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

Is Our Back Door Open?

Gee, I wonder which computer component manufacturing country might be responsible for this? Hmmm, let me think.

(you might want to skip to 51:47)

U.S. Suspects Contaminated Foreign-Made Components Threaten Cyber Security

Some foreign-made computer components are being manufactured to make it easier to launch cyber attacks on U.S. companies and consumers, a security official at the the Department of Homeland Security said.

“I am aware of instances where that has happened,” said Greg Schaffer, who is the Acting Deputy Undersecretary National Protection and Programs Director at the DHS.

Schaffer did not say where specifically these components are coming from or elaborate on how they could be manufactured in such a way as to facilitate a cyber attack.

But Schaffer’s comment confirms that the U.S. government believes some electronics manufacturers have included parts in products that could make U.S. consumers and corporations more vulnerable to targeted cyber attacks.

A device tampered with prior to distribution or sale could act as a “Trojan horse” in the opening wave of an international cyberwar. Contaminated products could be used to jeopardize the entire network.

See also:
DHS: Imported Consumer Tech Contains Hidden Hacker Attack Tools
Tomorrow’s cyberwarfare may be carried out by pre-infected electronics: DHS
Malware Comes with Many Gadgets, Homeland Security Admits
Supply chain security – DHS finds imported software and hardware contain attack tools
U.S. official says pre-infected computer tech entering country
Homeland Security Admits Hidden Malware in Foreign-Made Devices
Homeland Security Finds Your Electronic Device Poses Risks?
Threat of destructive coding on foreign-manufactured technology is real
Homeland Security Official: Some Foreign-Made Electronics Compromise Cybersecurity
White House’s Cyberspace Policy Review (PDF)

So, Mr. Schaffer “did not say where specifically these components are coming from.” Well, here, let me help, it’s obviously China. There, how hard was that? The next question is, what are we doing about it?

Our national power grid, electronics infrastructure, you name it, very few of the critical components are manufactured in the U.S. anymore and if there exists a series of back doors, enabling a hostile country, like China, to preemptively take it all down at once, we’re in serious, catastrophic trouble territory, so far up the proverbial [expletive deleted] creek without a paddle we’re no longer visible. And we’d be down for the count too, because we don’t have the U.S. manufacturing capability to pick ourselves up off the canvas

/the end game scenario this revelation portends would make Pearl Harbor look like a sorority pillow fight

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?