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bananas

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How Private Contractors Have Created a Shadow NSA

"the cyberintelligence- industrial complex is qualitatively different from—and more dangerous than—the military-industrial complex"

http://www.thenation.com/article/208481/how-private-contractors-have-created-shadow-nsa

How Private Contractors Have Created a Shadow NSA

A new cybersecurity elite moves between government and private practice, taking state secrets with them.

Tim Shorrock May 27, 2015 | This article appeared in the June 15, 2015 edition of The Nation.

<snip>

This small company, and INSA itself, are vivid examples of the rise of a new class in America: the cyberintelligence ruling class.

These are the people—often referred to as “intelligence professionals”—who do the actual analytical and targeting work of the NSA and other agencies in America’s secret government. Over the last 15 years, thousands of former high-ranking intelligence officials and operatives have left their government posts and taken up senior positions at military contractors, consultancies, law firms, and private-equity firms. In their new jobs, they replicate what they did in government—often for the same agencies they left. But this time, their mission is strictly for-profit.

<snip>

Well, enough, you might say: Isn’t this simply a continuation of Washington’s historic revolving door?

The answer is no. As I see it, the cyberintelligence- industrial complex is qualitatively different from—and more dangerous than—the military-industrial complex identified by President Eisenhower in his famous farewell address. This is because its implications for democracy, inequality, and secrecy are far more insidious.

<snip>

The Revolution Will Not Be Formalized

https://golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/2015/05/the_revolution_will_not_be_for.html

May 18, 2015
The Revolution Will Not Be Formalized
Posted by Mike Shulman

After a discussion with Michael Harris over at the blog about his book Mathematics without apologies, I realized that there is a lot of confusion surrounding the relationship between homotopy type theory and computer formalization — and that moreover, this confusion may be causing people to react negatively to one or the other due to incorrect associations. There are good reasons to be confused, because the relationship is complicated, and various statements by prominent members of both communities about a “revolution” haven’t helped matters. This post and its sequel(s) are my attempt to clear things up.

<snip>

What is the future of computer-verified proof? Is it the future of mathematics? Should we be happy or worried about that prospect? Does it mean that computers will take over mathematics and leave no room for the humans? My personal opinion is that (1) computer-verified proof is only going to get more common and important, but (2) it will be a long time before all mathematics is computer-verified, if indeed that ever happens, and (3) if and when it does happen, it won’t be anything to worry about.

The reason I believe (2) is that my personal experience with computer proof assistants leads me to the conclusion that they are still very far from usable by the average mathematician on a daily basis. Despite all the fancy tools that exist now, verifying a proof with a computer is usually still a lot more work than writing that proof on paper. And that’s after you spend the necessary time and effort learning to use the proof assistant tool, which generally comes with quite a passel of idiosyncracies.

Moreover, in most cases the benefits to verifying a proof with a computer are doubtful. For big theorems that are very long or complicated or automated, so that their authors have a hard time convincing other mathematicians of their correctness by hand, there’s a clear win. (That’s one of the reasons I believe (1), because I believe that proofs of this sort are also going to get more common.) Moreover, a certain kind of mathematician finds proof verification fun and rewarding for its own sake. But for the everyday proof by your average mathematician, which can be read and understood by any other average mathematician, the benefit from sweating long hours to convince a computer of its truth is just not there (yet). That’s why, despite periodic messianic claims from various quarters, you don’t see mathematicians jumping on any bandwagon of proof verification.

<snip>


Serious flaws revealed in U.S. anti-missile nuclear defense against North Korea

Source: Los Angeles Times

Two serious technical flaws have been identified in the ground-launched anti-missile interceptors that the United States would rely on to defend against a nuclear attack by North Korea..

Pentagon officials were informed of the problems as recently as last summer but decided to postpone corrective action. They told federal auditors that acting immediately to fix the defects would interfere with the production of new interceptors and slow a planned expansion of the nation's homeland missile defense system, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

As a result, all 33 interceptors now deployed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County and Ft. Greely, Alaska, have one of the defects. Ten of those interceptors — plus eight being prepared for delivery this year — have both.

Summing up the effect on missile-defense readiness, the GAO report said that "the fielded interceptors are susceptible to experiencing … failure modes," resulting in "an interceptor fleet that may not work as intended."

<snip>

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-missile-defense-flaws-20150530-story.html#page=1

Pentagon Says Live Anthrax Shipments Went To 24 Labs In 11 States, 2 Foreign Countries

Source: Associated Press

The Pentagon says the Army’s mistaken shipments of live anthrax were more widespread than it initially reported.

In a statement issued Friday evening, the department says 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries – South Korea and Australia – are believed to have received suspect anthrax samples.

The broadening scope of the problem suggests more extensive flaws in procedures used by the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The anthrax samples were supposed to be made fully inert before they were shipped. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work has ordered a comprehensive review of laboratory procedures associated with inactivating anthrax.

Dugway is located in a desolate stretch of the Utah desert. Chemical weapons have been tested there since the facility opened in 1942.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.kurv.com/national/22827

Mysterious low-flying plane over Twin Cities raises questions of surveillance

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Small aircraft circled downtown Minneapolis, 2 malls for hours.

Aviation buff John Zimmerman was at a weekly gathering of neighbors Friday night when he noticed something peculiar: a small plane circling a route overhead that didn’t make sense to him.

It was dark, so a sightseeing flight didn’t make sense, and when Zimmerman pulled up more information on an aviation phone app he routinely checks, he had immediate concerns.

The plane’s flight path, recorded by the website flightradar24.com, would eventually show that it circled downtown Minneapolis, the Mall of America and Southdale Center at low altitude for hours starting at 10:30 p.m., slipping off radar just after 3 a.m.

“I thought, ‘Holy crap,’ ” said Zimmerman.

Bearing the call sign N361DB, the plane is one of three Cessna 182T Skylanes registered to LCB Leasing of Bristow, Va., according to FAA records. The Virginia secretary of state has no record of an LCB Leasing. Virtually no other information could be learned about the company.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/nighttime-flight-circles-low-over-twin-cities-for-hours/305398901/

Access to Iran's Military Sites Religiously Banned: Cleric

Source: Tasnim

A senior Iranian cleric dismissed the West’s call for access to the country’s military sites under a nuclear deal with Tehran, saying the religious jurisprudence bars any scheme that would result in the enemy’s control over a Muslim country.

Delivering a speech to worshippers in Tehran on Friday, Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi underscored that the West’s inspection of Iran’s military sites would go counter to commandments of Quran, according to which religious experts have said any plan entailing enemy’s upper hand vis-à-vis the country is prohibited.

Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi also pointed to the red lines defined by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, whom he described as the religious leader with the final say in Iran.

Earlier on April 9, Ayatollah Khamenei categorically rejected foreign access to the country's "security and defensive" sectors under the pretext of nuclear monitoring.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/754656

UN nuke agency report shows Iran probe essentially stalled

Source: Associated Press

Amid accelerated international efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, the U.N. atomic agency on Friday reported that work on a key element — an assessment of allegations that Tehran worked on atomic arms — remains essentially stalled.

The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency also reiterated that more cooperation is needed by Iran for full clarity on its present activities. Without it, the IAEA said it cannot “conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

<snip>

The agency seeks to interview officials suspected of involvement in weapons research and development. It also wants to visit sites allegedly used for such work. But as the Iran-six power nuclear talks approach an end of June target date, Iranian officials are adamant that they won’t allow such questioning or inspections. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi called his country’s rejection of access to such individuals and locations “totally nonnegotiable” on Friday.

<snip>

“Iran is required to cooperate fully with the Agency on all outstanding issues.”

Read more: http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/u-n-nuke-agency-reports-that-iran-probe-stalled/



Iran continues to violate its IAEA agreements.
Time for the IAEA to refer this to the UN Security Council.

Solving "a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma"

https://nuclearrisk.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/solving-a-riddle-wrapped-in-a-mystery-inside-an-enigma/

Solving “a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma”
Posted on May 25, 2015 by Nuclear Risk

Most people have heard Winston Churchill’s description of Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” I also suspect that most took it as I did: Who can figure out that crazy nation?

So it was a real surprise when I read the entire quote: “(Russia) is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Now that makes sense!

<snip>

When Churchill saw that it was in his interest to understand Russia, he did so. But when he failed to see anything in it for him, Russia became a rogue nation in his mind. We are doing the same thing today, and not just with Russia. North Korea is seen as a rogue nation run by a nut job, and Iran is portrayed as not much better. But, as I’ve pointed out, most of our puzzlement is due to our failing to understand North Korea’s and Iran’s perspectives.

<snip>

I can attest from personal experience that it also makes sense to work at understanding others in interpersonal relationships. Since we got our relationship on a good basis, every time that my wife’s behavior has seemed crazy to me, I’ve found that there was a good reason behind her behavior that I was missing.

<snip>

By “getting curious, not furious,” (a great expression that a friend told me when I related this story), not only did I avoid an argument, I got a better outcome than what I thought I wanted going into the disagreement. I got a car that I love to drive, whereas I thought I wanted Dorothie to stop looking at new cars.

<snip>

UPDATE 1-U.S. says no extension for Iran nuclear talks -State Dept

Source: Reuters

The United States will not consider an extension to reach an agreement on curbing Iran's nuclear program, the State Department said on Wednesday, despite indications from France and Iran that talks may stretch into July.

"We're not contemplating any extension beyond June 30," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said at a news briefing.

Rathke said the United States believes the world powers working with Tehran can achieve their goal of reaching an agreement by the self-imposed deadline.

<snip>

As talks resumed in Vienna on Wednesday to bridge gaps in negotiating positions, Iran's state TV quoted senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi as saying the deadline could be extended, echoing comments by France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud.

<snip>

Read more: http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/05/27/mideast-crisis-usa-kerry-idINL1N0YI1KP20150527

Russia's nuclear threats 'deeply troubling': NATO chief

Source: Agence France-Presse

Russia's provocative rhetoric and its dramatic expansion of flights by nuclear bombers are deeply troubling and dangerous, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

Russia's plans to deploy nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad -- near Poland's border -- and its threat to move nuclear forces in Crimea would "fundamentally change the balance of security in Europe," Stoltenberg warned, in speech during a visit to Washington.

In blunt language, the NATO chief delivered a scathing critique of Russia's behavior over the past year -- including Moscow's armed intervention in Ukraine -- and vowed the transatlantic alliance would redouble its commitment to "collective defense."

"Russia's recent use of nuclear rhetoric, exercises and operations are deeply troubling," he told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

<snip>

Read more: http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/international/340617/russia-s-nuclear-threats-deeply-troubling-nato-chief



Cold War II is heating up.
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