The clandestine payload going up this time, known only by its launch identification number of NROL-32, is widely believed to be an essential eavesdropping spacecraft that requires the powerful lift provided by the Delta 4-Heavy to reach its listening post.
In an address to the Air Force Association conference in September, NRO Director Bruce Carlson, a retired Air Force general, said this rocket launch would carry "the largest satellite in the world on it."
The NRO has flown various types of communication-interceptors since the dawn of the space age, and analysts say it is virtually certain this Delta 4-Heavy is hauling another.
"I believe the payload is the fifth in the series of what we call Mentor spacecraft, a.k.a. Advanced Orion, which gather signals intelligence from inclined geosynchronous orbits. They are among the largest satellites ever deployed," said Ted Molczan, a respected sky-watcher who keeps tabs on orbiting spacecraft.
Mexican drug cartel peddles Microsoft Office and Xbox games
Topic: United States
1:17 pm EST, Nov 7, 2010
AS the sun rose over the mountains circling Los Reyes, a town in the Mexican state of Michoacán, one morning in March 2009, a caravan of more than 300 heavily armed law enforcement agents set out on a raid.
All but the lead vehicle turned off their headlights to evade lookouts, called “falcons,” who work for La Familia Michoacana, the brutal Mexican cartel that controls the drug trade. This time, the police weren’t hunting for a secret stash of drugs, guns or money. Instead, they looked to crack down on La Familia’s growing counterfeit software ring.
The police reached the house undetected, barreled in and found rooms crammed with about 50 machines used to copy CDs and make counterfeit versions of software like Microsoft Office and Xbox video games. They arrested three men on the spot, who were later released while the authorities investigate the case. “The entire operation was very complicated and risky,” says a person close to the investigation, who demanded anonymity out of fear for his life.
How did Tim O’Reilly describe the potential of Gov 2.0 to Dan Rather?
“Government 2.0 is the attempt to harness the latest technology to make our government more effective, transparent and participatory,” he said.
What do the alpha geeks want to do, with respect to improving government? “They started saying, first of all, we want to open up government, we want more access to all this government data. We want to create new capabilities for citizen involvement.”
The Bush administration secretly concluded after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that it had the authority to wiretap the Internet and telephone calls with virtually no limitations, restrict free speech, and use the U.S. military domestically against suspected terrorists.
Those legal opinions came in a series of memorandums written by U.S. Department of Justice lawyers, including deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo, which were disclosed by the Obama administration on Monday.
Although the broad outlines of the Bush administration's claims to sweeping executive powers were previously known, the newly released memorandums provide a glimpse at both the legal arguments used and the scope of the claims.
Add Up the Damage: Does anyone know where George W. Bush is?
Topic: United States
1:33 pm EST, Dec 31, 2008
This is the man who gave us the war in Iraq and Guantánamo and torture and rendition; who turned the Clinton economy and the budget surplus into fool’s gold; who dithered while New Orleans drowned; who trampled our civil liberties at home and ruined our reputation abroad; who let Dick Cheney run hog wild and thought Brownie was doing a heckuva job.
Preparing the Battlefield - The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran.
Topic: United States
11:28 pm EDT, Jun 29, 2008
Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.
The year-long study offers 42 recommendations for congressional action.
The book-length report cites Chinese progress in certain areas but describes many alarming trends, including a retreat by China from market-based economic principles, the growth of China’s information control regime, and the use by China of espionage to acquire military and industrial technologies.
Very good coverage on the actions of the UN Security Council. Watch Online.
The world vowed "never again" after the genocide in Rwanda and the atrocities in Srebrenica, Bosnia. Then came Darfur. Over the past four years, at least 200,000 people have been killed, 2.5 million driven from their homes, and mass rapes have been used as a weapon in a brutal campaign - supported by the Sudanese government - against civilians in Darfur. In On Our Watch, FRONTLINE asks why the United Nations and its members once again failed to stop the slaughter.
Good video coverage of what is going on between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Watch it online.
After the fall of the Taliban five years ago, some experts warned of a nightmare scenario in which the Taliban and Al Qaeda would escape from Afghanistan into neighboring Pakistan and set up new command centers far out of America's reach.
That nightmare scenario has now come true. The Taliban controls large parts of the lawless tribal areas along the border. In a video obtained by FRONTLINE, the Taliban demonstrate their brutal brand of justice. After executing 17 people, said to be thieves, in front of a crowd of hundreds, they hung the bodies on poles for three days. "We have killed these people and sent them to God," a Taliban gunman says to the camera. "God will bring them to justice."