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Ecuador Has Been Hit by 40 Million Cyber Attacks Since Assange’s Arrest

Elias Marat

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Ecuador Cyberattacks Assange

The government of Ecuador claims that the country has come under a broad and concerted cyber attack, with approximately 40 million attempts to compromise web portals connected to public institutions ever since the controversial decision to allow UK police to forcibly remove Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from their London Embassy.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technologies Patricio Real told reporters that the wave of attacks began shortly after last Thursday’s arrest of Assange by British authorities. Real said that the attacks “principally come from the United States, Brazil, Holland, Germany, Romania, France, Austria and the United Kingdom, and also from here, from our territory.”

On April 11, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno revoked the diplomatic asylum extended to Asange by the South American nation in 2012. In a legally dubious move, Quito also revoked the Ecuadorian nationality granted to Assange in 2017.

Ecuador’s El Comercio reported that the telecommunications ministry’s undersecretary of electronic government, Javier Jara, claimed that following “threats received by these groups related to Julian Assange”–such as the shadowy network Anonymous–the country began suffering “volumetric attacks.

Volumetric attacks are a type of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in which servers are flooded with requests in an attempt to overload them with traffic, thus preventing users from accessing the network.

According to AFP, the targets included the foreign ministry, central bank, tax authorities, the office of the president, and a number of other government agencies’ websites. None of the attacks succeeded in destroying or stealing data.

The attacks also come amid the Ecuadorian government’s detention of Ola Bini, a Swedish national and software developer allegedly tied to Wikileaks who was detained last Thursday as he attempted to attend a martial arts event in Japan. Bini, as well as two unidentified Russian “hackers,” are being held for their alleged role in a “hackers’ network” based in the country. Bini, who is accused of having met with Assange 12 times, has also just been accused of playing a role in blackmail attempts targeting President Moreno.

Since 2017, Assange’s relationship with his Ecuadorean hosts sharply deteriorated amid President Lenin Moreno’s attempts to curry favor with international creditors and wealthy governments in the north such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain. Moreno began referring to Assange on various occasions as a “miserable hacker,” an “irritant,” and a “stone in the shoe” of his government.

Last year, the London embassy cut off his access to the internet for alleged political meddling following requests by Quito that he stop commenting on affairs in other countries.

Relations took a strong turn for the worse in March following the release of a batch of documents known as the “INA Papers,” which implicated the president in alleged corruption, including money-laundering, offshore bank accounts and a shell company named INA Investment Corporation that is based in Panama and was used by President Moreno’s family to procure furniture, property, and luxury goods.

It is widely speculated that while Wikileaks has still not been directly tied to the release of the INA Papers, President Moreno was enraged after personal photographs were released showing his opulent private life, including photos of the president enjoying lavish lobster breakfast-in-bed and lobster dinners–imagery considered damning by Ecuador’s electorate especially given Moreno’s prior boasting of a poverty diet of eggs and white rice, which he claimed to regularly eat as he rammed through austerity measures that led to thousands of layoffs in the poor yet resource-rich South American country.

Within Ecuador, opinions have been evenly split about Assange, with the country’s right-wing and centrists supporting the decision to end his asylum while the left and supporters of former President Rafael Correa have considered the move a scandalous act of outright prostration before the “imperialists” of the Global North.

As such, social media reactions to the government’s complaints of “cyber attacks” have provoked both outrage and mockery from the Ecuadorian public, with some social media users thanking Assange for releasing the INA Papers and others claiming that the attacks will serve as a convenient smokescreen for the country’s authorities to further plunder the public coffers of the South American country.

Patricio Real, viceministro de Telecomunicaciones, denuncia 40 millones de ciberataques en Ecuador, desde el jueves 11…

Posted by El Comercio on Monday, April 15, 2019

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Bizarre

Landlord Accused Of Kidnapping Tenants to Evict, Dumping Them in Cemetery

Justin MacLachlan

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Shockingly a New York landlord has been accused of kidnapping two tenants to evict them.

Shawn Douglas is accused of kidnapping two of his tenants from his property and dumping them in a cemetery 30 miles away, ABC News 10 reported.

The two tenants accused Douglas of kidnapping them while armed from their home at his property in the South End neighborhood of Albany, NY. Douglas is out on bail following the disturbing case.

In the police report, the two accusers state they were abducted, restrained with zip ties, and then covered with pillowcases before being dumped off in a cemetery in Ghent.

One of the victims was eventually able to free themselves from the restraints to seek help at a nearby house where they called the authorities on Douglas.

“He’s lucky they came out of that alive. They could have froze to death out there,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told NBC News 10.

New York, has had an existing ban on evictions which expires on May 1st due to the current pandemic. Following the lifting of the ban on evictions, many court cases are expected to attempt to evict tenants across the state.

The Albany Police Department has not released any additional details about the case at this time. But more people could be charged in connection with the alleged kidnapping according to ABC News 10.

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Bizarre

FBI ‘Aware Of’ Alleged Spotting of UFO by American Airlines Pilot Over New Mexico

Elias Marat

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New Mexico has long been considered the mecca for people interested in UFO incidents, with the southwestern state attracting tens of thousands of annual visitors to the alleged sites of close encounters in Roswell, as well as other sightings such as the Lonnie Zamora incident and the Aztec UFO crash.  

With such a rich history of alleged sightings of unidentified flying objects in New Mexico, it should come as no surprise that another close encounter has been reported – this time by a commercial airline pilot on Sunday afternoon.

At around 1 p.m. local time on Sunday, an unidentified aerial craft reportedly whooshed past American Airlines flight 2292 in the northern part of the state, startling the pilot who expressed his shock over the strange object flying overhead at a breathtaking rate of speed.

In a 15-second recording that was obtained by self-described “stealth chaser” Steve Douglass of Amarillo, Texas, and published on his blog Deep Black Horizon, the pilot can be heard excitedly communicating with air traffic controllers about the strange sighting he saw above the clouds during the passenger flight.

“Do you have any targets up here?” the pilot asks the Federal Aviation Administration traffic controllers.

“We just had something go right over the top of us,” he continues. “I hate to say this, but it looked like a long, cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing moving really fast, and went right over the top of us.”

However, the response from Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center can’t be heard due to local air traffic in Amarillo interfering with the channel, Douglass said. The blogger and author of “The Comprehensive Guide to Military Monitoring” also noted that there was no “no significant military aircraft presence was noted on ADS-B logs” and that the flight proceeded to land without incident at its destination in Phoenix, Arizona.

While the FAA has yet to comment on the strange encounter, American Airlines has confirmed that the recording of the radio communications with the pilot is fully authentic.

“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional information received, we can confirm this radio transmission was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,” a spokesman for the airliner wrote in an email to Fox News. The spokesman added that any additional inquiries should be addressed to the FBI.

However, the FBI response was equally opaque.

“The FBI is aware of the reported incident,” bureau spokesman Frank Connor wrote in an email. “While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public.”

Furthermore, authorities at the nearby Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque reported that they had been alerted to the supposed encounter through the media, but officials at the base were not discussing the matter.

“We have no knowledge of this. We’re not aware of anything,” Lally Laksbergs told Wall Street Journal. Officials at White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico have not yet responded to media inquiries.

However, Douglass has expressed doubt that the close encounter was with a military projectile.

“It was a Sunday. Basically, it’s a military’s day off,” Douglass told KVII News, where he works as a photographer. “When tests occur, the military notifies the FAA, aircraft are kept out of the area and their schedules and strict flight lanes as aircraft need to stay in to not interfere with these tests. That’s not what happened.”

“Whatever it was came fast, right at them and right over them, which gave them a big enough scare that they had to report it,” he added. “If the military can’t explain what it is, what’s flying out there that we don’t know about?”

In recent years, officials with the U.S. government have been increasingly vocal in its discussions of UFOs, which they prefer to refer to as unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs.

In September 2019, U.S. Navy officials admitted that widely-circulating video footage captured by Navy pilots purportedly showing UFOs flying through the skies did, in fact, depict actual “unknown” objects that flew into U.S. airspace. The videos had been released months prior by To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences (TTS), a private “UFO research organization” founded by former Blink 182 frontman Tom De Longe. 

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Activism

Akon Finally Breaks Ground On His Futuristic $10 Billion Solar Powered “Crypto City”

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The rapper, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Akon has been making significant progress on his development plans in Africa, which involve the creation of a futuristic city that runs on clean energy and cryptocurrency.

In January of last year, Akon revealed that his agreements with Senegal President Macky Sall were going forward, and a few months later it was announced that the engineering and consulting firm KE International was awarded a $6 billion contract to build the city. The company previously said it had already received $4 billion from investors for the first two phases of Akon City’s construction, giving the project a price tag of at least $10 billion. 

The project goes much further than just this one city and it has already begun to make an impact across the continent. In the short time since the deal was finalized last year, a large number of solar street lights, and solar home lighting units, have been installed across 14 African countries, according to Akon Lighting Africa.

The effort was made possible by a private-public partnership model and a well-established network of partners including SOLEKTRA INT, SUMEC, and NARI.

Phase 1 of construction on the city is expected to be completed in 2023, and will include roads, a hospital, residences, hotels, a police station, a waste facility, a school, and a solar power plant. The entire city is expected to be finished around 2029. The city’s economy will be facilitated by Akon’s cryptocurrency “Akoin,” which runs on the Stellar blockchain. Stellar is a crypto ecosystem that includes its own cryptocurrency XLM, and also allows for the development of other projects, such as decentralized exchanges and additional currencies like Akoin. Banks around the world have also been considering using the Stellar blockchain for stablecoin deployment. 

Akon believes that cryptocurrency is the solution to the corruption problems that create widespread inequality in Africa because the blockchain provides a record that would make corruption extremely obvious if it were to take place. With an independent cryptocurrency, governments are unable to print money and devalue the currency, and the control of the money is decentralized.

In an interview with TMZ last year, Akon compared the vision that he has for the city with the fictional “Wakanda” from the movie Black Panther.

“This movie literally made an idea of what Africa could really be. It’s just ironic that I was already working on this before the movie came out, but it’s something that helped me a lot when I was trying to explain to explain to people what I was trying to do,” Akon said.

The city’s crypto-economic system will also solve many problems specific to the developing world, like instantly calculating conversation rates for currencies, which is often an obstacle because there are so many different regional currencies and methods of trade. In some cases, people even use prepaid cellphone minutes as a currency because it is easier to use and exchange than traditional currencies. Akon says that the Akoin wallet will allow users to trade between cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and cellphone minutes instantly without having to go through a major exchange using Atomic Swap technology. The app will also teach users to become more familiar with the technology in general.

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