Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Israeli security system will read terrorists' minds

New Israeli security system will read terrorists' minds

An Israeli technology firm established in 2003 with the express purpose of developing a system to identify individuals intent on causing mayhem is close to releasing a deployable product.
WeCu (text messaging lingo for "we see you") was set up by leading Israeli researchers at the height of the Palestinian suicide bombing campaign in order to find a technological solution to Israel's growing security problems.
The company's new system, as reported by Ha'retz, can be set up in public areas where it would quietly and quickly scan people without their knowledge. The system uses biometric sensors to determine if an individual is planning to carry out a terror attack, even if the suspect is not carrying a bomb or other weapons at that time. Many terrorists case their targets at least once before carrying out an attack.
If successful, the system would greatly ease the pressure on Israel's security forces and private security firms hired to protect public and private establishments from schools to cafes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How Syria hid its nukes

With forty 'developing countries' seeking nuclear capabilities (only for civilian energy purposes of course /sarc), the Washington Post reports today on how the Syrians managed to hide the construction of a nuclear plant from the world almost until the very end (Hat Tip: Hot Air).

U.S. and Israeli officials have said the facility was a nearly completed nuclear reactor built with North Korean help and fitted with a false roof and walls that altered its shape when viewed from above.

According to the ISIS report to be released this week, the fake roof was just the start. Syrian engineers went to "astonishing lengths" to hide cooling and ventilation systems, power lines and other features that normally are telltale signs of a nuclear reactor, authors David Albright and Paul Brannan wrote.

For example, the main building appears small and shallow from the air, but it was evidently built over large underground chambers -- tens of meters in depth -- that were large enough to house the nuclear reactor, as well as a reserve water-storage tank and pools for spent fuel rods, the report said.

An extensive network of electrical lines appears to have been buried in trenches. Traditional water-cooling towers were replaced with an elaborate underground system that discharged into the Euphrates River. And, instead of using smokestack-like ventilation towers prominent at many reactor sites, the ventilation system appears to have been built along the walls of the building, with louver openings not visible from the air, the authors contended.

The ISIS report noted that early skepticism that Syria was building a reactor there was based partly on the observable absence of revealing features. "The current domestic and international capabilities to detect nuclear facilities and activities are not adequate to prevent more surprises in the future," the report warned.

Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector, said his conclusions were based not only on photographs of the Syrian site but also on interviews with government officials who closely monitored the facility while it was under construction.

By the way, those forty countries aren't going to come as a surprise to most of you. Many of them are right here in this region:

Although the United Arab Emirates has a proven oil reserve of 100 billion barrels, the world's sixth-largest, in January it signed a deal with a French company to build two nuclear reactors. Wealthy neighbors Kuwait and Bahrain are also planning nuclear plants, as are Libya, Algeria and Morocco in North Africa and the kingdom of Jordan.

Even Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, last year announced plans to purchase a nuclear reactor, which it says is needed to produce electricity; it is one of 11 Middle Eastern states now engaged in starting or expanding nuclear power programs.

Meanwhile, two of Iran's biggest rivals in the region, Turkey and Egypt, are moving forward with ambitious nuclear projects. Both countries abandoned any pursuit of nuclear power decades ago but are now on course to develop seven nuclear power plants -- four in Egypt and three in Turkey -- over the next decade.


"Why would these Gulf states want to go nuclear? Because they know their oil will only become more valuable as global demand increases," McDonald said. "It may be more cost-effective to sell oil to Americans driving SUVs than to burn it domestically."

You've got to be kidding. The amount of oil those countries use domestically is minimal compared with the amount of power a nuclear plant can produce.

But nuclear power can give a country the technological expertise and infrastructure that could become the foundation for a clandestine weapons program.

Such covert programs can be successfully hidden for years, as was demonstrated in recent months by U.S. and Israeli allegations that Syria was building a secret plutonium production reactor near the desert town of Al Kibar. Plutonium is an efficient fuel for nuclear explosions, as well as for power generation.

Both India and Pakistan built nuclear devices using an industrial infrastructure built ostensibly for nuclear power. Taiwan and South Korea conducted weapons research under cover of civil power programs but halted the work after being confronted by the United States.

Gee, ya think? Why would all those Persian Gulf countries want nuclear weapons? I wonder....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chinese build secret nuclear submarine base

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last updated: 3:32 PM BST 01/05/2008
China has secretly built a major underground nuclear submarine base that could threaten Asian countries and challenge American power in the region, it can be disclosed.

Satellite imagery, passed to The Daily Telegraph, shows that a substantial harbour has been built which could house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers.

* Satellite image of the harbour: click to enlarge

In what will be a significant challenge to US Navy dominance and to countries ringing the South China Sea, one photograph shows China’s latest 094 nuclear submarine at the base just a few hundred miles from its neighbours.

Other images show numerous warships moored to long jettys and a network of underground tunnels at the Sanya base on the southern tip of Hainan island.

Of even greater concern to the Pentagon are massive tunnel entrances, estimated to be 60ft high, built into hillsides around the base. Sources fear they could lead to caverns capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites.

The US Department of Defence has estimated that China will have five 094 nuclear submarines operational by 2010 with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles.

The images were obtained by Janes Intelligence Review after the periodical was given access to imagery from the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe.

Analysts for the respected military magazine suggest that the base could be used for "expeditionary as well as defensive operations" and would allow the submarines to "break out to launch locations closer to the US".

It would now be "difficult to ignore" that China was building a major naval base where it could house its nuclear forces and increase it "strategic capability considerably further afield".

The development so close to the sea lanes vital to Asian economies "can only cause concern far beyond these straits".

Military analysts believe that China’s substantial build up of its forces is gaining pace put has remained hidden from the world in the build-up to the Olympics.

China has diverted much of its resources from the huge Peoples Liberation Army to the navy, air force and missile development.

An old Russian aircraft carrier, bought by Beijing for "leisure activities" has been picked over by naval architects who hope to "reverse engineer" the ship.

Within the next five to 10 years the Peoples Liberation Navy is expected to build up to six carriers which will also coincide with the Royal Navy’s construction of two major carriers.

The location of the base off Hainan will also give the submarines access to very deep water exceeding 5,000 metres within a few miles, making them even harder to detect.

Britain’s Trident submarines have to remain on the surface when they leave Faslane in north east Scotland and cannot dive to depth until outside the Irish Sea.

While it has been known that China might be developing an underground base at Sanya, the pictures provide the first proof of the base’s existence and the rapid progress made.

Two 950 metre piers and three smaller ones would be enough to accommodate two carrier strike groups or amphibious assault ships.

Christian Le Miere, editor for Jane's Intelligence Review, said the complex underlined Beijing’s plan “to assert tighter control over this region".

"This is a challenge to any hegemonic power, particularly the US which still remains dominant in the region."

So far China has offered no public explanation for its building at Sanya.