Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yummy Links of the Day

Bush: Iraq War May Be Like Vietnam
Bush said in aninterview with ABC News that a newspaper column comparing the current fighting in Iraq to Vietnam might be accurate. (ABC News)

French to Israel: Buzz Lebanon, We Open Fire (Haaretz)
Decrease in Mid-East Students Since Bush, Iraq War (BuzzFlash)
UK courts start to accept that Iraq War is a crime (Guardian)

Chertoff: Internet turning people into terrorists

Disaffected people living in the United States may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the internet and that could present the next major U.S. security threat, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday.

"We now have a capability of someone to radicalize themselves over the internet," Chertoff said on the sidelines of a meeting of International Association of the Chiefs of Police. "They can train themselves over the internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination," Chertoff said. "Those are the kind of terrorists that we may not be able to detect with spies and satellites."

Chertoff pointed to the July 7, 2005 attacks on London's transit system, which killed 56 people, as an example a home-grown threat. To help gather intelligence on possible home-grown attackers, Chertoff said Homeland Security would deploy 20 field agents this fiscal year into "intelligence fusion centers," where they would work with local police agencies.

Link to t-shirt thumbnailed above. Wired via BoingBoing

President Bush Seeks to Block Enemies From Space

The revision was signed on October 6 -- with details not being revealed until now

US President George Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that is designed to emphasize space security and encourage private enterprise in space. Most notably, the country’s right to deny access to space to anyone “hostile to U.S. interests” is what has drawn support from some and displeasure from others. One line of the policy states: “Freedom and action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.” Government officials have been quick to point out that the latest revisions are not leading up to militarization of Earth’s orbit.

Michael Krepon, a co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, believes that the policy change will further the idea that the United States wishes to develop, test and deploy space weapons. And since the United States has continually declined to enter talks with other nations about space militarization, Krepon believes this only amplifies the idea of U.S. weapons being deployed in space. Theresa Hitchens, the director of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, also believes the new policy may lead to possible space war strategies.

The revision is the first one in 10 years, and was needed to “reflect the fact that space has become an even more important component of U.S. economic, national and homeland security,” according to National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones. Via DailyTech

Electricity Levels In Baghdad at Lowest Levels Since U.S. Invasion

In Sept. 2003, President Bush promised that he would help Iraqis “restore basic services, such as electricity and water, and to build new schools, roads, and medical clinics. This effort is essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore, to our own security.”

But three years later, electricity levels in Baghdad are at an all-time low. Residents of Baghdad are receiving just 2.4 hours of electricity this month, compared to an average of 16-24 hours of electricity before the U.S. invasion. The lowest level prior to this month was 3.9 hours/day.

According to our chart — using data compiled by The Brookings Institution — electricity levels have been steadily going down in the past two years (data for parts of 2003-2004 were unavailable) and are now at their lowest point since the U.S. invasion:

Via ThinkProgress

FBI and EU want your internet freedoms

FBI Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday called on Internet service providers to record their customers' online activities, a move that anticipates a fierce debate over privacy and law enforcement in Washington next year.

This should come as no surprise to us as the government is already taking watch over internet bloggers themselves.

"Terrorists coordinate their plans cloaked in the anonymity of the Internet, as do violent sexual predators prowling chat rooms," Mueller said in a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Boston.

The speech to the law enforcement group, which approved a resolution on the topic earlier in the day, echoes other calls from Bush administration officials to force private firms to record information about customers. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, for instance, told Congress last month that "this is a national problem that requires federal legislation."

Also, the EU has proposed a directive which could extend broadcasting regulations to the internet, hitting popular video-sharing websites such as YouTube., reports the London Times. This would mean that websites and mobile phone services that feature video images would have to conform to standards laid down in Brussels.