Multiple explosions hit Saudi Aramco oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco oil refineries in Saudi Arabia.

Drone strikes on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom’s oil capacity or 5% of the daily global oil supply.

In a statement on Sunday, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that 5.7 million barrels a day of crude oil and gas production have been affected. The latest OPEC figures from August 2019 put the total Saudi production at 9.8 million barrels per day.
The energy minister said the “company is currently working to recover the lost quantities” of oil and will update the public within the next two days. “These attacks are not only aimed at the vital installations of the kingdom, but also on the global oil supply and its security, and thus pose a threat to the global economy.”
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CIA reportedly removed top spy from Russia

The US reportedly had to remove a key spy from Russia over concerns that President Donald Trump’s mishandling of the most sensitive intelligence might put the person in danger.

In a stunning Monday morning report, CNN’s Jim Sciutto detailed how US intelligence officials were so worried that Trump might accidentally expose the covert asset’s identity that they launched a secret mission to extract the person from Russia in 2017.

That was not a trivial decision, as apparently this person — whose identity remains unknown but who reportedly worked inside the Russian government — was vital to understanding the inner workings of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.

The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.

Those concerns continued to grow in the period after Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov. Weeks after the decision to extract the spy, in July 2017, Trump met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg and took the unusual step of confiscating the interpreter’s notes. Afterward, intelligence officials again expressed concern that the President may have improperly discussed classified intelligence with Russia, according to an intelligence source with knowledge of the intelligence community’s response to the Trump-Putin meeting.

At the time, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo told other senior Trump administration officials that too much information was coming out regarding the covert source, known as an asset. An extraction, or “exfiltration” as such an operation is referred to by intelligence officials, is an extraordinary remedy when US intelligence believes an asset is in immediate danger.

 

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Iran Launch Pad Accident

President Trump has tweeted what experts say is almost certainly an image from a classified satellite or drone, showing the aftermath of an accident at an Iranian space facility.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence referred questions about the image to the White House, which declined to comment.

The image shows the aftermath of the accident, which experts believe took place while the rocket was being fueled. Clearly visible is the truck used to transport and erect the rocket, and the words “The product of national empowerment,” which have been written along the edge of the pad. The picture also shows extensive debris and charring around the pad.

“The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir [Space Launch Vehicle] Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran,” the president said in a tweet that accompanied the image on Friday. “I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One.”

A rocket at an Iranian space center that was to conduct a satellite launch criticized by the U.S. apparently exploded on its launch pad Thursday, satellite images show, suggesting the Islamic Republic suffered its third failed launch this year alone.

State media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the incident at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province.

However, satellite images by Planet Labs Inc. showed a black plume of smoke rising above a launch pad there, with what appeared to be the charred remains of a rocket and its launch stand. In previous days, satellite images had shown officials there repainted the launch pad blue.

On Thursday morning, half of that paint apparently had been burned away.

“Whatever happened there, it blew up and you’re looking at the smoldering remains of what used to be there,” said David Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

The United States has warned Iran against rocket launches, fearful the technology used to put satellites into orbit could enable Tehran to develop the ballistic missile capability needed to launch nuclear warheads.

 

 

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Overstock C.E.O., Resigns After Disclosing Romance With Russian Agent

PAtrick Byrne disclosed that he had been in a romantic relationship with Maria Butina, a woman accused of being a Russian spy who tried to infiltrate circles of political power before the 2016 presidential election.

“While I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock.com, both as CEO and board member,” wrote Byrne in a statement.

Ms. Butina, who is serving an 18-month prison term after being accused by federal prosecutors of trying to infiltrate powerful political circles at the direction of the Russian government. She ultimately pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Patrick Byrne (right) said the intelligence agency first ignored his cautions over Maria Butina (left), but then asked him to rekindle a romantic relationship with her in the summer before the election

The 57-year-old said in the document that an the FBI probe into links between Russia and the 2016 election is ‘all about political espionage’ and that ‘we are about to see the biggest scandal in American history’.

Byrne met Butina at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas in 2015 and she reportedly asked him to disguise their discussions about top-ranking Russians as a romantic relationship.

Mr. Byrne said he had released the statement because he realized that someone would uncover his involvement in the federal investigation if he did not reveal it himself. He decided to come forward after a conversation with his “Omaha rabbi” — a reference, he said, to Mr. Buffett.

Byrne said the FBI first encouraged the relationship, before appearing disinterested with the information he fed back. ‘They kept on dismissing it,’

He added: ‘It was so strange that I was thinking, it’s almost like they’re letting this can-o-scandal develop and someday they’re going to shake it up and crack it and spray it all over the Republican Party.’

Byrne said the FBI told him to cease contact with Butina, before saying in July 2016 he had to ‘rekindle’ the romance to help the bureau’s probe into Russian meddling in the election.

James Comey – who Byrne accused of sanctioning the operation – branded the claims ‘ridiculous’.

Comey said: ‘The FBI doesn’t work that way.’

But a US official has told CNN that during two meetings in April this year Byrne convinced Justice Department attorneys of parts of his story because he had revealed such specific operational details.

To add to this, former FBI official Asha Rangappa confirmed that some aspects of his claims were true.

She said the bureau encouraging a relationship between Byrne and Butina were in line with how the agency would run a counterintelligence operation.

But she added that it seemed unlikely they would want him to have had a ‘romantic relationship’ with the Russian.

 

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China will probably send the military in to quell the protests in Hong Kong by September 6.


A buildup of troops across the border as the semiautonomous territory has been convulsed by protests is a reminder that the use of force remains an option for Beijing.
The deployment in Shenzhen, within sight of Hong Kong’s skyline, doesn’t appear to be a prelude to military intervention. But few analysts expressed doubt that China would act if the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, believed that sovereignty over Hong Kong was jeopardized.

Despite heavy rain, threats from Beijing, and weeks of clashes with the police, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday for the 11th weekend in a row.

The huge turnout for the demonstrations — which began as an objection to a controversial extradition bill and have since evolved into a broader call for greater political freedoms — suggests that the threat of a military crackdown by the state has not caused the protest movement to lose momentum.

Some protesters have sustained serious injuries at the hands of police and plainclothes thugs. More than 700 demonstrators have been arrested to date, and some face charges of “rioting,” which can carry a 10-year sentence. And protesters’ livelihoods may be on the line too, owing to Beijing’s pressure campaign on corporate employers.

The most notable target is Cathay Pacific , one of Hong Kong’s flagship companies. The airline needs 3,200 employees for daily operations, but some 1,500 were absent during a general strike, said Carol Ng, a veteran flight attendant who is chairman of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.

China’s aviation authority announced that any Cathay employee involved in the protests would be forbidden to staff flights to or from the mainland, which account for about a fifth of the airline’s trips. Rupert Hogg, Cathay’s chief executive, resigned late last week after saying employees “who support or participate” in protests—even on their own time—could face discipline. The airline has fired at least four people. Cathay’s chairman, John Slosar, personally declined my interview request via a LinkedIn message.

China’s intensifying propaganda offensive is apparently intended to pre-emptively convince a watching world that any action it may take to quell the unrest would be justified. Maybe it hopes to convince itself, too. For weeks, Chinese media ignored the Hong Kong turmoil. Now, everybody in China knows what is happening – and what is at stake.

Perhaps for this latter reason, a fake narrative has been confected, intended to mislead public opinion. It is claimed, falsely, that the demonstrators are a violent, subversive minority, that they are “terrorists” and that they take orders from foreign “black hands”, meaning the US, Britain and Taiwan. These are the chimeras of a paranoid state.

This sense of rising insecurity at the top, coupled with evident uncertainty over what to do, was inadvertently confirmed last week by Liu Xiaoming, China’s unusually undiplomatic ambassador to Britain. He warned that China had the power to stop the protests and would not indefinitely “sit on its hands and watch”.

But Liu offered no suggestions about a peaceful way forward. Instead, he took a lazy swipe at unnamed British politicians who, he said, cling to a “colonial mindset”. This was an instructive choice of words, given that China’s high-handed behaviour in Hong Kong since 1997 carries more than a whiff of that same objectionable colonialism.
The stakes are indeed high. In question now, by some estimates, is the authority of China’s president for life, Xi Jinping. Under renewed scrutiny, thanks to the pro-democracy focus of the protests, is the unelected, arguably illegitimate nature of the Communist regime and its increasingly illiberal hold on Hong Kong.

The implications for China as a whole, where social unrest is more common than is often supposed and where an economic slowdown is causing hardship, are surely not lost on Xi and his fellow cadres. Donald Trump’s inane intervention, linking a “humane” solution to a US trade deal, further confuses the issue.

Lest it be forgotten, China fiercely opposed the limited democratic reforms championed by Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last governor. Since taking over, Beijing has gradually tightened its political grip. In 2003, it provoked large-scale protests by trying to enforce a treason and subversion law. Its unbending resistance to pressure for greater democratic choice brought more trouble in 2007 and 2014. There has also been a spate of highly publicised cases of apparent human rights abuses.

Concerns about an extradition law proposed by the chief executive, Carrie Lam, have brought these unresolved issues back to the surface, reinvigorating a broader movement to defend Hong Kong’s freedoms. Meanwhile, harsh police tactics have produced just demands for an independent inquiry and the release of people arrested since June.

 

 

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Iron Dome and USA Platinum dome and more in the works

In May, Israel’s Iron Dome missile-interception system stopped 86% of an enormous rocket barrage despite Hamas claims to have overwhelmed it.  This was the US lent system.  The 39 rockets that did get through killed four people in Israel. Hamas claimed to have overwhelmed the aerial defense system by the sheer number of rockets fired.

Iron Dome

The Israel Defense Forces published the following statistics about Saturday’s strikes:

690 rockets were fired toward Israel.
410, almost two-thirds of the total, hit uninhabited areas and were not engaged by the Iron Dome.
279 rockets were engaged by the Iron Dome. 240 of these — 86% — were successfully intercepted.
39 — about 14% — made it through and caused the four deaths.

The US is developing a much superior system that detects thousands of missiles launched and intercepts them in seconds with another missile ala Patriot defense system or satellite laser system.  The US system is similar to the British laser-based technology development efforts. This is a £30 million ($37 million) technology demonstrator program known as Dragonfire that was awarded to an industry consortium in 2017. The US has success using these laser weapons in trials much earlier this decade.

The US laser technology is far ahead. The U.S. Navy trialed a laser weapon on an operational warship several years ago and is now planning to install a high-energy laser and integrated optical dazzler with a surveillance system on the destroyer Preble in 2021.

The use of supercomputers in detection and response to multiple missiles has allowed trials of 10,000 missiles in simualtions.  The real tests will be the trials planned for 2021.

The use of super satellites that can detect heat images, EKG, and retina scans are in development. Drone technology has this capability, but Iran’s shooting a drone down shows how vulnerable they are to capture. Satellite Comparison

The published images by currently available satellites show improvement, but the spy satellites are showing images much clearer similar to that below.

Image result for night vision aerial person

Image result for night vision aerial person

Simulations can target a leader and several of the key military leaders. So if a world leader was targeted, his whole command could be tracked and hit with missiles or lasers.  It would be like hitting Hitler, Goering, Rommel, and others in seconds.  The leadership vacuum plans for a more friendly successor.

The last project is targeting an individual with low-level UV and Ionizing radiation thereby increasing cancer risks.

 

 

 

 

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Russian FSB Contractor hacked

 

 

 

Red faces in Moscow this weekend, with the news that hackers have successfully targeted FSB—Russia’s Federal Security Service. The hackers managed to steal 7.5 terabytes of data from a major contractor, exposing secret FSB projects to de-anonymize Tor browsing, scrape social media, and help the state split its internet off from the rest of the world. The data was passed to mainstream media outlets for publishing.

A week ago, on July 13, hackers under the name 0v1ru$ reportedly breached SyTech, a major FSB contractor working on a range of live and exploratory internet projects. With the data stolen, 0v1ru$ left a smiling Yoba Face on SyTech’s homepage alongside pictures purporting to showcase the breach. 0v1ru$ then passed the data itself to the larger hacking group Digital Revolution, which shared the files with various media outlets and the headlines with Twitter—taunting FSB that the agency should maybe rename one of its breached activities “Project Collander.”

sytech sitek russian IT company hacked homepage

Also, hackers have published a screenshot of the interface of the internal network of the affected company. Next to the names of the projects (“Arion”, “Relation”, “Hryvnia” and others) were the names of their curators – the employees of “Sitek”.

Apparently, before deleting information from the computer, hackers partially copied it. They shared documents with the Digital Revolution – a group that in December 2018 took responsibility for hacking the server of the Kvant research institute. This institute is administered by the FSB.

Hackers sent documents “Sitek” journalists of several publications.

From the archive, which the BBC Russian Service was able to familiarize with, it follows that “Sitek” performed work on at least 20 non-public IT projects ordered by Russian special services and departments. These papers do not contain state secrets or secrets.

Who does Sitec work for?
The company is managed by Denis Vyacheslavovich Krayushkin. One of the customers of “Sitek” is the research institute “Kvant”, where, according to Runet-ID, works as a scientific consultant Vyacheslav Krayushkin. Krayushkin registered in the Moscow district of Zamoskvorechye.

The Bi-bi-s Research Institute “Quantum” refused to answer the question whether Denis and Vyacheslav Krayushkin are related to the organization: “This is confidential information, they are not ready to voice it.”

For information on joint projects “Sitek” and the Research Institute “Kvant” the BBC correspondent was advised to look at the institute’s website and on the Russian government procurement portal. Detect contracts “Sitek” with the Institute on these sites failed.

The latest financial results of “Sidek” published in 2017. Its revenue amounted to 46 million rubles, net profit – 1.1 million rubles.

The total amount of the company’s public contracts for 2018 is 40 million rubles. Among the customers are the national satellite communications operator JSC RT Komm.ru and the information and analytical center of the judicial department at the Supreme Court of Russia.

The stolen data seen by BBC Russia outlines a variety of projects being developed by Sytech. These projects include:

Mentor was allegedly being developed for the Russian military unit No. 71330, which is reportedly the radio-electronic intelligence of the FSB of Russia. This project would monitor selected email accounts at specified intervals in order to collect information related to certain phrases.

Nadezhda, or Hope in English, is a project designed to visualize how Russia is connected to the rest of the Internet. This research is part of Russia’s attempts to create a “sovereign Internet” where Russia can isolate itself from the rest of the Internet.

Nautilus is a project developed between 2009 and 2010 to collect information about users on social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace.

Nautilus-S is research into de-anonymizing users on the Tor network by creating exit nodes that were controlled by the Russian government. This project was allegedly started at the request of the Russian Research Institute “Kvant”.

Reward was being designed to penetrate and perform covert operations on peer-to-peer networks. This includes BitTorrent, Jabber, OpenFT, and ED2K

Tax-3 is the most recent project and was commissioned by “Chief Scientific Innovation Innovation Center JSC, reporting to the Federal Tax Service.”. This project would provide the ability to manually remove information from the Federal Tax Service about people under state protection.

The site for Sytech (www.sytech.ru) has since been shut down and have not responded to inquiries by the BBC.

While this data breach is not nearly as concerning as the Vault 7 WikiLeaks leak of NSA exploits, the BBC has stated that this is the largest data leak in the history of Russian special services.

Russian President Vladimir Putin previously signed provisions for an initiative to ensure that the Russian internet could operate independently from the world wide web in the event that it was disconnected for any purpose, internal or otherwise.

Most of the non-public projects “Sitec” performed on the order of military unit No. 71330. Experts of the International Center for Defense and Security in Tallinn believe that this military unit is part of the 16th Directorate of the Federal Security Service of Russia, which is engaged in radio-electronic intelligence.

In March 2015, the SBU accused the 16th and 18th FSB center of mailing files stuffed with spyware to the email of Ukrainian servicemen and intelligence officers.

The documents indicate the address of one of the sites where employees of the Saytek conducted the work: Moscow, Samotechnaya, 9. Previously, this address contained the 16th Administration of the KGB of the USSR, then the Federal Agency for Governmental Communication and Information under the President of the Russian Federation (FAPSI).

In 2003, the agency was abolished, and its powers were distributed between the FSB and other special services.

Tor distributes an Internet connection randomly across sites (servers) in different parts of the world, allowing its users to bypass censorship and hide their data. He also allows you to go into the darknet – “hidden network”.

The software complex “Nautilus-S” was developed by Sitec in 2012 by request of the Research Institute “Kvant”. It includes the “output” node of the Tor – the server through which requests are sent to sites. Usually such nodes are supported by enthusiasts on a voluntary basis.

But not in the case of “Sitek”: knowing at what point a particular user sends requests through Tor (for example, from an Internet provider), the program operators could, with a certain luck, match them in time with visits to sites through the control node.

In “Sitek” also planned to replace traffic to users who got to a specially created site. Sites for such users could look different than they really were.

A similar pattern of hacker attacks on Tor users was discovered in 2014 by experts at Karlstad University in Sweden. They described 19 interconnected hostile “exit” Tor nodes, 18 of which were controlled directly from Russia.

The fact that these nodes are connected was also indicated by their common version of the Tor browser – 0.2.2.37. The same version is indicated in the “Nautilus-S” operator’s manual.

One of the results of this work was to be “a database of users and computers actively using Tor networks,” according to documents merged by hackers.

“We believe that the Kremlin is trying to de-anonymize Tor purely for its own selfish purposes,” wrote the BBC Digital Revolution hackers. “Under various pretexts, the authorities are trying to restrict us from the ability to freely express our opinion.”

“Nautilus” and social networks
An earlier version of the project “Nautilus” – without the letter “C” through a hyphen after the name – was devoted to collecting information about users of social networks.

The documents indicate the period of work (2009-2010) and their cost (18.5 million rubles). The BBC is unknown whether Saitak managed to find a customer for this project.

The promotional offer for potential clients contained the following phrase: “In England, there is even a saying:“ Do not write to the Internet what you cannot tell the policeman. ”This carelessness of users opens up new possibilities for collecting and summarizing personal data, analyzing them further and using them for solving special tasks. ”

The users of Nautilus planned to collect data on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

“Reward” and torrents
As part of the Reward research work, which was conducted in 2013-2014, Saitek had to explore “the possibilities of developing a complex of penetration and covert use of peer-to-peer and hybrid networks,” the hacked documents say.

The project customer is not listed in the documents. As a basis for conducting the study, the Russian government decree on the state defense order for these years is mentioned.

As a rule, such non-public tenders are held by the army and special services.

In peer-to-peer networks, users can quickly share large files, since they function as a server and client at the same time.

In “Sitek” they were going to find a vulnerability in the BitTorrent network protocol (with the help of it, users can download movies, music, programs and other files through torrents). Users of RuTracker – the largest Russian-language forum on this topic – download more than 1 million torrents daily.

Also, Jabber, OpenFT and ED2K network protocols are in the interests of “Sitek”. The Jabber protocol is used in instant messengers popular with hackers and sellers of illegal services and goods on the darknet. ED2K was known in the 2000s to Russian-speaking users as an “ass”.

Mentor and Email
The customer of another work under the name of “Mentor” was the military unit No. 71330 (presumably – electronic intelligence of the FSB of Russia). The goal is to monitor email at the customer’s choice. The project was designed for 2013-2014,

According to the documentation provided by the hackers, the Mentor program can be configured so that it checks the mail of the required respondents at a specified time interval or collects the “mining mining group” using the specified phrases.

An example is a search on the mail servers of two large Russian Internet companies. According to the example from the documentation, the mailboxes on these servers belong to Nagonia, a fictional country from the Soviet spy detective “TASS authorized to declare” Julian Semenov. The plot of the novel is built around the recruitment of an employee of the KGB officer in Nagonia by the US special services.

Other projects
The Nadezhda project is dedicated to creating a program that accumulates and visualizes information about how the Russian segment of the Internet is connected to the global network. The customer of the work carried out in 2013-2014 was the same military unit No. 71330.

By the way, in November 2019, the law on the “sovereign Internet” will enter into force in Russia, the stated purpose of which is to ensure the integrity of the Russian segment of the Internet in the event of isolation from the external one. Critics of the law believe that he will give the Russian authorities the opportunity to isolate the RuNet for political reasons.

In 2015, commissioned by military unit No. 71330, Sitek carried out research work on the creation of a “software and hardware complex” capable of anonymously searching for and collecting “Internet information materials” while hiding “informational interest”. The project was named “Mosquito”.

The most recent project from the collection sent out by hackers dates back to 2018. It was ordered by the Chief Scientific Innovation Innovation Center JSC, reporting to the Federal Tax Service.

Roskomnadzor has blocked the site to vote against the “United Russia”
Roskomnadzor launches new telegram technology. How much does it cost?
Hackers revealed the data of 257 thousand users of Facebook. Traces lead to Russia
The program “Tax-3” allows you to manually remove from the information system of the FTS data of persons under state protection or state protection.

In particular, the creation of a closed data center for protected persons is described. These include some state and municipal servants, judges, participants in criminal proceedings and other categories of citizens.

Image caption
Hackers claim that they were inspired by the movement of digital resistance against blocking Telegram messenger
Digital Revolution hackers claim that they gave information to journalists in the form in which it was provided by members of $ 0v1ru (how many of them are unknown). “It seems that the group is small. Regardless of their number, we welcome their contribution. We are glad that there are people who do not spare their free time, who risk their freedom and help us,” noted Digital Revolution.

Contact with the group 0v1ru $ at the time of preparation of the material failed. FSB did not respond to a request from the BBC.

Website “Siteka” is not available – neither in its previous form, nor in the version with “Yob-face”. When you call the company on the answering machine, the standard message is turned on, in which you are invited to wait for the secretary’s response, but short beeps follow.

 

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