Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sqyquakes rocking Sacramento - is "Aurora" flying out of Beal?

EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) – People from all over El Dorado County say they’re hearing loud booms several times a week, but there are many theories on what is causing them.
“I thought it was thunder,” said one person.
“It’s definitely not thunder; too consistent. I thought it was just mining,” said another person.
“I always considered them to be sonic booms from flying aircrafts for years,” said Loring Brunius, owner of Sierra Rock Diamond Quarry.
People who live near Pleasant Valley say their days have been interrupted by loud booms, shaking the floor beneath them.
“You can feel it in the ground, no question about it. But no one’s been able to figure out why,” said Pleasant Valley resident Peter O’Grady. “I tend to hear somewhere between four to six of these things during the weekdays usually between 11 p.m. and 2 p.m.
“Boom, boom, boom, boom just like that,” said Lorren Gonzales, who lives near Pleasant Valley.
And the rolling foothills of El Dorado County make it difficult for them to even tell where it’s coming from.
We asked the owner of Sierra Rock Diamond Quarry what he knew about it. He says they havent blasted since last year. And any miners or quarry owners would need government permission before they can set off any explosives.
“It’s a federally mandated system, and enforced,” said Brunius.
Some think the booms are from nearby wineries using propane cannons to scare away birds.
“We’ve never done it and I don’t know of any other winery that does,” said Carrie Bendick, a winemaker at Holly’s Hill Winery.
According to USGS, there aren’t enough seismic stations to pinpoint the exact location. Meanwhile, some say the booms have been around so long and happen so often they barely notice them anymore. Still, others want to solve the mystery.
“I would like to know what it is, yeah. And I’d like to know when it’s going to stop too,” said O’Grady.
CBS13 spoke to Fallon Naval Air Station that said any supersonic flight operations they do are only allowed over Dixie Valley, which is hundreds of miles away.
Some think illegal mining could be the source of the sounds, but Brunius doubts that theory. He said if that was the case, the culprit would have been caught by now.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, first person to walk on moon, dies at 82

Neil Armstrong, the U.S. astronaut who was the first person to set foot on the moon, firmly establishing him as one of the great heroes of the 20th century, has died. He was 82.

Armstrong died following complications from cardiovascular procedures, his family announced Saturday.

When he made that famous step on July 20, 1969, he uttered a phrase that has been carved in stone and quoted across the planet: "That's one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind."

Armstrong spoke those words quietly as he gazed down at his, the first human footprint on the surface of the moon. In the excitement of the moment, the "a" was left out -- either because Armstrong omitted it or because it was lost in the static of the radio transmission back to Earth.

For the usually taciturn Armstrong, it was a rare burst of eloquence seen and heard by 60 million television viewers worldwide. But Armstrong, a reticent, self-effacing man who shunned the spotlight, was never comfortable with his public image as a courageous, historic man of action.

"I am, and ever will be, a white-sock, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer," Armstrong once told a National Press Club gathering.


How many other nerdy engineers flew 78 combat missions as a Navy jet fighter pilot during the Korean War? Logged more than 1,000 hours as a test pilot in some of the world's fastest and most dangerous aircraft? Or became one of the first civilian astronauts and commanded Apollo 11, the first manned flight to land on the moon?

In the years that followed the flight of Apollo 11, Armstrong was asked again and again what it felt like to be the first man on the moon. In answering, he always shared the glory: "I was certainly aware that this was the culmination of the work of 300,000 to 400,000 people over a decade."

Neil Alden Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930, on his grandfather's farm near Wapakoneta, Ohio.


Drone strike kills 18 militants in Pakistan

ABC NEWS: U.S. missiles slammed into three compounds close to the Afghan border Friday, killing 18 suspected militants, Pakistani officials said, just a day after the government summoned an American diplomat to protest drone strikes in the country's northwest tribal region.
The drones struck the North Waziristan tribal area, the main militant sanctuary in the country and the target of a planned Pakistani military operation that the U.S. expects in the near future. Hundreds of militants and their family members streamed out of North Waziristan in the past two days in anticipation of the operation, local residents said.
The U.S. has long demanded Pakistan target militants holed up in North Waziristan and has welcomed the planned operation in the area. But Pakistan is likely to focus on Taliban militants who have been at war with the state, not those who have been fighting the U.S.-led coalition in neighboring Afghanistan.
The suspected militant hideouts destroyed by U.S. drones Friday were hit minutes apart and were located several kilometers (miles) from each other in North Waziristan, said intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
The U.S. has carried out seven drone strikes in the past week in North Waziristan, ignoring Pakistani protests that they violate the country's sovereignty. The attacks have exacerbated the already troubled relationship between the two countries, but the U.S. has refused to stop the strikes, saying they are vital to combating Taliban and al-Qaida militants who pose a threat to the West.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry summoned a senior U.S. diplomat on Thursday to protest the wave of drone strikes.
On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan called the attacks "illegal, unproductive." He said they were a "violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity and in violation ... of international laws."
The Pakistani government is widely believed to have supported the strikes in the past. That cooperation has come under strain as the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated, but U.S. officials say privately that there are still senior members of Pakistan's government and military who condone the attacks. The U.S. rarely discusses the covert CIA-run drone program in Pakistan publicly.
The strikes are unpopular in Pakistan because many people believe they kill mostly civilians — an allegation denied by the U.S.
The suspected militant hideouts that were attacked Friday in the Shawal area of North Waziristan were each hit by two missiles, said the intelligence officials. Militants often use the hideouts when they are crossing into Afghanistan, the officials said. In addition to the 18 suspected militants who were killed, 14 others were wounded, they said.
In the earlier strikes in the tribal area, five allies of a powerful warlord, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, whose forces often attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan, died when a U.S. drone struck their hideout last Saturday. And on Sunday, American drones fired a flurry of missiles into North Waziristan, killing 10 suspected militants in two separate strikes. On Tuesday, missiles targeting a vehicle in the area killed five more suspected militants.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Attack on Pakistani military base sheds doubt on nuclear security

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A militant raid early Thursday on a northern Pakistan air force base with suspected links to the country's nuclear weapons program has renewed questions about Islamabad's ability to safeguard its nuclear arsenal in the face of an insurgency that shows no signs of waning.
A team of eight militants climbed over a perimeter wall at the base in Kamra, about 25 miles northwest of Islamabad, and exchanged gunfire with Pakistani security forces for more than two hours, said air force spokesman Tariq Mahmood. All eight attackers were eventually shot to death, but not before they fatally shot a Pakistani security officer and damaged an aircraft with a rocket-propelled grenade, officials said.
The base at Kamra abuts the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, which assembles fighter jets and other weapons systems, and is a major research hub for the country's air force. Experts have long believed that the compound at Kamra is also used to store some of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, though the military has always denied this.
"Questions will be raised about nuclear weapons -- though the militants were stopped, they entered a high security area and kept security forces engaged for more than two hours," said security analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi. "That means the government of Pakistan and the military will have to address the lapses and weaknesses that exist in their security systems."
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was aimed at avenging the 2009 U.S. drone missile attack that killed Taliban leader Baitullah Mahsud, as well as last year's U.S. commando raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. In recent years, the Pakistani Taliban, the country's homegrown insurgency, has been responsible for waves of suicide bombings and other terror attacks on military installations as well as markets, mosques and other civilian targets.
The attack on the base began at about 2 a.m. The militants, wearing explosives-filled suicide vests and armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, were fired on shortly after clambering over the wall and were unable to reach any of the base's hangars, Mahmood said. The base's commander, Air Commodore Muhammad Azam, was shot in the shoulder but was not critically injured. Security forces later found two homemade bombs that the attackers had brought into the compound but were unable to detonate, officials said.
Pakistani authorities touted the deaths of the militants as ample evidence of the country's ability to keep its military installations secure. "Everyone did what they were supposed to do," Defense Minister Naveed Qamar told reporters in Islamabad on Thursday. "The security forces challenged the militants and eliminated them."
Nevertheless, the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal remains a major concern for the U.S., given the continued presence of Al Qaeda and other allied militant groups in the country's volatile tribal areas along the Afghan border. U.S. experts say Pakistan is expanding its arsenal, which is estimated to number about 100 nuclear weapons.
"The great danger we've always feared is that if terrorism is not controlled in their country, then those nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon news conference Wednesday.
Pakistan's history of militant attacks on military and security facilities has reinforced Western fears about Islamabad's ability to secure its nuclear program. The base at Kamra has been the scene of two previous attacks, one in 2009 when a suicide bomber on a bicycle killed seven people at a checkpoint outside the base, and the other in 2007, when a suicide bomber injured five children on a Pakistani air force bus as they were heading to a school near the base.
Last year, a team of militants scaled the perimeter wall of a naval base in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, and launched a 17-hour siege on the compound that killed 10 Pakistani security personnel and destroyed two U.S.-supplied maritime surveillance aircraft. In October 2009, militants stormed the army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi and took hostages, setting off a 22-hour standoff that ended in the deaths of 23 people, including nine militants.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pentagon says reports Russian Akula in Gulf of Mexico don't hold water.

MOSCOW TIMES: Observers on Thursday cast doubt on a news report that a Russian nuclear submarine traveled undetected for up to a month in the Gulf of Mexico, while the U.S. Pentagon denied the story and the Russian Defense Ministry kept mum.
The Washington Free Beacon, which broke the story Tuesday, also refuted allegations that the report was driven by U.S. presidential campaign politics rather than facts.

“We stand by our story,” the site's publisher, Michael Goldfarb, said by telephone. He added that he was “kind of offended” by accusations that the report reflected partisan politics.

Analysts speculated that the news leak was “scaremongering” intended to discredit President Barack Obama's policies of defense cuts and the “reset” in relations with Moscow.

The Beacon report said that the submarine patrol highlights Moscow's growing assertiveness and exposed deficiencies in U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities, which are threatened by the Obama administration’s plans to reduce defense spending.

The nonprofit news site was founded in February by the Center for American Freedom, a Washington-based conservative advocacy group chaired by Goldfarb.

The group says on itswebsitethat the Free Beacon is “dedicated to uncovering stories that the professional left hopes will never see the light of day.”

Goldfarb worked on the 2008 presidential campaign of Republican Senator John McCain.

The U.S. Defense Department on Thursday denied the Beacon report, which said a Russian Akula-class submarine capable of carrying long-range ballistic missiles had spent a month in restricted U.S. waters in June and July.
“I don't know what that information was based on, but it was not correct," spokeswoman Wendy Snyder said, according to Interfax. The Pentagon did not respond to telephoned and e-mailed requests for further comment.
A Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday that questions should be submitted in writing. The ministry had not responded by Thursday evening.

Experts said that while Akula-class vessels are among the quieter submarines, they are still relatively easy to detect because they are nuclear-powered.

“They are unable to sit silently because their reactor cannot be turned off,” said Christian Le Miere, a naval analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Le Miere added that while it was possible the vessel escaped detection by U.S. Coast Guard sonar, this was unlikely because of its size.

“A submarine of nearly 10,000 tons cannot easily enter coastal waters, where it is harder to detect,” he said.
His comments were echoed by Alexander Nikitin, a former nuclear submarine officer who heads the Bellona environmental group. He said Akula-class ships have always produced a great deal of noise.
“The problem was always there, and no technical breakthrough has been achieved,” he said.

He added that while a vessel could enter the Gulf of Mexico undetected, it was unlikely to remain there for weeks. “I am very skeptical about that report,” he said.

Alexander Kolbin, an analyst with the PIR Center think tank, said doubts would remain about the story as long as it remained unconfirmed by either government.
“Either the ship was discovered or it is a ploy by the Republicans to discredit Obama's defense cuts,” he said.

Read more:
The Moscow Times

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lockheed Stalker - powered by lasers!

PALMDALE, Calif., July 11, 2012 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] and LaserMotive, Inc., recently demonstrated the capabilities of an innovative laser power system to extend the Stalker Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) flight time to more than 48 hours. This increase in flight duration represents an improvement of 2,400 percent.
Stalker is a small, silent UAS used by Special Operations Forces since 2006 to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
“We’re pleased with the results of this test. Laser power holds real promise in extending the capabilities of Stalker,” said Tom Koonce, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Stalker program manager. “A ground-to-air recharging system like this allows us to provide practically unlimited flight endurance to extend and expand the mission profiles that the Stalker vehicle can fulfill.”
The Stalker UAS was modified for the indoor flight test to incorporate LaserMotive’s proprietary system that makes it possible to wirelessly transfer energy over long distances using laser light to provide a continual source of power to the UAS. At the conclusion of the flight test, held in a wind tunnel, the battery on the Stalker UAS had more energy stored than it did at the beginning of the test. The test was concluded only because the flight had already surpassed the initial endurance goals set by the team.
“This test is one of the final steps in bringing laser-powered flight to the field,” said Tom Nugent, president of LaserMotive. “By enabling in-flight recharging, this system will ultimately extend capabilities, improve endurance and enable new missions for electric aircraft. The next step in proving the reality of this technology is to demonstrate it outdoors in an extended flight of the Stalker.”
Headquartered in Kent, Wash., LaserMotive is a privately held research and development company specializing in laser power beaming for commercial applications.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 123,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.

OPSEC indicts POTUS intelligent leaks

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON Aug 14 (Reuters) - A group of former U.S. intelligence and Special Forces operatives is set to launch a media campaign, including TV ads, that scolds President Barack Obama for taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden and arg u es that high-level leaks are endangering American lives.

Leaders of the group, the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc, say it is nonpartisan and unconnected to any political party or presidential campaign. It is registered as a so-called social welfare group, which means its primary purpose is to further the common good and its political activities should be secondary.

In the past, military exploits have been turned against presidential candidates by outside groups, most famously the Swift Boat ads in 2004 that questioned Democratic nominee John Kerry's Vietnam War service.

The OPSEC group says it is not political and aims to save American lives. Its first public salvo is a 22-minute film that includes criticism of Obama and his administration. The film, to be released on Wednesday, was seen in advance by Reuters.

"Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden, America did. The work that the American military has done killed Osama bin Laden. You did not," Ben Smith, identified as a Navy SEAL, says in the film.

"As a citizen, it is my civic duty to tell the president to stop leaking information to the enemy," Smith continues. "It will get Americans killed."

An Obama campaign official said: "No one in this group is in a position to speak with any authority on these issues and on what impact these leaks might have, and it's clear they've resorted to making things up for purely political reasons."

Obama has highlighted his foreign policy record on the campaign trail, emphasizing how he presided over the killing of bin Laden, as well as how he ended the war in Iraq and set a timeline for winding down the war in Afghanistan.

However, Obama has come under sharp attack from Republican lawmakers who have accused his administration of being behind high-level leaks of classified information.

They have pointed to media reports about clandestine drone attacks, informants planted in al Qaeda affiliates and alleged cyber-warfare against Iran that Republicans say were calculated to promote Obama's image as a strong leader in an election year.

The White House has denied leaking classified information.

The president of Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc, Scott Taylor, is a former Navy SEAL who in 2010 ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Virginia.

Calling itself "OPSEC" for short - which in spy jargon means "operational security" - the anti-leak group incorporated last June in Delaware, a state that has the most secretive corporate registration rules in the U.S.

It also set itself up as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)4 of the U.S. Tax Code, allowing it to keep donors' identities secret. Spokesmen for the group declined to discuss its sources of financing.

Several group representatives say their main motivation for setting up OPSEC was dismay at recent detailed media leaks about sensitive operations.

In an interview, Taylor denied OPSEC had any political slant. He described the group as a "watchdog organization" but added that the current administration "has certainly leaked more than others."

OPSEC spokesmen said the group has about $1 million at its disposal and hopes to raise more after the release of its mini-documentary, entitled "Dishonorable Disclosures," which aims, in spy-movie style, to document a recent spate of leaks regarding sensitive intelligence and military operations.

Following the film's release, OPSEC's spokesmen said, the group expects to produce TV spots on the anti-leak theme that will air in a number of states, including Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada - key battleground states.

Fred Rustmann, a former undercover case officer for the CIA who is a spokesman for the group, insisted its focus on leaks was "not a partisan concern." But he said the current administration had been leaking secrets "to help this guy get re-elected, at the expense of peoples' lives.... We want to see that they don't do this again."

Chad Kolton, a former spokesman for the office of Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration who now represents OPSEC, also said the group's message and make-up are nonpolitical.

"You'll see throughout the film that concern about protecting the lives of intelligence and Special Forces officers takes precedence over partisanship," he said.

Responding to criticism about the president taking credit for the bin Laden raid, an Obama campaign official pointed to an interview with CNN last month in which Admiral Bill McRaven, commander of the raid, said: "At the end of the day, make no mistake about it, it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden for this operation, that made the hard decisions, that was instrumental in the planning process, because I pitched every plan to him."

"I think Admiral McRaven knows more about the President's role in the bin Laden operation than this group," the campaign official said.

Israel: Prepping for war with Iran

Dozens of Israelis crowded in front of a storefront at a Jerusalem shopping mall yesterday to pick up new gas masks, part of civil defense preparations in case the military strikes Iran and the Islamic Republic or its allies retaliate.
“Our leaders seem to have gotten very hawkish in their speeches and this time it seems they mean what they say,” said Yoram Lands, 68, a professor of business administration, who was picking up new masks for himself and his wife at a distribution center in the mall.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Aug. 1 that time “is running out” for a peaceful solution to Iran’s atomic program. The Tel Aviv-based Haaretz newspaper reported Aug. 10 that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are considering bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities before U.S. elections on Nov. 6. Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, said government policy is not to comment on media speculation.
“It seems that Netanyahu and Barak are making a special effort now to prepare the Israeli public for an attack on Iran,” said Shlomo Brom, a former commander of the army’s Strategic Planning Division, who said any strike could come within the next six months. In the past, rhetoric was directed at pushing the international community to take stronger action against Iran, said Brom, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

New System

While Israeli leaders repeatedly have said they could strike Iran’s facilities, the words are now being accompanied by civil-defense measures, including a new system that uses text messages to alert the public to missile attacks, wider distribution of gas masks and the appointment of a new Home Front Defense minister. The threats also come as nuclear talks between Iran and world powers have stalled and increased sanctions have so far failed to stop Iran’s atomic progress.
Concern that the Israeli moves may herald a possible strike helped weaken the shekel to its lowest value in almost 15 months this week, sent government benchmark bond yields climbing and pushed the Tel Aviv Stock Market (TA-25) to a three-week low on Aug. 13. The Bloomberg Israel-US Equity Index of the most-traded Israeli companies in New York sank the most in three months, making the benchmark gauge the cheapest in two years relative to the Standard & Poor’s 500.

Destabilizing Region

“With the headlines and saber-rattling we’ve had the last week, there is a higher risk premium, so it’s logical you see the currency weaken,” said Jonathan Katz, a Jerusalem-based economist for HSBC Holdings Plc.
U.S. officials, concerned that a conflict could destabilize the region and send oil prices soaring, have been urging caution. Panetta told reporters yesterday the “window is still open” to resolve the dispute through diplomacy and that he thinks Israel hasn’t made a decision “at this time” to attack Iranian nuclear sites.
“From our point of view, the window is still open to try to work toward a diplomatic solution,” he said during a briefing at the Pentagon outside Washington.
David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said it is “extremely unlikely Israel could do anything without a regional ally or the cooperation of the U.S.”
Iranian officials have dismissed the threats of an attack.
“We don’t think any of the officials in this illegitimate regime wants to do something as illogical as this,” Ramin Mehmanparast, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters at a Tehran press conference yesterday. Iran says its nuclear program aims to produce electricity for a growing population.

Tougher Sanctions

Amid earlier Israeli threats, the U.S. and its European allies passed tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic that have been taking a toll on the country’s economy.
Iranian oil production has declined 20 percent this year to 2.86 million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Crude oil futures in New York have advanced 19 percent in the seven days ending Aug. 7 as Iranian exports have fallen, according to an Aug. 10 report of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commitments of Traders.
Prices of meat, rice and bread have spiraled in Iran as inflation accelerated to 22.4 percent in the 12 months through June 20.
There are concerns that repeated Israeli threats to strike Iran may force Israel’s hand if the West doesn’t take more serious action.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Army spy blimp takes to sky over New Jersey

LAKEHURST — The biggest aircraft to cruise the skies over Ocean County since the golden age of airship travel more than 70 years ago is a high-tech spy blimp for the Army.
Scores of eyewitnesses on the ground Tuesday around Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst watched as the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, or LEMV, soared above them for more than 90 minutes during a test cruise.
At a cost of $517 million, the airship is intended to be a high altitude observation platform — an “unblinking eye” as program backers have called it — to provide total battlefield surveillance in places such as Afghanistan. The ship also has some heavy-lift cargo capability and can operate with a crew or by remote control, according to Northrop Grumman, its manufacturer.
The test flight conducted Tuesday included a crew aboard, said John H. Cummings, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.
At 302 feet in length, the LEMV is the largest military airship built since the 1950s. The dirigible is more than 100 feet longer than the Goodyear Blimp, and the MZ-3A, the Navy research airship, which at a length of 174 feet has been a common sight over Ocean County this summer.
However, the LEMV is still not even half the length of the ill-fated Hindenburg, which was 804 feet in length. The Nazi-era German Zeppelin crashed and disintegrated in flames at Lakehurst on May 6, 1937, killing 36 people. However, the LEMV’s lifting gas is helium, not the combustible hydrogen that destroyed the Hindenburg 75 years ago.
The Army’s airship has an airborne capability of up to 21 days aloft at altitudes of up to 22,000 feet, feeding information into the Army’s battlefield command and control networks.
The primary objective of its maiden voyage was to perform a safe launch and recovery, with a secondary objective to test the airship’s flight control system operation, Cummings said.
Additional first flight objectives included airworthiness testing and demonstration, and system level performance verification. All the mission objectives were met during the first flight, Cummings said.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Real stealth helicopter or a movie prop? UPDATED: It's a fake,

It’s either one of the biggest aviation news scoops in the last decade, or the latest in Hollywood fakery. Today ace aviation reporter David Cenciotti circulated the above photo, apparently depicting a stealth helicopter similar to those used by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command in the May 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound. The photo originally appeared with little notation on Photobucket.
Thing is, a movie about the Abbottabad raid entitled Zero Dark Thirty features prop stealth helicopters that, coincidentally, appear to be loosely based on Cenciotti’s own reporting from last summerCheck out the 38-second mark in the official trailer for a glimpse of the controversial film’s version of the “Silent Hawk” helicopter, as the press has dubbed it. Looks a lot like the thing in the photo, if you ask us.
Cenciotti agrees. “It looks like it may really be the mock up for the new Osama Bin Laden movie,” he tells Danger Room.
Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow — she of Hurt Locker fame — is slated for a December release. To support the production, the White House, Pentagon and CIA all offered Bigelow and her screenwriter Mark Boal unprecedented access to government sources and facilities.
But Special Operations Command chief Adm. William McRaven insists his command was not involved. “I have no interaction and no one on my staff has any interaction with — what’s her name? Bigelow?” McRaven told Danger Room in May.
Enhanced/inverted freeze frame from Zero-Dark-Thirty trailer showing stealth helicopter:

Blogger's note: After examining the image closely and the one in the trailer it is clear that this is most likely a movie prop. There seems to be no radar absorbent gold tint on the cockpit windows and the tips of the pitot tubes should be angular - cut like a diamond - plus the tail that was recovered at the bin Laden compound bore silver anti-infrared paint like F-22s wear. -Steve Douglass

UPDATE: Later today this video still - reportedly from a yet to be released trailer for Zero Dark Thirty popped up, laying to rest the rumor that someone had managed to take a snap of the still secret bin Laden raid stealth helicopter.

Although the quality is bad, it is clearly the same helicopter (prop) and hangar seen in the large photo above.

There also seems to be another "stealth helicopter" in the (dark) right corner of this video frame. The hangar doors also match the ones in the trailer.  Case closed - it's a prop but a pretty savvy way of generating some internet buzz!

-Steve Douglass

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jet Blue pilot freaks out - again.

AMARILLO -- Courts documents filed in Amarillo today, say that Clayton Osbon suffered a psychotic episode on August 3 at a federal correctional facility. 

The Federal Court received a letter from the Complex Warden of the Federal Medical Center requesting that the evaluation period for Osbon to be extended by 30 days to October 15. 

The final evaluation report is to be prepared and provided to court with 14 days of the October 15 deadline.

Boeing Store Photo Contest : Vote for my photo by viewing and commenting please!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Curiosity on Mars!

TOUCHDOWN CONFIRMED -- Curiosity has landed! 

The Mars Science Laboratory has successfully deployed Curiosity to explore evidence of life on the red planet. Congratulations NASA! Yet another giant leap for mankind. 

Minutes after the landing signal reached Earth at 10:32 p.m. PDT, NASA received the first images from Curiosity: the rover's view of its own shadow in this image from inside Gale Crater on Mars.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

United airliner vs goose - goose looses.

A United Airlines flight has landed safely after colliding with a bird as the plane approached Denver International Airport.

Flight 1475 from Dallas-Fort Worth came into contact with the bird Tuesday morning.
A United spokesman says no one was hurt. Denver TV stations showed images of the plane with a large dent just below a hole in the nose.

"It's always dangerous when an aircraft hits a bird. In this case, it was something that the crews have been trained to handle. The aircraft has redundant systems that can take care of the problems caused by this bird strike," said Col. Stephen Ganyard.

Bird strikes cost the airline industry $600 million in damage every year.

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