29 Jan

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Feeds including from cockpit cameras reportedly hacked using freely available software under programme codenamed Anarchist run from GCHQ

Israeli F-16 jet

An Israeli F-16 jet in flight. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A joint UK-US intelligence programme has been spying on electronic feeds – including video – from Israel’s military drones and jet fighters going back to 1998.

In a potentially embarrassing disclosure for Israel, which prides itself on its technical capabilities, a new release from material held by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has revealed that UK and US intelligence officials have been regularly accessing Israeli cockpit cameras even in the midst of operations in Gaza and Lebanon.

Codenamed Anarchist, the programme was revealed by The Intercept, a US website edited by Glenn Greenwald.

The revelation – while played down by Israeli defence sources – has demonstrated again the level of surveillance aimed at Israel by countries usually regarded as friendly.

The drone feeds were reportedly hacked using freely available software similar to that used to access subscriber-only TV channels, the report said.

According to the Intercept, the surveillance operation is run from GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and the actual surveillance undertaken from a UK base in Cyprus.

Las month the Wall Street Journal disclosed that the US had continued spying on the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and other top Israeli officials despite a promise after the Snowden revelations to stop intercepting the communications of friendly heads of state……………….

Amid conflicting reports, officials release aerial footage of shootout with spokesman of militia occupying wildlife refuge ‘in the interest of transparency’

LaVoy Finicum, the Oregon militia spokesman killed by law enforcement officials on a remote highway, was armed with a handgun and reached for his pocket before he was shot, according to the FBI, which shared blurry video footage of the shooting on Thursday night.

Finicum, a key leader of the armed occupation at the Malheur national wildlife refuge in rural Harney County, was traveling with Ammon Bundy and several other militiamen on Tuesday afternoon outside of the town of Burns when troopers with the Oregon State Police (OSP) and federal officials stopped them.

The footage, taken from an FBI plane flying above, shows a white truck that police say was driven by Finicum speeding away from police.

“He nearly hit an FBI agent,” Greg Bretzing, FBI special agent, told reporters at a news conference in Burns while he showed the footage……………..

The seven detainees in a Texas facility are among 121 people taken into custody in a multi-state roundup of Central American families three weeks ago

The Obama administration has shown no sign that it might change course on its policy of prioritizing recent border crossers, even ones who pose no apparent security threat.

The Obama administration has shown no sign that it might change course on its policy of prioritizing recent border crossers, even ones who pose no apparent security threat. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Seven Central American women detained in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Texas sent a letter to Barack Obama on Thursday pleading for mercy and freedom for their families.

“We and our children are sick with depression and in psychological crisis,” the letter reads. “We need to be free like human beings to be able to fight our cases outside with dignity.”

The detainees are among 121 individuals who were taken into custody in a multi-state roundup of Central American families three weeks ago. The weekend raids, some of which took place in the middle of the night, caused alarm and anger in Latino communities. The Obama administration has shown no sign that it might change course on its policy of prioritizing recent border crossers, even ones who pose no apparent security threat.

US politics


Wall Street is very much intertwined with the Clintons. I doubt that will change anytime soon


Hillary Clinton continues to receive large donations from top bankers. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP

I owe almost my entire Wall Street career to the Clintons. I am not alone; most bankers owe their careers, and their wealth, to them. Over the last 25 years they – with the Clintons it is never just Bill or Hillary – implemented policies that placed Wall Street at the center of the Democratic economic agenda, turning it from a party against Wall Street to a party of Wall Street.

That is why when I recently went to see Hillary Clinton campaign for president and speak about reforming Wall Street I was skeptical. What I heard hasn’t changed that skepticism. The policies she offers are mid-course corrections. In the Clintons’ world, Wall Street stays at the center, economically and politically. Given Wall Street’s power and influence, that is a dangerous place to leave them.

Salomon Brothers hired me in 1993, seven months after President Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Getting a job had been easy, Wall Street was booming from deregulation that had begun under Reagan and was continuing under Clinton.

When Bill Clinton ran for office, he offered up him and Hillary (“Two for the price of one”) as New Democrats, embracing an image of being tough on crime, but not on business. Despite the campaign rhetoric, nobody on the trading floor I joined had voted for the Clintons or trusted them.

Few traders on the floor were even Democrats, who as long as anyone could remember were Wall Street’s natural enemy. That view was summarized in the words of my boss: “Republicans let you make money and let you keep it. Democrats don’t let you make money, but if you do, they take it.”

Despite Wall Street’s reticence, key appointments were swinging their way. Robert Rubin, who had been CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed to a senior White House job as director of the National Economic Council. The Treasury Department was also being filled with banking friendly economists who saw the markets as a solution, not as a problem.

The administration’s economic policy took shape as trickle down, Democratic style. They championed free trade, pushing Nafta. They reformed welfare, buying into the conservative view that poverty was about dependency, not about situation. They threw the old left a few bones, repealing prior tax cuts on the rich, but used the increased revenues mostly on Wall Street’s favorite issue: cutting the debt.

Most importantly, when faced with their first financial crisis, they bailed out Wall Street.

That crisis came in January 1995, halfway through the administration’s first term. Mexico, after having boomed from the optimism surrounding Nafta, went bust. It was a huge embarrassment for the administration, given the push they had made for Nafta against a cynical Democratic party…………..




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