On September 2, 2017, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. Experts say this was an advanced hydrogen bomb. It has has already launched eighteen missile tests this year, The last ballistic missile test flew over Japan. The war scenario will occur similar to this.
The USA sees another missile launch now or in the future. The USA shoots the missile down early in flight. North Korea retaliates, and escalates tensions into open warfare.
The DMZ has been weakened considerably over the last 50 years. The initial invasion of South Korea with conventional weapons will favor North Korea. The USA has troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The USA would not be able to counter attack in a week. It would take a month. The South Korean army would be routed initially. The push would prohibit USA use of nukes since the nukes would be in North Korean on smaller mobile platforms.
Steve Bannon, formerly the president’s chief strategist, stated that the US cannot attack North Korea because of the risk of retaliation against South Korea that will kill millions.
So the war stays conventional.
North Korea has 1.2 million troops in its various military branches. South Korea has about 600,000. The surprise attack favors a sharp penetration during the first week. Again the US aircraft can inflict damage but there is not enough in the DMZ to stall the North Korea advance. There are 25 million people in South Korea within artillery range of North Korea. North Korea also has chemical and biological weapons.
South Korea was invaded on June 25 1950. North Koreans advanced through the country rapidly, even after American troops were drafted in from bases in Japan, and the war seemed all but over. Then in September General MacArthur landed two divisions in the enemy’s rear and North Korea was forced to flee amid heavy aerial bombardment. The USA lost more than thirty thousand troops in battle. South Korea lost almost a quarter million troops and a million civilians.
What if the South Korea government surrenders in the first month? What then? It begins a tough war into Korea for the USA. The will is not there.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters: “We are never out of diplomatic solutions.”
Would the USA have attacked Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammer Gaddafi of Libya if they had nukes? History would say no.
The North occupying South Korea could use nukes on the invading USA army. That threat alone would give the USA pause.
The prevention of this Second war requires basic steps.
Trump has repeatedly tried and failed to persuade Beijing to exert more economic pressure on North Korea, threatening that the US will take unilateral military action if China fails to force Mr Kim into line. China has sought to placate Mr Trump by toughening sanctions on Pyongyang. But the Chinese also have to consider how Mr Kim might react if he is forced into a corner. The risk that the North Korean leader will use nuclear weapons first will surely rise if he is faced with the prospect of the collapse of his own regime — and his own certain death.
The arrest of Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz Monday on suspicions that include fraud and money laundering is connected to a case against him in Romania, police and other sources say.
Mr. Steinmetz, an Israeli diamonds, mining and real estate magnate, is already under scrutiny by law enforcement authorities in four other countries, including the United States. Federal prosecutors in the United States are investigating whether representatives of his firm bribed government officials in Guinea to secure a multibillion-dollar mining deal. In Switzerland and Guinea, prosecutors have conducted similar inquiries. He was previously detained and questioned in Israel in December.
During Steinmetz’s remand hearing at the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court on Monday, senior investigating officer Avshalom Ahrak said that the allegations against him also concern alleged wrongdoings in Romania. In March 2016, Steinmetz was indicted by the Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for complicity in money laundering, peddling influence and forming an organized crime group with 13 other suspects, which included Silberstein. According to Attila Biro from the Romanian investigative Rise Project, the trial began in January this year, and there have been 20 hearings thus far. His sources, he said, have told him that some of the charges that led to Steinmetz’s arrest in Israel are related to the Romanian case.
The Rise Project report said that, according to the DNA, Steinmetz had financed a criminal group that sought to acquire a large property claimed by 67-year-old Paul Lambrino, the nephew of the last king of Romania. The group was coordinated in Romania by a local businessman, Remus Truica, the chief of staff to former Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. Nastase was eventually sentenced to prison for corruption.
Adrian Năstase, Romania’s prime minister between 2000 and 2004, became the country’s first head of government in the post-communist era to be convicted of corruption.
Mr Năstase was raised in the communist school of politics, and it showed. During his time in office state-run television and radio stations were obliged to follow a pro-governmental line. Newspapers that printed incriminating stories found their entire circulation had been bought up before they hit the news-stands. Mr Năstase took part in huge hunting sprees that rivalled any of Ceauşescu‘s, and his two wives were both from the communist nomenklatura.
Mr Năstase’s truculence in the face of opposition was legendary. When asked about the significant wealth that he accumulated during his time in office, he invited his detractors to count his balls instead.
Despite such outbursts, Mr Năstase, a much-published professor of international law, cultivated the image of a bourgeois intellectual. This helped pave the way for his rival, the current president Traian Băsescu, whose populist appeal and working-class idiom were a world away from the aloof Mr Năstase. The promise of clamping down on corruption helped Mr Băsescu to defeat Mr Năstase in 2004.
Romania once again came under scrutiny late last year after its lower house of parliament voted to increase the immunity of MPs against graft charges. The bill drew criticism from some western embassies and the president.
Nastase’s conviction will not be a game-changer in regard to Romania’s entry into the Schengen zone, said Cristian Patrasconiu, a Bucharest-based political analyst.
“But it is a very positive development towards achieving this goal, as the judiciary is now perceived as stepping up its efforts to rein in high-level corruption,” he said.
Nastase had been freed from prison in March 2013 after serving nine months of a two-year term for corruption. The court on Monday also gave his wife Dana a three-year suspended jail sentence for her complicity in taking bribes.
Nastase’s case dates back to 2006 when prosecutors indicted him and his wife in a landmark probe, charging Nastase with taking bribes worth 630,000 euros (£523,989.51).
Truica and Steinmetz have a long history together, having worked as partners 16 years ago in a Romanian real estate company.
According to the prosecutors, Prince Paul illegally claimed the restitution of 28.6 hectares of land in northern Bucharest and of other assets. He argued that the land plot, known as the Baneasa Royal Farm, and the other assets had belonged to his grandfather King Carol II before being nationalized by the communists. Prince Paul made his claim in 2002, but didn’t have much success in recovering the properties.
So, in 2006, he went to Remus Truica, an influential businessman, well-connected with political leaders, to help him with the restitution. He promised Truica and his group 50% to 80% of the recovered assets’ value in exchange, according to the DNA prosecutors.
In 2008, Remus Truica and his group helped Prince Paul get the Baneasa Royal Farm, a piece of prime real-estate in northern Bucharest. The farm belonged to and agriculture research institute, which was under the authority of the Romanian Agricultural Science Academy, a state-controlled institution. The institute’s director didn’t want to return the farm to Prince Paul, as the institute used it for its experimental cultures.
However, the academy’s secretary general at that time, Gheorghe Sin, approved the farm’s restitution to Prince Paul, despite the fact that the royal heritor hadn’t produced all the legal documents needed for the restitution. Apparently, Remus Truica bribed Gheorghe Sin and other of the institute’s management to sign the restitution papers.
The Romanian state was thus damaged some EUR 136 million.
According to the Rise Project report, prosecutors claimed that Steinmetz had transferred 4 million euros ($4.7 million) to be used in the allegedly illegal acquisition of the former royal property – now highly expensive land near the capital of Bucharest. That money was used to make a purchase for an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands set up by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, a leader in creating shell companies that often serve to conceal ownership of assets. That company became the legal owner of two swaths of land for Steinmetz’s local partners. One was the former royal farm Baneasa in Bucharest, and the second was a nearby forest. Prosecutors said the two allegedly illegal land deals cost the state €145 million ($170 million) in damages.
Wiretaps that the prosecutors presented in court indicated that Steinmetz was orchestrating the land deals. An arrest warrant was issued on March 15 for Steinmetz, who was not in the country at the time, but the Romanian supreme court revoked it two weeks later. The court has not yet explained its reasons for doing so, but prosecutors say the charges remain.
Leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca, part of the “Panama Papers,” documents identified by the Rise Project indicate that Steinmetz set up another offshore company, which owns 20 hectares of land in Snagov, near Bucharest. The land was initially owned by a local company. In 2009, that company was acquired by the shell corporation that Mossack Fonseca had established, represented by Robert Rosu, a well-known lawyer in Romania who was also indicted in the criminal case against Steinmetz.
A group of American diplomats in Havana, Cuba have suffered severe and unexplained hearing loss over the past year, which U.S. officials believe was caused by a covert and advanced sonic device.
The severity of some of the diplomats’ symptoms has forced them to cancel their Cuba tours early and return to the U.S. for treatment, the Associated Press reports.
But what exactly is a sonic device, how common are they, and how much damage can they actually cause? Here’s what to know.
What weapons was used to hurt diplomats in Cuba?
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the government does not “have any definitive answers about the source” of the attack. It is continuing to investigate what may have caused the diplomats’ injuries.
However, U.S. officials who spoke anonymously to the AP said that the hearing loss was caused by a device deployed either inside or near the diplomats’ residences. The devices emitted a sound that was not audible to human ears, they added. That would indicate it was most likely an infrasonic or ultrasonic weapon.
The Canadian government said Thursday that at least one Canadian diplomat in Cuba also has been treated for hearing loss following disclosures that a group of American diplomats in Havana suffered severe hearing loss that U.S. officials believe was caused by an advanced sonic device.
Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Brianne Maxwell said Canadian officials “are aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and US diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana. The government is actively working — including with U.S. and Cuban authorities – to ascertain the cause.”
Basically, these diplomats came under acoustic attack in the form of a dog-whistle-style sound, unheard by humans. The sound-making devices were placed either inside or just outside the embassy employees’ homes.
Italian police confirmed they’re looking for at least one other man following the arrest of Polish-born Brit Lukasz Herba, one of the alleged masterminds behind Chloe Ayling’s dramatic abduction.
Miss Ayling told Italian police that her agent had booked her a photo shoot in Milan on July 11.
Ayling, 20, but instead was drugged and kidnapped for six days.
She said Herba, 30 — a member of a shady underground syndicate called “Black Death” — told her she was going to be auctioned off on the dark web.
Cops detained the British-based Pole in Milan and found a Black Death leaflet – which features black plague doctors from the 1300s – alongside a note to the victim explaining why she was being released.
The note called her kidnapping a “mistake” because she was a mother of a two-year-old and said “our main and very well respected men” argued for her release.
The woman told police she was attacked by two men who reportedly demanded £270,000 in Bitcoins to free her – a fee which was later negotiated down to £50,000 by the terrified model’s agent.
Herba was arrested July 18 after his auction plan went awry, as he was taking Ayling to the British consulate in Milan. He appeared in court last Friday, when detectives sought to keep him incarcerated as they continue to investigate his claimed affiliation with a notorious trafficking ring called the Black Death Group that Interpol investigated in 2015.
Italian prosecutors are working to figure out whether the threat of the online auction was used as an extortion attempt for $300,000 in ransom money for Ayling’s return. They’re also trying to determine whether the Black Death group actually exists.
Herba also reportedly told Ayling that he had made €15 million ($17.7 million) sex-trafficking kidnapped women and selling them via the deep web on the Black Death Group website, which its developers move frequently and which can only be found and accessed through a special encrypted invitation with a URL.
The Black Death, which is believed to operate in Eastern Europe, dates back to 1994 and is said to offer services including “assassinations, bombings and arms dealing.”
The Sunday Mirror has uncovered the British model’s Dark Web “advert” which features a disturbing image of her dressed in just a velvet body suit, looking dazed and lying on the floor with her left breast exposed.
Her captors had even placed a calling card on her stomach.
The ad by Black Death Group – which refers to victims as “merchandise” – also features a series of horrifying promises about the women they traffic and a list of the woman’s personal details – including her dimensions.
Black Death – which operates using the Bitcoin currency – boast they can “kidnap a specific target for your needs” and assure free “EU delivery” of victims.
The dark web is a section of the internet where people can contact one another anonymously and without fear of being monitored.
Google doesn’t work and where passwords are replaced by encrypted invitations. It can only be accessed through anonymizer browsers like Tor Project, which hide IP addresses so web surfers with malicious intent cannot be traced. It is known as the deep web or darknet: a place where college students buy hard drugs to be delivered to their dorms, where arms are sold to terrorists, and where street children are sold for snuff films.
Because of this many criminals use it to sell illegal drugs, chemicals, weapons, child porn and even offer assassination services. Silk Road – the most notorious dark net online market – was closed down by the FBI in 2013.
Its founder Ross Ulbricht was convicted of seven charges including drug trafficking, criminal enterprise, aiding and abetting the distribution of drugs over the internet, computer hacking and money laundering. He was sentenced to life.
one post from the internets
Human trafficking is an oft-quoted myth of the dark web, but one that is rarely backed up with evidence. For a brief few moments, I managed to grab the attention of someone who actually claimed to be selling people on this part of the internet—whether they really were or not.
“We don’t invite strangers to auctions,” Black Death told me in one email. “We don’t want popularity. No Europol. No people just looking around. No journalists or bloggers.”
Mia Ash is young, attractive and popular, with hundreds of social media connections.
She shares your favourite hobbies, so when she adds you, you’re flattered and a little bit excited.
After exchanging messages on LinkedIn, you’re happy to continue the conversation on Facebook and WhatsApp.
MIA ASH IS a 30-year-old British woman with two art school degrees, a successful career as a photographer, and plenty of friends—more than 500 on Facebook, and just as many on LinkedIn. A disproportionate number of those friends happen to be Middle Eastern men, and when she posts coy selfies to Facebook, they shower her with likes. Her intriguing relationship status: “It’s complicated.” No kidding.
Mia Ash doesn’t exist
You’ve been communicating with a mirage, and you’re about to fall into the hands of a team of hackers believed to be acting on behalf of a hostile foreign government.
Online “honey pot” attackers like Mia Ash represent a new front in a global espionage, with hackers targeting strategically important companies through their weakest line of defence: their hapless employees.
That’s according to cyber security expert Allison Wikoff from SecureWorks, whose counter threat unit has been fighting what has been dubbed the Cobalt Gypsy spy campaign.
Mia Ash is a sophisticated fake persona that the unit has identified as an agent of a hacker group called Cobalt Gypsy aka OilRig, which is understood to be backed by the Iranian Government.
With highly detailed social media profiles portraying her as a young English photographer, the group used real images believed to be stolen from an innocent woman in Romania.
The scam targeted mid-level staff at Middle Eastern telecommunication, technology, aerospace and oil and gas companies with access to sensitive parts of their company’s IT operations.
Mia Ash introduced herself as a wedding and portrait photographer reaching out to people around the world, saying she wanted to “learn more about your country”.
One worker fell for Mia Ash’s charm, striking up a friendship that lasted several weeks before the true nature of the situation was revealed when the hackers sent him a malware-infected email disguised as a “photography survey”.
The man, an amateur photographer who connected with the young woman believing they had a shared interest, unsuspectingly opened the attachment.
Ms Wikoff said the aim was to steal login IDs and passwords when the document, once opened, would unleash a type of malware called PupyRAT, giving the hackers access to the organisation’s computer systems.
“They’re really interested in information that aligns with the Iranian government’s objectives,” she told news.com.au.
A Phish Called Mia
In February, as SecureWorks helped a Middle Eastern company diagnose an attempted spyware infection, the security analysts found that one of that company’s employees had been communicating with the Ash persona for more than a month. The conversation had begun on LinkedIn, where Ash had approached the staffer with questions about photography. The discussion had moved to Facebook, and the scope broadened to work, photography, and travel.
Eventually, Ash sent the staffer an email with a Microsoft Excel attachment for a photography survey. She asked him to open it on his office network, telling him that it would work best there. After a month of trust-building conversation, he did as he was told. The attachment promptly launched a malicious macro on his computer and attempted to install a piece of malware known as PupyRAT, though the company’s malware defenses prevented the installation.
After digging further into Mia Ash, SecureWorks found that hackers have cultivated the persona as a lure for staffers at target companies for over a year, with the endgame of infecting computers with spyware, and getting an initial foothold into a victim company’s network.
Social engineering, or using human lies and pretenses as a means to lull victims into security slip-ups, is a well-worn page of the hacker playbook. But rarely do hacker groups go to the trouble of building such a long-running, fleshed out persona as Mia Ash, says Allison Wikoff, one of the SecureWorks researchers who led the analysis, which SecureWorks presented at the Black Hat security conference. She points to Ash’s well-populated Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogger, and WhatsApp accounts, as well as two email addresses, as evidence of the hackers’ persistence and planning. “This is one of the most well-built fake personas I’ve seen,” says Wikoff. “It definitely worked, and worked for well over a year.”
Examining Ash’s friends on Facebook and Linkedin, SecureWorks found she had two distinct sets. First, she seems to have befriended prominent photographers to bolster her profile as a bona fide shutterbug. The second group comprised men aged 20 to 40, mostly in Middle Eastern and Asian countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Israel, as well as some Americans, who worked as mid-level technicians, software developers, and administrators at tech, oil and gas, aerospace, consulting, and healthcare companies.
Examining the would-be target list in Ash’s friend group, SecureWorks linked her with a hacker group known as OilRig or Cobalt Gypsy, widely believed to be working for the Iranian government in a widespread cyberespionage campaign. (According to at least one analysis from McAfee, that group also collaborated on a more destructive campaign to plant data-destroying Shamoon malware on the networks of more than a dozen Saudi Arabian targets, and SecureWorks’ analysis of the group’s methods also matches a description of Shamoon-planting hackers tracked by IBM.)
In late 2016, SecureWorks spotted that group launching a broad phishing campaign that used PupyRat as well. A month later, Mia Ash kicked into action at the company SecureWorks aided. Wikoff suggests that means the Ash persona may be used as a secondary tactic: If a specific company’s staff doesn’t fall for more traditional phishing emails, a persona like Ash approaches a specific target there, initiating a professional conversation over LinkedIn, and then building trust via Facebook or WhatsApp before sending the victim a malware payload via email. Based on the time put into the Ash persona, she believes it was likely used repeatedly against the Iranian hackers’ targets. “This is probably a well-oiled machine,” Wikoff says.
Ash to Ashes
After well over a year online, Ash’s LinkedIn profile mysteriously disappeared earlier this month. SecureWorks alerted Facebook to the persona, and the company removed her profile there, too.
SecureWorks also identified the real-life woman whose photos hackers used to assemble Mia Ash’s profiles. But when WIRED reached out to her she declined to speak on the record, and asked not to be identified. Wikoff points to her case as an example of how publicly posting personal photos can have unexpected, creepy consequences. “If you don’t lock down your social media accounts, they can be used in ways that might not directly harm you, but are nonetheless nefarious,” Wikoff says.
But Mia Ash offers a more serious lesson to possible victims of state-sponsored hackers, Wikoff says: Digital honey traps can be highly sophisticated, with personas that appear to have long histories and convincing personalities. And that attractive new Facebook friend may not actually be into your vacation photos.
Outrage over plans by Poland’s governing party to put the judicial system under its political control sparked another day of nationwide protests Saturday, with some people gathering outside the home of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and accusing him of being a dictator.
Polish democracy icon and former President Lech Walesa addressed a protest in Gdansk, urging young Poles to fight to preserve the separation of powers that his Solidarity movement helped to achieve more than a quarter century ago when Poland threw off communist rule.
Poland’s Senate approved the measure early Saturday, capping days of debate and demonstrations. The lower house of Parliament gave its approval earlier this week.
“Mass protests in Poland in recent days failed to change the minds of the ruling Law and Justice Party,” NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Berlin. “Its leaders say the measure — which among other things, ousts the current Supreme Court judges — is aimed at reforming the judicial system and to ensure any vestiges of communism are purged.”
The new law would allow Duda to choose who gets to stay on the court and to name new judges to replace anyone he wants to remove.
The EU is on the brink of taking the nuclear option of stripping Poland of its voting rights in Brussels in response to plans by its rightwing government to “abolish” the independence of the country’s judiciary.
Frans Timmermans, the first vice-president of the European commission, accused Warsaw of seeking to put judges under full political control as he warned that the EU was “very close” to triggering article 7, a never-before-used sanction in the treaties that allows a member state’s voting rights in the council of ministers to be suspended.