Tuesday, November 27, 2012

S. Korea readies new bid to join global space club

SEOUL, Nov 28, 2012 (AFP) -- South Korea held a final dress rehearsal Wednesday for its third attempt to send a satellite into orbit and join an elite space club that includes Asian powers China, Japan and India.
After two previous failures in 2009 and 2010, the 140-tonne Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-I) is scheduled to blast off some time after 4:00pm (0700 GMT) Thursday from the Naro Space Center on the south coast.
Success will mean a huge boost for South Korea, a late entrant into the high-cost world of space technology and exploration desperate to get its commercial launch programme up and running.
Wednesday's preparations included launch simulations of both the rocket's Russian-built first stage and the South Korean-built second stage.
The launch had initially been scheduled for October 26, but it was cancelled at the last minute after engineers detected a broken rubber seal in a connector between the launch pad and the first stage.
A long delay ensued as the faulty seal was sent to the Russian manufacturer to be replaced.
"What matters is whether we succeed, not how fast we can launch the rocket," said Science Minister Lee Ju-ho.
Seoul's space ambitions were restricted for many years by its main military ally the United States, which feared that a robust missile or rocket programme would accelerate a regional arms race, especially with North Korea.
South Korea's space budget for 2012 is around $200 million, according to the Science Ministry -- a paltry sum compared to the billions being pumped in by governments in Beijing, Tokyo and New Delhi.
Whatever the outcome of Thursday's launch, South Korea insists it remains committed to developing a totally indigenous three-stage, liquid-fuelled rocket capable of carrying a 1.5-tonne payload into orbit by 2021.
In 2009, the rocket achieved orbit but faulty release mechanisms on the second stage prevented proper deployment of the satellite.
The second effort in 2010 saw the rocket explode two minutes into its flight, with both Russia and South Korea pointing the finger of blame at each other.
The KSLV-I will carry a small, 100 kilogram (220-pound) Science and Technology Satellite-2C (STSAT-2C) developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
The satellite, which has a one-year operational lifespan, will mainly collect data on space radiation.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Russians to fly over Area 51?

MOSCOW:  Russian military inspectors will begin a survey flight this week above the United States under the international Open Skies Treaty, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said.
Russian experts will conduct the survey flight over the US territory in a Tupolev Tu-154 M/LK-1 aircraft during the period from November 25 and December 3, a spokesman said.
The flight will start from the Travis Air Force Base, California. Its maximum range will be 4,250 kilometers (2,600 miles) and includes flights over restricted areas in Nevada, New Mexico, Texas  and California. 
During the flight, Russian and US specialists will operate surveillance equipment on board of the aircraft as set out in the international Open Skies Treaty.
This will be the 36th survey flight this year made by Russian specialists over the territories of the Open Skies Treaty member states. Russia ratified the treaty in May 2001.
The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale - The Interceptors Club and the Secret of the Black Manta only 99 cents!

In honor of Cyber-Monday - you can purchase my book "The Interceptors Club & The Secret of the Black Manta" for only 99 cents! Hurry - because the sale only lasts 24 hours. Make sure on checkout you use the coupon code HZ37E to get it at the sale price. Here's the link: HERE

Read more about my book HERE

China unveils WZ-10 THUNDER FIRE attack chopper

China has unveiled a new attack helicopter as it seeks to rival similar aircraft made by the United States and Russia, state media said Wednesday.

A unit of China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) showed off the WZ-10, or "Thunder Fire", for the first time in public at the country's premier airshow in the southern city of Zhuhai, the China Daily newspaper said.

China is displaying a range of military hardware, including a new drone and a model of a next-generation fighter plane at the show, as it builds up its own defence capabilities and seeks customers for its products.

More than 30 foreign military delegations are attending the airshow, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The attack helicopter, designed primarily for anti-tank missions, aims to challenge the AH-64 Apache of the United States and Russia's Mil Mi-28, China Daily quoted Chinese experts as saying.

AVIC also showed off another helicopter at the event -- the WZ-19, or Black Tornado, which is designed for armed reconnaissance and the support of ground troops, the newspaper said.

State television showed the black attack helicopter on a vertical climb during a demonstration.

"The WZ-10 is one of the top three attack helicopters in the world," China Daily quoted chief designer Wu Ximing as saying.

An unnamed Chinese expert was quoted as saying China's attack helicopter is more manoeuvrable at low altitudes than the Apache, but lacks its thrust and firepower.
The AH-64 Apache -- made by Boeing Defense, Space and Security -- is used by the US Army and several other countries.

The Apache is powered by two turboshaft engines and carries laser-guided precision missiles, 70mm rockets and 30mm automatic cannon, according to the website of the Boeing unit.

China's development of the WZ-10 dates back to the 1990s, when military planners observed the use of helicopters by the United States during the first Gulf War with Iraq, the China Daily said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao last week called for China to step up the military's technological abilities, saying its most important task was to be able to "win a local war in an information age".

In late September it put its first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Soviet vessel named the Liaoning, into service -- its first step towards a fleet of carriers expected to be built domestically in coming years.

Hu's call came amid tensions with several Asian neighbours over maritime territorial claims, including Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as the US "pivot" towards Asia.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

China's first Top Gun - J-15 lands on carrier.

LIAONING AIRCRAFT CARRIER, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- China has successfully conducted flight landing on its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, naval sources said.
A new J-15 fighter jet was used as part of the landing exercise.
After its delivery to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Sept. 25, the aircraft carrier has undergone a series of sailing and technological tests, including the flight of the carrier-borne J-15.
Capabilities of the carrier platform and the J-15 have been tested, meeting all requirements and achieving good compatibility, the PLA Navy said.
Since the carrier entered service, the crew have completed more than 100 training and test programs.
The successful flight landing also marked the debut of the J-15 as China's first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet, the PLA Navy said.
Designed by and made in China, the J-15 is able to carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs.
The J-15 has comprehensive capabilities comparable to those of the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18, military experts estimated.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pak hackers deface Israeli websites

ZDNET: Pakistan hackers have defaced multiple pages of high-profile Web sites in a retaliatory move against Israel's recent attack on Gaza.
According to The Next Web news site on Tuesday, the hackers going by the names 1337, H4x0rL1f3, ZombiE_KsA, and Invectus, had hacked sites operated by several major names including Amazon Unbox, BBC, Bing, Citibank, CNN, Coca Cola, Coke, Intel, Mastercard, Microsoft, and Phillips.
All of the attacks seemed to affect the "co.il" and "org.il" domains, but the defaced pages could be viewed by some--and not all--online users, which suggested it could be a DNS attack, the report noted.
click to enlarge 
The hackers did not appear to be related to hacktivist group, Anonymous, which last week attacked more than 650 Israeli sites wiping out databases of at least two sites, defacing many, and leaking e-mail addresses and passwords.

However, on both incidents, hackers shared the same motive of making Israel pay for its attack on the Gaza. An excerpt from defaced pages read (see image above): "I am writing on the behalf of all Pakistani and all Muslims. DAMN you ISREAL. So, what you reap from that war except the destruction and devastation of your life!! You only made a Palestinian generation more stronger, more ruthless and more valor!"
They also mocked a statement from Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who recently said the country's security systems had been effective. He announced on Sunday that 44 million hacking attempts had been made on Israeli government Web sites since last Wednesday and so far, only one was taken down.

So - you wonder why I never finished the DIY SATCOM article ..

FBI arrests Iranian who wanted to export military antennas.
WASHINGTON—Amin Ravan, a citizen of Iran, and his Iran-based company, IC Market Iran (IMI), have been charged in an indictment unsealed today with conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, and violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) in connection with the unlawful export of 55 military antennas from the United States to Singapore and Hong Kong.
The indictment was announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; John Morton, Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Stephanie Douglas, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch; and Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary for Industry and Security at the Commerce Department.
According to the indictment, which was returned under seal by a grand jury in the District of Columbia on November 16, 2011, Ravan was based in Iran and, at various times, acted as an agent of IMI in Iran and an agent of Corezing International Pte Ltd, a company based in Singapore that also maintained offices in Hong Kong and China.
On October 10, 2012, Ravan was arrested by authorities in Malaysia in connection with a U.S. provisional arrest warrant. The United States is seeking to extradite him from Malaysia to stand trial in the District of Columbia. If convicted of the charges against him, Ravan faces a potential 20 years in prison for the AECA violation, 10 years in prison for the smuggling charge, and five years in prison for the conspiracy charge.
According to the indictment, in late 2006 and early 2007, Ravan attempted to procure for shipment to Iran export-controlled antennas made by a company in Massachusetts through an intermediary in Iran. The antennas sought by Ravan were cavity-backed spiral antennas suitable for airborne or shipboard direction-finding systems or radar-warning receiver applications, as well as biconical and SATCOM antennas that are suitable for airborne and shipboard environments, including in several military aircraft.
After this first attempt was unsuccessful, Ravan joined with two co-conspirators at Corezing in Singapore so that Corezing would contact the Massachusetts company and obtain the antennas on behalf of Ravan for shipment to Iran. When Corezing was unable to purchase the export-controlled antennas from the Massachusetts firm, Corezing then contacted another individual in the United States who was ultimately able to obtain these items from the Massachusetts firm by slightly altering the frequency range of the antennas to avoid detection by the company’s export compliance officer.
In March 2007, Ravan and the co-conspirators at Corezing agreed on a purchase price of $86,750 for 50 cavity-backed antennas from the United States and discussed structuring payment from Ravan to his Corezing co-conspirators in a manner that would avoid transactional delays caused by the Iran embargo. Ultimately, between July and September 2007, a total of 50 cavity-backed spiral antennas and five biconical antennas were exported from the United States to Corezing in Singapore and Hong Kong.
According to the indictment, no party to these transactions—including Ravan or IMI—ever applied for or received a license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls to export any of these antennas from the United States to Singapore or Hong Kong.
Two of Ravan’s co-conspirators, Lim Kow Seng (aka Eric Lim) and Hia Soo Gan Benson (aka Benson Hia), principals of Corezing, have been charged in a separate indictment in the District of Columbia in connection with this particular transaction involving the export of military antennas to Singapore and Hong Kong. The two Corezing principals were arrested in Singapore last year, and the United States is seeking their extradition.
This investigation was jointly conducted by ICE agents in Boston and Los Angeles; FBI agents and analysts in Minneapolis; and Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement agents and analysts in Chicago and Boston. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, and U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Asuncion of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Richard S. Scott of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Four suspects arrested in California jihad plot

HUFF POST: Four California residents are suspected of plotting to wage "violent jihad," by joining forces with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Federal authorities allege the men -- two U.S. citizens and two legal permanent residents -- planned to attack American military staff and bases overseas.

News of the arrest became public on Monday, when three of the suspects appeared in U.S. District Court in Riverside, Calif. The trio were charged with plotting to provide material support to terrorists, KTLA reported.

The defendents named in the criminal complaint are:
Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, who was born in Afghanistan. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen and previously lived in Pomona, Calif.

Ralph Deleon, 23, who was born in the Philippines. He is a legal permanent resident and lives in Ontario, Calif.

Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales (referred to in the complaint as Santana), 21, who was born in Mexico. He is a legal permanent resident and lives in Upland, Calif. His application for U.S. citizenship is pending.

Arifeen David Gojali, 21, who lives in Riverside, Calif., and is a U.S. citizen.

Federal authorities allege that in 2010, Kabir introduced Deleon and Santana to the violent teachings of American cleric Anwar Al-Awlaqi, a now-deceased radical Islamic imam and leader in the al Qaeda chapter in Yemen.

The complaint then states that Kabir left the U.S. in December 2011 and ended up in Afghanistan in July 2012. Throughout that period, Kabir allegedly guided Deleon and Santana on how to meet him in Afghanistan to join up with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Court documents state that Kabir allegedly told Deleon and Santana that they would train with "the students" (Taliban) and "the professors" (al Qaeda).

Deleon and Santana then revealed their plans to someone who turned out to be a confidential informant for the FBI.

In September 2012, Santana and Deleon recruited Gojali to join them in Afghanistan. The trio allegedly raised funds for their trip and thought up elaborate cover stories and code words to use while abroad.

Santana, Deleon and Gojali reportedly got as far as booking flights and securing required travel documentation, according to the criminal complaint. While they waited to join Kabir in Afghanistan, they also allegedly practiced shooting at firearm and paintball facilities in Southern California.

Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force apprehended Santana, Deleon and Gojali last Friday without incident. Kabir was arrested in Afghanistan and is currently in custody. If convicted, all four could face a maximum of 15 years in federal prison.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Anonymous" cyber attacks Israel

CNET: Anonymous' hacking campaign against Israel to protest its attacks on Gaza escalated today with the release of a list of thousands of individuals who supposedly donated to a pro-Israel organization.

The collective posted a Pastebin document that it said featured names -- and in some cases home addresses and e-mail addresses -- of donors for the Unity Coalition for Israel, which claims to represent "the largest network of pro-Israel groups in the world." The document appears to be quite old: one of the military e-mail addresses belonged to Douglas Feith, the U.S. undersecretary for defense under Bush, who left that job in 2005.

A second document, allegedly also extracted from the coalition, appears to be an e-mail announcement list. It includes e-mail addresses from officials in the White House, Senate, and the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as well as many news organizations.

The Unity Coalition for Israel did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNET.

Anonymous' latest attempts to take Israeli Web sites offline or deface them, called OpIsrael,started last week and resulted in temporary outages or spotty connections to the Bank of Jerusalem, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and many other Web sites. A list shows more than 600 Web sites have been attacked.

One Anonymous Twitter account reported this morning that Israeli Bing, MSN, Skype, Live and other sites were "defaced by Pakistani hackers." A Microsoft spokesman told CNN that: "Microsoft is aware of the site defacements and working to get all sites fully functional We have seen no evidence to suggest the compromise of customer information but will take action to help protect customers as necessary."

A statement from Anonymous says "when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza, they crossed a line in the sand." CBS News reported today that Israel's attacks on the homes of Hamas activists "have led to a sharp spike in civilian casualties, killing 24 civilians in just under two days and doubling the number of civilians killed in the conflict," according to a Gaza health official.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz downplayed the denial-of-service attacks in an interview with Reuters yesterday, saying only one unnamed site was actually hit by a successful intrusion. "The ministry's computer division will continue to block the millions of cyber attacks," Steinitz said. "We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerized defense systems."

F-22s take back to skies after Tyndall crash

The 325th Fighter Wing resumed normal flight operations today as the Wing Commander, Col. David Graff, flew one of the first F-22 Raptor missions this morning at approximately 7:45 a.m.
The colonel stood the wing flying operations down following Thursday’s F-22 crash on Tyndall Air Force Base.
A total of eight F-22 aircraft completed training missions this morning, and six others are scheduled to fly this afternoon.
“I have complete confidence in the F-22 and its reliability. We will continue to accomplish our mission while the Safety Investigation Board searches for the cause of last week’s accident,” said Colonel Graff.
Immediately following the crash, an interim safety investigation board was established with local members, tasked with securing the scene and preserving all evidence. The official SIB composed of specially trained members from different military installations arrived this weekend and has taken charge of the investigation.
Safety Investigation Board results are never released to the public, but are conducted to prevent future mishaps. Safety investigations of weapons systems such as aircraft, missiles and space platforms also assess possible force-wide implications on the combat readiness of these systems.
An Accident Investigation Board will convene following the SIB. The purpose of this board is to provide a publicly-releasable report of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident to include a statement of opinion on the cause or causes of the accident. No timetable for the completion of either the SIB or AIB is known at this time.
The F-22 performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing for full realization of operational concepts vital to the defense of the nation. The $143-million jet is designed to project air dominance rapidly and to defeat threats to national security and safety.

LINK: High resolution photo of the Tyndall F-22 crash site

Petraeus contradicts Obama on Benghazi ...

THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE: The CIA knew terrorists attacked the U.S. embassy in Benghazi despite Obama administration claims it was not, former CIA Director David Petraeus said during closed-door testimony before a House investigating committee last week.
The testimony Petraeus gave directly contradicts the line given by the Obama administration – and one Petraeus himself repeated – that the attack was sparked by a spontaneous Muslim protest over a YouTube video mocking the Prophet Mohammed that spun out of control.
Behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, now-civilian Petraeus stressed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he always felt it was a terrorist attack, and that Al Queda related groups may have had a hand in it. But he also said that was unclear until key information, such as live security camera footage, came to the CIA over the days following the attack.
That information showed there was no demonstration and it was clearly a terrorist attack from the beginning to the end.
The initial story of a protest spun out of control unraveled shortly after the Obama administration launched a media offensive to establish that narrative. When it was revealed terrorist group Al Queada planned the assault to coincide with the anniversary of September 11, 2001, the CIA was blamed for refusing aid to the besieged embassy. The spy agency denied the charges, directly contradicting the White House. 
Two of the Americans killed during the attack were later revealed to be CIA agents, as were a large number of Americans on the ground at the site.
Congressional hearings in October revealed that not only was the State Department aware of several requests for increased security in Benghazi, the department rejected them.
The meeting did nothing to settle the argument on whether there was enough security at the consulate, or if the attack was actually preventable.
That debate divided along partisan lines during last week’s hearing, with Republicans arguing there was not enough security, and Democrats insisting the situation was too unclear to determine proper levels of security.
Petraeus also told lawmakers that in his initial report, he declared there was “al Qaeda involvement.” But that reference was stripped from his agency’s original talking points.
White House national security council spokesman Ben Rhodes denied on Saturday the administration made any changes to the intelligence, reports the Washington Times, suggesting instead that the CIA itself altered the documents.
Other than changing change the word “consulate” to “diplomatic facility,” the White House “worked off of the [talking] points that were provided by the intelligence community,” Rhodes said. “So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made within the intelligence community. I can’t speak to what the process is within the CIA.”
The issue of who changed the memo became a main issue following Petraeus’ testimony, with top Republican lawmakers taking to the Sunday morning talk shows to make their case, reports the Washington Times.
Michigan Republican Congressman Mike Rogers blamed the White House’s National Security Council Deputies Committee for altering an unclassifed summary of what U.S intelligence knew of the attack.
Speaking on Meet the Press, Congressman Rogers said that the flow of information went from the CIA to the Committee, which is “populated by appointees from the [Obama] administration.” It was there that the story changed from on of a terrorist attack to a protest that spun out of control, which U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan E. Rice repeated over the following week.
“The narrative was wrong, and the intelligence was right,” Congressman Rogers said.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, blamed the changes on the National Security Council.
Ranking Democrats disputed Republican claims. California Senator Diane Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called Rep. Rogers’ claim that the White House changed the narrative “false,” adding it was still unclear who changed the “talking points.”
She added that intelligence officials told her committee that the talking points were changed because it was not clear which groups had been involved in the consulate attack.
“The answer given to us is [U.S. intelligence agencies] didn’t want to name a group until [they] had some certainty,” the senator said.
According to intelligence officials, the talking-points changes removed the names of two extremist groups suspected in the attack — the Libyan Ansar al-Shariah militia and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terrorist network’s affiliate in North Africa.
An intelligence official told The Washington Times that the changes also were intended to protect intelligence sources, because evidence of the groups’ involvement came from highly classified electronic surveillance methods.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rockets fire from Egypt into Israel

Two major Israeli newspapers are reporting that rockets fired from Egypt have hit Israel. 
"Terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula launched rockets into Israel Friday night," reports the Jerusalem Post. "The rockets fell near an Israeli village on the southern border, causing some damage, but no injuries."
The Israeli daily Haaretz reports, "Rockets fired from direction of Egypt toward Eshkol Regional Council."
It appears no damage was reported in connection with the rocket fire from Egypt. Earlier today, the Egyptian prime minister visited Gaza to express solidarity with the Palestinians there.
This new front comes a day after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv and on the same day Israel's capital Jerusalem was the target of rocket fire. Those attacks were courtesy of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
"After Tel Aviv metropolitan area, capital under fire too: An air raid siren was sounded in Jerusalem and surrounding communities early Friday evening. After residents reported hearing blast sounds, security forces confirmed that one rocket had landed in the Gush Etzion area near a Palestinian village," Ynet reports.
"There were no reports of injuries or damage. This was the first air raid siren sounded in the area since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip. Air raid sirens were sounded in southern communities throughout the day and a barrage of missiles hit the area."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Petraeus talking - cauldron bubbling ... fan running on Benghazi

David Petraeus is telling members of Congress that he "knew almost immediately after the September 11th attack, that the group Ansar al Sharia, the al Qaeda sympathizing group in Libya were responsible for the attacks," CNN reports

Thursday, November 15, 2012

F-22 crashes on highway in Florida.

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — An Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jet crashed near a Florida Panhandle highway Thursday, but the pilot was able to eject safely and there were no injuries on the ground, the military said.

The single-seat stealth fighter, part of a program that has been plagued with problems, went down Thursday afternoon near Tyndall Air Force Base, just south of Panama City on The Gulf of Mexico. The pilot received medical treatment and a section of Highway 98 that runs through the base was closed as rescuers responded.

The crash was on Tyndall land and no one on the ground was hurt, said Air Force Sgt. Rachelle Elsea, a spokeswoman for the base where F-22 pilots train.

The Air Force said the plane went down in a wooded area near the highway.

Israel at war with Hamas

Israel is in an all-out ground war with Hamas Thursday, as Israeli planes, tanks and gunboats pounded suspected militant positions in Gaza in retaliation for another day of Hamas rocket attacks that left at least three Israelis dead.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Thursday that Israel could no longer stand repeated attacks on its southern towns. He said that Israel has "made it clear" it won't tolerate continued rocket fire on its civilians.
Earlier, Netanyahu had declared, "If there is a need, the military is prepared to expand the operation. We will continue to do everything to protect our citizens."

The casualties were the first since Israel launched its operation on Wednesday with the assassination of Hamas' top military commander.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said two Israeli men and a woman died after a rocket struck their four-story apartment building in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi. A 4-year-old boy was seriously wounded and two babies slightly injured in the strike.

Since the Israeli operation started, a total of 13 Palestinians, including four civilians, have been killed and more than 100 people wounded, according to Palestinian medical officials. Among the dead were two children.
Israelis and Gazans both holed up in their homes Thursday in anticipation of heavy fighting on the second day of the military's campaign.

Israeli aircraft, tanks and naval gunboats pounded the Hamas-ruled coastal strip and rocket salvoes thudded into southern Israel.

The operation, launched after days of rocket fire from the coastal territory, was Israel's most intense attack on Gaza since its full-scale war there four years ago.
The Israeli military said the some 20 airstrikes were part of a major offensive dubbed "Operation Pillar of Defense," according to a Reuters report.

Israeli officials said Wednesday that a ground invasion was a strong possibility in the coming days if Hamas didn't rein in the rocket fire. Mid-morning Thursday, there was no sign such an invasion might be beginning. But the Israeli military was cleared to call up special reserve units -- a sign the operation might broaden.

"The military will continue acting to establish deterrence against Hamas and to return the calm," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during a tour of southern Israel. He praised citizens for coping with the "tough moments to come."
Gaza schools were ordered closed until the operation ends, and most of the territory's 1.6 million people hunkered down close to home, venturing out only to buy food, fuel and other basic supplies.
Hamas announced a state of emergency in Gaza, evacuating all its security buildings and deploying its troops away from their locations.

Israeli aircraft dropped leaflets on several locations in Gaza early Thursday, warning Gazans to stay away from Hamas, other militants and their facilities.

The Israeli military said Hamas fighters and other militant factions, undeterred by the air attacks, bombarded southern Israel with more than 130 rockets after the operation began. Israel's newly deployed Iron Dome missile defense system, developed as a response to the short-range rockets from Gaza, intercepted two dozen of them, military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said.

Israel declared a state of emergency in the country's south, where more than 1 million Israelis live within rocket range, instructing people to remain close to fortified areas.

People living in areas along the frontier were ordered to stay home from work, save for essential services, and shopping centers were closed. Israeli police stepped up patrols around the country, fearing Hamas could retaliate with bombing attacks far from the reaches of Gaza.

Batya Katar, a resident of Sderot, a community that has been a frequent target of rocket fire, said streets were empty there.

"People won't be outside. The minute they assassinated the Hamas military chief we knew an offensive had begun. We were waiting for it, and it's about time they did it. We have the right to live like other countries in the world."
Many Gazans provided updates on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, providing news about airstrikes and rocket launches. Others shared prayers and called for militants to stand tough against Israel.

"My little 4-year-old boy keeps asking me to pray with him every 10 minutes, saying, 'Mama. Let's pray together to Allah in order to be safe,'" one woman, Ghadeer Ahmad, wrote on her Facebook account.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas cut short a trip to Europe to deal with the crisis surrounding Israel's military operation, according to Saeb Erekat, an aide to Abbas.

Erekat harshly condemned Israel's military operation, saying the Palestinians "hold Israel fully responsible for the consequences of this act of aggression."
Few in the Palestinian territory's largest urban area, Gaza City, came out following the call for dawn prayers on Thursday, and the only vehicles plying the streets were ambulances and media cars.
About 400 angry mourners braved the streets, however, to bury Hamas mastermind Ahmed Jabari, whose body was draped in the green flag of the Islamic militant Hamas movement. Some fired guns in the air and chanted, "God is Great, the revenge is coming." 

When the body was brought into a mosque for funeral prayers, some tried to touch or kiss it. Others cried. Jabari was the most senior Hamas official to be killed since the last war in Gaza ended in early 2009. He has long topped Israel's most-wanted list, blamed for a string of deadly attacks, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006.
The Israeli military said its aircraft targeted more than 20 facilities that served as storage or launching sites for rockets. Among the weapons destroyed were rockets that could hit as far as 25 miles into Israel.

The conflict has deepened the instability gripping the Middle East. Cairo recalled its ambassador in response to the military operation, which began just days after Israel was drawn into Syria's civil war for the first time.
In a statement read on state TV late Wednesday, spokesman Yasser Ali said that President Mohammed Morsi recalled the ambassador and asked the Arab League's Secretary General to convene an emergency ministerial meeting in the wake of the Gaza violence.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace accord in 1979. Relations, never warm, have deteriorated since longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising last year.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton late Wednesday, asking for "immediate U.S. intervention to stop the Israeli aggression," the ministry said in a statement.
Amr told Clinton that if Israel's offensive does not stop, "matters will escalate out of control" and asked the U.S. "to use what contacts it has with Israel."

In Washington, the United States lined up behind Israel. "We support Israel's right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
President Obama spoke with Netanyahu and the two men agreed Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow tensions to ease, the White House said.

Obama spoke separately to Morsi, given Egypt's central role in preserving regional security, the White House said. The two men agreed on the need to de-escalate the conflict as quickly as possible.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for calm and urged both sides to respect international humanitarian law.
On Wednesday night, the U.N. Security Council met behind closed doors to consider an Egyptian request for an emergency meeting on Israel's military action in Gaza. The Palestinians asked the council to act to stop the operation.
For the past four years, Israel and Hamas have largely observed an informal truce. But in recent weeks, the calm has unraveled in a bout of rocket attacks from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. From Israel's perspective, Hamas escalated the situation with two specific attacks in recent days: an explosion in a tunnel along the Israeli border and a missile attack on an Israeli military jeep that seriously wounded four soldiers.
Outside the hospital where Jabari's body was taken, Hamas official Khalil al-Haya eulogized the commander and threatened Israel.

"The battle between us and the occupation is open and it will end only with the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem," he said.

Thousands of angry Gazans chanted "Retaliation" and "We want you to hit Tel Aviv tonight."

Witnesses said Jabari was traveling in a vehicle in Gaza City when the car exploded. Crowds of people and security personnel rushed to the scene of the strike, trying to put out the fire that had engulfed the car and left it a charred shell. The Israeli military released a grainy, black-and-white video of the airstrike. It shows a sedan moving slowly along a road before exploding in a powerful blast that sent a large piece of the car flying into the air.
Dovish Israeli lawmaker Dov Hanin condemned the killing.

"Assassinating leaders is never the solution. In place of the leaders killed, others will grow, and we will only get another cycle of fire and blood," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/15/3-dead-after-gaza-rocket-strikes-southern-israel/#ixzz2CJ3WJBVe

Petraeus to testify behind closed doors on Benghazi

CBS NEWS: Gen. David Petraeus will testify before a House Committee on the Libya embassy attack Friday morning, despite the ongoing FBI investigation into an extramarital affair that led to his resignation as director of the CIA.

The hearing to be held by the House Intelligence Committee is closed to the public and the media. Petraeus is expected to answer questions about the CIA's knowledge and handling of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. Two of those Americans were with the CIA.

It was unclear at first whether or not Petraeus would testify at all on Capitol Hill at all, after he abruptly resigned from the agency amid news of his affair with biographer Broadwell. On Wednesday, before the House Intelligence Committee's announcement, the Senate Intelligence Committee said the retired General would testify to their committee at a separate hearing, though it's still unclear when he'll speak to the Senate panel.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calf., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that Petraeus was "willing and interested" to talk to the committee, CBS News reported earlier Wednesday.

"It's just on Benghazi. Our hearings are on Benghazi and the intelligence that preceded Benghazi and the intelligence that determined security," she told reporters.

Meantime, the House Intelligence Committee will hear from him at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, an hour that is extremely uncommon for a congressional meeting.

Timeline: How Benghazi attack, probe unfolded

Congressional investigators get access to telegrams, intelligence reports, and classified emails as they interview top security and Pentagon officials. Sources tell CBS News' Margaret Brennan that intelligence officials will show footage from an unmanned surveillance drone that was overhead during the assault.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has oversight of the State Department, has already been briefed about the attack by Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy and Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell.© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Israel releases video showing death of Hamas leader Ahmed al-Jabari

Israel has confirmed it has killed Hamas Military Chief and terror mastermind Ahmed al-Jabari. He had been credited with the increased rocket fire coming from the Gaza Strip. Approximately 10,000 rockets have been fired at Israel since he assumed the position.

IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai told the Jerusalem Post that the airstrike marked the beginning of a campaign to target Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations in Gaza.

According to an AP report, “Witnesses say Jabari was traveling in his vehicle in Gaza City when his car exploded.”

Shortly after the operation the IDF released this statement:

“In the past hour, the IDF targeted Ahmed Jabri, the head of Hamas’ military wing, in the Gaza Strip. Jabri was a senior Hamas operative who served in the upper echelon of the Hamas’ command and was directly responsible for executing terror attacks against the State of Israel in the past number of years.

The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership, as well as its terrorist infrastructure. This was a surgical operation in cooperation with the Israeli Security Agency, that was implemented on the basis of concrete intelligence and using advanced capabilities.”

The Times of Israel reports that, “Jaabari was credited with being one of the leaders of Hamas’s violent putsch to take control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, and masterminded the professionalization of the Hamas military,” and that “Israel attempted to kill Jaabari in an airstrike in 2004.”

Editors note: This should cause Hamas members to lose plenty of sleep - especially when they hear jets flying overhead.


FBI looks for classified document leaks in Petraeus case

By Sari Horwitz, Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, Published: November 13

The FBI is making a new push to determine how a woman who had an affair with retired Gen. David H. Petraeus when he was CIA director obtained classified files, part of an expanding series of investigations in a scandal that also threatens the career of the United States’ top military commander in Afghanistan.

Senior law enforcement officials said that a late-night seizure on Monday of boxes of material from the North Carolina home of Paula Broadwell, a Petraeus biographer whose affair with him led to his resignation last week, marks a renewed focus by investigators on sensitive material found in her possession.

The issue of national security is still on the table,” one U.S. law enforcement official said. Both Petraeus and Broadwell have denied to investigators that he was the source of any classified information, officials said.

The surprise move by the FBI follows assertions by U.S. officials that the investigation had turned up no evidence of a security breach — a factor that was cited as a reason the Justice Department did not notify the White House before last week that the CIA director had been ensnared in an e-mail inquiry.

The disclosure about the FBI’s renewed focus comes as investigations of the matter expanded on other fronts.

The Defense Department said Tuesday that its inspector general is examining hundreds of e-mails between Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and a Florida woman also linked to the Petraeus inquiry.

At the same time, key lawmakers signaled their intent to scrutinize the Justice Department’s handling of an inquiry that focused initially on a potential conflict between two private people but quickly morphed into an examination of the e-mail of two top national security officers.

“My immediate gut is like this is the National Enquirer,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in an interview on CNN. “I mean, every day there is something new.”

Feinstein added that she has “many questions about the nature of the FBI investigation, how it was instituted, and we’ll be asking those.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that President Obama maintains confidence in Allen and that the four-star general will continue to lead the war in Afghanistan even as he faces the inspector general’s inquiry.

“I can tell you that the president thinks very highly of General Allen and his service to his country, as well as the job he has done in Afghanistan,” Carney said, adding that Obama “has faith in General Allen, believes he’s doing and has done an excellent job.”

At the same time, Carney said Obama put on hold Allen’s nomination to serve as supreme allied commander for NATO forces in Europe, canceling Allen’s appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week.

The Allen investigation focuses on his extensive correspondence with Jill Kelley, a Tampa resident who had carved out a role as an ad hoc social ambassador to military personnel at MacDill Air Force Base.

Reuters) - Israel killed the military commander of Hamas in an airstrike on the Gaza Strip Wednesday

The attack came despite signs that Egypt had managed to broker a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants after a five day surge of violence which saw more than 100 missiles fired out of Gaza and repeated Israeli strikes on the enclave.
Islamist Hamas said Ahmed Al-Jaabari, who ran the organization's armed wing, Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, died along with a passenger after their car was targeted by an Israeli missile.
Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence service confirmed it had carried out the attack, saying it had killed Jaabari because of his "decade-long terrorist activity".
"The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership," the Israeli military said in a statement.
Immediate calls for revenge were broadcast over Hamas radio and smaller groups also warned of retaliation.
"Israel has declared war on Gaza and they will bear the responsibility for the consequences," Islamic Jihad said.
A Reuters witness reported there were multiple Israeli airstrikes against the coastal enclave, but it was not immediately clear what else had been targeted.
Hamas has governed Gaza since 2007 and does not recognize Israel's right to exist. It has been emboldened by the rise to power in neighboring Egypt of its spiritual mentors in the Muslim Brotherhood whom it views as a "safety net".
Israel last staged a full-scale attack on Gaza during a three week conflict in 2008 and 2009 in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams; Writing by Crispian Balmer)

Iran displays downed RQ-170 drone - video.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lubbock terrorist wannabe given life sentence

Convicted terrorist Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari was sentenced by federal Judge Donald E. Walter to life in prison without the possibility of parole this morning. Aldawsari was convicted by an Amarillo jury back in June on a charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

KAMC 28′s Nick Ochsner covered the sentencing hearing today. He reports that both the prosecution and defense were given one final opportunity to try to sway Judge Walter’s decision for the sentence.

Lead defense attorney Dan Cogdell spent about five minutes arguing for a sentenced of less than twenty years. Cogdell told the judge other terrorists who had been convicted under similar circumstances were sentenced to shorter sentences. Aldawsari’s defense attorneys also tried to convince the judge that their client was depressed and felt like an outcast after transferring from Vanderbilt to Texas Tech University.

Jeffery Haag, who was the lead US prosecutor in the case, argued strongly for the life sentence, telling Judge Walter that Aldawsari is a threat to Americans both at home and abroad.

Authorities said the now 22-year-old Aldawsari purchased bottles of sulfuric and nitric acids, chemicals that can be combined with phenol to create a chemical explosive.

Aldawsari was a former Texas Tech University and South Plains College student. He was arrested in Lubbock in February of 2011 and his trial was delayed numerous times before getting underway this Spring. His defense team expects Aldawsari to appeal the sentence.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Petraeus resigns, and many questions remain

The story behind the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus is one of the more bizarre episodes in the Obama administration. The inclination of the general’s admirers on the right and of Obama supporters on the left will be to shove the entire sordid mess under the rug. But a series of important questions need to be answered. Squeamishness over a tawdry personal scandal should not obscure some serious issues.
The mainstream media, freed for its obligation to block and tackle for the president in the election, can redeem its dreadfully inadequate coverage of the Benghazi debacle by swiftly getting to the bottom of this.
Here are a few of the questions about the Petraeus resignation:
* Why did the FBI launch an all-out dragnet over e-mails from Paula Broadwell to Jill Kelly?
* Why did it take months for the FBI to realize this was about an affair, not corruption?
* Why was the White House and/or congressional members charged with national-security oversight not alerted before the election or were they? 
* Who else other than the FBI was aware that the CIA chief was under investigation?
* Why did Petraeus, when briefing Congress on Sept. 14, purportedly push the bogus cover story on Benghazi (i.e., it was about a spontaneous demonstration over the anti-Muslim video) when his agency had information within two hours that it was a terrorist attack?

* Why was Petraeus excused from testifying further about Benghazi?
* Why did Director of National Intelligence James Clapper urge Petraeus to resign?
* Was Petraeus involved in drafting the CIA talking points and/or in preparing U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for her TV appearances on Sept. 16, during which she pushed the false notion that the Benghazi attack was over the anti-Muslim video?
* Why did Petraeus remain silent when politicians who perpetuated the false narrative for weeks blamed the intelligence community?
* Who is going to investigate Clapper, Petraeus, FBI chief Robert Mueller, Attorney General Eric Holder and possible White House involvement? Absent an agreement to waive executive and national security privileges for a congressional investigation, isn’t an independent prosecutor of some type needed?

Petraeus biography co-author may have revealed classified info in a speech

USA TODAY:  In October, Paula Broadwell, the woman at the center of the David Petraeus adultery case, spoke publicly about events surrounding the Benghazi attack that appeared to go beyond what was in the public record at the time.
Broadwell, co-author of a biography about Petraeus, was speaking at the University of Denver Oct. 26 and responded to questions about the attack on the U.S. Consulate that led to the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
"Now I don't know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually -- had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that's still being vetted," she said.
Eli Lake, writing for The Daily Beastreported that it is possible that Broadwell was confusing details of a story on Fox News that day that claimed that three of the Libyan attackers were briefly held at a CIA annex in Benghazi, not the consulate, before being turned over to the local militia.
Lake also reported that the CIA on Sunday denied the claim that prisoners were held at the annex, which has not been reported elsewhere.
In her remarks, Broadwell also talked about Petraeus' involvement in the Benghazi situation as CIA director.
"The challenging thing for General Petraeus is that in his new position he is not allowed to communicate with the press," she told the audience. "So he's known all of this, they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in Libya. Within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening."
The remarks are contained in a 40-minute speech by Broadwell, a West Point graduate and military officer, in which she discussed her military background, how she met Petraeus and elements of his personal life, such as his transition from military officer to director of the CIA.
Petraeus resigned on Friday, citing his "poor judgment" over the extramarital affair.


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