How to be an Irish Politician

In Ireland politics has long been dominated by two basket case political parties called Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. They have held power for the vast majority of the time since 1932 either on their own or in coalition. Basically, they will go into coalition with anyone as long as they get into power despite everything they might have said right up to yesterday. Standby for the Fianna Fail / Sinn Fein coalition government in the 32nd Dail.

Key Characteristics of an Irish Politician

All Irish politicians share the same characteristics which Irish people love forgiving them for and they are, in order of prevalence and willingness to forgive:

1. Be a Total Lying Cunt;
2. Demonstrate Gross Negligence;
3. Display a Shockingly Obvious Lack of Qualifications;
4. Love Corruption;
5. Engage in Cronyism;
6. Subscribe to Nepotism
7. Commit Expenses Fraud;
8. Condone Tax Evasion on a Global Scale (Apple / Google / Microsoft) while at the same time be willing to jail your own constituents for not paying water charges, property tax, the TV licence or a parking fine;
9. Lie under oath;
10. A new characteristic has become very important since the peace process and is now very very popular namely be “convicted member of a paramilitary organization”. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are rightly pissed off that Sinn Fein has the monopoly on this one.

Junior Coalition Partners Get Fucked 

Another key lesson to be aware of is that outgoing junior coalition partners never fare well at the end of term and normally get all the “stick” for the “shite” that was caused since the last election, for example:

1. The Labour party standing by to be bitch slapped tomorrow like a Conor McGregor opponent;
2. The now defunct Progressive Democrats (eradicated in 2007);
3. The lovely Stalinists in the former Democratic Left (who in a novel take on sticking to their principles simply merged with the Labour Party in 1999 who were their sworn enemies the week before);
4. Or the tree-huggers in the now extinct Green Party (last known sighting 2011).

Candidate Selection In Irish Elections

In Ireland, the following criteria are crucially important to the Irish electorate in selecting who to vote for:

1. Where’s the checkbox for Fianna Fail – fuck the policies, I hate Michael Collins?;
2. Where’s the checkbox for Fine Gael – fuck the policies, I hate Eamon deValera?;
3. Does he/she have the same surname as the last fella?;
4. Was his/her Uncle in the “RA”?;
5. Is he a massive culchie with fuck all qualifications but owns a farm with a milk quota?;
6. Is he a massive culchie full stop?;

Rules for Creating a Political Dynasty in Ireland

There are three key criteria:

  • Do you wear a flat cap?
  • Do you have a very red face?
  • Do you have a very bad comb-over?
If you have all three your entire family may get elected – this is known as the “Healy Rae Effect”

A Very Very Short Memory

In the tragic comedy that was the decade from the mid 90s to the mid noughties Fianna Fail told Paddy’s to sell houses to other Paddy’s for ever increasing and extortionate prices.

They told the banks to loan monies to single digit IQ developers and property speculators. They created tax incentives that turned out to be the perfect “How To Create A Property Bubble For Dummies” guide book.

They told the regulators to mind their own bleedin’ business and just take the big salaries and not to be worryin’ about liquidity and LTV ratios and shite like that.

The Intellectual Giants We Elect 

The Irish electorate as a result always gets exactly what it deserves.

The trademark intellect of me aul pal Bertie Ahern is one of the better examples. Having listened to highly qualified advisers on the looming disaster in 2007 he stated that:

“sittin’ on the sidelines, or on the fence, cribbin’ an’ moanin’ is a lost opportunity – in fact I don’t know how people who engage in that don’t commit suicide”

Bertie never liked using the letter ‘G” at the end of any of the words that required it – he also didn’t like fiscal policy, prudent management or regulation. He loved a pint though and going to watch the Dubs at Croker and sure what the fuck is wrong with that?

The Upside-Down Rule

Outgoing Prime Ministers in Ireland seem to get all worked up about the peons in the electorate when they complain. They are incredulous that after laying waste to the electorates lives over the previous four years that there may be some negativity in the air.

Under the Fianna Fail watch from the late 90’s up until 2011 :

1. A Property Bubble of epic proportions was created;
2. Property prices crashed;
3. The population was universally left in negative equity;
4. Massive job losses ensued in the construction sector;
5. There was massive emigration;
6. Hundreds of ghost estates across the country;
7. Rampant cuts to already poor public services;
8. The banks insisted that their losses be covered by the electorate;
9. For good measure so did the bond holders supported by the European troika, the tripartite committee led by the European Commission with the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund;
10. The Irish peoples elected representatives bent over on behalf of the the Irish public;
11. The Irish public got to pay for the bank’s losses, the bond holders losses, the elected representatives salaries, saw their salaries cut or stagnate, prices increase, taxes increase, their life savings wiped out, their homes mostly worthless and then …
12. With the money that the banks received from the Irish public the banks started to pay lawyers to evict the Irish public from the homes which they could no longer pay for.

Under the Fine Gael / Labour watch:

1. The Irish public got to pay even more for the bank’s losses, the bond holders losses, the elected representatives salaries, saw their salaries further cut or stagnate, prices increase further, further tax increases, further stealth taxes introduced, widespread slashing of public services, removal of key benefits from the old and disabled;
2. And the government told the people that this was a recovery;

But the beautiful Enda Kenny demonstrated it perfectly last week when he stated that his constituents were – “All-Ireland Champion Whingers”

What Will Happen Tomorrow?

What does it look like the Irish public is going to do tomorrow Friday, 26 February 2016 in the election for the 32nd Dail? Well – vote for the same shower of cunts all over again of course. Well they fucking deserve them.

I stand for a United Ireland – the 26 counties should join the 6 in Northern Ireland and re-enter the UK – vote for BREXIT and declare war on Germany. What the fuck – it couldn’t be any worse than what we have now. And sure the army will provide full employment and we might get to actually win a war for once.

Putting Islamic Sects & Extremism in Context

As a non-religious person it pains me that instruction in religion is still required to understand many present day world events. When I say non-religious – I mean that I do not subscribe to what is known as institutional or organized religion.

Many beliefs so fanatically pursued today by devoted adherents bear little to no resemblance to the goodness or opinions that inspired them in the first instance and say more about human weakness, geopolitics, ambition, greed and intolerance than spirituality.

Evolution & Interpretation of Islam  

Over the last thousand years Islam has spread through various groups spread and hundreds of ethnicities and in the process has evolved very differently in different locations.

The Indian sub-continent has a greater Muslim population than all the nations of the Arabian peninsula put together. With Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iran and Bangladesh in the mix then the the Arabs become a very small minority among Muslims worldwide.

Many Muslims (especially ones outside the Arabian peninsula) have adopted some elements of the surrounding culture and their traditions from pre-Islamic practice and look very different to the beliefs at the root of most of the trouble at the moment.

Islam is not Monolithic

Islam does not have a monolithic structure and is rather made up of many different sects. These sects vary widely in their interpretations of Hadith (Islamic customs), have varying internal structures, follow different worship patterns and have different attitudes to externals and other religions and belief systems.

For example the the Sufi school of thought is more tolerant of other religions a trait shared by the Ibadiyyas while the Saudi Hanbali sect is conservative and Wahhabi/Salafist movement is downright fascist in its views. Persian Muslims identify more as Persians than Muslims. The Shafi’i muslims of Southeast Asia and the Kurds of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq are moderate in their interpretation of Sharia. Sufism is prevalent in Southeast Asia but this also giving way to a more extreme Deobandi movement that has inspired the rise of Taliban. There are also a few very moderate schools like Ahmadiyya and Mahdavia a lot of it influenced by Indian cultural elements.

Almost every major religion has a conservative segment that interprets the religious edicts more seriously than the mainstream. Sometimes these extreme sects also get quite violent. Even the highly pacifist Buddhist religion went on a rampage against the minorities in Sri Lanka and Burma/Myanmar.

Tolerance and peaceful co-existence is the worldview of the majority of Muslims and the radical sects represent a very small but highly visible percentage of the total. It is the saturation coverage in the mainstream media of radical Islamism, much of it without context, that represents one of the greatest dangers we face in terms of marginalizing Islamic moderates in Western society.

Much of what is going on in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa at present has its roots in the actions of external groups and interfering foreign interest groups.

Monarchies & Dictatorships

Many successful Muslim countries – Indonesia, Turkey and Malaysia are democracies. The majority of Muslims in these countries are moderate given the level of social stability although this has changed significantly in Turkey over recent years. Historically though the Arab world has in the main been defined by monarchies or dictatorships promoting a tendency towards extremism in the population manifested in 2011 in the Arab Spring which kicked off events in Syria and Libya.

Foreign influence

The 2004 BBC television documentary series by Adam Curtis called The Power of Nightmares explains the evolution and escalation of the current conflict over time and the external influences and politics that motivated many of the actions that have the region where it is today.

The Middle East is of course a very strategic region and thus a number of external players have always operated there out of self-interest preventing democracy and in many cases supporting tyranny. The Saudi regime is supported by the Americans who have also fomented sectarian conflict in Iraq by supporting the anti-Sunni government some years ago. Over the last 50 years Russia, France and Great Britain have all sought to overtly and covertly influence events in the region.

The Many Forms of Extremism

Salafi is the most extreme Islamic school of thought (Sayyid Qutb) and is the biggest source of terror groups funded by Saudi oil money. They are ~1% of the world Muslim population, but are responsible for a big chunk of the trouble. Al Qaeda and ISIS are both Salafi groups.

The Taliban is a Afghan Pashtun organization based on the Deobandi school of thought. The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the Gaza Strip are Sunni. Hezbollah is a Shia organization. The civil wars in Syria and Iraq have exposed the radical sectarian tendencies within Islamism and the Saudi-Iranian proxy conflict in Yemen has showcased the fact that much of the funding and motivation for the sectarian conflict in the region has its roots in these two countries as they compete for regional influence.

Controlling the Ummah

Conservative extremists have not agreed on how they should remove the non-Islamic influences and even what is counted as non-Islamic. Many of the extreme groups believe their own interpretation of the Quran (religion), Hadith (customs), Sharia (law) is correct and that the other schools of thought are deluded or even demonic. And they go to extreme lengths to prove the other one is incorrect. Fundamentally, it is all about power. Each ethnicity and each school of thought wants to be the one that controls the Ummah.

"Has My Phone Been Hacked? Am I Being Surveilled?" – You Have No Idea

When someone asks that question do they mean that they are worried about rootkits, backdoors, trojans, worms, spyware, keystroke logging; are they concerned that someone has clocked their PGP private key; do they suspect LE have a warrant to eavesdrop their voice comms; or do they fret about the integrity of SIM card encryption and the Gemalto hack? Do they fuck.

Continued Happiness & Abundant Joy (For Hackers)

No, they don’t worry about these things because they don’t know about these things, they don’t care to spend the time understanding the threats or pay for the solutions and I don’t blame them. And that simple reality assures the continued happiness and abundant joy of the hacking for profit community.

If they are an above ordinary John Q then they follow a few simplistic tips they read after a quick Google and subsequently consider themselves bullet-proof and smart. If they are a small business they get comfortable when some self proclaimed infosec expert in a suit charges them a small fortune for “steal your watch & charge to tell you the time” consulting.

Good Old Fashioned Olde Worlde Surveillance 

And it’s not all about super-elegant hacks written by PLA Unit 61398 swirling around in the matrix gobbling up industrial secrets. A scene in the documentary CitizenFour showed Snowden using a blanket to cover his head and his laptop screen. The Snowden-Greenwald dialogue was as follows:

37:35 [Snowden pulling blanket over his head/laptop]
37:44 Greenwald: Is that about the possibility of…
37:47 Snowden [still under blanket, interrupts] visual, yeah visual collection
37:50 [Greenwald looking around the room, seems not rather sure what to think and say]
37:55 Greenwald: I don’t think at this point there is anything in this regard that will shock us. [laughter in room]

Gras Double commented on this precaution and noted that allegedly: “Still, using some advanced audio software, from the typing sound of the pressed keys, deducing from echo, reverb, comparing with the sound of a keyboard of an identical laptop, you could determine their coordinates in space. You can also analyse the movement of muscles of Snowden’s arms and extrapolate up to its fingers’ location and movement.” – a bold claim.

Another bright spark on Information Security Stack Exchange stated “He was using the blanket to fool visual recording devices attempting to steal his password, even though with modern technology x-ray or thermal imaging you could effectively ‘see through’ the blanket.” In rebuttal it was noted “I can see how an IR Thermographic Camera has a chance to detect something if the wrong kind of blanket is used. No idea how you want to use XRay, as it requires an emitter as well as a receiver.”

Line of Sight Surveillance for the Common Man

Still – the point is made I think – visual intercepts are economically viable even for local LE – it’s just an ultra low light wifi enabled pin-hole snake camera in the right spot. One above the driver and passenger seat belt brackets in a private vehicle is a good loc (easy access to and plenty of space behind the plastic covering the B pillar to store the bits). Five uninterrupted minutes and both are installed. Just wait for the target to take a Sunday drive and game on.

Most people rest the handset on their lap while typing stationary in traffic or better still upright and in front or on top of the wheel when driving – using one hand – which gives a nice unobstructed keystroke by keystroke view of their typing activities.

From a low value non-tech savvy target you will get screen lock password, SIM lock password, their main contacts, their email password and transcripts of their conversations during the time slot – even more if they are road safety conscious and use a speaker phone. For the high value target – encryption keys, app locks, timeline stats and so on and so on.

Turning Everyday Visual Objects into Visual Microphones 

When sound hits an object, it causes small vibrations of the object’s surface. This project shows how, using only high-speed video of the object, those minute vibrations can be extracted and partially recover the sound that produced them, allowing you to turn everyday objects—a glass of water, a potted plant, a box of tissues, or a bag of chips—into visual microphones.

The sound is recovered from high speed footage of a variety of objects with different properties, and uses both real and simulated data to examine some of the factors that affect the ability to visually recover sound.

The researchers evaluate the quality of recovered sounds using intelligibility and SNR metrics and provide input and recovered audio samples for direct comparison. They also explore how to leverage the rolling shutter in regular consumer cameras to recover audio from standard frame-rate videos, and use the spatial resolution of the method to visualize how sound-related vibrations vary over an object’s surface, which they can use to recover the vibration modes of an object.

In simple terms:

1. Two guys talking out of sight in a room;
2. You, outside at a distance pointing a video camera, through a window at a glass of beer on a table in the room;
3. Record the glass of beer for the duration of their conversation;
4. Take the footage and process it and extract the audio contents of the conversation that was happening out of sight;
5. No installs, no intrusion, no access to the room required, no need to see the targets;

SIM Card Encryption 

Here is a sobering thought in plain language that applies to every SIM card that you have ever owned:

“US and UK intelligence agencies after the Gemalto hack in 2010 and 2011 have the ability, with the stolen encryption keys, to monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.”

Sentimentality is Your Enemy

The easiest way to ensure that your smart phone remains un-hacked or returns to an un-hacked state is to be willing to survive on cheap throwaways – but most people are not willing to do that. If you are it’s simple as 🙂

1. Take the SIM out of your phone every few days / weeks / months (depending on your level of paranoia or the reality of your work / life), drill a hole in the motherboard, hit it with a hammer, microwave the mess and flush the remnants down a public toilet or a subset thereof;

2. Insert your SIM card in another cheap smart phone with the proper set of reliable tools that reduce (note the use of the word “reduce” not “remove”) your risk of infection, don’t transfer the data from the old phone or the apps and carry on. For maximum safety – bin your SIM too and buy a new one;

3. As before following a few simple rules like not downloading apps from random sites (although even the Google Play & Apple App Stores have their fair share of dodgy apps and are no guarantee of malware avoidance), don’t click on links in emails from Eastern European porn sites and don’t give your unlocked phones to strangers at airports – although you can just as easily be hacked remotely.

However, if you will insist on treating your phone as a treasured fashion accessory and have to travel everywhere with tons of personal data you haven’t looked at in years at your finger tips – just in case – then you will not want to do the above and will insist on a different answer to the question.

The Advice “Out There” 

A simple search on DuckDuckGo demonstrates the amount of posts out there on the subject and the amount of bizarre “clues” which are considered worthy of worrying about – that’s before you even get into the Android / iPhone variations and exposures.

Alarm bells should ring for you apparently, according to many of these posts if:

1. On checking your bank accounts / credit cards you see unusual activity that seems to arise from app purchases that you did not make (sort of blindingly obvious I would have thought);

2. You are also to worry if your pointer starts levitating across the screen to select specific options as opposed to the random behaviour of the pointer on a busted or water damaged handset (I would have thought this would worry even the most non-savvy user or really interest all paranormal investigators);

3. Seeing photos in your gallery that you did not take (Really?) – be very worried if they are of you while watching PornHub 🙂 – RansonWare;

4. Getting text messages from unrecognized numbers with weird characters in them (Oops);

5. Notifications that flash across your screen, disappear and then can’t be found in any app or the notification centre (Seems fair);

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No new content, no email for you – ever – and we won’t sell your email details to the NSA either and we are subpoena proof too so we can’t be forced to either.

END. 

Anonymizing Your Identity Draws the Attention of Who …. ?

Some companies that you have a registered relationship with, who detect your use of VPN / Proxy Services –  will impose another authentication process on you – which is highly inconvenient, in some cases downright intrusive and often requires you to submit much more personal information than you were required to provide when you originally registered with the service.

The point is this – if you intend to use VPN / Proxy services then get ready to re-authenticate many of the services that you regularly use as a registered customer.

Appropriate Protection 

Very few people want or need Tor, Tails, PGP, Whonix or the host of other helpful TSCM tools to confuse that NSA bogey man or the spook in the corner who is stalking you because of your political views 🙂 – most people just want their traffic protected and avoid having their passwords and emails hacked while using Starbucks wifi.

Enter VPN’s (Virtual Private Network) and proxy servers, both of which are handy tools to protect your privacy and security while using the internet. At home, at work or on public Wi-Fi a good VPN will offer you security features and privacy guarantees that make them worth your while using. Not all VPN’s are created equal though and many do not deserve your trust, so do your research. For the uninitiated VPNs create an encrypted ‘tunnel’ between your computer and the host server, with the internet traffic going in and out of the host server. An open proxy server is a computer that acts as an intermediary between your computer and the internet. Any traffic routed through a proxy server will appear to come from its IP address, not your computer’s.

You want “plug and play”, low to zero learning curve and hands-off ops in your VPN if you are not a power user. Typically you want log free services, zero knowledge (In cryptography, a zero-knowledge proof or zero-knowledge protocol is a method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that a given statement is true, without conveying any information apart from the fact that the statement is indeed true), no discrimination based on traffic type or protocols being used, anonymity protection, exit servers to help you get around location-restricted content blocks and trustworthy encryption.

Private Internet Access 

One of the best ones IMHO is Private Internet Access who protect both your privacy and security by encrypting all of the traffic between your device (laptop, PC, cell phone) and their servers. In addition the traffic is anonymized. PIA does not log data about your session or connection details, they don’t discriminate against protocols or IP addresses, and they don’t host any data about their users’ activities at all, anywhere.  They support a number of different authentication and encryption methods, support virtually every mobile and desktop operating system. They also provide connectivity options for your home router so you can stay constantly connected, connect to your home network when you’re away, or customize your solution. They also offer a choice of close to 1000 exit servers in 10 different countries.

But be aware many commercial outfits dislike VPNs and proxy services. In particular, some companies actively discourage and block methods of geolock circumvention. These companies are normally concerned with copyright infringement and the illegal reproduction or distribution of music files, videos, movies, e-books or any other copyrighted digital file.

Hulu and Amazon have actively combated people trying to use their services from other countries and failed miserably. Many other outfits have also been spectacularly unsuccessful in their efforts but there is also a shift occurring in the attitude of companies with whom you have a stated relationship and where your use of a VPN is not to facilitate illegal activity or breach the stated terms and conditions of a service.

Intrusive Requests

In these cases, some companies who you have a registered relationship with, who detect your use of VPN / Proxy Services –  will impose another authentication process on you – which is highly inconvenient, in some cases downright intrusive and in a number of cases required much more personal information that you were required to provide when you originally registered with the services. The point is this – if you intend to use these VPN services then get ready to re-authenticate many of the services that you regularly use as a registered customer.

Here are some examples of my experiences with this in the last few weeks:

PayPal

Dear Graham Penrose,

Thank you for providing as much information to help you with your enquiry. Before continuing, I would like to assure you that any difficulties you have had is acknowledged and your patience is appreciated.

Mr. Penrose, you need to have a UK phone number so you can verify your account. Ensure that you are making your payment from your country of residence.

If possible attempt to complete the payment from your home computer or the computer you most frequently use to access your PayPal account. To help you in completing a transfer, please call our customer service department. Please call us on 0800 358 7911 (freephone from a UK landline. Rates from overseas landlines and mobiles may vary).

We’re open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday, from 8am to 9pm on Saturday and from 9am to 9pm on Sunday. If you’re calling from outside the UK, call 00353 1 436 9004 (international call charges may apply). We appreciate your utmost patience and understanding on this matter.

Thank you for choosing PayPal.

Full Tilt Poker

Hello Graham,

We are writing to inform you that your Full Tilt account has been temporarily suspended. To protect the integrity of our games, we routinely review accounts and complete player verification. In order to verify your Full Tilt account, please send scanned, clear copies of the following documents to verification@fulltilt.com:

1) Photo ID: One of the following: valid driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID that clearly shows your birth date and the ID’s issue or expiry date.

2) Address verification (less than 90 days old): Bank or credit card statement, utility bill, home or auto insurance papers.

3) Digital photo: A digital photograph of you holding your ID document, so that we can compare you to your ID document.

4) Scan of the Card ending 3287.

5) Digital photo with Credit Card: A digital photograph of you holding your Credit Card(s) listed above.

PokerStars

Dear Graham,

Your PokerStars account has been temporarily suspended as part of a routine review.

It has come to our attention that you are connecting to PokerStars via a VPN, proxy, or similar service. Whilst we do not prohibit the use of such services, we have reason to believe that you may be hiding your true location through them.

All players are required to provide accurate account information as per our Terms of Service:
17.5. The User must provide full and truthful information in respect of all details and information requested by PokerStars in connection with the User’s use of the Service subject at all time to the terms of the Privacy Policy. The complete Terms of Service are available here:

http://www.pokerstars.com/poker/room/tos/ Please be advised that, on occasion, we may be required to amend the Terms of Service. It is your responsibility to keep up to date with any changes made to the Terms of Service.

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END. 

The Growth of Disharmony & Social Chaos in Ireland

The Republic of Ireland is a small country with a population less than that of the metropolitan areas of Manchester & Liverpool combined. The next Irish general election will take place in 16 days from now on Friday, 26 February 2016 for the 32nd Dáil (Irish Parliament).

 

After economic meltdown in the late noughties, the subsequent bank bailouts, the collapse of the housing market, the widespread personal debt crisis, rampant homelessness, endemic poverty and the imposition of radical austerity on the ordinary citizens of Ireland by the European troika*, the country has splintered economically, socially and politically.

* European troika, the tripartite committee led by the European Commission with the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, that organised loans to the governments of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Cyprus in return for saving the bond holders

In the centenary year of the 1916 Uprising, Ireland in 2016 looks very like it did a century ago. Consider the events of the last week along a range of social issues including the erosion of civil liberties, organised crime, extremism, xenophobia, republicanism, the refugee crisis and law & order.

The Erosion of Civil Liberties – Two Special Criminal Courts 

The recent extreme rise in violent crime nationally and gun violence between organised criminal gangs has been used by the Fine Gael party to ridicule legitimate opposition to the illegal practises of the non-jury Special Criminal Court apparatus.

Fine Gael attacked Sinn Fein for their plans to abolish it if ever elected, Fine Gael on the other hand have pledged, if reelected, to institute a second such court to clear up the backlog of cases currently before it.

Article 38, 3.1 of the constitution states “Special courts may be established by law for the trial of offences in cases where it may be determined in accordance with such law that the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice, and the preservation of public peace and order.” hence the legal basis for a court that flies in the face of normal practise whereby one is tried in front of a jury of one’s peers.

Primarily used in the past for dealing with Republicans, since the Good Friday Agreement the court has been used more and more for organised crime, while still trying dissident Republicans for their various misdeeds. Fine Gael are linking Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy’s conviction at the court to Sinn Fein’s desire to get rid of it.

The Special Criminal Court in Ireland has been criticised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Amnesty International and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, for its procedures and for being a special court, which ordinarily should not be used against civilians.

Among the criticisms are the lack of a jury, and the increasing use of the court to try organised “ordinary” crimes rather than the terrorist cases it was originally set up to handle. Critics also argue that the court is now obsolete since there is no longer a serious terrorist threat to the State. Under the law, the court is authorised to accept the opinion of a Garda Síochána chief-superintendent as evidence that a suspect is a member of an illegal organisation. The Sinn Féin political party have been critical of the Special Criminal Court.

The Impact of Immigration, the Refugee Crisis & Rising Islamophobia

Pegida, which stands for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West, began in Germany last year, largely in response to the European refugee crisis. Pegida attempted to hold a rally at the GPO in Dublin on the 9th Feb. 2016. Similar marches were held in Warsaw, Prague & Dresden – the one in Dublin turned violent:

“All-Out War” between Rival Criminal Gangs 

The deadly feud between the Christy Kinahan cartel (Spain) and associates of Gary Hutch started when Gary Hutch was shot dead in Spain last September. After months of simmering underworld tension, the feud exploded when a north inner city gang (6 men – 3 in SWAT uniforms with AK-47s) connected to Gary Hutch opened fire in the Regency Hotel, Dublin. The Kinahan cartel held a war council in a south inner city pub over the weekend and struck back quickly.

Despite a massive Garda presence in the city they murdered Eddie Hutch last Monday the 8th Feb, 2016 in a revenge attack. Yesterday, it emerged that just hours after Hutch was murdered, Gardai arrested ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson and his cousin Liam Roe after a short car chase that started in Crumlin and ended in Cork Street. Thompson had his clothes seized by Gardai after they spotted blood on his tracksuit and runners.

The Rise of Far Right Groups & Reactionaries

Members of Identity Ireland were attacked in Dublin last week while travelling on the Luas (light rail system).

A group of men dressed in black masks armed with baseball bats and iron bars attacked several members of the group.

  

Spokesman for the group Peter O’Loughlin said ““The most worrying aspect was some tweets sent out by some politicians.

A Labour councillor, I think she was a councillor, sent out a tweet saying ‘ha ha ha…Karma is a bitch’. That is a Government party you are talking about. I haven’t heard anything from the likes of Joan Burton. Fianna Fáil nothing. Sinn Féin – nothing.” The attack received little coverage in the MSM.

Anger at Politicians Favouring the Elite & Imposing Additional Taxes on the Poorest 

Richard Bruton, Fine Gael politician and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in the current Irish coalition government came to Kilmore, Coolock in Dublin to canvass last year. Bruton has been knee deep in scandals involving state corruption (IBRC, TTIP), illegal assistance to businessmen (Siteserv / Denis O’Brien) and presided over swingeing cuts to benefits for those most in need (cuts to single mothers’ allowances). His reaction to legitimate questioning demonstrates the contempt in which Irish politicians hold their constituents.

General Increase in Extreme Crime – The Kearns Assassination / Kenneth O’Brien Dismemberment 

Detectives suspect the “professional hit team” who murdered Darren Kearns last month received a phone call from an associate who had been stalking him and described it as a highly organised murder that involved the use of two cars at very short notice.

 

Kenneth O’Brien’s torso was recovered from the Grand Canal last month and was originally connected to a dispute with Eastern European gang members.

Strained Relations with the EU over US Tax Arrangements 
(lifted in its entirety from David McWilliams article)

There are two Irelands: commercial Ireland and bureaucratic Ireland. For many years, their interests were aligned. The commercial angle revolved around Ireland having trade links with the EU but with Anglo/American tax policies for capital; the bureaucratic angle involved being pro-European.

They complemented each other. Bureaucratic Ireland wanted to curry favour amongst Europeans at the top table, while never really standing up for the citizens of the country. So when, for example, the citizens voted against EU treaties, we were admonished by bureaucratic Ireland to vote again. This is not the stuff that democracies are made of.

But now, for the first time in years, a conflict exists between commercial Ireland and bureaucratic Ireland.

Commercial Ireland, the Ireland of business, might have to, very quickly, exercise some critical thinking and restraint over bureaucratic Ireland. Commercial Ireland lives in the real economy, the one that buys and sells, makes profit, employs people, pays wages and is largely held in some way responsible for what it does.

Bureaucratic Ireland inhabits the never-never land of the Dublin-Brussels corridor, which is entirely populated by civil servants and technocrats who have no reason to worry about commercial Ireland because their wages don’t depend on commerce. There is no relationship between competence and reward in bureaucratic Ireland.

Consider the Central Bankers, Department of Finance heads and regulators whose incompetence helped destroy this economy. Who lost their job? Did anyone lose pensions? No, they were largely rewarded for their failures. At least the politicians were voted out, but the top civil servants remain unscathed.

The Centenary Year 

In 2016, in these complex times, the politicians of Ireland would do well to remember the words of Jim Larkin – “You may succeed in your policy and ensure your own damnation, by your victory”

   

So You Want To Be A Digital Ghost – Introduction

This series of posts are provided as a guide to the private citizen who holds concerns regarding their information security and the protection of their data from unauthorized access from state and non-state actors.

This information is not intended for use for any other purpose in particular to access the deep web or dark net to conduct illegal transactions or engage in illegal activities.

Caveat

The implementation of these guides are intended for legal use and not to facilitate acts of criminality – these guides are for those of us who seek to protect our privacy in the belief that in a democracy every law abiding individual is entitled to a private life.

Caveat on the Caveat 

These posts are not intended to be Blackhat however like any hints and tips on any subject they can be used the wrong way.

If you are the type of person who feels the need to use internet to hire a hit-man to shoot your dog, buy poor viagra substitutes online or trade bomb making tips with your jihadi buddies then these guides are just as effective but …..

You also leave non-digital footprints and the forums which you may intend to visit, using the anonymity tools and tips described herein, are no doubt compromised and riddled with honeypots and lurking super secret squirrels and in those we trust.

Getting What You Want 

Some readers looking for answers / hacks / links / shortcuts will be aware of elements of the content of these posts and to avoid frustration a section at the top of each new post will call out what subject is being discussed in that post and what sub categories it contains – for example:

POST: Internet Censorship Software & Workarounds
Sub-Categories: Blue Coat Systems; SmartFilter; Fortinet; Websense; Netsweeper; Making Invisible Spyware Footprints Visible; Keyloggers; Malware Detection; Man in the Middle; TSCM; 

You will then be able to jump to the section you are interested in – or wholly ignore the post – or patiently wait for your section of interest. This series will run for twelve months with three posts per week so thats 156 pearls of wisdom riddled, real life expertise indispensable posts for you.

A complete contents and navigation guide will be included in the next post with the subject of each post, sub-categories, a clickable link and an intended publication date.

Subscribe to New Posts

To be notified as each post is published please subscribe to the blog – over there on the right – yes over there in the right column at the top where it says “Follow by Email”.

No new content, no email for you – ever – and we won’t sell your email details to the NSA either and we are subpoena proof too so we can’t be forced to either.

END.