February 23, 2017

Kim Jong Un’s half brother was killed by a NERVE AGENT: Malaysian police say ‘North Korean assassins’ used deadly banned chemical weapon – but how they avoided being killed themselves is a mystery

  • Two women assassinated Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13
  • Malaysian police say Kim Jong Un’s half brother had nerve agent on his face
  • Not known how the women applied the agent without becoming ill themselves
  • VX nerve agent is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by United Nations
  • Suspected attackers, Indonesian woman and Vietnamese woman, are in custody

A statement Friday from the inspector general of police said a preliminary analysis from the Chemistry Department of Malaysia identified the agent as ‘VX nerve agent’.

Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of leader Kim Jong Un, died February 13 shortly after two women put a substance on his face while he was checking in for a flight.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4252244/North-Korea-calls-Malaysian-investigation-holes.html

IDF jet downs Hamas drone off the Gaza coast

Army says the UAV never entered Israeli airspace, vows not to allow violations of sovereignty

A Hamas drone paraded at a celebration marking the 27th anniversary of the founding of the terror group in 2014. (YouTube/RuptlyTV)

A Hamas drone paraded at a celebration marking the 27th anniversary of the founding of the terror group in 2014. (YouTube/RuptlyTV)

An Israeli Air Force fighter jet shot down a Hamas drone flying from the Gaza Strip toward the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday afternoon, the army said.

The unmanned aerial vehicle never flew into or over Israeli territory, the army noted.

The drone crashed into the water off the coast of Gaza.

“The IDF will not allow any violation of [Israel’s] airspace and will operate with determination against any attempt to do so,” the IDF said in a statement.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-jet-downs-hamas-drone-off-the-gaza-coast/

 

Putin congratulates Estonia on national day

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated his Estonian counterpart Kersti Kaljulaid on Estonia’s Independence Day, the Russian Embassy in Tallinn wrote on Facebook Thursday.

“[Putin] expressed confidence that development of Russian-Estonian relations in the spirit of good neighborliness and mutual respect is consistent with the core interests” of the people of the two countries,” the embassy said.

The Russian president wished his counterpart and all residents of Estonia happiness, well-being and all the best, the embassy said quoting from Putin’s congratulatory message.

http://www.baltictimes.com/putin_congratulates_estonia_on_national_day/

 

Lithuanian nationalists celebrate Holocaust-era quisling, Pepe the Frog near execution site

(JTA) — Lithuanian ultranationalists marched near execution sites of Jews with banners celebrating a pro-Nazi collaborationist who called for ethnic cleansing and a symbol popular with members of the U.S. “alt-right” movement.

Approximately 170 people attended Thursday’s annual march in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city that is also known as Kovno, the website Defending History reported.

The main banner featured a picture of the collaborationist Kazys Skirpa modified to resemble Pepe the Frog, a cartoon figure that was used by hate groups in the United States during the 2016 presidential elections, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The banner also included a quote attributed to the Pepe-like portrait of Skirpa, an envoy of the pro-Nazi movement in Lithuania to Berlin, that read “Lithuania will contribute to new and better European order.”

Skirpa, who has a street named for him in Kaunas, “elevated anti-Semitism to a political level” that “could have encouraged a portion of Lithuania’s residents to get involved in the Holocaust,” the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania asserted in 2015. But Skirpa “proposed to solve ‘the Jewish problem’ not by genocide but by the method of expulsion from Lithuania,” the center said.

The procession passed near the Lietovus Garage, where in 1941 locals butchered dozens of Jews. Thousands more were killed in an around Kaunas by local collaborators of the Nazis and by German soldiers in the following months.

http://www.jta.org/2017/02/17/news-opinion/world/lithuanian-nationalists-celebrate-holocaust-era-collaborator-pepe-the-frog-near-execution-site

 

Illegal fundraiser for the Clintons made secret tape because he feared being ASSASSINATED over what he knew – and used it to reveal Democrats’ bid to silence him

  • DailyMail.com has obtained a video in which convicted illegal Clinton fundraisers Johnny Chung gave secret testimony while in fear of his life
  • The Chinese-American was convicted of funneling money to Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid in a breach of campaign finance law known as ‘Chinagate’
  • Now new book revealed how he spilled details of his activities in a video he made because he thought a squad of assassins would come after him  
  • He made the video with a friend after his FBI protection detail was suddenly removed – which Chung said on the tape shocked even his judge 
  • Chung feared meeting same fate as Ron Brown, Clinton commerce secretary, who died in plane crash, friend who made the tape reveals
  • Video is revealed in new book about the Chinagate scandal 

A Chinese-American businessman at the center of a Clinton campaign finance scandal secretly filmed a tell-all video as an ‘insurance policy’ – because he feared being murdered.

In footage provided exclusively to DailyMail.com, Johnny Chung spills details on how he illegally funneled money from Chinese officials to Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4251046/Illegal-Clinton-fundraiser-tape-fearing-life.html#ixzz4ZZglVQpF

Did Hitler have a NUCLEAR BOMB? Declassified US documents suggest the Nazis successfully tested a nuke before the end of World War Two

  • Files unearthed in the US show how far Nazis got in bid to make an atomic bomb
  • A documented test may have taken place of a rudimentary warhead in 1944
  • Missile expert says he observed a mushroom cloud in the sky during a test flight
  • German test pilot Hans Zinsser said he saw the cloud south of city of Lübeck

Documents unearthed in an American archive suggest that Nazi Germany may have tested an operational nuclear bomb before the end of the Second World War.

Recently declassified file APO 696 from the National Archives in Washington is a detailed survey of how far Third Reich scientists got in the development of an atomic bomb – something Hitler craved.

In the file, obtained by the popular daily newspaper Bild, the task of the academics who prepared the paper between 1944 and 1947 was the ‘investigations, research, developments and practical use of the German atomic bomb

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4252164/Files-suggest-Nazis-tested-NUCLEAR-BOMB-WW2-ended.html#ixzz4ZVbvIbT8

Hackers can steal your information simply by analyzing the LED lights on your computer

  • Attacker must plant malware on computer via a USB drive or SD card
  • Drone flies outside window with computer and analyzes the blinking LED lights
  • Lights create a Morse code-like pattern that can be translated into data
  • Experts suggests a method that disconnects sensitive computers from the web 

A new hack has been discovered that gathers sensitive information from a desktop computer’s tiny blinking LED lights.

Researchers have successfully extracted a computer’s secrets using a data-stealing drone that is capable of recording the Morse code-like patterns of LED indicators.

However, the team has also devised a strategy to combat the hack – a security measure that takes sensitive computer systems off the internet.

A new hack has been discovered that gathers sensitive information from a desktop computer’s tiny blinking LED lights. A hacker would first have to plant malware on the system via USB or SD card in order for the drone to pick up the information

COMPUTER HACK

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University have uncovered a new way to hack computers.

First, malware needs to be planted on the system via USB or SD card.

Then a drone flies outside and records the Morse code-like patterns of LED indicators.

Hackers can translate the code into the sensitive data.

Experts found they could move data as fast as 4,000 bits per second, or close to a megabyte every half hour.

The hack and solution were discovered by a team at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Beersheba, Israel, which explained that the hack is more complex than just flying a drone to catch the blinking light.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4250910/Hackers-steal-data-LED-lights-computer.html#ixzz4ZVdlgoIu

European Counter-Terror Official:
IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Are Not Terror Groups

Leading counter-terror voice faces criticism after advocating against designating groups

BY:

A leading European counter-terrorism official is facing criticism after claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, are not terrorist groups.

Peter Neumann, an Austrian counter-terrorism official charged with working to combat violent extremism under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) attracted criticism this week after stating that both the Brotherhood and IRGC are not terrorist groups and should not be formally designated as such.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/european-counter-terror-official-irgc-muslim-brotherhood-not-terror-groups/

NATO Promises Increase in Tempo of Air, Naval Patrols on Black Sea

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/82521

Poland ousts 90 percent of top brass in defence overhaul

Warsaw (AFP) – About 90 percent of Poland’s top military brass have been replaced in an overhaul launched by the rightwing government, the defence ministry said Wednesday.

Several leading generals had already resigned over the past year as Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz pushes to consolidate the government’s control of the armed forces.

Macierewicz has also said he wants to stamp out all traces of the communist era, by blocking promotions of servicemen who joined before the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, especially those who attended military schools in the Soviet Union.

The defence ministry did not say how many generals had left the army, which now stands at 106,000 soldiers, up from 96,000 in 2015.

Opposition parties have criticised the departures of key four-star commanders in the army’s general staff, at a time of heightened tension with Russia.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/poland-ousts-90-percent-top-brass-defence-overhaul-213213219.html

SpaceX Dragon Delivers NASA Cargo to Space Station After 24-Hour Delay

A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship filled with more than 2 tons of NASA supplies has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) after a one-day delay due to a navigation software glitch.

The Dragon space capsule was captured today (Feb. 23) by the station’s robotic arm at 5:44 a.m. EST (0944 GMT) by astronauts Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.

http://www.space.com/35807-spacex-dragon-delivers-nasa-cargo-late.html

Iraqi forces retake runway at Mosul International Airport

Iraqi federal police forces – backed by U.S. air support – entered Mosul International Airport and took control of the runway from the Islamic State, an official said Thursday.

Thursday’s advance is part of a major assault that started five days ago to drive ISIS militants from the western half of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

Two police officers said the airport buildings were under fire from Iraqi forces. They would not provide more information but said the U.S.-led coalition is with the advancing forces.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/23/iraqi-forces-retake-runway-at-mosul-international-airport.html

McCain makes secret trip to Syria as US debates new plans to fight Islamic State

Sen. John McCain made a secret trip to northern Syria to visit U.S. military officials and Kurdish fighters and to discuss the campaign for defeating the Islamic State, his office said Wednesday.

McCain, R-Ariz., made the visit to the war-torn country as U.S.-coalition forces prepare for a major battled to oust militants from ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa. A statement from the senator’s office did not give the dates of his travel, saying only that he made the visit last week.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/23/mccain-makes-secret-trip-to-syria-as-us-debates-new-plans-to-fight-islamic-state.html

Mercedes-Benz to Open Russia Factory

Daimler Benz will open its first factory in Russia in the first new investment by a major western automaker since sanctions were imposed on the former Soviet country three years ago.

The company will invest more than 250 million euros ($260 million) in the 20,000-unit capacity factory to build SUVs and the E-class sedan, Automotive News Europe Reports.

The factory will be Daimler’s first to produce passenger vehicles in Russia and will be located about 40 km northwest of Moscow, with the first cars due to leave the assembly line in 2019.

“Russia is of strategic importance for Mercedes-Benz and an attractive growth market,” Markus Schaefer, Mercedes’ production chief, said in a statement. “By establishing a local production we not only achieve greater proximity to our Russian customers but also strengthen the international competitiveness of Mercedes-Benz cars,” he said.

The new plant will be a full assembly plant. More than 1,000 jobs will be created at the site and further jobs at local service providers and suppliers, Daimler said.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/economy-auto/60178/mercedes-benz-to-open-russia-factory

New anti-Islamic State plan could change U.S. strategy in Syria

February 22 at 6:13 PM
[Editor’s Note: If this is a trial balloon, walking away from the Kurds could prove suicidal in more ways than one.   It is not clear if this is a real story or one that is speculative since the U.S. officials are not identified and could well be trouble makers.]
President Trump’s developing plan to defeat the Islamic State may lead to significant alterations in the Syria strategy that Trump inherited from Barack Obama, including a reduction or elimination of both long-standing U.S. support for moderate opposition forces fighting against the Syrian government and the use of Syrian Kurdish fighters as the main U.S. proxy force against the militants, according to U.S. officials.

A memorandum signed late last month by Trump ordered the Pentagon and other national security agencies to draft a new proposal by late February. Trump has made clear in public statements both before and since his inauguration that he is eager to increase U.S. firepower against the militants, and willing to add more troops beyond about 500 U.S. Special Operations troops currently on the ground in Syria.

In addition to calling for “new coalition partners,” possibly to include operational coordination with Russia, Trump also ordered recommendations to change any existing military rules of engagement that are more stringent than what is required by international law

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/new-anti-islamic-state-plan-could-change-us-strategy-in-syria/2017/02/22/268e153c-f84b-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html?utm_term=.a1b3fc3588fd

Austria tries asylum seeker over Syria murders

An asylum seeker charged by Austrian authorities with 20 murders in Syria has had his case adjourned until the end of March.

The 27-year-old man, who was arrested in western Austria in June, faces the charge of “murder in the context of terrorism”.

He is accused of shooting unarmed or wounded soldiers following a battle in Homs, Syria.

His lawyers have said that he was severely traumatised at the time.

The man – who has not been named – denies the charges. According to Der Standard, he is a stateless Palestinian who grew up in a refugee camp in Homs.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39050806

More US Troops in Syria, Iraq Possible Under Mattis Plan

U.S. troop increases in Syria and Iraq could be part of the plan for speeding up the campaign against ISIS that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will present to the White House next week, military officials said Wednesday.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters traveling with him in the Mideast, “It could be that we take on a larger burden ourselves” in supporting a combined Syrian Arab and Syrian Kurdish force closing on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. “That’s an option.”

It was less clear whether Mattis would consider a U.S. troop increase in Iraq.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/02/22/more-us-troops-syria-iraq-possible-mattis-plan.html

Iran allowed to export surplus gas to Europe

By Nigar Abbasova

The Iranian Parliament has allowed the country’s oil ministry to export surplus gas to Europe and neighboring countries in the next fiscal year, which will start March 2017.

The approval is a part of the next fiscal year’s budget bill which is being discussed at the parliament, IRNA reported.

Under the bill, the Iranian oil ministry should take steps to export gas to the EU and neighboring countries-which are not buying oil from Iran- using the private sector potential, if the gas output surpasses 1,000 million cubic meters per day.

Iran’s gross gas output currently stands at 820 million cubic meters per day, while the country’s commercial gas output reaches 700 million cubic meters per day.

http://www.azernews.az/region/109326.html

 

 

Israel Wraps Up Tests to Improve Iron Dome Anti-missile System
For the first time, the system now has been making use of American-made components.

Gili Cohen

Israel successfully tests Magic Wand anti-missile system

Analysis ISIS seeks new balance of deterrence with Israel

Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that it recently completed a series of tests to improve the capabilities of Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system.

For the first time, the system has now made use of American-made components in the course of the missile interception tests, the ministry’s statement said. This is made possible by a production agreement signed with the United States, allowing Israel to manufacture Iron Dome components in the United States with the involvement of the Massachusetts–based defense contractor Raytheon.

As of 2015, about 55 percent of Iron Dome’s components have been produced in the United States.

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.773275

PM Modi clears air defence missile deal with Israel for Rs 17,000 crore

The Army will induct over five regiments of the MR-SAM missile which will have around 40 firing units and over 200 missiles of the system.

Ajit Kumar Dubey | Posted by Ashna Kumar
New Delhi, February 23, 2017 | UPDATED 05:13 IST
MR-SAM air defence system

Giving a strong push to India-Israel defence ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday cleared a mega deal for the Army worth Rs 17,000 crore to acquire the Medium Range Surface to Air Defence Missile (MR-SAM) system from Israel to protect India’s airspace from enemy aircraft and drones.

“In a meeting of the cabinet committee on security headed by the Prime Minister, the proposal for procuring the MR-SAM air defence system for the Army was approved and these would be deployed by the Army,” senior government sources told Mail Today.

The air-defence system developed jointly by the DRDO and Israeli Aircraft Industry can shoot down enemy aircraft, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS planes at the strike range between 50 km to 70 km in the sky and will help the country in filling gaps in air defence, the sources informed.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pm-modi-air-defence-missile-deal-with-israel-indian-army-drdo/1/889451.html

France, UK fund Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missile update

23 February 2017
MBDA has been awarded a GBP146 million contract to update France and the UK’s Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles. Source: MBDA

France and the United Kingdom have signed a GBP146 million (USD182 million) contract with MBDA to update their Storm Shadow/SCALP EG long-range air-launched cruise missiles, it was announced on 22 February.

Under the deal MBDA will refurbish the country’s remaining stocks of the missile, which has been in service since 2003, in order to “sustain the missile until its planned out of service date in 2032”, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

According to the MoD, “The regeneration will consist of a midlife refurbishment of current missile parts such as the turbo-jet engine, an upgrade of the navigational system, and a like-for-like replacement of items such as the cabling, seals, and gaskets.”

The first refurbished Storm Shadows are due to be delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF) at the end of 2018, and the first SCALP EGs to the French Air Force in 2020, according to the French MoD.

http://www.janes.com/article/68123/france-uk-fund-storm-shadow-scalp-cruise-missile-update

China denies increasing troops on North Korean border

FEB 23, 2017 – 10:53

BEIJING (Reuters) – China denied on Thursday that it had increased its troop presence on the border with North Korea after the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.

Reports routinely circulate at times of heightened tension on the Korean peninsula of China sending troops to the border, which China always denies.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/china-denies-increasing-troops-on-north-korean-border/42982308

‘3rd Fleet Forward’ One of Several Tools to Deter North Korean Aggression

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Navy forces are preparing for a conflict on the Korean Peninsula – the most likely “fight tonight” scenario they face – by shifting U.S. 3rd Fleet forces as well as the most advanced platforms into the Western Pacific.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, said North Korea is the only country in his area of operations which is not seeing an improved relationship with the United States, and “if there’s a fight tonight, it’s probably going to happen on the Korean Peninsula.”

Aucoin, speaking at the WEST 2017 conference, said that “we hope that North Korea abides by the United Nations Security Council resolution to stop development of nuclear weapons, but I’m not holding my breath on that regard.” He then described a three-pronged approach for naval forces dealing with that North Korean threat: “technology, our partnerships, and training.”

https://news.usni.org/2017/02/22/3rd-fleet-forward-one-of-several-tools-to-deter-north-korean-aggression

Pentagon starts preparing for split of acquisition job

23 February 2017

Key Points

  • Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis began the process of splitting the Pentagon’s top acquisition job in two in a memo distributed across the agency on 21 February.
  • The memo is the first step towards complying with congressional instructions to divide the responsibilities of what had been the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics into two positions.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis began the process of splitting the Pentagon’s top acquisition job in two in a memo distributed across the agency on 21 February. The memo is the first step towards complying with congressional instructions to divide the responsibilities of what had been the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics into two positions.

http://www.janes.com/article/68122/pentagon-starts-preparing-for-split-of-acquisition-job

Pentagon mulling split of NSA, Cyber Command

The Pentagon is beginning to assess whether it’s time to split up the leadership of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.

Right now, the two organizations share a leader — Adm. Mike Rogers, who is director of the NSA and also the commander of the cyber unit.

But lawmakers have debated ending that “dual hat” arrangement as the United States moves into a new era of expanded cyber warfare.

Given the NSA’s focus on intelligence collection, many on Capitol Hill and in the national security community think it no longer makes sense to have the agency joined with the leadership of military operations in cyberspace.

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/320736-pentagon-mulling-split-of-nsa-cyber-command

 

 

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