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  • Desmond Tutu: War based on lies polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history. Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased?

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-02 17:07:26
    'Why I had no choice but to spurn Tony Blair.

    I couldn't sit with someone who justified the invasion of Iraq with a lie.

    The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history.

    Instead of recognising that the world we lived in, with increasingly sophisticated communications, transportations and weapons systems necessitated sophisticated leadership that would bring the global family together, the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us.

    If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth? Days before George W Bush and Tony Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq, I called the White House and spoke to Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, to urge that United Nations weapons inspectors be given more time to confirm or deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Should they be able to confirm finding such weapons, I argued, dismantling the threat would have the support of virtually the entire world. Ms Rice demurred, saying there was too much risk and the president would not postpone any longer.

    On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers' circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush's chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

    The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.

    On these grounds alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague.

    But even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world.

    Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased? To what extent have we succeeded in bringing the so-called Muslim and Judeo-Christian worlds closer together, in sowing the seeds of understanding and hope?

    Leadership and morality are indivisible. Good leaders are the custodians of morality. The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level.

    If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?

    My appeal to Mr Blair is not to talk about leadership, but to demonstrate it. You are a member of our family, God's family. You are made for goodness, for honesty, for morality, for love; so are our brothers and sisters in Iraq, in the US, in Syria, in Israel and Iran.

    I did not deem it appropriate to have this discussion at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg last week. As the date drew nearer, I felt an increasingly profound sense of discomfort about attending a summit on "leadership" with Mr Blair. I extend my humblest and sincerest apologies to Discovery, the summit organisers, the speakers and delegates for the lateness of my decision not to attend.'

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/02/desmond-tutu-tony-blair-iraq
  • Computer virus hits second energy firm

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-02 16:33:08
    'Computer systems at energy firm RasGas have been taken offline by a computer virus only days after a similar attack on oil giant Aramco.

    The attacks come as security experts warn of efforts by malicious hackers to target the oil and energy industry.

    The attack forced the Qatar-based RasGas firm to shut down its website and email systems.

    RasGas, one of the world's largest producers of liquid petroleum gas, said production was not hit by the attack.

    The company said it spotted the "unknown virus" earlier this week and took desktop computers, email and web servers offline as it cleaned up.

    The report comes only days after Saudi Arabia's Aramco revealed it had completed a clean-up operation after a virus knocked out 30,000 of its computers. The cyber- assault on Aramco also only hit desktop computers rather than operational plant and machinery.

    Both attacks come in the wake of alerts issued by security firms about a virus called "Shamoon" or "Disstrack" that specifically targets companies in the oil and energy sectors.

    Unlike many other contemporary viruses Shamoon/Disstrack does not attempt to steal data but instead tries to delete it irrecoverably. The virus spreads around internal computer networks by exploiting shared hard drives.

    Neither RasGas nor Aramco has released details of which virus penetrated its networks.

    The vast majority of computer viruses are designed to help cyber-thieves steal credit card numbers, online bank account credentials and other valuable digital assets such as login names and passwords.

    However, an increasing number of viruses are customised to take aim at specific industries, nations or companies.

    The best known of these viruses is the Stuxnet worm which was written to disable equipment used in Iran's nuclear enrichment efforts.'

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19434920
  • Oil Producer Saudi Aramco Reveals Cyber Attack Hit 30,000 Workstations

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-29 20:53:43
    'Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil producer, has resumed operating its main internal computer networks after a virus infected about 30,000 of its workstations in mid-August.

    Immediately after the Aug. 15 attack, the company announced it had cut off its electronic systems from outside access to prevent further attacks. Saudi Aramco said the virus "originated from external sources" and that its investigation into the matter was ongoing. There was no mention of whether this was related to this month's Shamoon attacks.

    “The disruption was suspected to be the result of a virus that had infected personal workstations without affecting the primary components of the network,” Saudi Aramco said over Facebook.

    “We would like to emphasize and assure our stakeholders, customers and partners that our core businesses of oil and gas exploration, production and distribution from the wellhead to the distribution network were unaffected and are functioning as reliably as ever,” Saudi Aramco’s chief executive, Khalid al-Falih, said in a statement.

    However, one of Saudi Aramco’s websites which was taken offline after the attack - www.aramco.com - remained down yesterday. E-mails sent by Reuters to people within the company continued to bounce back.

    Supposed hacktivists have claimed the hit on the oil giant, saying they would hit the company again tomorrow. The group said it was “fed up of crimes and atrocities taking place in various countries around the world”, in a post on Pastebin. They said they were targeting the House of Saud, the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia, and targeted Aramco as it was “the largest financial source for Al-Saud regime”.

    The group, calling itself the ‘Cutting Sword of Justice’, claimed to have hacked Aramco systems in several countries before sending a virus across 30,000 computers achieving a 75 percent infection rate of all the company’s systems. It refuted suggestions that a nation state was behind the attack.

    Symantec, one of the world’s largest internet security companies, said on the day after the Saudi Aramco attack that it had discovered a new virus that was targeting at least one organisation in the global energy sector, although it did not name that organisation.

    “It is a destructive malware that corrupts files on a compromised computer and overwrites the MBR (Master Boot Record) in an effort to render a computer unusable,” Symantec said in a blog posting about the virus, which it called W32.Disttrack. “Threats with such destructive payloads are unusual and are not typical of targeted attacks.”

    Saudi Aramco’s al-Falih said in his statement yesterday: “Saudi Aramco is not the only company that became a target for such attempts, and this was not the first nor will it be the last illegal attempt to intrude into our systems, and we will ensure that we will further reinforce our systems with all available means to protect against a recurrence of this type of cyber attack.”'

    http://thehackernews.com/2012/08/saudi-aramco-oil-producers-30000.html
  • Shamoon virus targets energy sector infrastructure

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-18 13:13:40
    'A new threat targeting infrastructure in the energy industry has been uncovered by security specialists.

    The attack, known as Shamoon, is said to have hit "at least one organisation" in the sector.

    Shamoon is capable of wiping files and rendering several computers on a network unusable.

    On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia's national oil company said an attack had led to its own network being taken offline.

    Although Saudi Aramco did not link the issue to the Shamoon threat, it did confirm that the company had suffered a "sudden disruption".

    In a statement, the company said it had now isolated its computer networks as a precautionary measure.

    The disruptions were "suspected to be the result of a virus that had infected personal workstations without affecting the primary components of the network", a statement read.

    It said the attack had had "no impact whatsoever" on production operations.

    'Rendered unusable'

    On Thursday, security firms released the first detailed information about Shamoon.

    Experts said the threat was known to have had hit "at least one organisation" in the energy sector.

    "It is a destructive malware that corrupts files on a compromised computer and overwrites the MBR (Master Boot Record) in an effort to render a computer unusable," wrote security firm Symantec.

    The attack was designed to penetrate a computer through the internet, before targeting other machines on the same network that were not directly connected to the internet.

    Once infected, the machines' data is wiped. A list of the wiped files then sent back to the initially infected computer, and in turn passed on to the attacker's command-and-control centre.

    During this process, the attack replaces the deleted files with JPEG images - obstructing any potential file recovery by the victim.

    'Under the radar'

    Seculert, an Israel-based security specialist, also analysed the malicious code and concluded that it had unusual characteristics compared with other recent attacks.

    "The interesting part of this malware is that instead of staying under the radar and collect information, the malware was designed to overwrite and wipe the files," the company said.

    "Why would someone wipe files in a targeted attack and make the machine unusable?"

    Shamoon is the latest in a line of attacks that have targeted infrastructure.

    One of the most high-profile attacks in recent times was Stuxnet, which was designed to hit nuclear infrastructure in Iran.

    Others, like Duqu, have sought to infiltrate networks in order to steal data.'

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19293797
  • Secrets and lies... I despise.

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-16 11:01:03
    These police officers should be ashamed of themselves. They should be questioning their actions. What a massive waste of taxpayers money we're seeing right now outside the Ecuadorian Embassy.

    I don't mind paying taxes IF...

    ...those taxes don't go towards killing people (unless it was voluntary euthanasia).

    ...their main use is to go towards improving the community and society as a whole. Education, healthcare, welfare, public services.

    ...our political and judicial system was fair and just.
    ___________

    Unfortunately, none of the above appears to the reality of the situation.

    I know I sound like a tape on loop sometimes, but I truly believe we need to put those who are in power, in check.

    Storming an embassy equates to an act of war.

    If Iran were to carry out such an act, there would be WWIII.

    When did we become the bad guys?!... I fear it was long before we took part in this sorry charade to bring Assange to 'justice'... Not for some 'crime' of failing to wear a condom, the result of which is usually a fine. No, this is all about Assange pulling back the curtain, and showing the world that our dear beloved leaders are war criminals who are hellbent on keeping their blood for oil agenda and corruption quiet.

    Secrets and lies... I despise.