Markets Down, Gold Smacked Down, Terrorists Threats, War On The Horizon – Episode 130

Watch Us Trade

youtube_market_gold_threat_wwIII_economic_collapse2

In this report we will discuss the latest news on the economic collapse. Markets around the world are down, gold is being smacked down again. The probe into Goldman and JPMorgan is getting bigger and gaining steam. The terrorist threat is full steam ahead and now there is lull right before something big happens. There were some reports of Yemen stopping the terrorist but the big strike and the big terrorist attack has yet to emerge but it will.

Please check the Sentinel Alerts for the latest news on the economic collapse. The Sentinel Alerts are updated throughout the day. If you haven’t already, go to “The People” and join the community of people who are helping each through the economic collapse.


Current News


Economy

Cypriot depositors prepare legal battle over EU bank bailout

When your money is robbed by a corporation, because that is what banks are corporations, the only way to repair the damage they have inflicted on each person is to sue. By suing the banks it shows a strong message that the people are not going to take this. If the people win the lawsuit this will send a clear message to other banks that try to do this, if the people lose the banks will rob every single person of the hard earned money via a bail-in

  • Within one week in June, Cypriot Andrew Georgiou suffered a massive heart attack and his father was diagnosed with leukaemia, just as they were fighting to recover much of their life savings wrapped up in the country’s EU-led bailout.
  • A victim of Cyprus’s chaotic financial rescue, Georgiou cannot be sure his stressful legal battle for the lost money wrecked his family’s health. But, as he said with grim understatement, “it sure as hell didn’t help”.
  • Georgiou is one of an estimated 20,000 account holders who had large amounts of savings wiped out almost overnight at Laiki, the island’s second-largest bank, which was wound down under the €10 billion international aid package.
  • “My initial reaction was utter disbelief. Now I am just angry,” Georgiou, 56, told Reuters. He has spent the best part of the past four months arguing with his bank manager and in lawyers’ offices, trying to reclaim funds his father and three sisters had in the now-defunct bank.
  • The Georgiou family’s case is one of hundreds of actions against commercial lenders, the central bank and the government that are pending in the courts. If successful, they could unravel the “bail-in” which saved Cyprus from bankruptcy in March but, unlike the bailouts of other troubled EU countries, targeted savings in two major banks.
  • Tiny Cyprus became the testing ground for EU leaders who realised their electorates would no longer accept using any more taxpayers’ money to save banks from collapse.
  • Depositors hit
  • Whereas a long line of EU banks were rescued at huge public expense during the 2008-09 financial crisis, this time the EU excluded Laiki and its peer, Bank of Cyprus, from any aid.
  • Instead, their clients paid. About €4.3 billion in deposits belonging to 14,000 entities were affected by the winding-down of Laiki. This left savers with at most 100,000 euros, the ceiling on deposit insurance under EU regulations.
  • Altogether the Georgiou family had €750,000 in Laiki. Some of this is covered by the insurance but exactly how much remains unclear due to confusion over entitlements on the several joint accounts they held. Bank officials have revised the size of their estimated losses several times, adding to the anxiety.
  • Unlike Laiki, Bank of Cyprus is being saved but the authorities slapped a 47.5% loss on deposits exceeding the €100,000 limit to help recapitalise it, exchanging the seized funds for shares in the lender.
  • Both banks had gambled on high-yielding Greek government bonds which blasted holes in their balance sheets when the country’s debt was restructured under another EU/IMF rescue. The Cyprus government would have gone bankrupt had it tried to rescue the banks itself.
  • Seeking relief in court
  • Lawyers for the plaintiffs, who range from Russians who wrongly thought their savings were in a safe place to ordinary Cypriots like the Georgious, say they have a strong case.
  • “There are very solid grounds to believe their action will succeed,” said Costas Velaris, a Nicosia lawyer.
  • “Now whether the defendant – the bank concerned, the Central Bank and the government of Cyprus – will have the money to compensate the successful applicant is another matter,” said Velaris, who is one of a team advising depositors.
  • Neither the Attorney General’s office nor the Central Bank, which took over responsibility for the two banks, responded immediately to requests for comment. However, central bank officials have stressed they had to make very difficult decisions after the European Central Bank said it would halt emergency funding for the two lenders, unless Cyprus agreed to the terms of the EU and International Monetary Fund’s rescue.
  • Under this deal, Cyprus approved a “bank resolution framework” which split Laiki into a “good” and a “bad” bank. The good assets, including the insured deposits under €100,000, were transferred to Bank of Cyprus
  • Velaris said the legal action will not stop in Cyprus, but extend to the European Court of Justice and further afield if necessary. Action would be taken against European institutions, officials and “whomever we can lay a hand on”, he said.

“Market Parasite” JPMorgan Added To Goldman Aluminum “Cartel” Lawsuit

[stextbox id=”x22report”]JPMorgan probed for warehousing metals, probed in the Aluminum scandal, dropping their physical commodity section of business.  We are now seeing the signs that metals manipulation is true and the central bankers along with these financial institutions have been manipulating all of this because they know that the economic collapse is coming and they are getting prepared. [/stextbox]

  • While we have extensively covered the cartelling of the physical metals warehousing industry by both Goldman and JPMorgan in the past, which has now led to hearings, an official DOJ inquiry, and finally a lawsuit, we had one recurring question – why is all the attention and fury focused solely on Goldman? After all, JPM – the firm which quietly announced it would seek to dispose, or at least try to, its physical metals business – is just as culpable, if not more. And a cartel between Goldman and JPM really demonstrates that when it comes to controlling the US, it is not just one bank, but two firms that operate in the shadows and call all the shots. Today, we were happy to learn that finally JPMorgan has finally gotten the recognition it richly deserves, and has found its rightful place: as a defendent in the second class action lawsuit filed against the firms engaging in Aluminum antitrust activity, this time with Master Screens Inc as plaintiff. And not just any lawsuit but one filled with truly floral language that captures the essence of all that Goldman and JPM were doing perfectly.
  • To wit:
  • Financial institutions have intentionally made a mockery of market logic, forcing end-users to keep paying more despite rising global aluminum supplies. As the Times points out, each time you “open a can of soda, beer or juice,” GOLDMAN SACHS gets a cut. Defendants’ invidious conduct created an exclusionary and anticompetitive vertical and horizontal monopolization, with no procompetitive benefits.
  • By inserting itself into a healthy industry producing widely needed commodities, severely degrading functionality, and widely distributing costs while itself benefiting, GOLDMAN SACHS and JP MORGAN couldn’t fit a more archetypal description of a parasite on the markets. Hoarding in aluminum, however, is just one in a bevy of ever-multiplying non-innovations, demonstrating how the leeching of productive society has emerged as finance’s guiding light, and leeching that antitrust laws are designed to prohibit and make the economic sanctions and repayment to consumers for entering such destructive enterprises too high to pursue.
  • We can only hope more people read and understand the above two paragraphs as they capture the essence of modern “finance.”

It Looks Like A September Tapering Is A Done Deal

If you notice the propaganda of tapering is all over the place. The economy is improving, the FED is getting closer to its unemployment number. The FED and government are keeping this news in front of the people to make them believe that everything is getting better and that since everything is getting better the FED will start to taper in the fall. The FED won’t taper in the fall because a false flag event will occur that will cause the first part of the collapse. The FED and government will state the the country was so close to a full recovery before this country (Syria, Iran, China, North Korea, Russia) attacked our financial system and collapsed the entire system.

  • The debate over the timing of the taper may have just come to an end.
  • Since May, economists have been struggling to figure out when the Federal Reserve would begin to taper, or gradually reduce, its monthly purchases of $85 billion worth of bonds.
  • Various Fed members including Chairman Ben Bernanke have all emphasized the need to see improving economic data before the Fed would think about tapering.
  • Economists have generally speculated that the Fed’s words and the economic data have pointed to a September taper.
  • However, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, arguably the most dovish member of the Fed, may have given the word that acted effectively as the green light for a September taper.
  • From Societe Generale’s Alvin Tan:
  • Looks like the September tapering start is a done deal. Even President Evans of the Chicago Fed, a noted dove, acknowledged “good improvement” in the labour market yesterday, and said that he “would clearly not rule” out a September tapering start. Evans however would like to see inflation near 2% before hiking rates, even if the unemployment rate fell below 6%. All three Fed speakers (Evans, Fisher & Lockhart) we have had since the FOMC last week have signalled the possibility of a September reduction on bond purchases.
  • Evans was the brains behind the Fed’s implementation of inflation and unemployment rate thresholds used to guide monetary policy.
  • While Evans wasn’t explicitly endorsing a Fed taper, given his historically dovish stance, his carefully chosen words yesterday have been interpreted broadly as hawkish.

Someone Just Bet Big On A Spike In September “Taper” Volatility

Looks like something is going to happen and someone has placed a bet, someone knows some insider information.

  • In early May, when the first of the Hilsenrath “taper” leaks hit, we made a prediction that the correct time frame for the actual taper announcement by the Fed would be September. As a reminder back then this was a heretical suggestion with prevailing consensus expecting a 2014 taper or a December 2013 move at the earliest.
  • Fast forward to today, when the September FOMC is the consensus date for a taper announcement.
  • However, what is still debated is whether or not the taper is actually “priced in” to risk assets: some say this is what the bond swoon of June was for, even though equities have largely digested the bond move 100 bps wider, and are just a fraction off their all time highs.
  • Well, a few hours ago someone just decided that not only is the taper not priced in, but that there will be a substantial shock surrounding the September VIX bucket. And they put their money where their mouth is.
  • This is what the VIX curve looks like currently: the September VIX is roughly 15.
  • And here is the block trade that was executed earlier today for over 30,000 contracts of September 28 strike VIX calls, which expire the same day as the FOMC announcement.
  • Unlike the other big block trades in September VIX which was a 14/15 pair trade, the 28 Call seems naked and is thus a one-way directional bet on a spike in vol.
  • So does someone know something, or just has a lot of cash burning a hole in their pocket and is not convinced that the centrally-planned market’s chief risk manager (that would be Ben Bernanke of course) will hold it all together following whatever is announced on September 18?
  • And who was on the other side of the block trade (i.e., seller)?
  • Many questions. As for at least one answer, we will know for sure in precisely 6 weeks.

War

Thousands of Tunisians call for government resignation

This seems to be consensus of the middle east. They want the governments replaced that report to the US government. We are seeing massive protest all around the middle east as the central bankers/US government try to push the western central bank model and the US dollar as the reserve currency on all these nations, therefore the central bankers/US government had no option to use terrorism as a multistage plan to scare Americans, why the NSA is relevant, and to show that terrorism is continuous in America to take away more rights of the people plus to use the terrorism threat as a military strike the middle east to keep the US dollar as the reserve currency

  • Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, to call for the resignation of the government and the dissolution of the transitional constituent assembly.
  • The demonstration came on Tuesday with a police official estimating that at least 40,000 people gathered in the capital’s Bardo Square. Opposition leaders reportedly said some 100,000-200,000 took part in the protest.
  • It is the largest demonstration in the North African country since its political crisis began two weeks ago over the murder of the leader of the left-wing Popular Movement Party, Mohamed Brahmi.
  • The protest also marked the six-month anniversary of the assassination of leftist politician Chokri Belaid.
  • During the event, protesters carrying pictures of Brahmi and Belaid shouted anti-government slogans, such as “The people want the regime to fall” and “The government will end today.”
  • Meanwhile, the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), which is tasked with drafting a new constitution and electoral law, suspended its work on Tuesday until the government and opposition begin talks to end the country’s political crisis.
  • The leader of the ruling Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi, told Tunisia’s French-Language daily La Presse that the government would not step down under pressure from the opposition.
  • He criticized the “excessive demands” for the resignation of the “elected government” in the post-revolution country.
  • “Unfortunately every time a tragedy hits us, we immediately call for the dissolution of the government and parliament,” Ghannouchi added.
  • Tunisia has been grappled by political instability and insecurity since the fall of former dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in 2011

Egypt’s presidency: Foreign diplomacy failed to end crisis

Egypt is on the verge of a civil war. The armed forces are ready to use force. The people are unhappy the central bankers/US government being involved in their country.  The US government is pushing this terrorist threat, embassies have been evacuated, US citizens have left the countries and troops are stationed right outside these countries. Military strikes are on the horizon, there is a high probability that a terrorist attack will becoming by Aug 31.  Be prepared, something big is coming

  • In a statement Wednesday, the interim presidency said the period of international efforts that began more than 10 days ago had “ended today” holding the Muslim Brotherhood completely responsible for their failure and “what will follow.” The authorities in Cairo warned they were losing patience with the pro-Morsi sit-ins for the past five weeks demanding the ousted president’s reinstatement. They suggested that security forces could soon use force to break up the gatherings.

Exclusive: Saudi offers Russia deal to scale back Assad support 

  •  Saudi Arabia has offered Russia economic incentives including a major arms deal and a pledge not to challenge Russian gas sales if Moscow scales back support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Middle East sources and Western diplomats said on Wednesday.
  • The proposed deal between two of the leading power brokers in Syria’s devastating civil war was set out by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week, they said.
  • Russia has supported Assad with arms and diplomatic cover throughout the war and any change in Moscow’s stance would remove a major obstacle to action on Syria by the United Nations Security Council.
  • Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia said Prince Bandar offered to buy up to $15 billion of Russian weapons as well as ensuring that Gulf gas would not threaten Russia’s position as a main gas supplier to Europe.
  • In return, Saudi Arabia wanted Moscow to ease its strong support of Assad and agree not to block any future Security Council Resolution on Syria, they said.
  • A Gulf source familiar with the matter confirmed that Prince Bandar offered to buy large quantities of arms from Russia, but that no cash amount was specified in the talks.
  • One Lebanese politician close to Saudi Arabia said the meeting between Bandar and Putin lasted four hours. “The Saudis were elated about the outcome of the meeting,” said the source, without elaborating.
  • Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, could not immediately be reached on Wednesday for comment about the meeting. A Saudi Foreign Ministry official was also not immediately available to respond.
  • Putin’s initial response to Bandar’s offer was inconclusive, diplomats say. One Western diplomat in the Middle East said the Russian leader was unlikely to trade Moscow’s recent high profile in the region for an arms deal, however substantial.
  • He said Russian officials also appeared skeptical that Saudi Arabia had a clear plan for stability inSyria if Assad fell.
  • CHEMICAL WEAPONS
  • However, in a possible sign of greater flexibility by Moscow, other diplomats said that in the run-up to the meeting Russia put pressure on Assad to allow in a U.N. mission to investigate the suspected use of chemical weapons.
  • The U.N. team is expected to visit Syria next week.
  • “This was one of those unannounced meetings that could prove much more important than the public diplomatic efforts being made on Syria,” one diplomat said.
  • A senior Syrian opposition figure said there had been a “build-up of Russian-Saudi contacts prior to the meeting”.
  • “Bandar sought to allay two main Russian fears: that Islamist extremists will replace Assad, and that Syria would become a conduit for Gulf, mainly Qatari, gas at the expense of Russia,” he said. “Bandar offered to intensify energy, military and economic cooperation with Moscow.”
  • Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim powers have been strong supporters of the mainly Sunni rebels battling Assad, from Syria’s minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam. The rebels have been joined by foreign Sunni jihadis.
  • Assad has enjoyed military support from Iran and fighters from Hezbollah and Iraqi Shi’ites.
  • Russia has maintained military sales to Syria throughout the two year conflict in which 100,000 people have been killed, and helped block three U.N. draft resolutions criticizing Assad’s crackdown on the mainly peaceful protests against him in 2011.
  • The Security Council has been considering a possible resolution on aid for Syria for several months and a shift in position by Moscow could alleviate this.
  • Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based defense think tank CAST, said he had no direct knowledge of the offer, but he would not be surprised if a contract to supply Saudi Arabia with 150 Russian T-90 tanks were revived.
  • “There was an order of T-90s that was stopped for mysterious reasons, and if this is a resurrection of that order then we could suspect that the Saudis want something in return and that something could be linked to Syria,” said Pukhov, who is close to Russia’s Defense Ministry.
  • “If the Saudis want Moscow to outright drop Assad, they will refuse the deal, but they may have a more nuanced position, which they could possibly agree to.”
  • Russia and Saudi Arabia penned an arms contract in 2008 for 150 T-90s as well as more than 100 Mi-17 and Mi-35 attack helicopters as well as BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, but the contract has stalled for years.
  • Russian newspaper Kommersant reported at the time that the contract was concluded to persuade Moscow to curtail its ties with Iran, though the Kremlin denied that report.

Al-Qaeda replacing Assad is the biggest threat to US security – CIA deputy director

  • The second-in-command of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says that the toppling of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is the largest threat to United States national security and may help al-Qaeda acquire chemical weapons.
  • Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell said the prospect of the Syrian government being replaced by al-Qaeda his biggest worry.
  • Morell’s statement is especially surprising considering America’s official position on the Syrian civil war. US President Barack Obama and his officials have repeatedly called Assad a “dictator” who is responsible for more than 92,000 lives lost in a bloody conflict between government forces and rebels – some of whom are openly affiliated with al-Qaeda.
  • Should the current regime collapse without a stable government to step up to the plate, Morell said the warheads being held by Assad may end up in the hands of America’s adversaries.
  • The US remains embarked on a plan that would aid Syrian rebels by way of supplying them with arms. With al-Qaeda extremists entwined in that same war against Assad, however, one wrong turn could cause the US to accidentally equip its most feared enemy.
  • According to Morell, the Syrian government’s weapons “are going to be up for grabs and up for sale” if Assad is ousted. Unless the US has a plan of attack ready for that moment, munitions and warheads currently controlled by Assad could end up in the hands of just about anyone.
  • And with al-Qaeda close to the action, Morell warned that they could pounce on the opportunity to gain Assad’s equipment.
  • Al-Qaeda has had its own victory as well,” he said. “The dispersal of al-Qaeda is their victory.”
  • With al-Qaeda increasing the scope of its operation in Syria, the US could have a whole new front in its war on terror. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 brought American troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and later to Iraq. In the decade-plus since, the US has launched drones over locales like Yemen and Somalia to take a stab at diminishing al-Qaeda’s presence. As hostilities increase in Syria, a new adversary could worsen the current situation.
  • Given what the US has reported about the current Syrian government, al-Qaeda stands to collect all sorts of goodies if they can grab hold of Assad’s goods as well. The White House has insisted that Assad deployed chemical weapons on citizens during the civil war, and the opposition and government have both relied on whatever weapons they can collect in order to fight off their foes. That hostile environment is increasingly being populated by al-Qaeda extremists, and Morell says that’s not good for US security.
  • Syria is “probably the most important issue in the world today because of where it is currently heading,” Morell said. He added that Iran, core al-Qaeda, and the North Korean government are following just behind Syria.
  • I don’t remember a time when there have been so many national security issues on the front burner as there are today,” Morell said.

US foreign policy could lead to Third World War: Former Senate candidate

  • Former US Senate candidate Mark Dankof said that the “reckless foreign policy” of the United States could lead to a Third World War.
  • He made the remarks as tensions continue to rise between Washington and Moscow over US leaker Edward Snowden.
  • “The Obama administration needs to be less concerned about Mr. Snowden and quite a bit more concerned about its own administration’s attacks on the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights of this country and its ongoing participation in a reckless foreign policy with Israel that could very well lead to a Third World War,” he told Press TV on Wednesday.
  • On Wednesday, the White House announced that President Barack Obama canceled his plans to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in September.
  • The decision was made after Moscow granted asylum to Snowden, who is charged with espionage for leaking US government spying programs.
  • The US president on Tuesday said that he was “disappointed” by Moscow’s decision to harbor the American whistleblower.
  • Dankof said that in addition to running domestic surveillance programs to sweep up phone and Internet data on US citizens, the National Security Agency (NSA) has cooperated with Israel to create Stuxnet virus to attack Iranian nuclear centrifuges.
  • “We are getting a much better picture of what’s been going on with the NSA for quite some period of time as a result of Mr. Snowden’s revelations,” he said.
  • “There is an emerging global consensus that is shared by many Americans domestically in the United States that we have both at the NSA specifically and the American national security establishment generally, a rogue element that needs to be stopped.”
  • The NSA’s global surveillance programs as revealed by Snowden also include spying on America’s European allies, in particular Germany, as well as some Latin American states.

Rights

Unhappy With U.S. Foreign Policy? Pentagon Says You Might Be A ‘High Threat’

  • The government is now classifying those who do not like the government policies, do not like the governments foreign policies as either high threat or those who have their own thoughts on whats going on part of group that needs to be watched.
  • Watch out for “Hema.”
  • A security training test created by a Defense Department agency warns federal workers that they should consider the hypothetical Indian-American woman a “high threat” because she frequently visits family abroad, has money troubles and “speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy.”
  • That slide, from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), is a startling demonstration of the Obama administration’s obsession with leakers and other “insider threats.” One goal of its broader “Insider Threat” program is to stop the next Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden from spilling classified or sensitive information.
  • But critics have charged that the Insider Threat program treats leakers acting in the public interest as traitors — and may not even accomplish its goal of preventing classified leaks.
  • DISA’s test, dubbed the “CyberAwareness Challenge,” was produced in October 2012, a month before the Obama administration finalized its Insider Threat policy. The slide about Hema is included in a section of the training about “insider threats,” which are defined by an accompanying guide as “threats from people who have access to the organization’s information systems and may cause loss of physical inventory, data, and other security risks.”
  • Both Hema’s travel abroad and her political dissatisfaction are treated as threat “indicators.” Versions of the training for Defense Department and other federal employees are unclassified and available for anyone to play online.
  • “Catch me if you can,” the training dares.
  • In a statement to The Huffington Post, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said, “DISA was sensitive to any civil liberty concerns that might arise from any portion of the curriculum, which is why it coordinated with 26 federal agencies to ensure the maximum amount of input was received before going live.”
  • “When considering personnel for a position of trust that requires a security clearance, there are many potential indicators that must be considered when evaluating for insider threat concerns,” he explained. “The department takes these variables into consideration based on past examples of personnel who engaged in spying or treasonous acts.”
  • Several million people across the federal government have taken the training since it was released, Pickart said, and there has been only one complaint. He added that the next version of the security awareness training, to be released in October, is being updated so that its insider-threat test focuses more on behavior, “not personal characteristics or beliefs.”
  • Notably, the CyberAwareness Challenge is given to a wide range of federal employees whose roles have far less to do with security threats than that of a National Security Agency contractor like Snowden. The Department of Housing and Urban Development even requires its private business partners accessing a tenant rental assistance database to complete the training.
  • The Defense Department version of the “CyberAwareness Challenge” shows a healthy familiarity with Manning’s disclosures to WikiLeaks: In one training slide, the user is asked what to do when contacted by a reporter from “WikiSpills.”
  • Identifying “WikiSpills,” even hypothetically, as a legitimate journalist organization is quite different from how military prosecutors have approached the real WikiLeaks in the trial of Manning. There the military has suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took few steps to verify the leaks he received before publication and acted as a virtual co-conspirator with his source.
  • Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said the DISA training slide was “ignorant and clumsy.”
  • “The item ‘speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy’ simply does not belong on the list,” Aftergood wrote in an email to HuffPost. “It is not a threat indicator. It could apply to most members of Congress, if not to most Americans. By presenting the matter this way, the slide suggests that overt dissent is a security concern. That is an error.”

Police State

TSA expands role beyond airports amid growing cases of misconduct

The TSA is in complete violation of the 4th Amendment. The government wants everyone to feel they state of constant terror. It is a scare tactic used to keep the people in control. TSA/DHS are not put into place to keep the American people safe, they put into place to control the people before,during and after the collapse. They are continually getting everyone use to certain actions, searching, check points, they are the authority.

  • Cases of misconduct among airport screeners employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) increased by 26 per cent between 2010 and 2012, according to a new report. It comes as the agency expands its services beyond airport security gates.
  • The report, which was released last week by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), found 9,622 cases of misconduct among TSA workers from 2010 through the 2012 fiscal year. It concluded that the agency had insufficient procedures for reviewing and recording the outcomes of misconduct cases.
  • At the same time, fresh attention has been cast on TSA’s expanding its roles into train terminals and even sporting events in the form of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response squads, or VIPR teams, which have been assigned to counterterrorism security checks at transportation hubs in the US since 2005.
  • According to a profile published this week by The New York Times, TSA’s VIPR program now boasts a $100 million annual budget and is growing quickly. The scheme has grown since 2008, consisting of 37 teams in 2012.
  • Meanwhile, the agency’s records show that it has provided security for over 8,800 “unannounced checkpoints” and other search operations in conjunction with local law enforcement outside of airports. Such events have included the Indianapolis 500 race and both the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
  • VIPR teams usually comprise of federal air marshals, explosives experts, and baggage inspectors. The squads move through crowds at events and transportation hubs with bomb-sniffing dogs and perform random stops on individuals. Plainclothes members of VIPR teams monitor crowds for suspicious behavior.
  • “Our mandate is to provide security and counterterrorism operations for all high-risk transportation targets, not just airports and aviation,” TSA administrator John S. Pistole said. “The VIPR teams are a big part of that.”
  • However, members of Congress and officials at the Department of Homeland Security question whether the teams are properly trained while civil liberties groups wonder what the VIPR teams have to do with TSA’s original mandate to provide security at the nation’s airports.
  • “The problem with TSA stopping and searching people in public places outside the airport is that there are no real legal standards, or probable cause,” said Khaliah Barnes, administrative law counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
  • “It’s something that is easily abused because the reason that they are conducting the stops is shrouded in secrecy.”
  • Representative Bennie Thompson, a ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee with oversight of TSA, supports the VIPR teams but remains concerned about warrantless searches and the process of detecting suspicious behavior.
  • “This is a gray area,” he said. “I haven’t seen any good science that says that is what a terrorist looks like. Profiling can easily be abused,” Thompson told The New York Times.
  • As for the rising number of offenses among TSA workers, the majority of those listed in the report include attendance and leave violations and excessive absences or tardiness. Only a small fraction represented instances of theft.
  • Specific violations of screening and security rules were outlined in 20 per cent of the cases profiled in the report. One of those offenses included sleeping while on duty.
  • Although the GAO report does not indicate high occurrences of issues such as theft, there have still been some high profile cases among the 56,000-strong staff which is spread out among 450 airports across the US.
  • For example, a TSA officer at Orlando International Airport pleaded guilty to embezzlement and theft after stealing 80 laptop computers and electronics from passenger luggage in 2011. The items were worth $80,000.
  • Another TSA employee was arrested after allegedly stealing some $50,000 worth of electronics at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport the same year, although the GAO does not cite that incident.
  • It remains to be seen whether the occurrences of misconduct listed in the report will carry over into TSA’s growing role. For the most part, the presence of VIPR teams seems to mostly confuse and irritate the public.
  • A joint operation in 2012 involving VIPR, Houston police, and local transit officers led to complaints of stops and searches of bags. The deployment yielded a few arrests, mostly for passengers with existing warrants for prostitution and minor drug possession, according to The Times.
  • “It was an incredible waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Robert Fickman, a local defense lawyer who attended a subsequent meeting in the city packed with angry residents. “Did we need to have TSA in here for a couple of minor busts?”

 


Cyber Attacks

Hayden: Cyberterrorists Likely to Retaliate if Snowden Is Caught

Utility executives: Major cyberattack on power grid is inevitable

The power grid is vulnerable, the attacks are continuous and eventually this will be used as the doomsday cyber attack if all else fails. The DHS and Government officials have been warning about this for over a year and half.  If the Government can not remove all rights from the people, wage war to cover up the economic collapse the cyber attack on the power grid will be used.

  • To counter the growing threat of cyberattacks, power utilities must harness the same manpower, money and other resources that they throw at natural disasters, industry leaders said Tuesday.
  • Computerized attacks from overseas could disrupt facilities that generate power and the electric grid that transmits it, said utility executives at an event in Washington, D.C. organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center. And, the executives predicted, it’s not a question of if, but when a disabling attack will happen.
  • “I know somebody’s coming. At some point in time, somebody’s coming at me,” said Scott Saunders, information security officer for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. “It’s going to happen.”
  • The questions then become “how do you respond” and “how was your resilience” in the face of that attack, Saunders added.
  • Biggest focus: Experts advocate an executive approach to cyberterrorism
  • Chris Peters, vice president for critical infrastructure protection at Entergy, said the company has a five-year plan to bolster resources to counter cyberattacks.
  • “We have to treat the cyberthreat with the same respect that we give to forces of nature that impact our grid — hurricanes, floods, ice,” Peters said. “We have to put the same comprehensive approach and the same attention to cyberthreats as we do to the other threats that impact our system. We have to fund it, we have to staff it, and we have to be prepared to respond as necessary.”
  • A report released by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., earlier this year highlighted the threat; according to the lawmakers’ analysis, one power utility said it already fields 10,000 attempted attacks every month.
  • The electric grid’s vulnerability stems in part from its broad reach — a nationwide network of power lines, transmission centers and other infrastructure — and the diverse set of utilities and regulators overseeing it. An attack on one region or supplier can quickly ripple to others.
  • Security concerns: Cyberattack risk high for oil and gas industry
  • Overall, industry leaders said they need better information-sharing among the nation’s 3,300 utilities and with the federal government to help identify attacks and combat threats.
  • For instance, said Pepco’s director of information technology infrastructure, Doug Myers, the government could do a better job of giving power utilities “a dynamic feed of known bad IP addresses.” But federal officials also can help industry get a broader view, Myers said.
  • “There certainly is a role for data to flow into industry through various means but…there need to be mechanisms to turn that data into actionable information,” Myers said. “The role that government or other agencies can play (not just on providing the data) but also connecting the dots is key.”
  • Saunders stressed the importance of bidirectional information sharing. While the focus often is on utilities needing information from the federal government, he said, “I’d like to raise my hand and tell the federal government that I think we have information that may be helpful to you.”
  • “We actually could provide much more actionable information back to the government about what’s actually happening to us,” he added.
  • Utilities also insist they need liability protection for good-faith information sharing, but privacy activists have criticized the broad reach of the main legislation to insulate the industry, a bill passed by the House earlier this year. Gen. Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA and the National Security Agency, said he did not expect congressional action on the issue.
  • Questions also abound about how to pay for efforts to protect the nation’s electric grid from attack.
  • Malware offshore: Danger lurks where the chips fail
  • Myers said it was appropriate to talk about the role of the federal government in recouping the costs of better cybersecurity, given the national interest in maintaining a robust grid and electric supply.
  • Hayden, now a principal at the Chertoff Group, acknowledged the resources are tough to muster. “It’s hard to make the business case” for it, he said.
  • Separately, Hayden speculated that cyberattacks could be mounted in retaliation if the U.S. arrests Edward Snowden, the former intelligence analyst who leaked information about top-secret NSA surveillance programs.
  • Activists who have rallied behind Snowden may make irrational demands for his release that are rejected, Hayden said.
  • “I don’t know that there’s a logic between trying to punish America and American institutions for his arrest, but I hold open the possibility,” Hayden said. Hayden stressed that he was being “speculative, not predictive.”

False Flags

Al Qaeda Threat: Officials Fear ‘Ingenious’ Liquid Explosive

Pushing the scare tactics to the limits. They are looking to take more rights away from the American people. This new threat they will increase the amount of searches and they will continue to violate the 4th Amendment.

  • There are growing concerns that an al Qaeda affiliate could use a new generation of liquid explosive, currently undetectable, in a potential attack, according to two senior U.S. government officials briefed on the terror threat that has prompted the closing of nearly two dozen U.S. embassies.
  • Though the Transportation Security Administration has long been concerned about liquid explosives being used in potential devices — as it was during the failed Christmas Day bombing in 2009 — the new tactic allows terrorists to dip ordinary clothing into the liquid to make the clothes themselves into explosives once dry.
  • “It’s ingenious,” one of the officials said.
  • Another senior official said that the tactic would not be detected by current security measures.
  • The officials said the new technique is believed to have been developed by the Yemen-based al Qaeda affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), home to notorious alleged bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri. Al-Asiri is suspected of being the mastermind behind several devious explosive devices including the underwear bomb and surgically implanted body bombs.
  • Al-Asiri was listed today among Yemen’s 25 top terrorists, who the Yemeni government said were planning to carry out operations in the capital, Sana’a. The Yemeni government is offering 5 million Yemeni rials, or $23,000, for information leading to the capture of any of the terrorists.
  • Last month Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole revealed details about a new and improved version of the underwear bomb, also thought to be al-Asiri’s work, that he said would “possibly” have been discovered by TSA screening. That bomb was given to a double-agent last year, who gave it to western intelligence services.
  • The TSA declined to comment specifically on the new liquid device, but an official there said, “As always, our security posture, which at all times includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to respond appropriately to protect the American people from an ever evolving threat picture.”
  • “I am not in a position to discuss any intelligence around this current threat. But, as a general matter TSA screens both passengers and carry-on baggage for metallic and non-metallic prohibited items, including weapons and explosives. To do this, TSA uses the best available imaging technology to safely screen passengers for any concealed items,” the TSA official said.
  • Nearly two dozen U.S. embassies throughout North Africa and the Middle East were closed Sunday after the U.S. intercepted communications between the leadership of AQAP and al Qaeda’s remaining leadership in Pakistan, which suggested a major operation was underway, senior U.S. officials said. The diplomatic posts are expected to remain closed this week.
  • In addition to the new liquid bomb, a U.S. official said American spy agencies are concerned the attack could use what some call “Frankenbombers,” suicide bombers who could carry an improvised explosive device sewn into their body cavity.
  • Sunday on “This Week,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD — the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee — said the intercepted communications called for a “major attack.”
  • “It’s a very credible threat and it’s based on intelligence,” Ruppersberger said. “What we have to do now is the most important issue, is protect Americans throughout the world.”
  • Along with the embassy closings, the U.S. government is taking precautions by ramping up the use of federal air marshals on U.S.-bound flights.
  • Air cargo coming from Europe is under even more scrutiny by security services, one of the senior officials told ABC News, adding that intelligence analysts’ best guess at the moment is an attack being planned against U.S. targets in Yemen or Pakistan. Both countries host U.S. Special Operations, counter-terrorism and intelligence officers targeting Al Qaeda with drones and direct action.
  • A Federal Aviation Administration notice issued last week also warned about a “significant risk to civil flight operations in Yemen” from terrorists armed with man-portable surface-to-air missiles.
  • The multiple embassy closings has thrust al Qaeda back into headlines around the world, shortly after the group garnered international attention for allegedly taking part in a series of mass jailbreaks last month.
  • Friday the international police organization INTERPOL released a “global security alert advising increased vigilance for terrorist activity” following the jailbreaks. INTERPOL said that al Qaeda was suspected to be involved in several of the plots and asked its member countries to help determine if they were coordinated or linked.
  • Following the May 2011 death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, top U.S. officials said that the core leadership of al Qaeda appeared to be on the ropes and, to quote President Obama, “on the path to defeat.”
  • “Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us,” he said in a speech this May.
  • But Obama noted the “emergence of various al Qaeda affiliates,” including AQAP which was the “most active in plotting against our homeland.”
  • Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst who was part of the team that hunted Osama bin Laden for years, told ABC News that any suggestion al Qaeda as a whole was down and out and is now seeing a resurgence is wrong. Instead, she said the group has just been undergoing a metamorphosis.
  • “An ideology has tentacles. That’s why it’s hard to predict how or if it will grow,” she said. “Each of these groups [al Qaeda affiliates] are funded and operate independently, but they all share the same ideological platform that central al Qeada has propagated since the 1990s.”
  • Seth Jones, associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, testified before Congress last month that despite the “weakness” of central al Qaeda, “there has been a net expansion in the number and geographic scope of al Qaeda’s affiliates and allies over the past decade, indicating that al Qaeda and its brand are far from defeated.”
  • Michael Scheuer, a former CIA officer who led the hunt for bin Laden before his retirement in 2004, went further, telling ABC News that he believed al Qaeda really hasn’t changed since bin Laden’s death.
  • “I think the guys on the ground [local affiliate commanders], day-to-day tactical decisions were made there, where they always have been,” he said. “Core al Qaeda lays down the guidelines to keep everybody pointed at the enemy.”
  • Scheuer said he believes al Qaeda is more dangerous under its currently leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, than it was under bin Laden. Zawahiri, Scheuer said, may settle for smaller U.S.-based operations that would have a much smaller body count than a 9/11-type operation that bin Laden aspired to repeat.
  • Any idea that al Qaeda is on the way out, Scheuer said, is “completely politicking.”

Seven killed in US assassination drone attack in southern Yemen

The strikes have begun. Behind the terrorist threat the US government is pushing back the people of the middle east countries that oppose the central bankers/US government to keep the US dollar as the reserve currency.  The government was tired and pushed into a corner and could not wage conventional war so it concocted a terrorism threat to use this to wage war which bypasses congress to wage war on the middle east.

  • At least seven people have been killed in a fresh US assassination drone attack in the southern Yemeni governorate of Shabwa, local sources say.
  • Security officials said missiles fired by a US drone destroyed two vehicles in the town of Nasab early on Wednesday, killing seven people in the vehicles.
  • The attack was the fifth of its kind in Yemen in less than two weeks and brought to 24 the number of people killed in US air raids since July 28.
  • The attack comes a day after the US and its allies pulled diplomats out of Yemen due to a threatened attack by al-Qaeda in the country.
  • According to media reports, the pullback was ordered after US intelligence intercepted messages exchanged between al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al-Qaeda’s Yemen offshoot. Zawahiri had ordered Yemen’s al-Qaeda to carry out an attack as early as last Sunday.
  • The United States often uses its assassination drones to hit targets in Yemen and some other countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • Washington claims the drones target “militants,” but the facts on the ground show that civilians are frequently killed in the airstrikes.
  • According to the Washington-based New America Foundation, the US killer drone attacks in Yemen almost tripled in 2012.
  • In April, Yemeni National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms said the US drones had conducted more than 80 attacks in the country in 2012.
  • Washington has come under fire for increasing the drone attacks in Yemen.
  • Yemenis have held demonstrations on several occasions over the past months to condemn the US for violating Yemen’s sovereignty by the drone strikes.

Yemen says it foiled major al-Qaeda plot

  • Yemen’s government said Wednesday that it thwarted an al-Qaeda plot to to take over strategic ports and attack oil pipelines in the latest threat to foreign interests by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
  • More suspected U.S. drone strikes struck terrorist targets Wednesday in the country’s south. The strikes killed seven suspected al-Qaeda terrorists, according to the Yemen government.
  • The embassies of the United States and Britain remained closed in Sanaa following the interception of a communication between al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula that suggested terror groups were planning an attack in the capital.
  • On Wednesday, hundreds of military vehicles were positioned around the city. Tanks and troops protected embassies and government offices and the airport.
  • A spokesman for the Yemen prime minister’s office said Wednesday that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had been conspiring to attack several ports on Yemen’s southern coast and on the western Red Sea shoreline.
  • The Arabian Sea ports of Mukalla, the provincial capital of Hadramaut, and Balhaf, farther west on the coast in Shabwa province, were said to be on the list of targets, according to press adviser Rajeh Badi.
  • Balhaf is home to the country’s main gas liquefaction plant and liquefied natural gas export terminal, developed by Total.The ports are major installations for Yemen oil and gas and employ many foreign workers
  • International oil and gas companies including American Hunt Oil, Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Houston-based Schlumberger have already evacuated all their foreign staff in wake of the al-Qaeda terror alert raised by Washington last week.
  • “There were attempts to control key cities in Yemen like Mukala and Bawzeer,” Badi said.
  • “This would be coordinated with attacks by al-Qaeda members on the gas facilities in Shebwa city and the blowing up of the gas pipe in Belhaf city,” he said.
  • Badi said the plot included plans by militants to disguise themselves in military uniforms to carry out attacks on the 27th night of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, known as Laylat al-Qadr or the “Night of Destiny,” which was last Sunday.
  • Details of the alleged plot emerged after Yemen’s government criticized the USA and U.K. for their withdrawal of embassy staff Tuesday. Yemen’s Foreign Ministry said the reaction undermined co-operation in the fight against terror and served “the interests of extremists.”
  • The U.S. military flew Americans out of Yemen early Tuesday. The United States has closed 18 other embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa as well.
  • The double drone strike early Wednesday morning targeted two vehicles in one of the oil exploration blocks operated by Oxy in the southeastern province of Shabwa. It was the second drone attack in just over 24 hours.

Other News


President Obama: “The Odds of Dying In a Terrorist Attack Are a Lot LOWER than They Are of Dying In a Car Accident”

  • He’s right.
  • The Jewish Daily Forward noted in May that – even including the people killed in the Boston bombing – that you are more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. And see these statistics from CNN.
  • We noted in 2011:
  • – You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack
  • – You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack
  • — You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane
  • — You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack
  • –You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack
  • — You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack
  • – You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack
  • –You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack
  • –You are 9 times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack
  • –You are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist
  • –You are 8 times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack
  • – You are 6 times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack
  • Let’s look at some details from the most recent official statistics.
  • The U.S. Department of State reports that only 17 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide as a result of terrorism in 2011. That figure includes deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and all other theaters of war.
  • In contrast, the American agency which tracks health-related issues – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control – rounds up the most prevalent causes of death in the United States:
  • According to the Council on Foreign Relations, 33 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide in 2008 from terrorism. There were 301,579,895 Americans living on U.S. soil in 2008, so the risk of dying from terrorist attacks in 2008 was 1 in 9,138,785.