Saturday, March 24, 2012

AFP: Iraq detains 22 policemen after jailbreak

AFP: Iraq detains 22 policemen after jailbreak

KIRKUK, Iraq — Iraq detained 22 policemen on Saturday after 19 inmates, including two men on death row, escaped from a prison in the northern city of Kirkuk a day earlier, the local police chief said.
"We are investigating 22 policemen who have been detained, to find out about the escape of the terrorists," Kirkuk provincial police chief Jamal Taher Bakr told AFP, adding that local police were hunting for those on the run.
Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi told AFP on a visit to Kirkuk that authorities had opened an investigation into the prison break, and that security forces rearrested one of the 19 men in the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil.
"Clearly there is some collaboration and negligence," Assadi said. "This escape could not have happened unless there were people who helped them."
Assadi said the escaped prisoners included 11 charged with terror-related offences, and that some of them had been held in custody since 2006.
The group of 19 fled Al-Tasfirat prison in central Kirkuk, 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Baghdad, early on Friday morning.
They apparently drugged guards and fellow inmates using narcotic-laced dates that put them to sleep before breaking out of the jail.
The prisoners were alleged Al-Qaeda insurgents and fighters belonging to Ansar al-Sunna, a Salafist group that has claimed several attacks against US and Iraqi security forces....

Taliban commander wants Pakistan's nukes, global Islamic caliphate - The Long War Journal

Taliban commander wants Pakistan's nukes, global Islamic caliphate - The Long War Journal

One of the top leaders of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan said the terror group seeks to overthrow the Pakistani government, impose sharia, or Islamic law, seize the country's nuclear weapons, and wage jihad until "the Caliphate is established across the world."

The statements were made by Omar Khalid al Khurasani, the al Qaeda-linked leader of the Movement the Taliban in Pakistan's branch in the Mohmand tribal agency, in a video that was released on jihadist web forums yesterday. The video, which also discussed the history and evolution of the Movement the Taliban in Pakistan, was released by Umar Studios and has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Omar-Khalid-TTP-video.jpg
In the video, Khalid said the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan was united and strong and operating under the leadership of Hakeemullah Mehsud. Khalid outlined five "important goals" of the Taliban: overthrow the Pakistani institutions; release both Pakistani and "foreign" fighters; impose sharia law; obtain a nuclear weapon; and establish a global caliphate....

paper published in the journal Smart Materials and Structures

paper published in the journal Smart Materials and Structures


Scientists in the U.S. have invented a robotic underwater which is inspired by jellyfish. The robot powers itself with sea water.
The bio-mimetic jellyfish is still in the early stage of its development, but researchers hope that it can be used in underwater rescue operations.

The researchers at the Virginia Tech, the University of Texas and other schools are working together to develop the robotic jellyfish.
In a paper published in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, Yonas Tadesse, lead author of the study, said that the jellyfish's swimming action made it an ideal model for a vehicle.

The robot, which is funded by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research, is made from a combination of silicone and other high-tech materials. The Robojelly with the help of oxygen and hydrogen in seawater activate a chemical reaction to contract its artificial muscles.

Friday, March 23, 2012

US-Japan plan reportedly would spread Marines across Pacific - Pacific base relocation - Stripes

US-Japan plan reportedly would spread Marines across Pacific - Pacific base relocation - Stripes


CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — U.S. Marines based on Okinawa would be spread out across the Pacific as part of a strategic realignment plan now being worked out with Japan, according to anonymous government sources quoted Thursday by the Yomiuri newspaper.

The plan pulls together an agreement made with Australia last year to rotate thousands of Marines through that country and an acknowledgement in February that the U.S. and Japan will relocate 4,700 Okinawa Marines to Guam to create the most comprehensive realignment of the service in the Pacific since World War II....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cybersecurity malware hackers computer viruses | Homeland Security News Wire

Cybersecurity malware hackers computer viruses | Homeland Security News Wire

 Researchers have found that including ads in mobile applications (apps) poses privacy and security risks; in a recent study of 100,000 apps in the official Google Play market, researchers noticed that more than half contained so-called ad libraries, and that many of the apps included aggressive ad libraries that were enabled to download and run code from remote servers, which raises significant privacy and security concerns...

Army threatens to fire whistleblower for talking to McClatchy | McClatchy

Army threatens to fire whistleblower for talking to McClatchy | McClatchy


WASHINGTON — The military's embattled crime lab is trying to fire an outspoken whistleblower who's spotlighted its problems.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory warned its firearms branch chief, Donald Mikko, in a memo of its plans to fire him, in part for talking to a McClatchy reporter.

As part of an internal investigation, Mikko was interrogated for about four hours and questioned about his contacts with McClatchy, according to his attorney Peter Lown. The Army Criminal Investigation Command, which oversees the lab, launched the inquiry after McClatchy published a story late last year about the lab losing evidence.

McClatchy has written more than a dozen stories about the lab since last March, which included details of the misconduct of two former analysts who made serious errors during DNA and firearms testing and who later were found to have falsified and destroyed documents when confronted with the problems.

As a result of McClatchy's articles, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D- Vt., and Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the committee's top-ranking Republican member, urged the military to look into the lab's handling of the misconduct by one of the analysts. An investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general is ongoing.

"The Army is looking for a scapegoat to blame for the recent adverse media reports," Lown said....

-bth: McClatchy is just about the last wire service that actually does investigative reporting.  After reading this article, one concludes that the entire situation stinks to high heaven.

Pakistan world’s third biggest weapon importer | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and Multimedia

Pakistan world’s third biggest weapon importer | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and Multimedia

 STOCKHOLM - Asia leads the world when it comes to weapon imports, according to a study released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Globally the volume of international transfers of major conventional weapons was 24 percent higher in the period 2007-11 compared to the 2002-06 period, the report said. Over the past five years, Asia and Oceania accounted for 44 percent in volume of conventional arms imports, the institute said. That compared with 19 percent for Europe, 17 percent for the Middle East, 11 percent for North and South America, and 9 percent for Africa, said the report. India was the biggest arms importer in the period covered, 2007-11, accounting for 10 percent in weapons volume.

It was followed by South Korea (6 percent), China and Pakistan (both 5 percent), and Singapore (4 percent), according to the independent institute which specialises in arms control and disarmament matters.These five countries accounted for almost a third, 30 percent, of the volume of international arms imports, said SIPRI. “India’s imports of major weapons increased by 38 percent between 2002-06 and 2007-11,” SIPRI said. “Notable deliveries of combat aircraft during 2007-11 included 120 Su-30MKs and 16 MiG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguar Ss from the United Kingdom,” it said....

-bth: its really interesting how much of the arms purchases are being made in southern Asia. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bales Defrauded Ohio Couple Who Say He Owes $1.3 Million - Bloomberg

Bales Defrauded Ohio Couple Who Say He Owes $1.3 Million - Bloomberg

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales defrauded an Ohio couple of more than $600,000 when he served as their stock broker in 2000, according to records of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

An arbitrator in 2003 ordered Bales to pay more than $1.3 million in damages to Gary Liebschner and his wife of Carroll, Ohio. By then, Bales was already in the Army, having enlisted in November 2001, less than two months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to an Army statement.
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, right, participates in an exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. Photograph: DVIDS/Spc. Ryan Hallock/AP Photo

Bales, 38, is suspected of killing at least 16 civilians in Afghanistan on March 11. He may face formal charges in U.S. military court as soon as this week, his lawyer, John Henry Browne, said in an interview today.

Gary Liebschner told WCPO TV, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, that Bales pocketed their money after they asked him to sell some stock to cover medical bills. Bales never paid the money and the couple could never find him, Liebschner said.

Bales worked in the financial services industry in Ohio from 1996 to 2000, according to FINRA records. An arbitrator found that Bales “engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, churning, unauthorized trading and unsuitable investments,” according to a report on the FINRA website....

-bth: just maybe he is a cold blooded murder, plain and simple.

Pentagon's Project 'Avatar': Same as the Movie, but With Robots Instead of Aliens | Danger Room | Wired.com

Pentagon's Project 'Avatar': Same as the Movie, but With Robots Instead of Aliens | Danger Room | Wired.com


Soldiers practically inhabiting the mechanical bodies of androids, who will take the humans’ place on the battlefield. Or sophisticated tech that spots a powerful laser ray, then stops it from obliterating its target.

If you’ve got Danger Room’s taste in movies, you’ve probably seen both ideas on the big screen. Now Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out research arm, wants to bring ‘em into the real world.

In the agency’s $2.8 billion budget for 2013, unveiled on Monday, they’ve allotted $7 million for a project titled “Avatar.” The project’s ultimate goal, not surprisingly, sounds a lot like the plot of the same-named (but much more expensive) flick.

According the agency, “the Avatar program will develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.”...

-bth: it would seem to me the best place to start with something like this would be in a hostile environment such as underwater, space or at a leaking nuclear plant.

NightWatch 20120316 - KGS

NightWatch 20120316 - KGS


Iraq-Iran-Syria: The Iraqi government has refused US requests to stop Iranian cargo flights to Syria, despite credible intelligence that the aircraft are transporting up to 30 tons of weapons for the Syrian government. One of the recent requests was made directly to Prime Minister al-Maliki, but he said the flights carried humanitarian aid.
Comment: The irony is that earlier this week al Maliki ordered Iraqi security forces to halt arms smuggling and infiltration from Iraq. The targets of this order were not Iranian aircraft, but Iraqi Sunni Arab smugglers and fighters who have been assisting the Syrian opposition.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Russia Demands Nato Not Leave Afghanistan Unstable

Russia Demands Nato Not Leave Afghanistan Unstable

 Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said international military forces must remain in Afghanistan until they properly fulfill the UN Security Council mandate they entered the country with, insisting that Russia had a right to demand this, during an interview with TOLOnews.

Lavrov said the Nato-led mission entered Afghanistan with a mandate to establish a stable government and an adequate defence force, and they should not leave until that job is done.

"We see it from the point of international law. The presence of the international stabilisation force in Afghanistan has been mandated by the UN Security Council. The mandate is clear. They must fulfill this mandate before they leave, and before they leave, they must report to the Security Council that the mandate has been fulfilled," Lavrov said during a Moscow-based interview with TOLOnews.

"Everyone understands that by the time the international forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan, the Afghan government itself must possess the capabilities to maintain law and order and to be able to address all security problems inside the country."

He said Russia had a right to demand for the mandate to properly implement because of its support of the Nato-led mission in providing transit possibilities through Russian territories....