Wednesday, March 19, 2014

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Global Terrorism And Increasing Incidents Of Car Bombings - Al-Qaeda Calls For Car Bombs Across America, Targeting Cities, Sport Events And Large Holiday Gatherings; Baghdad Car Bombs Kill Nine; Car Bombs Kill At Least 8 At Libya Army Academy In Benghazi; Kenya Police Park Massive Car Bomb Outside Their Offices After Missing Explosives In Car; Lebanon Car Bomb Kills A Hezbollah Leader; Suicide Car Bomb Kills 20 Soldiers In Central Somalia Town; 15 Killed In Car Bomb Blast In Afghanistan!

March 19, 2014 - TERRORISM - Al-Qaeda is using the latest edition of its magazine to call for car bombs across the United States and other "crusader countries."

The Spring 2014 edition of Inspire details how to build a bomb and suggests the best way to plan and execute a successful attack.

Unsurprisingly, the magazine notes that "America is our first target," and it recommends Washington (specifically restaurants and bars on M Street), Northern Virginia (including Arlington and Alexandria), Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles as specific targets.

In addition, it notes that a potential terrorist should look for places "flooded with individuals," including sports events—specifically the U.S. Open tennis tournament, campaign events, festivals, and holiday gatherings on Christmas, New Year's Eve, or New Year's Day.

"The important thing is that you target people and not buildings," notes the article, located in the magazine's "Open Source Jihad" section.

And with the Boston Marathon coming up next month, the article strikes a soberingly familiar note with a recipe on how to build a bomb using a pressure cooker—the type used in the April 2013 attack.

Top defense and Homeland Security officials have warned about an increasing risk from individuals who work alone to plan or carry out a terrorist attack without direct instructions from a terrorist organization.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said last month that the Boston Marathon bombing could be "a sign of the future" and that terrorist threats from so-called "lone wolf" or "self-radicalized" terrorists are in many ways harder to detect.

DHS didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the magazine article. - National Journal.

Baghdad Car Bombs Kill Nine
Iraqis stand near burnt out vehicles after a car bombing in Baghdad on March 7, 2014 (AFP Photo/Ali Al-Saadi)

A series of evening car bombs targeting commercial neighbourhoods of Iraq's capital killed at least nine people on Saturday, security and medical officials said. The five blasts also wounded dozens, the latest in a months-long surge in bloodshed that has hit the country with less than two months left before national parliamentary elections.

The attacks, all car bombs at markets or commercial shopping areas of the Sadr City, Amil, Amin, Shuala and Qahira neighbourhoods, killed nine people in all, said police and medical sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

More than 30 people were wounded, they said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bloodshed, but Sunni militants, including those linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant jihadist group, are often blamed for carrying out coordinated mass-casualty bombings.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has singled out Saudi Arabia and Qatar for effectively waging war on Iraq, accusing the two Gulf states of backing militant groups.

He told France 24 in an interview this month that Riyadh and Doha provide political, financial and media support to militant groups, and also accused the Saudis of supporting global "terrorism".

Elsewhere in Iraq on Saturday, a gun attack on the outskirts of the confessionally mixed city of Baquba killed a mother and her son, while a car bomb in the predominantly Sunni city of Tikrit near the home of a police colonel wounded 15 people.

More than 230 people have been killed already this month, according to an AFP tally.

Iraq is grappling with its worst prolonged period of violence since it emerged from a bloody sectarian war that left tens of thousands dead in 2006-07.

Analysts and diplomats have urged the Shiite-led government to reach out to the Sunni community, who allege they are mistreated by the government and security forces.

But with elections looming on April 30, political leaders have been loath to be seen to compromise. - Yahoo.

Car Bombs Kill At Least 8 At Libya Army Academy In Benghazi
Men stand next to a car damaged after an explosion exploded outside a Libyan army base in the
eastern city of Benghazi March 17, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

A powerful car bomb attack targeted a military academy in Libya's eastern of city of Benghazi on Monday, killing at least eight people and wounding more than a dozen, hospital and security officials said.

An American schoolteacher was also killed by gunmen in December. Western diplomats are concerned the violence in Benghazi will spill over to the capital, Tripoli.

Instability in the eastern city is part of the struggle a weak central government faces in controlling armed groups, militias and brigades of former rebels who once battled Muammar Gaddafi and now refuse to disarm.

A first bomb exploded at the front gate of the academy as soldiers were leaving a graduation ceremony, security officials said. Several cars parked outside exploded. One or two other bombs exploded around the same time, wounding 18, security and hospital officials said.

In a separate explosion hours later in Benghazi, one person was killed when another car bomb went off near the state oil firm Brega Petroleum Marketing Co, which sells fuel products inside Libya, a security source said.

No group claimed responsibility for the bombings in Benghazi, where Libyan armed forces have been battling militants from hardline Islamist groups such as Ansar al Sharia, listed as a foreign terrorist organization by Washington.

The government called the academy bombing a "terrorist act" and declared three days of mourning, according to a statement.

Most countries have closed their consulates in Benghazi and some foreign airlines have stopped flying there since the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an Islamist militant attack in September 2012.

Gunmen killed a French citizen earlier this month, while police found seven Egyptian Christians shot dead execution-style on a beach outside Benghazi, home to several oil firms. No one has claimed responsibility for that killing. - Reuters.

Kenya Police Park Massive Car Bomb Outside Their Offices After Missing Explosives In Vehicle
Kenyan troop stand guard at the Garrisa airstrip near the Somali-Kenyan border. Photo: REUTERS

Kenyan police failed to realise that a car that they impounded from a Somali man and stored outside their anti-terror unit offices for a week was packed full of explosives already attached to a Nokia detonator.

The blue Toyota four-wheel-drive was only thoroughly checked when foreign counterterror officers believed to be from the FBI saw the vehicle and recognised it was on an international alert list.

Six separate pipe bombs made up of a total of 130lb of plastic explosive were welded into the vehicle’s rear seats, enough to collapse a multi-storey building, according to Kenyan police.

An AK-47, 250 rounds of ammunition, detonators and grenades were also found when a full search was eventually carried out and completed on Tuesday.

The vehicle was impounded in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa on March 11, and the driver, a Somali, and his passenger, a Kenyan of Somali origin, were arrested and charged with illegally importing a vehicle.

Fresh charges linked to international terrorism will now be drawn up, prosecutors in Mombasa said.

Security sources in the city said initial investigations suggested one of the men had called telephone numbers also contacted by suspected terrorists linked to Kenya’s Westgate attack in September, but this could not be confirmed.

“This is a continuous investigation process and it is not correct to give details before everything is known,” Robert Kitur, Mombasa police chief, told The Telegraph.

The amount of explosives were enough to cause “mass destruction”, but the potential target was not yet known, another senior official, Nelson Marwa, Mombasa county commissioner, said.

The vehicle was a collection of parts from different cars, he added.

"It is a Toyota ... the chassis does not belong to that vehicle, the engine does not belong to that vehicle, the number plate does not belong to that vehicle," Mr Marwa said.

Islamic extremists in Somalia have vowed to continue attacks on Kenya, following the Westgate siege in September, when 67 civilians died after four gunmen took over the upscale mall in the capital, Nairobi.

They were sent by al-Shabaab, Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked militia, which on Monday carried out a suicide bombing of a hotel in southern Somalia where African Union soldiers had gathered. Eight were killed.

Separately, Uganda’s intelligence services have warned that al-Shabaab cells may be planning to hijack petrol transport lorries and use them as improvised truck bombs. - Telegraph.

Lebanon Car Bomb Kills A Hezbollah Leader
A suicide car bomb attack has killed at least four people in a Hezbollah-dominated area of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, near the border with Syria.

Among those killed in the attack, which struck the village of al-Nabi Othman late on Sunday, was Hezbollah's local leader Abdul Rahman al-Qadhi, according to Al Jazeera's Ehab al-Okadi, reporting from Lebanon.

"The blast was carried out by a suicide attacker. Hezbollah members knew he was about to carry out the attack, and tried to stop the vehicle. That was when the attacker detonated the vehicle," a Lebanese security source told AFP.

WATCH: Lebanon car bomb kills a Hezbollah leader.

Hezbollah-dominated areas in eastern Lebanon and south Beirut have suffered a series of deadly attacks, many of them suicide car blasts, since the powerful Shia movement acknowledged sending fighters to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad's troops as they battle rebels.

The latest attack was claimed by Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon, as well as by the little-known Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek, a Sunni Muslim armed group opposed to Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian conflict.

"Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek officially takes responsibility for the heroic martyrdom [suicide] operation 'revenge for Yabrud' in the village of al-Nabi Othman," the group said on Twitter.

It also warned Hezbollah and the Lebanese army - which Sunni groups in Lebanon say has sided with the Shia movement - to: "prepare for the transfer of the battle of Yabroud into Lebanese territory."

The attack came hours after the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah fighters, captured Yabroud, a former rebel bastion in Syria near the Lebanese border.

Hezbollah and Lebanese security forces have said many of the car bombs used in previous suicide attacks came from Yabroud.

Lebanon has been dragged into Syria's violence by different political groups announcing support for rival parties to the war next door. - Al Jazeera.

Suicide Car Bomb Kills 20 Soldiers In Central Somalia Town
Buloburde (RBC) At least 20 soldiers, including two senior officers were killed in a suicide car bomb that hit a hotel in Buloburde town, where government and AMISOM officials were sleeping around 2.20p.m local time on Tuesday morning, RBC Radio reports.

The Chief military officer in Hiran region, Col. Mohamed Amin Aadan Jesow was among those killed in the attack, according to former Hiran governor Yusuf Ahmed Hagar who has survived from the attack.

At least six soldiers of the AMISOM forces from the Djibouti contingent were killed in the attack.

According to local sources, the suicide car bomb with no lights was seen suddenly as it approached Hotel Camalow as most of the hotel guards and security officials were sleeping. Heavy explosion was heard as then a fierce gun battle followed, the locals said.

Al Shabab militant group claimed the attack saying the attack was well planed aimed to destroy the invaders of AMISOM those seized the town last week in non resistances operation.

AMISOM Spokesman Col. Ali Aden Houmed has confirmed the death of three Djiboutian soldiers and three Somali soldiers in the attack.

Somalia government forces and the AMISOM troops took the town of Buloburde is 125km from Beletweyne in South Central Somalia from Al Shabab on Thursday last week. The town was described an al Shabaab stronghold and their supply nerve center. - RBC Radio.

15 Killed In Car Bomb Blast In Afghanistan
Separately, a suicide bomber killed 15 people in an attack yesterday on a busy marketplace in northern Afghanistan, officials said.

The Taliban have threatened to kill anyone who takes part in the elections, and eight people involved in political campaigning have been killed since electioneering started last month. A group of election officials has also been kidnapped. It was not clear if the bombing was related to the election.

At least 47 people were wounded when the suicide bomber driving a three-wheel rickshaw blew himself up in Maimana, the provincial capital of Faryab province, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

“It was a bazaar day and everybody was busy buying or selling when the bomber detonated his explosives,” Faryab governor Mohamedullah Batash told Reuters. Two children were among the dead, the UN said.
Nicholas Haysom, the top UN official in Afghanistan, said such bombings could be a war crime.

“Their use in a distinctly civilian location such as a market is atrocious and cannot be justified,” he said in a statement.

The UN said such bombs - called improvised explosive devices - have killed 190 civilians in Afghanistan so far this year, a 14% increase from the same period last year. - Gulf Times.

ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Spring - Arctic Blast Coming To Eastern U.S., Likely To Be The COLDEST OPENING To Calendar Spring In At Least 50 Years; Senior Meteorologist Shocked, "I Have Never Seen Anything Close To This For Late March"!

March 19, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Another massive cold wave headed for Eastern US next week to put temperature 20 degrees below normal.

Senior WeatherBell Meteorologist Joe Bastardi commented:
I am 58.. never seen anything close to this for late March.
[The] pattern next week has as much extreme potential for the time of the year as I can find. Coldest opening to calender spring in 50 yrs at least.
Weather forecast models such as the ECMWF and NCEP, both of which have had good track records this year in identifying polar vortex outbreaks in advance, are now forecasting a massive cold blast for the beginning of spring.

See maps:

Dr. Ryan Maue commented on this forecast from ECMWF:
ECMWF 12z (WMO-Essential) 850-hPa temperature + wind streams. Final 10-day outcome after 2nd Arctic blast. Brutal.

He added:
Canadian ensemble system looks like other guidance at 7-days as well. This cake is baked. Arctic blast to end March

If Lake Michigan can open up a bit, then this cold could drop enormous amounts of Lake Effect snow on Lower Peninsula of Michigan.


PLANETARY TREMORS: What Will Happen When The ‘Big One’ Hits California - Scientists Are Concerned About The Potential For Catastrophic Destruction?!

March 19, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - On Monday, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake threw the city of Los Angeles into a bit of a tizzy.  The ground shook, people screamed and news anchors ducked under their desks.  But it was just a 4.4 magnitude earthquake.  So what would happen if the “Big One” hit California? 

What would happen if an earthquake hundreds of times more powerful than the one that we saw on Monday hit Los Angeles or San Francisco?  We don’t really know what would happen, because nothing like that has happened in modern times. 

Fortunately for us, we have been living during a time of extremely low seismic activity in California.  But scientists assure us that will change at some point, and some of them are now warning that when the “Big One” does strike that the devastation could be far worse than people have been imagining.

Fortunately, this earthquake pretty much turned out to be a non-event.  But according to the Los Angeles Times, there is the possibility that this earthquake could actually have been a “foreshock” of an even larger earthquake that will happen later…
Graves said there is always the small possibility that the 4.4 earthquake was only a prelude to an equal or stronger shake.

“Always the possibility that it’s a foreshock,” Graves said, adding that about 5% of earthquakes are followed by an equal or larger shake and that if it does happen, it would occur within the next several hours.

But Graves did say that “certainly we would expect more aftershocks.”
Let us hope that does not turn out to be the case.

But it does appear that seismic activity in California is starting to pick up.  Earlier in March, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck just off the northern California coastline…
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake off the coast of Northern California on Sunday night was the largest on the West Coast since the 7.2 Baja California quake in 2010.

Sunday’s temblor was followed by a series of at least 13 aftershocks as large as a magnitude 4.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The big quake occurred at 10:18 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean 50 miles west of Eureka in Humboldt County. The USGS put the depth of the quake at about four miles.
And scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for catastrophic destruction in northern California the more that they study the Cascadia fault.

Large earthquakes in the Los Angeles area

According to one recent study, a 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia fault could produce a giant tsunami that would “wash away coastal towns”…
If a 9.0 earthquake were to strike along California’s sparsely populated North Coast, it would have a catastrophic ripple effect.

A giant tsunami created by the quake would wash away coastal towns, destroy U.S. 101 and cause $70 billion in damage over a large swath of the Pacific coast. More than 100 bridges would be lost, power lines toppled and coastal towns isolated. Residents would have as few as 15 minutes notice to flee to higher ground, and as many as 10,000 would perish.

Scientists last year published this grim scenario for a massive rupture along the Cascadia fault system, which runs 700 miles off shore from Northern California to Vancouver Island.
But of course when you are talking about the “Big One”, most people think of the San Andreas fault in southern California.

According to recent research conducted by scientists at Stanford and MIT, the damage that a massive earthquake would do to downtown Los Angeles could be up to three times greater than previously believed…
A  seismology study by scientists from Stanford and MIT, published in the journal Science on Friday, finds that if the Big One hits the San Andreas Fault near Palm Springs, some seismic waves will travel near the path of the 10 Freeway into the heart of Los Angeles, where the city and its suburbs will suffer stronger ground motions than previously believed.

Downtown L.A. will endure three times the shaking of surrounding areas, scientists now say.

The study shows that a “funneling action” of seismic waves will roll straight into the Los Angeles Basin through a 60-mile-long corridor, striking a 13-million population region that stretches from the Santa Monica Mountains to Newport Bay and inland to the basins of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana rivers. The study confirms a 2006 supercomputer simulation that predicted L.A. could endure worse shaking than long feared.
So when will the “Big One” strike?

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist David Oppenheimer puts it this way
“It could be today. It could be 100 years from now.”
But what we do know is that the “Ring of Fire” is becoming more active, and the California coastline sits right along it.

For example, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit an area just off the northern coast of Chile on Sunday
A strong quake struck off northern Chile on Sunday evening, triggering a preventive evacuation of part of the coastal area but not causing any injuries or damage to the country’s crucial copper mines.

The magnitude 6.7 quake, originally measured as a 7.0, was centered 37 miles west-northwest of Iquique and hit at a depth of 12.4 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The day before that, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the northern coast of Peru.

And at the end of last week we witnessed a whole host of significant earthquake events all over the planet. 

The following comes from a recent Extinction Protocol article
In the past 24 hours, the planet has been reeling from a series of moderate earthquakes that have erupted all across the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. It is the most geologically-active region on the planet. In a nearly 40,000 km (25,000 mi) horseshoe shape, the region is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements. It has 452 volcanoes and is home to over 75% of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes. About 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire. In the past 24 hours, double moderate earthquakes 5.3 and 5.6 magnitude earthquakes have struck Indonesia. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck NE of San Isidro Philippines. A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck NE of the Iwo Jima Islands of Japan. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck South Central Peru. A 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck SE of Easter Island. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck SE Colombia. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck WSW of Santa Cruz, Chile. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck south of the continent of Africa. A 5.2 and 5.0 erupted along the Owen Fracture Zone, west of Africa. A 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck Greece. A 4.0 quake was reported NE of Xudat, Azerbaijan. And a 4.8 magnitude earthquake was reported ESE of Mohean, India.
So this latest California earthquake comes in the context of a lot of other seismic activity worldwide.

And without a doubt, the state of California is long overdue for a major earthquake.

It is going to occur at some point.  Everyone agrees on that.

The only question is when it will happen.

Below, I have posted a graphic of the San Andreas fault that was produced by the U.S. government.  As you can see, two tectonic plates are moving past one another.  In fact, scientists tell us that eventually the city of Los Angeles and the city of San Francisco will be right next to one another, although they believe that this will happen over a very long period of time.

If those tectonic plates start shifting in a very violent manner, is it possible that part of California could fall into the ocean like so many people joke about?

Most scientists insist that could never, ever happen.

Others are not so sure.

What about you?

What do you think will happen when the “Big One” hits California. - The Truth.

BIG BROTHER NOW: Rise Of The Global Police State - "DeepFace" Technology Could Provide Instantaneous Facial Recognition Via Facebook!

March 19, 2014 - THE INTERNET - Along with owning the largest stockpile of photos in the world, Facebook has announced it now plans to unleash facial recognition technology with a new program that promises to identify the subject of an untagged image with nearly unparalleled accuracy.

‘DeepFace’ could provide instantaneous facial recognition via Facebook.
AFP Photo / Raul Arboleda

Researchers at the social media giant claim that humans who look at two faces can identify if they are the same person with a 97.53 percent accuracy. They promise that the company’s new “DeepFace” program will be able to do the same with 97.25 percent accuracy.

Facebook users may have already noticed that the site is able to suggest friends to tag when a new picture is uploaded. It does so by analyzing the distance between an individual's eyes and nose in both profile pictures and already tagged images.

The new DeepFace program will be much more intensive, using software to correct the angle of a face in an image, then comparing that to a 3D model of an average face. It then simulates what has been called a neural network to find a numerical description of the face. If there are enough similarities, Facebook will know if the faces are in fact the same.

DeepFace was developed by Facebook artificial intelligence (AI) analysts Yaniv Taigman, Ming Yang, and Marc' Aurelioa Ranzato, along with Lior Wolf, a faculty member at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Their research paper was first published last week in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review.

“This deep network involves more than 120 million parameters using several locally connected layers without weight sharing, rather than the standard convolutional layers,” the company announced.

“This we trained it on the largest facial dataset to-date, an identity labeled dataset of four million facial images belonging to more than 4,000 identities, where each identity has over a thousand samples. The learned representations coupling the accurate model-based alignment with the large facial database generalize remarkably well to faces in unconstrained environments, even with a simple classifier.”

DeepFace is still in the research stage and has not been exposed to the 1.23 billion Facebook users.

The team, which plans to announce the program in June at a computer vision conference, said it released the research paper last week to solicit the opinions of other qualified experts and gauge public opinion as a whole. That could perhaps be motivated by the number of questions that were raised when Facebook announced 18 months ago that it had purchased the Israeli startup for a reported price of approximately US$60 million.

With this announcement, Facebook's acquisition of clarifies concerns about an Orwellian future inspired by news of the 2012 deal.

“As Facebook's database develops, it's conceivable that within a few years you could see someone on the street, point your iPhone at her, and pull up a list of possible identity matches within seconds,” Slate technology blogger Will Oremus wrote at the time.

“For now, Facebook only auto-suggests the identities of people who are among your friends. Still, the company will possess the information and capacity to identify and track people on a broad scale...Only the company's concern for your privacy will stand in the way.”

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who phoned US President Obama last week to complain about the National Security Agency surveillance policies, announced earlier this year that the company has been investigating how to best implement AI technology in the future.

“The goal really is just to try to understand how everything on Facebook is connected by understanding what the posts that people write mean and the content that's in the photos and videos that people are sharing,” Zuckerberg said on a conference call with investors earlier this year, as quoted by Bianca Bosker of the Huffington Post. “The real value will be if we can understand the meaning of all the content that people are sharing, we can provide much more relevant experiences in everything we do.” - RT.