Demand for the use of surveillance drones by law enforcement is growing rapidly, but the rules for their use haven’t yet caught up with that demand, engendering fears of unwarranted searches. Drones are equipped with powerful video cameras and infrared (thermal imaging) devices capable of seeing through roofs, but they can also be fitted with radar speed-cameras and other miniaturized equipment capable of performing chemical analyses, environmental sampling, industrial emission monitoring, radiation detection, and much more.
ShotSpotter, the dominant gunfire detection technology on the market, gathers data from a network of acoustic sensors placed at 30-foot elevation under a mile apart. To cut costs, most cities use the sensors only in selected areas. The system filters the data through an algorithm that isolates the sound of gunfire. If shots are fired anywhere in the coverage area, the software triangulates their location to within about 10 feet and reports the activity to the police dispatcher.
The operation, “Project Quantum Leap,” is run by the Washington office of the Tampa-based command. Under the program, officials experimented with using social media monitoring tools in a major money laundering case being investigated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s bulk cash smuggling center, according an unclassified report obtained by Aftergood. Special Operations Command used tools from roughly a dozen companies. The report said the first experiment “was successful in identifying strategies and techniques for exploiting open sources of information, particularly social media, in support of a counter threat finance mission,”
On Thursday I wrote about the curious story of Michele Catalano and her husband who live on Long Island and were unexpectedly visited by the police. The team of six policemen asked to search the Catalano’s house and asked pointed questions such as “Do you have any bombs?” (to which terrorists always answer “yes”), “Do you own a pressure cooker?”, and “Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb?”
The American who leads the leading edge of our sword in the Pacific — the Air Force — worries that China‘s sometimes “aggressive approach” in using its fighters, bombers and ships to signal its territorial claims across the Pacific creates “the potential” for a serious incident in the region. But Air Force Gen. Herb “Hawk” Carlisle carefully calibrated his response, praising the “professionalism” of the pilots engaged in the cat and mouse game across the Pacific.
Security forces in Bahrain have been raiding dozens of homes each day since April, arbitrarily arresting young men, and torturing them to force confessions to some crime, a local rights group said on Tuesday. Plainclothes police, some of them dressed in neon-colored vests and black ski masks, knocked down doors of houses in at least 10 villages across the tiny Gulf monarchy on Monday and arrested several people, Yousif al-Muhafda, deputy-head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), said.“In one day, there are at least 30-35 house raids,” the rights activist told Al-Akhbar.
China’s new unified coast guard agency has gone into operation, state media reported yesterday amid maritime disputes with its neighbours, and experts said more ships will be armed as a result. The China Coast Guard integrates the functions of marine surveillance, the existing coast guard which came under the police, fisheries law enforcement and Customs’ anti-smuggling maritime police. The divisions “that were not allowed to be equipped with weapons can be armed now”, Yang Mian, professor of international relations at the Communication University of China
Nearly three weeks after Egypt’s military forced the country’s President Mohamed Morsi out of office and jailed him and officials of his Muslim Brotherhood party, the explosive reaction on Cairo’s streets has brought death and turmoil—and in another country more than 1,200 miles away, an uneasy sense of loss. Qatar, the tiny gas-rich peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, had poured nearly $5 billion into Morsi’s government in its one short year in office, propping up Egypt’s teetering economy, and investing—or so it thought—in a lasting relationship with the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Military officials meet in Lima as rumors abound of increased arms and activity on either side of the border, while the two nations wait for news from The Hague. Annual talks between Chilean and Peruvian military officials continued this week as signs of simmering tensions begin to emerge between the Andean neighbors. Rumors of increased military activity are circulating on both sides of the border ahead of an international court ruling on a territorial dispute between the two parties expected in the coming months.
A flotilla of Chinese warships transited an important ocean strait off Japan’s northernmost island for the first time this week, passing within clear sight of observers onshore. The PLA Navy vessels had just completed a major training exercise with Russian warships nearby and were using the Soya Strait to head into the far Pacific. It was just the latest Chinese excursion through narrow and potentially-strategic transit points in and around Japan’s home islands, and another example of China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
A 100,000-euro (£86,000) cash-prize is being awarded for the best plan on how Britain could leave the European Union. The ‘Brexit Prize’ has been created by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a free-market think tank, in the run up to a proposed referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. Entrants are asked to explore the constitutional process of a withdrawal and how the UK can best position itself in the world outside the single market. The prize will be judged by a panel including former chancellor Nigel Lawson and historian David Starkey.
This history of double standards shadows the recent events in Egypt and Washington. When a country’s military sends tanks into the streets, deposes an elected President, suspends the constitution, shuts down television stations, and arrests the leadership of the ruling party, the usual word for it is “coup.” But, in the days since all this came to pass in Egypt, the Obama Administration has gone to great lengths to avoid calling it by its rightful name-Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that the events of July 3rd and afterward were under “review”-for the obvious reason that, under the law, it would mean the end of $1.5 billion in U.S. military and economic aid.
The entrance of U.S.military forces could be truncated as a result of a recent verdict from Costa Rica´s Constitutional Chamber. Last July 5th it determined that the General Direction of Civil Aviation violated the “right to peace” of Costa Ricans, since in May of this year it authorized the entrance of U.S Army Blackhawk helicopters. The criterion of the sentence 2013-9122 could be applied to entry permits of U.S military ships to Costa Rican waters and it could fall under the joint patrol agreement.
How much are your private conversations worth to the government? Turns out, it can be a lot, depending on the technology. AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 “activation fee” for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Smaller carriers Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap. But snoop on a Verizon customer? That costs the government $775 for the first month and $500 each month after that, according to industry disclosures made last year to Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.).
Today US rating agency Standard & Poor’s told a court of law that it figured every reasonable investor would know its promise to objectively rate securities was mere “puffery,” like a used-car salesman who tells you the last owner of your car was an old lady who only drove it on Sundays.
The US government thinks that S&P (a unit of McGraw Hill Financial) should pay $5 billion in penalties for giving safe ratings to risky securities while it had cozy relationships with people creating them.
After Abdiwali Warsame embraced the First Amendment by creating a raucous Web site about his native Somalia. Packed with news and controversial opinions, it rapidly became a magnet for Somalis dispersed around the world, including tens of thousands in Minnesota. The popularity of the site, also attracted the attention of the Defense Department. A military contractor, working for U.S. Special Operations forces to “counter nefarious influences” in Africa, began monitoring the Web site and compiled a confidential research dossier about its founder and its content.
In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say. The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny.
The African Union, proud of its zero tolerance for coups on the continent, advertises this policy as part of what is termed shared democratic values, which all countries are expected to incorporate into a common set of constitutional convergence principles. These principles is expected to automatically elicit joint action when power is seized through unconstitutional means. I am not convinced by the argument that a coup could ultimately good for democracy. The argument that the military was merely enforcing the will of the people and safeguarding democracy from its real opponent, who, in this thinking, was Morsi is nonsensical.
“Mansour is relatively unknown in Egypt’s political scene,” says Christian Achrainer, political scientist at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The 67-year-old Mansour, who has been working for the country’s constitutional court since 1992, had been in office as president of the court for just two days when the military pushed Morsi out. Morsi had appointed Mansour to the post after his predecessor, Maher al-Behairis retired at the end of June. A new law which came into force after Hosni Mubarak was toppled forces the president to appoint one of the three longest-serving vice presidents as president of the court.
The Turkish government has plans to make a slight change to its laws to prevent coups. The contentious point in the constitution – Article 35 – has been used as justification by instigators of past coups.
Since 1960, there have been four military coups in Turkey that threw out elected governments. The last time a coup threatened the government in Turkey was 2007, when the military had a stand-off with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, the government is considering a historic step: changing Article 35 of the Turkish military’s internal laws.
The Ghana Armed Forces, along with U.S. Army Africa, concluded week one of exercise Western Accord 13 and began a command post exercise at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center in Accra, Ghana.
Western Accord 13 is a two-part exercise that includes academics and a command post exercise. In part one, participants received classes focused on collective tasks, functional, and staff procedures in support of command and control of a peacekeeping operation based on real world events.
Beijing sent paramilitary police into the streets this weekend and dispatched its top law enforcement official to the northwestern province of Xinjiang in a high-profile show of force after a week when at least 35 people died in the worst sectarian violence since large-scale unrest in 2009.
Eyewitnesses in the capital, Urumqi, where a large security force presence was deployed on Saturday, said the situation had calmed by Sunday and travellers returning from areas affected by the violence reported no unrest and only slightly heightened security along the way.
The US economy continues to have a hard time recovering from the global financial crisis. So the last thing one would expect the US government to do is to engage in policies that open the floodgates to severe risks in financial markets again. And yet it is precisely doing that. For all the attention being paid to the Federal Reserve’s “tapering”, what Washington has in its crosshairs is something quite different. It is putting massive pressure on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Security and Exchange Commission. Unless policymakers, and the public at large, act quickly to counter that pressure, the disastrous past – a financial industry running amok – may well be not just be the US’ national but also the common global future.
Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi suggested in a private meeting with security officials the announcing of a state of emergency if security matters got out of hand during planned opposition protests next week, Gulf News has learned.
The defence and interior ministers left a high profile meeting with Mursi regarding security plans on Wednesday in frustration and disappointment, turning down a suggestion by the president to declare a state of emergency if violence got out of control, government sources told Gulf News.
After a substantial phase of people’s disenchantment with violence and a gradual movement away from an armed struggle toward nonviolent protests and social media campaigns, the gun seems to be returning to the center stage of Kashmir’s fight against Indian rule. New Delhi missed an opportunity to engage with a changed environment where the focus was on nonviolence and instead started terming the absence of violence as peace and silence of guns as Kashmir’s acceptance of the Indian rule.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has said that secret arms caches were created across the country on his instructions. The state security service of the Georgian Interior Ministry announced a week ago that it had found secret caches of weapons, drugs and videotaped acts of torture hidden in Samegrelo, western Georgia, set up by high-ranking ministry officials under the previous government.
The police said the find also includes an archive of photographs and personal files of opposition members “who were to be framed and arrested if the pro-presidential United National Movement won the October 1, 2012 parliamentary elections.”
In that global marketplace, everything and anything goes. While nothing prevents individual security agencies from spying on enemies, nothing prevents friendly intelligence services from spying on each other too. So, former CIA contractor and NSA employee Edward Snowden’s claim that Britain and the US spied on some friendly countries should not outrage us. Those who express indignation that these democratic countries could spy on ‘friends’ like Turkey and Russia are either naive or live in a utopian world.
Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit systematically lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications, and paid their staff bonuses for deliberately pushing people into foreclosure: Yes, these allegations were suspected by any homeowner who ever had to deal with the bank to try to get a loan modification – but now they come from six former employees and one contractor, whose sworn statements were added last week to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.
A smartphone app that launches this week gives the health insurance company Aetna access to detailed user health-tracking data. As costs spiral upward, health-care companies could turn to such apps as a way to monitor customers and encourage healthy behavior.
At MIT Technology Review’s Mobile Summit in San Francisco last week, Martha Wofford, consumer platform vice president at Aetna, said the company would launch an app called CarePass to serve as a portal for an individual’s health-related activity and, if he allows it, his medical records, too.
It would seem that police brutality is not just for ordinary – powerless – citizens in China. A policewoman from central China’s Henan Province was recently arrested when visiting her daughter in the provincial capital Zhengzhou. Mistakenly accused of being sex workers, the woman and her daughter were beaten, tortured and detained for hours by local police. After media reports led to public outcry, the policemen who were responsible for arrest were suspended from active duty.
The Harper government wants to pull the cloak of eternal secrecy over past and present employees of nine federal agencies and those who used to toil at two now-defunct branches. They would join the more than 12,000 current and former federal intelligence officials already covered by Security of Information Act provisions forcing them to take the secrets of their most closely held work to the grave. A group that advocates a more open and accountable federal government called the blanket proposal “dangerously undemocratic.”
According to a draft law pertaining to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the intelligence agency will be authorized to not only keep records on people and obtain information about individuals from some public institutions, but also to conduct pre-emptive operations against possible threats inside and outside the country, Taraf daily maintained on Wednesday. The draft, which may well turn Turkey into a state controlled by an intelligence agency, would hugely do away with some democratic achievements Turkey has made in recent years.
The security and counterintelligence directorate serves as the NSA’s internal police force, in effect watching the agency’s watchers for behavior that could pose an intelligence risk. It has the authority to interview an NSA contractor or employee’s known associates, and even to activate a digital dragnet capable of finding out where a target travels, what the target has purchased and the target’s online activity. The directorate serves as the NSA’s internal police force, in effect watching the agency’s watchers.
Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ has been covertly gathering information from leading internet companies through a secret US spy programme, it was reported today.
The Guardian said that it had obtained documents showing that GCHQ had access to the Prism system, set up by America’s National Security Agency (NSA), since at least June 2010. The documents were said to show that the British agency, had generated 197 intelligence reports through the system in the 12 months to May 2012 – a 137 per cent increase on the previous year.
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
A top secret federal court order reveals that the FBI and the National Security Agency are collecting the cell phone data of millions of Americans. Thedocument, obtained by The Guardian, compels Verizon Wireless to send the NSA information about all telephone calls made on the telecom’s network within the United States. Here are six quick things to know about the secret directive and its implications: Though the court order obtained by The Guardian only applies to Verizon, the Bush-era NSA database involved multiple carriers.
Hundreds of world leaders and industry chiefs met in Myanmar Wednesday for Asia’s edition of the World Economic Forum, as the fast-changing nation woos foreign investors following the end of decades of harsh junta rule.
Foreign firms are queuing up to enter the country formerly known as Burma, tantalised by the prospect of an untouched market with a potential 60 million new consumers in addition to Myanmar’s well of cheap labour.
The targeted killing of presumed terrorists by drones in Africa has been largely conducted from US military bases in Germany, an investigation by German TV channel ARD’s “Panorama” and the Süddeutsche Zeitung has revealed.
Particularly involved in running the drone missions are the Stuttgart-based US military high command for Africa (Africom) and the US Air Force’s Air Operations Center (AOC), located in Ramstein, in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. Ten deadly drone attacks killing up to 29 people have so far been carried out in Somalia by US forces.
Over the past year, Turks have protested against the deteriorating state of press freedoms, a reckless construction boom, a draft law placing new curbs on abortion, the government’s response to the civil war raging in neighboring Syria, the jailing of hundreds of top generals on coup charges, the arrests of thousands of Kurdish activists accused of abetting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey labels a terrorist group, and, most recently, new restrictions on alcohol sales.
Founders of Egypt’s ‘Rebel’ campaign, a newly established movement that aims to withdraw confidence from President Mohamed Morsi by collecting citizens’ signatures, spoke at an open forum on Wednesday to discuss the campaign, which has recently gone viral online and on the streets. ‘Rebel’ campaigners hope to collect 15 million signatures and hold a mass sit-in on 30 June – marking the end of Morsi’s first year as president – to call for snap presidential elections and force Morsi out of office.
Adam Adli, a student activist, was charged on May 23 under Malaysia’s Sedition Act for saying merely “you cheated in elections, we go for demonstrations”. Eighteen other people have been also detained by police, with three claiming injuries, for attending a vigil held in response to the activist’s detention. The next day, two opposition parliamentarians and a leading activist campaigning against the dominant ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) were arrested under the same law.
What’s been going on between China and the DPRK? We’ve been hearing rumors that North Korea has been rudely rejecting high-level Chinese delegations, with China returning the favor. But if there has been some kind of tit-for-tat, it seems to be over now: Choe Ryong Hae has visited Beijing, probably in no small part responding to the Bank of China’s dramatic action from earlier this month.
The closure of the Foreign Trade Bank’s account at Bank of China two weeks ago was significant and disruptive, but was even more important in terms of perception and symbolism. The FTB is North Korea’s most important bank: it is (ostensibly) the clearinghouse for all foreign transactions and any bank accounts held in foreign currency.
Cars were engulfed in flames on Monday night and youths clashed with police in the north-western Stockholm district of Husby for a second night in a row.
“Six people have been arrested,” police spokesman Mats Eriksson told the TT news agency. “They are between 15- and 19-years-old. All of them are suspected of assaulting a public official (våld mot tjänsteman).” Firefighters who arrived to extinguish the blazes were met by young people throwing rocks. Shortly after midnight the fire from one burning car spread to three other nearby cars as emergency crews were unable to extinguish the flames.
Critics dismiss the “Secure Homeland” initiative as a political charade that risks degenerating into human rights abuses while having no lasting impact on crime. But to many residents, weary of being terrorized by armed gangs, seeing troops on the streets is a welcome projection of government power.
With some 15,000 killings a year, Venezuela’s homicide rate is the fifth highest in the world, according to U.N. statistics. The murder rate doubled during the 14-year-rule of the late President Hugo Chavez as cheap access to guns and an ineffective justice system fed a culture of violence in slums like Petare, parts of which have become no-go zones for outsiders, including police.
The recent discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean off the Israeli, Cypriot and Lebanese coasts is a great boost to the independence and self-sufficiency of these countries.
But the discoveries also add to existing tensions between Israel and Lebanon as both are claiming the oil and gas reserves as their own. In April, natural gas from the Israeli Tamar reserve began to flow from an offshore rig in the Mediterranean Sea into Israel, giving the country the chance to hone its energy security and freedom.
A new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
Azerbaijan has started military exercises near its mainly Armenian-populated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Defense Ministry announced on May 14 that Defense Minister Safar Abiyev was personally leading the maneuvers.
Azerbaijan’s land and air forces are taking part in the exercises, which are expected to last until the end of the week. Last week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said publicly that his country wanted to restore its territorial integrity and resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in accordance with international law.
Libyans have played down reports of possible foreign intervention after news reports on Friday said the US has alerted special Marine units to be ready to respond to developments in the security situation in Libya.
Speaking to Libya Al-Hurra TV on Saturday, Mr. Mohamed Abdul Aziz the Libyan Foreign Minister denied the reports of American intervention in Libya and that he was aware that the both the US and Britain withdrew some unessential members of staff in their embassies.
Marines and other U.S. forces in Europe are on a heightened state of alert in response to a deteriorating security situation in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, a U.S. military official said Friday.
The alert order applies to a U.S. special operations team based in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as a Marine group of air and ground forces based in Moron, Spain, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The forces are under U.S. Africa Command, which acquired the special operations team in the fall.
In a narrow decision, lawmakers accepted an amendment to a bill offered by Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, that could allow police to use a drone without a search warrant.
In a 7-6 vote on May 1, the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee sided with Maine Attorney General Janet Mills on the issue of how police can employ unmanned aerial vehicles in criminal investigations.
The FBI is asking for is the ability to fine those companies that don’t comply with a wiretap order, even if they’re technically unable to do so within a time limit set by the FBI.
In other words, if you can’t provide the feds with a back door to your system, the government will keep piling on fines until you go out of business. The idea, of course, is to compel companies that provide secure communications to also build in a means for the feds carry out get their wiretaps.
Should Facebook, Google and similar sites be forced to adapt their infrastructure so that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies can easily tap suspects’ communications in real time? That’s the impetus behind new wiretap guidelines being drawn up by a government panel, according to the Washington Post. The draft guidelines, championed by the FBI, would allow courts to impose escalating fines on any business that didn’t immediately comply with a court-ordered request for real-time communications interception, regardless of whether the Web service provider said such interception was technically feasible.
Armed protests targeting Libya’s ministries and media in the capital this week have alarmed international observers who say deteriorating security conditions are becoming a matter of serious concern. Reporters without Borders said there was cause for “grave concern about recent violent attacks on Libyan journalists, whose safety conditions are deteriorating drastically” and called on the government to act. Gunmen in heavily armed vehicles remained in control of Libya’s Foreign Ministry for a fourth day on Wednesday, while the Justice Ministry was similarly surrounded on Tuesday and other institutions including the media have been targeted.
German soldiers are moonlighting illegally at private security firms while off-duty, a newspaper revealed on Monday. Working as heavily armed guards on freighters or in war-zones, some do it for the cash and others for the adrenaline kick.
As members of the German army, Bundeswehr, soldiers are not allowed to work as mercenaries for private companies – yet many are doing it, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) found out. Exact figures on how many of Germany’s soldiers, or former soldiers, work the private security circuit are unknown. According to the FAZ’s research, the field is growing and critics are warning of a “mercenary renaissance”.
When most of us think of weapons of mass destruction, we think of nuclear bombs, or nerve gas, or biological agents. So it was surprising to see accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with using a weapon of mass destruction after he and his brother allegedly detonated a bomb made from a pressure cooker.
Heinous as the Boston bombing is, a pressure cooker does not fit the commonly used definition of a WMD. In fact, by its own definition, the U.S. government is using WMDs every day.
The Balochistan government has decided to deploy army in all districts of the province during upcoming general elections. In a media interview Sunday, Secretary Interior Balochistan Akbar Hussain Durrani said army would be deployed in all 30 districts and 92 tehsils of the province to cope up with any untoward situation. He said a total of 70 thousand security personnel would be deployed, including 6000 from Army, 17000 from FC, 20,000 from Police, 17,000 from Levies, and 10,000 from Balochistan Constabulary.
Hungarian authorities will pass on the cost of EU fines through a tax on its own citizens whenever it breaches EU law. Giving details of the new Hungarian initiative, EU justice commissioner for justice Vivian Reding told euro-deputies at the Strasbourg plenary session on Wednesday (17 April) that: “in practice citizens would be penalised twice: once for not having had their rights under EU law upheld and a second time for having to pay for this.” The so-called ad hoc tax was introduced into Hungary’s latest constitutional reform in March, its fourth in the past 15 months.
In recent years, the state of Washington has issued nearly 300 fictitious driver licenses to the CIA. That’s according to public records initially disclosed, but now withheld, by state officials. The state’s cooperation with the nation’s premier spy agency has been a secret for years — unknown to lawmakers and even the governor.
Inside Washington’s Department of Licensing is a special office called the License Integrity Unit. This is where police officers who are going undercover can come to get a fake identity. It’s a valid Washington driver license, but with a fictitious name, birthdate and address. It’s known as the confidential driver license program. It’s operated for decades, but without legislative approval.
The technologies of interest are potential “game-changers”: biotechnologies (e.g., human enhancements), energy (e.g., lasers and superefficient batteries), materials (e.g., 3D printing), hardware (e.g., robots), and software (e.g., electromagnetic and cyberweapons). But this particular wargame was dedicated to their ethics, policy, and legal issues, helping to identify friction points as well as to test how they can be integrated better in national-security planning and military-technology development.
It was what secularists had feared would secure an Islamist state. After granting himself sweeping powers and pushing through a controversial new constitution, President Mohamed Morsi had been calling for parliamentary elections with haste. With the opposition set to boycott, Islamists were poised to dominate. But when a top court cancelled elections last month just weeks before elections were set, the president’s plans were quickly derailed and a more complex struggle reemerged.
Clad in sombreros and baseball caps and clutching assault rifles, shotguns and machetes, the men take defensive positions on a hillside neighborhood of the ramshackle mountain town of Tierra Colorada and gather residents from their homes. You have suffered too much at the hands of kidnappers, extortionists and drug cartels, they tell them. It is time to fight back. “If you are in favor of our community police and want to join or support us, then step forward,” says Esteban Ramos, a leader of the local militia.
The U.S. government is testing drones that are a civil rights double whammy – not only can they spy on you from above, but they can also determine whether you’re carrying a gun.
The drone will be able to “distinguish between unarmed and armed (exposed) personnel.” Citizens carrying around an assault rifle or a holster might send up a red flag, but people with concealed weapons will evade the drone’s gun-seeking camera. The Oklahoma Training Center for Unmanned Systems, a unit of the University Multispectral Laboratories under Oklahoma State University and Anchor Dynamics, has been performing research with the new drone.
THE leading independent election monitoring group in Russia yesterday became the first non-governmental organisation to be prosecuted in President Putin’s nationwide hunt for “foreign agents”.
Golos (Voice) has reported widespread irregularities in recent Russian polls and said in March last year that the presidential election, in which Mr Putin was re-elected for a third term, was not “fair, just and open according to the Russian constitution and international standards”. The Justice Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Golos “receives foreign funding and carries out political activities in Russia, thus it fulfils the functions of a foreign agent”. It will present its case in court today.
On November 14, 2006, a man going by the name Paul William Hampel was arrested at a Canadian airport on charges of being a Russian spy. Hampel’s carefully constructed identity portrayed him as a successful businessman, yet for a decade his company did no business. Only months before his capture, the same apparatus used to create his alias was also employed by a very different spy agency – the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency —to build a secret prison in Lithuania, where U.S. agents interrogated suspected al-Qaeda terrorists. Earlier again, it was used by the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to cheat the Oil for Food program.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has announced that Tbilisi expresses deep concern about the unplanned and sudden exercises of the Russian military which go beyond the territory defined by the Vienna Agreement.
Speaking at a briefing on Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said that Georgia will continue to inform the international community on Russian military exercises being held near the maritime borders of the country. The Georgian side is distressed with the fact that near its borders large-scale exercises are conducted, with the date of completion and objectives not reported.
Somebody should check and make sure that Kim Dotcom hasn’t started funding any research in genetics. Maybe those guys from the Pirate Bay, too. With a paper that must send chills of fear and vindication down the spine of every internet freedom fighter, researchers from Cornell University this week presented evidence that genetic copyright is a “direct threat to genomic liberty.” Could this be the newest, most easily altruistic frontier in copyright banditry?
If a gaffe is what happens when a politician accidentally tells the truth, what’s the word for when a politician deliberately tells the truth? Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the current head of the Eurogroup, held a formal, on-the-record joint interview with Reuters and the FT today, saying that the messy and chaotic Cyprus solution is a model for future bailouts. Those comments are now being walked back, because it’s generally not a good idea for high-ranking policymakers to say the kind of things which could precipitate bank runs across much of the Eurozone.
Electroencephalography, which is widely known as a medical diagnostic test has more potential uses. An EEG device is typically a headset with a small number of electrodes placed on different parts of the skull in order to detect the electrical signals made by your brainwaves.
One company, Government Works Inc., is developing BCI headsets for lie detection and criminal investigations. By measuring a person’s responses to questions and images, the company claims to be able to determine whether that person has knowledge of certain information or events (leading to conclusions, for instance, about whether that person was at a crime scene).
Call them American strategy’s Odd Couple. Working together, the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force could be the best defenders of U.S. policy in the Arctic Ocean, a theater that will expand and contract each year and where threats will — cross your fingers — remain modest in scope. Think about it. One partner is an aviation force, the other a sea service. One operates under Pentagon jurisdiction, the other under the Department of Homeland Security. One is a combat arm designed to break things and kill people, the other a constabulary agency meant primarily to execute U.S. law in offshore waters and skies and render aid and comfort following natural disasters.
Protests against the Muslim Brotherhood continue to rock Egypt without a word being said from the White House. Now, the Brotherhood and allied Islamists are taking a cue from their Shiite counterparts in Tehran and have announced they are setting up a civilian force with the power to arrest those they deem to be criminals.
At around the same time, Jama’a al-Islamiya threatened to set up a pro-Brotherhood militia to “protect private and public property and counter the aggression on innocent citizens.”
In an attempt to make some sense of the mess, NATO (basically the Western powers-that-be) commissioned a report from a bunch of legal experts at the ‘NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence’ to suggest some rules for cyber-warfare. Well, the report’s in, and the suggestions are kinda surprising.
Basically, cyber attacks which cause “physical damage, injury or death” constitute a ‘use of force’, and thus can be retaliated to with real physical weapons. Equally surprising is the classification of civilian hacktivists as legitimate targets during war.
Less than six months ago, U.S. Under Secretary of State Robert D. Hormats gave an exclusive interview to Caixin, in which he said that one of the most important tasks in US-China relations was to define differences on intellectual property rights protection and find common solutions within the next six months.
On Feb. 20, the White House released a strategy paper outlining an approach for protecting the trade secrets of U.S. companies. “Emerging trends indicate that the pace of economic espionage and trade secret theft against U.S. corporations is accelerating,”
According to the explanatory memorandum to the bill that President Vladimir Putin has submitted to the State Duma, FSB operatives are now being dispatched to foreign states for up to six months “to provide advice and guidance to their intelligence and law enforcement agencies in conducting operational, search and other special activities.” For the time being, those detachments will be sent only to Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kyrgyzstan. The goal is to give them the opportunity to serve as permanent advisers.
“Blackwater’s work with the CIA began when we provided specialized instructors and facilities that the Agency lacked,” Prince told me recently, in response to written questions. “In the years that followed, the company became a virtual extension of the CIA because we were asked time and again to carry out dangerous missions, which the Agency either could not or would not do in-house.”
A prime example of the close relationship appears to have unfolded on March 19, 2005. On that day, Prince and senior CIA officers joined King Abdullah of Jordan and his brothers on a trip to Blackwater headquarters in Moyock, North Carolina, according to lawyers for the company and former Blackwater officials.
Japan plans to strengthen its maritime security alliance with Sri Lanka to curb China’s growing influence on countries with Indian Ocean coastlines. A joint statement on maritime security cooperation will be issued after a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 14, sources said.
China, which replaced Japan as the largest aid provider to Sri Lanka in 2009, has been helping with construction of a number of port facilities in countries around India in a strategy known as the “String of Pearls.” A government source said tightening ties with Sri Lanka is “a step toward driving a wedge into the String of Pearls.”
Army Special Forces soldiers will not “infiltrate” Utah communities this summer — a plan that had riled residents suspicious of the government’s motives.Green Berets had planned to parachute into several central Utah counties, cross mountains and work with Utahns who would be playing roles as resisters to an enemy regime.
The Defense Department wants the soldiers to have fresh training in skills at the heart of Special Forces’ mission, such as covertly cultivating relationships with regular citizens and training resistance forces trying to liberate themselves from oppressive governments, said Col. Robert Dunton, a special projects officer for the Utah National Guard who was helping organize the exercise.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is in conflict with China over islets in the East China Sea, cited former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s reflections on the 1982 Falkland Islands war to stress the importance of the rule of law at sea. The Japanese Prime Minister, who took office in December, quoted Thatcher’s memoirs reflecting the Falkland Islands war, in which she said Britain was defending the fundamental principle that international law should prevail over the use of force, according to Reuters.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is intended, in part, to help protect active-duty members of the armed forces from having their homes taken away by foreclosure, but as we’ve seen, this hasn’t stopped banks from ignoring the law and taking those houses anyway. Now comes a report that banks have recently uncovered hundreds of additional wrongful foreclosures on the homes of servicemembers.
Clashes between protesters and the police in the restive Egyptian city of Port Said that entered their second day Monday have dragged in the military to a dramatic extent into the nation’s turmoil.
At times in the violence, frictions have arisen between the police that were battling protesters and army forces that tried to break up the fighting. Troops in between the two sides were overwhelmed by police tear gas, one army colonel was wounded by live fire, and troops even opened fire over the heads of police, bringing cheers from protesters.
With drastic decline in militancy, infiltrations from across the border and significant improvement in security situation the political class has genuinely been asking for repeal of some of the harsh security laws which are not required anymore.
However, at the same time the state government has come up with a draft legislation which puts Police ahead of every civilian organ of the State and the laws related to policing more stringent than those which are sought to be repealed, as in the case of Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
There are about 79 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide—and India’s government wants to hand its spy agency data on every one of them. In late 2012, back when it was still officially known as Research in Motion, the company behind BlackBerry handsets worked with the Indian government to enable surveillance of Blackberry Messenger and Blackberry Internet Service emails. But now India’s authorities are complaining that they can only spy on communications sent between the estimated 1 million BlackBerry users in India—and they want a list of all BlackBerry handsets across the globe.
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is pushing ahead with sweeping changes to the constitution, despite concerns that they signal a return to Japan’s inward-looking, militaristic regime of the early years of the 1900s. “My guess is that is that their view of Japan is that it should be more like pre-war Japan of the early 1930s,” said Masako Kamiya, a professor of law at Gakushuin University. “I believe there are a number of LDP members who share the view that it was not such a bad time, that there were some good things in that era,” she added.
In reaction to the escalations, the presidency issued a statement on Tuesday stating that President Mohamed Morsi submitted a new law proposal to the Shura Council to re-launch Port Said’s free trade zone.
Unrest continued in several Egyptian governorates on Tuesday, as calls for civil disobedience escalated in canal governorates and spread to the governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh. In reaction to the escalations, the presidency issued a statement on Tuesday stating that President Mohamed Morsi submitted a new law proposal to the Shura Council to re-launch Port Said’s free trade zone.
Activists in Burma have demanded action against officials who were responsible for the use of incendiary weapons against peaceful protesters at a copper mine, causing serious burns to dozens of people including Buddhist monks.
Lawyers and others who investigated the crackdown at the Letpadaung copper mine in November said President Thein Sein must share responsibility and ensure justice was achieved. Launching a report on the incident, they said police used shells containing white phosphorus, an incendiary munition, to disperse the protesters.
As concern mounts over the U.S. government’s use of aerial drones, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn on Thursday sent a clear message to his police department: whatever the government does, the Seattle police will not use the unmanned airplanes. McGinn’s decision to order an end to the program came after protests from residents and privacy advocates. Seattle is now one of about a dozen places in America where the use of these unmanned security vehicles are being challenged. Eleven states have already proposed anti-drone bills asking for a limit on such surveillance technology.
Israel’s first large gas field, Tamar, is due to begin producing natural gas next April. It is an economic bonanza for the state, and a security nightmare for the navy, tasked with protecting the huge area, much of which is outside Israel’s territorial waters.
“These fields have strategic significance and could be easily a target for our neighbors,” a senior naval official in charge of planning, told The Media Line in an exclusive briefing in his office in Tel Aviv. “Usually to protect an area, we just make a sterile zone around it. But we can’t do that in international territory.”
The EU and a large Israeli military contractor are co-funding research to build drones that can stop moving boats and cars.
Launched in January, the three-year-long Aeroceptor project, according to its own literature, aims to help law enforcement authorities to stop “non-cooperative vehicles in both land and sea scenarios by means of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”
Israel’s ministry of public security, global weapons manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries and Israeli-based Rotem Technological Solutions are among the list of 12 participants, most of which are based in the EU.
Over the past 30 years, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the federal prison population has jumped from 25,000 to 219,000 inmates, an increase of nearly 790 percent. Swollen by such figures, for years the United States has incarcerated far more people than any other country, today imprisoning some 716 people out of every 100,000. (Although CRS reports are not made public, a copy can be found here.)
“This is one of the major human rights problems within the United States, as many of the people caught up in the criminal justice system are low income, racial and ethnic minorities, often forgotten by society,” Maria McFarland, deputy director for the U.S. programme at Human Rights Watch, told IPS.
“We demand an immediate end to the military operation in Khyber Agency because it has not brought any results during the past three years,” says Iqbal Afridi from the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf party. “The military operations are killing the local population while the militants remained unharmed.”
Thousands of local tribal people, including students, civil society members and leaders of political parties joined the bereaved families in the protest against the army. “The military operations have brought lives of the eight million population in FATA to a standstill,” Afridi said. “The seven tribal agencies have remained under curfew and the population has become completely idle.”
US Consul General Michael Dodman has said that the US State Department will impose sanctions on Pakistan if it carries on work on the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project. He added it was a clear policy of the US because Iran had violated the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and was continuing nuclear proliferation.
He stated this while talking to selected journalists here at a local hotel on Monday.When asked that Pakistan as an independent country can chalk out a policy which suits it to address the energy crisis, he said that the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project was against the US laws so they will not support Pakistan in this regard.
Vigilantes patrol a dozen or more towns in rural Mexico, the unauthorized but often tolerated edge of a growing movement toward armed citizen self-defence squads across the country.
“The situation Mexico is experiencing, the crime, is what has given the communities the legitimacy to say, ‘We will assume the tasks that the government has not been able to fulfil,’” said rights activist Roman Hernandez, whose group Tlachinollan has worked with the community forces.
Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi declared a month-long state of emergency Sunday in three cities along the SuezCanal that have been the focus of anti-government violence that has killed dozens of people over the past four days. Seven people were shot dead and hundreds were injured in Port Said Sunday during the funerals of 33 protesters killed at the weekend. A total of 49 people have been killed in demonstrations around the country since Thursday and Mursi’s opponents have called for more protests Monday.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, aren’t just used for spying and dropping bombs. The civil applications for unmanned aircraft are numerous, from spreading pesticide on fields, to delivering medical supplies in remote areas, to monitoring hundreds of miles of oil pipelines for leaks.
The University of North Dakota recognizes this huge potential – the school now offers an undergraduate major in unmanned aircraft systems operations. Most soon-to-be graduates will end up in jobs that support the military. But program head Ben Trapnell said civilian uses will eventually far outpace those for defense.
Earlier this month, a report funded by the Greenwall Foundation examined the legal and ethical implications of using biologically enhanced humans on the battlefield. Given the Pentagon’s open acknowledgement that it’s working to create super-soldiers, this is quickly becoming a pertinent issue. We wanted to learn more, so we contacted one of the study’s authors. He told us that the use of cyber-soldiers could very well be interpreted as a violation of international law. Here’s why.
“Too often, our society falls prey to a ‘first generation’ problem — we wait until something terrible has happened, and then hastily draw up some ill-conceived plan to fix things after the fact, often with noxious unintended consequences,” Abney told io9.
It is being hailed as the first-ever Mexican counterpart to the CIA. But for this new “superministry” of government, established secretly over the past few weeks by just-installed President Enrique Peña Nieto, the main targets are the powerful and bloody organized crime networks that control the vast drug trade.
The objective of the National Intelligence Center (CNI) is to gather all the information generated by every Mexican governmental body linked to security and law enforcement.
One of the most disturbing trends in law enforcement in recent years is the hyper-paramilitarization of local police forces. Much of the funding for tanks for Fargo’s hometown cop shop comes from the Department of Homeland Security. The feds have a lot of money to throw around in the name of preventing terrorism, and municipalities want to get that money. As anyone who has done budgeting knows, the best way to ensure your funding stays high is to request a lot of money and spend it all.
More than a half century since it was established to confront the Cold War threat, North American Aerospace Defense Command is at a new crossroads as officials in the United States and Canada determine the capabilities it will need to confront emerging challenges and threats in the decades ahead.
Members of the Permanent Joint Board of Defense, the highest-level defense and security forum between the two countries, discussed the so-called “NORAD Next” concept during their meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo., last month, Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. J.A.J. “Alain” Parent, NORAD’s deputy commander, told American Forces Press Service.
Indonesia’s U.S.-funded police anti-terror squad has killed seven suspected militants recently, reviving allegations that the force is not trying to take suspects alive – a trend that appears to be fueling the very extremism the predominantly Muslim country is trying to counter.
Haris Azhar, chairman of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, an independent human rights group, said it appeared that the suspected militants were victims of “extrajudicial killings” and called for an independent investigation. He said Densus 88′s tactics were driving militancy because they added to feelings among some Muslims that they were under siege.
SAP Situational Awareness can help agencies improve their available information to sense, predict and act in real time. It facilitates rapid decision making with technology that includes:
SAP HANA: provides insight from massive amounts of incoming public safety data
SAP Business Objects BI: delivers information to command-and-control centers
SAP Sybase Mobile platform: makes data accessible to police officers and first responders via mobile devices, helping them to better anticipate and respond to rapidly evolving situations
The Chinese regime is planning to further tighten Internet control. The latest move is to make web users register with their real names when signing up with Internet and telecom service providers. State-run media say the new rules are for protecting Internet users’ personal information. Some see it as an attempt to further stifle online discussion. State-run media like People’s Daily have published editorials recently, emphasizing the need to control unverified information online.