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Stratfor Hacked Emails Reveal the TrapWire System run by Private Corporations run by ex-CIA/NSA people

category international | rights and freedoms | feature author Thursday September 13, 2012 00:59author by T Report this post to the editors

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Surveillance cameras everywhere now

A series of reports from Russia Today (rt.com) and other sites have explained how activists reading through last year's hack by Anonymous of the Strategic Forecasting Intelligence agency (Stratfor) have revealed a little known system already in place and run by the Abraxas corporation although hints of the system were known years earlier. The email have since been released on WikiLeaks. Global Intelligence Files

What is TrapWire?

TrapWire is described as a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology and is installed across the US under the radar of most Americans. As the RT report says:

Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence. It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it's the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities

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Camera overlooking crowds
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There hidden at the doors to trains....
A number of years ago it was noted that many areas, particularly poor areas and ones with high concentrations of immigrants were large number of surveillance cameras started appearing particularly at points where people would naturally enter and exit areas such as roads, local metro stations, bus stations, shopping areas and so forth. But this phenomenon is actually widespread and thousands of very discrete and not so discrete cameras have appeared on buses, in train/metro stations, along roads and shopping areas and shopping centers. They each have different characteristics like ability to zoom, read vehicle registration plates, monitor people entering/leaving buildings and so on.

The report continues: The ostentatious reason for the system was actually given by the founder of Abraxas, Richard Helms in a 2005 interview with The Entrepreneur Center, said his signature product "can collect information about people and vehicles that is more accurate than facial recognition, draw patterns, and do threat assessments of areas that may be under observation from terrorists.” He calls it “a proprietary technology designed to protect critical national infrastructure from a terrorist attack by detecting the pre-attack activities of the terrorist and enabling law enforcement to investigate and engage the terrorist long before an attack is executed,” and that, “The beauty of it is that we can protect an infinite number of facilities just as efficiently as we can one and we push information out to local law authorities automatically."

But it can do more than that and collect all sorts of information and search for all sorts of things and people for any number of reasons. And recall that this is all being run by a private company with zero oversight. They can and do sell the analysis to government agencies and to private (corporate) clients. The report details this:

An internal email from early 2011 included in the Global Intelligence Files has Stratfor’s Burton allegedly saying the program can be used to “[walk] back and track the suspects from the get go w/facial recognition software.”

Since its inception, TrapWire has been implemented in most major American cities at selected high value targets (HVTs) and has appeared abroad as well.....

What is meant by walk back here is that, a sequence of events of some unknown person can be recorded by the system but if later say some facial recognition software identifies them, they can then go back through the data and re-analyse with this new information and that can also help fill out relationships with other entities or people in the playback.

In the next extract we can see that even Stratfor's Burton clearly realises this is a very sinister technology for the country even as he profits from it.
(Note: CONUS = Continental US, HVT = High Value Target))

In one email from 2010 leaked by Anonymous, Stratfor’s Fred Burton allegedly writes, “God Bless America. Now they have EVERY major HVT in CONUS, the UK, Canada, Vegas, Los Angeles, NYC as clients.” Files on USASpending.gov reveal that the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense together awarded Abraxas and TrapWire more than one million dollars in only the past eleven months.
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Web of Links Between Abraxas and other companies

However it is when the nature of Abraxas is explored and how it has been developing as a company recently is what should worry people. Here are somewhat appear at first sight appear to be separate unrelated facts.

  • A company called Cubic Corporation has a monopoly on ticketing systems for transit systems (rail & bus) across America and also have extensive operations worldwide in Europe (including UK), Canada, Australia and Asia. They run the ticket systems which can be paid by cash, credit cards, debits cards, online etc and as part of that operation have access to all the data on everyone using these systems. As they say themselves "Over the past decade, Cubic has implemented more than 80 percent of the major smart card systems in the U.S. now active today,"

  • Another company called Anonymizer has -quoting from RT report where the company publicists say as “the leader in consumer online anonymity solutions." Anonymizer exists under the alleged platform of providing identity masking while making communiqué and clandestine transactions over the Web, and its then-newly-hired vice president for consumer products, Chaminda Wijetilleke, said in 2010, “As the online privacy space continues to mature, Anonymizer is in a great position to increase its lead in the industry and to be at the forefront of bringing innovative products to market.”
What have Abraxas, Cubic Corporation and Anonymizer all got in common? They are now all part of the same company since both Abraxas and Anonymizer were acquired by Cubic Corporation.

When these links were revealed they were strenuously denied as were denials made by various cities that they don't use TrapWire. However, tax documentation clearly link the companies as do further revealations in the emails.

So (again per RT report)

Through Cubic’s transportation division, customers can use identity-linking credit cards to purchase unique fare tickets that grant them access to the biggest metro systems in the United States. Once walking away from the ticket machine, though, those same passengers are placed under surveillance in certain markets that not just rely on Cubic for their metro fare needs, but use TrapWire to track suspicious activity.

According to a 2009 GIF email believed to be from Stratfor Vice President for Intelligence Fred Burton, the intelligence officer writes, “TrapWire is a technology solution predicated upon behaviour patterns in red zones to identify surveillance. It helps you connect the dots over time and distance.” In 2011, Burton allegedly writes that the same surveillance system can be used to “[walk] back and track the suspects from the get go w/facial recognition software.” When combining the state-of-the-art face-tracking with the same technology that can tell you the precise location and time that a person is performing a financial transaction at a Cubic machine, the company’s control over certain cities is almost all-encompassing.

....... Stratfor is reported to have had a contract directly with the developers of TrapWire that allowed them a substantial cut of their profits in exchange for their assistance in promoting their product to high-ranked customers, other emails published by Wikileaks as part of the Global Intelligence Files suggest. One file included in the trove, a partnering agreement between Stratfor and TrapWire’s parent group, Abraxas, provides Burton and company with an 8 percent referral fee for any businesses they help sign on to the surveillance system. [pdf]

..... According to the decrypted emails, Bronder says that Stratfor is on top of trying to fix the feed being streamed to TrapWire clients in order to make it more “security focused” per his superior’s suggestion, but when Burton responds with the names of customers involved in the surveillance program, it is no wonder why Stratfor was so eager to entice their buyers with the best material available.

“This audience is the who's who of the CT world,” the email from Burton reads, referring to counterterrorism. “TW has RCMP, MI5, Scotland Yard SO15, USSS White House and PPD, LAPD, NYPD, Las Vegas PD and Fusion, Seattle PD, SEA-TAC…etc.”

The RCMP are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, USSS are US Secret Service and White House and Fusion refers to the Fusion centers which are part of the new data fusion centers taking linking multiple agencies and exist for most US cities.

At this point, people should be in little doubt where all this is heading. What the KGB had in the Soviet Union and the Stasi in East Germany doesn't come remotely close to this capability and they would rightly have been extremely jealous, although I've little doubt that Russia today or China are actually not too far behind and in the case of China they may even be ahead. But it seems this new reality is converging ever more closer and closer to the horror brilliantly outlined in the novel 1984 by George Orwell and it displays his incredible insight into the deep authoritarian tendencies that lurk in humans and how once the process starts it coalesces with greater speed as it progresses into the nightmare that we have already slipped into.

For the full text of the set of reports which the above has been compiled from see:
Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system

TrapWire investigation links transit systems and Anonymizer in global surveillance network

Mainstream media whitewashes the facts behind TrapWire scandal

TrapWire tied to White House, Scotland Yard, MI5 and others, claims hacked Stratfor email

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 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Make up not war     PsyJoe    Sun Sep 23, 2012 17:46 
   Texas schools punish students who refuse to be tracked with microchips     T    Sun Oct 14, 2012 23:27 
   Anonymous protest 12th dec 2012 about government abuse of this big brother technology     serf    Sun Oct 28, 2012 20:00 
   Printers print secret government negotiated dot patterns that identify the printer     serf    Mon Nov 05, 2012 20:26 
   Public Buses Across Country (USA) Quietly Adding Microphones to Record Passenger Conversations     T    Thu Dec 13, 2012 23:55 
   30,000 drones to be deployed in US by 2020 for Surveillance     T    Mon Dec 24, 2012 16:21 


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