A woman has been placed in charge of the CIA’s clandestine service for the first time in the agency’s history, reports the Washington Post. She's a veteran officer whom many in the agency support, and the high-level appointment is seen as a step forward for women in Washington. That's the good news! The bad news is...
[S]he also helped run the CIA’s detention and interrogation program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and signed off on the 2005 decision to destroy videotapes of prisoners being subjected to treatment critics have called torture. The woman, who remains undercover and cannot be named, was put in the top position on an acting basis when the previous chief retired last month. The question of whether to give her the job permanently poses an early quandary for [CIA Director John] Brennan, who is already struggling to distance the agency from the decade-old controversies.
Ten years ago this week, the US invaded Iraq and experimental filmmaker Bob Jaroc started a month-long recording of CNN that he later time-lapsed. The resulting stream of past current events, seen above, appeared on the 2006 collaborative album/DVD Jaroc released with electronic music duo Plain, titled "Greedy Baby," and in Plaid's live shows.
Steven Boyett sez, "Wreck diver and videographer Adrian Smith has launched a Kickstarter project to fund an expedition to document the forgotten wrecks sunken by the Bikini Atoll atomic explosion in 1946. No video record exists of these historic wrecks (many of them captured German and Japanese warships), and they are quickly eroding."
The naval vessels exposed to close-range atomic blast at Bikini Atoll represent the three major Pacific combatants of World War II. They are the only vessels ever sunk through the detonation of atomic weapons. These unique ships and submarines lie almost two hundred feet underwater, and are rapidly deteriorating. No comprehensive visual record exists to document their current state or unique reactions to their exposure to close-range atomic detonation. Soon it will be too late.
The ships themselves lie in waters from 40 ft (12 m) to 185 ft (56 m), deep but diveable with the correct equipment and training.
The “Baker” blast at Bikini Atoll was global front-page news when it occurred — so well-known that a French designer scandalized the world by introducing a line of two-piece swimsuits a mere four days after the Baker blast. The name of this new fashion? The bikini.
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, "no smelly hippie," according to Wired News, believes the consequences of a warming planet are likely to “cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.” According to Danger Room, he said, “You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17.” [Danger Room | Wired.com] — Xeni
More "tiny people" installation photos by Slinkachu, whose work is compiled in several books including the recent Global Model Village. The pieces featured above and below were commissions for "20 Years of War Child," an exhibition at the British Music Experience museum running until March 28.
Army private Bradley Manning pleaded guilty on Thursday to 10 of the 19 total charges made by the US that he leaked unprecedented amounts of classified material to Wikileaks, the anti-secrecy organization run by Julian Assange.
Manning entered a not guilty plea to the government's more serious charge of "aiding the enemy," which carries a possible maximum sentence of life in prison. In a statement before the military court today, Manning said he leaked the classified information to "spark a domestic debate."
Ed Pilkington at the Guardian reports Manning first contacted the Washington Post about providing them with some of the classified material while he was on leave in January 2010; the the woman who answered the phone said the "paper would only be interested [in the documents] subjected to vetting by senior editors."
The Atlantic has a fascinating photo gallery about the DIY Weapons of the Syrian Rebels. Homebrew explosives are the norm, as are catapults (Reuters photo above) and tele-operated machine guns controlled with scavenged video game controllers.
Pilots of the US Air Force's F-22 Raptor stealth fighters are experiencing choking, coughing, memory loss, confusion, and blackouts (hypoxia) because of the way the planes are designed. At least one fatal crash is blamed on the phenomenon, and even ground crews have been sickened while working on F-22s when engines are running. The Air Force says there's nothing that can be done.— Xeni
The algorithmic overlords of Alibaba are sending me astonishing stuff via their "suggested crapgadgets you might be interested in" hourly email. Wireless car key duplicators and GPS jammers came first. But today they have truly outdone themselves, suggesting that I might be interested in a "small attack UAV". Yes, you heard right.
This actually does claim to be the real deal. From the page: "ball tripod head freely rotates to guide the UAV attacking targets. Engine uses mechanical and electronic three grades insurance with high security. The UAV is mainly used in the mountains, hills and complex terrain conditions; does effective short-range real-time attack to the fixed ground target or slowly move targets, such as artillery hole, command post, communication station, radar station, oil truck, oil depot and other small and temporary goals."
They state a production capability of ten pieces per month.
I am tempted to ask for a price quote, if only to nudge the Alibaba Algorithm into sending me even more offers from the cloak and dagger side of the Crapgadget Universe....
Two days after a group of Somali islamist militants vowed to execute Kenyan hostages, and tweeted a video of a captive pleading for the Kenyan government to help free them, the Al-Shabaab Twitter account @HSMPress was suspended. A Google cache is visible here. Warning: includes gruesome photos. The group took a French intelligence officer hostage, then apparently murdered him after an unsuccessful attempted raid by the French military which the US assisted). An @HSMPress press release about that killing is available on Twitlonger.
The Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Twitter account has been around since 2011, promoting the group's vision of strict sharia law in Somalia, 140 characters at a time. The US State Department was reportedly looking in to shutting it down ages ago. Wonder what took them so long?
For its part, Al Shabaab blames its "Christian enemies" for suspending its Twitter account. And they do sound rather miffed about being blocked on the popular social networking platform.
A page from 16th C German manuscript ("Das Feuer Buch") from the University of Pennsylvania's collection, depicts a cat and a bird attacking a castle with bombs strapped to them. As if that wasn't enough, the illustrator chose to depict these bombs in a way that made the poor critters look jet-propelled. The caption is "To ignite a castle with a cat."
Beyond the novel inclusion of our rocket bird and turbo cat - up top - this 1584 treatise on explosive devices appears to illustrate weaponry seen in earlier manuscripts and offers no new technologies for the Renaissance commando types.
The sketches show various types of barrel bombs, hand grenades, nasty fragmentation/shrapnel explosives, cannons, caltrops (anti-personnel ground spikes), unsophisticated spear and staff-mounted 'rockets' or bombs, catherine or pin wheel fireworks and your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine fire vessels and defensive emplacement stakes. Good to know that our modern evil ways build on the twisted imaginations of artistic forebears.
A photograph that shows the Hiroshima atomic bomb cloud split into two sections, one over the other, has been released by the curator of a peace museum in Japan. It was discovered on Monday among a collection of some 1,000 archival items related to the bombing, all of which are now in the possession of Honkawa Elementary School in Hiroshima city.