Tag Archives: cyber

March 24, 2017

Jihadi terror manuals on how to use a car as a ‘tool of war’ for mass murder can be found in just two minutes on Google and Twitter

  • Fanatics are urged to use cars before going on stabbing rampage in the guides
  • Video revealed after Khalid Masood killed three in car then stabbed a policeman
  • Manuals told jihadists in West to learn from Palestinian terrorists who use cars 
  • News comes as Boris Johnson accused social media sites of inciting terrorism 

Guides to mounting a car terror attack were available on Google and Twitter last night.

The vile manuals were online despite widespread warnings that UK jihadists use them for training.

Fanatics are urged to deploy large vehicles as ‘tools of war’ before going on a stabbing rampage – the template for Wednesday’s atrocity in Westminster. Boris Johnson accused social media websites of inciting terrorism.

The vile manuals were online despite widespread warnings that UK jihadists use them for training

And Google’s YouTube video platform was found to be raking in money from conspiracy theories saying the London outrage was a hoax.

As the maniac behind the attack was unmasked as 52-year-old Khalid Masood:

  •  The security services faced questions because he was known to police and MI5;
  •  Home Secretary Amber Rudd denied failures but admitted: ‘One got through’;
  •  It emerged MPs had raised concerns about the Commons gates Masood waltzed through;
  •  Officials revealed that he was shot dead by a ministerial bodyguard, rather than by armed police;
  •  Islamic State claimed Masood was its ‘soldier’;
  •  Officers made eight arrests around the country;
  •  The death toll rose to five when a 75-year-old man died in hospital last night.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4344338/Jihadi-terror-manuals-use-car-tool-war.html#ixzz4cF84mUUX

EXC: MPs railed against use of armed police at Parliamentary gates because they created a bad ‘atmosphere’ and said anti-terror barriers were ‘UGLY’

  • Interviews with MPs and staff from 2014 reveal resistance to boosting security
  • They complained that security barriers surrounding parliament were ‘ugly’ 
  • Also griped about armed police at main entrances creating bad ‘atmosphere’ 
MPs complained in 2014 that armed police being deployed at the Parliamentary gates because they created a bad 'atmosphere'

MPs complained in 2014 that armed police being deployed at the Parliamentary gates because they created a bad ‘atmosphere’

MPs railed against the armed police being deployed at the Parliamentary gates because they created a bad ‘atmosphere’.

There were also a slew of complaints that security barriers to prevent terrorists ramming cars into the building were ‘ugly’.

The complaints, in response to a survey by the House authorities in 2014, lay bare the extent of resistance among politicians to modernising security on the estate before the bloody terror attack this week.

Armed officers are not currently stationed round the clock at the Carriage Gates, the main entrance that looks out on to Parliament Square.

Khalid Masood marauded through the access point on Wednesday, stabbing Pc Keith Palmer to death. He was shot by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s personal guards after making it around 20 yards on to the estate.

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake, a member of the ruling Commons Commission, suggested today that officers manning the gates should always be armed or accompanied more closely by armed colleagues.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4346698/EXC-MPs-complained-armed-police-Parliament-gates.html#ixzz4cIGBINEv

Iran’s Spymaster Claims Pro-Regime Agents Operating in D.C., London, Canada

Claims pro-Iran ‘lobby’ pushing Tehran’s agenda in D.C.
March 23, 2017 3:28 pm

Iran maintains a network of spies and lobbyists who clandestinely push the Islamic regime’s agenda in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, according to the head of Iran’s ministry of intelligence, who touted the pro-Iran network’s ability to spread its ideology to the West.

Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s intelligence minister, in recent remarks independently translated by the Washington Free Beacon, bragged about the Islamic Republic’s ability to operate an unnamed “lobby group” in D.C. that helps to push the regime’s hardline agenda.

Alavi disclosed that Iranians with dual citizenship in the United States, Canada, and England, remain devoted to the “Islamic revolution” and are working to promote this agenda in their adopted homelands.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/irans-spymaster-claims-pro-regime-agents-operating-d-c-london-canada/

2 more ‘significant’ arrests made in investigation into London attack

Authorities said two officers are listed in critical condition. Reuters reported on Friday that the attacker’s birth name was Arian Russell.

According to police, Masood was born in Kent, U.K., and they believe he was most recently living in the West Midlands, which includes the city of Birmingham.

Masood was known to authorities and had a range of previous convictions for assaults, including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offenses.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the rampage, saying Masood was “an Islamic State soldier” who “carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the coalition.”

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/24/2-more-significant-arrests-made-in-investigation-into-london-attack.html

#DarkSeaSkies: CIA’s tool to hack MacBook Air in under 29 seconds exposed

Amidst WikiLeaks’ revelations about the CIA’s capabilities to hack into Apple products is DarkSeaSkies – a tool used to monitor and control MacBook Air that’s physically installed by a CIA agent or asset in “less than 29 seconds.”

DarkSeaSkies is a tool that runs in the background of a MacBook Air to allow the CIA command and control laptops. It is delivered via “supply chain intercept or a gift to the target.”

It’s loaded onto a MacBook via booting through a thumb drive. The CIA’s user document explains: “It is assumed that an operator or asset has one-time physical access to the target system and can boot the target system to an external flash drive.”

A 2009 “user requirements” document on DarkSeaSkies explains it was created to allow the CIA to access a MacBook Air.

The CIA’s COG [Computer Operations Group] had a “time-sensitive operational need” to install the Nightskies tool onto a MacBook Air, as the CIA had an “opportunity to gift a MacBook Air to a target that will be implanted with this tool.” It’s unknown who this target was.

https://www.rt.com/viral/382095-darkseaskies-cia-mackbook-darkmatter/

Swiss open probe into spying in Switzerland’s Turkish community

Switzerland has opened a criminal probe into possible spying involving Switzerland’s Turkish community, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

“The Office of the Attorney General has been made aware of concrete suspicion that political espionage has likely been conducted involving the Turkish community in Switzerland,” the agency said in a statement, giving no details about the probe launched on March 16.

The Swiss foreign minister told his Turkish counterpart on Thursday that Switzerland would “rigorously investigate” any illegal spying by Ankara on expatriate Turks before an April 16 referendum that could expand Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-turkey-espionage-idUSKBN16V1GD?il=0

In Venezuela’s Toxic Brew, Failed Narco-State Meets Iran-Backed Terrorism

In Venezuela’s Toxic Brew, Failed Narco-State Meets Iran-Backed Terrorism

As if the political and economic chaos wracking Venezuela wasn’t worrying enough, a couple of recent stories underscore the potential national security threat brewing there. First, last month’s designation of Venezuela’s vice president, Tareck El Aissami, as a drug kingpin by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Second, a CNN investigative report revealing that Venezuela’s embassy in Iraq was allegedly selling Venezuelan passports and identity documents to Middle Eastern nationals — raising the disturbing prospect that Caracas is facilitating the entry of Islamist militants to Latin America. Indeed, the CNN report echoed revelations from 2013 that the Venezuelan embassy in Syria was issuing passports to terrorists under the direction of Ghazi Atef Nassereddine, a Treasury-sanctioned, FBI-wanted Venezuelan diplomat who happens to be a key Hezbollah operative. Put all this together and what do you get? A rabidly anti-American failed state that appears to be incubating the convergence of narco-trafficking and jihadism in America’s own backyard.

Venezuela’s links to the drug trade are deep and well documented. Collusion with the cartels reaches the highest levels of the state. Two nephews of President Nicolás Maduro were arrested in Haiti and convicted on drug trafficking charges by a federal jury in Manhattan last November. General Néstor Luis Reverol Torres — Venezuela’s current minister of interior and justice, and former head of its national anti-narcotics agency — was indicted in the United States last August on cocaine trafficking charges, along with a former captain in Venezuela’s National Guard. The list of officials implicated in narco-trafficking also includes a former minister of interior and justice, two senior intelligence officers who later became governors, and now Vice President El Aissami

In Venezuela’s Toxic Brew, Failed Narco-State Meets Iran-Backed Terrorism

Venezuela expresses ‘desire’ to reestablish relations with Israel

8 years after Caracas expelled Israeli envoy, chief rabbi says he pitched a ‘period of courtship,’ consular relations before full ties

[Editor’s Note: Venezuela since Hugo Chavez and including Maduro has been anti semitic and anti-Israel in the extreme.  There are only 20,000 or fewer Jews in Venezuela, and many are leaving because of pressure from the regime. This initiative appears to indicate the extreme desperation of the current government.]

Venezuela’s foreign minister expressed to his country’s chief rabbi “the desire to establish full relations with the State of Israel” eight years after the South American nation expelled its Israeli ambassador.

“We suggested to start with a period of courtship, which means a beginning through consular relations, so that later it will become a marriage, which would be Israel’s own embassy again in Venezuela, as we have always had here,” Venezuela’s Sephardic chief rabbi, Isaac Cohen, told AJN News.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez spoke of the country’s commitment to re-establish ties during a meeting last Friday with several Jewish leaders, including Cohen and Elias Farache, president of the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela, the umbrella Jewish organization.

Cohen said that he has been in touch with the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“I am an Orthodox and Zionist rabbi, and for me it is Jewish pride to have the flag of the State of Israel hoisted here in Venezuela, as in any country where there is a Jewish community. That gives us peace and tranquility, it’s fundamental,” the rabbi said.

Last month, President Nicolas Maduro welcomed a Jewish delegation including Cohen and Farache at the governmental palace to strengthen cooperation that over the years has faced roadblocks.

“A good day of dialogue for peace. Boosting the co-existence and the dialog of civilizations, of religions to consolidate our nation,” the far-leftist leader tweeted after the meeting.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/venezuela-expresses-desire-to-reestablish-relations-with-israel/

 

Imam calling for Jews to be killed in sermon at Montreal mosque draws police complaint

Larger Muslim community wants apology from mosque and wonders why controversial imam was invited to preach

By Brennan Neill, Stephen Smith, CBC News

The controversial imam is Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr who was the invited guest of a Saint-Michel mosque.

The controversial imam is Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr who was the invited guest of a Saint-Michel mosque. (YouTube)

A Montreal mosque is facing a police complaint and rebukes from the larger Muslim community after a video of an imam delivering a sermon in which he asks for Jews to be killed surfaced online.

The sermon took place at the Dar Al-Arqam Mosque in the city’s Saint-Michel neighbourhood on Dec. 23, 2016.

The video was posted to the mosque’s YouTube channel three days later. The imam in the video is Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr — he was reportedly an invited guest of the mosque.

In the video, the imam recites in Arabic the verse: “O Muslim, O servant of Allah, O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

CBC independently verified the speech and its translation.

The controversial verse comes from a religious text known as a hadith, which interprets the words and actions by the Prophet Muhammad.

The hadith in question deals with end times and tells how stones and trees will ask Muslims to come and kill Jews hiding behind them.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/imam-sermon-montreal-mosque-1.4037397

 

China’s ZTE Pleads Guilty to Illegally Shipping U.S. Technology to Iran.

Mar 22, 2017

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE on Wednesday pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in Texas for illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran.

The guilty plea was part of an agreement the company reached earlier this month with U.S. authorities that also called for nearly $900 million in fines and other penalties.

The company admitted to three charges: conspiring to export American-made items to Iran without a license from the U.S. government, obstructing justice, and making a material false statement.

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A five-year investigation had found ZTE (ZTCOY, +1.86%) conspired to evade U.S. embargoes by buying U.S. components, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran.

ZTE, which devised elaborate schemes to hide the illegal activity, agreed to the guilty plea after the U.S. Commerce Department took actions that threatened to cut off the gear maker’s global supply chain.

http://fortune.com/2017/03/22/zte-guilty-shipping-us-technology-iran/

Russia, India in Talks on Creating New Models of BrahMos Missiles – Putin’s Aide

Russia and India are in talks on creating new models of missiles at the BrahMos Aerospace joint enterprise, Russian Presidential Aide for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — India has set a target of $2 billion defense exports, a six-fold increase from current exports, by 2019. In order to give impetus to exports, the Narendra Modi government has allowed government-owned defense companies to earmark 10 per cent of their production for exports. “The biggest challenge in boosting defense exports from India is the limited range of exportable products, limited overseas markets and predominance of defense manufacturers who have been in the business far longer than India,” Cowshish added.

“Today, Indian partners propose to develop, deepen this cooperation, make new models of the missile, these talks are underway,” Kozhin said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television channel.

A hypersonic version of the BrahMos cruise missile, capable of flying at up to 5,000 kilometers per hour, is expected to be created by 2020.

https://sputniknews.com/military/201703231051898499-russia-india-brahmos/

France’s Marine Le Pen urges end to Russia sanctions

France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has called for the lifting of EU sanctions on Russia, during a visit to Moscow.

The National Front (FN) leader called for closer French-Russian ties at a meeting in Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma.

She told its speaker sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea were counterproductive, Interfax reported.

Ms Le Pen has also met President Vladimir Putin.

He reportedly told her that Russia had no intention of interfering in the election, but had the right to meet any French politicians it wanted.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39375969

Terror suspect ‘drives car full of liquid gas, knives and rifles at high speed’ into Antwerp shopping crowds

Terrified pedestrians had to jump out of the way as the car entered the pedestrianised street just a day after the London terror attack

A suspected terrorist has been arrested in Belgium after he allegedly tried to drive a car into shoppers on a pedestrianised street – less than 24 hours after the attack in London.

The vehicle was reportedly full of liquid gas, knives and rifles.

Terrified pedestrians had to jump out of the way as the car entered the De Meir shopping street in Antwerp at high speed on Thursday morning.

The suspected driver, who was wearing camouflage, was later arrested by police, local media reported.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/antwerp-belgium-car-attack-london-10083953

U.S. Senate to vote on Montenegro’s NATO membership

The U.S. Senate will vote next week on the ratification of Montenegro as the newest member of the NATO alliance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday, after the Trump administration urged lawmakers to take up the long-delayed matter.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had written to the leaders of the Senate to say Montenegro’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was “strongly in the interests of the United States.”

All 28 of NATO’s members must ratify Montenegro’s accession before it can formally join the alliance. The vote in the U.S. Senate was held up for months when at least two Republican senators, Rand Paul and Mike Lee, blocked a quick vote.

The Senate’s Republican leadership had not scheduled a more time-consuming roll call vote until Thursday. McConnell announced in the Senate that there would be a procedural vote on Monday evening, which should clear the way for a final ratification vote later in the week.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nato-montenegro-idUSKBN16U33K

Moldovan PM Pavel Filip : NATO liaison office will open in Chisinau this July

1703241027561490270672original_8.jpg

Moldovan PM Pavel Filip said on Thursday at the end of the joint Romania – Moldova government meeting in Piatra Neamt that a NATO liaison office will open in Chisinau this July. Premier Pavel Filip also reaffirmed support for the participation of the Moldovan army in NATO joint exercises carried out outside country borders. 

“I said that the Republic of Moldova is a parliamentary country and the important decisions are taken by the government and Parliament. At the same time, we have the institution of the President who is also the commander-in-chief. We were faced with a less pleasant situation when the national army was unable to participate in the military exercises organized in Romania, under the NATO aegis. You are perfectly aware of President Igor Dodon’s stance and his love towards NATO. We managed to sign an agreement with NATO and a NATO liaison office will open in Chisinau in July. Back then we had discussions with the President of the country and explained to him that most of the national forces’ plan of activities related to training and exercises – that is about 80 percent – will take place outside the territory of the Republic of Moldova with the support of our NATO partners. The further refuse to participate in these exercises would mean the weakening of the national army, and it makes no logic when a commander-in-chief is complacent with the weakening of the National Forces. I believe this was the first and last time when this confusion occurred and that in the future the National Army of Moldova will participate in all applications. Even more than that, we should thank for this support with the training and exercises the Moldovan army participates in,” said Prime Minister Pavel Filip. 

http://actmedia.eu/daily/moldovan-pm-pavel-filip-nato-liaison-office-will-open-in-chisinau-this-july/68714

Pentagon worried about Chinese investment in US startups: report

The Pentagon is worried about new American technology firms turning to Chinese companies for investment on potential military applications, The New York Times reported.

Chinese firms are sending money to U.S. startups, include rocket engine manufacturers, companies that design sensors for autonomous naval ships and printers that make flexible screens that could be used in fighter jets. Many of the Chinese firms making the investments are owned by state-owned companies or have connections to Chinese officials, according to the Times.

Department of Defense (DOD) officials worry about the investments because they have found that China is encouraging companies with close government ties to invest in U.S. startups specializing in technology that could advance China’s military and its economy, according to a new DOD special report.

The Pentagon sent the report — commissioned before President Trump took office — to senior administration officials this week.

Details on the size of the deals are not available, as startups and their investors are not required to disclose them.

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/325519-pentagon-worried-about-chinese-investment-in-us-startups-report

Cyber war: Defense firms face battle to guard secrets

Thousands of defense contractors face a Pentagon directive to boost cyber security defenses by the end of the year, but many will likely won’t have all the safeguards in place, a cyber expert says.

“We don’t anticipate many companies being close to being compliant by the end of the year,” said Timothy Birt, Riverside Research information technology security administrator in Beavercreek.

Hackers target secret data on weapon systems, classified research on leap-ahead technology and personal information on top scientists and others with critical jobs.

“The interest in that personal data is to actually use it against employees of clear defense contractors to blackmail them or just coerce them into giving up information that they may not otherwise want to do,” Birt said.

 

Some of the prizes adversaries have pilfered via cyber espionage have loomed large: Congressional leaders have pointed out the close resemblance between the Chinese J-31 and the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the target of a cyber hack.

The Defense Science Board detailed other weapon systems cyber spies have stolen designs and data on span the F/A-18 fighter jet; the V-22 vertical take-off and landing aircraft; the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and the Black Hawk helicopter, The Washington Post has reported.

“Cyber attacks have become the preferred method of conducting espionage, because virtually every U.S. secret is on a network somewhere.,” said Loren B. Thompson, senior defense analyst and a defense industry consultant with the Virginia-headquartered Lexington Institute. “If enemies can gain access to those networks, they can avoid the difficulty of planting agents in organizations — a drawn out and dangerous process.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/cyber-war-defense-firms-face-battle-guard-secrets/q5nqjUomGdjXeI5JQV1ceL/

 

 

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March 10, 2017

CHINA WARNS OF NUCLEAR FIRST STRIKE IN RESPONSE TO THAAD DEPLOYMENT

“US must pay the price”

China warns that it is reconsidering its policy not to use nuclear weapons against South Korea in response to the U.S. deploying the THAAD missile system and sending B-52 bombers to protect its ally.

THAAD is being deployed to shield South Korea from North Korean ballistic missiles after several tests by the Stalinist state in recent months. Beijing is furious because the system will also be capable of detecting and tracking missiles launched from China.

It was also reported yesterday that the U.S. will send B-1 and B-52 nuclear bombers to South Korea in order to display a stern show of strength.

300,000 South Korean troops and 15,000 US personnel have also started their annual Foal Eagle military exercise. The USS Carl Vinson nuke-powered aircraft carrier will join the drill – carrying dozens of fighter jets.

An article in the Global Times, which is widely regarded as the voice of the Chinese government, says that Beijing will respond to America’s “strategic provocations” by actioning a “rapid increase in the number and quality of China’s strategic nuclear weapons” and that China isn’t worried about starting a limited “arms race”.

Asserting that “the US must pay the price for the THAAD deployment,” the piece goes on to warn that, “If the US further intensifies its anti-missile attempts and strategic containment, China may reconsider its pledge of not being the first to use nuclear weapons.”

https://www.infowars.com/china-warns-of-nuclear-first-strike-in-response-to-thaad-deployment/

Defiant Iran Conducts More Ballistic Missile Tests; This Time From Naval Vessel

As tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to mount, the semi-official news agency Tasnim is reporting that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has successfully conducted yet another ballistic missile test, this time from a navy vessel.  Called the Hormuz 2, these latest missiles are designed to destroy moving targets at sea at ranges up to 300 km (180 miles).

Reports on the latest test quotes Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force, who confirmed that “the naval ballistic missile called Hormuz 2 successfully destroyed a target which was 250 km away.”

The missile test is the latest event in a long-running rivalry between Iran and the United States in and around the Strait of Hormuz, which guards the entrance to the Gulf. About 20% of the world’s oil passes through the waterway, which is less than 40 km wide at its narrowest point.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-09/defiant-iran-test-fires-naval-ballistic-missile

Terror fears over hundreds of ‘ghost ships’ turning off their tracking devices while sailing close to hotspots including Syria and Libya before entering European waters

  • Vessels entering Europe routinely turn off their GPS tracking to ‘disappear’ 
  • Often become ghost ships after making dubious stops near terrorist hotspots
  • It is fuelling concerns they are smuggling people and weapons to the continent
  • 2,850 ships ‘went dark’ before entering Euro waters in first two months of 2017

Hundreds of ‘ghost ships’ turn off their tracking devices and sail suspiciously close to terror zones before entering European waters – including dozens who ended up off the British coast, it was revealed today.

Large vessels entering Europe routinely turn off their GPS tracking to ‘disappear’ from monitoring systems after making dubious stops close to terrorist hotspots.

It is fuelling concerns they are smuggling people and weapons to the continent, especially on the route between Libya and Greece.

Data from Windward, an Israeli-based maritime analytics company, shows that in total, 2,850 ships ‘went dark’ by halting transmission of their location before entering European waters in the first two months of this year.

Around 45 did this off the British coast for up to 24 hours – 50 other entered British waters without proper paperwork.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4300170/Terror-fears-hundreds-ghost-ships-turning-GPS.html#ixzz4avbL4SCQ

Park Geun-hye: South Korean court removes president over scandal

Park loses immunity from prosecution over corruption claims after constitutional judges uphold impeachment vote

in Tokyo and agencies in Seoul

Friday 10 March 2017 First published on Thursday 9 March 2017

Park Geun-hye has become the first democratically elected South Korean president to be forced from office, after the country’s constitutional court upheld a parliamentary vote to impeach her over a corruption and cronyism scandal that could see her face criminal charges.

Friday’s dramatic judgement brings an abrupt and ignominious end to Park’s four years in office – the most dramatic development yet in a scandal that has gripped and horrified South Koreans in equal measure. Two died in protests after the ruling.

Park will immediately forfeit the executive immunity she enjoyed as president, meaning prosecutors can summon, question and possibly arrest her.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/10/south-korea-president-park-geun-hye-constitutional-court-impeachment

Donald Trump unaware Michael Flynn was a ‘foreign agent’, Sean Spicer says

Former national security adviser retroactively disclosed that he lobbied for firm linked to Turkish government while working as Trump’s campaign adviser

in New York

Donald Trump was unaware his former national security adviser Michael Flynnwas working as a “foreign agent” when he gave him the job, according to his press secretary.

“I don’t believe that was known,” said Sean Spicer, when asked by reporters at his regular press briefing on Thursday.

Flynn resigned in February after just four weeks as national security adviser when it came to light that he had misled the vice-president, Mike Pence, about phone conversations with the Russian ambassador about sanctions in December. The resignation came after a flow of intelligence leaks revealed that he had secretly discussed sanctions with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and then tried to cover up the conversations.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that from September to November last year, while he was working as a top adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, Flynn was lobbying for a firm linked to the Turkish government, earning $530,000. He and his company Flynn Intel Group Inc filed retroactive documents with the Department of Justice two days ago to register as a foreign agent.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/09/michael-flynn-foreign-agent-sean-spicer

Poland reacts with fury to re-election of Donald Tusk

Almost all EU nations back his second term as European council president but Poland’s opposition leaves it isolated in Europe

in Brussels

Donald Tusk has won a second term as European council president, overcoming bitter opposition from Poland that has left the country isolated in Europe.

Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, was re-elected on Thursday with overwhelming support to lead the council, the body that organises EU leaders’ meetings, for a second term lasting two and a half years. His reappointment until the end of 2019 means he will play a crucial role in Britain’s negotiations to leave the EU.

The Pole, from the pro-European centre-right Civic Platform party, overcame strong resistance from his own government, led by the Eurosceptic Law and Justice party (PiS). The outcome was never in doubt, but is a blow for the Warsaw government, which responded with fury.

“We know now that it [the EU] is a union under Berlin’s diktat,” the Polish foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, told Polish media, echoing persistent claims by PiS that the EU is controlled by Berlin.

Despite its anger, however, Poland was left isolated as other countries including traditional central European allies lined up to back Tusk, a popular choice to guide the EU through difficult Brexit talks and tense debates on migration

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/09/donald-tusk-re-elected-as-european-council-president-despite-polish-opposition

Man arrested after injuring seven people in Düsseldorf axe attack

Police say there is no indication of terrorist motive after detaining 36-year-old from the former Yugoslavia

and agency

A man was arrested after injuring seven people with an axe at Düsseldorf’s main train station on Thursday night, police have said.

In a statement, they described the man as a 36-year-old from the former Yugoslavia who apparently had mental health problems. Police said three of the victims were seriously injured, with the others suffering minor injuries. The suspect was also injured.

Police said there was no indication of a terrorist motive behind the attack.

The station remained closed while crime scene specialists carried out their work but police are not searching for any other attackers.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/09/man-arrested-after-injuring-five-people-in-duesseldorf-axe-attack

Five people including four Russian businessmen are killed as a helicopter crashes into a TV tower moments after taking off in Istanbul

  • It is being reported the helicopter hit a television tower as it flew in dense fog
  • The helicopter belonged to the Eczacibasi group of companies, it has been said 
  • Four Russians, two pilots and a Turkish official were all travelling on the chopper
  • The Russians make up four of the five killed, and the other two are injured 

A helicopter has crashed on a motorway in the outskirts of Istanbul killing at least five people.

It is understood the Sikorsky S-76 chopper was flying in dense fog when it hit a television tower which caused it to plunge into the road.

There were seven people on board – four Russian guests, a Turkish official and two pilots.

A Twitter account for a crisis centre confirmed that four of the victims were Russian nationals.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4300598/Five-killed-helicopter-crash-Istanbul.html#ixzz4avaXChQF

 

 

Is Alexa working for the CIA? Video shows owner asking Amazon’s smart assistant if it is connected to the intelligence agency – causing it to shut down repeatedly

  • Video shows anonymous woman asking Amazon’s Alexa a series of questions
  • Started with ‘would you lie to me’ and then asked what is the CIA
  • Then asked if Alexa was connect to the CIA and the virtual assistant shutdown
  • Amazon said it was a glitch and now Alexa says ‘no I work for Amazon’

With the CIA’s ability to ‘breach almost anything connected to the internet’ made public, many citizens have begun questioning their devices.

A clip has surfaced showing an anonymous woman asking Amazon‘s Alexa a series of questions – starting with ‘would you lie to me’ and finishing with ‘Alexa, are you connected to the CIA?’

The virtual assistant swiftly responded to the first question, but shutdown after it was interrogated about its connections with the US government agency.

US deploys 2,500 paratroopers to Kuwait, ready for missions in Syria & Iraq – report

The deployment of 2,500 personnel will include units of the Fort Bragg-based 82nd Airborne Division 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2nd BCT), Army Times reported on Friday, adding that 1,700 troops from the 2nd BCT have already been deployed to the region, spreading between Iraq and Kuwait.

On Thursday, an unnamed military official told Reuters the Pentagon wants to have a rapidly deployable Kuwait-based force as part of the ongoing change in the US strategy to defeat IS.

Army Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, the US Army’s deputy chief of staff for operations, told House members on Wednesday that the additional troops will be “postured there to do all things Mosul, Raqqa, all in between,” as cited by the Army Times, referring to the Islamic State’s two main bastions in Iraq and Syria respectively.

https://www.rt.com/usa/380111-us-troops-deployment-kuwait/

Less than half of Marine Corps aircraft are ready to fly

Less than half of the Marine Corps’ aircraft are ready to fly, far short of the 75 percent goal by the service, the deputy commandant for programs and resources told Congress on Friday.

Lt. Gen. Gary Thomas said that, while readiness across the Marine Corps is on an upward trend, readiness in the aviation community is “still much lower than we would like.”

The service’s goal is to have 75 percent of its aircraft on the flight line ready to go, a number he called “reasonable” since routine maintenance will always take some aircraft out of commission.

But the actual number now is just 45 percent, mostly due to aircraft exceeding their planned service life, Thomas said. The statistic seemed to shock Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/less-than-half-of-marine-corps-aircraft-are-ready-to-fly/article/2617014

 

‘Giant leap’: China’s 5th-gen stealth fighter enters service

‘Giant leap’: China’s 5th-gen stealth fighter enters service
Months after unveiling its first fifth-generation J-20 fighter jet, China’s People’s Liberation Army announced that the advanced aircraft has entered service. The jet is meant to counter the US and its regional allies in a potential battle for air superiority.

The brief announcement on Friday made on state broadcaster CCTV’s military and agricultural affairs channel said the J-20 had entered service in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The report did not provide further details.

The announcement did not come as a big surprise; in November, the Chinese military demonstrated two J-20s during a pre-announced brief fly-past at the Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong province, signaling that the aircraft was about to enter service.

The development of the Chengdu J-20 began in the late 1990s, with the first prototype taking flight in January 2011. Eight prototypes have been built so far, with two being LRIP, or low rate initial production – an indicator that the aircraft design was generally fixed. The J-20 is yet to receive its designated engine, the Xian WS-15, but has been reportedly tested with China’s advanced PL-15 and PL-10 air-to-air missiles.

https://www.rt.com/news/380147-china-j20-fighter-service/

China to intercept ‘intruding’ aircraft, follow military vessels amid efforts to strengthen navy

China is building a “first-class navy” which will intercept “intruding aircraft” and follow any military vessels traveling within its controlled areas, an official has stated, adding that sailors should “stay vigilant.”

“We will intercept any intruding aircraft and follow every military vessel in areas under our responsibility,” Wang Weiming, deputy chief of staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

“Our sailors should stay vigilant and be able to deal with emergencies at all times,” he added.

Wang’s statements come as China looks to strengthen its navy, expanding its fleet of naval destroyers and frigates and stepping up air and sea patrols.

The senior official noted that the country’s second aircraft carrier – a refitted Soviet Union-made carrier – is taking shape, with the hull blocks having been joined.

The carrier will have a displacement of 50,000 tons and will be a base for J-15 fighters and other aircraft, according to a Defense Ministry spokesperson. It is expected to enter service around 2020.

https://www.rt.com/news/380135-china-navy-aircraft-vessels/

Get Ready, Russia and China: America’s F-22 Raptor Is Getting More Stealth and More Firepower

The Air Force has contracted Lockheed Martin to perform essential maintenance to the F-22’s low-observable stealth coating to ensure it is equipped to manage fast-emerging threats.

Lockheed Martin completed the first F-22 Raptor at the company’s Inlet Coating Repair (ICR) Speedline, a company statement said.

“Periodic maintenance is required to maintain the special exterior coatings that contribute to the 5th Generation Raptor’s Very Low Observable radar cross-section,” Lockheed stated.

The increase in F-22 deployments, including ongoing operational combat missions, has increased the demand for ICR. Additionally, Lockheed Martin is providing modification support services, analytical condition inspections, radar cross section turntable support and antenna calibration.

The Air Force is performing key maintenance on the F-22 Raptor’s stealth materials and upgrading the stealth fighter with new attack weapons to include improved air-to-air and air-to-surface strike technology, service officials said.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/get-ready-russia-china-americas-f-22-raptor-getting-more-19735

 

Pentagon: Russia, China Able to Launch Catastrophic Cyber Attacks on U.S. Infrastructure for Next 10 Years

Defense Science Board calls for new cyber deterrence plan targeting foreign leaders

Critical American infrastructure like the electric grid will remain vulnerable to catastrophic cyber attacks from Russia and China for at least 10 years, according to a Pentagon study.

A report by a Defense Science Board task force concludes that the decade-long cyber vulnerabilities must be mitigated while the Pentagon quickly creates new cyber deterrence capabilities, including offensive cyber weapons designed to inflict damage on adversaries and their leaders.

The 44-page report, “Task Force on Cyber Deterrence” was made public Feb. 28. It is based on a two-year study by a panel of military and defense experts.

 The report presents a dire picture of weaknesses in both military and civilian information and control systems that are being exploited by advanced cyber warfare states such as China and Russia, along with second-tier cyber threats from states such as North Korea and Iran.

Hezbollah Missiles Aimed at Israel’s Nuclear Reactor

Terror leader boasts of ability to strike Dimona reactor

BY:
March 9, 2017 1:42 pm

The Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah currently has advanced missiles capable of hitting Israel’s nuclear reactor, according to Hassan Nasrallah, the terror group’s leader, who boasted in a recent interview that the terror group is prepared to strike the reactor and cause nuclear havoc across the Middle East.

Nasrallah, speaking to an Iranian interviewer, disclosed that the Islamic Republic has smuggled a variety of new missiles to Hezbollah operatives and that the group is prepared to strike the Israeli nuclear reactor, which is located near the southeastern city of Dimona.

“We are ready to carry it out and we have the courage to do so,” Nasrallah is quoted as saying in the interview, which was translated into English by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, or ITIC, an Israel-based security organization.

 Israeli experts who compiled the report warned that Hezbollah has upgraded its weapons capabilities with the help of Iran and stands ready to inflict heavy damage on Israeli civilians.

Nasrallah boasted that a strike on the Dimona nuclear reactor would cripple Israel.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/hezbollah-missiles-aimed-israels-nuclear-reactor/

Syrian government urges U.N. to make Turkey withdraw from Syria

The Syrian government has called on the United Nations to force Turkey to pull “its invasion forces” out of Syria, state media said on Friday.

Turkey’s military shelled Syrian government forces and their allies in northern Syria on Thursday, causing deaths and injuries, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Turkey launched its first major military incursion into Syria in August, deploying tanks and air power in support of rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey’s operation aims to drive Islamic State from the border and stop Kurdish militias from gaining ground in their wake.

Syria’s foreign ministry urged the U.N. secretary general and security council to “force Turkey to withdraw its invasion forces from Syrian land and stop the attacks”, SANA said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-government-idUSKBN16H1JP

Shi’ite Militia in Iraq & Syria Offers to ‘Liberate’ Golan Heights

A Shi’ite “resistance movement” fighting the Islamic State terrorist organization in Iraq says it has formed a brigade to “liberate the Golan Heights from Israeli occupation.”

Hezbollah al-Nujaba spokesperson Seyed Hashem al-Moussavi announced the establishment of the ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’ on Wednesday, after what he called “recent victories,” quoted by the Iranian Fars News Agency. “If the Syrian government requests, we are ready to take action to liberate Golan,” he told FNA.

The group’s leader, Sheikh Akram al-Ka’abi said last month the presence of Hezbollah al-Nujaba in Syria was aimed at “resisting the plot” of the Islamic State (ISIS / Da’esh) terrorist organization, which he claimed was implementing an Israeli-initiated road map “under the supervision of the U.S., with the cooperation of Turkey and Arab states of the Persian Gulf in the region,” according to Fars.

U.S. troops have been fighting alongside Iraqi soldiers and members of the Kurdish security forces and Shi’ite militia members to oust the Islamic State terrorist group from its stronghold in Mosul. A radical Shi’ite cleric called Moqtada al Sadr has called for American troops to leave Iraq, Fox News reported.

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shiite-militia-in-iraq-syria-offers-to-liberate-golan-heights/2017/03/09/

 

Turkey-PKK conflict: UN report tells of ‘2,000 dead’ since truce collapse

When a man in the Turkish town of Cizre was told his sister had been killed, his family was invited to pick up her remains from the public prosecutor’s office.

But all they received were three small pieces of charred flesh – and no information on how she died.

His account from February 2016 is among many included in a new UN report on Turkish government operations in the country’s mainly Kurdish south-east.

UN investigators found some 2,000 people were killed in 18 months of fighting, and accuse Turkish forces of serious human rights violations.

The killings, disappearances and instances of torture documented in the report took place during a surge in violence after the ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) broke down in July 2015.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39228548

France to adapt civil rotorcraft for French military missions

PARIS — Following the recent pick of the Airbus Helicopter H160 for France’s joint light helicopter, work will now begin to study modifications to adapt the civil rotorcraft to military missions, according to Laurent Collet-Billon, the head of the French Direction Générale de l’Armement acquisition office.
This work includes fitting the Anti-Navire Léger anti-ship missile for the Navy and a machine gun for the Army.
That work is expected to lead to a program launch in 2019 for 160-190 units, said DGA Director of Operations Monique Legrand Larroche, who declined to give an estimated value of an eventual order. Such information would handicap the office’s negotiations on the deal, she said.

France rebukes construction firm’s offer to help build Trump’s border wall

The logo of French building material Lafarge is seen on cement trucks at a production plant in Paris, France, February 22, 2016.

The logo of French building material Lafarge is seen on cement trucks at a production plant in Paris, France, February 22, 2016.  (Reuters)

France’s top diplomat is pressing a French-Swiss cement manufacturer to rethink its bid to sell the United States material to build President Trump’s proposed border wall.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday that while construction giant LafargeHolcim can do what they want as a private company, the company should consider the social responsibility it has and the fact that the move could hurt its business with other clients.

“It should reflect upon what its interests are. There are other clients who will be stunned by this,” Ayrault told France Info radio. “Lafarge says it doesn’t do politics. … Very well, but I would say companies … also have social and environmental responsibilities.”

British govt admits to secret Syria war fund but refuses to identify ‘non-extremist’ fighters

Responding to questions from the Defence Committee, the government refused to identify the forces it is training in Iraq and Syria but appeared to confirm it has increased the amount of cash available for the conflict from a secretive war fund.

The committee asked a number of questions about the supposed 70,000 moderate fighters available to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), cited by then Prime Minister David Cameron to make the case for British intervention in Syria in December 2015.

The committee said it had been forced to examine the claim with the help of outside sources because the government had previously refused to name the groups.Critics say the figure was either made up or consisted of groups similar to IS and Al-Qaeda.

It would not be appropriate for the government to release or confirm such information on individual groups in Syria,” the official response said.

The government insisted “there are significant numbers of non-extremist fighters in Syria opposing both the Assad regime and terrorist groups like Daesh [IS].

It disclosed that infantry and tactical training is being provided to some groups in the region and that money had been pooled from the controversial and highly secretive Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) to pursue UK aims in the region.

https://www.rt.com/uk/380032-syria-iraq-fighters-funding/

DUTCH ARMED FORCES SERIOUSLY NEGLECTED: ADVICE COUNCIL

Dutch soldiers

Dutch soldiers. Photo: Countrymaster / Wikimedia Commons

The state of the Dutch armed forces is extremely worrying, according to advisory council on international affairs AIV in an advice report to the cabinet titled ‘Russia and the Dutch defense efforts’. According to the report, the “employability of the armed forces was further undermined this government term” and if the policy is not changed, the basic readiness of the army will only be back in order in 2021, NU.nl reports.

According to the AIV, the government continually paints an overly optimistic picture on the state of the armed forces. “These positive framings may serve a political purpose, but creates a false picture”, the report states.

The AIV calls on the next government to ensure that the Defense budget is increased to at least the NATO average. Over 8 years 2 percent of the gross domestic product must be spent on defense – the standard mutually agreed upon by NATO countries.

http://nltimes.nl/2017/03/10/dutch-armed-forces-seriously-neglected-advice-council

The Latest: Dutch PM tells Turkey minister: ‘Don’t show up!’

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on the growing tensions between Germany and Turkey

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that apart from arresting a Turkish minister on arrival in the Netherlands, his government is giving the strongest possible hints to Ankara to not send its representatives to address any rallies on the upcoming Turkish referendum.

Rutte says any planned weekend visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu could only stir trouble between the two NATO allies.While attending a European Union summit on Thursday, Rutte said: “This is the most serious thing we can do. You tell the foreign affairs minister of a NATO ally, ‘We know you will come to the Netherlands: Don’t show up!'”

Rutte added that local authorities would be unlikely to authorize any rally Cavusoglu would attend.”

And if you still decide to come, you won’t have a chauffeur driven car, no escort, no support,” he said.Rutte says that while “there are people who will say, ‘you have to arrest him at Schiphol,’ but we will stop just short of that.”

http://kdwn.com/2017/03/09/the-latest-dutch-pm-tells-turkey-minister-dont-show-up/

 

Pentagon hires former lobbyist for Peter Thiel’s company

The Department of Defense has hired a former lobbyist for the Peter Thiel-founded data company Palantir.

Justin Mikolay will serve as a special assistant to Defense Secretary James Mattis, BuzzFeed reported Thursday. In the position, Mikolay will help prepare Mattis for meetings foreign and White House officials.

At Palantir, Mikolay worked as an “evangelist” the firm’s title employees who met with the government to pitch them on their software.Mikolay had played a major part in Palantir’s ongoing efforts to get a $200 million contract on the Army’s battlefield intelligence system.

At the Pentagon, he will avoid working on anything directly related to Palantir, a spokesman said.

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/323282-dod-picks-up-former-palantir-employee

STRATCOM: Pentagon ‘Going Too Slow’ to Counter Commercial Drone Threats to Nuclear Sites

U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the House Armed Services Committee he needed to accelerate arming those protecting nuclear sites with tools to disable or destroy errant drones, as well as developing the legal framework to interdict a drone.

“We’re going too slow,” Hyten said in response to a question from Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.).

“We have to get the right policies and authorities out there so our defenders know exactly what to do, and then we have to give them material solutions to allow them to react when they see a threat and identify that there is a threat so they do they right things. We’re just going way too slow across policy, authorities and material solutions.”

https://news.usni.org/2017/03/09/counter-commercial-drone-threats-to-nuclear-sites

Satellite Images Show Preparations for Nuclear Test at North Korean Site

Satellite imagery released by the 38 North monitoring website shows that DPRK could be preparing for a new nuclear test.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – North Korea could be preparing for a new nuclear test, satellite imagery released by the 38 North monitoring website shows.

“New commercial satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from March 7 indicates activity at the North Portal, Main Administrative Area and Command Center. The sum of these activities supports an assessment that North Korea continues to prepare the tunnels at the North Portal for a future nuclear test,” 38 North said in its Thursday analysis accompanying the satellite images.

The images reflect a changing patter of equipment and supplies and continuing work at the location over the past six months.

According to the analysis of the images, Pyongyang is capable of carrying out a sixth nuclear test “on short notice,” 38 North said.

On Monday, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles, explaining a day later that the launches were a test of its ability to strike US military facilities located in Japan.

Last year, North Korea carried out two nuclear tests and over two dozen of test launches using ballistic missile technology. Previously, the United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea for three nuclear tests it carried out in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

In late April, 2016, the 38 North monitoring website released commercial satellite imagery showing that North Korea was resuming excavation operations at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, with similar activity observed at the facility as that seen three days prior to the February 12, 2013 nuclear test.

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201703101051431294-dprk-nuclear-test-preparations/

Exclusive: Japan to vet bidders in Toshiba chip sale for national security risks – sources

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese government, fretting over the future of Toshiba Corp’s flagship memory chips unit, is prepared to block a sale to bidders it deems a risk to national security, sources said, a stance that gives U.S. suitors a major advantage.

The government would use Japan’s foreign exchange and foreign trade laws to control the auction if need be, one of the sources said. The sources are directly involved in the sale process, but declined to be identified because it is not public.

“The United States is the only feasible partner from Japan’s national security standpoint,” said another source, noting that cutting-edge chips are at the heart of robotics, artificial intelligence and connected devices.

Seeking to plug an upcoming $6.3 billion writedown for its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse and create a buffer for future potential losses, Toshiba is rushing to sell most or even all of the unit – world’s second-biggest NAND chip producer – which it values at at least $13 billion.

With Westinghouse woes deepening to the point of it hiring bankruptcy lawyers to explore a possible Chapter 11 filing, the Japanese industrial conglomerate is also leaning towards U.S. suitors given the potential for friction with the United States.

“It’s obvious U.S. players are more suitable bidders,” a Toshiba executive said. “We’ll probably need to fight over Westinghouse (with the U.S.), so we could cooperate over chips in exchange.”

http://whtc.com/news/articles/2017/mar/10/exclusive-japan-to-vet-bidders-in-toshiba-chip-sale-for-national-security-risks-sources/

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February 28, 2017

‘Dress up like a Jew and make sure you have plenty of weapons under your coat’: ISIS fanatics issue chilling call to ‘terrorise’ Jewish people in the West

  • Chilling post urges ISIS supporters to ‘dress up like a Jew’ and launch attacks
  • Terror group’s supporters were advised to conceal weapons in their clothes
  • ISIS-linked Telegram channel also gives a list of possible targets in Britain
  • Also uses a picture of Amedy Coulibaly who attacked a Jewish shop in Paris

ISIS fanatics have issued a chilling call for fellow extremists to ‘terrorise’ Jewish communities in the West.

Brainwashed supporters were advised to ‘dress up like a Jew’ and conceal weapons under their coats before ‘unleashing the pain of the Muslims’ on their victims.

The terrifying call to arms emerged on an ISIS-linked Telegram channel called Lone Mujahid – a chat room where aspiring terrorists are encourage to carry out ‘lone-wolf’-style attacks.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4267184/Chilling-ISIS-post-calls-attacks-Jews-West.html#ixzz4Zz34G9RI

Syria war: Russia and China veto sanctions

Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons.

It is the seventh time Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to protect the Syrian government.

China has also vetoed six security council resolutions on Syria since the civil war began in 2011.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under an agreement negotiated between Russia and the US.

The Syrian government has previously denied carrying out chemical attacks.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39116854

 

Is this proof US forces’ deadly new drone can take out targets with astonishing accuracy? Images reveal how Al Qaeda leader was killed in his car – but the vehicle remained largely intact

  • Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abdulrahman was reportedly killed on Sunday night
  • Pictures of drone attack show killing was carried out with enormous accuracy
  • Suggestions a new smaller drone is now being used in remote air combat
  • Instead of 25lbs of explosives, drones carry charges of a 40mm grenade
  • It would mean less innocent casualties on the ground caused by drone strikes 
  • Egyptian-born Abdulrahman was known by nom de guerre Abu al-Khayr al-Masri
  •  He was released from an Iranian jail in 2015 and headed for Syria 

Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abdulrahman, who had been deputy to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was thought to have been killed on Sunday night in a drone attack on a car.

However, unlike previous bombings carried out by drones which usually result in catastrophic damage not to mention leaving the shell of a burned out car, in Sunday’s attack the vehicle appeared relatively unscathed.

It could mean that a new type of ultra-accurate drone is being used to ensure killing are carried out with both pinpoint accuracy all while reducing the amount of collateral damage.

Could a new type of drone be responsible for the killing of Al-Qaeda's second in command?

Could a new type of drone be responsible for the killing of Al-Qaeda’s second in command?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4265870/Images-Syrian-strike-new-kind-drone-exist.html#ixzz4Zz3K6B1L

India To Deploy Israeli SPYDER Air Defence Missile System Near Pakistan Border

Our Bureau

Israeli SPYDER air defence missile system

The Indian Air Force is in the process of deploying Israeli SPYDER air defence missile system on the western borders that it shares with Pakistan in the coming weeks.

The air force aims to boost its readiness to strike down any aerial threat from Pakistan, India Today reported today.

The deployment will help in tackling any aircraft, cruise missile, surveillance plane or drone that tries to violate our airspace, a defense official said.

The induction process for the country’s air force was delayed more than three years due to lack of availability of Czech manufactured Tatra trucks on which the missiles were to be carried.

The SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) is a low-level, quick reaction missile (LLQRM) to neutralise hostile targets up to 15 km away and at heights between 20 and 9,000 metres. The system provides fast reaction air defence protection against enemy aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/18568/India_To_Deploy_Israeli_SPYDER_Air_Defence_Missile_System_Near_Pakistan_Border#.WLYCfpArJD8

 

Attacks on Top Trump Adviser Gorka a Product of Obama Admin Holdovers, Targeted Leaks

Support for Gorka not waning in Trump White House in light of media attacks

Images via AP and Flickr user Ariel Dovas

BY:
February 27, 2017 12:00 pm

Obama administration holdovers and loyalists are waging a leak-driven media campaign against a senior counter-terrorism adviser hand-picked by President Donald Trump, with the aim of undermining the Trump administration’s national security apparatus, according to multiple senior White House officials and sources close to the administration.

Sebastian Gorka, a longtime national security expert profiled by senior editor Bill Gertz in today’s Free Beacon, has been the subject of multiple leaks and negative stories portraying him as a bigot as part of a campaign similar to the one that brought down former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Senior White House officials dismissed the media narratives and said Gorka is well liked and respected by Trump’s innermost crowd. Several of these sources would only speak on background because they were not authorized to discuss internal White House workings. They also expressed growing concern about leaks from within the administration that are aimed at undermining Trump’s senior advisers.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/attacks-top-trump-adviser-gorka-product-obama-admin-holdovers-targeted-leaks/

N. Korea has ‘1000s of tons of chemical weapons’ scattered across country – Seoul

N. Korea has ‘1000s of tons of chemical weapons’ scattered across country – Seoul
South Korea’s foreign minister, Yun Byung-se, has warned that the North has “thousands of tons of chemical weapons” across the country and called to suspend Pyongyang from the UN.

Yun Byung-se has called for invoking a chemical weapons convention in light of the assassination that killed the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Malaysia.

North Korea is reported to have not just grams but thousands of tonnes of chemical weapons including VX all over the country…the recent assassination is a wake-up call to all of us to North Korea’s chemical weapons capability and its intent to actually use them,” the minister said as quoted by Reuters.

He also warned that within North Korea’s stockpile is VX, the nerve agent which is believed to have killed Kim’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport earlier this month.

The statement made at a UN disarmament conference in Geneva comes after Seoul signed a land swap deal with retail giant Lotte, which will allow South Korea to host the controversial US THAAD missile system. Both Seoul and Washington say the system is a defensive measure against Pyongyang.

https://www.rt.com/news/378867-korea-chemical-weapons-measures/

Fury in Berlin as Ankara reportedly arrests Die Welt journalist for ‘terrorism propaganda’

Fury in Berlin as Ankara reportedly arrests Die Welt journalist for ‘terrorism propaganda’
Die Welt’s Deniz Yucel, who has both Turkish and German citizenship, has been arrested in Turkey on charges of “terrorism propaganda” and “inciting violence,” according to a court witness. The news has sparked a harsh reaction from Germany.

Two weeks ago, Yucel was detained after reporting on emails allegedly from the private account of Turkey’s energy minister, Berat Albayrak, who is also President Erdogan’s son-in-law, which had been released by a leftist hacker collective.

The leak has been linked to a huge scandal that began months ago, when WikiLeaks said that the emails proved Albayrak’s connections to Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] oil trade.

The 57,000 emails from 2000-2016 tied Albayrak to staffing and salary questions at Powertrans, a company with a monopoly on providing road and rail logistics for oil being transported from Kurdistan. In 2014-2015, Powertrans was also linked to IS-produced oil coming from Syria. Though there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the allegations, Albayrak denied having any links to Powertrans anyway.

A court witness told Reuters that the correspondent was jailed pending trial on Monday, becoming the first German reporter to be detained since the July coup and the ensuing crackdown on media.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed the detention as “disproportionate,” “bitter and disappointing,” while German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel went a step further, saying the journalist’s arrest exposes the differences between the two countries’ positions on freedom of the press in a “glaring light.”

https://www.rt.com/news/378876-turkey-arrest-german-journalist/

Samsung Group chief charged with bribery, corporate nerve center dismantled

By Se Young Lee and Ju-min Park | SEOUL
South Korean prosecutors charged Samsung Group [SARG.UL] chief Jay Y. Lee with bribery and embezzlement on Tuesday as the top conglomerate announced the dismantling of its corporate strategy office, the latest developments in a graft scandal that has rocked the country.

Jay Y. Lee, 48, was arrested on Feb. 17 over his alleged role in the corruption scandal involving impeached President Park Geun-hye, dealing a fresh blow to the standard-bearer for Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

The special prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday, the last day of its investigation, that it had charged Lee, third-generation leader of the tech giant “chaebol”, and four other executives with bribery and embezzlement.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-politics-idUSKBN1670G2

Did China Just Make ALL Stealth Fighters (Think the F-22 and F-35) Obsolete?

Could Beijing’s quantum radar technology render stealth aircraft obsolete?

While theoretically, if such a radar existed, it would be able to detect and track stealth aircraft with impunity, but it is unclear if China truly mastered such technology. The Chinese defense industry has claimed a breakthrough in mastering quantum radar technology, but Western defense industry officials said that such a system is not likely to exist outside a laboratory. Even then, the quantum radars would be difficult to build and test reliably even in a lab environment. Indeed, it is likely that networked low-frequency radars—which can also detect and track fighter-sized stealth aircraft—are more likely to be a more pragmatic development.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/did-china-just-make-all-stealth-fighters-think-the-f-22-f-35-19608

$400bn F-35 can only hit ‘stationary or slow moving objects’ new report reveals as military bosses claim fighter jet could battle ISIS in the Middle East ‘in a few years’

  • Fifth-generation fighter has been plagued with issues 
  • $400bn development schedule has stretched to 15 years
  • Report claims it won’t be ready to even begin full combat testing until 2019

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been hailed as the ‘most expensive weapon in history’, costing $400bn.

However, according to Aviation Week, the plane’s laser targeting system has one slight flaw – it can only target stationary or slow moving objects.

‘Despite being among the most technologically advanced low-observable warplanes on the planet, the Lockheed Martin F-35 has one significant shortcoming,’ it wrote.

‘The Joint Strike Fighter cannot strike moving ground targets using the targeting system and weapons loadout delivered in its final combat Lightning II configuration, Block 3F.’

The jet has gone through dozens of updates to its software, with the Block 3F being the most recent.

 

Google Fixes Ultra Sneaky Gmail Phishing Trick

Google has countered to a “highly effective” phishing scam that in recent months impacted users of its Gmail email service.

Scammers had been tricking people into divulging their passwords by directing them to lookalike login pages that tripped no alarms in the victim’s web browser. Security researchers at WordFence, a company that makes security tools for WordPress sites, last month warned that the phishing effort was “having a wide impact, even on experienced technical users.”

No longer. Google has responded to the problem with an update to its Chrome browser. In the new version, released earlier this month, the browser’s address bar warns people when they have been served a page that uses the phishing trick.

http://fortune.com/2017/02/27/google-gmail-chrome-fix-phishing/

Russia’s fifth-gen fighter blitz

February 27, 2017 (Photo Credit: SERGEY VENYAVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

MOSCOW — Russia is moving aggressively on another traditional patron of U.S. arms exports: the United Arab Emirates. Rather than cheap small arms and land-based platforms, Russian companies appear to have identified a market opportunity: relatively cost-effective alternatives to Western fifth-generation fighters.

The head of Russia’s largest defense conglomerate Rostec, Sergey Chemezov, told reporters at the IDEX show in Abu Dabi this week that Rostec would partner with the UAE Defense Ministry to develop a light fifth-generation fighter jet based on the MiG-29. Development is slated to begin in 2018, and production should launch seven to eight years after that.

“It takes quite a long period of time to develop,” Chemezov told Defense News in an exclusive interview. “We anticipate local production here in [UAE], for the needs of [UAE].”

Russia-backed rebels issue ultimatum to Ukraine

Ukraine-run businesses to be seized in Donetsk and Luhansk if blockade does not end, say Russia-backed rebel leaders.Separatists in eastern Ukraine have threatened to take control of Ukraine-run businesses in rebel-held areas if the Kiev government does not end a rail blockade that had halted coal supplies.

The ultimatum came on Monday, a month since a group of Ukrainian legislators and army veterans started blocking some rail traffic in eastern regions.

The blockade is opposed by the Ukrainian government, as it prevents coal produced in the rebel-held territory from reaching power plants and the steel industry in the rest of the country, whose exports are a keystone of Ukraine’s economy.

In a joint statement, leaders of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) said on Monday the blockade had caused many businesses to suffer in rebel-held areas and that it went against the spirit of the 2015 Minsk peace agreement.

Alexander Zakharchenko, of the DNR, and the LNR’s Igor Plotnitsky said: “We are forced to announce that if, by midnight on Wednesday, the blockade is not taken down, we will introduce a system of external management on all companies registered in Ukraine’s jurisdiction that operate in the DNR and LNR.”

They also said they would stop selling coal to Ukraine and send future coal supplies to Russia or elsewhere.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/russia-backed-rebels-issue-ultimatum-ukraine-170227172545227.html

Russia’s Mysterious Cyber Treason Case Just Got Even Sketchier

Late last year, top cybersecurity investigators from a private firm and Russian intelligence were arrested in dramatic fashion. One was dragged out of a meeting with a bag over his head. All were disappeared. Details were scare at the time, but revelations from a new Reuters report now only complicate what we know.

In December, Ruslan Stoyanov, head of the computer incidents investigation team at Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, was arrested with no explanation from Russian law enforcement. Along with Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchayev, Stoyanov was charged with treason. Reports indicated that the suspects would be tried in a “secret military tribunal.”

According to a Reuters source, the treason charges are related to accusations made by a Russian businessman named Pavel Vrublevsky seven years ago. In 2010, Vrublevsky, founder of internet payment firm ChronoPay, reported the suspects to authorities. He claimed that they had passed state secrets to American firms including Verisign, a company that specializes in domain name services and internet security, which then turned them over to US intelligence. Reuters reports the accusations were never investigated.

A spokesperson from Verisign, the only American firm identified, denied that it had been given any secret information. The company does have an iDefense unit that gathers information on cybercrime and supplies dossiers to US intelligence, but the spokesperson insisted that it does not deal in classified information. “Nothing like the arrangement as described by Pavel Vrublevsky ever took place,” said Kimberly Zenz, a former analyst at Verisign’s iDefense unit.

http://gizmodo.com/russias-mysterious-cyber-treason-case-just-got-even-ske-1792786218

PUTIN AND ERDOGAN COZY UP TO DIVIDE SYRIA

Something big and important must be at the heart of a relationship in which both sides are able to overcome the pain they repeatedly inflict on each other. Russia and Turkey, historically adversaries and newly active allies, are one such case.

While the United States is sending conflicting signals about its Syria policy, Russia, Turkey and Iran are negotiating a pragmatic framework of coexistence in the region, which is torn by international and sectarian conflicts.

Russia and Turkey in particular seem to have found a way of pursuing larger goals while agreeing to disagree on the many diverging interests that will always keep the two countries apart.

The two countries’ mutual history is rough. They clashed incessantly and waged war on each other once every quarter century when they were still empires. Soviet Russia and Kemalist Turkey ended up on opposite sides of the Cold War divide.

http://www.newsweek.com/putin-and-erdogan-cosy-divide-syria-561814

Iraq army seizes key Mosul bridge in ISIS battle

While all five bridges linking the government-held eastern Mosul to the western part have been destroyed, the takeover of the fourth bridge will allow Iraqi forces to lay a ramp over the broken part and open a supply route from east.

“The Rapid Response Forces of the Iraqi Federal Police completely liberated al-Jawsaq neighborhood and control the fourth bridge… Iraqi flags are now raised on buildings, and heavy casualties were inflicted on ISIS,” Lt. Gen. Abdel Amir Rasheed Yarallah of the Joint Operations Command said Monday.

Asian imports of Iranian oil rise nearly 70 percent year/year in January

By Osamu Tsukimori | TOKYO

Imports of Iranian crude by Asia’s four main buyers of the oil rose about two-thirds in January from a year ago when levels were lower as Western sanctions on Tehran had only just been lifted.

Iran’s top four Asian buyers – China, India, South Korea and Japan – imported 1.64 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up 67.6 percent on a year earlier, government and ship-tracking data showed.

http://in.reuters.com/article/asia-iran-crude-idINKBN1670Q3

Airbus faces battle on two fronts over call for A400M aid

By Tim Hepher | PARIS

Airbus (AIR.PA) faces tough negotiations on two fronts as it seeks new relief from European governments and engine makers for losses on its troubled A400M military transporter plane.

The planemaker called last week for new talks with European governments to ease “heavy penalties” for delays to the troop and armored vehicle carrier, after taking a fresh 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) charge for Europe’s largest defense project.

It has also appointed a new program manager for the A400M as part of a broader reshuffle and is set to beef up the management of its military aircraft business with a new deputy, industry sources said. Airbus declined to comment.

The 20-billion-euro project has been beset by political wrangling since its inception more than a decade ago. By citing a new ‘crisis’ and calling for ministerial talks, Airbus seems to be repeating tactics that led to a previous 3.5 billion euro bailout in 2010.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-airbus-a400m-idUSKBN1661WR

Massive Azerbaijani Attack on Artsakh Rebuffed

STEPANAKERT, Artsakh (ArmRadio)—The Azerbaijani launched an offensive toward Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic positions on February 25 using various weaponry in the southeastern (Martuni) and eastern (Akna) directions of the Artsakh/Azerbaijani border, also known as the line of contact, twice at 3am and 4am, the Artsakh Defense Ministry reported.

The Artsakh armed forces did not have any casualties, while Azerbaijan lost five servicemen in the neutral zone.

“The attempt was a complete failure,” the Ministry said, adding that, as the Azeri side tried to ascribe its actions to the Armenian side.

http://asbarez.com/160559/massive-azerbaijani-attack-on-artsakh-rebuffed/

Cyber attackers target Singapore Defence Ministry, but no secrets found

Cyber attackers have stolen basic personal data from about 850 Singapore national servicemen and employees in a possible attempt to access official secrets, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry detected the breach this month in the I-net system that allows internet surfing using dedicated computer terminals on defense ministry and Singapore Armed Forces premises, the ministry said in a statement.

No classified military information was stored on I-net, the ministry said.

“The attack on I-net appeared to be targeted and carefully planned,” it said.

“The real purpose may have been to gain access to official secrets, but this was prevented by the physical separation of I-net from our internal systems.”

http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-singapore-defence-idUKKBN1670O3

SINGAPORE MILITARY HACK ‘PROBABLY STATE SPONSORED’

Breach of defence ministry’s ‘I-net’ system stole identity card information, telephone numbers and dates of birth of 850 people

BY BHAVAN JAIPRAGAS

The Singaporean military’s dedicated web access system was breached this month by hackers thought to be hunting for official secrets, the government said on Tuesday.

Investigations into the breach of the Ministry of Defence’s “I-net” system – which is detached from computers dealing with classified information – found the personal information of about 850 people had been stolen, the ministry said.

One analyst said there was a “high probability” that the hack was state sponsored.

The I-net system is air-gapped, meaning that computers linked to it do not have access to a separate system that handles the digital exchange of classified information.

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2074806/singapore-military-hack-probably-state-sponsored

Inside The Insane Coup Russian Spies Dressed As Cops Tried To Launch

 JACOB BOJESSON
Foreign Correspondent

A Russian intelligence official will reportedly face indictment for plotting a coup to stop Montenegro from joining NATO by assassinating its prime minister.

Eduard Sismakov, an officer with the GRU military service, allegedly ran a network of Serbian and Russian nationalists and paramilitaries who tried to disrupt the Montenegrin election Oct. 16. The plan was to break into the Montenegro Parliament, kill Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and put pro-Russian parties in power.

Milivoje Katnic, Montenegro’s special prosecutor, told The Telegraph that a group of plotters were placed among protestors outside the parliament building as the election results were announced. The group was supposed to force its way inside the building at an appointed sign. Another group, dressed in police uniforms, would then open fire against the protestors “so that citizens would think that the official police are shooting at them.” The eventual goal was to kill Djukanovic inside the building.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/27/inside-the-insane-coup-russian-spies-dressed-as-cops-tried-to-launch/#ixzz4ZzCzTe1A

Singapore firm denies link to North Korean front company

Pan Systems’ office in Ubi. Managing director Louis Low categorically denied any links with North Korean front company Glocom and said that while Pan Systems sold electronic goods in the North Korean market from 1996 to 2007, the business dealings were all “above board”.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Pan Systems MD refutes report and says his firm began pulling out from N. Korea from 2007 after UN scanctions

Singapore-based firm Pan Systems had no connection to Glocom, the North Korean front company that violated United Nations sanctions by selling battlefield radio equipment, claims its managing director, Mr Louis Low.

His denial comes after a report by Reuters yesterday, citing a UN report drafted for the Security Council, which said Glocom was operated by the Pyongyang branch of Pan Systems.

The report also said the North Korean branch of Pan Systems made use of bank accounts, front companies and agents in China and Malaysia to trade in radio components and accessories.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/spore-firm-denies-link-to-n-korean-front-company

Army deploys more than 100 MRAPs to South Korea

The Army is deploying more than 100 MRAPs to South Korea by the end of February to boost troop protection capabilities as tensions rise on the divided peninsula.

By KIM GAMEL | STARS AND STRIPES

SEOUL, South Korea — The Army is sending more than 100 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to South Korea to boost troop protection capabilities as tensions rise on the divided peninsula.

The decision is a reversal after a 2012 feasibility study found that MRAPs — famous for saving countless lives from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan — weren’t suitable for maneuver battalions in South Korea.

The 8th Army says it began fielding MRAPs and smaller versions known as M-ATVs in late December and was on track to complete the deployment to multiple locations by the end of February.

http://www.stripes.com/news/army-deploys-more-than-100-mraps-to-south-korea-1.456284#.WLV8W5DytD8

 

China secures its ‘biggest’ military export order for new UAV system

28 February 2017

China announced on 27 February that its Wing Loong II UAV had completed its maiden flight. Source: Via Sina.com.cn

China has secured an international contract for its Wing Loong II strike-capable reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), marking another milestone in the country’s bid to become a major military exporter.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported on 28 February said the deal represented the “biggest overseas purchase order in the history of Chinese [UAV] foreign military sales”. The identity of the customer and the size and value of the contract were not disclosed.

http://www.janes.com/article/68308/china-secures-its-biggest-military-export-order-for-new-uav-system

 

China conducts seabed surveys in Japan’s EEZ without consent / JCG finds 63 cases over 5 years

The Yomiuri Shimbun

China conducted a total of 63 seabed surveys inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the East China Sea and elsewhere without consent over the five years from 2012 to 2016, according to a survey by the Japan Coast Guard.

China has made an application to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS, see below) for extending its continental shelf to areas inside Japan’s EEZ. China apparently has been increasing its research activities aiming to expand its maritime interests.

A country’s territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles (about 22 kilometers) offshore. An EEZ refers to the area of sea beyond that, extending up to 200 nautical miles (about 370 kilometers) offshore. Foreign ships can freely pass through EEZs.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003548134

Japan to strengthen rules to prevent technology leaks

Much tougher fines, investment restrictions sought to tighten net

A Tokyo Electron plant in Miyagi Prefecture is seen here. Cutting-edge semiconductors are among the technologies that the Japanese government seeks to protect.

TOKYO — Japan looks to bolster regulations on the export of advanced technology that could be diverted to military use, seeking to keep sensitive information and materials away from other countries and help domestic companies retain their edge.

Government permission is required to export cutting-edge materials or technology such as carbon fiber — which can be used in aircraft and centrifuges — and power-amplifying semiconductors. Current law provides for penalties of 5 million yen to 10 million yen ($44,300 to $88,600) for both individuals and companies.

One proposed revision imposes fines of up to 30 million yen on individuals who leak technology related to weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear weaponry, and 20 million yen for leaks related to conventional arms such as handguns or land mines. The caps for businesses would rise to 1 billion yen and 700 million yen, respectively.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Japan-to-strengthen-rules-to-prevent-technology-leaks

 

Counterfeiters, hackers cost U.S. up to $600 billion a year

MONDAY, FEB. 27, 2017, 4:47 P.M.

WASHINGTON – Counterfeit goods, software piracy and the theft of trade secrets cost the American economy as much as $600 billion a year, a private watchdog says.

In a report out Monday, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property says the annual losses range from about $225 billion to $600 billion. The theft of trade secrets alone costs the United States between $180 billion and $540 billion annually. Counterfeit goods cost the United States $29 billion to $41 billion annual; pirated software costs an additional $18 billion a year.

The findings echo those of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which in 2015 pegged the annual cost of economic espionage by computer hacking at $400 billion.

The commission labels China the world’s No. 1 culprit. Including Hong Kong, China accounts for 87 percent of counterfeit goods seized entering the United States. The report says the Chinese government encourages intellectual property theft.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/feb/27/counterfeiters-hackers-cost-us-up-to-600-billion-a/

 

 

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February 25, 2017

Iraqi Kurdish TV reporter killed in Mosul

Shifa Gardi dies after roadside bomb explodes on road in west Mosul; cameraman is injured

“Prominent Rudaw war reporter and journalist Shifa Gardi has been killed in Mosul as she covered clashes,” Rudaw said on social media.
reporter

“Journalism remains male-dominated — Shifa Gardi broke those perceptions and stereotypes — we pay tribute to her courageous journalism,” the channel said.

Rudaw editors told AFP that the 30-year-old reporter, who was born a refugee in Iran, was killed by an explosive device on a road in west Mosul and said that the cameraman working with her was wounded.

https://twitter.com/RudawEnglish/status/835485344384573440/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

 

 

New National Security Advisor doesn’t believe in “radical Islamic terrorism”?

President Trump’s new National Security Advisor doesn’t believe it is “helpful” to say the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.

The adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council on Thursday, in his first “all hands” staff meeting, that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” according to people who were in the meeting.

Wrong. The tens of thousands of people fighting in the “Islamic State” and Al Qaida and Boko Haram and Hamas and Hizbullah are radical Muslims. To pretend that they are not Muslims is to deny who the enemy is, and to give comfort to Muslim governments like Pakistan and Iraq and Afghanistan who are on the fence about confronting radical Islamists in their own rank.

In his language, General McMaster is closer to the positions of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Both took pains to separate acts of terrorism from Islamic teaching, in part because they argued that the United States needed the help of Muslim allies to hunt down terrorists.

So we are now back to the Obama-era policy of refusing to say who the enemy is?

I don’t blame General McMaster for his Obama-style views.

I blame Donald Trump. He and his staff did a terrible job of vetting for this position, especially since an eminently qualified candidate, John Bolton, was available. McMaster’s view of the fight against radical Islam should have been the very first question that Trump asked him. Now it looks like Trump didn’t ask the question at all. …

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/02/new_national_security_advisor_doesnt_believe_in_radical_islamic_terrorism.html#ixzz4Zi9fuCjZ

Pentagon ditches onerous rules of engagement, gives Mosul troops quicker firepower access

– The Washington Times – Friday, February 24, 2017

Iraqi forces and U.S. coalition troops are no longer burdened by strict rules of engagement, which some say have turned firepower requests into bureaucratic nightmares.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. James Browning, commander of 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, recently spoke with reporters about a Dec. 26 directive that streamlined the process of delivering aid. The order, attributed to U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, was confirmed on Thursday by Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the U.S.-led coalition’s spokesman.

“It changed the relationship [between forces],” Lt. Col. Browning told The Associated Press about increased flexibility on the battlefield. “It gives me a better understanding of how I can bring to bear the limited capabilities I have.”

The new rules, which were supplemented with more directives weeks ago, allow U.S. personnel to better assist — physically and logistically — the Iraqi army’s 9th Division. Advisers are increasingly embedded with Iraqis and they can avoid cumbersome requests through a joint command center.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/24/pentagon-ditches-onerous-rules-of-engagement-in-ir/

Iran requests 950 tons of uranium from Kazakhstan

Tehran says it needs the material to help develop its civil reactor program

The request has been made to the body that oversees the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, told the ISNA news agency that the purchase was supposed to happen “within three years.”

“650 tons will enter the country in two consignments and 300 tons will enter Iran in the third year,” he said.

Salehi said the final shipment of concentrate, known as yellow cake, would be turned into uranium hexafluoride gas and sold back to Kazakhstan — its first international sale of the compound which is used in the uranium enrichment process.

Under the nuclear deal, many of Iran’s centrifuges were mothballed but it has the right to enrich uranium to a level of 3.5 percent and sell it abroad.

Nuclear weapons require uranium enriched to 80% or more.

Salehi said Iran has already received around 382 tons of yellow cake, primarily from Russia, since the nuclear deal came into force in January last year.

Under the deal, Iran is allowed to run around 5,000 “IR-1” centrifuges and has been testing more advanced models that can produce greater quantities of enriched uranium — all under the strict supervision of the UN atomic agency.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-requests-950-tons-of-uranium-from-kazakhstan/

Why Iran’s favorite weapon is the cyber attack

In a piece written for The Cipher Brief, Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute details Iran’s weapon of choice for imposing its will on domestic and foreign threats alike — cyber attacks.

Eisenstadt, as well as experts contacted by Business Insider, say that Iran has a weak conventional military that couldn’t possibly hope to push around stronger countries. For that reason, cyber attacks represent the perfect weapon.

Cyber attacks are cheap, ambiguous, hard to pin on any one actor, and almost completely without precedent when it comes to gauging a military response.

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-iran-favorite-weapon-cyber-attack-2017-2

Unofficial US-North Korea talks dropped after State Dept denies visa to top official – report

The first talks planned between Washington and Pyongyang in years have reportedly been canceled, as the US State Department denied entry to a high-level North Korean diplomat, with the North’s recent missile tests and Kim Jong Nam’s murder also possible factors.

The low-key talks between former US officials and Choe Son Hui, the director-general of the American affairs bureau in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, were set to take place between March 1 and 2 in New York, but Choe was denied a visa, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The rationale behind scuttling the meeting was not immediately clear, but the report said Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile test and the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, may have played a role.

https://www.rt.com/news/378584-us-north-korea-contacts-cancelled/

Top US commander for Mideast said to make secret Syria trip

Syrian Democratic Forces say General Joseph Votel met with group leaders for first time under Trump, ‘discussed increase in support’

QAMISHLI, Syria — The top US military commander for the Middle East made a secret trip to northern Syria Friday to meet a US-backed alliance fighting the Islamic State group, the alliance’s spokesman said.

General Joseph Votel, who heads US Central Command (Centcom), met with leaders from the Syrian Democratic Forces in the first such trip under the new US administration.

SDF spokesman Talal Sello told AFP that Votel “discussed the increase of coordination and support (to the SDF) in the era of Donald Trump”.

“There were promises of heavy weapons in future stages,” Sello said.

In an online statement, Sello said Votel had met with several SDF commanders.

“The results were positive. We discussed the developments in the Euphrates Rage campaign and shared military matters,” Sello said.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/top-us-commander-for-mideast-said-to-make-secret-syria-trip/

Is Iran Preparing For War In The Middle East? Russia To Send $1B In Weapons To Tehran

White House Says Further Punishment Of Iran Possible After New Sanctions  

Russia was set to send Iran about $1 billion worth of missile defense systems, Russian news agency Tass reported Monday. The deal was the result of a contract Iran signed with Russian defense manufacturer Rostec Corporation in 2007, but it was put on hold by Russia in 2010. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently ended the delay and paved the way for the contractual obligation for the S-300 air defense systems to be met in full starting this past November.

“The S-300 cost about one billion dollars,” Rostec Corporation CEO Sergey Chemezov said. “We were through with the supplies of S-300. No plans for anything are on the agenda.”

http://www.ibtimes.com/iran-preparing-war-middle-east-russia-send-1b-weapons-tehran-2494993

 

 

Lockheed Martin Wins Contract to Support Aegis Ashore System in Poland

Lockheed Martin has been awarded additional funding to provide equipment and technical support for Aegis Ashore test and operational systems in Poland.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Lockheed Martin has been awarded additional funding to provide equipment and technical support for Aegis Ashore test and operational systems in Poland as part of a $2.5 billion contract, the Department of Defense said in a press release.

“Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Moorestown, New Jersey, has been awarded a $10,396,703 modification to a previously awarded contract to provide equipment and technical support for Aegis Ashore test and operational systems in Poland,” the release explained on Thursday.  “The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $2,476,786,132 from $2,466,389,429.”

Other services to be provided include combat systems engineering study support for increased capabilities, the release added.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the creation of the ballistic missile defense system in Europe, approved in 2010 during a NATO summit in Lisbon. A group of European countries, including Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey, agreed to deploy elements of the system on their territories.

Work will be performed in the US state of New Jersey, with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2018.

https://sputniknews.com/military/201702241050999070-lockheed-contract-aegis-ashore-support/

 

Attack on Syrian security forces kills at least 40

Militants attacked two Syrian security offices in the western city of Homs on Saturday with guns and suicide bombers, killing at least 42 people including a senior officer, a war monitor said.

The attackers killed the head of military security and 29 others at one of its headquarters in the city and 12 more people at a branch of state security in attacks that began early in the morning, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian state television reported that clashes had rocked the districts of al-Ghouta and al-Mohata, where the two targets were located, before three suicide bombers detonated their explosives at each place.

It said that the attacks had killed 32 people including General Hassan Daaboul, the head of the military security branch.

http://nypost.com/2017/02/25/attack-on-syrian-security-forces-kills-at-least-40/

Yemenis’ bank accounts canceled in Germany

It’s hard to imagine life without a bank account. In Germany, it’s a universal right. But many Yemenis living here have now had their accounts terminated – even that of the Ambassador. The banks are on the defensive.

For many Yemeni students and business people in Germany, the year 2017 began with a nasty surprise. For some time now Deutsche Bank and a series of other credit institutes have been canceling the current accounts of dozens of these individuals, without giving any reason. Yemeni diplomats, all of them Commerzbank customers, have also been affected by the wave of cancellations.

“All Yemeni diplomats received the same termination letter from the Commerzbank in mid-October,” Yahia Mohammed Abdullah Al-Shaibi, the Republic of Yemen’s Ambassador to Germany, told DW.

Except for the accounts belonging to the Ambassador himself and the Embassy, which expired on March 15, all accounts were terminated by Commerzbank on December 15.

According to Al-Shaibi, Yemeni representations in other European countries and diplomats representing other countries in Germany are not affected.

http://www.dw.com/en/yemenis-bank-accounts-canceled-in-germany/a-37708148

Germany mulls a real, but unrealistic, pledge on defense spending

Years after it pledged to spend billions more on defense, new pressure from the US is forcing the German government to consider whether it can actually meet its goal.

Pressure from the US to spend more on defense has split Germany’s governing coalition.

The pledge is real. But is it realistic?

Nearly three years after it promised to meet a NATO guideline calling for billions more toward the nation’s defense funding over the coming decade, the German government is sending mixed signals over whether the goal is feasible—or even necessary.

Opposition came this week not just from the foreign minister, whose coalition-member Social Democrats (SPD) will challenge German chancellor Angela Merkel in fall elections. It came from Merkel’s own party, whose parliamentary budget expert called the idea “unreasonable.”

The debate reflects how a symbol of transatlantic cooperation—an expectation that member states spend two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense—has turned into a political tool on both sides of the Atlantic, and one that says little about military capabilities.

“Because it’s a very handy metric, it can be politicized easily,” Jan Techau of the American Academy in Berlin told DW.

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-mulls-a-real-but-unrealistic-pledge-on-defense-spending/a-37709485

France’s deradicalization centers seen as a ‘total fiasco’

A bipartisan report in the French Senate minced no words in describing this country’s efforts to “deradicalize” former and future terrorists.The French government’s attempt — including the controversial opening of a deradicalization center in the middle of the countryside — was a “total fiasco,” in the words of Philippe Bas, a senator from the center-right Republicans party.

Among the most damning elements in the report was a firm condemnation of the planned network of 12 deradicalization centers, perhaps the most widely publicized — and criticized — element of the government’s push to combat homegrown extremism.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/frances-deradicalization-centers-are-a-total-fiasco-lawmakers-say/2017/02/24/218a8072-fa97-11e6-aa1e-5f735ee31334_story.html?utm_term=.f187a94caa3a

NSA snoops told: Get your checkbooks and pens ready for a cyber-weapon shopping spree

US Cyber Command boss lays out plans for next decade

Mike Rogers

Spymaster … Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Commander of the US Cyber Command and Chief of the Central Security Service

NSA and US Cyber Command boss Mike Rogers has revealed the future direction of his two agencies – and for the private sector, this masterplan can be summarized in one word.

Kerching!

Speaking at the West 2017 Navy conference on Friday, Rogers said he is mulling buying up more infosec tools from corporations to attack and infiltrate computer networks. At the moment the online offensive wing of the US military develops most of its own cyber-weaponry, he claimed, and he figures the private sector has plenty to offer.

“In the application of kinetic functionality – weapons – we go to the private sector and say, ‘Build this thing we call a [joint directed-attack munition], a [Tomahawk land-attack munition].’ Fill in the blank,” he said.

“On the offensive side, to date, we have done almost all of our weapons development internally. And part of me goes – five to ten years from now is that a long-term sustainable model? Does that enable you to access fully the capabilities resident in the private sector? I’m still trying to work my way through that, intellectually.”

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/25/us_government_to_spend_more_on_online_weapons/

Nuke capable stealth bombers get deadly upgrades to take on North Korea and ISIS

A FLEET of deadly stealth bombers has been fitted with new weapons for attack missions against ISIS and North Korea

By Nicole Stinson / Published 25th February 2017

The US Air Force’s B-2 Spirit “stealth bombers” have been upgraded with high-tech flight-management-control processors and enemy targeting systems as engineers prepare to fit the aircraft with nuclear arsenal.

The upgrades come as Donald Trump vowed to be “top of the pack” for nuclear weapons as tensions continue to rise with North Korea.

Two B-2 stealth bombers were sent to blitz an ISIS terrorist camp last month – killing 100 jihadis.

The fleet of 20 B-2 bombers will be fitted with B-61 Mod 11 weapons – a nuclear bomb designed to penetrate enemy hideouts.

Maj Kent Mickelson, who has served as a B-2 piolot, said: “This is a GBU-28 (bunker-buster weapon) on steroids. It will go in and take out deeply buried targets.

He added: “It [the B-2] is a dream to fly. It is so smooth.”The B-2 bomber has been sent on missions to Korea peninsula and Iraq

“It is really an awesome bombing platform and it is just a marvel of technology.”Described as a “digital aircraft” it also features a Synthetic Aperture Radar for creating photo-like images of enemy targets from an altitude of up to 50,000 feet.

The stealth bomber can carry up to 40,000lb of weapons – including nukes.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/591424/North-Korea-Kim-Jong-un-US-upgrade-nuclear-weapons-stealth-bomber-aircraft-fight-ISIS

Indian Air Force rejects British Advanced Hawk aircraft

February 23, 2017 (Photo Credit: BAE Systems)

NEW DELHI — The Indian Air Force says it will not make an acquisition request for the British Advanced Hawk trainer aircraft.

The decision comes after the Ministry of Defence asked the service not request the aircraft following allegations that British company Rolls-Royce bribed officials of India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited between 2005 and 2009 to secure orders for engines to power the British Hawk 132 advanced jet trainers meant for the Indian Air Force.

“We will not make any formal request for the Advanced Hawk to HAL, and the program will be officially shelved. This is because the MoD does not want [to] give additional orders for engines to tainted Rolls-Royce for the Advanced Hawk program,” a senior IAF official said. “IAF has no intentions to place any order for the Advanced Hawk trainers.”

Israeli, Indian defense cos to expand cooperation

11 Israeli companies will participate in the Aero India 2017 exhibition opening Tuesday.

Israeli defense companies taking part in the Aero India 2017 aeronautics exhibition opening tomorrow in Bangalore, India plan to expand their business in the Indian market, while extending their cooperation with local cyber companies. The plan involves joint development, mainly in cyber defense, which the Ministry of Defense International Defense Cooperation Authority (SIBAT) has marked as one of the sectors for development over the coming year, with increased worldwide marketing in addition to systems for Israel’s defense.The Ministry of Defense and the defense companies are aiming a major proportion of their efforts in the cyber industry at the Indian market, in view of the warm relations prevailing between the two countries, accompanied by huge arms deals and partnerships in the development of innovative defense systems.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-israeli-indian-defense-cos-to-expand-cyber-cooperation-1001176874

A still image from a CCTV footage appears to show a man purported to be Kim Jong-nam walking into the lobby at KLIA2 on February 13, 2017. — Reuters picA still image from a CCTV footage appears to show a man purported to be Kim Jong-nam walking into the lobby at KLIA2 on February 13, 2017. —

KUALA LUMPUR, — Police seized an undisclosed number of chemicals from a condominium in Jalan Klang Lama on Wednesday, according to an agency source after it was revealed that the VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim Jong-nam.

According to The Star newspaper, police also arrested a Malaysian man during the raid over suspicions that he may be involved in the alleged assassination of the half-brother to North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

Police also recovered chemistry equipment and protective gear from the condominium.

“Police are not ruling out the possibility that the Malaysian man might have expertise in chemistry,” a source was quoted as saying.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/kim-jong-nam-killing-chemicals-found-in-kl-condo#sthash.Wi9ONmiz.dpuf

 

Japanese Think Tank Argues for Moving Marines Off

TOKYO — The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit could leave Okinawa without sacrificing its value as a security provider in the Asia-Pacific, a Japanese think tank said following a study of alternatives to building a new runway opposed by the island’s governor.

It’s a point of view speakers from the New Diplomacy Initiative, a Tokyo-based think tank, conceded wasn’t likely to sway the security establishment, during a press conference Friday.

However, the academics, journalists and a former government defense official argued that plans to build a new runway for Marine aircraft are so unpopular on Okinawa that they risk straining the broader U.S.-Japan security agreement.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/02/25/japanese-think-tank-argues-moving-marines-okinawa.html

Sea of Japan the next target for Chinese military

Confusion on Korean Peninsula fuels tension over sea

TETSURO KOSAKA, Nikkei senior staff writer

 

TOKYO — A growing Chinese military presence in the Sea of Japan is becoming an issue that Tokyo cannot overlook.

On Jan. 5, three Chinese naval vessels sailed through the Tsugaru Strait between Japan’s main island and the northernmost island of Hokkaido into the Sea of Japan. Four days later, a Chinese air force fleet entered the sea by flying over the waters between the southern Japanese island of Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula.

According to the Joint Staff of the Japanese Defense Ministry, the fleet consisted of six bombers, which are capable of carrying cruise missiles, an early warning aircraft and an intelligence-gathering plane. With an additional fighter jet as an escort and a refueling aircraft, the fleet could have been ready to bomb ground targets.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Sea-of-Japan-the-next-target-for-Chinese-military

Pentagon Provided Intel for Iraqi Airstrikes in Syria

The United States has been notified in advance of the planned Iraqi airstrikes in Syria and has provided intelligence to guide them, US Department of Defense spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a briefing on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the launch of airstrikes on Daesh in Syria. According to him, the operation was linked to recent Baghdad attacks.

“We were aware; we supported it as well with information,” Davis said when asked if the United States provided intelligence information to the Iraqi military.

The Iraqi strikes in Syrian Deir Ez-Zor province has been fully coordinated with the Syrian government, Al-Watan reported, citing a source, close to the Syrian Foreign Ministry earlier in the day.

The attack on terrorist positions in Syria’s Al Bukamal city near the border with Iraq has been carried out as a part of the operation to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, which has been under Daesh’s control since June 2014. On Sunday, Abadi announced the start of the operations to free the western part of Mosul.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201702241051023005-pentagon-iraq-airstrikes-syria/

 

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February 22, 2017

Marine Le Pen’s bodyguard and chief of staff are arrested over claims they were paid for fake jobs at the EU Parliament

  • Thierry Legier and Catherine Griset were taken into police custody today
  • The suspects, including National Front candidate Le Pen, face imminent charges
  • Ms Le Pen’s lawyers have branded the arrests a ‘conspiracy’
  • The European Anti-Fraud Office says it has compelling evidence of fake payments 

Two senior aides to Marine Le Pen were today taken into police custody as the fraud enquiry that could see the far-right French presidential candidate jailed for up to 10 years deepened.

Thierry Legier, who is Ms Le Pen’s bodyguard, and Catherine Griset, her chief of staff, were escorted to the judicial police station in Nanterre, the Paris suburb, in the late morning.

A raid was also carried out at the home of Mr Legier, Ms Le Pen’s 51-year-old bodyguard who is nicknamed ‘The Gorilla’.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4249970/Marine-Le-Pen-s-bodyguard-chief-staff-arrested.html

Kim Jong-nam’s body targeted in morgue break-in, say police

Malaysian authorities seek to question senior North Korean diplomat and man connected with Air Koryo, while dismissing claims that assassins were duped

Kim Jong-nam, left, and Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-nam, left, and Kim Jong-un Photograph: Shizuo Kambayashi, Wong Maye-E/AP

Malaysian police investigating the murder of Kim Jong-nam say attempts were made to break into the morgue where his body is being held and have demanded to question a senior North Korean diplomat.

The announcements by police chief Khalid Abu Bakar throw further suspicion on Pyongyang over the apparent assassination of the exiled half-brother of the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.

Khalid said another man wanted for questioning and identified as Kim Uk-il was linked to North Korea’s state airline, Air Koryo. Both he and the high-level embassy official, named as Hyon Kwang-song, 44, remained in Malaysia, Khalid said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/22/kim-jong-nams-body-targeted-in-morgue-break-in

North Korean suspects in Kim Jong-nam murder ‘hiding’ in Pyongyang’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur

Hyon Kwang-song, left, and Kim Uk-il
Hyon Kwang Song, left, and Kim Uk Il

Two North Koreans suspects in the murder of Kim Jong-nam are believed to be “hiding” inside Pyongyang’s embassy in Malaysia, security sources have told the Telegraph.

Tensions between the two countries are high following the killing of the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s “Supreme Leader”, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Monday.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/22/exclusive-north-korean-suspects-kim-jong-nam-murder-hiding-pyongyangs/

Possible mole in security detail of Dutch frontrunner Wilders

A Dutch secret service agent who was part of the team responsible for protecting Geert Wilders, the frontrunner in next month’s election, has been suspended on suspicion of leaking details to a criminal organization, the secret service said on Wednesday.

Wilders, who campaigns on an anti-Islam platform that includes closing mosques and banning immigration from Muslim countries that has led to the protection, condemned the alleged breach, saying he cannot function without adequate security.

Dutch newspapers De Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad and the country’s national broadcaster NOS identified the suspect as an experienced officer in his mid-30s, using his first name and last initial.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-election-wilders-idUSKBN1611LB

Iran Renews Destructive Cyber Attacks on Saudi Arabia

Tehran strategy seeks takeover of oil-rich U.S. ally

After a four-year hiatus, Iran recently resumed destructive cyber attacks against Saudi Arabia in what U.S. officials say is part of a long-term strategy by Tehran to take over the oil-rich kingdom and regional U.S. ally.

Late last month, the Saudi government warned in a notice to telecommunications companies that an Iranian-origin malicious software called Shamoon had resurfaced in cyber attacks against some 15 Saudi organizations, including government networks.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-renews-destructive-cyber-attacks-saudi-arabia/

Planes, tanks, ships: Russian military gets massive upgrade

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military received a sweeping array of new weapons last year, including 41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the wide-ranging military modernization will continue this year, the defense minister said Wednesday.

Minister Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers the air force will receive 170 new aircraft, the army will receive 905 tanks and other armored vehicles while the navy will receive 17 new ships this year.

Amid tensions with the West, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on new weapons despite Russia’s economic downturn.

Also this year, three regiments of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces will receive new intercontinental ballistic missiles, Shoigu said. Each regiment has up to 10 launchers.

The rising number of new weapons has raised demands for new personnel. Shoigu said the military currently needs 1,300 more pilots and will recruit them by 2018.

http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/8b7532462dd0495d9f756c9ae7d2ff3c/russian-military-continues-massive-upgrade

 

Christian father is shot dead and his son is burned alive in Egyptian ISIS hotbed days after the group vowed Christians were its ‘favourite prey’

  • The father, in his 60s, was found with multiple gunshot wounds in North Sinai
  • His son, who was a Coptic Christian like his dad, was burned alive on Wednesday
  • The area of North Sinai has become a stronghold for Islamic State in Egypt
  • Their bodies were discovered at dawn behind a school in the city of  El-Arish

The two Coptic Christians were found murdered Wednesday in Egypt’s North Sinai, a stronghold of the terror group.

They said the son was found having apparently been burnt alive while the father, a man in his 60s, had shot multiple times.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4250292/Christian-father-burned-alive-son-shot-dead.html

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4250292/Christian-father-burned-alive-son-shot-dead.html#ixzz4ZRgb6diK
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GOP Lawmaker Urges Trump to Buy New Icebreakers Amid Russian Buildup in Arctic

Russia set to debut the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the only U.S. ship capable of breaking through Antarctica’s thick ice / AP

BY:

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to pursue funding for the U.S. Coast Guard to purchase new ice-capable vessels to counter Russia’s military buildup in the Arctic.

Hunter, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, warned in a letter to Trump that Russia is set to debut the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker, Arktika, while the United States struggles to maintain its two 1970s-era icebreakers.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/gop-lawmaker-urges-trump-buy-new-icebreakers-amid-russian-buildup-arctic/

Report: China nearly finished building South China Sea structures to house missiles

May 21, 2015: Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft.  (U.S. Navy)

China is reportedly nearing completion of more than 20 buildings on its artificial islands in the South China Sea that are capable of housing long-range surface-to-air missiles.

The concrete structures have retractable roofs and at about 66 feet long and 33 feet tall. They are located on three islands: Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross.

Fox News reported exclusively in December that the U.S. intelligence community was monitoring whether surface-to-air missiles would be shipped to the reefs to protect China’s three airstrips.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/22/report-china-nearly-finished-building-south-china-sea-structures-to-house-missiles.html

Military plane cost hits Airbus profits

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus reported a drop in 2016 profits, mainly because of a charge on the A400M military plane.

Its net income fell by 63% to 995m euros (£838m), although revenue went up 3% to 66.5bn euros (£56bn).

The results are the first since Airbus started simplifying the company by mixing its European business with the parent company, previously called EADS.

Chief executive Tom Enders said: “We’ve delivered on the commitments we gave a year ago.”

He added: “We achieved our guidance and objectives, with one exception, the A400M, where we had to take another significant charge totalling 2.2bn euros (£1.85bn) in 2016.

The A400M has suffered a number for setbacks over the years.

Earlier this month, one A400M broke down on the ground while carrying German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39049318

Ildar Dadin: Russian activist jail term quashed

Russia’s Supreme Court has ordered the release of opposition activist Ildar Dadin, who was the first person to be convicted under new laws on protests.

The court said the criminal case against him should be dismissed and he had a “right to rehabilitation”, Russian media report.

Mr Dadin, jailed in December 2015, has been serving two-and-a-half years for a series of protests.

Last November he said he was tortured in prison in north-west Russia.

The authorities denied the claims, but transferred him to another prison.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39050949

 

Montenegro Coup Suspect ‘Was Russian Spy in Poland’

A Russian suspected by Montenegro of masterminding the recent alleged coup attempt was a military officer who was expelled from Poland amid an espionage scandal in 2014, a Polish diplomat told BIRN.

Natalia Zaba, Dusica Tomovic

 

Edvard Shirokov, currently on the Interpol’s red notice, based on a warrant issued by Montenegrin authorities. Photo: Interpol.

The Polish ambassador to Podgorica, Irena Tatarzynska, told BIRN that Russian military officer Eduard Shishmakov, one of the leading suspects in the alleged coup plot in Montenegro, was thrown out of Poland due to a spying accusation.

Tatarzynska said Shishmakov was a deputy military attache at Russia’s embassy in Warsaw, but was declared persona non grata in Poland in June 2014, along with three other Russian citizens, because it was believed that they were involved in spying.

“For us [in Poland] it was a really unpleasant case, a deputy military attache was declared persona non grata. But for the Polish state, this case is over,” Tatarzynska said.

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegro-coup-suspect-was-russian-spy-in-poland–02-21-2017#sthash.MsKQ4wGH.dpuf

Israeli warplane attacks Syrian Army in west Damascus

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:45 A.M.) – Minutes ago, an Israeli warplane conducted an airstrike over the western countryside of Damascus, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions in the Qalamoun Mountains near the Lebanese border.

A Syrian Army source told Al-Masdar this morning that the Israeli warplane had crossed into Syria after flying over Lebanon’s ‘Arsal Barrens, where both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) are headquartered in the eastern Beqa’a Governorate.

The Syrian Army source added that the specific location of the attack was in the Al-Quteifah area of the Qalamoun Mountains.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-israeli-warplane-attacks-syrian-army-west-damascus/

With US support, Saudi Arabia ready to send special forces to Syria

In cooperation with the United States, Saudi Arabia is “ready to send ground troops” to Syria to fight against Daesh, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir announced on Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung German newspaper on Tuesday, Al-Jubeir said: “The Kingdom and other Gulf countries said it was ready to allocate forces to fight on the US side.”

He noted that discussions with the US forces are underway to “find out what the plan is and what you need to implement it.” He explained that the plan would be announced “soon”.

The foreign minister affirmed that the liberated territories from Daesh, must be handed over to the Syrian opposition. “The basic idea is to free the region from the IG [Daesh] and not to allow their controlled Hezbollah, Iran or the Syrian regime,” he said.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170221-with-us-support-saudi-arabia-ready-to-send-special-forces-to-syria/

Turkey Defense Talks With Russia on S400 Missiles Have Progressed, Minister Says

ANKARA (Reuters) – Talks between Turkey and Russia for Ankara to procure S400 missiles for a domestic air defense system have “progressed significantly”, Turkey’s Defence Minister Fikri Isik, said on Wednesday.

Isik also said that Turkey’s preference was to originally buy a NATO system but that wasn’t possible. He was speaking in an interview with broadcaster NTV.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Humeyra Pamuk)

http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-02-22/turkey-defense-talks-with-russia-on-s400-missiles-have-progressed-minister-says

 

Greek FM: Turkey close to crossing Greece’s red lines

Turkey came very close to crossing Greece’s red lines in the Aegean last week, when a Turkish coast guard vessel fired shots in Greek territorial waters east of the islet of Farmakonisi, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias told Skai Television’s “Istories” program Tuesday night. In a wide-ranging interview with Kathimerini’s executive editor, Alexis Papachelas, Kotzias spoke also about Greece’s determination to protect its sovereign interests, the Cyprus issue, the case of the eight Turkish servicemen whom the Supreme Court refused to extradite to Turkey, and NATO’s operations in the Aegean.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/216392/article/ekathimerini/news/greek-fm-turkey-close-to-crossing-greeces-red-lines

India may forego offset package for S-400

22 February 2017 MIKHAIL NEKRASOV
An offset package could delay deliveries by up to two years.
S-400 Triumf is Russia’s long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. Source: Mikhail Voskresenskiy/RIA Novosti
India’s Defence Ministry may forego the offset clause to speed up deliveries of the S-400 Russian air defence system, The Economic Times reported on Feb. 21.

The offset clause mandates foreign companies to invest at least 30 per cent of the contract value in the Indian aerospace and defence sectors.

Viktor Kladov, director of international cooperation at Rostec holding, told the paper that the purchase of the S-400 is a strategic project and delivery should not be delayed by offset packages.

According to Kladov, the offset package may delay delivery by up to two years. A deal with no offset package is the best choice, he added.

http://in.rbth.com/economics/defence/2017/02/22/india-may-forego-offset-package-for-s-400_707448

Germany to expand Bundeswehr to almost 200,000 troops

Germany’s Defense Ministry has announced it will increase the number of professional soldiers by around 10 percent. It comes amid increasing pressure for Germany to reach its NATO-mandated defense spending target.

Since the end of the Cold War, Germany had been reducing its military scope and manpower. Recent years, however, have marked a major shift in its defense policy, as it pledged once again to expand the Bundeswehr.

“The Bundeswehr is under demand like never before,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (a Christian Democrat) said on Tuesday, as she announced plans to increase the number of Germany’s professional soldiers from 178,000 to 198,000 by the year 2024. “In light of these increasing responsibilities, the Bundeswehr must be allowed to grow accordingly.”

As part of its enlargement plans, the Bundeswehr will also expand its non-combat civilian employees to over 61,000 in response to the growing threat of cyber and hacking attacks.

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-to-expand-bundeswehr-to-almost-200000-troops/a-37655018

Industrial control systems top threat to UK cyber security

Most organisations understand cyber security readiness, but lack response and resilience capabilities – especially regarding industrial control systems in the UK, says RSA cyber defence expert Azeem Aleem

Vulnerabilities in industrial control systems commonly used by suppliers of critical national infrastructure are potentially the biggest threats to UK cyber security, according to a cyber defence expert.http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450413471/Industrial-controls-systems-top-threat-to-UK-cyber-security

 

Alexandria visits Sasebo during Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment

by: Chief Yeoman (Submarine) Ben P. Warren | .
USS Alexandria Public Affairs

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) — Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757) arrived at Fleet Activities Sasebo for a visit as part of its Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment, Feb. 19.

The visit strengthens the already positive alliance between the U.S. and Japan through the crews’ interaction with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. It also demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s commitment to regional stability and maritime security in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

http://japan.stripes.com/news/alexandria-visits-sasebo-during-indo-asia-pacific-deployment#sthash.nHclSyCd.dpuf

China gives Lotte ‘severe’ warning on THAAD

3:39 am, February 22, 2017

Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) — South Korea’s Lotte Group will face severe consequences if it allows the South Korean government to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system on land that now forms part of a golf course it owns, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has warned.

The comments come soon after Lotte said this month that Chinese authorities had halted work at a multi-billion-dollar real estate project following a fire inspection, amid South Korea’s worries that Beijing is retaliating for its plans to host the system.

China has repeatedly expressed opposition to South Korea’s planned deployment later this year of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, which Seoul and Washington say is needed to defend against North Korea.

China worries the system’s powerful radar can penetrate its territory.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003534761

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February 13, 2017

How Mattis’ Plan For Fixing The U.S. Military Would Transform The Army

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has issued his initial campaign plan for rebuilding America’s military, pursuant to a presidential directive signed January 27. If Congress provides necessary funding, the Mattis plan would reverse a steady erosion of the joint force’s warfighting edge that resulted from caps on military spending during the Obama years. In fact, the plan may usher in a surge of spending on new military technology unlike anything seen since the Reagan years.

All four of the military services General Mattis oversees would get a boost, but the biggest beneficiary during President Trump’s tenure will be the service that is currently in the direst straits — the Army. That’s because the fixes the Army needs can be implemented more quickly than expanding the Navy’s fleet or fielding a new Air Force bomber. In fact, making the Army healthy again could be largely accomplished during Trump’s first term — which is a good thing since it is pivotal to deterring East-West war in Europe.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2017/02/03/how-the-mattis-campaign-plan-for-fixing-americas-military-will-transform-the-u-s-army/#1716e7e95c87

 

How Vladimir Putin and Russia are using cyber attacks and fake news to try and rig three major European elections this year

Governments and security services across Europe have sounded public warnings about Russian interference in upcoming elections, amid mounting concern about a spate of cyber attacks on political parties and government institutions.

Officials and security officers in France, Germany, and the Netherlands have agreed to share information as they brace for “influence operations,” including the leaking of hacked emails and using internet bots to spread fake or misleading news on social media, in the run up to presidential and general elections this year.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/13/vladimir-putin-russia-using-cyber-attacks-fake-news-try-rig/

US and Japan demand UN action after North Korea reveals pictures of new nuclear-capable missile that will be impossible for Western satellites to spot before it’s fired

  • New type of rockets can be launched at short notice without much preparation
  • In addition, solid fuel engines also boost the power and range of ballistic rockets
  • They are also more difficult to track by satellite because they have fewer support vehicles in their entourage, expert warns 
  • UN council will hold an urgent meeting on Monday to discuss the test launch 
  • Missile flew about 310 miles before falling into the sea Sunday
  • Launch was seen as a test of response from President Trump

North Korea has successfully test-fired a new type of medium-to long-range ballistic missile, claiming further advancement in a weapons programme it is pursuing in violation of United Nations resolutions.

North Korea fired the ballistic missile on a high arc into the sea early on Sunday, the first test of U.S. President Donald Trump‘s vow to get tough on an isolated regime that tested nuclear devices and ballistic missiles last year at an unprecedented rate.

The North’s state-run KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test of the Pukguksong-2, a new type of strategic weapon that can launch faster, is easier to hide from satellites and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

KCNA said the missile was fired at a high angle in consideration of the safety of neighbouring countries. A South Korean military source said on Sunday the missile reached an altitude of 550 km (340 miles).

Pictured is the test-fire of the new Pukguksong-2 missile, guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the spot

Pictured is the test-fire of the new Pukguksong-2 missile, guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the spot

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4218736/UN-Security-Council-meet-North-Korea-missile-launch.html#ixzz4YZLISnJ6

North Korea’s missile designed to be launched from submarine, officials say

The ballistic missile that North Korea claimed it successfully test-fired over the weekend is designed to launch from a submarine, U.S. officials told Fox News on Monday.

The KN-11-mod 2 missile was launched from land in the northwest region of the communist regime Saturday evening. North Korea’s 33-year-old dictator, Kim Jong Un, was present at the test site, according to officials

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/13/north-koreas-missile-designed-to-be-launched-from-submarine-officials-say.html

Trump’s senior policy adviser says the US will give North Korea a military show of strength ‘beyond anything anyone can imagine’ after missile test

  • Stephen Miller told CBS that Trump will ask Congress to give military money
  • Said that would send a signal that US was planning military show of strength 
  • Comment came after North Korea launched a new ballistic missile test  
  • Trump was criticized for not mentioning North Korea in response speech
  • But Miller said standing on stage with Japanese leader was a ‘show of strength’
  • Analysts say, however, that Trump’s choices with North Korea are very limited
  • And an official says economic sanctions are more likely than military conflict 

The senior policy adviser to Donald Trump has promised that the US will stand by Japan against North Korea – and said it will send the rogue state a message of ‘unquestioned military strength.’

Adviser Stephen Miller said that although Trump didn’t mention North Korea when he promised to ‘stand by’ Japan during his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday, the speech was ‘a show of strength.’

Trump would send a ‘signal’ after a new North Korean missile test by asking Congress to give more money to the military, Miller added in his appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation Sunday.

The government would then ‘begin a great rebuilding of the armed forces of the United States,’ he said, ‘…once again we will have unquestioned military strength beyond anything anyone can imagine.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4217940/White-House-NK-military-strength.html#ixzz4YZLaBljP

Embattled Trump aide Michael Flynn has Trump’s ‘full confidence’: aide

U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn enjoys the “full confidence” of President Donald Trump, a top White House adviser said on Monday, as Flynn tries to survive a controversy over his contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.

“Gen. Flynn has the full confidence of the president,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-flynn-idUSKBN15S0BR

Mike Flynn’s Position as National Security Adviser Grows Tenuous in White House

By Carol E. Lee, Shane Harris and Peter Nicholas, The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The White House is reviewing whether to retain National Security Adviser Mike Flynn amid a furor over his contacts with Russian officials before President Donald Trump took office, an administration official said Sunday.

Mr. Flynn has apologized to White House colleagues over the episode, which has created a rift with Vice President Mike Pence and diverted attention from the administration’s message to his own dealings, the official said.

“He’s apologized to everyone,” the official said of Mr. Flynn.

http://nation.foxnews.com/2017/02/13/national-security-adviser-mike-flynns-position-growing-tenuous-white-house

– The Washington Times – Sunday, February 12, 2017

At least 72 convicted terrorists came from the seven countries President Trump targeted in his extreme vetting executive order, according to a new report this weekend that directly undercut part of the courts’ rulings halting the program.

Seventeen of those entered the U.S. under the refugee program that Mr. Trump has said is of special concern to him, according to the data compiled by the Senate Judiciary Committee and analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies.

The convictions came in terrorism-related investigations since the Sept. 11 attacks, but some were for relatively minor crimes such as identity fraud. Nevertheless, more than 30 of the convicts served at least three years in prison because of their terrorism-related crimes, the CIS report said.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/12/terror-convicts-came-from-countries-targeted-for-e/

Hamas elects violent extremist Yahya Sinwar as Gaza chief

Jailed by Israel for murder, released in Shalit exchange, and included on US terrorism blacklist, Islamic terror group’s new strongman is seen as uncompromising and unpredictable

February 13, 2017, 12:56 pm

Yahya Sinwar, considered one of Hamas’s most ruthless leaders, has been elected as the terror group’s leader in the Gaza Strip, a Hamas official confirmed Monday.

Sinwar, 55, generally avoids the limelight, but is seen as an unpredictable hardliner who inspires the loyalty of Hamas’s military wing’s leadership.

He will replace Ismail Haniyeh, who is running for the leadership of Hamas’s political bureau to succeed Khaled Mashaal.

Sinwar, sentenced to life in 1989 for murdering Palestinian collaborators with Israel, spent 22 years in Israeli prisons before being released in the 2011 prisoner exchange deal for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-elects-hardliner-yahya-sinwar-as-gaza-chief/

Man, 43, charged with possessing explosives was allowed to go on holiday to Italy for two weeks after ‘suspect package’ was seized at Manchester Airport

  • Nadeem Muhammed, 43, allegedly tried to smuggle a pipe bomb in his luggage
  • Was charged with possessing an explosive under suspicious circumstances
  • Allegedly tried to board Ryanair flight to Bergamo from Manchester with device 

A Ryanair passenger was detained under the Terrorism Act after he tried to allegedly smuggle a pipe bomb in his luggage through security at Manchester airport.

Nadeem Muhammed, 43, was allegedly found with the device as he tried to board a Ryanair flight to Bergamo, Italy from Manchester Airport.

But after the explosive substance was discovered he was released on bail and allowed to leave the country days later.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4219298/Man-43-charged-terror-offences.html

Germany Picks Anti-Trump President as Trans-Atlantic Bonds Fray

  • Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier elected in first round
  • Merkel, SPD chose Steinmeier to avoid election-year dispute

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the former German foreign minister who was a vocal critic of Donald Trump during the U.S. campaign, was elected as the country’s 12th postwar president.

The Social Democrat, who served two stints as foreign minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel, emerged as her governing coalition’s candidate last November as the parties sought to avoid a political spat over the appointment in an election year. With the support of Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc and the Social Democrats in a special assembly on Sunday, Steinmeier was elected in the first round to the mostly ceremonial post.

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-02-12/germany-picks-anti-trump-president-as-trans-atlantic-bonds-fray

Lockheed Martin has spent over $1 billion on reciprocal procurement since 2010 when Israel signed deals for F-35 fighter jets.

Since 2010, when the Ministry of Defense signed the first of three deals for procuring 50 F-35 stealth fighters, US manufacturer Lockheed Martin has spent over $1 billion on reciprocal procurement from Israeli defense companies, the Ministry of Defense Procurement and Production Directorate (PPD) announced today.The first two F-35s ordered from the US landed in Israel last December. The rest will be supplied in the coming years, eventually giving the Israeli air force two full squadrons of F-35s (called Adir).

The figures disclosed by the Ministry of Defense today show that in 2016, Lockheed Martin expanded its commercial contracts with some of the Israeli companies involving the supply of parts and systems related to the plane. Lockheed Martin’s procurement from Israeli defense companies jumped 33%, compared with 2015, with orders totaling $258 million.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-f-35-reciprocal-procurement-up-33-in-2016-1001176697

Assad’s holocaust: Corpses lined up show scale of atrocities

More than 53,000 of the images have been smuggled out of Syria by a military police photographer, known as Caeser.

Pictures have emerged showing the emaciated corpses of inmates from prisons run by the Syrian regime.

The images are so graphic that it has now been branded a 21st century holocaust.

They show the conditions of the victims of the prisons run by President Bashar Assad’s regime who are said to have been deprived of food, water, medicine and subjected to months of torture.

And UN experts have compared the atrocities to scenes from Jewish concentration camps, 70 years before, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Assad’s holocaust: Corpses lined up show scale of atrocities

Russia to inspect Turkey, conduct observation flight over Italy

MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/. Russia will conduct an inspection on Turkey’s territory as part of the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures starting on February 13, head of the Russian National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Sergei Ryzhkov said. According to him, Russia also plans to carry out an observation flight over Italy.

“Between February 13 and 16, a group of Russian experts plans to inspect Turkey’s territory in accordance with the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures… An area of 18,000 square kilometers will be inspected,” he said.

The Vienna Document, adopted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in November 2011, stipulates inspections of specific territories in order to monitor and control military activities. The document envisages up to three annual inspections.

According to Ryzhkov, Russian experts will visit training centers and shooting ranges as well as attend briefings of the Turkish military commanders.

Besides that, Russia will also conduct an observation flight over Italy on an An-30B aircraft on February 13-17. “An observation flight with a maximum range of up to 2015 kilometers will be conducted on February 13-17 from the Ciampino airfield. A Russian aircraft will conduct the flight in accordance with the route agreed on with the country’s authorities, while Italian experts aboard will control the use of surveillance equipment,” Ryzhkov added.

http://tass.com/politics/930487

Iraqi air strike hits house where meeting of ISIS commanders was taking place, killing at least 13

  • Iraqi F-16s targeted the house in western Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 13
  • ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was holding a meeting with commanders
  • At least 64 lower-ranked IS fighters were killed in the same wave of air strikes 

Iraqi warplanes have hit a house where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was holding a meeting with senior commanders, killing at least 13.

Baghdadi’s name was not on a list of the dead published by the military following the attack on the western city of Anbar, on Saturday.

At least 64 lower-ranked IS fighters were killed in the same wave of air strikes in western Iraq, the statement added.

U.S. helicopters unloaded in Germany to boost military presence

BERLIN — The U.S. Army has begun unloading dozens of Chinook, Apache and Black Hawk helicopters at a port in northern Germany so the aircraft can be moved to a base in Bavaria.
German news agency dpa reported Sunday that 94 helicopters and several trucks from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade in Fort Drum, New York, were sent to the port of Bremerhaven.
Most of the equipment is bound for an Army base in the town of Illesheim, but dpa says some will be assigned to rotating stints in Lithuania and Romania.

Italy Intrigue May Halt Renzi’s Comeback Bid

The ex-premier’s Democratic Party, the biggest force in parliament, holds a meeting of its leaders in Rome on Monday. They’ll decide whether to seek national elections this year, or wait until a vote scheduled for early 2018.

Should Renzi prevail on Monday, there is the prospect of yet another European election alongside Germany, France and the Netherlands this year. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which wants a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro area, is keen to exploit its standing in opinion polls that show it neck and neck with the Democratic Party.

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-02-13/intrigue-in-italy-may-thwart-renzi-s-comeback-bid-this-year

The Navy is planning fresh challenges to China’s claims in the South China Sea

February 12, 2017

This article was originally posted Feb. 12 at 12:01 a.m. and has been updated.

U.S. Navy and Pacific Command leaders want to ratchet up potentially provocative operations in the South China Sea by sailing more warships near the increasingly militarized man-made islands that China claims as sovereign territory, according to several Navy officials.

The freedom of navigation operations, also known as FONOPS, could be carried out by ships with the San Diego-based Carl Vinson carrier strike group, which is in the Pacific Ocean heading toward the South China Sea, according to three defense officials who spoke to Navy Times on condition of anonymity to discuss operations in the planning phase.

The military’s plans likely call for sailing within 12 nautical miles of China’s newly built islands in the Spratly and/or Paracel islands, a move that would amount to a new challenge to Chinese maritime claims there that has raised tensions between Washington and Beijing in the recent past.

https://www.navytimes.com/articles/navy-south-china-sea

India navy spurns homemade warplane, latest blow to Asia push for self reliance

By Sanjeev Miglani and Tommy Wilkes | BENGALURU/NEW DELHI

India’s navy is in the hunt for a new foreign fighter jet after rejecting an indigenously made aircraft as too heavy, the latest sign of the struggle to get Asian militaries to buy locally to grow their defense industries.

The navy last month invited manufacturers to pitch for 57 planes for its aircraft carriers, a multi-billion dollar order the government had hoped would go to the state-run producers of India’s Tejas, a combat aircraft 33 years in the making.

India, South Korea, Taiwan and other Asian buyers are expected to intensify efforts this year to develop indigenous warplanes, military officials said, due to anxieties that the United States may be less engaged in the region under President Donald Trump.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-airshow-india-idUSKBN15S10U

18 killed, over 90 wounded in Lahore blast

  • Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a faction of TTP, claims responsibility for attack 
  • Dead include DIG Traffic Ahmed Mobin, SSP Operations Zahid Gondal, DSP Pervez Butt
  • Two suspects arrested, Section-144 imposed in Lahore by Punjab government

At least 18 people, including DIG Traffic Ahmed Mobin, were killed and over 90 wounded in a suicide bombing outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore on Monday, policemen and rescuers said.

[Editor’s Note: The TTP is the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.]

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/02/13/blast-in-lahore-leaves-several-wounded/

 

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February 12, 2017

Hamburg Airport evacuated ‘after pepper spray leaked into the air conditioning system’ leaving 68 injured

  • Fifty people being treated for breathing problems, coughing and burning eyes
  • It’s understood toxic chemicals were spread through the air conditioning system
  • Emergency services were called to the scene to reports of a ‘nasty odour’ 
  • All flights are grounded with the fire brigade having taken over the terminal

Hamburg Airport is on lockdown after the entire building was evacuated as pepper spray leaked into the air conditioning system.

German officials said 68 people were coughing, suffering breathing problems and burning eyes after the incident and nine were taken to hospital.

It is thought a canister of the substance used to control riots was set off in a bin near the security check-in desks.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4216828/Hamburg-airport-lockdown-building-evacuated.html

 

North Korea test-fires ballistic missile

The missile, which sources said landed in the Sea of Japan, was fired as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited President Trump in the United States.
“North Korea’s most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable. North Korea must fully comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” Abe told a news conference at Palm Beach, Florida.

French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon and his British-born wife Penelope will be indicted for fraud this week

  • 62-year-olds under investigation for range of charges including embezzlement
  • Mrs Fillon has been fighting to prove she was parliamentary attaché for decades
  • Indictment of the couple could prove fatal to politician’s presidential campaign

French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon and his British-born wife Penelope will be indicted for fraud this week and could be sent for criminal trial immediately.

The 62-year-olds are currently under investigation for a range of charges including embezzlement after helping themselves to hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of taxpayers’ cash by setting up a series of allegedly fake jobs.

Mrs Fillon, a solicitor’s daughter from Wales, has been ‘fighting tooth and nail’ to prove she was secretly a high-powered parliamentary attaché and literary consultant for decades.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4216634/Francois-Fillon-wife-Penelope-indicted-fraud.html#ixzz4YTWDc5gC

U.S. Army: 95% of Brigade Combat Teams Unprepared to Fight Immediately

WASHINGTON — Only three of the 58 U.S. Army Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) are capable of immediately joining the fight in the event of a major conflict, Gen. Daniel Allyn, vice chief of staff of the Army, told lawmakers.

According to the general, about one-third of the 58 BCTs in the Army, the largest U.S. military branch, are deemed ready, but “only three” of those “could be called upon to fight tonight in the event of a crisis.”

The rest would require about 30 days to prepare. That means only about five percent of brigade combat teams are ready to engage in immediate combat in the event of a major conflict.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/02/07/us-army-95-percent-brigade-combat-teams-unable-fight-immediately/

 

How the Royal Navy is all at sea over an appeal to ancient mariners to crew its new £6.2 billion aircraft carriers

  • £6.2 billion aircraft carriers could be crewed by mariners aged 60 and above
  • Naval chiefs are to appeal to ex-sailors to apply to key posts due to manpower crisis
  • In 2015 a recruitment drive aimed to bring in 4,000 additional personnel but only a few hundred new sailors were hired

Britain’s two new £6.2 billion aircraft carriers have been heralded as the beginning of an exciting era in naval warfare – but due to a manpower crisis, they will be crewed by some of the saltiest sea dogs of modern times.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that this week the Ministry of Defence will begin a recruitment drive begging ex-sailors who have retired or been made redundant to come back to man the ships.

Normally, only sailors aged up to 59 are considered for duty. But a shortage of personnel has led naval chiefs to appeal to mariners aged 60 and above to apply for key posts.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4216096/Manpower-crisis-sees-6-2-billion-ships-lacking-sailors.html#ixzz4YTXQJSQo

German firm refuses key component for US grenade launcher over 1868 international law

German firm refuses key component for US grenade launcher over 1868 international law
A German arms producer has refused to deliver key components for a new US grenade launcher, citing an 1868 convention prohibiting grenades being fired straight at a person. The German company is now facing penalties.

Mass production of the US, state-of-the-art, shoulder-fired grenade launcher XM25 has stalled since German company Heckler & Koch (H&K) has refused to deliver a key detail, fearing the weapon would hit people directly in violation of the 19th century international treaty, DPA reported.

Heckler & Koch is referring to 1868 St Petersburg international law convention that says grenades can’t be fired directly at a person. According to the document, grenades may be thrown at a building or near a person, but not straight at them.

https://www.rt.com/news/377084-germany-usa-grenade-launcher/

Get Ready, Russia: Britain Is Sending Warships to the Black Sea

Is Britain girding for a fight in Russia’s backyard? For the first time since the Cold War, Britain is sending a warship to the Black Sea on a military mission.

This time, the goal is to send a message to Russia: don’t invade Ukraine. The question is whether Russia will—or even should—bother to take the warning seriously.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/get-ready-russia-britain-sending-warships-the-black-sea-19397

The Army’s More Lethal M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams Tank Variant Will Start Testing in the 2020s

KRIS OSBORN

Tuesday at 10:00 AM

The Army is now engineering a far-superior M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams tank variant for the 2020s and beyond –designed to be more lethal, faster, lighter weight, better protected, equipped with new sensors and armed with upgraded, more effective weapons.

The Army is now engineering a far-superior M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams tank variant for the 2020s and beyond –designed to be more lethal, faster, lighter weight, better protected, equipped with new sensors and armed with upgraded, more effective weapons, service officials said.

Advanced networking technology with next-generation sights, sensors, targeting systems and digital networking technology — are all key elements of an ongoing upgrade to position the platform to successfully engage in combat against rapidly emerging threats, such as the prospect of confronting a Russian T-14 Armata or Chinese 3rd generation Type 99 tank.

The SEP v4 variant, slated to being testing in 2021, will include new laser rangefinder technology, color cameras, integrated on-board networks, new slip-rings, advanced meteorological sensors, ammunition data links, laser warning receivers and a far more lethal, multi-purpose 120mm tank round, Maj. Gen. David Bassett, Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Systems, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1728632-new-army-m1a2-sepv4-abrams-tank-for-2020s

China Tells India To Stay Off Its Indian Ocean ‘Colony,’ Sri Lanka

I cover global markets, business and investment strategy

After claiming South China Sea to be its own sea, telling America to stay off its islands, China is reaching for the Indian Ocean, telling India to stay off its own colony, Sri Lanka.

That’s something investors in Southeast Asian markets should keep a wary eye on, as it opens yet another front between the two Asian giants, raising the geopolitical risk of investing in the region.

Markets, for the time being, seem to be ignoring these risks.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/02/11/china-tells-india-to-stay-off-its-indian-ocean-colony-sri-lanka/#7a4ff4875f3a

India’s own interceptor missile soars high

An indigenously developed interceptor missile on Saturday successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile in a direct hit, demonstrating the capability of India’s Ballistic Missile Shield (BMD), which is under development.

“At 07.45 hrs today, India successfully conducted a test wherein an incoming ballistic missile target was intercepted by an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the Bay of Bengal,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement. As part of the test, a target missile mimicking an enemy ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km was launched from an Indian Navy ship stationed in the Bay of Bengal and the missile travelled towards the coast, reaching a very high altitude, officials said. It was engaged and destroyed at a height of over 50 km.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/India%E2%80%99s-own-interceptor-missile-soars-high/article17290456.ece

Sweden’s Saab offers high-tech jet production to India

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to build a state-of-the-art fighter jet factory in India should it seal a lucrative deal to supply hundreds of military jets to New Delhi.
Saab and its US competitor Lockheed Martin have emerged as the frontrunners to supply around 250 single-engine combat planes to India’s air force which wants to revamp its Soviet-era military hardware.
The Saab proposal would see “the world’s most modern” military aircraft factory roll out the Gripen E fighter not just for India but the global market.

Russia steps up cyber-attacks on Britain

Inside GCHQ: security chiefs are expecting a ‘category 1’ incident, the most seriousREX FEATURES

Britain is being hit by 60 significant cyber-attacks a month, including attempts by Russian state-sponsored hackers to steal defence and foreign policy secrets from government departments, the new cyber-security chief has revealed.

In his first key interview, Ciaran Martin, head of GCHQ’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), warned there had been a “step change” in Russia’s online aggression against the West as well as more attacks on “soft targets” such as local councils and charities to steal personal data, and universities to steal research secrets. The Queen will open the new cyber-centre on Tuesday.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russia-steps-up-cyber-attacks-on-uk-rl262pnlb

‘Get out of France’: Paris police tear gassing refugees and stealing blankets in freezing conditions, report reveals

Exclusive: ‘Alarming’ research shows almost two thirds of migrants ‘violently’ forced to move

Refugees sleeping on the streets in freezing conditions in Paris are having their blankets and sleeping bags stolen by police while being “violently” forced to move on, a report has found.

Research exclusively published by The Independent shows that men, women and children are being beaten and tear gassed by officers in the French capital, despite government pledges to shelter vulnerable people.

Eritrean families said they were told to “get out of France” as police tore away children’s blankets, leaving them without protection as the bitter temperatures plummeted to -7C

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-paris-migrants-france-police-sleeping-bags-blankets-violence-refugee-rights-data-a7575376.html

German defense minister during U.S visit calls American demands about NATO ‘fair’

BERLIN — Germany’s defense minister agrees with America’s call for European NATO members to shoulder more of the burden in the alliance.

Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Friday that the Trump administration’s call — which echoes long-standing U.S. policy — is “a fair demand.” Von der Leyen met with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.

http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/german-defense-minister-calls-american-nato-demands-fair-during-us-visit

Mattis heading to Europe while mulling changes in Afghanistan, anti-Islamic State fight

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis meets with Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defense minister, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 2017.

JETTE CARR/U.S. AIR FORCE

By DAN LAMOTHE | The Washington Post

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will depart Tuesday on his first trip to Europe as Pentagon chief, meeting with defense ministers from numerous countries as Washington mulls deploying thousands more troops to Afghanistan and altering its strategy to more aggressively counter the Islamic State.

The trip will include stops in Brussels to meet with European counterparts and in Germany to participate in the Munich Security Conference, a gathering of hundreds of ministers, heads of state and academics focused on bolstering global security. In Brussels, Mattis also will host a separate meeting of senior officials in the coalition fighting the Islamic State, as the Pentagon works to provide a new plan to President Donald Trump within weeks

https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/mattis-heading-to-europe-while-mulling-changes-in-afghanistan-anti-islamic-state-fight-1.453582

US beefing up Red Sea presence

Washington — Responding to a growing number of dangerous incidents in waters around Yemen, the US Navy is expanding its presence in the Red Sea, especially around the Bab el Mandeb strait at the southern entrance to the waterway.

The destroyer Cole was tasked on Feb. 3 with patrolling in the region, days after a suicide boat attack by Yemeni Houthi rebels on the Saudi frigate Al Madinah off the port of Al Hudaydah killed two sailors on the warship. Two other suicide boats in the attack were driven off by gunfire.

Now, Pentagon sources say two more destroyers are likely to be stationed in the Red Sea, patrolling opposite ends of the 1,400-mile long body of water. A US assault ship also is staying in the region, carrying attack aircraft and Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/us-beefing-up-red-sea-presence

Turkey-backed rebels push into Syrian IS group stronghold of al-Bab

Saleh Abo Ghaloun, AFP |
Turkey-backed-opposition fighters regroup as they advance on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of al-Bab in a bid to enter the city and retake control of it from the Islamic State (IS) group on February 9, 2017.

Video by Adam PLETTS

Latest update : 2017-02-12

Turkish troops and Syrian rebels on Saturday entered the strategic northern Syrian town of al-Bab, held by the Islamic State (IS) group, a local monitor said, as government forces also moved closer to the jihadist bastion.

Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency quoted military sources as saying one Turkish soldier was killed and another wounded in clashes with IS group militants in al-Bab.

http://www.france24.com/en/20170211-turkish-troops-syrian-rebels-push-stronghold-al-bab-group

Tensions flare between Greece, Turkey over Cyprus

By Eric DuVall
Feb. 11 (UPI) — Tensions flared between Greece and Turkey over the divided island of Cyprus after Greek officials accused the Turkish military of violating its air space and the Greek-controlled Cypriot Parliament passed a law the island’s Turks deemed offensive.

The twin military and political clashes come a month after United Nations-backed reunification negotiations failed to resolve the decades-long conflict.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/02/11/Tensions-flare-between-Greece-Turkey-over-Cyprus/7771486852069/

Swedish, Danish citizens arrested on terror accusations in Turkey: reports

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February 11, 2017

Report: 72 convicted of terrorism from ‘Trump 7’ mostly Muslim countries

Merkel offers cash handouts worth millions of pounds for migrants to return home in an embarrassing U-turn

  • The German chancellor agreed measures to speed up deportation
  • An estimated 450,000 rejected migrants are set to be sent home
  • Scheme includes £76million of cash incentives to leave voluntarily

Angela Merkel will offer cash handouts worth millions of pounds for migrants to leave Germany in an effort to silence criticism of her ‘open-door’ border policy.

In a highly-embarrassing U-turn over the ill-fated plan, which saw 1.2million migrants flock to the country, Mrs Merkel has now vowed to send many of them home.

The German chancellor agreed a package of measures to speed up the deportation process for an estimated 450,000 migrants who have been rejected asylum.

Current measures have left officials struggling to deport those whose asylum requests are rejected, largely because they come from areas deemed to be safe, unlike war-torn countries such as Syria

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4213978/Merkel-offers-cash-handouts-migrants-leave.html#ixzz4YQAgLLkz

Iran allowing Syria-bound Russian planes to use airspace-report

Iran has again allowed Russian planes to use its airspace during recent operations in Syria, a senior Iranian security official was quoted as saying on Saturday.

In August, Russian aircraft for the first time used an Iranian air base to conduct strikes in Syria. The Russian military said its fighters had completed their tasks, but left open the possibility of using the Hamadan base again if circumstances warranted.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-russia-iran-idUSKBN15Q0CR

Tsipras hits back at IMF, Germany over debt impasse

Athens (AFP) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday warned the International Monetary Fund and EU economic powerhouse Germany to stop playing with fire over his country’s debt problems.

Opening a meeting of his far-left Syriza party, Tsipras said he was confident a solution over repayments would be found, despite talks between Greece and its creditors ending in Brussels with no breakthrough on Friday.

Months of feuding with the IMF has rattled markets and raised fears of a new debt crisis, with Athens resisting pressure to cut public services any more than has already been agreed with creditors.

The Greek premier urged a change of course from the IMF.

Putin planning to send 100K troops to Baltic border for drills?.

ALEXEI NIKOLSKY
Baltic nations are increasingly worried that Russian war games set for this autumn will see President Vladimir Putin send as many as 100,000 troops to Belarus’ border with Lithuania and Poland — the very edge of the Kremlin’s sphere of influence with eastern Europe.

The U.S. Navy Needs a New Fighter (And Russia and China Are to Blame)

A new naval future fleet architecture study from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) suggests that the United States Navy will need to develop a dedicated air superiority fighter to counter Russian and Chinese advances.

“Counter-air operations will require low observable manned fighters with an unrefueled combat radius of more than 500 nm,” the CSBA report states. “These characteristics will keep refueling aircraft out of range of enemy air defenses while enabling the fighters to reach and engage bombers in a dynamic environment inside the enemy’s air defense envelope.”

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter—which are not dedicated air superiority fighters—would not be suitable to defeat advanced adversary air defenses or enemy aircraft such as the Chengdu J-20 or other Chinese fifth-generation warplanes.  …

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-us-navy-needs-new-fighter-russia-china-are-blame-19409

‘We need bigger ships’: Polish security agency wants new fleet to counter ‘Russian threat’

Poland’s National Security Bureau, the BBN, has unveiled a new development plan for the country’s fleet. It envisages defending against a “Russian threat” – with ships capable of operating far from native shores.

In a report published Friday, titled “The Strategic Concept Of Maritime Safety of the Republic of Poland,” the BBN states that “Polish seafaring interests are located all over the world’s maritime arena.” The authors recommend building up the Polish navy so that it may have a limited, but global, ability to project power that may be consistently demonstrated far from its territorial waters, working together with allied fleets.

https://www.rt.com/news/377020-poland-fleet-strike-russia-report/

Army Cyber Accelerates; Electronic Warfare Lags

Army is ahead of schedule building cyber teams — but its equally essential electronic warfare branch is lagging badly. Like a fiddler crab, one arm is much more developed than the other. While effective in the current fight against Daesh (aka ISIL), this unbalanced force would be at a severe disadvantage in future Multi-Domain Battles the Army envisions against a sophisticated adversary such as Russia, which excels in both cyber and electronic warfare.

EXCLUSIVE: House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs Committee Members Compromised By Rogue IT Staff

 

Three brothers who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission.

Imran Awan with Bill Clinton / Facebook Imran Awan with Bill Clinton / Facebook

Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.

House staffers under criminal investigation still employed

Multiple Democratic lawmakers have yet to cut ties with House staffers under criminal investigation for wide-ranging equipment and data theft.

Imran Awan, a longtime House staffer who worked for more than two dozen Democrats since 2004, is still employed by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, though his access to the House IT network has been blocked since last week.

“At this time we are continuing to gather information from House officials and will determine the best approach to move forward once we have reviewed that information,” David Damron, communications director for Wasserman Schultz, said in an email when asked by POLITICO if Awan was still working for the Florida Democrat.

Wasserman Schultz declined to comment, referring POLITICO to the statement when asked follow-up questions Monday night.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/house-staff-criminal-investigation-234714

Pentagon Not Providing US MANPADS to ‘Any Group in Syria’ After Obama’s Waiver

The Department of Defense (DoD) has not supplied Syrian rebels with US man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, the department’s spokesperson Adrian Rankine-Galloway told Sputnik on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In December, then-US President Barack Obama waived legal restrictions outlined in the US Arms Export Control Act to allow arms supply for the moderate Syrian opposition.

“DoD only provides weapons to the Syrian Arab Coalition, the Arab element of the Syrian Democratic Forces,” Rankine-Galloway said.

“DoD has not provided US MANPADS to any group in Syria.”

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201702101050556642-pentagon-manpads-syria/

Turkey asks 16 countries to extradite 28 Gülenist suspects

ANADOLU AGENCY
ANKARA

The Justice Ministry has requested the extradition of 28 Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) suspects residing in 16 countries including FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen and other senior figures, according to Turkish judicial sources.

Turkey asks 16 countries to extradite 28 Gülenist suspects

FETÖ’s U.S.-based ringleader is the mastermind behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt as stated by the government.

The defeated putsch left at least 248 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.

Since July 19, 2016, Turkey has been officially asking the U.S. to extradite Gülen.

Turkey has also requested the extradition of Emre Uslu from the U.S., a FETÖ former police officer and columnist who is charged with espionage, being a member of an armed terrorist group and attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.

Report: Flynn aide forced out of National Security Council after CIA denies security clearance

A top aide to National Security Adviser Mike Flynn was denied clearance for a high-level security clearance by the Central Intelligence Agency, putting an end to the aide’s tenure on the National Security Council, according to a report.

The report said Robin Townley, senior director for Africa and a top deputy of Flynn’s, found out Friday that the CIA had shot down his request for an elite security clearance that is required to serve on the NSC, escalating tensions between Flynn and the intelligence community.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/report-flynn-aide-forced-out-of-national-security-council-after-cia-denies-security-clearance/article/2614583

Italy’s defense-industry chief attacks F-35 ‘broken promises’

February 10, 2017 (Photo Credit: Andy Wolfe/U.S. Navy)
ROME — The head of Italy’s association of defense firms has launched a blistering attack on the U.S. and Lockheed Martin, accusing them of breaking promises made to Italy about workshare on the F-35 program.

Guido Crosetto, the head of Italian aerospace and defense industry association AIAD, said the U.S. “had not honored promises” made since Italy joined the program, hurting Italian firms as well as threatening the livelihood of Italy’s fledgling F-35 maintenance center.

US Lawmakers Question Military Preparedness For Korean Conflict

On Wednesday US lawmakers met to discuss Washington’s preparedness to deal with a potential military conflict in the Korean peninsula, and how the US can project strength in one part of the world without losing influence in others.

During a meeting of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, assistant Marine Corps commandant Gen. Glenn Walters said, “I can tell you today we cannot do two things simultaneously. One of the stressing ones for us is Korea, we could not do that at all if we still had commitments elsewhere in the world — Europe, Africa or the Middle East…And I think our enemies know that.”

https://sputniknews.com/military/201702111050566159-lawmakers-discern-us-prepared-korea/

 

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January 31, 2017

Now Mexico wants to build a border wall with Central America to keep out illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala

  • Mexicans are calling for the border wall to keep out Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans fleeing violence
  • They complain ‘hordes’ of immigrants are flooding the country on the way to the US – who then deport them back to Mexico
  • Mexican newspaper El Mañana published article:  ‘Yes to the Border Wall … but in Mexico’s South’
  • ‘Trump’s idea of a border wall is a good one but it should be on the southern border with Central America,’ the El Mañana board wrote

It seems Mexico agrees with Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants – but only on its southern border with Central America.

Mexicans are calling for the border wall to keep out Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans fleeing violence in their own countries.

They complain ‘hordes’ of immigrants pass through on their way to the United States -who are then simply deported back to Mexico rather than their home countries by the US.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3790116/Mexico-wants-build-border-wall-Central-America-illegal-immigrants.html

Why Yates Had to Go

Migrants at WAR: Tensions in Paris as children attacked with knives for being ‘too rich

Migrant battles in ParisDW

The streets of Paris have erupted into inter-migrant strife

Contrary to this, the long-standing Chinese community in Paris has gained a reputation for being “hard-working and managing without taxpayer help”.

In a report from German channel DW, a Chinese migrant named Woo described how a gang of North African youths attacked him in his home last November.

He said that the yobs threatened him and his wife with a knife and smashed his head, after which broke in and stole his valuables.

He added: “I am scared. I don’t feel safe anymore.”

A gang of African migrantDW

A gang of African migrants mugged these young children and threatened them with a knife

Guylain ChevrierDW

Guylain Chevrier, a French sociologist, said a pattern have quickly emerged following refugee crisis

I am scared. I don’t feel safe anymore

Woo, a local Chinese resident in Paris

Yvon Sun, who works as a liaison for the Chinese community in Paris, echoed these remarks and said among a rise of recent assaults, a gang of African migrants had robbed a pair of young children under 10 years old and threatened them with a knife.

In August last year, a Chinese man was killed in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers after being attacked during a botched robbery.

While the crime rate grows, local migrants from North Africa have been unafraid to voice their prejudices.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/759995/North-African-youth-gangs-Chinese-migrants-Paris

 

Why Yates Had to Go

by THE EDITORS

It is a very simple proposition. Our Constitution vests all executive power — not some of it, all of it — in the president of the United States. Executive-branch officials do not have their own power. They are delegated by the president to execute his power. If they object to the president’s policies, their choice is clear: salute and enforce the president’s directives, or honorably resign. There is no third way.

No one knows this better than high-ranking officials of the Department of Justice. That is why President Trump was right to fire Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Over the weekend, President Trump issued an executive order temporarily restricting the admission into the United States of aliens from various Muslim-majority countries, as well as aliens from Syria and elsewhere who are claiming refugee status.

Naturally, this has triggered protests by Democrats and the Left. They erroneously claim that Trump’s executive order violates the Constitution, statutory law, American tradition, and human decency.

For inexplicable reasons, the new president left Yates in place to run the Justice Department in anticipation of the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions. A faithful Obama-appointed progressive, Yates obviously knew which way the political wind was blowing in her tribe. Like most Democrats, Yates objects to the president’s executive order. Fair enough. But she is not a political operative, she was a Justice Department official — the highest such official. If her opposition to the president’s policy was as deeply held as she says, her choice was clear: enforce the president’s policy or quit.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444418/why-sally-yates-was-fired-insubordination

 

 

US Jewish centers rocked by third wave of bomb threats this month

At least 11 community centers across country forced to evacuate; security official calls for resilience

At least 11 Jewish community centers across the United States were targeted with bomb threats in the third wave of such mass disruptions this month.

The  JCC in Albany received a bomb threat at 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to Tom Wachunas, the JCC’s fitness director. More than 200 people were evacuated, and were allowed to return after an hour and a half.

The Albany JCC closed briefly due to a bomb scare, January 18, 2017. (Screenshot from Twitter via JTA)

On January 18, some 30 Jewish institutions in at least 17 states received bomb threats. On January 9, such threats were called into 16 JCCs across the Northwest and South, forcing the evacuation of hundreds.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-jewish-centers-rocked-by-third-wave-of-bomb-threats-this-month/

 

Two sailors are killed when Yemen SUICIDE BOATS smash into Saudi warship

  • Two crew members on the vessel died in explosion caused by three boat attack
  • It was targeted by the armed Houthi movement, which is backed by Iran
  • Three sailors on board the ship were also injured in the attack
  • The Houthi movement claims the ship was struck by a guided missile 

Two crew members on a Saudi warship were killed after an attack by three ‘suicide boats’ which caused a large explosion.

The vessel was targeted off the western coast of Yemen by the armed Houthi movement.

Three sailors were also injured in the attack.

Huge explosion rocks Saudi navy ship in Houthi ‘suicide attack’
Two sailors died in the explosion and a further three were injured as a result of the attack

The attacks follow weeks of combat on Yemen’s western coast between the Iran-allied Houthis and the coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

A statement on state news agency SPA from the Saudi-led coalition reported: ‘A Saudi frigate on patrol west of Hodeidah port came under attack from three suicide boats belonging to the Houthi militias.’

One of the boats smashed into the rear of the warship, causing an explosion and a fire that killed two crew members and wounded three others.

The Houthi movement’s al-Masira channel contradicted this account and quoted a military source saying the explosion was caused by a guided missile.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4174924/Two-sailors-killed-SUICIDE-BOATS-smash-Saudi-ship.html#ixzz4XLKbsecH

PENTAGON

EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon believes attack on Saudi frigate meant for US warship

The Iranian-backed suicide attack targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen on Monday may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials told Fox News.

The incident in question occurred in the southern Red Sea and was carried out by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Two Saudi sailors were killed and three were wounded. At first the ship was thought to have been struck by a missile.

But based on new analysis of a video showing the attack, American intelligence officials now believe this was, in fact, a suicide bomber whose small boat rammed the side of the Saudi vessel.

In the audio heard on the video, a voice narrating the attack shouts in Arabic, “Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to the Jews.”

U.S. defense analysts believe those behind the attack either thought the bomber was striking an American warship or that this was a “dress rehearsal” similar to the attack on the USS Cole, according to one official.

The attack, near the Bab al Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, occurred in the same area where U.S. Navy warships came under missile attack in October.

An American destroyer shot down those incoming missiles — the first successful engagement in combat using an American SM-2 missile.

USS Nitze, an American destroyer, retaliated soon after, launching Tomahawk missiles on October 13 at multiple Houthi radar sites in Yemen.

 

Terror alert at Farnborough Airport after two ‘suspicious’ men are spotted hiding in bushes and pointing at buildings ‘as they carried out surveillance’

  • Men of Middle Eastern appearance seen at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire
  • Witness said they were hiding in bushes and speaking foreign language 
  • After pointing at buildings – not planes – they drove off in a white ‘rattling’ BMW 
  • Hampshire Police issue an alert asking public to help trace the two men 

The suspects, described as being of Middle Eastern appearance and in their thirties, were ‘pointing at buildings’ at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire.

They were seen acting strangely in Hercules Way, Farnborough, on Wednesday January 25 between 5.15pm and 5.30pm, police have said.

One was wearing grey baggy jogging bott

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4175530/Airport-terror-alert-two-men-spotted-bushes.html#ixzz4XLLHp3Oy

US under Trump among external threats to EU – council president Tusk

[Editor’s Note: This is one of the most outrageous statements ever from a European leader since the Nazis and Mussolini, even one from the badly tarnished EU.  Tusk has done great damage that is simply not repairable.  He should do everyone a favor and resign immediately.]

European Council President Donald Tusk has called the US under President Donald Trump one of the external threats to the EU along with China, Russia and radical Islam.

The senior EU official added that the bloc must take “spectacular steps” to avoid disintegration. He said that if this did not happen, separated European nations would become dependent on the US, China and Russia.

Tusk said the EU could capitalize on Trump’s trade strategy to boost European economic ties around the world.

The remarks were made in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, where Tusk was meeting leaders of the three Baltic states. His speech mirrored an open letter to European leaders he had written earlier, ahead of a summit in Malta on Friday.

https://www.rt.com/news/375776-us-under-trump-threat-eu/

China Tests Missile With 10 Warheads

Multi-warhead weapon tested amid growing tensions with the United States

DF-5B

BY:

China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-tests-missile-10-warheads/

‘Foreign State’ Likely Behind Czech ForMin Computer Breach, Minister Says

In a most likely unrelated development, Russia has reportedly accused two top cyber-agents of working with the CIA.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (pictured) today said hackers have stolen large amounts of data and breached email accounts at his ministry.

Zaoralek said the attacks appear to have been conducted by a foreign state, Reuters reports, but that no confidential material was compromised.

The hacks occurred in recent weeks, the ministry said. Zaoralek gave an assurance that the ministry’s computers are now secure. His email account was among the dozens breached.

Experts at the ministry will try to determine what data was stolen and the risks that might arise, the state press agency CTK reports.

The security breach resembled last fall’s cyberattacks on the U.S. Democratic Party, Zaoralek said. The previous Barack Obama administration blamed the attacks on Russia, and the three major U.S. intelligence agencies accused Russia of trying to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Russian President Vladimir Putin and much of the mainstream Russian media welcomed Donald Trump’s victory, saying it could ease bilateral tensions.

http://www.tol.org/client/article/26663-czech-hack-foreign-russia-fsb.html

 

Arrested Russian FSB agents accused of passing secret information ‘on US election hacking’ to CIA

Four face treason and illegal hacking charges after December arrests.

Two Russian FSB agents arrested as part of a treason and illegal hacking investigation allegedly passed confidential information to the CIA, sources close to the investigation have told Interfax. Sergei Mikhailov, a cyber-security specialist at the Russian domestic intelligence agency, was arrested in December 2016, according to multiple Russian media reports.

Ruslan Stoyanov, the head of investigations at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab and Mikhailov’s deputy, Dmitry Dokuchaev, were also arrested.

Mikhailov and Dokuchaev are both accused of “breaking their oath and working with the CIA”, according to the source.

Independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that Mikhailov is suspected of leaking information to US intelligence about King Servers, a hosting platform owned by Russian citizen Vladimir Fomenko.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/31/russian-cybersecurity-experts-face-treason-charges-cia

 

UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting over Iran missile test

The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday, at the request of the United States, to discuss Iran’s latest ballistic missile test.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said Monday it wanted the U.N.’s most powerful body to talk about Sunday’s launch of a medium-range missile, which defies U.N. sanctions. Ambassador Nikki Haley is expected to take part in the meeting.

Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Dannon called for the Security Council to “act immediately in response to these Iranian actions which endanger not only Israel, but the entire Middle East.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said earlier that he did not know the “exact nature” of the test and expected to have more information later.

Iran’s missile test, the first under Donald Trump’s presidency, occurred Sunday at a well-known test site outside Semnan, about 140 miles east of Tehran, Fox News was first to learn.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/31/un-security-council-to-hold-emergency-meeting-over-iran-missile-test.html

Arab Countries Should Turn Away From US-Made to ‘More Reliable Russian Weapons’

Arab countries should replace United States-made weapons with Russian-produced analogues, according to Iraqi military expert Qasi al Myatasim.

International Military-Technical Forum ARMY 2016, showcasing hundreds of Russian (and foreign) weapons systems, took place outside Moscow earlier this month.
In an interview with Sputnik Arabic, the expert pointed out: “American weapons are not reliable. Russia produce more advanced military equipment, but the US has better propaganda tools. Moreover, when the Americans export their weapons they take out all advanced and complicated electronics [from those systems].”

According to the expert, Russian manufacturers and exporters do not downgrade their weapons.

“Russian weapons can be operational for years. They just need to be maintained, including replacing worn-out parts. This gives much more options. We worked with Soviet-made weapons, and the results were very good,” al Myatasim noted.

The expert added that Washington has recently launched a new policy in the region, in compliance with its interests.

https://sputniknews.com/world/201701311050190536-arab-countries-weapons-russia/

 

Germany sends tanks to Lithuania for NATO mission

By Michael Dalder | GRAFENWOEHR, GERMANY

Germany began sending tanks and other equipment to Lithuania on Tuesday as part of a NATO mission to beef up the defense of eastern Europe and send a signal of resolve to Russia, which has denounced the build-up as an act of aggression.

The German army command said it was sending about 200 vehicles, including 30 tanks, by train to Lithuania along with 450 troops, the first of whom arrived last week. The transports would continue until late February.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nato-russia-germany-idUSKBN15F1IH?il=0

PETER KORZUN | 20.12.2016 | WORLD

US Army Deploys Tanks to Europe Ratcheting Up Tensions with Russia

On December 16, US tanks and armor vehicles arrived in the Netherlands to be deployed in a storage depot located in the province of Limburg. The facility, the former Eygelshoven military base near Kerkrade, will be used to keep and maintain tanks, armored vehicles and heavy artillery pieces for a US armored brigade combat team. In January, the US Army in Europe is due to deploy a total of 4,000 American troops and around 2,000 military vehicles on a rotational basis to Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic nations. NATO forces will move to the Baltic States in early spring. In an overtly provocative move, an American battalion will be stationed in Poland near the border with Kaliningrad, Russia’s Baltic enclave.

The US Army is implementing the annual defense authorization act which approved a $3.4 billion spending plan to boost NATO forces, including reopening or creating five equipment-storage sites in the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and two locations in Germany. In September, the US Army began to assemble more Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) for permanent storage in Europe. The additional combat equipment will give the Army the option for another heavy armored brigade. Presently, it has only two light brigades in Europe: 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

The US military has over 62,000 permanently assigned service members in Europe.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/12/20/us-army-deploys-tanks-europe-ratcheting-up-tensions-with-russia.html

Alarming arms race among Pakistan, India and China

The ballistic missile defense (BMD) – a country’s ability to shoot down an incoming projectile – in Asia is challenging the deterrence equilibrium not only between India and Pakistan but also with China.

With Delhi being pivotal in Washington’s long-term policy of containing domination of Beijing, the calculus of threat-perception has become awfully complex. Former US President Barack Obama not only anomalously amplified China as a threat while submitting to Russia’s advances but also authorised development of space-based weapon systems known as Strategic Defence Initiative (or Star Wars) in Reagan years. For a layman, Strategic Defence Initiative is an interplay of a series of satellites and ground-based missiles that were then meant to shoot down incoming missiles from the Soviet Union and other nations. The nuclearisation of space aims to undermine the ballistic missile defence. China, which may surpass America in space research by 2030, will soon follow the suit. India will react too, prompting Pakistan to consider its options.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1312559/alarming-arms-race-among-pakistan-india-china/

Syrian Kurds Welcome Russia’s Proposed Draft Constitution for Syria

© Sputnik/ Iliya Pitalev
In an interview with Sputnik, Halit İsa, a representative of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in France, revealed the details of his Friday meeting in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“Mr. Lavrov familiarized us with the draft constitution for Syria prepared by Russia. He said that the text was not final and that we could feel free to make any amends we deemed fit,” Halit Isa told Sputnik Arabic.

Describing the meeting as “positive,” Isa said that Russia was inviting all Syrian opposition forces and representatives of “democratic autonomies” to the negotiating table.

“The Russian-prepared draft proposes deleting the word ‘Arab’ from the country’s official name, which reads as the ‘Syrian Arab Republic,’  because there are many ethnic groups living in Syria, including Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Circassians and others.”

Halit İsa also praised the Russian draft for underscoring Syria’s status as a secular state as compared to the old constitution, which contained articles based on Sharia law.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201701311050194618-syria-draft-constitution/

Germany Says the Human Rights Situation in Libya is ‘Catastrophic’

Jan 30, 2017

(BERLIN) — The human rights situation in Libya is “catastrophic,” with migrants heading for Europe bearing the brunt of abuse, the German government said Monday.

A report Sunday by German weekly Welt am Sonntag quoted an internal Foreign Ministry memo describing how migrants face torture and execution at detention camps in Libya. The country has become a key departure point for migrants from Africa trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Thousands of people died last year when their rickety boats sank en route.

A separate Foreign Ministry memo obtained by The Associated Press described the camps as “terrible.”

“Europe mustn’t look away but try to make the living conditions bearable now,” the memo said. “Our credibility is on the line here.”

http://time.com/4654587/germany-libya-human-rights-catastrophic/

Netanyahu’s road to Iran runs through North Korea

Al Monitor

Forget for a moment about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, US recognition of the settlement blocs, a closed-eye policy on the pace of construction in the territories and the way the United States has been inspired, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, by the separation barriers that Israel built in the West Bank and along its southern border. The one truly important story is North Korea. The most senior sources in Israel claim that this is where US President Donald Trump will be tested. Once the dust settles, the eyes of the world will be watching Trump’s steps to deal with North Korea’s accelerated nuclear armaments program. Top Israeli Cabinet members believe that the outcome of Trump’s dealing with the North Koreans will determine whether international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities will be a success or whether they will be a resounding failure.

“If Trump succeeds in stopping North Korea, it would be reasonable to assume that the Iranians will get the hint,” one senior Israeli official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “On the other hand, if Trump repeats the Obama administration’s failures in handling North Korea, the Iranians will take this as a signal that the world will have to concede to them too at some point. It would make no sense if the North Koreans can have a nuclear arsenal and intercontinental missiles that can strike the United States, while the Iranians cannot.”

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/01/israel-north-korea-us-iran-benjamin-netanyahu-donald-trump.html#ixzz4XLXrpeFa

Incompetence, cronyism hurts US military in online fight against ISIS, report says

Known as “WebOps,” the program was launched several years ago by a small group of civilian contractors and military officers assigned to the information operations division at U.S. Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa.

But internal documents and interviews with more than a dozen people knowledgeable about WebOps suggest a program that appears aimed more at enriching contractors than thwarting terrorism. The people interviewed by AP requested anonymity because they are prohibited from speaking publicly about WebOps due to the sensitive nature of the work and they fear professional repercussions.

WebOps relies on dozens of Arabic-speaking analysts who scour Twitter and other social media platforms for people whose postings suggest they are vulnerable to the Islamic State’s siren call. Using fictitious identities, the civilian analysts then reach out to these potential recruits and urge them not to join the extremists.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/01/31/incompetence-cronyism-hurts-us-military-in-online-fight-against-isis-report-says.html

Pentagon Creating List of Iraqis Who Have Worked With US Troops

Major Mark Fuller, 2nd Team Commander, 2nd Detachment, 5th Civil Affairs Group talks through an interpreter to men at the local medical facility.( U. S. Marine Corps/ Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos)
Major Mark Fuller, 2nd Team Commander, 2nd Detachment, 5th Civil Affairs Group talks through an interpreter to men at the local medical facility.( U. S. Marine Corps/ Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos)

The U.S. military is drawing up a list of Iraqis who have helped U.S. forces to avoid having them caught up in the red tape of President Donald Trump’s restrictions on entry to the U.S., the Pentagon said Monday.

“We have been provided the opportunity by the White House to submit names,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, for possible exemptions from the 90-day travel ban against those from Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Iran.

Davis also said the Defense Department is considering drawing up a separate list of non-citizen, active-duty members of the military holding green cards for distribution to other agencies to ease their entry into the U.S. from overseas.

About 5,000 non-citizens enlist in the military annually, and the average number of non-citizens serving in the total force each year is about 18,000, Davis said. The DoD had no immediate count of the number of active-duty non-citizens who are from the seven countries affected by the travel ban.

As for the Iraqis, Davis said, “We are ensuring that those who have demonstrated their commitment tangibly to fight alongside us and support us — that those names are known in whatever process there is going forward.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/01/30/pentagon-creating-list-iraqis-who-have-worked-us-troops.html

Military situation in eastern Ukraine worsens

The Ukrainian foreign ministry expressed deep concern on Monday night (30 January) over the “intensification of the Russian-terrorist forces in Donbas”. Other reports, however, speak of a “creeping offensive” of Ukrainian forces in an attempt to create “new facts on the ground”.

According to a statement, for the last two days, Russian forces carried out massive attacks across the contact line using all available weapons, including Grad rockets, 122 mm and 152 mm artillery, 82 and 120mm mortars, and tanks, all of which are prohibited by the Minsk agreements. The Russian weapons killed 8 Ukrainian soldiers and have left 26 wounded, the statement adds.

Civilians threatened

Reports indicate that residential areas have been shelled.

“Two civilians have been wounded. The cities of Yasinovata and Avdiyivka were fully cut off from electricity by shelling. More than 400,000 peaceful civilians in the region have no access to water, electricity and heating. Given the harsh weather conditions and the continuing shelling by the militants, the humanitarian situation in the area continues to deteriorate,” the statement says.

According to the Ukrainian foreign ministry, “such actions of the Kremlin may qualify as a war crime, a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, an unlawful, wanton and extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity”.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/military-situation-in-eastern-ukraine-worsens/

Turkey and UK agree to develop new fighter aircraft

30 January 2017
Turkey and the United Kingdom signed a heads of agreement to collaborate on the development of Turkey’s indigenous fifth-generation fighter project on 28 January.

The agreement was signed in Ankara by BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in the presence of the Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim, and the visiting UK prime minister, Theresa May.

The non-binding agreement paves the way for the signature of a contract between the two companies that could be worth over GBP100 million and pave the way for even deeper co-operation over the lifetime of the project.

Known as the Milli Muharebe Uçagi (MMU) project locally and overseas as the Turkish Fighter Experimental (TF-X) project, the programme aims to build a modern air superiority aircraft to replace Turkey’s F-16s. Turkey selected BAE Systems as its first choice international partner for the project in late 2015.

http://www.janes.com/article/67322/turkey-and-uk-agree-to-develop-new-fighter-aircraft

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Give Me $46 Billion and I will Build a Safe Computer System

ABI Research estimates that cyber security spending on the critical infrastructure was $46 billion last year. The largest part of these dollars was spent in the United States.

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Meanwhile, in the United States, Federal government agencies have stepped up their efforts to improve cyber security protection. The Pentagon is tripling its staffing of cyber security professionals even while critical defense programs are being cancelled or curtailed. By 2016, the Pentagon should have 6,000 cyber professionals at work. In a boastful speech describing the Defense Department’s investment in cyber, Defense Secretary Hagel says they are on the way to building “a modern cyberforce.” To back up his words, the Pentagon announced last June that by 2018 the Pentagon planned to spend $23 billion on cyber security.

The Defense Department also created a United States Cyber Command (originated in 2009) which is located at Ft. Meade, Maryland, the home of the National Security Agency. The Cyber Command (officially USCYBERCOM) is headed by a Navy Admiral, Michael S. Rogers, and is subordinate to the US Strategic Command. Strategic Command involves space operations (such as military satellites), information operations (such as information warfare), missile defense, global command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance , global strike and strategic deterrence (the United States nuclear arsenal), and combating weapons of mass destruction. Thus USCYBERCOM is part of the Defense Department’s most sensitive organization that includes control over America’s strategic nuclear missiles.

But despite this massive spending and the hiring of thousands of security professionals, the United States has thus far failed to protect government agencies, the rest of the critical infrastructure of the United States, regular businesses, and personal security. Despite the billions sunk into the effort each year, none of the investment has stopped the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Syrians, or the tens of thousands of hackers from pounding America’s computer networks. To date there have been massive hits against government computer systems, health care systems, banking and finance, power companies including nuclear facilities and energy companies, and defense companies. Vast amounts of information have been either stolen, overwritten or mutilated by hackers. Today no one can be sure whether our communications are safe, whether the lights will stay on, whether our early warning systems will function. Instead of curtailing the threat, every evidence points to its escalating out of control.

Has anyone bothered to ask why this is so? Now, our leaders, bureaucrats and their academic and industry advisers keep telling us they need to spend more, and like Pavlov’s dogs, when the bell rings, they appropriate more money to fight the threat.

If you have a spare $46 billion laying around there is an answer to computer security. But the answer will not be found in any Federal government plan. All of them are, like Hans Brinker, trying to stick their finger in the leaking dyke.

The reason is easy to discern. All computers, including all mobile devices, operate on open systems that were developed by countless software engineers worldwide. The computer industry and its allied software development is a global industry that is totally insecure. You don’t know who writes the code, the level of competency, the degree of security training, the level of auditing and internal testing for vulnerabilities, or whether some of the engineers are owned by foreign intelligence services or are promoting various ideological causes. Even in the United States, major companies such as Microsoft, Apple, or Google are run by nameless developers who come from a plethora of places (including lots of foreigners). These companies have no ability to properly vet their employees, nor do they have any real incentive to do so.

What makes matters even worse is that we have grown a security industry, already embedded in government and in corporate America, that feeds off the vast amounts of money being thrown at the computer hacking problem. To be frank, these folks have a vested interest in insecurity, because insecurity fuels their budgets. And even if the majority of them are sincere and want to help, their efforts will always fail.

The brilliant Pentagon, which is supposed to know what it is doing in cyber matters, has hired Amazon to provide “cloud” services for Pentagon information and data. The Pentagon has also cleared Samsung (a Korean company), Apple (an American company) and Blackberry (a Canadian company) to provide mobile phones for top Pentagon employees. These Pentagon decisions are intellectually defective and demonstrate that throwing billions of dollars at a problem may only compound the issue. Who clears the people at Samsung, or Blackberry, Apple or Amazon? A lot of folks in Hollywood right now, who stupidly “trusted” Apple’s cloud service, now find their naked bodies (and more) posted on the Internet.

The truth of the matter is that public systems and “open source” software are the real danger. Give us $46 billion and we can fix the problem, at least for the Pentagon and the critical infrastructure by building a truly secure, totally encrypted system that is self contained and invulnerable to hacking. To be safe you must eliminate all open source, public systems for government and critical business enterprises.

Right now you cannot buy a safe operating system because no one has invested in one. That investment is absolutely necessary for our survival and our security, not to mention the protection of our freedom and democracy. Open source public systems will always trample on human rights. They are sources of constant abuse by our enemies.

Let’s face it. The US government made a huge mistake when it decided to rely on public systems for critical communications and data storage. When you think that almost all the hardware is made in China and the folks producing these systems are everywhere around the world, you can see the enormity of the security disaster before us..

Given the destabilizing events around the world, the risks to American vital defense systems and critical infrastructure are reaching the tipping point. It is urgent for our leaders to recognize the nature of the threat and implement a radical change in our computer networks and systems. The Pentagon, DARPA, CYBERCOM, NSA and everyone else involved have a responsibility to figure it out and not just play dumb

PLEASE NOTE: This article, written by Stephen Bryen and Rebecca Abrahams was published on September 5, 2014 in the Huffington Post.  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-abrahams/give-me-46-billion-and-i_b_5773316.html 

 

 

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