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0 Mystery Surrounds Air Force's Secretive X-37B Space Plane Landing Plan

The United States Air Force's secretive X-37B space plane has been circling Earth for more than 10 months, and there's no telling when it might come down.
As of Friday (Jan. 20), the mysterious robotic X-37B spacecraft has been aloft for 321 days, significantly outlasting its stated mission design lifetime of 270 days. But it may stay up for even longer yet, experts say, particularly if the military views this space mission — the second ever for the hush-hush vehicle — as something of an endurance test.
"Because it is an experimental vehicle, they kind of want to see what its limits are," said Brian Weeden, a technical adviser with the Secure World Foundation and a former orbital analyst with the Air Force.
A long mystery mission The Air Force launched the X-37B in March 2011, sending the reusable space plane design on its second space mission. The X-37B now zipping around our planet is known as Orbital Test Vehicle-2, or OTV-2.
Another X-37B vehicle, the OTV-1, launched in April 2010 and landed in December of that year, staying on orbit for 225 days — well under the unmanned spacecraft's supposed 270-day limit. But OTV-2 has already exceeded that limit by more than seven weeks, and the calendar keeps turning over. [ Photos of the 2nd Secret X-37B Mission ]
Racking up a lot of time in space might be a key part of the current mission, according to Weeden.
"I think they didn't want to push it, just because it was the first of its kind," he told, referring to OTV-1's flight. "But I think that they are looking to push the second one."
Statements from Air Force officials appear to support Weeden's supposition.
"This successful flight is important in the progression of the X-37B program, moving us forward in our effort to prove the utility and cost-effectiveness of an unmanned, long-duration, reusable spacecraft," Air Force Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre, the X-37 systems program director, told in late November, when OTV-2 hit the 270-day milestone.
"We look forward to trying to expand the platform's envelope by extending the mission further," McIntyre added.
Testing new technologies? The X-37B looks a lot like NASA's now-retired space shuttle, only much smaller. The unmanned vehicle is about 29 feet long by 15 feet wide (8.8 by 4.5 meters), with a payload bay the size of a pickup truck bed. For comparison, two entire X-37Bs could fit inside the payload bay of a space shuttle.
Just what the X-37B does for so long while circling our planet remains a mystery, because the space plane's payloads and missions are classified.
Partly as a result of the secrecy, some concern has been raised — particularly by Russia and China — that the X-37B might be a space weapon of some sort. But the Air Force has repeatedly denied that charge, claiming that the vehicle's chief task is testing out new technologies for future satellites.
That's likely to be the case, said Weeden, who published a report in 2010 that investigated the X-37B and its likely missions.
The Air Force doesn’t disclose the X-37B's orbital parameters, but amateur observers have tracked the movements of both OTV-1 and OTV-2. They've found that OTV-2 is not looping around Earth in a polar orbit, which enables a good look at every spot on the globe.
Rather, the spacecraft is flying repeatedly over the stretch of Earth from 43 degrees north latitude to 43 degrees south latitude. Weeden thinks the space plane may be observing the Middle East and Afghanistan with some brand-new spy gear, perhaps instruments optimized to observe in wavelengths beyond the visible-light spectrum.
Earlier this month, an article in Spaceflight Magazine, a British publication, speculated that OTV-2 might bespying on Tiangong 1, China's recently launched prototype space module. But the orbits of the two robotic vehicles are quite different, making this scenario highly unlikely, Weeden and other experts have stressed.
You can follow senior writer Mike Wall on Twitter:@michaeldwall. Follow for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter@Spacedotcomand onFacebook.

0 Anonymous vows ‘crusade’ against Israel

Online collective Anonymous has pledged a “crusade” against Israel. Claiming the country is committing “crimes against humanity” and gearing for “nuclear holocaust”, the group promised a campaign against the Israeli government.
In their statement issued early on Friday, Anonymous accused Israeli leaders of creating false democracy, serving the interests of a “select few” while “trampling the liberties of the masses.” The group said that Israel manipulates public opinion with a combination of “media deception” and “political bribery”. 
Addressing the Israeli leaders, Anonymous stated that their “Zionist bigotry” is to blame for killings and displacements, adding that “as the world weeps” they are planning their “next attack”. The group pledged not to allow the attack to happen. 
"You label all who refuse to comply with your superstitious demands as anti-Semitic and have taken steps to ensure a nuclear holocaust,” said the Anonymous. “We will not allow you to attack a sovereign country based upon a campaign of lies.The group promised a three-step campaign against the current government of the country. These will include “systematically” removing it from the internet and turning Israel into a free state, the third step remaining undisclosed.  
However, in announcing the news, Israeli daily Haaretz comforted its readers by saying that the group is far from putting all of its threats into reality. The group previously threatened to attack the Knesset’s website but failed to fulfill the promise. 
Still, in one of the recent developments Anonymous did crash the CIA website, which remained down hours after the attack. The group said it did this for “lulz”, meaning “for laughs”.

0 7/7: Institutional Denial

Tony Farrell, a former Principal Intelligence Analyst at South Yorkshire Police talks about his dismissal from the force, his ongoing employment tribunal case and his analysis of 9/11 and the 7/7 London bombings.

Tony also provides a powerful warning to law enforcement officers in the UK regarding the encroaching police state; and he believes that officers need to honour their own mantra, 'justice with courage'. 

Tony argues there should be 'no sacred cows' and that no part of the government or intelligence services should be off limits to police investigation and subsequent accountability.

0 New Supercontinent in Earth's Future

Get ready for Amasia, the new supercontinent a team of Yale geologists suggests may form between 50 million and 200 million years from now as current continents shift.

 In the model proposed by the Yale researchers, a newly formed mountain range will stitch North America and Asia together in the space currently occupied by the Arctic Ocean.

The Earth's next supercontinent will form as North and South America fuse together and head for an eventual collision with Europe and Asia, U.S. scientists say.
Researchers at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., have proposed a theory that both the present-day Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea will disappear in 100 million years as the new supercontinent, dubbed Amasia, comes together as present-day continents move north.
"After those water bodies close, we're on our way to the next supercontinent," study co-author Ross N. Mitchell said in a Yale release Wednesday. "You'd have the Americas meeting Eurasia practically at the North Pole."
The most recent supercontinent, Pangea, formed about 300 million years ago with Africa at its center Relevant Products/Services, then began breaking apart into the seven continents of today with the birth of the Atlantic Ocean about 100 million years later.
In the model proposed by the Yale researchers, a newly formed mountain range will stitch North America and Asia together in the space currently occupied by the Arctic Ocean.
"Such speculations far into the future cannot be tested by waiting around 100 million years, of course," study co-author David A.D. Evans said, "but we can use the patterns gleaned from ancient supercontinents to think deeply about humanity's current existence in time and space within the grand tectonic dance of the Earth."

0 U.S. Navy to test 32 megajoule EM Railgun in the coming weeks

The United States Navy will receive the industry's first 32 megajoule EM Railgun prototype and begin testing in the coming weeks.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced today that they will begin testing an advancedElectromagnetic Railgun (EMR) within the next few weeks. The development and testing of this advanced EMR is the result of a $21 million contract awarded to BAE Systems by the Office of Naval Research roughly two years ago. For those that may not know, the ONR is the office within the United States Department of the Navy that facilitates all science and technology programs for the U.S Navy and Marine Corps through various institutions, such as universities and government laboratories.
While most munitions both heavy and small depend on chemical propellants (like gunpowder), the EM Railgun launcher (as you may have guessed from its name) utilizes magnetic energy instead. The EM Railgun propels a conductive projectile along metal rails using a magnetic field powered by electricity. The magnetic field produced by the high electric currents thrusts a sliding metal conductor between two rails to launch a projectile at velocities of 4,500 to 5,600 mph. By contrast, the average velocity of a chemical propelled weapon is limited to about 2,700 give or take.
So what does that mean? Well, this increased velocity should allow for the Navy to reach targets of up to 50 to 100 nautical miles away or, if your inner sea-dog is a little rusty, about 57 to 115 miles out. Navy planners hope to eventually increase that range even further to distances up to 220 nautical miles (253 miles).
According to ONR, this increase velocity and extended range will give sailors multi-mission capability, and allow them to conduct precise naval surface fire support. In addition, ONR states that the EM Railgun may provide effective ballistic missile defense.
BAE Systems EM Railgun was delivered to the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren on January 30, 2012 and features a 32-megajoule payload. To add some perspective, one megajoule of energy is equivalent to a one ton car traveling at 100 miles per hour. 

0 Amputation Cases Among Troops Hit Post-9/11 High in 2011

More U.S. troops lost limbs in 2011 than in any previous year of fighting since the 9/11 attacks, recently published Pentagon data show.
The grisly toll, 240 cases of deployed troops with at least one arm or leg amputated, appears to mainly reflect the ongoing troop surge in Afghanistan, along with an increased emphasis on foot patrols in areas where insurgents are active.
Amputation cases were up from 196 in 2010 and exceeded the previous high of 205 during the 2007 Iraq surge, according to figures published this month by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. The Marine Corps was hit hardest by far, with 129 Marines suffering amputations in 2011. The Army, which has more troops in the country, had 100 amputation cases. Six sailors and five airmen also lost limbs.
But there’s a flip side to the grim statistics, officials say. The rising numbers are also believed to reflect recent advances in battlefield first aid, medical treatment and protective gear that make the current conflict “the most survivable war in the history of combat,” according to Adm. William Gortney, director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, speaking Jan. 31 at the Military Health System Conference in Washington.
In previous wars, or even several years earlier in the current one, some of the amputation cases would likely have been battlefield fatalities, said Col. Jonathan Jaffin, chief of the Army Surgeon General’s Dismounted Complex Blast Injury Task Force. From 2010 to 2011, though amputations increased, total U.S. troop deaths in from combat fell to 368 from 437, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center.
“These are grievous injuries, yes, but when you see them back here with their families having survived, these guys are all grateful to be alive,” Jaffin said.
The task force also found an increase in severe injuries in recent years. It sounds bad, Jaffin said, but actually means that troops are surviving worse injuries than before. Better and more widely distributed protective gear, including groin-protecting armor that many troops began receiving in 2011, are helping stop injuries to vital organs that previously could have proved fatal, Jaffin said.

0 UPDATE: Israel training Iranian terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

Mehdi Marizad / Fars via AP file
A car that was bombed by two assailants on a motorcycle in Tehran on Jan. 11, killing Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahamdi Roshan, is removed by a mobile crane. The photo was distributed by the semi-official Iranian photo agency Fars.
By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem
NBC News
Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET -- Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.
The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.
The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.
The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, describes what Iranian leaders believe is a close relationship between Israel's secret service, the Mossad, and the People's Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
“The relation is very intricate and close,” said Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, speaking of the MEK and Israel.  “They (Israelis) are paying … the Mujahedin. Some of their (MEK) agents … (are) providing Israel with information.  And they recruit and also manage logistical support.”
Moreover, he said, the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is training MEK members in Israel on the use of motorcycles and small bombs.  In one case, he said, Mossad agents built a replica of the home of an Iranian nuclear scientist so that the assassins could familiarize themselves with the layout prior to the attack.
Much of what the Iranian government knows of the attacks and the links between Israel and MEK  comes from interrogation of an assassin who failed to carry out an attack in late 2010 and the materials found on him, Larijani said. (Click here to see a video report of the interrogation shown on Iranian televsion.)
The U.S.-educated Larijani, whose two younger brothers run the legislative and judicial branches of the Iranian government, said the Israelis’ rationale is simple. “Israel does not have direct access to our society. Mujahedin, being Iranian and being part of Iranian society, they have … a good number of … places to get into the touch with people. So I think they are working hand-to-hand very close.  And we do have very concrete documents.”

NBC's Robert Windrem discusses the allegations that Israel's secret service is teaming up with an Iranian dissident terrorist group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists.
Two senior U.S. officials confirmed for NBC News  the MEK’s role in the assassinations, with one senior official saying, “All your inclinations are correct.” A third official would not confirm or deny the relationship, saying only, “It hasn’t been clearly confirmed yet.”  All the officials denied any U.S. involvement in the assassinations. 
As it has in the past, Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined comment. Said a spokesman, "As long as we can't see all the evidence being claimed by NBC, the Foreign Ministry won't react to every gossip and report being published worldwide."
For its part, the MEK pointed to a statement calling the allegations “absolutely false.” 
Ali Safavi, a long-time representative of the MEK, underscored the denial after publication of this article,
"There has never been and there is no MEK member in Israel, period," he said. "The MEK has categorically denied any involvement. The idea that Israel is training MEK members on its soil borders on perversity. It is absolutely and completely false."
The sophistication of the attacks supports the Iranian claims that an experienced intelligence service is involved, experts say. 
In the most recent attack, on Jan. 11, 2012, Mostafa Ahamdi Roshan died in a blast in Tehran moments after two assailants on a motorcycle placed a small magnetic bomb on his vehicle. Roshan was a deputy director at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and was reportedly involved in procurement for the nuclear program, which Iran insists is not a weapons program.
Previous attacks include the assassination of Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, killed by a bomb outside his Tehran home in January 2010, and an explosion in November of that year that took the life of Majid Shahriari and wounded Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who is now the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.
In the case of Roshan, the bomb appears to have been a shaped charge that directed all the explosive power inside the vehicle, killing him and his bodyguard driver but leaving nearby traffic unaffected.
Although Roshan was directly involved in the nuclear program, working at the huge centrifuge facility between Tehran and Qom, Iran’s religious center, at least one other scientist who was killed wasn’t linked to the Iranian nuclear program, according to Larijani.
Speaking of bombing victim Ali-Mohammadi, whom he described as a friend, Larijani told NBC News, “In fact this guy who was assassinated was not involved in the nitty-gritty of the situation.  He was a scientist, a physicist, working on the theoretically parts of nuclear energy, which you can teach it in every university. You can find it in every text.”
“This is an Israeli plot.  A dirty plot,” Larijani added angrily. He also claimed the assassinations are not having an effect on the program and have only made scientists more resolute in carrying out their mission.
Not so, said Ronen Bergman, an Israeli commentator and author of “Israel’s Secret War with Iran” and an upcoming book tentatively titled, “Mossad and the Art of Assassination.”

Israel has long used assassination against its enemies, "hoping that by taking out individuals, they can alter, change the course of history," says Ronen Bergman, an Israeli commentator and author of "Israel's Secret War with Iran" and an upcoming book tentatively titled "Mossad and the Art of Assassination."
Bergman said the attacks have three purposes, the most obvious being the removal of high-ranking scientists and their  knowledge. The others:  forcing Iran to increase security for its scientists and facilities and to spur “white defections.” 
He explained the latter this way: “Scientists leaving the project, afraid that they are going to be next on the assassination list, and say, ‘We don't want this.  Indeed, we get good money, we are promoted, we are honored by everybody, but we might get killed.  It isn't worth it.  Maybe we should go back to teach … in a university.’”
There are unconfirmed reports in the Israeli press and elsewhere that Israel and the MEK were involved in a Nov. 12 explosion that destroyed the Iranian missile research and development site at Bin Kaneh, 30 miles outside Tehran.  Among those killed was Maj. Gen. Hassan Moghaddam, director of missile development for the Revolutionary Guard, and a dozen other researchers. So important was Moghaddam that Ayatollah Khamenei attended his funeral. 
Unlike the assassinations, Iran claims the missile site explosion was an accident; the MEK, meanwhile, trumpeted it but denied any involvement. 
Indeed, there may be other covert operations carried out either by Israel acting alone or in concert with others, according to Bergman.
“Two labs caught fire,” said Bergman, enumerating the attacks. “Scientists got blown up or disappeared.  A missile base and the R&D base of the Revolutionary Guard exploded some time ago, with the director of the R&D division of the Revolutionary Guard being killed along with … his soldiers.” 
Bergman added, “So, a long series of … something that was termed by an Israeli (Cabinet) minister … as ‘mysterious mishaps’ happening and rehappening to the project. Then the Iranians claim, ‘This is Israeli Mossad trying to sabotage our attempts to be a nuclear superpower.’”
Dr. Uzi Rabi, director of the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, said the supposed accidents could all be part of “psychological warfare” conducted against Iran. “It seems logical. It makes sense,” he said of possible MEK involvement, “and it’s been done before.”
Rabi, who regularly briefs Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, on Iran also said the ultimate goal of the range of covert operations being carried out by Israel is “to damage the politics of survivability … to send a message that could strike fear into the rulers of Iran.”
For the United States, the alleged role of the MEK is particularly troublesome.  In 1997, the State Department designated it a terrorist group, justifying it with an unclassified 40-page summary of the organization’s  activities going back more than 25 years.  The paper, sent to Congress in 1998, was written by Wendy Sherman, now undersecretary of state for political affairs and then an aide to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
The report, which was obtained by NBC News, was unsparing in its assessment. “The Mujahedin  (MEK) collaborated with Ayatollah Khomeini to overthrow the former shah of Iran,” it said. “As part of that struggle, they assassinated at least six American citizens, supported the takeover of the U.S. embassy, and opposed the release of the American hostages.”  In each case, the paper noted, “Bombs were the Mujahedin's weapon of choice, which they frequently employed against American targets.”
“In the post-revolutionary political chaos, however, the Mujahedin lost political power to Iran's Islamic clergy. They then applied their dedication to armed struggle and the use of propaganda against the new Iranian government, launching a violent and polemical cycle of attack and reprisal."

Sean Gallup / Getty Images file
Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, greets several hundred Iranian expatriates who had gathered to welcome her at Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany, on March 22, 2010.
U.S. officials have said publicly that the information contained in the report was limited to unclassified material, but that it also drew on classified material in making its determination to add the MEK to the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. 
The MEK and its sister organizations have since the beginning been run by Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, a husband-wife team who have maintained tight control despite assassination threats and internal dissent. Massoud Rajavi, 63, founded the MEK, but since the U.S. invasion of Iraq has taken a backseat to his wife.
The State Department report describes the Rajavis as  “fundamentally undemocratic” and “not a viable alternative to the current government of Iran.”

NBC News correspondent Tom Aspell visits an MEK base in Iraq in this Nightly News piece that aired on May 26, 1991.
One reason for that is the MEK’s close relationship with Saddam Hussein, as demonstrated by this 1986 video showing the late Iraqi dictator meeting with Massoud Rajavi. Saddam recruited the MEK in much the same way the Israelis allegedly have, using them to fight Iranian forces during the Iran-Iraq War, a role they took on proudly.  So proudly, they invited NBC News to one of their military camps outside Baghdad in 1991.
“The National Liberation Army (MLA), the military wing of the Mujahedin, conducted raids into Iran during the latter years of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War,” according to the State Department report. The NLA's last major offensive reportedly was conducted against Iraqi Kurds in 1991, when it joined Saddam Hussein's brutal repression of the Kurdish rebellion. In addition to occasional acts of sabotage, the Mujahedin are responsible for violent attacks in Iran that victimize civilians.”
“Internally, the Mujahedin run their organization autocratically, suppressing dissent and eschewing tolerance of differing viewpoints,” it said. “Rajavi, who heads the Mojahedin’s political and military wings, has fostered a cult of personality around himself.”
The U.S. suspicion of the MEK doesn’t end there. Law enforcement officials have told NBC News that in 1994, the MEK made a pact with terrorist Ramzi Yousef a year after he masterminded the first attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.  According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Yousef built an 11-pound bomb that MEK agents placed inside one of Shia Islam’s greatest shrines in Mashad, Iran, on June 20, 1994At least 26 people, mostly women and children, were killed and 200 wounded in the attack.
That connection between Yousef, nephew of 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, and the MEK was first reported in a book, “The New Jackals,” by Simon Reeve. NBC News confirmed that Yousef told U.S. law enforcement that he had worked with the MEK on the bombing.
In recent years, the MEK has said it has renounced violence, but Iranian officials say that is not true, that killings of Iranians continue.  Still, through some deft lobbying, the group has been able to get the United Kingdom and the European Union to remove it from their lists of terrorist groups. 
The alleged involvement of the MEK in the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists provides the U.S. with a cloak of deniability regarding the clandestine killings. Because the U.S. has designated the MEK as a terrorist organization, neither military nor intelligence units of the U.S. government, can work with them.  “We cannot deal with them, “ said one senior U.S. official. “We would not deal with them because of the designation.”
Iranian officials initially accused the Israelis and MEK of being behind the attacks, but they have since added the CIA to the list. Three days after the Jan. 11, 2012, bombing in Tehran that killed Roshan, the state news agency IRNA reported that Iran’s Foreign Ministry had sent a diplomatic letter to the U.S. claiming to have “evidence and reliable information” that the CIA provided “guidance, support and planning” to assassins directly involved in the attack.  
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  immediately denied any connection to the killings. “I want to categorically deny any United States involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran,” Clinton told reporters on the day of the attack.
But at least two GOP presidential candidates have no problem with the targeting of nuclear scientists.  In a November debate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed “taking out their scientists,” and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum called it, ”a wonderful thing.”
The MEK’s opposition to the Iranian government also has recently earned it both plaudits and support from an odd mix of political bedfellows.
A group of former Cabinet-level officials have joined together to support the MEK’s removal from the official U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list, even taking out a full-page ad last year in the New York Times calling for the removal of the MEK from the U.S. terrorist list.  Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton; former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former FBI Director Louis Freeh and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy were among those whose signatures were on the ad.
“There’s an extraordinary group of bipartisan or even apolitical leaders, military leaders, diplomats, the United States … the United Kingdom, the European Union, even a U.S. District Court in Washington, said that this group that was put on the foreign terrorist organization watch list in 1997 doesn’t deserve to be there,” Ridge said in November on “The Andrea Mitchell Show” on MSNBC TV.
U.S. politicians also have been pushing the U.S. government to protect the 3,400 MEK members and their families at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, about 35 miles north of Baghdad.  With the departure of U.S. troops, the MEK feared that Iraqi forces, with encouragement from Iran, would attack the camp, leading to a bloodbath. At the last minute, however, agreement was brokered with the United Nations that would permit the MEK members’ departure for resettlement in unspecified democratic countries.  As of this week, there’s been little movement on the planned resettlement.

Jassim Mohammed / AP file
Iranian fighters with the National Liberation Army, the military wing of the MEK, clean armored personnel carriers in 1997 after a field exercise near Camp Ashraf in Iraq.
The Iranians see what’s happening as terrorism and hypocrisy by the United States.  They have forwarded documents and other evidence to the United Nations – and directly to the United States, they say. 
“I think this is very cynical plan.  This is unacceptable,” said Larijani. “This is a bad trend in the world.  Unprecedented.  We should kill scientists … to block a scientific program?  I mean this is disaster!”
Daniel Byman, a professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and also a senior fellow with the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, said that if the accounts of the Israeli-MEK assassinations are accurate, the operation borders on terrorism.
“In theory, states cannot be terrorist, but if they hire locals to do assassinations, that would be state sponsorship,” said Byman, author of the recent book, “A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism.” “You could argue that they took action not to terrorize the public, the purpose of terrorism, but only the nuclear community.  An argument could also be made that degrading the program means that you don’t have to take military action and thus, this is a lower level of violence and that really these are military targets, where normally terrorist targets are civilians.”
But ultimately, Byman said, there is a “spectrum of responsibility” and that Israel is ultimately responsible.
Ronen Bergman, while not speaking on behalf of the Israeli government, suggests that there is a justification, citing an oft-repeated but disputed quote in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s said that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth.
“Meir Degan, the chief of Mossad, when he was in office, hung a photograph behind him, behind the chair of the chief of Mossad,” notes the Israeli commentator.  “And in that photograph you see -- an ultra-orthodox Jew -- long beard, standing on his knees with his-- hands up in the air, and two Gestapo soldiers standing -- beside him with guns pointed at him.  One of -- one of them is smiling.
“And Degan used to say to his people and the people coming to visit him from CIA, NSA, et cetera, ‘Look at this guy in the picture. This is my grandfather just seconds before he was killed by the SS,’” Bergman said. “’… We are here to prevent this from happening again.’"

0 US admits Israel is arming and training Iranian terrorist groups

Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel's secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran's leaders.
The group, the People's Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims' cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

1 Marine scout snipers used Nazi SS logo

Marine Corps scout snipers used the logo of the notorious Nazi SS organization while in Afghanistan in 2010, the service acknowledged Thursday.

The logo appeared on a flag in a photograph of the platoon taken in September 2010 in Sangin district, a hotly contested area in Helmand province. The Marines were with Charlie Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., and are shown sitting in combat gear with the U.S. flag and a blue flag with the stylized “SS” logo hanging behind them.
The logo also appears on a 7.62mm M40 sniper rifle carried by a Marine in another photograph distributed Thursday by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Information embedded electronically with the image shows that it was released by the Marine Corps in 2004 and taken at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif. 
The two Marines in it were with the scout sniper platoon with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines.
Combined, the two photographs suggest that the practice has been carried out for years. 
The logo’s use is an apparent nod to “scout sniper,” a position exclusive to the Corps. The Army has scouts and snipers, but considers the positions to be separate.
“We don’t have all the information, but we know enough to know the Marine Corps needs to open a full investigation,” said Mikey Weinstein, the foundation’s president. “If these guys just get a non-judicial punishment, it’s absolutely absurd.”
The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was a paramilitary organization under the Nazi Party. It committed a variety of war crimes, and was outlawed by Germany after World War II.
The inspector general at I Marine Expeditionary Force at Pendleton was made aware of the “SS” flag photograph in November, said Capt. Gregory Wolf, a spokesman at Marine Corps headquarters. The Marines involved were ordered to stop using the logo. 
Marine officials at the Pentagon declined to comment on whether the Marines faced any discipline, saying the issue was handled on the unit level at Pendleton.
A Marine official, speaking on background due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the Corps’ leadership was not aware of the SS logo’s use until it came to their attention late last year.
“We don’t believe these Marine Corps snipers had a historical appreciation for what this symbol meant,” the official said. “As soon as leadership was made aware of it, they took action at the unit level and then passed that information throughout the sniper community and to those snipers serving in Afghanistan.”
That seems possible, said Allen Falk, national commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America.
“We believe that these young men likely did not understand the significance of this symbol, and we call on the Marine Corps to increase education on American history,” he said. “This issue goes beyond one of racism or anti-Semitism. 
Our fellow Americans fought and died to stop the Nazis, and it is shameful for any member of the military to display the symbols of Nazi Germany.”
The Corps has addressed the use of the SS logo before, however. A PowerPoint presentation posted on a Marine Corps website said it should not be used in any tattoos. The logo was used by German special police during World War II and is still used by neo-Nazis and graffiti to characterize anti-Semitism, white supremacy and facism, according to the presentation.
The MRFF said Thursday in a letter sent to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other top Pentagon officials that it was contacted by 45 active-duty Marines concerned about the photographs.
“The implication of these photographs, if true, should be readily apparent,” the letter said. “If the use of the Nazi insignia has been, in any way, condoned or tolerated by the Marine Corp.[sic], the implications are abhorrent to everything for which our country is fighting and the constitutional principles for which it stands.”

I don't buy for one minute that they :
"Did not understand the significance of this symbol"

these are 12 year old nephew knows the history of that symbol, this is what's known as "caught red handed"