Is TOR an NSA Honeypot?

In early July, hacker Jacob Applebaum and two other security experts published a blockbuster story in conjunction with the German press. They had obtained leaked top secret NSA documents and source code showing that the surveillance agency had targeted and potentially penetrated the Tor Network, a widely used privacy tool considered to be the holy grail of online anonymity.

Internet privacy activists and organizations reacted to the news with shock. For the past decade, they had been promoting Tor as a scrappy but extremely effective grassroots technology that can protect journalists, dissidents and whistleblowers from powerful government forces that want to track their every move online. It was supposed to be the best tool out there. Tor’s been an integral part of EFF’s “Surveillance Self-Defense” privacy toolkit. Edward Snowden is apparently a big fan, and so is Glenn Greenwald, who says it “allows people to surf without governments or secret services being able to monitor them.”

But the German exposé  showed Tor providing the opposite of anonymity: it singled out users for total NSA surveillance, potentially sucking up and recording everything they did online.

To many in the privacy community, the NSA’s attack on Tor was tantamount to high treason: a fascist violation of a fundamental and sacred human right to privacy and free speech.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation believes Tor to be “essential to freedom of expression.” Applebaum — a Wikileaks volunteer and Tor developer — considers volunteering for Tor to be a valiant act on par with Hemingway or Orwell “going to Spain to fight the Franco fascists” on the side of anarchist revolutionaries.

It’s a nice story, pitting scrappy techno-anarchists against the all-powerful US Imperial machine. But the facts about Tor are not as clear cut or simple as these folks make them out to be…

Let’s start with the basics: Tor was developed, built and financed by the US military-surveillance complex. Tor’s original — and current — purpose is to cloak the online identity of government agents and informants while they are in the field: gathering intelligence, setting up sting operations, giving human intelligence assets a way to report back to their handlers — that kind of thing. This information is out there, but it’s not very well known, and it’s certainly not emphasized by those who promote it.

Peek under Tor’s hood, and you quickly just realize that just everybody involved in developing Tor technology has been and/or still is funded by the Pentagon or related arm of the US empire. That includes Roger Dingledine, who brought the technology to life under a series of military and federal government contracts. Dingledine even spent a summer working at the NSA. …

Also see:

Black Hat Talk on TOR Vulnerabilities Cancelled

EPA To Seize Paychecks Of Individual ‘Rule Breakers’

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will begin garnishing wages without a court order or hearing of those who have been accused of violating EPA rules.

The agency has published a proposed rule change that would allow it simply to take a portion of an individual’s income in order to collect fines.

The EPA could start garnishingwages on Sept. 2 under the proposed direct final rule on Administrative Wage Garnishment published in The Federal Register on July 2. Proposals by federal agencies do not become official until they are published in the Register.

“The direct final rule will allow the EPA to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order,” a summary of the rule at the Register’swebsite states.

The summary states that the EPA’s lawyers believe a federal law, the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA), gives federal agencies the right to garnish wages without judicial review.

Part of Broader Power Grab

The EPA made no announcement about the rule change to the media. Instead, the rule was spotted byWashington Times reporter S.A. Miller. The EPA didn’t respond to Miller’s questions about the direct rule change.

Some Republican senators said the EPA has a history of overstepping its authority.

“While we recognize the government’s legitimate interest in efficiently and effectively pursuing delinquent debt, EPA’s new wage garnishment procedures provide an agency prone to regulatory abuses with even more power over Americans,” U.S. Senator David Vitter (Louisiana) said in a letter also signed by Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso. “Individuals who face threats of ruinous fines from the agency may now have to think twice before challenging EPA over its regulatory jurisdiction.”

The EPA has been expanding its regulatory powers in recent months and going after more private individuals. The agency now claims that the Clean Water Act gives it the power to regulate virtually all streams and reservoirs, including irrigation ditches and ponds, on farms and ranches.

In two cases previously reported by Off The Grid News, property owners faced large fines from the EPA for violating the Clean Water Act:

Wyoming resident Andrew Johnson is facing $75,000 a day in fines from the EPA because he built a stock pond on his property without a permit.
West Virginia poultry farmer Lois Alt faced $37,500 in fines because of rainwater draining off of her property. A federal appeals court later ruled the EPA had overstepped its authority and stopped the action.

The EPA has greatly increased the amount of fines it collects in recent years, too, Miller noted. In 2009 the agency collected $96 million in fines but in 2012, $252 million.

How You Can Fight the EPA’s Latest Power Grab ….

Keep in mind that this is an agency that has stood by while CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations), antibiotics and increasingly toxic chemicals and GMO’s have almost completely displaced normal sustainable agriculture in the USA.  What’s going to happen is that small farmers are going to be fined out of business for the smallest real or imaginary infractions while industrial monopolies continue their takeover of agriculture and pollute the countryside and our food.  This would certainly be in keeping with decades of federal agricultural policies working in tandem with predatory banking practices.  There’s a reason local farming has become endangered in this country.  To all appearances, it’s in keeping with agenda 21.

Pentagon Expands Training Of Mexican Military

The United States is quietly expanding its training of Mexico’s armed forces, helping to reverse decades of mistrust that made Mexico’s military reluctant to cooperate with its northern neighbor.

The amount the Pentagon spent on training Mexico’s armed forces, though small, increased to more than $15 million last year, up from about $3 million in 2009, according to U.S. Northern Command, which oversees U.S. military contacts with Mexico.

The training comes as Mexico’s armed forces have been drawn deeper into the country’s war on drugs and organized crime.

“For decades, Mexico’s military tried to remain autonomous from the U.S. military,” said David Shirk, a fellow at the Wilson Center.

U.S. military officials are reluctant to discuss the relationship openly because of sensitivities in Mexico about appearing dependent on American help. In a statement, the Pentagon said the U.S. military participated in 150 “engagements” with Mexican troops on both sides of the border, “sharing training opportunities with more than 3,000 Mexican soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”

The statement said the Pentagon’s “interactions” with Mexico’s military have expanded over the past three years. Mexican government officials declined to speak on the record about the training….

Book: Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa

An accepted narrative holds that horrible Rwandan Hutu génocidaires planned and executed a satanic scheme to eliminate nearly a million Tutsis after a mysterious plane crash killed the former president of Rwanda on April 6, 1994. Yet former UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali says, “the Rwandan genocide was 100 percent American responsibility.” Where lies the truth? Based on vast research, extensive interviews, and close analysis, this fascinating account shows not only that the accepted narrative is false but also that it has been edified to cover-up the causes of the tragedy, protect the criminals responsible for it and then justify the invasion of the Congo.

The book  comprises three parts. The first part addresses the little-discussed but crucial events preceding the assassination of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi on April 6, 1994, which triggered massive killings. These include the invasion in 1990, drawn-out guerrilla and terrorist warfare, imposition of a new political and economic order followed by an ill named “peace process” that sanctified the occupation of the country by the invading army, and the assassination of two African heads of state.

The second part, “The Heart of Dark Imaginations,” shows how popular literature on Rwanda has been built on the old clichés, metaphors, and conventions generated during 400 years of slavery, the slave trade, and colonialism, and helped justify them. The resulting narrative is perfectly crafted for the “new scramble for Africa.”

The third part takes down the so-called international criminal justice as applied to Rwanda and explains how and why the murderous, never-ending war in Congo began.



“Robin Philpot’s Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa effectively dismantles a remarkable structure of disinformation on an important area and topic and it throws light on the broader thrust of imperial policy. This book is essential reading.” Edward S. Herman, Co-author of Manufacturing Consent (with Noam Chomsky) and The Politics of Genocide (with David Peterson).

“Explosive, very daring and solidly defended … a real bomb that rocks our interpretation of the Rwandan tragedy!” Le Devoir, Montreal

“Philpot’s investigations show that behind all the words can be found an operation to destabilize and remodel the region.” Africa International, Paris.

In Slouching Towards Sirte, NATO’s War on Libya and Africa Max Forte wrote, “Everywhere is Rwanda for the humanitarian imperialist, which makes one want to know what really happened there in 1994.” This book attempts to answer that question.

Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, which is part of Baraka’s Africa, African Diaspora, and International Politics collection, appears as we approach the 20th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies in modern history.