SEOUL — North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has told South Korean envoys he is willing to negotiate with the United States on abandoning his country’s nuclear weapons, officials from the South said on Tuesday. Kim also said he would suspend all nuclear and missile tests while such talks were underway, they said.
President Trump reacted with guarded optimism to the news, which potentially represented a major defusing of one of the world’s tensest confrontations.
If the statement is corroborated by North Korea, it would be the first time Kim has indicated that his government is willing to discuss relinquishing nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees from the United States. Until now, North Korea has said its nuclear weapons were not for bargaining away.
“The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the United States on the issues of denuclearization and normalizing relations with the United States,” the statement said. “It made it clear that while dialogue is continuing, it will not attempt any strategic provocations, such as nuclear and ballistic missile tests.”
On Twitter, Trump, who has veered from bellicose threats against Kim to offers to sit down with him, welcomed what he called “possible progress” with the North.
“For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned,” Trump said. “The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the US is ready to go hard in either direction!”
He's crazy -- like a fox!
Trump expounded on his reaction later to reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven of Sweden. “We have come certainly a long way, at least rhetorically, with North Korea,” Trump said. “The statements coming out of South Korea and North Korea have been very positive. That would be a great thing for the world.”
So that is what was said at a news conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
The statement gave no indication that North Korea would start dismantling nuclear or missile programs anytime soon. Nonetheless, the reported agreements represented major progress in Moon’s efforts to improve relations with North Korea.
Those efforts advanced considerably during the recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to which Kim sent athletes, entertainers, and political delegations that included his sister.
The top South Korean envoys who returned from North Korea on Tuesday — Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, and the director of the South’s National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon — are expected to be dispatched to Washington this week to brief the Trump administration on their discussions with Kim.
Chung told reporters in Seoul, the South Korean capital, that Kim had been unexpectedly flexible. He said the delegation had expected him to insist that the South and the United States not hold their annual joint military exercises, which were suspended for the Olympics.
“Kim Jong Un simply said he could understand why the joint exercises must resume in April on the same scale as before,” Chung said. “But he said he expected them to be readjusted if the situation on the Korean Peninsula stabilizes in the future.”
That is where the print copy ended.
Chung said the South Koreans believed that their agreements with North Korea would be enough to start a dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang. He also said he was carrying additional messages from Kim to the Trump administration that he could not reveal.
“There was no other specific demand from North Korea in returning to dialogue,” he said. “They only said they wanted to be treated like a serious dialogue partner.”
For Trump, the overture by North Korea sets in motion a challenging phase that will call on the United States to exercise diplomatic muscles after a long stretch in which the White House relied on economic pressure, backed by threats of military force, to deal with the North.
That challenge will be compounded because the State Department’s veteran North Korea negotiator, Joe Yun, recently announced his retirement from the Foreign Service. Another experienced negotiator, Victor Cha, was recently sidelined when the White House decided not to move ahead with his nomination as ambassador to South Korea.
Administration officials are deeply wary of being drawn into a negotiation in which the United States makes concessions — on issues like military exercises or shipments of medical and food aid — only to see the North Koreans renege on their commitments later.
Trump has said that the United States could talk with North Korea, but “only under the right conditions.” US officials have repeatedly said they can start negotiations with the North only if it agrees to discuss denuclearizing. They have also insisted that the North first take some actions that would convince them of its sincerity.
Turns out it was all BS.
See: “This is the real challenge with North Korea. If you try to confront them, they get their backs up and feel they have to be more confrontational back, to show they are not afraid. But if you make an overture, they see this as a weakness they have to exploit. And if you offer them the moon and the stars, they say ‘OK, we want the sun also,’ ” said Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies....."
How much like Israel they are!
Ready for a war?
"The Battle of the Coral Sea helped stop a Japanese advance that could have cut off Australia and New Guinea from Allied sea supply routes and crippled two Japanese carriers, leading to a more conclusive U.S. victory at sea a month later at the Battle of Midway. The sea battle is also famous for being the first in which the opposing ships did not come in sight of each other, carrying out their attacks with carrier-launched aircraft....."
Meanwhile, down South:
"South Korean presidential hopeful quits politics after being accused of raping secretary" by Anna Fifield Washington Post March 07, 2018
TOKYO — A South Korean provincial governor and presidential hopeful resigned Tuesday after admitting he had repeatedly sexually assaulted his secretary, becoming the most high-profile man in the country to fall in a mushrooming #MeToo reckoning.
South Korean filmmakers, a prominent poet, and a prosecutor have all been publicly accused of abusing their power and sexually harassing women who were junior to them.
But the most detailed and serious allegations to date were leveled against Ahn Hee-jung, the governor of South Chungcheong province who ran for the Democratic nomination in last year’s presidential election. Both the nomination and election were won by Moon Jae-in but Ahn, who was dubbed ‘‘An-bama,’’ after the last American president, was widely considered a front-runner for the next election.
Ahn’s secretary, Kim Ji-eun, told a South Korean television channel Monday night that Ahn had raped her four times since she started working for him in June, including on business trips in Russia and Switzerland, and that he had sexually harassed her on numerous other occasions.
She said she was not in a position to resist or stop him, noting that Ahn told her that her job was to say ‘‘yes’’ when everyone else said ‘‘no’’ to him.
‘‘He called me in recently and brought up the #MeToo movement,’’ a tearful Kim told the JTBC channel, adding that Ahn seemed rattled by the public allegations against others. He asked if she was OK. ‘‘So I thought he wouldn’t do it [rape me] that day. But he did it [again], even on that day.’’
Ahn had previously apologized to her over the Telegram messaging app, she said, telling her to ‘‘forget everything’’ he did and ‘‘just remember the beautiful scenery of Switzerland and Russia.’’
But the burgeoning #MeToo movement in South Korea inspired her to tell her story, Kim told JTBC.
Ahn’s office immediately denied the rape allegations, saying the relationship had been consensual.
But just before 1 a.m. local time Tuesday, less than five hours after Kim’s interview, Ahn posted a statement on his Facebook page expressing his remorse, especially to Kim.
Ahn, who is 52 and married, said his office had wrongly claimed the intercourse was consensual, but he did not use the word rape. ‘‘It’s all my fault,’’ he wrote, asking for forgiveness for his ‘‘foolish act.’’
He resigned as the governor of South Chungcheong province and said he would withdraw from all other political activities.
Jail cell waiting?
Earlier Monday, Ahn had talked about the #MeToo movement at a monthly staff meeting at the provincial government offices. He had said the movement was ‘‘one of the last remaining human rights stands’’ and that his provincial government had been working to prevent sexual harassment and violence and break the ‘‘male-centric’’ structure of Korean society.
How do you say hypocrite in Korean?
The allegations and Ahn’s admissions sent shock waves across South Korea’s political arena, with Ahn’s party expelling him and his supporters admonishing him.
‘‘An unacceptable incident has happened,’’ Choo Mi-ae, leader of the ruling Democratic Party, wrote on Twitter, offering her apologies to the victim and to the country.
The party’s task force on gender violence convened an emergency meeting Tuesday morning and said the revelations of Ahn’s sexual misconduct ‘‘not only devastated but also infuriated us.’’
‘‘We support the victim’s courage in making this confession despite hardships,’’ the group said in a statement.
Ahn’s fan club, called ‘‘Team Steel Bird,’’ also said it stood by Kim, the victim. ‘‘We supported Ahn as a man who promotes universal human rights,’’ the fan club wrote on Twitter. ‘‘However, the report showed his philosophy and values were all fake.’’
Local police began investigating the allegations Tuesday.
The case surrounding Ahn comes amid a growing number of accusations against other prominent South Korean men, in a society that is ordered according to strict Confucian hierarchies that give men status over women.
Socializing after work, over dinner and often over drinks, is common and essentially compulsory if the boss has organized it.
But as the #MeToo movement has spread outside the United States, a number of women have come forward to publicly describe sexual assaults.
Actresses have accused acclaimed filmmaker Kim Ki-duk of sexual harassment, but Kim denies the allegations. Lee Youn-taek, a prominent playwright and former director of the National Theater Company, apologized last month for sexually assaulting numerous women, saying he had not been able to control his ‘‘filthy desires’’ and inviting punishment.
It's an elite problem.
Meanwhile, Ko Un, an 84-year-old poet often considered a potential Nobel laureate, has denied charges of habitual sexual misconduct.
The #MeToo movement took hold in January when Seo Ji-hyun, a prosecutor, described being sexually harassed by a senior Justice Ministry official at a funeral in 2010 — in the presence of the justice minister.
"UN panel links Russia to potential war crime in Syria" by Nick Cumming-Bruce New York Times March 06, 2018
GENEVA — UN investigators have linked Russian forces to a possible war crime in Syria for the first time, reporting Tuesday that a Russian plane was responsible for airstrikes on a market last year that killed scores of civilians.
The plane carried out a series of attacks in November on the town of Al Atarib, west of Aleppo, killing at least 84 people and injuring more than 150, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said.
The strikes may not have specifically targeted civilians, the panel ruled, but the use of unguided blast bombs in a densely populated area could amount to a war crime on the part of Russia, which has played a crucial role in backing the Syrian government.
The finding formed part of the panel’s 15th report on the conflict in Syria, which also said that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in rebel-held areas of Damascus and that the US-led coalition had inflicted heavy casualties in airstrikes aimed at Islamic State forces.
“All parties share guilt for completely disregarding the rules of war and for failing to adequately protect civilians,” the panel’s chairman, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, told reporters in Geneva.
The grim conclusions, based on more than 500 interviews, coincided with reports of heavy civilian casualties in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, where Syrian and Russian forces pushed on with a ferocious offensive aimed at crushing the last major rebel stronghold in the area.
Airstrikes and shelling there on Monday killed 94 civilians, according to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, based in France. They also forced an aid convoy, the first to reach the enclave in over three months, to leave before it had fully unloaded.
Suddenly, the pre$$ cares!
UN investigators had previously reported Russia’s critical role in the war in the two years since it stepped in to rescue President Bashar Assad’s faltering army, but a panel member, Hanny Megally, said this was the first time the commission had been able to nail down Russian involvement in a specific incident.
The panel cited evidence from early warning observers in Syria, who tracked the fixed-wing aircraft from the Russian air base at Humaimim, 100 miles from Al Atarib, until its attacks in the early afternoon, when the town’s market was crowded with people who had left work.
The panel also rejected the US-led coalition’s account of multiple airstrikes last March on a school building in Raqqa province, which investigators said killed at least 150 of the 200 civilians who were housed there after fleeing fighting elsewhere. The panel said it had found no evidence to support the coalition’s claim that the school was occupied by Islamic State fighters.
The coalition attack did not amount to a war crime because it had no intent of hitting a civilian target, the panel concluded, but had violated international law by failing to take adequate precautions to protect civilians.
That is where the print ended, and it should be called the JU.N.!!
The international coalition had also inflicted countless civilian casualties in daily airstrikes on Islamic State fighters in the city of Raqqa, launching attacks even though the militants were using civilians as human shields, the panel said.
But they didn't mean to and blamed the victims! WOW!
The commission also faulted the coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces over their internment of some 80,000 civilians who had fled the fighting around Islamic State strongholds in Raqqa and Deir El-Zour to vet them for possible links to the jihadis.
They continued to keep thousands of internally displaced people in camps, investigators said, including women, children, and the disabled, in what the panel said amounted to arbitrary and unlawful detention.
After 6 1/2 years collecting evidence, commission members said Tuesday that they planned to work vigorously on behalf of the victims but emphasized “there can be no trade-off between justice for the victims and a viable political solution” to the conflict.
The panel will present its findings to the Human Rights Council in Geneva next week and urged it to “ensure that there are no pardons or amnesties for those responsible for ordering or carrying out gross human rights violations and committing international crimes.”
Meanwhile, a Russian military cargo plane crashed near an air base in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 39 Russian servicemen on board in a blow to Russian operations in Syria. The Russian military quickly insisted the plane was not shot down and blamed the crash on a technical error.
Meanwhile, shelling near the rebel-held eastern suburbs of Damascus killed dozens of people over the past 24 hours as President Bashar Assad’s government, supported by the Russian military, pushed its assault on the capital’s rebel-held suburbs. International aid workers on a rare humanitarian mission inside the besieged area described dramatic scenes of rescuers trying to pull corpses from the rubble of buildings and children who hadn’t seen daylight in 15 days.
So my war pre$$ claims.
The U.N. just lost any credibility it may have had with this.
"UN links North Korea to Syria’s chemical weapon program with supplies that could be used in the production of chemical weapons, highlighting the potential danger of possible chemical weapons components. Though experts who viewed the report said the evidence it cited did not prove definitively that there was current, continuing collaboration between North Korea and Syria on chemical weapons, they said it did provide the most detailed account to date of efforts to circumvent sanctions intended to curtail the military advancement of both countries. The report, which is more than 200 pages long, includes copies of contracts between North Korean and Syrian companies as well as bills of lading indicating the types of materials shipped. Much information was provided by unidentified UN member states, and the military-related cooperation, if confirmed, indicates major shortcomings in the international effort to isolate both countries. It is unclear when, or even whether, the report will be released....."
The report is a complete piece of crap, and the “overarching message is that all member states have a duty and responsibility to abide by the sanctions that are in place” -- meaning Russia and China. Despite the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, "Western officials and nonproliferation experts have long suspected that Assad retains some chemical weapons."
Now why did Iraq just pop into my head?
Fool me once, you f***ks.
Also see: North Korea reportedly sold Egypt missiles via embassy
Egypt not toeing the line?
"Former Russian spy critically ill in Britain after suspected poisoning" by Karla Adam and William Booth Washington Post March 06, 2018
LONDON — It is a spy drama — and it is real. An aging Russian double agent is found slumped beside his daughter on a park bench in a quiet English town, both near death, apparently poisoned. Now Scotland Yard is on the case.
Britain’s counterterrorism police on Tuesday took over the investigation into what caused a balding, former Soviet-era spy, 66-year-old Sergei Skripal, to collapse on Sunday, leaving him staring into space, beside his comatose daughter, 33-year-old Yulia.
The pair remain in critical condition in a Salisbury hospital.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cautioned Tuesday it would be ‘‘wrong to prejudge’’ the fast-moving investigation, but warned if Russia was found to be responsible, the British government would respond ‘‘robustly.’’ Johnson told Parliament that Russia was now a ‘‘malign and disruptive force.’’
I'm tired of this war-promoting slop, I'm sorry.
The circumstances — two people, both in critical condition just minutes after they appear healthy and ambling past a security camera — immediately rang red bells in security circles.
The ex-spy Skripal was, according to neighbors, living a quiet life in Salisbury. He was a man with a past. He had enemies.
Skripal was jailed in Russia in 2006 after he was convicted of passing the names of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe to MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence service.
In 2010, he was handed over to Britain as one of four prisoners released by Moscow in exchange for 10 Russian sleeper agents living in the United States.
The high-profile spy swap took place on an airport tarmac in Vienna — like something out of a Cold War John le Carré novel.
Maybe it was.
The strange doings in Salisbury also immediately called to mind the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, who died in a London hospital bed three weeks after drinking tea laced with a mysterious radioactive substance.
In 2016, a 300-page British government inquiry found that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ‘‘probably approved’’ the killing of Litvinenko, who was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and a former KGB operative.
In a statement Tuesday, Wiltshire Police said Skripal and his daughter were in intensive care, being treated for ‘‘suspected exposure to an unknown substance.’’
The police added that a member of the emergency services who helped with the incident also remained in the hospital. Authorities were sweeping nearby sites — a restaurant and a pub — for forensic evidence.
‘‘It’s a very unusual case, and the critical thing is to get to the bottom of its causes as quickly as possible,’’ said Mark Rowley, head of counterterrorism policing in the United Kingdom.
‘‘We’re doing all the things you would expect us to do,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re speaking to witnesses. We’re taking forensic samples at the scene. We’re doing toxicology work, and that will help us to get to an answer.’’
The Russian president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters Tuesday that the Kremlin knew nothing at all about the case and was ready to cooperate in the investigation if asked.
‘‘We know that this tragic situation has happened, yet we have no information about its probable causes, what this man has been doing and what this is about,’’ Peskov said.
He described any accusations against Russia as predictable and ‘‘not long in coming.’’
The British counterterrorism chief, Rowley, said no one was rushing to judgment — Russians living in England die all the time of natural causes — but the special circumstances raised troubling questions.
‘‘There are deaths which attract attention,’’ Rowley said. ‘‘I think we have to remember that Russian exiles are not immortal, they do all die, and there can be a tendency for some conspiracy theories. But likewise we have to be alive to the fact of state threats, as illustrated by the Litvinenko case.’’
Putin supporters said the Skripal affair was an attempt to stir anti-Russian sentiment ahead of a March 18 presidential election in Russia.
Two Russians whom Britain accused of being behind the 2006 Litvinenko murder were never charged — instead, they have thrived. Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun both deny involvement in Litvinenko’s killing.
‘‘The Britons suffer from phobias,’’ Lugovoy, a former KGB bodyguard who is now a member of the Russian Parliament, told the Interfax news agency Tuesday. ‘‘If something happens to a Russian, they immediately start looking for a Russian trail.’’
Kovtun, a businessman, predicted that British authorities would pursue ‘‘an anti-Russian scenario,’’ as he claims they did in investigating Litvinenko’s death.
‘‘If someone did poison Skripal, if this is not just an accident, then, of course, this is a provocation by British special services aimed primarily at discrediting Russian government bodies in the run-up to the presidential election,’’ Kovtun told Interfax.
More than likely, yeah.
Litvinenko’s widow, Marina Litvinenko, said in an interview that seeing television footage of investigators wearing hazardous materials suits brought back painful memories.
‘‘I had hoped it never would happen again, and when I saw those pictures of special suits, of course it was quite difficult to believe it might happen again,’’ she said.
She praised the police for launching an investigation immediately — they waited 2 1/2 weeks in her case, she said — but she suggested that if this is shown to be an assassination attempt by Russia, it would point to enduring vulnerabilities.
‘‘Because it did happen to another Russian person, it shows lessons were not learned and people asking for protection, for political asylum or refugees or even this guy, who was exchanged, they can’t be safe, can’t be protected,’’ she said.
I think I'll wait for the movie:
"Boston-area venture capitalist makes a winning investment with ‘Icarus’" by Jon Chesto Globe Staff March 06, 2018
David Fialkow has made plenty of winning investments since cofounding the VC firm General Catalyst in Cambridge nearly two decades ago. None have been quite like this one.
Fialkow hopped on the Dolby Theatre stage in Los Angeles Sunday to accept the Oscar for best documentary for “Icarus,” alongside director Bryan Fogel and co-producers Dan Cogan and Jim Swartz.
The movie starts off with Fogel experimenting on himself to see if doping could improve his cycling, the film’s original focus. But it takes an important turn: Fogel’s Russian source ends up blowing the whistle on an illicit doping operation for Olympic athletes, a twist with international implications.
Fialkow and Swartz, another prominent venture capitalist, invested in the movie through a firm Cogan runs, Impact Partners. They recouped their money by selling the film to Netflix last year for $5 million; Fialkow says profits will be used to help other whistle-blowers.
Fialkow seems both floored and humbled by the quality of the other nominated documentaries. It’s possible the unexpected timeliness of the Russian themes — his film was shot before President Trump took office — resonated with Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters, elevating “Icarus” above the other nominees.
Oliver Stone interviews?
But they all benefit, in some way, from rising demand. Netflix, in its thirst for original content, has been an aggressive buyer, and the “Icarus” price was among the highest paid for a documentary so far. Fialkow says distribution options have widened dramatically in the past five years as Netflix and rivals such as Amazon and HBO, among others, chase nonfiction flicks.
“We are in the golden age of the documentary film business,” Fialkow says. “That really hit home when I was out there.”
Time to confront Russia!
What's odd is there was not one word in the Globe regarding the AIPAC conference (more saber-rattling, I see) or the Palestinians, for that matter.
"The Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to pay $500 million to New York for using deceptive practices while marketing and selling mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis, under a settlement announced on Tuesday. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the settlement includes $100 million in cash to the state and $400 million worth of consumer relief for New York homeowners and communities. As part of the agreement, RBS admitted it sold investors residential mortgage-backed securities that failed to comply with underwriting guidelines. Schneiderman said the bank’s actions harmed ‘‘countless New York homeowners and investors’’ by contributing to the crash in home values. The British taxpayer-owned bank announced last month its 2018 earnings could be hit by a pending multibillion-dollar settlement with the US Department of Justice over its pre-financial crisis mortgage-backed securities."
Anybody get their homes back?
Brazil is under martial law and the main concern is a fugitive (he's already on the plane back)?
Vatican investigator meets with Chilean sex abuse victims
Ever been to Patagonia?
"Skeptical US rebuffs Mexico’s request for aid in spyware inquiry" by Azam Ahmed New York Times February 20, 2018
MEXICO CITY — US officials have rebuffed repeated requests from Mexico to help investigate the use of government spying technology against innocent civilians, wary that Mexico wants to use the United States as cover in a sham inquiry, senior US officials say.
The Mexican government has been on the defensive for months, battling revelations that surveillance technology it acquired has been used to spy on some of the nation’s most prominent human rights lawyers, academics, and journalists.
Days after The New York Times revealed the extensive spying campaign, Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, acknowledged that the government had purchased the spying technology. He quickly ordered a federal investigation into any misuse, and Mexican officials said they would ask the FBI for help.
A U.S. citizen reads that and laughs. The FBI help?
But after reviewing the request, US officials decided not to get involved, leery that the Mexican government had little interest in actually solving the case because a serious investigation might implicate some of its most powerful figures, senior US officials said.
Then they are just like us.
In particular, US officials were worried that the Mexicans would try to trumpet the involvement of the United States to lend an appearance of credibility to a whitewash, the officials said.
If anything it would do the opposite!
The spying technology, developed by an Israeli cyber-arms manufacturer, is sold only to governments and under the explicit condition that it be used only to track terrorists and other criminals.
After it became clear that the technology had been used much more broadly than that, the Mexicans sent a list of questions to US law enforcement officials to show their seriousness about investigating.
But the questions required no more than a basic computer science degree to answer, one US official said. The Mexican government — which operated the surveillance technology itself — was more than capable of solving the case on its own if it wanted to, the official said.
The FBI declined to comment.
There are many potential reasons Mexican officials, if they were serious about investigating, might want US help, even if they did not necessarily need it. The Mexican public is deeply suspicious of its government, so the participation of US law enforcement officials could help build trust in the findings.
But more than six months after the investigation was announced, some of the US concerns appear to be bearing out, according to victims of the spying and their lawyers, who have had access to the case files.
The government inquiry has failed to make headway in many basic areas, they contend. Prosecutors handling the case have yet to question any of the officials responsible for operating the surveillance technology, according to the victims’ lawyers and their review of the case file.
That is where the print copy ended.
The Mexican government declined to offer specific comments on the investigation but said it remains “in the phase of exhausting different lines of investigation.” It also said that it had been in constant contact with the group of forensic analysts that first discovered the existence of the spyware, the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, and that it had sought counsel from other national and international experts.
The Citizen Lab seemed taken aback by the assertion.
“That’s a surprising statement, given that we have had exactly one meeting with them and have received no further follow-up,” said John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher there. He said the Citizen Lab answered the government’s questions at that meeting, in October, and even suggested a list of evidence to preserve for the investigation.
The Mexican government lied?
Don't worry, you get used it.
The spying software, known as Pegasus, infiltrates smartphones to monitor every detail of a person’s cellular life — calls, texts, e-mail, contacts, and calendars. It can even use the microphone and camera on phones for surveillance, turning a target’s smartphone into a personal bug.
But investigators have not even identified the government employees who operate the technology or visited the offices where the spying operation was conducted, according to interviews with the victims and their lawyers and the case files.
Prosecutors have for now also declined to examine the servers used by the officials who operated the spying technology, according to the case files and the lawyers. Those servers, according to cyberforensic analysts and the Israeli manufacturers of the spyware, would contain a record of every attempted hack on every single target.
They don't want to know!
“It is highly likely that the political actors who were using this software are now keeping this investigation from making any progress at all,” said Mario Ignacio Álvarez, a former deputy at the nation’s attorney general’s office. “This is still a country where it is better to pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe for justice than to the authorities.”
Better keep the cork in the bubbly!