We begin with the latest major move in Cold War 2.0 from the New York Times:
U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A sprawling new plant here in a former soybean field makes the mechanical guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last month, modernizes the aging weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines.
It is part of a nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price tag, over the next three decades, at up to a trillion dollars.
This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for “a nuclear-free world” and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy. The original idea was that modest rebuilding of the nation’s crumbling nuclear complex would speed arms refurbishment, raising confidence in the arsenal’s reliability and paving the way for new treaties that would significantly cut the number of warheads.
And on with the major MENA hot zone with Reuters:
Islamic State urges attacks on U.S., French citizens, taunts Obama
Islamic State urged its followers on Monday to attack citizens of the United States, France and other countries which have joined a coalition to destroy the ultra-radical group.
Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani also taunted U.S. President Barack Obama and other Western “crusaders” in a statement carried by the SITE monitoring website, saying their forces faced inevitable defeat at the insurgents’ hands.
The United States is building an international coalition to combat the extremist Sunni Muslim force, which has seized large expanses of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate erasing borders in the heart of the Middle East.
A response from North of the Border with Canadian Press:
Stephen Harper vows to do more at home and abroad to counter extremism as ISIS accuses Canada of meddling
Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to do more both at home and abroad to counter Islamic extremism Monday in response to a new threat levelled directly at Canada.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham issued a new audio recording late Sunday calling for jihadists to kill westerners — military or civilian — from countries involved in the battle against ISIS in northern Iraq, including “Canadians.”
Security agencies have been tracking these events for some time, Harper told a news conference.
“We have, as you know, strengthened laws in this country to deal with these kinds of threats,” he said. “We are currently in the process of examining these laws and examining other means we may have to monitor and to take action against both organizations and individuals who may undertake activities that are potentially threatening to Canadians.”
Another response via the Associated Press:
UN to bind nations on new foreign terrorist rules
The U.N. Security Council is expected to adopt a binding resolution this week that would require nations to bar their citizens from traveling abroad to join terrorism organizations, part of a U.S.-led effort to galvanize the international community against what Obama administration officials call an “unprecedented” threat from extremists flocking to Syria and Iraq.
Obama administration officials touted the measure, which they said had been negotiated over several months, as a significant step in their strategy against the Islamic State group and other militant organizations that are drawing Europeans, Americans into their violent orbit. But they acknowledged that the UN resolution has no enforcement mechanism and that the international community has no single definition of what constitutes a terrorist group.
“This is really designed to sort of elevate the collective nature of the threat,” a senior Obama administration official told a group of reporters Monday, speaking under ground rules that she not be identified.
Channel NewsAsia Singapore covers another:
Australia says deploying warplanes to join Iraq campaign
Australian warplanes are being deployed to the Middle East to join the US-led campaign of air strikes on jihadist targets in northern Iraq, Defence Minister David Johnston said on Monday (Sep 22).
“We will provide a number of military platforms, up to eight Super Hornet aircraft to participate in a US-led coalition in delivering air strikes,” he told reporters in Baghdad after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sep 14 that Australia would send fighter jets and forces to the United Arab Emirates as its contribution to the US-led military effort against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.
While Want China Times covers an ancillary front:
East Turkestan separatists training with ISIS, plan to return to China
Members of China’s East Turkestan independence movement are heading to the Middle East to train and fight alongside the Islamic State, the brutal jihadist group also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), reports the Global Times, a tabloid under the auspices of the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily.
Based on a joint interview with anti-terrorism authorities in China, Indonesia, Turkey and Syria, it is believed that the Chinese separatists — ethnic Uyghur radicals who want to establish an independent Islamic state in northwestern China’s restive Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region — are sneaking out of the country to join Islamic State forces training and fighting in Iraq and Syria. Their aims are to earn more recognition from international terrorist groups, establish communication channels, and to develop “real combat experience” before taking their knowledge back to China, the Global Times said, adding that the international community, including the Chinese government, must cooperate and share intelligence to eradicate the growing global terrorism threat.
News of Chinese nationals joining Islamic State forces have been on the rise in recent weeks. Earlier this month, two photos posted on a Facebook page purportedly operated by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence showed a badly beaten man apparently captured by the Iraqi Army, along with a short message describing the man as a Chinese member of the Islamic State.
From the Guardian, a potential stumbling block:
MoD facing legal challenge over armed drone deployment outside Afghanistan
- News comes amid claims RAF’s Reaper squadron could operate against jihadists in the Middle East
The government is facing a legal challenge over the deployment of its armed drones as British officials come before a United Nations inquiry this week into the legality of targeted killings.
Amid claims the RAF’s Reaper squadron could move from Afghanistan to operate against jihadists in the Middle East, Whitehall has been criticised for its reluctance to engage with the Geneva-based investigation.
The Ministry of Defence has repeatedly refused to state what it intends to do with the 10 Reapers – controlled remotely from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire and a USAF base in Creech, Nevada – once UK operations in Afghanistan finish in December.
While TheLocal.it throws in a wild card:
‘Israelis support using atomic bomb against Isis’
The majority of Israeli citizens back using an atomic bomb in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis), ex-Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has claimed.
Speaking to supporters by the shores of Lake Garda, Berlusconi said there is “great anguish within the Israeli population” over the rise of Isis jihadists.
“I can’t reveal my sources, but I can tell you with certainty that at the moment the majority of Israeli citizens are thinking it’s correct to defend themselves with the atomic bomb,” he was quoted in Corriere della Sera as saying.
Motherboard has a blast from the past:
The CIA Used Artificial Intelligence to Interrogate Its Own Agents in the 80s
The CIA has notoriously been, well, “innovative” in developing new interrogation techniques (if you consider waterboarding an innovation, at least). Newly declassified documents reveal that willingness to experiment is nothing new: 30 years ago, the spy agency pitted one of its own agents against an artificial intelligence interrogator.
The documents in question, written in 1983 and titled “Interrogation of an Alleged CIA Agent,” describe a series of experimental tests conducted in the early 1980s in which the CIA repeatedly interrogated its own agent, referred to in the report as Joe Hardesty, using a primitive AI called Analiza.
The declassified document is both fascinating in its distinct retrofuture flavour and eerily prescient nature, because the US government is now set to use virtual entities to conduct national security interviews. It’s also kind of hilarious, because the interrogation transcript reads like a conversation with a really frustrating chatbot.
While the Washington Post finds the very curious in the nation’s capital:
Tech firm tries to pull back curtain on surveillance efforts in Washington
As a black sedan pulled into downtown Washington traffic earlier this week, a man in the back seat with a specially outfitted smartphone in each hand was watching for signs of surveillance in action. “Whoa, we’ve just been hit twice on this block,” he said, excitement rising in his voice, not far from FBI headquarters.
Then as the car passed the Federal Trade Commission’s limestone edifice, “Okay, we just got probed.” Then again, just a few minutes later, as the car moved between the Supreme Court and the Capitol, he said, “That’s the beginning of an interception.”
The man was Aaron Turner, chief executive of Integricell, a mobile security company. The specially outfitted smartphones, he said, are designed to act like high-tech divining rods that warn users of suspicious mobile activity, potentially indicating surveillance equipment used by police, intelligence agencies and others to track people and snoop on their calls.
Known as IMSI catchers, for the unique identifying phone code called an IMSI, the surveillance devices trick mobile phones into thinking they have logged onto legitimate cell networks, such as Verizon or AT&T, when in fact the signals have been hijacked.
A video report from RT:
Capitol Surveillance: Unidentified tracking devices found in Washington
The US capital is flooded with phone calls and other data on a daily basis but all of it is being intercepted by sources unknown. RT’s Gayane Chichakyan reports.
From the Los Angeles Times, one surveillance camera we heartily endorse:
L.A. County sheriff’s deputies test 4 types of body cameras
As a patrol deputy at Carson station, Dennis Conway carried an audio recorder to document what happened when he stopped or arrested someone.
The recorder was his own — he was among a sizable group of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who carry their own personal devices to protect themselves from false allegations.
A few weeks ago, Conway exchanged his audio recorder for a high-tech camera pinned to his shirt that starts filming at the press of a button.
“It’s given me the peace of mind that the person I’m dealing with is not going to say the opposite of what happened,” he said. “It’s all recorded, and the transparency is there.”
Conway and other deputies have begun testing four types of body cameras as part of a pilot program that may eventually lead to the department-wide recording of everything from routine traffic stops to deputy-involved shootings. Until now, the Sheriff’s Department has not used in-car cameras or body cameras.
From the New York Times, good candidates for the same cameras:
Report Found Distorted Data on Jail Fights at Rikers Island
After years of teenage inmates being slashed, stabbed and maimed, it appeared that the jail for adolescents at Rikers Island had finally been brought under control. In April 2011, a new warden and deputy warden were named, and almost immediately, official tallies of inmate fights fell by two-thirds.
The correction commissioner at the time hailed the accomplishment at a City Council hearing and gave the men an award for their “exceptional efforts.” Within a month, both officials were promoted.
Then came the tip to Correction Department investigators: Violence wasn’t down. The data was wrong.
A dozen investigators eventually produced a confidential report, obtained by The New York Times, which concluded that hundreds of inmate fights had been omitted from departmental statistics; that the warden, William Clemons, and the deputy warden, Turhan Gumusdere, had “abdicated all responsibility” in reporting the statistics and that both should be demoted.
After the jump, Google malvertising and drones, Obama sells missiles to Poland and China sells ‘em to Saudis, a hint of a Zambian online crackdown to come, another kind of crackdown in Chad, spooky crisis capitalization and hints of domestic crackdown to come Down Under, protest provocation and flight contemplation in China, a stealthy development in Beijing, and a deadman’s switch for those who fear executive action. . . Continue reading