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icymist's Journal
icymist's Journal
December 26, 2022

Two Tacoma Power substations, one PSE facility vandalized Christmas Day, authorities say

Source: Seattle Times

PUYALLUP — Three Tacoma-area power substations were vandalized early Christmas morning, officials said Sunday, cutting off power to more than 14,000 people in eastern Pierce County.

The Pierce County Sherriff’s Department is investigating whether the incidents were coordinated and whether they could be connected to a string of recent attacks on power substations around the country by right-wing extremists.

Sgt. Darren Moss Jr. said the department received a burglary call at a Tacoma Power substation in Spanaway shortly after 5 a.m. When deputies arrived, they saw forced entry and vandalized equipment that caused a loss of power. A Tacoma Power substation in Graham revealed a similar scene: forced entry and damaged equipment.

The department also received a call from Puget Sound Energy later Sunday morning advising of another power outage at 2:39 a.m. from a third facility in Puyallup. Deputies at that scene said the facility had been broken into and vandalized. That outage lasted around 30 minutes and power has since been restored, said Moss.

Read more: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/tacoma-power-says-2-substations-attacked-christmas-day/

December 20, 2022

Anti-LGBTQ hate thrives online, spurs fears of more violence

In the days after a gunman killed five people at a gay nightclub in Colorado last month, much of social media lit up with the now familiar expressions of grief, mourning and disbelief.

But on some online message boards and platforms, the tone was celebratory. “I love waking up to great news,” wrote one user on Gab, a platform popular with far-right groups. Other users on the site called for more violence.

The hate isn’t limited to fringe sites.

[...]“I don’t think people understand the state of danger that we’re living in right now,” said Jay Brown, senior vice president at the Human Rights Campaign and a transgender man. “A lot of that is happening online, and online threats are turning into threats of real violence offline.”

December 14, 2022

Texas attorney general's office sought state data on transgender Texans

HOUSTON — Employees at the Texas Department of Public Safety in June received a sweeping request from Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office: to compile a list of individuals who had changed their gender on their Texas driver’s licenses and other department records during the past two years.

“Need total number of changes from male to female and female to male for the last 24 months, broken down by month,” the chief of the DPS driver license division emailed colleagues in the department on June 30, according to a copy of a message obtained by The Washington Post through a public records request. “We won’t need DL/ID numbers at first but may need to have them later if we are required to manually look up documents.”

After more than 16,000 such instances were identified, DPS officials determined that a manual search would be needed to determine the reason for the changes, DPS spokesperson Travis Considine told The Post in response to questions.


WTF Texas? Why do you need this information? I fear it's more than who uses what bathroom.
December 14, 2022

(From a year ago) Why is the idea of 'gender' provoking backlash the world over?

In June, the Hungarian parliament voted overwhelmingly to eliminate from public schools all teaching related to “homosexuality and gender change”, associating LGBTQI rights and education with pedophilia and totalitarian cultural politics. In late May, Danish MPs passed a resolution against “excessive activism” in academic research environments, including gender studies, race theory, postcolonial and immigration studies in their list of culprits. In December 2020, the supreme court in Romania struck down a law that would have forbidden the teaching of “gender identity theory” but the debate there rages on. Trans-free spaces in Poland have been declared by transphobes eager to purify Poland of corrosive cultural influences from the US and the UK. Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul convention in March sent shudders through the EU, since one of its main objections was the inclusion of protections for women and children against violence, and this “problem” was linked to the foreign word, “gender”.

The attacks on so-called “gender ideology” have grown in recent years throughout the world, dominating public debate stoked by electronic networks and backed by extensive rightwing Catholic and evangelical organizations. Although not always in accord, these groups concur that the traditional family is under attack, that children in the classroom are being indoctrinated to become homosexuals, and that “gender” is a dangerous, if not diabolical, ideology threatening to destroy families, local cultures, civilization, and even “man” himself.

[...]One could go on at length to explain the various methodologies and debates within gender studies, the complexity of scholarship, and the recognition it has received as a dynamic field of study throughout the world, but that would require a commitment to education on the part of the reader and listener. Given that most of these opponents refuse to read any material that might contradict their beliefs or cherrypick from complex texts to support a caricature, how is one to proceed?

Still others claim that the very concept of “gender” is an attack on Christianity (or, in some countries, traditional Islam), and accuse the proponents of “gender” of discriminating against their religious beliefs. And yet, the significant field of gender and religion suggests that the enemies do not come from the outside, and that the dogma is to be found on the side of the censors.

December 14, 2022

Experts say to avoid playing the suspected Club Q shooter's "game" with their non-binary identity

Mounting evidence from hate speech experts and associates of Club Q shooting suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich suggests that they have only identified as non-binary as a way to further victimize the LGBTQ+ community.

An expert in countering online hate has suggested that the community take Aldrich’s non-binary identity in stride in order to avoid the division and distrust the suspected shooter may be trying to create.

The Tuesday after the November 19 shooting, Aldrich’s lawyers said that their client is non-binary. “Anderson Aldrich is non-binary. They use they/them pronouns, and for the purposes of all formal filings, will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich,” they wrote. Aldrich is facing 305 charges after allegedly killing five people and injuring at least 19 more

[...]Xavier Kraus, a former neighbor of Aldrich, said that Aldrich regularly used anti-LGBTQ+ slurs. Kraus said he believed Aldrich claimed to be non-binary as “a total troll on the community and a total troll on the system.” He said Aldrich never mentioned being non-binary nor used they/them pronouns in his company when he lived next door to Aldrich from August 2021 to September 2022.

December 11, 2022

(Related) Attacks on Pacific north-west power stations raise fears for US electric grid

A string of attacks on power facilities in Oregon and Washington has caused alarm and highlighted the vulnerabilities of the US electric grid.

The attacks in the Pacific north-west come just days after a similar assault on North Carolina power stations that cut electricity to 40,000 people.

As first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting and KUOW Public Radio, there have been at least six attacks, some of which involved firearms and caused residents to lose power. Two of the attacks shared similarities with the incident in Moore county, North Carolina, where two stations were hit by gunfire. Authorities have not yet revealed a motive for the North Carolina attack.

December 10, 2022

Attacks on grid infrastructure in 4 states raise alarm

Shootings at two electric substations in North Carolina last weekend are among the numerous threats posed to U.S. electric infrastructure since mid-October, raising questions about whether such incidents are on the rise.

Concerns grew further after Duke Energy Corp. reported gunfire near its Wateree Hydro station in Ridgeway, S.C., on Wednesday — several days after gunshots severely damaged two substations the company operates in Moore County, N.C. (Energywire, Dec. 7).

The incidents in the Carolinas followed attacks at six substations in Oregon and Washington in October and November. Local news outlets reported on those events this week. Grid security experts said it’s too early to tell whether the incidents were related or unusual in number, but said they showcase a need for the energy industry to be vigilant and prepared.

December 9, 2022

Search warrants issued, FBI applies to retrieve cell phone records in search of power grid attack su

CARTHAGE, N.C. — On Thursday, investigators issued multiple search warrants related to attack on the power grid. The warrants, which will remain sealed, are on the state level.

The FBI has also applied for a Federal Order to retrieve cell phone records to identify people in the area of the substations on Saturday night.

[...]"Targets of potential violence include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media and perceived ideological opponents," according to the bulletin.

[...]The outage impacted nearly every Duke Energy customer in Moore County and included people who depend on electricity for medical purposes, whether at home or in nursing facilities. One person died during the outage, but officials have not yet confirmed the death was due to power loss.

December 9, 2022

North Carolina power grid attack stokes fear in rural LGBTQ community

As shootings at two electrical substations cut power to thousands of central North Carolina homes last weekend, they also sparked widespread speculation that the days-long blackout might be the latest of several attempts to shut down a local drag show meant to celebrate the LGBTQ community in rural Moore County.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said earlier this week that police have not found evidence connecting the attacks to the drag performance that began shortly before the power went out, nor have they released a motive. However, authorities are considering the timing overlap and recent attacks on similar events nationwide as they proceed with their investigation.

[...]Their concerns are shared by federal officials who have been on high alert in the weeks after a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and wounding 17 others.

In a national terrorism advisory bulletin issued last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned that the LGBTQ community and critical infrastructure may be targets of violence as domestic extremists and foreign terrorist organizations encourage online supporters to carry out attacks.

December 9, 2022

Amazon, FBI.gov, and 70,000 Other Sites Are Sending Your Data to Elon's Twitter, New Research Says

In October, Elon Musk purchased Twitter for a cool $44 billion dollars. Among a variety of other assets and headaches, the deal came with one resource that’s gone under-explored: a vast data collection network spanning the sites of more than 70,000 Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, non-profits, universities, and more. Given Twitter’s history of security lapses, how safe is all that data?

At least 70,772 websites are using a Twitter advertising tool called a pixel to send the company information about every person who visits their sites, even people who don’t have Twitter accounts, according to a bombshell new report from Adalytics, an ad tech firm. The list includes the websites of government agencies—the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Department of Education’s student aid portal—Fortune 500 behemoths—Amazon, General Motors, Pfizer—and health care companies like WebMD and UnitedHealth Group. General Motors, Pfizer, and other companies that claimed they pulled their ads from Twitter after Musk’s takeover continued to send Twitter data using the advertising Pixel.

By sending data to Twitter, organizations may be putting themselves and their visitors at serious risk. Twitter has a lengthy history of data breaches, infiltration by foreign governments, and fines for security issues by the FTC. Most recently, Twitter’s former head of security resigned and filed a whistleblower complaint accusing the company of disastrous security practices—and that was before Elon Musk laid off over half of Twitter’s staff, including swaths of its security team. Among a host of other tech companies that collect data using similar means, that makes Twitter particularly concerning.

The report also finds that many websites haven’t taken the proper precautions to avoid cyber threats known as a supply chain and code injection attacks, which could allow websites to be hijacked if Twitter was compromised. That’s an even bigger issue due to Twitter’s history of security problems and apparent lack of engineering staff. In such attacks, third party tools are compromised and used to infiltrate an organizations systems, a serious threat when you’re talking about Fortune 500 companies or FBI.gov. It’s unlikely, but this kind of attack has happened before, and a similar mechanism led to the SolarWinds hack which compromised much of the US government and private sector.


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