Tartan (From the makers of TrapWire) tracking and spying on Anarchists

  • Posted on: 22 August 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="https://rt.com/usa/news/trapwire-abraxas-cubic-surveillance-251/">Russia Today</a>

How do you make matters worse for an elusive intelligence company that has been forced to scramble for explanations about their ownership of an intricate, widespread surveillance program? Just ask Cubic, whose troubles only begin with TrapWire.

Days after the international intelligence gathering surveillance system called TrapWire was unraveled by RT, an ongoing investigation into any and all entities with ties to the technology has unturned an ever-increasing toll of creepy truths. In only the latest installment of the quickly snowballing TrapWire saga, a company that shares several of the same board members as the secret spy system has been linked to a program called Tartan, which aims to track down alleged anarchists by specifically singling out Occupy Wall Street protesters and the publically funded media — all with the aid of federal agents.</td><td><img title="Let's be honest with ourselves here, Truth has always been creepy." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/masksfaces.jpg"></td></tr><...

Tartan, a product of the Ntrepid Corporation, “exposes and quantifies key influencers and hidden connections in social networks using mathematical algorithms for objective, un-biased output,” its website claims. “Our analysts, mathematicians and computer scientists are continually exploring new quantification, mining and visualization techniques in order to better analyze social networks.” In order to prove as such, their official website links to the executive summary of a case study dated this year that examines social network connections among so-called anarchists, supposedly locating hidden ties within an underground movement that was anchored on political activists and even the Public Broadcasting Station [.pdf].

“Tartan was used to reveal a hidden network of relationships among anarchist leaders of seemingly unrelated movements,” the website claims. “The study exposed the affiliations within this network that facilitate the viral spread of violent and illegal tactics to the broader protest movement in the United States.”

Tartan is advertised on their site as a must-have application for the national security sector, politicians and federal law enforcement, and makes a case by claiming that “an amorphous network of anarchist and protest groups,” made up of Occupy Oakland, PBS, Citizen Radio, Crimethinc and others, relies on “influential leaders,” “modern technology” and “illegal tactics” to spread a message of anarchy across America.

“The organizers of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy DC have built Occupy networks through online communication with anarchists actively participating in the movements’ founding,” the executive summary reads. On the chart that accompanies their claim, the group lists several political activism groups and broadcast networks within a ring of alleged anarchy, which also includes an unnamed FBI informant.

Although emails uncovered in a hack last year waged at Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, suggested that Occupy groups had been under private surveillance, the latest discovery of publically available information implies that the extent to which the monitoring of political activists on American soil occurred may have extended what was previously imagined.

Things don’t end there, though. While the TrapWire tale is still only just beginning, the Ntrepid Corporation made headlines last year after it was discovered by the Guardian that the company was orchestrating an “online persona management” program, a clever propaganda mill that was touted as a means “to influence regional and international audiences to achieve U.S. Central Command strategic objectives,” according, at least, to the Inspector General of the US Defense Department [.pdf]. The investigation eventually revealed that the US Central Command awarded Ntrepid $2.76 million worth of taxpayer dollars to create phony Internet “sock puppets” to propagate US support.

One year later, the merits of Tartan’s analytics are now being brought into question, but so are the rest of the company’s ties. A trove of research accumulated by RT, Project PM founder Barrett Brown, PrivacySOS.org and independent researchers Justin Ferguson and Asher Wolf, among others, has linked Tartan with an even more unsettling operation.

Margaret A. Lee of Northern Virginia is listed on several websites as serving on the Ntrepid board of directors as secretary, a position she held alongside Director Richard Helms, CFO Wesley R Husted and President Michael Martinka. And although several parties are going to great lengths to deny the ties, a paper trail directly links Lee and company to Abraxas — and thus Cubic — and, of course, TrapWire, the very surveillance system that is believed to be blanketing the United States.

According to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s State Corporation Commission, TrapWire Inc. was registered to Margaret A Lee on March 7, 2009. Other publically available information reveals that, at least at one point, Wesley Husted served as chief financial officer for TrapWire, Inc., where Richard H Helms held the title of CEO.

Various sources have since claimed that Helms, a former CIA agent that once ran the agency’s European division, has severed ties with TrapWire, yet the other connections remain intact.

In RT’s earlier research in the TrapWire case, it was revealed that TrapWire’s parent company, Cubic Corporation, acquired an online identity masking tool called Anonymzer in a 2010 merger, and also controls the fare card system at some of the biggest public transportation systems in the world. According to the latest findings, Cubic’s control extends beyond just that, though. Under their Ntrepid branch, Cubic controlled an operation that spied on political activists with FBI informants and attempted to link them to crimes across America.

Whether or not the TrapWire system was implemented in such operations is unclear, and Cubic continues to maintain that they are not involved with the surveillance network.

Last week, Cubic Corporation issued a press release claiming, “Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as Trapwire, Inc.”

“Abraxas Corp., a risk-mitigation technology company, has spun out a software business to focus on selling a new product,” the article reads. “The spinoff – called Abraxas Applications – will sell TrapWire, which predicts attacks on critical infrastructure by analyzing security reports and video surveillance.”

Not only does a 2007 report in the Washington Business Journal insist that the companies are practically one in the same, though, but a 2006 article in the same paper reveals that Abraxas had just acquired software maker Dauntless. Researchers at Darkernet have since linked Lee, Husted and Helms to the Abraxas Dauntless Board of Directors as well.

Justin Ferguson, the researcher who first exposed TrapWire two weeks ago, has noted that Lee, Helms and Husted were listed on Abraxas Dauntless’ filings with Virginia as recently as December 2011. They also are all present on the TrapWire filings dated September 2011 and the latest annual filing made with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations on behalf of Ntrepid.

Nevertheless, in a conversation this week with Project PM’s Barrett Brown, Cubic Corp. Communication Director Tim Hall dismisses this ties again.

“There is no connection at all with Abraxas Applications and Trapwire and or Ntrepid,” Hall allegedly insists, according to audio uploaded to YouTube.

Brown, on his part, says he has obtained Cubic’s 2010 tax filings that show that Ntrepd, like Abraxas, is “wholly owned” by Cubic.

Other trademark information publically available online says that the Abraxas Corporation first filed to claim the name TrapWire in 2004 and was granted a license for such in January of 2007.


So fucked up. Check the comments on the RT post, someone posted more details.

On a side note, if you don't think psy-ops shit is happening lately you are totally delusional or living in a bubble. It was so obvious when Occupy was in full swing and now it is basically right in front of our faces.

Even this week, the DHS has planted two stories with the word "anarchist" in the headline. The latest one claims we are creating acid filled eggs to use as bombs. Use Google news history search and you will find a reference to union members using acid filled eggs from 1906!

The kind of worthless human it takes to do this work is unimaginable.

"On a side note, if you don't think psy-ops shit is happening lately you are totally delusional or living in a bubble."


"North Korean" Adbusters filler?


keep doing the work for them by posting your entire social network, with photographs, on facebook & etc.

If you show up to an Occupy Wall Street meet or action they'll do it for you. I think they call it "digital transparency".

hey look, there IS a symmetrical head.

Honestly, all the bullshit with this Trapwire thing aside, from what I can gather as of this moment it's a bit overblown. The major problems are conventional means of surveilence from what I can gather. If anyone has any trouble already with the Federal government, say, like Federal agents rummaging through your truck before they haul your friend off to jail, or have been in your homes, make sure you're not bugged. Don't talk on the internet, don't talk around cameras, even computers. Google is openly spying on us, as in the entire human race. Another law suite paid out last week.

I've had my phone tapped before, when I was a kid. Local p.d. It's very easy and no one is afraid in the slightest of doing it. I know a federal court in N.Y. ruled it unconstitutional, but that was for a pot dealer. If they're considering us "terrorists" now...

I think this is going to be aimed at specific people, and after they're able to take out more hardcore activists, or scare them into seclusion, people who can possibly organize and have a track record then they'll sit back and try and go after the wing nuts. F.B.I. entrapment, blatant lies, shit like that. They can only go after attractive girls (no disrespect) who quote the Frodo Baggins in the Pacific Northwest for so long before people start to realize who and what their government really is...

But what do I know? This could easily turn into a massive witch hunt.

it's not about criminalizing people. it's about neutralizing an idea(s) by manipulating social dynamic through observing the more observable algorithms (as opposed to chaotic nuances) they're bonded by. this is asymmetrical warfare brought to a type of symmetry that can find the many "heads" of our community/communities.

no matter how horizontal we are, or how much security culture we practice, if they can observe and neutralize tendencies with even the most relative level of accuracy, they can effectively destroy our movement. over, and over again, only keeping extremists around to keep as a social demon. the worst part is, in coordination with Trapwire, it wouldn't matter what types of social networks we participated in, or if we even used the internet at all. We could be predicted in real time in real life. Seriously.

fucking singularity and total surveillance. thanks worker, now i'm feeling fucking hopeless.

Hopeless is how they wanna make you feel like. That's the primary goal of this system of terror, to first make you believe in their absolute power over you.

When your militant/anarchist buddy is telling you how the Almighty State has already won and there's nothing left to do aside from "having a bit of fun" or withdraw into philosophical living room discussions, you'll know that the State has scored a few more points.

There are people who see the passivity and absence of insurgency as the sign of the victory of order, but others see it as a base situation from where to start shit. I'm for the latter perspective. Absence is a justification for presence.

this actually helped. thank you.

Not necessarily.

They will talk a lot more about facial recognition than anyone has ever been able to get it to work. It works especially poorly when dark sunglasses are worn, and not at all except when pictures are taken from the same angle.

If you never go anywhere with a battery in a cellphone, don't use smart card based transit, and don't drive on toll roads or to places that give away where you are REALLY going, most of your location data goes dark. Never, ever use a credit card anywhere you have to be able to deny going for for anything you need to be able to deny owning. Never use store "discount" cards, throw away all product registrations and mail-in rebates. Stay off Facebook and avoid Twitter as well. Never use electronics comms for anything that has to eiher be deniable or not set a pattern.

If a credit card shows you always buy groceries at the same store at the same time of the same day, guess where cops with a warrant will go if you also have a gun purchase on that card? Use cash or randomize the time, and this procedure fails. Randomize your travel routes and times of doing things.

If you operate this way, Trapwire, the Domain Awareness Program, etc will get only a couple snapshots a day of where you have passed. They could determine that you have been in a particular city, but little else. If you are seriously evading surveillance and add some dark sunglasses to kill any risk of face recognition, it is even possible to go to a whole city in a deniable manner. Get there riding in a car, don't take a cell phone, and only the car owner can be identified. If you went with someone expected to make the trip, the pigs are just plain out of luck.

This environment is simply a battlefield, like any other. If you understand how the Enemy gets his intelligence, you are already halfway to defeating him. Today's warrior on a Western Empire battlefield needs to have both cyberspace and "meatspace" hacking skills, because this is the kind of battlefield we are not fighting on. Think we can't win? Ask Anonymous!


George fucking Soros. Watch more Glenn Beck and Alex Jones for fucks sake.

Come on... Alex Jones is the only funny crap you can hear on shortwave radio these days, aside form perhaps George Noory.

All the rest is propaganda garbage, pushing their own specific agenda all the time. Corporate media monopoly has made the shortwave bands so fucking pathetic and boring!

Alex Jones is not propaganda garbage?

Alex Jones is a sexist, racist conservative retard but a few times he did post relevant stuff. It's one of the very rare places on the airwaves that have been covering the Fukushima nuke disaster for what it really was/is, just like the Gulf of Mexico disaster, and the 9/11 farce. But now he's just into snake oil marketing and bad-mouthing illegal immigrants.

We can do even better on our own as autonomous media if we work our shit together. Indymedia, A-news and A-blogging were just the beginning. Time to go back to radio pirating.

Alex Jones is a fucking misinfo agent...remember Y2K? hahahahaha...

Him and a few others up there like him give justttttt enough truth for you sheep to follow then BAMMM! He splats the rest with lies and fake material to send you off into the other direction looking like a fool, and crazy, with some idea that is fake. Like David Icke and Reptilians...they are meant to keeo you fully away from the truth, they know we know alot of truth but they are trying to keep you away from the bottom line full inside truth.

Don't follow him like a blind sheep...

Yeah people like Alex Jones and David Icke definatelly try to hi-jack the truth and crowds looking for the truth to make you wander off into a fantasy world looking crazy as the truth is right there...they are truelly dis-info agents. They give you just enough truth to follow, things we should already know hahahaha, and then send you off wander the path of pure bull shit and lies.

Best way to lie: tell a few truths, then spice-up with some horseshit lies, then... BAM! They buy your videos!

The fact is that Alex Jones is simply another Christian preacher... and ALL Christian preachers are fucking snake oil garbage. America has got at last one (1) antichrist at every block, or cell block.

USA prisons full of anti-christs dude. Hey, the holy war's been goin on for 2,000 yrs!!!

pbs is hard as fuck ghtoo maists brother


Why do you think Mr. Rogers changed his shoes and clothes everytime he got home?


Monsterpiece Theatre!

They don't gather data to look for dissidents. They gather data to find dirt on people they already want to arrest.

shit ive been off facebook since NATO in chicago; one of my fav chants their was: OFF OF THE INTERNET AND INTO THE STREETS! how true

I like that chant as well, know what hold on I'll be back going out to the streets and telling the pigs to go fuck off ;) ...


Oh RT the quality of your reporting is absolute garbage! Pathetic, yet kinda hilarious. What's pathetic is that people read this garbage with any shred of believability. The people who take RT seriously are about a half step up from Alex jones wingnuts.

If I'm interested in reading some foreign countries equivalent of a state department funded news service, I'll stick to the much more entertaining north Korean news service!

And your point is...

I agree, RT is cheesy. However, they're deeply invested in cock blocking the U.S. media. During the Anaheim media blackout, RT was one of the few places to go to that still had the citizen video online.

Totally... they'll be covering what the US media won't in terms of State repression in the US, because they themselves will cover State repression in non-NATO countries. This is a weird tennis match situation...

Riiiight.... because it's not part of Western media it's gotta be bad journalism and a bunch of conspiracy theories, Obamoron!

Alright so I saw thi article and thought "someone better post this on @ news as I can't cause mah computer is about to die..." and look! hmmm... the anarcho-hivemind is functioning well.

we wanted you to post that comment

How do we set up a surveillance and analysis network on the powers that be? There's so much more public information on the powers that be than the typical anarchist.

It's easy, you just look up right before the Flying Machine God drops a giant poop bomb on your head, then waits for your friends to gather around your smoldering body and drops another one.

Snitch-hunts, transit, cellphones

Could a false snitch-hunt be the whole purpose of this report ? It would not be difficult to prepare a report containing info on publicly known activsts, sprinkle it with some random facts-and then ad "an unnamed FBI informant" who does not exist, just to sow paranoia.

Another serious point is mentioned, though: If these folks control transit faregate systems, you should assume that all smartcard-based fare gates log every trip you make. DC's Metro "smartrip" card is a notorious example of this. Years ago, FOX News based a story on Metro managers driving to work on records taken from the Smartrip computer. Even an unregistered card should be presumed registered if money is ever added to it by bank card, or if you are ever arrested while in posession of it. There's a reason they added a $1 surcharge to every trip using paper farecards!

Things like automatic license plate readers are also hooked into this sort of thing. This means if you drive or ride transit, you need to use them deceptively, parking or getting off miles away from your ultimate destination. Think like an intelligence agent from a country expecting to go to war against the US, and act accordingly.

Bicycles, unregistered mopeds, skateboards, etc are fast becoming the only way to travel with privacy. For inter-city travel, that would mean small "unsafe" Chinatown bus companies NOT using centralized terminals, or hitching. Also, some back roads have fewer police patrols and no tag readers. Never, ever use toll roads if you drive, they usualy have tag readers.

If you are riding in a car to, say, a DNC/RNC protest, only the owner of the car is tracked by license plate readers. It takes cellphone GPS data to determine who else is in the car.

TURN CELLPHONES OFF WHILE MOVING! The NYC "Domain Awareness System relies on cellphone GPS to fill in all the gaps that tag readers and indoor cameras in stores miss. Realistically, the only way you can track a person down to the second, 24-7, is by their cellphone. Store cameras usually point into the store, and those that don't have poor resolution. Even if facial recognition software worked on randomly oriented photos (a test years ago in Tampa failed), street cameras would give only widely spaced random snapshots. Cellphones are the key to any effective system of continuous surveillance that does not rely on covering one person with a dozen human observers.

If I'm going to the World Bank for a surprise direct action, just knowing I passed two points on Connecticut Ave between where I live and downtown DC would tell them little, as I could be going to anywhere in NW DC by that information. If I use a car, but leave it miles away, again it tells them nothing, as I could be going by bike to anywhere in a 5 to 10 miles radius. If I don't go indoors, store cameras get no hits on me. No credit card transactions, no interaction with any part of the system except bare asphalt or dirt.

If I keep my face down while on the bike, no street cameras can get a picture good enough for facial recog software to work. There are too many bikers to check them all. See the importance of that cellphone? The fact that I keep mine with the battery out ALL THE TIME means I don't even broadcast that I am going "off the grid" by removing the battery before deploying.

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