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Inteltrends will resume March 6 – (hopefully)

February 25, 2011 Comments off

To my readers…

The problem with ‘one-person’ blogs and websites is that if the publisher is unable to fulfil his tasks then these sites are simply not updated.

I have always tried to give my readers premium service (daily updates, plus Inteltrends’ “Newsmarks” column, my Wisconsin blog and other features) but regrettably I have come down with both the flu and a lower back injury at the same time. The flu is manageable, but the back injury makes it difficult to sit in front of the computer. If you have ever had this type of injury then I’m sure you understand.

Anyway, I “hope” to have this site fully operational again by March 6. In the interim only the Daily Quran Verse and the Ruhnama Weekly Quote will continue to be updated.

Inteltrends’ news, commentaries and analysis’ MAY BE updated sporadically before March 6, so please feel free to visit earlier.

Steve

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Inteltrends: Burma Report 24-AUG-2010

August 24, 2010 Comments off

Compiled by Inteltrends.

Energy shortfall edges India closer to Burma
DVB, 24 Aig 2010

Two of India’s biggest state-run oil firms are in talks to buy 20 percent each in a lucrative offshore gas block in Burma as Delhi looks to stem a mass shortfall in electricity. The two companies, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Oil India Limited (OIL), are giants of the country’s energy sector, with IOC hailed as India’s largest commercial enterprise. They are eyeing stakes in the A-2 block owned by India-based Essar, the Economic Times reported today.

Election 2010: Ethnic Arakanese party leaders’ families harassed
Mizzima, 24 Aug 2010

Police have been harassing relatives of registered ethnic Arakanese party leaders and stepped up monitoring of the party’s offices, over which it has complained to state and national electoral watchdogs, the party’s secretary said.

More Senior Officers Reportedly Resign to Join USDP
The Irrawaddy, 24 Aug 2010

In a major shake-up within the Burmese military leadership, several high-ranking senior officers have reportedly resigned in order to join the junta’s proxy political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). According to army sources, the officers include Lt-Gen Thar Aye, Lt-Gen Ohn Myint, Lt-Gen Myint Swe and Lt-Gen Khin Zaw – all of whom are chiefs of the regime’s bureau of special operations, which oversee the regional military commands. Others included Lt-Gen Maung Shein, defense services inspection and auditor general, Lt-Gen Tin Aye, chief of ordnance production for Burma’s armed forces, and Lt-Gen Myint Hlaing, chief of air defense.

Strategies to Contest an Unfair Election
The Irrawaddy, 24 Aug 2010

Commentary by Kay Latt. In elections in democratic countries, political parties write comprehensive campaign plans ahead of the elections with a clear purpose and separate components mostly covering the development of messages, recruiting volunteers and identifying directors, developing media strategies, canvassing and rally programs and, most importantly, fund raising. But in the case of Burma, political parties are like ships sailing in uncharted waters without even compasses to guide them. By the time they discovered when the election would be held it was too late for them to develop comprehensive strategies.

Military junta sets new BGF deadline for ethnic armed groups
S.H.A.N., 23 Aug 2010

The ruling Burmese military junta has scheduled another Border Guard Force (BGF) program deadline for two of Burma’s ethnic ceasefire groups: United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) aka Mongla group at their latest meeting on 20 August, according to sources from the Sino-Burma border. The two are ‘instructed’ to give their agreement on transforming themselves into BGF program by the first week of coming September, said a source from Shan State North’s Tangyan, where the meeting between the UWSA and Lt-Gen Ye Myint, Chief of Military Affairs Security (MAS), was held.

[End.]
__________

IntelTrends’ Burma Report is published Tuesdays and Fridays.

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Warning to bloggers: Google’s new “Gestapo bot” shutting down Blogger sites

August 22, 2010 Comments off

Inteltrends.
August 22, 2010

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I tried to access one of my blogs and found a short, terse notice that read:

Blog has been removed. Sorry, the blog at ruhnama.blogspot.com has been removed.

For years I have maintained several blogs on Blogger – three in fact – and all three were shut down last night by Blogger (Google) administration and my account was blocked.

Reason: Violation of Terms of Service.

What violation could I possibly have committed? Let’s see, all three blogs were regularly updated, contained no profanity or pornography, did not advocate violence or criminal activity – in short, they were appropriate for family viewing (assuming that family members want to read about somewhat obscure subjects). The blog referenced above pertained to a book written by Turkmenistan’s late president Saparmyrat Niyazov. However, obscurity notwithstanding, that blog still had 35 subscribers and had garnered almost 10,000 hits in two years. But I’m getting sidetracked.

First, let me say that Blogger (Google) has always allowed users to have multiple blogs – they encourage it, as a matter of fact, by presenting you with a link to “create another blog” after you sign in to access your existing one(s). So having more than one blog didn’t violate their Terms of Service.

Concerned about my subscribers I tried to login to Feedburner (also Google) – the site which administers the subscriptions for all three of my (now) “deleted” blogs. Not surprisingly my Feedburner account had been blocked as well.

I then checked my email account (fortunately, not Google) and found a brief “no reply” message from “The Blogger Team” which read, in part:

Hello,

Your blog has been reviewed and confirmed as in violation of our Terms of Service for: SPAM. In accordance to these terms, we’ve removed the blog and the URL is no longer accessible.

For more information, please review the following resources…

SPAM? How could I be a spammer? I don’t even allow advertising on my blogs.

I consulted the “resources” provided by my Blogger ‘team mates’ and also checked some forums wherein angry bloggers – whose blogs have been similarly deleted – were proclaiming their innocence against the spamming allegations and demanding (well, actually more like whining and begging) for their blogs’ reinstatement by the Google gods. Those who had followed the lengthy and complicated “appeal process” for reinstatement asserted that it served no other purpose than to waste their time. None of the blogs mentioned in the forums (at least none that I could find after checking a half dozen or so forums) had been reactivated nor had any of the claimants even reported having their sites reviewed. Ironically, attempting to file an appeal requires that you login to your Blogger (Google) account – which has been blocked. How funny is that?

What’s really happening… in the Google gods’ own words

Navigating the maze of webpages and forms that Blogger (Google) has set up to further frustrate already frustrated users is daunting. However, persistence pays off. Here’s what I found buried in the catacombs of Googledom:

In mid January 2008, Blogger started to do something about a major problem – blogs established in BlogSpot, in massive numbers, for illegal purposes – hacking, porn distribution, and spam distribution… Blogger is using an automated process to identify suspected spam blogs. Spammers create their blogs, intentionally, to look like genuine blogs. There will always be actual spam blogs not detected as being spam blogs (false negative detection), and there will always be legitimate blogs detected as being spam blogs (false positive detection). If your blog was falsely detected, you’re going to have to have Blogger remove the flag and / or un delete the blog. There simply is no other solution.

Easier said than done. What I did find of interest, though, is that this automated web-bot acts as Judge, Jury and Executioner. The bot scans your blog, determines (wrongly in this case) that it’s SPAM, sentences your blog to death, removes it and blocks your account – all with no human oversight.

A common factor in all my blogs

One thing all three of my blogs had in common is that they were NOT AFFILIATED with Google’s AdSense (advertising) program. In fact, my blogs ran no advertising whatsoever. With specific regard to Adsense, my lack of participation meant that my blogs were generating no income for the powers-that-be. These blogs were “freeloaders” at the Blogger (Google) trough. Clearly they had to go.

Fortunately I relocated this blog (Inteltrends) to WordPress a couple months before the “Gestapo bot” shut down all my Blogger sites.

I suggest Blogger users back up their material or move their blogs elsewhere – for peace of mind (at the very least).

Steve
Inteltrends

[End.]

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Is This Espionage 2.0?

July 2, 2010 Comments off

The following commentary is reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington D.C. 20036.

Is This Espionage 2.0?
©  RFE/RL
By Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
July 2, 2010

The media following the intriguing story of the FBI’s roll-up of a network of alleged Russian spies have been obsessed with the Facebook pictures of one of the accused, Anna Chapman — a striking redhead who posted numerous sexy poses of herself taken against the Manhattan skyline.

Yet few have bothered to look past the sensational shots to her list of friends — perhaps because many of the names were unfamiliar and Russian — to see the kind of network a would-be spy might create using today’s free and easy social media tools.

To be sure, the number of Chapman’s Facebook friends has been dwindling by the hour. When some people woke up the other day to learn they had friended a suspected spy, they deleted her quickly. As a Russian translator and blogger about new media, I was not surprised to find I was only one degree of Facebook-friend separation from the startupshchitsa, as Chapman has been called by her online friends (her last wall posting was about attending a Moscow event on how to find venture capital for start-ups).

I could see that out of some 175 friends on her list, her concentric connections reached to the highest levels of the Silicon Valley replication effort now going on between the United States and Russia – a project so crucial to the "reset" of bilateral relations.

"The New York Times” downplayed the sensational case, saying there were no secrets involved, and all over the blogosphere, people are calling the Russian network the gang that couldn’t spy straight.


Anna Chapman

Lightweight, Portable Network

Yet far from uncovering a band of bumbling agents ineptly run by aging Cold Warriors, the FBI has stumbled upon a lightweight and portable network — not destroyed by these arrests at all — of young, connected, tech-savvy, affluent Russians and Americans in Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley (as tech start-ups in Brooklyn are called), enthusiastically involved in Skolkovo, Russia’s new Silicon Valley.

Skolkovo is Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s pet project, and it attracted a $1 billion investment from Cisco last week and other commitments from American IT giants. Trawling such an open network is a piece of cake for Spy 2.0.

Chapman has been portrayed in the tabloids as a party girl with a Victoria’s Secret body working in real estate. However, by starting her own online business and hanging out at the right events, she acquired influential ties to tech start-ups and venture-capital circles in the United States and Russia.

She was Facebook friends with Ilya Ponomaryov, the 34-year-old former CIO of the ill-fated Yukos and a former adviser to Russia’s telecommunications minister who is currently the chairman of the Russian Duma’s Information Technology and Communications Sub-Committee and on the Skolkovo Foundation.

Chapman was also Facebook friends with Alyona Popova, CEO of Starlook.ru, the first social-shopping network in Russia, a venture capitalist, and founder of a number of other new-media projects.

Also on Chapman’s Facebook list was Max Skibinsky, director of business development for Playdom, one of the hottest social-gaming networks on Facebook.

Yet another Facebook friend was Anna Dvornikova, founder and CEO of Entana Corp., a venture advisory firm, and a leading angel investor. Dvornikova was instrumental in organizing Medvedev’s meeting last week in Palo Alto with eager young Russian entrepreneurs now living in the United States. Dvornikova is president of the American Business Association of Russian-Speaking Professionals (AMBAR), a prestigious organization of transplanted Russian entrepreneurs with a Facebook group who led an American venture capitalists’ trip to Russia in May. On June 28, an AMBAR member posted a warning to others in the group to delete a relative newcomer, Anna Chapman, as their Facebook friend so that they would not be seen as “illegals’ by the FBI.

Popova had posted a fascinating video in this group in May of Chapman talking about her own start-up, a real-estate finding service called domdot.ru and plans to start a venture fund called TIME Venchures that she claimed attracted six investors. Yet judging from the shocked and angry responses on various walls, Chapman’s new Facebook friends, even though they appeared only casually related to her — as Facebook friends often are — were not inclined to believe she and others were guilty, nor did they believe that an old-fashioned intelligence work was even relevant in the age of smart phones and Google.

Intriguing Story

Chapman came to the United States in February after working in investment banking in London for some years and was quickly able to find her way to friends and friends of friends of influence in the tech world. I spoke to one of her Facebook friends who was also in my own friends’ list, and he told me he had friended her after seeing her impressive video. Another friend of several of Anna Chapman’s Facebook friends is Michael McFaul, director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the White House National Security Council.

These Facebook connections and wall postings tell an intriguing story of two Russian communities trying to form a human bridge of technology start-ups across the old Cold-War divide — except now Chapman’s list has been hidden from view. Late on June 30, her pictures began to disappear one by one, and then the friends’ list went out of sight and is now no longer publicly viewable — or even viewable by other friends.

While Facebook management may have intervened after complaints of invasion of privacy, it’s also conceivable that a friend or even the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) got into her account to remove traces of her influence.

[End.]
__________

Catherine A. Fitzpatrick is a freelance writer specializing in human rights in Eurasia and she blogs about Russia here. The views expressed in this commentary are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL.

Categories: RUS, Uncategorized, USA

Inteltrends: Burma Report 18-JUN-2010

June 18, 2010 Comments off

Security tightened along boundary between Burma Army and Wa
S.H.A.N., 18 Jun 2010

Security on the border between Burma Army and United Wa State Army (UWSA) in Shan State North has become tight as Naypyitaw’s deadline for the Wa to transform into Border Guard Force (BGF) program passed, according to sources from the Sino-Burma border. The deadline expired in April for the group to transform into BGF. Since then both have been reinforcing their checkpoints…

Top-level Iranian officials in Burma
DVB, 17 Jun 2010

A delegation from Iran, including deputy foreign minister Mohammed Ali Fathollahi, yesterday met with senior Burmese ministers, including foreign minister Nyan Win in Naypyidaw. All eyes will be on the meeting following international concern about Burma’s military ambitions: the two countries were derided as “outposts of tyranny” in 2005 by then-US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice…

First visit by junta officials to KIO HQ after BGF talks failure
Kachin, 17 Jun 2010

In a surprise move today senior Burmese military officials visited the Laiza Headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) in the country’s Northern Kachin State near the China border for the first time since talks over the Border Guard Force fell through. Four military officials – Maj-Gen Soe Win, commander of Myitkyina-based Northern Regional Command, Brig-Gen Thein Zaw Minister for Post, Communication and Telegraph, U Aung Thaung Minister for Industry-1 and Col. Win Min Htun the commander of Momeik-based Military Strategy met senior KIO officials in Laiza hotel between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., according to KIO’s sources. The Burmese Army officers arrived in the KIO’s Headquarters from Kachin’s capital Myitkyina in 12 cars escorted by soldiers. Burmese troops in three military trucks were also deployed early in the morning around the meeting venue as a security ring, said eyewitnesses. The meeting discussed the transformation of KIO’s armed wing to the Burmese junta proposed BGF. The KIO is the last remaining Kachin armed group, which rejected the proposal…

KNLA trio of ambushes kills 14 junta troops
Mizzima, 15 Jun 2010

Karen rebel forces have launched three separate ambushes against junta troops – with unconfirmed reports of 14 Burmese Army soldiers killed, and 27 wounded – after intercepting radio communications and learning of Burmese military plans for an offensive against them, a militia spokesman said. Karen National Liberation Army sixth brigade spokesman Captain Hte Nay said the KNLA launched the guerrilla strikes after listening in on messages between junta troops in their area and Military Operation Command (MOC) No. 8 in Tavoy Township, Tenasserim State…

[End.]
__________

IntelTrends’ Burma Report is published Tuesdays and Fridays.

Categories: Uncategorized

IntelTrends 04-MAY-2010

May 4, 2010 Comments off

Iran opens Mesbah 1 air defense system production line
ISNA, 04 May
TEHRAN (ISNA)-Iran inaugurated production line of Mesbah 1 air defense system on Tuesday. Mesbah 1 air defense system is developed to confront air strikes as well as plane, cruise missile and helicopter’s attacks, says Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi.
– – Related – –
[PHOTOS] Mesbah 1 air defense system production line
ISNA, 04 May

U.K. Rejects New Mossad Representative
Al Manar, 04 May

A month-and-a-half after the United Kingdom expelled the Mossad representative in London over Israel’s forging of U.K. passports used in the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, Britain refuses to allow a new representative to enter the country, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth has reported.

PHILIPPINES: MILF dismiss allegation of power plants attacks
MILF, 04 May

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vehemently dismissed raw information alleging it of perpetrating power plants attacks in various provinces and major cities in Mindanao in the wake of the renewed efforts to block the signing of interim peace agreement between the government and MILF.

BURMA: Junta meets Mongla group again
S.H.A.N., 04 May
– – More Burma – –
Junta offers reward for info about perpetrators of Myitsone dam serial bomb blasts
Kachin, 03 May

NIGERIA: Car bomb rocks Yenagoa
Daily Sun, 04 May

140 al-Qaida men have sneaked into India: Intel
TNN, 04 May

GEORGIA: There will be street protests on May 6
Messenger, 04 May

CAUCASUS: Eleven traffic police injured in attack in Ingushetia
Itar-Tass, 04 May

U.S. Army Human Terrain System Oddities: Fired in the Field, Promoted at Headquarters
Pravda, 04 May
(2 page article)

INDIA: Police nab Lashkar militant in Hyderabad
ANI, 04 May

YEMEN: Separatists open fire at Dhale market killing, injuring people
SABA, 04 May

SOMALIA: Al-shabab and Ahlu Sunna claim victory over fighting in Mogadishu
Shabelle, 04 May

A Mauritania terrorist, member of the GSPC, extradited from Niger
Ennahar, 03 May

SUDAN: SPLA general demands sacking of Jonglei governor
Sudan Trib., 03 May

Gen. George Athor at the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) announced today that he had pulled together a group of soldiers under his leadership and demanded that the governor of Jonglei who won the recent elections be removed.

Briefing: Afghan-ISAF Operations in Eastern, Western, Southern Afghanistan
ISAF Afgh., 03 May

Afghan mujahideen military operations against the kafirs, munafiqs and the worshippers of Idols
UnjustMedia, 03 May

[End.]

Categories: Uncategorized

IntelTrends 03-MAY-2010

May 3, 2010 Comments off

BURMA: Troops break from DKBA, head for border
Mizzima, 03 May
MAE SOT: Hundreds of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) troops are reported to have broken their alliance with the Burma Army and are heading for the Thai border, with State Peace and Development Council units in hot pursuit, Karen National Liberation Army sources have said.
– – More Burma – –
BURMA: Youths recruited for Burmese Army with incentives
Khonumthung, 02 May

SUDAN: Another veteran senior army officer joins Independent candidate Gen. Athor
Sudan Tribune, 03 May

JUBA: A veteran senior officer in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is reported to have joined the former army deputy chief of staff who has carried out deadly attack against the SPLA forces.

PAKISTAN: Punjab IG orders added security for Chinese nationals
Daily Times, 03 May

Sources told Daily Times that the decision was taken after an intelligence agency warned that six to seven al Qaeda-linked terrorists had entered Gujranwala and were likely to target foreigners, especially Chinese nationals.

IRAN: Jundallah threatens U.N. office in Tehran
Press TV, 03 May

Jundallah terror group threatens to bomb the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Tehran to protest the February arrest of their ringleader, Abdolmalek Rigi.

INDIA: Man with Lashkar links held for terror threats on Delhi markets
Times of India, 03 May

N.Y. Mayor: Al-Qaeda Not Behind Car Bomb / Search underway for middle-aged white guy
Novinite, 03 May
– – Commentary – –
Gordon Duff: Times Square Bomb Hoax, Israeli Intel Group Shows It’s Hand
Veterans Today, 02 May

Iran rejects allegation of spy cell in Kuwait
ISNA, 03 May
– – Related – –
Kuwait regrets over media anti-IRI claims
IRIB, 03 May

Yemen says 35 Qaeda suspects killed, dozens arrested
SABA, 03 May

SOMALIA: Galmudug State vows will fight with Hizbul Islam if another town is seized
Shabelle, 03 May
– – More Somalia – –
Military movement and tense rise in parts of Derkenley district in Mogadishu
Shabelle, 03 May

Police officer injured in North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria
RIA, 03 May

German Church organizations talk to Hamas
Al Qassam, 03 May

Palestinian Authority customs agents seize 10 tons of settlement cantaloupe in Bethlehem
Ma’an, 03 May

Iran’s top official: Azerbaijan and Iran security relations develop at high level: (INTERVIEW) with Iran’s Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar
Trend.az, 03 May

Withdrawal of Sri Lanka Army forces from Jaffna peninsula to be reconsidered
TamilNet, 03 May

KYRGYZSTAN: Provocators in South Kyrgyzstan
24.kg, 03 May
– – More Kyrgyzstan – –
US$100,000 Bounty offered for ex-Kyrgyz leader, lesser bounties for others
Itar-Tass, 03 May

Chinese companies interested in Armenian telecommunications and IT market
PanArmenian, 03 May

Briefing: Afghan-ISAF Operations in Kabul, Kandahar, Helmand
ISAF Afgh., 02 May

IRAQ: Christians targeted in Mosul blasts
Al Jazeera, 02 May

Indonesia to install radars to monitor Ambalat, Tahuna waters
ANTARA, 02 May

Top Israeli Banker Predicts EUR Collapse
Novinite, 02 May

The former Governor of the Bank of Israel, Yaakov Frenkel, predicts a collapse of the single European currency, the EUR, in the next 3 years.

Iran manufactures anti-cruise missile system
Mehr, 02 May

Afghan mujahideen military operations against the kafirs, munafiqs and the worshippers of Idols
UnjustMedia, 02 May

Fiddling with election results catastrophic for Iraq, says official
Azzaman, 01 May

The Russian giant GAZPROM moved to Djibouti
Horn Trade, 30 Apr

[End.]

Categories: Uncategorized