Archive for the ‘Authorities’ Category

Iran Being Kept in Check?

December 2, 2010

Iran NuclearSo Iran is set to go nuclear in a couple months…for energy purposes.  Through the Wikileaks document dump, evidence of Iran’s long term plans has come to light.  According to this source, certain documents indicate Iran can produce a missile capable of reaching the US by 2015, given outside assistance.  The documents also indicate Arab states have secretly encouraged the US to strike by force, though the US has chosen to communicate concerns with Iran through diplomatic channels.

F-35Nations possibly in Iran’s crosshairs are not without defense.  We entered a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, including up to 85 F-15 fighter jets.  The Gulf is covered.  Israel is sitting tight, as well, with 20 F-35 Lightning II stealth bombers for $2.75 billion.  That is diplomacy.  At least Arab states will be armed to advance on Iran, themselves.  Iraq has also been armed to the tune of $13 billion, but that was bound to happen to ensure its own security.  Eventually, this is going to come back to bite us.  It happened when the US sold weapons to Iraq decades ago, and it happened when the US assisted Iran with the beginning of its nuclear program.  Iran goes nuclear, and the US seals deals for about $75 billion in a matter of months—nice chunk of change.

In case diplomacy fails, someone has undertaken other missions to slow down Iran’s nuclear development.  A very sophisticated worm, called “Stuxnet,” moved through computers until it arrived at computers within the nuclear facility.  “Shall we play a game?”  The worm did not take the facility offline; it merely slowed production to a crawl, as the worm produced inexplicable data inconsistencies through equipment malfunction for a period of months.  The software clearly targeted Iran nuclear facilities, leaving to question “whodunnit?”  It is believed a consortium of private interests from the west (a.k.a. here) carried it out, considering the many different angles the worm covered, such as apparent familiarity with the different hardware encountered in the facility.

Mossad BriefcaseOther methods include attempting to take out the scientists, themselves.  Assailants on motorcycles attached bombs to cars belonging to two scientists as they commuted to work separately.  One was killed, and the other was injured.  This resulted in Iran beefing up security for its nuclear staff.  Iran openly blamed western and Israeli forces of carrying out the attack.  Lately, a British newspaper (the Independent) ran a story indicating obvious involvement by the Mossad (Israel), MI6 (UK) and the CIA (US).  The CIA is fully capable of terrorism (Khaled al-Masri), and Israeli forces are certainly forces to be reckoned with, being no strangers to assassination.  My first thought is Ziva David from NCIS.  The Mossad’s tactics, combined with Britain’s admission of using “intelligence-led approaches,” and Arab states’ encouraging involvement of the US do make for interesting discussions.

North KoreaWith its nuclear facility fueled by Russia (and missiles supplied by North Korea using Russian technology), Iran has overcome tremendous obstacles in pursuing its nuclear goals.  This indicates halting the program will require drastic action.  Use of crippling cyber worms and the picking off of staff one-by-one or two-by-two will do nothing more than make Iran more determined to accomplish its goal, extending its hitlist in the process.

The Wiki has Leaked Again

November 30, 2010

Wikileaks LogoWikileaks has released its latest batch of files. However, these files are unlike those previously released. These files were gained from leaked internal communications regarding diplomatic relations with other countries. This means the files contain what leaders of Country A really think of Country B.  Some of these files are recent, but they are supposed to date all the way back to 1966, in some cases.  US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has been running around frantic trying to sweet-talk countries whose integrity may be compromised.  Prior to the release, Wikileaks was hacked, resulting in users losing access to part of the Web site.  As a fail-safe, copies of the files were sent to several major newspapers, including the UK’s Guardian.  The New York Times was supposed to receive the files in advance, but Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, did not send the NYT copies…it had to request the files from the Guardian.

The files are out, and the collection (so far) is available for your viewing pleasure at this location.  The number of files available is, supposedly, to reach 251,287.  If the page does not appear, refresh the page until it does.

I have cruised some files to see how bad they are…how can anyone interested in conspiracy theories resist such a temptation?  And who does not want to know such priceless tidbits as the reason behind Iran’s denying the US women’s badminton team visitor visas in 2009?  By the by, Iran denied the visas because the US announced the arrival before Iran wanted them to.  Iran wanted to control the media coverage because officials did not want Iranians to show up, en masse, and display American flags and such in support of the American team…not very surprising.

Dubai Knowledge VillageAnother interesting bit is the University of Connecticut almost established a campus in Dubai in 2007.  However, plans were halted when it came about that United Arab Emirates (UAE) regulations would have prohibited entry into Dubai by citizens of Israel.  Though the University of Connecticut did not make it, the US does have representation in the Dubai Knowledge Village.

More communications from 2007 bring Israel into the mix.  Mainly, their interests in changing the regime presiding over Iran.  They planned to do this through their “Five Pillar System.”  One of these pillars is “Sanctioning.”  Israel said sanctioning was the most effective method, at the time, bringing three Iranian banks to their fiscal knees…sounds like a vaguely familiar strategy where banks are concerned.  The current President of Iran (both now and at the time of document creation) is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  He could have been voted out of office in 2009, but he won amidst claims of fixed votes.  Protests have continued, and some have ended violently thanks to the Basij, a volunteer Iranian militia.  One such case is that of Neda Agha-Soltan (NSFW, depending whether you watch the video or not).

Julian AssangeThere are supposed to be files revealing how US officials feel about other world officials, so I am going to wait until the entire collection is online before searching for those documents.  Apparently, the US says India is a “self-appointed frontrunner” for a UNSC seat…but India self-appoints itself as a lot of things, including being congruent to China on many levels (this occurred during Copenhagen Agreement talks).  US officials say they are currently looking into possible criminal charges for Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.  However, the search for a basis on which to arrest him does not look hopeful.

A Little TSA TNA?

November 16, 2010

Airport Security CartoonThe Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has decided to beef up security measures in time for the holidays.  In a move of hospitality and Democracy, the security personnel give you a choice.  You can choose the old-fashioned frisk or a full-body scan.  These scanners have been rumored to have adverse health effects, but it seems as though such is not the case , as the amount of radiation received is less than that received during the flight, itself.  This article tells of a biochemist who claims actual studies do not exist to back up the erroneous claim.

The other issue to tussle with is privacy infringement as a preventative measure.  The scan is detailed enough to make out bodily TSA Logodetails, but the face is blurred by the software.  And it is not as if the pat-down is less intrusive, considering “more vigorous” pat-downs, crossing into “molestation,” are already the norm in many airports.

The TSA is going to increase security implementation, but you will still be able to find airports without the full-body scanners.  As of Sept. 17, this was the list of airports with scanners.  Closer to the holiday season, I will follow up.

Luckily, Germany has flipped the bird to the full-body scan concept, calling it “nonsense.”  This would also be the most likely country I would travel to, so it works out.  Children are spared in Europe, as the scanner images are considered child pornography.  This article reveals children in the US are not so lucky.  This is a major shock, considering how strict we, as a country, are with sexual harassment involving any age group.

Route 66 RoadIn any case, I would prefer to drive with a massive supply of tunes.  If I were to get tired of driving, I would find any alternative to flying I could—I do not like the idea of being strip-scanned or molested.  If I had to cross a sea, it would have to be for something very important…unless the destination was reachable by cruise.  I will wait until more safety details are released before I determine which method I would prefer for overseas flights.

I am glad I flew when I was younger…it has now lost its appeal.

Gotta Love the F.B.I.

September 27, 2010

Those crazy lazy people at the F.B.I. have amazed me, once again.

TestIt has come to pass that several—possibly dozens—of agents and supervisors have admitted to cheating on an exam.  The exam tested agents’ knowledge of new domestic terrorist investigation guidelines.  The exam followed a course consisting of 16.5 hours of class time.  The exam was supposed to take 90—120 minutes to complete.

When 200 agents completed the exam in 20 minutes, officials figured something was askew.  A shallow investigation uncovered several agents, including supervisors, who had cheated by various means, including use of computer security flaws and cheat sheets.  Instructors also, reportedly, stomped feet to indicate materials specific to the exam. The BBC article links to the official report.

So, basically, this indicates about 1/100 of the F.B.I.’s 20,000 agents have no clue what they are doing when it comes to domestic investigation guidelines because…who the hell needs guidelines, right?  If that was not bad enough, there is another angle to consider:  these men/women are supposed to be tip-top when it comes to investigating national matters, yet they could not properly cheat on an exam?  In some cases, crooked legal advisors were actually present when the exam was taken.  Did it not dawn on anyone to try to make the dishonesty appear convincing?  Clearly, the F.B.I. only accepts the brightest people this country has to offer…and a select terrorist group, as well.

FBI SealBefore people get up-in-arms about that last comment:  I remember reading on PCWorld how a Hizballah sympathizer gained employment to the F.B.I. and C.I.A. after gaining fraudulent citizenship.  She used her position to find what the U.S. knew about her buddies.  Meanwhile, her sister and others routed millions to Lebanon while selling U.S. citizenship benefits.  I Googled it, and happened to find the same 2007 article here.