Saturday, May 04, 2013

Enlisted sailors forced out while Navy has more admirals than ships

Enlisted sailors forced out while Navy has more admirals than ships | WTKR.com

In World War II, there were 30 Navy ships for every admiral. Now, the Navy has more admirals than ships....
At the same time, the Pentagon has added admirals and generals. There are now nearly a thousand....

Where Are Syria’s Chemical Weapons? -Beast

Where Are Syria’s Chemical Weapons? - The Daily Beast

Meanwhile, not all U.S. officials agree with the worrisome intelligence assessments recently relayed by the three officials. “Any effort to secure Syria’s chemical-weapons would be complex, but we have good visibility on Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpiles and are constantly monitoring for any sign of movement,” a White House official told The Daily Beast late Wednesday. “We believe that the stockpiles are secure.” (A spokesman for the director of national intelligence declined to comment for this story Wednesday.)

But other U.S. officials said one of the problems in tracking the chemical stocks in Syria once they were loaded onto trucks was finding out where those trucks were headed. One official said U.S. spy satellites in November picked up clear photographic evidence of trucks being loaded at known chemical-weapons storage sites outside Damascus. But this official also said the satellite did not track the movement of the trucks in the country. “You have to remember that satellites are not unmanned aerial vehicles,” this official said. “We saw the trucks being loaded, but we did not see where they went.”...

Pakistan Building Up Military Check-Posts in Kunar: Governor - Tolo News

Pakistan Building Up Military Check-Posts in Kunar: Governor

The Pakistani military has started building up check posts in Narai district of eastern Kunar province, provincial governor said Saturday.

An Afghan delegation's investigations show that the Pakistan military have entered about 300 meters in Narai district of the province and started building military check-posts, the provincial governor Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi told TOLOnews.

“We have decided and ordered our military forces to stop them and push them back to their areas,” Wahidi said.

He said the people informed authorities about the building up of the new military check-posts in Narai district and that they had also seen helicopters bringing equipment.

“We sent a delegation led by the provincial police chief in the area. Their investigation says that Pakistani military have entered about 300 meters and built a military check-post,” he said.

It comes as, the Afghan officials have warned that if Pakistan’s military violation continues in the border area, Afghan security forces will strongly react against them.

The Afghan border military officials claimed to have killed at least seven Pakistani soldiers in the clash which took place between Afghan and Pakistan Border Forces late Wednesday night in Goshta district of eastern Nangarhar province....

Israel: Syrian chemical arms safe, Hezbollah does not want them

Israel: Syrian chemical arms safe, Hezbollah does not want them | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

... "Syria has large amounts of chemical weaponry and missiles. Everything there is under (Assad government) control," Gilad said in a speech.

"Hezbollah does not have chemical weaponry. We have ways of knowing. They are not keen to take weaponry like this, preferring systems that can cover all of the country (Israel)," he said.

He was apparently referring to Hezbollah's conventional ground-to-ground missiles, whose number the Israelis put at around 60,000.

"Chemical weapons kill those who use them," Gilad added.

The Assad government has hedged on whether it has chemical weapons while saying it would not use such arms against Syrians.

The matter has been subject to intensive international scrutiny since Israel and the United States last month published findings indicating Assad forces had used chemical weapons during the insurgency.

Gauging Hezbollah's role in Syria


Friday, May 03, 2013

Prosecutor in Bhutto Killing and Mumbai Attacks Assassinated in Pakistan -NYT

Prosecutor in Bhutto Killing and Mumbai Attacks Assassinated in Pakistan - NYTimes.com

MULTAN, Pakistan – Gunmen on Friday fatally shot a Pakistani prosecutor who had been investigating the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the 2008 Mumbai attacks, carrying out an assassination that threw into turmoil Pakistan’s most politically charged cases.

Assailants opened fire on the prosecutor, Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali, as he drove to work from his home in a suburb of the capital, Islamabad, for a court hearing in which the former military leader, Pervez Musharraf, faces charges in relation to Ms. Bhutto’s death in 2007.

Initial reports said that gunmen traveling by motorbike and car sprayed Mr. Ali’s car with bullets, lightly wounding his bodyguard and killing a woman passer-by when his car veered out of control. Television footage from the scene showed a bullet-riddled car crashed by the roadside....

Thursday, May 02, 2013

'Appalling irresponsibility': Senior scientists attack Chinese researchers for creating new strains of influenza virus in veterinary laboratory - Independent

'Appalling irresponsibility': Senior scientists attack Chinese researchers for creating new strains of influenza virus in veterinary laboratory - Science - News - The Independent

...Professor Chen and her colleagues deliberately mixed the H5N1 bird-flu virus, which is highly lethal but not easily transmitted between people, with a 2009 strain of H1N1 flu virus, which is very infectious to humans.

When flu viruses come together by infecting the same cell they can swap genetic material and produce “hybrids” through the re-assortment of genes. The researchers were trying to emulate what happens in nature when animals such as pigs are co-infected with two different strains of virus, Professor Chen said.

“The studies demonstrated that H5N1 viruses have the potential to acquire mammalian transmissibility by re-assortment with the human influenza viruses,” Professor Chen said in an email.

“This tells us that high attention should be paid to monitor the emergence of such mammalian-transmissible virus in nature to prevent a possible pandemic caused by H5N1 virus,” she said.

“It is difficult to say how easy this will happen, but since the H5N1 and 2009/H1N1 viruses are widely existing in nature, they may have a chance to re-assort,” she added.

The study, which was carried out in a laboratory with the second highest security level to prevent accidental escape, resulted in 127 different viral hybrids between H5N1 and H1N1, five of which were able to pass by airborne transmission between laboratory guinea pigs.

Professor Simon Wain-Hobson, an eminent virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said it is very likely that some or all of these hybrids could pass easily between humans and possess some or all of the highly lethal characteristics of H5N1 bird-flu.

“Nobody can extrapolate to humans except to conclude that the five viruses would probably transmit reasonable well between humans,” Professor Wain-Hobson said.

“We don’t know the pathogenicity [lethality] in man and hopefully we will never know. But if the case fatality rate was between 0.1 and 20 per cent, and a pandemic affected 500 million people, you could estimate anything between 500,000 and 100 million deaths,” he said....

-bth: WTF? In a veteriinary clinic!

Sequestration already biting Navy, Marines readiness

Sequestration already biting Navy, Marines readiness - FederalNewsRadio.com

..."Due to reduced training and maintenance, almost all of our non-deployed ships and aviation squadrons are soon going to be less than fully mission capable and not certified for major combat operations. That's about two-thirds of the fleet," said Vice Adm. William Burke, the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems.

Two months into sequestration, the Marine Corps told a similar story. Lt. Gen. William Tryon, the deputy commandant for plans, policies and logistics, said more than half of all non-deployed Marine units are currently at "unacceptable" levels of readiness.

"And our crisis response mission is incompatible with tiered readiness," he said. "Marines don't start to get ready when a crisis occurs. We must be ready, we must be forward deployed and we must be prepared to respond immediately."...

-bth: all this talk about intervening in Syria is bullshit from Republican Senators that just engaged the full impact of sequestration on military preparedness.

Boston Manhunt ‘Missed the Boat’ as Police Skip Street - Bloomberg

Boston Manhunt ‘Missed the Boat’ as Police Skip Street - Bloomberg

Yet, during the all-day manhunt, she said police never searched her Franklin Street home or garden shed in Watertown, Massachusetts. Ten other neighbors had the same story and said they didn’t know of any homes that had been searched on Franklin, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was discovered by someone on the street about 30 minutes after an area lockdown was lifted.

“A lot of people’s lives were put in danger because someone in charge wasn’t doing his job,” said Lund, 61, as she stood on the wide front porch of her Victorian house. “People could have been killed because after the lockdown ended everyone came streaming out of their houses and suddenly we were in a combat zone.”...

-bth: interesting article worth reading in full. Looks like an entire block was overlooked.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Al-Nusra Front warns Suleiman that “Beirut will be burned” - NOW News

Al-Nusra Front warns Suleiman that “Beirut will be burned”

The Syrian rebel group, Al-Nusra Front, issued a warning to Lebanese President Michel Suleiman about the Shiite group Hezbollah’s involvement in the ongoing violence in Syria.

“After [failing to] abide by the policy of disassociation… in Syria, we inform you, and you can consider this as a last warning, that you should take immediate measures to restrain the dogs of Lebanon [Hezbollah], whose members are all Lebanese, and move to prevent them from interfering in Syria’s internal affairs,” the statement carried Tuesday on Egyptian news website Al-Yawm al-Sabaa read.

“Fire will soon be kindled in Beirut. If you do not [react] within 24 hours, we will consider you accomplices in the massacres that the members of the party of the devil [Hezbollah] is committing.”

“We will then have to [take] special measures and burn anyone we encounter in Beirut and elsewhere,” the statement added.

The statement by Al-Nusra Front came as reports emerged in the past weeks that Hezbollah has been fighting against rebels in the Homs province and outside Damascus, with news outlets reporting that a number of party members have been killed while fighting in Syria....

-bth: so it would appear that the Syrian conflict is about to spill over into Lebanon in a significant way.

Fake bomb detector maker made millions from trick -CNN

Fake bomb detector maker made millions from trick - CNN.com

(CNN) -- The ADE 651 stood for "Advanced Detection Equipment". And it certainly looked the part. Sleek black casing. A swivelling antenna that was said to detect everything from bombs to 100 dollar bills. A card that indicated what the device had found.

In video recorded by James McCormick, the man behind the skyrocketing sales of ADE 651, police in Niger can be seen using the device searching for explosives by a live minefield.

Just one problem: It doesn't work. British police say the ADE 651 is really the "Gopher" a novelty golf-ball finder with the label removed.

This device, independent tests show, has no better than a random chance at finding a golf ball, much less a bomb.

"These devices contain absolutely nothing inside. There's no laws of science or physics that could make them work," Detective Inspector Edward Heath told CNN. "He is a conman. He uses sleight of hand, absurd sales tactics to actually con governments, officials, private individuals out of money to buy this device."...

But it wasn't just a good sales line that allowed McCormick, over a 10-year period, to become a millionaire from a fraudulent device. An Iraqi general has been jailed for procuring the ADE 651 through "unauthorized" channels. British police believe that McCormick paid off officials to buy the ADE 651 in bulk. Iraq's law enforcement agencies bought 6,000 of the devices to scan for explosives at checkpoints, many of them still in use today, potentially endangering lives.

It was a profitable business. His company made between $60 million and £80 million. He spent it on property, an $8 million luxurious historic home in Bath -- previously owned by Hollywood star Nicholas Cage -- with a swimming pool in the basement....

-bth: this con artist probably caused the deaths of policemen, soldiers and civilians.  His product was a sham and anyone responsible said so at the time, yet crooked policians in his target market countries used corrupt practices to facilitate these sales and pocket the differences.  For all his efforts he could have sold products that worked but there wasn't enough margin or money in honest efforts. He has blood on his hands.  The British government let this go on for years.

Central Banks: Is Quantitative Easing Becoming Quantitative Exhaustion?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Airplane crash in Afghanistan on Video


Face Recognition software at the Satue. of Liberty

Statue of Liberty to get new surveillance tech—but don’t mention face recognition. - Slate Magazine

..But the technology has advanced since then: Late last year, trade magazine Police Product Insight reported that a trial of the latest face-recognition software was being planned at the Statue of Liberty for the end of 2012 to “help law enforcement and intelligence agencies spot suspicious activity.” New York surveillance camera contractor Total Recall Corp. was quoted as having told the magazine that it was set for trial at the famed tourist attraction software called FaceVACS, made by German firm Cognitec. FaceVACS, Cognitec boasts in marketing materials, can guess ethnicity based on a person’s skin color, flag suspects on watch lists, estimate the age of a person, detect gender, “track” faces in real time, and help identify suspects if they have tried to evade detection by putting on glasses, growing a beard, or changing their hairstyle. Some versions of face-recognition software used today remain ineffective, as investigators found in the aftermath of the Boston bombings. But Cognitec claims its latest technology has a far higher accuracy rating—and is certainly more advanced than the earlier versions of face-recognition software, like the kind used at the Statue of Liberty back in 2002. (It is not clear whether the face-recognition technology remained in use at the statue after 2002.)...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Government Seeks to Fine Companies for Not Complying With Wiretap Orders - Wired

Government Seeks to Fine Companies for Not Complying With Wiretap Orders | Threat Level | Wired.com

It isn’t often that communications companies push back against government requests to monitor customers and hand over information about them, but a government task force is seeking to make it even harder for companies to say no.

The task force is pushing for legislation that would penalize companies like Google, Facebook and Skype that fail to comply with court orders for wiretapping, according to the Washington Post. The cost of non-complying would be an escalating series of fines, starting at tens of thousands of dollars. Fines that remained unpaid after 90 days would double daily....

-bth: it is just incredible how willing we are to give up our rights to privacy

'Missiles fired at' Russian plane with 159 passengers onboard flying over Syria

'Missiles fired at' Russian plane with 159 passengers onboard flying over Syria — RT News

Two missiles were reportedly fired at a Russian plane with at least 159 passengers on board that was flying over Syrian territory. Russian aviation authorities admit the jet ‘faced danger’, but are not talking of a targeted attack.

The news broke in on Monday as Interfax, citing “an informed source in Moscow,” reported that a Russian passenger plane was attacked.

Syrian [officials] informed us that on Monday morning, unidentified forces launched two ground-to-air missiles which exploded in the air very close to a civilian aircraft belonging to a Russian airline,” the source told the Russian agency.

The pilots reportedly managed to maneuver the plane in time however, “saving the lives of passengers.”...

-bth: So what happens when Syrian rebels shoot down a commercial airliner with anti-aircraft rockets we arranged for them to receive?

WE STAND WITH YOU - A Message to the Victims of the Boston Marathon Bombings from Wounded Warriors


Funeral Detail by Gary Nicholson/A.J. Merrifield - a SongwritingWith:Sol...

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Once harm has been done, even a fool understands it. 

--Homer

Public uprising against Pakistani and Afghan Taliban in Kunar

Public uprising against Pakistani and Afghan Taliban in Kunar - Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan Online Newspaper

Heavy clashes have been reported between local residents and Taliban militants in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan on Friday.

According to local authorities in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, the incident took place in Dangam district after local residents started resisting local and foreign Taliban militants in this district.

Provincail goveror Syed Fazlullah Wahidi confirming the report said efforts have been put in place by local tribal elders to reconcile between the local resident and Taliban militants.

He said, “Local residents started public uprising against the Pakistani Taliban militants and currently local tribal elders have organized a Jirga to end the violence.”

Local elders in Dangam are saying that the clashes between the local resident and Taliban militants took place after Taliban fighters were torturing two residents....

-bth: I would think the locals would have gotten sick and tired of the Taliban using their province as a battle ground year in and year out.

Iraq Said to Halt Al Jazeera’s License, Closes Jordanian Border - Bloomberg

Iraq Said to Halt Al Jazeera’s License, Closes Jordanian Border - Bloomberg

raq has suspended the licenses of Al Jazeera and nine other television channels for allegedly promoting violence and sectarianism, Al Jazeera reported, citing a senior official at the country’s media watchdog.

“We took a decision to suspend the license of some satellite channels that adopted language encouraging violence and sectarianism,” Mujahid Abu al-Hail of the Communications and Media Commission said yesterday, according to Al Jazeera.

In another sign that unrest is gripping the nation, the Iraqi embassy in Amman informed the Jordanian interior ministry that Iraq will close borders with Jordan tomorrow for 48 hours, citing domestic issues, Jordan’s state-run news service Petra said. The report cited a statement issued by the interior ministry.....

-bth: I think the Sunnis in western Iraq are about to go into open rebellion. I don't understand what Iraq's government thinks it will solve by closing the border with Jordan.

Islamist Rebels Create Dilemma on Syria Policy - NYT

Islamist Rebels’ Gains in Syria Create Dilemma for U.S. - NYTimes.com

... From the start, the Syrian government has sought to portray the rebels as terrorists carrying out an international plot to weaken the country, and the rise of extremist groups has strengthened its case and increased support among Syrians who fear that a rebel victory could mean the end of the secular Syrian state.

Many rebels and opposition activists complain about the Western focus on Islamist groups, some even dismissing the opposition’s ideological differences.

We all want an Islamic state and we want Shariah to be applied,” said Maawiya Hassan Agha, a rebel activist reached by Skype in the northern village of Sarmeen. He said a country’s laws should flow from its people’s beliefs and compared Syrians calling for Islamic law with the French banning Muslim women from wearing face veils.

“In France, people don’t like face veils so they passed laws against them,” he said. “It’s the same thing here. It’s our right to push for the laws we want.”

1000 years in 10 minutes,Europe/Middle East from 1000AD to the 2000 (HD)