Skype and the Bavarian trojan in the middle

Wikileaks has published a couple of leaked documents that detail how the Bavarian police, Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution office tried to arrange the purchase of malware to aid in the interception of encrypted data submitted via SSL or Skype via the internet.

If the intention was to intercept all Skype traffic in Bavaria or perhaps further afield then this could be a serious breach of civil liberties but I suspect it is merely the Bavarian authorities looking for an equivalent to a court-approved phone tap now that criminals have presumably adopted Skype or other voice over IP type technologies.

I don’t think the trojan horse approach is very practicable though as it either requires the targets to unwittingly install it or for the police to secretly gain physical access to their target’s computers in order to install the software themselves.

US Guantanamo tribunals ‘illegal’

BBC News: US Guantanamo tribunals ‘illegal’

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Bush administration does not have the authority to try terrorism suspects by military tribunal.

Justices upheld the challenge by Osama Bin Laden’s ex-driver to his trial at Guantanamo, saying the proceedings violated Geneva Conventions.

The ruling is seen as a major blow to President George W Bush – but it does not order the closure of Guantanamo.

So the tribunals are ruled as illegal, doesn’t surprise me as they seem as fair as the trial of General Tomoyuki Yamashita. But having fair and open trials was never the reason for the prison at Guantanamo the prisoners were not there to be tried and punished for their crimes they are there solely for the extraction of intelligence in order for the US to carry out their War on Terror. Any open and fair trials would jeopardise this and would reveal the true nature of the detainees there including that many of them are probably innocents that were sold to the US by corrupt members of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. The fact that children were picked up and held before being released is surely an indication that people were detained without first establishing who they were and what threat they constituted.

I think that the pressure has built to such an extent that the prison will soon close particularly as the Bush administration seem to have finally woken up to the fact that it is a PR disaster. But any such closure will simply be the next step in a PR campaign as it will not mean the closure of those less well-known prisons around the world and the unknowable numbers of secret and hidden US military prisons.

I would be very surprised if we ever see more than a few token open and fair trials conducted under US law occur.

Guantanamo suicides a ‘PR move’

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Colleen Graffy has described the suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a “good PR move to draw attention”.

Colleen Graffy told the BBC the deaths were part of a strategy and “a tactic to further the jihadi cause”, but taking their own lives was unnecessary.

But lawyers say the men who hanged themselves had been driven by despair.

A military investigation into the deaths is under way, amid growing calls for the centre to be moved or closed.

The suicides may have brought the Guatnanamo Bay detention camp back into the news but I don’t think that any rational person could believe that the suicides were designed to draw attention. It’s not like the camp is not an albatross around the neck of the US government in any case.

It has probably been the greatest tool for recruitment to the ranks of Al-Qaeda ever. It undermines the reputation of the US around the world amongst nations friendly to it and feeds it’s enemies by giving them a talisman of propoganda about how the US hates Muslims and mistreats and tortures them.

What makes the notion that the suicides were just “a tactic to further the jihadi cause” even more sickening is the news that one of the three detainess was due to be released but hadn’t been informed yet by the American officals.

Seriously if he was considered to be of such a low level of threat that he would be released is he really likely to commit suicide as an “act of asymmetric warfare”.

Asymmetric warfare by suicide

BBC News: Guantanamo suicides ‘acts of war’

These are the first suicides at the base, despite dozens of attempts
The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says.

The camp commander said the two Saudis and a Yemeni were “committed” and had killed themselves in “an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us”.

That’s just sickening isn’t it.

How dare they commit suicide. Think of the poor US soldier that had to discover their dead bodies how he must have suffered to see such a sight, that must surely be a breach of his human rights no soldier should have to experience such horrors. The sooner the detainment camp at Guantanamo Bay is closed the sooner these US servicemen can return home and no longer have to suffer at the hands of the terrorists.

Who knows if these were indeed members of Al-Qaeda committed to destroying the US through their own suicide or if they were innocents picked up by the Northern Alliance and sold to the US military who through despair took what they saw as the only possible route out of their unending detention.

I don’t think the line given by camp commander Rear Adm Harry Harris that


I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.

really stands up to analysis.

Martyrdom is only effective if the outside world and one’s followers are aware of the sacrifice. But the detainees have no contact with the outside world they could not possibly know that their deaths would be reported. Would they really make such an empty sacrifice as an act of war against the United States.