Archive for October, 2011

THE CONTINUING NEED FOR A STRONG NATO

October 29, 2011

President Obama’s national security adviser Tom Donilon on October 28, 2011, in Washington Post called for a continued strong NATO:

The demise of Moammar Gaddafi — and the liberation of the Libyan people from more than 40 years of tyranny — demonstrates the powerful forces for change that are reshaping the Arab world. It also highlights the unique and irreplaceable value of U.S. leadership of strong alliances.

President Obama has made strengthening our security alliances in Europe and Asia a cornerstone of America’s engagement with the world. These alliances provide unique benefits to U.S. security: shared threat assessments, reliable habits of cooperation, the ability to take military action quickly and seamlessly, real burden-sharing for the American taxpayer, and democratic values that we hold in common. They reflect the persistent work of presidents of both parties since the end of World War II. No other nation possesses anything like the U.S. alliance system.

In Libya, the investment the United States has made in revitalizing NATO has paid off in multiple ways:

First, NATO acted with dispatch to achieve a clearly defined mission to protect civilians. This was the fastest formation of a NATO operation in history. After the United States provided the lead in the early days, NATO quickly took over command and control of the entire military effort, protecting Libyan civilians as the Transitional National Council organized, grew in strength and ultimately drove Gaddafi from power.

Second, the speed and effectiveness of the operation would not have been possible if we had had to rely on an ad hoc coalition of the willing. At the outset, NATO members and Arab partners explicitly requested that NATO take over command and control to ensure full coordination among the 18 countries involved. Significantly, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar were full partners in the effort — a testament to NATO’s relationships with nonmember countries throughout the world. The ability to rapidly integrate such countries within NATO’s command-and-control architecture stems from the fact that NATO has the only standing multinational military command structure in the world.

Third, the operation demonstrated the value of maintaining highly capable militaries that plan, train and equip together. NATO planes flew more than 26,000 sorties and nearly 10,000 strike sorties. The United States provided the bulk of the military muscle in the early days to halt Gaddafi’s advances and then played an indispensable supporting role with its unique assets, flying three-quarters of the surveillance and aerial refueling missions. But our allies also stepped up. Overall, U.S. forces flew just more than 10 percent of the strike missions. Perhaps most impressive as a sign of collective strength, countries other than the United States, the United Kingdom and France flew nearly half of all sorties. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Italy and Norway fully participated in the civilian-protection mission. The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and others found additional ways to contribute.

Fourth, this operation shows that sharing the burden is more than a slogan — it means sharing the costs. Our total contribution to the nearly eight months of operations in Libya will be approximately $1.2 billion — a fraction of the overall international contribution to Libya — and less than a week’s worth of the cost of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq.

In this effort, the U.S. leadership role remained decisive. Last March, President Obama directed that we shape a robust U.N. Security Council resolution with teeth — enabling international action to hold Gaddafi to account. He insisted that we precisely define our role so that U.S. forces would do what no other nation could do in shaping the battlefield in the campaign’s early days. And he intervened at critical junctures to increase the pressure on Gaddafi and support the Libyan people — adding armed Predators to the effort in June; increasing intelligence and targeting resources over the summer; and rallying other nations to join us in recognizing a new Libyan government in July. This approach succeeded in meeting our objectives and led to a division of labor that enabled others to contribute based on their distinctive capabilities and interests.

As we take stock of NATO’s strengths, we will also focus on how our alliance can be more effective in the future. We know that allies need more advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. They face shortages in helicopters and transport aircraft. They need to make greater investments in the precision munitions and unmanned systems that are critical on today’s battlefields and will be even more important in the future. As President Obama prepares to host the next NATO summit in Chicago in May, he is asking the alliance to ensure that it has cutting-edge capabilities.

Libya is liberated today because NATO’s unmatched might was joined by an indigenous movement for change led by the Libyan people, who broke the back of the regime.

In the days ahead, Libya will face many challenges as it works to heal the wounds created by decades of Gaddafi’s rule — from standing up a new government to securing and destroying dangerous weapons to assisting thousands of wounded and displaced citizens. Although NATO’s military mission is ending, the United States and its NATO allies will continue to work to support the new Libya.

This underscores a basic fact: From the Atlantic to the Pacific, America’s strong alliances and partnerships are an enduring source of our national strength and global leadership — helping underwrite our security, enabling our prosperity, and promoting our values.

ÖSTTYSKA STASIS OPERATIONER I SVERIGE – SENASTE NYTT

October 28, 2011

Det var alltför liten mediauppmärksamhet på Högskolan i Visby på Gotland vid forskarseminariet den 26-27 september 2011 med rubriken “Stasi i Norden”. Forskare från Sverige, Danmark, Finland och Tyskland deltog tillsammans med ett antal andra experter på området. Den idag mest kända Stasiforskaren i Sverige – professor Birgitta Almgren – fanns på plats och vittnade om Stasi-infiltrationen i Sverige under kalla kriget. Professor Almgren har i år publicerat boken Inte bara spioner… : stasi-infiltration i Sverige under kalla kriget (Carlsson).

Världsinbördeskriget har tidigare uppmärksammat hennes kamp mot hemligstämplingar och sekretess för att få tillgång till de Stasiakter som finns hos säkerhetspolisen i Sverige. Efter överklaganden fick professor Birgitta Almgren ta del av handlingarna där hon kunde ta del av vilka svenskar som samarbetade med den östtyska diktaturens underrättelsetjänst. Hon tvingades dock enligt domstolsbeslut att inte avslöja namnen eller ta kontakt med de före detta agenterna.

Det visade sig att Säpo inte hade tagit del av samtliga viktiga Stasihandlingar, de så kallade Rosenholtz-dokumenten, som finns i USA. Efter Berlinmurens fall var det CIA som kom över dessa dokument. Rosenholz består av:

Personkartoteket (F16). CIA har gett 300 000 sådana kort till BRD som rör tyska medborgare. Dessa är nu i BStU, Myndigheten för Stasiarkivets vård. Cirka 6 000 av dessa kort handlar om västtyska agenter. Över 290 000 rör alltså DDR-medborgare. Myndigheten som hanterar Stasiarkivet, BStU, har alltså inte fått danska, norska, svenska eller finska F16-kort. I Sverige råder följande förhållanden: Säpo ska ha fått de F16-kort som av amerikanarna uppfattas beröra Sverige. Kartoteket anger inte om personen varit agent eller inte. Bara vissa personliga detaljer och registreringsnummer

F22 Vorgangskartei. Detta kort anger täcknamn, registreringsnummer och agentkategori. Här framgår vem som är ledningsofficer och man får också en vink om informationsflöden (vilka som har akter etc). Av detta kartotek kan man göra en uppskattning om hur mycket material som finns kring denna person. Denna del av kartoteket som berör svenska agenter har Säpo inte fått från USA.

Arbetskartotek. Här finns alla ledningsofficerare med sitt nummer. I många Stasiakter anges bara ett nummer på ledningsofficeren. Utan arbetskartoteket kan man alltså inte avgöra vem som är ledningsofficer. Denna del av kartoteket som berör svenska agenter har Säpo inte heller fått från amerikanarna.

Statistikkortet. Den viktigaste delen i Rosenholz. Här finns en kort biografi över agentens historia. Här finns inte ”Klarname”, dvs agentens riktiga namn. Däremot står när personen värvades, varför (ideologi, pengar etc). Här anges om agenten anses som tillförlitlig eller inte. Här kan man bedöma hur Stasi såg på personen. Denna del av kartoteket som berör svenska agenter har Säpo inte erhållit och således inte prövat.

SÄPO gjorde en gallring 2005 i de uppgifter man erhållit från USA.

Vid seminariet antogs ett manifest underskrivit av Birgitta Almgren (Södertörns högskola), Thomas Wegener Friis (Syddansk Universitet), Kimmo Elo (Jyväskylä universitetet) och Helmut Müller-Enberg (gästprofessor vid Högskolan på Gotland, forskare vid Stasiarkivet i Berlin) som vädjar till de nordiska regeringarna att agera för att Stasidokumenten som rör nordiska medborgare ska finnas tillgängliga för forskning i Berlin tillsammans med det övriga arkivet.

Vid seminariet berördes den östtyske Stasiagenten Günter Lanitzki som i skydd av sina kamouflageyrken – marinarkeolog, journalist, författare – gjorde besök på bl.a Fornsalen i Visby. I november 1966 besökte han förutom Visby också Stockholm och Malmö. Lanitzki fick trots han stod under SÄPO:s bevakning tilldelades Nordstjärneorden. Många av Stasiagenternas resor i Sverige bekostades av Svenska Institutet.

Enligt mediauppgifter skall numera Socialdemokratiska arbetarpartiet, Miljöpartiet och Vänsterpartiet acceptera ett fullständigt frisläppande av Säpos Stasiakter. Det återstår således numera enbart att den borgerliga regeringen beslutar att häva sekretessen. Det är en skam att Sverige som enda västeuropeiska stat vägrar att låta forskare fullt ut ta del av centrala handlingar om Sveriges historia under det kalla kriget.

‘RED ARMY’ BEHIND OCCUPY WALL STREET?

October 27, 2011

Fox News on October 25, 2011, published a comment on the Occupy Wall Street movement by the author Aaron Klein. His new book, Red Army: The Radical Network That Must Be Defeated to Save America (HarperCollins) was published the same day:

My own research has identified the overtly anti-capitalist Service Employees International Union organizer Stephen Lerner as a main instigator of the economic protest templates being used by the Occupy Wall Street campaign. Writing in the Washington Post last Tuesday, the columnist Harold Meyerson, long-time vice-chair of Democratic Socialists of America, quoted Lerner thus on the Wall Street agitation: “It’s a confluence of planned and unplanned demonstrations … We build on each other. We go ping-ponging back and forth.”

Lerner’s use of the word “we,” describing himself as part of that coalition, is revealing. The unrest first began in its current inception on Sept. 17 – not coincidentally the date the U.S. Constitution was signed – with a protest called the “Day of Rage.” Planners used their own website – USDayofRage.org – which is now a sister site for the Occupy Wall Street initiative.

Last March, ACORN founder Wade Rathke announced what he called “days of rage in 10 cities around JP Morgan Chase.” Rathke was president of an SEIU local in New Orleans.

The Sept. 17 protest was by all accounts the culmination of Rathke’s efforts. Those efforts were implemented by Lerner, an SEIU board member, who reportedly has visited the Obama White House at least four times. The SEIU’s former president, Andy Stern, was the White House’s most frequent visitor in 2009.

Lerner is considered one of the most capable of the Alinsky organizers in the progressive movement. In September 1995, he organized the SEIU’s highly successful Justice for Janitors direct action protest campaign, which used many of the same tactics now being utilized to assault Wall Street.

As part of his recently-implemented JP Morgan Chase protests, Lerner called for “a week of civil disobedience, direct action all over” in various major cities. His protest’s stated aim was to “destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.” In an interview about those protests, Lerner outlined his goals: “How do we bring down the stock market? How do we bring down their bonuses? How do we interfere with their ability to, to be rich?”

Lerner came under fire in the conservative blogosphere and digital news in March after he issued a call for a mass strike by mortgage payers that, he boasted, was meant to cause a new financial crisis.

In the lead-up to last month’s Wall Street protest launch, Lerner addressed a “Summit for a Fair Economy” convention in which he tellingly touted his previous successes in leading the blockage of Washington’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge during his Janitors assault.

Earlier this month, the Occupy Wall Street agitators followed Lerner’s lead and shut down the Brooklyn Bridge.
The SEIU and other unions have been essential to the recent unrest, most notably in sending armies of supporters to the protests that rocked Wisconsin this past February. Those Wisconsin protests appear to have been a test-run for the larger anti-Wall Street escalation we are now witnessing.

Though largely unreported at the time, the Wisconsin protests were replete with ties to the White House. One of the main organizers of the Wisconsin protests, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, is part of the Moving Wisconsin Forward movement. Citizen Action is also an arm of the long-established, Alinsky-style community organizing outfit the Midwest Academy.

President Obama himself once helped fund the Midwest Academy. In 1999, the Midwest Academy received $75,000 from a philanthropic foundation called the Woods Fund, where then-community-organizer Barack Obama served on the board as a paid director along with the unrepentant Pentagon bomber Bill Ayers. In 2002, with Obama and Ayers still serving on the Woods Fund, Midwest received another $23,500 for its Young Organizers Development Program.

Lest we believe these connections were only limited to Obama’s Chicago community organizing days, Jackie Kendall, the Woods Fund’s executive director, was on the team that developed and delivered the first training of volunteers at Camp Obama, a two-to-four day intensive course run in conjunction with Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign aimed at training volunteers to help Obama win the White House.

Regardless of these connections, the disreputable cast of characters behind the Occupy Wall Street movement and a network of other planned agitations are allied with a larger radical progressive network that works from within the system; this network openly and enthusiastically strives to transform the United States into a socialist enterprise.

Indeed, as a matter of strategy, some radicals utilize direct action assaults such as the Wall Street protest movement, while others try to bore from within the American system; they share the same transformative goals.

Even before the candidacy of Obama – whose entire political career had been spent under the tutelage of “progressives,” including some of its leading figures – this radical network had already succeeded over the decades in infiltrating major institutions of American power. Along the way, progressives hijacked an entire spectrum of important social causes, from feminism and race relations through environmental and antiwar activism, each of which became subordinated to an agenda having very little to do with the actual cause at hand and everything to do with the underlying agenda of the radical reconstruction of our society.

This red army has taken over not merely the largest worker unions, but also the mainstream of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Socialists of America, for example, has deeply penetrated the United States Congress, forming one of the most powerful caucuses on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Progressives.

Like a conventional army, I have found the progressive red army is an organized network consisting of numerous branches and divisions, deploying the appropriate battalion for the specific goal or battle at hand. The reader may blanch at the whiff of conspiracy, which – as it applies to conspiracy to commit a crime – is a grave offense in the U.S. legal system. Yet the “red army” of which I write uses mostly legal means to pursue its radical agenda. In fact, the largest part of its nefarious genius lies precisely in its employment of legal and quasi-legal stratagems to “fundamentally transform,” and even overthrow, the American system.

Many of these activists are openly hate America, or at least the American capitalist system, including its basic document and compact, the Constitution of the United States. Many others, to be fair, genuinely love this country while believing that socialism would pave the road to a better society. Still others are merely along for the ride, and pursue personal power and profit in the service of a new order; in this matter, it’s often impossible to distinguish where true conspiracy ends and mere corruption begins. But these, in the final analysis, are distinctions without a difference.

CHINA’S ROLE IN POTENTIAL WATER WARS

October 26, 2011

UPI News on October 25, 2011, commented on the scarcity of water in Asia as a thorny issue for the continent and a trigger of major conflicts:

A rise in population, increased water use and the expectation that Asia will be most affected by global warming will affect the availability of water for the world’s most populous continent.

Of even greater concern, warns Brahma Chellaney, author of Water: Asia’s New Battleground, are disputes and competition over bodies of water that cross boundaries of Asian countries, posing a threat to peace and stability.

“National reliance on oil can be reduced through other sources of energy,” says Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at New Delhi’s Center for Policy Research. “There is no such hope with water. Water has no substitute.”

To avert a water war, Chellaney says, a cooperative Asian framework among river basin states is needed, with the aim of working toward a common ownership of shared resources.

But China seems to have an aversion to such a multilateral approach to water.

In an editorial published recently in The Japan Times, Chellaney pointed to “China’s rise as a hydro-hegemon.”

While China is the source of cross-border water flows to the largest number of countries in the world, Beijing “rejects the very notion of water sharing or institutionalized cooperation with down-river countries,” Chellaney says.

On a global level, Chinese companies and Chinese banks are the biggest builders and financiers of dam building, involved in constructing some 251dams in 68 countries, especially in Southeast Asia and Africa, says environmental group International Rivers.

More locally, China is rapidly “accumulating leverage against its neighbors” through its massive hydro-engineering projects on transnational rivers, Chellaney wrote.

India, for example, is concerned about China’s plans for a 38,000-megawat dam on the Brahmaputra River at Metog, near the disputed border between the countries.

The proposed Metog dam will be twice as large as China’s 18,300-megawatt Three Gorges, now the world’s largest dam, the construction of which uprooted some 1.7 million people in China.

China has also identified another spot on the Brahmaputra for a mega-dam at Daduqia.

Although China is building a series dams on Southeast Asia’s Mekong River, it refuses to become a member of the Mekong River Commission, an inter-governmental agency whose members include Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

DECLARATION OF LIBERATION IN LIBYA

October 23, 2011

BBC News on October 23, 2011, reported that Libya’s transitional government has declared national liberation before a jubilant crowd in Benghazi, where the revolt against Muammar Gaddafi began:

Tens of thousands of people packed into Freedom Square to hear National Transitional Council (NTC) leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil speak.

Gaddafi’s capture and death on Thursday came as Nato-backed NTC forces pursued loyalists in his stronghold, Sirte.

Thousands of people were killed or injured after the violent repression of protests against Gaddafi’s rule in February developed into a full-scale civil war.

NTC deputy head Abdel Hafiz Ghoga announced from the stage that Libya had been freed, declaring: “Declaration of Liberation. Raise your head high. You are a free Libyan.”

Thousands of voices echoed him chanting, “You are a free Libyan.”

Mr Abdul Jalil bowed down to thank God for victory before making his speech.

He thanked all those who had taken part in the revolution – from rebel fighters to businessmen and journalists – and said the new Libya would take Islamic law as its foundation.

“Today we are one flesh, one national flesh. We have become united brothers as we have not been in the past,” he said.

“I call on everyone for forgiveness, tolerance and reconciliation,” he said. “We must get rid of hatred and envy from our souls. This is a necessary matter for the success of the revolution and the success of the future Libya.”

The NTC leader also wished anti-government protesters in Syria and Yemen “victory”.

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the declaration of liberation, urging a “new inclusive Libya, based on reconciliation, and full respect for human rights and the rule of law”.

Nato, he added, would retain its “capacity to respond to threats to civilians, if needed”.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague greeted Libya’s “historic victory”, and also urged the country to avoid “retribution and reprisals”.

Elections are due to be held by June of next year, Libya’s acting Prime Minister, Mahmoud Jibril, said earlier.

The new elected body, he added, would draft a constitution to be put to a referendum and form an interim government pending a presidential election.

NEXT STEPS

• Elections for a Public National Conference to be held within eight months
• The new body is to appoint a prime minister, an interim government and a constituent authority which will draft a new constitution within 60 days
• Constitution to be put to a referendum
• If the constitution is approved, general elections will be held within six months

LIBYAN SOURCES: QADDAFI HID AWAY MORE THAN $ 200 BILLIONS

October 22, 2011

Fox News on October 22, 2011, reported that Muammar Qaddafi hid away more than 200 US dollars in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments before he was killed on October 21. It is double the previous estimates made by Western governments:

“No one truly appreciated the scope of it,” said one person who has studied detailed records of the Qaddafi asset search.

Western governments had previously estimated the deposed Libyan dictator’s wealth at around $100 billion — including $37 billion in now-frozen investments in the US, roughly $30 billion seized in France, Italy, England and Germany and a further $30 billion believed to be invested around the world.

Subsequent investigations carried out by American, European and Libyan authorities, however, have found that Qaddafi sent tens of billions more abroad during his 42 years in power and made investments in a large number of countries, including much of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the Times reported.

While most of the money was invested under the name of government institutions — including the Central Bank of Libya, the Libyan Investment Authority, the Libyan Foreign Bank, the Libyan National Oil Corp. and the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio — Qaddafi and his family members had direct access to the money, investigators told the newspaper.

QADDAFI’S DEATH RESONATES WITH RELATIVES OF LOCKERBIE VICTIMS

October 21, 2011

AP reported on October 20, 2011, via Fox News on the reaction of Lockerbie victims relatives reaction to the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Below a few excerpts:

Susan Cohen’s 20-year-old daughter was one of the 270 people — many of them New York and New Jersey residents — killed when Pam Am Flight 103 was blown out of the sky by a terrorist bomb over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on Dec. 21, 1988, allegedly at Qaddafi’s behest.

“This was sort of like Dracula: Is Dracula really dead?” said Cohen, of Cape May Court House, N.J. “It’s great now that we know. I didn’t want him to go to a trial. When you have a tyrant, a monster like him, we’re all better off with him dead. Now there can be no illusion of him ever returning to power.”

She said she intended to celebrate his death with an expensive bottle of champagne.

Like the relatives of many of those killed on Flight 103, Cohen was an ordinary citizen who became an activist on Libya, terrorism, international law and diplomacy after the attack.

Some, like Cohen, even attended the trial in the Netherlands of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted as the mastermind of the attack. They were outraged in 2009 when he was released to Libya from British captivity in 2009 on humanitarian grounds as he was supposedly close to death — and have remained angry that he’s still alive two years later.

To some of them, his return implied that Britain was siding more with Qaddafi than with the victims of the bombing. In London on Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged assistance to Libya’s leaders as they work to form a new government.

“Today is a day to remember all of Qaddafi’s victims,” he said. “We should also remember the many, many people who died at the hands of this brutal dictator and his regime.”

‘DUQU’: IS IT THE HYDROGEN BOMB OF CYBERWARFARE?

October 20, 2011

Fox News reported on October 19, 2011, that if the Stuxnet virus was the atom bomb of cyberwarfare, then the discovery this week of the “Duqu” virus is the hydrogen bomb, security experts are warning:

It is the second major weaponized virus to turn computers into lethal weapons with devastating destructive power.

The new program with the help of an unnamed research lab, uses much of the same code as the 2010 Stuxnet virus did. But instead of destroying the systems it infects, Duqu secretly penetrates them and, according to some experts, creates “back door” vulnerabilities that can be exploited to destroy the networks at any time its creators may choose.

The original Stuxnet malware was the culmination of a vast technical and espionage effort that had only one target in mind: the Iranian nuclear program. And is widely believed to be the work of the United States and Israel. Experts who looked at the program were amazed at its ability to penetrate Iran’s secure, highly protected security system and destroy it without being detected.

Its success set back the Iranian nuclear program for years.

Experts were also amazed at the depth of information that had been collected on the Iranian program, information that allowed its secure nuclear system to be penetrated so easily and without detection. Among those elements, according to Ralph Langer who was one of the first to dissect the Stuxnet virus, were stolen certificates of authorization, highly protected codes that power Siemens industrial computers, and the internal workings of Iran’s computer systems. Much of it, they surmised, had to be done using human rather than computer intelligence agents.

With Duqu that is no longer the case.

According to Michael Sconzo, a senior security officer at worldwide computer security company RSA, the new virus embeds itself in computer systems for 36 days and “analyzes and profiles” the system’s workings before sending its findings out to a a secure server and self destructing.

“It’s an intelligence operation,” he told FoxNews.com. “We still aren’t sure of all the things it looks for yet but it is a likely precursor to an attack. It is a Trojan horse.”

But he said its intention is to to allow its users to understand the inner workings of the targeted computer system to create malware that can attack the system.

Among the things currently known is that it records is every keystroke used on a system, allowing it to learn and pass on passwords to various systems inside the network, thus making future penetration much easier.

He speculated that the 36-day window might allow the program to collect password patterns because many companies require password changes every thirty days.

As with Stuxnet, there are still a number of open questions that security firms around the world are still trying to answer, Sconzo said.

Among them: Which companies have been hit; how extensive is the collection of data from their computers; and, because of the short period of penetration, how imminent is an attack.

And the most important question still remains open: Who’s behind the attacks?

Several experts have suggested that the perpetrators must be the same group that created Stuxnet. That’s far from certain, Sconzo said

“The Stuxnet code has been out there for some time,” he told FoxNews.com. “Anyone with a decent knowledge of computers could reverse engineer it.”

While that raises the possibility of Iranian retaliation for Stuxnet, which has been a cause of concern for some time, or even terrorists, he said there was too much not yet known to draw any conclusions about authorship.

“Just who is doing it may be the most important question we need to answer,” he said, because its discovery raises a great deal of “fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

“There is nothing out there available to stop it,” he said.

LIBYAN FORCES PUSH INTO BANI WALID

October 19, 2011

Fox News on October 18, 2011, reported that Libyan freedom fighters Libyan celebrated the fall of this stubborn former regime stronghold by firing weapons in the air and hanging revolutionary flags on buildings, while in another part of the country, their comrades launched a major assault on Muammar Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte:

In the capital Tripoli, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced increased support for Libya’s new leaders, pledging millions of dollars in aid including medical care for wounded fighters and additional assistance to secure weaponry that many fear could fall into the hands of terrorists.

The push from the east of Sirte to rout remaining resistance came a day after commanders announced they had captured most of a second stronghold, Bani Walid, 90 miles southeast of Tripoli.

While welcoming successes in Bani Walid, Libya’s new leaders have said they would only declare liberation after the fall of Sirte. The capture of the coastal city 250 miles southeast of the capital would have symbolic value as well as give them control of the country’s ports and harbors.

Revolutionary fighters have been locked in battle in Sirte and suffering heavy casualties after launching what they said would be an all-out final assault on Oct. 7.

Military commander Ali Abdel-Rahman in Bani Walid said that revolutionary forces were supplied with new weapons which allowed them to surge into the small city the next day.

“We didn’t find a regular army but only loyalists to Qaddafi, snipers with automatic weapons,” he said. “There was no resistance but we lost three martyrs on the first day.”

Libyan fighters have squeezed the die-hard Qaddafi supporters into an area comprising just a few blocks but have been unable to gain full control of the city.

It has been more than two months since the former rebels gained control of the capital and much of the rest of the oil-rich North African nation. Persistent fighting has prevented Libya’s new leaders from declaring final victory and setting a timeline for elections.

Fighters who have been besieging Bani Walid for weeks have finally gained control of the city center, which was deserted on Tuesday. Buildings were pockmarked from bullets and rocket fire.

The only doctors in the main hospital were foreigners.

A revolutionary commander on the scene, Ali Abdel-Rahman, said fighters were able to gain control over Bani Walid on October 16 after receiving much-needed ammunition and supplies the day before. He said they faced little resistance, although three revolutionary fighters were killed.

“We didn’t find a regular army but only loyalists of Qaddafi, snipers with automatic weapons,” he said. “Some of the Qaddafi brigades took off their uniforms and vanished.”

He said even families had fled the area. “There was a widespread perception that there would be a massacre here and pools of blood, but on the contrary, it was very bloodless, swift and with no resistance.”

UK TO STRIKE FIRST IN CYBERWAR

October 19, 2011

Fox News on October 18, 2011, reported that Britain is prepared to strike first to defend itself against a cyber attack from an enemy state, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

His warning was the first clear signal that the UK has developed new weapons for the online battlefield.

Hague told British newspaper The Sun that the globe was in the grip of a new and financially-crippling “arms race in cyberspace.”

He said he could not guarantee that Britain would be able to repel a major cyber assault on the nation’s essential infrastructure — including water works, power plants and the air traffic control system.
But he said, “We will defend ourselves in every way we can, not only to deflect but to prevent attacks that we know are taking place.”

Hague gave no clues on the makeup of Britain’s new electronic arsenal, saying, “The rest of the world will have to guess.”

The British government is pouring an extra £650 million ($1 billion) into developing deterrents to hostile viruses, which are being produced almost constantly.

“We are trying to prevent an arms race in cyber space,” Hague said. “Given that the Internet changes every day, and billions more people will have access to it over the coming years, the potential for that arms race to grow and go out of control is enormous.”

He added, “There is no 100 percent defense against this, just as there isn’t against any other form of attack. We have to defend critical national infrastructure. We have to defend national security. We have to defend our entire commercial and economic system.”

Hague spoke ahead of a cyberspace conference. Senior officials from more than 60 nations and bosses of online giants will meet in London next month to discuss the cyber menace and draw up an “international rule book” on how best to fight it.