Electronic mass surveillance in Panama

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boundless heatmapWhat have we learned about Panama from the recent bombshells in the Guardian about how the leaders of Obamastan are turning the world into a robotized totalitarian surveillance state? Not that much. We know, thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, that the NSA uses a tool called "Boundless Informant" to record and analyse where its intelligence comes from. That tool produces a map, on which Panama is a green country, which means we're among those countries least subject to NSA surveillance. Most interesting country for the NSA in Latin America is not Colombia but Brazil. All this spying and snooping is of course about keeping us safe from terrorists, and everybody knows that Brazil is a hotbed of jihadi activity. Plus Glenn Greenwald lives there.

Does that mean that our communications are safe in this little banana republic? Not at all.

A couple of major leaks ago, we had, if you recall, Cablegate. Tons of US diplomatic cables were leaked to Wikileaks, which published them through various news organizations. The leaker, Bradley Manning, was sold out by a hacker snitch and is undergoing a show trial these days after the Obamistas first tortured him for a couple of years.

Anyway, among those cables were many from the US embassy in Panama. Some of those related how the US was operating a wiretap facility in Panama, named "Matador", from where they were tapping Panamanian phones with the approval of Panama's Supreme Court. This all would supposedly be part of the US imposed "war on drugs". In fact, the NSA didn't have to do any phone tapping here; the DEA was already doing that under the usual highly dubious legal cover of a Supreme Court that these same embassy cables described as a "criminal racket".

Shortly after Ricardo Martinelli took office, these cables show, he tried to get his hands on the Matador wiretapping program to tap the phones of personal, business and political adversaries. Your Bananama Republic wrote about that extensively, here.  Instead of letting Martinelli use the American facility to tap phones, they moved the program and it was eventually shut down, reportedly.

Couple of years later, in April of this year, Canada based organization "Citizen Lab" released its report, "For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying".

Citizen Lab has been tracking and mapping the spread and use of the so-called "Finfisher" software. Finfisher is commercial espionage and surveillance software that was developed by a British company called "Gamma International".

The FinFisher software suite is a kind of the commercial equivalent of the NSA's Prism program. It's sold to dictators and rogue governments who use it to track dissidents, opposition groups and activists.

Citizen Lab has been tracing Finfisher activity and found a new command and control server in Panama. That, most likely, means that someone in Panama bought the software and is using it here.

Based on the IP addresses provided in the report, we were able to establish that this spy server is hosted by a company called "Cyber Cast International, S.A.". They have a website, here, and then another one where they offer offshore hosting services:

CCI Hosting is the leader in Offshore Hosting since 2002. We focus in Total Privacy Solutions offering shared hosting, vps, dedicated server and server colocation from our facility in Panama city. Panama's Telecommunication Infrastructure, Privacy Advantages and Financial Benefits offer a great option for people who are doing business over the Internet.

We asked them by email to confirm that they are hosting a spy software command and control server, and for whom they are hosting that server, but did not receive a reply (Why anyone would, by the way, want to host a website in Panama with its retarded press laws and a president who advocates wacky internet censorship measures is beyond us. But never mind).

Citizen Lab, asked if their research showed anything about the volume of spying done from the CCI hosted server, replied:

"We can't see how many infected computers or devices might be associated with the server, and we're not sure who might be behind it."

The logical assumption would obviously be that after the debacle of getting his hands on the Matador program, Martinelli simply bought his own spy facility. It would probably all be highly illegal, and hosting vast amounts of data obtained by tapping phones and other communications on a shadowy commercial server isn't exactly reassuring either for how Martinelli and his spies deal with privacy sensitive information. Then again, the Martinellistas are known for using intercepted phone calls for propaganda purposes.

But Martinelli being behind it is not the only possibility.

It might also be that a third party (another country, or some big corporation) has acquired the software and is hosting the command server in Panama. In that case, a foreign and/or corporate espionage operation is being run on Panamanian soil.

So, no matter which way you slice it, this FinFisher server operating in Panama is probably illegal. And, just like in Obamastan, none of our communications are safe.

34 thoughts on “Electronic mass surveillance in Panama

  1. Except to the fact that in actuality the DEA, DSS, DIA, and USAIDS had already contributed and supplied the National Police (PNP), SENAN, and SENAFRONT with new state of the art 2nd generation GPS-Global mobile radio phone and Cellular telephone satellite positioning tracking system and listening equipment (Supposedly under the control and administered by USSOUTHCOM, here and in Miami?).

  2. On this cable map it can be seen that Latin America is connected to the global Internet via the US:
    Checking one’s connection with a ping plotter will confirm this: for instance, both Internet Activo and Claro connect to the backbone of Columbus-Networks, delivering this post directly to the NSA too.
    From that perspective there wouldn’t be a reason for extra eavesdropping from a commercial perspective because in Obamastan, corporations and government have been merged into a single interest, summarized as “profit above all”. Eventually, for privacy one could use difficult to locate NVIS communications, a technology that will work very well in Panama:

  3. Anglophone countries are very much vindictive, and punitive societies, so these voyeuristic attributes, as the one we can now corroborate with all this surveillance scandal, are part of Anglophone countries and culture…There is an obsession with these wars on terror and drugs, when we all know who are the real terrorists who wage wars to keep in existence a consumerist and outrageous and grotesque acquisitive civilization, while impoverishing everybody around…What else can be expected from this decadent empire?

    None of this information comes as a surprise for me…In the Spanish speaking world, there is a saying that goes like this: “Lions will always be depredators and never vegetarians.”

    As good Lions, the US government with its allies (Corporate America in this case), wants to have it all, this is the ultimate American Dream…

    • Lest we forget, Panama was given the canal after the USA built it at great cost both financially and in loss of lives.

      If US had no influence here, Panama would still be in the 18th century . Who built the roads? who established schools? Who provided medical advances here? no other country but America.

  4. speaking of which,c
    I just came over to Isla Colon a few hours ago, and in the laguna, was the U S C O A S T G U A R D.
    Man was it ever ugly, scary, obscene,
    had big artillery right out the front, it looked more like a military gun ship.
    Anyways, Panama is in bed with the Americans.
    I just wonder, though, why do you think USA gave up their base here/?
    is it because Columbia was better strategically?
    There are at least 5 US military bases in Columbia right now.
    Anyone have an insight to share?

    • Any of the relatively small Central American countries can easily be coerced into obedience and the threat of invasion in order to restore “freedom and democracy” or “economic retaliation” would be enough: it happened before, see http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/wikileaks-us-ambassador-planned-retaliation-against-france-over-ban-on-monsanto-corn/

      Regarding US military bases in the Northern part of South America: Columbia has oil and so have its neighbors, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Brazil has the land to grow GMO crops once no longer possible in the US due to superweeds and climate change (and the resulting sequence of destructive drought / flood).

      Not long ago a coup was staged in Paraguay: http://www.globalresearch.ca/paraguay-obama-s-second-latin-american-coup/31567
      Neighboring to Paraguay, Argentina (land, GMO crops), Bolivia (gas, minerals especially lithium for modern batteries) and Brazil.

      It might be clear that the extensive spy network is indirect evidence that the “war on drugs” is bogus because drug cartel workers are using cellphones and Internet too. What doesn’t get the attention it deserves is that the US is fighting another war in Latin America, against all civilians: via roundup and comparable chemicals. The scientific evidence how it “invites” every disease on the planet:
      What that war does in Argentina: http://www.reduas.fcm.unc.edu.ar/

      • After the Panama Canal construction, US positioned itself as a superpower, embarking into its global dominance; while at the same time, Latin American countries became to be its backyard. As incredible as it may sound, in Panama the University of Panama has practically closed its History School or Department I don’t know the exact nomenclature, but what I do know is that new generation of Panamanian students will not be studying history like in the past we used to do, so they will not have the change to read books like the one mentioned in the link you had shared with the article written by Shamus Cook, describing the relation the Obama administration has with the orchestrated coup against the Paraguayan president (Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano) where it is clearly described that historical relation between US and Latin American countries. Still today, millions of poor Latin Americans naively believe that they will enter into the “Developed World” and the American Dream going into through the domestic door, while becoming like real indentured servants.

        As the saying goes: “Those that don’t study and don’t know history will simply end repeating it”

        Panama was stolen from Colombia, but Colombia would not have been necessarily better than what we have here today. The Colombians from Bogota were and are very much racist and medieval, 1 % of one of the national richness, emerald, has been in the hands of just one man



        Talking about the scandal with the whistleblower, the US has incited those subordinate, and subservient “Western nations” not to let the whistleblower enter their territories, and as always they will all be rendering tribute to the American Empire..


        • The role of the US in Latin America was exposed in Europe via the Iran-contra scandal and the massacres in El Salvador. The term “assassins without borders” applies to all graduates of what has been called “the school of the assassins” http://rt.com/usa/usa-military-school-americas/

          It can’t be a coincidence that Panamanians no longer are learning history: it serves the colonial master very well. History is essential, in literature class this classic was a must on the list of books for the exam:

          In that sense, Latin America has been colonized twice and the damage from the second time still continues. However, globally available net energy is in terminal decline and despite spy networks, eventually the 1% will be pillaged by their guards and servants on the moment, that it will deliver a better pay than a life of obeisance and poverty.

          The wiki link on the emerald king also mentions Pablo Escobar, depicted as “evil” by all corporate media. However I had a different news source which mentioned that he had built houses for people in the neighborhood where he grew up whereas the UN hadn’t done anything to improve their fate. During that time I also listened to Colombian short wave radio, Colosal de Neiva was one of the favorites.

          • JuanB
            Education has historically served the interests of the ruling classes since ancient times, as Noan Choamsky has widely critics, and as Henry Giroux explains in the case of his country now (US)”

            “Neoliberalism is not merely an economic doctrine that prioritizes buying and selling, makes the supermarket and mall the temples of public life and defines the obligations of citizenship in strictly consumerist terms. It is also a mode of pedagogy and set of social arrangements that uses education to win consent, produce consumer-based notions of agency and militarize reason in the service of war, profits, power and violence while simultaneously instrumentalizing all forms of knowledge.” http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13367-the-corporate-war-against-teachers-as-public-intellectuals-in-dark-times

            In Panama we are living in the dark time, intellectually talking, so it perfectly serves the economic interests of the ruling class…

            Yes, Latin American countries have been colonized twice, and in the case of Panama as you may see, many of the “jobs” available for young people are deskilled jobs, and this is what the market based approach wants. Even old careers. as the teaching career, have been systematically deskilled, leaving corporations to lead the educational agenda…

          • Lacking a reply button below, this way. It might be clear that the spy server in Panama is a “low level” case because the US collects all Panamanian Internet and cellphone data already.

            Human social structure displays hierarchy in every class, it exists among elites too. Spying can give an advantage and if a higher class doesn’t share the privileged service with those lower in hierarchy, money or ingenuity buys it.

            The idea to limit education to corporate requirements only, has backfired already: the environmental cost of profiteering has conveniently been ignored. This has led to climate change, resource depletion and overpopulation to such an extent that no acceptable solution is possible.

            Hence the NATO elites are planning to extort a carbon tax from the population while at the same time subsidizing operations in the Arctic for oil, gas and minerals which will greatly accelerate climate change.

            One of the best examples that the authorities aren’t interested in a well educated population is the issue of affordable computers: those with a basic knowledge of English could have bought the Raspberry Pi, a $35 educational computer with Internet capability. One of the reasons to have a basic knowledge of English is that there are more English speaking Chinese than there are inhabitants of the USA. With many 12+ year old computer savvy kids, that spy server in Panama couldn’t have been installed.

          • Yes, I totally agree with your reasoning about the issue of the spy server in Panama being a low level case for the reasons you have above mentioned being US a country with prevalent “Voyeuristic attitudes,” it is clearly understood that the US must have already accessed to all Panamanian internet and cell phone data, though I truly doubt they may have enough elves to do all the menial “job” to check all that putative data.

            I have been attentively reading about the Raspeberry PI, and it was an affordable device intended to attract the attention of children. It is a pity that those initiatives are not widely spread in Panama.

            Even though it is said that English is the legally second language in Panama, there are too many ideologies in the field of education and very little research, given the economic interests of the ruling class that attached them to the American corporate agenda. English in Panama has been used a form of colonization, as Vandana Shiva has stated, and this is not what a language is all about. A language is for the transition of messages, but in the colonies it has been seen that the teaching of English has not helped better the life of the natives, but in the contrary it has created a privileged cast system. In the case of the English teachers in the country, Panamanian English teachers suffer discrimination, being the native English speaking teachers preferred as teachers, when in reality many of those native English speaking teachers are not really teachers at all, many of them have been marginalized from the English speaking world because their Bachelor’s of Art has lost value in those Anglophone countries and their “skills” (but not their knowledge because many of them may lack subject matter) have been commoditized in those underdeveloped countries or “emergent societies” (read Doctor Scott Summer from Taiwan).

          • One of the first issues with Internet in Panama I noticed was that it didn’t work as supposed to. So I checked and discovered that the entire local net was open: you could copy everything from the other users simultaneously with a packet sniffer. Worse, when one user would occupy most of the bandwidth, the other users could be shut off from the Internet, completely. Those who had installed it, supposedly were engineers. IOW, no eavesdropping tools required.

            The other example came from a schoolbook a kid showed me. It stated that the world was created in 6 days. It would have been funnier, if the phrase had been “created in 6 days from phlogiston”. Of course ignoring or worse, violating the science of evolution, will backfire on those trying to save their privileges by such a policy.

            The best example is the US where about 30% of the population already is thinking about armed rebellion. But before that, there was a clash of civilizations already. When profit is holy, a country will get the most expensive weapons, money can buy. So the US invested in those expensive floating hulks called aircraft carriers. The Chinese OTOH, with a govt mostly consisting of scientists and engineers, developed the most effective weapon money can buy, a supersonic missile, the Dong Feng-21, cost 1% or less of such a hulk. That missile is so fast that its kinetic energy alone is enough to sink a carrier. As you could have guessed, the only defense against such a missile is praying. From that perspective the caudillo class might be in for rather unpleasant surprises too.

          • I have been reading about the this topic you have brought to my attention, the teaching of creationism in public schools in US, Romania and England http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/creationism ,
            and this young American man has been spoken about the issue during the last months http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/22/campaign-creationism-schools-science.

            In the case of Panama, as far as I am informed, there is no such a thing like a Humanist Organization that may speak outspokenly about the necessity to have school teach evidence – based curriculums in their educational enterprises. Many private schools are freed to teach whatever happens they please, even though the Minister of Education is supposed to supervise what they are really doing. It is indeed worried to have children learn science taught from that creationistic approach instead of having them learn science from an intelligent design as valid scientific theorists, which in this case is teaching science with an evolutionary approach. I am all about science, but science frees people, and this is not something that serves the ruling class in Panama.

            I closed my Facebook account, when I realized that the social net was open and as you have said, anybody could copy your information. I am happy I did it.

            It is incredible how people are brainwashed in US; I was unaware about that armed rebellion. It is good, at least, to be in this underdeveloped country.

          • Religion and everything derived from it serves the ruling class extremely well, also on the subject of spying because it makes believers familiar with an omniscient entity who instantly knows what you’re doing or up to. Those familiar with physics will know that both eternal hell and eternal heaven are examples of a perpetual motion machine which is impossible. From the evolutionary perspective, a god is the ultimate extrapolation in a hierarchy so all those lower in hierarchy can borrow authority from it to “prove” their point. Of course a physical entity at the top of a hierarchy who decides what action to take makes evolutionary sense too because in an emergency, there’s no time to discuss or vote.

            In Latin America it might not be known that the NSA issue isn’t anything new: the Anglo-Saxon empire has been spying (for profit) on the rest of the world for a very long time: http://www.ncoic.com/echelon.htm
            From that perspective one should end all Internet activity completely, which is exactly what the Anglo-Saxon ruling class wants – back to medieval times but with the luxuries of the 21st century.

          • I have been reading about Communication intelligence in the link you have generously shared, and it is said that these tactics have been practiced by almost every advanced nation since telecommunications became available. Why are they so worried if they considered that they have reached that level of standards of life without hurting anybody? Why would they be attacked? They simply know that the genuine pirates are they, who have been systematically stealing natural resources from poor nations, abusing their positions.
            As I have said in this blog already, these Anglophone societies are very much voyeuristic, and they are the ones who temporarily are ruling the world, so they fear losing their privileged position, so those other subordinate Western nations with advanced economies. I don’t truly think they are all called to last forever, I don’t think so, but they are desperate brainwashing people and children, so that they want children to learn language the sooner, so they are attached to English without that much subject matter, therefore they are tamed and commoditized…

          • The investment in a spy network has to be seen in relation to GDP so it makes sense that all members of the Anglo-Saxon world have joined efforts. The application of the doctrine “divide and conquer” prevented other nations to do the same – it is rather obvious that a concerted effort by Latin America as a whole would have been a serious contender. So it doesn’t really matter that each small nation is involved in spying too: it has little effect. What matters is that the lifeblood of civilization, cheap energy, no longer exists, and many countries, especially the USA, are trying to continue “business as usual” on ever increasing amounts of borrowed money, which for meaningful discussion requires some additions to the English vocabulary: http://www.itulip.com/glossary.htm

          • A language is for the transition and transmission of messages, so grammar should only be taught to fill the gaps, for those argumentations, read Stephen Krashen

            People here, even University professors, don’t care that much about education, they just care about their paid check, and their permanent positions, as long as they get their tenured positions, many of them forget about academic life, if some of them even thought about that. In Panama, I found that there was a lot of out of field teaching in the English career, so this prevent to country from becoming a real bilingual country. People don’t know how to improve themselves, when what we need is access to print material, and time to read.

          • Few Panamanians have a knowledge of English that would be sufficient to follow a study in Europe, where most universities have courses in English (German universities too and they’re among the best). It’s true that there are no means for improvement. No libraries, no affordable computer, no good Internet connection and the few that have one are unable to locate free (!) courses Spanish – English. Ignorance always backfires, the govt has no knowledge of the time bomb presented by roundup poisoning, aspartame, HFCS and similar toxins either. The cost of healthcare will rise exponentially at a time when income from taxes is declining, which might be starting in the US…

          • I, one more time, agree completely with your affirmation that few Panamanians have knowledge of English that would be sufficient to follow studies in European Universities, and, of course, the lack of access to printed material is the major culprit; no public libraries well equipped with a great supply of books written in English that may be compelling to read, and electricity is costly, so running a computer at home implies the constant use of electricity and a leased internet system. There are cultural aspects that have to be taken into consideration too, Panamanian culture is hedonistic and pragmatic, so being a voracious reader, who enjoys libraries and reading extensively may be seen like a liability and not an asset, so those attitudes prevent some individuals from engaging in academic activities, since peer pressure is a reality; furthermore, corruption in the country makes some individuals not to appreciate learning for the sake of learning, being Panama a country that is not characterized by being a meritocratic society.

            It saddens me to admit this reality, but constructive criticism is a must, given the deplorable state of our educational system.

            Our Minister of Education is always appointed politically, and all governmental positions are politically appointed by the political party that is in term ruling the country…

            I am very much aware of those poisoning artificial sugars, I have extensively read about them all, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262475.php

            In Panama many people, even professional people, have become cynical, so being educated is left for few individuals with an inquisitive mind, and, of course, access to printed material…

          • I noticed the hedonistic tendency as well, and often told people that compared to success in yoga and meditation, it’s like a drop to the ocean. There’s a lot on the issue (even regarding evidence from brain scans) but mostly in English so it’s unknown. A pity because young children aren’t indoctrinated yet and could learn a second language easily. One only has to look at the difference in search hits on the same subject in English and Spanish. This might not mean much with a lifestyle of plenty but in the real world with declining resources and the increasingly unpleasant effects of climate change, it is going to make a vital difference. From that perspective, a pragmatist either knows enough already or has access to a vast library. A political appointment wouldn’t matter if it concerned someone fit for the position but usually it means the appointment of someone who according to her/his qualifications / experience never would have gotten the appointment (cronyism, nepotism). But the real and for many hidden cause is Washington’s dictate (with real threats) to Latin American leaders. For a good reason, Noam Chomsky already in 1990 held a talk where he said “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged. By violation of the Nuremberg laws I mean the same kind of crimes for which people were hanged in Nuremberg. And Nuremberg means Nuremberg and Tokyo.” This is no joke – a member of the Irish parliament didn’t mince her words either:
            On a lighter note, how many places in Panama already have this road sign?

          • A hedonistic culture brings to life a society with superficial and shallow approaches to almost every national undertaking, as to say the poor or almost unexistent political debate.

            The “sooner the better” debate in second language acquisition is something I have been studying a lot during the last 17 years, and I reason that after having read extensively about the issue, anybody can certainly learn a second language given the time. The real problem is time. For those with richness of time, sustain silent reading (Stephen Krashen) is the best way to acquire a second language, as long as the input is comprehensible, input being reading and listening (Krahsen), so that the levels of anxiety are low and there are possibilities to reach that “language acquisition device” mentioned by Noan Choamsky. Listening to the target language is a must, so is reading too.

            The difference I have found in the English language & Spanish is that English is much more laconic in its constructions of words, in comparison with Spanish which is a wordy language, I mean, one word in English may sometimes need to be explained by several words. When reading academic papers, I rather prefer the severity and succinctness of the English language, maybe because it is my second language, and I understand better its grammar and word order; moreover, I like the level of discussion found in the English speaking world, because of the freedom enjoyed by some individuals in the developed world, something very difficult to get in all these poverty stricken nations…

            Noan Choamsky words have always been against American international policies and its agenda, something I profoundly admire from him, he has never given up, and has even put his life in jeopardy. He has been a great inspiration, and still is…

            I didn’t know about this sign shown in this picture attached in your Facebook account, and will try to see if there is any like that this coming weekend..

            Appointing governmental employees politically has done a lot of harm to the Panamanian political life, and civil life as well. People have become corrupt, and young generation of people are brought up thinking that this is the only possible way to climb the ladder, so for those without political influence getting a position in the government is impossible, even though qualified, even though there may be a real need for that professional expertise. Panama is a very corrupt country…

            Ireland neutrality is an example to follow, but many small nations, like Panama, an American protectorate, lack the political leadership to impose itself against the American intromission into national debate.
            Hedonistic tendencies in Panama can be perceived in every walk of life. It has penetrated the social consciousness, people have become callous about this phenomenon, and simplistic comments are always heard in many of the radio programs intended to educate the audience. It is pathetic.

          • In Holland during my youth, French was the first foreign language taught and those continuing education also learned English and German as required for an academic level. Sequence according to trade relations of that era. English even was popular in the Soviet Union because of one man, few Americans ever heard of:
            It gives the term “squandered capital” a new dimension.
            With the decline of cheap energy, rigging international financial markets became a substitute and that heavily relies on fast Internet connections, fast computers and spy networks too. From that perspective there is no such thing as “neutrality” because every country relies on (mostly imported) energy and the sales of products made with a part of that energy. Governments tend to present a much too rosy view as is shown here: http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/06/24/energy-products-return-on-investment-is-already-too-low/

  5. Colombia is a country; Columbia is the second part of the name District of Columbia.
    Panama was bought “fair and square.” (T.R. Roosevelt is the author of that I recall.)
    If the U.S. Coast Guard was in Panama waters it was probably to catch drug dealers and drug shipments.
    If you wish to say that the U.S. has five military bases in Colombia, why not name them?

    Yes, ignorance is bliss!

    • Fair and square?
      Panama was stolen by the gringos at gunpoint. “I took Panama” i think was what TR said. The gringos later felt guilty for stealing Panama and paid ‘reparations’ to Colombia. Perhaps that is what you consider ‘fair and square’ Picadillo, others just call it theft.

      • Not true. Roosevelt wanted to build a canal in Panama which was part of Colombia. Columbia refused to allow it so USA bought it for 40 million. It also gave Panama it’s independence from Columbia. At no time did the USA ‘own” Panama.

    • It is true there aren’t 5 military bases in Colombia – there only are 7. Their names:
      1. Apiay
      2. Bahia Malaga
      3. Cartagena
      4. Larandia
      5. Malambo
      6. Palanquero
      7. Tolemaida
      Source: map at http://www.forcolombia.org/bases
      The relation of the US military to the drugs issue might be a bit different than what the media here are reporting though. The many pictures on this site are telling a different story:

    • like you say..ignorance is bliss

      I heard it on the news, and I checked the info with the head of security of the company I work for, who is from Columbia. He confirmed that it was true. I also asked another employee who is from there, because I really thought that 5 military bases sounded exaggerated, and he also said yes, it is common knowledge.
      I take it you are from USA an support their foreign policies here in the region.

      • Indeed, as you say, this is common knowledge. It was quite a row when they expanded their military presence in Colombia and Chavez raised hell about it. How anyone who claims to be knowledgeable about the region doesn’t know this is beyond me.

        • At the time of the row to use the massive spy-network of the DEA on political adversaries (not just in Panama), the threat was voiced to expel the agency from Panama and contract another country to run it: Israel. When true, that might have caused the listing of Panama as “new finding”. Apart from that, this issue:
          “Another remarkable thing about the FinSpy, Jean Marc Manach of OWNI notes, is that it can take control of any major operating system while none of the top 40 antivirus systems can recognize it.” Source:

  6. What bothers me most about this whole spying mess is that about half the gringos are opposed to their government listening to the phone calls and reading the emails of US citizens but none seems too concerned that they are doing this to citizens of the rest of the world. Don’t the rest of us have some expectation of privacy and dignity as well?
    Who is the evil empire now?

    • The norm is that Finfisher control servers are hidden from malware investigators because publicity is bad for the eavesdropping business. The publicity causes people to become aware of the risk of malware infection, by following a dubious link on the web or opening an email attachment that looks like a picture file but isn’t: example, exe.suriv.jpg which looks like a picture file but only when the (invisible) header indicates “left to right”. In a different alphabet where reading is from right to left (Arabic, Hebrew), it is clear that an executable file has been opened. Often that executable displays a small pic, in order to hoodwink the victim.As Finfisher either has to be downloaded by the victim or installed by someone with access to the computer, it might be clear that for the best results, the control server must be hidden.

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