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G M
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« Reply #700 on: September 30, 2010, 11:25:01 AM »

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2010/09/connect-dots.html

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Connect the Dots

...Al Qaida was/is reportedly planning a Mumbai-style attack against cities in Western Europe.

...The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, is refusing comment. That's often a sign that the information is credible, and the spy masters are upset that someone blabbed before all the suspects could be rounded up, or the plot was completely foiled.

...Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal says a recent surge in U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan is part of an effort to disrupt possible attacks in Europe.

...And the U.S. is also a potential target, according to ABC News and Britain Sky News.

But before you say this is nothing out of the ordinary, consider this unusual twist that might related. On Tuesday, federal, state and local law enforcement agents were stopping--and inspecting--all west-bound tractor-trailers traveling on I-20 out of Atlanta. At the height of the evening rush hour, no less.

A spokesman for the TSA told WSB-TV that the search was part of a "training exercise." But the station's investigative reporter, Mark Winne, learned from other sources that the inspections are part of a counter-terrorism operation.

Obviously, there's a big difference between an "operation" and an "exercise." Additionally, we've never heard of this type of drill being conducted on a major interstate highway, during rush hour, with participation by all levels of law enforcement. So, it sounds like something beyond training prompted that traffic jam on I-20 Tuesday afternoon.

But, before we connect that final dot, it is worth noting that the European plot apparently didn't involve large trucks or radioactive devices. The trucks being searched on I-20 west of Atlanta were screened with a radiation detector (and other devices), according to WSB.

Ultimately, we will defer to the experts on this one. If you're a security or law enforcement official who can shed a little more light on this operation, please drop us a line at ftmeaderefugee@gmail.com, or icspook86@hotmail.com. Your confidentiality is assured.
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G M
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« Reply #701 on: September 30, 2010, 01:15:05 PM »



Failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad bragged that he hoped to murder at least 40 innocent victims and would have attempted a second attack two weeks later if he hadn't been busted, the feds revealed today.

The evil terrorist wannabe also admitted watching "real time video feeds" over the Web to plan his botched blast at the Crossroads of the World, court papers said.


Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/times_square_bomber_planned_second_n5yDNjJEEya6gnFZ7IKf1H#ixzz112PljHD5
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G M
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« Reply #702 on: October 02, 2010, 09:13:58 AM »

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2010/10/01/terror-prevention-what-a-difference-a-day-in-september-made/

Terror Prevention: What a Difference a Day in September Made
posted at 7:05 pm on October 1, 2010 by J.E. Dyer


If you have the perspective of informed hindsight – if you knew what the intelligence was in the months before 9/11 – then the information about the latest mega-plot to attack Western targets, and the peremptory response being mounted to it, are a study in moral contrasts.

The moral contrast lies in what we were willing to do before 9/11 and what we are willing to do today.  The basis for comparison is strong:  the character of information that tipped us to the threat before 9/11 was the same thing as what tipped us to the threat being revealed this week.  Consider these passages from one of ABC’s earliest reports on the current plan against Europe and the US (linked by AP here):

    A senior US official said that while there is a “credible” threat, no specific time or place is known. President Obama has been briefed about the threat, say senior US officials…

    In testimony before Congress last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “We are all seeing increased activity by a more diverse set of groups and a more diverse set of threats.”

And this one from Newsweek (h/t AP again; link at top):

    For weeks now, as missiles from American drones have snuffed out their leaders and terrorized their recruits in the remote mountains of Pakistan’s North Waziristan area, Al Qaeda fighters have kept their spirits up by telling each other they were about to have their revenge. “It’s like they’ve just been waiting for news, as if they were all excited about something big about to happen in the West,” says an Afghan Taliban intelligence officer known to NEWSWEEK who operates as a liaison between his organization and Al Qaeda.

A credible threat; no specific time or place known; increased activity by multiple groups; terrorist operatives talking about “something big” that was going to be done against the West – that describes perfectly the organized information US and other Western authorities had to work with before 9/11.

What we did not have before 9/11 was a military occupation and a cooperative government in Afghanistan, a detention center for terrorists in Bagram, a detainee interrogation program, the agreements with dozens of nations to take preemptive action against terrorists, or the willingness on our part to repeatedly conduct military attacks on terrorists operating in other nations’ sovereign territory, even when the other nations object (as Pakistan is doing), and when the terrorists haven’t committed their atrocities against us yet.

Each one of these measures and agreements has been essential to identifying the particulars of the current plot and acting effectively to avert it.  In the absence of 9/11 itself, I cannot imagine Americans or other Western nations deciding to institute such measures or agreements.  Yet if we were not willing to occupy the territory used by terrorists, and detain terrorists, interrogate them, and attack them in their strongholds before they can pull their plans off, we would be talking this fall about smoking rubble and charred bodies in Europe instead of terrorists being killed and their plots defeated.

Actionable prior intelligence on terror plots doesn’t just happen.  The main things it takes are the things we weren’t willing to do – had no idea of doing – before 9/11.  The events of the past week have clarified that, with a starkness we haven’t seen for quite a while. Something Americans must not forget is that if we weren’t keeping the nexus of this effort overseas, the price we would be paying would not just involve taking hits from terror attacks.  Our people would be unwilling to simply do nothing and wait for the next hit.  We would be focusing “prevention” inward – with less of an operational effect, but nevertheless rapidly destroying the civil liberties that make it matter to be an American in the first place.

I have strong reservations about Obama’s heavy reliance on drone strikes, which perilously skirts an ugly, amoral cynicism.  In fact, I’m quite concerned about the direction he is taking our operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  But with the larger strategy of fighting this war forward, we must agree, if we want to keep our own freedoms and have the highest likelihood of preventing future attacks.  This war, started on George W. Bush’s terms, has had its “goods and others,” but it does ultimately represent the lowest cost of any alternative we have.
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G M
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« Reply #703 on: October 02, 2010, 09:17:14 AM »

http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/1010/Target_of_FBI_terrorsupport_raid_visited_WH.html

Abudayyeh’s group, AAAN, briefly drew attention during the presidential campaign following reports that a foundation on whose board Obama served donated $40,000 to the group for “community organizing" in 2001. Conservative critics said the group and Abudayyeh have promoted anti-Israeli views. AAAN officials said the organization is strictly focused on local community issues and doesn’t get involved in international politics.

In 2003, Obama spoke at an AAAN-sponsored farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi, a professor who was decamping from the University of Chicago to Columbia. During the 2008 campaign, the Los Angeles Times obtained a video of the event and reported that Obama lavished praise on Khalidi, who once served as a spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Other speakers at the event railed against Israeli policies.

Late in the 2008 campaign, Republican nominee Sen. John McCain attacked the Times for failing to make the video public. The newspaper said it obtained the video on the condition that it not be released publicly.

High-level contacts between politically active Arab-American leaders and White House officials have stirred controversy in the past after the activists became caught up in terrorism-related probes. In some cases, defense attorneys for those charged have sought to use their White House visits to undermine the prosecution’s assertions that the individuals were dangerous.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #704 on: October 02, 2010, 03:05:22 PM »

http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/1010/Target_of_FBI_terrorsupport_raid_visited_WH.html?showall#
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G M
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« Reply #705 on: October 02, 2010, 03:13:55 PM »

Amazing how hard it is to find a muslim leader in this country that doesn't have a connection to terrorist groups. Boy, if I didn't know that islam was a religion of peace, i'd think there was problem with the core theology or something..... 
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G M
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« Reply #706 on: October 14, 2010, 07:24:24 PM »

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/terror-alert-continues-nypd-holds-drill-prep-mumbai/story?id=11879452

A good police department would plan and train for this no matter if there was intel or not. It will be interesting to see if other cities do this drill as well, however.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #707 on: October 26, 2010, 03:20:10 PM »

"I'm thinking like Ellison is worthy of continued observation, perhaps on the Islam in America and/or the Homeland Security threads"

I'll put this here just because the underlying issue, nervous about Muslims on planes is about Homeland Security.

Note what a nut this guy is how reasonable and thoughtful he comes across.

Couple of straw men arguments, Juan didn't want the Muslims messed with, he was just saying how it made him feel, and Schulz jumps right over to the unFairness Doctrine which would solve absolutely nothing in American media or freedom.

Ellison is the strongest opinion I've heard supporting the NPR firing.  He says Juan Williams is an "Un-American" " Bigot", and the leftist host agrees 100%.  The host hates Fox and Ellison takes offense of the slam against Muslims. See the youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gYe0J3pRK4 .  Found this through Powerline and they take the opportunity to rip him and his past pretty well:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/10/027531.php

Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison made his name as the first Muslim elected to Congress. It was therefore all but obligatory for him to weigh in on the firing of Juan Williams from NPR as a result of Williams's expression of his feelings on Fox News about seeing air passengers dressed in "Muslim garb," as he did last week on Ed Schultz's MSNBC show.

It's always illuminating to hear the deep thoughts of Keith Ellison on matters of public concern. We still await the enterprising journalist who will ask Ellison which branch of Islam it is that comports with the tenets of the Democratic agenda on the equality of women, abortion, gay rights and all the rest. Then we might learn something from him that we don't know.

Incidentally, Ellison used to hang with the gangbanging Minneapolis cop killer Sharif Willis. Now he hangs with the likes of Schultz, an altogether better class of thug. In his conversation with Schultz, Ellison announced he felt like taking Williams's books (referred to in in the singular as "that stuff") off the shelf "and putting it in the garbage."

Schultz elicited from Ellison the fevered charge that "Juan Williams contributes to profiling and harassing Americans." He doubts Williams's integrity -- this from a guy who predicated his first congressional campaign on three easily demonstrable lies.

Given the profile of the perpetrators of 9/11, Ellison makes the point that Williams's reaction to passengers in "Muslim garb" is misguided. Is Ellison chiding Williams for failing to observe that the rational fear would be focused on Muslims who blend in? Muslims like Keith Ellison? Let's consider the point duly noted. While Ellison's point has superficial plausibility, however, one should also consider the uses of "Muslim garb" in concealing the explosive vest that has proved so popular among Muslim terrorists.

It should be noted that Ellison lurked in the background of the November 2006 incident involving the flying imams at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The whole point of the lawsuit brought by the flying imams was to disable law enforcement from acting on the justifiable concerns of ordinary citizens about ostentatious Muslims behaving in a manner that would cause rational concern.

The flying imams were removed from the aircraft and interrogated while the USAirways flight went on its way. USAirways and the law enforcement defendants in the flying imams' lawsuit paid an undisclosed but tidy sum to the flying imams to settle their lawsuit. The flying imams prevailed; the next time around, it will be the imams who fly and the other passengers who stay behind.
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G M
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« Reply #708 on: October 29, 2010, 01:50:28 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/10/29/breaking-bomb-found-on-yemen-to-us-cargo-flight/

I wonder if Robert Wright would feel nervous getting on a plane with a package mailed by a muslim.....
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #709 on: October 30, 2010, 04:57:46 PM »

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance
OCT 29 2010, 12:20 PM ET
This past Wednesday, I showed up at Baltimore-Washington International for a flight to Providence, R.I. I had a choice of two TSA screening checkpoints. I picked mine based on the number of people waiting in line, not because I am impatient, but because the coiled, closely packed lines at TSA screening sites are the most dangerous places in airports, completely unprotected from a terrorist attack -- a terrorist attack that would serve the same purpose (shutting down air travel) as an attack on board an aircraft.

Agents were funneling every passenger at this particular checkpoint through a newly installed back-scatter body imaging device, which allows the agency's security officers to, in essence, see under your clothing. The machine captures an image of your naked self, including your genitals, and sends the image to an agent in a separate room. I don't object to stringent security (as you will soon see), but I do object to meaningless security theater (Bruce Schneier's phrase), and I believe that we would be better off if the TSA focused its attentions on learning the identity and background of each passenger, rather than on checking whether passengers are carrying contraband (as I suggested in this article, it is possible for a moderately clever person to move contraband through TSA screenings with a fair amount of ease, even with this new technology).

In part because of the back-scatter imager's invasiveness (a TSA employee in Miami was arrested recently after he physically assaulted a colleague who had mocked his modestly sized penis, which was fully apparent in a captured back-scatter image), the TSA is allowing passengers to opt-out of the back-scatter and choose instead a pat-down. I've complained about TSA pat-downs in the past, because they, too, were more security theater than anything else. They are, as I would learn, becoming more serious, as well. 

At BWI, I told the officer who directed me to the back-scatter that I preferred a pat-down. I did this in order to see how effective the manual search would be. When I made this request, a number of TSA officers, to my surprise, began laughing. I asked why. One of them -- the one who would eventually conduct my pat-down -- said that the rules were changing shortly, and that I would soon understand why the back-scatter was preferable to the manual search. I asked him if the new guidelines included a cavity search. "No way. You think Congress would allow that?"

I answered, "If you're a terrorist, you're going to hide your weapons in your anus or your vagina." He blushed when I said "vagina."

"Yes, but starting tomorrow, we're going to start searching your crotchal area" -- this is the word he used, "crotchal" -- and you're not going to like it."

"What am I not going to like?" I asked.

"We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance," he explained.

"Resistance?" I asked.

"Your testicles," he explained.

'That's funny," I said, "because 'The Resistance' is the actual name I've given to my testicles."

He answered, "Like 'The Situation,' that guy from 'Jersey Shore?'"

Yes, exactly, I said. (I used to call my testicles "The Insurgency," but those assholes in Iraq ruined the term.)

I pointed out to the security officer that 50 percent of the American population has no balls (90 percent in Washington, D.C., where I live), so what is going to happen when the pat-down officer meets no resistance in the crotchal area of women? "If there's no resistance, then there's nothing there."

"But what about people who hide weapons in their cavities? I asked. I actually said "vagina" again, just to see him blush. "We're just not going there," he reiterated.

I asked him if he was looking forward to conducting the full-on pat-downs. "Nobody's going to do it," he said, "once they find out that we're going to do."

In other words, people, when faced with a choice, will inevitably choose the Dick-Measuring Device over molestation? "That's what we're hoping for. We're trying to get everyone into the machine." He called over a colleague. "Tell him what you call the back-scatter," he said. "The Dick-Measuring Device," I said. "That's the truth," the other officer responded.

The pat-down at BWI was fairly vigorous, by the usual tame standards of the TSA, but it was nothing like the one I received the next day at T.F. Green in Providence. Apparently, I was the very first passenger to ask to opt-out of back-scatter imaging. Several TSA officers heard me choose the pat-down, and they reacted in a way meant to make the ordinary passenger feel very badly about his decision. One officer said to a colleague who was obviously going to be assigned to me, "Get new gloves, man, you're going to need them where you're going."

The agent snapped on his blue gloves, and patiently explained exactly where he was going to touch me. I felt like a sophomore at Oberlin.

"I'm going to run my hands up your thighs, and then feel your buttocks, then I'm going to reach under you until I meet --"

"Resistance?" I interrupted.

"Yes, resistance. Do you want to go into a private room?" he asked.

"Are you asking me into a private room?" I said. He looked confused. I said, "No, here is fine."

He felt me up good, but not great. It was not in any way the best pat-down I've ever received. The most thorough search I've ever experienced was in the Bekaa Valley, by Hezbollah security officers. That took quite awhile, and the Resistance really manhandled my Resistance. There was no cavity search, of course -- no magazine story, even one about Hezbollah terrorism -- is worth that. But it was the fairly full Monty.

I draw three lessons from this week's experience: The pat-down, while more effective than previous pat-downs, will not stop dedicated and clever terrorists from smuggling on board small weapons or explosives. When I served as a military policeman in an Israeli army prison, many of the prisoners "bangled" contraband up their asses. I know this not because I checked, but because eventually they told me this when I asked.

The second lesson is that the effectiveness of pat-downs does not matter very much, because the obvious goal of the TSA is to make the pat-down embarrassing enough for the average passenger that the vast majority of people will choose high-tech humiliation over the low-tech ball check.

The third lesson remains constant: By the time terrorist plotters make it to the airport, it is, generally speaking, too late to stop them. Plots must be broken up long before the plotters reach the target. If they are smart enough to make it to the airport without arrest, it is almost axiomatically true that they will be smart enough to figure out a way to bring weapons aboard a plane.

UPDATE: Many people are asking me if I actually named my testicles "The Resistance." Of course not. I was just messing with the guy from TSA. My testicles are actually named "Tzipi" and "Bibi."

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/10/for-the-first-time-the-tsa-meets-resistance/65390/
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G M
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« Reply #710 on: October 30, 2010, 05:20:47 PM »

I'll take the pat down, if made to choose.
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G M
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« Reply #711 on: October 30, 2010, 05:26:46 PM »

"I believe that we would be better off if the TSA focused its attentions on learning the identity and background of each passenger, rather than on checking whether passengers are carrying contraband."

**Yes, good intelligence is important, isn't it, BBG?**
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #712 on: October 30, 2010, 05:57:36 PM »

Jesus dude, lighten up. If you can't tell the difference between effective and intrusive, if you think constitutional protections are trivialities to be circumvented, if you think that government can be trusted with unchecked power then you have more in common with the enemy than you do with most Americans. Either change sides or cut people who think liberty is not something to be lightly discarded some slack.
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G M
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« Reply #713 on: October 30, 2010, 06:06:46 PM »

I'm just glad you posted an article advocating for effective intelligence to counter the terrorist threat. Kudos!
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G M
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« Reply #714 on: October 31, 2010, 01:30:15 PM »

http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/208591

Explosives found inside a modified printer ink cartridge on board a cargo plane at East Midlands ­Airport were primed to detonate in mid-air.

The device was active when counter-terror police swooped on the aircraft early on Friday.

Yemen-based terrorists had built the bomb to go off in British air space, just like the Lockerbie atrocity of 1988 which killed 270 people.


Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday said: “I can confirm that the device was viable and could have ­exploded. The target may have been an aircraft and had it it detonated, the aircraft could have been brought down.”
Security chiefs initially believed the bomb, which was to be activated via a timer, was destined for a synagogue in the US.

But Mrs May said: “We do not believe that the perpetrators of the attack would have known the location of the device when it was planned to explode.”

Speaking at Chequers, David Cameron said: “We believe the device was designed to go off on the aeroplane.

“We cannot be sure about the timing when that was meant to take place.”

Had the plane exploded and crashed on to Nottingham, Leicester or Derby, all within a 10-mile radius of the airport, hundreds of lives would have been lost.
The alert was triggered by intelligence from a unit of GCHQ surveillance experts stationed in Afghanistan, the Sunday Express can reveal. Operating from a converted shipping container in Helmand, the team picked up the words “A wedding gift is being delivered”.

The phrase is an Al Qaeda code meaning a bomb is in transit.

With the help of Saudi agents, GCHQ alerted MI6, which raised the alarm in London and Washington.


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G M
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« Reply #715 on: October 31, 2010, 02:11:16 PM »

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101030/ap_on_bi_ge/mail_bombs_flight_safety


LONDON – The mail bombs discovered aboard cargo jets in England and Dubai could very easily have ended up on passenger planes, which carry more than half of the international air cargo coming into the U.S., experts say.

And experts caution that cargo, even when loaded onto passenger planes, is sometimes lightly inspected or even completely unexamined, particularly when it comes from countries without well-developed aviation security systems.

About 60 percent of all cargo flown into the U.S. is on passenger planes, according to Brandon Fried, a cargo security expert and executive director of the Airforwarders Association. New jumbo jets flying in from overseas — like the Boeing 777 — have "cavernous" bellies where freight is stored, he said.

Most countries require parcels placed on passenger flights by international shipping companies to go through at least one security check. Methods include hand checks, sniffer dogs, X-ray machines and high-tech devices that can find traces of explosives on paper or cloth swabs.

But air shipping is governed by a patchwork of inconsistent controls that make packages a potential threat even to passenger jets, experts said Saturday. Security protocols vary widely around the world, whether they're related to passenger aircraft or cargo planes.

That at least two parcels containing explosives could be placed on cargo-only flights to England and Dubai, one in a FedEx shipment from Yemen, was a dramatic example of the risks, but the dangers have been obvious for years, analysts said.

Some Western countries, perhaps belatedly, are trying now to manage the risks.
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G M
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« Reply #716 on: November 01, 2010, 12:00:21 PM »

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE6A00J0.htm

Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, in a rare public address, identified cyber technologies as an ascendant international security threat.

"Intelligence once enjoyed only by countries and world powers can now be obtained through Internet systems like Google Earth, Internet cameras that are deployed all over the world and linked to the Web, or applications for IPhone devices that allow for quality intelligence to be received in real-time," he told a homeland security conference in Tel Aviv.

In what appeared to be an allusion to two parcel bombs found on U.S.-bound planes on Friday, he said such a tactic had featured in "mounting debates" among Islamist militant groups over the Internet on how to exploit international aviation. (Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Matthew Jones)
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G M
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« Reply #717 on: November 01, 2010, 12:20:42 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/11/01/bombs-in-aq-plot-designed-to-go-off-mid-air/

Bombs in AQ plot designed to go off mid-air

posted at 12:15 pm on November 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey


Last Friday and Saturday, the Obama administration assured Americans that they had enough advance knowledge of the latest al-Qaeda-attempted terrorist attack to stop it in its tracks.  Today, the Associated Press reports that their initial assessment of the targets was probably incorrect and that AQ actually intended to blow planes up mid-air.  What’s more, they came close to succeeding, because two of the packages flew on passenger jets before being discovered:

    The mail bomb plot stretching from Yemen to Chicago may have been aimed at blowing up planes in flight and was only narrowly averted, officials said Sunday, acknowledging that one device almost slipped through Britain and another seized in Dubai was unwittingly flown on two passenger jets.

    Senior U.S. officials met to develop a response to the Al-Qaida faction linked to the powerful explosives addressed to synagogues in Chicago.

    Investigators were still piecing together the potency and construction of two bombs they believe were designed by the top explosives expert working for Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based militant faction thought to be behind the plot. Yemeni authorities hunted suspects linked to the group, but released a female computer engineering student arrested Saturday, saying someone else had posed as her in signing the shipping documents.

    But authorities admitted how close the terrorists came to getting their bombs through, and a senior U.S. official said investigators are still trying to figure out if other devices remain at large.

The initial claim from the intel community was that they were aware of the threat for several days and timed their intervention to grab the packages before they could make it to the synagogues in Chicago.  However, on Saturday NBC reported that more than two dozen potentially dangerous packages had yet to be found, and that the President had only been informed of the plot on Thursday night, hours before launching a global effort to find the packages.  Had that effort actually begun several days before, as I remarked on Saturday, they should have stopped the packages from getting onto planes at all, let alone passenger planes bound for place like London, Paris, and Cologne.

Furthermore, the two bombs discovered made it unlikely that the targets were a delivery destination.  One had a timer, the other a mobile phone for detonation systems.  Given the inability to pinpoint a specific delivery time, both detonators make no sense for targeting a synagogue, where other types of letter-bomb detonation systems would work more reliably.  The addresses were probably meant to send a message after the planes exploded in mid-flight, once the shippers had time to discover the paperwork for those packages.

And as the AP also reports, the failure to spot the bombs and suspicious packages beforehand also indicates a lack of prior knowledge of the plot.

Counterterrorism is a tough business, to be sure, and sometimes people can’t see vulnerabilities until terrorists exploit them.  It is mainly a reactive effort in that sense, although one might think that securing the cargo industry would have taken a higher priority.  The bigger question here isn’t how we missed the plot, but whether the administration gave us the straight truth in the aftermath.
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G M
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« Reply #718 on: November 01, 2010, 12:26:16 PM »

http://www.britainnews.net/story/700929

The suspect packages originated in Dubai prompting UPS and FedEx, the other cargo carrier involved, to suspend shipments from Yemen.

U.S. aviation authorities together with Dubai officials are already investigating the crash of a UPS Flight 6 from Dubai to Cologne in Germany which caught fire shortly after taking off from Dubai International Airport on September 3. The plane crashed soon after on Emirates Road, a major Dubai highway, killing the cargo plane's two crew members.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the crash is still under investigation and the cause has not been determined.

The authority did say however lithium batteries may have played a role in the crash.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #719 on: November 01, 2010, 12:38:47 PM »

"one might think that securing the cargo industry would have taken a higher priority.  The bigger question here isn’t how we missed the plot, but whether the administration gave us the straight truth in the aftermath."

I recall that the failure to secure the cargo industry, like the oil spill, is Bush's fault. 

Frankly I care more that our own security apparatus tells each other the straight scoop and takes aggressive action.  Saudi is a very strange and questionable ally, but possibly more reliable than Britain, France and Germany combined.
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G M
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« Reply #720 on: November 01, 2010, 01:03:00 PM »

Ever since OBL and the house of Saud had their falling out over Gulf War I, the Saudis have been tracking AQ quite closely.
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G M
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« Reply #721 on: November 09, 2010, 12:40:54 PM »

WTF?

Mystery Missile Launch Seen off Calif. Coast
Military Mum on Nature of "Big Missile" Rising Out of Pacific - a Possible Show of U.S. Military Might
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G M
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« Reply #722 on: November 09, 2010, 01:00:28 PM »

Kind of reminds me of the EMP attack scenario some have suggested. What if a bad actor like the NorKs tried but their nuke didn't pop?
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G M
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« Reply #723 on: November 09, 2010, 02:57:26 PM »

http://www.informationdissemination.net/2010/11/latest-on-mystery-missile-over-west.html

NORAD gave the LA Times blog a bit of non-information worth consideration.

    "We are aware of the unexplained contrail reported off the coast of Southern California yesterday evening," according to a statement Tuesday from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command, which operates the U.S. and Canadian missile warning system. "At this time, we are unable to provide specific details but we are working to determine the exact nature of this event.

    "We can confirm that there is no indication of any threat to our nation and we will provide more information as it becomes available," the statement said.

When someone makes an unannounced launch what looks to be a ballistic missile 35 miles from the nations second largest city (at sea in international waters), and 18 hours later NORAD still doesn't have any answers at all - that complete lack of information represents a credible threat to national security. If NORAD can't answer the first and last question, then I believe it is time to question every single penny of ballistic missile defense funding in the defense budget. NORTHCOM needs to start talking about what they do know, rather than leaving the focus on what they don't know.

If this missile was launched at sea, was it launched from a ship or sub? If it wasn't our ship or sub, then whose ship or sub was it? Did anyone cross-reference the launch with public AIS logs from the port of Los Angeles yet? How many dozens of times have we had someone give Congressional testimony regarding the scenario where a non-state actor launches a short ranged ballistic missile from a ship off the coast?

I raise that last point to note, if the mystery missile didn't come from our military, you have to start looking for alternatives... and most of those alternatives are a threat to national security.
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« Reply #724 on: November 09, 2010, 04:58:06 PM »



WTF?

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/mystery-missile-launched-near-calif-has-military-speechless/
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« Reply #725 on: November 09, 2010, 05:07:08 PM »

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/11/mystery-missile-is-probably-a-jet/

L.A.’s Mystery ‘Missile’ Is Probably a Jet

**I don't know what to make of all this.**
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« Reply #726 on: November 09, 2010, 09:40:58 PM »

I think it's reasonable to assume that the news chopper crew is familiar with the skies around LA and found this to be very atypical. It would be nice if someone were to FOIA the FAA control tower comms and radar returns for the date and time the footage was taken for LAX and other SoCal airports.

So here is a theory:

Means: The People's Liberation Army Navy (Yes, that's their real name) has made serious improvements to their "blue water navy" and has surprised us in the past with their upgraded sub technology.

Motive: China has been very unhappy with the US Navy's navigation of international waters off of China's coast. There have been multiple confrontations and aggressive moves made by the PLAN towards US naval assets in those waters. Tensions in those waters have increased with the still unresolved disputes between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea (see my posts on the topic). Early on in the dispute, the SecDef and Adm. Mullen (If I recall correctly) made statements reaffirming thE US-Japan defense treaty. In addition, I recall at least one instance where a PLA general made a direct threat to Los Angeles, saying that China would be willing to trade Shanghai for it in a war with the US.

Opportunity: It is my understanding that the anti-submarine infrastructure we had in place during the cold war no longer exists, or is a shadow if it's former self, allowing a new, stealthy Chinese sub to approach the west coast and launch a test missile as both a proof of concept and a message to the president and DoD that a military conflict in the pacific today can involve both sides of the pacific.
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« Reply #727 on: November 09, 2010, 10:51:49 PM »

**Maybe not so tinfoil-hatted.**

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8121612/Missile-fired-off-California-coast.html

Robert Ellsworth, a former US Deputy Secretary of Defence, told KFMB, a CBS affiliate in San Diego, one theory might be that it was a military muscle-flexing ploy.

"It could be a test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from an underwater submarine, to demonstrate mainly to Asia, that we can do that", he said.
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« Reply #728 on: November 09, 2010, 10:57:07 PM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/1917167/Chinese-nuclear-submarine-base.html

Satellite imagery, passed to The Daily Telegraph, shows that a substantial harbour has been built which could house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers.

In what will be a significant challenge to US Navy dominance and to countries ringing the South China Sea, one photograph shows China’s latest 094 nuclear submarine at the base just a few hundred miles from its neighbours.

Other images show numerous warships moored to long jettys and a network of underground tunnels at the Sanya base on the southern tip of Hainan island.

Of even greater concern to the Pentagon are massive tunnel entrances, estimated to be 60ft high, built into hillsides around the base. Sources fear they could lead to caverns capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites.

The US Department of Defence has estimated that China will have five 094 nuclear submarines operational by 2010 with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles.

The images were obtained by Janes Intelligence Review after the periodical was given access to imagery from the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe.

Analysts for the respected military magazine suggest that the base could be used for "expeditionary as well as defensive operations" and would allow the submarines to "break out to launch locations closer to the US".

It would now be "difficult to ignore" that China was building a major naval base where it could house its nuclear forces and increase it "strategic capability considerably further afield".
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« Reply #729 on: November 09, 2010, 11:15:57 PM »

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LC09Ad01.html

Yin Zhou has also called for China to build a naval base in the Middle East, which prompted China's Ministry of Defense to respond that, "China has no plans for an overseas naval base." [3]
A new book by PLA Air Force (PLAAF) Colonel Dai Xu also paints a very dark picture of the future. "China cannot escape the calamity of war, and this calamity may come in the not-too-distant future, at most in 10 to 20 years," writes Dai Xu, according to Reuters. "If the US can light a fire in China's backyard, we can also light a fire in their backyard." [4]

Dai Xu is a widely quoted military analyst who comments frequently about Chinese defense-related matters.

"In recent years, some parts of the Chinese media have become more commercialized. This has led some publishers to focus on publishing sensationalist and nationalistic views that can attract a mass audience," said Bonnie Glaser, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

"Academics and PLA officers have seized this opportunity to write books advocating controversial positions in order to make money. Several PLA officers appear as pundits on Chinese TV programs and write for newspapers, viewing this as a means to promote their hardline views, but also to supplement their salaries."

Glaser said that Luo Yuan and Rear-Admiral Yang Yi, an expert with the Institute of Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, were excellent examples of outspoken senior Chinese officers.

Abraham Denmark, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC, added China's former chief of military intelligence, General Xiong Guangkai, to this list. After his retirement in 2005, Xiong took charge of China's Institute for International Strategic Studies.

"He was very outspoken and rose to the rank of deputy chief of the general staff," said Denmark.

Xiong made huge headlines 15 years ago. At the end of a meeting in 1995 with former US ambassador Chas Freeman - news of the meeting would not be made public until early 1996 and even then Xiong's identity was not revealed - he reportedly said, "And finally, you do not have the strategic leverage that you had in the 1950s when you threatened nuclear strikes on us. You were able to do that because we could not hit back. But if you hit us now, we can hit back. So you will not make those threats. In the end you care more about Los Angeles than you do about Taipei."

Freeman would admit years later that he did not interpret these words as a threat. [6]

However, Xiong's comments in 1995 were not spontaneous or off-script, according to Bhaskar Roy, a strategic analyst and consultant with New Delhi-based South Asia Analysis Group.

"This was a message to the US from China's Central Military Commission [CMC], headed then by Jiang Zemin," said Roy. "On many military and strategic issues, the top echelon use military officials to float proposals either openly or in print, or surreptitiously to pry out reactions."

China does not rely on the PLA exclusively to get the word out. China threatened a military response to the perceived separatist statements of former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui - "If the Taiwan authorities think the mainland can only launch a propaganda or psychological war, they are mistaken" - in an August 1999 editorial in China's Global Times magazine.

In that article, Global Times even took aim directly at US aircraft carriers by declaring that China's neutron bombs were more than enough to handle them.

This appeared just as China was preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Communist Party rule, and just a few months after the US had bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three Chinese civilians in the process. So it is safe to say that the sense of Chinese national pride as well as the sense of collective outrage was running at fever pitch that year, and that the tone of these comments in Global Times probably reflected Chinese sentiments at the time.

"Over the past 10 years a clear pattern has emerged whereby Chinese military officers are allowed to be more outspoken - especially in response to US actions and decisions - whenever tensions over Taiwan are mounting. However, what we are seeing today is much milder than what we saw in 1999, for example," said Rodger Baker, director of East Asia analysis at Stratfor, a Texas-based global intelligence firm.

"Yang Yi and Luo Yuan have both been outspoken in reaction to the Taiwan arms sale. Note that both are now retired. PLA officers caution that those individuals do not speak for the PLA," said Glaser. "The Chinese government does not encourage any such outspoken rhetoric, but they also do not discourage it."

"It is likely that allowing such views to be aired in the media serves their interests. It is a way of letting those frustrated with the US vent their anger. It may stimulate others to echo those views, but it also causes others to challenge those views," said Glaser. "And allowing such a debate in the media is increasingly tolerated by the government/party/military. Debates over North Korea's nuclear test and how China should respond is another example in which this has occurred."

Rather than being outspoken, Roy described these PLA officers as merely reflecting China's growing military and economic power - which is "leading to arrogant statements".

"Military exercises such as 'Strike - 09' and the military parade commemorating the 60th anniversary of the PRC [People's Republic of China] last year were meant to demonstrate that China had arrived at the global table. All statements of national importance made by military officers are cleared by the CMC, if not also by a member of the politburo standing committee. Articles written by [military officials] also have clearance from the appropriate higher authorities," said Roy, who described Yang Yi as "one of the leading spokesmen for the CMC".

"[At the time of the 60th anniversary celebration], Yang Yi described this show as China's strategy of a 'rich nation and strong military' and 'active defense embodying the power to control a crisis situation in the neighborhood for a favorable security environment'. The Active Defense doctrine is China's right to intervene beyond its borders [land, sea and air]," said Roy.
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« Reply #730 on: November 10, 2010, 06:53:48 AM »

These are excellent posts GM, but may I ask that you put them in the China thread please?
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« Reply #731 on: November 10, 2010, 08:51:53 AM »

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2010/11/mystery-missile.html

Tuesday, November 09, 2010
The Mystery Missile


This image, recorded by a Los Angeles TV news chopper, shows the contrail left behind by an aircraft or missile launch off the California coast on Monday. Officially, the Pentagon is still trying to determine the "exact nature of the event." (KCBS/KCAL video, via the Washington Times).

It's been the source of water cooler conversations and endless speculation on the internet. We refer to that mysterious smoke plume that appeared over the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles. The plume, which may have been from an aircraft or a missile, was captured by a news helicopter from KCBS-TV and quickly became an on-line sensation, prompting all sorts of rumors about an accidental launch by the U.S. military; a show-of-force in support of President Obama's overseas trip, provocative test by the Chinese military, or (more likely) none of the above.

Still, more than 24 hours after the plume was first sighted, no one has offered a definitive explanation of what coastal residents witnessed with their own eyes, and millions more saw on television or the internet. If you're among the dozen or so people who haven't seen the video, you can watch it on the KCBS/KCAL website.

Officially, the Pentagon says it is still investigating the incident. Spokesman for the Air Force and the Navy claim there was no test activity in the area at the time of the event. However, the military frequently uses that section of California coastal waters for missile tests and training exercises.

This map shows that much of area north of Catalina Island (and just off-shore from Los Angeles) is reserved for military use. The USAF conducts periodic satellite launches--and occasional ICBM tests--from Vandenburg AFB, northwest of Santa Barbara, while Navy vessels conduct missile testing offshore. So, a military missile launch in the area is hardly unprecedented.

But the object in the KCBS video appears to be moving a bit slow for a land-based or sub-launched ballistic missile. Indeed, the event unfolded more than 30 miles off-shore, so you can rule out a Minuteman III test or Atlas rocket launch for Vandenburg. As for the USN, we have their assurances that no ships or aircraft were operating in the area at the time.

We can also rule out a possible "show-of-force" in support of Mr. Obama's visit to Asia. We've been launching missiles from Southern California for decades, and the tests are so routine, they generate little attention. It's hard to imagine China--or anyone else--getting excited about routine missile test in the area. Besides, if we were conducting a test, exclusion zones would have been declared around the launch site, and extending down range. Press accounts suggest that a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was posted only after the smoke plume was sighted last night.

And, it may disappoint the tinfoil hat crowd, but the chances of a missile launch from a Chinese or Russian sub near our coast are approximately zero (emphasis ours). While Moscow's ballistic missile fleet has declined dramatically over the past 20 years, the few boomers at sea can strike U.S. targets--with impressive accuracy--from bastion locations near the Russian coast.

As for the PRC, their ballistic missile sub fleet is still in its infancy, but the effective range of their SLBMs extends well beyond 35 miles, even if their accuracy is a bit suspect. Besides, the odds of an enemy sub approaching our coast--and launching a missile undetected--are decidedly slim. The U.S. has invested billions in attack subs, patrol aircraft and undersea sensors designed to keep enemy subs away from our shores. If a Russian or Chinese boat managed to close within 40 miles of Los Angeles (and conduct a missile test), heads would be rolling, from the SecDef on down.

Among the more plausible explanations, some have suggested the plume was caused by an aircraft, flying directly towards the camera. Still, that's a lot of smoke/contrail for a jet and besides, the object appears to be moving away from the news chopper, at least in the video we saw.

Readers will be pleased to learn that, according to NORAD, the missile/jet/UFO did not pose a threat to the homeland. Of course, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command apparently didn't learn of the incident until after it happened. The FAA was also out-of-the-loop, saying the object never appeared on air traffic control radars. From that, we can surmise that whatever it was, it wasn't squawking an IFF signal (surprise, surprise).

Of course, there are other possibilities. Maybe the Pentagon was conducting some sort of test, involving systems or technology they don't want to reveal to the public. As to what that might be, your guess is as good as ours. The object rising into the sky didn't appear to be cutting edge but then again, it might have been a target for some other sort of system, stationed farther out to sea.

Perhaps the most frightening possibility is that the government wasn't involved at all. Two years ago, the Rand Corporation published a lengthy monograph on the threat posed by terrorist-operated cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Many of the scenarios discussed in the study envision maritime platforms (i.e. merchant vessels) being used as launch platforms.

Once the domain of advanced military forces, cruise missiles with limited range (less than 100 miles) are now available on the world arms market for less than $1 million. They would permit stand-off attacks against area targets (including population centers) and they can be employed with relatively little crew training and support infrastructure. And on the other side of the fence, detecting and defeating cruise missile threats from clandestine launch platforms is very, very difficult.

Given the existing holes in our cruise missile defenses, we should all hope that the smoke plume near L.A. was something innocuous.
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« Reply #732 on: November 10, 2010, 11:58:54 AM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/10/earlyshow/main7040379.shtml

The video of what looks for all the world like the contrail of a missile was shot Monday evening by KCBS cameraman Gil Leyvas from a news helicopter over Los Angeles.

"I saw a big plume coming up, rising from looked like beyond the horizon and it continued to grow," Leyvas said.

He zoomed his camera in and stayed on it for about 10 minutes. To him it looked like an incoming missile.

"It was unique. It was moving," he said. "It was growing in the sky."

The Pentagon spends billions of dollars a year making sure it is never surprised by a missile launch - so finding out what the camera saw became a top priority. Both the Navy and the Air Force insisted they had not launched any missiles and the North American Air Defense Command - which is supposed to track incoming missiles - declared it had not been fired by any other military. But nobody could say what it was.

But Doug Richardson, the editor of Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, examined the video for the Times of London and said he was left with little doubt.

"It’s a solid propellant missile," he told the Times. "You can tell from the efflux [smoke]."

Richardson said it could have been a ballistic missile launched from a submarine or an interceptor, the defensive anti-missile weapon used by Navy surface ships.

________________________________________________________________________

Doug Richardson
Editor, Jane’s Missiles and Rockets

Doug Richardson is the editor of “Jane’s Missiles & Rockets”. After a career as an electronics engineer working in areas such as the development testing of radar and EW antennas for combat aircraft, integration of rocket engine electrical controls, the design of computer peripheral hardware, and the planning and post-flight analysis of guided missile trials, he became a journalist in 1976.

Since then he has served at various times as the defence editor of “Flight International”, editor of the German magazine “Military Technology”, managing editor of “Jane’s Defence Systems Modernisation” and technical editor of the Swiss magazine “Armada International”.

His work has appeared in many UK, US and international defence magazines. It covers a wide range of military technologies including military aircraft, guided missiles, radar, electronic warfare, information warfare, communications, satellite navigation systems, stealth technology, tanks, artillery, warships, submarines, small arms and ammunition, and more exotic areas such as space warfare and intelligence gathering.

Although missiles and missile-related technology are his primary interest, he also specialises in military electronics and optronics, and writes regularly on these topics for “Armada International” and other magazines.

Since 1981 he has written more than 20 books on aerospace and defence topics. Most have been published in British and US editions, but several have also appeared in French, German, Japanese and Portuguese versions.

Doug is based in the United Kingdom, and lives in the village of Roydon - 20 miles (32km) north-east of London - with his wife Linda Allen, a French Briard sheepdog, and five computers.
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« Reply #733 on: November 11, 2010, 07:34:57 AM »

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/11/10/blogger-solved-california-missile-mystery/

Blogger Believes Webcam Image Solves 'Missile' Mystery
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« Reply #734 on: November 12, 2010, 09:54:46 AM »

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/11/09/europe.plot/index.html

Hamburg, Germany (CNN) -- Al Qaeda is still planning Mumbai-style attacks in Europe, with the United States also possibly being targeted, counter-terrorism officials in Europe and the United States tell CNN.
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« Reply #735 on: November 12, 2010, 10:40:26 AM »

Authorities on Lookout for 2 Men Seen Videotaping D.C. Subway Station

Published November 12, 2010

| Associated Press


WASHINGTON -- Metro has circulated an internal memo asking employees to be on the lookout for two men seen videotaping the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station.

An internal memo says the individuals were "attempting to videotape inconspicuously, by holding the camera at their side, between their chest and waist." Metro was alerted by a rider who took a picture of the men last week while they were sitting on the train.

The alert comes just after the recent arrest of a Northern Virginia man in a sting where he videotaped two Metro facilities for what we thought was going to be an attack on the system.
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« Reply #736 on: November 13, 2010, 07:44:07 PM »



http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/11/12/travel.screening/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn
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« Reply #737 on: November 14, 2010, 07:59:30 AM »

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Shippers fought cargo controls
By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Sharon Theimer, Associated Press
Tue Nov 9, 12:56 pm ET
 
.WASHINGTON – Despite knowing for decades that terrorists could sneak bombs onto planes, the U.S. government failed to close obvious security gaps amid pressure from shipping companies fearful tighter controls would cost too much and delay deliveries.

Intelligence officials around the world narrowly thwarted an al-Qaida mail bomb plot last month, intercepting two explosive packages shipped from Yemen with UPS and FedEx.

But it was a tip from Saudi intelligence, not cargo screening, that turned up the bombs before they could take down airplanes. Company employees in Yemen were not required to X-ray the printer cartridges the explosives were hidden inside. Instead, they looked at the printers and sent them off, U.S. officials said.

The scare is prompting officials in Washington and around the world to rethink air cargo security. On Monday the Obama administration announced new cargo rules banning freight out of Yemen and Somalia. It also restricted the shipment of printer and toner cartridges weighing more than a pound on all passenger flights and some cargo flights. Overall cargo security rules were unchanged.

In Congress, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans a hearing Nov. 16 to look at whether changes are needed to improve air cargo security. Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole has been asked to testify.

Lobbying by the multibillion-dollar freight industry has helped kill past efforts to impose tough rules.

In 2004, when the Transportation Security Administration considered requiring screening for all packages on all flights, the Cargo Airline Association downplayed a terrorist threat. It argued slowing down shipping for inspections would jeopardize the shipping industry and the world's economy.

"As a practical matter, all-cargo aircraft operators today are permitted to accept freight from all persons and entities all over the world, including unknown shippers,
precisely because of the lack of any credible threat to all-cargo aircraft," the association, whose members included FedEx, UPS and other shippers, told the agency.

The government agreed.

"TSA believes that a requirement to inspect every piece of cargo could result in an unworkable cost of more than $650 million" in the first year, the agency wrote in 2004. The government wanted security, TSA said, "without undue hardship on the affected stakeholders."

The U.S. requires all packages be screened before being loaded onto passenger flights originating in the U.S. But there's no such requirement enforced for all cargo loaded onto U.S.-bound international passenger flights or on cargo-only flights, such as UPS and FedEx planes.

Jetliner bombings in the 1970s and the explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 led the U.S. to examine cargo security long before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington made counterterrorism measures a top priority.

Those efforts came in fits and starts. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Postal Service once had such a poor relationship that neither agency carried out their part of a mail security agreement they reached in 1979 after a mail bomb blew up on an American Airlines flight, congressional investigators reported in 1994.

In 2007, a coalition of more than a dozen business groups lobbied against requiring close inspections of packages, arguing in a letter to then-Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, that applying the same rules to passenger baggage and air cargo would set "an unachievable standard."

Only in August, nine years after 9/11, did the U.S. require that all cargo be screened on U.S. passenger flights. That rule drew heavy lobbying from airlines, air cargo carriers and trade groups. They devoted at least $32 million last year and $28 million so far this year to lobbying in Washington on that and other matters.

The air transportation industry, meanwhile, donated at least $8.3 million to congressional candidates in the 2009-10 election cycle, split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans, an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics found.

The TSA, carrying out a 2007 law requiring the screening of all cargo on passenger planes within three years, decided that starting last August it would mandate the screening of cargo on passenger planes loaded in the United States. It said its rule wouldn't apply to cargo placed on U.S.-bound passenger flights overseas, or to

cargo-only flights.

In leaving cargo loaded onto passenger flights outside the U.S. from the August requirement, the agency said it would work with other countries to try to standardize screening requirements and apply "risk assessment" to cargo headed for the U.S.

That decision drew praise from the International Air Cargo Association, whose members include FedEx, UPS and other major shippers.

The industry has long contended that requiring the careful inspection of every package would cost too much and take too long. Its companies want to be able to screen items quickly and they want the government to bear as much of the cost as possible.

A wide range of businesses and organizations have a stake in cargo screening rules. Among those lobbying, the National Funeral Directors Association wants to make sure the requirements do not delay the shipping of human remains and that remains are treated with dignity. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums doesn't want screening to harm animals as they are transported to zoos and other wildlife institutions, or endanger the people inspecting them.

Monday's announcement of new cargo rules came after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano held a conference call last Wednesday with cargo industry giants FedEx, UPS, German-based shipper Deutsche Post DHL AG and Netherlands-based TNT. On the call, Napolitano "underscored her commitment to partnering with the shipping industry to strengthen cargo security," her agency said.

The air cargo industry isn't short of political connections. FedEx spent $19 million lobbying from January through September alone; its chief executive, Frederick W. Smith, raised campaign money for Republican President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama's 2008 GOP rival, Sen. John McCain, and has made the White House guest lists of at least three presidents: Obama, Bush and Bill Clinton.

FedEx and UPS have served on various federal agency advisory panels over the years, and the head of the Cargo Airline Association has been part of an aviation security advisory committee. Association lobbyist Gina Ronzello used to work for the U.S. Transportation Department's inspector general, with a focus on aviation issues, and was a congressional aide. A Bush administration Customs and Border Protection official, Michael Mullen, lobbied last year for the Express Association of America, whose members included FedEx, UPS, DHL and TNT.




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« Reply #738 on: November 14, 2010, 08:19:51 AM »

The problem is that there are no quick, easy, inexpensive, unobtrusive methods of screening passaengers and cargo.
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« Reply #739 on: November 14, 2010, 09:53:07 AM »

"no quick, easy, inexpensive, unobtrusive methods of screening passengers and cargo"

That's right. I hate to be facetious but we are getting to the point where we might just as well walk through airport screening buck naked.  My answer has been mostly to drive which unfortunately increases the time and limits the distance I can travel.

Some improvements it seems to me could be made in identifying, discriminating and priortizing the passengers screened, and with those who packed, sealed and certified the cargo.  For example, my sister who travels on business every week of the year should mostly have to just voluntarily prove that she is who she is, and  speed through the fast lane.  A frequently screened law abiding traveler with no suicidal leaning and no demographic or otherwise tendency toward blowing up planes doesn't need every crevice examined as closely as the unidentified or higher risk passenger.  If I fly only once a year maybe they look a little closer because security doesn't know me.  And if you are a young male of Saudi or Yemen origin, expired visa, one way cash ticket and ties to jihad, sorry but expect a closer look.  If the science and the data supports discrimination, then discriminate.  Our military discriminates what countries we go into.  Marketers discriminate the markets they go into.  Criminal investigators discriminate where they look for clues.  Screeners need to discriminate at least to some degree or else fewer people and packages are going to be transported. 

The problem widens as screening has moved to government buildings and to everywhere terrorists will choose to target next.
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« Reply #740 on: November 14, 2010, 11:54:28 AM »

When it comes to protecting against terrorism, this is how things usually go: A danger presents itself. The federal government responds with new rules that erode privacy, treat innocent people as suspicious and blur the distinction between life in a free society and life in a correctional facility. And we all tamely accept the new intrusions, like sheep being shorn.

Maybe not this time.

The war on terrorism is going to get personal. Very personal. Americans have long resented the hassles that go with air travel ever since 9/11 -- long security lines, limits on liquids, forced removal of footwear and so on. But if the Transportation Security Administration has its way, we will look back to 2009 as the good old days.

The agency is rolling out new full-body scanners, which eventually will replace metal detectors at all checkpoints. These machines replicate the experience of taking off your clothes, but without the fun. They enable agents to get a view of your body that leaves nothing to the imagination.

A lot of people, of course, couldn't care less if a stranger wants to gaze upon everything God gave them. But some retain a modesty that makes them reluctant to parade naked in front of people they don't know, even virtually. Henceforth, Jennifer Aniston is going to think twice before flying commercial.

Besides the indignity of having one's body exposed to an airport screener, there is a danger the images will find a wider audience. The U.S. Marshals Service recently admitted saving some 35,000 images from a machine at a federal courthouse in Florida. TSA says that will never happen. Human experience says, oh, yes, it will.

For the camera-shy, TSA will offer an alternative: "enhanced" pat-downs. And you'll get a chance to have an interesting conversation with your children about being touched by strangers. This is not the gentle frisking you may have experienced at the airport in the past. It requires agents to probe aggressively in intimate zones -- breasts, buttocks, crotches. If you enjoyed your last mammography or prostate exam, you'll love the enhanced pat-down.

Reviews of the procedure are coming in, and they are not raves. The Allied Pilots Association calls it a "demeaning experience," and one pilot complained it amounted to "sexual molestation." The head of a flight attendants' union local said that for anyone who has been sexually assaulted, it will "drudge up some bad memories."

But the option of the full-body scanner is not so appealing, either, even leaving out privacy concerns. Two pilots' unions have advised members not to go through the scanners because of the possible risks of being bombarded with low doses of radiation.

"There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations," a group of scientists from the University of California at San Francisco informed the White House.

Aviation trade groups fear the public has finally been pushed over the edge. "We have received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from travelers vowing to stop flying," Geoff Freeman, executive vice president of the U.S. Travel Association, told Reuters.

The new policy is being challenged in court by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which says it violates the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches. But don't expect judges to save us.

Says Stanford University law professor Robert Weisberg, with resignation in his voice, "Airports are pretty much a Fourth Amendment-free zone."

Though the harm to privacy is certain, the benefit to public safety is not. The federal Government Accountability Office has said it "remains unclear" if the scanners would have detected the explosives carried by the would-be Christmas Day bomber.

They would also be useless against a terrorist who inserts a bomb in his rectum -- like the al-Qaida operative who blew himself up last year in an attempt to kill a Saudi prince. Full-body scanning will sorely chafe many innocent travelers, while creating only a minor inconvenience to bloodthirsty fanatics.

_The good news is that last year, the House of Representatives voted to bar the use of whole-body scanners for routine screening. But only a sustained public outcry will force a change.

We will soon find out if there is a limit to the sacrifices of personal freedom that Americans will endure in the name of fighting terrorism. If we don't say no when they want to inspect and handle our private parts, when will we?
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G M
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« Reply #741 on: November 14, 2010, 12:23:42 PM »

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die. Everyone wants to fly safely but no one wants to be screened. Getting searched by TSA is invasive. Getting processed by the FBI as part of a crime scene is even more so. When you are nothing but burned and shattered pieces of bone and tissue, you really don't have any privacy.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #742 on: November 14, 2010, 01:39:11 PM »

I don't think having any of the Thousands Standing Around, a.k.a. the TSA grabbing my balls or poking at my anus will really further security in the slightest.
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G M
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« Reply #743 on: November 14, 2010, 01:51:27 PM »

So we stop security screening at airports?
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G M
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« Reply #744 on: November 14, 2010, 06:51:19 PM »

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/nov/13/muslim-who-shot-solider-arkansas-says-he-wanted-ca/

I'm just one Muhammad There are millions of Muhammads out there. And I hope and pray the next one be more deadlier than Muhammad Atta!! (peace be upon him) commander of the blessed raids in NY and D.C. on 9/11.

**He must have missed Obama's explanation of what jihad meant.**
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #745 on: November 14, 2010, 09:18:52 PM »

"So we stop security screening at airports?"

Don't be silly.  No one here has suggested such a thing.

==================

A little vignette of what all this may turn into:

http://johnnyedge.blogspot.com/2010/11/these-events-took-place-roughly-between.html
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 09:26:00 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #746 on: November 14, 2010, 09:54:57 PM »

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=2940ff80be1e46634f6deadcc8f79dbe&rgn=div5&view=text&node=49:9.1.3.5.10&idno=49#49:9.1.3.5.10.2.10.3

§ 1540.105   Security responsibilities of employees and other persons.
top

(a) No person may:

(1) Tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, attempt to circumvent, or cause a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure implemented under this subchapter.

(2) Enter, or be present within, a secured area, AOA, SIDA or sterile area without complying with the systems, measures, or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas.

(3) Use, allow to be used, or cause to be used, any airport-issued or airport-approved access medium or identification medium that authorizes the access, presence, or movement of persons or vehicles in secured areas, AOA's, or SIDA's in any other manner than that for which it was issued by the appropriate authority under this subchapter.

(b) The provisions of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply to conducting inspections or tests to determine compliance with this part or 49 U.S.C. Subtitle VII authorized by:

(1) TSA, or

(2) The airport operator, aircraft operator, or foreign air carrier, when acting in accordance with the procedures described in a security program approved by TSA.
§ 1540.107   Submission to screening and inspection.
top

(a) No individual may enter a sterile area or board an aircraft without submitting to the screening and inspection of his or her person and accessible property in accordance with the procedures being applied to control access to that area or aircraft under this subchapter.

(b) An individual must provide his or her full name, as defined in §1560.3 of this chapter, date of birth, and gender when—

(1) The individual, or a person on the individual's behalf, makes a reservation for a covered flight, as defined in §1560.3 of this chapter, or

(2) The individual makes a request for authorization to enter a sterile area.

(c) An individual may not enter a sterile area or board an aircraft if the individual does not present a verifying identity document as defined in §1560.3 of this chapter, when requested for purposes of watch list matching under §1560.105(c), unless otherwise authorized by TSA on a case-by-case basis.

[73 FR 64061, Oct. 28, 2008]
§ 1540.109   Prohibition against interference with screening personnel.
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No person may interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate screening personnel in the performance of their screening duties under this subchapter.
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G M
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« Reply #747 on: November 14, 2010, 10:29:14 PM »

http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/enforcement_sanction_guidance_policy.pdf

B. Interference with screening
i. Including physical contact $1,500-$5,000
ii. Non-physical interference $500-$1,500
iii. False threats $1,000-$2,000

C. Entering sterile area without submitting to screening $1,000-$3,000

E. Entering or being present within a secured area, AOA, SIDA,
or sterile area without complying with the systems, measures,
or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or
movement in, such areas $500-$3,000
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DougMacG
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« Reply #748 on: November 15, 2010, 11:06:21 PM »

More trouble at security.  Jay Leno reports that an older woman came out of TSA screening all out of breath, angry, crying and hollering to her husband, 'How come YOU never touch me like that anymore?!'
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ccp
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« Reply #749 on: November 16, 2010, 11:01:07 AM »

I am curious.

I would bet my savings that Pelosi, and Reid, and all the rest of the bunch do NOT have to go through the scanners.

How about THEY go through and there scans get leaken online.



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