U.S. Military Working to Produce Drones the Size of Insects

Two miles from the cow pasture where the Wright Brothers learned to fly the first airplanes, military researchers are at work on another revolution in the air: shrinking unmanned drones, the kind that fire missiles into Pakistan and spy on insurgents in Afghanistan, to the size of insects and birds. The base’s indoor flight lab is called the “microaviary,” and for good reason. The drones in development here are designed to replicate the flight mechanics of moths, hawks and other inhabitants of the natural world. “We’re looking at how you hide in plain sight,” said Greg Parker, an aerospace engineer, as he held up a prototype of a mechanical hawk that in the future might carry out espionage or kill. Half a world away in Afghanistan, Marines marvel at one of the new blimplike spy balloons that float from a tether 15,000 feet above one of the bloodiest outposts of the war, Sangin in Helmand Province. The balloon, called an aerostat, can transmit live video — from as far as 20 miles away — of insurgents planting homemade bombs. “It’s been a game-changer for me,” Capt. Nickoli Johnson said in Sangin this spring. “I want a bunch more put in.”

One in Four World Bank Road Construction Projects Results in Fraud Allegations

The World Bank has called for sweeping action to tackle corruption in the global road building sector, including laws penalising bid rigging, market division, and other forms of collusive behaviour in both developed and developing countries. In a report, Curbing Fraud, Corruption and Collusion in the Roads Sector, the World Bank said corruption in road contract procurement and subcontracting was a systemic problem in some countries. “Collusion and corruption are sometimes deeply ingrained in the roads sector,” the report stated. “Short-term palliatives, such as an independent procurement evaluator or technical auditor, may be the answer. More drastic measures may also be required including the use of bid ceilings, competitive negotiation, and turning procurement over to an independent agent”.

World Bank Fraud, Corruption, and Collusion in the Roads Sector Report

Because an extensive, well maintained network of roads is essential for economic development, road construction and maintenance projects have been a mainstay of the World Bank’s lending portfolio since its founding. This long experience in the roads sector is reflected in favorable project evaluations. The Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group reports that roads and other transport projects consistently score higher on measures of outcomes, institutional development, and sustainability than non-transport projects and the Bank’s Quality Assurance Group has found that roads projects are well-supervised. At the same time, roads projects around the globe remain plagued by fraud, corruption, and collusion. A Transparency International poll ranked construction as the industry most prone to corruption and a survey of international firms revealed that companies in the construction industry were more likely than firms in any other sector to have lost a contract because of bribery. World Bank-financed projects are not immune. Roughly one-fourth of the 500 plus projects with a Bank-funded roads component approved over the past decade drew one or more allegations of fraud, corruption, or collusion; to date, the Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) has confirmed allegations in 25 projects resulting in 29 cases of misconduct under Bank rules.

NSA Working With AT&T, Verizon to Scan Email, Internet Traffic for Attacks Against Defense Contractors

The National Security Agency is working with Internet providers to deploy a new generation of tools to scan e-mail and other digital traffic with the goal of thwarting cyberattacks against defense firms by foreign adversaries, senior defense and industry officials say. The novel program, which began last month on a voluntary, trial basis, relies on sophisticated NSA data sets to identify malicious programs slipped into the vast stream of Internet data flowing to the nation’s largest defense firms. Such attacks, including one last month against Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, are nearly constant as rival nations and terrorist groups seek access to U.S. military secrets. “We hope the . . . cyber pilot can be the beginning of something bigger,” Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said at a global security conference in Paris on Thursday. “It could serve as a model that can be transported to other critical infrastructure sectors, under the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security.”

Obama Administration Report on Legal Justification for Military Actions in Libya

In his address to the nation on Libya on March 28, 2011, President Obama presented a comprehensive explanation for why he authorized military action as part of an international coalition to protect the people of Libya and to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973. In the intervening weeks and months, coalition efforts have been effective in protecting the Libyan population. The regime has suffered numerous defeats, cities and towns across Libya have been liberated from brutal sieges, strong sanctions are in place, and the regime is encountering serious difficulties raising revenues through oil sales or other means. All these actions and outcomes are consistent with UNSCR 1973.

(U//FOUO) US Army Company Intelligence Support Team (COIST) Handbook

The mission of COISTs is to describe the effects of the weather, enemy, terrain, and local population on friendly operations to reduce uncertainty and aid in decision making. This is a simple and clear mission with a powerful purpose. However, the operation of the company COIST is far from simple. Company leaders must review and interpret huge volumes of data on a daily basis to determine their relevance and relationships. A few examples of this data include weapons intelligence team reports, patrol debriefs, intelligence summaries (INTSUMs), link diagrams, and be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) lists. Although the commander will determine and direct the exact requirements for the COIST, specified and implied tasks usually include targeting; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); patrol briefings and debriefings; detainee operations; and site exploitation.

Like to Take Photos? You Might Be a Terrorist

Taking an innocent snapshot in a public area may get you in trouble, even if photography is allowed. It almost landed Ryan Miklus behind bars when he flew from Phoenix to Reno with his parents recently. When Miklus tried to videotape an altercation between his mother and a TSA agent, another officer tried to stop him. “You are not allowed to film,” the officer says on the video. “You need to go. You cannot film us.” “Where does it say that?” Miklus asks. “Show me the law. Show it to me and I’ll stop.” The agent doesn’t answer, but leaves and returns with several airline employees, one of whom tells Miklus that it’s “against the law” to take photos at a security checkpoint.

Congressional Lawsuit Over Obama Administration’s Violation of War Powers Act in Libya

This is an action for injunctive and declaratory relief to protect the Plaintiffs and the country from a stated policy of Defendant Barack Obama, President of the United States, whereby a president may unilaterally go to war in Libya and other countries without the declaration of war from Congress required by Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution.

NSA $3.2 Billion “Site M” Expansion Planning Documents Reveal Cyberwar Command Center

In July 2010, the NSA revealed that it was expanding into a 227-acre parcel of land at Fort Meade called “Site M”, constructing a series of buildings that could cost as much as $5.2 billion. This expansion would displace two golf courses currently occupying the land and provide the NSA, which already occupies 630 acres at Fort Meade, with more space to build “an operational complex and to construct and operate consolidated facilities to meet the National Security Agency’s (NSA) continually evolving requirements and for Intelligence Community use”. The project has been shrouded in secrecy throughout its existence and there are only a few references to “Site M” in DoD budget planning documents. However, a recently discovered collection of development planning documents for the Site M project provide detailed information about the proposed $3.2 billion expansion, indicating that the facility will be a centralized command center for the NSA’s evolving cyberwarfare capabilities.

(U//FOUO) NSA “Site M” Expansion Planning Documents

National Security Agency “Site M” Expansion Development Plan and Anti-Terrorism Force Protection Assessment from May 31, 2011. The Site M Area Development Plan (ADP) for the National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) coordinates the development of facilities on Site M at Fort George G. Meade (Ft. Meade), allowing for growth and expansion over time. Site M development is planned to consist of administrative buildings, operation buildings, High Performance Computing Centers (HPCC) and associated support facilities. The objective of the AT/FP component is to develop a plan for protection of the proposed Site M development. This plan is based on the mandatory DoD minimum antiterrorism standards as well the specific requirements of NSA/CSS Ft. Meade. The plan provides overall guidance for development of the site as well as specific design strategies for key AT/FP components. A layered approach to security has been applied to ensure probability of detection with low false and nuisance alarm rates.

Mexican Drug Cartels Bribe Border Patrol Agents with Sex, Use Female Assassins, Kidnap People for Gladiator Knife Fights

The elderly are killed. Young women are raped. And able-bodied men are given hammers, machetes and sticks and forced to fight to the death. In one of the most chilling revelations yet about the violence in Mexico, a drug cartel-connected trafficker claims fellow gangsters have kidnapped highway bus passengers and forced them into gladiatorlike fights to groom fresh assassins. In an in-person interview arranged by intermediaries on the condition that neither his name nor the location of his Texas visit be published, the trafficker also admitted to helping push cocaine worth $5 million to $10 million a month into the United States.

New Version of Domestic Investigations Manual Will Make it Easier for FBI Agents to Search Your Trash

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention. The F.B.I. soon plans to issue a new edition of its manual, called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, according to an official who has worked on the draft document and several others who have been briefed on its contents. The new rules add to several measures taken over the past decade to give agents more latitude as they search for signs of criminal or terrorist activity.

Israeli Security Barrier Occupation Checkpoint Photos

jenniferlisa – http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenniferlisa/
delayed gratification – http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshhough/
chris yunker – http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris-yunker/
david ortmann – http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidortmann/
justincgio – http://www.flickr.com/photos/51479356@N05/
Michael Loadenthal – http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelimage/
izahorsky – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ingmar/
taimambi – http://www.flickr.com/photos/taimambi/
hoyasmeg – http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/

DHS Partners with Faith-Based Organizations to Promote Suspicious Activity Reporting

Jewish Federations of North America officials met today at the White House with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The meeting, coinciding with the announcement of the Federation movement’s new partnership with DHS, was dedicated mainly to the state of threats posed to American Jewish institutions. According to the Jewish Federations spokesman, it’s the first time DHS is partnering with a faith-based community to advance its “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. “Homeland security begins with hometown security, and our nation’s faith-based organizations play a critical role in keeping our communities safe,” said Secretary Napolitano, according to the White House readout of the meeting.

2011 Bilderberg Meeting Participant List

Official list of participants for the 2011 Bilderberg Meeting in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The 59th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in St. Moritz, Switzerland from 9 – 12 June 2011. The Conference will deal mainly with Challenges for Growth: Innovation and Budgetary Discipline, the Euro and Challenges for the European Union, the role of Emerging Economies, Social Networks: Connectivity and Security Issues, New Challenges in the Middle East, Conflict Areas, Demographic Challenges, China, Switzerland: Can it remain successful in the future?

Bilderberg Security Erects Curtain to Hide Participants

So yes – seems that I spoke too soon about a chilled-out Swiss Bilderberg. The happy proximity of cameras and conference had already been broken, overnight, by a long white security fence, which blocked our view of the venue. No one seems to know who put it up, but the smart money says that it was hammered in at 3am by Jorma Ollila, the Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, while Peter Voser, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, held the nails. Now of course, when I describe what’s gone up as a “security fence”, what I actually mean is “privacy fence”. It’s a shower curtain, not a ring of steel. And of course, by “privacy” what I actually mean is “shame”. It’s a shame fence. A massive white fence of embarrassment. Privacy is what the delegates get when they close the door of their conference hall. Privacy is a Chatham House agreement not to discuss in public what was discussed at the various presentations and seminars of Bilderberg.

Nine Months Into Investigation, PG&E Finds Documents Detailing Prior Leak in San Bruno Pipeline

The head of the federal agency investigating a deadly pipeline explosion scolded Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on Wednesday for taking nearly nine months to report that there had been a gas leak near the disaster site years earlier. Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said she was “disappointed” and “frustrated” that the information came so late in the ongoing investigation of the September blast, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 houses in San Bruno, a suburb south of San Francisco. “This investigation has been in high-priority mode,” Hersman said in an interview as she toured the disaster site and met with people who lost homes and loved ones. “This is information that should have been provided earlier.

General Dynamics Wins $867 Million DHS IT Contract

The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded General Dynamics a seven-year, $867 million contract to develop IT infrastructure for a consolidated Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters. The award was previously given to Northrop Grumman but revoked after a protest by competitive contractors. The GSA is handling the Alliant government-wide acquisition contract for the new DHS headquarters at the St. Elizabeth campus in southeast Washington, which will unite, in one central location, 22 department agencies that currently span 35 offices. The agency’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center awarded the contract to General Dynamics, which will work with the DHS to create a green, energy-efficient IT infrastructure for the campus, according to the GSA.