Wednesday: Mend

Repair Day here, can’t spend much time reading or writing as I’ll be tied up mending things. Enjoy a little mellow Foo Fighters’ tune — can’t handle metal rock today or I’ll end up HULK SMASHing things I’m supposed to fix.

Here’s a range of topics which deserve more attention:

UK’s Chilcot report released today (Guardian-UK) — [Insert lengthy string of epithets here, circa 2003] I’m sure one of the other team members here at emptywheel will elaborate more effectively on the ugliness in the report and on former Prime Minister Tony Blair‘s continued lies rationalizations for military intervention in Iraq over alleged 9/11 terrorists and non-existent nuclear weapons. His self-flagellation and tepid mea culpa are pathetic, like watching a wee gnat flailing on an elephant’s ass. Thirteen years later, Iraq has become a training ground for terrorists. Self-fulfilling prophecy, much?

The full Chilcot report can be found here. The Guardian is working on a collaborative evaluation of the same.

BreachedDataSweetSpot_06JUL2016Hookup site Ashley Madison under investigation by FTC (Reuters) — Not clear exactly what FTC’s focus is, whether they are looking primarily at the data breach or if they are looking into the misleading use of “fembot” AI to chat up potential customers. Though the article’s characterization of the business as a “discreet dating site” cracks me up, I’m still concerned about the potential risks involved with a breach, especially since other breached data make Ashley Madison’s data more valuable. Like in this Venn diagram; if you were a foreign agent, which breached data would you mine most carefully?

French Parliament released its inquiry into November terrorist attacks (20 Minutes) — Six months after the attack at the Bataclan and in the streets of Paris, representatives of the Parliamentary inquiry spoke yesterday about the inquiry’s findings:

  • Poor cooperation between intelligence functions — In spite of consolidation of General Intelligence and Directorate of Territorial Surveillance under the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence in 2008 and then the Directorate General of Internal Security (ISB) in 2014, there were gaps in hand-offs between functions.
  • Ineffective collection and sharing of prison intelligence — The ISB did not have information from Justice (the prison service) about the relationships between incarcerated radical Islamists nor information about targets’ release from custody.
  • Poor cooperation between EU members and EU system gaps — Fake Syrian passports should have been caught by the EU’s Frontex at external borders to EU, and Frontex has no access to data collected by police and intelligence services internal to the EU.
  • Gaps in jurisdiction — Not all law enforcement was engaged as they should have been during the November attack, and when engaged, not where they should have been.
  • Victims and families treated inadequately — Some families were told they were “ineligible” to be notified of their relatives’ deaths. Forensic Institute was swamped by the volume of work. At least one victim tried to call the police; they hung up on the victim because she whispered on the phone.

It’s not clear what steps the French will take next to fix these problems identified after looking at 2015’s January and November terrorist attacks, though it is reassuring to see a relatively detailed evaluation. Some of the suspects involved in both the November attacks in Paris and in Brussels are still being rounded up and bound over for prosecution; two were handed over by Belgium to France just this week. The full Parliamentary inquiry report will be released next week.

NHTSA informed by Tesla of self-driving car accident 9 days later (Reuters) — The delay in reporting may have misled investors in advance of Tesla’s offer for SolarCity suggest reports, including one by Fortune magazine. To be fair, I don’t think all the details about the accident were fully known immediately. Look at the condition of the vehicle in the Reuters’ report and the Florida Highway Patrol report; the FHP’s sketch of the accident site doesn’t automatically lead one to think the accident was induced by distracted driving or by auto-pilot. Can’t find the report now, but a DVD player was found much later; it was this device which revealed the driver’s last activities. How did the FHP’s report make its way to Tesla? And as Tesla responded, with one million auto accidents a year, not every accident is reported to the NHTSA. Begs the question: should all self-driving car accidents be automatically reported to the NHTSA and their automakers, and why?

‘Zero Days’ documentary on Stuxnet out this Friday (Flavorwire) — If director Alex Gibney can make this subject exciting to the average non-technical schmoe, hats off. It’s a challenge to make the tedium of coding exciting to non-coders, let alone fluff process control equipment. This is a really important story with a very long tail; hope Gibney was able to do it justice.

EIGHT DAYS in session left in U.S. House of Representatives’ July calendar. Hearing about EPA scheduled this morning, but I don’t think it had anything to do whatsoever with Flint Water Crisis.

Okay, that’s enough to get you over the hump, just don’t break anything on the way down. I’m off to go fix stuff.

11 replies
  1. bevin says:

    The Iraq war: I remember it well, most of the media and all of the political parties supported it and millions of ordinary people marched in the streets (where they were allowed to do so) in protest.
    It was a reminder that the reason behind democracy is that millions of people thinking always reach better conclusions than oligarchies, surrounded by Little Eichmanns.
    The Brexit vote was just such another.

  2. Rayne says:

    Son of a bitch. Just when I think the Brits have hit bottom, they dig deeper:

    Extraordinary Tory MPs just abstained on mass on Labour’s motion to allow EU nationals to remain in UK

    — tweet, Jonathan Ashworth MP (1:05 pm EDT 06-JUL-2016)

    I can’t even fake thinking this stupid…I mean, what the hell do they do next? What’s the next stupid thing to do here?

    EDIT — 2:26 pm EDT —

    Cripes, it’s just one enormous Potemkin Village, kabuki theater masquerading as governance. At what point does all their ignorant and immoral posturing go south?

    You didn’t do it, because the vote is non-binding.

    (Like another recent big vote.)

    — tweet, David Allen Green (2:08 pm EDT 06-JUL-2016)

  3. omphaloscepsis says:

    Steve Bell always seems to say more in a cartoon than one can find words to say in text.

    Before the invasion:,,886291,00.html

    A parody of this:

    More Steve Bell on Iraq and Blair and Bush:,,912730,00.html

    Gotta love “Goodbye, Yellowcake Road” for a title.,,2029006,00.html

    For any readers unfamiliar with Bell, he had the classic summary of the 2000 election:,5543,397276,00.html

  4. Denis says:

    Rayne: “Cripes, it’s just one enormous Potemkin Village, kabuki theater masquerading as governance. At what point does all their ignorant and immoral posturing go south?”
    !!! We gotta’ get you on TV. I hear Ailes is looking for someone to replace
    Gretchen, if ya’ got good lookin’ legs that is.
    FTC and Ashley Madison — Sounds like the FTC would have a lot of interest
    in this scam. As I understand it, the suckers signed up and coughed up
    their data, but if they wanted to later delete their account they were charged
    $19. And the delete didn’t delete anything, so all that data got sucked up
    in the hack. There could be all sorts of criminal charges here: fraud, false
    pretenses, extortion. And they probably tore the tags off their mattresses.

  5. rugger9 says:

    The Ashley Madison situation is all the more amazing when one considers how thoroughly they were hacked before (snagging Josh Duggar among others), so anyone who is willing to have anything to do with them gets what they deserve. Darwin works that way.

    The Chilcot report is only twelve years too late, there was nothing in it I saw that was not already apparent before Shrub was “re-elected” by GOP election fraud in Ohio (where the SoS destroyed the ballots in violation of the law and possibly a court order to boot). However, it will give any future ally of ours a reason to question our side in a future war, say with China or Russia, since Shrub and Tony lied us into Iraq. For me, one of the telling unreported details in Iraq was the skepticism of the Aussies (who normally love a scrap, and had joined us in ‘Nam when the Brits did not) to join us to remove Saddam.

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