Month: February 2012

India — Augmenting Counter terrorism Capability

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Volume 03, Issue 51

Monday, 27 February 2012 13:23
India has struggled to create an organizational structure for effective counterterrorism capability. So far the effort has meant a number of parallel set ups that have not just coordinated well among themselves but have fought turf wars for dominance within the intelligence establishment. Now, an all-new NCTC, established to overcome those shortcomings runs into rough weather with some states. A Kashmir Life Bureau report.

The National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) will be a reality soon despite many other organisations existent within the intelligence establishment for the same purpose. The underlying rationale behind creating yet another counterterrorism outfit, is closer coordination between all intelligence gathering and counter action assets for evolving a more robust capability at the national level.  

A story gleaned from highly placed intelligence sources allows a peep into the need for India to have the NCTC. On the evening of 25 January 1995,the then Governor of Jammu and Kashmir General (rtd) KV Krishna Rao was reviewing the Republic Day preparations with top security and intelligence officers at the Jammu Raj Bhawan. The then chiefs of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research andAnalysis Wing (RAW) were also there to prepare a plan for border infrastructure and development. On his last trip to Krishnaghati border areas, Rao was impressed by the development on the other side of LoC and asked RAW Commissioner in Kashmir CD Sahay for suggestions.

Sahay did not have many suggestions on border development, but ‘knew’ what was to happen the next day (January 26) while Rao would preside over the flag hoisting ceremony at the Maulana Azad stadium in Jammu. A bomb literally exploded under Rao’s feet that day. He escaped safe only because the handlers had erred. A bomb ripped the stage and another one exploded near the gate and a third one destroyed the parking lot.

A combing operation had been launched at Sahay’s behest, but the Japanese plastic timers could not be found, till they exploded.

Former intelligence sleuths say that information about the planned explosions had been culled just by sheer accident. Sahay, before going to the meeting with Rao, had consulted his colleagues and asked if there was something to discuss with the Governor. “Nothing new Sir, just routine,” they had all replied. Sahay had then asked for some recent files consigned to the record room, since his last meeting with Rao. Read the rest of this entry »

Israel Matzav: ‘Iran’s nuclear infrastructure has been destroyed’

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Wikileaks has released emails from Stratfor that expanded on a report that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak hailed a November munitions blast in Iran as having destroyed Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Here are some of the emails from the chain (I am putting them in chronological order rather than the reverse chronological order that appears at the link).
On 11/7/11 7:54 AM, Benjamin Preisler wrote:

Code: IL701
Publication: for background
Attribution: none
Source Description – Confirmed Israeli Intelligence Agent
Source reliability: Still testing
Item credibility: untested
Source handler: Fred

Source was asked what he thought of reports that the Israelis were preparing a military offensive against Iran. Response:

I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago. The current “let’s bomb Iran” campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home
financial problems. It plays also well for the US since Pakistan, Russia and N. Korea are mentioned in the report.

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Review: The Power of Unreason Conspiracy Theories Extremism and Counter Terrorism

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This paper is the first in a series of policy papers on emerging themes in extremism and terrorism by Demos. These papers focus on under-researched dimensions of extremism, and do not present an exhaustive answer, but suggest new avenues of study. Future papers include the role of women and gender in extremist movements, and methods to de-glamorise al-Qaeda.

This paper examines the role of conspiracy theories in extremist groups. Numerous studies have considered a variety of factors thatencourage extremism: ideology, grievance, poverty, religion, and social networks. The role of conspiracy theories, defined as accounts  of events as the deliberate yet concealed product of a powerful few,regardless of the evidence, has been ignored. This study is the first attempt, as far as we are aware, to research this subject and should be viewed as such.

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Crowdsourcing for Change?

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23 Feb 2012

Portrait of Heather Leson

Heather Leson

In today’s podcast, Ushahidi’s Heather Leson discusses her organization’s use of crisis mapping techniques and outlines how non-state actors are increasingly collaborating online to tackle issues traditionally managed by governments.

Audio player:


The Iran Conflict Comes To The Caucasus

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Mourners carry the coffin of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan during his funeral in Tehran on January 13. Roshan is the fourth Iranian nuclear scientist to be assassinated in two years. Iran accuses Azerbaijan of colluding with Israel in the killings.

By Brian Whitmore
When police in Tbilisi discovered and defused a bomb on the car of an employee of the Israeli Embassy on February 13, it marked the second time in less than a month that the Jewish state’s diplomats had become the target of an attack in the South Caucasus.The other incident came in late January when Azerbaijani security officials said they had foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate the Israeli ambassador, a local rabbi, and other prominent Jews in that country. Police arrested two Azerbaijani nationals in connection with that plot.

In both cases, Iran has been named as the suspected mastermind. Israel publicly accused Tehran of being behind the aborted Tbilisi attack. And officials in Baku said the two Azerbaijani suspects arrested in January had collaborated on the alleged assassination plot with an Iranian citizen connected to that country’s security services.

Iran has denied involvement in either incident. But analysts say the two cases illustrate how Georgia and Azerbaijan — due to their proximity to Iran and their close relations with Israel and the United States — risk being drawn deeper into the quickly escalating conflict between Tehran on one side and Israel and the West on the other.

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Anonymous hackers getting ‘more disruptive’, could cause power outage

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Anonymous with Guy Fawkes masks at Scientology...

Image via Wikipedia

February 21, 2012 5:15pm

United States security officials are sounded the warning against possible power outages brought about by cyberattacks from hacker – and hacktivist – groups like Anonymous.

US National Security Agency director Gen. Keith Alexander gave this assessment to the White House and other private sessions, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Citing people familiar with the gatherings, the WSJ report said that, while Alexander has not publicly voiced such concerns, he has warned about an emerging ability by cyberattackers to disable or even damage computer networks.

So far, Anonymous – and groups allied with it – had concentrated mainly on exposing data or knocking sites offline, usually for a cause.

But the WSJ noted that Alexander’s warning may show a growing federal concern over the capabilities of Anonymous, which had previously launched high-profile cyberassaults against U.S. government and corporate targets including Visa, MasterCard and eBay Inc.‘s PayPal service.

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Saudi Arabia Was Just Kidding About Letting Women Compete in the Olympics

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By Erin Gloria Ryan Feb 17, 2012 11:35 AM 14,030 clip_image00376clip_image005

International Olympic Committee rules require that countries allow both men and women to compete as a prerequisite for their participation in the Olympic Games. Saudia Arabia, a country that has never sent a female athlete to the games, has been warned of this, promised to correct the situation, and then sort of did nothing for awhile and hoped that no one would notice.

Now, one human rights group says enough is enough and is encouraging the IOC to bar the Middle Eastern Kingdom from the Games, on account of the fact that they’re clearly dragging their feet on this. In a letter to the IOC on Wednesday, the organization demanded Saudi Arabia be barred from the upcoming London Olympic Games if they fail to send a lady to compete.

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