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Saudi on Edge

Sheikh Kamel: Has the Mighty Saudi Fallen?

November 19th 2017

Saudi police

Inconceivably, in November 2017 Sheikh Saleh Abdallah Kamel chairman and founderof the Dallah al Baraka Group, chairman of the General Council for Islamic Banks and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, perhaps Saudi Arabia's richest private citizen, was placed under house arrest. His banking empire, untouched by numerous American and European investigations concerning their possible funding of terrorism, including al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and affiliated groups, now appears under threat.

In 2000 a Bosnia police raid on the Benevolence Foundation charity located in Sarajevo resulted in the most important discovery of al Qaeda documents unearthed up to that date. The director of that charity, who was located in the United States, was later brought to trial in Chicago (US government indictment of Enaam Arnaout on 9 October 2002, 02 CR 892). Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Minneapolis Star-Tribune Newspaper Refuses to Identify Muslim Stabber at Mall of America

November 15th 2017

Minneapolis skyline

On Sunday night, a man who police identified as Mahad Abdiaziz Abdirahman, 20, of Minneapolis, stabbed two men at the Mall of America near Bloomington, Minnesota, after they tried to stop him from stealing clothes inside a dressing room at Macy’s at about 6:45 p.m.  However, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune failed to mention his name or other identifying attributes in its report on the crime. The paper referred to him only as ‘the suspect.'”

A search on the Star-Tribune website for Mahad Abdirahman revealed that the name was not listed. “Mahad” means “one who preaches and invites people to Islam.” “Abdiaziz” means “the slave of Allah the master,” and Abdirahman is a common Somali Muslim last name which means “the slave of Allah who is the gracious.”

Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

Iran Building Permanent Military Base in Syria

November 13th 2017

Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Iran is establishing a permanent military base inside Syria, a Western intelligence source has told the BBC.

The Iranian military is said to have established a compound at a site used by the Syrian army outside El-Kiswah, 14 km (8 miles) south of Damascus.

The report comes amid growing tensions over Iranian influence in Syria and across the region.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned that Iran wanted to establish itself militarily in Syria.

"Israel will not let that happen," he said.

Satellite images commissioned by the BBC seem to show construction activity at the site referenced by the intelligence source between January and October this year. Read more ..


The Caliphate

Islamic State Advice on Attacks in “Enemy Abode”

November 12th 2017

ISIS Battle Position

As the Islamic State goes into rapid decline as an entity controlling territory in Iraq and Syria, the overwhelming majority of its propaganda output has become dedicated to coverage of military operations against its enemies. Alongside that shift has come increasing emphasis on the idea that the Islamic State will still live on its ‘soldiers’ conduct operations in the heart of enemy territory. The latest issue of the Islamic State’s al-Naba’ newsletter (issue 105) contains the following infographic on the matter. Of course, in seeking to conduct attacks in ‘enemy’ countries, many Islamic State supporters are undoubtedly seeking fame in what would otherwise have been an uneventful existence without supposed meaning to their lives. Yet the infographic warns against that sort of motivation.

Also notable in this infographic is the urge to inflict maximum damage at minimum cost. Much speculation exists as to how far the Islamic State finances attacks by its operatives in the West but self-funding by operatives seems to be the preferred means, such as through taking out loans under false pretences, or relying on proceeds of common criminal activity like drug-dealing and robbery. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Syrian Forces Oust ISIS from Last Border Stronghold

November 10th 2017

Syrian Rebel w/SAW

Syrian government forces said Thursday they have recaptured the Islamic State’s former border stronghold of Bukamal, shrinking the group’s remaining territory and leaving the militants with only a few enclaves.

The move into Bukamal, also called Abu Kamal, in eastern Syria choked off a key route for the Islamic State across the border with Iraq. The Syrian state news agency said Wednesday that pro-government forces had linked up with Iraqi troops to clear what remained of the “collapsed” militant group in the area.

The Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate, announced three years ago, once stretched across Syria and Iraq to occupy an area the size of Belgium. Now, after a series of defeats, the militants have been penned into a string of Syrian towns and villages along the Euphrates River. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Nine Held in Anti-Terror Raids Across France As 'Attack Is Thwarted'

November 9th 2017

French antiterror police squad

Nine suspects were arrested in a series of anti-terror operations carried out around France on Tuesday, with French media reporting a planned attack on the city of Nice had been thwarted.

The raids took place in the greater Paris region of Île-de-France and the Provence-Alpes-Côtes-d'Azur region of the south east.

According to reports some nine individuals aged between 18 and 60-years-old were arrested in the raids carried out by France's specialist counter-terrorist police.

The arrests were reportedly made in the Val-de-Marne department to the south west of Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis to the capital's north, the city of Aix-en Provence, north of Marseille and the town of Menton, on the border with Italy.

Read more ..

North Korea's Nukes

US Putting Nuclear Bombers on High Alert

October 23rd 2017

A Bomber

B-52 bombers rigged with nuclear weapons are being prepared for 24-hour alert for the first time since the Cold War, a senior U.S. Air Force official has reportedly said.

In a report by security news website Defense One General David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said U.S. military leaders are reacting to new threat levels.

"The world is a dangerous place and we've got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons," he said, according to the report. Goldfein said no official order had been given to put nuclear bombers on alert, but said preparations are underway. The U.S. Department of Defense was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

German Intelligence: Hizballah Fighters Posing As Refugees

October 17th 2017

Hezbollah

Hizballah terrorists are exploiting Germany's refugee policy and entered the country as part of the recent wave of Middle East migrants, according to the Jerusalem Post's review of a German intelligence report released this month.

"Since mid-2015 there are increased indications of fighters from Shi'ite militias entering Germany as legal refugees," the report says, and "roughly 50% [of the fighters] show a direct connection to Hezbollah."

A growing number of Hizballah operatives are settling in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, the report says. The region hosts the Imam-Mahdi Center – a traditional hub for Hizballah operatives. The report also cites a growing and open Hamas presence in North Rhine-Westphalia, despite Germany's terrorist designation of the Palestinian organization, where Hamas supporters exploit Germany to "collect funds" and "recruit new members to spread their propaganda." Read more ..


Iran's Nuke's

Iran's Secret Sites Linked To Nuclear Weapons Development Revealed

October 13th 2017

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

President Donald Trump is expected this week to “decertify” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known simply as the Iran deal, declaring that the agreement reached in 2015 by the U.S. and five other international powers is not in America’s national interest. The matter will then be tossed back to Congress, which will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose hefty pre-2015 sanctions.

While the President’s likely move has generated wide condemnation from foreign policy leaders — who reiterate that the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has maintained Iran is in compliance — a new 52-page investigative report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), entitled: “Iran’s Nuclear Core: Uninspected Military Sites,” obtained exclusively by Fox News and slated for release Wednesday, asserts that the country’s nuclear weapons program has far from halted. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Iran Warns U.S. Against Imposing Further Sanctions

October 9th 2017

Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Iran warned the United States against designating its Revolutionary Guards Corp as a terrorist group and said U.S. regional military bases would be at risk if further sanctions were passed.

The warning came after the White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump would announce new U.S. responses to Iran’s missile tests, support for “terrorism” and cyber operations as part of his new Iran strategy.

“As we’ve announced in the past, if America’s new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of Iran’s missiles,” Guards’ commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said, according to state media.

Jafari also said that additional sanctions would end the chances for future dialogue with the United States, according to state media, and issued a stark warning to American troops. Read more ..


The Drone Threat

DARPA Seeks New Tech To Neutralize Adversary Drones

October 5th 2017

Flying Robot

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arlington County, VA) is seeking out innovative drone sensing and neutralization technologies.

The U.S defense agency's Tactical Technology Office recently posted a request for information looking to identify promising technologies for countering adversary small unmanned air systems (sUAS). These would be used to augment or complement DARPA's Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program, which is currently developing a system capable of defeating self-guided sUAS - i.e., those that "do not rely on a radio or GPS receiver for their operation" - attacking a high-value convoy in transit.

The program emphasizes low-footprint solutions - in terms of size, weight, power, and required personnel needed for operation - as well as "varied and low collateral damage neutralization techniques and effectors." Phase one of the three-phase program is currently in progress, with a plan to culminate in a field evaluation in January 2018.

Read more ..

The Caliphate

Media Fitna in the Islamic State

October 4th 2017

ISIS Battle Position

The Islamic State has two main types of media departments that come under its media administration: central media institutions such as al-Furqan Media and al-Hayat Media, and the provincial media offices. The latter category includes areas of formally declared ‘provinces’ (e.g. Raqqa province in Syria and Diyala province in Iraq) and areas where the Islamic State operates on the ground but has not declared a ‘province’ (e.g. Somalia). In addition to these institutions, we have Amaq News Agency, which covers services provision and civilian life in Islamic State territories, military operations and even Islamic State terrorist attacks around the world, but has not been formally acknowledged to be a part of the Islamic State’s media apparatus. In origin, Amaq News Agency is the foremost example of what was envisioned as an ‘auxiliary’ media agency for the Islamic State.

The internal documents I have obtained concern problems in media production in Raqqa province and disagreements between media departments. For example, in the first document, the Delegated Committee (the higher governing body of the Islamic State) reprimands the wali (provincial governor) of Raqqa for supposed shortcomings in media coverage of events. The Delegated Committee also asks the wali to get on with the issuing of Mawkab al-Nur (‘Procession [/Convoy] of Light’). Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

If the U.S. Reimposes Sanctions on Iran, Allies Will Follow

October 3rd 2017

Iran-US Hatred

“We will not be able to coerce Europe, Russia, and China into shunning Iran’s economy over policy interests that they do not share.” — Adam Szubin, former director of the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control

“The United States would have to threaten all customers who buy Iranian crude. The response would be global outrage and resistance, especially from our allies.” — Matthew Reed, vice president at Foreign Reports

In November 2011, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk — with help from then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — took the Obama White House by surprise, filing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that imposed crippling sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran. Days later, Kirk and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez forged a bipartisan compromise and a vote was scheduled. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Las Vegas Mass Shooting-- 50 Dead

October 2nd 2017

FBI sting

America is reeling from the worst mass shooting in its history after at least 50 people were killed and more than 200 wounded at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

Police say the shooter was 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, described as a local man, who opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Village from a room across the street in the Mandalay Bay Hotel shortly after 10pm.

Officers say Paddock was shot and killed after they breached a room in the hotel, where he had stashed an 'arsenal' of weapons used during the massacre.

Investigators are now raiding the Mesquite home he shared with Marilou Danley, described as his 'companion', who was detained for questioning in the early hours of Monday morning.

Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said investigations are still ongoing and police have not yet determined a motive.  Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Two Women Killed At Marseille Train Station In Suspected Terror Attack

October 1st 2017

French soldiers

Two women were stabbed to death Sunday in a suspected terrorist attack at the Marseille train station in southern France.

The assailant was shot dead by French security forces, Fox News reported.

Police sources told Sky News the attacker shouted "Allahu Akkbar” as he carried out the attack at Gare St. Charles. One woman had her throat slit and the other was stabbed to death, Fox News has learned.

The attacker was believed to be a man in his late twenties and of North African background. The area around Marseille's central station was sealed off following the attack.

French police said in a tweet Sunday around 2:30 p.m. local time that they had responded to an incident at the train station. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Israel Strikes Weapons Depot by Damascus Airport

September 25th 2017

Jets vapor trail

Israeli strikes hit a weapons depot by Damascus airport overnight, targeting a warehouse belonging to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is allied with the Syrian government, a monitor said Friday.

"Israeli warplanes targeted with rocket fire a weapons depot belonging to Hezbollah near the airport," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

There was no immediate official confirmation from either Damascus or Israel, but the Jewish state has been accused of carrying out multiple strikes in Syria, including earlier this month.

On September 7, the Syrian army said Israeli warplanes hit one of its positions near the central town of Masyaf. The site was reportedly used by Hezbollah forces and those of Iran, another Syrian government ally. In April, the government accused Israel of firing several missiles at a military position near Damascus airport, triggering a huge explosion. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

IDF's Gaza Wall May Change Hamas Terror Strategies

September 16th 2017

Tunnel  Access Point

Time may be running out for one of Hamas's main weapons against Israel: Its cross-border terror tunnels.

By 2019, according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) assessments, Israel will complete an underground wall that stretches along the 60-kilometer (37 mile) border with Gaza. The wall is the product of several years of research and development, and is designed to eliminate the tunnel threat to Israeli communities located near Gaza.

During the past three years, since the end of its last conflict with Israel, Hamas has invested big resources into its tunnel maze. One of its top goals is to rehabilitate an ability to inject murder squads into Israeli territory through the tunnels.

Once inside Israel, they could target IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians for murder or kidnapping, whenever the next conflict breaks out. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

ISIS Plot to Poison Food in US, UK Supermarkets

September 9th 2017

onions peppers parsley radish

Following a wave of ramming attacks across Europe, as well as more conventional terror attacks including stabbings, shootings, and bombings, the ISIS terror organization is preparing a silent terror wave against American and British consumers.

While recent attacks in continental Europe have drawn front-page coverage around the globe, including a pair of attacks in Spain last month which left 16 civilians dead, ISIS terrorists have been quietly laying the groundwork for a far less bombastic – but potentially deadly – plot against the US and UK.

Security experts have uncovered evidence Islamic State terrorists are plotting to poison food in supermarkets across the US and Britain, according to a report by SITE Intelligence Group, an American terrorism monitor. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Two Arrested after 'Bomb Factory' Discovered near Paris

September 7th 2017

French antiterror police squad

Two men have been arrested after police found components that can be used to make explosives  in an apartment in a Paris suburb which media reports describe as a "bomb factory."
 
Security forces rushed to the scene after a plumber working in the building in the southern suburb of Villejuif saw what he thought resembled detonators and called the police.
 
The building was evacuated and work ordered to be stopped on a building site next to the apartment block while bomb disposal experts examined the material.
 
The flat was empty at the time of the discovery of the suspect devices and the two men were arrested in a car in the nearby suburb of Le Kremlin-Bicetre, media reports said.
Read more ..

North Korea's Nukes

South Korea’s Defense Minister Raises Possible Return of Tactical U.S. Nukes

September 4th 2017

South Korean marines

South Korea’s defense minister on Monday said it was worth reviewing the redeployment of American tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula to guard against the North, a step that analysts warn would sharply increase the risk of an accidental conflict.

But in New York, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war.”

And even as concern over Korea deepened following North Korea’s huge nuclear test Sunday,, South Korea’s defense ministry said Monday that Pyongyang might be preparing to launch another missile into the Pacific Ocean, perhaps an intercontinental ballistic missile theoretically capable of reaching the mainland United States. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Iran Warns Within Five Days, We Can Begin Enriching Uranium To 20%

September 4th 2017

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

In an August 22, 2017 interview on IRINN TV, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization Of Iran (AEOI) and a member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team, reiterated the threats made by President Rohani on August 3, 2017 regarding Iran's ability to quickly revive its nuclear program at the point it was left prior to the JCPOA. He said that Iran will be able to start enriching uranium to 20% in the Fordo facility within only five days, and that it can also reactivate the old reactor in Arak, because cement was poured not into its core but only into a few external pipelines that are easily replaced. He also voiced vague threats about making structural changes to the AEOI that would enable it to function in ways that would "surprise" the West.

The following is a translation of his statements in the interview:

"In a recent open-door Majlis session, President [Rohani] warned America about violating the JCPOA and about [Iran's] restarting its nuclear program. This was no hollow or baseless warning, but was based on data available to the president. The president and other regime elements receive information on the activity of the AEOI, [for] we are required to report to and update the officials on the necessary [levels of] readiness, so that if they want to take a decision [on this] they will know what the situation is. Rohani's statement was based on the readiness that has been reached. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Iran Recruits Captured ISIS Fighters to Target the US

September 3rd 2017

ISIS Group with Flags

The US is intentionally ignoring the invisible puppet master behind ISIS terrorist attacks in Barcelona, London, Paris, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  From the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing, to the 1984 US Embassy bombings in Kuwait and Beirut, to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, to supplying advisors and weapons to Sunni and Shiite militia groups in Iraq, and providing similar support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran has demonstrated a long history of using proxy militias and terrorists to attack US Forces. These proxy attacks are often devastatingly effective, and at least twenty-five percent of US casualties in Iraq can be linked to Iranian supported groups.

From the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing, to the 1984 US Embassy bombings in Kuwait and Beirut, to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, to supplying advisors and weapons to Sunni and Shiite militia groups in Iraq, and providing similar support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran has demonstrated a long history of using proxy militias and terrorists to attack US Forces. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Iran Building Missile Factory in Syria

August 18th 2017

Iranian missile

Iran is reportedly building a facility in northwestern Syria to manufacture long-range Scud missiles, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Tuesday.

According to the report, security experts who analyzed photos of the site say the construction indicates that explosives would be stored there. The analysts also compared the facility in Syria to a rocket factory near Tehran, concluding there was a strong resemblance between the sites, indicating Iran’s involvement.

“The facility has one entrance, an administrative section, a production area and a storage wing, while some of the buildings appear to be for manufacturing ammunition. Large dirt mounds to protect the facility are also visible in the images,” the report said.

Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was closely monitoring the situation in Syria and would act against any threats. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Stormclouds over Syria

August 16th 2017

F-35

In the past five weeks, U.S. forces in Syria have struck directly at the Assad regime and its allies in Syria no less than four times. On May 18, U.S. warplanes struck regime and allied militia forces that breached a 34-mile exclusion zone around a U.S. outpost in southeastern Syria. Then on June 8 and June 20, the United States shot down Iranian-made drones as they approached the outpost.

But the most dramatic event so far was the June 18 downing of a Syrian air force Su-22 by a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet. This took place after regime forces attacked a town held by the U.S.-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Tabqa, in northern Syria. The Su-22 dropped bombs near the SDF fighters, ignored U.S. warnings, and was then shot down.

The downing of the Su-22 threatened to bring Washington and Moscow into conflict in the war-torn country. In the aftermath of the incident, Russia announced the end of deconfliction arrangements with U.S. forces and that it had decided to treat future U.S. flights west of the Euphrates River as hostile. Read more ..


India and Israel

Israel-made Fence Systems to Transform India's Border

August 15th 2017

Indian army privates on parade

is deploying along its volatile border with Pakistan a smart Israel-developed fencing system having a 'quick response team' mechanism which strikes when the CCTV-powered control room detects an infiltration attempt.

The is implementing an ambitious project called the comprehensive integrated border management system (CIBMS) as part of the government's plan to completely seal the Indo-Pak and India-borders in the next few years.
 
The is tasked with guarding the over 6,300-km-long two borders and its chief, in an interview to PTI, said the new frontier guarding systems will bring a "sea change", for the first time, in this domain.
Read more ..

The Edge of Cyber

Iot Devices Becoming 'Cyberweapon Of Choice' For Attackers

August 14th 2017

Shadowy Computer User

A new report from cloud and security solution provider F5 Labs (Seattle, WA) examines how attackers have developed botnets - or "thingbots" - to target IoT devices.

IoT devices, says F5, have become "the cyberweapon delivery system of choice" for attackers building botnets - collections of Internet-connected devices that are infected and controlled by a common type of malware. Botnets can overwhelm systems with traffic with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, steal data, send spam, and allow an attacker access to the device and its connection.

According to the latest report, IoT attack activity grew 280% from the prior six-month period. This included "massive growth" due to the Mirai malware - which turns networked devices running Linux into remotely controlled bots that can then be used as part of a botnet - and subsequent attacks.

Read more ..

North Korea's Nukes

Pentagon Readies Pre-emptive Strike Against North Korea

August 13th 2017

B-1 Bomber

The Pentagon has a detailed plan for a military strike on North Korea, dispatching heavy bombers from Guam – the fortified U.S. territory that Pyongyang is threatening with missiles. The plan would be to launch heavy B1-B bombers from Guam's Andersen Air Force Base, limiting the flight time. U.S. forces have conducted practice maneuvers as recently as Monday, NBC News reported – and have done 11 sets of exercises. The bombers would get an escort from fighter jets providing protection. Satellites and drones would aide in the effort.

The planes would not carry nuclear payload, but would likely be armed with precision weapons designed to take out North Korea's array of missiles and missile launch sites.

'Of all the military options … [Trump] could consider, this would be one of the two or three that would at least have the possibility of not escalating the situation," retired Adm. James Stavridis told the network. He added: 'A single long-range strike against against the nuclear program, a cyber offensive would be the second. Those are the only two military options that ought to be in serious consideration.' The military has six of the powerful bombers already in position on Guam. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Iran Trying to Crash US Ships and Aircraft

August 10th 2017

Nimitz

"Despite repeated radio calls to stay clear," the Iranian drone went out of its way to complicate the jet's landing, Eric Pahon, Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement sent to Business Insider. The F/A-18 had to maneuver to avoid the approaching drone, missing it by around 100 feet. 

The drone was unarmed, and remotely piloted. A US aircraft carrier isn't something any pilot worth his salt would not be aware of. As this was the 13th unsafe and unprofessional interaction between the US Navy and Iran's maritime forces this year, it can be assumed Iran meant to do it.

Landing a speeding aircraft on a ship at sea presents plenty of difficulty without having a marauding drone bother the pilot on approach, and this just represents one of the ways Iran tries to harass, and ultimately crash US ships and aircraft. Read more ..


The Weapon's Edge

Chinese Drones - A Risk to U.S. Army

August 9th 2017

Flying Robot

The U.S. Army has shut down drones made in China and used by the Pentagon.  What took them so long?

As we now have it, the U.S. Army has issued a Memorandum for the Record on August 2nd essentially ordering the discontinuation of the use of DJI (Dajiang Innovation Products) drones. DJI is a Chinese company; its products are commercial UAVs.  The Army, Navy, other services, and other government agencies use these products extensively.

The Army's Memorandum directed the Army to cease all use of DJI items, uninstall all DJI applications and software from Army computers, remove all batteries and storage media from DJI equipment and secure the equipment awaiting further directions from the Army. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Iran's Space Program Emerges from Dormancy

August 6th 2017

Iran holy missiles

According to a news report citing a U.S. Strategic Command initial assessment, Iran's attempt to place its first operational satellite into orbit on July 27 using a Simorgh space launch vehicle (SLV) experienced catastrophic failure shortly after liftoff. The case marks the first Iranian acknowledgment of launching the heavy SLV, operating from its new permanent launch site, known as the Imam Khomeini National Space Center (IKNSC), located 220 kilometers southeast of Tehran in Semnan province.

Yet this was not, in fact, Iran's first actual attempt to launch a Simorgh -- a rocket unveiled in 2010 and named for a mythical bird. That first effort took place in April 2016, also out of IKNSC, but was kept a secret and described by U.S. intelligence sources as "partly successful" although not intended for satellite orbital insertion. Russian sources indicated differently, claiming it to be a successful suborbital test of the new rocket. Read more ..


After the Vote

Countermeasures to Russian Disinformation

August 5th 2017

Putin

The mind of society is the battlefield in the current global struggle for geopolitical domination. The uses of soft power dominate in this battle and information warfare is the name of the game-not "cyber war" in all the ways it has been described but the influence and ultimately control of individual minds that, like cells in a body, make up the Mind of Society. Then control is used as leverage to achieve objectives that are often hidden.
The recent illumination of Russian operations in this area has received a great deal of publicity. Russian operations of this kind are by no means new or unique, but the scale is unprecedented. This is thanks to distributed means of communication, which in turn created distributed digital islands of simulated life as a habitat on which more and more people (some of the time) and some of the people, all of the time, live their lives. The fragmented efforts of the United States and her allies to defend our mind-space and respond with equally effective operations have been less than adequate.
Effective countermeasures require unified, coordinated strategies recognized to have a high priority so that they will, in fact, be executed. They require clout, funding, and leadership to succeed. Once executed, they need to be evaluated to determine their efficacy. Offensive strategies must attack enemies as they attack us, by gaining access to the insides of their hives and securing the queen, not easy to do when the control of the information space in authoritarian and dictatorial regimes closes many of the gaps that in our more open society leave us unprotected.
Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Sophisticated Australian Airplane Bombing Plot a Warning To the West

August 4th 2017

airplanes shadows

Australia's arrest Saturday of four men suspected of plotting a terrorist attack on a commercial airliner signals more than a resurgent terror threat to airplanes. Because the alleged weapon involved smuggling explosives and poison gasses in a standard kitchen utensil – a meat grinder or mincer – it demonstrates, too, the rapidly increasing sophistication of these plots and the development of new means of attack.

It also exposes what international intelligence agencies, but few others, have known for some time: in a recent ranking of countries where radical Islam is a significant security threat, Australia stands in third place.

This may surprise most people, who think of Australia as a land of laid-back surfers and cuddly koalas, but a different side of Australia has emerged in recent years – one where radical Islam is rising. And it's not just among immigrant populations; there, as elsewhere, converts also play a large role. Read more ..


The Digital Age

Guaranteeing Positioning, Navigation, and Timing for the United States

August 2nd 2017

RBSPs deploy solar panels

A special amendment to the defense budget for 2018, calls for allocating $10 million to the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Transportation. The funds would be used to develop a plan based on results of an ongoing study, “to devise a demonstration plan for a GPS backup and then actually do the demo.” The lawmakers stressed that “an independent backup is very, very important to U.S. security.” And according to Rep. John Garamendi (D-Ca), and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), the sponsors of the amendment, the new backup is likely to be the eloran.  

Mr. Garamendi mentioned the eloran could be used for a self-driving car in a tunnel.  But the error in eloran is larger than the diameter of a tunnel.  Even current GPS accuracy is not adequate for self-driving cars. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

After Liberation, Will Mosul Fall to Iran?

July 20th 2017

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

After a brutal nine-month war, the Iraqi Army has liberated Mosul from ISIS. The city, Iraq's second largest, is all but destroyed.

The butcher's bill tallies 30,000 people dead and counting. Another 600,000, roughly a third of the population, have been displaced. Roughly three-fourths of Mosul's buildings are in ruins, two-thirds of its electrical grid is shredded, and much of what's left of the water system is booby-trapped. The price tag for reconstruction will be tens of billions of dollars that Iraq doesn't have.

Now comes the hard part.

Anyone with sufficient weapons and training can kill terrorists, and it's much harder to rebuild a city than level it. Harder still in a fractious sectarian place like Iraq is establishing enough political trust and goodwill that hardly anyone will be interested in picking up a rifle and shooting at the neighbors again. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Israel May Need to 'Take out' Iranian Bases in Syria

July 18th 2017

Drone Chopper

Israel may need to take military action to prevent Iran or Hezbollah from setting up permanent bases in Syria, former National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror said on Monday.

Amidror’s comments come a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told journalists in Paris that Israel was opposed to the Syrian cease-fire brokered recently by the US and Syria because it perpetuates Iran’s military presence in the the country.

If Israel's interests are not taken into account by those determining what the future arrangements will be in Syria – the Americans, Russians or others – “that might lead the IDF to intervene and destroy every attempt to build [permanent Iranian] infrastructure in Syria,” he said.

Amidror, a fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies who has remained in contact with Netanyahu, made his comments during a press conference with journalists organized by The Israel Project. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Taxpayer Support for Palestinian Terrorist Salaries Becoming Impossible to Defend

July 14th 2017

Edwin Black

The issue of government subsidies for Palestinian terrorist salaries is again in the international spotlight. What began in November 2013, as a barely believable revelation — that taxpayers in Great Britain, the US, and other Western nations were bankrolling terrorist salaries — has now become a universally-acknowledged, impossible-to-deny, and impossible-to-defend embarrassment for governments.

For years, officials dissembled and dodged when the question came up. After a period of silent disbelief, the mainstream media now openly confirms the salaries and routinely refers to the program with ipso factuality. Political challengers on both sides of the Atlantic stridently demand that incumbents terminate foreign aid that amounts to taxpayer-incentivized terrorism. A recent in-depth study in Israel calculates that all terror incentives and rewards paid by the Palestinian Authority over the past four years total a mind-numbing one billion dollars. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Apologists Gear Up for Rasmieh Odeh's Last Hurrah

July 13th 2017

FBI sting

Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh likely will be deported shortly after a federal judge formally sentences her next month for naturalization fraud. Her supporters are planning one final bash in her honor featuring radical political activist Angela Davis.

A promotion for the Aug. 12 event in Chicago notes it costs $5 – $6.17 with service fees – and promises "a night of music, poetry, and struggle."

Odeh pleaded guilty in April, admitting that she failed to disclose her arrest, conviction and 10 years spent in an Israeli prison after being convicted in connection to two 1969 Jerusalem bombings. One bombing targeted a grocery store, killing college students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.

Her plea agreement with federal prosecutors calls for no additional jail time, but it includes a stipulation stripping Odeh of her American citizenship and says "she will not be allowed to remain in the United States" and can never return. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

Israel to Establish ‘South Syria Army’ to Stop Iranian Expansion

July 12th 2017

Proud Israeli tanker and tank

Israel is planning to establish a Syrian army in the southern region of Syria on the border with the Golan Heights and Jordan to stop Iranian expansion, according to informed Israeli sources.

The idea for the “South Syria Army”, which will be affiliated with Israel, is based on a close model of the South Lebanon Army that Israel founded and supported during the 1970’s. The South Lebanon Army was led by Saad Haddad and later on by Antoine Lahad.

The sources said that the idea is beginning to form in accordance with the US-Russian agreement to a ceasefire in southern Syria and prevent Iranian troops, “Hezbollah” and other regime affiliated militias from controlling the region.

Israel considers Daraa, Suwayda and other areas on the border with the Golan Heights as political and security interests. Tel Aviv has allies there, including the Druze “Fursan al-Joulan militia” and some sides that claim to be part of the Free Syrian Army. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

North Korea Tests Missile it Claims Can Reach 'Anywhere in the World'

July 4th 2017

North Korean Rocket

North Korea claims to have conducted its first successful test of a long-range missile that it says can "reach anywhere in the world."

Tuesday morning's missile test, which was conducted on the orders of the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, reached a height of 2,802 kilometers (1,741 miles), according to state broadcaster Korea Central Television (KCTV).

That's the highest altitude ever reached by a North Korean missile, and puts the US on notice that Pyongyang could potentially hit the US mainland.

The regime appears to have timed the launch for maximum political effect, giving the order to fire on the eve of the July 4 holiday, just days after US President Donald Trump spoke with Japanese and Chinese leaders about the North Korea threat and before this week's G20 meeting.

The fear is that North Korea may one day develop the technology to mount a miniature nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, something analysts say it may have already achieved.

 

How true is claim?

Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at Sydney's Lowy Institute, said that one apparently successful test doesn't necessarily mean that North Korea has the global capability it claimed.
 
"If the North Koreans are claiming they can launch an ICBM (to) anywhere in the world, that needs to be looked at through a technical lens," he said, using the acronym for intercontinental ballistic missile.
Read more ..

The Edge of Surveillance

Drones Can Map Building Interiors Through the Walls

July 3rd 2017

Flying Robot

In a recent paper presented at last ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing (IPSN), researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara demonstrated how using two drones flying in tandem, one carrying a WiFi transmitter and the other a WiFi receiver, fly paths could be optimized so as to efficiently reconstruct a 3D image of a walled-up or occluded area, based on WiFi's Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) measurements alone.

Such 3D through-wall imaging would be very useful in disaster scenarios for search and rescue missions, or for surveillance operations.

In their paper titled "3D Through-Wall Imaging with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Using WiFi", the researchers note that although through-wall imaging based on WiFi's RSSI measurements had already been successfully demonstrated in 2D using unmanned ground vehicles (but only yielding a 2D footprint), moving up to the third dimension was much more challenging, especially with the constraint to estimate rapidly a high number of voxels (the volume) from only a relatively small number of measurements.


(left) An L-shaped brick construction measuring 2.96x2.96x0.5m, (middle) its 3D binary ground-truth image, and (right) the reconstructed 3D binary image based on RSSI measurements.

In search and rescue situations, time is of essence, hence limiting the number of measurement paths and making 3D-reconstruction more difficult based on how the WiFi signal is being affected by the obstacles within the unknown area.

The researchers solved this problem using Markov random field (MRF) modelling, loopy belief propagation and sparse signal processing, together with optimized path planning to fly the drones (two octo-copters) along zigzagging parallel 3D routes, on each side of the walled-up area.

With their experiments, the researchers demonstrated how they were able to obtain high-quality through-wall images of different test setups made up of thick brick walls, with less than 4% of measurements.

 

University of California Santa Barbara - www.ucsb.edu

In a recent paper presented at last ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing (IPSN), researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara demonstrated how using two drones flying in tandem, one carrying a WiFi transmitter and the other a WiFi receiver, fly paths could be optimized so as to efficiently reconstruct a 3D image of a walled-up or occluded area, based on WiFi's Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) measurements alone.

Such 3D through-wall imaging would be very useful in disaster scenarios for search and rescue missions, or for surveillance operations.

In their paper titled "3D Through-Wall Imaging with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Using WiFi", the researchers note that although through-wall imaging based on WiFi's RSSI measurements had already been successfully demonstrated in 2D using unmanned ground vehicles (but only yielding a 2D footprint), moving up to the third dimension was much more challenging, especially with the constraint to estimate rapidly a high number of voxels (the volume) from only a relatively small number of measurements.


(left) An L-shaped brick construction measuring 2.96x2.96x0.5m, (middle) its 3D binary ground-truth image, and (right) the reconstructed 3D binary image based on RSSI measurements.

In search and rescue situations, time is of essence, hence limiting the number of measurement paths and making 3D-reconstruction more difficult based on how the WiFi signal is being affected by the obstacles within the unknown area.

The researchers solved this problem using Markov random field (MRF) modelling, loopy belief propagation and sparse signal processing, together with optimized path planning to fly the drones (two octo-copters) along zigzagging parallel 3D routes, on each side of the walled-up area.

With their experiments, the researchers demonstrated how they were able to obtain high-quality through-wall images of different test setups made up of thick brick walls, with less than 4% of measurements.

 

University of California Santa Barbara - www.ucsb.edu

In a recent paper presented at last ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing (IPSN), researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara demonstrated how using two drones flying in tandem, one carrying a WiFi transmitter and the other a WiFi receiver, fly paths could be optimized so as to efficiently reconstruct a 3D image of a walled-up or occluded area, based on WiFi's Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) measurements alone. Such 3D through-wall imaging would be very useful in disaster scenarios for search and rescue missions, or for surveillance operations.

see the video

In their paper titled "3D Through-Wall Imaging with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Using WiFi", the researchers note that although through-wall imaging based on WiFi's RSSI measurements had already been successfully demonstrated in 2D using unmanned ground vehicles (but only yielding a 2D footprint), moving up to the third dimension was much more challenging, especially with the constraint to estimate rapidly a high number of voxels (the volume) from only a relatively small number of measurements. Read more ..



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