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by CSO Contributor

The Total Information War; Bomb Alert at U.S. Consulate in Durban; Their Mission: Intercepting Deadly Cargo; Killer Bug Traced to Hong Kong Hotel

Mar 20, 20033 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

The Total Information War

According to a story in the Washington Post today, the U.S. quickly organized a previously unplanned strike at Iraq’s key leadership in the first salvos of a war against that nation today, an operation that would have been impossible 12 years ago. The story, a filter of news coverage on the intelligence and technology aspects of the new war, reports that the bulk of the munitions will be precision-guided, compared with just 10 percent in 1991. Other notes on psy ops, satellite management, and the Internet coverage of the war are included. Bomb Alert at U.S. Consulate in today. “We believe it was a hoax call, which could carry a jail sentence of the offender is caught,” police superintendent Vishnu Naidoo told AFP. He said police could not tell whether the threat was linked to the start of the US-led war in Iraq. The U.S. embassy in Pretoria and the consulates in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town were closed to the public and placed on a heightened state of alert on Thursday amid protests following the start of the war.

A bomb alert at a building housing the U.S. consulate in Durban, South Africa, forced staff to evacuate for several hours, but police said they found no trace of any explosives, according to an AFP story posted on African news portal

Their Mission: Intercepting Deadly CargoNew York Times focuses on the protection of U.S. borders, particularly the smuggling of weapons or terrorists via shipping routes. Before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the main purpose of what was then known as the Customs Service was to slow the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, writes the Times. Now, the renamed Bureau of Customs and Border Protection is expanding its use of advanced technologies in the service of its new No. 1 mission: stopping potential terrorist weapons. According to the customs bureau, 7.2 million shipping containers entered the country in the year ended last September, in addition to 11.1 million trucks, 2.4 million railroad cars, 768,000 commercial airline flights and 128,000 private flights. At ports and border crossings, hand-held and drive-through radiation detectors and imaging systems check shipping containers and trucks for radioactive material. The bureau is also working on tools to detect chemical and biological materials. The digital nerve center of the customs bureau is in Washington, D.C., where the bureau’s National Targeting Center sifts through information about all shipments entering the nation by sea.

An article in todays

Killer Bug Traced to Hong Kong HotelBr>The outbreak of a virulent form of pneumonia which is claiming lives around the world has been traced to a Hong Kong hotel, according to the BBC News today. An infected medical professor from southern China is thought to have carried the flu-like disease to Hong Kong’s Metropole Hotel where six other guests contracted the illness. The World Health Organization has confirmed nine deaths from the disease dubbed Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and puts the number of worldwide cases at 264. The United States has identified 11 cases of the virus involving people who had traveled to Asia. According to the BBC, WHO has described the illness as a “worldwide health threat” and issued a rare emergency warning after cases were reported on three continents, with more suspected in other parts of the world. It appears to be an airborne virus, and was initially spread either through air conditioning or person-to-person contact.