Monday, July 30, 2012
DHS gears up for civil unrest prior to presidential elections
The Department of Homeland Security has ordered masses of riot gear equipment to prepare for potential significant domestic riots at the Republican National Convention, Democratic National Convention and next year’s presidential inauguration.
The DHS submitted a rushed solicitation to the Federal Business Opportunities site on Wednesday, which is a portal for Federal government procurement requisitions over $25,000. The request gave the potential suppliers only one day to submit their proposals and a 15-day delivery requirement to Alexandria, Virginia.
As the brief explains, “the objective of this effort is to procure riot gear to prepare for the 2012 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and other future similar activities.”
The total amount ordered is about 150 sets of riot helmets, thigh and groin protectors, hard-shell shin guards and other riot gear.
Specifically, DHS is looking to obtain:
- “147 riot helmets” with “adjustable tactical face shield with liquid seal”
- “147 sets of upper body and shoulder protection”
- “152 sets of thigh and groin protection”
- “147 hard-shell shin guards” with “substantial protection from flying debris, non-ballistic weapons, and blows to the leg” and “optimized protective design for severe riot control or tactical situations.”
- “156 forearm protectors”
- “147 pairs of tactical gloves”
The riot gear will be worn by Federal Protective Service agents who are tasked with protecting property, grounds and buildings owned by the federal government.
The urgency of the order can be explained by the fact that there is a growing anticipation that many demonstrators will travel to the Republican National Convention (RNC), scheduled for August 27-30 in Tampa Bay, Florida, and Democratic National Convention (DNC), planned for September 3-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The RNC itself, for example, will have free speech zones, which will serve as containment quarters for the protesters by not allowing them to leave the designated areas and cause trouble.
Another recent DHS move to gear up was back in March of this year, when it gave the defense contractor ATK a deal to provide the DHS with 450 million .40 caliber hollow-point ammunition over a five year period.
On top of that, the DHS has recently purchased a number of bullet-proof checkpoint booths and hired hundreds of new security guards to protect government buildings.
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 5:34 AM
Euro zone crisis heads for September crunch(Reuters) - Over the past couple of years, Europe has muddled through a long series of crunch moments in its debt crisis, but this September is shaping up as a "make-or-break" month as policymakers run desperately short of options to save the common currency.
Crisis or no crisis, many European policymakers will take their summer holidays in August. When they return, a number of crucial events, decisions and deadlines will be waiting.
"September will undoubtedly be the crunch time," one senior euro zone policymaker said.
In that month a German court makes a ruling that could neuter the new euro zone rescue fund, the anti-bailout Dutch vote in elections just as Greece tries to renegotiate its financial lifeline, and decisions need to be made on whether taxpayers suffer huge losses on state loans to Athens.
On top of that, the euro zone has to figure out how to help its next wobbling dominoes, Spain andItaly - or what do if one or both were to topple.
"In nearly 20 years of dealing with EU issues, I've never known a state of affairs like we are in now," one euro zone diplomat said this week. "It really is a very, very difficult fix and it's far from certain that we'll be able to find the right way out of it."
Since the crisis erupted in January 2010, the euro zone has had to rescue relative minnows in Greece, Ireland and Portugal as they lost the ability to fund their budget deficits and debt obligations by borrowing commercially at affordable rates.
Now two much larger economies are in the firing line and policymakers must consider ever more radical solutions.
If Spain, the euro zone's fourth biggest economy and the world's 12th, loses affordable market financing the next domino at risk of falling is Italy - the euro zone's third biggest economy and a member of the G7 group of big wealthy nations.
A bailout of Spain would probably be double those of Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined, while Italy's economy is twice as large as Spain's again.
The European Union has already agreed to lend up to 100 billion euros to rescue Spanish banks. One euro zone official said Madrid has now conceded that it might need a full bailout worth 300 billion euros from the EU and IMF if its borrowing costs remain unaffordable.
European officials have spent the past few days issuing a series of statements declaring they will act to halt the crisis.
In the latest, issued on Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Mario Monti "agreed that Germany and Italy would do everything to protect the euro zone".
The wording was similar to remarks by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi last week prompted buying in financial markets on the expectation that the bank would take steps to lower the cost of borrowing of Spain and Italy.
DEFLATING LIFE RAFT
The euro zone does not seem to have enough cash in the current setup to deal with a scenario of Spain and Italy needing a rescue, and a sense of doom is growing among some policymakers. Fighting the crisis, said the euro zone diplomat, is like trying to keep a life raft above water.
"For two years we've been pumping up the life raft, taking decisions that fill it with just enough air to keep it afloat even though it has a leak," the diplomat said. "But now the leak has got so big that we can't pump air into the raft quickly enough to keep it afloat."
Compounding the problems, Greece is far behind with reforms to improve its finances and economy so it may need more time, more money and a debt reduction from euro zone governments.
If Greek debt cannot be made sustainable, the country may have to leave the euro zone, sending a shockwave across financial markets and the European economy.
September 12 is a crucial date in the European diary. On that day the German Constitutional Court is scheduled to rule on whether a treaty establishing the euro zone's permanent bailout fund, the 500 billion euro European Stability Mechanism (ESM), is compatible with the German constitution.
A positive ruling is vital, because Germany is the biggest funder of the ESM, and the euro zone would be powerless to protect Spain or Italy without the ESM.
On the same day, parliamentary elections are held in the Netherlands where popular opposition to spending any more money on bailing out spendthrift euro zone governments is strong. The Dutch vote may complicate talks on a revised second bailout for Greece, which also has to be agreed in September.
Athens wants two more years than originally planned to cut its budget deficit to below 3 percent of GDP, so as not to impose yet more spending cuts on a country which is already in a depression.
This would mean Greece's 130 billion euro second bailout package may need to be increased by 20-50 billion euros, according to estimates by some euro zone officials and economists, and there is no appetite in the euro zone to give Greece yet more extra money.
More importantly Greece needs to bring its debt, which is equal to 160 percent of its annual economic output, under control. This means euro zone governments, which own roughly two thirds of it, may need to write part of it off.
Private creditors have already suffered a huge writedown in the value of their Greek debt holdings but so far euro zone taxpayers have not lost a cent on any of the bailouts.
LAST CHANCE OPTIONS
Policymakers are working on "last chance" options to bring Greece's debts down and keep it in the euro zone, with the ECB and national central banks looking at also taking significant losses on the value of their bond holdings, officials said.
If governments swallowed the bitter pill by also accepting a cut in the value of their contributions to loans already made to Greece, this would break a taboo and could provoke demands for similar treatment from Ireland or Portugal.
Peter Vanden Houte, chief economist at ING bank, said euro governments might be forced to accept a halving of the value of their Greek debt - known in the business as haircut.
"If Greece is to be saved, we must see some debt forgiveness from euro zone governments in the coming years because otherwise Greece is never going to come out of the situation it is in now," he said. "We are talking about potentially a 50 percent haircut, which would still mean the Greek debt would be (proportionately) around the euro zone average."
The euro zone would want concessions from Athens. "Most probably in exchange, euro zone partners will be more strict on Greek compliance with structural reforms and may ask Greece to give up some sovereignty," said Vanden Houte.
While no official discussions are underway on another Greek debt restructuring, euro zone officials say privately it may be necessary if Greece is to have a fighting chance.
"The Greeks might say they are in such a mess that to survive they we need to ease up the austerity a bit, and to still regain debt sustainability they will have to default on 30-40 percent of the loans," one euro zone official said.
"There would be a lot of people saying this is understandable, so maybe this makes sense and maybe we could have a reasonable discussion among the member states on how Greece can move forward," the official said.
The official speculated that euro zone debt forgiveness for Greece could be made dependent on progress in structural reforms or that it could be reviewed once Athens has to start paying back the capital of the loans in 10 years.
"Maybe we could agree to give debt relief of, say, 25 percent to make possible some changes in the programme. Then we implement that for six months or a year and maybe we find out that we need to give them another 25 percent and at the end of the day we might get to a stable situation," the official said.
The situation will become clearer once international lenders produce a new debt sustainability analysis for Greece at the end of August.
THE BATTLE OF SPAIN
Preventing Spain and Italy from losing debt market access may require the crossing of another red line - ECB help in keeping down governments' borrowing costs.
Draghi signalled last Thursday the bank was ready to act, indicating it may revive its programme of buying bonds of troubled governments on the secondary market.
"Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough," Draghi said. "To the extent that the size of the sovereign premia (borrowing costs) hamper the functioning of the monetary policy transmission channels, they come within our mandate."
However, Germany has always been hostile to the idea and the Bundesbank said on Friday that it continued to view it "in a critical fashion".
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble dismissed suggestions Spain will ask the bailout fund to try to lower its borrowing costs by purchasing its bonds.
Spain faces high borrowing costs because investors fear they will not get their money back. The Spanish economy is shrinking, many of its autonomous regions need bailouts from Madrid and banks need the recapitalisation of up to 100 billion euros.
Madrid still has to raise about 50 billion euros on the market by the end of the year. This may be impossible if its funding costs stay well above 7 percent for 10-year bonds.
Draghi's remarks knocked yields down by more than 40 basis points to below 7 percent on Thursday, but they could quickly climb back if the market does not see firm ECB buying soon.
The ECB also seems to be softening its stance on another taboo - giving the ESM a banking licence so the fund can borrow from the ECB against euro zone government bonds.
If Spain or Italy applied for euro zone help in bringing down their borrowing costs, the temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bailout fund or the ESM could help.
But with their combined firepower, under current agreements, of 459.5 billion euros until July 2013 and at 500 billion from July 2014, the funds do not have enough to impress markets.
If the ESM could refinance itself at the ECB, however, it would have virtually unlimited firepower for bond market intervention without causing inflationary pressure.
Discussions on the banking licence for the ESM have been going on in the background for many months, officials said, with France openly calling for such a solution, but Germany, Finland and the Netherlands strongly against.
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 5:28 AM
Syria has expanded its chemical weapons arsenal in recent years with help from Iran and by using front organizations to buy sophisticated equipment it claimed was for civilian programs, according to documents and interviews.
The buildup has taken place despite attempts by the United States and other Western countries to block the sale of precursor chemicals and so-called dual-use technology to Damascus, according to the documents.
As recently as 2010, documents show that the European Union provided $14.6 million in technical assistance and equipment, some intended for chemical plants, in a deal with the Syrian Ministry of Industry. Diplomats and arms experts have identified the ministry as a front for the country’s chemical weapons program.
Recognizing the potential for Syria to divert equipment to the weapons program, the E.U. stipulated that it be allowed to conduct spot checks on how it was used. But the inspections were halted in May 2011 when the organization imposed sanctions on Syria after the crackdown on opposition groups.
Concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal took on new significance this week when a top Syrian official warned that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would use them “in the event of external aggression.”
U.S. officials have expressed concerns over whether Assad would authorize using the weapons against his own people as a last-ditch effort to remain in power. Similarly, officials have said they worry about the security of the arsenal if Assad’s government falls.
The portrait of Syria’s efforts to develop a larger chemical weapons program emerged from E.U. documents, a handful of little-noticed State Department cables released by WikiLeaks and interviews with outside experts.
Arms experts say Syria has pursued a two-pronged strategy to build and grow its chemical weapons stockpile: overt assistance and procurement of chemical precursors and expertise from Iran, coupled with the acquisition of equipment and chemicals from seemingly unwitting businesses in other countries, in many cases through a network of front organizations.
The materials are often dual use, with purposes in civilian plants and in weapons facilities.
A 2006 cable recounts a confidential presentation by German officials to the Australia Group, an informal forum for 40 nations plus the European Commission that protects against the spread of chemical weapons. The cable described Syria’s cooperation with Iran on Syria’s development of new chemical weapons, noting that Syria was building up to five new sites producing precursors to chemical weapons.
“Iran would provide the construction design and equipment to annually produce tens to hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin, and mustard [gas],” said the cable, written by a U.S. diplomat. “Engineers from Iran’s DIO [Defense Industries Organization] were to visit Syria and survey locations for the plants, and construction was scheduled from the end of 2005-2006.”
A 2008 State Department cable summarized a presentation by Australian officials to the monitoring group that concluded Syria had become sophisticated in its efforts to move equipment and resources from civilian programs to weapons development.
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 5:14 AM
U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon shared Washington's contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran with Israel's PM, according to a senior American official.
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 5, 2012.
The U.S. national security adviser has shared with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the United States' contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran.
According to a senior American official, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon briefed Netanyahu on the plans during Donilon's visit to Israel two weeks ago. According to the official, who requested anonymity, Netanyahu hosted Donilon at a three-hour dinner. For part of the time, Israel's national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror, was on hand.
Donilon sought to make clear that the United States is seriously preparing for the possibility that negotiations will reach a dead end and military action will become necessary. He said reports of such preparations were not just a way to assuage Israel's concerns.
Donilon's talks in Jerusalem were the most significant so far between American and Israeli officials here in recent weeks. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns have been in Israel as well.
According to the American official, Donilon shared information on U.S. weaponry and military capabilities for dealing with Iran's nuclear facilities, including those deep underground.
But another U.S. official involved in the talks with Israel said that "based on the intelligence we have, we think there is still time for diplomacy, and the time for a military operation against Iran has not yet come."
A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, Tommy Vietor, declined to comment on the details of a private conversation between Netanyahu and Donilon.
In any case, the secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Michael Donley, told the Capitol Hill Club last week that the force's new bunker buster bombs were ready for use if needed. In recent months, the bombs have undergone technical improvements.
The bombs, each weighing 15 tons, would be intended for fortified bunkers deep underground where chemical or nuclear weapons are stored. This would include the uranium enrichment facility deep inside the mountains near the Iranian city of Qom.
The United States has told Israel several times that the existence of such weapons means Iran will never reach the point where its nuclear facilities are immune to attack.
American attempts to allay Israeli concerns will continue this week with the arrival Tuesday of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. On Wednesday he will meet with Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and senior security and intelligence officials.
The United States and its allies continue to ratchet up the economic and diplomatic pressure on Tehran, but it seems these efforts have yet to bear fruit. Despite U.S. efforts, the diplomatic channel vis-a-vis Iran seems at an impasse.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has been informed of the lack of progress in talks with the Iranians at a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Ashton is holding talks in Brussels with Iran as the representative of the six powers: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
The day before Ashton's meeting with Lieberman, her deputy, Helga Schmid, met in Istanbul with Iran's deputy chief of negotiations, Ali Bagheri. According to a senior Israeli official, when Lieberman and his associates asked Schmid how the meeting ended, they were told there was nothing new.
Lieberman told Ashton that the stalled talks proved that the time had come to move from talk to action to stop Iran. Ashton, who is to meet in the coming days with the head of Iran's negotiating team, Saeed Jalili, told Lieberman she had not given up on diplomatic efforts.
The Israeli official said Ashton said she had to persevere in the talks so she could show Europeans that she had done everything possible before abandoning the diplomatic track.
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 5:03 AM
Could we in fact being seeing the BREAKING of the covenant between Israel and US a day AFTER it was signed? That would put us SMACK DAB on the cusp of the GREAT TRIB which is the LAST half which will see the Psalms 83 war which looks like its fixing to happen as ALL THE WORLD POWERS ARE GATHERING in Syria!!! WE ARE THERE!!!
WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA station chief opened the locked box containing the sensitive equipment he used from his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, to communicate with CIA headquarters in Virginia, only to find that someone had tampered with it. He sent word to his superiors about the break-in.
The incident, described by three former senior US intelligence officials, might have been dismissed as just another cloak-and-dagger incident in the world of international espionage, except that the same thing had happened to the previous station chief in Israel.
It was a not-so-subtle reminder that, even in a country friendly to the United States, the CIA was itself being watched.
However, in a separate episode, according to another two former US officials, a CIA officer in Israel came home to find the food in the refrigerator had been rearranged. In all the cases, the US government believes Israel’s security services were responsible.
On Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying the report was false.
Such meddling underscores what is widely known but rarely discussed outside intelligence circles: Despite inarguable ties between the US and its closest ally in the Middle East and despite statements from US politicians trumpeting the friendship, US national security officials consider Israel to be, at times, a frustrating ally and a genuine counterintelligence threat.
In addition to what the former US officials described as intrusions in homes in the past decade, Israel has been implicated in US criminal espionage cases and disciplinary proceedings against CIA officers and blamed in the presumed death of an important spy in Syria for the CIA during the administration of President George W. Bush.
The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency’s Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East, according to current and former officials. Counterintelligence is the art of protecting national secrets from spies. This means the CIA believes that US national secrets are safer from other Middle Eastern governments than from Israel.
Israel employs highly sophisticated, professional spy services that rival American agencies in technical capability and recruiting human sources. Unlike Iran or Syria, for example, Israel as a steadfast US ally enjoys access to the highest levels of the US government in military and intelligence circles.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about the sensitive intelligence and diplomatic issues between the two countries.
The counterintelligence worries continue even as the US relationship with Israel features close cooperation on intelligence programs that reportedly included the Stuxnet computer virus that attacked computers in Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities. While the alliance is central to the US approach in the Middle East, there is room for intense disagreement, especially in the diplomatic turmoil over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“It’s a complicated relationship,” said Joseph Wippl, a former senior CIA clandestine officer and head of the agency’s office of congressional affairs. “They have their interests. We have our interests. For the US, it’s a balancing act.”
The way Washington characterizes its relationship with Israel is also important to the way the US is regarded by the rest of the world, particularly Muslim countries.
US political praise has reached a crescendo ahead of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s scheduled meeting Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Their relationship spans decades, since their brief overlap in the 1970s at the Boston Consulting Group. Both worked as advisers for the firm early in their careers before Romney co-founded his own private-equity firm. Romney said in a speech this past week that Israel was “one of our fondest friends,” and he criticized Obama for what he called the administration’s “shabby treatment” of the Jewish state.
“The people of Israel deserve better than what they’ve received from the leader of the free world,” Romney said in a plain appeal to US Jewish and pro-Israel evangelical voters.
Obama, who last year was overheard appearing to endorse criticism of Netanyahu from then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has defended his work with Israel. “We’ve gotten a lot of business done with Israel over the last three years,” Obama said this year. “I think the prime minister — and certainly the defense minister — would acknowledge that we’ve never had closer military and intelligence cooperation.”
An Israeli spokesman in Washington, Lior Weintraub, said his country has close ties with the US.
“Israel’s intelligence and security agencies maintain close, broad and continuous cooperation with their US counterparts,” Weintraub said. “They are our partners in confronting many mutual challenges. Any suggestion otherwise is baseless and contrary to the spirit and practice of the security cooperation between our two countries.”
The CIA declined comment.
The tension exists on both sides.
The National Security Agency historically has kept tabs on Israel. The US, for instance, does not want to be caught off guard if Israel launches a surprise attack that could plunge the region into war and jeopardize oil supplies, putting American soldiers at risk.
Matthew Aid, the author of “The Secret Sentry,” about the NSA, said the US started spying on Israel even before the state was created in 1948. Aid said the US had a station on Cyprus dedicated to spying on Israel until 1974. Today, teams of Hebrew linguists are stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, at the NSA, listening to intercepts of Israeli communications, he said.
CIA policy generally forbids its officers in Tel Aviv from recruiting Israeli government sources, officials said. To do so would require approval from senior CIA leaders, two former senior officials said. During the Bush administration, the approval had to come from the White House.
Israel is not America’s closest ally, at least when it comes to whom Washington trusts with the most sensitive national security information. That distinction belongs to a group of nations known informally as the “Five Eyes.” Under that umbrella, the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand agree to share intelligence and not to spy on one another. Often, U.S. intelligence officers work directly alongside counterparts from these countries to handle highly classified information not shared with anyone else.
Israel is part of a second-tier relationship known by another informal name, “Friends on Friends.” It comes from the phrase “Friends don’t spy on friends,” and the arrangement dates back decades. But Israel’s foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, and its FBI equivalent, the Shin Bet, both considered among the best in the world, have been suspected of recruiting US officials and trying to steal American secrets.
Around 2004 or 2005, the CIA fired two female officers for having unreported contact with Israelis. One of the women acknowledged during a polygraph exam that she had been in a relationship with an Israeli who worked in the Foreign Ministry, a former US official said. The CIA learned the Israeli introduced the woman to his “uncle.” That person worked for Shin Bet.
Jonathan Pollard, who worked for the Navy as a civilian intelligence analyst, was convicted of spying for Israel in 1987 when the Friends on Friends agreement was in effect. He was sentenced to life in prison. The Israelis for years have tried to win his release. In January 2011, Netanyahu asked Obama to free Pollard and acknowledged that Israel’s actions in the case were “wrong and wholly unacceptable.”
Ronald Olive, a former senior supervisor with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service who investigated Pollard, said that after the arrest, the U.S. formed a task force to determine what government records Pollard had taken. Olive said Israel turned over so few that it represented “a speck in the sand.”
In the wake of Pollard, the Israelis promised not to operate intelligence agents on U.S. soil.
A former Army mechanical engineer, Ben-Ami Kadish, pleaded guilty in 2008 to passing classified secrets to the Israelis during the 1980s. His case officer was the same one who handled Pollard. Kadish let the Israelis photograph documents about nuclear weapons, a modified version of an F-15 fighter jet and the US Patriot missile air defense system. Kadish, who was 85 years old when he was arrested, avoided prison and was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. He told the judge that, “I thought I was helping the state of Israel without harming the United States.”
In 2006, a former Defense Department analyst was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for giving classified information to an Israeli diplomat and two pro-Israel lobbyists.
Despite the Pollard case and others, Olive said he believes the two countries need to maintain close ties “but do we still have to be vigilant? Absolutely. The Israelis are good at what they do.”
During the Bush administration, the CIA ranked some of the world’s intelligence agencies in order of their willingness to help in the US-led fight against terrorism. One former US intelligence official who saw the completed list said Israel, which hadn’t been directly targeted in attacks by al-Qaida, fell below Libya, which recently had agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
The espionage incidents have done little to slow the billions of dollars in money and weapons from the United States to Israel. Since Pollard’s arrest, Israel has received more than $60 billion in US aid, mostly in the form of military assistance, according to the Congressional Research Service. The US has supplied Israel with Patriot missiles, helped pay for an anti-missile defense program and provided sensitive radar equipment to track Iranian missile threats.
Just on Friday, Obama said he was releasing an additional $70 million in military aid, a previously announced move that appeared timed to upstage Romney’s trip, and he spoke of America’s “unshakable commitment to Israel.” The money will go to help Israel expand production of a short-range rocket defense system.
Some CIA officials still bristle over the disappearance of a Syrian scientist who during the Bush administration was the CIA’s only spy inside Syria’s military program to develop chemical and biological weapons. The scientist was providing the agency with extraordinary information about pathogens used in the program, former US officials said about the previously unknown intelligence operation.
At the time, there was pressure to share information about weapons of mass destruction, and the CIA provided its intelligence to Israel. A former official with direct knowledge of the case said details about Syria’s program were published in the media. Although the CIA never formally concluded that Israel was responsible, CIA officials complained to Israel about their belief that the Israelis were leaking the information to pressure Syria to abandon the program. The Syrians pieced together who had access to the sensitive information and eventually identified the scientist as a traitor.
Before he disappeared and was presumed killed, the scientist told his CIA handler that Syrian Military Intelligence was focusing on him.
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 3:35 AM
Sunday, July 29, 2012
A crowd scheduled to ascend the Temple Mount held a reading of the Book of Lamentations, Outside the entrance to the Temple Mount.
A crowd scheduled to ascend the Temple Mount but not allowed to enter held an impromptu reading of the Book of Eicha -- Lamentations -- sitting on the ground outside the entrance following an abrupt banning of all non-Muslim visitors to the site on Sunday morning.
The crowd had gathered to mark the postponed fast of Tisha B'Av -- the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av -- the date of the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples in Jerusalem.
Police pushed the crowd to the side and put up portable metal barricades, but did not prevent the reading from taking place.
Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute was one of those who helped organize the annual visit. He told Arutz Sheva, "we had been told all week long that the Temple Mount would definitely be open to Jewish people on Tisha B'Av morning at 7:30 a.m. We had been told by the highest commanders. Then, over 20 minutes later, a policeman came out and said 'Sorry, we've decided that it's closed today,' with no explanation." Phone calls to police contacts confirmed the commander of the Jerusalem District Police had decided keep the site closed.
Christian visitors and tourists from foreign countries who had scheduled visits for the morning were also denied entry.
"It's a total disregard to the feelings of those who just want to be close to this holy place," the rabbi said. "This is the heart and soul of the Jewish people. We came because we believe that the process of mourning has to be replaced by a process of building, and going up to the Temple Mount in purity according to halacha (Jewish law) is the beginning of the process of rebuilding."
Rabbi Richman said that the Holy Temple is supposed to be a spiritual center for the entire world, "as Isaiah states, "'For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.'"
The Temple Institute and other groups that facilitate visits instruct all visitors to the Temple Mount to immerse in a mikvah (ritual pool of purifying waters) beforehand, and to wear only non-leather shoes. Visitors do not enter any building on the Temple Mount and mostly stay on the outer sidewalk area.
One older woman waiting to ascend to the Temple Mount identified herself as a Holocaust survivor. She vocally protested as police forces began to arrive to the site to cordon off the group. The woman told the officers that she was a survivor and that it was wrong to ban them from visiting the site. "This is the only country in the world where Jewish people are denied access to our holy places," the woman stated.
Another participant was Moshe Feiglin, head of the Mahigut Yehudit faction of the Likud party. Feiglin is a regular visitor to the site. He briefly addressed the crowd following the reading of Lamentations and decried what he called the lack of religious freedom.
The Temple Institute estimated that at least 200 people arrived for the scheduled annual visit.
Below: Photos from outside the Temple Mount entrance and at the Westen Wall plaza.
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 6:24 AM
Extent of surface melt over Greenland’s ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. In the image, the areas classified as “probable melt” (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as “melt” (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. The satellites are measuring different physical properties at different scales and are passing over Greenland at different times. As a whole, they provide a picture of an extreme melt event about which scientists are very confident. Credit: Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI/NASA GSFC, and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory
› Hi-res of left image
› Hi-res of right image
For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.
On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July.
Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise.
"The Greenland ice sheet is a vast area with a varied history of change. This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story," said Tom Wagner, NASA's cryosphere program manager in Washington. "Satellite observations are helping us understand how events like these may relate to one another as well as to the broader climate system."
Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was analyzing radar data from the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Oceansat-2 satellite last week when he noticed that most of Greenland appeared to have undergone surface melting on July 12. Nghiem said, "This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?"
Nghiem consulted with Dorothy Hall at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Hall studies the surface temperature of Greenland using the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. She confirmed that MODIS showed unusually high temperatures and that melt was extensive over the ice sheet surface.
Thomas Mote, a climatologist at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga; and Marco Tedesco of City University of New York also confirmed the melt seen by Oceansat-2 and MODIS with passive-microwave satellite data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder on a U.S. Air Force meteorological satellite.
The melting spread quickly. Melt maps derived from the three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet's surface had melted. By July 12, 97 percent had melted.
This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland's weather since the end of May. "Each successive ridge has been stronger than the previous one," said Mote. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later. By July 16, it had begun to dissipate.
Even the area around Summit Station in central Greenland, which at 2 miles above sea level is near the highest point of the ice sheet, showed signs of melting. Such pronounced melting at Summit and across the ice sheet has not occurred since 1889, according to ice cores analyzed by Kaitlin Keegan at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station at Summit confirmed air temperatures hovered above or within a degree of freezing for several hours July 11-12.
"Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. "But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome."
Nghiem's finding while analyzing Oceansat-2 data was the kind of benefit that NASA and ISRO had hoped to stimulate when they signed an agreement in March 2012 to cooperate on Oceansat-2 by sharing data.
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 6:16 AM
1. Hooray for the Industrial Revolution
Huge chimneys emerge from the ground to symbolise the industrial revolution during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
2. Creepy baby
A general view of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. With giant, creepy baby. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
3. A salute to socialized medicine
Dancers perform in the Great Ormond Street Hospital and NHS scene during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GettyImages)
4. Mary Poppins vs Voldemort
An actor dressed as Mary Poppins performs in the Great Ormond Street Hospital and NHS scene during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. (LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)
A puppet is displayed in the Great Ormond Street Hospital and NHS scene during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GettyImages)
5. Tribute to cell-phone hookups
Artists perform during the "Night Out" scene in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. Not pictured: the young couple featured in the opening ceremony storyline, who flirt with each other by cell phone and social media before finally meeting up and making out. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GettyImages)
6. RIP Sid Vicious
Performers pay tribute to British music, including the Sex Pistols, during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
7. The guy who actually invented the internet
A general view is displayed while artists perform during a segment honoring Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
8. Peasant women and goats
Artists walk goats as they perform in the British meadow scene during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)
9. David Beckham fake-drives a boat
David Beckham drives a speedboat carrying the Olympic flame to the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony on July 27, 2012 in London, England. Athletes, heads of state and dignitaries from around the world have gathered in the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 30th Olympiad. London plays host to the Olympic Games which will see 26 sports contested by 10,500 athletes over 17 days of competition. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
10. Queen Elizabeth's 007-style entrance
An actor dressed to resemble Britain's Queen Elizabeth II parachutes over the stadium during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012. (OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 5:55 AM
Chana Ya'ari - Arutz Sheva
Knesset Member Professor Aryeh Eldad is proposing that Israel “cut up and move” the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount "when the third Temple will be built."
The MK, referred to the time of the Messiah, when the Third Holy Temple, or the Beit HaMikdash HaShlishi, as it is called in Hebrew, will be built, noting it would seem that the two structures could not exist in the same space, on the same site, at the same time.
During a march around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem on the night of Tisha B'Av conducted by the Women in Green movement,
Eldad stood near the Lions' Gate and exhorted participants to “remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples.... the uprooting of [Jewish towns in] Gush Katif and northern Samaria.
"Even today there are attempts to destroy [Jewish] communities,” Eldad said. “This circling won't take us farther, but rather will bring us closer, closer to a solution to the heart of the problem regarding the sovereignty over the State of Israel, sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
"We should not avoid it with any sort of judicial excuse, nor postpone it with a deal on building 100 homes instead of 10,” he added, making reference to the recent negotiations over the destruction of a neighborhood in the town of Beit El.
"We must discuss the core issues – not just talk, but rather, also act."
Eldad said much could be learned from the “problematic deal” signed recently regarding Givat Ha'Ulpana in Beit El. “It is that they decided there not to demolish the homes, but rather, to cut them in pieces,” he noted.
Part of the proposal advanced by the government in order to vacate land that Palestinian Authority Arabs claimed was privately owned was that the houses -- which would not be destroyed -- would be sawed into parts and then would be reassembled elsewhere, on another section of land owned by the military in the area of Beit El.
"Let us learn that even more so, this applies when the time comes to build the Holy Temple, and that will be soon. We will then cut up the structure which is there now,” he proposed.
“We will cut it up, and they can take it wherever they want – because that is where the Third Holy Temple should and will stand – speedily in our days!”
Posted by Cyber Tribe Network at 4:19 AM