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Posts Tagged ‘Der Spiegel’

WikiLeaks Under Massive Cyber Attack

In Financial Engeneering, Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Views, commentaries and opinions on 30.11.10 at 03:08
WikiLeaks.org says its website is targeted by a massive computer attack. The attack started just hours before the  expected release of classified US documents. In spite of the attack, the files have been released, revealing among other things that the US government ordered surveillance of UN. leaders.
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“The US  military must electronically assault WikiLeaks and any telecommunications company offering its services to this organization.”
Former US State Department Adviser

CNN reports that a hacker named “the Jester,” who claims to have been involved with US Special Forces, is claiming responsibility for the attack on the Wikileaks site “for attempting to endanger the lives of our troops, ‘other assets’ and  foreign relations.”
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At 7:30 PM the Cablegate.Wikileaks.org web site is up, though the group says “the embassy cables will be released in stages over the next few months.”
In another poke at the US government, WikiLeaks is using Seattle-based Tableau Software, a visualization company that grew out of a Defense Department project, to host some of the files.
The New York Times, which claims it did not get the files directly from WikiLeaks but honored the embargo, has posted an interesting exchange between Assange and the US embassy in London. The Obama administration never asked the NYT not to publish.
And here’s one intriguing document highlighted by British newspaper, The Guardian: At least as of mid-2009,Israel believed it had until December 2010 to attack Iran’s suspected nuclear facilities!
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Details US surveillance
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According to the documents, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year ordered clandestine surveillance of United Nations leadership, including obtaining “security measures, passwords, personal encryption keys, and types of VPN versions used” and biometric information.

The July 2009 directive issued under Clinton’s name, which also asks for details about “information systems, networks, and technologies used by top officials and their support staffs,” sheds a  rare light on the shady world of government espionage.

That classified dispatch is part of a massive document dump, about 250,000 diplomatic cables, that began appearing on the Internet this morning.

WikiLeaks provided the files in advance to news organizations including Germany’s Der Spiegel and Spain’s El Pais and has said it would wait before releasing the cables on its own website.

Chinese Leaders Behind Google Attacks

Another disclosure from the files is that China’s Politburo ordered the electronic intrusions into Google’s computer network that became public in January, prompting the company to rethink its Chinese operations, according to what a Chinese contact told the US embassy.

China has denied the charges.

That intrusion was reportedly conducted by a combination of government hackers and private security experts, who reportedly also targeted US government computers, those of the Dalai Lama, and other American companies.

Some of the companies that previously been named as victims include Yahoo, Symantec, Northrop Grumman, and Dow Chemical, and Adobe Systems has confirmed a “sophisticated, coordinated attack” against its corporate network.

Leaked From The US

It seems like the economy is not the only thing leaking in the US.

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The files appear to have originated from the US Defense Department‘s SIPRNET, which is used for exchanging information up to the secret level and is jointly administered by the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Information Systems Agency.

SPIRNET itself stands for Secret IP Router Network.

In July, Pfc. Bradley Manning was charged with obtaining “more than 150,000 diplomatic cables” in violation of the law and is suspected of being WikiLeaks’ source.

First Cyber Attack By US Government ?

The Washington Times and a former Bush administration official suggest that WikiLeaks.org is the first public target for an US government cyber attack.

In addition, a Republican senator have  proposed a law targeting WikiLeaks, and conservative commentators have called for WikiLeaks front man Julian Assange to be arrested.

Sweden has issued an international arrest warrant for Julian Assange – for the second time – after he was upheld by an appeals court on sexual assault charges.

Assange was later released due to lack of evidence, but now it seems like “the evidence” suddenly has turned up again…

The White House have issued the following statement:

“These cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world. To be clear–such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.”

Australia is investigating whether today’s release violated its laws. (Assange has an Australian passport.)

Labeled As Terrorists
Conservative commentators argues that Wikileaks.org should be shut down by any means necessary.

One Washington newspaper argued that WikiLeaks’ offshore Web site should be attacked and rendered “inoperable” by the US government.

An US State Department adviser, who served under President George W. Bush, writes in a column that the US  military must “electronically assault WikiLeaks and any telecommunications company offering its services to this organization.”

And some have already labeled WikiLeaks as a terrorist organisation.

Related by The Swapper:

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Bundesbank Suspects A French Conspiracy

In Financial Markets, International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics, Views, commentaries and opinions on 03.06.10 at 00:57

According to Der Spiegel have French banks, the largest holders of Greek, been dumping their Greek bonds at the ECB, while the German banks have agreed with the finance ministry to hang on to their bonds until 2013. The tension among the euro countries are growing.

“A perfume of divorce float between the Germans and the ECB.”

LeMonde


The article in Der Spiegel are quoting anonymous central bankers in Germany, and says the Bundesbank wonders why the ECB was still buying Greek paper at a time when the financial shield is already in place. The answer is that they suspect a French conspiracy.

The presumption is that French banks are using the ECB purchase programme to clean their balance sheet.

The article then takes to the conclusion, and calls the ECB a “bad bank.”

The article goes on to ask, whether and how the ECB can get out of this, because stopping the purchase programme would lead to a collapse in prices – as the ESCB is the only buyer. And if Greece were to restructure (which is what everybody who has looked into the numbers in some detail) knows, then the ECB itself would need to be bailed by the German taxpayer.

“We assume that this article is unlikely to win a Franco-German friendship prize,” eurointelligence.com writes,

French newspapers have already picked up the story.

Le Monde wrote yesterday that “a perfume of divorce float between the Germans and the ECB.”

I guess one should note that the source of Der Spiegel’s information do not hail from France. They are German central bankers, who voice their suspicions. So do not treat it as fact that French banks are selling, and German banks are not selling.

But the article raises an interesting question: how to prevent moral hazard arising in this situation?

And if the ECB were to reveal what it bought in its open market operation, we would know a lot more.

At present, the only information ordinary Germans have is the Spiegel report.

This is what happens when policy lacks transparency.

Related by the Econotwist:

Proposal For New Single European Bond

ECB Announces Bailout Program

Europe To Fight Speculators With “Secret Plan”

ECB Makes Rating Agencies Irrelevant

Merkel To Push The Euro Zone Off The Cliff

86% of German Citizens Oppose To Greek Bailout

“Germany Is Unfit For The Euro”

Germany Forced To Accept Greek Bailout

Naked self-interest

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Euro: $1,22 – Panic In Brussels

In Financial Markets, International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics on 17.05.10 at 11:44

The euro declined to a four-year low against the dollar in early European trading Monday, and is currently hanging around $1,23. The pressure is still downwards, as the European Central Bank declines to comment on rumors that it has already tried to intervene the forex market but failed.  A sense of panic is emerging in Frankfurt and Brussels as the E.U. leaders strategy seem to backfire on every level.

“The financial markets are in the worst situation since World War Two, and possibly even since World War One.”

Jean-Claude Trichet

At 5:37am (CET) Monday morning the euro dropped to 1,22428 against the dollar – the lowest level since March 2006. Traders are now paying the highest price in more than seven years for so-called currency swaps to insure against the euro weakening.

The increasing price for protection against further declines shows the European Union’s $1 trillion in loan funds to keep members from default has, so far, have failed to persuade investors that nations will get deficits under control.

At the same time, traders say the European Central Bank and President Jean-Claude Trichet have lost credibility by shifting policies on government bond purchases that are part of the plan, according to Bloomberg News.

“The road ahead is still shaky for the euro,” Stephen Gallo, head of market analysis at Schneider Foreign Exchange in London, says.

“The stress within the European banking system is elevated. ECB credibility has been hurt.”

UBS AG says the euro may depreciate to below $1.15.

BNP Paribas SA sees parity with the dollar by March, saying the currency’s outlook “remains bleak.”

“The euro is doomed,” Andrew Wilkinson, senior market analyst at Interactive Brokers Group LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut, says.

“The strains among the partners are becoming clear and it’s becoming harder to see global growth not being threatened by this.”

Panic In Brussels

The euro zone‘s finance ministers will discuss the parlous state of their beleaguered economies at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, after the bloc’s recently agreed trillion-dollar support package failed to prevent the euro’s slide.

This week’s meetings come amid a climate of continued uncertainty.

Initially hailed for its sheer size, senior European officials have since admitted that last week’s support package will buy little more than temporary relief for the zone’s struggling governments.

The rescue plan “has only bought time, nothing more,” the European Central Bank’s chief economist, Juergen Stark, told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Saturday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed the remarks, saying reform of the euro zone economies and better oversight were the only long-term solutions.

“We’ve done no more than buy time for ourselves to clear up the differences in competitiveness and in budget deficits of individual euro zone countries,” she told an annual meeting of the German Federation of Trade Unions, according to the EUobserver.com.

Adding; “If we simply ignore this problem we won’t be able to calm down this situation.”

Probably The Worst Crisis Ever

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet denied the euro is under speculative attack despite its steep fall, and called instead for a “quantum leap” in monitoring to ensure government budgets are kept under control

Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine quoted Trichet on Saturday as saying that Europe needed profound changes to prevent and punish misconduct by euro zone states in their economic policies.

Trichet said financial markets were in their worst situation since World War Two and possibly even since World War One.

Monday Market Snap Shots

As the euro desperately is trying to stay afloat, most European stocks are bouncing back after last weeks drop.

The price of oil and gold declines.

Here’s some market snap shots at noon, Central European Time:

EUR/USD:

The rising On-balance Volume Indicator shows increasing trades being made.

EUR/JPY:

EUR/GBP:

GOLD:


The Euro Is Going Down; Now Trading Below $ 1,24 (Update)

The Safest Bet During Uncertain Markets

Killing My CDS Softly

Breeding New Watchdogs

Banks Protesters Storm Irish Parliament

ECB Announces Bailout Program

Europe Is Cracking Up

Norway’s Central Bank Ready To Help E.U.

Bailout Euphoria Is Evaporating

Scandinavian Reactions To E.U. Measures: “We Are Not Safe”

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Greek Crisis Force Germany To Put Help For Unemployed On Hold

In Financial Markets, Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics, Views, commentaries and opinions on 20.04.10 at 15:18

It’s probably not very popular to be Greek in Germany these days. A law to provide emergency funds to the long-term unemployed has to be put on hold in Germany for as long as Greece has not made a request for financial aid, the Financial Times Deutschland writes.

“We cannot allow the bankruptcy of a euro member state like Greece to turn into a second Lehman Brothers.

Wolfgang Schauble


The Bundestag’s budget committee has already held hearing on this law – which became necessary due to a recent judgment by the constitutional court – and the idea is for the federal and state governments to co-finance hardship allowances for the long-term unemployed.

But since the Greek situation constitutes a budgetary risk, the government decided to put back all non-urgent legislation until there is more clarity.

The paper says that the government expects the Greek to make the call for aid very soon.

Papandreou Rules Out More Austerity

George Papandreou

Le Monde quotes Papandreou as saying that he would have no hesitation to call the EU/IMF loan, if the situation warranted such a decision.

His office also made clear, ahead of the talks with the IMF, that there would be no further fiscal measures this year.

Convincing the Greek public of its austerity package is getting desperate.

The Greek government spokesman George Farrier said that there is no question that austerity measures include a wage cut in the private sector.

Farrier says, according to Kathimerini, that the government’s measures and decisions for 2010 are plentiful and warned about creating a bad psychological state of Greek citizens, lashing out against those who discuss and comment wage cuts calling it ineffective and unethical.

Greece Needs More Than €30bn

According to Bloomberg News Axel Weber told German lawmakers in a private briefing that Greece may need more aid than €30bn.

The article cites two people present at the meeting with FDP lawmakers.

In this meeting Weber also expressed concern that parts of the Greek population don’t care or fail to appreciate the seriousness of the situation their debt-laden country faces.

The yield on Greek bonds, meanwhile, is rising to new record levels. The yield on the 10-year bond reached 7.76%.

Cannot Allow A Bankruptcy

Wolfgang Schauble, the German finance minister, has not been saying much, so far.

Wolfgang Schauble

He is one of the dovish members of the German government, and of the very few genuinely pro-European politicians in Germany today.

This is how he looks at the aid to Greece, he told Der Spiegel.

Schäuble: “We have experienced a financial crisis from which we in Europe must draw a clear lesson: We cannot allow the bankruptcy of a euro member state like Greece to turn into a second Lehman Brothers.

DER SPIEGEL: You are exaggerating. In past years, it’s happened again and again that a country couldn’t pay its debts, and yet that hasn’t led to a collapse of the global financial system. Why should this be different in Greece’s case?

Schäuble: “Because Greece is a member of the European monetary union. Greece’s debts are all denominated in euros, but it isn’t clear who holds how much of those debts. For that reason, the consequences of a national bankruptcy would be incalculable. Greece is just as systemically important as a major bank.”

Call For German Tax Cuts

The Institute for International Economics has called for a €100bn tax cut according to Spiegel Online, but the politics of Germany is current moving in the opposite direction, as the CDU is now digging in on its position only to simplify the tax but with no tax cuts.

Finance minister Wolfgang Schauble is quoted as saying that the priority would be to alleviate the pressures on Germany’s cash-strapped municipalities.

Greece: Restructured

The FT writes in a detailed article that the Greek government is already considering the possibility of debt rescheduling later this year.

The IMF is expected to raise the issue in its talks with the Greek government. The article also says there is no a gradual  perception by financial markets that Greece is headed for some form of debt restructuring.

Financial Times makes the point that there are various options available, from default towards forced haircuts and voluntary debt rescheduling, whereby investors can choose to increase their maturity of their debt in exchange for a higher yield – and the hope that this way they get paid back.

The rating agencies would consider anything that is not voluntary as a default.

Related by the Econotwist:

The Great Greek Soap Opera

Markets Still Don’t Trust Europe’s Greek Aid Pledge

Greece, Lehman And Geithner

Germany Forced To Accept Greek Bailout

Greece: Here’s The Deal (Well, sort of…)

Greek Crisis: Confusion And Paranoia

Euro Zone: More Fiscal Integration Or Not?

Here Comes Another Greek Bank Meltdown

“Greece Will Default”

Greek Debt Crisis Become Critical (Again)


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