Snowden reveals British spies set up fake Internet cafes to monitor G20

“There have often been rumours of this kind of espionage at international conferences, but it is highly unusual for hard evidence to confirm it and spell out the detail.”

People using the Internet at the easyInternetCafe located at a post office in London. File photo via AFP.
People using the Internet at the easyInternetCafe located at a post office in London. File photo via AFP.

The Raw Story

Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.

The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week.

The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.

There have often been rumours of this kind of espionage at international conferences, but it is highly unusual for hard evidence to confirm it and spell out the detail. The evidence is contained in documents – classified as top secret – which were uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian. They reveal that during G20 meetings in April and September 2009 GCHQ used what one document calls “ground-breaking intelligence capabilities” to intercept the communications of visiting delegations.

This included:

• Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates’ use of computers;

• Penetrating the security on delegates’ BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;

• Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;

• Targeting the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party;

• Receiving reports from an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow.

The documents suggest that the operation was sanctioned in principle at a senior level in the government of the then prime minister, Gordon Brown, and that intelligence, including briefings for visiting delegates, was passed to British ministers.

Continue reading here…

Politico’s: The week in one-liners: Perry, Rose, Bachmann


The week’s top quotes in politics …

“… I don’t miss my shots in the fourth quarter.” — President Barack Obama onbasketball and 2012.

“I’m not a halfway kind of guy.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on his decision to endorse Mitt Romney.

“It’s been heaven. My staff can’t find me, nobody can reach me.” — Sen. Patrick Leahy telling the WSJ why he enjoyed the BlackBerry outage.

“They don’t expect to see me at Starbucks or at Chipotle.”— First LadyMichelle Obama discussing her incognito public outings with NBC’s Al Roker.

“We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party.” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s wife, Anitaspeaking out about her husband’s presidential campaign.

“I just try to get up every day and do my job, and debates are not my strong suit.” — Rick Perry acknowledging that he’s not the world’s best debater.

“I believe in tables.” — GOP debate moderator Charlie Rose approving of Tuesday’s set-up onstage.

“And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say you know, I don’t know.” — 2012 hopeful Herman Cainadmitting to The Brody File that he doesn’t know everything.

“I think the devil is in the details.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann knocking Cain’s 9-9-9 plan during the presidential debate.

Anti-Gay Indiana Lawmaker Who Paid Male Teen for Sex Resists Call from Speaker to Step Down, Says He’s Not Gay: VIDEO

This same scenario repeats itself every year and at least 3 to 4 times a year with GOP lawmakers on the State and Federal level.


Anti-gay Indiana Rep. Phil Hinkle, who was caught earlier this month paying $80 to a male teen for sex after responding to an ad on Craigslist, is refusing calls, now public, from the House Speaker, for him to step down. The calls from Speaker Brian Bosma follow similar pressure last week from a wide range of officials.

Hinkle is also being removed from committees.

The Indy Star reports:

He said that he understands why he’s being stripped of his committee chairmanships and that he won’t seek re-election. But he said he will not resign, despite House Speaker Brian Bosma’s call Tuesday to do so.

And he said he did nothing illegal with — or to — the young man and that he himself was the victim of a crime. But he said he would not file a police report.

Said Hinkle in his first public comments since the incident: “I was on the road to self-destruction, and I don’t know why….I say that emphatically. I’m not gay…I went to the edge, but I didn’t fall over the edge.”   Watch:

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Anti-gay Indiana state rep solicited 18-year-old boy on Craigslist

Just another day in the life of some of the most virulent anti-gay GOPers who just happen to like little boys and grown men.  It seems like every year at least three or more of these hypocrites are exposed for the world to see.

Raw Story

Indiana state Rep. Phillip Hinkle (R) is embroiled in controversy after The Indianapolis Star discovered emails appearing to solicit the paid company of a young man, sent from Hinkle’s publicly listed email address.

In response to a M4M forum Craigslist post, Hinkle emailed the man, named Kameryn Gibson, and offered him $80 cash, with a tip of $50 or $60 “for a really good time” in the hours he proposed spending together at a local Marriott.

Gibson, whose ad lists him as 20 years old but is actually 18, said he met Hinkle at the hotel, and tried to leave when Hinkle said he was a state politician.

The Star writes:

He said the lawmaker at first told him he could not leave, grabbed him in the rear, exposed himself to the young man and then later gave him an iPad, BlackBerry cellphone and $100 cash to keep quiet.

The BlackBerry contained all of the emails between the young man and Hinkle. In one, Hinkle gives a physical description: “I am an in shape married professional, 5’8″, fit 170 lbs, and love getting and staying naked.”

No police report has been filed, but a spokesman for Hinkle said that “a shakedown” had taken place, and did not deny that the emails had been sent by Hinkle.

Peter Nugent, Hinkle’s lawyer, asked “that everyone respect the privacy of the family at this time” while the matter is being investigated.

According to Project Vote Smart, Hinkle is against same-sex marriage, and carries the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. Hinkle, 64, has been in state legislature since 2000 and co-authored a bill to create a license plate inscribed with “In God We Trust.”

“Indiana has no openly gay state legislators and provides no legal rights for LGBT people. Hinkle [and others] recently voted to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-​sex marriage and civil unions,” political blogger Bil Browning pointed out.

The emails between Gibson and Hinkle contain no direct mention of sex acts, and Gibson said that they didn’t have sex. In Indiana, prostitution is defined as an agreement between people to have sex for money.

Megan Gibson, Kameryn’s sister, came to pick him up from the hotel after Hinkle thrust the bribes upon Gibson. She said that she spoke to Hinkle’s wife on the BlackBerry, and told her her husband was gay. Hinkle’s wife offered her $10,000 to keep quiet.

Later, Hinkle himself called the phone, and Megan Gibson told him that she’d spoken to his wife and said he was gay.

“You’ve ruined me,” the lawmaker said.


G.O.P. to Open House to Electronic Devices

Eeek!  The GOP are becoming geeks!

The New York Times

The iPad is coming to Capitol Hill.

Tucked into new rules proposed by the incoming House Republican majority is one that could fling the chamber — for good or ill — into the 21st century: Members may use an electronic device on the House floor as long as it doesn’t “impair decorum.”

The new rule would relax the complete ban on the use of gadgets like the iPad, iPhone or BlackBerry on the floor. Mobile phones, tablet computers and the whole universe of applications that run on them will be officially available to House members as they conduct business.

Members still may not talk on the phone in the chamber and are supposed to use the devices for official business only, according to a spokesman for the soon-to-be speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio. But as long as the mute switch is on, lawmakers will be free to tap away.

“Mr. Boehner has deep respect for the institution and its traditions,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the Republicans. “This is not free license to Skype or pay bills online. But we recognize that people consume information electronically these days. It’s just silly that the House wouldn’t accommodate that.”   More…

Beware the GOP Coronation

Clockwise from top left: Michelle Bachmann, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Meg Whitman and Rick Perry (Photos: Getty Images)

As Walter Cronkite would say at the end of his CBS Evening News program…“and so it goes…”

The Daily Beast

Republicans will win big, and the press coverage will be glowing. But don’t forget: At the 100-days mark in his presidency, Obama walked on water. Howard Kurtz on the media’s mood swings.

Less than two years after taking office on a wave of hope, Barack Obama is on the verge of being slapped down by the electorate.

The president is so battered, politically speaking, that some members of his own party are sprinting away from him while Republicans whack him like a piñata.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The media assured us that the guy was headed for greatness. The nation’s journalists watched him in action, and in the last days of April 2009, delivered their collective verdict.

MSNBC’s Howard Fineman said Obama was “born” to live “calmly and confidently on a global stage with the hottest lights and biggest audience…. He doesn’t seem needy, aloof or afraid. We used to call that ‘cool.’ ”

Carl Cannon, writing at Politics Daily, said this: “He is as velvety smooth as a cold glass of Guinness, this new president of ours… not to mention the good looks of a Kennedy, the even keel of a Roosevelt, the understated swagger of an Eisenhower.”  Continue reading…