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Showing posts from December 31, 2013



Shipping companies largely silent on NSA intercepting packages

11:56 AM 12/31/2013

Giuseppe Macri

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Shipping giants FedEx and UPS haven’t said much since it was revealed Sunday that the National Security Agency intercepts electronics packages to install spyware, but what they have said implies they knew what the agency was up to.

Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum co-wrote a Der Spiegel article published Sunday detailing how the NSA intercepts newly purchased computer products mid-shipment to install surveillance malware before reaching the buyer without their knowledge.

“If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO [Office of Tailored Access Operations] can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops,”
Appelbaum wrote.

"The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called “load stations,” agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install …

STRATFOR ANALYSIS : The Crisis of the Middle Class and American Power

Geopolitical Weekly

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - 04:01 


Editor's Note: The following Geopolitical Weekly originally ran in January 2013.

By George Friedman

When I wrote about the crisis of unemployment in Europe, I received a great deal of feedback. Europeans agreed that this is the core problem while Americans argued that the United States has the same problem, asserting that U.S. unemployment is twice as high as the government's official unemployment rate. 

My counterargument is that unemployment in the United States is not a problem in the same sense that it is in Europe because it does not pose a geopolitical threat. 

The United States does not face political disintegration from unemployment, whatever the number is. 

Europe might.

At the same time, I would agree that the United States faces a potentially significant but longer-term geopolitical problem deriving from economic trends. The threat to the United States is the persistent decline in the middle class' standard…


AVOID THE CROWDS : $375 to eat at Applebee's? Chain restaurants cash in on New Year's Eve


Tracy Saelinger
TODAY contributor

15 hours ago

Reuters file

One way to skip waiting out in the cold to celebrate New Year's Eve in Times Square is to pony up some cash to eat at a chain restaurant in the area.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about doing the Times Square thing on New Year’s Eve—lining up at 3 p.m., standing around for nine hours in 24-degree weather, and yes, wearing adult-sized diapers.

But there’s a secret way to skip the crowds and cold. You just have to be willing to pay big bucks to eat at one of the chain restaurants inside the Times Square “lock-down zone”—like $375 to eat at Applebee’s.

Tomorrow night, the two Applebee’s franchise locations in Times Square are offering a dinner package for that price, which includes a buffet dinner, open bar, deejay, live entertainment, party favors and a midnight Champagne toast.

With a ticket in hand, party-goers can breeze past the security barriers and head to the restaurant at a reasonable 8 p.m., instead of waiting out…