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‘Anonymous’ stages Christmas hack on military merchant

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In a recent post to text-sharing website pastebin, a hacker or hackers with the cyber activist group “Anonymous” claimed responsibility for stealing confidential data from the website of a military gear merchant whose customers are thought to be mostly former soldiers and members of law enforcement.

The website SpecialForces.com retails tactical and survival gear, weapons, uniforms and other merchandise geared toward members of the military. The hackers’ post claimed that they had accessed the retailer’s secure servers and scooped up all of their customers’ data, including passwords and credit card information. The information was published online in a torrent file.

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“Their customer base is comprised primarily of military and law enforcement affiliated individuals, who have for too long enjoyed purchasing tactical combat equipment from their slick and ‘professional’ looking website,” they wrote. “What’s that, officer? You get a kick out of pepper-spraying peaceful protesters in public parks? You like to recreationally taser kids? You have a fetish for putting people in plastic zip ties?”

They also mocked the site’s label of “hacker proof,” saying that it wasn’t hard for them to steal the servers’ encryption keys and access their customer database. The hacker or hackers added that they had been in possession of customer data from SpecialForces.com for months, but their hack was accelerated because a fellow hacker was about to release the information.

The hack appears to be part of a larger themed campaign called “LulzXmas.” The group’s previous target, global intelligence firm Stratfor, saw their customers’ credit card data posted online after it was scooped out of an unencrypted server on Christmas.

“We’ll continue to have ourselves a merry LulzXmas at the expense of capitalist pigs, corrupt public officials and all those third parties who cater to the continued oligarchic elite worldwide,” the hacker post concluded. “We are your secretaries, your janitors, your babysitters, your IT guys, your bus drivers, your maids, your hard-working, driven and determined fellow humans. We could be sitting next to you in a coffee shop, scanning your goods at a department store or even fixing your busted-ass computer. We are here to stay, and by now, you had better damn well expect us, cause the time for simple ‘lulz’ is long past.”

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Here are 3 moves a desperate Trump will likely attempt in order to cling to power

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In a column for the Daily Beast, political observer Micheal Tomasky speculated -- and not without good reason -- that a frantic Donald Trump will do anything to remain in office and thereby avoid being slammed with criminal indictments once he departs the Oval Office for good..

As the columnist explained, impeachment seems inevitable and the president will likely take desperate measures and that he has already given hints about three paths he may take -- if not all of them.

Tomasky wrote, "It’s foolish to say that Trump thinks ahead about anything. The late journalist Wayne Barrett said many true things about Trump, but the truest ever was when he observed that Trump says whatever will get him through the next 10 minutes," before adding, "People around him of course are more strategic and are thinking ahead. And they’re all saying and doing and writing things right now that will, if the opportunity presents itself, pave the way for Trump to burn the Constitution."

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Pentagon says up to 1,000 US troops to withdraw from northern Syria

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The Pentagon said Sunday President Donald Trump had ordered the withdrawal of up to 1,000 troops from northern Syria -- almost the entire ground force in war-torn country -- amid an intensifying Turkish assault on Kurdish forces.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the move came after the US learned that Turkey was pressing further into Syria than had been expected.

And the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are seeking a deal with the Syrian regime and Russia to counter-attack against the Turks in the north, Esper added.

"We find ourselves as we have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it's a very untenable situation," Esper told CBS's Face the Nation.

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Both these things can be true: Donald Trump is a criminal — and impeachment is a murky, amoral struggle

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Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump

Nothing is clear in this moment of grave peril for America, democracy and the world, not even the things that appear obvious. We stumble around in darkness, our vision obscured, awaiting a more perfect understanding, as in the famously evocative phrase of 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

This article first appeared in Salon.

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