White House condemns WikiLeaks Guantanamo revelations

White House condemns WikiLeaks Guantanamo revelations

The US government said it was ‘unfortunate’ that news organisations had decided to publish classified information on detainees.




     

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Hackers Take Down Sony’s PlayStation Network find out @smarterhiphop

Hackers Take Down Sony’s PlayStation Network

Hackers have managed to cut Sony off at the knees in several of the most competitive aspects of this generation of video games.
For the past five days, the PlayStation Network has been offline-making it impossible for PlayStation 3 owners to play multiplayer games, download updates to titles or use their PS3 to stream movies and music. This represents the most serious outage the service has faced since its start in 2006.
The company has acknowledged via its official blog,that the disruption was initially caused by an “external intrusion.” To ensure future security and figure out exactly what happened, Sony says it turned off both the PlayStation Network and the Qriocity music service on the evening of April 20.
The company says it is not yet certain if credit card or other personal information of users was taken during the intrusion.
Sony says the attack has led it to begin rebuilding the system and it has not given an estimate when it will be back online.
“Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure,” said Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications, on the blog. “Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security. … I know [players] are waiting for additional information on when PlayStation Network and Qriocity services will be online. Unfortunately, I don’t have an update or timeframe to share at this point in time.”
So far, no hacker group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The rogue group known as Anonymous, which has famously launched attacks on both Gene Simmons and Hustler Magazine, was initially suspected, after it vowed in early April to target Sony after the company’s legal action against a hacker who dismantled the PS3’s security.
The group managed to disrupt the service with a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack earlier this month. (Anonymous attackers, using software known as “Low Orbit Ion Cannons,” repeatedly pinged the company’s servers. When done simultaneously by enough users, this can bring the site down-usually quickly and without warning.)
However, Anonymous denies responsibility for this incident, saying on its site, “While it could be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves, AnonOps was not related to this incident and does not take responsibility for whatever has happened.”
The outage of the PlayStation Network hits Sony at a particularly bad time from a game sales perspective. The company released last week “SOCOM 4,” a multiplayer-focused action game that is traditionally one of its biggest franchises.
Additionally, the eagerly anticipated “Portal 2,” which comes with a co-operative mode, also hit store shelves last week-with an integration of Valve’s Steam online service into the PlayStation Network being touted as one of the chief reasons to opt for the PS3 version of the game, rather than the Xbox 360 version.
Richard Lawler, a senior editor at Engadget, summed up gamer’s frustration via Twitter, writing “PS3 version of Portal 2 came with a PC version and cross-plat[form] play! Xbox 360 version comes with a working online service.”
The outage gives Microsoft an advantage in the online gaming space, as its Xbox Live service has not been compromised. Unlike Microsoft, which requires a $60 annual subscription fee for access to most features of its Xbox Live service, Sony does not charge most users for access to the PlayStation Network. (A PlayStation Plus program is available, giving early access to demos, priority invitations to game beta tests and discounts on products in its online store.)
That will prevent it from having to issue substantial refunds, but that might be small consolation to users who pay subscription fees to companies like Hulu Plus and Netflix, using the PS3 to view streaming content.

        

With 12,000 still missing, Japan keeps searching find out @smarterhiphop



SHICHIGAHAMAMACHI, Japan (AP) — A line of somber soldiers walked methodically through a drained swamp Monday, with each step sinking their slender poles into the muck beneath.
If one hit a body, he would know.
“Bodies feel very distinctive,” said Michihiro Ose, a spokesman for the Japanese army’s 22nd infantry regiment.
The men were among 25,000 troops given the morbid duty of searching the rubble, the seas and the swamps of northeastern Japan for the bodies of the nearly 12,000 people still missing in last month’s earthquake and tsunami.
The two-day operation was the biggest military search since the March 11 disaster. With waters receding, officials hoped the troops, backed by police, coast guard and U.S. forces, would make significant progress. By Monday evening, they had found 38 bodies, the military said.
In the town of Shichigahamamachi, about two dozen Japanese soldiers in black boots, white masks and waterproof jumpsuits traveled silently in unison across the soggy earth, made even softer by torrential rains an hour earlier. In some areas, the mud came up to their knees.
The search focused on a long, narrow marsh drained in recent weeks by the army using special pump trucks.
Once the soldiers reached the end of the marsh, they turned around and walked back. And then back again.
“It’s important not to miss anything,” Ose said as he watched the soldiers nearly camouflaged by the dark gray mud. “As long as there is time left in the day, we will keep going up and down.”
In another part of town, several dozen soldiers cleared mountains of rubble by hand from a waterfront neighborhood filled with gutted and teetering houses. Four people in the neighborhood were missing, said 67-year-old Sannojo Watanabe.
“That was my house right there,” he said, pointing to a foundation with nothing atop it.
He surveyed the neighborhood: “There’s nothing left here.”
A total of 24,800 soldiers — backed by 90 helicopters and planes — were sent to comb through the rubble for buried remains, while 50 boats and 100 navy divers searched the waters up to 12 miles (20 kilometers) off the coast to find those swept out to sea.
The search is far more difficult than that for earthquake victims, who would mostly be under rubble. The tsunami could have left the victims anywhere.
“We just don’t know where the bodies are,” Ose said.
In all, 370 troops from the 22nd infantry regiment looked for a dozen people still missing from Shichigahamamachi. The regiment had been searching the area with a far smaller contingent, but tripled the number of troops for the two-day intense search, said Col. Akira Kunitomo, the regimental commander.
Bodies found so many weeks after the disaster are likely to be unrecognizable, black and swollen, Ose said.
“We wouldn’t even know if they would be male or female,” he said.
The work is personal for the unit. More than half its 900 troops hail from Miyagi prefecture, which was hit hard by the tsunami, and nearly all are from northern Japan. It lost one of its own to the tsunami — a soldier in his 30s who was on break but tried in vain to rush back to camp after the earthquake.
More than 14,300 people have been confirmed dead and nearly 11,900 remain missing. The military’s first major sweep for bodies uncovered 339; its second turned up 99 more, Defense Ministry spokesman Norikazu Muratani said.
After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, bodies turned up along the Indonesian coast for months afterward. However, 37,000 of the 164,000 people who died in Indonesia simply disappeared, their bodies presumably washed out to sea.
Last week, two undersea robots provided by the nonprofit International Rescue Systems Institute conducted five-day searches in waters near three tsunami-hit towns. They found cars, homes and other wreckage, but no bodies, said Mika Murata, an official with the institute.
The Japanese government has come under criticism for its response to the disasters and a subsequent nuclear crisis.
On Monday, Goshi Hosono, an adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan and member of his nuclear crisis management task force, slammed the operator of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., for its handling of the crisis.
The plant was not properly prepared for the tsunami or for the loss of power that followed, he said. And TEPCO delayed the crucial venting of radioactive steam that built up immense pressure and may have contributed to hydrogen explosions that made the crisis even worse, he said. All those issues are being investigated, he said.
“I think TEPCO is used to its routine work as a supplier of electricity, but it was not good at handling something different,” he said.
TEPCO announced a roadmap last week to bring the plant into cold shutdown within six to nine months, a crucial step for allowing the tens of thousands evacuated from a 12-mile (20-kilometer) area around the plant to return home.
Hosono said the situation at the plant remained “extremely difficult,” with radioactivity high in some areas and the transfer of contaminated water proving very tough. Though work is slower than hoped for, Hosono said he saw no reason it would not be completed along the road map’s timetable.
Meanwhile, the government was discussing how much of the compensation for the nuclear crisis it would bear and how much would be paid by TEPCO.
With its liability likely to stretch into the billions, TEPCO announced Monday it would slash executive compensation by 50 percent, cut managers’ salaries by 25 percent and low-level employees would get a 20 percent pay cut. It also planned to freeze hiring for next year. The amount saved would total 54 billion yen ($660 million) for the year, the company said.
Associated Press writers Shino Yuasa and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.


   

freed Guantanamo inmates join terrorists, files say Findout @smarterhiphop



Said Shihri, who was captured in Pakistan in late 2001 and became one of the first suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, was released six years later after he convinced U.S. officials that he would go home to Saudi Arabia to work in his family’s furniture store.

He emerged instead as the No. 2 leader of Al Qaeda in theArabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based group that U.S. intelligence considers the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization.

Review panels at Guantanamo Bay also released at least six other detainees who later joined the militant group that has turned Yemen into a key battleground for Al Qaeda. One former detainee now is a prominent radical cleric, and another writes propaganda in English encouraging others to attack the United States.

Classified documents from Guantanamo Bay that were released to news organizations by WikiLeaks indicate U.S. officials repeatedly returned detainees to their home countries in hopes they would be incarcerated or be rehabilitated into society. Detainees returned to Saudi Arabia and Yemen have proved the most problematic.

Now, with Yemen roiled by street protests and political upheaval, U.S. intelligence officials worry that the former Guantanamo detainees will seek to capitalize on the turmoil to plot attacks against their former captors and other targets.

“It’s just a big frickin’ mess over there,” said a U.S. intelligence official, who was not authorized to speak in public.

U.S. counter-terrorism officials have relied on cooperation from President Abdullah Ali Saleh’s regime to battle Al Qaeda’s presence. But with public pressure mounting daily for Saleh’s swift ouster, the resultant chaos could produce an even larger opening for anti-Western militants.

Al Qaeda “will be more prolific in recruiting, and it could become easier to launch attacks from Yemen,” said the official. “That unrest could have the most impact on our domestic security.”

In Shihri’s case, although evidence indicated he had played an operational role in Al Qaeda, he denied to a review board at Guantanamo Bay that he had provided support to militants, and insisted he was “just a Muslim and not a terrorist.”

The review board approved his release in November 2007 into a special program in Saudi Arabia that has sought to rehabilitate former jihadists. Two years later, he appeared in an Al Qaeda video touting the merger of its Saudi Arabian and Yemeni branches, and he has since become deputy emir of Al Qaeda’s operations in Yemen.

Other cases also have raised alarms.

A former inmate named Uthman Ghamdi has used his detention as a recruiting tool. In Al Qaeda’s online English-language magazine, Inspire, Ghamdi recently described his time in Guantanamo and his flight from Saudi Arabia to join Al Qaeda in Yemen. He called on fellow Muslims to follow his footsteps into jihad.

Ibrahim Suleiman al Rubaish, a Saudi, spent five years at Guantanamo after he was captured by Pakistani officials in 2001. The review board assessment described him as “a Taliban fighter and Al Qaeda member.”

After he was released to the Saudi rehabilitation program, Rabaish made it to Yemen, where he now is believed to be a religious leader for the Al Qaeda group. In an audiotape last month attributed to Rubaish, he criticized President Saleh and the U.S. presence in Yemen and encouraged Yemeni soldiers to attack Western embassies. “Haven’t you seen the enemy’s embassies, which were only established to spy on and fight the Muslims?”

Officials say those cases are severe, but not unusual. Since the Guantanamo camp was established by the Bush administration after Sept. 11, 2011, U.S. officials say, 25% of the inmates released have rejoined Al Qaeda or other militant groups.

Of the 775 men who have been held at Guantanamo Bay since January 2002, 604 have since been transferred to other countries. Most of the 172 who remain have been rated “high risk” by the military.

“We always want to think there was a process or a procedure for releasing these guys. I am not sure there was,” said Christopher Boucek, an associate at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, who has tracked former detainees who have joined Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“Someone … will have to answer questions about why some of these guys were released,” said Boucek, who has studied the intelligence on detainees that was made public by WikiLeaks.

Officials in Washington have been under “a lot of pressure to clean out the zoo down there,” said a U.S. official familiar with the review process for detainees at Guantanamo. “[The review boards] probably have been leaning far too far forward”



    

Taliban Breach Afghan Prison; Hundreds Free find out @smarterhiphop

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Taliban leaders carried out an audacious plot on Monday to free nearly 500 fighters from southernAfghanistan’s largest prison, leading them through a tunnel dug over more than five months and equipped with electricity and air pipes, which suggested that the insurgents remained formidable and wily opponents despite recent setbacks.





The plan was so closely held that one young Taliban fighter who got out said he knew nothing of it until a fellow inmate tugged his sleeve to wake him in the night and led him to the three-foot-wide tunnel, which ran more than half a mile from a hole in a cell’s floor, under security posts, tall concrete walls and a highway, and came up in a nearby house. From there, a waiting car took the fighter a few miles away, where he hailed a taxi to safety.
“I was just praying to God that he would free me,” said the fighter, Allah Mohammed Agha, 22, recounting his escape from Sarposa Prison, where he had been held for 28 days. “Last night was the night that my dream was made true.” He spoke by phone from Spinbaldak, near the Pakistani border.
The Afghan government called the breach a disaster. The prison break called into question the extent of the gains made against the Taliban in 18 months of hard fighting in Kandahar Province, and whether any progress would be sustainable once NATO troops began to reduce their numbers as planned this summer, members of Parliament, tribal leaders and Western officials said in interviews.
Some worried that the jailbreak might strengthen the Taliban in the coming weeks as the spring fighting season began. Having so many fighters back in circulation — possibly including hard-core commanders — also threatened to undermine efforts to bring Taliban fighters over to the government side, Afghan officials and former Taliban said.
There is no doubt that the incident demonstrated the ability of the Taliban to organize such an elaborate operation, even after they were driven largely underground in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces, and despite police and prison guards, prison visits by NATO mentors, and sophisticated NATO surveillance in Kandahar.
The prison break comes after four recent attacks by the Taliban, in which they used suicide bombers, often disguised as police officers or soldiers, to penetrate secure buildings, including an Afghan army corps’ headquarters in Laghman Province and the Ministry of Defense headquartersin the capital, Kabul.
Members of Parliament and others were scathing about the lapses. Some questioned whether the prison guards or police officers were bribed not to notice the tunnel’s construction.
“It’s a big achievement for the Taliban and shows a big failure and weakness in the government,” said Muhammad Naiem Lalay Hamidzai, a Parliament member from Kandahar and chairman of the internal security committee.
“The Taliban gain two things from this jailbreak,” he said. “First, coming after the incidents in Kunduz, Laghman, Kandahar and at the Ministry of Defense headquarters, it sends a message that they can do whatever they want, even at the heart of the most secure and important jail, and it allows them to strengthen their ranks with more manpower.”
The Afghan government was reeling Monday as details of the escape emerged. “This is bad news for the government and the people of Afghanistan,” the spokesman for PresidentHamid Karzai, Waheed Omar, said at a news conference. “This shows a vulnerability on the part of the government.” He called the prison break a disaster.
One unexplained question was why the cells where prisoners were supposed to sleep were left open so that they could make their way to the cell with the tunnel. It also seemed that none of the guards checked on the prisoners during the night, even though Afghan intelligence officials and Western military officials said that there had been intelligence about the possibility of a security breach.
“This is absolutely the fault of the ignorance of the security forces,” said the Kandahar provincial governor, Tooryalai Wesa. “This was not the work of a day, a week or a month of activities. This was actually months of work they spent to dig and free their men.”
Clearly embarrassed, Afghan officials had little else to say, other than to acknowledge that the prison break showed unexpected weaknesses in security. Since the Taliban engineereda major break at the same prison in 2008 — freeing 1,200 prisoners — Canadian forces have mentored the Afghans who run the prison and NATO countries have spent several million dollars upgrading and training the prison administration, according to a Western official in Kabul.
“There are a lot of people asking questions today,” said a NATO officer at the coalition’s headquarters in Kabul.
There was no official comment from the NATO command. Two Western officials described the break as “at least partially an inside job,” but both said they could not be named because of the delicacy of the situation.
Of the 488 men who escaped, fewer than 20 were from the criminal section of the prison; the rest were security detainees believed to be Taliban fighters and commanders.
An escapee, who asked not to be identified, said that among those freed were two shadow governors and 14 shadow district governors. The Taliban have a shadow government that has varying influence in different provinces.
However, Muhammad Qasim Hashimzai, a deputy justice minister, said that the government did not yet know who had escaped. “The detainees included all kinds of people,” he said, and he promised to have more information on Tuesday.
Mr. Wesa, the Kandahar provincial governor, said a manhunt was on and that 26 escapees had been captured by late afternoon.
The security section of the prison was eerily empty on Monday when reporters were shown around. Prisoners’ belongings were strewn about, but appeared heaped in the cell with the tunnel in an effort to obscure the entrance. A second tunnel branched off to the criminal side of the prison, according to the warden, Gen. Ghulam Dastagir Mayar, and Mr. Wesa.
Now, with so many Taliban back in the fight, it will be even harder to convince Taliban fighters that they will be safe if they defect to the government, a former Taliban commander said.
“The prison break will slow down the peace process,” said Mullah Noorul Aziz Agha, a Taliban member who recently decided to lay down his arms and work with the government. “I was talking to Taliban on the phone to try to persuade them to come over, but now with this, how can we promise them that we can offer them security and protection?”

Taimoor Shah reported from Kandahar, and Alissa J. Rubin from Kabul, Afghanistan. Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting from Kabul.

How far will radioactive water leaking from nuclear plant go?



Radiation is contaminating seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, but workers are reported to be making headway sealing the leak. Officials say radioactive substances will dissipate in the Pacific.
Washington

Seawater near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex is highly contaminated with radioactive iodine, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) reported Tuesday. But TEPCO also said workers are making headway in an attempt to seal a concrete pit they believe is leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.

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Ocean contamination has become a more critical issue in Japan in recent days as the extent of Fukushima’s leakage has become clearer. The presence in seawater samples of highly radioactive substances such as iodine-131 and cesium-137 indicates that the radioactivity is flowing out of reactor units themselves, according to Japanese officials.
This situation led Japan on Tuesday to set first-ever radiation safety limits for fish. That level is equal to the maximum allowable radiation limit for vegetables, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano at a press conference.
“We will conduct strict monitoring and move forward after we understand the complete situation,” said Mr. Edano.
However, TEPCO insists that the radioactivity detected so far presents little risk to human health. The half-life of iodine-131 is eight days, so it will decay quickly. The half-life of cesium-137 is much longer, at 30 years, but it will be quickly diluted in the vast Pacific Ocean, say TEPCO officials.
Where will the radioactive water go? Japan is fortunate in that ocean currents near Fukushima may well carry the radiation away from land and help the dilution process. The Kuroshio Current, the Japanese equivalent of the Gulf Stream, flows up Japan’s east coast before veering off to the northeast in open waters.
This temperate current carries the water volume of 6,000 Danube Rivers and should quickly mix and dilute radioactive elements. The Japan Coast Guard keeps a close watch on the current and posts daily updates on its condition.
Japan’s radioactive water problem has developed in large part due to the ad hoc methods workers have used to try to cool reactor fuel units and avoid the disaster of a complete meltdown of the reactors’ cores.
With normal pumps broken and electricity unavailable in the weeks since an earthquake and tsunami shattered the plant, TEPCO has had to cool the site by pouring water on reactor units using hoses and temporary pumps from outside containment buildings. While much of this water has evaporated or remained within the buildings, much has also inevitably leaked away.
A hole in a pit beneath reactor Unit 2 has become a prime suspect in the search for the source of radioactive pollution. On Tuesday workers continued to inject a hardening agent, liquid glass, into gravel beneath the pit. That appears to be slowing the leak, according to photos released by TEPCO.
Seawater measurements taken in recent days show radioactive contamination at several million times the legal limit, said TEPCO on Tuesday. These readings were taken closer to the plant than previous measurements, however, so it was not clear whether they reflected an actual worsening of the situation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported Tuesday that its own measurements of radiation in seawater close to the discharge pipe that serves reactor units 1 through 4 showed a “decreasing trend” from April 1 to April 4.
These measurements were taken before TEPCO, with approval of the Japanese government, began releasing water with low levels of contamination directly into the ocean in order to clear tank storage space for reactor-unit wastewater with much higher radioactivity readings.

Japan charges 2 with peddling fake radiation drug

Tokyo (CNN) — Japanese police have charged two people with selling a bogus drug they told buyers would protect them from radiation exposure, investigators said Tuesday.
The substance, sold as “Premium Zeolite,” was billed as absorbing radioactive substances and allowing the body to excrete them within six hours. Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police said the two had made 47,500 yen (about $565) from selling the drug online to three people in Ibaraki Prefecture, near the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Police said they found another 47 bottles of the product in their office.
The suspects, Natsumi Chiba, 29, and Fumitaka Umewaka, 50, have been charged with selling medicine without a license. They were being held for questioning late Tuesday, Tokyo police said.

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