Aletho News


Israeli incitement: Bundestag testimony

David Sheen testifies at the Bundestag, the German Parliament in Berlin, on 10 November 2014, about Israeli top officials inciting racism and racial violence

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

‘Reports show US police embedded with terrorists’

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Russia to launch alternative to SWIFT bank transaction system in spring 2015

RT | November 11, 2014

Russia intends to have its own international inter-bank system up and running by May 2015. The Central Bank of Russia says it needs to speed up preparations for its version of SWIFT in case of possible ”challenges” from the West.

“Given the challenges, Bank of Russia is creating its own system for transmitting financial messaging… It’s time to hurry up, so in the next few months we will have certain work done. The entire project for transmitting financial messages will be completed in May 2015,” said Ramilya Kanafina, deputy head of the national payment system department at the Central Bank of Russia (CBR).

Calls not to use the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system in Russian banks began to grow as relations between Russia and the West deteriorated over sanctions. So far, SWIFT says despite pressure from some Western countries to join the anti-Russian sanctions, it has no intention of doing so.

Ramilya Kanafina says the system will meet all the market requirements due to its security. A center for processing messages in SWIFT format is in the process of development. It is expected that all messaging options will be operating by December 2014, she added.

The National Payments Council, a non-profit partnership comprising members of the Russian national payment system, proposed establishing a Russian version of SWIFT 100 percent owned by Bank of Russia in September.

SWIFT, is currently one of Russia’s main connections to the international banking system, and if turned off, could hurt the Russian economy, in the short-term. Globally it transmits orders for transactions worth more than $6 trillion, and involves more than 10,000 financial institutions in 210 countries. According to SWIFT’s statute, the system has national groups of members and users in each country. In Russia it’s ROSSWIFT – the second biggest worldwide SWIFT association after the US.

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

ISPs Removing Their Customers’ Email Encryption

By Jacob Hoffman-Andrews | EFF | November 11, 2014

Recently, Verizon was caught tampering with its customer’s web requests to inject a tracking super-cookie. Another network-tampering threat to user safety has come to light from other providers: email encryption downgrade attacks. In recent months, researchers have reported ISPs in the US and Thailand intercepting their customers’ data to strip a security flag—called STARTTLS—from email traffic. The STARTTLS flag is an essential security and privacy protection used by an email server to request encryption when talking to another server or client.1

By stripping out this flag, these ISPs prevent the email servers from successfully encrypting their conversation, and by default the servers will proceed to send email unencrypted. Some firewalls, including Cisco’s PIX/ASA firewall do this in order to monitor for spam originating from within their network and prevent it from being sent. Unfortunately, this causes collateral damage: the sending server will proceed to transmit plaintext email over the public Internet, where it is subject to eavesdropping and interception.

This type of STARTTLS stripping attack has mostly gone unnoticed because it tends to be applied to residential networks, where it is uncommon to run an email server2. STARTTLS was also relatively uncommon until late 2013, when EFF started rating companies on whether they used it. Since then, many of the biggest email providers implemented STARTTLS to protect their customers. We continue to strongly encourage all providers to implement STARTTLS for both outbound and inbound email. Google’s Safer email transparency report and are good resources for checking whether a particular provider does.

Several Standards for Email Encryption

The SMTP protocol, the underpinning of email, was not originally designed with security in mind. But people quickly started using it for everything from shopping lists and love letters to medical advice and investigative reporting, and soon realized their mail needed to be protected from prying eyes. In 1991, Phil Zimmerman implemented PGP, an end-to-end email encryption protocol that is still in use today. Adoption of PGP has been slow because of its highly technical interface and difficult key management. S/MIME, with similar properties as PGP, was developed in 1995. And in 2002, STARTTLS for email was defined by RFC 3207.

While PGP and S/MIME are end-to-end encryption, STARTTLS is server-to-server. That means that the body of an email protected with, e.g. PGP, can only be read by its intended recipient, while email protected with STARTTLS can be read by the owners of the sending server and the recipient server, plus anyone else who hacks or subpoenas access to those servers. However, STARTTLS has three big advantages: First, it protects important metadata (subject lines and To:/From/CC: fields) that PGP and S/MIME do not. Second, mail server operators can implement STARTTLS without requiring users to change their behavior at all. And third, a well-configured email server with STARTTLS can provide Forward Secrecy for emails. The two technologies are entirely compatible and reinforce each other. The most secure and private approach is to use PGP or S/MIME with a mail service that uses STARTTLS for server-to-server communication.

There are several weak points in the STARTTLS protocol, however. The first weakness is that the flag indicating that a server supports STARTTLS is not itself encrypted, and is therefore subject to tampering, which can prevent that server from establishing an encrypted connection. That type of tampering is exactly what we see today. EFF is working on a set of improvements to STARTTLS, called STARTTLS Everywhere, that will make server-to-server encryption more robust by requiring encryption for servers that are already known to support it.

It is important that ISPs immediately stop this unauthorized removal of their customers’ security measures. ISPs act as trusted gateways to the global Internet and it is a violation of that trust to intercept or modify client traffic, regardless of what protocol their customers are using. It is a double violation when such modification disables security measures their customers use to protect themselves.

  • 1. If you have netcat (nc) installed, you can test your connection for STARTTLS downgrades using the commands shown here.
  • 2. Desktop email clients like Thunderbird generally send outbound email on a TLS-wrapped port, like 587, and do not rely on STARTTLS. But there are some exceptions, like the software used by the Golden Frog engineer who spotted an issue on AIO Wireless.

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Evidence that US secretly pays off civilian Yemeni drone strike victims

Reprieve | November 11, 2014

The US government has apparently made secret payments of $100,000 to the families of two Yemeni men who were mistakenly killed in a covert drone strike, an investigation by international non-profit Reprieve has found.

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a Yemeni man who lost his brother-in-law and nephew in a 2013 drone strike, was offered a bag containing US dollar bills at a meeting with the Yemeni National Security Bureau (NSB). The NSB official who had requested the meeting told a family representative that the money came from the US and that he had been asked to pass it along.

Since the deaths of his relatives, Mr bin Ali Jaber – who is represented by lawyers at Reprieve – has travelled to Washington, DC and met with Congressmen and members of the National Security Council, as well as telling his story to a number of journalists. The Yemeni NSB official reportedly cited this activity as part of the reason the family was offered the $100k payment.

The payment came after Mr bin Ali Jaber’s family had already gone through a formal compensation process, during which the Yemeni government confirmed in writing that the US carried out the drone strike and that the deaths of their civilian relatives were “a mistake”. During this formal compensation procedure the family also received a payment of 11m Yemeni Rials plus damages.

Despite the private admissions and payments to Mr bin Ali Jaber and his family, given via the Yemeni security services, the US has never publicly admitted that the strike in which Waleed bin Ali Jaber and Salim bin Ali Jaber were killed was a mistake and that the two men were innocent civilians. The deaths have never been investigated and the US has never apologised to the families.

Waleed bin Ali Jaber was a local policeman and his father was an imam who had preached against al Qaeda in the local mosque just days before he was killed.

Faisal bin Ali Jaber said: “My family received money from the US government as an admission of their guilt for ‘mistakenly’ killing our relatives in a drone strike. But this is not justice. There are many other families in Yemen who have lost innocent relatives in US drone strikes but do not receive hush money for speaking out. If the US can admit their ‘mistake’ in a back room of the Yemeni security services, they can surely admit it publicly and apologise for what they have done to my family, and many others in Yemen.”

Cori Crider, Reprieve’s Strategic Director and attorney for Mr bin Ali Jaber, said: “President Obama is as reluctant as ever to admit the full extent of the US drone program in Yemen – but money talks, even if the White House won’t. Cash payments without full accountability won’t quell the outrage about civilian drone deaths, and continued US strikes will only bring further instability to Yemen. The victims’ families want and deserve an explanation, while the American people need to hear the truth about what is being done in their name.”

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Conflict Kitchen Responds to Pittsburgh Post Gazette Article of Nov. 6th


Conflict Kitchen | November 6, 2014

Post-Gazette writer Melissa McCart approached Conflict Kitchen with a set of questions of which were to be included in this article, published November 6, 2014. Unfortunately, Ms. McCart neglected to include any of Conflict Kitchen’s answers. Additionally, we specifically requested that Ms. McCart include the viewpoints of local Palestinians in this article, as well as her initial article on Conflict Kitchen’s Palestinian version. In both cases, she interviewed and did not include these very important voices.

Below are our responses to several of Ms. McCart’s questions to us, as well as statements made in the article.

MM: How have you responded to the criticism and the letter to The Heinz Endowments? Has there been any talk initiated by The Heinz Endowments of rescinding the grant to Conflict Kitchen?

CK: The Heinz Endowments has publicly made a statement to B’nai B’rith International disavowing their support for our current Palestinian version of the project. A press release posted by B’nai B’rith on their websites claims that The Heinz Endowments stated that this iteration of Conflict Kitchen “appears to be terribly at odds with [Heinz’s] mission of promoting understanding.”

Promoting understanding is at the core of Conflict Kitchen’s mission. We have demonstrated this in the past by presenting the food, culture, and viewpoints of Iranians, Afghans, Cubans, North Koreans, and Venezuelans. We believe that presenting the viewpoints of Palestinians promotes understanding of Palestinians.

Protecting freedom of expression from the influence of biased media and powerful political and lobbying groups is essential for the cultural and political health of a democratic society. We are extremely upset that one of Pittsburgh’s most important arts and culture funders would disavow their grant to us when seemingly pressured by strong outside forces.

MM: Has your programming been shaped by the accusations? If so, how?

CK: Conflict Kitchen’s goal is to increase the curiosity and understanding about the people who live in countries our government is in conflict with by directly exposing our customers to these cultures and viewpoints. Another goal is to raise the public profile of the minority Afghan, Iranian, Cuban, Venezuelan, and Palestinian communities who live and work in our region, thereby creating a more accurate depiction of Pittsburgh’s cultural diversity. These new accusations will not alter Conflict Kitchen’s goals with our current Palestinian version. Rather, they strengthen why our mission to increase curiosity and understanding is more important than ever before.

MM: And is your work serving its purpose in giving voice to Palestinians? Or has it surpassed your expectations?

CK: Yes, our customers have been incredibly interested in our food and the Palestinian viewpoints expressed in our printed materials and events, responding with sincere and thoughtful questions.

MM: When I went to the dinner, it was mentioned that Conflict Kitchen is feeding 300 to 400 people a day. Are you still feeding this many people a day? Is it more than any other country you’ve featured?

CK: The real story on our Palestinian version is that it is the most popular iteration to date, with 300-400 people a day coming to the restaurant. Our public is approaching us with trust, support, and open minds.


Responses to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s article and The Heinz Endowment’s statements:

Post-Gazette : John M. Ellis, senior director of communications with the Heinz Endowments, said, “There is another major issue at stake here concerning the rights of arts organizations to perform edgy and provocative programming. … That, in many ways, is the role of the arts, and while we may not always agree with the positions and opinions they express, we do support their right to express them.”

Conflict Kitchen: In a letter responding to B’nai B’rith, The Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant wrote: “I want to be especially clear that its current program on Palestine was not funded by the endowments and we would not fund such a program, precisely because it appears to be terribly at odds with the mission of promoting understanding.”  Oliphant also wrote that “[the Endowments] emphatically does not agree with or support either the anti-Israel sentiments quoted on Conflict Kitchen’s food wrappers or the program’s refusal to incorporate Israeli or Jewish voices in its material.”

The Heinz Endowments cannot have it both ways.

Post-Gazette : John M. Ellis, senior director of communications with the Heinz Endowments states, “The grant was made to assist in the restaurant’s relocation from East Liberty to Schenley Plaza in Oakland.” Heinz Endowments president Grant Oliphant stated, “I want to be especially clear that its current program on Palestine was not funded by the endowments,”

Conflict Kitchen: The grant made to us was, as stated in the grant agreement, “To support Conflict Kitchen’s new programming and development at its new location in Schenley Plaza.”

Post-Gazette : “Each restaurant to-go order is wrapped in packaging designed with text from interviews with Palestinians living in the U.S. and Gaza.” 

Conflict Kitchen: Palestine interviews, as stated on the wrapper, were conducted with Palestinians living in both Palestine and the U.S.” This includes both the West Bank and Gaza.

Post-Gazette : “One section homes in on what the restaurant identified as a Pennsylvania-based business.”

Conflict Kitchen: Quotes on wrapper are statements from Palestinians, not the voices of Conflict Kitchen.


Statement to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and others who frame our Palestinian Interview handouts as “anti-Israeli messages”

The Post Gazette’s (and other media and lobbying groups‘) insistence on continually misrepresenting our food wrappers as “anti-Israeli messages,” shows a distinct lack of research into what is actually on the wrappers, a reinforcement of right-wing accusations made in other media, and thoughtlessness about our current situation.

Like we have done for four years with every other country of focus, our food wrappers contain the viewpoints of multiple people within our focus country on a wide variety of topics. Our Palestinian interviews are no different, they contain interviews on food, culture, the Palestinian Authority, settlements, dating, resistance olive trees, Nakba, movement and travel, and food customs. The interviews were done by us personally with Palestinians in Palestine, and in our own city.  The thoughts and opinions that come through the interviews are informed by their personal context, experiences and histories as Palestinians. Perhaps it is hard for some people to hear that Palestinians are not happy with Israeli policies or the actions of some of its citizens, but to cast their viewpoints as simply anti-Israel is to reinforce the simplest, most polarizing, and dehumanizing reading of their lives and perpetuate the silencing of their voices.

We say read the ACTUAL wrapper, the whole thing. It is always on our website under Interviews (scroll down).

** Speaking of printed materials, we will soon be publishing a book of interviews with kids under 12 living throughout Palestine. See the version we did with Afghan kid’s earlier this year.

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

NATO’s Estonia drills are anti-Russian, don’t make Europe more secure – Moscow

RT | November 11, 2014

Moscow believes NATO drills in Estonia are of “a clearly anti-Russian nature” and will scarcely contribute to European safety, according to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry.

NATO has conducted five military exercises near the Russian border over the past six months, the head of the ministry’s Department of International Cooperation, Sergey Koshelev, told journalists on Tuesday.

“Obviously the policy chosen by our colleagues from NATO will hardly make Europe a safer place,” he said.

The comment was in response NATO’s plans of having so-called ‘Trident Juncture’ drills in Estonia. Koshelev believes the exercises have been inspired by warnings of a “Russian threat,” as voiced by NATO’s supreme allied commander, Philip Breedlove.

“Today Estonia is chosen as an object of that ‘threat’,” Kochelev said. Although recently such objects were Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, which also hosted large-scale NATO drills.”

“Taking this into account, it’s strange to hear some NATO representatives lamenting a group of Russian planes flying in international airspace over the North Atlantic,” he added.

The Trident Juncture drills are clearly anti-Russian, Koshelev believes.

“According to the drills’ scenario, the headquarters of various levels should have their actions tested in a situation in which one of the members of the bloc is attacked by an unnamed “big hostile nation,” he said. “From a geographical standpoint Estonia, which hosts the drills, borders only with ‘little friendly nations’ besides Russia. Hence, the NATO drills have a clearly anti-Russian nature.”

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Navy to kill, injure ‘thousands’ of whales, dolphins during drills – activists

RT | November 11, 2014

As the US Navy conducts war games off the coasts of California and Hawaii over the next four years, environmentalists are fighting back with legal action over concerns that hundreds, if not thousands, of marine animals will be injured or killed.

The Conservation Council for Hawaii has recently asked a judge to put an end to the naval exercises in the region on the grounds that they violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Washington Post reports. The group previously filed a lawsuit against the war games last year before the exercises began, arguing the drills should not have been approved in the first place.

At the center of the controversy are the lives and health of potentially millions of marine mammals, which can suffer hearing loss or damaged lungs from powerful sonar and death from underwater explosions.

The Council’s representatives in the lawsuit, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), argue that the use of sonar and explosives in the war games will kill too many blue whales, dolphins and seals to justify the training plans.

Environmentalists specifically point to the Navy’s own numbers in making their case. Back in 2013, the Navy projected that 155 marine mammals would be killed between 2014 and 2019 as a result of the war games. Thousands of animals would face permanent injuries, while almost 10 million would suffer temporary hearing loss or have their normal routines and behaviors disrupted.

“The more we look at the Navy’s activities, the more we’re finding the potential for harm,” said NRDC’s Michael Jasny to the Post.

For its part, the Navy has taken exception to the claims of advocates, saying they are misrepresenting the numbers. Navy spokesperson Kenneth Hess reiterated that the figures are not meant to depict one year’s worth of activity and also that they “represent worst-case scenarios.”

“Despite decades of the Navy conducting very similar activities in these same areas, there is no evidence of these types of impacts,” Hess said to the newspaper. He added that permits for these exercises “can only be issued if our activities will have no more than a negligible impact on marine mammal populations.”

Researchers who support the Navy’s position also argue that opponents are trying to gain attention by asserting all these sea-going animals will die.

However, environmental activists note that the Navy’s estimates go beyond the number of deaths permitted under the MMPA. Considering that is the case, they argue there is no evidence suggesting the Navy tried to scale back the potential damage after releasing its projections.

“No one is suggesting the Navy shouldn’t be allowed to do testing and training,” said Eearthjustice attorney David Henkin to the Post. “The question is whether they need every inch of the ocean … particularly biologically significant small refuges.”

So far, the US court system has sided with the Navy. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that environmental interests took a backseat to the military’s, but animal rights advocates are hoping that the link between sonar and animal health, as well as the Navy’s estimated fatalities, will help influence a different decision.

November 11, 2014 Posted by | Environmentalism | , , | 2 Comments