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The latest news from Robert Johnson on Business Insider

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    B-2

    The single wing B-2 has been stealthily slipping through skies for over 20 years, but until now its ability to carry nuclear munitions was limited.

    That all changes with a report from the Senate Armed Services Committee on Strategic Forces that lays out a plan to arm the B-2A stealth bomber with a state-of-the-art nuclear cruise missile, still in development.

    The Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO) has been testing well for months. It should be, considering the best minds at Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northropp Grumman, and Raytheon have been working together to perfect the LRSO. Even DARPA had its hand in the plan for a missile like this to be fielded sometime over the next few years.

    The U.S. is concerned that as technologies advance over the coming years, stealth will slip into the background and jets will require a "standoff capability" .

    FAS Strategic Security Blog has a good full write-up on the topic if interested in learning more.

    SEE ALSO: Whether the US needs another B2 bomber >

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    Assad

    Fighting in Syria has been relentless for more than two years. During this time as many as 120,000 people have been killed, including many women, children, and other civilians who wanted nothing to do with any sort of fighting.

    It's news that's gone on for so long, with so little response, that it's become easier to glaze over each new atrocity than to pay attention to any of them.

    Monday's tally of up to 500 dead is the largest single day total of the entire war, and it should also be the one incident that makes everyone stop and ask what we can do to help these people. Opposition leaders confirm 109 dead with up to 400 more suspected fatalities as the body count continues to climb.

    Nearly five days ago, Assad's forces surrounded a small suburb west of his Damascus stronghold, where some rebels had taken refuge among civilians. His forces shut off all power and water before shelling the town with artillery and sending in loyalist forces to do what they would, according to the Washington Post.

    Amid the shooting and the mayhem, Assad's troops took time to loot stores and systematically execute the few opposition members who found medical care in the makeshift hospital, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based activist group. Once the town was fully in their grasp, Assad's forces allegedly paraded dead bodies on open trucks through the western part of the capital.

    The massacre took place in a working class suburb called Jdeidet al-Fadel that has the misfortune of sitting beneath the hilltop base of Assad's elite sect of Alawite forces.

    Assad's family belongs to the Alawite sect, along with just about 12 percent of Syria's 3 million citizens. A small number of people who've ruled the country for 50 years and will not let go of power until someone takes it from them.

    Perhaps the time is coming when we'll see who that might be.

    The U.S. has 200 troops en route to the Syrian border in Jordan, and could bump that number up to 20,000 if it decides to intervene. It's the first official American move toward direct Syrian involvement.

    With Israel's Tuesday announcement that Assad is increasing his use of nerve gas on the rebels, there's no doubt officials there are increasingly concerned at what may become of Syria's massive chemical stockpiles. 

    It's a concern that has prompted Israel to ask for and receive use of Jordanian airspace for its drone operations into Syria.

    Armed, but geared for surveillance, the UAV's could be a genuine asset should the world finally decide to intervene in a long and bloody conflict most people just want to ignore.

    SEE ALSO: Assad's Killing Of Syrian Civilians Has Reached Barbaric Proportions

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    SEAL Night VisionIts been a banner decade for modern military fighting. In 2010 alone there were more than 70 armed conflicts across the globe from Sangin to Ingushetia.

    As different as each of them were, they all had one thing in common, at some point one side wanted more troops.

    Most battles eventually come down to boots on the ground and rifles in the field. So when commanders are building their ranks it's often with professional soldiers who know how to fight, and get paid well to do it.

    The idea of a mercenary may seem a bit quaint in the 21st century, but those forces make a difference and are often all that stands between a leader and his fate.

    Security giant G4S is the second-largest private employer on earth

    With more than 625,000 employees, this listed security giant is the second-largest private employer in the world (behind Wal-Mart). While some of its business is focused on routine bank, prison and airport security, G4S also plays an important role in crisis-zones right around the world.

    In 2008, G4S swallowed up Armorgroup, whose 9,000-strong army of guards has protected about one third of all non-military supply convoys in Iraq (it's also notorious for its wild parties and for having Afghan warlords on its payroll).

    But the combined group has a security presence in more than 125 countries, including some of the most dangerous parts of Africa and Latin America, where it offers government agencies and private companies heavily-armed security forces, land-mine clearance, military intelligence and training.



    Unity Resources Group is active in the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and Asia

    With more than 1,200 staff worldwide, the Australian-owned Unity Resources has been able to grow its presence in Iraq as sovereign armies withdraw. Its management consists of veterans from Australia, the U.S. and Great Britain.

    The private military firm is best-known for guarding the Australian embassy in Baghdad, where, as of 2010, it had trained Chilean soldiers to man gates and machine-gun nests. Unity personnel were also responsible for two controversial car shootings in Iraq: one killed an Australian professor, another resulted in the deaths of two civilian women.

    Outside Iraq, Unity has assisted with security during parliamentary elections in Lebanon and helped evacuate private oil companies from crisis zones in Bahrain. The firm also operates throughout Africa, the Americas, Central Asia and Europe.



    Erinys has guarded most of Iraq's vital oil assets

    Erinys has also followed U.S. State Department contracts to Iraq. Its biggest mission in recent years took 16,000 of its guards to 282 locations around the country, where they protected key oil pipelines and other energy assets.

    The group also maintains a presence in Africa, where it has traditionally focused its operations. Erinys was recently awarded two contracts in the Republic of Congo, for security at major iron ore and oil and gas projects. 



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    Shultz Tunnel VT

    Virginia Tech has long been rumored to have a mess of steam tunnels running beneath its grounds from one end of campus to the other.

    Since entering the VT tunnels is illegal — and dangerous — it is not easy to find reliable information about the underground system. That is, until a reader pointed me to a site on what is known as "The Deep Web."

    The Deep Web runs sites on an anonymous browser that is designed to keep surfing and hosting somewhat private. (Learn all about it here from Business Insider's Dylan Love)

    The Deep Web site "Beneath VT" may be the most comprehensive authority on the VT tunnels online. It also seems to be the most discreet way to Web search "tunnel entrances" on the school's network, since campus authorities seem to take this pretty seriously. According to "Beneath VT," those who dare to venture into the tunnels face imprisonment or expulsion.  

    Before we see what's under there, let's go over some of the risks, courtesy of "Beneath VT":

    Beneath VT: Dangers

    Steam tunneling carries many risks. It's not a game ... Here are some of the perils that may await you if you choose to explore the steam tunnels.

    Capture

    The greatest danger you are likely to face. It's illegal to enter the steam tunnels, a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, which means you can be fined up to $2500 or even face up to 12 months in jail.

    It's also against university policy, although the tunnels are not mentioned specifically. If caught, you could be warned, suspended, or even expelled.

    The Virginia Tech Police department will follow you into the tunnels if they see you entering them. Even if they don't, someone could call in a report and they will be waiting for you when you leave.

    Death

    Steam tunnels are not safe places; there are large drops and it's very easy to injure yourself if you're not careful. Do not let your guard down; be careful where you step, do not make poor decisions about when to go exploring, and always be aware of your surroundings.

    Properly warned let's take a look at a few of the tunnels Beneath VT. First our map:

    VT Tunnel MapAgnew

    The original site has an interactive map, so it is possible to see that Agnew Hall is just southwest of the drill-field. This is supposed to be the safest and easiest place to access the tunnel system. The tunnels are said to be larger here than other locations and walking is not a problem, and the Agnew to Cowgill tunnel is a straight shot.

    Agnew Cowgill Tunnel VT

    Beneath VT

    Be careful when entering the tunnel; there's a ladder located on the side of the grate opposite you. Climb down, making sure to close the grate behind you, and turn to the left. (There's not much to see to the right, but feel free to check it out of you're so inclined.) You are now heading toward Davidson Hall.

    On your way, you will pass two grates on your left side. Never use these as an exit; they are on the lower Drillfield and can be easily seen from West Campus Drive and most of the Drillfield.

    The tunnel runs mostly straight until you reach Davidson, where it turns to the right and continues on straight toward Burruss. Shortly after Davidson, you will come to a mess of pipes. This is actually where the steam tunnel crosses above the Davidson-Hahn pedestrian tunnel. Continue on, but watch your head while weaseling your way through the pipes; the pipes are padded, but I wouldn't push it. The tunnel continues on straight for a bit; you will pass another grate on your left. Do not use this as an exit either. It's the grate in front of Pamplin and can be easily seen from the Drillfield. Shortly after the grate, you should see some steps. At this point, you will be under Burruss Hall. After the steps, the tunnel will turn to the left.

    There will be some steps down, then you will enter a smaller section of tunnel that is very hot. If you continue straight, you will pass a ladder down to the subtunnel that runs toward Hahn North and passes Derring on the way. Be warned, though that the ladder is quite warm, so you will probably want to wear gloves. This subtunnel is very hot, so you won't want to spend long down there. If you continue down the tunnel, you will notice a subtunnel heading toward Derring on your right, behind some pipes. You'll have to squeeze under them if you want to check it out. Although I have not been down this subtunnel myself, I have heard that there is a locked gate down this tunnel which blocks entry into Derring's basement.

    Cassell-Barringer

    Whoever maintains the site is as thorough as they are thoughtful. Each of the 10 tunnel sections comes with directions, points of interest, instructions on entering and exiting without being seen, and a degree of difficulty. The Cassell-Barringer section of tunnel is said to be the most challenging. This run is the easternmost red line on the map, with Cassel the southern end point.

    Cassel Barringer VT Tunnels

    Beneath VT:

    I wouldn't recommend this run; it's pretty cramped and hot. It's definitely not for beginners.

    You can enter this run at the grate in front of Cassell. It's behind the big pine tree on the left side of the front of the building if you are standing with your back to Dietrick. The grate does not move quite as easily as some of the other grates, but it still works. It's a bit loud though, so make sure there's no one around.

    After you climb down the ladder, you will find yourself in a pretty cool entrance room. There's a lot of graffiti in here. You'll want to be careful of the hot water coming from the machine behind the ladder, though. It could easily give you a nasty burn ... Continue on across Washington Street. It's a tight squeeze in some places, but it's going to be like that for the rest of the run, so just get used to it.

    Eventually, you will find yourself at a turn in the tunnel. Above you is the manhole near Barringer; it looks like they had to change the height of the manhole at one point, so there are actually two sets of ladders. It's pretty cool.

    It is definitely safer to explore the tunnels using this site than without it. Along with Trip Logs and Links, the site offers an email address hosted on an aboveboard dot com site.

    We'll keep that address off here and the host's privacy as untarnished as possible.

    SEE ALSO: Creepy Pictures From The Hidden 5th Floor Of A North Korean Hotel

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    USS FREEDOM

    The Navy's troubled Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS FREEDOM has sailed to Singapore on its first deployment and into another host of potential problems.

    Andrea Shalal-Esa at Reuters reports the ship was tested by Navy hackers for cyber-vulnerabilities when it first arrived for its eight month tour abroad. The tests showed "vulnerabilities", but the Navy isn't letting that get in the way of its first official deployment.

    The LCS is designed to perform close to shore and with as little crew as possible while relying on its mammoth central computer. The computer accepts interchangeable mission packages (MPs), or modules, designed for various types of missions. They're supposed to aid in everything from navigation to tactics.

    All of which is great, but with a skeleton crew of 40 sailors manning a nearly 400 foot ship, that networking ability is key to the vessel's mission and survival. And if the network gets hacked it could raise no end of issues and concerns.

    The Navy says details of the test are classified and do nothing to compromise the 52 LCS' it plans to buy over the coming years.

    SEE ALSO: The Navy's $700 Million Littoral Combat Ship Can Do Amazing Things, But It Keeps Breaking Down >

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    North Korea

    With North Korea in so many of today's headlines and little idea what's genuine and what isn't, we were reminded of the little known fifth floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel.

    The Yanggakdo is North Korea's largest hotel and the second tallest building in the country. It towers over Pyongyang, but it also harbors a secret.

    The fifth floor is missing from the elevator panel, and while it can be accessed by stairs, it's off-limits to hotel guests.

    The restriction didn't keep BI contributor Calvin Sun from venturing onto the forbidden floor with the video camera he smuggled through customs. "I had a FlipHD and told them it was my 2nd music player. It worked," he wrote on his travel blog Monsoon Diaries.

    Over four trips during his two-night stay, Sun and his companions found their way to the fifth floor and posted what they found.

    The unlisted level may be a communications compound where Party members monitor hotel rooms via video and phone taps, but the thing about North Korea is you just never know. 

    47 floors with a revolving restaurant



    The Yanggakdo Hotel has a secret accessible only by stairs



    The 5th floor of the hotel is a concrete bunker



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    GTMO Delta Guard Tower

    There's no getting around the dark history of Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The U.S. military facility in Cuba was where America first embraced indefinite detention and, by many reports, torture.

    After more than a decade of operations, however, many say that conditions have improved.

    We had that impression after visiting the camp for five days in March. Although our tour of the facility was controlled by the military, we came away with the feeling that compliant detainees receive better treatment than most prisoners in the United States. For non-compliant detainees, like the 92 going on hunger strike right now, conditions remain highly restrictive.

    As for torture, the Obama administration has ordered that it stop — believe what you will.

    Indefinite detention? America is no longer adding detainees but has not figured out what to do with the ones that are already there.

    What's really happening at Guantanamo? We invite you to look over our pictures and form your own opinion.

    This single airstrip on the southwestern edge of Cuba is one of the only ways into Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.



    The detention camp was opened in 2002 to hold captives from America's War On Terror. Images of prisoners in orange jumpsuits from the temporary facility at Camp X-Ray are what most people picture when they think of Guantanamo.



    Camp Delta succeeded X-Ray as a more long-term place to hold up to 612 detainees.



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    John Robertson Unclaimed

    The new documentary "Unclaimed" purports to introduce the world to former Army Sergeant John Robertson, lost over in Vietnam in 1968 and left behind for over four decades. 

    The Toronto Star reports Edmonton filmmaker Michael Jorgenson found Robertson, 76, living in a rural Vietnam village stooped with age, unable to speak English, remember his birthday or names of the children he left behind in the U.S.

    It's a story difficult to believe considering the U.S. military places such a priority on bringing every service member home, whenever possible. 

    Jorgenson told The Star he was also skeptical when Vietnam vet Tom Faunce came to him and explained a man he'd found in Vietnam was a former "Army brother" listed as killed in action and forgotten. He says he became convinced only after going to Vietnam and meeting Robertson himself.

    What he found was revealed to filmgoers in an invitation-only screening of "Unclaimed" at a Toronto theater earlier this month.

    From The Star:

    There is physical proof of Robertson’s birthplace, collected in dramatic fashion onscreen; a tearful meeting in Vietnam with a soldier who was trained by Robertson in 1960 and said he knew him on sight; and a heart-wrenching reunion with his only surviving sister — 80-year-old Jean Robertson-Holly — in Edmonton in December 2012 that left the audience at the Toronto screening wiping away tears.

    Jorgenson encountered so much resistance from the U.S. military making his film that he says he's convinced one "high-placed government source" was telling the truth when he said, “It’s not that the Vietnamese won’t let him (Robertson) go; it’s that our government doesn’t want him.” 

    Wringing out the details and talking to Robertson's American family seems to have been a gut-wrenching affair. The children whose names he couldn't recall declined DNA testing at the last minute with no explanation.

    None of that mattered to Robertson who says he fulfilled his wish of  seeing his American kids one more time before he dies.

    Robertson is now back in Vietnam, with no desire to leave. "Unclaimed" opens in the U.S. May 12, at the G.I. Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

    Apparently not everyone believes Robertson is who claims, and there's a movement among ex-Special Forces troops to prove it. The web page here was forwarded to us by someone claiming to be a 21-year Special Forces vet. We'll dig into it a bit more to see what else we can find out.

    SEE ALSO: Photos of Vietnam as it was and as it is today >

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    Dubai Bus

    A 28-year-old female sailor on shore leave in Dubai stopped a bus driver from allegedly trying to rape her by putting him in a stranglehold with her thighs, prosecutors told a court this week.

    UPDATE: It was initially reported in several outlets that the sailor was in the U.S. Navy. The Navy checked up and found no records of a female sailor in Dubai. The Navy Times report states it's likely that she was an American civilian Mariner, but officials are still unsure.

    The 21-year-old driver has been charged with attempted rape and illegally consuming alcohol but claims to remember nothing of the incident, reports Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.

    Prosecutors say the woman was trying to hail a cab after leaving the Mall of the Emirates when a bus pulled up instead.

    She says she climbed in, but became suspicious when the driver left a main road and took an alternate route to her destination, The National reported.

    When she asked him about it the man allegedly told her "Not to worry," and drove another 10 minutes before stopping in an area filled with parked buses.

    When the Pakistani driver, called KS in court papers filed Wednesday, allegedly came back and tried to kiss her, she knocked a knife from his hand and wrestled him to the ground.

    After putting him the stranglehold, she fled and reported the incident to her commander at Port Khalid. Her blood and hair were found on the bus, according to The National.

    SEE ALSO: What blew us away aboard the US Navy Destroyer USS BARRY >

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    Syrian Weapons Plant MapThe Free Syrian Army (FSA) reports that Israeli fighter jets slipped into Damascus over the weekend and bombed a chemical weapons depot outside the city.

    Neither Damascus nor Jerusalem have yet confirmed the attack, according to UPI.

    According to The Jewish Press (JP) "many" reports came in over the weekend confirming the mission. Sources told the JP Israeli jets arrived over Damascus early Saturday morning and circled Assad's presidential compound before moving on to target the weapons site.

    The Israeli jets reportedly received fire but returned to base unscathed.

    The Lebanese Daily Star confirms heavy FSA fighting occurred near the plant, the Scientific Studies and Research Center, but troops lacked the resources to breach the heavily fortified site.

    Back in January, Israel bombed a Syrian convoy that may have departed from this center.

    Regardless of the details, it appears to have been another deadly weekend in Syria.

    The country's Network for Human Rights reports 88 deaths on Sunday aloneincluding 12 children, eight women, five torture victims and 35 armed rebels. The organization said 23 of the deaths occurred in Aleppo, 16 in and around Damascus, 13 in Idlib, 12 in Hama, 10 in Homs, and nine in Daraa.

    Update: Confirmation of the attack from Israel is yet to be released. El Arabiya reports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed his ministers to stay silent on anything relating to Syria.

    Fox News posted a video interview with Israeli ambassador to the the U.S. Michael Oren, who offers what may be the reason we never receive any confirmation from Jerusalem at all, even if the strike actually occurred:

    "[R]emoving the threat posed by Syria's chemical weapons stockpile by military force "is very, very complex."

    "Even under international law, if you strike a chemical weapons base and there is collateral damage to civilians it is as if you, the attacker, used chemical weapons," he said.

    What that could mean is that if the strike happened it was likely with tacit U.S. approval, or it never went down at all.

    We'll keep looking for any additional information from the FSA and other sources.

    SEE ALSO: An exclusive tour of the most notorious prison on earth >

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    North Korean Missile LaunchA South Korean government official says North Korea may be coordinating a large-scale military exercise near the port city of Nampho about 30 miles from Pyongyang.

    The single unnamed government official, who spoke to South Korean news outlet Yonhap says, "It appears that the scale of the drill will be quite big. There is no way to tell when it will actually kick off, but there is a chance the North may opt to launch short range missiles as part of its show of force."

    The London Times reports the exercise will be a major combination of land and sea forces executing drills along the Yellow Sea coast.

    The Guardian reports the same thing, suggesting aircraft and artillery units may already be underway to the region but points out no solid evidence for the exercise yet exists.

    Much of the North's military is currently occupied with spring farming, but given its fiery rhetoric in recent weeks, South Korea is remaining vigilant.

    Tomorrow 50 southern workers are leaving their jobs at the North's Kaesong Industrial Complex. When they're gone, the South expects Pyongyang to again ratchet up military tensions along their shared border.

    Regardless of what the North does or doesn't wind up doing in the coming days, it will likely spin its actions internally as part of a response to recent U.S. military actions in the region.

    The U.S. and South Korea just concluded, the two-month Foal Eagle joint military exercise. Foal Eagle is the largest annual joint maneuver, involving the two long time allies.

    Stars and Stripes points out that this year's exercise proved unusually "brazen."U.S. Forces Korea said in March that allied troops in the area would not be "bullied" by the North. The U.S. followed this statement up with bringing nuclear capable B-52 bombers and a nuclear attack submarine into the region.

    With nearly 30,000 allied troops exercising off its borders, the North could use an exercise of its own to claim it ended the U.S. exercise with a show of force. 

    We'll follow the situation and report on any significant developments.

    SEE ALSO: An exclusive tour of the world's most notorious prison >

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    New footage from a recent attack against Coptic churchgoers in Cairo appears to show police allowing and even participating in the violence.

    First obtained by Mid-East Christian News, the clip shows police standing by while men attack St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral with guns, machetes, and rocks. At one point (2:30), an officer appears to help a gunman take aim, notes Fox News.

    Two Copts were killed in the April 7 attack, while 84 people were injured, including 11 police officers.

     

     

    There are more than 8 million Egyptian Coptics.

    When we were at St Mark's earlier this month — a few days before the attack — it was hard to miss the heavy security and fear of an attack just like this.

    Located in the Abbassia District of Cairo, the cathedral is part of a larger compound behind by high walls and arced steel spikes.

    The entrance is manned by guards who search every visitor. Despite arriving with local press, we were assigned an escort who didn't leave our side until we left the property.

    The Egyptian Coptic church faces a tenuous situation following the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood after the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

    It does not bode well that police aren't protecting them from violence. Of course, some Egyptian police refuse to stop any crime at all

    The following photos were taken at St. Mark's six days before the deadly April 7 attack.

    Cairo Coptic Church

    Built when Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria led the Coptic Church from 1959 - 1971, St. Mark's remains the seat of the Coptic Pope and the heart of the order that has more than 8 million Egyptian members.

    Cairo Coptic Church

    Theological students study here to become Coptic priests and to learn the Coptic language, history, and rituals.

    Cairo Coptic Church

    Also within the compound is the small church, Abba Rowais, which is still used today by followers and visited by tourists. 

    Cairo Coptic Church

    A classic example of Coptic Architecture, St. Mark's holds up to 5,000 worshipers.

    Cairo Coptic Church

    Visitors are searched at the entrance before getting into this tranquil place.

    Cairo Coptic Church

    And the perimeter of the property is lined with high walls topped with imposing steel spikes.

    SEE ALSO: How bad Cairo really is seen from riots in Tahrir Square >

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    Guantanamo Detainee Medical Center

    The hunger strike and Guantanamo Bay is getting serious.

    A unsettling account of how it has grown is seen in the following document released by  public affairs office at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba the morning of May 1:

    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

    Caveats: NONE

    As of Wednesday, May 1, 2013, we have a detainee population of 166, and we currently have 100 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 23 receiving enteral feeds (feeding tubes). Four detainees receiving enteral feeds are being observed in the detainee hospital. The detainees in the hospital do not currently have any life-threatening conditions.

    This is a change from Tuesday, April 30, 2013, when we had 100 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 21 receiving enteral feeds. Five detainees receiving enteral feeds were being observed in the detainee hospital. These were the same numbers as Monday, April 29 and Sunday, April 28, 2013.

    On Saturday, April 27, 2013, we had 100 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 20 receiving enteral feeds. Five detainees were receiving enteral feeds were observed in the detainee hospital.

    On Friday, April 26, 2013, we had 97 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 19 receiving enteral feeds. Five detainees receiving enteral feeds were being observed in the detainee hospital.

    On Thursday, April 25, 2013, we had 94 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 17 receiving enteral feeds. Three detainees receiving enteral feeds were being observed in the detainee hospital.

    On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, we had 92 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 17 receiving enteral feeds. Two detainees receiving enteral feeds were being observed in the detainee hospital.

    On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, we had 84 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 17 receiving enteral feeds. Four detainees receiving enteral feeds are being observed in the detainee hospital.

    On Monday, April 22, 2013, we had 84 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 16 receiving enteral feeds. Six detainees receiving enteral feeds were being observed in the detainee hospital.

    On April 21, 2013, we had 84 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 16 receiving enteral feeds and only Five detainees receiving enteral feeds being observed in the detainee hospital.

    On Saturday, April 20, 2013, we had 77 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 16 receiving enteral feeds. Five detainees receiving enteral feeds being observed in the detainee hospital.

    On Friday, April 19, 2013, we had 63 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 15 receiving enteral feeds. Four detainees receiving enteral feeds were being observed in the detainee hospital.

    On Wednesday, April 17, 2013, we had 52 detainees tracked as hunger strikers and Tuesday, April 16, when we had 45 detainees tracked as hunger strikers, with 13 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Friday, April 12, 2013, through Tuesday April 9, 2013, we had 43 hunger strikers and 11 receiving enteral feeds

    On Monday, April 8, 2013, through Saturday, April 6, 2013 we had 42, hunger strikers which was an increase from Friday, April 5, 2013 when we had 41 hunger strikers.

    On Thursday, April 4, 2013 through Tuesday, April 2, 2013 we had 40 hunger strikers and 11 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Monday, April 1, 2013, we had 39 hunger strikers and 11 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Friday, March 29, 2013, a 37 hunger strikers and 11 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Thursday, March 28, 2013, we had 33 hunger strikers and 11 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Wednesday, March 27, 2013 and Tuesday, March 26, 2013, we had 31 hunger strikers and 11 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Monday, March 25, 2013 we had 28 hunger strikers and 10 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Friday, March 22, 2013, we had 26 hunger strikers, with 8 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Thursday, March 21, 2013 we had 25 hunger strikers with 8 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Tuesday March 19, 2013 through Wednesday, March 20, 2013 we tracked 24 hunger strikers with 8 receiving enteral feeds.

    On Monday, March 18, 2013 we tracked 21 hunger strikers with 8 enteral feeds, and Friday, 15 March, we tracked 14 hunger strikers with 8 enteral feeds.

    SEE ALSO: An exclusive tour of Guantanamo prison >

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    Dang Than Ngoc

    The subject the new documentary "Unclaimed" purports to be U.S. soldier John Hartley Robertson, who was lost over Vietnam more than 44 years ago. But damning evidence suggests the man, actually a Vietnamese citizen named Dang Than Ngoc, has been lying about his identity for years.

    That evidence includes FBI fingerprint analysis, a recorded admission several years ago by Ngoc, and DNA testing.

    In "Unclaimed," Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Jorgensen follows Vietnam veteran Tom Faunce into the depths of Vietnam to meet the man Faunce claims to be Sergeant First Class (SFC) John Hartley Robertson. A U.S. Army Special Forces soldier lost in 1968 when his helicopter came under heavy fire and crashed in the tropical southeast Asian jungle.

    Witness reports at the time of the crash said the chopper hit the forest canopy and went up in flames in a crash that left little hope for survivors. Jorgensen claimed to be skeptical when he first heard Robertson is now 76-years-old and living the simple life of a rural Vietnamese peasant.

    But Jorgensen's doubt faded when he accepted the project from Faunce and watched SFC Robertson's family meet the man they last saw nearly four-and-a-half decades before. The filmmaker said Robertson's sister Jena, now 80, had no doubt about the man she met saying he was her brother and her response helped ease any remaining doubts.

    Jorgensen told The Toronto Star Jean said, "'I was certain it was him in the video, but when I held his head in my hands and looked in his eyes, there was no question that was my brother.’”

    This despite Robertson's sister Jean Robertson-Holly's insistence DNA testing of Robertson is "unnecessary" and Robertson's American wife and two children's refusal to participate in DNA testing

    Jean's daughter Gail Metcalf, representing the Robertson family in a story to Macleans, said the government never contacted the family for DNA samples

    Tom Faunce

    Jorgensen is not the first to look for Robertson, and apparently reach conclusions about Dang Than Ngoc.  

    Agencies such as the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) - that works through the Office of the Secretary Defense - first received photographs and video of the man claiming to be Robertson in 2002.

    Jessica Pierno, Public Affairs Director of DPMO, told us during a phone interview on April 30, "The man in the film is not Sergeant Robertson. He's a Vietnamese citizen and his name is Dang Than Ngoc."

    Pierno knows this because she tells us that FBI fingerprint analysis determined Ngoc's fingerprints do not match Robertson's and that Armed Forces DNA samples from Robertson also failed to match Ngoc's. Pierno also states that Ngoc himself admitted to investigators seven years ago that he was lying about being Robertson.

    Pierno says that admission was recorded at the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City by one of several Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) investigation teams assigned to Ngoc's case throughout the years. 

    Someone else familiar with Ngoc's story is Lieutenant Colonel Todd Emoto (Ret.)
    commander of the Joint Prisoner of War Accounting Command in Hanoi from 2008 to 2010.

    "In the two years I oversaw that office there were at least half-a-dozen investigations into the [Ngoc] case," Emoto told Business Insider in a phone interview from his home in Washington.

    Even though a case has already been looked into and found baseless, the U.S. John Hartley Robertsongovernment mandates that a fresh investigation be initiated "every single time, no matter what," Emoto said.

    "I mean this guy was a frequent flier at our office," the colonel said, his voice rising. "It totally blows my mind that he's gotten this far. He forgot how to speak English and his kid's names? Who falls for that?"

    Emoto said the ruse of impersonating a missing servicemember is a common guise used in Vietnam to rob tourists of their cash. 

    Michael Jorgensen told The Toronto Star that one high-placed government source told him, "It’s not that the Vietnamese won’t let him (Robertson) go; it’s that our government doesn’t want him.”

    Jorgensen went on to tell The Star that he believes audiences in America,

    "...where they don’t hold anything higher than service to the country,” will “lose their minds” when 'Unclaimed' screens at the G.I. Film Festival in Washington, D.C., in May. “They’ll come unglued.”

    “Why did the Americans leave him there for all those years?” Are there other John Hartley Robertsons in Vietnam?" Jorgensen suggests a conspiracy as MacLeans mentions in its piece on the movie. "Robertson’s case is cloaked in an elaborate cover-up by the U.S. military." 

    But the filmmaker is clear on the fact Ngoc/Robertson does not wish to return to the U.S.

    “There’s maybe a bit of a misconception; everybody assumes: ‘Well, obviously, he wants to come back to North America,’” noted Jorgensen. “But at this point he’s happier being back there, taking care of his wife, to whom he feels an incredible amount of loyalty, and their kids.”

    But the likelihood that Ngoc wants to stay in Vietnam probably isn't because he's necessarily "happier" being there, its more likely he was refused entry by the U.S. Government. Jessica Pierno tells us that "wrangling a visa is often part of the con and the U.S. Government doesn't give them [VISAS] to people lying about being MIA special forces soldiers."

    The tearful climax of the documentary, the "re-union" where Robertson's family meet Ngoc, was filmed in Canada, not the United States.

    The doubt and controversy surrounding "Unclaimed" is no surprise to president of the GI Film Festival, Brandon Millett. "We are certainly aware of the controversy surrounding the film," Millett told us in an emai. He added that many former Prisoners Of War (POWs) believe, "the man in the film claiming to be a POW is not telling the truth."

    Those POWs will have growing company. 

    As reports have started coming out refuting Ngoc's credibility, and have started calling him a fraud, Jorgensen has begun backtracking by saying that the film is really about Faunce's consuming search for Robertson, and not that he believes they actually found Robertson in Vietnam.

    The evidence stacked against him, Jorgensen will have to face many hard questions as to why he would make this documentary in the first place and to subject the real Robertson family to false hope, even in the face of the mountains of evidence against Dang Than Ngoc. 

    SEE ALSO: An exclusive look at the most notorious prison on earth >

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    KC 135The Kyrgyzstan emergencies ministry says a U.S. Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, used to refuel military aircraft, has crashed near an American air base in the country.

    The Associated Press reports the plane went down Friday afternoon about 100 miles west of the re-named U.S. air base now called the Transit Center at Manas.

    Spencer Ackerman from Wired tweeted that three crew members were aboard the craft, but official confirmation through the Air Force has yet to be released.

    The base name was changed after a series of controversies local, as well as regional pressures to close it down, were resolved in 2010.

    Regional official, Kuralbek Khamaliyev, told the AP the tanker broke into three pieces after crashing in a deserted portion of land near the village of Chaldovar.

    The KC-135 has a solid reliability record and the last time one of the Air Force tanker's crashed was more than 14 years ago. That Air National Guard plane went down in Germany on approach after returning from a refueling mission.

    The air base at Manas was opened in December 2001 in preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom, and the refueling of jets flying over Afghanistan. 

    The base, however, has seen its share of obstacles.

    The 2005 Tulip Revolution that toppled Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev from power had no immediate affect on Manas' mission, but the country's new president demanded more money for allowing the military to continue its presence there.

    Though U.S. forces remained, the State Department received a formal eviction notice in 2009.

    Days later Russia announced $2 billion in loans and $150 million in aid to Kyrgyzstan. Experts believe the compensation from Moscow was dependent upon U.S. expulsion from the country.

    To retain use of the base U.S. officials upped the annual rent payment from about $17 million to $60 million and agreed to another $117 million in payments.

    Realizing that ridding the region of a U.S. military presence was simply a matter of cash, the Chinese government allegedly offered Kyrgyzstan $3 billion.

    Outlined in a leaked 2009 WikiLeaks cable, China did not deny the allegation.

    SEE ALSO: How the US uses the KC-135 to deliver bombs around the world >

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    Automotive dash cams are a way of life in Russia. Motorists everywhere use them to avoid extortion from corrupt traffic police and against fraudulent claims leveled by other drivers.

    Videos from the cameras surface showing everything from plane crashes, meteor strikes, and road accidents. This is the first one we've seen revealing amazing examples of human kindness.

    The feel good video of the day, it's got everything from drivers helping an old lady, a legless man, and animals get safely where they're trying to go. Thanks to BI reader Mike Pearson for sending our way. Maybe this will start a trend.

    SEE ALSO: Video of the huge meteor exploding over Russia >

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    MOP

    The 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is the largest bomb in the U.S. arsenal, and its new design is tailored specifically for striking Iran's Fordow nuclear enrichment complex.

    Fordow, buried about 300 feet beneath a mountain near the city of Qom, is believed to contain more than 2,700 centrifuges enriching uranium.

    Adam Entous and Julian Barnes at The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that not only has the MOP been refined for an Iranian strike, but it's also being used to assure Israel the U.S. can keep Tehran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.

    From WSJ:

    Several times in recent weeks, American officials, seeking to demonstrate U.S. capabilities, showed Israeli military and civilian leaders secret Air Force video of an earlier version of the bomb hitting its target in high-altitude testing, and explained what had been done to improve it, according to diplomats who were present.

    In the video, the weapon can be seen penetrating the ground within inches of its target, followed by a large underground detonation, according to people who have seen the footage.

    The upgrades include "adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision, and high-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses … [as well as] capabilities designed to counter Iran's air defenses and keep the bomb on target if the Iranians try to knock it off course."

    Initial modification of the MOP was announced in January when the Pentagon’s director of operational testing Michael Gilmore confirmed that tests conducted with the heavy GBU-57 MOP GPS-guided bomb, thought able to penetrate 200 feet of concrete before exploding, had demonstrated it was able to hit and destroy deeply buried targets.

    MOPThe enhanced MOP features tail-fin modifications to fix bugs identified in testings as well as a second fuse to destroy hardened underground targets.

    Gilmore’s said that the modifications were tested with five bomb drops from a B-2 stealth bomber on the White Sands Missile Range, conducted between June and October, and two ground tests.

    The Pentagon tells BI the B-2 is the only platform in the U.S. Air Force inventory able to carry and release its heaviest bomb, even if B-52s were used in previous tests.

    The WSJ article says the Iranian tailored MOP has yet to be dropped from an aircraft.

    "Hopefully we never have to use it," a senior U.S. official also told the WSJ. "But if we had to, it would work."

    The U.S. hopes the new MOP, and its ability to inflict significant damage on Iran, will keep Israel from launching a unilateral strike against Tehran in the near future.

    WSJ notes that U.S. intelligence agencies don't think Israel's military can deliver "a knockout blow" by itself, and that the U.S. and Israel plan to reassess the intentions of Iran's leaders after the country's June elections.

    SEE ALSO: How the US delivers bombs around the world >

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    israel

    Following a week of increased Israeli Air Force activity over Lebanon, Israel reportedly struck Syrian targets with their air force either Thursday or Friday the 26th of April.

    Initial reports said the target was a chemical weapons facility, which was under siege by rebels at the time and had sustained no reported damage. Instead, according toCNN, it looks like Israel may have struck another convoy containing possible transfer of weaponsjust like the last air strike.

    "We will do whatever is necessary to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorist organizations. We have done it in the past and we will do it if necessary in the future," an unnamed source told CNN's Sara Sidner.

    And just as they did in the last strike, Netanyahu had told his staff to remain silent on the matter.

    So it hadn't been reported by U.S. sources, until now:

    From CNN:

    U.S. and Western intelligence agencies are reviewing classified data showing Israel most likely conducted a strike in the Thursday-Friday time frame, according to both officials. This is the same time frame that the U.S. collected additional data showing Israel was flying a high number of warplanes over Lebanon.

    The strike had been called out by sources on the ground earlier this week, which the Jerusalem Post reported. Like the last strike, sources tell CNN Israel allegedly did it without ever breaking Syrian airspace — though Lebanon is less than happy about what they claim was usage of their airspace.

    Oddly enough, Free Syrian Army sources on the ground who initially reported the incident, differ in their account of the Israeli strike. They said Israeli jets circled over Assad's compound in Damascus, which is obviously in Syrian airspace.

    The Lebanese Daily Star confirmed heavy FSA fighting occurred near the plant, the Scientific Studies and Research Center, but troops lacked the resources to breach the heavily fortified site.

    READ THE ORIGINAL REPORT HERE: Report: Israel struck targets in Syria >

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    Roman Abramovich Yacht Eclipse There's rich, and then there's the superyacht rich.

    And yachts don't get any more super than Roman Abramovich's 553-foot long $1 billion plus flagship the Eclipse. 

    The Eclipse is currently docked at Manhattan's Pier 90.

    The following photos show a bit of what more than $1 billion plus buys in a personal motor yacht these days.

    Just south of this public parking lot on the roof of the Pier 90 terminal sits Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's flagship yacht, the "Eclipse."



    The Coast Guard referred us to this website where we pinpointed the ship's position and confirmed it hadn't sailed.



    536-feet long and styled after military vessels, we simply had to take a look.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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  • 05/07/13--04:08: North Korea Stands Down
  • Musudan

    For two weeks a pair of North Korean (DPRK) Musudan missiles have stood poised to blast skyward, renewing as they flew, global concern over Pyongyang's foreign policy.

    No more.

    Unnamed U.S. officials told Reuters and BBC the missiles are now on standby and according to a second source have been relocated.

    The source says the Musudan's haven't just been moved to a second launch site, but to a "nonoperational" location.

    Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters the move is part of almost a larger blossoming of DPRK good sense. "what we have seen recently," he said, 'is a provocation pause,"

    Little may have been, in part referring to what the BBC mentions here:

    "North Korea unveiled medium-range Musudan missiles during a military parade in 2010 but had not yet tested them.

    Last month, South Korea raised its alert level to 'vital threat' amid indications the North was preparing for a missile test.

    At least one ballistic missile with an estimated 3,000km (2,000-mile) range had been fueled and ready for launch, according to US and South Korean sources."

    Had the Musudan's tested successfully they would have lifted regional tensions to a new level. They have a 2,000 mile range, giving them reach to strike deeply into the South at Pyongyang's whim.

    No doubt the North realized the card it was playing with the pair of them ready to rock at a moments notice. Perhaps that's why they rolled back from launch status today before South Korean President Park Guen-hye meets with Barrack Obama at the White House.

    But of course, nobody ever got promoted speculating North Korea's next move and Daniel Russel, the senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council told reporters,

    "It's premature to make a judgment about whether the North Koreans' provocation cycle is going up, down or zigzagging. The decision to launch or not launch missiles, to conduct a provocation or to stand down or defer it, is a decision that rests with the North Koreans."

    Even a minor pause though, a deep breath to get some air and clear its head like this, is a welcome sign from the erratically run regime.

    North Korea's projected missile range is outlined below:

    North_Korean_missile_range.svg


    SEE ALSO: Secret pictures from the missing 5th floor of a Pyongyang hotel >

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