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Month: July 2008

Al-Qaida-linked group targets Olympics

Al-Qaida-linked group targets Olympics

‘This is our last warning to China and the rest of the world’
July 28, 2008
By Laura Mansfield
Reposted from the G2 Bulletin with permission – The G2 Bulletin is a subscription only news source.

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A video has been posted on the Internet from the Turkistan Islamic Party threatening the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

As reported by G2 in early March, Islamist elements affiliated with al-Qaida have had this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing in the crosshairs for some time.

The new video features the commander of the Turkistan Islamic Party, Sayfallah, making very specific threats against the XXIX Olympiad.

Sayfallah states that his group is warning China one more time, threatening to attack key points related to the Olympic Games. He explicitly states that the group plans to attack Chinese cities using previously unused methods.

Sayfallah issued a stern warning:

“This is our last warning to China and the rest of the world. The viewers and athletes, especially those who are Muslim, who plan to go to the Olympics should change their plans and not go to China. The Turkistan Islamic Party plans military attacks on people, offices, arenas, and other activities that are connected to the Chinese Olympic Games.”

He claims the group has undergone special training and already has begun its operations against China, including bomb attacks on two buses in Shanghai in May and three buses last week in Yunnan. He also took credit for an attack on police forces in Wenzhou with an explosives-laden tractor and the attack with explosives on a plastics factory.

Chinese authorities have recognized for some time the threat from the organization, and have prepared for terror attacks against the Games.

Last week, an anti-terrorism manual was released to the public. People were urged to remain calm in the event of any attack and to notify authorities by text message. The Xinhua news agency reported an excerpt from the manual advised people that they might “also have to hide your mobile phones if kidnapped by terrorists,”

Xinhua reported that the manual covers a wide range of possible attacks, including explosions, shootings, hijackings and even chemical or nuclear attacks.

In his new message, Sayfallah promised to use “methods that have not previously been used.”

It is unknown if the group has chemical, radiological, biological, or nuclear capabilities but given its affiliation with al-Qaida, the possibility must be considered.

In March of this year, at least one plot targeting the games was busted up by Chinese security forces in a raid in the Turkistan region.

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is the Chinese term for Chinese Turkistan, which has been battling an al-Qaida-linked jihadist group called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. ETIM is recognized by the U.S., China, Kazakhstan, and the United Nations as a terror group.

The U.S. State Department stated in its 2005 annual report on terrorism that ETIM was linked to al-Qaida, and that al-Qaida provided the group with training and funding. In 2002, the Chinese government claimed that the group’s founder, Hasan Mahsum, met with Osama Bin Laden and received funds from the terror leaders. The Chinese also claimed that Bin Laden exported dozens of terrorists to China to assist ETIM efforts. (Mahsum was killed in 2003 by Pakistani forces.)

Further indications of the jihadist link are found in the evidence recovered by police when the group planning the Beijing attack was raided. “Extremist religious ideological materials” were located along with guns, homemade bombs, and training material.

Turkistan has been referenced by al-Qaida leaders in numerous messages, most recently in a message from al-Qaida second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri in part two of his “Town Hall” question-and-answer session, released in April of this year:

Concerning the United Nations, the program demanded reforming the United Nations so that it will be based on the principles of sound international democracy, which the program calls for, without presenting the theories on the rule of the strong. This means that the program agrees that the U.N. resolutions are adopted by the majority of members. This is an acceptance of two serious things. The first is the acceptance of non-sharia rules, and the second is acceptance of resolutions that the U.N. members agreed on by a majority, such as the decision to partition Palestine in 1947 and the decision to accept Israel’s membership in the United Nations, thus forcing all U.N. members, according to the U.N. Charter, to respect its sovereignty and the territorial integrity of its territory. This contradicts with what the program mentioned concerning the duty of liberating the entire Palestinian territory.

Indeed, this is not confined to Palestine but it transcends it to recognizing all the U.N. member states that have transgressed on the territories of Muslims; that is, recognizing Russia’s sovereignty over the Muslim Caucasus, the sovereignty of the Philippines on its Muslim south, the sovereignty of India over Kashmir until the referendum takes place, which the international powers will not allow, the sovereignty of China on eastern Turkistan, and the sovereignty of Spain over Ceuta and Milella, and indeed on the entire Andalusia, and so on.

The Turkistan front was also reference by Zawahiri in his message of March 11, 2007:

“The first question is: Who gave the killers the right to appoint judges to interfere in the affairs of Muslims? By what right the Security Council interferes in the affairs of Muslims and forms courts, which acquit this and convict that, while the hands of their criminals are stained with Muslims’ blood in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Algeria, Chechnya, and East Turkestan? How does America refer the Darfur case to an international court which it does not recognize and refuses to be subject to it? What injustice is governing this world.

“The second question is: If you want to try those who term criminals in Darfur, who will try the criminals in Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chechnya, Kashmir, Indonesia, Philippines, and East Turkistan? Who will try Bush, Blair, Putin, and Sharon? Who will try the villains who are shedding our blood and violating our sanctities on a daily basis, which is many times more than what was committed in Darfur? Who will try Mubarak, Al Sa’ud, Bouteflika, Zine El Abidine, and Bin-al-Husayn, and Musharraf?”

In November 2006, a video was released by Al Fajr highlighting activities of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. A number of other videos from the group are available for viewing on YouTube.

The new video can be seen at LauraMansfield.com.

The link between the “Global Jihad” and the East Turkistan Islamic Movement is indisputable, and the solidarity between that group and al-Qaida appears to continue to be strong.

It is very likely that this plot to attack the Beijing Olympics was not simply an isolated, stand-alone attack planned by a rogue group; instead, it is very likely that this was planned to be another mass casualty terror attack planned and financed by al-Qaida using one of its favorite and most successful weapons – commercial airliners.

G2B contributor Laura Mansfield is an author and counter-terrorism analyst

Man sues Bible publishers over homosexuality

Man sues Bible publishers over homosexuality

Oh boy.

“A homosexual man who has a blog on Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign website is suing two major Christian publishers for violating his constitutional rights and causing emotional pain, because the Bible versions they publish refer to homosexuality as a sin.”[Read More]

The weapons of World War III

The weapons of World War III

It will ‘be fought in the electromagnetic spectrum’
July 8, 2008
Reposted from the G2 Bulletin with permission – The G2 Bulletin is a subscription only news source.

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Did the Chinese military cause the largest blackout in the history of North America?

That is the assertion of Tim Bennett, the former president of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, who says U.S. intelligence officials confirmed to him the People’s Liberation Army gained access to a network that controlled electric power systems serving the northeastern U.S. in 2003.

Some 50 million people were affected by the 9,300-square-mile blackout that hit parts of New York, Canada, Michigan and Ohio.

The official explanation for the power outage was that overgrown trees came into contact with strained high-voltage lines in Ohio. But the story of this possible skirmish in the “electromagnetic spectrum” is widely whispered about in defense and intelligence circles. It is referred to by some as the first battle of World War III – a conflict to be fought asymmetrically in cyberspace and with weapons that might seem like science fiction.

The Moscow newspaper Zavtra reported only a week ago that Russia has developed “special powerful electromagnetic impulse generators that may be used in design of new type radars and as a basis of electromagnetic weapons that will render enemy electronics inoperable.”

“The U.S. Army is convinced meanwhile that the Russians have already designed ‘kinetic weapons’ and ‘directed energy weapons’ (apparently lasers) for ASAT warfare,” the article continued. “In any event, the Americans suspect that the recent episode with the Chinese laser that damaged an American spysat became possible precisely because Moscow had made this technology available to China.”

The superweapons being developed for the next global conflict began coming into sharper focus last winter when China destroyed one of its own aging, low-Earth-orbit weather satellites while it was circling at an altitude of 500 miles, using a ground-based, direct ascent anti-satellite weapon.

This year, the U.S., using its sea-based Aegis missile defense system, shot down a disabled American intelligence satellite at 100 or so miles altitude as it tumbled uncontrollably toward the planet.

The Defense Department says China is developing non-kinetic means of attacking satellites, such as jamming and blinding, and using lasers, microwave, particle beam and electromagnetic pulse weapons.

Cyber-warfare, one of the proven strengths of the Chinese military, can also be used as an anti-satellite capability. In congressional testimony this year, the director of national intelligence stated, “Counter-command, control and sensor systems, to include communications satellite jammers and ASAT weapons, are among Beijing’s highest military priorities.”

Bennett, meanwhile, told the National Journal he believes Chinese cyber-hackers were also responsible for another U.S. blackout last February in Florida – one that affected 3 million customers.

 

Bennett told the National Journal he decided to speak publicly about the incidents to point out that security for the nation’s critical electronic infrastructures is weak and to emphasize that government and company officials haven’t sufficiently acknowledged these vulnerabilities.

The National Journal said a second information-security expert independently corroborated Bennett’s account of the Florida blackout.

Asked point blank by the National Journal if Washington knew of hacker involvement in the two blackouts, Joel Brenner, the government’s senior counterintelligence official, said: “I can’t comment on that.” But he added, “It’s certainly possible that sort of thing could happen. The kinds of network exploitation one does to explore a network and map it and learn one’s way around it has to be done whether you are going to steal information, bring [the network] down, or corrupt it. The possible consequences of this behavior are profound.”

In response to what observers agree is an increasing number of attacks in cyberspace, the U.S. Air Force is in the process of setting up a Cyberspace Command, headed by a two-star general and comprising about 160 individuals assigned to a handful of bases. It is reportedly dedicated to the proposition that “the next war will be fought in the electromagnetic spectrum.”

And the weapons and tactics of that war will not be limited to planting program viruses in computer systems.

According to several sources, the Chinese, Russians, Americans, British and French have all made progress in the development of electro-magnetic pulse weapons and directed-energy weapons.

In May, for instance, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5658, the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 by a vote of 384 to 23. The bill included $5 million for acceleration of the Directed Energy and Electronic Weapons Systems program and specifically the Electromagnetic Railgun at Dahlgren.

The Railgun was successfully tested last October. It fires non-explosive projectiles at high speeds, using electricity rather than gun powder. The technology could increase the striking range of U.S. Navy ships more than tenfold by the year 2020.

The railgun works by sending electric current along parallel rails, creating an electromagnetic force so powerful it can fire a projectile at tremendous speed.

Another form of new electromagnetic weaponry is the portable EMP device. These are devices that can be mounted or carried aboard vehicles, aircraft, ships, even missiles. While the stage of development of such weapons remains a shadowy question, U.S. military as well as foreign military sources suggest America already has portable EMP devices and has at least considered using them in the Afghan and Iraq theaters. Since these weapons are non-lethal and used mainly to disrupt electronics and communication, their use might not even be detected by enemies.

Portable EMP weapons can be used quickly, irrespective of weather conditions, and against a wide variety of targets with minimal risk to civilian populations. Some form of EMP weapon would almost assuredly be used in the kind of surprise attack scenarios being developed, for example, against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But even Iran is said to be experimenting with EMP weapons.

More than four years after a stunning report about America’s vulnerability to a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack was released to Congress, the House Armed Services Committee will hear testimony from the scientist who issued the warning and who believes Iran is pursuing such an option, WorldNetDaily reported today.

William R. Graham, President Reagan’s top science adviser and the chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, will update the committee Thursday morning. Graham warned in 2005 that Iran was not only covertly developing nuclear weapons, but was already testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America’s technical infrastructure with the aim of neutralizing the world’s lone superpower.

The radical Shiite regime has conducted successful tests to determine if its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, can be detonated by a remote-control device while still in high-altitude flight, Graham said in his report.

Graham said then there was no other plausible explanation for such tests than preparation for the deployment of electromagnetic pulse weapons – even one of which could knock out America’s critical electrical and technological infrastructure, effectively sending the continental U.S. back to the 19th century with a recovery time of months or years.

Iran would have that capability – at least theoretically – as soon as it has one nuclear bomb ready to arm such a missile.

Iran surprised intelligence analysts by describing the mid-flight detonations of missiles fired from ships on the Caspian Sea as “successful” tests. Even primitive Scud missiles could be used for this purpose. And top U.S. intelligence officials reminded members of Congress that there is a glut of these missiles on the world market. They are currently being bought and sold for about $100,000 apiece.

Others agree with Graham’s sobering assessment.

“A terrorist organization might have trouble putting a nuclear warhead ‘on target’ with a Scud, but it would be much easier to simply launch and detonate in the atmosphere,” wrote Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., in the Washington Post in 2005 after reading Graham’s report. “No need for the risk and difficulty of trying to smuggle a nuclear weapon over the border or hit a particular city. Just launch a cheap missile from a freighter in international waters – al-Qaida is believed to own about 80 such vessels – and make sure to get it a few miles in the air.”

The Iranian missile tests were more sophisticated and capable of detonation at higher elevations – making them more dangerous.

Detonated at a height of 60 to 500 kilometers above the continental U.S., one nuclear warhead could cripple the country – knocking out electrical power and circuit boards and rendering the U.S. domestic communications impotent.