Tag Archives: Sience and Technology

Oslo Terror Attack – The Twisted View

Let me make it crystal clear; I do not have a clue to who might be behind Friday’s terror attack on Norway’s government building, or if the simultaneous shooting at a political summer camp is related. Frankly, I really don’t care who did it. But I won’t accept the tragedy to be used by politicians, military intelligence or media (for that matter) as propaganda for whatever they find suitable.

“If this, in fact, is an Al-Qaeda attack, a blaring question remains: Why would Al-Qaeda attack a nation whose goals are aligned with the goals of the Al-Qaeda movement?”

Islamic Intelligence

That’s a good question. Western media, politicians and so-called experts have no other plausible explanation besides the reprinting of the Danish cartoons back in 2006, portraying the prophet Muhammad. The arguments from the other side of the table are far more interesting.

 

UPDATE: 7 people are now confirmed dead after a powerful explosion in the headquarters of the Norwegian government in Oslo Friday afternoon.

In addition are at least 10 young people dead after a shooting that took place shortly after the bombing at a political summer camp for young members of Norway’s ruling political party – “Arbeiderpartiet” (Labor Party).

The man who started the shooting at Utoya, just outside Oslo, has been arrested, and is reported to be a Norwegian citizen.

Earlier today, several news reports said that an Islamic group called “Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami” (Helpers of the Global Jihad) had claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Now it turns out that the story was false – based on a misinterpretation by a CIA agent.

A Fake News Report

Here’s the original news story, first ran by The New Your Times, and are still being run by other mainstream media across the globe.

“A terror group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (the Helpers of the Global Jihad), issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to Will McCants, a terrorism analyst at CNA, a research institute that studies terrorism. The message said the attack was a response to Norwegian forces’ presence in Afghanistan and to unspecified insults to the Prophet Muhammad. “We have warned since the Stockholm raid of more operations,” the group said, apparently referred to a bombing in Sweden in December 2010, according to Mr McCants’ translation. “What you see is only the beginning, and there is more to come.” The claim could not be confirmed.”

THIS IS THE ORIGINAL STATEMENT:

الحمد لله ناصر عباده الموحدين ومذل اهل الشرك والكفر اجمعين والصلاة والسلام على نبينا محمد خاتم النبيين وعلى اله وصحبه اجمعين وبعد

قال تعالى : (فَقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ لاَ تُكَلَّفُ إِلاَّ نَفْسَكَ وَحَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَسَى اللّهُ أَن يَكُفَّ بَأْسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَاللّهُ أَشَدُّ بَأْساً وَأَشَدُّ تَنكِيلاً) [النساء : 84]

فها قد وصلت دول اوروبا رسالة اخرى من المجاهدين واثبات اخر لدول اوربا ان المجاهدين لن يقفوا مكتوفي الايدي تجاه حربهم ضد الاسلام والمسلمين.

واليوم قد تم استهداف النرويج لتكون درسا وعبرة لباقي دول اوروبا وقد سبق ان هددنا منذ غزوة ستوكهولم بمزيد من العمليات وقد طالبنا دول اوروبا بسحب جيوشها من ارض افغانستان وايقاف حربها ضد الاسلام والمسلمين ونكرر تحذيرنا مجددا لدول اوروبا ونقول لهم نفذوا مطالب المجاهدين فما ترونه ليس سوى البداية والقادم اكثر من ذلك.

اما عن اسباب استهداف النرويج فهي كثيرة اهمها مشاركتها في احتلال افغانستان والاساءة لنبينا الكريم محمد(صلى الله عليه وسلم).

فالحمد لله ان مكن لعباده الموحدين ..وندعو الله ان يحفظ اخواننا ومجاهدينا في كل مكان.

سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك اشهد ان لا اله الا انت استغرك واتوب اليك.

ابو سليمان الناصر

من انصار الجهاد العالم

THIS IS THE GOOGLE TRANSLATION:

Praise be to God Nasser slaves combined and humiliating the people of shirk and kufr companions, prayer and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, his family and companions and after The Almighty said:

(then fight for God but do not cost yourself and rouse the believers may be that Allah keeps those who disbelieve and Allah is more powerful and in punishment) [women: 84]

Here have reached the countries of Europe is another message from the militants and further proof of the countries of Europe that the Mujahideen will not stand idly towards their war against slam and Muslims.

Today has been targeting Norway to be a lesson and a lesson to the rest of Europe has already threatened us since the invasion of Stockholm more operations has asked European countries to withdraw their armies from the land of Afghanistan and stop its war against Islam and Muslims, and we repeat our warning again to the countries of Europe and tell them carried out the demands of the mujahideen, what you see is only the beginning and the next more.

The reasons for the targeting of Norway there are many of the most important of their participation in the occupation of Afghanistan and the abuse of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Praise God that enabled slaves to the combined .. and pray to God to save our brothers and our fighters everywhere.

Glory and praise God I bear witness that no god but You Astgrk and I repent to you.

Abu Suleiman Al-Nasser
Ansar al-Jihad of the world

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t see anything in here that confirms that Jihad’s Little Helpers (or whatever) claims responsibility for the bombing in Oslo.

Moreover, The New York Times has now quietly removed the CIA/CNA-guy’s statement from their website.

So, what is this really about?

I can assure you: It just keeps getting stranger…

A Fake Video

While covering the breaking news coming out of Norway about the Oslo terrorist bombings, Mike Rivero posted a YouTube video reporting to have captured a second explosion on a cell phone.

(There have been witnesses claiming to have heard a second explosion, but the police says they don’t know.)

For some reason the video was quickly marked as a fake, and scrubbed from YouTube.

However, I managed to locate a copy:

For record keeping purposes here is a screen shot of the video.

You can’t do anything but wonder:  what was in that video the it needed to be marked as fake and deleted from YouTube?

A Fake Signature

This is the first time a car bomb — a signature weapon of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — has targeted Oslo.

We don’t know yet, but if the following shooting at the political summer camp is related to the car bomb, we’re looking at a simultaneous complex” attack — that use a mixture of tactics — and are the hallmark of al-Qaeda and aligned terrorists.

Wired.com reports that there is evidence that suggest the bomb – or bombs – may have been detonated within cars parked in the streets close to the government building.

In other words: no suicide bomber.

This may indicate the style of attack similar to the Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, who loaded an SUV with fireworks, gas and propane, ignited the device and walked away, expecting the car to detonate.

“That’s been so common that it’s not necessarily so sophisticated,” says Hank Crumpton, the former State Department counterterrorism chief.

“Hezbollah’s used both suicide driver & remote detonations. Oklahoma City was remotely detonated, no suicide driver.”

The Times Square incident was labeled as an al-Qaeda attack, and if this is the case, it strengthens the suspicions that Al-Qaeda – or related movements – carried out the attack.

And the most peculiar thing is that a Norwegian citizen – employed by the telecom giant Telenor – was arrested but later released in relation to the Times Square case.

However, there is one big hole in the al-Qaeda theory.

A Fake Terrorist Act?

Is that possible?

Oh yeah… Check this out:

When Congress was originally asked to pass the Patriot Act in late 2001, the anthrax attacks which occurred only weeks earlier were falsely blamed on spooky Arabs as a way to scare Congress members into approving the bill. Specifically:

  • The American bioweapons expert who actually drafted the current bioweapons law (the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989), who holds a doctorate of law magna cum laude and a Ph.D. in political science, both from Harvard University, and teaches international law at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-92) and represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the World Court, and who “advised the FBI in its initial investigation of the anthrax letters”, is convinced that the anthrax attacks that killed five people were perpetrated and covered up by criminal elements of the U.S. government. The motive: to foment a police state by killing off and intimidating opposition to post-9/11 legislation such as the Patriot Act and the later Military Commissions Act

And now for the closing arguments:

If this in fact an Al-Qaeda attack, why would Al-Qaeda attack a nation whose goals are aligned with the goals of the Al-Qaeda movement?

  1. Norway supports the formation of a Palestinian state, which is against the wishes of Israel and in support of Muslim activists world-wide.
  2. Norway is also pulling out of the Libya Invasion which is also against the Zionist agenda.
  3. And recently;  Oslo excluded two Israeli firms from a$450 billion Euro oil fund  for ethical reasons.

On the other side of the table, western media can only offer a cartoon drawings of the Prophet Mohammed, in a Danish newspaper in 2005, reprinted by a couple of Norwegian newspapers a year later, as a motive for an Al-Qaeda attack.

Some analysts also say the Oslo Terror Attack bears the “Signature Of a Mossad False Flag al-Qaeda Terror Attack.”

Well, I don’t know. You have to make up your own mind.

Oh, wait! There is also another strange coincidence:

Did you know the one of the first infections by the Stuxnet virus was detected at the Norwegian Oil installations in the North Sea?

No? But I guess you have heard the rumors about who that is supposed to have produced the worlds first ever cyber weapon…

And just to put a cherry on the top: According to the Norwegian newspaper “Dagbladet” the main target for the bomb was the part of the government building that houses the Ministry of Oil and Energy.

Related by the EconoTwist’s:

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Groundbreaking Survey On Financial Crisis And Inflation Expectations

Researchers at Bank of International Settlements (BIS) have conducted a survey on how  inflation expectations are influenced by financial turmoil. It is the first survey of its kind, and provides new insight on how these complex mechanisms works.  The findings are also interesting.

“The turmoil in euro area bond markets triggered by the Greek fiscal crisis influenced short- and medium-term inflation
expectations but had only a very small impact on long-term expectations.”

Gabriele Galati, Peter Heemeijer and Richhild Moessner

Both the academic literature and policy discussions have highlighted the crucial importance of inflation expectations for the inflation process and hence central banks’ ability to achieve price stability. At the same time, evidence on the process through which agents form expectations is hard to obtain.

“The main novelty is that we provide empirical evidence on inflation expectations based on a survey that is both “accurate” and frequent, and in which we can assess the role of common information sets,” the three researchers writes in their report.

The study was conducted between July 2009 and July 2010, which has the additional advantage of capturing information on inflation expectations formation at a time of great financial and economic turmoil.

129 persons participated in the survey.

They were divided into three groups, with roughly equal weights in the experiment: central bankers (consisting of economists and research assistants from the Dutch Central Bank), academics and students.

Here are the main findings:

  • “First, our evidence is consistent with long-term expectations having remained well anchored to the ECB’s definition of price stability, which acted as a focal point for long-term expectations.”
  • “Second, the turmoil in euro area bond markets triggered by the Greek fiscal crisis influenced short- and medium-term inflation expectations but had only a very small impact on long-term expectations. By contrast, long-term expectations did not react to developments of the euro area wide fiscal burden.”
  • “Third, participants changed their expectations fairly frequently. The longer the horizon, the less frequent but larger these changes were.”
  • “Fourth, expectations exhibit a large degree of time variant non-normality.”
  • “Fifth, inflation expectations appear fairly homogenous across groups of agents at the shorter horizon but less so at the medium- and long-term horizons. Moreover, we find that expectations of the central bank’s staff are the least volatile, and that they Granger cause those of academics and students.”

Increasing Disagreement

Perhaps not that surprising, but the survey documents that the experts view on future inflation have become increasingly different during the crisis. Specially when it comes to short, and medium term expectations.

“Three results stand out. First, we find that disagreement within our survey is smaller at the long-term horizon than at the short and medium horizons. Moreover, disagreement – as measured by the interquartile range – at the 10-year horizon was remarkably stable. One interpretation is that long-term expectations are driven by focal points – such as the ECB’s definition of price stability – while people form their short- and medium-term expectations based more on time-varying information. Second, we find that disagreement decreased in the course of 2010 at the short horizon, especially on the robust measure of interquartile range, probably because available information on actual information in 2010 was factored in. Third, disagreement at the two-year horizon exceeded that at the one-year horizon,” the BIS researchers writes.

Here’s a copy of the research paper.

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Obama’s Top Advisor Warns of IT Cartel

In a broad discussion with President Barack Obama’s top science advisers, last Friday, federal CIO Vivek Kundra warned of the dangers of open data access and complained of “an IT cartel” of vendors.  At the meeting, he sharply criticized the US government’s IT contracting and told the committee “that we almost have an IT cartel within federal IT” that’s made up of “very few companies” that benefit from government spending “because they understand the procurement process better than anyone else.”

“I think the privacy implications are very, very serious.”

Vivek Kundra

Kundra, who is leaving his job in mid-August, offered a kaleidoscopic view of his concerns about federal IT in an appearance before President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. In particular, Kundra is worried about the “mosaic effect,” the unintended consequence of government data sharing, where data sets are combined and layered in ways that can strip away privacy and pose security threats.

In the age of Facebook and Twitter, where a lot of personal data is already available, government data that may have been “innocuous in the past,” can be used to “identify people that may not want to be identified,” Kundra says.

“It’s not because they provide better technology,” Kundra says of the contractors.

(It might seem like he’s spent too much time in Europe, talking to EU bureaucrats…)

However, as federal CIO, Kundra has been an advocate for data sharing, a critic of big government vendor contracts, and a believer in new technologies, particularly the cloud.

He is leaving his job to take a fellowship at Harvard, Computerworld.com reports.

Kundra says the government knows “that true value lies at the intersection of multiple data sets” but he also realizes that if data is released “without actually thinking about the national security implications,” there could be issues.

As an example, Kundra points to the fact that his office has been talking to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about data it was going to release and acknowledged a “very vigorous debate” around it, without revealing specifics.

“I think the privacy implications are very, very serious,” Kundra highlights.

“From a national security perspective what we’ve done is we’ve made sure that the NSC (National Security Council) is involved as we’re vetting some of these critical data sets.”

Kundra was appointed two and half years ago by Obama as the nation’s first government wide CIO.

In taking that job in early 2009, he complained about big-contract boondoggles and of contractors who end up “on the payroll indefinitely.”

If Kundra was frustrated by his job of managing $80 billion in federal IT annual spending, it may have been due to his inability to increase the mix of companies competing for federal work, Computerworld.com writes.

“How do we get some of the most innovative companies, the most innovative people, to actually come in and compete for federal contracts?”  Kundra asks.

At the mentioned event, Eric Schmidt, Google‘s executive chairman and a member of the White House committee, asked Kundra why the federal government didn’t try to get the same savings corporations do through standardization.

“Does that model [standardization] make sense to you? And, if so, why does it not occur?” Schmidt said.

“In other words, is it because people want to have control over their own systems? Is it because of the way the funding works? Are there legitimate governmental reasons why such a standardized platform doesn’t emerge?”

Kundra answered that the reason the federal system of “defied logic” is partly due to how funding is allocated.

There isn’t a single committee in Congress devoted to technology, a committee “that’s thinking about these issues horizontally,” he explained. The funding is appropriated bureau by bureau, Kundra stated.

He also believes the US can operate with just a few data centers.

The US government  has today 12.000 major systems.

Kundra has urged consolidation, and cited initiatives such as the effort to cut the number of federal data centers.

The government of USA has about 2.000 data centers.

“My view is we should only have three major data centers across the entire US government,” the top White House adviser says.

Related by the EconoTwist’s:

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