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CIA chief says it appears Mubarak about to quit

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Members of Egypt’s military supreme council attend a meeting in this image taken from TV on Thursday.
WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence indicates "a strong likelihood" that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is on his way out and may step down as early as Thursday night, CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress.

Panetta said he didn't know specifics, but said it seemed likely that Mubarak would turn over powers to his vice president, Omar Suleiman. Panetta made the comments in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee as Egyptian state TV said the embattled president would speak to the nation Thursday night from his palace in Cairo.

Committee Chairman Mike Rogers of Michigan asked Panetta about news reports that Mubarak was poised to relinquish power.

"I got the same information you did, that there is a strong likelihood that Mubarak will step down this evening, which will be significant in terms of where the hopefully orderly transition in Egypt will take place," the CIA director said. Panetta did not say how the CIA reached that conclusion.

Eye 1

Strong signs that Egypt's Hosni Mubarak will step down tonight

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© Ann Hermes/Staff

It is looking increasingly likely that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is not going to retain the presidency until September. In fact, he might not even retain it until dawn tomorrow.

With mass protests expected to resume Friday - organizers are expecting the biggest turnout in Cairo yet, with demonstrators scheduled to stream in from around the country - there has been a frenzy of activity today from the military and the ruling National Democratic Party that all make the convincing case that something is afoot.

Mubarak is expected to speak tonight. NBC News and Al Jazeera have both reported, citing unnamed sources, that Mubarak will step down.

Ambulance

There Are No Words To Describe The Following Part II

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© Unknown
WHO IS KEEPING TRACK OF THE TRILLIONS?

The Federal Reserve Awareness Project

Special request from the publisher of The Daily Bail. I am asking each and every one of you to send this video to 2 people. This is a rare instance in life where just 60 seconds of your time can help change the course of history in the fight against the Fed. Either we win, or Wall Street wins. It's that simple. For a variety of reasons, this clip resonates with virtually everyone who sees it, and you are the conduit. PLEASE click here to pass it on to the next person. That's all I politely ask. As of last week, 3.8 million people had seen this clip. And it's all because of you.

PLEASE HELP US FIGHT THE FED WITH YOUR EMAILS. WE KNOW IT SOUNDS CORNY BUT IT WORKS. IF YOU TAKE THE TIME TO SEND IT TO JUST 2 PEOPLE, WE WILL WIN THIS WAR.

If we can get this clip in front of 50 million people, it's game over...

Evil Rays

Egypt crisis: Hosni Mubarak loses control of state media

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© GETTY
Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper has abandoned its long-standing position of slavish support for the regime
Hosni Mubarak's control of Egypt's state media, a vital linchpin of his 30-year presidency, has started to slip as the country's largest-circulation newspaper declared its support for the uprising against him.

Hoping to sap the momentum from street protests demanding his overthrow, the president has instructed his deputy to launch potentially protracted negotiations with secular and Islamist opposition parties. The talks continued for a second day on Monday without yielding a significant breakthrough.

But Mr Mubarak was dealt a significant setback as the state-controlled Al-Ahram, Egypt's second oldest newspaper and one of the most famous media publications in the Middle East, abandoned its long-standing position of slavish support for the regime.

In a front-page leader, the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Osama Saraya hailed the "nobility" of what he described as a "revolution" and demanded that the government embark on irreversible constitutional and legislative changes.

"The state and all its denizens, the elder generation, the politicians and all other powers on the political stage must humble themselves and rein themselves in to understand the ambitions of the young and the dreams of this nation," he wrote.

There was no call on the president to resign and while it may yet prove that Al Ahram's editorial shift may be tactical rather than genuine, opposition supporters expressed astonishment at the development.

Eye 2

Disasters ravaging Earth: the food crisis of 2011 is upon us

global food crisis
© Unknown
"Strained by rising demand and battered by bad weather, the global food supply chain is stretched to the limit, sending prices soaring and sparking concerns about a repeat of food riots last seen three years ago. Signs of the strain can be found from Australia to Argentina, Canada to Russia. On Friday, Tunisia's president fled the country after trying to quell deadly riots in the North African country by slashing prices on food staples. "We are entering a danger territory," Abdolreza Abbassian, chief economist at the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said last week. The U.N.'s fear is that the latest run-up in food prices could spark a repeat of the deadly food riots that broke out in 2008 in Haiti, Kenya and Somalia. That price spike was relatively short-lived. But Abbassian said the latest surge in food stuffs may be more sustained. "Situations have changed. The supply/demand structures have changed," Abbassian told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Certainly the kind of weather developments we have seen makes us worry a little bit more that it may last much, much longer. Are we prepared for it? Really this is the question." Global food stock piles have fallen drastically because of disaster relief across the globe. "I haven't seen numbers this low that I can remember in the last 20 or 30 years," said Dennis Conley, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska. "We are at record low stocks. So if there any kind of glitch at all in the U.S. weather, supplies are going to remain tighter and we might see even higher prices." -MSNBC

Red Flag

'Palestinian' hackers attack Israeli website

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A Palestinian hacker team has broken into the Israeli website of Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), posting the photo of a Palestinian child beside an Israeli tank on its website.

The Gaza Hackers Team on Friday also eliminated some of the materials the website had issued in the last several months, Avinoam Bar Yosef, the founding director of JPPI, told the Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

"The working papers posted this week on the website concern several of the most important issues for the leadership of the Jewish people," Yosef said.

JPPI was founded in 2002 and is funded by private donations and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Comment: The "Gaza Hackers Team"? That is patently ridiculous!

And then there's this:

Israel enlists hackers for launching cyber attacks

Sounds like the regular Israeli subterfuge to us.


Star of David

Israel enlists hackers for launching cyber attacks

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Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Avi Benayahu
A senior Israeli military official says the army is going to enlist 120 technicians to use computer networks to hack into databases for espionage.

Speaking at a panel on the subject of "the digital medium as strategic weapon" in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, the Israeli military spokesman, Brigadier General Avi Benayahu, said the Israeli army was searching for 120 "hackers who were born and raised online," Ynet news reported.

The Israeli spokesperson added that the military screens them with special care and trains them to serve Israel.

Benayahu further noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has personally expressed support for the project, and has supplied a budget of NIS 6 million (USD 1.63 million) for its realization.

Padlock

Anti-regulatory Forces in US Launch Full Assault on Public Protections

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The American Dream (to imitate China)
Corporate lobbyists and their allies in Congress have launched a systematic, coordinated effort to attack the federal government's efforts to boost innovation and protect public health, worker safety, and environmental quality. The attacks appear to have the Obama administration backpedalling on its agenda to provide meaningful health and safety standards to the American people.

During most of the time President Obama has been in office, corporate special interests have been complaining about the administration's attempt to govern more proactively. As Congress passed major reforms like health care and financial regulation packages and the 2010 midterm elections approached, anti-government opponents prepared strategies to attack the role of government. (See the Jan. 11 issue of The Watcher for a summary of strategies.) The sections below describe the actions taken or planned to implement these strategies.

Yoda

How one man tracked down Anonymous - and paid a heavy price

eggshellanon
© ArsTechnica
Aaron Barr believed he had penetrated Anonymous. The loose hacker collective had been responsible for everything from anti-Scientology protests to pro-Wikileaks attacks on MasterCard and Visa, and the FBI was now after them. But matching their online identities to real-world names and locations proved daunting. Barr found a way to crack the code.

In a private e-mail to a colleague at his security firm HBGary Federal, which sells digital tools to the US government, the CEO bragged about his research project.

"They think I have nothing but a hierarchy based on IRC [Internet Relay Chat] aliases!" he wrote. "As 1337 as these guys are supp0sed to be they don't get it. I have pwned them! :)"

But had he?

Arrow Down

Egyptians Line Up for Cash as Banks Open, Currency Plummets to 2005 Low

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© Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images
Egyptians line up at an ATM in Cairo.
Hundreds of Egyptians queued outside banks to withdraw funds as lenders opened for the first time in more than a week amid protests demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. The pound dropped to the lowest level since 2005.

At a Cairo-based branch of Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE, the nation's biggest publicly-traded lender, one man stood at the main door taking names of customers. "Banks need to open more branches," Mahmoud Eliwa, a 68-year-old retiree who wanted to withdraw 5,000 pounds, said in an interview outside the bank. Eliwa left after learning he needed to wait for about 100 people before him.

The central bank moved 5 billion pounds ($854 million) of cash into the financial system as depositors gained access to their savings. The regulator, which has $36 billion in reserves and guarantees deposits, used military cargo planes to bring in the funds, Governor Farouk El-Okdah said yesterday on state-run television.

The demonstrations, which left at least 300 people dead according to the United Nations, roiled financial markets worldwide and sent yields on Egyptian bonds higher. The stock market remained closed for a sixth day after the benchmark EGX 30 Index tumbled 16 percent in the week to Jan. 27.