Chile Broke Nazi Plot to Bomb Panama Canal

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USS Ranger traverses the Panama Canal during World War II.  (Wikimedia Commons)

More than 70 years after the end of World War II, several South American nations are continuing to deal in how they accepted, or at least turned a blind eye to, Nazis among them. Chile had a special unit called Department 50 that, according to newly declassified reports, neither ignored nor accepted the presence or activities of some of the most evil individuals to ever walk the earth: They went after them, with a vengeance.

One of the plots they foiled, Deutche Welle has reported, included an intended mission that could have altered the shape of the war and the world: The aim was to “destroy” the Panama Canal. The Germans clearly had figured out how critical that passageway was to the war effort, as it enabled the Americans the move troops, ships, and materiel westward, to stock the Pacific Theater, as the war intensified and, ultimately, reached its final conclusion there.

The rise of Department 50 marked an about-face for Chile, which resisted, until 1943, declaring war against the Axis (Germany-affiliated) nations. Deutche Welle said that South America-based spy rings monitored, on behalf of the Germans, Allied merchant ships, monitored Chilean naval communications and otherwise acted on behalf of Axis interests.

Prensa Latina reported this week that the newly-released documents “reveal the assistance provided by Nazi sympathizers in Chile by sending information to Germany about the routes followed by the Allies’ merchant ships.” Fortunately, the play to bomb the Panama Canal was thwarted – and two spy rings were broken up as a result of Department 50’s efforts. Prensa Latina said Chile eventually had 22 agents dedicated to working against the Nazis.

“If they had prospered in their objectives, it could have changed not only Chile’s history, but the history of the whole world,” said Hector Espinosa, the director general of the investigations police, during a ceremony to hand over the reports to Chile’s National Archives.

But much of Chile and South America’s past with the Nazis is less heroic. Christopher Klein at History.com reports that high-ranking Nazis, including Adolf Eichmann and Dr. Josef Mengele, found refuge in South America, along with at least 9,000 Nazi officers and collaborators who fled to Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

The Nazi connection to Argentina has also been in the spotlight recently. Just last week police found 75 significant Nazi-related artifacts in a hidden room in Argentina. Photographs indicated some of them may have even been owned or used by Hitler himself.

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FBI Blew $1m Hacking an iPhone – For Nothing!

 

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Something needs to be done to reign in U.S. intelligence agencies – particularly when they act totally unintelligently. Example: The FBI just blew more than $1 million to hack the iPhone used by San Bernardo shooter Syed Rizwan Farook in an attempt to tie him to some terrorist plot beyond the one he and his wife cooked up. The result: Nada. Nothing – of value – was learned.

Not even, would you believe, how to hack an iPhone a couple of months, weeks or days from now, after Apple has tightened the security even more than it already was.

The Wall Street Journal quoted FBI director James Comey, who’s lied to the American people and to Congress in the past, as saying that expenditure “was worth it.” A Reuters report said Comey noted that sum of taxpayers’ dollars was “a lot —  more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure.”

In 1789, in the year before his death, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy that, “‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” We can only hope that’s true of the term of James Comey.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on October 22, 2015 (see minutes 13:00-16:00 and 19:09-19:12) he declares that the assorted agencies charged with one or another aspect of the country’s security “use, collect and share intelligence in everything we do” – supposedly “better” since 9/11 than earlier, but, as the evidence shows, they seem to do so no more intelligently, or in any more an appropriately coordinated fashion, or much (if any) more successfully than was the case before 9/11.

How hard is it, really, to keep track of individuals who, for whatever reason, are on the FBI ‘watch’ list – who, for whatever reason, are considered to fit a profile of someone with harmful intents on the country? Apparently way harder than the modern-day FBI is capable of.

Comey argues that it is necessary for the FBI to be able to break or bypass encryption of private communications between citizens to further the cause of … what, freedom? One arguing against that view is Gen. Michael Hayden, the retired head of the U.S. National Security Agency, and he said as much as a conference on security issues in Miami Beach.

“I disagree with [FBI director] Jim Comey,” Hayden said in a speech. “I actually think end-to-end encryption is good for America.”

Before the bureau was shown the pricey method, investigators had claimed the phone could only be accessed with Apple’s assistance, The Hill reported. The Justice Department obtained a court order directing the tech giant to help unlock the phone, setting off a high-profile standoff when Apple refused.

Apple insisted that complying would set a dangerous precedent that would allow the government to ask other companies to intentionally undermine their security features, imperiling global digital security and online privacy.

The FBI countered that its request was narrowly tailored to the case at hand.

The court battle sparked a heated debate on Capitol Hill, as some lawmakers jumped to Apple’s defense, while others called on the Silicon Valley stalwart to help law enforcement.

The government eventually dropped its court order after purchasing the intrusion method from third-party hackers.

But because of the exorbitant costs to this approach, the FBI has said it cannot rely on paying outside hackers to get around secure devices.

“These solutions are very case-by-case specific,” said Amy Hess, the FBI’s executive assistant director for science and technology, during a House hearing this week.

“They’re very dependent on the fragility of the system,” she added. “And also they’re very time intensive and resource intensive, which may not be scalable.”

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I will be very appreciative if you will encourage your friends, family and colleagues to check out what my two blogs – Food TradeTrends.com and YouSayWhat.info – do in the interest of providing information you might, otherwise, never become aware of. You never know: Some of my research could prove useful, or possibly amusing, to you (and/or them).

I also encourage you to check out the blogs of people I am following and Commotion In The Pews, a blog I stumbled upon a year or so ago. The author of the latter is a fascinating guy who cultivates the appearance of the character he plays through a good part of December each year: Santa Claus.

Chinese Lose Top Secrets to US Through a Former High Official

 

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Ling Jihua stole very serious secrets from China while a government official there.

Before losing his job as the Chinese equivalent of the White House Chief of Staff, Ling Jihua stole close to 3,000 of his country’s top government and military secrets. He passed those secrets to his brother, Chinese defector Ling Wangchen, a California resident, who has passed them along to American intelligence officials, The Washington Free Beacon and Asia Times have reported.

The secrets cache includes details about Chinese nuclear weapons, including how they are armed and the codes that would be used to launch attacks with them. There’s also a good deal of information about China’s leaders and the places they work, including the Beijing compound known as Zhongnanhai. Those and other details are said to have considerable value to the U.S., which has been unable to obtain them independently. Particularly valuable are some secrets that can be used to target Chinese leaders through cyber intelligence operations, the web sites noted.

 

Ling Wangchen, an avid golfer, is an executive with a a golf management and financial firm called Asian Pacific Group, according to the Los Angeles Times. The company owns golf courses in California and Nevada, the paper said.

Ling has a $2.5 million home in Loomis, near Sacramento. He’s lived there since 2013, but dropped from public view last year, shortly after his brother was arrested on corruption charges. He’s reportedly being harshly interrogated in connection with charges of stealing state secrets, having illicit affairs, taking bribes, and using his position to benefit relatives, The Free Beacon reported in the lengthy article later published by Asia Times.

U.S. government officials have admitted that Ling is being held and closely protected in a secret place. Intelligence agents became aware some months ago that “covert Chinese agents” are looking for him with the possible intent of killing or kidnapping him.

It’s no wonder Beijing is upset with him: It appears that the documents he’s handed over represent the U.S.’s greatest intelligence coup against China in 30 years. During that time, said Michael Pillsbury, a China specialist with the Hudson Institute, defectors have been the main source of information about the business of both business and government in China, but none until Ling revealed such a range of top-grade secrets.

“This is an intelligence windfall,” a top U.S. government official has been quoted as saying.

While it generally remains pretty closed-mouth about Ling and other types of information he may be able to reveal, the government hopes he might have knowledge of agricultural, industrial and media purchases in the U.S. that could be part of China’s grand plan to “co-opt the U.S. economy,” according to John Tkacik, a former China specialist with the State Department.

“But the most important intel he could provide,” Tkacik said, “would be on the inner workings of China’s global financial strategies, the extent to which the Chinese have infiltrated … global financial markets both with human assets and network penetrations, and have used these tools to fuel their incredible accumulation of wealth.”

Meanwhile, because China was so successfully ‘infiltrated’ by Ling Jihua, a major purging of top officials is underway there, and 72 of 85 officials who worked in 19 offices under Ling have been replaced, and at least 55 people were under investigation by last fall, according to two Hong Kong-based dissident Chinese magazines. Qianshao and Chenming published some details on the Ling case last November.  London’s Sunday Times reported on their reports and got some details confirmed by U.S. officials.

Ling Jihua is believed to have been a main source for corruption investigations that resulted in the downfall of China’s top security official, Zhou Yongkang, as well as two senior military officials, The Beacon said.

That web site said as chief of the secretariat of the Party’s Political Bureau, Ling had access to “the most sensitive details available exclusively to senior Chinese leaders.” He is believed to have secreted out some 2,700 of those documents during a month-long period in mid-2012 when he was transitioning from one position to another in the government.

He and his brother had intended to use the documents as leverage to prevent prosecution of Ling Jihua, but they’d agreed the documents should be released to the U.S. if he was.