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EFF's Updated SSL Configuration - Tue, 28/04/2015 - 08:05

EFF recently updated our SSL certificate and configuration. This gave us an A+ rating on SSL Labs, a great jumping off point for reviewing a site's secure connection. What follows is a quick, technical guide to how we achieved this.

Generating a Certificate

First we generate an 4096-bit RSA private key with a strong passphrase. It's useful to have a "locked" version of the key for secure archival. The passphrase is stored separately in a KeePassX database.

openssl genrsa -aes256 -out 4096

Next we update a .cnf file to populate the fields we want filled into the final certificate. This is especially useful when the certificate uses the Subject Alternative Name field to specify additional domain names. Here's the format:

distinguished_name = req_distinguished_name
req_extensions = v3_req

countryName = Country Name (2 letter code)
countryName_default = XX
stateOrProvinceName = State or Province Name (full name)
stateOrProvinceName_default = Somewhere
localityName = Locality Name (eg, city)
localityName_default = Sometown
organizationalUnitName  = Organizational Unit Name (eg, section)
organizationalUnitName_default  = SomeCo
commonName = Common Name (ie hostname or username)
commonName_default =
commonName_max  = 64

[ v3_req ]
basicConstraints = CA:FALSE
keyUsage = digitalSignature, keyEncipherment
subjectAltName = @alt_names

DNS.1 =
DNS.2 =
DNS.3 =

Next we generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR), which a Certificate Authority will use as input for the final certificate:

openssl req -new -out -key -config

We prove to our chosen Certificate Authority (CA) that we control all the DNS names in the certificate, then we send to the CA so it can sign a certificate using the provided public key and name information. Unfortunately, the process for doing these two steps varies greatly for each CA, so it's hard to provide universal advice. We are working with Mozilla and several other organizations on the ACME protocol to simplify the proof and issuance process, along with a new Certificate Authority, Let's Encrypt, that will issue certificates free of charge using the ACME protocol, making the process easier.

When choosing a Certificate Authority, you should double-check that your CA will issue you a certificate using the SHA256 hashing algorithm. SHA256 is rapidly replacing the deprecated SHA1 hashing algorithm, and is being phased out of support by browsers.

Most CAs provide your final certificate and their intermediate chain certificate  in two separate files, but nginx prefers them concatenated into a single .pem file (order is important):

cat My_CA_Intermedate.crt >>

In order for nginx to be able to start without entering a passphrase, we need to unlock we created earlier:

sudo openssl rsa -in -out /etc/ssl/private/

Nginx Configuration

Our configuration from April 2015 is documented here. Mozilla provides a configuration generator for nginx and other servers which may be more up to date by the time you read this.

Most of the heavy lifting is done in the file /etc/nginx/ssl.conf:

ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;


ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains";

ssl_prefer_server_ciphers is important to make sure the somewhat weaker ciphers lower on the list are only used if browsers don't support those listed first.

ssl_ciphers enables only ciphers without major known vulnerabilities, and lists ciphers with Perfect Forward Secrecy first.

ssl_protocols does not include SSLv3. Unfortunately, browser support for TLSv1.2 is not widespread enough to disable TLSv1 and TLSv1.1.

The Strict-Transport-Security header tells browsers to make only secure connections to this domain for the number of seconds specified by max-age. This is important to help prevent a variety of attacks that rely on downgrades or domain spoofing. The optional includesSubdomains flag will affect every subdomain as soon as a browser has visited this site once, so it should be enabled with care.

In the server block for the host (eg in sites-enabled), use an include statement for ssl.conf. We all redirect all plain HTTP visitors on port 80 to HTTPS, where they will receive the HSTS header and know to alway try a secure connection in the future.

server {
  listen 80;
  rewrite ^(.*)$$1 permanent;

server {
  ssl_certificate /etc/ssl/certs/;
  ssl_certificate_key /etc/ssl/private/;
  listen 443 ssl;
  include /etc/nginx/ssl.conf;

Providing SSL is an important step in protecting your users. Configuring SSL securely isn't easy, and keeping your server secure requires frequent updates, but we hope this guide will help more administrators get there.

var mytubes = new Array(4); mytubes[1] = '%3Ciframe src=%22;autoplay=1%26amp;wmode=opaque%26?autoplay=1%22 width=%22400%22 height=%22250%22 class=%22video-filter video-youtube vf-851ibqevhh8%22 frameborder=%220%22%3E%3C/iframe%3E'; mytubes[2] = '%3Ciframe src=%22;autoplay=1%26amp;wmode=opaque%26?autoplay=1%22 width=%22400%22 height=%22250%22 class=%22video-filter video-youtube vf-lrazaxl9prs%22 frameborder=%220%22%3E%3C/iframe%3E'; mytubes[3] = '%3Ciframe src=%22;autoplay=1%26amp;wmode=opaque%26?autoplay=1%22 width=%22400%22 height=%22250%22 class=%22video-filter video-youtube vf-oc6nisrlvvc%22 frameborder=%220%22%3E%3C/iframe%3E'; mytubes[4] = '%3Ciframe src=%22;autoplay=1%26amp;wmode=opaque%26?autoplay=1%22 width=%22400%22 height=%22250%22 class=%22video-filter video-youtube vf-i6uuwrvzys4%22 frameborder=%220%22%3E%3C/iframe%3E'; Related Issues: Security
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New Tech to Watch: Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection - Tue, 28/04/2015 - 04:08

Xerox's Automatic Vehicle Passenger Detection

Journalists and transparency activists across the country have done a phenomenal job of shining light on how local law enforcement agencies use emerging technologies to surveil everyday people on a massive scale.  It’s often like playing Whac-A-Mole and Go Fish at the same time. One day, the question may be whether police are using drones. The next, automatic license plate readers.  After that, facial recognition or IMSI catchers (i.e. Stingrays) or Rapid DNA analyzers.

So many technical terms, so many acronyms. Unfortunately, we need to put yet another one your radar: Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection, also known as Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection or Automated Vehicle Occupancy Verification.  

For years, government agencies have chased technologies that would make it easier to ensure that vehicles in carpool lanes are actually carrying multiple passengers. Perhaps the only reason these systems haven’t garnered much attention is that they haven’t been particularly effective or accurate, as UC Berkeley researchers noted in a 2011 report.

Now, an agency in San Diego, Calif. believes it may have found the answer: the Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection system developed by Xerox.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), a government umbrella group that develops transportation and public safety initiatives across the San Diego County region, estimates that 15% of drivers in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes aren’t supposed to be there. After coming up short with earlier experimental projects, the agency is now testing a brand new technology to crack down on carpool-lane scofflaws on the I-15 freeway.

Documents obtained by CBS 8 reporter David Gotfredson show that Xerox's system uses two cameras to capture the front and side views of a car’s interior. Then “video analytics” and “geometric algorithms” are used to detect whether the seats are occupied.

When the detection system’s computer determines a driver is improperly traveling in the carpool lane, the cameras instantly send photos of the car's interior and its license plate to the California Highway Patrol.

In short: the technology is looking at your image, the image of the people you're with, your location, and your license plate. (SANDAG told CBS the systems will not be storing license plate data during the trial phase and the system will, at least for now, automatically redact images of drivers and passengers. Xerox’s software, however, allows police the option of using a weaker form of redaction that can be reversed on request.)

Xerox's Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection systems can be mounted in permanent locations, such as freeway gantries, or attached to mobile trailers that “can be moved around, in order to keep potential violators honest.“

Xerox claims that the systems have a 95-99% accuracy rate, even with vehicles traveling as quickly as 100 mph. That represents a significant leap in capabilities compared to the 14-20% accuracy recorded by similar technology tested by SANDAG four years earlier.

So far, Xerox’s technology has only had one other trial run: a 2013 test on the Mackay Bridge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the detection system captured 250,000 images of drivers in just under two weeks. Xerox claims the technology successfully determined front seat passengers 98.9% of the time and rear seat passengers 96.2% of the time.

That success rate may seem impressive, but it still means that, in aggregate, thousands of people could have been affected by machine error. Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection systems also raises the usual questions and concerns about privacy and mass surveillance, particularly without rules yet in place defining the limits of how this technology collects data and how that data will be stored, accessed, and destroyed. 

If this trial is successful, it may only be a matter of time before Xerox begins marketing this new technology to other jurisdictions. As Xerox told its investors in November, its Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection system is “aimed at revolutionizing the movement of people and goods worldwide.”

Whether you’re a local journalist or citizen watchdog, add Automated Vehicle Occupancy/Passenger Detection to your vocabulary. In the coming months and years, look for it in procurement documents and committee agendas. Ask for related documents in your routine public records requests. As with all street-level surveillance technology, citizens have more power to influence policy when they discover the tech in its infancy, rather than fighting to dial back its use after it has been integrated into everyday police operations.

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Amicus Brief Urges Massachusetts Not to Allow a Loophole for Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking - Tue, 28/04/2015 - 02:51

Last year, the highest court in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court, issued a landmark decision in Commonwealth v. Augustine, requiring police in the state to get a search warrant before they can track individuals’ past movements using information from their cell phones. It was a significant victory for cell phone users, but unfortunately the court’s opinion also contained language that Massachusetts courts have interpreted as a loophole in the warrant requirement. Now, with help from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, EFF and the ACLU of Massachusetts have filed an amicus brief in a new case, Commonwealth v. Estabrook, asking the high court to close that loophole.

In Augustine, following arguments made by EFF in an amicus brief in that case, the court found that under the Massachusetts state constitution, individuals have an expectation of privacy in their past movements revealed by so-called historical cell site location information (CSLI). As a result, police officers must get a warrant for CSLI, which they failed to do in obtaining two weeks of CSLI about the defendant. However, the court went on to add that it was “likely” that “there is some period of time” that was “too brief to implicate the person's reasonable privacy interest” and trigger the warrant requirement. In a footnote, the court added that “it would be reasonable to assume that a request for historical CSLI of the type at issue in this case for a period of six hours or less would not require the police to obtain a search warrant.”

That footnote from Augustine is now at play in Estabrook, although the court’s decision should be easy. In Estabrook, Massachusetts State Police once again obtained two-weeks worth of CSLI belonging to suspects in a murder without a warrant. Of course, this is an identical situation to Augustine and therefore should be held unconstitutional. However, the lower court in Estabrook refused to suppress the evidence because the prosecution attempted to exploit the potential loophole in Augustine by claiming that it was only interested in a six-hour window around the time of the murder.

As we explain in our brief, the Augustine decision settles this case. The prosecution’s argument is irrelevant because privacy intrusions occur at the time when police obtain private information, not when it is used. Augustine might be read to allow police to obtain six hours of CSLI without a warrant, but that’s not what happened here. Any other rule would totally eviscerate the warrant requirement, since police could get any amount of CSLI they wanted, then later squeak in under the wire by focusing on the most important six-hour chunk.

Although that should settle the specific issue in Estabrook, we ask the court to go further and definitively require a warrant for all CSLI. Drawing a distinction based on the duration of tracking ignores how revealing even small amounts of location data can be. In addition to its suggestion that small amounts of CSLI don’t implicate expectations of privacy, the court in Augustine may have also been motivated by a concern that police may not be able to obtain a warrant for small amounts of CSLI in some fast-moving investigations. Our brief explains that basic constitutional principles such as the “exigent circumstances” exception to warrant requirement would adequately protect public safety in these cases. In addition, clear rules benefit the public and provide guidance to police about what they can and can’t do.

Every other state to consider this issue, whether through judicial opinion or legislative action, has decided to require a warrant across the board. We hope Massachusetts will follow suit.

Many thanks to Vivek Krishnamurthy and Andy Sellars at the Berkman Cyberlaw Clinic and their students Abigail Colella, Sandra Hanian, and William Travis West for their efforts drafting the brief.

Related Cases: Commonwealth v. Estabrook
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Obama Rejects Peace in Yemen: Orders Genocidal War Continued - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 19:15
Obama Rejects Peace in Yemen: Orders Genocidal War Continued
by Stephen Lendman
Yemen is being raped in plain sight. Obama bears full responsibility.
It's his planned and orchestrated war - using Saudi and other regional proxies to wage premeditated aggression against a country threatening no one.
He turned another part of the Arab world into a greater cauldron of violence, chaos and instability than already - with no end of conflict in sight. 
Civilian men, women and children suffer most. They're being willfully murdered in cold blood. Media scoundrels either largely ignore or misreport on what's ongoing.
Endless US imperial aggression continues. "(T)he job is not done," said White House communications director Jen Psaki.
Endless war continues. On Monday, Saudis terror-bombed a Taiz girl's school. 
Dozens of children inside were massacred in cold blood. Over 3,000 Yemenis have been killed so far - mostly civilians.
Iraq's Arabic language Nahrain Net news service reported diplomatic sources saying almost 4,000 Saudi military sources fled Yemeni border bases ahead of an anticipated ground invasion.
"The intel gathered by the western intelligence agencies showed that the Saudi military forces have fled their bases, military centers and bordering checkpoints near Yemen in groups," it said.
Other reports indicated over 10,000 Saudi soldiers fled army and National Guard ranks.
Mass desertions prevented Riyadh from invading Yemen so far. Thousands of US/Saudi recruited takfiri terrorists are doing Washington's dirty work on the ground.
Terror-bombing continues unabated into its second month - along with warships shelling coastal areas.
Taiz residents report relentless terror-bombing, artillery, tank and heavy machine gun fire blasting city targets. 
Traumatized residents have no place to hide. "It's like our homes have become a military target," said Tawfiq al-Maamari.
"We left our homes with our children because the missiles are raining down on us without mercy," he explained.
On Sunday, Saudi-led terror-bombing struck Sanaa, Aden Taiz, Dhamar, Marib, Aden, Shabwa, Hajjah, Saada, Ibb, and Lahj.
US/Saudi air and sea blockade conditions prevent Iran from delivering desperately needed humanitarian aid.
Tehran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said  "Riyadh's behavior and its siege of Yemen and preventing the dispatch of humanitarian aids will not remain unanswered." 
"Saudi Arabia is not entitled to decide for others in the region." On Sunday Iranian Red Crescent Society's Shahabeddin Mohammadi Araqi denounced Saudi blocked Tehran aid to Yemen.
"The IRCS humanitarian aid consignments are ready to be dispatched to Yemen, but unfortunately Saudi Arabia prevents their delivery to Yemen," he added.
US/Saudi blockade prevents humanitarian air and sea missions from reaching airports and coastal areas.
Saudis continue "prevent(ing) the dispatch of aid to Yemen," he stressed.
On Friday, former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh called for ending conflict diplomatically.
On orders from Washington, Yemeni foreign minister Riyadh Yaseen rejected peace talks - calling them "unacceptable."
"There can be no place for Saleh in any future political talks," he said. 
"There will be no deal with the Houthis whatsoever until they withdraw from areas under their control" - code language for unconditional surrender Houthis categorically reject.
Saudi-led terror-bombing and fierce ground clashes continue. Reuters reported some of the most intense fighting "shook Yemen on Sunday."
Conflict continues unabated. Obama categorically rejects peace. He wants endless genocidal war. He wants control regained over America's former client state. 
Millions of defenseless Yemenis are in harm's way. Death, destruction and unspeakable human misery haunts them.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

NYT Editors Support Harmful to Health GMO Foods and Ingredients - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 18:54
NYT Editors Support Harmful to Health GMO Foods and Ingredients
by Stephen Lendman
Clear evidence shows GMO foods and ingredients are inherently unsafe. Reliable independent studies prove it.
Claims otherwise are Big Lies. Scientifically conducted animal studies show major human health risks from GMO products - including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, gastrointestinal abnormalities, and major organ changes.
Monsanto and other GMO producers spend millions of dollars burying hard evidence - including funding scientists, journalists and others on the take to lie for hard cash.
Americans don't know what they're eating. Labeling is prohibited.
Most foods and ingredients they ingest are GMO tainted - slow poison harming their health.
Congress lets these products go unregulated. Bipartisan support approves poisoning the nation's food supply.
NYT editors are in lockstep with Monsanto and other biotech giants. They outrageously claim "no reliable evidence (proving) genetically modified foods now on the market pose any risk to consumers."
They cite the corporate controlled FDA as its source. They claim "little reason to make labeling compulsory."
Concerned consumers can buy organic products, they say. They ignore obvious issues.
Why hasn't Washington mandated proved safe foods and ingredients? Why aren't hazardous GMOs and dangerous chemicals banned. 
America's food supply isn't safe to eat. Federal, state and local governments do nothing to change things.
Nor editors in the tank for money and power. Times editors gave feature op-ed space to Mark Lynas - an industry funded supporter through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - a known promoter of GMO products.
When asked the source of his funding, Lynas claims the Gates supported African Agricultural Technology Foundation provides it.
On April 24, he headlined his Times op-ed "How I Got Converted to GMO Foods." He ignored how well paid he's been to promote them.
He touted the alleged success of pest-resistant eggplant "supplied by the government-run Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute."
He claimed productivity doubled. He ignored how it declines the longer GMO seeds are planted - or the toxic products they produce.
He claims farmers like Mohammed Rahman look forward to lifting his family out of poverty.
He nonsensically says he's improving environmental conditions at the same time.ion on global warming and an anti-science position on GMOs."
How one issue relates to the other Activists want his GMO eggplant banned. It's unsafe for human health. Not according to Lynas.
"I, too, was once in that activist camp," he says. "I a lifelong environmentalist, I was opposed to genetically modified foods in the past."
"Then I changed my mind. I decided I could no longer continue taking a pro-science posithe didn't explain. He lied calling GMOs safe to human health.
"As someone who participated in the early anti-GMO movement, I feel I owe a debt to Mr. Rahman and other farmers in developing countries who could benefit from this technology," he says. 
"At Cornell, I am working to amplify the voices of farmers and scientists in a more informed conversation about what biotechnology can bring to food security and environmental protection."
"We need this technology," he insists. "We must not let the green movement stand in the way."
It bears repeating. Independently conducted studies free from industry influence and pressure show GMO foods and ingredients harm human health.
The debate is over. It's up everyone who eats to demand governments assure what they ingest is safe - that all harmful foods and ingredients are banned.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Kiev Announces Readiness for Escalated War - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 00:06
Kiev Announces Readiness for Escalated War
by Stephen Lendman
Hundreds of US combat troops are preparing Kiev's Nazi-infested National Guard, Azov battalion and likeminded extremist paramilitary groups for escalated aggressive war on Donbass.
Media scoundrels ignore what's ongoing. Fascist ruthlessness is called democratic governance, "free" Ukraine. 
Nothing is reported on continuing low-level war on Donbass ahead of resuming it full-blown.
Novorossia Today explained "US-backed Nazi elements are integral to the continued illegal war against the East, and prominently in the future trajectory of the Ukrainian state."
Ukraine is Obama's war - using Kiev fascists to do his dirty work, by all available means without mercy.
"…US policy and media propaganda work hand-in-glove to inflame the situation in a country already on fire," Novorossia explains.
Russia's Defense Ministry accused Washington of destabilizing conditions in Ukraine more than already by provocatively training Kiev forces for combat - including near Southeastern cities of Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Artyomovsk and Volnovakha.
Russia'a Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement - saying increased bloodshed may follow US combat troops involved in Ukraine, including training and joint drills with Kiev forces.
On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf lied saying:
"It is really hard to get precise information about Russian troop numbers specifically, but we know there is a substantial Russian presence" in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the State Department turned truth on its head accusing Russia of violating Minsk ceasefire terms by sending troops and weapons to Donbass.
Fact: No evidence suggests Russian Minsk violations - or any Russian military involvement since conflict began last April.
Fact: Repeated claims of "Russian aggression" are Big Lies. None whatever exists - not now, earlier or planned.
Fact: Plenty of evidence shows Washington arming Kiev's military with heavy weapons and training its forces for escalated war on Donbass - in blatant violation of Minsk.
Poroshenko pronounced Kiev's military ready for combat. "The lion's share of military personnel is from the fourth wave of mobilization," he said. 
"Look what a high level was achieved in just two months," he boasted. 
"We are preparing for the defense of our country" - code language for intending resumed full-scale war, at Obama's discretion. 
"On the territory of Ukraine there is now an aggressor, the enemy and we must do everything possible on our end in order to ensure effective defense," Poroshenko blustered.
"Those who participated in these exercises clearly demonstrated a high level ... the Ukrainian army today is one of the most battle-ready," he added.
He's planning escalated war without mercy. It's just a matter of when Obama decides to attack.
Naked aggression against one country after another is official US policy. Mass slaughter and destruction follow. 
Civilians always suffer most - more misery planned for Donbass residents than already.
How "battle ready" Ukrainian forces are remains to be seen. Donbass freedom fighters routed them last year.
More of the same is likely if full-scale war resumes - unless America gets directly involved, perhaps with air power terror-bombing.
Head of Russia's General Staff Main Operation Directorate Lt. General Andrey Kartapolov accused America of being the main initiator or all modern conflicts.
Washington and rogue allies attacked other countries aggressively without cause over 50 times in one decade, he said.
US policy intends mainly to marginalize, contain, weaken, and isolate Russia, he stressed.
In January, Putin said US political, economic and military support for Kiev aims to "achiev(e) the geopolitical goals of restraining Russia."
Ukraine's army is a US-controlled "NATO legion. We often say: Ukrainian Army, Ukrainian Army. But who is really fighting there?" 
"There are, indeed, partially official units of armed forces, but largely there are the (Nazi-infested) so-called ‘volunteer nationalist battalions,' " Putin explained.
They don't serve Ukrainian interests, Putin maintained. They target Russia on orders from Washington.
They comprise "a foreign NATO legion, which, of course, doesn't pursue the national interests of Ukraine," Putin stressed.
"Unfortunately official Kiev authorities refuse to follow the path of a peaceful solution. They don’t want to resolve (crisis conditions) using political tools."
They want war, not peace. Kartapolov accused Washington of sending US combat troops "directly in the combat zone near Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Artyomovsk and Volnovakha.”
"The US appears to be the ultimate instigator of all military conflicts in the world," he said. 
"The Western countries have begun to hold themselves out as ‘architects’ of the international relations system, leaving to the US the role of the world’s only superpower."
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama terror-bombed seven countries in six years in office. He has more naked aggression in mind.
US strategy for achieving unchallenged global dominance is one premeditated aggressive war after another.
Nations are destroyed to control them. Millions of fatalities are considered a small price to pay.
The "deplorable results (of US wars) are known all to well," Kartapolov stressed. They continue endlessly against nonbelligerent nations.
A UN report calls Syria and Iraq "international finishing schools for extremists." Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia follow the same pattern.
Imported terrorists from scores of countries infest these nations. Washington bears full responsibility. 
Rogue NATO partners and regional despots share it. Endless conflicts continue. Human suffering is extreme.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

US/Saudi Recruited Terrorists in Yemen - Sun, 26/04/2015 - 22:20
US/Saudi Recruited Terrorists in Yemen
by Stephen Lendman
Obama's genocidal war against 25 million Yemenis continues without mercy. US-sponsored cold-blooded murder claims scores of lives daily.
Noncombatant men, women and children are harmed most. Endless conflict persists - now involving US/Saudi recruited, funded, armed, trained and directed takfiri terrorists.
Islamic State fighters posted a video online announcing their presence - threatening to "cut the throats" of Ansarullah Houthi rebels.
It showed about two dozen heavily armed IS fighters preparing for combat. Their commander planted a black flag in the ground saying "soldiers of the caliphate (have arrived to) to cut the throats" of the Houthis.
"We have come to Yemen, with men hungry for your blood to avenge the Sunnis and take back the land they have occupied," he said.
He urged Yemeni Sunnis to join in battle against Shia Houthis. The video was posted on Friday - after a so-called Green Brigade claimed responsibility for a central Yemen car bombing killing five Houthi fighters.
Earlier attacks killed scores and injured hundreds in a series of suicide bombings at Shia mosques in Sanaa days before Saudi terror-bombing began.
Senior Houthi official Abdel Monem al-Bashiri said "Saudi Arabia has sent about 5,000 terrorists to Yemen and deployed them in the Death Triangle covering an area between Aden, Sanaa and Hadramawt provincies."
"Saudi officers are there for coordination between terrorists and pro-Hadi forces."
Yemeni journalist Sari al-Karim said "(t)he presence of Saudi officers in Yemen takes place for Al Saud's control over the terrorist operation in" Yemen.
Clashes between Ansarullah fighters and imported terrorists continue. Nearly 3,000 Yemenis have been killed, many thousands more wounded - including hundreds of women and children.
Sputnik News reports "many Russian doctors (and) medical specialists from other countries" continue treating sick and wounded Yemenis despite conflict conditions.
An anonymous Russia embassy source said "(a) lot of medical workers have stayed (in Yemen) including Russians."
So far, no fatalities in their ranks were reported. Russia's embassy reported Saudi-led phase two terror-bombing targets Houthi technology and manpower.
"They used to bomb all the arms, food and fuel depots they had information on, as well as military camps, and now they are carrying out strikes only on 'manpower' and technology in areas of combat operations in the provinces of Aden, Lahij, Abyan, Taiz, Shabwah, Marib, Saada," Russia's embassy said.
Terror-bombing so far failed to diminish Houthi strength. What effect IS terrorists will have remains to be seen.
On Saturday, a UN statement announced Ould Cheikh Ahmed's appointment as its special envoy for Yemen. He replaced Jamal Benomar. He resigned earlier this month.
Houthi official Mohammed Bahiti said Ansarullah fighters "will carry out a military attack on Saudi Arabia if the airstrikes on Yemen don’t come to an end."
He called ousted/US-installed illegitimate president Abd Rabbuh mansur Hadi a "traitor."
"The Yemeni people will not honor Mansur Hadi and (won't) allow him to return to power," he added.
He expressed Houthi readiness to participate in UN-brokered peace talks from "the point they were at before Saudi aggression."
Dozens of daily terror-bombings continue. Naval and air blockades remain in force.
An entire population is being suffocated. Obama bears full responsibility. 
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other regional allies share it. Protracted US-orchestrated terror war without mercy looks likely.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Obama-Authorized Murder by Drones - Sun, 26/04/2015 - 01:08
Obama-Authorized Murder by Drones
by Stephen Lendman
Obama-authorized drone killings are cold-blooded murder by any standard - mostly affecting noncombatant civilians, innocent men, women and children in harm's way.
Former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney lied calling drone strikes "precise, lawful and effective."
They're indiscriminate and lawless. They accomplish no geopolitical objectives. They arouse great public anger in targeted countries.
Days earlier, a drone strike killed a US and Italian hostage. A disingenuous White House press secretary statement said:
"It is with tremendous sorrow that we recently concluded that a US government counterterrorism operation in January killed two innocent hostages held by Al-Qaeda since 2011."
Obama's dishonest apology to surviving family members rang hollow. He lied saying "(b)ased on the intelligence that we had obtained at the time…we believed that this was an Al Qaeda compound, that no civilians were present…"
"Before any strike is taken, there must be near- certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured - the highest standard we can set."
Truth is polar opposite. More on this below.
The White House announced an investigation into the incident. Expect whitewash to follow.
Drone killings have nothing to do with counterterrorism. America's so-called war on terror is phony.
It's waged to advance Washington's imperium - through endless direct and proxy wars, including cold-blooded murder by drones.
US development expert Dr. Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto are two of thousands of US victims - murdered by American ruthlessness.
Drones are instruments of state terror. Claims about only targeting terrorists are Big Lies. So is saying using them makes America safer.
A 2012 Stanford/New York University study estimates only 2% of drone victims are so-called high-value targets. Evidence shows drone strikes facilitate anti-American recruitment.
The study said "US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury."
"Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan (and other targeted countries), striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning."
"Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities."
"Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior."
Targeted areas are struck multiple times in quick succession - a practice called "double tap."
Family members, friends and bystanders arriving to help victims are themselves murdered or maimed by drone attacks.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates over 4,400 innocent civilians murdered by US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen alone since 2004 - besides many more in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and other US war theaters.
Dozens of Western civilians have been killed, including at least 10 Americans.
Britain's Reprieve human rights group estimates 28 noncombatants are killed to eliminate one so-called terrorist.
Reprieve's Jennifer Gibson said "(d)rone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise."
"But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every (so-called real or invented) ‘bad guy’ the US goes after."
John Kerry lied earlier claiming "(t)he only people we fire a drone at are confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level, after a great deal of vetting that takes a long period of time."
"We don’t just fire a drone at somebody and think they’re a terrorist."
It bears repeating. Drone strikes are indiscriminate, lawless, cold-blooded murder. The overwhelming number of victims are noncombatant civilian men, women and children.
They're not so-called terrorists by any standard. Claiming otherwise is one of many Big Lies told to justify US ruthlessness.
In Yemen alone, US drone wars raged since 2002. Hundreds of Yemeni civilians perished. Obama killed many more noncombatants by drones than George Bush - with months left in his tenure to murder many more.
Reprieve's Jennifer Gibson was blunt saying "Obama needs to be straight with the American people about the human cost of this program."
"(H)is claims that this is a precise program look like nonsense, and the risk that it is in fact making us less safe looks all too real."
RAND Corporation senior fellow Seth Jones says "no major terrorist organization in the world…has (ever) been defeated by drones."
It bears repeating. They're instruments of state terror. They're used to commit cold-blooded murder - harming innocent civilians most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Russia 1,700 - America Zero: Number of Foreign National Evacuated from Yemen - Sat, 25/04/2015 - 22:01
Russia 1,700 - America Zero: Number of Foreign Nationals Evacuated from Yemen
by Stephen Lendman
What do you call a nation going all-out to help desperate foreign nationals trapped in war zone hell: heroic and honorable by any standard! Led by a president and other officials valuing human life and welfare!
What do you call one refusing to help its own trapped nationals in a war of aggression it planned and implemented, using proxy killers to do its dirty work: guilty of the supreme high crime against peace! Disdainful of human life and welfare! A ruthless rogue state!
In early April, the State Department said "there are no plans for a US government-coordinated evacuation of US citizens at this time."
"US citizens wishing to depart (Yemen) should do so via commercial transportation options when they become available."
In other words, tough luck. You're on your own. We don't give a damn if you live or die.
Russia continues evacuating foreign nationals from numerous countries by air and sea - despite the risk during ongoing hostilities.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said foreign nationals evacuated from March 31 through April 22 include over 400 Russians and about 1,300 others from around 20 other countries - including America.
Russia will continue its rescue operation as long as it's needed, Lukashevich explained.
Thousands of trapped foreign nationals need help to get out - including 3 - 4.000 Americans. Russia intends doing all it can when most needed.
Washington abandoned its own - leaving desperate American citizens at risk from US ordered/Saudi-led terror-bombing.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf lied. On the one hand, she refused to explain why US citizens aren't being helped. 
Because they're Yemenis, a nationality Washington equates with terrorism. Because they're Arabs, not privileged white Anglo-Saxons.
On the other, she claimed "we have been collaborating for many, many weeks now…talking to other countries, other organizations…who may have ways of getting American citizens out."
"(W)e are working with other countries, but at this point, no plans to use US government assets to do so."
Fact: The world's richest country doesn't give a damn about its trapped citizens in harm's way - Obama's latest atrocity.
Fact: The State Department did nothing to help them. It contacted no one on their behalf. 
Fact: It provided no helpful information. It left defenseless US citizens on their own, out of luck.
Fact: Washington can easily evacuate all US nationals wishing to leave - by air and sea in a few days at most.
Fact: It could halt all terror-bombing to assure no one is in harm's way.
Fact: Obama could end his latest aggression - killing and injuring hundreds daily.
Fact: He deplores peace. He wants war continued - more endless aggression on his rap sheet.
"(T)he job is not done," he said - not until thousands more Yemenis are slaughtered in cold blood, not until the entire country is destroyed.
RT International spoke to 20 Americans Russia evacuated from Yemen. They said the State Department offered no help whatever - nothing when most needed.
They had to contact other governments for help Washington refused to provide.
Mouhammed Nasser said his "cousin contacted us from the US. He got hold of the Russians and then contacted us." 
"We only heard about it yesterday. We went from the village. It’s a five-hour ride." 
"We crossed that bridge. Twenty minutes later a missile hit the bridge we crossed."
Ismail Alafash said "I couldn’t make it out. I had to wait. It took me weeks to find a flight out of Sanaa." 
"I started calling airlines, agencies, the UN, the Russian embassy. Americans. They just kept sending us emails. They said basically: find your way out."
Kaled Alamarie said "(n)obody really helped until recently I was contacted by one of our community members that Russian plane is evacuating American citizens. I got lucky."
According to the State Department, victims are to blame for Obama's latest war of aggression. It's their own fault if they're killed or harmed in any way.
Rogue states operate this way. None in world history match America's ruthlessness. Endless direct and proxy wars rage worldwide.
Washington calls it democracy building. International law calls it naked aggression - the supreme high crime against peace.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 



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