Archive for March 2013
Published: March 27, 2013
Thanks to Cubic’s latest acquisition, the company is being trusted with yet another trove of sensitive data. And while it’s facetious to assume that Cubic’s many divisions around the world are working in cahoots to collect and build personal profiles that scan faces, sniff out social network habits and scoop up insanely accurate GPS stats on travel patterns, the buy-out of NextBus doesn’t make a company seem any less like a prime example of how privacy is slowly but surely being eroded in the exchange for a little bit of serenity and whole lot of surveillance.
A piece in today’s Guardian reveals a US military “sock puppet” operation that involves “using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.” The article names the California-registered Ntrepid Corporation as a recipient of a contract for the project. The California corporate registry lists an office in Tysons Corner, Virginia as the physical location of the company. A search for the company’s name on Virginia’s corporate registry turns up an entry (ID: F184248-5) with a listing of its director and officers (screenshot here). The names are as follows:
Richard H. Helms (director and officer) Wesley R. Husted (officer) Margaret A. Lee (officer)
As it turns out, Richard Helms was previously the founder and CEO of the Virginia-based Abraxas Corporation. Wesley Husted was at one point its CFO. So, what is the Abraxas Corporation and what do they do? Its web site declares itself to be primarily concerned with information security and risk assessment. A June 2004 article in the International Herald Tribune identified it as a “small compan[y] made up almost entirely of former senior CIA officers […] in McLean, Virginia.” It further named one of its experts, Mary Nayak, as a former head of the Directorate of Intelligence’s South Asia group who had recently been hired as a consultant to the CIA’s 9/11 review group. According to an extensive profile of the company published in the LA Times in September 2006:
But Abraxas has also been tapped for unusual assignments. Several former CIA officials said Abraxas had been given a highly classified contract to craft “covers” — false identities and front companies — for the agency’s nonofficial cover program. The NOC program is one of the most sensitive and carefully guarded operations in the CIA. Most overseas case officers work under diplomatic cover, meaning they pose as State Department officials working at U.S. embassies and missions. If they are caught spying, they are typically protected from prosecution by diplomatic immunity. Officers in the NOC program have no such protections, and therefore operate under substantially greater risk. Major corporations traditionally have cooperated with the CIA to allow case officers to hold positions in overseas branches. But since the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA has been under increased pressure to devise more imaginative cover arrangements that might give operatives closer access to terrorist networks.
The article also noted that Abraxas was declared in 2005 to be “one of the nation’s fastest growing young companies” by the Deloitte & Touche accounting firm. Apparently, it enjoyed 714% in revenue growth over three years. Naturally, 90% of this revenue was from government contracts.
It is fitting that a company such as Abraxas feels the need to form a front company just to put forth front “people” on the internet.
Published: September 19, 2012 22:27
Just discovered documentation concerning the TrapWire secret surveillance system suggests that the San Diego-based Cubic Corporation did have a direct connection with the program, despite repeated attempts to dismiss allegations of their involvement.
Although Cubic has gone on the record on several occasions to refute claims that they have at one time or another been directly tied to the Abraxas Applications, the Northern Virginia company believed to have developed TrapWire, a post published this week on the PrivacySos.org blog discusses evidence that links the two firms to one another.
Cubic has repeatedly insisted that it has no link to TrapWire, a widespread, international surveillance and intelligence system brought to light in emails distributed by WikiLeaks, but new revelations expose a relationship between the two that was documented on a federal website as recently as February of last year.
As RT unraveled the TrapWire saga earlier this year, investigations into both Cubic and Abraxas revealed a number of associations among the two. In an August 13, 2012 press release, Cubic came forth and admitted to acquiring Abraxas Corp in December of 2010, but insisted, “Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as Trapwire, Inc.”
The latest revelation directly discredits that claim.
PrivacySos reports that a website maintained by the US Homeland Security Department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) includes TrapWire as a product for sale to law enforcement agencies and first responders. It’s there that the background and operational concept of the system are described in detail and direct curious customers to AbraxasCorp.com for more information. When a link to the URL is clicked, the banner at the top of the developer’s homepage described Abraxas as “A Cubic Company.” On the FEMA page, the product information is detailed as provided directly by Abraxas Applications
“The Products Section includes commercially available product information that has been uploaded directly and voluntarily by the manufacturer,” the FEMA page acknowledges.
If that is indeed the case, either the federal government is hosting falsified information about TrapWire to prospective customers, or else the program was overseen to a degree by Cubic as previously suspected. If it’s the latter, then the August 13 statement was a downright lie.
On the PrivacySos post, published Tuesday, its acknowledged that Cubic has previously been confirmed as operating fare systems for major mass transit programs and Anonymizer, an IP-masked tool described by its publicists as “the leader in consumer online anonymity solutions.”
“If the government’s facts are correct, the Abraxas Corporation was managing sales for the TrapWire system at least as recently as February 2011 – meaning Cubic had its hands on both highly sensitive private information on millions of ordinary people and a networked surveillance system sold to governments,” PrivacySOS notes.
In addition to the press release that attempted to distance Cubic from TrapWire, activist and Project PM founder Barrett Brown uploaded a phone call to YouTube he alleged to be between himself and Cubic Corp. Communication Director Tim Hall. In the clip, published August 21, Mr. Hall denied his company’s involvement with TrapWire and also insisted that Cubic has never been tied to Ntrepid, a separate corporation that was awarded $2.76 million worth of taxpayer dollars to create phony Internet “sock puppets” to propagate US support.
“There is no connection at all with Abraxas Applications and Trapwire and or Ntrepid,” the man perpetrated to be Hall explains in the clip. Research into the entities, however, led to the discovery of Abraxas Corporation’s tax filings from late 2011, and with it, a common bond: TrapWire Inc. was registered in 2009 to a Margaret A Lee from Virginia, who also served on the Ntrepid board of directors.
“Since the government’s intelligence and data management contracting operations are so secretive and opaque, we may never know what’s really going on – whether Cubic in fact operates transit data systems, so-called IP anonymizers and surveillance systems sold to governments,” the PrivacySOS post reads. “[It] doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. That’s because we know more than enough to be convinced that we need a mass movement for privacy in the United States, whether or not these connections are real.”
- Invasion of the Privacy Snatchers, Or, Another Creepy Service From The TrapWire Corporate Family To Yours (femalefaust.blogspot.com)
- Facial recognition and GPS tracking: TrapWire company conducting even more surveillance (rt.com)
- Whitewash of Trapwire End Users by Major Media.. (beowulfjournal.wordpress.com)
Magnetic Field Generating Device
FIG. 4 is a side view of the core 12 surface of the present invention. Shown are the interspersed sections of dielectric material 18 and conductive material 20. During the basic start up procedure the starter motor is energized causing the outer ring 16 to start rotation, both the inner ring 14 and the outer ring 16 are then charged (oppositely) through brushes causing the inner ring 14 to begin rotation in the opposite direction via the interface; voltage increase causes ring acceleration, which creates an anti-gravity field, further voltage increase causes stronger repulsion then charging the core magnifies the repulsion. To induce magnetic field, the core 12 face lines are vertical and the ring face lines are diagonal correspondingly to direction of ring rotation.
|United States Patent||7,663,281|
|Nau||February 16, 2010|
Magnetic field generating device
A magnetic field generator that utilizes two concentric rings with similarly charged electro-magnets to repel the rings in opposite orbits around an electrically charged central core to create the magnetic field.
|Inventors:||Nau; Jeffrey J (Anchorage, AK)|
|Filed:||August 31, 2004|
Assignee at issue: Dorne & Margolin, Antenna manufacturers
While Patent Protection will have expired by now, ITT Exelis seems to be the current owner/manufacturer of the Dorne & Margolin brand
[click images to enlarge]
|Patent Title: Apparatus and method for remotely monitoring and altering brain waves|
|Patent Number: 3951134||Filing Date: Aug 05, 1974|
|Application Number: 4945182||Issue Date: Apr 20, 1976|
10. United Technologies (UTX) — aircraft, electronics, engines
Arm sales: $11.6 billion, total sales: $58.2 billion
Gross profit: $5.3 billion, total workforce: 199,900
United Technologies makes a wide range of arms — notably military helicopters, including the Black Hawk helicopter for the U.S. Army and the Seahawk helicopter for the U.S. Navy. The company was the biggest employer in the top 10 though arms sales accounted for just 20% of revenue. UTX also produces elevators, escalators, air-conditioners and refrigerators. International sales comprised 60% of the company’s revenue in 2012.
9. L-3 Communications (LLL) — electronics
Arm sales: $12.5 billion, total sales: $15.2 billion
Gross profit: $956 million, total workforce: 61,000
Some 83% of L-3 Communications sales in 2011 came from arms sales, but this was down from what it sold the prior year. The company has four business segments: electronic systems; aircraft modernization and maintenance; national security solutions; and command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Among many products manufactured, the company has become a major provider of unmanned aircraft systems.
8. Finmeccanica — aircraft, artillery, engines, electronics, vehicles and missiles
Arms sales, $14.6 billion, total sales: $24.1 billion
Gross profit: $ -3.2 billion, total workforce: 70,470
Italian company Finmeccanica makes a wide range of arms, including helicopters and security electronics. Nearly 60% of the company’s sales in 2011 were in arms. Finmeccanica lost $3.2 billion in 2011. The Italian company is currently fending off allegation that it paid bribes to win an approximately $750 million contract to provide 12 military helicopters to the Indian government in 2010. The then-head of the company, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested in February but has denied wrongdoing. Other executives, including the head of the company’s helicopter unit, have been replaced, and the company has delayed the release of recent financial results.
7. EADS — aircraft, electronics, missiles and space
Arm sales: $16.4 billion, total sales: $68.3 billion
Gross profit: $1.4 billion, total workforce: 133,120
The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), based in the Netherlands, had sales in 2011 roughly in line with the prior year. Arms sales comprised just 24% of the company’s revenue. EADS and BAE Systems unsuccessfully attempted to merge for $45 billion in 2012, which would have created the world’s largest aerospace company. The deal collapsed in October after German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concerns about the merger.
6. Northrop Grumman (NOC) — aircraft, electronics, missiles, ships, space
Arm sales: $21.4 billion, total sales: $26.4 billion
Gross profit: $2.1 billion, total workforce: 72,500
Northrop Grumman’s 2011 arms sales comprised about 81% of total sales even after a sharp decline in arms sales year over year. The company attributed the decline to reduced government spending on defense projects. Nevertheless, the company was more profitable than in the prior year.
5. Raytheon (RTN) — electronics, missiles
Arm sales: $22.5 billion, total sales: $24.9 billion
Gross profit: $1.9 billion, total workforce: 71,000
Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass., is one of the largest defense contractors in the U.S. The company makes the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, among others. Arms sales comprised about 90% of the company’s sales in 2011 though they as a total they were lower than in the prior year. The slide hasn’t let up. Total sales in 2012 fell 1.5%, and Raytheon is expecting sales to fall 3% in 2013, a projection which doesn’t take into account the effects of mandated budget cuts. The company can rely on overseas customers to somewhat offset weak sales at home. As of January, approximately 40% of the company’s backlog was booked overseas. The company expects approximately a 5% increase in international sales in 2013.
4. General Dynamics (GD) — artillery, electronics, vehicles, small arms, ships
Arm sales: $23.8 billion, total sales: $32.7 billion
Gross profit: $2.5 billion, total workforce: 95,100
With 18,000 transactions in 2011, General Dynamics was the third-largest contractor to the U.S. government. Of those contracts, approximately $12.9 billion worth went to the Navy, while an additional $4.6 billion went to the Army. The company’s arms sales in 2011 comprised 73% of total sales. Arms sales in 2011 were slightly below 2010 levels. The company makes a host of products, including electric boats, tracked and wheeled military vehicles, and battle tanks. The company announced layoffs in early March, blaming mandated federal budget cuts.
3. BAE Systems — aircraft, artillery, electronics, vehicles, missiles, ships
Arm sales: $29.2 billion, total sales: $30.7 billion
Gross profit: $2.3 billion, total workforce: 93,500
BAE Systems was the largest non-U.S. company based on arms sales. Arms sales represented 95% of the company’s total sales in 2011 even though they were lower as a total of overall sales compared to the prior year. The products BAE sells include the L-ROD Bar Armor System that shields defense vehicles and the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer that provides sophisticated simulation training for military pilots. In 2013, the company said its growth would likely come from outside the U.S. and Great Britain — its home market. BAE noted that its outlook for those two countries was “constrained,” likely due to the diminished presence in international conflicts and government budget cuts.
2. Boeing (BA) — aircraft, electronics, missiles, space
Arm sales: $31.8 billion, total sales: $68.7 billion
Gross profit: $4 billion, total workforce: 171,700
Boeing was the second-largest U.S. government contractor in 2011, with about $21.5 billion worth of goods contracted. The Chicago-based company makes a wide range of arms, including strategic missile systems, laser and electro-optical systems and global positioning systems. Despite all these technologies, just 46% of the company’s total sales of $68.7 billion in 2011 came from arms. Boeing is the largest commercial airplane manufacturer in the world, making planes such as the 747, 757 and recently, the 787 Dreamliner. The company is also known for its space technology — Boeing had $1 billion worth of contracts with NASA in 2011.
1. Lockheed Martin (LMT) — aircraft, electronics, missiles, space
Arm sales:$36.3 billion, total sales: $46.5 billion
Gross profit: $2.7 billion, total workforce, 123,000
Lockheed Martin notched $36.3 billion in sales in 2011, slightly higher than the $35.7 billion the company sold in 2010. The arms sales comprised 78% of the company’s total 2011 sales. Lockheed makes a wide range of products, including aircraft, missiles, unmanned systems and radar systems. The company and its employees have been concerned about the effects of the “fiscal cliff” and sequestration, the latter of which includes significant cuts to the U.S. Department of Defense. In the fall of 2012, the company planned on issuing layoff notices to all employees before backing down at the White House’s request.
- Pentagon Cuts Hit Accounts That Pay Lockheed to Raytheon (bloomberg.com)
- Has Raytheon Become the Perfect Stock? (fool.com)
Over 1.9 Billion awarded amongst the following:
- Britain’s BAE Gets $813 Million in U.S. Defense Contracts (fool.com)
- Defense.gov: Contracts for Monday, March 11, 2013 (bothernews.wordpress.com)
- 10 companies profiting the most from war (usatoday.com)
- Raytheon Wins a Mysterious Defense Contract (dailyfinance.com)
To that end, Baraniuk and colleague Rakib Rayhan examined 31 veterans with Gulf War Syndrome, [and] scanned their brains using a technique called diffusion tensor imaging, which highlights the bundles of nerves, or white matter, connecting brain regions. They compared these to scans of 20 veterans who were not deployed in the Gulf.
The images indicate that in Gulf War Syndrome, these nerve bundles break down and may have trouble forming connections: a phenomenon that has not been associated with any other illness. This suggests that the brain circuitry, rather than any specific brain area, is disrupted in people with the condition. Veterans with the worst symptoms tended to have the most pronounced abnormalities in their white matter.
The damaged areas tended to be in fibres that connect pain-registering nerves to higher brain centres responsible for interpreting pain. Another affected area was the ventral attention network, which allows people to break their concentration to respond to a stimulus. This fits with the affected veterans’ tendency to be easily distracted and to have trouble with memory formation.
- Brain circuits uniquely disrupted in Gulf War Syndrome (newscientist.com)
- Researchers find Gulf War Syndrome is a real illness (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Imaging study may show brain changes in Gulf War illness (nbcnews.com)
It’s called the warrior’s code, say soldiers and military scholars. It’s shaped cultures as diverse as the Vikings, the Samurai, the Romans and Native Americans, says Shannon E. French, author of “Code of the Warrior.”
The code is designed to protect the victor, as well as the vanquished, French says.
“People think of the rules of war primarily as a way to protect innocent civilians from being victims of atrocities,” she says. “In a much more profound sense, the rules are there to protect the people doing the actual fighting.”
The code is designed to prevent soldiers from becoming monsters. Butchering civilians, torturing prisoners, desecrating the enemies’ bodies — are all battlefield behaviors that erode a soldier’s humanity, French says.
The code is ancient as civilization itself. In Homer’s epic poem, “The Iliad,” the Greek hero Achilles breaks the code when his thirst for vengeance leads him to desecrate the body of his slain foe, the Trojan hero Hector.
Most warrior cultures share one belief, French says:
“There is something worse than death, and one of those things is to completely lose your humanity.”
The code is still needed today, French says.
Thousands of U.S. soldiers returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some have seen, and have done, things that are unfathomable.
A study of Vietnam veterans showed that those who felt as if they had participated in dishonorable behavior during the war or saw the Vietnamese as subhuman experienced more post-traumatic stress disorder, French says.
Drone warfare represents a new threat to soldiers’ humanity, French says.
The Pentagon recently announced it would award a new Distinguished Warfare Medal to soldiers who operate drones and launch cyberattacks. The medal would rank above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, two medals earned in combat.
At least 17,000 people have signed an online petition protesting the medal. The petition says awarding medals to soldiers who wage war via remote control was an “injustice” to those who risked their lives in combat.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta defended the new medal at a February news conference.
“I’ve seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cybersystems, have changed the way wars are fought,” Panetta says. “And they’ve given our men and women the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle, even from afar.”
Still, critics ask, is there any honor in killing an enemy by remote control?
- Two enemies discover a ‘higher call’ in battle (cnn.com)
- German pilot in WWII spared an American B-17 pilot over Germany only to reunite 40 years later and become fishing buddies (warhistoryonline.com)
- Hagel Halts Drone Medal (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Combat Veterans, Senators Fight New Drone Pilot Medal (blogs.wsj.com)
- Drone Killing: Murder Without Trial for Victims and Perpetrators (21stcenturywire.com)