9/11 Redux: ‘Thousands of Aliens’ in U.S. Flight Schools Illegally

Former FAA Inspector: TSA’s Enforcement of Post-9/11 Laws ‘Basically Nonexistent’

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“Some of the very same conditions that allowed the 9-11 tragedy to happen in the first place are still very much in existence today,” wrote one regional security official to his boss at the TSA, the Transportation Security Administration.

“Thousands of aliens, some of whom may very well pose a threat to this country, are taking flight lessons, being granted FAA certifications and are flying planes,” wrote the TSA official, Richard A. Horn, in 2005, complaining that the students did not have the proper visas.

Read more9/11 Redux: ‘Thousands of Aliens’ in U.S. Flight Schools Illegally

24 More Armed Robot Sentries for Base Patrol

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Since 2004, a series of robotic security guards have been roaming the perimeter of the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada — part of a pilot program, to see if unmanned systems can help maintain security at military installations. After 8,000 hours on patrol, the Army has been impressed, apparently. The service is ordering up to 24 more of the “Mobile Detection and Assessment and Response System,” or MDARS, at a cost of $40 million.The diesel-powered robots, in development since 1989, operate “at speeds up to 20 miles per hour and can run for 16 hours without refueling,” according to its manufacturer, General Dyanmics. “Using radio frequency identification tags, MDARS keeps track of inventory, as well as gates, locks and other barriers.”

Next-gen models could include “improved response speed of at least 30 mph… intruder detection while MDARS is moving, and intruder detection out to 1500 meters,” as opposed to 300 meters, today.

The machines could also be armed. MDARS has been tested with automatic rifles and non-lethal weapons. And General Dynamics is boasting that they new versions will have “non-lethal weapons with an engagement range of at least 30 meters.”

Source: wired

Ben Bernanke’s high-wire act

Fed chief, in first of two days of testimony on Capitol Hill, acknowledges troubling signs about economic growth but also raises concerns about inflation.

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) — For Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, running the central bank has become an increasingly challenging high-wire balancing act.

All of Wall Street was watching the Fed chairman on Wednesday when he headed to Capitol Hill to outline the trio of challenges facing the Fed: an economy at risk of falling into a recession, topsy-turvy financial markets and the rising risk of inflation.

“We do face a difficult situation,” Bernanke told members of the House Financial Services Committee, marking the first day of his two-day semi-annual hearing on the Fed’s monetary policy. “The challenge for us is to balance those risks and decide at any given time which is more serious.”

Read moreBen Bernanke’s high-wire act

Soon U.S. Citizens Must Ask for Government Permission to Fly or Travel

(NaturalNews) The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is moving forward to institute a rule that would require all passengers to go through a government review process before boarding any airplane that takes off or lands anywhere with in the United States.The U.S. government already requires international passengers to participate in the Advanced Passenger Information System, providing their full name, gender, date of birth, nationality, country of residence, and travel document type and number to the TSA before boarding. Under the proposed Secure Flight Program, this procedure would also be required on domestic flights.

Currently, individual airlines are responsible for checking the passenger manifests against the “no fly” and “enhanced screening” lists provided by the TSA. The new programs are part of a concerted effort to centralize this process, so that the TSA itself will check all supplied information against these lists, and then instruct the airline or airport staff as to how to proceed.

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has criticized the new Secure Flight rules for their secrecy and lack of accountability. The association has expressed concern that there is no clear appeals process for passengers denied boarding or continually forced to undergo enhanced security screening.

“On the surface, the new Secure Flight program no longer relies on commercial databases and appears to have reduced the number of names on the ‘No Fly’ list,” said ACTE Executive Director Susan Gurley. “It also seems that the responsibility for checking data is no longer abrogated to the airlines. While this is a step in the right direction, it prompts the industry to ask what was the origin of this new data, how is it stored, who has access to it, and how can it be corrected.”
by David Gutierrez

Source: naturalnews.com


Report: War on Terror Slips; PR Ministry Needed

 After reaching a high point in 2002-2003, the U.S. global war on terror has failed to stop the growth of the worldwide Islamic extremist movement, according to a new report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments:

Since 2002–2003, however, the overall US position in the GWOT has slipped. To be sure, the United States has made considerable progress capturing or killing terrorist leaders and operatives, disrupting terrorist operations, seizing assets, and building partner CT [counterterror] capabilities. Those gains, however, have been offset by the metastasis of the al Qaeda organization into a global movement, the spread and intensification of Salafi-Jihadi ideology, the resurgence of Iranian regional influence, and the growth in number and political influence of Islamic fundamentalist political parties throughout the world. Both Salafi-Jihadi and Khomeinist branches of Islamic radicalism have spread rather than receded since 2003. The continued presence of US military forces in Iraq has been a boon for the jihadi movement’s propaganda effort and bolstered the legitimacy of its call to defensive jihad.

The report not only states that the U.S. presence in Iraq has fueled the worldwide Jihadi movement. It also suggests — just like Donald Rumsfeld did, a few weeks ago — that the government should create a strategic information agency:

 

By far the gravest strategic lapse, however, has been the US government’s anemic—if not, self-destructive—efforts to create and exploit divisions within and among jihadi groups, discredit their ideology, promote alternative Islamic voices, and isolate Islamic extremists. Over the past six years, the United States has failed to counter effectively the portrayal of America as an aggressive, predatory force that poses a threat to Islam. Indeed, the United States has reinforced this jihadi narrative through continued military “occupation” of Iraq, repeated missteps such as Abu Ghraib debacle and incidents at the Guantanamo detention facility, and frequent public statements by senior US government officials about promoting democracy, secularism, and other Western concepts that are considered anti-Islamic by many conservative Muslims. In short, the United States is losing the “long war” in the madrassas, on the air waves, on jihadi websites and countless Internet chat rooms, and during Friday prayers in mosques around the world. To regain lost ground in what is likely to be an indirect, protracted “war of ideas,” the US government should stand up an independent agency to plan and orchestrate a coherent, national-level strategic communication strategy.

I think the next person who suggests the creation of a strategic information agency should be locked into a tiny little room and forced to listen to Voice of America for 12 hours straight. They’ll repent in no time. No they won’t, actually, they’ll go nuts first. They’ll be begging for CNN and Fox News, I promise you.

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Read moreReport: War on Terror Slips; PR Ministry Needed

The Eye of Sauron – Boeing’s Border Watchtowers Can’t See Straight

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“After revealing last week that a pilot installation of controversial, buggy border-security scanner towers had finally been accepted into service, the US government has now admitted that the project is a technical failure,” Lew Page observes.

Plans to build a so-called ‘virtual fence’ along the Mexican border will proceed, but there will be long delays and very little of the current technology will be used. The expected rollout of the first 100 mile stretch of scanner-swept, networked border has now been moved back to 2011. The planned line south of Tucson in Arizona was to have been huddled-mass proofed by this year.

The initial piece of the fence — nine sensor-laden towers, collectively called “Project 28” — has been in trouble, for a while. But yesterday, the Government Accountability Office revealed a whole host of new problems. Like using inappropriate commercial software, originally meant for police dispatchers, to keep track of cross-border traffic. Like designing and developing by the whole thing “with minimal input from the intended operators of the system, including Border Patrol agents.” Oops.

Boeing, the big contractor behind the effort, tells the Washington Post that “the initial effort, while flawed, still has helped Homeland Security apprehend 2,000 illegal immigrants since September. It estimated in 2006 that it would spend $7.6 billion through 2011 to secure the entire 2,000-mile southern border, an ambition that was meant to win support from conservatives for legislation creating a guest-worker program and a path to legalization for 12 million illegal immigrants.”

But officials said yesterday that they now expect to complete the first phase of the virtual fence’s deployment — roughly 100 miles near Tucson and Yuma, Ariz., and El Paso, Tex. — by the end of 2011, instead of by the end of 2008…
“The total cost is not yet known,” testified Richard M. Stana, the GAO’s director of homeland security issues, because DHS officials “do not yet know the type of terrain where the fencing is to be constructed, the materials to be used, or the cost to acquire the land.”

“The pilot virtual fence included nine mobile towers, radar, cameras, and vehicles retrofitted with laptops and satellite phones or handheld devices. They were to be linked to a near-real-time, maplike projection of the frontier that agents could use to track targets and direct law enforcement resources,” the Post adds. Pagey has long called these sensors the Eye-o-Sauron™. (If you don’t get the reference, click away immediately.) “The cameras, much like the Eye of Sauron in the films, often struggled to spot unwelcome visitors,” he notes. For example…

GAO investigators said that Boeing’s software could not process large amounts of sensor data. The resulting delays made it hard for operators in a Tucson command center 65 miles to the north to lock cameras on targets. Radar systems were also triggered inadvertently by rain and other environmental factors. Cameras had trouble resolving images at five kilometers when they were expected to work at twice that distance, Stana said.

By Noah Shachtman
February 28, 2008 | 10:19:31 AM

Source: wired.com

Russian bomber again intercepted near U.S. Navy ship

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Russian bomber aircraft approached a U.S. aircraft carrier off the Korean coast on Wednesday and was intercepted by American fighter jets — the second such incident in less than a month, U.S. defense officials said.According to the U.S. officials, a Russian bomber came within three to five nautical miles and flew 2,000 feet (610 meters) above the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships.

Two U.S. F/A-18 fighters were launched to intercept the Russian aircraft and escort it out of the area, according to one defense official.

Russian bombers over the past year have increased their flights near U.S. territory and U.S. naval assets, demonstrating their long-range strike capability.

In February, two Russian bombers approached the Nimitz near Japan and one flew over the carrier, escorted by a U.S. fighter jet. That was the first Russian overflight of a U.S. carrier since 2004.

Those operations come as Russian officials say they will revive some of the military power and reach allowed to collapse with the Soviet Union.

U.S. defense officials on Wednesday said they did not consider the Russian bomber flight a threat or concern.

(Reporting by Kristin Roberts, Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Wed Mar 5, 2008 6:48pm EST

Source: Reuters

Can a thinking, remembering, decision-making, biologically accurate brain be built from a supercomputer?

Out of the Blue

Can a thinking, remembering, decision-making, biologically accurate brain be built from a supercomputer?

In the basement of a university in Lausanne, Switzerland sit four black boxes, each about the size of a refrigerator, and filled with 2,000 IBM microchips stacked in repeating rows. Together they form the processing core of a machine that can handle 22.8 trillion operations per second. It contains no moving parts and is eerily silent. When the computer is turned on, the only thing you can hear is the continuous sigh of the massive air conditioner. This is Blue Brain.

Read moreCan a thinking, remembering, decision-making, biologically accurate brain be built from a supercomputer?

China announces largest military budget ever

BEIJING — China announced its largest ever defense budget Tuesday, a day after the Pentagon warned that China’s burgeoning military is fine-tuning its abilities for cyber-warfare and in disabling the satellites of potential enemies. China’s defense budget will rise to $59 billion this year, an increase of 17.6 percent over a year earlier, said Jiang Enzhu, a spokesman for the National People’s Congress.

Read moreChina announces largest military budget ever

Could Canada’s Games be secured with help from Americans and Mexicans?

Canada, U.S. and Mexico are planning a massive joint military exercise in April 2009 “to focus on terrorist events that could affect [the] 2010 Olympics,” according to Public Safety Canada documents released to 2010 Watch via access to information.

The rehearsal, led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is code-named TOPOFF 5. Canadian troops were among the 15,000 participants involved in last October’s TOPOFF 4 in Portland, Ore., Phoenix, Ariz. and Guam.

“Exercises provide unique training opportunities to strengthen our ability to deal with potential emergencies,” said Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day in an e-mail statement responding to 24 hours’ interview request. “They are important tools to strengthen Canada’s ability to deal with real incidents.”

An undated Public Safety Canada report said up to $22.8 million was needed to fund emergency management, counter-terrorism, cyber security and critical infrastructure protection exercises, “leading to a trilateral full-scale exercise prior to the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010, as outlined under the Security and Prosperity Partnership.”

SPP was founded in 2005 to promote economic growth and enhanced security in North America.

“Does it mean that if the American forces are training with Canadian forces that they are going to be positioned here in Canada during the period of the Olympic Games?” said 2010 Watch’s Chris Shaw. “And, if so, under whose command?”