealing operation. And given that it required inside access to an ISP, Dell’s researchers don’t expect Bitcoin thieves to repeat the attack any time soon.
In fact, the BGP bitcoin-stealing exploits represent less of a new vulnerability in bitcoin than the persistent fragility of the internet itself, Dell’s researchers say. If one Canadian ISP can be used to redirect large flows of the Internet to steal a pile of cryptocurrency, other attackers could just as easily steal massive drifts of Internet data for espionage or pure disruption. The Dell researchers suggest that companies set up monitoring through a service like BGPmon, which can detect BGP hijacking attacks. But they shouldn’t expect to be able to actually prevent those attacks any time soon.
“We’re going to see other events like this,” says Dell’s Stewart. “It’s ripe for exploitation.”
(INTERNATIONAL) — In what may be the biggest security breach ever a Russian gang of computer hackers has obtained a huge cache of some 1.2 billion stolen user names and passwords, according to computer security experts.
That in turn exposes vulnerabilities in some 400,000 websites.
The report on Tuesday in the New York Times says the breach was discovered by Hold Security, a Milwaukee-based company.
The data beach is reported to include confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites, including household names, and small Internet sites.
Hold Security has a history of uncovering significant hacks, including the theft last year of tens of millions of records from Adobe Systems, said the report which noted that the company would not name the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable.
The New York Times had a security expert not affiliated with Hold Security analyze the database of stolen credentials and that expert confirmed it was authentic.
"Another computer crime expert who had reviewed the data, but was not allowed to discuss it publicly, said some big companies were aware that their records were among the stolen information," said the Times report here .
Some items from the story:
~ The breach also includes 542 million email addresses “culled by the crew of twentysomethings based in a small south central Russian city.”
~ Hackers didn’t just target U.S. companies, they targeted any website they could get and that ranged from Fortune 500 companies to very small websites and most of those websites most of those sites are still vulnerable.
~ The gang does not appear to be working for the Russian government and as far as is known the gang has not sold the information. Instead, the gang has been paid by third-party groups to use their cache of online information to send spam on social media.
~ The Russian government rarely pursues hackers, meaning the gang can likely continue operating unimpeded, according to The Times.