Police nationwide may be listening in on phone calls or reading text messages to find suspects thanks to a device called Stingray – but they’re refusing to reveal details about its use.
Law enforcement officials say Stingray, a suitcase-size device that pretends it’s a cell tower, is useful for catching criminals, but that’s about all they’ll say.
For example, they won’t disclose details about contracts with the device’s top manufacturer, Harris Corp., insisting they are protecting both police tactics and commercial secrets.
The secrecy — at times imposed by non-disclosure agreements signed by police — is pitting obligations under private contracts against government transparency laws.
Even in states with strong open records laws, including Florida and Arizona, little is known about police use of Stingray and any rules governing it.
A Stingray device tricks all cellphones in an area into electronically identifying themselves and transmitting data to police rather than the nearest phone company’s tower.
Because documents about Stingrays are regularly censored, it’s not immediately clear what information the devices could capture, such as the contents of phone conversations and text messages, what they routinely do capture based on how they’re configured or how often they might be used. source – Daily Mail UK
Al-Qaida sounds a call for its terrorist followers to strike the United States and other Western nations with car bombs — and even suggests times and targets — in the Spring issue of its magazine, Inspire.
The magazine manifesto suggests U.S. targets such as Washington, D.C., New York, northern Virginia, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as locations in Great Britain, France and “other crusader countries.”
The article suggests terrorists aim for places that are heavily populated: sporting events, election campaigns, and festivals.
Christmas and New Year’s are suggested as good times for attack. In Europe, the article suggests attacking the Bastille Military Day Parade in Paris and soccer stadiums in England “when huge crowds leave the stadium and celebrate around the entrances and [the English Football Association's] FA Cup matches.”
“The important thing is that you target people and not buildings,” the article says.
Washington and New York have “symbolic importance,” the article says, because D.C. is the seat of the federal government and New York is the former capital and currently the country’s financial, cultural, transportation, and manufacturing center.
Northern Virginia is suggested because “almost all the military bases are based in this state, apart from the Air Force which is based in Chicago.” The area also is home to many government agencies, the Department of Defense and CIA and “attracts a load of tourists,” the magazine said.
Chicago is the second-largest financial center in the United States and is a major transportation hub. Los Angeles is the second-largest city and is home to Hollywood. Celebrities often visit restaurants in the area on weekends, the article says.
A letter from the editor in the front of the magazine reads in part:
“The American government was unable to protect its citizens from pressure cooker bombs in backpacks, I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs!
“Therefore, as our responsibility to the Muslim Ummah in general and Muslims living in America in particular, Inspire Magazine humbly presents to you a simple improvised home recipe of Shahzad’s car bomb.
“And the good news is … you can prepare it in the kitchen of your mom too.”
Jerusalem Arabs set ablaze a police station next to the Lions’ Gate in the capital’s Old City on Wednesday. Aryeh King, nationalist Jerusalem city councilman and member of the municipality’s Emergency and Security Committee, was present at the attack and managed to document it. According to King, police officers fled the scene.
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“Unfortunately the prime minister is instructing the authorities to avoid eastern Jerusalem, and these are the results,” charged King. “Last night the funeral of a terrorist was held there, they marched from the Mount of Olives towards the Lions’ Gate attacking everything in their path and didn’t let Jews pass,” reported King. He adds that once the group arrived at Lions’ Gate they burned the police station.
King, who lives in Maaleh Zeitim on the Mount of Olives, noted that the incident merely highlights an endemic failure of the capital’s security. “The security in eastern Jerusalem is abandoned, women don’t dare go to the mikveh (ritual bath) in Armon Hanatziv, in Park Hamesilah next to Beit Tzafafa people are robbed in broad daylight,” commented King. The Jerusalem councilman added that Arab residents “build wherever they want,” without enforcement of the building laws. source – PamelaGeller.com
The Homeland Security Department has warned airlines that terrorists could try to hide explosives in shoes. It’s the second time in less than three weeks that the government has issued a warning about possible attempts to smuggle explosives on a commercial jetliner.
Homeland Security said Wednesday it regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, but it declined to discuss specifics of a warning sent to airlines.
“Our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by the latest intelligence and as always DHS continues to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment,” the department said in a statement.
A U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press that DHS released a notice to airlines reiterating that liquids, shoes and certain cosmetics were of concern, all of which are covered under existing Transportation Security Administration security policies.
The latest warning was focused on flights headed to the United States from abroad.
The official said “something caused DHS concern, but it’s a very low threshold to trigger a warning like this.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
Earlier this month Homeland Security warned airlines with flights to Russia to be on the lookout for explosive devices possibly hidden inside toothpaste. The Transportation Security Administration then banned passengers from bringing any liquids in their carry-on luggage on nonstop flights from the U.S. to Russia. That warning became public just days before the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
It is unclear if the latest warning, first reported Wednesday by NBC News, is related to the earlier threats to Russia-bound flights.
Air passengers in the United States have had to take off their shoes at airport security checkpoints since shortly after Richard Reid tried to ignite explosives hidden in his shoes on a Miami-bound flight in late 2001. Reid pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and is serving a life sentence.
The traveling public has grown increasingly impatient with expanding security checks at airports.
TSA in recent years has changed some security procedures to allow young children and passengers 75 and older to keep their shoes on. The security agency has also launched a fee-based program that allows willing flyers to submit to background checks and avoid having to remove their shoes, jackets and small amounts of liquids packed in carry-on luggage.
Few hours after an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide boasted that Nigerian military is better equipped and motivated to fight Boko Haram militants, the sect has launched another brazen attack on Bama township killing several people.
Dr. Doyin Okupe was countering the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, that the militant were having the upper hand in decimating towns and villages in the northeast region.
Although details are still sketchy credible military sources confirmed the attacks and that hundreds of residents are presently fleeing the town after the sect launched an attack around 3 AM. The sect had been attacking villages and towns in Borno and Adamawa states despite the state of emergency declared by President Jonathan.
Okupe had on Tuesday while disagreeing with Gov. Shettima’s outcry that Boko Haram were better armed and motivated than the Nigerian military.
After leaving a meeting with President Jonathan in Abuja yesterday, Governor Shettima spoke frankly to state house reporters dismissing the fact that the military was winning the war against Boko Haram.
Reacting to the United Nations condemnation of the deaths of over 150 people in eight villages in Adamawa and Borno States by gunmen on Sunday, the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, Executive Director, Pastor Laolu Akande said in a statement, “Our brethren in northern Nigeria, and other innocent Nigerians numbering more than 4000 and their families, have always known and experienced the evil first hand.”
Pastor Akande said there is no formal organization to compensate the victims but with a relief fund launched in 2012, they’ve contributed $50,000 to victims through CANAN.
Akande said, “It was because of our realization that these terrorists are so evil that explained why we fought hard in our advocacy to have the US government label Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization, so that the full force of the American government can be exerted against the evil. CANAN will continue to press the US government to do all it can to help rid Nigeria of this evil.”
Speaking Monday in Geneva for the UN, Ravina Shamdasani, an official of the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), said the UN condemned in the strongest terms Sunday’s attack.
She said while OHCHR understood that the Government “was in a very difficult position as the armed groups were extremely strong they stressed that it was the Government’s responsibility to protect the citizens who lived in that territory.”
A statement, which did not mention the name Boko Haram, said, “OHCHR was appalled by the extreme and indiscriminate violence which Nigeria had witnessed in recent times, including the attacks on two villages on 11 February, which left 39 people dead, 65 injured and reportedly 2,000 homes destroyed.”
It added “OHCHR urged the Government to do more to provide security and protection to civilians, especially in areas prone to attacks and where a state of emergency had been proclaimed. “
The UN also called upon the Nigerian authorities to launch a prompt and thorough investigation, and make sure that perpetrators of the human rights violations and killings were prosecuted and held responsible.
On Sunday, Borno State Governor said the Boko Haram insurgents were more armed and motivated than the Nigerian military.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reiterated that he won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and he’s claiming support for that position from an unlikely quarter: former U.S. President Harry Truman. But a closer look reveals that Truman’s words are being misrepresented.
In a Feb. 3 interview with the New York Times, Abbas was asked about recognizing Israel as a Jewish state—something both the Israeli government and President Barack Obama have said the Palestinian Authority needs to do.
“This is out of the question,” Abbas said.
To justify that position, Abbas handed the Times interviewer a packet of documents, the first of which was a statement by Truman from 1948 in which the words “Jewish state” were crossed out and replaced by “state of Israel.”
Someone who didn’t know better might think Abbas had scored a point. But in fact, the document in question does not provide evidence of American opposition to a Jewish state.
Here’s how that cross-out came about.
On May 15, 1948, just before David Ben-Gurion announced the establishment of the state of Israel, Truman decided he would extend U.S. recognition to the state as soon as it was proclaimed. A senior aide to the president, Clark Clifford, telephoned Eliahu Epstein (Elath), who was the state-to-be’s chief representative in Washington. Clifford told Elath to submit a formal request for recognition as soon as possible.
Elath wrote up the request during the minutes before the state was proclaimed. He did not yet know what its name would be. So he typed “the Jewish state.” He gave the document to his assistant, Zvi Zinder, who ran outside to get a taxi to the White House.
Moments after Zinder left, Elath’s secretary rushed in to say she had just heard on their shortwave radio that the state had been declared, and it would be called the state of Israel. Elath sent his secretary after Zinder and caught up to him at the gates to the White House.
Elath didn’t want to delay recognition by having Zinder return and retype the letter. So he had instructed his secretary to make the correction by hand. Hence the famous cross-out to which Abbas referred. It was not a political or ideological statement; it was the equivalent of a typographical correction.
But none of this is a secret. Ambassador Elath described it in his book The Struggle for Statehood: Washington 1945-1948, which was published back in 1979, and it has appeared in other books since then. It’s required reading for scholars and diplomats who have a serious interest in America-Israel relations. It’s difficult to believe that Abbas and the PA aides who helped assemble his packet of clippings are unfamiliar with these well-known facts.
On the other hand, history has never been Mr. Abbas’ strong suit.
Last year, he told a Lebanese television station that David Ben-Gurion and the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazis.
“I challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionism and Nazism before World War II,” he said. He claimed to have authored 70 books on the topic.
So far, only one of those 70 books has been published. That 1983 book, based on Abbas’ Ph.D. dissertation at Moscow’s Oriental College, argued that fewer than 1 million Jews were killed by the Nazis—and that those Jews were the victims of a secret partnership that Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders formed with the Nazis in order to have a basis for demanding a state.
“Since Zionism was not a fighting partner, it had no escape but to offer up human beings, under any name, to raise the number of victims, which they could then boast of at the moment of accounting,” Abbas wrote. “Having more victims meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over.”
The historical record can play an important role in addressing the conflicting claims by Arabs and Israelis about territories, refugees and other issues. But that record is ill-served when Holocaust history and American history are twisted into political cannon fodder by those who are less interested in the facts than in scoring points against Israel.
Dr. Rafael Medoff is director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington, D.C., and co-author, with Chaim I. Waxman, of the Historical Dictionary of Zionism.