Wednesday, December 28, 2016

India Successfully Tests Nuclear-Capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

On Monday, India carried out its fourth successful test launch of its Agni-V nuclear-capable, three-stage, solid fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. The test was carried out off Dr. Abdul Kalam Island in the Indian state of Odisha.

India’s Defense Research and Development Organization released a statement noting that the test “further boosted the indigenous missile capabilities and deterrence level of the country.” The statement added that “all the radars, tracking systems, and range stations tracked and monitored the flight performance and all the mission objectives were successfully met.”

“All the test parameters of the missile, which was tested for its full range, were successfully achieved. The missile splashed down near Australian waters,” an Indian official told the Times of India.

Successful test firing of Agni V makes every Indian very proud. It will add tremendous strength to our strategic defence,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a statement released on Twitter.

Monday’s test was long-planned and first reported last week. As my colleague Franz-Stefan Gady explained in the Diplomat, the previous three tests of the Agni-V have had important distinctions.

In April 2012 and September 2013, the ICBM was tested in “open configuration,” and a test last year in January featured its launch from a hermetically sealed canister on a road-mobile transporter erector launcher in “deliverable configuration.”

The capability conferred on India’s Strategic Forces Command by the Agni-IV and Agni-V missiles are primarily intended to bolster India’s strategic nuclear deterrent against China.

India deploys the short-to-medium-range Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-III, and Prithvi series of shorter-range missiles for its strategic deterrent against Pakistan.

The Agni-V has a rated strike range of more than 5,000 kilometers and is capable of delivering a 1,500 kilogram warhead.

The strike range of the Indian ICBM leaves it capable of striking all of China, most of Russia, the Middle East, and parts of north-eastern and southern Africa.

With its land-based ballistic missiles, a limited free-falling unguided air delivery method, and a recently acquired sea-based ballistic missile capability with the launch of the first of the Arihant-class ballistic missile nuclear submarine, India joins the United States, Russia, and China as a triad power.

Once the Agni-V is formally inducted, which will take place following user trial testing, India will join the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom as the sixth country to feature a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile capability. (North Korea has yet to test its KN-08 and KN-14 ICBMs.)

Friday, December 23, 2016

ALERT: Libyan Aircraft Hijacking - the latest.



UPDATE:Two hijackers of a Libyan passenger plane, purportedly supporters of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, surrendered Friday after diverting the Afriqiyah Airways jetliner from the north African country to the island of Malta, authorities said. All 118 people aboard left the plane safely.

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Twitter: "Hijackers surrendered, searched and taken into custody." Muscat said the plane hijackers had one pistol and one hand grenade.

Malta state television TVM said the two hijackers threatened to blow up the Airbus A320. All flights to Malta International Airport were immediately diverted after the mid-morning landing, and emergency teams including negotiators were sent to the airport tarmac.

Muscat said there were 111 passengers aboard — 82 males, 28 females and one infant. The Times of Malta said it also had seven crew members.

MALTA -Passengers have begun disembarking from the hijacked Libyan aircraft in Malta.


The doors of the plane opened at 1:44 p.m. local time and a staircase moved to the door before passengers began disembarking.

An official from Afriqiyah Airways said the two hijackers had expressed a willingness to release the passengers but that they will keep the pilot.

Serraj al-Fitouri also told Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV that one Libyan lawmaker was among the list of passengers. It was unclear whether the lawmaker, identified as Abdel-Salam al-Marabet, had been on the flight that was hijacked earlier Friday.


COMPILED FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES


ORIGINAL REPORT:

A flight within Libya has been hijacked and diverted to Malta, with 118 people on board.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted shortly before 8 a.m. Eastern time that the "first group of passengers, consisting of women and children, being released now."

There were 28 women and one infant on the plane when it landed, according to earlier tweets from Muscat.

Maltese state television previously said hijackers have threatened to blow the plane up, the Associated Press reports.

Two hijackers claiming to be armed with a hand grenade took over the the Afriqiyah flight, which was set to fly from Sebha to Tripoli, according to The Times of Malta. It's not clear what their demands are.

Muscat said that security services are "coordinating operations."

Video posted by the Times of Malta shows the plane sitting on the ground, with security forces gathered nearby.

"All flights into Malta International Airport have been diverted," the AP writes. "Muscat's office confirmed that a negotiating team is on standby awaiting instructions from the prime minister.

Reuters reports that the plane's pilot alerted flight control authorities of the hijacking:


"A senior Libyan security official told Reuters that when the plane was still in flight on Friday morning the pilot told the control tower at Tripoli's Mitiga airport it had been hijacked.

" 'The pilot reported to the control tower in Tripoli that they were being hijacked, then they lost communication with him,' the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

" 'The pilot tried very hard to have them land at the correct destination but they refused.' "

Thursday, December 22, 2016

BREAKING: 7 ARRESTED THWARTING AU CHRISTMAS TERROR ATTACK


ABC/AU:

Seven people were arrested overnight at properties in Flemington, Meadow Heights and Dallas in Melbourne over the alleged plot, which police said was inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the plot as an "act of evil", while Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police had seized "the makings of an improvised explosive device".

Speaking at a press conference today, Mr Turnbull said: "Overnight our police and security agencies have disrupted a very substantial terrorist plot.

Overnight, the Victoria Police, working with the Australian Federal Police and ASIO, have arrested seven persons, five of whom are still in custody, searched five premises and are continuing to search them.
"What they have uncovered is a plot to explode improvised explosive devices in central Melbourne in the area of Federation Square, on or about Christmas Day.

"This is one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years."

The raids were part of a counter-terrorism operation involving Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police and ASIO.

Commissioner Ashton said it was believed a number of people were intending to carry out an attack involving explosives and other weapons.

"Over the last fortnight … we have had to conduct a criminal investigation relating to the formation of what we believe was a terrorist plot," he said.

"We believe that there was an intention to conduct what we call a multi-mode attack, possibly on Christmas Day.

Police believe the locations to be targeted include Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, and St Paul's Cathedral.

Commissioner Ashton said: "We believe [the plot] was going to involve an explosive event, the use of explosives, and we gathered evidence to support that.

"There has also been evidence that we will lead around the possibility of an intention to use other weapons. That could include knives and/or a firearm.

"Certainly these [people] are self-radicalized, we believe, but inspired by ISIS and ISIS propaganda."



China claims Lunar Defense Obliteration Zone around the Moon.

Following the successful launch of its first lunar rover, the Chinese government has declared a defensive zone extending vertically from China into space and encompassing the moon.

The Lunar Defense Obliteration Zone, according to newly appointed space minister Wu Houyi, “will protect China’s core interests and interplanetary sovereignty.” All foreign spacecraft, satellites, comets and space debris must notify China before passing through or into the zone.

Due to orbital complications, the boundaries of the LDOZ will shift daily in accordance with the position of the moon relative to its sovereign power. China’s Ministry of Space has issued diagrams of the shifting boundaries, dubbed “the lasso.”

Many countries have disputed China’s ability to establish such a zone, but Chinese officials are adamant about the country’s claim to Earth’s only natural satellite.

“China’s historical ties to the moon date back at least five thousand years, perhaps more,” said Chen Guang, an official historian from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “We made a whole calendar based on it for Christ’s sake.”

As for the political ramifications, the Ministry of Space has promised not to impose terrestrial laws on the celestial object, nor push immediately for reunification.

China LDOZ

“The moon will retain full autonomy,” Wu told reporters on Thursday, “and will continue to orbit the Earth as normal under the ‘One Country, Two Circumgyrating Bodies’ system.”

So far, the LDOZ has received widespread support from the public and government-issued propaganda posters have cropped up around Beijing and Shanghai bearing the slogan “China Dream, Moon Dream.”

READ MORE HERE

Anis Amri, wanted as main suspect in Christmas market attack in Berlin.


ABC NEWS: Anis Amri, a suspect wanted in connection with the Christmas market attack in Berlin, is very likely the assailant, according to German Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

"We can tell you today that there are additional clues that this suspect is, with very high likelihood, the perpetrator," Maiziere told reporters at a press conference Thursday. "Fingerprints in the cab of the truck have been found, and there are also other clues that suggest that [he is the perpetrator]."

Frauke Koehler, a spokeswoman for the German federal prosecutor's office, said Amri's fingerprints were discovered on the steering wheel, on the driver's side door and elsewhere in the cab of the tractor-trailer that was used on Monday to plow into a crowded Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz, a public square in the heart of Berlin. Based on this evidence, prosecutors "assume that Anis Amri was driving the truck" and have issued a warrant for his arrest accordingly, Koehler said at a press conference Thursday.

The Breitscheidplatz attack killed at least 12 people and injured dozens more, including two Americans. Family members confirmed to ABC News that Richard Ramirez of San Benito, Texas, remained in a Berlin hospital Thursday. He is in stable condition after having emergency surgery for injuries sustained in the attack. His partner of 18 years, a German citizen, was killed, family members said.

ABC News affiliate KRGV reported that the other injured American is also from Texas.

A source told ABC News that Amri was known to U.S. intelligence agencies.

German authorities have launched a Europe-wide manhunt for the suspect. According to a wanted notice, Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian national, went by six different aliases and is considered "violent and armed." Officials are offering a reward of up to 100,000 euros ($105,000) for information leading to his arrest.

German authorities have not said whether Amri is thought to be still in Berlin or Germany.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Terrorist, Mokhtar Belmokhtar "Mr. Marlboro" may have been killed in French air strike.

Washington (AFP) - One-eyed hostage killer Mokhtar Belmokhtar, one of Al-Qaeda's most notorious allies in North Africa, was said Monday to have been slain in a French air strike.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal that US intelligence helped France target the veteran jihadist.

The news came as French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Washington for talks with his US counterpart Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

But neither top official confirmed the strike, said to have taken place in southern Libya earlier this month.

The Algerian militant, commander of an Al-Qaeda-linked faction of the Al-Murabitoun group, has been reported killed on several previous occasions.

But the official told AFP the latest strike is believed to have finally hit the elusive militant, once known for kidnapping Europeans for multimillion dollar ransoms.

According to the Wall Street Journal report, citing experts and unnamed officials, the strike reflects closer US and French intelligence cooperation.

After November 2015, Islamist attacks on Paris left 130 dead, US President Barack Obama announced promised that closer intelligence cooperation with Paris would begin.

Belmokhtar became one of the world's most wanted men in 2013 after a spectacular assault on the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria left at least 38 hostages dead.

This year, his group claimed responsibility for an attack on a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso that killed another 20 people, most of them foreigners.

And reports he had arrived in Libya have fuelled concern that jihadists will take advantage of the political turmoil there to establish a base of operations.

Washington put a $5 million bounty on the 44-year-old's head, dubbing him the leader of the Khaled Abu al-Abbas Brigade, also known as the "Signatories in Blood."

In May last year, he insisted that Al-Murabitoun remains loyal to Al-Qaeda, despite another of its leaders pledging allegiance the Islamic State group.

Belmokhtar was born on June 1, 1972 in the ancient desert city of Ghardaia, 370 miles (600 kilometers) south of the Algerian capital.

- 'Mister Marlboro' -

In a rare 2007 interview he said he joined the mujahideen rebels fighting the Soviet forces in Afghanistan in 1991 when he was barely 19 years old.

In Afghanistan, he claimed, he lost an eye to shrapnel and had his first contact with the group that became Al-Qaeda, eventually rising to a senior position.

He returned to Algeria in 1993, a year after the Algiers government sparked civil war by cancelling an election that an Islamist party was poised to win.

He joined the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), and thrived thanks to his intimate knowledge of the remote deserts of southern Algeria, northern Mali and Niger.

In 1998 the "Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat" (GSPC) broke from the GIA and Belmokhtar went with them.

Nine years later, GSPC formally adopted the global ideology of Saudi-born jihadist kingpin Osama bin Laden and renamed itself Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Belmokhtar was best known as a smuggler, known by some as "Mister Marlboro" for trafficking cigarettes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

AIRBUS APPROVED BY US TO SALE JETS TO IRAN

WSJ : LONDON— Airbus Group SE has received U.S. government backing for the export of more than 100 jetliners to Iran, despite a move by U.S. lawmakers to curb such transactions.
The export license was granted on Tuesday by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, an arm of the Treasury Department, and clears Airbus to deliver more than $20 billion in jets to Iran Air, the Islamic Republic’s flag carrier.
Iran Air and Airbus in January agreed on the potential sale of up to 118 jetliners. It was a landmark transaction and one of the most high-profile deals for Iran following the lifting of sanctions as part of a wider accord to significantly constrain the country’s nuclear activities. Airbus, Europe’s biggest plane maker, in September won U.S. government backing to deliver 17 planes to Iran Air. Boeing at the time also received approval to sell planes to the carrier.
Airbus initially sought license for a smaller number of planes to expedite the process to get planes to Iran Air, which has been struggling with an aging fleet after years of sanctions, some imposed in the wake of its revolution in 1979. Iran Air operates some of the world’s oldest airliners.
The Airbus and Boeing plane deals have been staunchly opposed by critics of the nuclear accord with Iran. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has attacked the Iran deal and named retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn as national security adviser and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) as Central Intelligence Agency director. Both have voiced opposition to the nuclear deal.
The Obama administrated has been working to strengthen the accord, including by granting more export licenses for business to sell in Iran. The effort is unrelated to Mr. Trump’s election victory, U.S. officials have said.
Airbus said it was still working with Iran Air to complete contract terms before any planes will be handed over.
Iran Air has said it was looking to buy a wide range of Airbus aircraft, from its popular A320 single-aisle plane to the A380 superjumbo. The initial license for 17 planes covered A320 jets and A330 long-range planes. Iranian officials have said they were close to completing the contract.
The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a motion to block dollar funding for such transactions. The move isn't expected to have any immediate impact on plane deliveries, though.
Airbus’s plane sales to Iran Air are expected to be denominated in euros. Boeing also is likely to use nondollar transactions to deliver its planes. Boeing aims to sell 80 jets to Iran Air in a deal valued at up to $17.6 billion. It would include its new 777X long-range jet, which is still in development, and the 747-8 jumbo jets.

READ MORE HERE

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ohio Man Arrested for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL


USDOJ: Aaron Travis Daniels, aka Harun Muhammad, aka Abu Yusef, 20, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested today for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The arrest was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division and agencies participating in the Southern Ohio Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

JTTF agents arrested Daniels as he attempted to leave Columbus with an alleged eventual destination of Libya, for the purpose of joining ISIL. The criminal complaint against him also alleges that Daniels sent $250 in January 2016 to an ISIL operative and had communicated his commitment to violent overseas jihad.

The complaint alleges that Daniels set up email addresses and a social media account using aliases and expressed his interest in violent jihad and traveling overseas in various communications.

The complaint also alleges that Daniels wired money to an intermediary for Abu Isa Al-Amriki, a now-deceased ISIL member, recruiter and external attack planner. Daniels allegedly told an undercover FBI employee that he wanted to travel to Trinidad as the beginning of his trip to Libya, where Daniels said Al-Amriki had suggested he go to support jihad. On Nov. 5, Daniels bought an airline ticket to travel from Columbus to Houston, Texas, and on to Trinidad. The flight was scheduled to leave Columbus today.

JTTF officers arrested Daniels at the airport, before boarding his flight. Daniels appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp who ordered him held without bond.

If convicted of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, Daniels faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Congress prescribes the maximum potential sentences and it is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge. A federal criminal complaint merely contains allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The Southern Ohio JTTF is made up of officers and agents from the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Columbus Division of Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ohio State University Police Department, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the John Glenn International Airport Police Department, the Westerville Police Department and the Columbus Division of Fire.

Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord and U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the JTTF for its investigation of this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica W. Knight of the Southern District of Ohio, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Gibson of the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, and Trial Attorneys Michael Dittoe and Taryn M. Meeks of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

CIA releasing 11 million classified documents


FROM: THE HILL By Julian Hattem - 10/27/16 10:50 AM EDT


The CIA will publish more than 11 million declassified documents onto the internet, making its library of old files dramatically more accessible to the public, the agency announced this week.

Currently, the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) is only accessible to researchers who travel in person to an office of the National Archives in College Park, Md., severely limiting the public’s access. Once there, users can search through the database’s millions of electronic records that have already been reviewed and approved for public release.

That will change soon.

“CIA does intend to move the documents located on the CREST system to CIA.gov,” agency spokesman Jonathan Liu said in a statement Thursday.

Once they're on the agency’s website, people will be able to search through the 11 million pages just as visitors to the National Archives office in Maryland can currently do.

“This will dramatically increase the ability of the public to access these documents, which currently are available only by going to [the National Archives and Records Administration] in person,” Liu said.

The CIA was unable to provide a specific date when the documents will be posted online, “but we are moving out on the plan to make the transition,” said Liu.

The development was previously reported by the Federation of American Scientists’s project on government secrecy.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

NSA contractor who stole documents over two decades charged


CBS NEWS: 

The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who’s been charged with stealing and keeping highly classified material over the course of two decades put U.S. intelligence officers and operations at risk by possessing their names, according to a court filing Thursday.

In the filing with a Maryland federal court, the Justice Department confirmed for the first time specific details about the type of information Harold Martin took from the NSA.

“As an example, information stolen by the Defendant includes numerous names of intelligence officers of the United States,” the filing said. “These officers operate under cover outside the United States, and putting the secrecy of their identities at risk by removing information about those identities from appropriate, secure storage not only endangers the lives and safety of those officers and the individuals with whom they work, but also risks exposure of American intelligence operations.”

The Justice Department added that if numerous intelligence sources and methods for highly sensitive intelligence operations fell into the wrong hands, they “could be rendered nearly useless.”

Prosecutors estimate that a substantial portion of the 50 terabytes of digital information found in Martin’s possession contains “highly classified information.” Authorities also found thousands of hard-copy documents containing “highly classified information” in his possession.

In the filing Thursday, the Justice Department did not say whether the names of intelligence officers were shared with U.S. adversaries and it’s still unclear whether Martin was selling this information or if he was simply hoarding the information in his home.

Regardless of his intentions, the Justice Department plans to charge Martin under the Espionage Act. He has already been charged with theft of government property and removal and retention of classified materials for stealing half a billion pages of U.S. secrets and records between 1996 and 2016.

Martin, 51, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, made his first public court appearance in a Baltimore federal courtroom on Friday and the judge ruled that he must remain detained because he poses a “serious risk to the public.”

In court documents filed last week, government lawyers said that Martin committed theft that was “breathtaking in its longevity and scale.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How to build a UHF SATCOM antenna for under $20 FINAL PART

I received many e-mails about my UHF SATCOM antenna article, some of them asking nicely and some downright obscene. I have many reason whey I didn't finish the article, which run the gamut from starting a new career to getting divorced, but looking back I should have not left you hanging.

That said, if you follow the directions in the post on Radio Reference you'll find out how to build the phase harness for the radiating elements.  It's fairly simple to do and will take you less than a day to build if you have the proper tools and patience.

Use my dimensions but use the phasing instructions on THIS THREAD and you'll succeed. I built a version using a large magnet and made me a mobile SATCOM antenna and it works amazingly well, even without amplification.


I also replaced the reflector at the rear of the first antenna I built with an old parabolic dish from a discarded DISH network antenna and turned it into a permanent UHF SATCOM base antenna and can now listen to UHF SATCOM from anywhere.



Currently I am working on a small handheld version. I will post a how-to article on it as soon as I get it done.

To the many who followed this series of articles and were patiently waiting for the other shoe to drop, thanks for your missives and overwhelming patience. To the other guy who just told me to go fuck myself, fuck you too.

-Steve Douglass


PREVIOUS ARTICLES

NSA in bed with Yahoo - allowed spy software on mail servers.

REUTERS: Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said two former employees and a third person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to a spy agency's demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified.

Reuters was unable to determine what data Yahoo may have handed over, if any, and if intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo with this kind of request.

According to the two former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc."Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States," the company said in a brief statement in response to Reuters questions about the demand. Yahoo declined any further comment.

Through a Facebook spokesman, Stamos declined a request for an interview.

The NSA referred questions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which declined to comment.

The demand to search Yahoo Mail accounts came in the form of a classified directive sent to the company's legal team, according to the three people familiar with the matter.

U.S. phone and Internet companies are known to have handed over bulk customer data to intelligence agencies. But some former government officials and private surveillance experts said they had not previously seen either such a broad directive for real-time Web collection or one that required the creation of a new computer program.

"I've never seen that, a wiretap in real time on a 'selector,'" said Albert Gidari, a lawyer who represented phone and Internet companies on surveillance issues for 20 years before moving to Stanford University this year. A selector refers to a type of search term used to zero in on specific information.

"It would be really difficult for a provider to do that," he added.

Experts said it was likely that the NSA or FBI had approached other Internet companies with the same demand, since they evidently did not know what email accounts were being used by the target. The NSA usually makes requests for domestic surveillance through the FBI, so it is hard to know which agency is seeking the information.

Reuters was unable to confirm whether the 2015 demand went to other companies, or if any complied.
Alphabet Inc's Google and Microsoft Corp, two major U.S. email service providers, did not respond to requests for comment.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Shadow Brokers have no takers for stolen cyber tools...

WASHINGTON

Foreign hackers responsible for the theft of top secret cyber weapons from the National Security Agency are ranting that no one is interested in buying the stolen cyber tools.

A group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which claimed responsibility in mid-August for penetrating the NSA and seizing prized malware, said in a profane Borat-like postingover the weekend that it has found “no interest” for its online auction of the pilfered cyber weapons.

The group originally released some teaser cyber tools for free, and analysts confirmed that they appeared to be state-of-the-art malware from the NSA’s secret hacking division.

“TheShadowBrokers is realizing peoples is not thinking auction is being real?” the hackers said in the message, in broken English, adding that the online auction for the stolen tools “is sounding crazy but is being real.”

The hackers initially demanded one million Bitcoin for the stolen malware, a pile of crypto currency worth about $611 million today. In their latest message, the group acknowledged that that price was “a ridiculous sum” and indicated it would accept far less.

The stolen malware allows perpetrators to break through security firewalls and lurk unseen, monitoring network traffic or launching a devastating cyber attack.

The Shadow Brokers’ message is vulgar and hard to read, sounding as if it is written by angry poor speakers of English. Whether it is all show is not clear as the identity of the hackers is unknown

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/nation-world/national/article105708446.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, September 12, 2016

Snowden releases Top Secret spy satellite PAN details ...

Documents obtained by the online publication ‘The Intercept‘ from NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden have lifted the veil on one of America’s most enigmatic satellite missions of recent years, roaming high above Earth to intercept the communications of commercial satellites otherwise not accessible in the NSA’s information-gathering efforts.

Only known by the name of PAN, the satellite was sent into orbit on September 8, 2009 atop an Atlas V rocket under contract with an undisclosed U.S. Government Agency. No agency claimed ownership of the satellite – a highly unusual move as even the National Reconnaissance Office, operator of U.S. spy satellites, publicly acknowledges the launches of its intelligence-gathering birds.
Although no government agency would step forward, spacecraft builder Lockheed Martin was happy to announce the company had built the spacecraft based on the A2100 commercial satellite platform and even released a photo of it in its factory. Normally, photos of U.S. spy assets are kept under wraps until declassification decades after the fact, adding more mystery to PAN’s case.

According to Lockheed Martin, PAN was ordered by its hush-hush operator in 2006 and construction and testing on the satellite finished within three years, suggesting some urgency in getting the satellite into orbit.

The mission’s elusive three-letter designation apparently stood for ‘Palladium at Night.’ In addition to being the name of a rare silver-white metal, Palladium can also stand for a safeguard, “especially one viewed as a guarantee of the integrity of social institutions.” After its successful arrival in orbit, PAN changed its enigmatic name for the numeric designation USA-207 in America’s fleet of classified satellites.

Whenever a classified U.S. intelligence satellite sets sail for its top secret destination in space, a worldwide network of satellite trackers mobilizes to scan the sky for the newly launched bird, also employing radio equipment to help characterize its activity to reveal clues on the craft’s tasks.

In case of PAN, radio observations performed while the satellite was still riding atop its Atlas V booster revealed it was transmitting on a beacon frequency previously employed by Ultra High Frequency Follow-On satellites providing secure communications to mobile military users. However, the lone image of the satellite released by Lockheed showed it was not carrying any large helix antennas required for UHF communications, adding to the mystery of PAN’s actual identity.
PAN parked in close proximity to PakSat-1, operated by the government of Pakistan since 2002.

Eventually, satellite spotters found USA-207 in a position over Africa, having entered its high-altitude perch in Geostationary Orbit where the craft’s speed matches that of Earth’s rotation so it can remain in the same position relative to the ground.

The Snowden document is the first to tie the PAN satellite to a series of satellites codenamed NEMESIS – a designation first uncovered in a leaked U.S. government budget breakdown. Part of the High-Altitude Signals Intelligence branch, NEMESIS received a $500-million budget for Fiscal Year 2011 for what is now known to be the second satellite in the constellation, referred to as CLIO.

While no explanation for the acronym CLIO was offered, its mission was quickly connected to PAN given many parallels between the two including the Lockheed satellite platform and similar levels of secrecy surrounding its September 2014 liftoff from Florida’s Space Coast.

According to the MHS document, the inauguration of the NEMESIS satellites was expected to “open up new opportunities for discovery and will enhance collection efforts for the intelligence community into areas not previously explored.

Monday, August 29, 2016

SETI researchers hopeful about radio spike.

SETI researchers are buzzing about a strong spike in radio signals that seemed to come from the direction of a sunlike star in the constellation Hercules, known as HD 164595.

The signal conceivably fits the profile for an intentional transmission from an extraterrestrial source – but it could also be a case of earthly radio interference, or a microlensing event in which the star’s gravitational field focused stray signals coming from much farther away.

In any case, the blip is interesting enough to merit discussion by those who specialize in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI – including Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster, who brought the case into the public eye this weekend.

At least two SETI research groups are aiming to track HD 164595 tonight. The SETI Institute is using the Allen Telescope Array in northern California, while METI International is looking to the Boquete Optical SETI Observatory in Panama.

Gilster reports that the signal spike was detected more than a year ago, on May 15, 2015, by the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya. That facility is in the Russian republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, not far from the Georgian border.

The apparent source of the signal, HD 164595, is interesting for a couple of reasons: It’s a sunlike star, about 95 light-years away from Earth, and it’s already known to have at least one “warm Neptune” planet called HD 164595 b. “There could, of course, be other planets still undetected in this system,” Gilster says.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hackers holding stolen NSA cyber tools auction


FORTUNE: 

The teaser data dump appears to contain legitimate attack code, some experts say.

The United States government can’t seem to catch a break in cyberspace.

Hackers claim to have stolen attack code from a team of sophisticated cyber spies known as “the Equation Group,” widely believed to be associated with the U.S. National Security Agency, one of the world’s top intelligence outfits. The hackers have offered to sell their purloined exploits to the highest bidder in an online auction conducted in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Although the alleged breach could just be an extravagant hoax, experts who reviewed a preliminary data dump teased alongside the hackers’ garbled sales pitch said that the files, amazingly, looked authentic. “This appears to be legitimate code,” Matt Suiche, a French cybersecurity entrepreneur, wrote in a Medium blog post, echoing what others had posted on Twitter TWTR -2.54% .

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

“We hack Equation Group. We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons. You see pictures. We give you some Equation Group files free, you see,” the hackers wrote Saturday on the code-sharing site Github, as well as on Yahoo-owned Tumblr YHOO -0.94% (both later taken down). “This is good proof no? You enjoy!!!”

The lifted goods include exploits allegedly designed to target firewalls and equipment produced by Cisco CSCO -0.11% , Juniper Networks JNPR -1.08% , Fortinet FTNT 3.22% , and Topsec, a Chinese firm. The latest file modifications appear to date back to 2013, and names are consistent with NSA programs leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden that year, such as “BANANAGLEE,” “EPICBANANA,” and “JETPLOW.”

WIRED: 

Among the sample files released by the group are exploits that target equipment sold by companies including Cisco, Juniper, Fortigate and Topsec, a Chinese network security firm, according to Matt Suiche, founder of UAE-based incident response and forensics startup Comae Technologies. Suiche says those exploits attack older versions of the equipment and don’t use “zero-days”—previously undiscovered flaws in target software or hardware. But he believes they had nonetheless remained unpublished until now and hadn’t been included in public collections of exploits like the tool Metasploit.

All of that weighs against any theory that the leaked data is a mere scam to score a few quick bitcoins. “To create [all this evidence] from scratch, it’s very unlikely but not impossible,” says Suiche. “It seems pretty legitimate to me, and I’m not the only one.”

On the other hand, the Shadow Brokers group certainly doesn’t seem to be running its auction in a very professional fashion. They require bidders to send cryptocurrency blindly to their bitcoin address, with no hope of getting their coins back if they don’t submit the winning bid. “Sorry lose bidding war lose bitcoin and files. Lose Lose. Bid to win!” the message reads. But it also promises a “consolation prize” to all bidders and adds that if bids reach the ludicrous sum of one million bitcoins, they’ll publicly release another trove of high quality data.

“Why I trust you?” reads another question in their FAQ. “No trust, risk. You like reward, you take risk, maybe win, maybe not, no guarantees.”

The Shadow Brokers’ page ends with a long message to “wealthy elites,” arguing that the tactics of hackers like Equation Group could put their control of global politics at risk, and suggesting that they too should bid on the stolen files. “We want make sure Wealthy Elite recognizes the danger cyber weapons, this message, our auction, poses to their wealth and control,” the Shadow Brokers’ message reads.

The haphazard auction and political message present a jarring disconnect: Any hackers capable of compromising the Equation Group or another NSA hacker team would likely have to be extremely sophisticated; the Equation Group, after all, went not only uncompromised, but undetected for 14 years, a remarkable track record of stealth and operational security for a team believed to have attacked targets from Russia to Belgium to Lebanon. Anyone capable of finding NSA hackers’ infrastructure, not to mention penetrating it, would likely have to possess government-level resources and talent.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

BREAKING: Russia informs US that a chemical attack may have occurred in Aleppo


The Russian military informed the United States that rebels in the Syrian city of Aleppo launched an attack using toxic substances at 19:05 on Aug. 2, Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday, citing a Russian general.

As a result of the attack, seven people died and more than 20 people were sent to hospital, Interfax reported.

The fighting in Aleppo between government and rebel forces saw the largest rebel assault so far, according to monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, followed by suspected chemical attacks on Tuesday the BBC reported.

On July 30 and 31, the rebels blew up a tunnel under regime forces stationed in the Ramousah district of the city. The Syrian army, however, has fought back, aided by Russian air strikes. The Syrian Observatory said that it has managed to retake five of the eight positions the rebels had captured.

The insurgents are trying to break a government siege of their territory, which is home to around 250,000 civilians.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia: "potential, imminent threat" against U.S. citizens in areas of the city of Jeddah

The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it had received reports of a "potential, imminent threat" against U.S. citizens in areas of the city of Jeddah frequented by Westerners.

The notice on the Embassy's website provided no other details.

"It’s a security message, not a travel warning, that our consulate put out in Jeddah. Obviously, our consulate felt that the information they had was credible enough, serious enough to warrant sending that message out immediately," State Department spokesman John Kirby told a briefing.

China builds 4th Stealth J-20



AIN ONLINE: China’s Chengdu Aircraft Company (CAC) has built more Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) J-20 stealthy jet fighters, with another new aircraft featured in flight on Chinese websites over the past week. This is the second known J-20LRIP aircraft, after the first example serialed 2101 was shown in late December 2015. They follow two prototypes and six known development aircraft thatfeatured a successive series of refinements.

The latest aircraft is painted in shades of gray and carries toned down national insignia, but unlike all previous J-20s has no identifying serial numbers. Reports from China suggest that this latest aircraft may in fact be the fourth LRIP aircraft, but verifiable evidence of this has yet to surface. Most information about the J-20 has emerged from unofficial Chinese websites, and the type has never been shown in public.

The appearance of LRIP aircraft suggests that the type is nearing introduction into service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. A number of J-20s have been seen on satellite imagery at the China Flight Test Establishment base at Xi’an-Yanliang. The latest report to Congress on Chinese defense developments by the U.S. Department of Defense suggests that the J-20 could become operational in 2018.

The J-20 appears to be designed for long-range interception with an emphasis on frontal-aspect low-observability. It has an infrared search and track sensor and possibly also an electro-optical distributed aperture system (EODAS), the latter a Chinese-designed system similar to that on the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning IIstealth fighter. The weapons are carried internally, with a central bay expected to contain four beyond visual range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs). There is also provision for two short-range AAMs in two separate weapons bays on each side of the fuselage.

The main question that is left for the design is the powerplant, with all J-20s built so far being powered by two Russian Saturn AL-31 engines. China hopes eventually to install 180-kN (40,000-pound-thrust)-rated WS-15 turbofans. But China’s jet engine development program has been stymied by manufacturing and reliability issues. Even the less ambitious WS-10 turbofan is yet to fully enter service with the single-engine Chengdu J-10 fighter, although it has been flying on the twin-engine Shenyang J-11 Flanker since 2010.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

LIVE CAM: Truck rams into crowd in NIce, France - could it be terrorism?

LIVE LINK TO WEBCAM HERE

A large truck  ran down a large group of people in the southern French city of Nice during a suspected terrorist attack. At least 50 people are feared dead with more than 100 injured during the Bastille Day attack.

Eyewitnesses have reported that hostages have been taken in two hotels and a restaurant in the city.

Gunshots rang out in the streets, as residents were warned to lock themselves in doors for their safety.  The RAID anti-terror squad has been deployed to the city.

A spokesman for the Alpes Maritime prefecture advised locals to 'stay indoors' as gunfire was heard, and a truck was driven into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais.

Eyewitnesses said there were 'bodies everywhere' with at least 100 people injured.

The truck driver is believed to have crashed his vehicle and jumped out and started shooting.

Police are also searching for an accomplice.

At this stage, police are describing the incident as 'a major criminal attack'.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3691019/Several-people-injured-truck-crashes-crowd-Bastille-Day-celebrations-Nice.html#ixzz4EQQpYx6A
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

LIVE CAM: Truck rams into crowd in Nice, France - could it be terrorism?

LIVE LINK TO NICE WEBCAM HERE

A large truck  ran down a large group of people in the southern French city of Nice during a suspected terrorist attack.

 At least 60 people are feared dead with more than 100 injured during the Bastille Day attack.

Eyewitnesses have reported that hostages have been taken in two hotels and a restaurant in the city.

Gunshots rang out in the streets, as residents were warned to lock themselves in doors for their safety.  The RAID anti-terror squad has been deployed to the city.

A spokesman for the Alpes Maritime prefecture advised locals to 'stay indoors' as gunfire was heard, and a lorry was driven into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais.

Eyewitnesses said there were 'bodies everywhere' with at least 100 people injured.

The truck driver is believed to have crashed his vehicle and jumped out and started shooting.

Police are also searching for an accomplice.

At this stage, police are describing the incident as 'a major criminal attack'.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3691019/Several-people-injured-truck-crashes-crowd-Bastille-Day-celebrations-Nice.html#ixzz4EQQpYx6A
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


ABC NEWS LINK 

DAILY MAIL LINK

Russia claims to be building Space Bomber ...

PRAVDA:

Russia is developing a hypersonic strategic bomber capable of striking nuclear blows from space. The aircraft will be able to reach any part of the globe in one or two hours.

Representative of the Military Academy of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), Colonel Alexei Solodovnikov, told RIA Novosti that the prototype of the engine of the new aircraft is to be created by 2020.

"The idea is as follows. The aircraft will take off from conventional airfields to patrol airspace. It will be able to fly into space when there is an appropriate order for it. The aircraft will be able to strike targets from space, including with the use of nuclear weapons, before flying back to its airfield. This is a strategic aircraft," Solodovnikov.

According to the Lieutenant Colonel, the bomber aircraft will be able to reach any location in the world in one or two hours.

The new aircraft will be developed by the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute. Specialists currently work on the characteristics of the aircraft. "I think that the starting weight will be around 20-25 tons, so it could be an attack aircraft. It will be a hypersonic rocket mode machine," the official added.

Alexei Solodovnikov, who works as a teacher at the academy, is ф developer of the engine for the future aircraft, RBC reports.


"When we sort the basic aspects out, we will proceed to making the engine. During the second year of our work, in 2018, we will work on the hull. The aircraft is to fly in 2020," the specialists said, adding that the aircraft will have a turbofan engine.

"The engine will be able to operate both in the atmosphere of the planet and in near-Earth space, where there is no air. It will be one platform for both aircraft and rocket engines," the specialist said. Currently, Russia does not have such engines, he added.

In July, Russian officials said that the sixth-generation aircraft will be produced in a manned and unmanned version. It will be able to operate in a group of other aircraft and fly into near-Earth space. 

Homeland Security braces for violence at Republican Convention

REUTERS: 

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers on Thursday that they were preparing their agencies for the possibility of violence, both from unruly demonstrators and terrorists, at the upcoming Republican and Democratic nominating conventions.

Speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee, Johnson said he was concerned that demonstrations at the events could get out of hand.

In an interview with Reuters following his testimony, Johnson said he knew of no specific or credible threat to either convention but that it was important to be prepared.

Johnson said the Department of Homeland Security would be sending more than 3,000 personnel to each convention.

Recent clashes between attendees and protesters at rallies for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have led to physical assaults and arrests.

The Republican National Convention being held July 18-21 in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25-28 follow a string of high-profile shootings.

Monday, July 11, 2016

FBI: New Jersey man smuggled sensitive electronics to Russia


FBI: For more than six years, a New Jersey man who owned four microelectronics export companies skirted U.S. export laws enacted under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). These laws are in place to help protect U.S. national security and make sure that items made in the U.S. don’t help strengthen another country’s military without proper licensing and careful consideration.
Alexander Brazhnikov, Jr., a 36-year-old naturalized American citizen born in Russia, admitted that, between January 2008 and June 2014, he smuggled $65 million worth of sensitive electronics components from the U.S. to Russia, where much of it eventually ended up in the hands of Russia’s Ministry of Defense and Federal Security Service.
In June 2015, Brazhnikov plead guilty in federal court—after a multiagency investigation by the FBI, the Department of Commerce, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—to the smuggling charges and to a charge of conspiring to commit money laundering to hide the illegal proceeds of his criminal activities. According to then-Newark FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel, Brazhnikov “significantly undermined the national security of the national security of the U.S.” and “enhanced the capabilities of both the Russian Military Service and the Russian Nuclear Weapons Program.” Last month, he was sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Investigators believe that Brazhnikov conspired with his father, Alexander Brazhnikov, Sr., owner of a Moscow-based procurement firm who brokered the purchasing of electronics components from U.S. vendors and manufacturers for their clients, mostly Russian defense contractors licensed to procure parts for the Russian military, security service, and other entities involved in the design of nuclear weapons and tactical platforms.
The case began in 2012, when another Bureau field office—investigating a similar matter—sent a lead to the Newark FBI Office concerning one of Brazhnikov’s companies. Joining forces with Commerce and DHS, investigators began looking into Brazhnikov and his New Jersey companies. Through a variety of investigative methods, including following the money trail, here’s what they found:
Brazhnikov received requests for certain electronics components from co-conspirators in Russia. Funds for those components were deposited into Russian bank accounts, transferred to the offshore bank accounts of dozens of shell companies created specifically to facilitate the movement of the money and to hide its origin, and then shifted to U.S. bank accounts controlled by Brazhnikov and his companies.
Using the money from these bank accounts, he would place orders for the electronics components he needed with U.S. manufacturers and vendors. But because of U.S. export laws, he knew that many of these components—having to do with areas like advanced communications, avionics, weapons testing, and encryption applications—would have been denied export to Russia’s military and security services. So after receiving the components (often misleading the manufacturers and vendors about his intentions), he purchased and repackaged the goods for their journey to Russia. Brazhnikov also intentionally misled the shipping companies he dealt with by undervaluing the cost of what he was shipping and directing that the shipments be sent to front addresses in Russia—all in an effort to evade the legal requirements of obtaining the proper export permissions from the Department of Commerce.
Once the items were delivered in Russia, they were rerouted by members of the Moscow-based conspiracy to their true destination. Brazhnikov was responsible for more than 1,900 illegal shipments like this.
The FBI and its federal partners take safeguarding our national security very seriously—no matter what form those threats take—and we will continue to vigorously and lawfully investigate anyone whose criminal activities threaten that security.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

BREAKING: Bell 525 Relentless prototype crashes in Texas, two dead.

Two people are dead after a fiery helicopter crash near Italy Wednesday, Ellis County Emergency Management officials said.
An experimental twin-engine Bell Helicopter 525 Relentless, with two people aboard, crashed about about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday while performing flight test operations, Bell Helicopter said.
The names of those killed in the crash have not been confirmed


Source: 2 Killed in Experimental B525 Helicopter Crash in Ellis County: Officials | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/DPS-Investigating-Helicopter-Crash-in-Ellis-County-385722821.html#ixzz4Deu4elc5
Follow us: @nbcdfw on Twitter | NBCDFW on Facebook

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin