Posts Tagged ‘Oman’

Turkmenistan/Oman: WikiLeaks-Enthüllung – Spionage-Software made in Germany?

Mittwoch, September 4th, 2013

Turkmenistan and Oman Negotiated to Buy Spy Software: Wikileaks

by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
September 4th, 2013

Turkmenistan and Oman have been negotiating with a consortium of British, German and Swiss companies to buy “FinFisher” software to spy on phone calls and Internet activity of unsuspecting targets, according to a new trove of documents just released by Wikileaks, the global whistleblowing organization.

Previously released promotional materials for FinFisher – a suite of software products manufactured by Gamma International, a UK company – claim that it can track locations of cell phones, break encryption to steal social media passwords, record calls including Skype chats, remotely operate built-in web cams and microphones on computers and even log every keystroke made by a user.

The new Wikileaks release includes contracts with the two countries that appear to be drawn up by Dreamlab Technologies in Bern, Switzerland, and Gamma International offices in Munich, Germany. If the documents are real, they will confirm claims by activists and researchers that the companies have attempted to sell surveillance software to governments with a decidedly mixed record on human rights.

"The corporate surveillance industry works hand in hand with governments throughout the world to enable illegitimate spying on citizens,” said Julian Assange, the editor in chief of WikiLeaks, in a statement issued with the documents. “WikiLeaks is committed to exposing and educating about this industry, with the goal that together we can build the understanding and the tools to protect ourselves, and each other, from its gaze."


Gamma first came to public notice when similar contract documents for its FinFisher software were discovered by Egyptian human rights activists inside the headquarters of former dictator Hosni Mubarak’s State Security Investigations service, which was notorious for repressing dissidents. The activists broke into the building after Mubarak was toppled in the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 and found Egyptian evaluations of Gamma technology stored alongside hundreds of police batons and other equipment used for torture.

While Gamma did not deny that the FinFisher technology had been tested by the Egyptian government, the company did release a carefully worded statement saying that it had never “supplied any of its FinFisher suite of products or related training etc to the Egyptian government."

The new Wikileaks documents shed light on two projects that appear to have gone much further.


According to the new company documents released by Wikileaks, Nicolas Mayencourt, the CEO of Dreamlab, took a trip to Turkmenistan in 2010 with Thomas Fischer of Gamma International, with the objective of helping the government build “an Infection Proxy Infrastructure and Solution applicable nationwide for all international traffic the Turkmentel and TMCell networks” ie a way to monitor calls on the national mobile phone network.

An initial proposal was submitted to the Turkmen government by the two companies on October 11, 2010, according to the documents released by Wikileaks, followed by a revised 61 page agreement between Fischer and Mayencourt dated December 13, 2010 titled “Infection Proxy Project 1.”

The documents include an invoice from Dreamlab to Gamma for 874,819.70 Swiss Francs ($789,000) for a custom designed hardware package of Cisco switches, HP computers and Intel adaptors to be installed in the country together with Gamma software named FinSpy and FinFly, that comprise the FinFisher suite.

It is not clear from the documents if Turkmenistan actually signed the contract.

But Bill Marczak, a fellow at Citizen Lab and a PhD student at the University of California at Berkeley, who has published several reports on government spying technology, says that his prior research showed that FinFisher software was deployed on a Turkmenistan ministry of communications server last August.

On September 3, 2013, Marczak ran a check that confirmed that the software was still in place, and reviewed the company contracts for CorpWatch.

“The Turkmenistan documents match our finding of a FinSpy server on a network belonging to the Turkmenistan government,” Marczak said. “Gamma provides spyware … that gets injected into downloaded files and viewed webpages. DreamLab provides the hardware and software components necessary for the injection to work: the "infection proxy" that actually performs the injection of the spyware by rewriting webpages and files on-the-fly (hence the name "FinFly"), and hardware and software to target people based on DSL/cable/dial-up account names, mobile phone numbers etc.”

What makes the software “sneaky” is that it allows the Turkmen government to inject spyware into trusted webpages that are otherwise benign, says Marczak.

Other data released by Wikileaks shows that Holger Rumscheidt, the managing director of Elaman, another German company that often collaborates with Gamma, made a four day trip to Turkmenistan this past January, and another two day trip in mid-June. (Gamma offers two annual maintenance visits as part of the annual license fee)

Turkmenistan’s surveillance of its citizens has been documented in the past. “Servers … registered to the Ministry of Communications operated software that allowed the government to record Voice over Internet Protocol conversations, turn on cameras and microphones, and log keystrokes,” notes the most recent U.S. State department report on human rights in the country.

In addition to tracking its citizens, Turkmenistan government has long occupied one of the lowest ratings in the world for human right, according to activist groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. “The country is virtually closed to independent scrutiny, media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal,” says the New York-based Human Rights Watch in its 2013 report on the country. “The government continues to use imprisonment as a tool for political retaliation.”


Gamma and Dreamlab also apparently collaborated in Oman.

The Wikileaks documents also show that Mayencourt of Dreamlab sent Fischer of Gamma an invoice for 408,743.55 Swiss Francs ($369,000) on June 12, 2010, for a very similar project to be installed in the Middle Eastern country. Payment was authorized by Stephan Oelkers of Gamma.

A subsequent 41 page agreement between Fischer and Mayencourt dated December 21, 2010 lays out the details for the “Monitoring system for iproxy-project” in Oman.

Marczak says that while the documents make it clear that the system is up and running, he has not identified FinFisher technology on any Omani servers yet.

The Omani government has also been criticized by activist groups like Human Rights Watch, which reported that authorities “restricted the freedoms of association and assembly, both in law and in practice.”

The latest U.S. State department report on Oman says that 32 individuals “received prison sentences for directly or indirectly criticizing the sultan in online fora and at peaceful protests” noting that three individuals, Mona Hardan, Talib al-Abry, and Mohammed al-Badi were imprisoned for 18 months for Facebook postings and Twitter comments deemed critical of the sultan.

Formal Complaint

Spying Is Cheaper By The Dozen

Newly released Wikileaks documents provide a fascinating insight into the cost of tracking people with Gamma’s Finfisher software suite.

A 2011 price manual  offers governments FinSpy software at four price levels, starting at €80,000 ($104,000) for up to 10 targets at the entry level, but the price drops dramatically for the “open” level which allows clients to target as many at 500 individuals for €200,000 ($260,000).

Additional options include a voice recording server at €20,000 ($26,000) and several different kinds of five day “intrusion” training modules either in the customer’s country or in Munich, Germany, for two to four students for €15,700 to €20,250. ($15,700 to $26,325)

Gamma’s sale of surveillance software to repressive regimes is currently the subject of formal complaint to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by Privacy International, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and Reporters Without Borders.

Unregulated trade with surveillance technologies in authoritarian states is one of the biggest threats to press freedom and human rights work on the Internet,” said Christian Mihr, Executive Director of Reporters Without Borders Germany when the groups filed their complaint on February 1 this year. “Exports of such digital arms have to be made subject to the same restrictions as foreign dealings with traditional arms.”

Email requests from CorpWatch to Fischer, Mayencourt and Rumscheidt, for comments on the Wikileaks documents were not returned by press time.

However, the company has responded to previous queries about sales to Turkmenistan. “The nature of our business does not allow us to disclose our customers, nor how they use our products and the results that are achieved with them,” Gamma International’s Munich-based managing director, Martin Muench, told by email last August. Gamma “complies with the national export regulations of the UK, United States and Germany and has never sold its products to any states that are restricted.”



Global: Die wunderbare Welt des CO2 (Teil 2)

Dienstag, Dezember 4th, 2012

Share of global emissions (% world total 2010)



(Tabelle aus: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012, S. 17, 18
Download des o. g. Reports hier.)


(Quelle: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012)

Oman: Tote bei Protesten

Samstag, Mai 14th, 2011

“Hundreds arrested in Oman as security forces disperse protesters

By Dina Al-Shibeeb

Dissatisfied by their ruler’s response to their demands, Omanis who kept their protests’ momentum on the roll witnessed security forces clearing their protest camps with hundreds being arrested on Saturday.

According to protesters, security forces have also stamped out two more demonstration centers.

Many protesters dubbed Sultan Qaboos’ response to their demands for economic and social change, as lacking or too slow. In March, he sacked 12 ministers without naming a reason, but protesters demanded they be tried for corruption.

In the southern port of Salalah, security forces fired shots in the air to push out protesters camped outside the provincial governor’s office late on Thursday, destroying their tents and arresting dozens and possibly hundreds of protesters, witnesses said. No one was seriously injured.

Oman lifts 800,000 barrels of oil a day but has a poorer population than its wealthy neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, which produces 2.2 million barrels a day.

More jobs, better wages, an end to graft and more democratic reforms are the protesters’ demands

‘They are trying to crush our movement,’ an activist in Salalah, who asked not to be named, told Reuters by telephone, indicating the government was extending gains made when it put down protests in the northeastern industrial city of Sohar.

Omani security forces suppressed unrest in Sohar by deploying armored vehicles and troops to break up roadblocks and a protest camp, while arresting hundreds. At least two protesters were killed during protests there.

But in the capital Muscat, security forces did not use force as much since protesters complied when they abandoned their daily sit-in.

Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, a US ally who has ruled Oman for 40 years, promised a $2.6 billion spending package in April after nearly two months of demonstrations inspired by popular Arab uprisings across the Arab world.

(Dina Al-Shibeeb, an editor at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at:”


(Quelle: Al Arabiya News.)

Bahrain: Hallo?! Haaaallooooo…

Mittwoch, April 20th, 2011

Bahrain’s brutal crackdown

As Bahraini soldiers — aided by foreign troops — crush protests, youth activist Mohammed Al-Maskati, whose family have been detained, asks the international community to speak out

On 14 February 2011, the people of Bahrain took to the streets in peaceful and civilised protests in order to demand reforms that would guarantee their basic human rights and freedom. The government chose to suppress the people by force, using riot police and deploying the army.

Two months later, and the situation has escalated to a very dangerous and disturbing level. Currently, soldiers from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are being utilised to restrain protesters demands by any means necessary disregarding any civil laws, or even basic human rights.

At the present there are more than 600 detainees including human right activists, political figures, doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers and even students. Thirty people have died, from direct bullet wounds, or sustained injuries. Four activists have died in police detention as a result of torture.

The majority of the detainees were arrested in the middle of the night. Armed and masked military units break down doors and enter houses with no warrants, no warnings. In most of these cases the contents of raided houses were damaged severely.

The Salmaniya Medical Complex — the main operating hospital in Bahrain — has been taken over by military forces. The hospital is now besieged by soldiers intent on preventing people from getting treatment. Doctors and nurses have been interrogated, detained and many have been suspended.

This oppression has even reached Bahraini students studying abroad in Europe. Many of them had their scholarships withdrawn; including their monthly allowances and their tuition fees. This has placed the students in a very difficult situation; if they return to Bahrain the face a credible threat of being arrested, tortured or even worse.

On the ground the situation is even more extreme. There is a heavy military presence in many areas in Bahrain. There are check-points at many locations, where you run the high risk of being detained for no reason at all. At night it became very common to smell tear gas and to hear the sound of gun shots and helicopters.

The situation in Bahrain is critical, and the lives of many of its people are at high risk. We therefore urge the international community to take an immediate and effective action to try salvage the situation before more damage is caused.

List of cyber activists detained and arrested in Bahrain

Mohammed Al-Maskati is President of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights


(Quelle: Index on Censorship.)

Siehe auch:

USA und die Proteste im Nahen Osten: Wenn der Stützpunkt brennt
Bahrain: EU verteidigt hartes Vorgehen der Regierungskräfte gegen Aufständische

BRD: Waffen als Exportfaktor

Dienstag, Dezember 21st, 2010

“Deutschland ist und bleibt auch weiterhin einer der größten Waffenexporteure

Von Helmut Lorscheid

Dass Deutschland eines der führenden Länder im Waffenexport ist, bestätigt der vom Bundeswirtschaftsministerium nun vorgelegte Rüstungsexportbericht 2009 (1). Doch seit Deutschland sich mit seiner Armee an mehr oder weniger völkerrechtswidrigen Kriegen beteiligt, regt sich über den Export von Waffen und Rüstung kaum noch jemand auf. Dabei gäbe es nach wie vor allen Grund, diesen Teil der deutschen Außenwirtschaftspolitik zu kritisieren. Material dafür liefert vor allem die alljährlich erstelle Analyse der Gemeinsamen Konferenz Kirche und Entwicklung (2) (GKKE), einer Einrichtung der Katholischen und Evangelischen Kirche Deutschlands.

Zwar sank in 2009 der Wert der Einzelausfuhrgenehmigungen für Rüstung von ca. 5,788 Mrd. im Jahr 2008 auf ca. 5,043 Mrd. Euro, der Anteil der Entwicklungsländer in der Kundschaft stieg aber von 5 auf 8,2 Prozent im Berichtszeitraum 2009. Bedeutendste Empfängerländer waren im Jahr 2009 Ägypten (77,5 Mio. €), Kolumbien (69 Mio. €) und Pakistan (61,6 Mio. €); eine Aufschlüsselung der genehmigten Warenkategorien ist in Anlage 7 (3) zu finden.

Genehmigt wurden außerdem nach Saudi-Arabien Bodenüberwachungsradar und Teile für Feuerleiteinrichtungen, Bodenüberwachungsradar, Ausrüstung für Gegenmaßnahmen Betankungsanlage, Fallschirme und Teile für Kampfflugzeuge, Tankflugzeuge, Flugzeuge, Bordausrüstung, Teile für Raketen, Flugkörper, Seeminenräumgeräte im Gesamtwert von 167 Mio. Euro. Nach Ägypten wurden für 77,5 Mio. Euro Kommunikationsausrüstung sowie Teile für Kommunikationsausrüstung, Breitbandpeiler, Teile für Panzer, gepanzerte Fahrzeuge und Landfahrzeuge geliefert. Nach Chile konnten für rund 72 Mio. Euros Kampfpanzer, gepanzerte Fahrzeuge, LKW und Teile für Panzer, gepanzerte Fahrzeuge sowie Landfahrzeuge exportiert werden.

Wichtiger Anlagen- und Teilelieferant

Der Teileexport ist für die deutsche Rüstungsindustrie besonders wichtig. Denn – und darauf weist auch die “Gemeinsame Konferenz Kirche und Entwicklung” in ihrem, kurz vor dem Regierungsbericht vorgelegten eigenen Rüstungsexportbericht 2010 (4) hin:

Neben der Lieferung von kompletten Waffensystemen liegt die Stärke der deutschen Rüstungsfertigung in der Zulieferung von Komponenten an Hersteller in anderen Ländern, die dann ihrerseits die Waffen exportieren (besonders EU-Mitgliedstaaten). Außerdem beteiligen sich deutsche Hersteller an der Modernisierung und Steigerung des Kampfwertes bereits vorhandener Waffenarsenale.
Besonders aktiv im Bereich der Rüstungskooperation und der Vergabe von Exportlizenzen sind die Flugzeug- Panzer und Kleinwaffen-Produzenten. Immer wieder skandalträchtig sind dabei die Exporte der Oberndorfer Firme Heckler & Koch. Während sich die deutsche Rüstungsindustrie überwiegend gesetzestreu verhält und deshalb illegaler Waffenhandel bezogen auf deutsche Firmen kaum ins Gewicht fällt, gibt es in Oberndorf immer wieder Ermittlungsarbeit für den Staatsanwalt. Über einen solchen Fall berichtete (5) unlängst Report Mainz.

Ausfuhrgenehmigungen für kleine und leichte Waffen

Die deutschen Ausfuhrgenehmigungen für kleine und leichte Waffen bewegten sich im Jahr 2009 auf dem gleichen Niveau wie im Vorjahr. So wurde im Jahr 2009, den Angaben der Kirchenkonferenz zufolge, die Ausfuhr von 34.401 Kleinwaffen genehmigt. Davon gingen 8.363 an Staaten, die nicht der NATO oder EU angehören bzw. diesen gleichgestellt sind. Wichtigste Abnehmer waren Saudi-Arabien (2.500 Sturmgewehre), Indien (307 Maschinenpistolen, 425 Sturmgewehre),Ägypten (884 Sturmgewehre), Chile (348 Maschinenpistolen), Serbien (335 Maschinenpistolen, 300 Sturmgewehre), Indonesien (318 Maschinenpistolen) und Kuwait (300 Maschinenpistolen).Gleichzeitig wurde der Export von 9.174 leichten Waffen gebilligt. Davon gingen 4.177 an sogenannte “Drittstaaten”. Die größten Abnehmer waren Südkorea (1.940 rückstoßfreie Waffen), Singapur (1.500 rückstoßfreie Waffen), Kuwait (335 rückstoßfreie Waffen) und Jordanien (300 Granatwerfer).

Eine besondere Bedeutung kommt nach Auffassung der Kirchen den Sammelausfuhrgenehmigungen zu. Auch wenn deren Zahl im Jahr 2009 gegenüber dem Vorjahr um 21 Prozent zurückging, sehen die Kirchen darin weiterhin ein Problem:

Da Sammelausfuhrgenehmigungen eine mehrjährige Geltungsdauer haben, ist davon auszugehen, dass im Jahr 2009 noch bereits in den Vorjahren erteilte Genehmigungen ausgeschöpft wurden. Es ist anzunehmen, dass sich die Sammelausfuhrgenehmigungen nicht auf NATO- und EU-Staaten bzw. diesen gleichgestellte Länder beschränken. Zwischen 2005 und 2008 waren solche Genehmigungen auch für Rüstungskooperationen mit Bermuda, Chile, Indien, Israel, Kolumbien, Malaysia, Mexiko, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi-Arabien, Singapur, Südafrika und Tunesien ergangen.

Grüne und Linke protestieren

Im Bundestag kritisieren Grüne und Linke die Geschäfte mit den Mordswerkzeugen. Auch wenn die Regierung behauptet, die Exporte seien um 15% zurückgegangen seien, so erklärte (6) Inge Höger für die Linkspartei, bestehe “keinerlei Grund zur Annahme, dass sich Deutschland nun um eine ernsthafte Beschränkung der Rüstungsexporte kümmern würde. Deutschland ist nach wie vor Europameister beim Export von Kriegsgerät und liegt weltweit auf Platz drei hinter den USA und Russland.” Auffällig sei, so Höger, dass im letzten Jahr der Anteil der Entwicklungsländer als Empfänger von Rüstungsexporten gestiegen ist. Die Linke. spricht sich gegen die “menschenverachtende Genehmigungspraxis” aus und fordert einen “sofortigen Stopp aller Rüstungsexporte und ebenso einen Stopp des Transfers von Rüstungstechnologie.”

Die Grüne Abgeordnete Katja Keul kritisierte (7) das späte Erscheinen des Berichts für 2009 – nämlich erst im Dezember 2010 – und forderte mehr Transparenz .So fehlten im Bericht der Bundesregierung “Angaben zu gewährten Ausfallbürgschaften für Waffenausfuhren”. Laut GKKE, so Keul, “beliefen sie sich 2009 auf 1,9 Milliarden Euro. Dabei ist nicht allein die Höhe dieser Bürgschaften, sondern die schiere Tatsache skandalös, dass Waffengeschäfte durch staatliche Absicherung gefördert werden.”

Dass die Bundesregierung überhaupt einen jährlichen Bericht zum Rüstungsexport ( Rüstungsstandort Deutschland (8)) vorlegt, geht zurück auf die Kampagne “Stoppt den Rüstungsexport!” (9) des Bundeskongress entwicklungspolitischer Aktionsgruppen (BUKO) und der kirchlichen Gruppen und ihrer Kampagne Produzieren für das Leben – Rüstungsexporte stoppen (10).

Nach ihrem Einzug in den Bundestag hatten die Grünen diese Kampagne mit hunderten Anfragen im Bundestag unterstützt. Im Bundeswirtschaftsministerium waren zeitweise bis zu zehn Beamte nur damit beschäftigt (11), die Parlamentsanfragen zum Rüstungsexport zu beantworten. Schließlich gab die damalige Regierung Kohl nach und erklärte sich bereit, der Forderung nach mehr Transparenz im Rüstungsexport zu entsprechen. Damals betonte die Bundesregierung auf Anfragen: “Angaben zur Rüstungsexporten vertragen aus politischen Gründen – wie auch die Praxis anderer Länder zeigt – nur ein begrenztes Maß an Publizität.” Wie wahr… doch seit SPD und Grünen sich als Regierungspartei sogar an völkerrechtlich fraglichen Kriegen beteiligten, hat die bloße Weitergabe von Kriegsinstrumenten an andere Staaten an Brisanz verloren. Schade eigentlich.




(Quelle: Telepolis.)

Oman: Eltern beklagen hohe SchulabbrecherInnen-Rate

Dienstag, April 27th, 2010

“Pupils in middle school are allowed to repeat a grade twice and parents say those who fail often take to crime as they struggle to find jobs or might give in to crime and even addiction to drugs.

The number of dropouts in the sultanate, according to one job consultant, is about 7,000; most drop out before grade 10.

“There are roughly some 4,000 school dropouts registered in the ministry of manpower looking for work. I would say there are about 3,000 more who are not,” Mohammed al Rabeea, a job consultant based in Muscat, said.

According to the manpower ministry, there were around 13,000 job seekers in 2009, out of which roughly 8,500 found employment (…).”


(Quelle: The National.)