China says most cyberattacks against its infrastructure come from the U.S.


China also has its own proof that the United States is the main threat to its infrastructure, or so they say.

A Chinese official report states that many of the cyber attacks against China come from the United States and that the threat to the cyber security of its websites is “growing”.

According to the report, which echoes the official report cited by Xinhua news agency last year, says that hackers attacked 16,388 Chinese websites, including 1802 pages that belong to the government. This numbers, says the report, represent an increase of 21.5 and 6.1 percent year on year, respectively.

The research, conducted by the National Coordination Center for Emergency Response (CNCERT), also states that in 2012 nearly 73,000 foreign IP addresses attacked about 14.2 million Chinese servers with computer viruses like “Trojan” or “botnet”, and that these activities came, in large part from the U.S..

The same agency said it detected 22,308 phishing sites, the majority (96.2%) from foreign servers, especially the U.S. (83.2%).

CNCERT further indicates that the cyber security risks increase with the application of new technologies such as computer services in the cloud, that as they stress, complicate the fight against cyber attacks.

Therefore, the report urged Chinese institutions to increase research efforts to improve cybersecurity protection for nearly 600 million Chinese Internet users, the world’s largest community.

China and the U.S. spent months locked in a campaign of mutual accusations of cyber espionage.

Last February, a report by a U.S. company specializing in Internet security reported that many of the cyber attacks against the U.S. have their origin in a Chinese army unit.

Beijing categorically denied the charge adding that it is also the victim of numerous attacks, which have increased over the years and most of them are from the North American country.

In his first press conference as Prime Minister of China, Li Keqiang, argued that the government “does not support the hacking” and described as “baseless” U.S. allegations that the Chinese government had any involvement in the attempts to hack into American infrastructure.

On 19 February, a report by the U.S.-based company Mandiant accused the Chinese military of being behind a series of cyber attacks against businesses, institutions and infrastructure in the U.S.. That was not the first time that China received accusations of this type, although the novelty at that time was that the report localized in detail the origins of the attacks. According to Mandiant, a Chinese army building in a suburb of Shanghai was responsible for most if not all of the attacks.


Anthrax Vaccine to be tested on Children


A presidential ethics panel has opened the door to testing an anthrax vaccine on children as young as infants, bringing an angry response from critics who say the children would be guinea pigs in a study that would never help them and might harm them.

The report, however, released on Tuesday by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, said researchers would have to overcome numerous hurdles before launching an anthrax-vaccine trial in children. It now goes to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who will decide whether to take the steps the commission recommended.

The one anthrax vaccine approved in the United States, called BioThrax, is made by Emergent BioSolutions Inc of Rockville, Maryland. The company reported $215.9 million in sales of BioThrax, its only licensed product, in 2012.

The ethics commission took up the issue after a biodefense panel recommended in 2011 that the anthrax vaccine be tested in children. That endorsement, by the National Biodefense Science Board, came with the caveat that such a study also get the go-ahead from a bioethics panel.

It did, albeit conditionally.

“We have to get this precisely right,” panel Chair Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, said at a news conference. “Many significant steps would have to be taken” before a pediatric anthrax vaccine trial could be considered, she said. But she added that it is important “to develop the knowledge needed to save children’s lives” in the event of an anthrax attack.

Balancing the need to protect children against the need to know, for instance, the safe dose of the vaccine, made this “one of the most difficult ethical reviews a bioethics board has ever conducted,” Gutmann said.

Activists said the board was wrong not to oppose unequivocally testing the anthrax vaccine in children.

Vera Sharav, founder of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, predicted that such a study would cause “moral harm for us as a nation and suffering for the children. They should have said, ‘thou shalt not.'”


The idea of testing an anthrax vaccine in children arose when a 2011 war game, called Dark Zephyr, presented to policy makers a scenario in which terrorists released anthrax on a city modeled on San Francisco. Doctors did not know what dose of the vaccine to give children. That presented a dilemma: should children be vaccinated anyway, or should the government test the vaccine on them first to establish a safe dose?

Information about safety has come from giving the vaccine to some 2.9 million adults, mostly members of the armed forces who were thought to be at risk of exposure to biological weapons in Iraq. Information about efficacy has come from animal studies, as it is unethical to expose someone to anthrax intentionally to see if the vaccine works, and from measurements of the anthrax-fighting antibodies a vaccinated person produces.

Federal regulations set a high bar for research on kids. If the chance of their benefiting is minuscule or nil, and the potential risk even minimal, children are usually off-limits.

The presidential bioethics panel conceded that “there is no prospect of direct benefit to children” who participate in an anthrax-vaccine study, Gutmann said. According to the biodefense board, children in such a study would face more than minimal risk (defined as a risk no greater than that in daily life or at a check-up), mostly because the side effects of the vaccine in children are unknown.

Because the vaccine poses more than minimal risk to children, any proposal for testing it in them would have to clear several hurdles, the commission said. One pre-requisite for such a study is rigorously testing the vaccine in the youngest adults, starting at age 18.

“You’d work your way down from 18-year-olds,” said Dr. John Parker, a retired army major general and chairman of the biodefense board. “If it were safe you’d go to 17-year-olds, then 16-year olds.” After each round showing minimal harm, “you’d ask permission to move on to younger children.”

The youngest age for testing is not clear, said Parker, “but the immune system of very young children is different from older people’s.” Results in 16-year-olds or even 5-year-olds might not reveal whether the vaccine is safe in babies, who would therefore have to be studied, too.


To critics, the combination of no benefit and some risk to children means a pediatric anthrax-vaccine study should be prohibited.

“We have to wonder if, after all the data collected by the U.S. Army on the side-effects experienced by soldiers, we would want to subject children to skin ulcers symptoms of the disease,” said Jeanne Guillemin, a senior fellow in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program and author of a 2011 book about anthrax attacks, titled “American Anthrax.”

In the largest study of the anthrax vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2008 that in 1,563 adults who received the vaccine, there were 229 “serious adverse events” such as cardiovascular disease, intracranial aneurysm and seizure, though only nine were blamed on the vaccine. Much more common were milder reactions such as soreness near the injection site, itching, fever and malaise.

Opponents of testing the anthrax vaccine in children argue that antibiotics would be sufficient to protect kids in an anthrax attack.

Antibiotics worked following attacks in 2001 that were traced to an Army scientist who committed suicide in 2008 as investigators closed in. The five people who died after inhaling anthrax spores sent through the mail did not receive antibiotics before developing symptoms. Everyone who was exposed and received antibiotics in time survived, noted MIT’s Guillemin.

Proponents of testing the anthrax vaccine in children argue that antibiotics are not enough.

“The point of vaccinating is that anthrax spores can hatch at different times and stay dormant for days to months,” said Dr. Daniel Fagbuyi of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and a member of the biodefense board.

Vaccination, he said, would prevent disease long after victims’ 60-day course of antibiotics is finished.

Under a 2005 law, children in an anthrax-vaccine study would be prohibited from seeking damages through the legal system. The presidential commission, said Gutmann, “strongly recommended that a plan be in place to compensate any children” who are harmed.

Proyecto de Intelligencia Estadounidense para ‘vigilar’ America Latina


El nuevo proyecto de supercomputadoras está a cargo de un organismo poco conocido, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (Iarpa), que funciona bajo la orientación del director de Inteligencia Nacional de los EE.UU.

El gobierno de los Estados Unidos, con el apoyo técnico de algunas universidades estadounidenses, quiere utilizar información “pública” que los usuarios colocan en Facebook, Twitter, páginas de web, webcams, blogs y otros medios sociales para acumular una enorme base de datos con el propósito de predecir tanto las crisis políticas, es decir, revoluciones, inestabilidad o estallidos sociales, como crisis económicas. Al igual que el Proyecto Camelot de los años ’60, este proyecto de vigilancia y espionaje estará dirigido a América latina.

El nuevo proyecto está a cargo de un organismo poco conocido, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (Iarpa), que funciona bajo la orientación del director de Inteligencia Nacional de los EE.UU. El proyecto copiará, automáticamente, por medio de supercomputadoras, datos de 21 países de América latina, por un período de tres años que comenzaría en 2012. Hay un proyecto similar para Afganistán, patrocinado por Darpa (la organización “hermana” militar, del Pentágono) para identificar redes sociales de potenciales terroristas en este país.

En 1964, la Oficina de Investigación y Desarrollo del ejército de los Estados Unidos patrocinó el Proyecto Camelot, que fue un esfuerzo de recopilación de información en el contexto de la estrategia de contrainsurgencia. Camelot fue concebido, originalmente, para tener una vasta cobertura, abarcando países en todo el mundo en desarrollo. Sin embargo, el proyecto se implementó solamente en Chile y no por mucho tiempo.

Los objetivos declarados del proyecto eran “diseñar procedimientos para evaluar la potencialidad de que se desarrollara una guerra interna al interior de las sociedades nacionales” e “identificar… aquellas acciones que un gobierno pudiese de- sarrollar para mitigar las condiciones favorables a ella”. Bajo el camuflaje brindado por un proyecto universitario de ciencias del comportamiento, que se ubicaba en la Oficina de Investigación de Operaciones Especiales de la American University (financiada por el ejército), Camelot era un proyecto encubierto de inteligencia. Un general del ejército estadounidense afirmó que dicho proyecto “nos ayudaría a predecir la utilización potencial del ejército estadounidense en cualquier número de casos en donde la situación pudiese desbordarse”.

En Chile, Camelot fue presentado como una encuesta académica, escondiéndose su relación con el Pentágono. Los investigadores encuestaron a chilenos de todos los sectores de la sociedad para establecer sus creencias políticas, su compromiso con la democracia y otra información personal y política. Según una chilena que fue entrevistada, cada persona fue luego puesta en categorías de conformidad con el nivel de peligro o de “potencial subversivo”. Cuando esta persona trataba posteriormente de obtener una visa de los Estados Unidos, las autoridades estadounidenses tenían un archivo completo sobre ella, con toda la información supuestamente confidencial que ella había colocado en el formulario.

Las bases de datos de Camelot también fueron utilizadas para la guerra psicológica. Sirvieron para influir en las actitudes políticas y, de esa manera, para manipular ciertas elecciones clave. La CIA digitalizó los datos recopilados por Camelot y los analizó y utilizó para producir atemorizantes anuncios anticomunistas durante la campaña eleccionaria de 1964 de Eduardo Frei, candidato demócrata cristiano, contra el izquierdista Salvador Allende. Por ejemplo, se les dijo a las mujeres que, de ser electo Allende, sus hijos serían enviados a Cuba y sus esposos a campos de concentración. La naturaleza contrainsurgente del Proyecto Camelot fue descubierta por el gobierno chileno y fue clausurado en 1965, luego de audiencias tanto en el Congreso de Chile como en el de los Estados Unidos.

No es la primera vez que en época reciente el gobierno de los EE.UU. ha acumulado grandes cantidades de datos en proyectos de data mining (extracción masiva de datos). Durante la administración de George Bush, la National Security Agency empezó la extracción de datos de millones de ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos –de llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos, fax y otras fuentes– en un programa secreto sin autorización judicial, supuestamente para descubrir y vigilar a potenciales integrantes de redes terroristas. Dicha administración también trató de implementar otro enorme proyecto, que se llamó Total Information Awareness, para acumular una base de datos para buscar patrones de conducta o tendencias en los correos, llamadas telefónicas, transacciones financieras, información de visas, etcétera, supuestamente para identificar enemigos. Este programa fue rechazado por el Congreso después de que se produjera una reacción muy negativa del público.

Este tipo de proyecto tiene implicancias sumamente preocupantes para los ciudadanos, tanto de América latina como de los Estados Unidos y cualquier otro país. Es el punto de partida para una vigilancia masiva a toda la población, a través de su vida personal y social, violando su libertad personal y sus derechos. La idea de que organizaciones de inteligencia y militares estén vigilando y realizando seguimientos de los ciudadanos –todos bajo sospecha– para predecir actos de violencia en el futuro es autoritario y orwelliano, y evoca la doctrina de seguridad nacional. El aparato de seguridad nacional estadounidense parece estarse extendiendo y ampliándose fuera de control, con proyectos cada vez más intrusivos y antidemocráticos. Ahora que los ciudadanos en muchos países están cada vez más indignados con los respectivos sistemas y recurren a actos de protesta para plantear cambios económicos, sociales y políticos, se hace necesario conocer y desafiar a este tipo de proyectos.

J. Patrice McSherry : Directora del Programa de Estudios sobre América latina y el Caribe en Long Island University, Brooklyn. Autora de Los Estados Depredadores: Operación Cóndor y la Guerra Encubierta en América Latina.

North Korea supposedly targeting Japan as Korean Peninsula conflict heats up


North Korea said today that Japan is “no exception” if the North decides to carry out a preemptive nuclear strike on whomever it considers as threats. The announcement came after Tokyo announced possible additional sanctions from the UN as a consequence of Pyongyang’s third nuclear test.

In a dispatch issued today by the North Korean agency, KCNA, the secretive communist regime accused Japan of trying to “add fuel to the fire” in the already “serious situation on the Korean peninsula, where a bullet can cause accidental nuclear war. ”

In his usual bellicose tone, the office, which includes an editorial in the party, “Rodong Sinmun”, warns that “it would be a terrible mistake to think that Japan is safe in case of triggering a war on the Korean peninsula”.

In early March, North Korea announced that its army is ready to launch nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, a new threat after the new sanctions were approved by the UN in retaliation to the third atomic test that the communist country carried out last February 12.

“If the Japanese reactionaries haywire in complicity with EE.UU., they will face a terrible blow, and the Korean people will be able to unleash their long-suppressed resentment,” concluded the editorial.

In addition, North Korea has radicalized his usual threats after the beginning of military exercises called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle currently being done by the U.S. Army and South Korea in the region.

The beginning of these maneuvers, considered by Pyongyang as a threat to the country, prompted North Korea to cut off the only line of communication with South Korea, located in the border village of Panmunjom, and declare void the armistice reached after the Korean War between 1950-1953.

U.S. Drones violate Pakistan’s Sovereignty


The head of a U.N. team investigating casualties from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan declared after a secret research trip to the country that the attacks violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said the Pakistani government made clear to him that it does not consent to the strikes – a position that has been disputed by U.S. officials.

President Barack Obama has stepped up covert CIA drone strikes targeting al-Qaida and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border since he took office in 2009.

The strikes have caused growing controversy because of the secrecy surrounding them and claims that they have caused significant civilian casualties – allegations denied by the United States.

According to a U.N. statement that Emmerson emailed to The Associated Press on Friday, the Pakistani government told him it has confirmed at least 400 civilian deaths by U.S. drones on its territory. The statement was initially released on Thursday, following the investigator’s three-day visit to Pakistan, which ended Wednesday. The visit was kept secret until Emmerson left.

Imtiaz Gul, an expert on Pakistani militancy who is helping Emmerson’s team, said Friday that the organization he runs, the Centre for Research and Security Studies, gave the U.N. investigator during his visit case studies on 25 strikes that allegedly killed around 200 civilians.

The U.N. investigation into civilian casualties from drone strikes and other targeted killings in Pakistan and several other countries was launched in January and is expected to deliver its conclusions in October.

The U.S. rarely discusses the strikes in public because of their covert nature. But a few senior officials, including CIA chief John Brennan, have publicly defended the strikes, saying precision weapons help avoid significant civilian casualties.

A 2012 investigation by the AP into 10 of the recent deadliest drone strikes in Pakistan over the previous two years found that a significant majority of the casualties were militants, but civilians were also killed.

Villagers told the AP that of at least 194 people killed in the attacks, about 70 percent – at least 138 – were militants. The remaining 56 were either civilians or tribal police, and 38 of them were killed in a single attack on March 17, 2011.

Pakistani officials regularly criticize the attacks in public as a violation of the country’s sovereignty, a popular position in a country where anti-American sentiment runs high.

But the reality has been more complicated in the past.

For many years, Pakistan allowed U.S. drones to take off from bases within the country. Documents released by WikiLeaks in 2010 showed that senior Pakistani officials consented to the strikes in private to U.S. diplomats, while at the same time condemning them in public.

Cooperation has certainly waned since then as the relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. has deteriorated. In 2011, Pakistan kicked the U.S. out of an air base used by American drones in the country’s southwest, in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

But U.S. officials have insisted that cooperation has not ended altogether and key Pakistani military officers and civilian politicians continue to consent to the strikes. The officials have spoken on condition of anonymity because of the covert nature of the drone program.

However, Emmerson, the U.N. investigator, came away with a black and white view after his meetings with Pakistani officials.

“The position of the government of Pakistan is quite clear,” said Emmerson. “It does not consent to the use of drones by the United States on its territory and it considers this to be a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The drone campaign “involves the use of force on the territory of another state without its consent and is therefore a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty,” he said.

Pakistan claimed the drone strikes were radicalizing a new generation of militants and said it was capable of fighting the war against Islamist extremism in the country by itself, said Emmerson.

A major reason why the U.S. has stepped up drone attacks in Pakistan is because it has failed to convince the government to target Taliban militants using its territory to launch cross-border attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.

Emmerson met with a variety of Pakistani officials during his visit, as well as tribal leaders from the North Waziristan tribal area – the main target for U.S. drones in the country – and locals who claimed they were injured by the attacks or had lost loved ones.

The tribal leaders said innocent tribesmen were often mistakenly targeted by drones because they were indistinguishable from Taliban militants, said Emmerson. Both groups wear the same traditional tribal clothing and normally carry a gun at all times, he said.

“It is time for the international community to heed the concerns of Pakistan, and give the next democratically elected government of Pakistan the space, support and assistance it needs to deliver a lasting peace on its own territory without forcible military interference by other states,” said Emmerson.