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These New Developments Could Be Paving The Way For Military Action In Iran

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An Iranian Ghader missile launched at the shore of sea of Oman.

Robert Johnson

There are so many snippets of rhetoric being reported about Iran, Israel and the U.S. that it’s begun to feel like a middle school circle of “he said, she said.”

Piecing together sound bites to form a rough idea of what’s actually going on is about the only option available right now, so when Leon Panetta announced yesterday that he thinks Israel may strike Iran this spring it immediately made the news.

David Ignatius at The Washington Post reported Panetta’s thoughts Thursday when the Secretary of Defense said he believed Israel would launch an attack on Iran in April, May or June.

After that, Israel allegedly believes Tehran will enter a “zone of immunity” where they will have enough enriched uranium, stashed in bunkers deep enough, that only U.S. bombs will be able to penetrate and they will be helpless to act on their own.

Ignatius did not cite a source, but reported the news from Brussels where Panetta was attending a NATO Defense meeting.

It’s a reasonable argument that is bolstered by the fact that Israel cancelled its massive missile defense drill with the U.S., slated for the same period, saying that they couldn’t spare the forces at that time. The drill is said to be back on the books for October.

For its part, Iran is doing nothing to assuage any concerns over its intentions as it launched a satellite into orbit Friday.

Nasser Karimi at the Associated Press reports the launch raises concerns not only for the satellites possible military applications, but because the rocket that delivered it uses the same technology as a ballistic missile would use. Say, an inter-continental ballistic missile fitted with a nuclear warhead.

Israel announced Thursday that Iran is developing technology that will enable it to launch such a missile that will reach the continental United States. This satellite launch only reinforces this possibility.

In an official announcement the Iranian supreme leader warned any action against Iran will have dire effects on the U.S.

CNN reports that Iran’s supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameni announced “You see every now and then in this way they say that all options are on the table. That means even the option of war.” During Friday prayers in Tehran, he continued, “This is how they make threats against us.”

“Well, these kinds of threats are detrimental to the U.S.,” he said. “The war itself will be 10 times as detrimental to the U.S.”

The Ayatollah went on to say that Iran pledges its full support to any country or organization that attacks Israel and that the U.S. and Israel will soon face defeats in a coming “great event.”

In a random aside: A South African telecom is being sued for aiding Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for an exclusive cellular license within the country.

Read more: BI

Check Out The Stunning Vessels One Startup Conceived To House Entrepreneurs Who Can’t Get A Visa

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Julie Zeveloff

Entrepreneurs from around the world want to gain a toehold in Silicon Valley, but not all of them have access.

That’s where Blueseed, a Peter Thiel-backed startup based in Sunnyvale, Calif., comes in.

The company aims to sidestep the U.S. current regulations by building vessels that would float in international waters near Silicon Valley and serve as technology incubators for entrepreneurs who can’t get visas to do business in the U.S., according to a recent AP article.

Blueseed says on its website that it plans to launch the so-called “Googleplex of the seas” in the third quarter of 2013. In addition to living spaces, the ship will be equipped with cafeterias, recreation facilities and ferry service to the San Francisco area.

Prices for a basic room are expected to start at $1,200 per month.

Blueseed shared some of their latest renderings with us–for that price, how do they stack up against current living accommodations in Silicon Valley?

Click here to see the vessels >

Mexico’s cartels build own national radio system

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By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, December 26, 4:26 PM

MEXICO CITY — When convoys of soldiers or federal police move through the scrubland of northern Mexico, the Zetas drug cartel knows they are coming.

The alert goes out from a taxi driver or a street vendor, equipped with a high-end handheld radio and paid to work as a lookout known as a “halcon,” or hawk.The radio signal travels deep into the arid countryside, hours by foot from the nearest road. There, the 8-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) dark-green branches of the rockrose bush conceal a radio tower painted to match. A cable buried in the dirt draws power from a solar panel. A signal-boosting repeater relays the message along a network of powerful antennas and other repeaters that stretch hundreds of miles (kilometers) across Mexico, a shadow communications system allowing the cartel to coordinate drug deliveries, kidnapping, extortion and other crimes with the immediacy and precision of a modern military or law-enforcement agency.

The Mexican army and marines have begun attacking the system, seizing hundreds of pieces of communications equipment in at least three operations since September that offer a firsthand look at a surprisingly far-ranging and sophisticated infrastructure.

Current and former U.S. law-enforcement officials say the equipment, ranging from professional-grade towers to handheld radios, was part of a single network that until recently extended from the U.S. border down eastern Mexico’s Gulf coast and into Guatemala.

The network allowed Zetas operatives to conduct encrypted conversations without depending on the official cellphone network, which is relatively easy for authorities to tap into, and in many cases does not reach deep into the Mexican countryside.

“They’re doing what any sensible military unit would do,” said Robert Killebrew, a retired U.S. Army colonel who has studied the Mexican drug cartels for the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. “They’re branching out into as many forms of communications as possible.”

The Mexican army said on Dec. 4 that it had seized a total of at least 167 antennas, 155 repeaters, 166 power sources, 71 pieces of computer equipment and 1,446 radios. The equipment has been taken down in several cities in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz and the northern states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas.

The network was built around 2006 by the Gulf cartel, a narcotics-trafficking gang that employed a group of enforcers known as the Zetas, who had defected from Mexican army special forces. The Zetas split from the Gulf cartel in 2010 and have since become one of the nation’s most dominant drug cartels, with profitable sidelines in kidnapping, extortion and human trafficking.

The network’s mastermind was Jose Luis Del Toro Estrada, a communications expert known as Tecnico who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine in federal court in Houston, Texas, two years ago.

Using millions of dollars worth of legally available equipment, Del Toro established the system in most of Mexico’s 31 states and parts of northern Guatemala under the orders of the top leaders in the Gulf cartel and the Zetas. The Gulf cartel boss in each drug-smuggling territory, or plaza, was responsible for buying towers and repeaters as well as equipping his underlings with radios, according to Del Toro’s plea agreement.

Source

Turkey: Greenpeace Activists Climb Aboard Leiv Eiriksson Rig

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(AP) –  Greenpeace says its activists have climbed aboard an oil rig to prevent its departure for Greenland to begin drilling in the Arctic.

The environmental group said Friday activists used speedboats to intercept and climb aboard the Leiv Eiriksson as it left Istanbul. The group said activists had unfurled a banner reading: “Stop Arctic destruction.”

Greenpeace said activists were prepared to occupy the rig for days. It said the oil rig, operated by Cairn Energy, has “a very short window in which to drill their four new exploratory wells” due to extreme weather conditions in the Arctic.

Leiv Eiriksson, one of the world’s largest rigs, had been exploring possible oil and gas in the Black Sea under a joint venture between Turkey and Brazil’s Petrobras.

The Associated Press

Original Article

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