#AceNewsServices (Editors Choice) – October 03 – The HIV pandemic that has now infected 75 million people worldwide emerged in a “perfect storm” of bustling trade routes and migrant workers in central Africa in the 1920’s, researchers said in a study published in the Science journal.
An international team of scientists led by the University of Oxford in the UK and the University of Leuven in Belgium reconstructed the history of the HIV pandemic, using historical records and DNA samples of the virus, tracing it back to the city of Kinshasa, capital of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rapid social changes in the early 20th century, along with spreading prostitution and use of unsterilised needles in health clinics, resulted in transmission of the virus, which was also carried to distant parts of the Congo by millions of passengers who used the newly-built railway network, the study found.
This confluence of factors, including urban growth, extensive railway links during Belgian colonial rule and changes in sexual behaviour, combined to see HIV spread across the globe, the scientists said.
#AceNewsServices – BRUSSELS – September 22 – The European Commission headquarters in Brussels was going to be the target of an alleged terrorist plot, according to media reports it was reported by EUobserver today.
Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday (22 September) say police found a cache of weapons and explosives in an apartment in Brussels.
One of the two suspects, both Dutch nationals of Turkish origin, is said to have links to Shariah4Belgium, a Belgian radical Salafist organisation.
The couple, said to be residents in The Hague, were detained early August at the Brussels airport after returning from Syria via Turkey.
A European Commission spokesperson said they are aware of the plot but had received no warnings or threats, reports the Guardian.
Authorities, for their part, are increasingly stepping up efforts to contain possible threats from returning nationals who have fought alongside Islamist militia groups in Syria and Iraq.
Governments are concerned some of the more radical may be seeking to stage attacks on their home turf.
In Belgium, around a quarter of the 400 nationals who have left to fight have since returned. Most are entering the warzone in Syria through by crossing over the Turkish border.
Belgian paper L’Echo says police are actively tracking around 90 of the returned fighters.
“Our starting point is that among them, one out of nine aim to carry out an attack,” an unnamed source told the paper.
“That is a conservative estimate, if you also take into account the people who help them,” added the source.
Some are said to have joined the Islamic State (Isis), the extremist group behind recent be-headings of reporters and aid workers.
#AceWorldNews – BELGIUM (Brussels) – September 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Belgium’s intelligence services prevented several terror attacks, which were planned by Muslim Belgians, who had returned from Syria where they supported the militants, local media reported on Saturday.
The media say radicals, who shared views of the Islamic State terrorist organisation, also planned bloody actions. All suspects were detained.
The authorities preferred not to publish the information earlier to avoid possible panic in the society.
The media write up to 90 nationals of the Kingdom have returned from Syria, and every ninth was involved in preparing terror attacks similar to the firing at people near the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
As many as about 300 Belgian nationals are among radical Muslim militants fighting in Syria.
#AceWorldNews – SCOTLAND – September 15 – Travellers to Scotland, beware. In buses, pubs and street rallies, people have only one thing on their mind these days: Scottish independence.
They wear bumper stickers with “Yes” or “No thanks”, dye their hair white and blue, sing folk songs and hand out leaflets.
Posters are everywhere.
For the yes camp, it is about a nation going its own way, breaking away from a political elite in Westminister.
To “naysayers”, it is a foolish decision instigated by populists, that will ruin two nations for generations to come.
Both camps are virtually equal, with pollsters saying the referendum on Thursday (18 September) can go either way.
The referendum will also have an impact on other independence-minded regions in the EU, such as Catalonia in Spain and Flanders in Belgium.
Scotland will set a precedent for how Brussels deals with territories breaking off from an EU member state.
Aye or nay
Any person over 16 who resides in Scotland, irrespective of their nationality, will be allowed to answer the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
Several foreign students and an English shopkeeper told this website they will not cast their vote, however, because this is a “Scottish matter”.
But David Warren, a 50-year old accountant who is originally from Trinidad and has been living in Edinburgh for over 20 years, said he will vote yes “because I want Scotland to experience what my home country experienced in 1962 when it became independent from the UK”.
#AceWorldNews – PARIS – June 06 – Paris prosecutors are investigating more than 200 French citizens who are suspected of participating in the fighting on the side of radical Islamist groups in Syria, RTL radio reported on Friday.
The French Interior Ministry believes that about 300 French citizens are currently fighting in Syria for rebels against government forces, ITAR-TASS said.
I am on this story, have been a while, this court case against the Vatican and the Queen of the UK. It is getting bad for the accused. But don’t expect main stream media to go near this! From Brussels and the Canada case
The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State
Our Mandate: (1) To legally prosecute those people and institutions responsible for the exploitation, trafficking, torture and murder of children, past and present, and (2) To stop these and other criminal actions by church and state, including by disestablishing those same institutions.
Kevin Annett: Vatican rumors Pope Francis health/resignation to avoid Satanic murder evidence
Video via myself
Amidst rumours that Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio, may step down from his office because of his public prosecution for child trafficking and murder, one of his fellow defendants has just done so. Jesuit Superior General Adolfo Nicolas Pachon announced suddenly this week that he will resign from his office at the next General Congress of the Jesuits.
Along with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Bergoglio and Pachon are primary defendants in an historic criminal lawsuit being conducted by the International Common Law Court of Justice in Brussels that commenced on April 7, 2014. Several eyewitnesses who have given their deposition to the Court claim they witnessed Welby, Bergoglio and Pachon participate in child rape and sacrifice rituals connected to the notorious Jesuit-run Ninth Circle cult, during 2009 and 2010. In a statement generally unreported by the world media, Pachon announced on May 20 that he was stepping down from his office without giving a reason. The Italian TV news agency Rome Reports called Pachon’s resignation “unusual … for one of the leading prelates in the church”.
Pachon is the third top Vatican official to resign while in office after being prosecuted by the ICLCJ for crimes against humanity. Former Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, abdicated on February 11, 2013, barely two weeks before the ICLCJ jury found him guilty of complicity in child trafficking and murder. Another primary defendant in the same case, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, also resigned after the verdict. ITCCS Field Secretary Kevin Annett commented today from Canada, “This is yet another huge admission of guilt by some of the most powerful men in the papacy. Obviously they are not untouchable, and their whole corrupt criminal syndicate is coming down. We should all take hope from this, and see that the law in the hands of the people can topple the worst tyrants.”
#AceBreakingNews – BRUSSELS – April 17 – Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo has expressed hope that some agreement will be reached at the four-party talks on Ukraine with Russia, the United States and the European Union.
“The situation (in Ukraine) is very fragile. A civil war can begin at any moment,” he told the RTBF TV channel on Thursday.
#AceWorldNews – AMSTERDAM – March 22 — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Saturday for a state visit to the Netherlands and a global nuclear summit.
The Netherlands is the first leg of Xi’s European tour, which will also take him to France, Germany and Belgium.
He will attend the third Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague on March 24-25.
Xi is the first Chinese president to visit the Netherlands since the two states established diplomatic relations in 1972.
He will meet King Willem-Alexander and parliamentary leaders, and hold talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The two sides will sign cooperation agreements on agriculture, energy, finance and culture.
Chinese News and Media Sources.
Sophie Shevardnadze: And our guest is Belgian senator, and the supporter of the law, allowing euthanasia for minors, Philippe Mahoux, thank you very much for being with us at this program. So you are a doctor yourself, a surgeon – what have you seen that could possibly make you take up this issue in the first place?
Philippe Mahoux: Listen… as a doctor, I think … we were confronted with situations of great distress, patients with incurable disease, mostly cancers, and it also applies to minors, children and teenagers. Before the 2002 law was adopted in Belgium, we could not respond to the requests for euthanasia. Since the law was passed, many pediatricians and oncologists, in particular those who deal with children, asked us repeatedly… begged in some cases, to amend the law to allow those children that are suffering to benefit from dignified death. This is why we started this discussion in the Belgian Parliament.
PM: Oh, you know, it is always difficult to be able to evaluate the number of cases… I will tell you something quite specific. If in your life, especially if you are a physician, you are called to take care even of one of these cases, only one of these people, whether an adult or a minor, you are confronted with this situation and you quickly realize the need to find solutions and solve this issue of unbearable pain in case of incurable diseases. And so, the number is not the most important element. What matters is that there are children, teenagers who suffer from incurable diseases and for whom it is necessary to find a humane solution.
SS: It’s pure coincidence, but I am a journalist, I’m 35, but I also happen to be a board member of Moscow hospice – so, people that I worked with very tightly, they are actually confronted with terminally ill kids every day; kids, who die every day. When I talked to them, about euthanasia, they tell me that they yet have to come across a child who wishes to die, because that hasn’t happened yet, in our case.
PM: Quite frankly, there are such cases. Very fortunately, it is not the same person who is facing this type of situation every time, very fortunately it is not the same families. But I can tell you that pediatricians tell us that this type of situation exists, that unbearable suffering exists. Then is the number of cases that arise an extremely important number? The answer is no, very fortunately, the answer is no! But there are cases and it is necessary to respond to them. This is the reality. And you know, in 2002, when the law permitting euthanasia for adults was passed, we have heard arguments saying that we did not care enough about the patients, saying that’s the reason we propose this type of solution.
As for me, I can say that we do this because we truly care. We are putting this amendment through parliament to allow a solution, which is both euthanasia and palliative care, available for both adults and children. The caregivers and doctors who continue to tell us that this choice is needed, they want to support people at the end, make sure pain is gone in the end.
SS: Have you had a situation where parents ask for their children to be killed through euthanasia?
PM: Not with parents, not with my immediate circle. But I want to remind you again, that I am a doctor, and as doctors we can be confronted with situations that are highly different. It isn’t because we find ourselves in a situation similar to the experience of someone emotionally close to us. It is not because we find ourselves in this kind of situation that we take initiative. We take this initiative because we want to fix the overall situation, and that is what is most important.
SS: But why I insist to find out your personal opinion and experiences is because this is a very personal, very emotional law, and it’s a law that for many crosses ethics or morals. I don’t know if you have any children, but if you had any children – would you allow them to decide on matters of life or death?
PM: I can answer you, in any case, that if, God forbid, I had a child who’d end up in this type of situation… I want to point out that by this type of situation I mean a child, a teenager whose suffering is related to an incurable disease, and who will die in the near future. If such a child asked me to put an end to his or her suffering, I would respond positively. And I believe that the entire population, in Belgium, when asked to answer a survey posing the same question, also replied in an overwhelmingly positive manner. I want to repeat that it isn’t the fact that we want to end the suffering of a child, a teenager which is outrageous. It’s the suffering itself that is outrageous. What is outrageous is that children are suffering, children are dying.
What is outrageous is that there are children who are suffering from cancer. What we are doing is precisely preventing this scandal, and thus preventing the suffering of these children and teenagers.
SS: But we are still talking in general terms. Take us through an average case which ends in someone being euthanized. What are they suffering from, how long does the decision take?
PM: I will give you an example. A child is suffering from a cancer which particularly affects children. I don’t want to give an exact diagnosis, but we know about these cancers affecting children: leukemia, or kidney cancers, for example. We provide them with chemotherapy; we provide them a second chemotherapy, a third one. There comes a time for such patients, including for example the sick, young people with brain tumors, there comes a time where we can no longer ease the suffering and there is no hope for a cure. We know that death will occur, and it’s coming soon. A number of these cases exist, where under these conditions, these children turn out to be more mature than many adults. Precisely because they are facing disease, precisely because these children are about to die.
SS: Then, since you say that there are not so many cases, why make it into a law? Why not just deal with it on a case-by-case basis? Because at the point where it becomes a law, you know very well that it leaves a lot of room for mistakes, and abuses, because not all doctors are so honest and not all doctors are so of their profession. In all countries, it is the same.
PM: Listen, quite frankly, quite frankly, I do not know who you are talking about. There is a law in Belgium that has existed for ten years. We made a law that makes it possible for a doctor to make the last humane gesture for a patient who is suffering. At the same time, we established an evaluation commission to which all euthanasia cases should be reported. For ten years, there has been a regular report made by this commission. Never has this commission found abuse. That is an important element. And then, you know, those who talk about abuse, I think that they have rarely faced this type of situation. We know what it is like, for a doctor, or for a caregiver, or for the families, to take into account the requests that are being made by patients and relatives in case of an incurable disease, to be able to hear them out and to respond to them positively…
When we know what it means, in terms of patient support, the gesture that is the gesture of euthanasia, I think that we finally realize that abuse cannot exist. Because the burden that is, I would say, the emotional, empathetic burden linked to this gesture, is extremely important. And I believe that those who speak of abuse actually are those who, for their reasons, are obviously opposed to euthanasia. I want to recall that the laws in Belgium, in Holland, in Luxembourg, these laws open an area of freedom, put in place guarantees to prevent abuse, but do not force anyone to make the gesture if they do not want to. I still believe, that when we talk about these patients, adults or children or teenagers, if these patients request euthanasia, it is a very humane gesture to carry out their request.
SS: So, then Mr. Mahoux, just to be precise, there is no age restriction in this law.
PM: There are restrictions that are not connected to age, but tied to the understanding that the child or the teenager may have of the situation. Therefore, we kept as a criteria the capacity for discernment, that is, we have to ask a psychologist, a psychiatrist who is not connected to the situation, to assess if the request that is made by this minor, I repeat, who is suffering from an incurable disease after treatments that have become unnecessary – if that request is made with full understanding. That is the rule. I repeat, we found that the maturity of the children who are suffering, the maturity of children facing disease, facing death, is greater than that of many adults, so…
SS: So it is really the psychologists that decide if the child is in a condition to make a life decision or not. Is that it?
PM: Exactly, that is how it is written in the law. It is a person from the outside, a psychologist, psychiatrist, who determines if the minor has an understanding of the situation, if the minor is making a request of which he or she is fully aware.
SS: So, this minor can be four years old as well as sixteen years old; do I understand that right?
PM: It is hard, obviously, to understand that a minor who is four years old is able to make a request of this nature being perfectly aware of what he is asking. It is not the role of the legislator in any case to determine how these things could be evaluated by specialists. We have effective assurance that these specialists are able to determine if the child has this capacity for understanding.
SS: But you, as a doctor, what do you think, at what age does a child develop the capacity to make such a serious decision?
PM: You do understand, that as a legislator, I have proposed that there be a report on the state of awareness of a child, because each case is unique. And so, if I had thought there was a right age for this, I would have suggested that we set it. You know, we consulted with a bunch of specialists, many of whom are both doctors and psychologists, and we have consulted lawyers. They all told us that we should not introduce an age provision but instead put in this criterion of awareness. They suggested this because they consider that each case is individual, so it is impossible to determine an age limit. So I can answer your question that the law kept the condition of awareness, the ability of discernment.
SS: You know, because there are still some people who are, nevertheless, opposed to this law, and they say that minors do not have the right to vote, do not have the right to drink, do not have the right to marry, so then if they are suffering from an incurable disease, does it really give them the competence to make an adult decision?
PM: Madame, you are asking me if I know if a child is aware and capable of understanding his or her situation. I would like to remind you that we are not in the child’s shoes, we are not suffering from an incurable disease which causes pain, for which multiple treatments were given that have led to nothing. We have to remember this. You know, it is easy to have a definite answer, to make a decision like that, in the place of someone else, when we are not in the same situation. We do not make decisions for those for whom we care. Those who are working closely with patients, those who know, they can actually, according to the law, decide in their heart and conscience to respond to a formal request positively. I think that’s the right way to do it. It is not the legislator who will normally be at the bedside of children or adults who are suffering. It is the medical personnel who will have to solve the problem but, at least, the law allows them to respond humanely to those requests. This is about the possibility for everyone to choose at some point not to accept this suffering and to say at a certain point ‘this is enough’ And consider that one can finally ask to die, so that the suffering stops. It is, in the end, a freedom, freedom that is related to human rights and humans, in general. For centuries we valued pain. People who were condemned to death, before they’d be executed for, let’s say, offensive opinions – they weren’t just executed, but put to death with pain and horrible suffering. And well, we, we follow a process that is exactly the opposite approach. I am a strong supporter of the abolition of the death penalty. In all the countries of the world, I am opposed everywhere and always to all forms of torture. I am opposed to the value of pain. I think that pain is pointless, except when it is an alarm signal, a signal of diagnosis. But for the rest, the approach fits into a battle of individual vs. collective, a discussion of humanity against precisely this vision of a society. A society that would condemn to death, which would execute, which values the pain. Our approach is the next stage, when we say that one can avoid the inevitability of this pain, when it is unbearable – well, it is the duty of humanity to do so and to allow one to do so.
SS: And what do you do with the option of palliative care, for example? Because everyone who works in “palliative care” will tell you that, you know, the only time that a child or an adult would ask you for euthanasia is if you have not provided a palliative net, otherwise they would never ask you to kill them.
PM: Well, I will tell you this: in 2002, when there was a vote on the law for the adults, I tabled legislation, two pieces of legislation. One of which involved the implementation of palliative care, and the other concerning the possibility of patients benefiting from euthanasia. And so my belief, shared by the majority of the population, and the majority of the caregivers in general, at least in our country, to consider the implementation of palliative care. But that is not because we have implemented palliative care that automatically, first, this palliative care, eliminates any request for euthanasia. One does not exclude the other. And then, there’s the freedom of everyone to consider that at a certain point, palliative care isn’t enough. I really want to clarify that. You know, as a doctor and caregiver, first, for all patients who come to consult, what is the primary approach?
The approach is to treat them. And to try to heal them. That is the primary approach. The second approach, if that is not possible, is to recognize, at some point, that this is not possible and that the disease is too strong. And if we cannot treat the disease, if the patient must die, we must enable them to die in the most dignified way possible. And to die in the most dignified way possible, it can be done either through palliative care or through a request for euthanasia. Even the best palliative care does not eliminate requests for euthanasia, in any case it is a responsibility, a choice which is left with each patient. That is what’s important, the freedom that the ethical laws allow in our society. A positive response based on each choice.
SS: Since we are speaking about ethics, have you already had a case where the doctor refuses to use euthanasia with a client?
PM: But of course. You know, there is no element of coercion in the laws we are voting on. We open a space of freedom that makes it possible to give a positive response to a request for euthanasia. But when we speak of freedom, we also speak of freedom of conscience for everyone. And so it is provided for in the law that if a doctor refuses, he obviously has the right to do so. It is the conscience which dictates if he will accept it or not. It is his conscience that will tell him that he agrees to support a patient to the end, or that he is unable to do it because of philosophical or religious imperatives. Of course there are refusals. In these cases, when a patient makes a request and the doctor refuses in full right (and some do) – it is important to continue the care. It means that when confronted with a patient’s request, if a doctor refuses, I think he has the obligation to actually pass on the request to someone else, because at some point, he ultimately refuses to support his patient. It is a rule that applies not only here. You know, in medicine, when we take on a patient, we have an obligation of responsibility and when we can no longer provide this support, we also have the obligation to see that this responsibility is covered by someone else.
SS: And you do not see an ethical problem, for example, in paying a doctor just to put an end to the life of someone, to kill someone? Is there not an ethical problem there?
PM: Well, listen, we do not pay someone to end the life of someone else. As if that act was isolated… It is never isolated. In fact, if you talk of payment, doctors are paid for giving care, supporting people in a humane manner… A doctor, a health care team is responsible for a patient. Each time a different individual, an individual who is suffering. And there at the end of the road, when there is no way out, that support is the essence of assuming responsibility for one’s patient. So what are you saying about payment? Of course, I think that anything done professionally deserves compensation. Who could think otherwise? But the doctors receive payment for taking responsibility for their patients’ wishes and they understand what that responsibility entails.
SS: Mr. Mahoux, thank you very much for this interesting interview.
Courtesy of: Sophie&Co
MONTREAL, Feb. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – As Belgium prepares to become the first country in the world to enact a law permitting euthanasia of children, Jessica Saba, 4, of Lachine, Quebec Canada asks the King of Belgium to refuse to sign the legislation.
For the sake of the children, please do not sign the Euthanasia Bill,” Jessica pleads in the video released on February 2.
Jessica was born in Montreal, Canada in May 2009 with a severe cardiac malformation: a completely blocked valve and underdeveloped ventricle. She would have survived for only a few hours or days without a series of cardiac interventions, which were performed at Montreal’s Children’s Hospital. At six days, her valve was unblocked and gradually her underdeveloped ventricle began to form. If Jessica had been born in a country where pediatric euthanasia is permitted, she might have been a candidate for euthanasia and her story would be very different from the one in the video.
#AceNewsServices says you may or may not agree with this bill ,but one thing l have learned in all my years, is if we allow a bill through where any parliamentary changes are required, it does not matter about the fact it contains certain limitations, as in 2002 in this case. Whereby it cover only adults, someone somewhere will want to play God, and find a reason through their own pain or suffering to add even more changes, such as this one where by it allows “Lawful Killing of Children” – God Helps Us All – in the future, with people like this!
Recent Changes in Euthanasia 2014
The past few days there has been calls for extra hearings before sending Belgium’s Child Euthanasia Bill for a final parliamentary vote have been rejected by a Judiciary Committee, Euronews reported. The way is now clear for the legislation to be passed to the lower house for consideration and a vote before May. The Senate last week voted 50-17 that euthanasia should be legal for children suffering from a terminal illness that is causing severe physical pain. Belgium could become the first nation in the world to lift all age restrictions for euthanasia. Euthanasia for adults was legalized in the country in 2002.
Belgium Euthanasia Law in Effect
Here is how it came into being starting on Monday, Belgian law allows doctors to help kill patients who, during a terminal illness, express a wish to hasten their own death. Having passed the law in May, Belgium is now the third jurisdiction after the Netherlands (April 1, 2002) and the state of Oregon (1997) to legalize euthanasia.
Senator Philippe Mahoux, a Socialist, helped draft the law, which he views as “recognition” that a dying patient in “constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain” should be “the only judge of their quality of life and the dignity of their last moments,” ignoring the fact that palliative care has advanced to the point where such illness need no longer be accompanied by physical suffering.
Belgium’s bishops tried to explain why the Catholic Church opposes the law, saying: “It is based on the idea that the value and dignity of a human being is no longer linked to the fact of his existence, but rather to his so-called ‘quality of life’.” In the future, patients who are very ill are certain to face pressure (from relatives and hospital staff) to view themselves as a burden that should be eliminated. Conservative opposition parties voted against the bill last May, with the Flemish Christian Democrats vowing to challenge the law in the European Court of Human Rights.
- Senate committee passes euthanasia for minors(flanderstoday.eu)
- Flemish Progressives Get Child Euthanasia Passed(iowntheworld.com)
- Belgian Senate passes bill permitting doctors to euthanize children(endtimeheadlines.wordpress.com)
- Belgian Senate Approves Child Euthanasia(the-american-interest.com)
Threatpost’s Dennis Fisher It’s no fun being a cynic, thinking that everything is bad and getting worse. It’s easy–especially in the security community–but it’s not fun. But, in light of the latest in the interminable string of revelations about the NSA’s efforts to eat away at the foundation of the security industry, the only alternative available is the equivalent of believing in unicorn-riding leprechauns.
The security community did not invent the concept of fear, uncertainty and doubt, but it has perfected it and raised it to the level of religion. It’s the way that security products are marketed and sold, but it’s also the way that the intelligence community justifies its extra-legal and, sometimes, unconstitutional, data-gathering practices. Just as vendors use the specter of catastrophic hacks, data loss and public embarrassment to push their wares, the NSA and its allies have used the dark shadow of 9/11 and global terrorism to justify their increasingly aggressive practices, some of which have now been shown to have deliberately weakened some of the fundamental building blocks of security.
The most damning bit of string in this ball is the news that the NSA likely inserted a back door into a key cryptographic algorithm known as DUAL EC DRBG. That’s bad. What’s worse is that RSA on Thursday sent a warning to its developer customers warning them to immediately stop using the random number generator and select a new one when using the company’s BSAFE crypto libraries.
While this is the most recent, and probably the worst, piece in all of this, the steady accumulation of evidence over the last three months makes it difficult to come to any conclusion other than this: nothing can be trusted.
More to the point, we don’t know whether anything can be trusted. And that’s actually far worse than knowing that products X, Y and Z are compromised. If you know that, you can avoid those products. But now that we have direct evidence that the NSA is in fact actively working to undermine certain cryptographic protocols and partnering with technology vendors to produce certified pre-owned software and hardware, the big question is, what’s not broken?
Unfortunately, the answer is, we just don’t know.
In a much simpler and less cynical time–say, May–we thought that our intelligence agencies were in the business of spying on our enemies. Then came the first Edward Snowden leaks, and we discovered that the NSA was collecting all of our phone records. You know, just in case. Then we hear that the agency also vacuuming up much of the Internet traffic flowing through U.S. pipes because BOO! terrorism. But we still have encryption. As long as we can encrypt our email and Internet traffic, we’re safe from snooping, right? Oops. Turns out the NSA is in that henhouse too, working to weaken standards and crypto algorithms and also has some capabilities to circumvent things such as SSL.
And now, into this environment of accusation and innuendo comes the news that theattack on Belgian telco Belgacom revealed earlier this week reportedly was the work of the British spy agency GCHQ. The connection to NSA? GCHQ apparently used exploit technology developed by the NSA.
And on and on and on.
So we’ve come to the point now where the most paranoid and conspiracy minded among us are the reasonable ones. Now the crazy ones are the people saying that it’s not as bad as you think, calm down, the sky isn’t falling. In one sense, they’re right. The sky isn’t falling. It’s already fallen.
Image from Flickr photos of David Sedlmayer.
- Mocana PURGES NSA-COMPROMISED KEY-GENERATION SCHEME FROM its POPULAR NANOCRYPTO EMBEDDED SECURITY ENGINE (phoneportal.wordpress.com)
- How Does The NSA Bypass Online Encryption? (mintpressnews.com)
- NSA Backdoors and Bitcoin (chrispacia.wordpress.com)
- NIST to Formally Reexamine Cryptography Standards Development Process (jolt.law.harvard.edu)
- A primer on elliptic curve cryptography (arstechnica.com)
- Why NSA’s war on terror is more than just a ‘neat’ hacking game (theguardian.com)