US policy in Syria aims to cause further chaos in EU

The US recent claims to withdraw its troops from the North-Eastern provinces of Syria and the official vows of pausing collaboration with Syrian Kurds are widely regarded as an effort of Washington to build closer relations with Ankara. However, while pursuing this policy, the Pentagon and the CIA continue expanding communication channels with Syrian Kurds in case if Ankara’s political compass is navigated towards Russia rather than the US after Turkey elections in June 2018.

The United States has also encouraged its partners, members of the Anti-Terrorism Coalition to send more of their troops to the so-called Syrian Kurdistan, a territory located north-east of the Euphrates. As a result, Germany and France, along with increasing numbers of their military troops in this region, have also been given authority to provide support to Kurdish military troops in Syria. Given how sensitive the Kurdish issue is for Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria this will, beyond any doubts, cause further tension between the EU and the Middle Eastern countries and will let the US avoid any possible accusations of the international law violations amid the Syria war.

With ambitious plans in Syria that included the stabilization of the country, getting rid of Bashar al-Assad, knocking out Iranian influence, fighting ISIS and becoming a hero who brought an end to the seven-year Syrian war the US did not seem (and perhaps still does not seem) to care that its new policy might cause much bigger conflicts in the region and go far beyond defeating ISIS only. Similar to the EU migration crisis, the US acts as an invisible mediator while the EU takes all the fire.  This time, Washington’s goals of aggravating the further conflict between the EU countries and the Middle East are rather economical: Washington tries to undermine the EU investment opportunities and provoke further financial crisis in Europe.

Russia’s Syria Congress is over: what’s next?

The Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Russia’s Sochi on January 28-29 was aimed to boost the process for building a peaceful future for Syrian people in a war-devastated country and to define the country’s political compass for the next years. The Congress, sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey, gathered over 1,500 participants from various groups of Syrian society, including representatives from political parties, opposition groups and ethnic and confessional communities.

While the Congress itself did not aim to achieve the immediate political reconciliation over Syria, its main focus was to revive Geneva talks. According to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the forum was expected to “create conditions for staging fruitful Geneva process”.

Besides, the Congress was some kind of alert to boycotting countries and their procrastination to reinforce the 2254 UN Security Council Resolution for Peace Process in Syria, adopted in 2015. According to the resolution, the future of Syria should be determined by its people. However, the country has experienced forced intervention and external interference that prevented it from paving ways for a peaceful future ever since.

Ironically it may seem, the so-called peace process for Syria that has been joined by many countries pursuing different strategies including diametrically opposite approaches of Russia and the United States, became a fruitful soil for radically oriented groups that eroded the country’s sovereignty. The delay in reinforcing the 2254 UN Security Resolution by international community can lead to further monetization of Syria’s natural resources by terrorist organizations and cause major security threats for the entire international community.

Perhaps, the most important result of the Sochi Congress has been an agreement of all participants to consolidate their efforts in stabilizing the Syria’s future and to secure the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. The concerns of the Syrian opposition claiming the Sochi Congress would, on the contrary, hazard the international peace process could not be more baseless since the Congress was supported by the UN, the main sponsor of the Geneva talks.

Police say CIA head Brennan couldn’t even keep his emails safe from a 16 year old child

The 16-year-old boy was arrested in the East Midlands as part of an investigation into the data breach of John Brennan’s emails last year.

A British teenager is suspected of being a mystery hacker who infiltrated the personal email account of the director of the CIA and posting personal details online.

The 16-year-old boy was arrested in the East Midlands on Tuesday as part of an investigation in to the data breach of John Brennan’s emails last year.

He is suspected of being a hacker known as “Cracka” who has claimed responsibility for the incident and part of a wider group that calls itself “Crackas with Attitude”, which has been behind a series of high-profile attacks.

The youngster has been released on police bail and has since denied being “Cracka” to journalists.

In October Cracka is said to have posted details of the emails of Mr Brennan online including agency memos and notes.

A background clearance form which had information about Mr Brennan and his wife including addresses, birthdays and social security numbers was also released.

The spy boss was “outraged” and “concerned” by the embarrassing data breach.

It is alleged that Cracka called US Internet provider Verizon posing as a technician and persuaded them to hand over personal details of Mr Brennan’s AOL email address.

He then allegedly called AOL and convinced a representative to reset the password, using the personal details he obtained from Verizon to get through security.

The hacking group later gloated that it was so easy that a “five-year-old could do it” and rated the difficulty as “one out of ten”.

They also claimed that called Mr Brennan and taunted him by reciting his social security number.

The British youngster was arrested on three counts of suspicion to hack.

After his release on police bail, he allegedly communicated with Vice in the US in which he denied being Cracka adding: “’I’m not who you think I am 😉 😉 ;).”

He said he spent seven hours in a cell before being released on bail.

He allegedly added: “’I got ******* v&” (slang for “vanned” or arrested).

“They’re trying to ruin my life. ‘I’m innocent until proven guilty so I have nothing to be worried about.”

Police confirmed a boy had been arrested and bailed until June but refused to say whether the arrest was connected to the US hacking incident.

A spokesman for the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit said: “The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) can confirm we have arrested a 16-year-old boy on Tuesday in the East Midlands on suspicion of conspiracy to commit unauthorised access to computer material contrary to Section 1 Computer Misuse Act 1990, conspiracy to commit unauthorised access with intent to commit further offences contrary to Section 2 Computer Misuse Act 1990 and conspiracy to commit unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing operation of a computer contrary to Section 3 Computer Misuse Act 1990.”

Cracka is said to have carefully covered his tracks but taunted US law enforcement with posts from various online accounts.

On one Twitter account he is said to have controlled, the hacker posted a message on Wednesday which read: ‘Anyone got a good lawyer?!?!?’

Some members of the group described themselves as under 22, said they smoked marijuana and live in the US.

After hacking Mr Brennan the group are said to have hacked the email account of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

They also bragged about hacking the home phone of John Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology adviser.

Another target was Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and the hackers said they accessed his Internet provider account and listened to his voicemails.

For his most recent hack Cracka published the personal data of 20,000 FBI employees and 9,000 Department of Homeland Security agents on the Internet.

Cracka dedicated his hacks to the Free Palestine movement and called on the US government to cut its ties to Israel in order for the attacks to end.

 

AT A GLANCE

The four most popular cyber-crimes

Phishingis a way of tricking people into handing over their card details or their access to protected systems. Emails are sent out that contain either links or attachments that either take you to a website that looks like your bank’s, or installs malware on your system

A report by Verizon into data breach investigations has shown that 23% of people open phishing emails

Identity theftAccording to fraud protection agency Cifas, the number of victims rose by 31 per cent to 32,058 in the first three months of 2015. Criminals use online ‘fraud forums’ to buy and sell credit cards, email addresses and passports
HackingA 2008 Verizon study of security breaches counted 285 million data exposures, which works out to around nine pieces of personal data stolen every second.
Online harrassmentOver half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online. Meanwhile 73% of adult users have seen someone harassed in some way online and 40% have experienced it.

Civil servant resigns after discussing how to ‘take down pro-Palestine MPs’ with Israeli diplomat Footage secretly recorded by a media outlet appeared to show the civil servant discuss plans to ‘take down’ Tory MP

A former Westminster official has resigned after footage emerged appearing to show her discuss “taking down” pro-Palestinian MPs.

According to Independent Maria Strizzolo, who is a former chief of staff to Conservative MP Robert Halfon, was recorded talking to Israeli embassy official Shai Masot.

The footage, obtained by Al Jazeera, shows Mr. Masot say: “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?” In response, Ms Strizzolo appears to laugh, before responding: “Well you know, if you look hard enough, I’m sure there is something that they’re trying to hide.”

Ms. Strizzolo has reportedly now resigned from her post at the Skills Funding Agency.

Israel’s ambassador to the UK Mark Regev has apologized for Mr. Masot’s comments, describing them as “unacceptable”.

Labour has demanded an investigation to probe alleged Israeli “interference” in British politics.

During the conversation between the pair, which took place at the Aubaine restaurant near the Israeli embassy in Kensington, Mr. Masot also described Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as “an idiot”.

Ms. Strizzolo told the Mail on Sunday that her conversation with Mr. Masot was “tongue-in-cheek and gossipy”, adding: “Any suggestion that I … could exert the type of influence you are suggesting is risible.”

She said she knew Mr. Masot “purely socially and as a friend. He is not someone with whom I have ever worked or had any political dealings beyond chatting about politics, as millions of people do, in a social context.”

Policeman ‘killed Greek Ambassador’ at wife’s request- BBC Reports

Police in Brazil say the Greek ambassador to the country was killed by a local police officer who was having an affair with the envoy’s wife.

Kyriakos Amiridis had been missing since Monday. His body was found in a burnt-out car on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

Police say the ambassador’s Brazilian wife, Francoise Amiridis, plotted the murder with her lover.

Sergio Gomes Moreira Filho confessed to strangling him to death, police said.

Ms. Amiridis, 40, has been detained along with Mr. Moreira, 29, and his cousin, Eduardo Melo.

Mr. Melo is said to have been paid about 80,000 reais ($25,000; £20,000) to act as a lookout.

‘Crime of passion’

The three suspects have been questioned and will be held in police custody for another 30 days.

Investigator Evaristo Pontes Magalhaes described the murder as “a tragic, cowardly act,” which police are treating as “a crime of passion”.

“Francoise initially denied the facts. She said she had nothing to do with that. We managed to make her see that she had no alternative and that there was no point in continuing to deny it,” said Mr. Magalhaes at a press conference.

“She fell into contradictions, burst into tears and began to say that the police officer [Sergio Moreira] had carried out her husband’s murder,” he added.

Mr. Magalhaes said Mr. Moreira had a fight with the ambassador and ended up killing him when he went to confront the diplomat about claims of violence against his wife.

He said he acted in self-defence. But Brazilian police have dismissed his statement.

They say the policeman’s cousin confessed to moving the ambassador’s body and gave full details of the plot to murder Mr. Amiridis, implicating both Mr. Moreira and Mrs. Amiridis.

Charred body

The 59-year-old ambassador had traveled from Brasilia to the city of Nova Iguacu, north of Rio, to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays there with his wife and her parents.

The couple had been living together for 15 years and their daughter is 10 years old, local reports said.

Mrs. Amiridis reported her husband missing on Wednesday.

She told police that he had left on Monday in a car he had rented. The burnt-out vehicle was found on Thursday under a flyover on one of the main access roads to Rio with a body inside.

The body was burned beyond recognition, but police said it was that of Mr. Amiridis.

Investigators also said that they had found blood stains on the sofa in the house where the couple was staying and say he was probably stabbed to death there.

Mr. Amiridis served as consul in Rio de Janeiro between 2001 and 2004 and returned to the country as the ambassador earlier this year.