cia

Human rights advocates expressed outrage on March 13 after US President Donald Trump nominated deputy director Gina Haspel to be the next CIA director — despite her leading role in running a CIA black site where detainees were systematically and gruesomely abused, writes Jessica Corbett for

On the tail of its damning CIA hacking bombshell, WikiLeaks published another trove of documents on March 23 outlining how the spy agency has been uploading secret software to Apple devices as far back as 2008.

WikiLeaks has published what it says is the largest leak of secret CIA documents in history. The thousands of documents published on March 6, dubbed “Vault 7”, describe CIA programs and tools that are capable of hacking into Apple and Android mobile phones.

By hacking into entire phones, the CIA is then reportedly able to bypass encrypted messenger programs such as Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. However, contrary to many news reports, the documents do not show the CIA has developed tools to hack these encrypted services themselves.

On the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported in early February 1978: “At this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.”

But two years later, on January 27, 1980, one of the bank's two founders, Frank Nugan, was found dead near Lithgow in NSW from a gunshot wound to the head. An inquest found it was suicide. Meanwhile, the other founder of the bank, Michael Hand, was busy shredding documents, including “files identifying clients regarded as sensitive”.

The Central Intelligence Agency was set up in 1947 as the key agency for US Cold War operations. From its inception, it intervened in the trade union movement and workers' political parties throughout much of the world, including Australia.

One of the first post-World War II US policy objectives was to counter the newly-formed World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) to which the Australian union movement was affiliated through the ACTU.


President Juan Manuel Santos and General Juan Pablo Rodriguez, one of the generals singled out by the report. Photo: Presidency of Colombia via TeleSUR.

Top generals in the Colombian army have been implicated in the long-running “false positives” military scandal, according to a new report Human Rights Watch (HRW) published on June 24.

The Snowden Files
Luke Harding
Random House
February 2014
352 pages, $30

Luke Harding's The Snowden Files is a well-constructed overview of the biggest intelligence leak in history - but it is not without its flaws.

The Guardian journalist tells a detailed story of Edward Snowden - from his childhood in a military, Republican family, his short education and brief, failed army career, to his meteoric rise through the intelligence services that eventually enabled him to turn whistleblower.

Remembrance Day, on November 11, was celebrated again this year in the Australian media with pictures of red poppies and flag-draped coffins and historic photos of Australian soldiers who gave “the ultimate sacrifice” from the human-made wasteland of Flanders to the stony deserts of Afghanistan.

Paying tribute to the ten soldiers killed this year in the long war in Afghanistan, Governor-General Quentin Bryce said that Australians were good at remembering: “We seem to know what we ought to hold onto and what is best let go.”

US intelligence services are closely monitoring the movements of Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, after he said the website would soon release a classified Pentagon video showing a May 2009 US air strike in Afghanistan that killed up to 140 civilians.

The “Garani” video, if released, would follow the video released by Wikileaks in May, which showed US soldiers in an Apache helicopter fatally shooting about a dozen civilians in Iraq, including a reporter from news agency Reuters.

That video received worldwide prominence and considerably heightened Wikileaks’ profile.

The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics & Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA
By Douglas Valentine
TrineDay, 2009

After 40 years, the "war on drugs" is about to become the longest continuous war in US history. In The Strength of the Pack, Douglas Valentine explains why dismantling the US$44 billion a year Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) juggernaut is unlikely to happen as long as the US attempts to maintain a world empire.

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