And a whole lot more.
First up, hyperbolic ramp-up; from the London Telegraph:
Theresa May: Isil will become nuclear threat if we don’t stop them
- Home Secretary Theresa May warns Isil could acquire “chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons” in the “world’s first truly terrorist state”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant could acquire nuclear weapons if they are allowed to consolidate their hold in Iraq and Syria, Theresa May has warned.
Isil could get hold of “chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons” in the “world’s first truly terrorist state,” the Home Secretary said, in a wide-ranging speech to the Conservative party conference.
The Home Secretary dramatically highlighted the threat to Britain from the terrorist group, which is operating “within a few hours flying time of our country”.
From BBC News, British bombs away:
RAF jets strike first IS targets in Iraq
RAF jets have attacked a “heavy weapon position” and an armed pick-up truck in Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has said.
In the first attacks since Parliament approved military action on Friday, two “precision strikes” were launched and both were “successful”, the MoD said.
The attacks, by two Tornado jets, were part of an international effort against militant group Islamic State (IS).
From the Toronto Globe and Mail, bloviation north of the border:
Canadian military intervention in Iraq is ‘noble,’ Harper says
Stephen Harper is calling Canadian military intervention in Iraq a “noble” cause as his government prepares for an expected air combat mission in the region, saying this country must respond to a direct threat from the Islamic State extremists.
“These are necessary actions, they are noble actions,” Mr. Harper said during Question Period on Tuesday. “When we think that something is necessary and noble, we don’t sit back and say that only other people should do it. The Canadian way is that you do your part.”
He promised a decision on whether and how to extend the mission in the coming days.
Reuters goes against the grain:
Special Report: Islamic State uses grain to tighten grip in Iraq
The group now controls a large chunk of Iraq’s wheat supplies. The United Nations estimates land under IS control accounts for as much as 40 percent of Iraq’s annual production of wheat, one of the country’s most important food staples alongside barley and rice. The militants seem intent not just on grabbing more land but also on managing resources and governing in their self-proclaimed caliphate.
Wheat is one tool at their disposal. The group has begun using the grain to fill its pockets, to deprive opponents – especially members of the Christian and Yazidi minorities – of vital food supplies, and to win over fellow Sunni Muslims as it tightens its grip on captured territory. In Iraq’s northern breadbasket, much as it did in neighboring Syria, IS has kept state employees and wheat silo operators in place to help run its empire.
Such tactics are one reason IS poses a more complex threat than al Qaeda, the Islamist group from which it grew. For most of its existence, al Qaeda has focused on hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings. But Islamic State sees itself as both army and government.
From the McClatchy Washington Bureau, a drone’s-eye view:
Once targeted, Global Hawk drone now hidden weapon in U.S. airstrikes
The squabbling between the Pentagon and Capitol Hill over whether to kill the biggest of the military’s drones – the Global Hawk – is finished for the moment, with the remotely piloted surveillance aircraft and its builder emerging as the victors.
Now there’s every indication that the rise of the Islamic State has offered the pilotless wonder a chance to show its stuff.
If only its intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance activities, conducted from as high as 11 miles off the ground and on flights of up to 32 hours, weren’t classified. Pentagon officials are tight-lipped about the drone’s role in recent U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
And next door, via the Guardian:
New Afghanistan pact means America’s longest war will last until at least 2024
- Bilateral security deal ensures that President Obama will pass off the Afghanistan war and his new war in Iraq and Syria to his successor
The longest war in American history will last at least another decade, according to the terms of a garrisoning deal for US forces signed by the new Afghanistan government on Tuesday.
Long awaited and much desired by an anxious US military, the deal guarantees that US and Nato troops will not have to withdraw by year’s end, and permits their stay “until the end of 2024 and beyond.”
The entry into force of the deal ensures that Barack Obama, elected president in 2008 on a wave of anti-war sentiment, will pass off both the Afghanistan war and his new war in Iraq and Syria to his successor. In 2010, his vice-president, Joe Biden, publicly vowed the US would be “totally out” of Afghanistan “come hell or high water, by 2014.”
CBC News covers spooky rhetoric:
Homegrown terrorism remains biggest threat, Jeh Johnson says
- U.S. Homeland Security secretary arrived Monday for 2-day visit, keynote speech
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says homegrown terrorism by previously unknown individuals is the threat that worries him the most.
Johnson, in remarks to a business audience in Ottawa today, pointed to last year’s Boston Marathon bombings as an example of terrorist threats that are difficult to predict.
In his midday speech to the Canadian American Business Council, he also spoke about measures by the U.S. government to improve the flow of good across the border while maintaining security.
Canada counts security state costs, via the Toronto Globe and Mail:
Security could drive Pan Am costs higher, minister warns
The rising cost of next year’s Pan American Games may balloon even more because of security costs, the Ontario cabinet minister in charge of the file said Tuesday.
“How can I guarantee the cost of the Games when I don’t know what the threat level is going to be?” Culture Minister Michael Coteau told a legislative committee. “I will not put a price tag on the safety of Ontarians.”
The current total for the event is $2.57-billion, of which $239-million is set aside for security. The cost of security has already grown twice from its initial estimate of $113-million. The Games will be held next summer in Toronto, Hamilton and several surrounding suburbs.
Old Blighty takes an Orwellian turn, via the Associated Press:
UK government plans curbs on nonviolent extremism
Britain’s interior minister has proposed new powers to bar people with extremist views from appearing on television or publishing on social media even if they are not breaking any laws.
Home Secretary Theresa May told a conference of the governing Conservatives that if re-elected next year the party will introduce powers to disrupt people who “spread poisonous hatred” even within the law.
May said Tuesday that only a minority of extremists are violent, but there is “a thread that binds” nonviolent extremism to terrorism.
May says tougher powers are needed to stop young people becoming radicalized. She says at least 500 Britons have traveled to Syria and Iraq, mainly to fight with militant groups.
The Associated Press embarrasses:
Germany unable to meet NATO readiness target
Germany’s military is unable to meet its medium-term readiness target should NATO call on its members to mobilize against an attack, officials said Monday.
The revelation follows days of embarrassing reports about equipment failures that included German army instructors being stranded in Bulgaria en route to Iraq when their plane broke down, and delays in sending weapons to arm Kurdish fighters because of another transport problem.
In the latest incident, the military said one of two aging C-160 aircraft flying German aid to Ebola-affected West Africa has also been grounded on the island of Gran Canaria since the weekend, awaiting repairs.
Asked about a Der Spiegel report that Germany at this juncture wouldn’t be able to offer the appropriate number of military aircraft within 180 days of an attack on the NATO alliance, Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff confirmed that was the case.
New Europe drones on:
France, Germany to offer drones to monitor ceasefire in Ukraine
France and Germany offered to deploy drones as part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s efforts to monitor Ukraine’s ceasefire, a government official said on Monday.
At a daily news briefing, Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Romain Nadal announced “France and Germany have proposed to provide drones aimed at monitoring the ceasefire’s implementation as requested by the OSCE.”
The drone deployment proposal was being discussed, he added without elaborating.
“The cease-fire is an important opportunity to find a lasting political solution to the conflict and which respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Nadal noted.
A cumulus, not the fog of war, via Aviation Week & Space Technology:
Pentagon’s ‘Combat Cloud’ Concept Taking Shape
- Pentagon envisions “combat cloud” as force multiplier for shrinking fleet
The Pentagon has been bitten by the Steve Jobs bug.
The latest vision for data-sharing across ships, aircraft and satellites—a perpetually chased but unrealized plan—is now being dubbed the “combat cloud.” And a retired U.S. Air Force officer is leading a first-of-a-kind charge to bring stakeholders from each of the services, industry and academia together to shape the cloud and attain buy-in, despite the Pentagon’s spotty track record of gaining traction on similar efforts.
Today the Air Force’s very expensive, stealthy aircraft cannot talk to its -legacy systems, and without that crosstalk the effectiveness of those investments will be marginalized. While officers are scrambling to solve the so-called “fifth-to-fourth” problem, a larger dialogue has blossomed about the objective beyond simply connecting F-22s, B-2s and F-35s to the fleet. But will this dialogue produce an executable program to buy the technology that can make the vision—eventually, the cloud—real?
The goal, likely to take a decade or more to realize, is to form an overarching network of data, each platform a node contributing information to the cloud and downloading from it, even in the heat of battle. It would include fighters, intelligence aircraft, satellites, ships and helicopters.
German victim-blaming from the Guardian:
EU’s new digital commissioner calls celebrities in nude picture leak ‘stupid’
- Germany’s Günther Oettinger says stars who put naked photos of themselves online could not count on his protection
Former EU energy commissioner Günther Oettinger, 61, is used to accusations that he is more digitally naïve than digitally native by now. But at a hearing in front of the European parliament, the EU’s next commissioner designate for digital economy and society raised some serious questions about his suitability.
During a three-hour grilling by MEPs in Brussels, Oettinger said it would not be his job to protect stars “stupid enough to take a nude photo of themselves and put it online” – seemingly unaware that the recent leak of celebrities’ nude photographs had come about as a result of a targeted hacking attack.
Oettinger said: “We can mitigate or even eliminate some risks. But like with any technology, you can’t exclude all risks.
Maledictions enabled, via Ars Technica:
Advertising firms struggle to kill malvertisements
- One provider finds a vulnerable advertising tool that allowed attackers access
In late September, advertisements appearing on a host of popular news and entertainment sites began serving up malicious code, infecting some visitors’ computers with a backdoor program designed to gather information on their systems and install additional malicious code.
The attack affected visitors to The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, The Hindustan Times, Internet music service Last.fm, and India-focused movie portal Bollywood Hungama, among other popular sites. At the center of the malware campaign: the compromise of San Francisco-based Internet advertising network Zedo, an advertising provider for the sites, whose network was then used to distribute malicious ads.
For ten days, the company investigated multiple malware reports, retracing the attacker’s digital footsteps to identify the malicious files and shut the backdoor to its systems.
A major hack counterattack from the Guardian:
Four hackers charged with stealing $100m in US army and Xbox technology
- Indictment unsealed on Tuesday reveals Department of Justice charged four people in international computer hacking ring
Four men have been charged with breaking into the computer systems of Microsoft, the US army and leading games manufacturers on Tuesday, as part of an alleged international hacking ring that netted more than $100m in intellectual property, the US Department of Justice said on Tuesday.
The four are alleged to have stolen Xbox technology, Apache helicopter training software and pre-release copies of games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, according to an unsealed indictment. Two of the hackers pleaded guilty earlier on Tuesday, the DoJ said.
After the jump, protesting the educational memory hole, a cartel photobomb in Mexico and a protest for the disappeared, More Pakistani religious murders, forging Indo/American military alliance, FBI-initiated anti-terror raids Down Under, a large collection of items for the ongoing Occupy protests in Hong Kong [international reactions, censorship and other Beijing reactions, specultation, and more], an unofficial peace feeler from Tokyo to Beijing, China’s search for an Indian Ocean base, a major Chinese stealthy air expansion, a hate speech rebuke in Tokyo, and sniffing for bombs in sewers. . . Continue reading