By Wayne Madsen
A recent release of a leaked classified PowerPoint presentation from the National Security Agency (NSA) provides a rather detailed description of how the FIVE EYES signals intelligence alliance of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand has conspired with the promoters of social media-based revolutions, such as the Arab Spring, to bring about the collapse of democratically-elected or otherwise stable governments. However, the PowerPoint slides were partially redacted in key areas by the dubious censors of First Look Media, financed by e-Bay founder and multi-billionaire Pierre Omidyar.
The PowerPoint slides illustrate how, in November 2011, the NSA; Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), now Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the Defense Signals Directorate (DSD) of Australia, now the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD); New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB); and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) developed a method for not only monitoring but taking control of cell phone and social media networks used for socio-political uprisings. The program, known as Synergizing Network Analysis Tradecraft, was developed by the FIVE EYES’s Network Tradecraft Advancement Team or NTAT.
The efforts of the NTAT were directed against single devices where «voice and data services interact». These devices include smart phones and other portable data and voice devices. By November 2011, the Arab Spring uprisings were in full swing, with the governments of Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi having been overthrown, and anti-government rioting breaking out in Syria, Yemen, Oman, and Morocco. The FIVE EYES met in a workshop to discuss how a classified operation code-named IRRITANT HORN could be used in future Arab Springs, only in different countries. The signals intelligence experts formulated plans to use the lessons learned in the Arab Spring to target servers in «non-5 Eyes countries for such exploitation as man-in-the-middle or MITM operations and the harvesting of data «at rest» and in transit. A related mobile network exploitation operation was code-named CRAFTY SHACK.
The slides show that among the countries where mobile application servers were targeted by the FIVE EYES were France, Cuba, Senegal, Morocco, Switzerland, Bahamas, and Russia. The information targeted by the Western signals intelligence partners included geolocation and network ownership information for each IP address that consisted of «network owner name, carrier name, ASN (advanced service network), continent, country, region, city, latitude and longitude, and any other related details». Not of interest to FIVE EYES were such applications as Google, mobile banking, and iTunes.
It is noteworthy that according to one TOP SECRET/SI [Special Intelligence] PowerPoint slide, a FIVE EYES system code-named EONBLUE was used to target Blackberry users in Saudi Arabia. Out of all the countries where Arab Spring demonstrations began, it was Saudi Arabia that acted swiftly to put down its street protests by brutal force. The FIVE EYES interest in Saudi Arabia mobile communications during the IRRITANT HORN operations may indicate that there was a dual purpose to such surveillance. NSA and its partners, in an act of «offensive information warfare», may have steered protesters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and other countries to anti-government uprisings through MITM operations while tipping off the authorities in Saudi Arabia about plans to stage anti-government demonstrations in that country.
Another FIVE EYES operation targeted Samsung, Nokia, and other mobile telecommunications users of the Warid-Congo mobile network in the Republic of Congo. CSE boasted in one PowerPoint slide that it had «a list of the most popular smartphones for Warid Congo customers and their international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) numbers». IMSIs are assigned to every GSM user. Warid, which is owned by Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan, the Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development of the United Arab Emirates and which is based in Abu Dhabi, also provides mobile services in Uganda, the Republic of Georgia, Ivory Coast, and Pakistan.
The interest of the FIVE EYES in fomenting a social media-based uprising in the Republic of Congo is interesting. The country has been led since 1997 by the authoritarian president Denis Sassou-Nguesso who is considered firmly in the pro-French camp. The Congo Republic is a major oil-producer in the region and the Anglophone FIVE EYES alliance would certainly be interested in replacing the authoritarian president with one more aligned with the United States and Britain. The targeting of Congo provides more proof that the NSA military and civilian analysts, who spend long hours on watch, are devoting themselves and their careers more to the bottom lines of U.S. and British oil companies than to U.S. national security.
Just four months after the FIVE EYES meeting of the NTAT, a partly-social media mass protest did break out in the Talangai district of Brazzaville, the Congolese capital. A March 26, 2012 dispatch from the U.S. embassy in Brazzaville stated: «Protestors are discontent with the Government of the Republic of the Congo’s handling of indemnity payments to people who lost their homes in the March 4 explosions at the Regiment Blinde munitions depot. Embassy sources reported hearing gun shots at the site of the protest on Marien Ngouabi Avenue, near the Talangai Market. The protesters are expected to march to the Presidential Palace. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the Talangai district and the area surrounding the Presidential Palace throughout the day». The embassy appeared to know the plans of the protesters, possibly with the help of intelligence provided by both IRRITANT HORN and CRAFTY SHACK.
In January 2012, just two months after the NTAT meeting, anti-government protests broke out in Senegal, another country targeted by IRRITANT HORN/CRAFTY SHACK, after President Abdoulaye Wade, a supporter Muammar Qaddafi’s United States of Africa, announced he would run for a third term. The then-State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland of Euromaidan infamy, urged the 85-year old Wade to pass power to «the next generation». Wade was defeated for re-election the month after the outbreak of violent riots in Dakar, the Senegalese capital. Soros’s OSI and the International Crisis Group, which is also heavily-bankrolled by Soros, provided significant support to both the Brazzaville and Dakar protests.
The PowerPoint slides also describe how a Chinese mobile web browser was discovered by a GCHQ analyst to leak IMSI; MSISDNs (Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Numbers) that are linked to SIM cards; International Mobile Station Equipment Identities (IMEIs) unique to every mobile device and used for, among other things, tracking stolen or jail broken phones; and other device-specific information.
Although partially redacted, the latest disclosure of NSA material confirms the nexus between FIVE EYES signals intelligence surveillance and active measures in support of the overthrow of governments in the Middle East and elsewhere. The information verifies a convergence between the color revolution activities of George Soros’s Open Society Institute (OSI) network and the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the surveillance activities of the FIVE EYES partners.
There is also an obvious correlation between the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) «fake Twitter» operation in Cuba, known as Zun Zuneo, and IRRITANT HORN. Zun Zuneo or Proyecto ZZ, was aimed at forming «smart mobs» across Cuba to protest against the Cuban government and seek its overthrow in a «Cuban Spring». It is important to note that IRRITANT HORN targeted Cuba in its mobile and social media surveillance and MITM operations.
Zun Zuneo used two contractors in Costa Rica, Contractor Creative Associates International and Mobile Accord of Denver. The firms obtained 400,000 CubaCel mobile telephone numbers, which now appears to have come the FIVE EYES’s IRRITANT HORN program, and began sending Cubans Twitter-like text messages, purportedly originating in Spain. Zun Zuneo also involved a front company in the Cayman Islands, MovilChat, which used a Cayman Islands bank account to covertly fund the Zun Zuneo caper. USAID funding for Zun Zuneo was secretly diverted from an unknown USAID project in Pakistan. The bank account used by USAID and MovilChat was maintained at the Cayman Islands branch of the Bermuda-based Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Ltd. The Carlyle Group, along with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), are significant shareholders of the bank.
USAID has used technology similar to Zun Zuneo to mobilize smart mobs in Moldova, the Philippines, and Ukraine. The May 1, 2014, anti-government mass protests in Cambodia also appears to have been prompted by a USAID/CIA «smart mob» Twitter-like operation. By honing their network tradecraft in the Arab countries and Cuba, the FIVE EYES were well-prepared to support the Maidan Square uprising in Kiev in early 2014. The IRRITANT HORN project reveals that there is not much space between the operations of Soros’s and Nuland’s democracy manipulators and the social media surveillance eavesdroppers of the FIVE EYES alliance.