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Second Life Facilitating Terror?

Legal experts claim that the lax operating and security environment in the virtual world of Second Life could serve as a haven for activity that could support terrorists.

Second Life is a “virtual online community” that allows individuals to move about and interact through avatars, or digital simulations of themselves (enhancements and alterations optional). Second Life has an estimated population of six million, though no real government, law enforcement system or other controls that might prevent illicit activity.

How illicit? German prosecutors are investigating a charge that someone is Second Life has been trading in child pornography; and Belgian law enforcement have launched an investigation to determine if one of it’s citizen’s avatars had been virtually “raped”.

Second Life also has its own currency and economy. Your “labor” in Second Life can be paid for in “Linden dollars” which in turn can be exchanged for real cash. It has been estimated that roughly $1 million dollars is exchanged in Second Life daily. At least one Second Lifer claims to have made over $1 million real dollars in selling virtual real estate.

Concern over Saudi Succession

There are reportedly concerns in the US intelligence community that the current US-Saudi Arabia relationship could come to an end within a decade if anti-American members of the royal family in the kingdom succeed the currently pro-US King Abdullah.

Intelligence sources indicate that King Abdullah has been grooming an anti-American prince - who could align Saudi Arabia with either Iran or Al Qaida - for succession.

Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, governor of Riyad Province and a half brother of Abdullah, has become a leading influence in the kingdom and is widely regarded as Abdullah's successor. He is viewed as sympathetic to al-Qaeda and one who may seek a deal with the terrorist group to keep the royal family in power, possibly by acquiescing to one of Bin Laden’s demands of expelling US troops from the peninsula.

Chinese Espionage Case: Guilty

Chi Mak, a Chinese-American engineer was found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle sensitive US submarine technology to China. Five other members of his family, including his wife, son, brother and sister-in-law are awaiting trial on similar charges.

Mak was convicted on two counts of attempting to send sensitive material to China, acting as a foreign agent without notifying the US government and making false statements to federal agents. He faces up to 35 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for September 10th.

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