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Showing posts from June 2, 2015

Reforms ordered after US airports fail security testing

Only three US airports out of 70 evaluated passed the undercover testing

A top US official has pledged reforms after tests found that airport screeners allowed mock explosives and weapons through security checkpoints 95% of the time.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday called for revised security procedures in airports across the US.

In one test, a screener failed to find a fake bomb taped to an agent's back despite patting the man down.

The results of tests were first reported by ABC News.

ABC News reported - citing people who had been briefed on a Homeland Security inspector general report - the tests were carried out at 70 US airports. Only three airports were able detect the banned weapons, the report said.

Mr Johnson said security officers should be retrained and scanning equipment should be retested. He said he was taking the results of tests "very seriously".

"The numbers in these reports never look good out of context but they are a critical element i…

Islamic State: How it is run

By Aidan Lewis BBC News

Out of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.Media captionWho's in charge of IS? In 90 secs

In a ground mission in eastern Syria last weekend, US special forces killed Abu Sayyaf, a man they described as playing a key role in Islamic State's oil and gas operations.

The American commandos were quickly engaged in a firefight, during which Abu Sayyaf was killed. But their original goal was to capture and interrogate him, apparently in an effort to improve their understanding of how IS works.

It raised the question of how much is known about the structure of an organisation that rapidly overran large parts of Syria and Iraq last year, and has been able to hold onto much of that territory despite months of air strikes by a US-led coalition.

On a broad level the shape of Islamic State may seem fairly clear.Islamic State has seized large swathes of territory in Syria and IraqThere are conflicting reports about the fate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Its st…

Blackwater Trained Some of World’s Top Terrorists

By Washingtons Blog

The International Business Times reports that the head of special forces chief in Tajikistan was trained by American mercenary company Blackwater, but has now joined ISIS.

Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill notes that Zacharias Moussaoui – the so-called “20th 9/11 hijacker” – had Blackwater’s number in his notebook.

Blackwater often works for the U.S. government. For example, the Atlantic noted in 2012:

President Bush gave the CIA permission to create a top secret assassination unit to find and kill Al Qaeda operatives. The program was kept from Congress for seven years. And when Leon Panetta told legislators about it in 2009, he revealed that the CIA had hired the private security firm Blackwater to help run it. “The move was historic,” says Evan Wright, the two-time National Magazine Award-winning journalist who wrote Generation Kill. “It seems to have marked the first time the U.S. government outsourced a covert assassination service to private enterprise.”

And se…

​S. Koreans say Japan worse threat than China as attitudes ‘worsen sharply’

Japanese troops (Reuters / U.S. Air Force / Senior Airman Sara Csurilla / Handout)

Fifty-two percent of Japanese people dislike South Korea, while 78 percent of Koreans feel the same way about Japan, with 4 in 10 Koreans believing the countries will go to war in the next few years, according to an authoritative survey.

In its third such annual study, Tokyo’s Genron NPO, a think tank, and Seoul’s East Asia Institute, eachinterviewed about 1,000 people in their respective countries, ahead of a landmark meeting between the South Korean and Japanese defense ministers.

Koreans have been particularly alarmed by Japan, which has recently upped its defense budget, and whose current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has espoused a rhetoric widely dubbed “new nationalism.” Fifty-eight percent of South Koreans said Japan posed a military threat, fewer than the 83 percent who were fearful of North Korea, but far ahead of the 38 percent who said the biggest danger emanated from Beijing. Last year, only 46 pe…