Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 6th, 2007

This can’t be good: Israel planning nuclear strike on Iran

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UPDATE: Laura Rozen points out that the Times runs this story rather frequently.

The London Times reports:

Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

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Written by LeisureGuy

6 January 2007 at 7:18 pm

25% get ready for the Second Coming

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Amazing, but true:

Another terrorist attack, a warmer planet, death and destruction from a natural disaster. These are among Americans’ grim predictions for the United States in 2007.

Only a minority of people think the U.S. will go to war with Iran or North Korea over those countries’ nuclear ambitions. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed think Congress will raise the federal minimum wage. One-third see hope for a cure to cancer.

These are among the findings of an Associated Press-AOL News poll that asked people in the U.S. to contemplate what 2007 holds for the country.

Six in 10 people think the U.S. will be the victim of a terrorist attack. An identical percentage thinks it likely that a biological or nuclear weapon will be unleashed somewhere else in the world.

Seventy percent of people in the U.S. predict a major natural disaster in the country and an equal percentage expects worsening global warming. Also, 29 percent think it likely that the U.S. will withdraw its troops from Iraq.

Among other predictions for the U.S. in 2007:

  • 35 percent predict the military draft will be reinstated.
  • 35 percent predict a cure for cancer will be found.
  • 25 percent anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ.
  • 19 percent think scientists are likely to find evidence of extraterrestrial life.

With Democrats poised to take control of Congress this week, eight in 10 people predict lawmakers will raise the $5.15-an-hour federal minimum wage. It would be the first increase since 1997. Democratic leaders have proposed raising it in stages to $7.25 an hour. President Bush has said he supports the idea, with some protections for small businesses.

Fewer than half the public think it likely the U.S. will go to war with Iran or North Korea. Should it come down to that, 40 percent think the battle will be with Iran while 26 percent said North Korea.

Higher gas prices, legalized gay marriage and the possible arrival of bird flu also are seen as being in the cards. More than 90 percent of people think higher gas prices are likely. A gallon of self-serve regular gasoline averaged $2.29 last week, compared with $3 over the summer. Also, 57 percent said it is likely that another state will legalize gay marriage. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts; four other states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships.

People were split on whether 2007 will bring the U.S. its first bird flu case. More than 150 people worldwide have died from the disease. Health officials fear a pandemic if the virus mutates into a form easily passed from person to person.

Women generally were more likely than men to expect some of the more dire predictions to come true, such as a worldwide terrorist attack and war with Iran or North Korea. Democrats and people under 35 were more likely than Republicans and older people to say global warming will worsen in 2007.

The telephone poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Dec. 12-14 by Ipsos, an international polling firm. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 January 2007 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Daily life

Trying to put into perspective the danger from terrorists

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Peanuts are more dangerous to Americans than terrorists. And what is the Department of Homeland Security doing about the threat from peanuts? Do you ever see a yellow, orange, or red peanut alert?

Here’s the story:

The menace of global terrorism has been labeled the greatest threat to western civilization since communism and yet swimming pools, peanuts and lost deer kill more Americans every single year. Why are our governments facilitating the terrorist’s agenda by hyping a peril that simply doesn’t exist?

The number of Americans killed as a result of international terrorism since the 1960’s gives us a benchmark from which we can correctly identify and target other dire dangers to our very way of life.

– Allergic reactions to peanuts

– Accident causing deer

– Lightning strikes

That’s correct – all of the above have killed an equal number of Americans since 1960 as terrorism. One could even categorize M&M’s, lost deer and the weather as an “axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world,” as George Bush famously once said.

As Ohio State University’s John Mueller concludes in a report entitled A False Sense Of Insecurity, “For all the attention it evokes, terrorism actually causes rather little damage and the likelihood that any individual will become a victim in most places is microscopic.”

Last summer’s much vaunted transatlantic terror plot, a façade that has since collapsed under the weight of its own absurdity, led to ridiculous measures in airports banning any form of liquids in carry on luggage and mother’s were forced to drink their own breast milk. Yet there has not been a bomb planted in a piece of checked luggage on an American carrier since the 1988 Lockerbie disaster, itself a false flag inside job. Since that time hundreds of billions of Americans have been routinely interrogated about the contents of their luggage while cargo remains completely unchecked.

To equal the danger that Americans place themselves in every day by driving their car down the highway, there would have to be a September 11 every month. To reach the same level of risk that one undertakes in boarding an airline, you only have to travel eleven miles in a car.

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Written by LeisureGuy

6 January 2007 at 1:13 pm

Take a cute break

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Written by LeisureGuy

6 January 2007 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Daily life

Greenwald on McCain

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Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post on the increasingly delusional Senator John McCain. Worth reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 January 2007 at 11:55 am

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

Growing threat to your computer

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This NY Times article spells out a growing threat to your computer, if it’s connected to the Internet. This particular graf caught my eye:

What is new is the vastly escalating scale of the problem — and the precision with which some of the programs can scan computers for specific information, like corporate and personal data, to drain money from online bank accounts and stock brokerages.

Uh-oh. I use Roboform Pro, a great little program, to manage my passwords. I’ve never bothered to encrypt the info—no one else (I thought) is using my computer. But I just now decided I’d better be a bit more cautious. Fortunately Roboform in its Security options allows for several levels and types of encryptions, and I’ve just encrypted all my passwords and information.

Also from the article:

Computer security experts warn that botnet programs are evolving faster than security firms can respond and have now come to represent a fundamental threat to the viability of the commercial Internet. The problem is being compounded, they say, because many Internet service providers are either ignoring or minimizing the problem.

“It’s a huge scientific, policy, and ultimately social crisis, and no one is taking any responsibility for addressing it,” said K. C. Claffy , a veteran Internet researcher at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Read the Times article and take all proper precautions. Thank you.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 January 2007 at 11:44 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

Look what the Iraq War is doing to us

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From the Washington Post. Things like this are why any sensible president is very reluctant to go to war and will try as many alternatives as possible.

U.S. Marines gunned down five unarmed Iraqis who stumbled onto the scene of a 2005 roadside bombing in Haditha, Iraq, according to eyewitness accounts that are part of a lengthy investigative report obtained by The Washington Post.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, the squad’s leader, shot the men one by one after Marines ordered them out of a white taxi in the moments following the explosion, which killed one Marine and injured two others, witnesses told investigators. Another Marine fired rounds into their bodies as they lay on the ground.

“The taxi’s five occupants exited the vehicle and according to U.S. and Iraqi witnesses, were shot by Wuterich as they stood, unarmed, next to the vehicle approximately ten feet in front of him,” said a report by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service on the incident that runs thousands of pages.

One of the witnesses, Sgt. Asad Amer Mashoot, a 26-year-old Iraqi soldier who was in the Marine convoy, told investigators he watched in horror as the four students and the taxi driver fell. “They didn’t even try to run away,” he said. “We were afraid from Marines and we saw them behaving like crazy. They were yelling and screaming.”

The shootings were the first in a series of violent reactions by Marines on the morning of Nov. 19, 2005 that left 24 civilians — many of them women and children — dead, in what some human rights groups and Iraqis have called a massacre by U.S. troops.

The report, which relied on hundreds of interviews with Marines, Iraqi soldiers and civilian survivors conducted months after the incident, presents a fragmented and sometimes conflicting chronicle of the violence that day. But taken together, the accounts provide evidence that as the Marines came under attack, they responded in ways that are difficult to reconcile with their rules of engagement.

Four Marines were charged with murder last month in connection with the civilian deaths in Haditha: Wuterich, who faces 13 counts of unpremeditated murder; Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz; Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt; and Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum. Each faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

Through their lawyers, three have argued that they behaved appropriately while taking fire on a chaotic battlefield, and that the civilian deaths were a regrettable but unavoidable part of warfare in an especially dangerous area. Dela Cruz’s attorney has declined to comment.

The Marine Corps also has charged four officers with failing to investigate and fully report the slayings: Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, Capt. Lucas M. McConnell, Capt. Randy W. Stone and Lt. Andrew A. Grayson.

The Marines told investigators that they believed they were authorized to fire freely inside two houses they raided in the minutes following the taxi shootings, after concluding that insurgents were firing on them. After an officer ordered them to “take” one of the homes and Wuterich commanded them to “shoot first, ask questions later,” the Marines considered the houses “hostile,” according to sworn statements to investigators.

Marine officials have accused the troops of failing to identify their targets before using grenades and guns to kill 14 unarmed people in the houses, including several young children in their pajamas, in a span of about 10 minutes, according to the documents.

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Written by LeisureGuy

6 January 2007 at 11:23 am

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