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Fri, 09 Dec 2022
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Israeli commandos placed spying equipment in Syria in order to spy on Russian fleet

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© Unknown
Listening devices in rocks?
Listening in? The UK's Sunday Times newspaper exposed what it claims are new details on what Syria states are "Israeli espionage measures" planted on Ant Island - a tiny island opposite Syria's Tartus Port.

According to the report on Sunday, divers from 'Shayetet 13', Israel's elite naval commando unit installed the equipment. They approached the island from one of the country's German-built Dolphin class submarines, which are armed with nuclear cruise missiles.

In early March, Al-Manar, a pro-Syrian Hezbollah affiliated television station in Lebanon, reported that the "rocks" could track and film Russian warship movements and instantly transmit pictures back to Israel by satellite.

Syria's state-run television showed a camera, a satellite dish and other objects including batteries and cables secreted among several imitation rocks.

Network

Pakistan's underwater cable damaged: Internet speed plummets by 60% nationwide

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© File
Major fiber optic cable in Arabian Sea develops fault.
Internet speed across Pakistan plummeted by nearly 60% on Wednesday when an underwater fiber optic cable was damaged in the Arabian Sea near Karachi.

South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE) 4, one of the four submarine cables that connects the country globally via the internet, was damaged around noon on Wednesday - only a couple of weeks following the breakdown of India-Middle East-Western Europe (I-ME-WE) fiber optic cable that has yet to be repaired.

As a result, internet services in the country will likely remain disrupted for an indefinite period. Internet service providers were unable to provide a timeframe on when the problem will be resolved.

Shortly after the disruption, internet users across Pakistan faced a host of problems ranging from intermittent to slow internet connectivity. Many complained that their browsing speed had decreased significantly.

"This is a result of a fault in the undersea cable line to Pakistan through Alexandria, Egypt. The fiber optic undersea cable SEA-ME-WE-4 was affected beyond Egypt for currently unknown reasons," Wateen Telecom said in a statement.

Comment: Meanwhile, on the same day, off the coast of Egypt...

March 27, 2013: Egypt: Naval forces capture 3 scuba divers trying to sabotage undersea Internet cable

Then just over a year ago, we reported on another spate of undersea cable cuts...

March 3, 2012: Undersea Internet Cables Cut AGAIN!

Between this and the hysteria being whipped up around North Korea's counter-provocations, just what are the Powers That Be up to?

Perhaps their military satellites (the ones they don't share data from) have picked up an imminent cosmic hazard, so they're cooking up a diversion they hope will keep the masses under control?...


Megaphone

Obama signature on Monsanto Protection Act ignites massive activism


Comment: Yet another of Obama's broken promises.

Of course he and his family would never eat GM food, but he will gladly sell the American people - all people everywhere, in fact - to those who play god with the global food supply and the very seeds of life.

Check out our recent discussion of Monsanto and GMOs on SOTT Talk Radio:

SOTT Talk Radio: Paleo food - Staying Healthy in a GMO world


Star of David

Anonymous, RedHack breach Mossad servers, hackers claim

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© Screengrab/Screengrab
One of the several websites hacked by LANMIN3 - a pro-Palestinian web activist seemingly based in Algeria.
As the planned revitalization of OpIsrael looms, hackers claim to have gained access to servers used by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

A number of hacker groups, including factions within Anonymous, claim to have gained access to servers used by Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, stealing personal information of more than 30,000 individuals belonging to several sectors of the Israeli government, as well as several nongovernmental organizations.

RedHack, a Turkey-based Marxist hacker group, specifically claimed responsibility for the release of the personal information, which included phone numbers, emails and addresses. RedHack said the information belongs to Mossad intelligence officers, as well as informants handled by Israeli officers.

"Yes, we realize we are sailing in dangerous water but we like swimming," tweeted RedHack_EN, an English Language account used by the Turkish hacker group. In the same tweet, RedHack_EN posted links to spreadsheets containing the information.

Bad Guys

Walmart's death grip on groceries is making life worse for millions of people

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© Jennifer Cowley / Flickr
Walmart's growing control of our food system has been to intensify the rural and urban poverty that drives unhealthy food choices.

When Michelle Obama visited a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri, a few weeks ago to praise the company's efforts to sell healthier food, she did not say why she chose a store in Springfield of all cities. But, in ways that Obama surely did not intend, it was a fitting choice. This Midwestern city provides a chilling look at where Walmart wants to take our food system.

Springfield is one of nearly 40 metro areas where Walmart now captures about half or more of consumer spending on groceries, according to Metro Market Studies. Springfield area residents spend just over $1 billion on groceries each year, and one of every two of those dollars flows into a Walmart cash register. The chain has 20 stores in the area and shows no signs of slowing its growth. Its latest proposal, a store just south of the city's downtown, has provoked widespread protest. Opponents say Walmart already has an overbearing presence in the region and argue that this new store would undermine nearby grocery stores, including a 63-year-old family-owned business which still provides delivery for its elderly customers. A few days before the First Lady's visit, the City Council voted 5-4 to approve what will be Walmart's 21st store in the community.

Stormtrooper

Guantanamo guards denying water to hunger strikers to thwart protest, say lawyers

Guantanamo Bay
© Cryptome.org

Military personnel inspect each occupied cell on a two-minute cycle at Camp 5 maximum-security facility at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, Oct. 9, 2007
Prisoner health quickly deteriorating as Red Cross begins investigation

Prisoners on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay are now being denied water among other abuses as prison guards attempt to force them off the strike, the prisoners' lawyers said Wednesday.

Several of the prisoners' lawyers have filed an emergency motion in a federal court in Washington saying guards are refusing to provide drinking water to the hunger strikers and have kept camp temperatures "extremely frigid" in an effort to "to thwart the protest."

"The reality is that these men are slowly withering away and we as a country need to take immediate action," said Mari Newman, a human rights lawyer based in Denver, who was among those who submitted the motion.

The lawyers said that the prisoners' lack of drinkable water has "already caused some prisoners kidney, urinary and stomach problems," in addition to the health effects of the hunger strike.

Lawyers have said that the majority of the 166 men held at Guantanamo have joined the hunger strike, while many are now suffering severe health risks from the lack of sustenance. US military officials have refused to admit to these numbers, however, and continuously report to the media significantly lower numbers - this week 31.

Whistle

Critics slam Obama for "protecting" Monsanto

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© robertscottbell.com
There's no love lost between Washington and the American public, it seems, five days after Congress for the first time in years managed to handle a budget-related issue without reaching the brink of crisis.

Protesters have descended on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House this week, enraged at a potentially health-hazardous provision they allege lawmakers inserted surreptitiously into a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year. The bill sailed through the Capitol on Friday; President Obama signed it into law on Tuesday.

Opponents have termed the language in question the "Monsanto Protection Act," a nod to the major agricultural biotech corporation and other like firms geared at producing genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds and crops. The provision protects genetically modified seeds from litigation suits over health risks posed by the crops' consumption.

Magnify

The fun-filled ocean resort at Guantánamo Bay

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© John Moore/Getty Images
Guantánamo inmates kneel at prayers.
A growing hunger strike among detainees is mocked by gullible journalists spouting familiar Potemkin Village propaganda

If you're looking for a fun activity-filled resort to take your family for a summer vacation, you simply cannot do better than Club GTMO, according to a new glossy travel guide just published by Robert Johnson, the Military and Defense Editor of Business Insider, under the guise of a news article. Scrumptious meals. Video games galore for the kids. Outdoor sports. Newspapers from your hometown delivered by smiling bellhops to the front door of your villa. Picturesque Caribbean vistas. All that and more can be yours - provided that you're "compliant". What more could vacationers - or prisoners kept in a cage for more than a decade with no charges thousands of miles away from their family - possibly want? They are, proclaims Johnson, treated "absurdly well". Not just well: absurdly well. They are, he actually writes, lavished with "resort treatment".

The context for Johnson's glowing thumbs-up is an intensifying hunger strike among (totally ungrateful) prisoners at the camp. Lawyers for the detainees say the hunger strike was triggered "as a protest of the men's indefinite confinement without charge and because of what they said was a return to harsh treatment from past years, including more intrusive searches and confiscation of personal items such as mail from their families." That includes, the lawyers say, a lack of sanitary drinking water which has "already caused some prisoners kidney, urinary and stomach problems". Detainees also complain about the recent manhandling of Korans. One lawyer for 11 detainees, Carlos Warner, identifying himself as a "liberal" supporter of Obama, told CNN that the detainees are now deprived of some privileges they had all the way back in 2006 and said the situation there was "dire".

The US military, needless to say, denies these claims. While detainee lawyers insist that the overwhelming majority of detainees are participating in the hunger strike, US military officials claim that "only" 31 of the 166 are doing so. They do acknowledge that some are being force-fed, a few have been hospitalized for dehydration, and that more and more are participating in the strike. As the New York Times' Charlie Savage notes this morning, the conflicting claims are difficult to resolve. That is in part because journalists have very restricted access to the camp and no access to the detainees.

USA

Domestic drones and their unique dangers

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AR Drone: almost certainly the world's first Wi-Fi enabled iPhone-controllable miniature flying device.
Dismissive claims that drones do nothing more than helicopters and satellites already do are wildly misinformed

The use of drones by domestic US law enforcement agencies is growing rapidly, both in terms of numbers and types of usage. As a result, civil liberties and privacy groups led by the ACLU - while accepting that domestic drones are inevitable - have been devoting increasing efforts to publicizing their unique dangers and agitating for statutory limits. These efforts are being impeded by those who mock the idea that domestic drones pose unique dangers (often the same people who mock concern over their usage on foreign soil). This dismissive posture is grounded not only in soft authoritarianism (a religious-type faith in the Goodness of US political leaders and state power generally) but also ignorance over current drone capabilities, the ways drones are now being developed and marketed for domestic use, and the activities of the increasingly powerful domestic drone lobby. So it's quite worthwhile to lay out the key under-discussed facts shaping this issue.

I'm going to focus here most on domestic surveillance drones, but I want to say a few words about weaponized drones. The belief that weaponized drones won't be used on US soil is patently irrational. Of course they will be. It's not just likely but inevitable. Police departments are already speaking openly about how their drones "could be equipped to carry nonlethal weapons such as Tasers or a bean-bag gun." The drone industry has already developed and is now aggressively marketing precisely such weaponized drones for domestic law enforcement use. It likely won't be in the form that has received the most media attention: the type of large Predator or Reaper drones that shoot Hellfire missiles which destroy homes and cars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and multiple other countries aimed at Muslims (although US law enforcement agencies already possess Predator drones and have used them over US soil for surveillance).

Crusader

More fear mongering: U.S. sends stealth bombers to South Korea for military drills

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The US has deployed two nuclear-capable stealth bombers to South Korea for military drills. The move is likely to increase tension with North Korea, which has already issued threats over its displeasure with the drills.

The B-2 stealth bombers flew practice runs over South Korea Thursday, dropping dummy munitions on an island range. A nuclear-capable B-52 bomber made a similar run earlier this week.

"This mission by two B-2 Spirit bombers assigned to the 509th bomb wing ... demonstrates the United States' ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will," the United States Forces in Korea said in a statement.

The stealth bombers flew from a US airbase in Missouri and returned home after dropping their dummy munitions. It was unclear whether the stealth bombers have been used in past drills with South Korea, but it is the first time the military has announced their use.