Leading Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic shot dead outside office
By Milena Veselinovic and Sheena McKenzie, CNN
Updated 9:17 AM ET, Tue January 16, 2018
Oliver Ivanovic is pictured casting his ballot during local elections in 2013.
(CNN)A prominent Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanovic, was shot dead outside his party offices Tuesday morning, halting talks between Kosovar and Serb delegates that had been set to resume that day.
Ivanovic was shot at least five times outside his office in the Serb-run Kosovar city of Mitrovica, doctors told Serbian State TV RTS.
Emergency services were notified of the attack at 8.17 a.m (2.17 a.m. ET). Ivanovic was transferred to hospital and resuscitated for 45 minutes before doctors confirmed him dead at 9.15 a.m (3.15 a.m. ET).
Ivanovic, the 64-year-old head of the Kosovo Serb Freedom, Democracy, Justice party was due to attend EU-mediated talks between delegates from Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels. The talks are aimed at normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia 10 years after the bloody conflict between Serb forces and Kosovar-Albanian rebels. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent country.
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However after Ivanovic’s death, the Belgrade delegation left Brussels to return to Serbia, the Serbian government said in a statement.
Regional Chief of Police for Northern Kosovo, Zeljko Bojic, said in a statement that at 9:15 a.m. a burned out Opel Astra vehicle was found, with special units conducting an investigation of the site.
Serb President: ‘An act of terror’
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic described the murder as “an act of terror” and vowed to find those responsible.
“Serbia will take all necessary measures, and I promised the same to Oliver Ivanovic’s wife, and we will find the killer or killers,” Vucic said in a statement following an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.
Vucic said that Serbia had made a request to EU and UN missions in Kosovo to participate in the investigation.
Major test for Kosovo’s rule of law
The Head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Kosovo, Jan Braathu, said the murder was “profoundly distressing” and a “major test for the rule of law in Kosovo.”
“He (Ivanovic) was among the most prominent Kosovo Serb representatives for almost two decades,” Braathu said. “He demonstrated relentless engagement for the benefit of his community and has been a valued interlocutor in Kosovo.”
“I have had the privilege of knowing him personally over the years and have always admired his intellect, composure, and commitment. To see that a politician can be murdered in cold blood in 2018 in Kosovo is a devastating thought.”
Ivanovic was facing a retrial for alleged war crimes against ethnic Albanians during the Kosovo war.
Everyone knows something about Dracula, the famous character from Bram Stocker’s book that had such a great resonance. What not everyone knows is that Bran Castle is the place that inspired the writer. The truth is that Bram Stocker had never been to Romania, and he built the entire story by inspiring from books and pictures that described Vlad III Dracul, (c. 1431 – 1476), and the Bran Castles’ stories. His character is built following the stories about Vlad Tepes and his cruelty.
Bran Castle was first mentioned in documents in 1377 when it was built by the Saxons of Kronstadt at their own expense and labor force. But this beautiful medieval castle is older than that. Initially, it was built as a wooden castle guarding an important mountain pass by the Teutonic Knights in 1212, when King Andrew II of Hungary invited them into the small but strategically sensitive Burzenland in return for guarding the southeastern border of the Kingdom of Hungary against the Kipchak-Cuman confederation.
The Teutonic Knights had quite a different point of view and planned to establish their own, independent state in the area. King Andrew II, (1175 – 1235, king of Hungary from 1205 until his death), quickly realized what was going on, and in 1225 he expelled the Teutonic Order from his realm, before it managed to grow powerful enough to oppose him. In this tim, this wooden fortified settlement was called Dietrichstein, and it was destroyed by the Mongols in 1242 during the Mongol Invasion.
As time passed, and military conflicts intensified, the castle was heavily fortified and was used over the ages as a defensive position against the invading Ottoman Empire. Despite popular belief, Vlad III Dracul had little to do with the castle, although he passed through the area occasionally. In fact, it has never been the property of Wallachian prince. He may have stayed at Bran for a few days (not even that is so certain, though), but it was definitely not his castle.
Besides playing an important military role, Bran Castle also had a commercial purpose. Being placed at the border of two important regions, it provided safe passage from one location to another, thus improving the relations and economic development of both Wallachia and Transylvania. Bran remained a key military strategic position at the crossroads of the Kingdom of Hungary, the Principality of Moldavia and the Principality of Wallachia up until the 18th century.
In 1917, the town of Brasov donated the castle to the Emperor of Austro-Hungary, Franz Joseph I, (1830 – 1916). After the end of World War I, the castle has been donated once again by the city of Brasov, but this time to Queen Mary Of Romania (1875 – 1938; Marie of Edinburgh). After her death, the castle passed to Princess Ileana’s property, (1909 -1991), Queen Mary’s daughter, and the archduke Anton of Habsburg’s wife, (1901 – 1987).
After the forced abdication of Romania’s Royal Family in 1947, the castle passed into Romanian state property, and in 1950 was granted as National Monument. In 2005, the Romanian government passed a special law allowing restitution claims on properties illegally expropriated, such as Bran, and thus a year later the castle was awarded ownership to Dominic von Habsburg, (born in 1937), the son and heir of Princess Ileana. Nowadays, it is a museum.
The castle has 57 rooms and a secret passageway leading up to the watch towers. It is situated on a cliff at an elevation of 762 meters (2500 feet), and is surrounded by valleys and hills. Much of the furniture and the artwork that hangs from the castle’s walls today belonged to the Queen Marie.
Photo: The Bran Castle, situated near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Braşov in Romania.
(OPED: WHY IS THIS NOT CRIMINAL, AND WHY ARE THE GOOGLE EXECUTIVES NOT CHARGED WITH FELONIES FOR DOING THIS? I BELIEVE THAT SERIOUS PRISON TIME IS THE ONLY WAY TO STOP COMPANIES AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FROM VIOLATING THE CITIZENS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!)(trs)
Android phones gather your location data and send it to Google, even if you’ve turned off location services and don’t have a SIM card, Quartz reported today.
The term “location services” oftentimes refers to exact GPS data for app usage, such as Google Maps finding your best commute route, or Uber figuring out exactly where you’re standing to let drivers know your pickup point. Quartz’s report details a practice in which Google was able to track user locations by triangulating which cell towers were currently servicing a specific device.
Since January, all kinds of Android phones and tablets have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the encrypted data to Google’s push notifications and messaging management system when connected to the internet. It’s a practice that customers can’t opt out of — even if their phones are factory reset.
A Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge that all modern Android phones use a network sync system that requires mobile country codes and mobile network codes, so tower info called “Cell ID” codes were considered an “additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery.” Google ultimately discarded the cell tower data and didn’t go through with the original plan.
A source familiar with the matter stated that Google added the cell tower data-collecting feature to improve its Firebase Cloud Messaging, where devices have to ping the server at regular intervals in order to receive messages promptly.
The findings are surprising, given that cell tower data is usually held by carrier networks and only shared with outside companies under extreme circumstances. Through Google’s practices this year, an individual’s particular location within a quarter-mile radius or less could be determined with the addresses of multiple cell towers. This has particular security implications for individuals who wish to not be tracked, meaning that the safest way to avoid being tracked at all is probably to stick to burner phones. It could also create a bigger target for hackers looking to obtain personal information.
An update that removes this cell tower data-collecting feature will roll out by the end of this month, according to Google. Google’s terms of service, at the time of publish, still vaguely state, “When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location” using “various technologies… including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell tower.” Google does offer details on how to control Google’s location access points, though after reading through the instructions, the company could admittedly do a better job of making this clearer and simpler for its general consumers.
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If there is anyone in the whole world that has a bigger ego that Donald Trump it has got to be ‘The Supreme Leader’ of Iran, Mr. Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. Just think of the ego a title like that has to take? I would be embarrassed if for some reason I became known as the supreme ruler of my family Clan, (I am 1/4 Scottish.) To me, when a person has a huge ego, I have always looked at it as a sign of a lack of maturity because it makes a person look quite small. I have learned from Google that in Arabic the word ‘Ayatollah’ means “a sign of Allah.” I have also learned from Google that only the Shiite use this term because it also basically means a “sign or evidence of Allah” and the Sunni (which are about 80% of the Islamic Faith) do not agree with giving this adulation to humans.
During this past week there were several headlines in the newspapers and online where Mr. Khomeini said that if Israel messed with Iran that Iran (in other words he himself as he is the Supreme Leader after all and nothing major happens in Iran without his personal approval) would “set Israel and the Persian Gulf a fire.” Now let’s look at a couple of things that is relevant to these statements of his. I do not know how much each readers know about the Middle-East situation and I do not want anyone to think I am talking down to them yet it is important to put in some basic information for those who aren’t up to date on the issues I will be discussing. So, if you already know most of or all of this information please do not take offence because none is meant.
Iran is the most powerful of all of the Nations in the Islamic world who believe in the Shiite version of Islam. Saudi Arabia is the most powerful of all of the Sunni Nations, and they hate each other. Being that Sunni Islam is about 4 times larger in population than the Shi’ite, Iran has become very ‘offensive’ with their military and terrorists organizations around the Persian Gulf and the rest of the World. Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently fighting a proxy war in Yemen which is on the southeast border of the Saudi’s. I know that the Shiites and the Sunni hate each other and have since their religion began about 1,400 years ago, yet they both also hate all of us ‘infidels’, meaning everyone who isn’t them. I think that the ones they hate the most are the Jewish people and then the Christian people and then wild dogs, but I am not positive of the exact order of their hate. That is something that may vary with individual Tribes.
So, you see, when the Supreme Ruler talks about destroying the Nation of Israel and the Persian Gulf (meaning the Sunni Nations like Saudi Arabia) the whole world needs to pay attention when this Demon talks. Yes I said Demon, would a man of God really wish to kill a billion or more people? So, either he is crazy, or he is infected with a Demon and in case you are wondering, the Bible does plainly back the reality of Demon possession of humans, think of Legion.
Now, for those of you whom do not know the Bible Scriptures very well I would like you to read the 24th Chapter of the Book of Matthew please. In the second verse Jesus (Yeshua) as He and His Apostles had just left the Temple in Jerusalem and the Apostles spoke of how beautiful the Temple and the area was, Yeshua (Jesus) told them that there would be a time when there would not be one stone left upon another in regards to the Temple. In the rest of the chapter the Lord speaks about a time when the “Abomination of Desolation” (v: 15) which is the Antichrist will stand upon the most Holy Place which is upon the Temple Mount, that the end of times are near. Some people think that this ‘sign’ was when the Romans destroyed the Temple in 72 A.D. but there is one thing that they are not realizing about what the Lord said in verse #2, He said not “one stone” shall be left upon another. Today the only thing left of the Temple is the West Wall or as some call it, the Wailing Wall, but think about it, there are many stones one upon another that makes up the Western Wall. Folks, this time is not yet but I do believe that things are getting close. But obviously I do not know for sure as God’s time is not our time. In the Lord’s time it is said that 80 human years is but the ‘blink of the eye’ to God. So when God says something “is near” it can easily be more than one human lifetime.
The true believers of Islam know, as do the true believers of Judaism, as do some Christians know that the three religions do not worship the same God. It is more than a name difference, it is a Deity difference folks. Here in the U.S. it seems that most people whether they call themselves Christians or have no belief in any religion tend to think that all religions are worshiping the same God, if you have very much knowledge of the issue, you know that this is not correct. Islam flat-out rejects the concept of the God’s of “The People of The Book.” Those who have spent many years studying these issues and are not believers of Islam know/believe that Allah whom the worshipers of Islam refer to as “God” is not God at all. We believe that the believers of Islam have been totally misled as we believe/know that “Allah” is actually Satan Himself. Now, what is currently upon the Temple Mount? It is a Throne, a temple to Allah! Iran will have nuclear weapons within 10 years, when will they deploy them? Where do you think they will deploy them?
Here is my thoughts, I will explain my thoughts to you, what I want you to do is to think about this issue for yourself. Now let us get back to Iran and their ‘Supreme Ruler’ and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. To me, if a person believes that Ali Khomeini only wants nuclear power to help with domestic needs, I honestly believe such a person is delusional. Second, just yesterday he spoke of creating nuclear power for military ships and submarines. Thirdly, there is only one way that Iran could possibly set all of Israel and the Persian Gulf a fire and that is through nuclear bombs. In my beliefs the only way anyone would do such evil is if they are a total Zealot and or Demonically possessed. Who else would be willing to carry through on attacks that would kill a billion plus people? To me this issue describes the egotistical ‘Supreme Ruler’ right down to his toe fungus.
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WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.
His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.
The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.
Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.
“I had no way of differentiating the call I just received from a prank call,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, that detailed his contact with the F.B.I.
It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.
Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.
An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.
The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.
The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.
By last summer, Democrats watched in helpless fury as their private emails and confidential documents appeared online day after day — procured by Russian intelligence agents, posted on WikiLeaks and other websites, then eagerly reported on by the American media, including The Times. Mr. Trump gleefully cited many of the purloined emails on the campaign trail.
Many of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors — Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information — were also important.
While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.
“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
“It was just a sucker punch to the gut every day,” Ms. Tanden said. “It was the worst professional experience of my life.”
The United States, too, has carried out cyberattacks, and in decades past the C.I.A. tried to subvert foreign elections. But the Russian attack is increasingly understood across the political spectrum as an ominous historic landmark — with one notable exception: Mr. Trump has rejected the findings of the intelligence agencies he will soon oversee as “ridiculous,” insisting that the hacker may be American, or Chinese, but that “they have no idea.”
Mr. Trump cited the reported disagreements between the agencies about whether Mr. Putin intended to help elect him. On Tuesday, a Russian government spokesman echoed Mr. Trump’s scorn.
“This tale of ‘hacks’ resembles a banal brawl between American security officials over spheres of influence,” Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on Facebook.
Over the weekend, four prominent senators — two Republicans and two Democrats — joined forces to pledge an investigation while pointedly ignoring Mr. Trump’s skeptical claims.
“Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks,” said Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed.
“This cannot become a partisan issue,” they said. “The stakes are too high for our country.”
A Target for Break-Ins
Sitting in the basement of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, below a wall-size 2012 portrait of a smiling Barack Obama, is a 1960s-era filing cabinet missing the handle on the bottom drawer. Only a framed newspaper story hanging on the wall hints at the importance of this aged piece of office furniture.
Andrew Brown, 37, the technology director at the D.N.C., was born after that famous break-in. But as he began to plan for this year’s election cycle, he was well aware that the D.N.C. could become a break-in target again.
There were aspirations to ensure that the D.N.C. was well protected against cyberintruders — and then there was the reality, Mr. Brown and his bosses at the organization acknowledged: The D.N.C. was a nonprofit group, dependent on donations, with a fraction of the security budget that a corporation its size would have.
“There was never enough money to do everything we needed to do,” Mr. Brown said.
The D.N.C. had a standard email spam-filtering service, intended to block phishing attacks and malware created to resemble legitimate email. But when Russian hackers started in on the D.N.C., the committee did not have the most advanced systems in place to track suspicious traffic, internal D.N.C. memos show.
Mr. Tamene, who reports to Mr. Brown and fielded the call from the F.B.I. agent, was not a full-time D.N.C. employee; he works for a Chicago-based contracting firm called The MIS Department. He was left to figure out, largely on his own, how to respond — and even whether the man who had called in to the D.N.C. switchboard was really an F.B.I. agent.
“The F.B.I. thinks the D.N.C. has at least one compromised computer on its network and the F.B.I. wanted to know if the D.N.C. is aware, and if so, what the D.N.C. is doing about it,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo about his contacts with the F.B.I. He added that “the Special Agent told me to look for a specific type of malware dubbed ‘Dukes’ by the U.S. intelligence community and in cybersecurity circles.”
Part of the problem was that Special Agent Hawkins did not show up in person at the D.N.C. Nor could he email anyone there, as that risked alerting the hackers that the F.B.I. knew they were in the system.
Mr. Tamene’s initial scan of the D.N.C. system — using his less-than-optimal tools and incomplete targeting information from the F.B.I. — found nothing. So when Special Agent Hawkins called repeatedly in October, leaving voice mail messages for Mr. Tamene, urging him to call back, “I did not return his calls, as I had nothing to report,” Mr. Tamene explained in his memo.
In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was “calling home, where home meant Russia,” Mr. Tamene’s memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. “SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.”
Mr. Brown knew that Mr. Tamene, who declined to comment, was fielding calls from the F.B.I. But he was tied up on a different problem: evidence suggesting that the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s main Democratic opponent, had improperly gained access to her campaign data.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz, then the D.N.C.’s chairwoman, and Amy Dacey, then its chief executive, said in interviews that neither of them was notified about the early reports that the committee’s system had likely been compromised.
Shawn Henry, who once led the F.B.I.’s cyber division and is now president of CrowdStrike Services, the cybersecurity firm retained by the D.N.C. in April, said he was baffled that the F.B.I. did not call a more senior official at the D.N.C. or send an agent in person to the party headquarters to try to force a more vigorous response.
“We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana,” Mr. Henry said. “We are talking about an office that is half a mile from the F.B.I. office that is getting the notification.”
“This is not a mom-and-pop delicatessen or a local library. This is a critical piece of the U.S. infrastructure because it relates to our electoral process, our elected officials, our legislative process, our executive process,” he added. “To me it is a high-level, serious issue, and if after a couple of months you don’t see any results, somebody ought to raise that to a higher level.”
The F.B.I. declined to comment on the agency’s handling of the hack. “The F.B.I. takes very seriously any compromise of public and private sector systems,” it said in a statement, adding that agents “will continue to share information” to help targets “safeguard their systems against the actions of persistent cybercriminals.”
By March, Mr. Tamene and his team had met at least twice in person with the F.B.I. and concluded that Agent Hawkins was really a federal employee. But then the situation took a dire turn.
A second team of Russian-affiliated hackers began to target the D.N.C. and other players in the political world, particularly Democrats. Billy Rinehart, a former D.N.C. regional field director who was then working for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, got an odd email warning from Google.
“Someone just used your password to try to sign into your Google account,” the March 22 email said, adding that the sign-in attempt had occurred in Ukraine. “Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.”
Mr. Rinehart was in Hawaii at the time. He remembers checking his email at 4 a.m. for messages from East Coast associates. Without thinking much about the notification, he clicked on the “change password” button and half asleep, as best he can remember, he typed in a new password.
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Again today I see on my Google News Homepage an article from CNN about Scotland Yard’s concerns about hundreds of Brits who are returning from Syria who have been training with ISIS. Now I know that I am not the brightest bulb in the package but I have a question about this situation? Why is it that Briton or any other country for that matter feel obligated not to cancel these people’s Passports as soon as their feet hit the ground in Syria? Why is it that Briton, your country, or my country, is somehow required to let these traders and mass murders back into their old neighborhoods? Why can’t our government, British government, or yours, be allowed to protect its own citizens by arresting these people the second their repatriated brimstone feet touch OUR soil? You can stop most of the homegrown security risks if you deport and cancel these people’s Visas and Passports. Is the British Government without the legal right to cancel the Passports of these returning traitors or even the right/obligation to protect its own citizens by doing so? Why is it that these people are allowed back into our neighborhoods? Why is it that the Government doesn’t arrest them as soon as they step foot on our soil? Maybe you know the answers to these thoughts, I’m just old and confused I guess.
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