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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Digital security problem is bigger than Assange and PFC Manning

Prior to September 2001, administrators within the U.S. government had their reasons for stubbornly hoarding their agency’s secrets. In the wake of the latest Wikileaks episode involving classified State Department cables, some of those reasons are again apparent. The 9/11 Commission concluded that insufficient cross-agency sharing was partly to blame for the disaster. But we are now reminded that sharing brings its own risks. With a million people thought to have access to U.S. Secret-level correspondence and over 800,000 cleared for Top Secret access, the only surprise is that there are not more leaks. The problem of digital security extends beyond Mr. Assange and PFC Manning. Digital transmissions through the existing internet "cloud” will continue, but will increasingly consist of only the most inconsequential data and reports. The transmission of anything really sensitive will revert (if it hasn’t already) to pre-Internet methods – a hand-delivered document, a telephone call, or a face-to-face conversation in a secure room.
The fact that there have been so few surprises in the latest Wikileaks data dump is the best evidence that State Department cable-drafters, consciously or not, knew that these cables would have a very large audience. And the wider the audience becomes, the greater the incentive to be careful with secrets in the drafting. With so few differences between the content of these cables (admittedly classified no higher than Secret) and the content in the news media, we should conclude that U.S. diplomacy is already remarkably open and transparent.
The Wikileaks scandal reinforces what should be an instinct to be circumspect with anything transmitted in digital form. No doubt a battalion or more of counterintelligence specialists warned Defense Department network administrators about the security risks presented by the post 9/11 data-sharing arrangements. To apparently no avail – it seemed ridiculously simple for PFC Manning to extract (allegedly) hundreds of thousands of classified files. With the horse out of the barn and galloping into the next county, the Pentagon is only now tightening its computer security procedures. But there are still those million who have Secret access; the new security procedures are not likely to ward off a few trained and determined infiltrators.
The problems with the digital “cloud” do not stop there. In its recently released annual report, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission described a Chinese “hijacking” of global internet traffic. The report explains what happened better than I could:
For about 18 minutes on April 8, 2010, China Telecom advertised erroneous network traffic routes that instructed U.S. and other foreign Internet traffic to travel through Chinese servers. Other servers around the world quickly adopted these paths, routing all traffic to about 15 percent of the Internet’s destinations through servers located in China. This incident affected traffic to and from U.S. government (‘‘.gov’’) and military (‘‘.mil’’) sites, including those for the Senate, the army, the navy, the marine corps, the air force, the office of secretary of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and many others. Certain commercial websites were also affected, such as those for Dell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and IBM.
Although the Commission has no way to determine what, if anything, Chinese telecommunications firms did to the hijacked data, incidents of this nature could have a number of serious implications. This level of access could enable surveillance of specific users or sites. It could disrupt a data transaction and prevent a user from establishing a connection with a site. It could even allow a diversion of data to somewhere that the user did not intend (for example, to a ‘‘spoofed’’ site). Arbor Networks Chief Security Officer Danny McPherson has explained that the volume of affected data here could have been intended to conceal one targeted attack. Perhaps most disconcertingly, as a result of the diffusion of Internet security certification authorities, control over diverted data could possibly allow a telecommunications firm to compromise the integrity of supposedly secure encrypted sessions.

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Quotable: Secretary Gates on WikiLeaks

Although today’s press briefing and Q&A with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen concentrated on the release of the DOD working group’s study on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, the SECDEF's response to a Wikileaks question should be disseminated as widely as possible and hopefully someone in the press will pick it up and write about it (a journalist forwarded an excerpt to a e-mail list I belong to) – see the bolded portion below – the emphasis is mine. I would say no better words could have been spoken on this issue.
Every PAO should have this in talking points – if queried, repeat the SECDDEF's words.
Q: WikiLeaks. Post-WikiLeaks reaction. What’s your sense on whether the information-sharing climate and environment created after 9/11 to encourage greater cooperation and transparency among the intelligence communities and the military led to these three massive data dumps? And how concerned are you now there may be an overreaction to clamp down on information dispersal because of the disclosures?
SEC. GATES: One of the common themes that I heard from the time I was a senior agency official in the early 1980s in every military engagement we were in was the complaint of the lack of adequate intelligence support. That began to change with the Gulf War in 1991, but it really has changed dramatically after 9/11.
And clearly the finding that the lack of sharing of information had prevented people from, quote, unquote, “connecting the dots” led to much wider sharing of information, and I would say especially wider sharing of information at the front, so that no one at the front was denied – in one of the theaters, Afghanistan or Iraq – was denied any information that might possibly be helpful to them.
Now, obviously, that aperture went too wide. There’s no reason for a young officer at a forward operating post in Afghanistan to get cables having to do with the START negotiations. And so we’ve taken a number of mitigating steps in the department. I directed a number of these things to be undertaken in August.
First, the – an automated capability to monitor workstations for security purposes. We’ve got about 60 percent of this done, mostly in – mostly stateside. And I’ve directed that we accelerate the completion of it.
Second, as I think you know, we’ve taken steps in CENTCOM in September and now everywhere to direct that all CD and DVD write capability off the network be disabled. We have – we have done some other things in terms of two-man policies – wherever you can move information from a classified system to an unclassified system, to have a two-person policy there.
And then we have some longer-term efforts under way in which we can – and, first of all, in which we can identify anomalies, sort of like credit card companies do in the use of computer; and then finally, efforts to actually tailor access depending on roles. But let me say – let me address the latter part of your question. This is obviously a massive dump of information.
First of all, I would say unlike the Pentagon Papers, one of the things that is important, I think, in all of these releases, whether it’s Afghanistan, Iraq or the releases this week, is the lack of any significant difference between what the U.S. government says publicly and what these things show privately, whereas the Pentagon Papers showed that many in the government were not only lying to the American people, they were lying to themselves.
But let me – let me just offer some perspective as somebody who’s been at this a long time. Every other government in the world knows the United States government leaks like a sieve, and it has for a long time. And I dragged this up the other day when I was looking at some of these prospective releases. And this is a quote from John Adams: “How can a government go on, publishing all of their negotiations with foreign nations, I know not. To me, it appears as dangerous and pernicious as it is novel.”
When we went to real congressional oversight of intelligence in the mid-’70s, there was a broad view that no other foreign intelligence service would ever share information with us again if we were going to share it all with the Congress. Those fears all proved unfounded.
Now, I’ve heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think – I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought. The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets.
Many governments – some governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation. So other nations will continue to deal with us. They will continue to work with us. We will continue to share sensitive information with one another. Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.

WikiLeaks Fallout Reveals More Cracks In Afghan War Strategy -- Christian Science Monitor

The continued political survival of US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry suggests the doubts he expressed about the war strategy have deepened in American government circles.

The latest WikiLeaks revelations once again put the US ambassador to Afghanistan on record as a blunt critic of President Hamid Karzai’s government, highlighting the war’s corrupt and complicated dynamics.

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry's name sits as a signature at the end of an October 2009 cable marked “confidential” that concluded, “one of our major challenges in Afghanistan [is] how to fight corruption and connect the people to their government, when the key government officials are themselves corrupt.”

Read more ....
What Wikileaks Exposes On Afghanistan

WikiLeaks: bereaved families' fury at US 'insult' over Afghanistan -- The Telegraph
Afghanistan reacts mildly to scathing criticisms revealed by WikiLeaks -- L.A. Times
WikiLeaks: Karzai pardoned drug dealers -- AP
Karzai 'freed connected suspects' -- Press Association
Karzai's brother 'corrupt drugs baron' US says: WikiLeaks -- AFP
Karzai's brother corrupt drugs baron, WikiLeaks cables say -- RFI
WikiLeaks: Karzai's brother denies drug dealing, remembers Chicago -- CNN
WikiLeaks: Ahmed Wali Karzai wanted polygraph -- Washington Post
Karzai pardons criminals: WikiLeaks -- AFP
Kandahar kingpins at odds with Canada, U.S. over democracy: Wikileaks -- Winnipeg Free Press/Canadian Press
Pak captured Mulla Baradar to stop him from reconciling with Afghan govt: Wali Karzai -- Sify News
Karzai’s brother lobbied for role in Canada’s major aid project -- Globe And Mail
WikiLeaks' Afghan Revelations: Way Too Familiar -- Time Magazine
Kabul says US relations unaffected by diplomatic leaks -- AFP

WikiLeaks Row: China Wants Korean Reunification, Officials Confirm -- The Guardian; China Blocks Access to WikiLeaks -- PC World

Chinese officials speak after Guardian US embassy cables reveal Beijing is leaning towards acceptance of reunification under Seoul's control

China supports the "independent and peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula" and cannot afford to give the North Korean regime the impression it has a blank cheque to act any way it wants, Chinese officials based in Europe said today.

The officials, who asked not to be identified, spoke after the Guardian revealed that senior figures in Beijing, exasperated with North Korea behaving like a "spoiled child", had told their South Korean counterparts that China was leaning towards acceptance of reunification under Seoul's control.

Read more ....

More News On What Wikileaks Exposes On China

China Blocks Access to WikiLeaks -- PC World
China censors itself in WikiLeaks -- Financial Times
China Trying to Plug Wikileak? -- Wall Street Journal
China blocks WikiLeaks -- Tech Eye
WikiLeaks: Great firewall of China blocks access to latest revelations -- Tech Digest

Wikileaks release 'shows China thinking on Korea' -- BBC
China frustrated with North Korea: WikiLeaks -- CBC
WikiLeaks: China Is Frustrated With North Korea -- NPR (Audio)
China preparing for collapse of N. Korea regime, cables say -- Sydney Morning Herald
China would allow a united Korea, claims WikiLeaks -- Scotsman
WikiLeaks: China 'would back one Korea run by South' -- The Telegraph
Wikileaks cables reveal China 'ready to abandon North Korea' -- The Guardian
At-loss China accepts unified Korea: WikiLeaks -- AFP
WikiLeaks: China doubtful of N Korea as ally -- Financial Times/Reuters
Analysis: WikiLeaks reveals China, N. Korea tensions -- CNN
Daily View: Wikileaks on China's attitude to North Korea -- BBC

China pressed over Iran and North Korea's nuclear trade -- The Guardian
U.S. tackled China over North Korea nuclear trade: media -- Reuters
Secret documents show Chinese role on Iran -- CNN

WikiLeaks: China Behind Google Hack
-- CBS News
Wikileaks: Chinese Govt Helped Coordinate Google Attack -- PC Magazine
Wikileaks in China: was the Politburo behind Google attacks? -- Financial Times
WikiLeaks: Chinese contact claimed Beijing hacked Google as part of coordinated computer sabotage campaign -- The Daily Mail
Wikileaks: China's Politburo directed Google hack -- ZDNet
Leaked U.S. document links China to Google attack -- Computer World

China urges US action over WikiLeaks revelations -- AFP
China urges U.S. to resolve issues on leaked U.S. cables -- Reuters
China Hopes WikiLeaks Will Not Harm Relations With US -- Voice of America

ANALYSIS: North Korea standoff, WikiLeaks test China's diplomacy -- M&C
Why China hasn't abandoned North Korea – and why Wikileaks is a work of flawed genius -- Richard Spencer, The Telegraph
WikiLeaks files may put ideas in heads of Chinese hackers: analysis -- The Telegraph
China, As Rendered by WikiLeaks -- New Yorker

Who Is Killing Iran's Nuclear Scientists? -- The Guardian

Who Is Killing Iran's Nuclear Scientists? -- The Guardian

One senior physicist killed and another wounded in coordinated attacks in Tehran, raising the question of whether there is a nuclear hit-team at work

Assassins on motorbikes have killed an Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in identical attacks this morning. They drove up to the scientists' cars as they were leaving for work and attached a bomb to each vehicle which detonated seconds later.

The man who was killed was Majid Shahriari, a member of the engineering faculty at the Shahid Beheshti in Tehran. His wife was wounded. The second attack wounded Fereidoun Abbasi, who is also a professor at Shahid Besheshti University, and his wife.

Read more ....
More News On Iranian Nuclear Scientists Being Assassinated

Iranian scientists targeted in car bombings -- Washington Post
Iranian nuclear scientist killed in motorbike attack -- BBC
Iran nuclear scientists targeted in Tehran blasts -- Christian Science Monitor
Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated -- Nature
In Iran, anger over strikes on scientists -- CNN
Student rally condemns Iran bombings -- Press TV
Iran: West behind scientist's death -- Al Jazeera
West behind latest attacks, Iran says -- UPI
Iran Blames U.S. For Nuclear Scientist's Death -- NPR (Audio)
UK complicity in Iran terrors 'undeniable' -- Press TV
Iran blames Israel after nuclear scientist killed -- THOnline/AP
Iran 'behind scientist killings': analysts -- The Australian opinion
The mysterious attacks on Iran's nuclear scientists -- The Week
Whether or not Israel took out Iran nuclear scientist, Tehran will get the bomb -- Haaretz
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WikiLeaks Cables Expose Pakistan Nuclear Fears -- The Guardian

WikiLeaks Cables Expose Pakistan Nuclear Fears -- The Guardian

US and UK diplomats warn of terrorists getting hold of fissile material and of Pakistan-India nuclear exchange

American and British diplomats fear Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme could lead to fissile material falling into the hands of terrorists or a devastating nuclear exchange with India.

The latest cache of US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks contains warnings that Pakistan is rapidly building its nuclear stockpile despite the country's growing instability and "pending economic catastrophe".

Read more ....

More News On Wikileaks And Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Leaks expose US and UK fears over Pakistan nuclear arms -- BBC
US standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: leaks -- AFP
Pakistan Blocks U.S. Access to Nuclear Fuel -- Global Security Newswire
Pakistan confirms Wikileaks claim of US nuclear appeals -- BBC
Pakistan defends nuclear stance revealed by WikiLeaks -- Reuters
Pakistan defends nuclear policy after US leaks -- AFP
Pakistan criticizes release of secret US cables -- AP
Pakistan Condemns WikiLeaks Disclosure of US Diplomatic Communications -- Voice of America
Pakistan criticizes release of secret US cables -- Washington Post
Pakistanis dismiss criticisms of nuclear security released by WikiLeaks -- Globe And Mail
WikiLeaks Fuels Anti-U.S. Sentiment in Pakistan -- Time Magazine
Wikileaks report stokes anti-US hardliners in Pakistan -- Christian Science Monitor
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Wikileaks cables reveal China 'ready to abandon North Korea'

Leaked dispatches show Beijing is frustrated with military actions of 'spoiled child' and increasingly favours reunified Korea
·         Simon Tisdall
·, Monday 29 November 2010 21.30 GMT

China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, according to leaked US embassy cables that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their official ally as a "spoiled child".
News of the Chinese shift comes at a crucial juncture after the North's artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people and led both sides to threaten war. China has refused to condemn the North Korean action. But today Beijing appeared to bow to US pressure to help bring about a diplomatic solution, calling for "emergency consultations" and inviting a senior North Korean official to Beijing.
China is sharply critical of US pressure tactics towards North Korea and wants a resumption of the six-party nuclear disarmament talks. But the Guardian can reveal Beijing's frustration with Pyongyang has grown since its missile and nuclear tests last year, worries about the economic impact of regional instability, and fears that the death of the dictator, Kim Jong-il, could spark a succession struggle.

China's moves to distance itself from Kim are revealed in the latest tranche of leaked US embassy cables published by the Guardian and four international newspapers. Tonight, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said the US "deeply regrets" the release of the material by WikiLeaks. They were an "attack on the international community", she said. "It puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems," she told reporters at the state department.
The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:
 South Korea's vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.
• China's vice-foreign minister told US officials that Pyongyang was behaving like a "spoiled child" to get Washington's attention in April 2009 by carrying out missile tests.
• A Chinese ambassador warned that North Korean nuclear activity was "a threat to the whole world's security".
• Chinese officials assessed that it could cope with an influx of 300,000 North Koreans in the event of serious instability, according to a representative of an international agency, but might need to use the military to seal the border.
In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington.
Chun, who has since been appointed national security adviser to South Korea's president, said North Korea had already collapsed economically.
Political collapse would ensue once Kim Jong-il died, despite the dictator's efforts to obtain Chinese help and to secure the succession for his son, Kim Jong-un.
"Citing private conversations during previous sessions of the six-party talks, Chun claimed [the two high-level officials] believed Korea should be unified under ROK [South Korea] control," Stephens reported.
"The two officials, Chun said, were ready to 'face the new reality' that the DPRK [North Korea] now had little value to China as a buffer state – a view that, since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006, had reportedly gained traction among senior PRC [People's Republic of China] leaders. Chun argued that in the event of a North Korean collapse, China would clearly 'not welcome' any US military presence north of the DMZ [demilitarised zone]. Again citing his conversations with [the officials], Chun said the PRC would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a 'benign alliance' – as long as Korea was not hostile towards China. Tremendous trade and labour-export opportunities for Chinese companies, Chun said, would also help 'salve' PRC concerns about … a reunified Korea.
"Chun dismissed the prospect of a possible PRC military intervention in the event of a DPRK collapse, noting that China's strategic economic interests now lie with the United States, Japan and South Korea – not North Korea."
Chun told Stephens China was unable to persuade Pyongyang to change its self-defeating policies – Beijing had "much less influence than most people believe" – and lacked the will to enforce its views.
A senior Chinese official, speaking off the record, also said China's influence with the North was frequently overestimated. But Chinese public opinion was increasingly critical of the North's behaviour, the official said, and that was reflected in changed government thinking.
Previously hidden tensions between Pyongyang and its only ally were also exposed by China's then vice-foreign minister in a meeting in April 2009 with a US embassy official after North Korea blasted a three-stage rocket over Japan into the Pacific. Pyongyang said its purpose was to send a satellite into orbit but the US, South Korea and Japan saw the launch as a test of long-range missile technology.
Discussing how to tackle the issue with the charge d'affaires at the Beijing embassy, He Yafei observed that "North Korea wanted to engage directly with the United States and was therefore acting like a 'spoiled child' in order to get the attention of the 'adult'. China encouraged the United States, 'after some time', to start to re-engage the DPRK," according to the diplomatic cable sent to Washington.

A second dispatch from September last year described He downplaying the Chinese premier's trip to Pyongyang, telling the US deputy secretary of state, James Steinberg: "We may not like them ... [but] they [the DPRK] are a neighbour."
He said the premier, Wen Jiabao, would push for denuclearisation and a return to the six-party talks. The official also complained that North Korea "often tried to play China off [against] the United States, refusing to convey information about US-DPRK bilateral conversations".
Further evidence of China's increasing dismay with Pyongyang comes in a cable in June 2009 from the US ambassador to Kazakhstan, Richard Hoagland. He reported that his Chinese counterpart, Cheng Guoping. was "genuinely concerned by North Korea's recent nuclear missile tests. 'We need to solve this problem. It is very troublesome,' he said, calling Korea's nuclear activity a 'threat to the whole world's security'."
Cheng said Beijing "hopes for peaceful reunification in the long term, but he expects the two countries to remain separate in the short term", Hoagland reported. China's objectives were "to ensure they [North Korean leaders] honour their commitments on non-proliferation, maintain stability, and 'don't drive [Kim Jong-il] mad'."
While some Chinese officials are reported to have dismissed suggestions that North Korea would implode after Kim's death, another cable offers evidence that Beijing has considered the risk of instability.
It quoted a representative from an international agency saying Chinese officials believed they could absorb 300,000 North Koreans without outside help. If they arrived "all at once" it might use the military to seal the border, create a holding area and meet humanitarian needs. It might also ask other countries for help.
The context of the discussions was not made explicit, although an influx of that scale would only be likely in the event of regime failure. The representative said he was not aware of any contingency planning to deal with large numbers of refugees.
A Seoul embassy cable from January 2009 said China's leader, Hu Jintao, deliberately ducked the issue when the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, raised it at a summit.
"We understand Lee asked Hu what China thought about the North Korean domestic political situation and whether Beijing had any contingency plans. This time, Hu apparently pretended not to hear Lee," it said. The cable does not indicate the source of the reports, although elsewhere it talks about contacts at the presidential "blue house" in South Korea.
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Iran Agrees to Discuss Its Nuclear Program By: Ali Akbar Dareini | Associated Press
Hardening its position ahead of next week's nuclear talks with the world powers, Iran's president vowed Tuesday it would not make "one iota" of concessions about its nuclear rights.

Medvedev Warns of New Arms Race By: MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ | The New York Times
The Russian president warned that a failure by Russia and the West to reach an agreement on missile defense could provoke a new arms race.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Emirates, Bahrain seek U.S. rocket systems

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UPI) Nov 29, 2010 As concerns about Iran's military power among Arab states in the Persian Gulf mount, the United Arab Emirates and tiny Bahrain are acquiring U.S.-built long-range artillery rocket systems amid a major arms buildup to counter the Islamic Republic. The two states on the western shore of the gulf, both major regional financial centers, are in the process of amassing 130 MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, which are GPS-guided rockets with a range of more than 100 miles.
They already possess the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, or MLRS which are used to fire the solid-fuel ATACMS, some 500 of which were launched by U.S. forces during the 1990-91 Gulf War and the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The 610mm ATACMS' primary task is to destroy surface-to-surface missiles sites, air-defense clusters and command-and-control centers.
While Iran is seen as the likely target of the ATACMS if hostilities erupt, only parts of the Islamic Republic would be within range from the emirates or Bahrain.
So it is more likely, analysts say, that the rockets are intended to counter any amphibious Iranian force that lands on the western shore of the strategic waterway, through which one-fifth of the world's oil supplies pass every day.
The ATACMS, like the M270 built by Lockheed Martin's missile and fire control division. The emirates are looking to buy 100 of them, Bahrain seeks 30 for its MLRS.
The ATACMS fits the same size container that normally holds six 227mm MLRS rockets. They carry 500-pound high explosive warheads and cost about $1 million apiece.
The emirates, a federation of seven desert sheikdoms known as the Trucial States until Britain carried out its East of Suez military withdrawal in the 1970s, have become the second ranking Arab military power in the gulf after Saudi Arabia.
Lockheed is expected to deliver the 100 ATACMS to the emirates in the coming months, along with 60 Low Cost reduced range practice rockets under a $140 million contract.
The Pentagon plans to sell the United Arab Emirates 60 Boeing AH-64D Apache strike helicopters worth $5 billion, even as Washington turns up the heat on the gulf state to sever its longtime trade ties with Iran.
The emirates' trade with Iran was estimated at $12 billion in 2009, but that's expected to nosedive this year as banks withdraw credit lines under harsh U.N. sanctions imposed in June over Tehran's nuclear program.
The proposed sale is part of a massive arms package for the Arab states of the Gulf valued at $122 billion over the next decade -- including arms worth $65 billion to the Saudis alone.
"The volume of arms purchases by the United Arab Emirates has increased significantly over the past 10 years and is likely to remain a major arms buyer in the coming years," said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which monitors global arms sales.
The emirates are also expected to take delivery of four Patriot MIM-104 PAC-3 air-defense missile batteries built by Raytheon, 60 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk armed transport helicopters and 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 and six Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.
France will be providing three A-330 MRTT tanker/transport aircraft built by Airbus Industries and six Baynunah-class corvettes designed by France's Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie.
Russia is due to deliver up to 50 Pantsyr S1 short-range air-defense missile systems, with Italy providing two Falaj-2 naval corvettes and one Abu Dhabi-class frigate.
The U.S. Congress has also cleared the emirates to get three Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-ballistic missiles systems built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, a deal worth up to $7 billion.

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Bomb Kills Iranian Nuclear Scientist -- New York Times

TEHRAN — Unidentified assailants riding motorcycles launched bomb attacks early on Monday against two Iranian nuclear physicists here, killing one of them and prompting accusations in the state-run media that the United States and Israel were behind the episode.

The killings prompted Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali-Akbar Salehi, to warn the West and its allies not to “play with fire” and to vow that Tehran would not be deterred from expanding its nuclear project.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Attacks Against Iranian Nuclear Scientists

Bombs kill Iran nuclear scientist, wound another -- Yahoo News/AP
Iran blasts kill one nuclear scientist, wound other -- Yahoo News/Reuters
Iran accuses CIA, Mossad of nuke scientist killing -- Yahoo News/AFP
Iranian nuclear scientist killed in motorbike attack -- BBC
Blasts target Iranian nuclear scientists -- L.A. Times
Tehran attack kills leading Iranian nuclear scientist -- The Telegraph
Iran Scientist Killed Today Worked on Nuclear Project -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Iran accuses Mossad, CIA for assassination of nuclear scientist -- Xinhuanet
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Korean Peninsul News Update

Korean Peninsula
China Seeks New Talks to Ease Korean Tensions - New York Times
China Urged to Use Influence on N. Korea - Washington Times
South Korea Gives Cool Response to China's Call for Emergency Talks - VOA
China Calls for Urgent Talks on North Korea - Associated Press
China Proposes Emergency Talks on Korea Crisis - Reuters
Japan Eyeing Summit With S. Korea Next Month - Associated Press
U.S. Senators Affirm U.S. Ties with South Korea - Voice of America
S. Korea Signals a Hardened Stance - Washington Post
S. Korea Leader Vows Consequences for N. Korean Attack - Associated Press
South Korea Vows Retaliation Against Any Further Attack - Reuters
Korea Tension High Amid War Drill - BBC News
U.S., South Korea Begin Military Exercises - Voice of America
U.S. and South Korea Begin Joint Naval Exercises - New York Times
U.S., South Korea Move Forward with Military Exercises - Washington Post
U.S. and Sorth Korea Begin Military Exercises - BBC News
U.S.-S.Korea in Show of Force as Islanders Take Refuge - Sydney Morning Herald
U.S. and South Korea Push Ahead With War Games - Associated Press
U.S., South Korea Begin Joint Military Exercises - Reuters
South Korea Cancels Alert on Yeonpyeong Island - Wall Sreet Journal
South Korea Experiences a Stirring for Revenge - New York Times
Heightened Diplomacy Before U.S.-South Korean War Exercises - VOA
South Korea's Lee Asks China to Take "More Fair" Stance on North - Reuters

Shifting assumptions in Korea create a rising chance of miscalculation by Robert Haddick

A Précis on the Logic of the Afghan War by Colonel Robert M. Cassidy

Download the Full Article: A Précis on the Logic of the Afghan War
This Thanksgiving weekend marks when the duration of our current war in Afghanistan surpasses the duration of the Soviet-Afghan War. About nine years ago, on 13 November 2001, the U.S. backed and advised Northern Alliance forces marched into Kabul. Approximately three weeks later, on 7 December 2001, the Taliban quit Kandahar. However, chasing the Taliban and al Qaeda out of Afghanistan required considerably less strategic thinking, resolve, and leadership than it does to design a long-term solution which undermines and precludes al Qaeda sanctuary here and in Pakistan. Pundits, policymakers, and the public are losing patience, wondering, why nine years on, the U.S. and its partners have not been able to yet create durable stability in Afghanistan. The reasons why it took so long to give Afghanistan the strategy and emphasis it required are manifold, and some are explained in this précis. Afghanistan is governable but it requires a government suited to its complex character. It is not the graveyard of the U.S. and NATO. Nor do the Afghans perceive our current effort as an imperial conquest.
The Afghans would welcome peace and normalcy. They have suffered predation and conflict for well over three decades, dating back to the bloodless usurpation of Zahir Shah in 1973. More importantly, collusion between al Qaeda, the Haqqanis, the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, and others in the Pashtun areas, in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, represents the gravest threat to the homelands of the U.S. and its partners. This précis addresses the efforts to help build durable stability in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to eliminate sanctuary for al Qaeda and its nefarious hosts. This perspective derives from research which informed a brief the author delivered at the U.S. Army War College April 2010 Strategy Conference and an essay written for requirements at the U.S. Naval War College in May 2010 . The first part, below, framed that presentation and amplified a list of near truisms about the region. Part one also briefly identifies imperatives for success in the theater. The second part lays out the context and the rationale for the comprehensive counterinsurgency argument and the counterterrorism-light counterargument, followed by a rebuttal and a conclusion.

Download the Full Article: A Précis on the Logic of the Afghan War
Colonel Robert M. Cassidy, U.S. Army, is serving in Afghanistan. These views stem from service there and a study on Afghanistan and Pakistan completed at the U.S. Naval War College in 2009-2010. After peer review and editing, this became an article which appeared in the August-September 2010 issue of the RUSI Journal with the title, “The Afghanistan Choice: Peace or Punishment in the Pashtun Belt.” The post-peer review printed article can be found at this link. The Army War College brief can be found here.

Wikileaks Round III Updated

General / Overview
WikiLeaks Documents: Selected Dispatches - New York Times
U.S. Embassy Cables: Browse the Database - The Guardian
What Do the Diplomatic Cables Really Tell Us? - Der Spiegel
Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels - New York Times
A Superpower's View of the World - Der Spiegel
Leaked Cables Reveal True U.S. Worldview - Der Spiegel
U.S. Embassy Cables Leak Sparks Global Diplomacy Crisis - The Guardian
Vast Leak Discloses Diplomatic Secrets - Wall Street Journal
Thousands of Classified U.S. Documents Leaked on the Internet - VOA
Leaked Cables Expose U.S. Diplomacy - Washington Post
Cables Reveal Rough Workings of Diplomacy - Christian Science Monitor
Directives Blur Lines Between Diplomacy and Spying - New York Times
Leaked U.S. Cables Reveal Underside of Diplomacy - San Francisco Chronicle
WikiLeaks Releases State Reports - Washington Times
WikiLeaks Sparks Worldwide Diplomatic Crisis - Daily Telegraph
World Politics Rocked as Diplomatic Exchanges are 'WikiLeaked' - The Scotsman
WikiLeaks Reports May Endanger U.S. Ties - United Press International
Documents Obtained by WikiLeaks Posted Despite Site Problem - CNN News
Explosive Release of 250,000 'Secrets' - New York Daily News
WikiLeaks Releases Some 250000 U.S. Documents - Radio Free Europe
U.S. Diplomatic Secrets Revealed - Politico
WikiLeaks Report Blows Cover on U.S. International Relations - Haaretz
WikiLeaks Diplomatic Cables Offer Inside Look at U.S. Policies - Boston Globe
U.S. in Diplomatic Tailspin as Dirty Linen Spills Globally - Toronto Star
WikiLeaks Documents Send Shock Waves Around the Globe - Globe and Mail
U.S. Fighting Increasingly Chaotic Global Relations - FOX News
Cables Reveal Personal Details on World Leaders - Washington Post
‘Chipped’ Detainees, Iran Mega-Missiles And More - Wired
Wikileaks Documents Reveal Sensitive U.S. Cables - Reuters

Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Israel
Around the World, Distress Over Iran - New York Times
Fear of 'Different World' if Iran Gets Nuclear Weapons - The Guardian
Iran has Advanced Missiles, Distrusted by U.S. Allies - Washington Post
Leaked Cables Shine Light on Iran Nuclear Threat - CBS News
U.S. Referred to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as 'Hitler' - Daily Telegraph
U.S. Embassy Cables: Saudi King's Advice for Barack Obama - The Guardian
Arab States Scorn 'Evil' Iran - The Guardian
Arab Leaders Pushed U.S. to Attack Iran - Los Angeles Times
'Saudis on Iran: Cut Off the Head of the Snake' - Jerusalem Post
Saudi King 'Urged U.S. to Attack Iran' - Sydney Morning Herald
Arab Paranoia Over Iran Bomb Revealed - Financial Times
Documents Reveal Arab States' Anxiety Over Iran - CNN News
Iran: "Cut off the Head of the Snake" Saudis Told U.S. - Reuters
U.S. Asked China to Stop Missile Parts Shipment to Iran - Washington Post
Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea - New York Times
U.S. Believes Iran Has Advanced Missiles - Washington Post
Iran Obtained Missiles from North Korea - Agence France-Presse
Israel Primed to Attack a Nuclear Iran - The Guardian
Iranian Spies 'Used Red Crescent to Enter War Zones' - The Guardian

Karzai’s Brother Lobbied for Role in Canada’s Major Aid Project - Globe and Mail

Cables Show Delicate Diplomatic Balance with Pakistan - Washington Post
Pakistan Defends Nuclear Stance - Reuters

Cables Reveal U.S. Doubts About Turkey's Government - Der Spiegel

United Kingdom
Fresh Wikileaks Claims 'Include Criticism of U.K.' - BBC News
Cameron Faces 'Embarrassing' Leaked Memo - Agence France-Presse
Wikileaks Revelations Hit the 'Special Relationship' - Politics U.K.

Australia's Contact with U.S. Set to be Leaked Online - Courier Mail

Internal Source Kept U.S. Informed of Merkel Coalition Negotiations - Der Spiegel

'Russian Democracy Has Disappeared' - Foreign Policy

Ayalon: 'No Document Can Damage our Friendship with the U.S.' - Jerusalem Post
WikiLeaks: Good for Israel - Arutz Sheva

United Nations
U.S. Diplomats Spied on U.N. Leadership - The Guardian
U.S. Diplomats Told to Spy on Other Countries at United Nations - Der Spiegel

Guantanamo Bay Detainees
Documents Show Struggle to Relocate Guantanamo Detainees - Washington Post

Backlash / Response
Taliban Prepare to Punish WikiLeaks Afghan Informers - Daily Telegraph
In Russia, Fear of Damage to Future U.S. Relations - Christian Science Monitor
Iraqi FM Calls WikiLeaks 'Unhelpful' - Associated Press
Pakistan Criticizes Release of Secret U.S. Cables - Associated Press
Updates on the Reaction to U.S. Diplomatic Cables Release - New York Times
White House Censures WikiLeaks Over Documents - Washington Times
White House Condemns Wikileaks Disclosures - BBC News
White House Condemns WikiLeaks' Document Release - Associated Press
Congressman Wants WikiLeaks Listed as Terrorist Org - CNET News
Pentagon Details Security Changes Prompted by Leak - Associated Press
Officials Condemn Leaks, Detail Prevention Efforts - AFPS
To Publish Leaks Or Not to Publish? - Wall Street Journal
U.S. Makes Last-Ditch Push to Prevent WikiLeaks Release - Wall Street Journal
WikiLeaks Gets Warning from State Department - Washington Post
Julian Assange Could Face 'Grave Consequences' - Daily Telegraph
No Aussie Safe Haven for WikiLeaks Founder - Sydney Morning Herald
Australia: Assange Could Face Legal Action - The Australian
Australian Police Investigate WikiLeaks Founder - Associated Press
Wikileaks 'Hacked Ahead of Secret U.S. Document Release' - BBC News
WikiLeaks Says it is Under Cyber Attack - CNN News

Wikileaks Cables: Key Issues - BBC News
A Selection From the Cache of Dispatches - New York Times
U.S. Embassy Cables: Browse the Database - The Guardian
Breaking Down the WikiLeaks Release - Globe and Mail
How WikiLeaks Documents Were Obtained, Edited - Denver Post
Factbox: WikiLeaks Cables Offer Inside Peek At Global Crises - Reuters
With Better Sharing of Data Comes Danger - Washington Post
21st-Century Secrets Harder to Keep - Reuters
Siprnet: Where America Stores its Secret Cables - The Guardian

Editorials and Opinion
The Decision to Publish Diplomatic Documents - New York Times editorial
Publishing the Cables - The Guardian editorial
Restoring Trust in Leaky Government is Essential - The Herald editorial
Has WikiLeaks Finally Gone Too Far? - Foreign Policy opinion
Media Job Not to Protect Power from Embarrassment - The Guardian opinion
Saudis Are Neocons, Other First Wikileaks Impressions - The Atlantic opinion
Wikileaks and Arab Politics - Foreign Policy opinion
Bumpy Ride Ahead for U.S. Diplomats - BBC News opinion
Documents: Obama as Weak on International Front - Washington Times opinion
Press Sides with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks - Weekly Standard opinion
Julian Assange's Narrative Shouldn't be the Media's - Weekly Standard opinion
Journalism That Knows No Shame - Weekly Standard opinion
Never Complain, Never Explain - Weekly Standard opinion
The Paranoid Mindset of Internet Activists - Daily Telegraph opinion