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Sat, 08 May 2021
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Pentagon: Robot War Over Libya Begins in 3, 2, 1 ...

drones
© Wired
Moammar Gadhafi's forces are killing Libyan civilians and pushing back rebel forces, NATO air strikes be damned. So it's time to send in the drones.

Thursday marks the end of U.S. strike missions in Libya. In a press conference, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced that armed Predator drones have been approved for use in Libya. They flew for the first time on Thursday, but "the weather wasn't good enough, so we had to bring them back," Cartwright said.

Laptop

Son of Kaspersky Lab's CEO 'kidnapped'

Held for €3m ransom, says unconfirmed report

The 20-year-old son of Kaspersky Lab's CEO has reportedly gone missing, with kidnappers said to be demanding €3m for his release.

According to Lifenews.ru (via Google Translate), Ivan Kaspersky - the son of Eugene Kaspersky with his ex-wife Natalya Kaspersky - disappeared two days ago. Since then the police, Russian secret service and the Criminal Investigation Department have all been searching for him.

It has been reported that his father, who had been attending the InfoSec event in London, flew to Moscow where Ivan is understood to have been abducted while on his way to work.

However, Kaspersky Lab hasn't confirmed the news report, which was picked up by the BBC today.

Eugene Kaspersky, who founded the anti-virus software company, is considered to be one of the wealthiest men in Russia and was recently ranked just outside the Forbes' 100 rich-list in that country.

His personal fortune is said to be around €800m. Kaspersky's ex-wife Natalya is chairwoman of the firm.

Bad Guys

Iran: US, Israel assist drug dealers

Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar
© unknown
Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar
Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says Israel and US intelligence agency (CIA) have taken up a campaign to push Iranian youth towards drug addiction.

"The Zionists and CIA agents in the region assist drug dealers at Iran's joint borders with Afghanistan," Mohammad-Najjar said on Thursday.

"These [so-called] advocates of human rights have undertaken the task of investing in the production of industrial drugs from traditional ones and supplying them to Iran's market," IRNA quoted Mohammad-Najjar as saying.

The Iranian minister said Afghanistan is one of the major centers of producing drugs, and Iran's enemies assist drug dealers in exporting narcotics.

Rocket

US drone strike kills 25 in Pakistan

Image
© unknown
At least 25 people have been killed in yet another unauthorized US drone attack on the tribal village of Miranshah in northwestern Pakistan.

Officials reported that the non-UN-sanctioned attack by a US drone took place at 4:30 a.m. (2030 GMT) Friday, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The drone fired six missiles at a house destroying it completely. The death toll may rise as rescue operation is underway to get people from the collapsed building.

The US drone continued flying over the area after the attack, creating panic among the local residents. Miranshah attack raised the number of US drone strikes in North Waziristan Agency to 21 in 2011.

Reports indicate that the unmanned drone strikes in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt have claimed the lives of more than 1,180 people in 2010 alone.

USA

US: Nevada Sen. Ensign Announces Resignation as Successor is Viewed

Image
© Dep/The Associated Press
In this Aug. 17, 2010 photo, U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., participates in the Tahoe Summit at the Sand Harbor State Park near Incline Village, Nev. Ensign announced he will resign amid an ethics investigation. Ensign said Thursday, April 21, 2011, he will send Vice President Joe Biden a letter Friday making the resignation official.
Nevada Sen. John Ensign announced Thursday he will resign amid an ethics probe, while Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) is likely to be appointed as his successor, sources tell Fox News.

Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) both recently just jumped into the Senate contest. If Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) appoints Heller, it could give him an advantage in the state's 2012 Senate election.

Heller's district is the largest and most rural in Nevada, where the tea party has strong support.

Ensign insisted he's done nothing wrong, but said he could no longer subject his family and constituents to further investigation.

He said in a statement that he will send Vice President Joe Biden a letter Friday making the resignation official.

Arrow Up

Gold soars to new record

Gold Chart
© Toronto Star
Gold prices reached new highs Wednesday, as investors fretted over stern warnings on U.S. debt and growing inflation risks in China and India.

The same forces pushed up prices for silver, oil, and other commodities, as well as the Canadian dollar, as the U.S. greenback fell sharply.

Spot gold rose to an all-time high of $1,505.70 (U.S.) an ounce.

The precious metal has hit new records for four straight days, aided in large part by Monday's threat of a downgrade to the United States' triple-A credit rating and lingering euro zone debt worries that have depressed the dollar.

Investors typically flock to gold as a hedge against inflation and uncertainty. Both China and India reported higher than expected inflation last week.

Silver also surged above $45 (U.S.) for the first time since 1980 Wednesday.

Bad Guys

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs

soldier guards marijuana
© Arias/AP
A soldier guards marijuana that is being incinerated in Tijuana, Mexico. Photograph: Guillermo

As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else - more important and far-reaching - was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.

Evil Rays

iPhone and iPad with iOS 4 Records Your Moves

iPhone
© Physorg.com
Researchers have raised privacy fears with the latest discovery: any iPhone or iPad with iOS 4 can track your whereabouts by recording your latitude and longitude coordinates along with a timestamp. Apple was contacted but has not responded to any inquires.

Security researchers have discovered that any iPhone or iPad that has been updated with iOS 4 records everywhere you have been to a secret file. The file is also copied to the owner's computer whenever the two are synchronized.

According to the Guardian, all your locations are logged to a file called "consolidated.db" and contain latitude and longitude coordinates along with a timestamp. The file can contain tens of thousands of data points since iOS 4's release in June 2010.

Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, founder of Data Science Toolkit, discovered the file and presented their findings today to the Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco. Alasdair has also looked into Google's Android phones for similar tracking code and could not find any.

It's not sure why Apple is collecting this data but it's clearly intentional because the data is being restored across backups and phone migrations. Apple's Product Security team was contacted but no one has responded.

Light Sabers

UK: Scotland Yard plans pre-emptive strike against royal wedding anarchists

Image
© The Associated Press
Police officers contain a group of student protesters outside Buckingham Palace last November
Scotland Yard is planning a "pre-emptive strike" against anarchists who are planning to disrupt the royal wedding, senior officers have revealed

Keen to prevent the scenes of disorder which accompanied the TUC march last month, the Metropolitan Police says it plans to identify and potentially arrest known trouble-makers in advance of the wedding on April 29.

Senior officers say that 60 anarchists arrested during the TUC march have bail conditions which prevent them entering central London two days before the wedding and two days after, as well as the actual day itself.

Police "spotters" - normally used to combat football hooligans - will be used throughout the country to watch those on bail, and other anarchists who have previously committed public order offences at demonstrations, to ensure they are not planning on disrupting the wedding.

Comment: If any anarchists attend the royal wedding, be sure of the high probability that they're argent provocateurs, there to keep the media propaganda engine ticking over and giving the government more excuses to restrict civil liberties.


Eye 2

'Undisclosed location' disclosed: A visit offers some insight into Cheney hide-out

Image
© Unknown
Welcome to the undisclosed location.

Known familiarly to government insiders as the "underground Pentagon," this is where Vice President Dick Cheney set up shop in the aftermath of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and where he sometimes is when his office is being secretive about Cheney's whereabouts.

The location is a highly secure complex of buildings inside Raven Rock Mountain near Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., close to the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line and about seven miles north of Camp David.

A recent book, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies, by James Bamford, was credited with spilling the beans about the supposedly supersecret hideaway.

Still, there is great sensitivity about the compound, as emphasized to an uninvited reporter the other day who was inadvertently allowed to briefly enter a guardhouse.

"I work physical security at an undisclosed location in southern Pennsylvania, that's all I can say," said a well-armed fatigues-clad Army guard as he politely but firmly told the reporter that "everything you see is classified."

There is not all that much to be seen.