Secret In The Sky

Round and round the Earth it goes, who or what it’s spying on very few people know.

Delta 4 rocket successfully lofts surveillance satellite

A Delta 4 rocket made a thunderous departure from California on Tuesday afternoon, only to slip into a news blackout minutes later while it climbed higher and faster to deploy a classified spy satellite, a success-defining milestone that was confirmed by hobbyist observers.

The United Launch Alliance-made booster roared away from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:12:57 p.m. local (7:12:57 p.m. EDT; 2312:57 GMT) on a southwesterly course to reach a retrograde orbit inclined 123 degrees relative to the equator.

. . .

The hush-hush nature for the rest of flight is all part of launching covert payloads for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, the secretive agency that operates the country’s fleet of spy satellites. The NRO does not disclose the purpose of its spacecraft being sent up on each launch, saying only that the flight was called the NROL-25 mission.

See also:
Rocket Launches Secret Spy Satellite for US Military
United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Successfully Launches Payload for the National Reconnaissance Office
United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Successfully Launches Payload for the National Reconnaissance Office
US launches new spy satellite NROL-25
Delta 4 lifts off
Spy satellite-carrying rocket blasts off
U.S. rocket carrying classified payload launches
ULA Successfully Launches Delta IV Rocket
Rocket carrying classified payload launches from California’s central coast
Rocket launch includes key parts from Utah’s ATK sites
List of NRO Launches
National Reconnaissance OfficeNational Reconnaissance Office

According to the listed launch designation, NROL-25 is a radar imaging satellite operating in a retrograde low Earth orbit.

/if I had to guess what it’s looking at, I’d guess Iran

Apocalypse Confirmed?

Believe it or not, the Mayans did.

End of the world speculation after new Mayan discovery

Archaeologists in Mexico have confirmed the discovery of a possible second Mayan reference to the date 2012, offering further ammunition for doom-mongers predicting an apocalypse next year.

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History acknowledged the reference had been found in a 1,300-year-old inscription made on a carved brick fragment at a ruin at Comalcalco in the south of the country.

Most experts have previously cited only one surviving Mayan reference to the date, on a stone tablet from a nearby site at Tortuguero.

See also:
Mexico adds yet another brick to the 2012 Maya legend
Another Mayan Reference to 2012 Revealed
Mexico archaeologists acknowledge 2nd Mayan reference to 2012
Brace Yourself: The World Could End In 2012
Apocalypse 2012 Back On? Second Mayan Inscription Uncovered
Mexico acknowledges 2nd Mayan reference to 2012
Boffins find new 2012 glyph on ‘secret’ Mayan brick
Mexico Acknowledges a 2nd Mayan Reference to 2012 Date, But Insists Apocalyptic Predictions are Misinterpretations
Mexico Admits To Second Mayan 2012 End-of-World Reference
2012 Mayan Apocalypse Update – The Comalcalco Brick
Experts admit second Mayan prediction of 2012 as end of the world

Could the Mayans have been predicting Obama’s reelection?

/because that certainly would bring about end of the world as we know it

A Preview Of Coming Attractions

So much for Homeland Security. From Russia, without love, hitting us where it really hurts.

Foreign hackers targeted U.S. water plant in apparent malicious cyber attack, expert says

Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report. Experts said the cyber-attack, if confirmed, would be the first known to have damaged one of the systems that supply Americans with water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.

Companies and government agencies that rely on the Internet have for years been routine targets of hackers, but most incidents have resulted from attempts to steal information or interrupt the functioning of Web sites. The incident in Springfield, Ill., would mark a departure because it apparently caused physical destruction.

See also:
Was U.S. water utility hacked last week?
Foreign cyber attack hits US infrastructure: expert
Illinois Water Utility Pump Destroyed After Hack
H(ackers)2O: Attack on City Water Station Destroys Pump
Cyberattack investigation centers on Curran-Gardner water pump
Feds investigating whether Illinois “pump failure” was cyber attack
Broken water pump in Illinois caused by cyber-attack from Russia, claims expert, but DOH denies terrorism
Cyberattack on Illinois water utility may confirm Stuxnet warnings
Water utility hackers destroy pump, expert says
UPDATE 3-U.S. probes cyber attack on water system

The SCADA vulnerabilities to a remote attack have been known for years. The solution is real simple, DON’T CONNECT YOUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO THE INTERNET!

/how hard is that, is it going to take a disaster for us to learn this basic lesson?

Operation Linda Nchi

Kenya is hardly the first country to invade Somalia and attempt to clean out the festering cesspool of Islamic criminals and terrorists and it probably won’t be the last. So far, every country that’s attempted to tame Somalia has come up empty. Based on what’s currently known of Operation Linda Nchi, I’m not particularly optimistic that Kenya will be any more successful than any other country has been in the past.

Kenyan Troops Advance in Somalia, Pursuing Al-Shabab

Kenyan forces have entered a second part of southern Somalia as part of operations against militant group al-Shabab.

Officials and witnesses confirmed to VOA Somali Service Tuesday that Kenyan troops, backed by helicopters, moved through the border town of El-Waq on Monday and are now in Somalia’s Gedo region.

Kenyan troops have also been seen near the al-Shabab-controlled town of Afmadow in the Jubba region. Residents are reported to be fleeing the town in fear of a battle.

. . .

The exact size of the Kenyan force in Somalia is not clear. Residents have reported seeing columns of 30 to 40 armored vehicles.

Al-Shabab is calling on all Somalis to defend against what it calls “the enemy.”

The last country to invade Somalia was Ethiopia, which deployed troops in 2006 to oust Islamist militants who had briefly taken over the capital. Al-Shabab emerged as the main group fighting the Ethiopians, who withdrew at the beginning of 2009.

See also:
Kenyan military crosses into Somali
Kenya Cabinet meeting backs military operation in Somalia
Kenya, Somalia Seal Pact to Hit Shabaab
Kenya cabinet backs military offensive into Somalia
Kenya troops ‘advance into Somalia near Afmadow’
Kenyan troops close in on Somali’s second key town
Kenyan forces hunt militants inside Somalia
Kenyan forces kill 75 Somali militants
Kenyan incursion into Somalia provokes threat from Islamic militants
Al-Shabaab threaten to take ‘flames of war’ into Kenya
Kenya’s security on alert following al-Shabaab threat
Zero tolerance to Al Shabab threat
Was Kenya right to enter Somalia?
Price that Kenya must pay to keep al-Shabaab at bay
Kenya
Kenya
Somalia
Somalia
Al-Shabaab
Al-Shabaab
Al-Shabaab

All I can say is go Kenya, good luck and happy hunting! Somalia hasn’t been subdued yet, not even by the United States, but there’s always a first time.

/oh, and while you’re in the neighborhood, could you do the world a favor and wipe out the Somali pirate safe harbors?

Back In The Soyuz Again?

The good news is that we probably won’t have to abandon the International Space Station after all. The bad news is that we’re still dependent on the Russians to get our astronauts there.

NASA Confirms Russian Soyuz Failure Findings

An independent NASA panel reviewing data related to the Aug. 24 failure of the Russian Soyuz rocket transporting cargo to the International Space Station has confirmed that the Russian space agency correctly identified the cause of the problem and is taking appropriate steps to resolve it before the rocket’s next launch scheduled for Oct. 30, said William H. Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, determined that the most likely cause of the failure was contamination in the rocket’s fuel lines or stabilizer valve, which caused low fuel supply to the gas generator, Gerstenmaier told lawmakers Oct. 12 during a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s space and aeronautics panel.

See also:
NASA review clears way for manned Soyuz flights
Russian Soyuz Recovery Strategy Endorsed
NASA ‘confident’ Russia’s Soyuz rocket safe
NASA says Soyuz rockets safe for American astronauts
Russian Rocket Failure Shouldn’t Force Space Station Evacuation, NASA Tells Lawmakers
NASA Gives Blessing for Soyuz Rocket, Which is Ready for Takeoff [PHOTOS]
August’s Russian rocket failure is unlikely to force evacuation of the International Space Station
NASA Says Russian Soyuz Flight Risk Low
NASA offers Congress assurances over space station

Hopefully, the Russians have come to the correct conclusion as to what the glitch was on last August’s failed resupply flight and have taken the proper actions to fix the problem.

/although I’d feel a whole lot better if the next Soyuz flight, the first since the August crash, wasn’t manned, just in case the Russians still have it wrong

Where In The World Is Mohammed Omar?

Is Mullah Omar dead, alive, kidnapped by Western Intelligence, the ISI? No one seems to know, yet, or they’re not telling.

Afghanistan confirms of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s disappearance

Afghanistan’s intelligence services on Monday confirmed that the one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar, with a US$10 million bounty on his head, had disappeared from his Quetta hideout in Pakistan.

“We can confirm about the disappearance of Omar five days ago from his Pakistani hideout,” said Mashal, spokesman for the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

However, the NDS spokesman did not confirm a previous claim of an Afghan intelligence source of Omar’s assasination by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

Taliban, meanwhile, brushed off rumors of their leader’s death or disappearance.

See also:
Mullah Omar: Dead or alive?
Mullah Omar dead? Widespread sources skeptical
Afghanistan: Is Mullah Omar dead?
Mullah Omar killed?
Mullah Omar dead???
FO says it can’t confirm killing of Mulla Omar
Taliban spokesman denies leader has been killed
Leader still alive: Taliban
Chief missing, Taliban say he’s fine
Taliban denies reports of Mullah Omar’s death
Mullah Omar ‘disappears’ from Pak hideout: Afghan official
Intel agency claims Taliban chief has disappeared
Taliban chief has disappeared in Pakistan
Mullah Omar left Pakistani hideout: Afghan intelligence
KABUL: TALIBAN LEADER MULLAH OMAR NOT SEEN IN TWO DAYS
Mullah Omar mystery: Afghan official says ISI took him
Mullah Mohammad Omar: profile of the one-eyed Taliban leader
Mohammed Omar

Obviously, capturing Mohammed Omar alive and holding him in Western custody would be the ideal state of affairs here. Shot dead or blown to smithereens would be the second best outcome, although some concrete proof of death would be nice to have. And who’s going to believe the Taliban that he’s still alive and free without proof of life? In any case, every day Omar stays missing is a good day for civilized people everywhere. If Mullah Omar disappears into thin air and there’s no one around that knows where he is, is he still the Taliban leader?

/I wonder how long you have to be missing in Pakistan before you’re declared legally dead?

These Are Not The Gaddafis You Seek

Remember boys and girls, Obama specifically said we are absolutely NOT targeting Moammer Gaddafi. But hey, Obama never said anything about not blowing up his children and grandchildren.

Gadhafi’s youngest son killed in NATO airstrike

A NATO airstrike Saturday night killed the youngest son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and three of his grandsons at his son’s home in Tripoli, the Libyan government said.

NATO hadn’t confirmed late Saturday that it carried out the airstrike that killed Seif al-Arab Gadhafi, 29. Regime officials said that Moammar Gadhafi and his wife were visiting the home when it was struck, but both were unharmed.

See also:
One of Gadhafi’s sons killed in NATO airstrike, Libyan official says
Gaddafi’s Son ‘Killed In Nato Air Strike’
Saif al-Arab Gaddafi Killed in NATO Air Strike
Libya says Gadhafi survives NATO missile strike
Gadhafi’s youngest son killed in NATO airstrike
Was Gadhafi the real target of strike that killed his son?
NATO confirms strike but not Gadhafi’s son’s death
NATO confirms Tripoli raids but not Gaddafi son’s death
NATO denies targeting Gadhafi family in Tripoli airstrike

NATO denies targeting Gadhafi family in Tripoli airstrike, really? Oh, I sse, it must have just been an incredible coincidence that the Gadhafi family just happened to be where NATO called in an airstrike. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the U.N. resolution authorize a no fly zone to protect innocent civilians against airstrikes? Did I miss the part where it authorized NATO to blow up Gadhafi’s grandchildren, in their own home?

I’m sure this incident will really bolster our image across the Muslim world. and Russia was already pissed off about the previous NATO airstrikes targeting Gadhafi.

/as for me, the stench of impending blowback is making me queasy

Whose Side Is NATO On?

With friends like NATO . . .

NATO airstrike mistakenly kills 12 Libyan rebels

A NATO airstrike in the besieged rebel-held city of Misurata mistakenly killed 12 Libyan rebels, an official with the transitional government confirmed Thursday, while new fighting was reported on Libya’s western border with Tunisia.

The strike Wednesday was at least the third reported friendly fire incident since North Atlantic Treaty Organization fighter jets began pounding forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi more than five weeks ago in a mission to protect Libyan civilians.

See also:
Libya: Nato strike ‘kills rebels’ in Misrata
NATO airstrike in Misrata killed 12 rebels, claims doctor in besieged Libyan city
NATO Airstrike Kills Libyan Rebels In Misrata
NATO Air Strike Kills 12 Rebels In Misurata
Nato ‘friendly fire’ kills 12 Libyan rebels
Strike Kills 12 Rebels In “Friendly Fire” Incident; Fighting Intensifies Throughout Libya
NATO bomb attack on Libya kills Misrata “rebel” fighters
Report: NATO Friendly Fire Kills 12 Anti-Gadhafi Rebels

Once again I ask, what the [expletive deleted] are we doing in Libya? Is there some type of coherent plan, a discernible objective perhaps? Because, so far, all we’re doing is prolonging a civil war and maximizing casualties on both sides.

/welcome to the quagmire, have a seat, it’s going to be a while

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