"Things that sounded extremely unlikely a few years ago are now coming along," said Scott Borg, director of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a nonprofit group that helps the U.S. government prepare for future attacks.
Hope somebody is listening to the guy; anyway, you gotta love that name.
Indian army helicopter enters Pakistani airspace, crew held.Four Indian army officers are being held after their helicopter was forced to land in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. Pakistan asserts the chopper violated its airspace, India maintains it was forced to land due to bad weather.
Earthquake in eastern Turkey causes damages, casualties. Via Claire Berlinski, a 7.2 earthquake struck eastern Turkey, causing the collapse of at least 25 buildings. Check here for updates from Claire (who lives in Istanbul, at the opposite corner of the country).
Shireen Hunter: Nothing's certain about Iranian plot. 'The United States announced a plot was foiled to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, which it linked to Iran. But before passing final judgment and acting upon this information, it would be prudent to ask cui bono -- who profits from this affair? In this sense, Iran has everything to lose and its regional rivals everything to win. ...'
Jeffrey Toobin: How strong is the case against Iran plot suspect? 'In all, then, the case against Arbabsiar may well be airtight. Certainly, this fellow is in a world of trouble, and in the end, he may even decide to plead guilty and become an informant himself. But Arbabsiar may well fight to the end. Cases only become more complicated over time, and there's every reason to think that this one will, too. The case arrived with great and surprising suddenness, but it may now be a long slog to a jury verdict and beyond.'
Did an elite branch of Iran's military handpick a divorced, 56-year Iranian-American used-car salesman from Texas to hire a hitman from a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the ambassador to Saudi Arabia by blowing up a bomb in a crowded restaurant in Washington?
U.S. officials say they are certain the bizarre plot against Ambassador Adel Jubeir was real.
But some analysts say they are not. They find it unlikely that the Iranian government, or legitimate factions within, would be involved in such a tangled plot. ...
Remarks. Should I start with Sayah's unnamed, omniscient "analysts"? Or perhaps with Toobin's penetrating conclusion that "the case against Arbabsiar may well be airtight ... he may even decide to plead guilty and become an informant himself. But Arbabsiar may well fight to the end." May he really? Never mind, we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out.
Officials at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada knew for two weeks about a virus infecting the drone “cockpits” there. But they kept the information about the infection to themselves — leaving the unit that’s supposed to serve as the Air Force’s cybersecurity specialists in the dark. The network defenders at the 24th Air Force learned of the virus by reading about it in Danger Room.
The virus, which records the keystrokes of remote pilots as their drones fly over places like Afghanistan, is now receiving attention at the highest levels; the four-star general who oversees the Air Force’s networks was briefed on the infection this morning. But for weeks, it stayed (you will pardon the expression) below the radar: a local problem that local network administrators were determined to fix on their own. ...
JPost: 'Exactly 1,934 days after Hamas kidnapped Gilad Schalit near Kerem Shalom on the border with Gaza, the cabinet met in a dramatic meeting Tuesday night, approving a deal for his release. Twenty-six ministers voted to approve the prisoner exchange deal signed with Hamas, with only three voting against the deal.'
Israel and Hamas leaders said Tuesday they have brokered a deal to swap roughly 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas more than five years ago.
Shalit is expected to return to Israel within a few days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of an emergency cabinet meeting called to discuss the soldier's release.
"We will return Gilad healthy and whole to his family and all of Israel," he said. "The negotiations were difficult. ... We had to make difficult decisions but (the) correct one. With all the change taking place in the Middle East we did not know if a better deal or any deal would have been possible." ...
Today, I bring a proposal to the Government for a deal that will bring Gilad Shalit home alive and well; bring him home to his parents Aviva and Noam, his brother Yoel, his sister Hadas, his grandfather Zvi, and the entire people of Israel. Two and a half years ago, when the government was formed, I took upon myself, as my first priority, to bring Gilad home to his people, to his family - to bring him home safe and sound.
At the time, Gilad was already held in captivity for two and a half years, with no visits from the Red Cross, with no visits at all, and we did not know what state he was in. The first step I took, and we approved it here in the Government, was to get a video recording of Gilad, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw it. We saw that he was functioning, physically, mentally and cognitively. We saw that he was functioning well. We knew that he was healthy and that he was alive. I regarded that tape as an insurance policy, because it obliged the Hamas before the international community to safeguard him, to keep him alive and maintain his health. But that was obviously only the first step. The most important mission that we had was more challenging - to actually bring Gilad home. To that end we held long and tough negotiations through the German mediator. These negotiations were based on a framework outlined by the previous government. They were long and exhausting and despite all our efforts, a deal was not reached.
I must point out that not a day went by without us trying various ways to bring Gilad home, any way possible, and that didn't work either. In the last few weeks, the negotiations were renewed in Cairo, this time with the Egyptian government as mediator. My instructions to the team were to adhere to the principles and framework that are important for the security of the State of Israel, which I will detail in the meeting.
There is an inbuilt tension between the desire to bring back an abducted soldier, or citizen, and the need to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel. This is my dual responsibility as Prime Minister. The deal I am bringing to the Government expresses the right balance between all of these considerations. I do not wish to hide the truth from you - it is a very difficult decision. I feel for the families of victims of terror, I appreciate their suffering and distress, I am one of them. But leadership must be examined at moments such as this, being able to make difficult, but right, decisions. I believe that we have reached the best deal we could have at this time, when storms are sweeping the Middle East. I do not know if in the near future we would have been able to reach a better deal or any deal at all. It is very possible that this window of opportunity, that opened because of the circumstances, would close indefinitely and we would never have been able to bring Gilad home at all. Therefore, for all of these reasons, I instructed the team to put their initials on the deal last Thursday, and today it was finalized and signed by both sides. ...
There are some substantial misunderstandings on the nature of the Gilad Shalit exchange deal. I should stress that the list of those Palestinian prisoners being given in exchange for him has not yet been released. But note the following:
–The number 1000 is impressive but most will be chosen by Israel, meaning they will be prisoners with the lightest sentences an crimes, in other words, people who would have been released anyway during the next year or two.
–Israel rejected Hamas’s demand to release those being called “arch-terrorists” who were major organizers of attacks or responsible for a larger loss of life.
–Of the most serious terrorist prisoners only a bit over 96 will be released into the West Bank and 14 to east Jerusalem where they could cause direct trouble for Israel The rest will be sent to the Gaza Strip or deported altogether. Those with lighter sentences who live in the West Bank would have been sent there anyway when their sentences were finished.
–Hamas did a politically clever thing by demanding that half of the named prisoners be non-Hamas people. The goal is to make Hamas more popular among Fatah supporters and on the West Bank. ...
The United States has stopped a 'significant terrorist act linked to Iran which wanted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington DC, as well as other attacks.
The assassination of Adel Al-Jubeir would have been followed by bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington.
The plot has support from the Iranian government and two men allegedly working for 'factions of the Iranian government' have been charged with the plot, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday. ...
MSNBC: 'Two men allegedly working for "factions of the Iranian government" have been charged with plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and to attack the Saudi and Israeli embassies, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday. The criminal complaint, unsealed Tuesday in federal court in New York City, identified the two as Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri.'
The US Treasury Department has designated five individuals involved in an alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US, including Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). Soleimani "oversees the IRGC-QF officers who were involved in this plot," according to Treasury.
Another of the five is Abdul Reza Shahlai, an IRGC-QF officer who planned the Jan. 20, 2007 attack on US soldiers stationed in Karbala, Iraq. That attack left five US soldiers dead and wounded three others.
Shahlai, according to the Treasury Department, "coordinated the plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubeir, while he was in the United States and to carry out follow-on attacks against other countries' interests inside the United States and in another country."
Shahlai was previously designated by the Treasury Department in Sept. 2008. At the time, Treasury noted that he was a "deputy commander" in the IRGC-QF and planned "Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) Special Groups attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq." One of the attacks he "planned" was the 2007 raid in Karbala, a daring and sophisticated operation in which Iranian-trained terrorists posed as American soldiers during an assault on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center. ...
Syria: Regime makes vague threats against recognizing opposition council.BBC: 'Syria has warned it will take "tough measures" against any country that recognises the newly formed opposition Syrian National Council (SNC). Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem did not give details but said the council was not legitimate.'
Transgender woman murdered by brother in Turkey.Honor killing in Gaziantep: Ramazan Çetin was already being treated at Gaziantep Cengiz Gökçek State Hospital following injuries she sustained after having fallen "from a high place" on Oct. 4 when she was shot to death.