What a sneaky person that Feinstein is!I have highlighted parts of this article.===========================================
This is WND printer-friendly version of the article which follows.
To view this item online, visit http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/feinsteins-plan-bans-any-gun-with-a-grip/
A key gun law analyst who has published books on the issue of the Second Amendment and its rights and responsibilities for decades says the Feinstein gun ban bill is just exactly that, a gun ban bill.
Not, essentially, a plan to limit certain guns. Not a limit on the size of magazines. Not a plan for restrictions on those with certifiable mental instabilities, a ban on criminals’ access or a plan to encourage gun safety.
Alan Korwin is a nationally recognized expert resource on the issue of gun laws, and runs Bloomfield Press, which is the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in the country.
He said if the plan by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is made law, “any semiautomatic firearm with uses a magazine – handgun, rifle or shotgun – equipped with a ‘pistol grip,’ would be banned.”
He explained, “That sounds like a limitation, but it is not. A pistol grip (on page 2) is defined (on page 13) as ‘a grip, a thumb-hole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip.’”
He said, “In other words, the gun list does not matter. It is a smokescreen designed to distract people from the true meaning of the bill. And it has done a magnificent job. It worked! Any semi-automatic firearm that exists, with anything on it you can grip, is banned. (There is a grandfather clause for old stuff.)
“The list is meaningless tripe. It is camouflage for the real purpose of the bill. When the president said he is not going to take away your guns, well, Feinstein’s bill puts the lie to that. Magazine size does not matter. Brand name does not matter. It doesn’t matter if it’s black. If you can grip it, it’s banned under this bill.”
The bill, in fact, states, “‘Pistol grip’ means … any … characteristic that can function as a grip.”
That definition follows on the bill’s specific reference that a “pistol grip” is a banned component.
Korwin wrote his first book, “The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide,” in 1989, and it now is in its 25th edition. He subsequently wrote or helped with nine more books on gun laws for several individual states, as well as federal guides to national laws and Supreme Court gun cases.
He maintains on his website a free directory to every gun law in the nation.
He told WND that the list of guns that Feinstein would ban is meaningless.
The definition, Korwin said, “invalidates her entire list of guns, and I’ve written 10 books on this topic, I know what I’m saying.”
He said while there is a grandfather clause for “old stuff,” the reality is that, “Any semi-automatic firearm that exists, with anything on it you can grip, is banned.”
“Pro-rights and anti-rights attention has been focused on the tremendous list of guns that would be banned under Feinstein’s bill, which takes up a significant portion of the 122 pages of this proposal,” he said in his analysis. “Here’s the problem none of the ‘news’ reports have spotted.
“The list of guns doesn’t matter. Magazine size doesn’t matter. If the semi-auto firearm has anything to grip it by, it is banned. It’s very clever actually,” he said.
He also noted there are a number of significant omissions.
In Feinstein’s plan, “nothing addresses criminals – everything is aimed at innocent people who haven’t done anything wrong. … It is all ‘wrong because we say so,’ the worst kind of government abuse – crime by decree,” he said. “The critics appear to be right. This is not about gun control, it is purely about control. The bill simply removes the right to own property Americans currently own.”
He said there also is “nothing” that addresses people “who are nuts, borderline nuts, formerly nuts or no longer nuts and still perpetually banned from their rights.”
He noted there also is no mention of psychotropic drugs that “may cause psychotic episodes, suicidal tendencies, manic behavior, sudden death and various social and psychological disturbances” in the bill. A significant number of perpetrators in most of the mass shootings in recent years have been linked to some sort of drug activity.
And, he said, there is “nothing in her 122-page bill [that] deals with gun safety. No training, no marksmanship, nothing for teachers, no self-defense awareness, no public education, nothing for schools, everything the president has asked for to increase child safety is missing in her long list of guns she would remove from the hands of the innocent,” he said.
The bottom line is that her proposal is something Congress should fear, he said.
“Every aspect of this bill appears to be an infringement on the Bill Of Rights, with no legitimate justification. Congress cannot pass infringements by majority vote. That is forbidden, although the word ‘infringement’ itself is universally missing in ‘news’ reports, in case you haven’t noticed,” he said.
“Congress can’t just enact whatever they want by majority rule. If they could, we would not have government of limited delegated powers, the hallmark of freedom and The American Way. It must just be a typo, on page two, continuing for 121 pages.”
Feinstein has claimed she wants banned “sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of 120 specifically named firearms, certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.”
We are Preparing for Massive Civil War, - YouTube
I figured I’d give this video 5 minutes, 10 minutes tops. It held me for all 32 minutes. But any 5 minute clip will do.
The first New Deal President threw 110,000 American citizens into concentration camps with no trials, no due process, nothing. Most of them were children, or young adults below the voting age. Many of them died from inadequate medical facilities.
It can’t get much worse than that. But it has.
This video is a compilation of news and commentary clips on the second New Deal President, who claims the right to KILL American citizens, also without due process or trials. Welcome to police-state fascism.
If you give this only five minutes, and if you recognize all the sources, they range from the hard left to the hard right.
January 30, 2013 | 2:24 pm
This week's warm Washington temperatures had some thinking about rolling the Lawn-Boy out of the garage for the first cut of the year. And we all know what that means: Difficult starts due to E10 gas that gels when it sits.
Now, according to a new study, cars and truck may face the same fate thanks to President Obama's demand for a higher ethanol in the new E15 gas.
The fuel industry's American Petroleum Institute tested the 15 percent ethanol gas approved in 2010 and found it gums up fuel systems, prompts "check engine" lights to come on, and messes with fuel gauge readings.
"Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways," said the industry report. Worse: API said the fuel problems--not found in E5 or E10 blends--aren't always covered by auto warranties.
The industry prefers pure fuel to an ethanol mix, but the report isn't likely to slow the administrations green push, according to a Washington auto lobbyist.
The key points from the API report are below:
The additional E15 testing, completed this month, has identified an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine. Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways. Fuel system component problems did not develop in the CRC tests when either E10 or E0 was used. It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.
In 2010 and 2011, EPA gave the green light to use E15 - the 15 percent ethanol gasoline blend - in model-year-2001-and-later cars and some other vehicles. EPA's action was irresponsible. EPA knew E15 vehicle testing was ongoing but decided not to wait for the results. Why did EPA move forward prematurely? Part of the answer may be the need to raise the permissible concentration level of ethanol so that greater volumes could be used, as required by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Most gasoline sold today is an E10 blend, but rising volume requirements under the law can't be met much longer without going to higher blends. When Congress passed the law, it could not know it was creating this problem. Today we know. The answer is to repeal the RFS before it puts millions of vehicles and many motorists at risk.
In many other places in the world, we "de-mil" ships (up to & including CVs) and intentionally sink them to become artificial reefs....guess we can't even think of such a logical solution here since it might harm some UNESCO bureaucrat's definition of "reef"...
By Luis Martinez | ABC OTUS News – Tue, Jan 29, 2013
ABC OTUS News - Stuck Minesweeper to Be Cut Into Pieces (ABC News)
Unable to tow the minesweeper USS Guardian off a reef in the Philippines, the Navy has decided that the only way to free the ship without causing further damage to the reef is to cut the ship into pieces.
That basically means the USS Guardian will no longer exist as a Navy vessel and will be taken off the Navy's ship roster.
The 23-year-old Avenger class minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground on Tubbataha Reef the night of Jan. 17 as the ship crossed the Sulu Sea. The reef, located about 400 miles south of Manila, is both a Philippines natural park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Days after the incident the commander of the Navy's Seventh Fleet issued an apology to the Philippine government.
In the days since, the Navy was unable to tow the ship off the reef as poor sea conditions complicated the salvage effort. Capt. Darryn James, spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told ABC News that the Navy now plans to cut the ship into pieces to get it off the reef. Two heavy lift ship-borne cranes will arrive at the scene by Friday to begin to salvage the ship. The process is expected to take a month.
"The ship is badly damaged," said James. According to James the team of naval architecture and salvage efforts working to free the minesweeper determined that "after a full review of all possible alternatives, our only viable option is to dismantle the damaged ship and remove it in sections."
James said the decision "keeps the cranes in deeper water to minimize coral damage." He added, "We are developing a thoughtful and deliberate plan to safely remove individual sections of the ship without causing the release of harmful materials."
None of the 79 sailors aboard the ship were injured in the grounding and there has been no seepage of fuel onto the reef. The ship's crew was transferred to another U.S. vessel and have returned to their homeport of Sasebo, Japan.
The ship's wooden hull - covered in fiberglass - is punctured and parts of the ship have been flooded. As part of the salvage effort the 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard the Guardian were transferred to a Malaysian tug contracted by the Navy. Other materials that might damage the reef have also been removed including : 671 gallons of lubricating oil; dry food stores; paints and solvents contained in storage lockers; and the crew's personal effects left behind on the ship.
A preliminary Navy review found that the digital chart the crew was using to navigate the ship incorrectly listed the reef's location by 8 miles. A review of additional charts created by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency found another navigational aberration off the coast of Chile. Both have been corrected.
The Philippine Congress is conducting its own investigation of the ship's grounding.
According to a Navy fact sheet, the Navy's 14 Avenger-class ships "are designed as mine sweepers/hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines." With hulls made of wood and sheathed in fiberglass, the 224-foot-long vessels "use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control. They are also capable of conventional sweeping measures."
A number of the vessels have been deployed to the Persian Gulf over the past year to counter any possible Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz with mines.
The terrifying mindset of Secretary Clinton
By Joseph Curl
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Her words are already long gone from the daily flow; in fact, they never really resonated at all, were all but ignored by the mainstream media, and were characterized more as a feisty in-your-face comeback than what they truly were.
And what they truly were was horrifying — but at the same time a deep insight into the Democratic mindset, as well as a peek at what may be coming in 2016.
Last week, Secretary of State Hillary RodhamClinton finally appeared to answer questions before two congressional panels on exactly what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
That day, the consulate was overrun by heavily armed terrorists, some with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, others with high-powered assault weapons. They swept past the almost nonexistent security, killed the U.S. ambassador and set the building on fire. They followed when dozens of Americans fled to a more-heavily fortified annex nearby, but U.S. forces did nothing during the next 10 hours and three more were killed, including two Navy SEALs.
For weeks, the White House and top administration officials said the assault was merely a protest turned violent: The angry mass had gathered to protest a short video posted on YouTube that Muslims reportedly found offensive. It was, they said, spontaneous, and it was, they said, all about that video.
The hearing last week was a fact-finding mission: Lawmakers charged with oversight of the State Department gathered to ask the secretary of state — for the first time — what went wrong, and to find out, if possible, the cause of the deadly blunder. More, they wanted to hear from the secretary herself just why the administration had said for so long that a video caused an impromptu protest that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador.
Asked during a Senate hearing why they had given out faulty information for so long, Mrs. Clinton grew angry and, with her voice rising, he hands flailing, said: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?!”
And that, in a nutshell, sums up the frightening Democratic mindset. The administration had buried the matter for months in an internal investigation: No one from the White House to the State Department would comment on what happened, turning away queries with the simple: “It’s under investigation.” And they weren’t about to start explaining now.
Remember, the story had changed completely just hours before another congressional hearing months earlier. State Department officials, speaking with anonymity, had scrambled to hold a hastily-arranged conference call with reporters to say, in essence, “Oh, turns out it was terrorists, not just protesters, who attacked in Benghazi. And oh, nothing to do with any video.” That call came just before officials planned to tell a completely new story, but this time to lawmakers, where — as Mrs. Clinton learned after her husband’s affair with a White House intern — lying under oath is a felony.
So, lawmakers still wanted to know why the administration dispatched aides to the Sunday talk shows right after the deadly attack to say it was the culmination of a spontaneous attack over a video. Later, Mrs. Clinton and President Obama would say that they were merely offering up the best information at the time, but as information dribbed and drabbed out over the following months, it turned out that no one in the intelligence community ever said the attack was spontaneous or caused by a video posted on YouTube nearly six months earlier.
But Mrs. Clinton made clear at the hearing that she didn’t have to answer to anyone — certainly not elected lawmakers, let alone the American people. “What difference does it make?!” she bellowed. Now, this hearing was in fact a hearing intended to find out why the administration said the attack came after an impromptu protest over a video. Senators made clear in the days preceded the hearing that they planned to ask just that, get the answer to that most pressing unanswered question.
“You know, to be clear,” the secretary explained, as if to children, “it is, from my perspective, less important today, looking backwards, as to why these militants decided they did it [sic], than to find them and bring them to justice.”
So, from her perspective, there doesn’t need to be any investigation into why the administration said what it said. It’s like a child breaking a lamp, lying about it to his parents, and then saying, “Look, we could go on and on about who said what about breaking the lamp, but fixing the lamp now is really all that’s important — let’s move on.”
And that is terrifying. The secretary of state said simply, “The ends justify the means.” The Obama administration had lied about what happened in Benghazi to help secure a second term for the president, buried the murder of Americans in a private investigation, then, when finally questioned, said, “What difference does it make!?” what we said way back then.
The tactic is, of course, how Democrats operate. They feel that what they are doing is morally superior; thus, however they can achieve their goals is above question or reproach. In fact, in this case, they can lie about it — bald-faced — and then dismiss lawmakers’ questions with an indignant huff.
It is, as we know, exactly how the Clintons operate. Bill Clinton lied for weeks and months over his sexual dalliance with an intern only a few years older than his daughter — even under oath — and Democrats decried the probe as a witch hunt. Remember when Mrs. Clinton made $100,000 through spurious cattle futures contracts? Of course not: By the time it all came around, the Clintons said, “Oh, that old stuff?” Or the time the Clintons announced they had suddenly found papers demanded by investigators for years? And don’t even ask about Vincent W. Foster Jr.
This is what’s coming in 2016. A politician running for president who need not answer questions from anyone.
And that truly is horrifying.
Senator John Kerry said today in his opening statement in his confirmation hearing for Secretary of State before the Senate that he will do his best to implement "President Obama's vision for the world" by giving "a voice to the voiceless."
Excuse me Mr. Secretary Designate, but the last time I checked, the "job description" of OUR Secretary of State was to give voice to OUR voice....http://www.state.gov/secretary/115194.htm
"You can ignore reality;
but you can't ignore the
consequences of ignoring reality."
Don't think it can't happen here.
Don't think it isn't happening here.
Flickr / Bayhaus
ADAM CLARK ESTES759 ViewsJAN 29, 2013
There are cash-strapped governments and there are broke governments. And then there's Zimbabwe, which, after paying last week's government salaries, has just $217 left in the bank. No, we didn't forget any zeroes to the end of that figure. Zimbabwe, the country that's home to some of the world's largest platinum and diamond reserves, literally has the same financial standing as a 14-year-old girl after a really good birthday party. The country's finance minister admitted as much in a press conference on Tuesday. "Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 [left] in government coffers," Tendai Biti told reporters. "The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets."
So it seems. However, Zimbabwe is hardly a stranger to financial hyperbole. The economy started to come apart at the seams in 2000, when President Robert Mugabe seized the land of over 4,000 white-owned farmers, effectively dismantling the country's agriculture industry. Over the course of the next decade, the country spiraled into an extended period of hyperinflation, the likes of which the world almost never sees. It peaked in August 2008, when inflation reached 11,200,000 percent and economists around the world started to say that the country's situation was hopeless. Prices were doubling by the day, and the government had to print Z$100 billion notes. The following year, they went ahead and printed Z$100 trillion notes, just before deciding to chop 12 zeroes off of the currency. A new coalition government formed that year and started on the long process of financial recovery, a process that is clearly going to take a little longer.
It's unclear how the Zimbabwean government is going to get itself out this fiscal mess, but whatever it does, it needs to do it quickly. As Quartz's Tim Fernholz points out, Zimbabwe is looking at a $104 million bill for its upcoming election. Its government is also dealing with brand new allegations that government officials have been running a corruption ring around the country's diamond mines. The country obviously desperately needs a major change. "But action against corruption probably won’t come until the end of Mugabe's reign, and a new constitution coming up for a referendum this spring -- presuming the funds can be found -- might set up the aging autocrat for another term in power," writes Fernholz.
Until then, looking for quarters under the couch isn't going to cut it, so Zimbabwe is doing the only thing it can do. "We will be approaching the international community," Biti said. You'll never guess who's most likely to come to the rescue. Hint: They're big fans of rare minerals.
An old-time trial lawyer once said, "When your case is weak, shout louder!"
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shouted louder when asked about the Obama administration's story last fall that the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. ambassador's quarters in Benghazi, Libya, was due to an anti-Islamic video that someone in the United States had put on the Internet, and thereby provoked a protest that escalated into violence.
"We had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?"
Students of propaganda may admire the skill with which she misdirected people's attention.
But those of us who are still old-fashioned enough to think that the truth matters cannot applaud her success.
Let's go back to square one.
After the attack on the American ambassador's quarters in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, the Obama administration immediately blamed it on the anti-Islamic video.
Moreover, this version of what happened was not just a passing remark. It was a story that the administration kept repeating insistently.
Hoax In High Places
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice repeated that story on five different television talk shows on the same Sunday. President Obama himself repeated the same story at the United Nations.
The man who put the anti-Islamic video on the Internet was arrested for a parole violation, creating more media coverage to keep attention on this theme.
"What difference, at this point, does it make?" Secretary Clinton now asks.
What difference did it make at the time?
Obviously the Obama administration thought it made a difference, with an election coming up. Prior to the attack, the administration's political theme was that Barack Obama had killed Osama bin Laden (with an assist from the Navy SEALs), vanquished al-Qaida and was now in the process of putting the terrorist threat behind us.
To have the attack in Benghazi be seen as a terrorist attack — and a devastating one — would have ruined this picture, with an election coming up.
The key question that remains unanswered to this day is:
What speck of evidence is there that the attack in Benghazi was due to the much-discussed video or that there was ever any protest demonstration outside the ambassador's quarters?
If there is no evidence whatever, then the whole attempt to say that a protest over a video escalated into an attack was a deliberate hoax by people who knew better.
Clinton In 2016?
There is no point in the administration saying that they did not have all the facts about the attack immediately. All the facts may never be known.
But the real question is:
Did you have even a single fact that would substantiate your repeated claims that some video led to a protest in Benghazi that got out of hand and led to the attack?
Interestingly, Hillary Clinton herself was not featured in this campaign, even though as secretary of State she was a key figure.
Hillary was not about to create video footage that could come back to haunt her if she runs for president of the United States in 2016.
In a larger context, the Benghazi attack showed that you cannot unilaterally end the "war on terror" or the terrorists' war on us, by declaring victory.
For years, the Bush administration's phrase "war on terror" was avoided like the plague by the Obama administration, even if that required the Fort Hood massacre to be classified as "workplace violence."
But, no matter how clever the rhetoric, reality nevertheless rears its ugly head.
Once the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi is seen for what it was — a highly coordinated and highly successful operation by terrorists who were said to have been vanquished — that calls into question the Obama administration's Middle East foreign policy.
That is why it still matters.
With the recent uproar about the second amendment, and the renewed vigor of attacks upon "assault rifles" I happened upon the following portion of a court ruling in a case of "Wilson v. state" from an internet search for "gun related quotes from the founding fathers".
The court ruled in 1878 in a case which could never have predicted today's weapons and the growing animosity towards gun ownership, when an Arkansas farmer decided to use a military Colt .44 caliber revolver to shoot hogs!
Here is the portion of interest:
But to prohibit the citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm, except upon his own premises or when on a journey traveling through the country with baggage, or when acting as or in aid of an officer, is an unwarranted restriction upon his constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege.
The judgment is reversed and the cause remanded for a new trial.
His Agenda: President Obama's convention speech got rough reviews, and rightly so. He offered little but tired bromides and recycled promises. But critics overlooked one promise that will guarantee an even bleaker future.
There was plenty to dislike in Obama's speech. The language was flat, his delivery languid. The speech was stuffed with standard Obama chestnuts about the smallness of politics, the corrupting influence of money in politics, and how cynicism is our worst enemy.
Instead of stirring rhetoric filled with hope and promise, Obama pledged that under his leadership, "our path is harder" and "our road is longer."
Seriously? After four years of the worst economic recovery since the Depression, falling incomes, lower-paying jobs, increased hopelessness and exploding debt, all Obama has to offer is that he'll make this nightmare last even longer?
He also told the public that they "elected me to tell you the truth" not to "tell you what you wanted to hear," but then proceeded to hide inconvenient truths while filling the public's ears with sweet nothings.
For example, he pledged government help for everyone who could possibly want or need it, but managed to avoid any mention of the hard truth that the national debt just topped $16 trillion and entitlements are unsustainable.
He said he'd spend money saved from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on roads, bridges and schools. Even the liberal press wasn't buying this one. As the AP pointed out, Obama "laid claim to a peace dividend that doesn't exist."
Obama promised to "take responsible steps" that would "keep the promise of Social Security." But he failed to mention that the only options he's left on the table are raising taxes or cutting benefits. That may not be what people want to hear, but it's the absolute truth.
He trotted out his supposed plan to cut deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. But his actual plan — the budget he presented in February — would add $3.5 trillion in deficits, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Then Obama said he'd create a million new manufacturing jobs, recruit another 100,000 math and science teachers, cut tuition growth in half, and reform the tax code. All by magic, apparently, since he's provided no detailed plans on any of this.
But while everyone was picking apart these and other flaws in Obama's speech, they overlooked the most frightening line of all. That was when Obama promised that he'd pursue "the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one."
That promise might have made liberal hearts swoon. But as Amity Shlaes explained in her outstanding history of the era — "The Forgotten Man" — it was precisely FDR's "bold, persistent experimentation" that was largely to blame for the length, depth and severity of the Great Depression.
Convinced that the government had to do something, FDR tinkered and experimented, she said, figuring that if he didn't "get it right the first time ... maybe he'd get it right the second time." But the very arbitrariness of FDR's actions, she found, made it impossible for businesses to make plans. And so, as FDR's bold experiments increased, business activity decreased and markets froze.
"From the point of view of a business," Shlaes said in a 2009 interview, "it is annihilating to hear Washington uncertain, and that itself retards recovery because you really don't know what to expect."
If Obama wants to conduct experiments, he should get a job as a high school science teacher, and not use the entire nation as guinea pigs, particularly when we already know how his tests will turn out.
There's a war going on, and it's raging here at home -- not in the streets or the fields, but on the Internet. You can think of it as a war on the digital homeland. If you work for a power company, bank, defense contractor, transportation provider, or other critical infrastructure type of operation, your organization might be in the direct line of fire. And everyone can become collateral damage.
A cyber war has been brewing for at least the past year, and although you might view this battle as governments going head to head in a shadow fight, security experts say the battleground is shifting from government entities to the private sector, to civilian targets that provide many essential services to U.S. citizens.
[ When in China, it's not safe to leave your laptop alone. Bob Violino explains why. | Find out how to block the viruses, worms, and other malware that threaten your business, with hands-on advice from InfoWorld's expert contributors in InfoWorld's "Malware Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]
The cyber war has seen various attacks around the world, with incidents such as Stuxnet, Flame, and Red October garnering attention. Some attacks have been against government systems, but increasingly likely to attack civilian entities. U.S. banks and utilities have already been hit.
"The cyber war has been under way in the private sector for the past year," says Israel Martinez, a board member of the U.S. National Cyber Security Council, a nonprofit group composed of federal government and private sector executives.
"We're finding espionage, advanced persistent threats (APTs), and other malware sitting in networks, often for more than a year before it's ever detected," Martinez says. He says U.S. entities are being targeted on multiple fronts by China and Iran for espionage and intellectual property theft, by interests in Russia and Eastern Europe for syndicated crime such stealing cash and identities, by social-agenda "hacktivist" groups such as Anonymous, and by increasingly skilled individual criminal hackers.
The cyber war now raging in the digital homeland
Such attacks have been going on for years, but what's new is the cyber war brewing between the United States and Israel on one side and Iran in the other, says Emilian Papadopoulos, chief of staff at Good Harbor Security Risk Management, a consulting firm focused on cyber threats.
Stuxnet, for example, was developed by Israel with U.S. support to hobble Iranian nuclear facilities, according to the New York Times and several security experts who spoke to InfoWorld off the record. Iran also accuses the United States and Israel of the cyber attacks that took Iran's Oil Ministry and a major oil terminal offline, Papadopolous says.
Iran or its proxies has apparently hit back with cyber attacks on U.S. banks, government officials say. Iran may have also been behind the Shamoon virus that wiped 30,000 hard drives and took computer networks offline for weeks at the oil producer Saudi Aramco, Papadopoulos says.
A 2011 attack on European certificate authority DigiNotar compromised the certificate system that underlies the Internet and enables users to trust in the identity of websites they visit and the source of communications they receive, Papadopoulos says.
"We have seen cyber attacks evolve from espionage attacks that steal intellectual property or monitor communications to disruptive or destructive attacks. ... Destructive and disruptive cyber attacks are relatively uncharted -- and troubling -- territory," he says.
The private sector owns and operates the infrastructure and systems that form the backbone of the Internet, and attacks on that system could break down trust in the Internet, with major economic and operational impact, Papadopolous says.
"In the past six months, we've seen foreign attacks on oil and gas companies in the Middle East and on U.S. banks, including Bank of America, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC, and SunTrust. How will we react if the next attack is against the electric grid, or our food and water supply?" he asks.
In recent months, cyber attacks have become much more sophisticated, says the Cyber Security Council's Martinez. In some cases, overseas attackers have taken over servers in the United States that they then used to launch secondary attacks, making it appear as if one U.S. company was attacking another.
"The good news is [security] teams in most Fortune 500 companies are able to detect this and reverse it, but this type of threat is going to be a very big problem for us over the next 12 months," Martinez says.
Another battleground in the cyber war is the software industry. Much as we saw with the APT attack against Adobe Systems' software last year and with the attacks using weaknesses in Oracle's client-side Java over the last several years, we can expect to see more attacks against trusted software providers such as antivirus vendors, says Pat Clawson, CEO of security products vendor Lumension. "The attackers want to get to the unparalleled access they have to their customers," he says. "Once the antivirus vendors' payloads are compromised, the devastation could be staggering." Such fears explain why the feds recently advised all Americans to disable the compromised Java in their browsers.
Such cyber attacks on U.S. companies and their overseas partners, as well as on the Internet infrastructure, could be as devastating as the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, warned Leon Panetta, the U.S. Secretary of Defense. And Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, warned just last week that a cyber 9/11 attack could happen at any time.
Cyber attacks and counterattacks are escalating
With the digital homeland now a cyber battlefield, "the paradigm in the U.S. must shift from defense to offense -- within internationally appropriate rules of engagement, of course. But offense will be necessary because a pure defensive strategy is not sustainable," says the Cyber Security Council's Martinez.
The U.S./Israeli cyber attacks on Iran are an example of such an offensive. But they likely unleashed attacks on the digital homeland in response. "It is nearly impossible for us to really know cause and effect here, but there has definitely been an escalating pattern of attacks," Papadopoulos says.
The escalation of attacks against private-sector targets is extremely troubling, he says. "If the attacks keep escalating and happening with more frequency and against more private-sector companies, we are putting at risk the stability and security of cyber space."
Nations have been testing each other's armor for long time, more quietly than not, Lumension's Clawson. Knowing your opponents' weaknesses is an important part of any defensive strategy, he says. That drives some of the offensive actions. Stuxnet, for example, "is a heavy engineering exercise that crossed never-seen-before-boundaries ... malware that could do new things."
But such offensive tests can also help the governments attacked respond more effectively, Clawson says. "That massive engineering effort is now being reengineered against us." Martinez concurs: "In the case of Stuxnet, an offensive maneuver engendered an offensive cyber response." As another example, Clawson notes that the apparently Iranian attack on Saudi Aramco had elements of the allegedly Israeli/U.S. Flame in its architecture.
Breaking the cycle of attacks and counterattacks
Ultimately, the solution to the cycle of cyber violence must be political, Martinez notes. Such attacks "are symptoms of a larger problem that must be resolved between ideologies of two very different cultures and people. ... In some cyber incidents, it's about the perceived or maybe true imbalance between corrupt power and common people. Balancing between these parties, toward the best interest and security of the common people, is a difficult task."
Until the conflicts are resolved, "almost everyone becomes a victim of unintended consequences during war, even cyber war," Martinez says. "Cyber war may be digital, but it is still a form of war."
Because cyber conflict is relatively new, interested parties need to focus more energy and attention on developing international norms that will say what is acceptable behavior and what is not, advises Good Harbor's Papadopolous. That is crucial for maintaining a stable, secure, and trusted Internet, he says.
Although some experts are trying to apply international law to curtail cyber war, these efforts are advancing slowly, and each new attack and counterattack implicitly establishes norms about what is acceptable, he says.
Clearly, the private sector has a vested interest in a stable, secure cyber space and needs to advocate for international norms that will rein in cyber conflict and attacks on critical infrastructure and other companies, Papadopolous says.
Playing defense at home until the cyber war ends
In the meantime, government policymakers and corporate CEOs alike need to think about and plan for escalating cyber conflicts and for disruptive and destructive attacks, not just espionage or intellectual property theft -- the major focus undertaken against advanced persistent threats and hack in recent years. After all, more countries and groups will gain the ability to launch sophisticated attacks, Papadopoulos says.
Policies such as the 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission's Guidance on Cyber Disclosure now require many Fortune 500 companies to report any type of meaningful cyber threats in their organizations, Martinez says. This is leading to an "age of transparency -- whether we like it or not -- which is a good thing because we now share more information about attacks, which allows us to more easily target bad actors," he says.
Still, Papadopolous says the cyber attacks on the private sector raise difficult questions: "What kinds of companies are fair targets? What kinds of attacks are acceptable?" Also, are companies liable when their services are disrupted by foreign attack? And who pays for clean-up, repairs, and compensation to affected customers?
Another key question: What is the government's role in protecting critical companies? In October 2012, Secretary of Defense Panetta said it was not the DoD's mission to provide for the day-to-day security of private and commercial networks, although he acknowledged the Pentagon had a role in the event of a "crippling cyber attack," Papadopoulos says.
Recently, there were reports of banks seeking help from the National Security Agency, Papadopoulos says. "How will the government's role change if we see more and more attacks against companies and they are more and more disruptive or destructive?" he says. That's a question many more people may ask if the world cyber war indeed escalates.
One thing is clear: The era of cyber warfare is here, and it's happening on the homefront.
This story, "Unseen, all-out cyber war on the U.S. has begun," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in information security at InfoWorld.com. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.
April 10, 2012
A news report has been quietly making its way around the alternative media, under the radar screen, concerning a Delaware legal decision to strip county sheriffs of their arrest powers in the state.
The mainstream media has not reported the story, but the son of Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as Attorney General for the state of Delaware, has issued a mandate to county commissioners informing them that sheriffs in the state's three counties no longer have arrest powers.
When the information reached this reporter late yesterday evening, further investigation revealed that there is a nationwide effort to strip local sheriffs of most of their enumerated powers that are mandated in the state constitutions of the various states. Such a move would have the net effect of abolishing local sheriffs departments and strengthening the power of federal law enforcement agencies.
And this is not the first time such an effort has been launched.
In the 1970s an initiative was launched by county supervisors in California to eliminate the office of sheriff, but one supervisor instead was able to persuade two state legislators to get a question placed on the California ballot as to whether or not the office of the sheriff should be an elected office. The measure passed overwhelmingly, and the mandate for elected sheriffs was placed in the state constitution.
And in 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt was set to eliminate all of the 48 states in order to implement nine regional governments that would operate as extensions of the federal government. All local law enforcement would be eliminated. The plan failed, but the fact that it was attempted points to an ever present, insidious stealth plan on the part of some within the federal government to take away the right of the people and the states to elect their own local law enforcement and to vastly strengthen the hand of the numerous federal law enforcement agencies that currently operate throughout America.
Proponents of such unconstitutional measures desire to forge a world government of sorts under the control of the United Nations. Various methods are used to expedite this plan, including the infamous 'Agenda 21' that has raised the alarm among some citizens.
The key to the success of the implementation of such plans is enforcement. How would the federal government insure compliance among the states and their citizens?
Dozens of federal agencies have their own law enforcement divisions, and those divisions are growing quickly under the Obama Administration. Homeland Security is purchasing 450 million rounds of hollow point bullets. The IRS will need roughly 16,500 new employees to implement ObamaCare. The White House has just sent $500 million to the IRS to enforce the new healthcare law. The EPA's recent penchant for using heavy handed tactics outside the authority given to it by Congress has placed businesses under the gun and stymied economic recovery. Citizens complain that the agency regularly violates private property rights.
And then there are such agencies as the FBI, ATF, DEA, ICE, and others that are under suspicion for widespread corruption in the Fast and Furious scandal, a fact that has not hampered Congressional Democrats from calling for massive new funding and expanded powers for these agencies.
The move to weaken and dismantle sheriffs offices around the country is viewed by Constitutional watchdogs as an ominous signal in a broader attempt to usurp the rights of citizens on the local level in lieu of an expanded nationalized police force under the control of a federal bureaucracy.
Notice! My latest entry in what is turning into a regular, ongoing series of musings after midnight at my blog, The Liberty Sphere, is now posted. I present more in depth personal reflections delineating the acute danger America faces at this hour. It is a dire warning to the serious reader who loves freedom and the principles handed down to us by the Framers. Don't miss it.
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