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April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

Nasrallah is Angry As Iran’s Isolation Grows

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Iran’s puppet in Lebanon, Hezbollah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah, is angry.

He’s angry at Saudi Arabia for attacking the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, trying to prevent Iran from taking over Yemen.

He’s angry at Palestinian Authority chieftain Mahmoud Abbas, who openly expressed support for Saudi Arabia.

He hasn’t said anything yet about Hamas, but they also expressed support for Yemen and the Saudi coalition.

As Iran makes its way to becoming the North Korea of the Middle East, Nasrallah is angry that Iran isn’t receiving support from his fellow anti-Israel terrorist groups.

But it makes sense, the Middle East is breaking back down into its traditional battle lines.

The Iranian Shi’ites and the Hezbollah Shi’ites are fighting against the Syrian citizens, who are mostly Sunnis.

Hamas and Fatah (Palestinian Authority) are mostly Sunnis, and they probably aren’t thrilled their fellow Sunnis are being killed by Shi’ites.

And as much as all the Muslim groups hate Israel, they hate each other even more.

So now, when the expansionist Islamic Republic of Iran starts openly trying to create their Shi’ite hegemony in the Middle East, backed by nuclear weapons, alliances will naturally shift from the convenient enemy (Israel) to the real enemy (their fellow Muslims).

Nasrallah is angry. But he shouldn’t be.

He’s just been locked in his bomb shelter so long he’s forgotten what the real world really about.

Indie Theaters Rushing to get the “The Interview”

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Sony Pictures will release it’s comedy film “The Interview” in a limited release to independent theaters for a December 25 opening.

More than 300 theaters throughout the US have already placed orders to get the film.

Sony was apparently not expecting so many theaters to want to show the film following the terror threats, but the demand is very high, Sony is apparently having some logistic difficulties getting so many to everyone at the last minute.

The original wide-scale release was cancelled due to security concerns.

Some US theaters have already sold out their opening day showings.

Sony is also planning a simultaneous VOD release.

President Obama applauded the decision to not give into the cyber-terrorism threat, believed to have originated from North Korea.

UN Security Council Considers North Korean Alleged Crimes Against Humanity

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

For the first time, North Korea’s record on human rights has been placed on the agenda for discussion at the United Nations Security Council. The nuclear-status nation is led by capricious 31-year-old Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, whose mood swings and rages are legend both in the country and abroad.

Until now, the Council has focused primarily on the issue of North Korea’s nuclear activities and the threat they pose. In response to its violations of UN mandates nixing nuclear and ballistic tests, the Council imposed sanctions on Pyongyang that have caused severe economic hardship, but as is the case with Iran have not persuaded the country’s regime to change course.

Ultimately, the Council may consider whether or not to hold the North Korean government responsible for its alleged crimes against humanity.

The United States called Pyongyang a “living nightmare” for North Korean citizens at the first meeting held by the Council, held Monday despite an initial attempt from China to block it. The meeting opened with a procedural raised-hand vote that showed 11 of the 15 Council members supported placing the issue of North Korea’s human rights record on the agenda. China and Russia voted against; Chad and Nigeria abstained.

Testimony was compiled from North Korean exiles by a UN commission of inquiry that left no doubt as to the brutality of the country’s regime, according to U.S. envoy Samantha Power. The unprecedented talks included review of testimony from a former prison camp survivor who told of picking kernels of corn from cattle dung to stave off starvation. A former guard testified about prison wardens who routinely raped their prisoners.

In February 2014, an investigation by the United Nations found that up to 120,000 people are being held in North Korean prison camps. The report also detailed numerous cases of summary executions, torture and rape, leading the inquiry to conclude that North Korea was committing human rights violations “without parallel in the contemporary world,” ordered at the highest level of the state.

No decision was taken on Monday in response to a call to refer Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. But three of the five permanent members of the Council – the U.S., Britain and France – as well as Australia and others, said the Council should consider action on the issue.

“Rarely has such an extensive charge sheet of international crimes been brought to the Council’s attention,” said UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic.

Plot Thickens in Sony Pictures North Korea Hack Attack Saga

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

The plot appears to be thickening in the Sony-North Korea hack attack saga.

A cascade of events has followed the FBI’s accusation that North Korea is behind the attacks – and threats – aimed at preventing Sony Entertainment Pictures from releasing its comedy film, ‘The Interview.’

North Korea now seems to be experiencing widespread Internet outages. An expert quoted by Associated Press said late Monday the country’s online access was “completely down.”

National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said, “We have no new information to share regarding North Korea today. If in fact North Korea’s Internet has gone down, we’d refer you to that government for comment.”

The White House also had no comment. Referring to U.S. government responses to recent threats from North Korea, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters enigmatically, “Some will be seen, some may not be seen.”

On Friday, a government official quoted by The New York Times said the U.S. would ask China to block North Korea’s Internet access as a means of dealing with the threats emanating from Pyongyang.

“What we are looking for is a blocking action, something that would cripple their efforts to carry out attacks,” the official said. According to the report, virtually all of North Korea’s telecommunications run through Chinese-operated networks.

China has already condemned the movie, calling it an act of “senseless cultural arrogance.”

It is also hard to gauge China’s reaction to any U.S. request to rein in North Korea, given that five hackers working for the Chinese military were indicted by the Justice Department in May. They were charged with stealing sensitive information from U.S. companies.

Nevertheless, North Korean Internet accessibility appears to be down, at least for now.

Meanwhile, a hacker that might be associated with the well-known Anonymous hacker collective claimed on Twitter from an account that was suspended over the weekend, @TheAnonMessage, that i t would release the movie, “The Interview” this Thursday over the Internet anyway – just as a “Christmas present” to web surfers.

“We’re not with either side, we just want to watch the movie too… Banning movies only because North Korea’s dictator disapproves. What’s next, @RedDawnFilm?”

The sneers came in response to the latest nasty message sent to the FBI from the Guardians of Peace (GOP) hacker group, believed to be a front for North Korea.

(Yes I know it’s hard to keep all these threads straight – it may help to think of it as a war between the Crips and the Bloods.)

“Praising” the FBI for its investigation, the GOP hacker group sent a link to a video which repeats !”“You are an idiot,” over and over in animated lettering.

Enter Anonymous.

A message to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton from that group was posted on the ‘Pastebin’ site (where GOP has been posting) this past Friday. This time Sony is being exhorted to “release The Interview as planned” or Anonymous will “carry out as many hacks” as possible to Lynton and Sony Entertainment.

Neither threat can be verified; they were both posted on the Pastebin website in plain text, and could have been written by anyone. Neither is traceable.

But as the Mashable website points out, members of the LulzSec hackers affiliated with Anonymous were convicted for involvement in a 2011 hack attack on Sony Pictures.

The current saga actually began in June when North Korea demanded the White House intervene with Sony and squelch production of The Interview, a comedy about assassinating North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. It was scheduled for release this Thursday, December 25.

When the U.S. government did not stop producers, and the movie was completed, a massive hack attack was carried out against Sony. Emails containing information from company executives and employees plus other corporate data was released to the public along with a warning not to screen the movie, “The Interview” in any theater.

UN General Assembly Votes to Refer N. Korea to ICC

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution Thursday by a vote of 116 to 20, with 53 abstentions to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

The vote was taken against North Korea for its violations of human rights.

The resolution also asks the UN Security Council to consider targeted sanctions against the Pyongyang leadership as well. China and Russia are expected to oppose the move.

US Govt IDs North Korea in Sony Cyber Terror Attack

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The U.S. government has linked North Korea to the cyber terror siege of Sony Pictures Entertainment. But the massive cyber attack that nixed the entire release of an new comedy film appears to have also cowed the American entertainment industry.

By pulling “The Interview” from circulation, Sony could lose as much as $100 million, according to a report in Business Insider\.

The movie, which depicts an assassination attempt on the life of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, outraged that country. North Korea demanded during the production phase that the U.S. government cancel the movie. That did not happen; in fact, two White House officials had actually approved the plot line before the comedy went to production.

Once the hacker group “Guardians of Peace” followed up three weeks of a cyber siege with an actual physical terror threat, Hollywood went into a panic and so did the entire American entertainment industry.

First the Landmark Theater chain canceled its December 25 New York City premier of the film at the Sunshine Theater on the Lower East Side. Then four of the largest chains backed out of showing the movie altogether, comprising thousands of small theaters around the United States and Canada.

Unnamed U.S. government sources told NBC News that a “linkage to the North Korean government” had been found to prove it was “centrally involved” in the cyber attack.

And in a report published in The New York Times, bits of the evidence were pieced together. They showed how the hacker group was taking orders from North Korea, and how they carried out a previous similar attack against South Korea, using commercial tools routed via Bolivian servers last year. Similar tools were used in 2012 against Saudi Arabia.

Sony itself is also examining the possibility the hackers had inside help as well: the names of Sony servers and administrative credentials were used to allow the malware to spread across the company’s network.

Experts said the hack is “the first major attack on a U.S. company to use a highly destructive class of malicious software that is designed to make computer networks unable to operate,” Reuters reported.

The U.S. government seems to have signaled its de facto surrender to North Korea, the apparent patron behind the “Guardians of Peace.” U.S. media quoted senior government officials who said the White House was debating whether to publicly accuse North Korea over the attack and threats that followed. No one would speak on the record, and officials said the White House had yet to decide how to respond.

Japan also has had something to say about the matter, because it is apparently engaged in delicate negotiations with North Korea over the return of its citizens kidnapped years ago.

U.S. national intelligence officials concluded the cyber attack was state-sponsored and “far more destructive than any seen before on American soil,” NYT reported. A senior administration official admitted the attack that began by wiping out the data on Sony’s corporate computers had become “a threat to the safety of Americans.”

Not only North Korea but hackers based in China, and sponsored by that government as well, have taken aim before at U.S. corporations. This latest attack, however, “was of a sophistication that a year ago we would have said was beyond the North’s capabilities,” the official told NYT.

Massive attacks aimed at the computer systems of the White House itself, as well as those of the State Department, and JPMorgan Chase banking system, have kept counter cyber terror officials busy. The first two attacks were tentatively attributed ultimately to Moscow; the latter is still a question mark.

But the ambiguous response by the White House to the most devastating cyber attack ever on a U.S.-based corporation has done nothing to reassure American citizens. Nor has it inspired confidence among U.S. allies, who are watching to see if, when and how the White House will respond to the attack, termed by some as an “act of war.”

Terror Threat Puts Kibosh on Sony’s NYC Film Release

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The threat of a possible terror attack put the kabash on a Sony Pictures Entertainment release across the United States of “The Interview,” a comedy depicting an assassination attempt on North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony’s cancellation of the December 25 release followed a direct threat of terror from North Korea against theaters nationwide if they were to screen the movie, and against those who went to the theaters to see it. It came against the backdrop of a decision made by the studio’s largest theater affiliates in the United States and Canada not to show the film.

“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers,” Sony said.

North Korea’s leadership was outraged over plot of the movie, to the point that in June, Washington received demands from Pyongyang to nix the film. That did not happen, and in November a hacker group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” launched a massive cyber attack against Sony in retaliation for continuing with production of the movie.

At first diplomatic and cautious on the topic, within days Sony officials acknowledged that it appeared likely the North Korean government was be behind the attack. The ongoing siege of Sony Pictures involves increasing data dumps of sensitive personal and business information and threats of further similar “gifts.”

Following last week’s Los Angeles studio premier of the film, the threats took an even more ominous turn. The hackers vowed a 9/11-style attack on movie theaters across the U.S. that dared to screen “The Interview,” and moviegoers who chose to attend.

“Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made,” the hackers wrote in a long-winded warning posted on the internet. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave,) the hackers added. Another dump of personal data files accompanied the warning, these linked to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Landmark Theaters’ Sunshine Cinema on New York City’s Lower East Side was the planned venue for the NYC studio premier for the film this coming Thursday evening. At midnight Tuesday night local time, Landmark was telling media that it still planned to continue with the premier as scheduled.

But New Yorkers awoke on Wednesday to the news that the East Coast premier for “The Interview” had been canceled by Landmark Theaters for the Big Apple. No explanation was given for the decision.

Just to be on the safe side, the film’s two co-stars, Seth Rogen and James Franco have scrapped their promotional tour for the film and canceled all public appearances.

But for Israelis who are either staying in New York or visiting the area for Hanukkah, terror threats are nothing new. In Israel all public venues are typically secured by armed individuals with military experience, trained to stop potential threats.

“Americans are not accustomed to such security measures,” which are accepted as a way of life and have saved countless lives in Israel, an IDF veteran told JewishPress.com on Wednesday, but requested his name not be used. “This may be the future there someday as well, but because of the numbers and the diversity of targets, security may become much more difficult.”

The FBI meanwhile has told media in a statement, “There is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.” Nevertheless, to its credit, Sony notified its associated theaters about the threat immediately and said they had the option of choosing not to screen the film.

New York Police Department officials were not willing to toss in the towel on the film, however. “We have been down this road before with other films, about [former Al Qaeda leader Osama] Bin Laden and others,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism John Miller told the New York Post. “We will be beefing up security anywhere there’s a marquee, with patrols, critical response vehicles and the Hercules teams.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/terror-threat-puts-kabash-on-sonys-nyc-film-premier/2014/12/18/

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