04/12/2010

how secret is the secret service from Israel

There was a time that security and anti-terrorist specialists from all around the world took the IDF and Israeli security apparatus as an example. THis had some positive other commercial effects for its securityproducts and some sympathy and trust that would otherwise take years to aquicre. They are after all a small country surrounded by ennemies that untill some partial peace agreements wanted to destroy Israeli whenever it would show some weakness. The secret services are also romantized by the hunt for Black september (the killelrs of Munich) and by giving El Al the name of being one of the safest airlines to use (kidnapping and bombings). Off course some policies, atrocities and miscalculations have tarnished this professional image. But the effectiveness of its intelligence services was still more or less upheld.

This seems to be changing fast and very dramatically and in a sense may demand a total overhaul of these services.

First there was the Dubai live-on-cam assassination. THe physical assassination was successfull but the amateuristic preparation was pink panther like. THis kind of political-military assassintations only work for Israel if nobody can really proof that it was behind the operation. THere should be some deniability that is great enough to be able to keep even some doubt (especially if you don't want to give the terrorist-military wing of the Palestinian movements an argument to begin attacking Israel again during the start of negotiations about the start of negotiations)

Secondly and even more dramatically. It now looks like that there more than 2000 documents from 2005-2007 from the central office of the Secret Service of Israel were copied by a secretary before she left the office. About 700 of them are highly classified and can have repercussions on the international and national level. Some documents have also all the internal names and procedures and contacts. To make matters even worse, she handed them over to a journalist who used some of them to write some articles about things everybody knows but doesn't want to know (Israel has an assassinationpolicy against some Palsstinian movements). To make matters even more worse, Israel has let the journalist leave the country (he says he is in self-inflicted asylm in the UK) without being sure without any doubt that all thsoe documents are destroyed or handed over.The newspaper itself refuses to give the copies back to the secret service.

Just recap. We are talking about a SECRET service of a country that is still at war with some of its neighboring countries or territories and has a permanent real terror alert at, in and outside of its borders. THe intelligence service is an essential part to have the most actual information about threats and eventual real peace or no-fire possibilities.

A soldier who fullfilled her two years of military service as a secretary in the central office of the secret service has copied 2000 documents during two years to a special folder and has left the office with them copied on two discs. From one of probably the most secure buildings in Jeruzalem. She has been able to open and read 700 classified documents without any encryption or passwords (or had access to the keys and passwords).

It was also clear that she didn't agree with the policies of the secret service and the military. This is her good right, but it doesn't mean that the central office of the secret service should give her access to all those documents without any background check. There are also risks with using temporary personnel for such sensitive functions. A function is sensitive depending on the information you have access to, not the work you do. You may be a secretary but may have a more sensitive function because you have access to more important information than the officer you are working for and who has only access to his own files.

Sorry but if this is possible how can you call yourself a secret service ? How can any secret service or any person willing to give you information have any trust that their information will be secret or confidential at the least.

The only thing that still needs to happen to make the disaster complete is that they are published on wikileaks.com

Okay, some can say that we are three years later, but there is a lot that changes in three years and sometimes not that much. It still shows that the Israeli secret service is not what is has been (or maybe that was our image and not the reality)

Solution : look at Information or Data leakage prevention products or functionality. This means a document can not be copied or printed and can only be assessed by authorized people. And this would have send off alerts before harm could have been done.

source1  source2  source3

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03/03/2010

you can't compare Israeli airports with ours

The Israeli say that they don't need such bodyscanners because they are working with undercover agents and interviewers and by using profiling and psychological tactics.

but this is crap

first the airports here and in the US have more international traffic and more passengers than any of their airports and the number of people that you would need to implement this would be enormous while the possibility of mistakes would be greater as the following disorganisation on the airport.

You can use their tactics and knowledge for a number of flights or specific kinds of passengers, but for the whole airport you will need technology if you want to increase the global security of the airport and the airtraffic. The most important function of that technology is to limit the number of passengers that would need specific attention.

This is were the excellent Israeli knowledge comes in handy.

Not in general airport security.

source

Rank  ↓ Airport  ↓ Location  ↓ Code
(IATA/ICAO)  ↓
Total
passengers  ↓
Rank
Change  ↓
%
Change  ↓
1.Flag of the United States.svg Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International AirportAtlanta, Georgia, United StatesATL/KATL66,542,4742.2%
2.Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London Heathrow AirportHillingdon, Greater London, United KingdomLHR/EGLL49,971,59712.3%
3.Flag of the United States.svg O'Hare International AirportChicago, Illinois, United StatesORD/KORD48,691,216110.8%
4.Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Beijing Capital International AirportChaoyang, Beijing, ChinaPEK/ZBAA48,500,397419.8%
5.Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo International AirportŌta, Tokyo, JapanHND/RJTT46,239,97017.3%
6.Flag of France.svg Paris Charles de Gaulle AirportRoissy-en-France, Val d'Oise, Île-de-France, FranceCDG/LFPG44,128,06315.8%
7.Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles International AirportLos Angeles, California, United StatesLAX/KLAX42,510,49218.0%
8.Flag of the United States.svg Dallas-Fort Worth International AirportDallas/Fort Worth, Texas, United StatesDFW/KDFW42,212,45212.7%
9.Flag of Germany.svg Frankfurt AirportFlughafen (Frankfurt am Main), Frankfurt, Hesse, GermanyFRA/EDDF38,557,2076.1%
10.Flag of the United States.svg Denver International AirportDenver, Colorado, United StatesDEN/KDEN38,335,2312.5%
11.Flag of Spain.svg Madrid-Barajas AirportMadrid, Comunidad de Madrid, SpainMAD/LEMD36,625,2247.5%
12.Flag of the United States.svg John F. Kennedy International AirportQueens, New York City, New York, United StatesJFK/KJFK34,095,14817.0%
13.Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong International AirportChek Lap Kok, Hong Kong, ChinaHKG/VHHH33,801,50016.4%
14.Flag of the Netherlands.svg Amsterdam Airport SchipholHaarlemmermeer, North Holland, NetherlandsAMS/EHAM33,313,2889.2%
15.Flag of the United States.svg McCarran International AirportLas Vegas, Nevada, United StatesLAS/KLAS30,609,56010.3%
16.Flag of the United States.svg George Bush Intercontinental AirportHouston, Texas, United StatesIAH/KIAH30,072,222

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05/02/2009

attack on Dutch Royal family ; what if it was a car bomb ? (film)

So look at this film and forget what you know today and think what would have happened if it was a car bomb to explode from the moment it touches something or even worse - from a distance by a bystander with a mobile so that the best moment could be chosen

 risk training : what is going wrong here right after the impact ? About everything I suppose. So they were lucky

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05/01/2009

attack on the Dutch royal bus (with the whole family)

1. first they were lucky it wasn't a car bomb

2. the whole royal family was on the same bus in the same city at the same time which means that if it was a car bomb the WHOLE royal family would have been killed.

3. Some professionals say that you can't foresee this and that it didn't happen before but Holland did have some violent attacks on important people about which everybody at the time said that it wasn't possible in Holland and that this was a first (Filmmaker Van Gogh and a populist politician). How many attacks should they have on important people to realise that violence against important people is more possible than before.

4. The national royal holiday is a festivity but if you look at this picture than you will see that the protection is minimal and that they are very very lucky that this was just a lunatic suicide attack by a loner who didn't wanted to be sure that he would go into history as the guy who killed or wounded the whole Dutch royal family. He could pass two police agents who didn't shoot, he could pass a some other checkpoint without being hindered (no police men) and than he could just ride with high speed into the crowd (no policemen before the last checkpoint) to get as near as possible to the bus with the royal family.

5. They were having too much fun and too less security. Securitypeople should be more paranoid and other people should have more confidence in their advice.

last thing, this is the advantage of following such important 'transports' with a helicopter in the air. He should have seen that there was a car riding where it shouldn't at high speed and could have sent out instructions to stop the car at all costs or put more special police forces around the bus (or divert the bus) and get the royal family in safety (was there a protective car riding after the bus in case ?)

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03/18/2009

Antiterrorism in Belgium doesn't take out the support infrastructure enough

This is the feeling you have if you look at the following incidents from the last weeks

* in Belgium a sweep of a 'sleeping' support cell led to some arrest (of the famous hateblogger) but let some others free again and the police said themselves that others may have been involved but weren't even questioned. They are known, whatever that means. If it means that for everyone of them there is one or more special agents following them, than that is a huge investment.

You can't go arresting people like that and such sweeps may have a preventive impact, but if there are no arrests people don't feel that good when they hear that those ticking timebombs are just walking our streets again.Somewhere there has to be some middeground that makes it possible to take more active actions against those support cells, sleeping or not.

Nice detail, they were located and followed by US satellites ......

* A caller from Belgium alerted the police in Holland of a pending big terrorist attack on some supermarkets the 11th. She said that some of the attackers would come by bus from Belgium (never found) and were to be helped by a support cell in Holland (arrested and freed because no explosives were found). She gave so much details during 10 minutes (in which she couldn't be traced ?) that some investigators think an attack was planned. The media seem to forget that in big attacks, the supporting sleeper cells never know what will happen before and even don't have any material with them. They will get instructions later where to find the necessary arms and explosives and papers. It would be too easy to dismantle the supporting sleeper cells if they would have such material, as shown in the case above.

Question, while the police says it needs to set those people free it assures us that they are being constantly followed but when they should have arrested them while actively arriving at the place where a terrorist attack would be planned, they disappear.

* Yesterday the Moslim Brotherhood (about which we already wrote that its financial and infrastructure headquarters is in Brussels in spite of the fact that the organisation is on international terrorist lists) had some investigations in Germany and Belgium about financial fraud. No arrests were made. It looks as like the organisation may continue its 'activities' in Belgium in spite of international law.

If you don't dismantle the infrastructure and disrupt the financing you are just a sitting duck waiting to be shot by some formerly sleeping cell you had forgot or didn't find yet.

The fact that no major terrorist attacks happened the last years in Belgium doesn't diminish this danger.

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01/30/2009

Gaza tunnels are also money smuggling tunnels

source

However, Abbas' government has not been visible among the aid groups, sidelining him even further in the eyes of many Gazans.

He still pumps huge sums into Gaza every month, paying the salaries of tens of thousands of civil servants and police, like Dardona. But his promised $3.5 million for the families of the dead — according to Gaza health officials nearly 1,300 — has not been disbursed, in part because Gaza banks suffer from a shortage of bank notes, another fallout from the closure.

Hamas, which smuggles cash through border tunnels instead of using bank transfers, has no problems with distribution

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01/25/2009

2008 Belgium and Terrorism

As securitypeople we are in the first place securitypeople, our instincts and reflexes are security. Our mind and thinking is drilled for security and this is no different for IT as for physical security and terrorism. In 2008 we had first the debate over the high level security-alert in Brussels and the surprise of the arrest of a (double ?) agent/terrorist in Maroc. There were different antiterrorist sweeps and arrests but some important online terroristpropaganda sites where Belgians were involved stayed too long online. We also published some other terrorist news and views.

We hope that in 2009 they will continue the difficult work of being first and not cleaning up a mess afterwards.
27/11/08 12:21 terrorisme, what a difference a day makes
27/11/08 12:15 a sad day today even if the people of mumbai are far away
27/11/08 12:02 second important lessons for anti terrorist operation centers from the terrorist campaign going on in India
27/11/08 10:14 first lesson from India terrorist campaign still on-going
27/11/08 09:21 Anti terrorism sweeps under way in Belgium
27/11/08 08:43 heightened terror awareness in Brussels ?
10/08/08 19:16 The anthrax propaganda seen backwards .... 
05/08/08 11:26 have family fighting in Afghanistan now
05/08/08 12:32 Who is where in Afghanistan ? Belgians not to be seen even if 
24/06/08 13:31 Iraq statistics : but are they reality
18/06/08 15:52 The afghan war on terrorism and Taliban is war 
06/06/08 00:27 Liberated CCC terrorists arrested again in Belgium (video
30/05/08 21:09 who is financing this Belgian terrorist website ?
30/05/08 20:31 Our main Belgian Islamic terrorist site 
30/05/08 20:15 Not all free fileshare services delete terrorist propaganda 
20/05/08 00:25 Belgium escapes another terrorist campaign
29/04/08 13:21 Verviers again called a terrorist center or not ? 
25/04/08 12:25 Nearly 1 million people on the US terrorist watch list 
21/04/08 16:53 Belgium is a safe haven for the Muslim Brotherhood ? 
18/04/08 14:43 Belgium needs elite troopers fast 
10/04/08 22:42 Belgian Boring Bin Laden not send to guantanamo 
09/04/08 15:10 Belgian passports usable for terrorist bombs ?
02/04/08 22:49 A history of Belgian/french weapon dealing is standing trial 
14/03/08 23:28 Joke of the day : superterrorist smuggled weapons in.... 
13/03/08 14:21 Our superterrorist spyringmaster looks like Inspector Clouseau 
07/03/08 13:18 The most intriguing and biggest terorist case ever in Belgium 
26/02/08 12:55 3 million documents scanned of an investigation and still no solution 
18/02/08 09:34 Belgian's darkest postwar years back into the news 
04/02/08 13:32 Gladio receives still 400.00 Euro's a year in Holland
20/01/08 16:17 Video : unmanned aircraft or drones 
09/01/08 21:15 National Center for the Analysis of Terrorism Threat OCAD blasted again 
08/01/08 09:53 Introductory documents for the study of AL Qaida and consorts
04/01/08 11:28 Terror alert Brussels : Going to normal

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01/12/2009

EU pressure for more national security police-techsnoop laws

"The German Interior Ministry explained at the time (after the European meeting in October)  that "almost all partner countries have or intend to have in the near future national laws allowing access to computer hard drives and other data storage devices located on their territory". But the Germans noted the legal basis of transnational searches is not in place and ministers were looking for ways to rectify this. " source

The European Comission is clearly trying to force more liberal european countries in adapting their national laws to a national security frame that is much less liberal and is heavily influenced by the total control idea. I clearly hope that national security initiatives are taken against those that endanger not, not against the whole population in the hope of finding a needle (if you can ever find it in such a datacenter as 9/11 has shown).

Intelligence is in the first place human, the technology is to help the human intelligence, not replace it.

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01/06/2009

thabaat.net the dutch/english al-qaida propaganda server

The problem with this kind of websites is that some want to keep them online to see what is happening and who is saying what while others just want to shut it down out of fear that one will be too late to interfere and prohibit some plans, intentions or radical unacceptable discourse. To make the jihadi a bit more paranoid, every socalled jihadi next to you may be an agent of the CIA or worse... a jewish hacker.

These jewish hackers seem from time to time try to take the website down. This means that hosting such a site may endanger the rest of your network and business.

The website seems to be an important launching station for other forums and propaganda. It is in dutch and english. It also tries to take the role of the dutch jihadi server faádi.nl that was no longer operational. It is not very clear if there is any active interaction with ontdekislam.nl that presents itself as an introductory site to islam. If you do the following googlesearch "site:ontdekislam.nl thabaat.net" than you will see that there are 122 links to the jihadi website, which is quite a lot, so at the least the moderators of the site are accepting this linking to the clearly radical and jihadi propaganda website. This is in total contradiction with the normal look and content that is presented on the frontpage of this website.

If authorities decide to take the website down, they should take this into consideration.

 The number of people that are posting or that have become member is not that much, but you can see the postings without becoming member, so many readers won't become members for the reasons explained above. There are a lot of links to other popular jihadi forums and propaganda distribution points. They call them sometimes an international network.

It is quite funny to see that this radical jihadi website is being hosted in Danmark after is has been banned from an US server. Danmark is the country radical muslims waged a cyberattack on because of those famous stupid cartoons.

Server Type:Apache/2.0.63 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.0.63 OpenSSL/0.9.8b mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 PHP/5.2.5
IP Address:82.103.143.107 Whois | Reverse-IP | Ping | DNS Lookup | Traceroute
IP LocationDenmark - Denmark - Easyspeedy External Network

is associated with  about 2 domains
NS History:1 change on 2 unique name servers over 2 years.
IP History:16 changes on 10 unique name servers over 2 years.
Whois History:40 records have been archived since 2007-06-09.
Dedicated Hosting:thabaat.net is hosted on a dedicated server.

source

But those foreign hosters - and I presume the domainname registrant and management firm - are  in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267.

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12/14/2008

Belgian online Jihad master arrested

During the razzia against the AlQaida cell in Belgium that thwarted a suicide attack (maybe against the European conference taking place in Brussels that day) they arrested also a 'famous' Belgian digital jihad propagandist. She said that her words were her guns and her site was her bomb. The site has been taken down since (thanks to a law in Switzerland where it was hosted and where she was sentenced for it).

What is even more surprising is that even in DeMorgen which is normally a leftwing liberty-for-all loving journal, the readers have no sympathy for this kind of publication and find it normal that is was taken down.

len119

We said already months ago that that blog/forum should be taken down. We applaud the fact that it is and she is for the moment behind bars. If you had read the blog you would have seen that this has nothing to do with freedom but everything with terrorism, hate, fundamentalism and glorification of bloodshed.

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11/27/2008

terrorisme, what a difference a day makes

gelieve van onder naar boven te lezen

len21

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a sad day today even if the people of mumbai are far away

len20

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second important lessons for anti terrorist operation centers from the terrorist campaign going on in India

You need a media blackout because with the integration of mobiles, blogs, flickr, youtube and tweeter news and pix are going around instantly, also your police operations. The Israeli police for example has now blockers of mobiles on wheels that are used to disrupt communications during police operations (except those from the police themselves).

len17

 

You can off course only do this if you have at the same time a well organised press center where all the rumours and facts are given or responded to in more or less real time (because this is what the tweet, cnn, mobile, rss generation is accostumed to). Otherwise the situation will be much more difficult to handle because rumors and panick will be more widespread.

In fact you need to manage communications and not be managed by it. You should also have clear rules with the press what to publish and what to hold on untill a certain moment. For example 'yes we are preparing to storm the building in about two hours and no you can't publish or mention this untill we are effectively storming the building. " You will also have to give them some goodies. And if you respect this agreement you will be the first to enter the hotel and you will be invited to a press briefing and interviews with the officers in charge.

You can find even better pics of the carnage on flickr here

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first lesson from India terrorist campaign still on-going

What came as a surprise to Indian authorities was that the extremists entered the city via waterways linked to the Taj Hotel - a luxury hotel for foreigners. The plan left the police without a plan. source

First hand info

People are giving first hand reports of what they’re seeing directly on Twitter. Flickr is another important information resources - images are here.

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Anti terrorism sweeps under way in Belgium

We didn't knew it when we entered Brussels and saw these armed policemen in bulletproof vests patrolling the train station, but now I see on the news online that arrests are being made in Brussels in an antiterrorism operation and that it is not linked to the video. The video was a joke. THese arrests aren't....

We don't joke either when we publish something ...

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heightened terror awareness in Brussels ?

it isn't official

but when police officers start patrolling with their bulletproof jackets on in train stations and you know that the attacks yesterday in India were made by a group that could be linked to the terror video that was sent to the media, it is maybe time to think a bit on forehand

so we heighten the terror awareness ourselves a bit. These are the following 5 essential questions to ask yourself.

How good is your physical security around your building and what is the physical protection of your datacenter ? Have you done already a social engineering penetration testing ? How many layers of security are there between the entrance and the most critical parts of the building ? How good do you know your external contractors ?

When did you test your evacuation procedures and how long does it take to get all your support contracts and replacement contracts activated - even if that is virtually (but with a real clock). Do you have a crisis communication plan in order that can be activated if necessary and by which you can reach and inform each employee or call them to go to a specific place - even if they are on holiday ?

How good is your backup and how far is it from your main sites ?

Do you have telework procedures and infrastructure so you can continue to function if your buildings aren't accessable anymore (for a limited or longer duration) ?

Seems maybe an exaggeration, but maybe this period of the year is becoming the traditional time of the year to test disaster and anti-terrorism plans.

By the way we will be the last person in Belgium to criticize anyone that heightens the terrorism alert level in Belgium after the attacks in India, astonishing as they are in their effectiveness, planning and coordination. The modern terrorists are led by intelligent people that take the time to prepare and plan an attack in all its details. You should never underestimate them. No panick, just be prepared and ready to intercept, stop or coordinate when necessary. This is the only way they won't win this war they have declared on us.

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09/02/2008

the SP.A is wrong : Afghanistan opium and Taliban link

This is the map (click to enlarge) from an official UNO document. The SP.A says that Opium is increasing in Afghanistan.

joomla56

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report made by the UN office of drugs and crime

This report is dedicated to the memory of Fazal Ahmad, MCN/UNODC who was part of the team carrying out the dangerous task of verifying opium eradication statistics and lost his life in the process.

The opium flood waters in Afghanistan have started to recede. This year, the historic high-water mark of 193,000 hectares of opium cultivated in 2007 has dropped by 19% to 157,000 hectares. Opium production declined by only 6% to 7,700 tonnes: not as dramatic a drop as cultivation because of greater yields (a record 48.8 kg/ha against 42.5kg in 2007). Eradication was ineffective in terms of results (only 5,480 ha and about one quarter of last year’s amount), but very costly in terms of human lives.

Since last year, the number of opium-free provinces has increased by almost 50%: from 13 to 18.

This means that no opium is grown in more than half of the country’s 34 provinces. Indeed, 98% of all of Afghanistan’s opium is grown in just seven provinces in the south-west (Hilmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Farah, Nimroz, and to a lesser extent Daykundi and Zabul), where there are permanent Taliban settlements, and where organized crime groups profit from the instability. This geographical overlap between regions of opium and zones of insurgency shows the inextricable link between drugs and conflict. Since drugs and insurgency are caused by, and effect, each other, they need to be dealt with at the same time – and urgently.

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08/24/2008

why you better shut up to your travel agent

Travel companies and air companies like to have as much information about you as legally possible. They wnat to know if you want to have a car, book a hotel, have special food, your religion and as much other things as possible. They say it is for practical and marketing reasons. This information arrives afterwards in what is called a PNR file which consists of up to 25 categories of information about you.

Now if this information  was only used for marketing and organisational matters, you could more or less put controls on the use and transfer of that information to prevent any other use to which you couldn't agree when you gave the information.

The problem is that part of that information (but who can say that in future not all the information will be transferred) has become part of the antiterrorist intelligence of the US. Now you can say whatever you want about guarantees but if information is linked to or used by anti-terrorist infrastructure, you have no access to it. This is what the ACLU lawyers in the US found out when as US citizens they asked access to their firles in that database. The information has been quarantined or should I say Guantanamoded.

It is an illusion to think that any link or any information that effectively arrives in that 'sphere' will ever get out of it. There will always be a reason of doubt or danger (however much it sounds like Science Fiction) for not doing so and there will never be someone with the necessary guts and will to rebalance our right to privacy and our duty to help the government with battling terrorism.

The PNR case is a very clear case where this balance has been thrown to pieces. At one side there is the American obsession to control everything from the earliest moment in life on. The problem is that the US has neither a strond privacy law neither an independent privacycommission that must set the rules and standards for the use and transfer of personalized information.

The PNR case shows also clearly that there is a total imbalance between results and impact. To argue their case the US administration gave three evident examples of persons that were effectively stopped at the border to be turned back and were afterwards found (dead) or arrested linked with terrorist activities. But there is no proof that this information would not have been available without those PNR checks.

Meanwhile the PNR information  is included in the databases that are being held for years and of which one can say that oversight is not really reporting anything about what is done with those databases. The parliament is supposed to control that as we elected them to control the executive.

I can really understand the reasons from an antiterrorist point of view and I can even sympathise with them. I understand that they will always be looking at every possible scenario for an attack or an infiltration. But as so many cases have proven before, an intelligence database like this is only effective if it is filled with useful information and the more useless information is stocked in such a strategic database, the more it becomes useless.

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Ostend, Belgium Field Training Exercise 26th till 28th August, biggest exercise in real city

For about three days Ostend will be the theater of a real military 'hostage liberation' exercise. About 600 paracommando's (of which a Dutch and Spanish delegation) and 300 civilean volunteers will participate. The first day the para's will be landing or being dropped around the airport of Ostend after which they will have to liberate the hostages. The rest will be a series of operations and urban warfare with the rebels that have taken over the city and the Belgian Embassy.

Ostend is a very good city for such exercise even if not every possibility has been used. There is a trainstation, a port, a very high appartment building, a parc, a few bridges and a lot of other possible strategic points or entry points to organise exercies in urban warfare. There are few other cities in Europe that have such a mix of strategic points and possible targets for such exercises.

Info (dutch)  By the way if you are there and have pics or vids that are uploaded or not, we are interested

Ostend has been throughout its history already been the theater of many battles, including the last two world wars (picture beneath is from the first world war, but may not be so different from a rebel force that is awaiting the army sent to liberate their hostages).

1914 Belgische soldaten bij Oostende

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08/19/2008

Pakistan, Afghanistan and India : the most dangerous triangle ever

Pakistan has a nuclear bomb, India probably or maybe or somewhere in between and both countries are still at war over their borders and because they have learned to hate each other because of that during years. It is a very destabilised country and part of that country - between Pakistan and Afghanistan has never been under its control (they call it tribal country). In fact it is in that region that Bin laden has found a safe haven and where Al Qaida (together with tribal gangs or not depending on the circumstances) are waging war in Afghanistan, in Pakistan with terror attacks and against the numerous operations that government of Pakistan has done to install itself and control more or less the situation.

Some weeks ago the special force that was created for that was said to be leaving the area (and its fortifications for which Al Qaida was thankful) because they were not making any success. Since than the regular Pakistan army probably backup with western support has bombed and attacked some of these new Al Qaida centers and killed hundreds of them. (they were like honeypots...).

The strategic importance of the region is also clear if one looks at all the high level leaders that have been captured or killed in that region the last couple of years. The latest being the military Al Qaida commander for Afghanistan. The military leaders dream of putting up fences and biometric controls but in that region of mountains and valleys this is just crazy.

Pakistan is now going through some very difficult moments but the real question is not in Pakistan who the leader is but who will control the secret service and what will they do. The NATO forces and the US are convinced that the Pakistani secret service (or elements of it) have yet to be told that the cold war is over and that it is now their allies the Americans that are in Afghanistan and not the Russians and that they should stop supporting the Al Qaida groups in that tribal region and beyond.

More so as the news from Afghanistan worsens - and that you only read in more specialised publications. In short the situation is like this. AL Qaida controls around 40% of Afghanistan and has been importing fighters from around the world but also seasoned fighters from Iraq. They are using simple non-technological bombs and suicide attacks against the foreign aid services and army posts and dear now to come in Kabul, which wasn't the case some years ago. They are funded by drugsmoney and the Kabul government can't seem to do something against that kind of plantations in an effective way. At the other hand the money that was promised to help reconstruct the country (and that would win over the hearts) hasn't been coming forward as promised (also with the part of Belgian). The other side of the fact is that the troops and the material in Afghanistan have not taken into account the influx of all these fighters and all these new attacks. There are not enough soldiers and surely not enough helicopters to act as swiftly as they should. At the other side if they can hold out till winter, than it will become much calmer because for Al Qaida in the mountains it will be very difficult to mount operations. Except if they can take over some valleys, garizons or villages or cities. So don't be surprised if Afghanistan will be a lot more in the news between now and the winter.

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