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Archive for May 2012

Travel Warning: Mauritania

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Mauritania on May 24, 2012.  It reads as follows:

Mauritania

May 24, 2012

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Mauritania, and urges extreme caution for those who choose to travel to Mauritania, because of activities by the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM continues to demonstrate its intent and ability to conduct attacks against foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens. This replaces the Travel Warning for Mauritania, issued on October 10, 2011, to update information on security incidents and remind travelers of security concerns.

The U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott recommends against all non-essential travel to the border regions of Guidimagha, the Hodh El Charghi and Hodh El Gharbi regions of southeastern Mauritania, the eastern half of the Assaba region (east of Kiffa), the eastern half of the Tagant region (east of Tidjika), the eastern half of the Adrar region (east of Chinguetti), and the Zemmour region of northern Mauritania because of the security risk and the threat of kidnapping to Westerners by AQIM. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by OSB

25/05/2012 at 03:28

Cyberattackers Wanted!

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Reposted from threatpost, Northrop Grumman is advertising for a “Cyber Software Engineer 2” position whose job description includes to “plan, execute, and assess an Offensive Cyberspace Operation (OCO) mission.”  Interestingly it only requires a Secret clearance (to put this in perspective, all Foreign Service Officers are cleared to the Top Secret level).

Cybersecurity and cyberwarfare have been moving to the forefront of the public and government interest since the attacks on GoogleRSA, and numerous other  US technology and defense companies last year.   Various agencies have issued statements and publications about the growing trends of cyberattacks on US interests (example, PDF), and others like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have publically called for improved cyberattack capabilities.  On top of it all, the Defense Department considers cyberattacks an act of war.  Whether the United States is prepared or even able to launch an effective cyber-counteroffensive remains to be seen.

Travel Warning: Saudi Arabia

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Saudi Arabia on May 18.  It reads as follows:

Saudi Arabia

May 18, 2012

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia. There is an ongoing security threat due to the continued presence of terrorist groups, some affiliated with al-Qa’ida, who may target Western interests, housing compounds, hotels, shopping areas, and other facilities where Westerners congregate. These terrorist groups may employ a wide variety of tactics and also may target Saudi government facilities and economic/commercial targets within the Kingdom. This replaces the Travel Warning issued August 5, 2011 without changes.

The last major terrorist attack directed against foreign nationals was in 2007. Significant measures since then by the Saudi government have greatly improved the security environment throughout the Kingdom. The Department of State has since authorized the return of all family members to U.S. Embassy Riyadh, U.S. Consulate General Jeddah, and U.S. Consulate General Dhahran. While these changes reflect a continued improvement in the security climate in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the Eastern Province and Riyadh, it is important to note that there remains an ongoing security threat. U.S. citizens who visit Saudi Arabia are strongly encouraged to carefully select hotels or housing compounds with security measures in place that meet their particular needs. This is a personal and individual decision for the traveler and/or sponsor. In addition, U.S. citizens should always be aware of their surroundings when traveling or visiting commercial establishments frequented by Westerners. U.S. citizens are also advised to keep a low profile, vary times and routes of travel, exercise caution while driving, entering or exiting vehicles, and ensure that travel documents and visas are current and valid. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

19/05/2012 at 01:23

Travel Warning: Lebanon

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Lebanon on May 8, 2012.  It reads as follows:

Lebanon

May 08, 2012

The Department of State continues to urge U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon due to current safety and security concerns. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on October 12, 2011, to update information on security and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains. Lebanese government authorities are not able to guarantee protection for citizens or visitors to the country should violence erupt suddenly. Access to borders, airports, and seaports can be interrupted with little or no warning. Public demonstrations occur frequently with little warning and have the potential to become violent. Family or neighborhood disputes often escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with little or no warning. The ability of U.S. government personnel to reach travelers or provide emergency services may be severely limited.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

10/05/2012 at 00:43

Travel Warning: Algeria

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Algeria on May 4, 2012.  It reads as follows:

Algeria

May 04, 2012

Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Algeria. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Algeria dated September 19, 2011 to update information on the current security situation in Algeria, the continuing threat posed by terrorism, and to reiterate information on security incidents and recommendations on security awareness.

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who travel to Algeria to evaluate carefully the risks posed to their personal safety. Terrorist attacks, including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes occur regularly, particularly in rural areas such as the Kabylie region of the country. The use of suicide bomb attacks, particularly vehicle-borne attacks, emerged as a terrorist tactic in Algeria, including in the capital, beginning in 2007. The group that claimed credit for the December 11, 2007 suicide car-bomb attacks in Algiers has pledged more attacks against foreign targets and specifically against U.S. targets. The same group is believed to operate in southern Algeria and to be linked to the kidnapping in February 2011 of a western tourist in the southeast, near the Nigerian border. This regional kidnapping threat was noted in the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution dated January 24, 2012. Read the rest of this entry »