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Monday, February 24, 2020

Officer Down


Detective Joseph Paolillo
New York City Police Department, New York
End of Watch Monday, September 9, 2019
Age 55
Cause 9/11 related illness
Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Detective Joe Paolillo died as the result of cancer that he developed following his assignment to the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.

Detective Paolillo is survived by his wife, three sons, and sister.

His brother, Battalion Chief John Paolillo, served with the New York City Fire Department and was killed in the line of duty when the World Trade Center's North Tower collapsed on September 11th, 2001.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

An awesome sendoff for a K9 Down

I routinely post on Officers and K9s who have passed in the line of duty. One recent K9 who fell while chasing a wanted felon, was K9 Hondo of the Herriman City UT Police Department. A local body shop was asked to prepare a casket for this fur missile, and the results are out the park.
K9 Hondo will be buried in customized casket after suffering line of duty death
The police service dog was shot and killed trying to apprehend a wanted suspect

HERRIMAN, Utah – A Utah paint shop that specializes in motorcycles and classic cars has designed a customized casket for a fallen police service dog, K9 Hondo of the Herriman Police Department.
The police service dog (PSD) was shot while apprehending a fugitive in Salt Lake City on February 13. K9 Hondo suffered a gunshot wound to the sternum and passed at a nearby veterinary hospital.

“They asked if we could get something together since we have done work on their motorcycles before,” John Ward, owner of Rawtin Garage, told CNN.

Twenty-four hours later, Rawtin revealed the special casket. Its custom design, all hand painted or airbrushed, included a portrait of Hondo wearing his police harness.

“What an honor it was to paint a hero’s casket,” the garage posted on Facebook...

...Hondo, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, was trained in Europe before beginning his police career in 2015, CNN reported...
















Mr Ward, thank you for some excellent work, and supporting your local police during a rough time.

What's going on in the World Today 200224

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USA

HCSW Becomes First Casualty Of DOD Hypersonic Push

Steve Trimble February 11, 2020

SINGAPORE—A Lockheed Martin program has become the first casualty in the U.S. Defense Department’s race to deploy a diverse portfolio of hypersonic missiles as soon as possible.

The Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) program will be concluded after the delayed completion of a critical design review in spring 2020. The milestone event was originally scheduled for the third quarter of 2019.

As the DOD rolled out the fiscal 2021 budget request, the U.S. Air Force issued a termination for convenience notice to Lockheed’s Space division on Feb. 10.

Designed to be launched from a B-52, the Aerojet Rocketdyne-boosted HCSW was the first of five hypersonic missile prototype projects that have entered development since 2018. It features a “front end” derived from the Common Hypersonic Glide Body, which is the basis for boost-glide vehicles in development for the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon and the Navy’s Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike programs.

The Army and Navy proposed to accelerate development for the land- and sea-launched versions of the common glide body, a comparatively low lift-over-drag, axisymmetric shape that itself traces its origins to the successful Sandia Winged Energetic Re-entry Vehicle Experiment.

Despite the cancelation, the Air Force praised the HCSW program staff for maturing technologies that can be leveraged in the Army, Navy and Missile Defense Agency programs...

U.S. Navy’s Aircraft Launch Rail Gun Revealed

Guy Norris February 11, 2020

Details of the U.S. Navy’s new generation, electrically powered aircraft launch and recovery system, currently under test for the first time on the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) carrier, are visible in a large-scale model at the Singapore Airshow.

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is in development to replace the traditional steam piston catapult launch system on current carriers. The new configuration also includes the electrically powered Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), which replaces the hydraulic arresting gear in use on the Navy’s 10 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.

The EMALS catapult, which is powered by a linear induction motor, is designed to accelerate aircraft more gradually than the steam system and put less stress on the aircraft. The system is also lighter and more flexible than the current design and is capable of launching a wider range of aircraft weights. The AAG is also designed for a broader range of aircraft, including UAVs...

Legacy U.S. Air Force Fighters, Bombers Are on the Chopping Block

The Pentagon will propose retiring many of its older aircraft as new capabilities come online, but the cuts aren’t as steep as initially planned.

Lara SeligmanFebruary 3, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to propose retiring hundreds of the Air Force’s aging fighter jets and bomber aircraft over the next five years to shift resources toward building new capabilities to counter China and Russia, sources tell Foreign Policy.

On the chopping block are a significant chunk of the older F-15s and F-16s, 17 of roughly 60 nonnuclear B-1 bombers, along with 21 of the service’s unarmed RQ-4 Global Hawk drones. The proposed cuts over what is called the “five-year defense plan” will be included in the White House’s annual budget submission for fiscal year 2021, which is set to be released on Feb. 10. Congress must approve the plan before it goes into effect.

As the legacy aircraft retire, the Air Force will bring on new capabilities: Boeing’s new F-15EX, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, and Northrop Grumman’s B-21 stealth bomber.

But despite Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s push to tighten the Pentagon’s belt, his office, along with the military combatant commanders, actually rejected a series of even deeper cuts proposed by the Air Force—including its armed MQ-9 Predator drones—according to four sources with knowledge of the discussions...

Here’s how much money the Pentagon found through internal savings — and where it’s going: The Missile Defense Agency is one office whose priorities will be shifting.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense has identified $5.7 billion in funding that will be reallocated from current offices towards new priorities such as hypersonic weapons and artificial intelligence, department officials revealed Wednesday.

The money, colloquially referred to as “savings” found through efficiencies, is part of an internal review process of the department’s so-called fourth-estate offices, which include all the defense agencies not associated with either a service or a combatant command.

As part of that reallocation, expect a “significant” change in the Missile Defense Agency’s R&D investments and changes to an agency monitoring nuclear programs around the world, officials told reporters.

The review process was launched by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper after he took office last summer as part of several attempts to focus the department’s energy and dollars on the National Defense Strategy. This effort is largely independent of the review looking at force posture in the combatant commands...

Pentagon’s $705 Billion Budget Boosts Nuclear Weapons Funding
By Anthony Capaccio February 7, 2020

The Pentagon’s $705.4 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year would boost funding for nuclear weapons systems including intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and F-35 jets as well as providing more money for emerging technology research and the Space Force.

The budget proposal for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, to be submitted to Congress on Monday, is mostly flat compared with the $712.6 billion plan approved for this year. But it shifts that funding in ways that signal President Donald Trump’s evolving priorities.

The budget details are part of the Pentagon Comptroller’s 134-page overview obtained by Bloomberg News in advance of its formal release.

The budget plan, which forms a base for discussions with Congress, includes a $15.3 billion “transitional budget,” transferred from the Air Force to the new Space Force, that “includes space-related weapons systems and operations,” sustainment, support and civilian support costs. That’s up from $40 million this fiscal year...

While US Worries About China, Europe Stays Focused on Russia

BRUSSELS (AP) — China and its increasingly sophisticated and far-flung military sit atop U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s list of international security worries, but in Europe a bigger concern is closer to home: Russia.

The Trump administration has been trying since 2018 to reorient its defense strategy toward China, with reduced focus, when possible, on Russia and the years-long insurgency wars in the greater Middle East. Russia remains a U.S. worry, but Esper and other administration officials want the allies to see China as Washington does – as a far more capable adversary.

China was not on the formal agenda when Esper met with allies at NATO headquarters Wednesday and Thursday, but he made a point of publicly expressing American concerns.

“I’ve raised it every time I’ve been here, about the ‘great power’ competition with China and Russia — but China in particular,” he told reporters...

AFRICA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ASIA

Taiwan’s Military Is a Hollow Shell
The end of conscription has left the army critically undermanned.
BY PAUL HUANG | FEBRUARY 15, 2020
As threats of military aggression from China grow, the island nation of Taiwan needs a credible military deterrent more than ever. But Taiwan’s military is in a crisis it can barely admit exists.

Even as the military refits itself with flashy U.S. arms purchases, such as M1 Abrams tanks and F-16V fighter jets, its front-line units are hollowed out, and the entire reserve system is so dysfunctional that few experts or serving military personnel believe it can make a real military contribution in the event of a war. These problems are well documented but continue to be downplayed, if not outright ignored, by Taiwan’s political leadership—and there is no clear plan to solve the crisis.

On paper, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has 215,000 budgeted positions among all branches, of which 188,000 are soldiers and the rest civilian employees. Only 153,000 of those positions were filled in 2018—just 81 percent of the personnel the military should have. But even that number doesn’t tell the complete story.Only 153,000 of those positions were filled in 2018—just 81 percent of the personnel the military should have. But even that number doesn’t tell the complete story.

According to a Taiwanese army lieutenant colonel in active service, who asked for only his last name, Lin, to be used, all the army’s front-line combat units he knows of—including armor, mechanized infantry, and artillery troops—currently have effective manpower levels of between 60 and 80 percent. This figure is consistent with Taiwanese media reports, which cite MND figures provided to Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, acknowledging that few front-line units have more than 80 percent of their positions filled...

EUROPE

Germany busts 'terrorist organization' that planned attacks on Muslims, refugees

German police detained 12 men on Friday suspected of setting up a far-right organization with the goal of carrying out attacks against politicians, asylum seekers and Muslims, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office (GBA) said. Prosecutors said four of the suspects had set up a “terrorist organization” in September 2019 and regularly met and contacted each other by phone and in online chart forums and chat groups. They had no immediate plan to carry out an attack. The other eight men were detained on suspicion of supporting the organization with money and weapons, the GBA said.

New British immigration rules. Boris Johnson’s government has announced new U.K. immigration rules which would drastically reduce the number of unskilled workers from non-English speaking countries. The government claims that its overhaul of the immigration process along the lines of Australia’s points system will fulfill a key pledge of the Brexit campaign—to “take back control” of the nation’s borders and put an end to cheap labor from EU citizens in factories, on farms, and in the service sector. Business leaders branded the move “an assault on the economy,” according to the Guardian and warned of “disastrous” consequences, job losses, and shop and factory closures while union leaders said it could lead to chaos in the health care sector.

French police shoot barracks intruder following attack warning

Police shot and wounded a man armed with a knife after he attacked officers inside a police barracks in eastern France on Monday. Shortly before the knifeman struck the police facility in Dieuze, near Metz, the local police operations centre received warning that an atrocity was to be committed in the name of Islamic State... Several hours after the attack, there had been no claims of responsibility.

Germany Urged To Reconsider F-35 To Replace Tornado

A German think tank is calling on Germany’s defense ministry to reconsider Lockheed Martin’s F-35 as a successor for the country’s Panavia Tornado fleet.

It has been one year since the F-35 was eliminated from the shortlist of combat aircraft being considered for the Tornado replacement, which left only the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon as options. But neither aircraft is qualified to carry the B61 nuclear weapon that equips the Tornado under a dual-key arrangement with the U.S.

Now the influential German Society for Foreign Policy, DGAP, argues that to meet the nuclear mission requirements, Berlin should “revise” its original decision to consider only the F/A-18 and the Eurofighter, with authors Heinrich Brauss and Christian Molling calling for the F-35 to be “included in the comparative analysis and evaluation,” in a new report published Feb. 3.

The authors argue that in light of the deteriorating security situation in Europe, given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the deployment of new Russian cruise missiles that ultimately ended the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Germany needs to make “an appropriate and reliable contribution” to NATO’s conventional and nuclear components by providing a “suitable successor for the Tornado in good time...”

LATIN/SOUTH AMERICA

Tracking Mexico's Cartels in 2020

Scott Stewart VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Feb 4, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS
Since Stratfor produced our first annual Mexican cartel report in October 2006, we have carefully monitored the developments of drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. This report contains a four-part recap of developments in 2019 and an outlook for the year to come....

Since 2006, Stratfor has produced an annual cartel report that chronicles the dynamics shaping the complex mosaic of organized crime in Mexico and that forecasts where those forces are headed in the coming year. When we began producing these forecasts, the landscape was much simpler, with only a handful of major cartel groups. As we noted in 2013, the long process of Balkanization — or splintering — of the groups made it difficult to analyze them the way we used to. Indeed, many of the cartels we had been tracking, such as the Gulf cartel, had imploded and fragmented into several smaller, often competing factions.

Because of this, we began to look at the cartels by focusing on the clusters of smaller groups that emanate from three distinct geographic areas: Tamaulipas state, Sinaloa state and the Tierra Caliente region (Guerrero and Michoacan). When viewed individually, the daily flow of reports of cartel-related murders and firefights can be overwhelming and often appears senseless. But the violence is not senseless when viewed through the lens of the dynamics driving it. Our intent here is to provide the framework for understanding those forces.

This year's report will begin with a general overview of the past year and then examine and provide an update and a forecast for each of those three areas of organized crime. For a detailed historical account of the dynamics that brought the major cartel groupings to where they are today, please read our 2017 report...



AFGHANISTAN

Is Afghan Intelligence Building a Regime of Terror With the CIA’s Help?

As dissidents are attacked and murdered, critics liken the National Directorate of Security to the brutal intelligence service of the Afghan communists in the 1980s.

Emran FerozFebruary 6, 2020

KABUL—When Nazar Mohammad Motmaeen talks about the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan intelligence service with close ties to the CIA, he becomes nervous. “They are dangerous, and they do not make any compromises,” he said in a recent interview. Motmaeen, a freelance political analyst from Kabul who often appears on TV, says he knows what he is talking about. A few months ago, he says, he was attacked by gunmen in the middle of Kabul. Though he escaped, he later claimed that they belonged to the NDS, which allegedly wanted to silence him because of his political dissent. Motmaeen is a regular critic of America’s military occupation of Afghanistan, and he supports a peace deal with the Taliban.

Motmaeen is hardly alone in telling such tales. A few weeks after the alleged attempt on Motmaeen’s life, Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, another political dissident who regularly criticized the Kabul government, was attacked and injured by unknown gunmen. And on Nov. 20, 2019, Waheed Mozhdah, a senior political analyst and writer, was assassinated in Kabul’s Dar-ul-Aman area after leaving his local mosque. Until today, Mozhdah’s killers remain at large. But he, too, was known for his critical views toward both Kabul and Washington.

Many observers linked pro-government forces to these “chain attacks,” as they have been described by some local Afghan news outlets. “It’s obvious that the government did this or it let it happen,” said Mawlavi Baharuddin Jowzjani, a religious cleric and government critic, on Tolo News, Afghanistan’s biggest news channel. According to family members, Mozhdah was killed by a high-tech pistol. Afghanistan’s whole political landscape reacted to his killing. While government officials claimed that they would investigate the case, the Taliban issued a statement calling the killing an “intelligence operation...”

Afghanistan: Premature bomb explosion leaves five Taliban terrorists killed

Kabul: A premature bomb explosion in north Afghanistan left at least five Taliban terrorists killed, media reports said. The deceased people included a key sharp-shooter of the terror group. According to a statement released by Special Operations Corps, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off prematurely among Taliban militants in northern Sar-e-Pul province which killed 5 Taliban militants....The Taliban group did not comment on the issue.

Afghans Fear Yet Another Civil War
The U.S.-Taliban truce raises some hope—but not while the Afghan government remains a stranger to the talks.

Emran Feroz February 17, 2020

Last week, the anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal was commemorated in Afghanistan: Thirty-one years ago, the last Soviet soldier left the country through the Amu Darya River. But Afghans know that was only the beginning of a new nightmare—the start of civil war—and many people in this war-haunted land fear something similar could happen after the withdrawal of all NATO troops.

Yet they know withdrawal must—and will—happen. “The Americans have to leave. We Afghans just don’t like foreign invaders,” said Mohammad Naseem, who was a mujahideen commander in the 1980s in the eastern province of Logar, where he fought the communist government and its Soviet backers...

CHINA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

IRAN

Concerns About Iran's Falling Nuclear Breakout Time Are Set to Grow

Greg Priddy Director, Global Energy and Middle East, Stratfor Feb 21, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

- While Iran has avoided making any immediately alarming moves with its nuclear program, its accumulation of low-enriched uranium is proceeding at a rate that will sharply reduce its breakout time for a bomb, approaching enrichment levels by this summer that the
United States and Israel could find unacceptable.

- Iran's progress on advanced centrifuges is the key signpost to watch next week when the International Atomic Energy Agency issues its latest report on Iran's nuclear activities because the potential for a rapid expansion of processing capacity could sharply and suddenly reduce Iran's breakout time.

- This trajectory is building toward a contentious debate about where the red lines should be for the White House and Israel as the United States heads toward November's presidential election.

Iran is following a strategy of gradually ramping up pressure on the United States as it seeks sanctions relief, rather than trying to force the issue to a resolution by triggering an acute crisis, but this should not lead to complacency about the risks of such a crisis coming about. Iran is refraining from taking any action on the nuclear front that would be cause for immediate alarm ahead of the release next week of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on its nuclear activities. This is despite having announced on Jan. 5 that it would no longer observe any of the operational limits on its nuclear enrichment program imposed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), without formally withdrawing from the nuclear deal and still maintaining full monitoring access and cooperation with the IAEA. Iran is likely to unveil additional measures over time, and even the current rate of low-enriched uranium (LEU) accumulation will lead to concerns about Iran's nuclear breakout time by this summer. If combined with progress on the development and production of advanced centrifuges, that could lead to the perception in the United States and Israel that Iran is approaching a decision point...

What’s Driving Iran to Build a Better Missile

Feb 18, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

- Iran's perceptions of the threats it faces combined with its weakness in other military areas will continue to drive its desire to develop ballistic and cruise missiles.

- Iranian missile research and development efforts have increasingly focused on improving the reliability, accuracy and effectiveness of its missile systems to give them more tactical utility.

- Attacks over the past two years show that while Iranian missiles have become more accurate, improvements in accuracy remain a work in progress.

Greater attention will be given to Iran's missile and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs from now on. The September drone attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and the January missile attack on two military bases in Iraq that left 109 U.S. military members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries highlighted Iran's increased willingness to use its missile and UAV arsenal for tactical and strategic objectives.

Iran's missile program is an integral component, if not the crown jewel, of its armed forces, and Tehran considers the program essential to national security. The United States, however, wants to significantly constrain Iranian missile development in future negotiations that would also cover Iran's nuclear program and its support for regional militias. But to reach a deal, the United States will have to narrow its conditions. This will limit the prospects of an agreement under U.S. President Donald Trump's maximalist demands...
Iran’s Shifting Afghan Alliances Don’t Fit Easy Narratives

Tehran’s goals are pragmatic—and may be in line with Washington’s.

Mohammed Harun ArsalaiFebruary 18, 2020, 5:39 PM

Afghan returnees after arriving from Iran in Herat, Afghanistan, on Jan. 1, 2019. Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images
The assassination last month of Qassem Suleimani, the leader of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has set off a wave of debates in the United States about Iranian foreign policy. Tehran’s opportunistic and pragmatic foreign policy does not always fit neatly into contemporary left- or right-wing narratives—especially when it comes to Afghanistan, where Suleimani played a critical role.

Left and progressive commentators in the United States position Iran as an “anti-imperialist” state resisting American influence in the Middle East, as has been echoed by various supposed anti-war groups demonstrating across the West. They claim Suleimani was creating regional stability by combating the Islamic State and protecting Shiite communities. But being opposed to the Islamic State is a low bar—opposition to the militant organization has unified all armed actors in the region from the U.S.-led coalition to the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga, Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Arab Armed Forces, the Iranian military, and even some hard-line Islamist groups such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham...

What Iran's Next Vote Means for Policy and the Presidency

Emily Hawthorne Middle East and North Africa Analyst, Stratfor Feb 19, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS
- Iran's economic struggles and intensifying tensions with the United States have helped clear the path to victory for conservative candidates in the country's upcoming parliamentary elections.
- The selection of the next parliament speaker will help indicate whether policy debates in the new legislature will take a more hard-line or traditionalist stance.
- Regardless of the election outcome, Iranians' mounting disillusionment with their government could ultimately undermine the next parliament's legitimacy, as well as the electoral prospects of moderate presidential candidates in 2021.

On Feb. 21, Iran will hold the first round of parliamentary elections that could usher in the return of a more conservative legislature. With moderates and reformists taking a back seat, such an outcome would nudge Tehran toward more hard-line and hawkish foreign policies, leaving less room for negotiation with the West amid soaring U.S.-Iran tensions. Regardless of its next ideological make-up, however, Iran's incoming parliament will struggle more than ever to answer the economic and social demands of an increasingly desperate and cash-strapped electorate — a reality that could have dire consequences for Tehran's political stability ahead of the country's crucial 2021 presidential election...

Iran to execute alleged spy who gave nuclear secrets to CIA

Iran said Tuesday that its top court confirmed a death sentence for an Iranian man convicted of spying for the CIA, with state media alleging that he had shared details of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program with the American spy agency.... Esmaili said two other alleged spies for the CIA each received 15-year prison sentences — 10 years for spying and five years for acting against national security.

Iran And North Korea Are Building New, Better Submarines To Counter Enemies At Sea

Iran and North Korea are updating their aging fleets and building new and more advanced submarines in order to counter their adversaries in open waters. Iranian navy commander Admiral Hossein Khanzadi touted his country's underwater military capabilities during a speech Thursday in the northeastern province of Razavi Khorasan. He stated that "the most complex pieces equipment in the world are those found in the military and among the military equipment, the most complex are those found in the navy, especially submarines," ... "But today, thanks to the efforts of the youth of this land," he added, "the country has made significant progress in this area."

IRAQ

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ISRAEL

IDF attacks Islamic Jihad snipers who shot at Israeli soldiers

Palestinian media reported that a Palestinian was lightly to moderately wounded by IDF soldiers in the southern Gaza Strip. It is unclear if the injured Palestinian was one of the terrorists. The IDF attacked a group of snipers from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group in the southern Gaza Strip near Khan Younis, after the terrorists fired at Israeli soldiers in Israeli territory on Wednesday, according to an IDF spokesperson. Palestinian snipers managed to hit an IDF surveillance camera near the area....

The Big Missing Piece of the Kushner Plan: Water
One reason the Palestinians swiftly rejected the flawed U.S. peace plan was that it does nothing to address their claims for water rights.
Keith Johnson February 4, 2020

Among many other problematic aspects of the Trump administration’s peace plan for the Middle East, one glaring fault is its lack of any serious attention to the contentious question of how to divide up precious water resources between the Israelis and Palestinians.

One of the many reasons that the Palestinian leadership dismissed the proposal out of hand was that it included a demand for Palestinians to cede the water-rich West Bank and the entire Jordan Valley to Israel...

Israel, Palestinian Territories: Hamas Offers to Stop Cross-Border Attacks

What Happened: According to an Israeli defense official, Hamas has offered to stop conducting rocket and incendiary balloon attacks on Israel, Haaretz reported Feb. 13. Should Hamas uphold its promise, Israel has reportedly agreed to expand the tightly controlled fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip, as well as issue 500 suspended work permits to Gazan residents.

Why It Matters: If Hamas and Israel both uphold their promises, it would be a testament to the strength of the Egyptian hand in helping mitigate tensions between them, as Egypt recently resumed its role in negotiating de-escalation talks between the two rival forces. Whether cross-border attacks continue over the coming days will serve as a crucial test of the viability of the exchange.

Background: Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since the political and militant group rose to power in 2006. A de-escalation with Hamas could enable the Israeli government to better control persistent instability in the south.

KOREAN PENINSULA

Wonsan-Kalma Airfield Air Forces Flight Activity – The New Normal?

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Peter Makowsky February 6, 2020

Evidence of continued North Korean Air Forces flight activity, observed on commercial satellite imagery taken on January 31 and February 3, 2020, suggests a new normal for the Wonsan-Kalma Airfield.

Background

Commercial satellite imagery from January 17 and 21, 2020, had shown military aircraft flight preparations at North Korea’s Wonsan-Kalma International airport. This was the first flight activity observed at this location since the Combat Flight Contest in mid-November 2019. Wonsan-Kalma is a dual-use airfield, originally serving as an airbase for MiG-17 and -21 fighter aircraft until 2013, when construction began to convert the airfield to serve as both a military airbase and an international commercial airport with the latter intended to serve the adjacent, newly-constructed, Wonsan Beach Resort.

Recent Activity

Imagery of January 31, 2020 and subsequent coverage on February 4, showed a shuffled movement of aircraft since mid-January, and the presence of an additional eight MiG-21 fighter aircraft. The eight additional fighters are parked in pairs in front of four of the aircraft shelters located at the southern end of the west runway. (Figure 1) Given their location, it is likely that they were removed from under the shelters. Assuming they had not been placed one-to-a-shelter, they likely would have been parked inside in a staggered, tandem arrangement, as it does not appear that they would fit placed side-by-side, given the width of the aircraft wingspans...

North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Center: Rail Activity at the Radioisotope Production and Uranium Enrichment Plants

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Peter Makowsky, Frank V. Pabian and Jack Liu
February 14, 2020

Recent commercial satellite imagery reveals minor activity within North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center complex with no indications of operations at the 5 MWe reactor or Experimental Light Water Reactor. There are four railroad flatcars present, each configured to carry four-to-five cylindrical containers. Their location and the lack of indicators at the Radiochemical Laboratory suggests that the railcars are carrying nonradioactive materials, likely chemicals related to uranium conversion operations at the Radioisotope Production Plant.

The Radioisotope Production Plant and Uranium Enrichment Plant Area

Satellite imagery from February 10 and 11 reveals the presence of four railroad flatcars specially configured to carry cylindrical containers in two separate locations. A group of three were observed to the north of the Uranium Enrichment Plant, on the rail line servicing the area. The first railcar (northern-most on Figure 2) has four canisters laid sideways or perpendicular to the length of the car. The cargo on the second is less clear but appears to have two donut-shaped objects laying at either end of the car. The third car has four cylindrical canisters laid sideways, with a probable fifth canister separating them, but aligned parallel to the length of the car. A similar set of three railcars has been observed in this area in the past, at least once on the rail spur located between and servicing both the Radioisotope Production and the Uranium Enrichment Plants, and most recently on November 14, 2019, at the Yongbyon Railyard.

A fourth flatcar carrying five canisters positioned sideways (the center one appearing smaller) is located east of the Uranium Enrichment Plant on the rail spur adjacent to the Radioisotope Production Plant...

Figure 1. Specialized flatcars present near the Radioisotope Production Plant and Uranium Enrichment Plant, February 10, 2020.

How a North Korean Nuclear-Armed Submarine Could Make It Even Harder to Strike a Deal

Kim Jong Un has spent much of his time as North Korea’s leader developing bigger and more advanced nuclear weapons. This year, he may try to make them harder to find by putting them under the sea. Recent North Korean reports touting a new submarine and its test of a ballistic missile designed to be launched from one have fueled speculation that a sub may be the “new strategic weapon” Kim promised to unveil this year. While such a vessel would probably be noisy and unable to stray far from the coast without being tracked, it may be enough to serve Kim’s needs. Even one submarine lurking off the Korean Peninsula, beyond the gaze of spy satellites, would give U.S. military planners a dangerous new threat to consider in the event of any conflict. And for Kim, anything that makes it harder for the U.S. to imagine an actual war, brings him closer to a goal that alluded his father: international recognition as a nuclear state.

RUSSIA

Russian intelligence agents reportedly went to Ireland to inspect undersea cables....

Russian intelligence agents have been sent to Ireland to make the precise locations of undersea cables connecting Europe to North America, raising fears that they plan to tap or even cut them.... Irish security services believe that the agents were sent by Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, the GRU, and are checking the fiber-optic cables for weak points ... citing police and military sources. They were also seen monitoring Dublin Port, which prompted the country to ramp up security at a number of landing sites along the Irish coast.... The vast network of transatlantic cables that run under the world’s oceans power the internet, texts, calls, and global financial transactions. About 97% of all intercontinental data is transferred through these cables....

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

Devices found in missiles, Yemen drones link Iran to attacks

A small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen's Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say. These gyroscopes have only been found inside drones manufactured by Iran, Conflict Armament Research said in a report released on Wednesday. That follows a recently released report from the United Nations saying its experts saw a similar gyroscope from an Iranian drone obtained by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, as well as inweaponsshipmentsseized in the Arabian Sea bound for Yemen.

CYBER ISSUES

Report Finds Cybersecurity Issues with US 2020 Census

A report looking into the US 2020 Decennial Census has flagged concerns over cybersecurity and questioned whether the personal data collected during the study can be kept private. The US Census Bureau kicked off the 2020 Census count of the population with the enumeration of Alaska in January. However, a report into the ongoing operation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the bureau faces "significant cybersecurity challenges in securing its systems and data." ... Specifically, the Bureau continues to face challenges related to addressing cybersecurity weaknesses, tracking and resolving cybersecurity recommendations, and addressing numerous other cybersecurity concerns."


U.S. Government Issues Powerful Cyberattack Warning As Gas Pipeline ... Two Day Shut Down
A major cyberattack has hit a gas compression facility, forcing it to shut it down for two days as it struggled to recover, according to an alert from the U.S. government. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) said it had responded to the ransomware attack on a natural gas facility, but it did not reveal when the incident took place, or the identity of the victim organization. The attack happened because the adversary was able to hop from the gas compression facility’s IT network onto the operational technology (OT) network when an employee mistakenly clicked on a malicious email link. Once in, the attacker deployed the data-encrypting malware, ransomware, on both networks.


Flaw in Philips Smart Light Bulbs Exposes Your WiFi Network to Hackers

... Check Point experts today revealed a new high-severity vulnerability affecting Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs that can be exploited over-the-air from over 100 meters away to gain entry into a targeted WiFi network. The underlying high-severity vulnerability, tracked as CVE- 2020-6007, resides in the way Philips implemented the Zigbee communication protocol in its smart light bulb, leading to a heap-based buffer overflow issue. ZigBee is a widely used wireless technology designed to let each device communicate with any other device on the network. The protocol has been built into tens of millions of devices worldwide, including Amazon Echo, Samsung SmartThings, Belkin Emo and more. "Through this exploitation, a threat actor can infiltrate a home or office's computer network over-the-air, spreading ransomware or spyware, by using nothing but a laptop and an antenna from over 100 meters," the Check Point researchers told The Hacker News.

Iran-linked APT34 group is targeting US federal workers

Security experts from Intezer observed targeted attacks on a US-based research company that provides services to businesses and government organizations. “Our researchers Paul Litvak and Michael Kajilolti have discovered a new campaign conducted by APT34 employing an updated toolset. Based on uncovered phishing documents, we believe this Iranian actor is targeting Westat employees, or United States organizations hiring Westat services”....

INTEL GENERAL

Man arrested after allegedly tracking U.S. government source for Russia

A Mexican man residing in Singapore was arrested in the U.S. on Tuesday, after he allegedly tracked a U.S. government source for Russia in order to obtain the source's license plate number. Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes has been charged with acting in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same. Court documents allege that a Russian government official recruited Fuentes in 2019 and tasked him with renting a specific property in Miami-Dade County, Florida....

FBI Document Reveals Local & State Police Are Collecting Intelligence ... Terrorism Watch List

Despite a federal judge’s ruling last September that the U.S. government’s terror watch list violates constitutional rights, an FBI report obtained by Yahoo News shows local and state law enforcement agencies are being used to gather intelligence on individuals to collect information about those already in the database. Law enforcement “encounters of watchlisted individuals almost certainly yield increased opportunities for intelligence collection,” says the FBI document, dated more than a month after the federal court ruling. The FBI says such encounters could include traffic stops or domestic disputes, which gives law enforcement “the opportunity to acquire additional biographic identifiers, fraudulent identification documents, financial information and associates of watchlisted individuals,” which might assist in thwarting terrorist acts. The Terrorism Screening Database, widely known as the watch list, was created in 2003 and consists of names of people suspected of being involved with terrorism. Over the years, the list has grown to include the names of 1.1 million people, raising concerns that many of those on the list have no involvement in terrorism but have little or no legal resources with which to challenge the designation. People can be put on the watch list for “reasonable suspicion,” a loosely defined category that allows anyone related to a suspected terrorist or considered somehow to be an “associate” to end up on the list, even if the government has no evidence of the individual’s involvement in terrorist activity, according to a copy of the guidelines published in 2014 by the Intercept...

Raytheon engineer arrested for taking US missile defense secrets to China

... Sun, a Chinese-born American citizen, had been working at Raytheon, the fourth-largest US defense contractor, for a decade. He held a secret-level security clearance and worked on highly sensitive missile programs used by the US military. Since Sun’s computer contained large amounts of restricted data, Raytheon officials told him that taking it abroad would not only be a violation of company policy, but a serious violation of federal law, as well. Sun didn’t listen, according to US prosecutors. While he was out of the country, Sun connected to Raytheon’s internal network on the laptop. He sent an email suddenly announcing he was quitting his job after 10 years in order to study and work overseas. When Sun returned to the United States a week later, he told Raytheon security officials that he had only visited Singapore and the Philippines during his travels. But ... Sun to confess that he traveled to China with the laptop.

Spy school: Chinese military officer busted for posing as Boston University student

A female Chinese military officer was charged with spying while posing as a student at Boston University, but was able to flee the country after FBI agents interviewed her about her links to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). PLA Lt. Ye Yanqing was indicted in a separate criminal case involving Dr. Charles Lieber, chairman of Harvard’s chemistry department, who was arrested on Tuesday and charged with lying about receiving tens of thousands of dollars from the Wuhan University of Technology and lying to the Pentagon about the foreign money.
14
TERRORISM

Justice Department Secures Denaturalization of Convicted Terrorist ...

On Feb. 3, Judge Staci M. Yandle of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois entered an order revoking the naturalized U.S. citizenship of convicted terrorist, Iyman Faris. Faris, a native of Pakistan, was convicted in 2003 of providing material support to al Qaeda and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Among other actions in support of al Qaeda, in 2002, Faris evaluated the practicality of a plot to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge in New York using gas cutters, communicating his assessment to al Qaeda via coded messages. In its order revoking his U.S. citizenship, the court found that Faris was ineligible for naturalization and unlawfully procured his citizenship through willful misrepresentation of material facts.

Three Al-Qaeda Terrorists Caught Trying To Enter Us With Colombian Passports

Three members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group were stopped and apprehended trying to fly into Dallas while using passports from Colombia. The three entered Colombia via Venezuela. The three al-Qaeda members who are from Syria, entered Colombia in La Guajira, in northeast Colombia. The three men were able to obtain actual passports as they had documentation experts located in the country.

MISC

Could Take Years, Consultant Says

With the aerospace manufacturing sector expecting Boeing to restart 737 MAX production as early as next month or April, one widely followed industry consultant said it will take up to two years to clear out the stored inventory of narrowbody aircraft and fuselages.

Kevin Michaels, MD of AeroDynamic Advisory told the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance this month that it will take 18-24 months to push out the roughly 400 undelivered MAXs stockpiled by Boeing, in addition to the 387 grounded MAXs at customers, along with the almost 100 fuselages that aerostructures supplier Spirit AeroSystems has parked in Wichita...

Why Protective Intelligence Is the Crux of Corporate Security

Scott Stewart VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor Feb 11, 2020

By identifying threats before they ever occur, protective intelligence teams help all other facets of a corporate security program transition from reactive to preemptive....

In the U.S. military, "staying left of the boom" refers to disarming malicious actors before they can build, plant and ultimately detonate a bomb. And while defusing physical bombs may not be as much of imminent concern to companies, metaphorical bombs in the form of espionage, terrorism, thefts and workplace violence can still result in severe physical, psychological, financial and reputational damage. Just as soldiers are prepared to attend to the aftermath of a physical attack, corporate personnel must still be well-trained to quickly and efficiently respond to a security incident. But it is always better to avoid or prevent a threat altogether, which is exactly where protective intelligence teams and programs step in by giving life to the proactive security measures needed to help companies and organizations stay out of harm's way...

Police Warning: Cyber Criminals Are Using Cleaners to Hack Your Business

Criminal gangs are planting “sleepers” in cleaning companies so that they can physically access IT infrastructure, a senior police officer with responsibility for cyber crime has warned, urging businesses to bolster their physical security processes in the face of the growing threat. Shelton Newsham, who manages the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Cyber Crime Team, told an audience at the SINET security event that he was seeing a “much larger increase in physical breaches” as cyber crime groups diversify how they attack and move laterally inside institutions. (Recent reports suggest that cybercrime will cost firms $6 trillion annually by 2021 – making it more profitable than the global drugs trade.)


Longest-ever smuggling tunnel found on Southwest border

U.S. authorities this week announced the discovery of the longest smuggling tunnel ever found on the Southwest border, stretching more than three-quarters of a mile from an industrial site in Tijuana, Mexico, to the San Diego area. The tunnel featured an extensive rail cart system, forced air ventilation, high voltage electrical cables and panels, an elevator at the tunnel entrance and a drainage system. While there were no arrests, no drugs found at the site and no confirmed exit point in the U.S., the length — more than 14 football fields — stunned authorities.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The latest conspiracy meeting of the VRWC (Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy)...

Been a crazy week, but Darren Miller, he of Right on the Left Coast fame, was headed to a vacation in Panama. He had a layover in Houston, so Beth and I had a chance to link up over lunch.

Darren (L) and I at Bush Airport. Meet 31 years ago...we were both thin,
My hair was not grey, and he had hair!
We hoped to link up in Colorado back 2017, but Darren’s truck broke down. Last time Darren and I linked up In 2008, when he, Jim Gardon, and I visited the Reagan Library.

He posted today on the Panama Canal, and I think he flies home tomorrow. Darren is quite an accomplished traveler, something I will need to catch up on in the future.

In the Air Tonight...

It’s actually pretty nice. In the 50s, crisp, cigar and whiskey time.

Took Friday off, it’s been a week. But I finished reading Indianapolis, and should finish Starship Troopers this weekend. And one daughter has a birthday tomorrow. And two nephews Sunday. So the social calendar is filled.

I saw Phil Collins in New Orleans back in 2003, on his First Final Farewell Tour. The stage had a set of drums, he walks out with a set of sticks, and starts to go on a banging solo. After five minutes, another set and drummer come up from stage left. Five more minutes, a third set and drummer, stage right. Fifteen minutes of nothing but drums, then he started singing. Awesome!

He got to his signature hit about half way through the concert, and I thank God I got this off my bucket list. Ladie and Gentlement, Phil Collins.

Have a great weekend.

Officer Down


Undersheriff Stephen B. McLoud
Cayuga County Sheriff's Office, New York
End of Watch Thursday, August 29, 2019
Age 59
Tour 23 years
Badge 502
Cause 9/11 related illness
Incident Date Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Undersheriff Stephen McLoud died as the result of cancer that he developed following his assignment to the recovery efforts at the Fresh Kills landfill site following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Undersheriff McLoud had served with the Cayuga County Sheriff's for 23 years and was the agency's chief criminal investigator at the time he responded to assist with recovery efforts. He had also served with the Weedsport Fire Department for 20 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

After the impact of the first plane into the World Trade Center's North Tower, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the South Tower unexpectedly collapsed as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The North Tower collapsed a short time later. Seventy-one law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

A third hijacked plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to re-take control of the plane. One law enforcement officer, who was a passenger on the plane, was killed in that crash.

The fourth hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing almost 200 military and civilian personnel. No law enforcement officers were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The terrorist attacks resulted in the declaration of war against the Taliban regime, the illegal rulers of Afghanistan, and the al Qaeda terrorist network which also was based in Afghanistan.

On September 9th, 2005, all of the public safety officers killed on September 11th, 2001, were posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush.

The contamination in the air at the World Trade Center site caused many rescue personnel to become extremely ill and eventually led to the death of several rescue workers.

On May 1st, 2011 members of the United States military conducted a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden.

Please click here to visit the memorials of all of the law enforcement officers killed in this terrorist attack.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

K9 Down


K9 Rambo
Greensboro Police Department, North Carolina
End of Watch Friday, August 16, 2019
Breed Belgian Malinois
Gender Male
Age 4
Tour 3 years

K9 Rambo was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a canine track of a robbery suspect at approximately 8:30 pm.

He was struck by a vehicle that was unrelated to the crime. The robbery suspect was arrested in October 2019 after fleeing to Springfield, Massachusetts.

K9 Rambo had served with the Greensboro Police Department for three years.
Rest in Peace Rambo…till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!



In Memory of all Police Dogs

They handled themselves with beauty & grace
And who could ever forget that beautiful face
Whether at work; or at home; whatever the test
They always worked hard; and did their best

They were real champions; at work or at play
But their lives were cut short; suddenly one day
While working on the job with their partner one day
They put themselves out on a limb; out into harms way

They gave the ultimate sacrifice; any dog can give
They gave up their life; so someone could live
The best of their breed; as his partner and anyone would say
Many hearts are now broken; that he had to prove it this way

Now as the trees are blowing in the gentle breeze
The sun is shining; thru the leaves on the trees
The meadows are green; and the grass grows tall
Off in the distance they can see a waterfall

As they look over the falls; down through the creek
The water flows gently; as a rabbit sneaks a peek
Far up above; in the deep blue sky
They see the birds soar high; as they fly by

They see animals playing; at the bridge by a waterfall
Chasing each other; and just having a ball
They play all day; from morning to night
There's no more rain; just warm sunlight

Off in the distance; they hear trumpets blow
Then all the animals look up; and notice a bright glow
The harps would play and the angels would sing
As they know they've come home; they've earned their wings

We remember that they died; in the line of duty
And are now with the Lord; sharing in heaven's beauty
Off to the meadows now; where they can play and roam free
With an occasional rest stop; under a tall oak tree

No more bad guys to chase; or bullets to take
Just a run through the meadow; down to the lake
A quick splash in the water; then back to the shore
Then it's off to the forest; to go play some more

These special dogs are back home; up in heaven above
They're cradled in God's arm's; and covered with His love
We'll light a candle for all of them; in the dark of night
In loving memory of all; these very special knights

By John Quealy

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Voyles
Chickasaw County Sheriff's Department, Mississippi
End of Watch Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Age 33
Tour 5 years
Incident Date Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Voyles was killed in a single-vehicle crash that occurred on County Road 4 near Houlka on the evening of August 27th, 2019.

He and a state narcotics agent were conducting an investigation when their vehicle rolled over several times. He was flown to a hospital Tupelo where he succumbed to his injuries early the following morning.

Deputy Voyles had served with the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Department for five years and was assigned to the North Mississippi Narcotics Unit. He had previously served as a law enforcement officer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation. He is survived by his wife, two young children, and parents.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

K9 Down

K9 Rocco
Vernal Police Department, Utah
End of Watch Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Breed Belgian Malinois
Gender Male
Age 7
Tour 5 years

K9 Rocco was struck and killed by a vehicle in the area of 4500 South Vernal Avenue at approximately 6:00 am.

K9 Rocco had been let out of the vehicle for a break when he ran across the road and was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

K9 Rocco had served with the Vernal Police Department for five years as a patrol and narcotics detection canine.
Rest in Peace Rocco…till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!



In Memory of all Police Dogs

They handled themselves with beauty & grace
And who could ever forget that beautiful face
Whether at work; or at home; whatever the test
They always worked hard; and did their best

They were real champions; at work or at play
But their lives were cut short; suddenly one day
While working on the job with their partner one day
They put themselves out on a limb; out into harms way

They gave the ultimate sacrifice; any dog can give
They gave up their life; so someone could live
The best of their breed; as his partner and anyone would say
Many hearts are now broken; that he had to prove it this way

Now as the trees are blowing in the gentle breeze
The sun is shining; thru the leaves on the trees
The meadows are green; and the grass grows tall
Off in the distance they can see a waterfall

As they look over the falls; down through the creek
The water flows gently; as a rabbit sneaks a peek
Far up above; in the deep blue sky
They see the birds soar high; as they fly by

They see animals playing; at the bridge by a waterfall
Chasing each other; and just having a ball
They play all day; from morning to night
There's no more rain; just warm sunlight

Off in the distance; they hear trumpets blow
Then all the animals look up; and notice a bright glow
The harps would play and the angels would sing
As they know they've come home; they've earned their wings

We remember that they died; in the line of duty
And are now with the Lord; sharing in heaven's beauty
Off to the meadows now; where they can play and roam free
With an occasional rest stop; under a tall oak tree

No more bad guys to chase; or bullets to take
Just a run through the meadow; down to the lake
A quick splash in the water; then back to the shore
Then it's off to the forest; to go play some more

These special dogs are back home; up in heaven above
They're cradled in God's arm's; and covered with His love
We'll light a candle for all of them; in the dark of night
In loving memory of all; these very special knights

By John Quealy

The Warthog lives!

In spite of the Air Force's best efforts.

In 1948, the heads of the armed focus, with the end of World War II behind them, and the Cold War ahead of them, met in Key West FL. Durning this conference, they set up the responsibilities of the various services, particularly the roll of the now separate US Air Force in relation to the Army. One of the critical points was the Army wouldn't have armed fixed wing aircraft, those would be the purvue of the USAF. Fast forward three decades, the Air Force has fielded a new close air support (CAS) aircraft, the A-10. Ugly, slow, not hi-tech, and it did only one thing, but better than any other aircraft. It supported the troops on the ground.

Since the 1990s, the USAF has tried to retire the A-10, saying the F-16/F18 could do the CAS mission. No, it could not. The GAU-8 Gatling Gun cuts through tank armor like it's paper. And the Army has said, if the USAF retires the A-10, they will take them. And then the Air Force says, "No, we'll keep it..."

Well, in spite of it's best efforts, the Warthog still flies.

The A-10 Warthog Is America's Phoenix: It Won't Die, It Just Gets Reborn Stronger

Congress blocked the Air Force's latest effort to retire the A-10.

The U.S. Air Force has all but given up on retiring the A-10 Warthog close-air-support jet. Instead, the flying branch is upgrading the tough ground-attackers so they can fight and survive in high-intensity combat.

The Air Force had hoped to begin retiring its 281 A-10s starting in 2015. But Congress blocked the effort. Now the A-10 is safe even as the Air Force considers retiring other plane types.

“Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan stoked speculation that the service will retire the A-10 after announcing that its FY21 budget request will include ‘controversial changes’ such as the divestment of legacy aircraft,” Valerie Insinna reported at Defense News.

But speaking at the conference later that day, Lt. Gen. Timothy Fay, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements, confirmed that the A-10 is not one of the aircraft under consideration for divestment and will stay in service until the 2030s.

“Short answer: No,” Fay said, when asked whether the Warthog is on the cutting block. "I will tell you, I wish the response had been that the Air Force is actually bold enough to get after the threats that we’re facing.”

The Air Force acquired the subsonic, twin-engine planes in the 1970s and 1980s in order to destroy Soviet tanks. The stubby Warthog with its powerful 30-millimeter cannon proved effective as a close-air-support aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite its popularity with ground troops, the Air Force wanted to retire the A-10 early in order to free up around $5 billion for other investments. Now that retirement is off the table, the service is moving ahead with a wide range of upgrades meant to keep the Warthog relevant into the 2030s...

...“The new upgrades come after the completion, at the end of July 2019, of a first re-winging program that saw the installation of new wings, built by Boeing, on 173 A-10s,” Stefano D’Urso reported at The Aviationist...

...According to the Air Force Materiel Command, the upgraded wings should last for up to 10,000 flight hours without requiring a depot inspection. One month later, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a second contract, worth up to [$999 million], that will provide up to 112 new wing assemblies, completing the re-winging of all 281 A-10s currently in inventory.

The A-10s also are getting new weapons, avionics and sensors, D’Urso explained.

The Air Force, in fact, has recently started fielding a new improved version of the Thales Visionix Scorpion Helmet Mounted Display System, used by A-10 pilots following the Helmet Mounted Integrated Targeting program in 2012. The main modification is the replacement of the original magnetic tracking sensor with a new sensor known as HObIT (Hybrid Optical-based Inertial Tracker), which should track pilot head movements more accurately. ...

A second major upgrade is the integration of the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb in the A-10’s arsenal. Until now the A-10 was limited to carry only a single weapon on each pylon; by using the BRU-61/A rack, the A-10 will be able to carry four SDBs on each weapon pylon, becoming a “bomb truck” that can release these stand-off weapons to neutralize threats as far as 50 miles in the target area before starting to provide close air support to ground troops.

Warthogs finally are getting Link 16 datalinks, too,” D’Urso explained. “With the integration of Link 16, the A-10 will be able to communicate and exchange data with all other legacy air assets, namely tactical jets, electronic warfare aircraft, bombers and AWACS, as well as the F-35.”

Finally, there’s a new radar -- a first for the type. “The last known upgrade is the integration of a synthetic aperture radar pod to supplement the existing targeting capabilities provided by the Sniper and Litening targeting pods. While not officially confirmed, the pod in question could be the AN/ASQ-236 “Dragon’s Eye” active electronically scanned array radar pod, already operational on the F-15E Strike Eagle...”

Back when I was in Korea, we had an Air Force captain with our headquarter, the Fighter Liaison Officer. We were discussing the A-10, and he mentioned to some of the armor officers there he had video of what Warthogs do to tanks. My buddy Mike Lemond said, "No, I don't want to watch them. Makes me a bit uneasy..." :)

Here to another few decades of the Warthog on the battlefield.

Monday, February 17, 2020

De-Escalation as a Noun

An interesting look at the issue.

Over most of the last decade, the usual suspects (Department of Justice lawyers, internet "experts," and community activists) have called for more "De-Escalation" training to prevent use of deadly force, or force at all. It is a cure all for all that ails the American public in general, and law enforcement specifically. When I ask a social media "expect" exactly how it's done, I generally get words like "de-escalate," "Officer, you need to calm down!", etc. But for some reason the suspect doesn't need to calm down, or if I lower my voice, they will stop trying to run, or come at me with a knife.

Well, just found this interesting article, and it explains the issues very well. I believed it's impossible for an officer to calm a person down, the person must calm themselves down. I'm not saying we can't encourage it, by lowering our voice, etc. But unless the person is ready to "bring it down," nothing will change.

With that as an introduction, here is an excellent article for review.
Why Police Officers Can’t De-Escalate Anyone

Thinking of de-escalation as a verb, an action the police can do to a suspect, fails to account for the two things required of the suspect for de-escalation to be successful.

Scott Savage February 17, 2020

Why Police Officers Can’t De-Escalate Anyone

No doubt “de-escalation” is a buzzword in law enforcement and in the media. It’s usually discussed as a verb, meaning it’s an action that police can take. Conventional wisdom says as a law enforcement officer, I am supposed to “de-escalate” a suspect in the same way I act other verbs such as when I question a suspect, handcuff a suspect, etc.

De-Escalation as a Noun

I, however, believe thinking of de-escalation as verb is a mistake. I believe “de-escalation” is more like a noun. It is something that I can offer a suspect but not something I can do to a suspect. Certainly, there are actions an officer can perform to try to defuse a crisis, but those actions usually can be summed up as the officer controlling his or her own behavior (e.g. speaking calmly). If de-escalation were a verb, that would mean that in a crisis situation, the police either did or did not perform the act of de-escalation. But recognizing that de-escalation is more like a noun, the true test is whether or not I offered de-escalation and whether or not a suspect accepted my offer.

The Suspect Must Agree and Participate

In a crisis situation, offering de-escalation is a viable tactic that is sometimes appropriate in the same way that using force is at other times appropriate. Consider a suspect barricaded in his home refusing to exit and submit to arrest. A crisis negotiator can call the suspect and offer de-escalation by saying, “We’d like you to walk out the front door. When you do, I need you to lay down so we can handcuff you. As long as you follow our directions and don’t resist, we are not going to use any type of force on you.” That is an offer of de-escalation. But for that de-escalation to be successful it requires two things from the suspect, their agreement and their participation. The suspect must first accept our offer and agree to the de-escalation. Secondly, the suspect must actively participate in the process. If the suspect were to agree but then for whatever reason refuse to submit to arrest or drop his weapon, the offer of de-escalation is voided due to the suspect’s lack of participation.

War story, I was called by one of my units after they arrested a suspect for trespass, and the suspect's mother wanted to talk to me. Well, I get there, I explain to the mother as the DA has already accepted charges, he must be booked, etc, and she took it fairly well. I then explained the facts to the suspect, who was already in the back of the officer's SUV. And the man started his reaction, slamming his head against an inside barrier, and claiming her was mentally ill. So we pull him out of the SUV, and he starts to scream and slam his head against the concrete. At that moment, I screamed at him, "Stop this s%^&, you're on video, we know what you're trying to do, and Freddy Gray did it better!" And guess what, he stopped slamming his head against the ground. Hey, it was successful "de-escalation," but it was also a negotiation technique, I cut off his hope. He had hope that by trying to injury himself, he would not be booked for this charge. I made him acknowledge it would not work, and he cooperated.
A Diminished Capacity to Accept the Offer

Consider a mentally ill man, armed with a metal pole, roaming through a downtown neighborhood while threatening passersby. Perhaps because of his illness or concurrent substance use, he is suffering from what is known as diminished capacity. His capacity to both agree and participate with the responding officer’s offer of de-escalation is diminished. Regardless of the negotiation and tactical skills of the responding officers, if the suspect is completely unable to agree and participate, then the offer of de-escalation is likely not a viable tactic. Instead, the use of decisive and reasonable force may become necessary.

The Superhuman Power to Control Others

I am all for law enforcement officers handling incidents with the utmost skill and professionalism. As a matter of fact, I have devoted the better part of my police career to helping officers do just that. De-escalation is an important tactic to understand but it requires an accurate understanding. If law enforcement officers possessed the super human power to control suspects behavior through simply choosing to de-escalate them, the world would be a safer place for suspects and officers alike. In reality though, officers can only offer de-escalation and in order for that offer to be successful, the suspect must first agree and then participate in the process.
Another war story, stopped a man laying on a railroad track. He got up, took a crutch out (he was not injured, just had it) and started to swing at me. I used half a can of Mace on him, didn't work, and this is before we had Tasers. I am thinking this is gonna get ugly soon. Thankfully two other officers arrived, we used batons and after almost two minutes of beating him to death, we got him under control And we were exhausted, but we got him under control.

I guess the suspect wasn't going to "agree and participate."

Mr. Savage, excellent article, thank you.