Friday, August 31, 2012

 Kargil War from the Pak side and comments on Gen Musharraf

Revealing and absolutely engrossing. Candid confessions and comments by former Pak Generals and and eminent media personality which makes very interesting watching.

The truth as revealed on PAK-TV. (Najam Sethi-Kargil War-1 (Najam Sethi -Kargil War-2) (Najam Sethi
- Kargil War-3)

General (Retd) Ziauddin Butt exposing 11 Year Old lies of Parwez Musharraf - Part 1

Indian Army undermines Bengalis
by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
August 27, 2012

While India proclaims itself as not only a secular country but also a country, where people of every religion, sect and language enjoy equal status, the Indian Army very unfortunately has been undermining the vast Bangla speaking population in West Bengal by ignoring the justified demand of forming Bengal Regiment.

Currently there are 23 Regiments in Indian Army namely Brigade of the Guards Regiment, Bihar Regiment, Parachute Regiment, Punjab Regiment, Madras Regiment, Grenadiers Regiment, Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, Rajputana Rifles, Rajput Regiment, Jat Regiment, Sikh Regiment, Sikh Light Infactry, Dogra Regiment, Garhwal Rifles, Kumaon Regiment, Jammy & Kashmir Rifles, Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry, 
Assam Regiment, Mahar Regiment, Mechanized Infantry Regiment, Nagara Regiment, Ladakh Scouts and Assam Rifles.

Political parties, rights groups and members of the civil societies as well as retired army officers 
in Bengal had loudly voiced against such serious discrimination of the Indian Army, which has 
been under the tight grips of non-Bengali politicians and policymakers. While Indian policymakers
are continuing to undermine the emotions and sentiments of Bangla speaking millions of people, the mindset of the senior military officials in India [all of whom are non Bengalis], project Bengalis as "cowards" and "funnies" thus such wrong impression of the bosses of Indian Army are very often projected in non-Bengali movies made in Bollywood and other cine industries in India.

The Trinamool Congress, under the leadership of Mamata Bannerjee had been extremely vocal against the Centre for ignoring its demand of formation of the Bengal Regiment on the basis of language and province. Trinamool Congress terms such tendencies of the Centre as "double standard". Though Trinamool leaders decided to write letter to Defence Minister A K Antony urging him to explain why a separate Bengal regiment in the Indian Army can't be raised on the lines of Bihar, Rajasthan, and Sikh Army Regiments – the matter had been kept pending as India's former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who now is the President] had made numerous pledges to Mamata Bannerjee and other figures in the West Bengal of raising this "important issue" with the policymakers in the Centre.
Earlier, one of the leaders of Trinamool Congress asked Rajya Sabha on whether the Centre has any plan to raise new regiment on the basis of language, religion and province. In reply to the question, which was treated as unstarred one, the Defence Ministry gave a written reply that it has no plan to raise new regiment in the Indian Army on the basis of religion and province
on policy grounds.
Questioning this decision of the Indian Defence ministry, a leader of Trinamool Congress said, "Why in that case there are separate Indian Army regiments for Bihar, Rajasthan and Sikh? The Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that there will not be any discrimination on the basis of religion and province?"

Asked what will the Trinamool do if a separate Army regiment is not raised for Bengal, the leader said they will "take up the matter politically". "So many youths from Bengal have laid down their lives while protecting the country. Several Bengalis have occupied important portfolios in all the three forces of Indian Army."

It may be mentioned here that, during British rule, British Indian Army had Bengal
Regiment, which was given to a large number of infantry regiments. These regiments were originally raised by the East India Company as part of the Army of Bengal, which was one of the three presidency armies that were absorbed into British Indian Army in 1903. Composing mainly of recruits from the British Indian province of Bengal, following the partitioning of India and its independence from Britain, such regiments have been carried over into the Indian Army, the Pakistan Army and the Bangladesh Army where they continue to serve today. As a point of history, most regiments in the Bengal Army were dismantled by the British in the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857,
because the anti-British mutiny was believed to have been started because of "disaffection" amongst the sepoys and sowars of the Army of Bengal. One of the main
actors of the mutiny, Mangal Pandey belonged to the 34th Bengal Native Infantry, and it was the incident on March 29, 1857 at Barrackpore when he injured the adjutant, Lieutenant Baugh, with a sword after shooting him, that is said to have started the mutiny.

Commenting on Indian Army's wrongful attitude of undermining Bengalis, a West-Bengal based journalist said, "The reason heroic people of Bangladesh waged against West Pakistan citing examples of discrimination towards Bangla speaking population in East Pakistan, now millions of Bangla speaking population in India has the rights to demand independence from New Delhi's clutches, if they are not provided due respect, dignity and honor by the non-Bengali policymakers in the Centre."

When he was reminded that Indian policymakers in the Centre has recently placed a Bengali like Pranab Mukherjee into Presidency, the journalist said, "Pranab Mukherjee has been totally polluted with similar notions of those anti-Bengali policymakers in the Centre and he [Pranab Mukherjee] is simply a clown of the Bengali haters in the Centre, who is more harmful than those identified opponents. For many reasons we have to believe that Pranab
Mukherjee is a planted agent and snake into Bengalis sleeves."
 An  Episode  of History
                          No country has ever Conquered Afghanistan except Sikhs.
          Sikhs Vs Pathans - Winning in Afghanistan
The western media says no country has ever conquered Afghanistan, but the fact they conveniently forget is that not too long ago the Indians conquered and ruled Afghanistan, an episode of history that is carved into the recesses of the Afghan mind. The Story Begins:

If there's one thing that the western media keeps parroting, it is the fairy tale that no power - from Alexander 2300 years ago to Britain in the 19th century or Russia 30 years ago - was able to conquer Afghanistan.

It reeks of ignorance, and reporters in western countries have exhibited a lot of that. Remember, this is the same bunch that swallowed the lie that al-Qaeda was getting help from Iraq, when in reality Iraq under Saddam Hussein was the most secular country in West Asia.

But how could experienced and Pulitzer Prize winning writers ignore facts? Don't they have armies of researchers at their beck and call? Newspapers like the New York Times and The Guardian have excellent research departments that can dig out the region's history. But they haven't, which makes you wonder if they are whitewashing the facts - excuse the pun!
The fact is that just 180 years ago Maharajah Ranjit Singh (1799-1839), the Sikh ruler of Punjab, and his brilliant commander Hari Singh Nalwa, defeated the Afghans and the tribes of the Khyber Pass area. Had it not been for Ranjit Singh, Peshawar and the north-west frontier province of India (handed over to Pakistan in 1947 when India was divided) would have been part of Afghanistan today.
Imagine an even bigger operating field for the Taliban and al-Qaeda. But first a flashback to the past. Afghanistan had always been a part of India; it was called Gandhar, from which the modern Kandahar originates. It was a vibrant ancient Indian province that gave the world excellent art, architecture, literature and scientific knowledge. After Alexander's ill-fated invasion in the 4th century BC, it became even more eclectic - a melting pot of Indian and Greek cultures, a world far removed from today's Taliban infested badlands.

It was an Indian province until 1735 when Nadir Shah of Iran emboldened by the weakness of India's latter Mughals ransacked Delhi. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Muslims were slaughtered in cold blood by the Persians. This was a highly opportunistic and reckless act because for the past 25 centuries India and Iran had respected each other's borders, and though always a bit nervous of each other, the two empires never tried to subvert each other. But because of his greed Nadir Shah changed the equation. He annexed Afghanistan and asked the Indians to forget about ever getting it back.

However, Ranjit Singh was not prepared to play according to the Persian script. Nadir Shah's successor Ahmad Shah Abdali had been launching repeated raids into Punjab and Delhi. To check this Ranjit Singh decided to build a modern and powerful army with the employment of Frenchmen, Italians, Greeks, Russians, Germans and Austrians. In fact, two of the foreign officers who entered the maharaja's service, Ventura and Allard, had served under Napoleon. Says historian Shiv Kumar Gupta: "All these officers were basically engaged by Ranjit Singh for modernization of his troops. He never put them in supreme command."

After conquering Multan in 1818 and Kashmir in 1819, Ranjit Singh led his legions across the Indus and took Dera Ghazi Khan in 1820 and Dera Ismail Khan in 1821. Alarmed, the Afghans called for a jehad under the leadership of Azim Khan Burkazi, the ruler of Kabul. A big Afghan army collected on the bank of the Kabul River at Naushehra, but Ranjit Singh won a decisive victory and the Afghans were dispersed in 1823. Peshawar was subdued in 1834.

The Afghan and Pathans had always considered themselves superior to the Indians. They especially looked down upon Indian Muslims and contemptuously referred to them as Hindko. The fact that the Indians were superior in all respects - wealth, culture, literature, art - mattered little to them, as physical stature and lightness of skin was the only basis for this peacock-like strutting. Says historian Kirpal Singh, "The pride of the Afghans and Pathans was pricked for the first time as they had been defeated by the Sikhs whom they considered infidels. Undoubtedly, they were agitated and used to say Khalsa Hum Khuda Shuda (Khalsa too has become believer of God)."

So how did Ranjit Singh manage to conquer such fierce mountain people? Mainly by using a blend of sustained aggression latter soothed by Indian magnanimity. Of course, his biggest weapon was the scourge of the Afghans - Hari Singh, who in one battle defeated 20,000 Hazaras, the same people who are today tormenting American and European forces.

To defeat the cunning and fierce Hazaras on their treacherous home turf was no mean feat but to do that with only 7000 men was the stuff of legend. Indeed, Hari Singh had become a legend. He realised that to dominate the warlike tribes, the Sikhs had to give them the same treatment the Afghans had given the Indians in the past. Says Kirpal Singh, "Hari Singh set up a very strong administration in the Peshawar valley. He levied a cess of Rs 4 per house on the Yusafzais. This cess was to be collected in cash or in kind. For its realization, personal household property could be appropriated. There was scarcely a village which was not burnt. In such awe were his visitations held that Nalwa's name was used by Afghan mothers as a term of fright to hush their unruly children."

Though the spell of Afghan supremacy was broken, the region predominantly populated by turbulent and warlike Muslim tribes could not be securely held unless a large army was permanently stationed there. A force of 12,000 men was posted with Hari Singh to quell any sign of turbulence and to realize the revenue. "The terror of the name of the Khalsa resounded in the valley," says Kirpal Singh. "Part of the city of Peshawar was burnt and the residence of the governor was razed to the ground."

Ranjit Singh ensured that the Afghans never again became a threat to India. These are the same people who massacred three British armies, and against whom the Americans and Pakistanis are now totally struggling. The wild tribes of Swat and Khyber were also tamed.
There are three reasons why Ranjit Singh won a decisive victory in Afghanistan and the northwest whereas the Western invasion is foundering.

Firstly, fierce tactics were followed by a period of liberal and secular rule. In fact, secularism was the defining character of Ranjit Singh's rule. There was no state religion, and religious tolerance was an article of his faith. He refused to treat Muslims like second class citizens. Compare this with the strafing of wedding parties by US and European troops or the instance of Czech troops wearing Nazi uniforms.
When his victorious army passed through the streets of Peshawar, the Maharajah issued strict instructions to his commanders to observe restraint in keeping with the Sikh tradition,
not to damage any mosque, not to insult any woman and not to destroy any crops.

, like the NATO forces in Afghanistan today, Ranjit Singh's army was a coalition too. The Indian king's forces were made up of Sikhs and Hindus, while the artillery almost fully comprised Muslims. Over half a dozen European nations are assisting US troops just as European specialists worked for Ranjit Singh. Also, perhaps for the first time in Indian history the Mazhabis, or 'untouchables', become a regular component of the army. (While betrayals, disunity and overconfidence had been the bane of Indian kingdoms throughout history, another key weakness was that only the warrior castes would do the fighting, which ruled out 80 per cent of others from fighting for their king. Even when in dire situations where tribes such as the Bhils were engaged to fight invaders, they were mostly given side roles.)

However, Ranjit's Singh's forces worked with one united purpose and that was to secure the empire. Today, the US is reluctant to do all the fighting, while the British forces are simply not up to the task of taking on the fierce Afghans, rely instead on bribes to keep away the Taliban fighters. Which Afghan will show respect such an opponent? The British, Ukrainians, Poles, Australians, Czechs, and a gaggle of over 40 nationalities are in Afghanistan only to curry favor with America and wrap up their respective free trade agreements.

Around 30 years ago, the Russian general Nikolai Ogarkov advised Leonid Brezhnev's cabinet not to invade Afghanistan, saying that the country was unconquerable; today NATO generals are asking Barack Obama to get out of the place or else the Americans will have to leave in the same state as they left Vietnam - in their underpants. But 180 years ago the Indians showed how a mixture of ferocity, valour and empathy could tame Afghanistan. And that's the third reason: at the end of the day, the Indians just did a much better job of fighting.

(About the author: Rakesh Krishnan is a features writer at Fairfax, New Zealand.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hackers Linked to China’s Army Seen From EU to D.C.
By Michael Riley and Dune Lawrence - Jul 26, 2012 7:00 PM ET
The hackers clocked in at precisely 9:23 a.m. Brussels time on July 18 last year, and set to their task. In just 14 minutes of quick keyboard work, they scooped up the e-mails of the president of the European Union Council, Herman Van Rompuy, Europe’s point man for shepherding the delicate politics of the bailout for Greece, according to a computer record of the hackers’ activity.
Over 10 days last July, the hackers returned to the council’s computers four times, accessing the internal communications of 11 of the EU’s economic, security and foreign affairs officials. The breach, unreported until now, potentially gave the intruders an unvarnished view of the financial crisis gripping Europe.
And the spies were themselves being watched. Working together in secret, some 30 North American private security researchers were tracking one of the biggest and busiest hacking groups in China.
Observed for years by U.S. intelligence, which dubbed it Byzantine Candor, the team of hackers also is known in security circles as the Comment group for its trademark of infiltrating computers using hidden webpage computer code known as “comments.”
During almost two months of monitoring last year, the researchers say they were struck by the sheer scale of the hackers’ work as data bled from one victim after the next: from oilfield services leader Halliburton Co. (HAL) to Washington law firm Wiley Rein LLP; from a Canadian magistrate involved in a sensitive China extradition case to Kolkata-based tobacco and technology conglomerate ITC Ltd. (ITC)
Gathering Secrets
The researchers identified 20 victims in all -- many of them organizations with secrets that could give China an edge as it strives to become the world’s largest economy. The targets included lawyers pursuing trade claims against the country’s exporters and an energy company preparing to drill in waters China claims as its own.
“What the general public hears about -- stolen credit card numbers, somebody hacked LinkedIn (LNKD) -- that’s the tip of the iceberg, the unclassified stuff,” said Shawn Henry, former executive assistant director of the FBI in charge of the agency’s cyber division until leaving earlier this year. “I’ve been circling the iceberg in a submarine. This is the biggest vacuuming up of U.S. proprietary data that we’ve ever seen. It’s a machine.”
Exploiting a hole in the hackers’ security, the researchers created a digital diary, logging the intruders’ every move as they crept into networks, shut off anti-virus systems, camouflaged themselves as system administrators and covered their tracks, making them almost immune to detection by their victims.
Every Move
The minute-by-minute accounts spin a never-before told story of the workaday routines and relentless onslaught of a group so successful that a cyber unit within the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations in San Antonio is dedicated to tracking it, according to a person familiar with the unit.
Those logs -- a record of the hackers’ commands to their victims’ computers -- also reveal the highly organized effort behind a group that more than any other is believed to be at the spear point of the vast hacking industry in China. Byzantine Candor is linked to China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, according to a 2008 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks. Two former intelligence officials verified the substance of the document.
Hackers and Spies
The methods behind China-based looting of technology and data -- and most of the victims -- have remained for more than a decade in the murky world of hackers and spies, fully known in the U.S. only to a small community of investigators with classified clearances.
“Until we can have this conversation in a transparent way, we are going to be hard pressed to solve the problem,” said Amit Yoran, former National Cyber Security Division director at the Department of Homeland Security.
Yoran now works for RSA Security Inc., a Bedford, Massachusetts-based security company which was hacked by Chinese teams last year. “I’m just not sure America is ready for that,” he said.
What started as assaults on military and defense contractors has widened into a rash of attacks from which no corporate entity is safe, say U.S. intelligence officials, who are raising the alarm in increasingly dire terms.
In an essay in the Wall Street Journal July 19, President Barack Obama warned that “the cyber threat to our nation is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face.” Ten days earlier, in a speech given in Washington, National Security Agency director Keith Alexander said cyber espionage constitutes “the greatest transfer of wealth in history,” and cited a figure of $1 trillion spent globally every year by companies trying to protect themselves.
Harvesting Secrets
The networks of major oil companies have been harvested for seismic maps charting oil reserves; patent law firms for their clients’ trade secrets; and investment banks for market analysis that might impact the global ventures of state-owned companies, according to computer security experts who asked not to be named and declined to give more details.
China’s foreign ministry in Beijing has previously dismissed allegations of state-sponsored cyberspying as baseless and said the government would crack down if incidents came to light. Contacted for this story, it did so again, referring to earlier ministry statements.
Private researchers have identified 10 to 20 Chinese hacking groups but said they vary significantly in activity and size, according to government investigators and security firms.
Group Apart
What sets the Comment group apart is the frenetic pace of its operations. The attacks documented last summer represent a fragment of the Comment group’s conquests, which stretch back at least to 2002, according to incident reports and interviews with investigators. Milpitas, California-based FireEye Inc. alone has tracked hundreds of victims in the last three years and estimates the group has hacked more than 1,000 organizations, said Alex Lanstein, a senior security researcher.
Stolen information is flowing out of the networks of law firms, investment banks, oil companies, drug makers, and high technology manufacturers in such significant quantities that intelligence officials now say it could cause long-term harm to U.S. and European economies.
’Earthquake Is Coming’
“The activity we’re seeing now is the tremor, but the earthquake is coming,” said Ray Mislock, who before retiring in September was chief security officer for DuPont Co., which has been hacked by unidentified Chinese teams at least twice since 2009.
“A successful company can’t sustain a long-term loss of knowledge that creates economic power,” he said.
Even those offline aren’t safe. Y.C. Deveshwar, 65, a businessman who heads ITC, India’s largest maker of cigarettes, doesn’t use a computer. The Comment hackers last year still managed to steal a trove of his documents, navigating the conglomerate’s huge network to pinpoint the machine used by Deveshwar’s personal assistant.
On July 5, 2011, the thieves accessed a list of documents that included Deveshwar’s family addresses, tax filings, and meeting minutes, as well as letters to fellow executives, such as London-based British American Tobacco Plc (BATS) chairman Richard Burrows and BAT chief executive, Nicandro Durante, according to the logs. They tried to open one entitled “YCD LETTERS” but couldn’t, so the hackers set up a program to steal a password the next time his assistant signed on.
Keeping Quiet
When Bloomberg contacted the company in May, spokesman Nazeeb Arif said ITC was unaware of the breach, potentially giving the hackers unimpeded access to ITC’s network for more than a year. Deveshwar said in a statement that “no classified company related documents” were kept on the computer.
Companies that discover their networks have been commandeered usually keep quiet, leaving the public, shareholders and clients unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Of the 10 Comment group victims reached by Bloomberg, those who learned of the hacks chose not to disclose them publicly, and three said they were unaware they’d been hacked until contacted for this story.
This account of the Comment group is based on the researchers’ logs, as well as interviews with current and former intelligence officials, victims, and more than a dozen U.S. cybersecurity experts, many of whom track the group independently.
Private Investigators
The researcher who provided the computer logs asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the data, which included the name of victims. He was part of a collaborative drawn from 20 organizations that included people from private security companies, a university, internet service providers and companies that have been targeted, including a defense contractor and a pharmaceutical firm. The group included some of the top experts in the field, with experience investigating cyberspying against the U.S. government, major corporations and high profile political targets, including the Dalai Lama.
Like similar, ad hoc teams formed temporarily to study hackers’ techniques, the group worked in secret because of the sensitivities of the investigation aimed at state-sponsored espionage. A smaller version of the group is continuing its research.
As the surge in attacks on businesses and non-government groups over the last five years has pulled private security experts into the hacker hunt, they say they’re gradually catching up with U.S. counterintelligence agencies, which have been tackling the problem for a decade.
Espionage Tools
One Comment group trademark involves hijacking unassuming public websites to send commands to victim computers, turning mom-and-pop sites into tools of foreign espionage, but also allowing the group to be monitored if those websites can be found, according to security experts. Sites it has commandeered include one for a teacher at a south Texas high school with the website motto “Computers Rock!” and another for a drag racing track outside Boise, Idaho.
Adding a potentially important piece to the puzzle, researcher Joe Stewart, who works for Dell SecureWorks, an Atlanta-based security firm and division of Dell Inc. (DELL), the computer technology company, last year uncovered a flaw in software used by Comment group hackers. Designed to disguise the pilfered data’s ultimate destination, the mistake instead revealed that in hundreds of instances, data was sent to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in Shanghai.
Military Link?
The location matched intelligence contained in the 2008 State Department cable published by WikiLeaks that placed the group in Shanghai and linked it to China’s military. Commercial researchers have yet to make that connection. The basis for that cable’s conclusion, which includes the U.S.’s own spying, remains classified, according to two former intelligence specialists.
Lanstein said that although the make-up of the Comment group has changed over time -- the logs show some inexperienced hackers in the group making repeated mistakes, for example --the characteristics of a single group are unmistakable. The code and tools used by Comment aren’t public, and anyone using it would have to be given entre into the hackers’ ranks, he said.
By October 2008, when the diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks outlined the group’s activities, the Comment group had raided the networks of defense contractors and the Department of State, as well as made a specialty of hacking U.S. Army systems. The classified code names for China’s hacking teams were changed last year after that leak.
Cybersecurity experts have connected the group to a series of headline-grabbing hacks, ranging from the 2008 presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain to the 72 victims documented last year by the Santa Clara, California-based security firm McAfee Inc., in what it called Operation Shady Rat.
Nuclear Break-In
Others, not publicly attributed to the group before, include a campaign against North American natural gas producers that began in December 2011 and was detailed in an April alert by the Department of Homeland Security, two experts who analyzed the attack said. In another case, the hackers first stole a contact list for subscribers to a nuclear management newsletter, and then sent them forged e-mails laden with spyware.
In that instance, the group succeeded in breaking into the computer network of at least one facility, Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, next to the Hosgri fault north of Santa Barbara, according to a person familiar with the case who asked not to be named.
Last August, the plant’s incident management team saw an anonymous Internet post that had been making the rounds among cybersecurity professionals. It purported to identify web domains being used by a Chinese hacking group, including one that suggested a possible connection to Diablo plant operator Pacific Gas & Electric Co., according to an internal report obtained by Bloomberg News.
Partial Control
It’s unclear how the information got to the Internet, but when the plant investigated, it found that the computer of a senior nuclear planner was at least partly under the control of the hackers, according to the report. The internal probe warned that the hackers were attempting “to identify the operations, organizations, and security of U.S. nuclear power generation facilities.”
The investigators concluded that they had caught the breach early and there was “no solid indication” data was stolen, according to the report, though they also found evidence of several previous infections.
Blair Jones, a spokesman for PG&E, declined to comment, citing plant security.
Around the time the hackers were sending malware-laden e- mails to U.S. nuclear facilities, six people at the Wiley Rein law firm were ushered into hastily called meetings. In the room were an ethics compliance officer and a person from the firm’s information technology team, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The firm had been hacked, each of the six were told, and they were the targets.
Lawyers’ Files
Among them were Alan Price and Timothy Brightbill. Firm partners and among the best known international trade lawyers in the country, they’ve handled a series of major anti-dumping and unfair trade cases against China. One of those, against China’s solar cell manufacturers, in May resulted in tariffs on more than $3 billion in Chinese exports, making it one of the largest anti-dumping cases in U.S. history.
Dale Hausman, Wiley Rein’s general counsel, said he couldn’t comment on how the breach affected the firm or its clients. Wiley Rein has since strengthened its network security, Hausman said.
“Given the nature of that practice, it’s almost a cost of doing business. It’s not a surprise,” he said.
E-Mails to Spouses
Tipped off by the researchers, the firm called the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which dispatched a team of cyber investigators, the person familiar with the investigation said. Comment hackers had encrypted the data it stole, a trick designed to make it harder to determine what was taken. The FBI managed to decode it.
The data included thousands of pages of e-mails and documents, from lawyers’ personal chatter with their spouses to confidential communications with clients. Printed out in a stack, the cache was taller than a set of encyclopedias, the person said.
Researchers watching the hackers’ keystrokes last summer say they couldn’t see most of what was stolen, but it was clear that the spies had complete control over the firm’s e-mail system. The logs also hold a clue to how the FBI might have decrypted what was stolen. They show the simple password the hackers used to encrypt the files: 123!@#. Paul Bresson, a spokesman for the FBI in Washington, declined to comment.
Following the Crisis
In case after case, the hackers’ trail crisscrossed with geopolitical events and global headlines. Last summer, as the news focused on Europe’s financial crisis, with its import for China’s rising economic power, the hackers followed.
The timing coincided with an intense period for EU Council President Van Rompuy, set off by the failure July 11 of the EU finance ministers to agree on a second bailout package for Greece. Over the next 10 days, the slight and balding former Belgian prime minister presided over the negotiations, drawing European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to a consensus.
Although the monitoring of Van Rompuy and his staff occurred during those talks, researchers say that the logs suggest a broad attack that wasn’t timed to a specific event. It was the cyber equivalent of a wiretap, they say -- an operation aimed at gathering vast amounts of intelligence over weeks, perhaps months.
’Big Implications’
Richard Falkenrath, former deputy homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, said China has succeeded in integrating decision-making about foreign economic and investment policy with intelligence collection.
“That has big implications for the rest of the world when it deals with the country on those terms,” he said.
Beginning July 8, 2011, the hackers’ access already established, they dipped into the council’s networks repeatedly over 10 days. The logs suggest an established routine, with the spies always checking in around 9 a.m. local time. They controlled the council’s exchange server, which gave them complete run of the e-mail system, the logs show. From there, the hackers simply opened the accounts of Van Rompuy and the others.
Week of E-Mails
Moving from one victim to the next, the spies grabbed e- mails and attached documents, encrypted them in compression files and catalogued the reams of material by date. They grabbed a week’s worth of e-mails each time, appearing to follow a set protocol. Their other targets included then economic adviser and deputy head of cabinet, Odile Renaud-Basso, and the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator. It’s unclear how long the hackers had been in the council’s network before the researchers’ monitoring began -- or how long it lasted after the end of July last year.
There’s no indication the hackers penetrated the council’s offline system for secret documents. “Classified information and other sensitive internal information is handled on separate, dedicated networks,” the council press office said in a statement when asked about the hacks. The networks connected to the Internet, which handle e-mail, “are not designed for handling classified information.”
What the EU did about the breach is unclear. Dirk De Backer, a spokesman for Van Rompuy, declined to comment on the incident, as did an official from the EU Council’s press office. A member of the EU’s security team joined the group of researchers in late July, and was provided information that would help identify the hackers’ trail, one of the researchers said.
“No Knowledge”
Zoltan Martinusz, then principal adviser on external affairs and one of two victims reached by Bloomberg who would address the issue, said, “I have no knowledge of this.” The other official, who wasn’t authorized to discuss internal security and asked not to be identified, said he was informed last year that his e-mails had been accessed.
The logs show how the hackers consistently applied the same, simple line of attack, the researchers said. Starting with a malware-laden e-mail, they moved rapidly through networks, grabbing encrypted passwords, cracking the coding offline, and then returning to mimic the organization’s own network administrators. The hackers were able to dip in and out of networks sometimes over months.
The approach circumvented the millions of dollars the organizations collectively spent on protection.
Security Switched Off
As the spies rifled the network of Business Executives for National Security Inc., a Washington-based nonprofit whose advisory council includes former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the logs show them switching off the system’s Symantec anti-virus software. Henry Hinton Jr., the group’s chief operations officer, said in June he was unaware of the hack, confirming the user names of staff computers that the logs show were accessed, his among them.
The records show the hackers’ mistakes, but also clever tricks. Using network administrator status, they consolidated onto a single machine the computer contents of the president and seven other staff members of the International Republican Institute, a nonprofit group promoting democracy.
220 Documents
With all that data in one place, the hackers on June 29, 2011, selected 220 documents, including PDFs, spreadsheets, photos and the organization’s entire work plan for China. When they were done, the Comment group zipped up the documents into several encrypted files, making the data less noticeable as it left the network, the logs show.
Lisa Gates, a spokeswoman for the IRI, confirmed that her organization was hacked but declined to comment on the impact on its programs in China because of concern for the safety of staff and people who work with the group. A funding document describes activities including supporting independent candidates in China, who frequently face harassment by China’s authorities.
As a portrait of the hackers at work, the logs also show how nimbly they could respond to events, even when sensitive government networks were involved. The hackers accessed the network of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada July 18 last year, targeting the computer of Leeann King, an immigration adjudicator in Vancouver.
King had made headlines less than a week earlier when she temporarily freed Chinese national Lai Changxing in the final days of a long extradition fight. Chinese authorities had been chasing Lai since he fled to Canada in 1999, alleging that he ran a smuggling ring that netted billions of dollars.
Cracking Court Accounts
Monitoring by Cyber Squared Inc., an Arlington, Virginia- based company that tracks Comment independently and that captured some of the same activity as the researchers, recorded the hackers as they worked rapidly to break into King’s account. Beginning only with access to computers in Toronto, the hackers grabbed and decrypted user passwords, gaining access to IRB’s network in Vancouver and ultimately, the logs show, to King’s computer. From start to finish, the work took just under five hours.
Melissa Anderson, a spokeswoman for the board, said officials had no comment on the incident other than to say that any such event would be fully investigated. Lai was eventually sent back to China on July 23, 2011 after losing a final appeal. He was arrested, tried, and in May of this year, a Chinese court sentenced him to life in prison.
Controlling the Networks
In case after case, the hackers had the run of the networks they were rifling. It’s unclear how many of the organizations researchers contacted, but in only one of those cases was the victim already aware of the intrusion, according to one member of the group. Halliburton officials said they were aware of the intrusion and were working with the FBI, one of the researchers said.
Marisol Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the publicly traded company, declined to comment on the incident.
The trail last summer led to some unlikely spots, including Pietro’s, an Italian restaurant a couple of blocks from Grand Central station in New York. In business since 1932, guests to the dim, old-fashioned dining room can choose linguine with clam sauce (red or white) for $28. The Comment group stopped using the restaurant’s site to communicate with hacked networks sometime last year, said FireEye’s Lanstein, who discovered that the hackers had left footprints there. Traces are still there.
’Ugly Gorilla’
Hidden in the webpage code of the restaurant’s site is a single command: ugs12, he said. It’s an order to a captive computer on some victim’s network to sleep for 12 minutes, then check back in, he explained. The ”ug” stands for “ugly gorilla,” what security experts believe is a moniker for a particularly brash member of Comment, a signal for anyone looking that the hackers were there, said Lanstein.
“We’re so good even hackers want us!” joked Bill Bruckman, the restaurant’s co-owner, when he was told his website had been part of the global infrastructure of a Chinese hacking team. “Hey, put my name out there -- any business is good business,” he said.
Bruckman said he knew nothing about the breach. A few friends reported trouble accessing the site about six months ago, though he said he’d never figured out what the problem was.
Outside a moment later, smoking a cigarette, Bruckman added a more serious note.
“Think of all that effort and information going down the drain. What a waste, you know what I mean?”

WW II B17 Survival Story

A mid-air collision on February 1, 1943, between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area, became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of World War II. An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named All American, piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron. When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17. The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away. The two right engines were out and one on the left had a serious oil pump leak. The vertical fin and the rudder had been damaged, the fuselage had been cut almost completely through connected only at two small parts of the frame and the radios, electrical and oxygen systems were damaged. There was also a hole in the top that was over 16 feet long and 4
feet wide at its widest and the split in the fuselage went all the way to the top gunners turret.
Although the tail actually bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the plane turned and all the control cables were severed, except one single elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft still flew - miraculously! The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting the tail to the rest of the plane. The waist and tail gunners used parts of the German fighter and their own parachute harnesses in an attempt to keep the tail from ripping off and the two sides of the fuselage from splitting apart. While the crew was trying to keep the bomber from coming apart, the pilot continued on his bomb run and released his bombs over the target.

When the bomb bay doors were opened, the wind turbulence was so great that it blew one of the waist gunners into the broken tail section. It took several minutes and four crew members to pass him ropes from parachutes and haul him back into the forward part of the plane. When they tried to do the same for the tail gunner, the tail began flapping so hard that it began to break off. The weight of the gunner was adding some stability to the tail section, so he went back to his position.

The turn back toward England had to be very slow to keep the tail from twisting off. They actually covered almost 70 miles to make the turn home. The bomber was so badly damaged that it was losing altitude and speed and was soon alone in the sky. For a brief time, two more Me-109 German fighters attacked the All American. Despite the extensive damage, all of the machine gunners were able to respond to these attacks and soon drove off the fighters. The two waist gunners stood up with their heads sticking out through the hole in the top of the fuselage to aim and fire their machine guns. The tail gunner had to shoot in short bursts because the recoil was actually causing the plane to turn.

Allied P-51 fighters intercepted the All American as it crossed over the Channel and took one of the pictures shown. They also radioed to the base describing that the empennage was waving like a fish tail and that the plane would not make it and to send out boats to rescue the crew when they bailed out. The fighters stayed with the Fortress taking hand signals from Lt. Bragg and relaying them to the base. Lt. Bragg signaled that 5 parachutes and the spare had been "used" so five of the crew could not bail out. He made the decision that if they could not bail out safely, then he would stay with the plane and land it.

Two and a half hours after being hit, the aircraft made its final turn to line up with the runway while it was still over 40 miles away. It descended into an emergency landing and a normal roll-out on its landing gear.

When the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved off because not a single member of the crew had been injured. No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a condition. The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all exited through the door in the fuselage and the tail gunner had climbed down a ladder, at which time the entire rear section of the aircraft collapsed onto the ground. The rugged old bird had done its job.


I love stories about America 's past.......pass this on to someone you know will appreciate this story.

Tyranny of diesel subsidy:
Rs. 40,000 crores loss by OMCs

Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy

If politicians are given the choice of improving education, health, and water facilities to the poor or subsidizing diesel, the choice should be obvious without any controversy. Still diesel subsidy is on its way to become a sacred cow for the political class. Why? How? What should be done to eliminate this subsidy which has been one of the reasons for the unanticipated decline in India’s growth rate from above 9% to around 6%.?

Environmental harm caused by diesel subsidy in terms of contributing to global warming directly and indirectly is not even mentioned. The increasing share of diesel vehicle sales is often discussed. Since diesel is relatively cheap (about Rs 25 per liter) compared to gasoline, the share of diesel vehicle sales is increasing.

When three high level committees all headed by eminent economists (C. Rangarjan, B. K. Chaturvedi and Kirit Parikh) were asked to look at the problem of petroleum subsidies during 2006-2009, only residential LPG and PDS kerosene were subsidized in a formal way to help the poor. All these committees had recommended that not only the government should get out of the business of setting product prices, LPG and kerosene prices be also liberalized,. They recommended that the poor could be supplied with subsidized products through coupon or smart card system while allowing their prices to reflect international markets.

The UPA government did not show any interest in implementing these recommendations. There has never been a deliberate policy to subsidize diesel. But the paralysis on the part of UPA to take action in liberalizing diesel pricing has resulted in ever increasing losses to oil marketing companies (OMCs). I have been predicting for some time that these navaratna OMCs will face bankruptcy unless the pricing regime is liberalized.

Currently OMCs are incurring under recoveries from diesel alone of more than Rs. 1,30,000 crores per year. Such a mind boggling amount can easily pay for expanding Sarva Sikshana Abhiyan to improve education, Integrated Child Development Services to help poor families, National Rural Health Mission to improve the operations of rural clinics etc. 2012-13 budgets for these flagships welfare measures are Rs.25,555, 15,380 and 20,822 crores respectively.
The political class is reluctant to liberalize diesel pricing. This is driven by the mistaken notion that such a policy will affect the poor. Computation of under recoveries is faulty.

One question that is always raised concerning diesel price increase is its impact on inflation. Consumers of diesel can be classified under seven categories to study this problem. These are: trucking, private cars, buses, railways, agriculture, power and industry with their respective shares being 37%, 15%, 12%, 6%, 12%, 8% and 10% respectively.

When diesel price is increased, the cost of transportation will certainly go up. This is because railways and bus companies will increase fares to recover their additional costs. So also there will be increase in the price of goods because of the cost of transporting them in trucks. Electricity cost will also go up for those who use diesel to generate power. Cost to the farmers will go up. However when we look at the total impact it is easily manageable as shown below. What is of great interest is that the poor are affected the least. This is because the poor are not part of the formal economy. They are affected more from general inflation caused by fiscal deficit than from diesel price increases.

Let us analyze how each sector is impacted by eliminating the current under recoveries of Rs. 13.89 per liter of diesel. Of course it is neither advisable nor politically feasible to eliminate the under recoveries in one go and should be done gradually. Trucking diesel accounts for 35 to 40% of their total cost and diesel increase will raise their cost by 12.8%. But its impact on final consumption is only about 0.64% since trucking cost accounts for only 5% of the total cost of the goods we consume. When we compute the increases in final consumption for other sectors, private cars, buses, railways, agriculture, power, and industry, the figures are 9.6%, 11.2%, 7.0%, 0.3%, 21%, 4%.

The impact on industry and agriculture is minimum since diesel cost accounts for just 1.1% and 0.8% only. Since it is mostly the rich farmers who use diesel pumps, they should be in a position to pay for the increased cost. In the case of trucking too the inflationary impact on goods carried will be only 0.64% since trucking cost accounts for only 5% of the final cost of the goods. Still it is the trucking sector which makes the loudest noise by threatening to strike when diesel price increases. But they not only pass the incremental cost of diesel price increase, they overcompensate because of their monopoly position.

Power sector will have the maximum impact. But it is mostly those who use diesel generator sets who will be affected by this increase. Industrial consumers have the option of running generator sets based on economics. For householders who use standby generators, the additional cost is not a big burden at all since it is only the rich who can afford diesel generator sets. The same is the case for owners of private cars who can easily absorb the increase of 9.6%.

Since total diesel cost accounts only for about 3.45% of GNP, increase of diesel price by Rs 1 per liter will have minimal impact on overall inflation of about 0.08%. This is only first order inflation impact. However as a result of passing this cost of incremental diesel prices through different stages of the value chain through the economy, it is bound to be higher but still manageable. Even if diesel price is increased by Rs 14 per liter to eliminate all under recoveries the total impact will be just 1.1%. This is just first order impact, without considering the cascading impact of diesel prices which will push the resultant inflation higher.

However as a result of diesel under recoveries (about Rs 2.4 lakhs during the last seven years) the impact on fiscal deficit is likely to be far more. The inflationary impact of such a massive deficit is likely to be more than the inflationary impact of diesel prices.
The Achilles heel of diesel liberalization is the credibility of under recoveries. With the declaration of an unprecedented loss of Rs. 40,000 crores by OMCs for the first quarter of 2012-13, critiques need to find some other explanation to support the diesel subsidy. It is true that when the government compensates OMCs for their under recoveries (government pays about 30%, upstream public sector companies pay 30 to 40% and the rest is absorbed by OMCs), these losses would come down.

Still there is a basic question. When the government pays for the losses incurred by the oil companies, who actually is the loser. All of us know that there is no such thing as a free lunch and the actual loser is the common man who has to bear the burden of higher inflation. When the government pays for under recoveries, the fiscal deficit increases resulting in higher inflation. On the other hand if OMCs are not reimbursed, they will go bankrupt and every one will suffer. Vote bank politics does not worry about such disasters as has been amply demonstrated by the recent grid failure. No one has attributed it to the power sector subsidy.

In recent months highly placed technocrats like the deputy chairman of the planning commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, PM’s economic advisor C Rangarajan, RBI’s governor Subba Rao have been saying that India cannot afford the diesel subsidy. Many seminars have been held on oil sector subsidy to recommend their removal and to improve subsidy delivery system through Aadhaar, coupons, etc. But there has been no political will to liberalize petro product prices. We are always waiting for the next political events like elections to be over. It is high time that we have some out of the box type of action plans.

Despite the shocking levels of losses why have chairmen of the OMCs not threatened to resign rather than preside over a process which is sure to bankrupt their companies? Such a sacrifice can be considered as a modern corporate form of satyagraha to prick the conscience of our political system.

Along with them others in the government who deal with the petroleum sector like deputy chairman of the planning commission, petroleum minister, petroleum secretary, PM’s economic advisor etc should also threaten to resign. That may create a political tsunami and help bring about the needed liberalization of diesel pricing. In the overall interest of India’s development, this may be a small price to pay. It may finally start the process of eliminating the diesel subsidy.

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