; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Just the Facts?: U.S. Strategist Calls For McKinnon Pardon -- Attempted Cattle Abduction? -- The Cannibals of North Korea

U.S. strategist calls for Gary Mckinnon pardon...to help recruit hackers

A senior U.S. military strategist has called for British hacker Gary McKinnon to be pardoned - as part of a drive to recruit hackers to the U.S. military.

John Arquilla, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, called for the British hacker to be pardoned by Obama in an essay entitled 'Uncle Spam Needs You' in Foreign Policy magazine.

Britain's Home Secretary ruled against Mckinnon's extradition on humanitarian grounds - but the U.S. charges against him remain in place.

'If the notion of trying to attract master hackers to our cause is ever to take hold, this might be just the right case in which President Obama should consider using his power to pardon,' says Arquilla.

'One presidential act of mercy, such as in the case of McKinnon, won't entirely repair relations or build trust between hackers and the government, but it would be a strong signal of officialdom's growing awareness of the wisdom of embracing and employing the skills of these masters of their virtual domain.'

Hackers are frequently employed by security firms after serving sentences - and Arquilla suggests that the U.S. military could do the same.

The Pentagon aims to expand its cyber security personnel from 900 to 4,900 in the next few years.

Arquilla says, 'Today's masters of cyberspace are not unlike the German rocket scientists who, after World War II, were so eagerly sought by both sides in the Cold War to help them build missiles for war and rockets for space exploration.'

' Hackers may be courted and pampered in China, Russia, and other countries, but in the United States they are often hunted by lawmen.'
China is widely thought to employ hackers, after a number of high-profile atacks on U.S. government targets originating from Chinese IP addresses.

In 2011, U.S. government accounts were penetrated by hackers in China, after their Google Mail accounts were hacked.

The targeting of government officials led many to suspect the Chinese government was involved - and the attacks originated in Jinan, home of the Chinese army’s ‘Technical Reconnaissance Bureaus.’

'Blaming these misdeeds on China is unacceptable,' said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei after the attacks.

Cal Leeming, an ex-hacker who was convicted for a cyber crime, but now works in computer security for Simplicity Media, says that the practice of recruiting hackers is well-known in the private sector.

"One of our clients actually makes a point of tracking down people that abuse our systems, and then employing them rather than reporting them to the police - this has been a huge success and really keeps us ahead of the game," says Leeming.

"On several occasions I have given ex-hackers (or people on the edge), a certain amount of trust with our clients systems, and kept them under a very tight leash.. I make a point of telling them, if they abuse our systems, it's not hacking, it's abuse of trust."

"The military will obviously have to be more careful because some hackers may use the opportunity as a social engineering tool to dig their way into systems, but this is a risk associated with any employee."

"Not all ex-hackers are scary, and they do not pose an more of a risk to a company than any other employee. In fact, it could be argued that ex-hackers are quite possibly more trustworthy, as they have a lot more to lose if they mess up again." - Yahoo


Is this a photo of a cow being dropped from a craft?

Attempted Cattle Abduction?

Melissa, Texas - 2/13/2009

Location: Across the street from us.... Farm country......Open Fields.......

The weather was nice outside. I was just enjoying the night sky. Looked out over the field of cattle and horses and saw a red object that just kept in one position for about 30 minutes over the tree line...(Just remember this was over four years ago, and I think you can check the date and time on the picture stamp.) I held the camera so it would not move while snapping the shots. After I downloaded the pictures, believe it or not, it looks like a cow is being dropped. Really.... I live around neighbors with shotguns and you dont go around asking questions. Trust me... I would love for someone to take a look at the picture and then you all can make up your own decisions about the view. The farmer that lived across the street has died....So you wont be able to ask him any questions. He lived alone.... Kept going in and out of the house. Then I went into the house, but still kept an eye on the object. Went to the restroom and when I went back to the window it was gone... But the next day we had black helicopters in about the same area flying up and down that creek area. It wasnt just one helicopter but about 3.... So I have decided the next time, I will take snapshots of them also... With the time stamp on the camera that will help also. Just take a look at my picture and let me know what you all think..... Something about being called "Off the rocker", NO ONE LIKES. But the good thing is that my husband saw the same thing I did. I will only forward one picture, but I have more. Would like to have an intelligent conversation with someone regarding this photo....and others. Enjoy.... Let me know what you think.
Ms. "M"



The Cannibals of North Korea

There were times and places in North Korea in the mid-1990s, as a great famine wiped out perhaps 10 percent of the population, that children feared to sleep in the open. Some of them had wandered in from the countryside to places like Chongjin, an industrial town on the coast, where they lived on streets and in railroad stations. It wasn’t unusual for people to disappear; they were dying by the thousands, maybe millions. But dark rumors were spreading, too horrifying to believe, too persistent to ignore.

“Don’t buy any meat if you don’t know where it comes from,” one Chongjin woman whispered to a friend, who later defected and recounted the conversation to the reporter Barbara Demick for her book, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea Fear of cannibalism, like the famine supposedly driving it, spread. People avoided the meat in streetside soup vendors and warned children not to be alone at night. At least one person in Chongjin was arrested and executed for eating human flesh.

The panic, Demick concludes, may have exceeded the actual threat. “It does not seem,” she writes, “that the practice was widespread.” But it does appear to have happened.

One defected military officer, who fled with his family into China, repeated the horror story that had long followed mass famines. “People are going insane with hunger. They even kill and eat their own infants. This kind of thing is happening in many places,” he said, according to the North Korea-focused postscript to Jasper Becker’s history of the famine that wracked China 30 years earlier, in which reports of cannibalism were widespread.

North Korea’s famine is over, but the stories of desperate men and women, driven so insane by starvation that they consume their own children, have resurfaced.

Last week, Asia Press published a report alleging that thousands recently died of starvation in a North Korean province, a trend that is sometimes called a micro-famine. The story was sourced to Rimjingang, a collection of underground North Korean journalists whose work is generally considered reputable. According to Rimjingang’s sources, the famine, like others before it, had led to cannibalism. One man, they said, had been arrested and executed for killing and eating his children.

The story of that man has swept through the Western media, a harrowing tale of the horrors still unfolding behind North Korea’s largely closed borders. But is it true? Could something so awful still be happening?

The simple answer is that we don’t, and can’t, know for sure. North Korea-watchers seem skeptical about this one, sensational report, but they often point out that stories of micro-famine and cannibalism are coming at a worryingly regular pace. Joshua Stanton, who runs the site One Free Korea, wrote in May, the last time that stories of cannibalism leaked out of North Korea, “My first reaction to these reports years ago was skepticism, but if you hear enough people say the same thing, you start to think they can’t all be lying.”

North Korea is supposed to have solved its famine problem, in part with food aid from the foreign powers it considers mortal enemies, and it largely has. Officially, North Korea’s economy is collectivist; the state owns all products, including every single crop grown within the national borders. But, as China and the Soviet Union learned, this isn’t very good at keeping people fed. Since the 1990s famine, the regime has tolerated informal food markets and small, private farm plots. When the official, state-run food market fails, which it inevitably does, the secondary market can keep people fed.

And yet micro-famines are still possible, or at least plausible, in North Korea. The government can’t bring itself to surrender control over food. Though agricultural trade has more flexibility now than it did 15 or 20 years ago, it is still one of the world’s most rigidly controlled. With a weak secondary market and virtually no social safety net, it’s not difficult to imagine local North Korean communities facing the sort of brief but deadly famines that the rest of the world has largely learned to avoid. Unlike in places such as East Africa, where thousands died of hunger last year, the primary causes are not environmental but human.

The regime needs the secondary food trade to prevent mass starvation, but it appears to fear these markets as threats to its power. There is likely an ongoing cat-and-mouse game, with the state working to keep farmers sufficiently weak, and the secondary markets sufficiently spare, that everyone still relies on the regime to feed themselves. It’s about power and control, and it places North Korean families at real risk.

Recently, members of China’s sympathetic state-run media were allowed to visit a special “economic zone” across the border, a commune of thousands of North Koreans who grew their own food. During the tour, the North Korean minders let slip that all 13,000 residents would be forcibly relocated and replaced by new workers, a disturbing policy that seems meant to secure state control over food at the risk of its continued production.

State-run “collectivist” food distribution systems have always failed, leading to some of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes of the last century. North Korea’s failed catastrophically in the 1990s, and though the system has changed significantly since then, it’s difficult to know the degree to which informal markets and private plots are tolerated.

In an arbitrary and closed system, the state’s approach might vary from place to place and time to time. Kim Jong Eun has worked aggressively to consolidate his power since taking over a year ago, a campaign that might well extend to the agricultural sector.

Maybe the stories of cannibalism are nothing more than that; rumors, stories from two decades prior that devolved into folklore. But cannibalism, for all the voyeuristic horror it inspires, is a symptom of something much worse: starvation and social breakdown, the conditions for which remain in North Korea. Perhaps most telling is that North Koreans themselves still seem to consider it possible, the defectors and underground reports still whispering of starvation and worse, a medieval horror in the 21st century. - WP

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Escaping North Korea: Defiance and Hope in the World's Most Repressive Country


Bury your Plantagenet King somewhere else....

Bones Under Parking Lot Belonged to Richard III - such a noble footmark to history...an infamous British monarch's remains found buried under a parking lot. Even though it was a battlefield burial and that he was not the most indearing figure...at least someone could have marked the spot.


'Beyond The Edge Radio' Format Changes...your opinion needed

Hi folks...the staff at 'Beyond The Edge Radio' have been debating format changes with the show. Frankly...we are wondering if we should change to a strict podcast format or continue with live streaming. We'd like your opinion. Please go to the 'Beyond The Edge' Facebook page and vote for your preference. Thanks...Lon