Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The State of China's Anti-Corruption Campaign


Stratfor Senior East Asia Analyst John Minnich discusses how Chinese President Xi Jinping is working to weed out corruption and consolidate his power and what might stop him.


The State of China's Anti-Corruption Campaign is republished with permission of Stratfor.

More not good news from the former Golden State....

My personal record for a long day is 21 1/2 hours. I was scheduled for six hours of OT upon my normal eight hour shift, and I got involved with a shooting suspect. Gotta say, I had a nice paycheck out of that.

Back during Hurricane Ike, we worked mandatory twelve hour shifts for almost two weeks and I'll say it, that was tiring. I don't want to think about seventeen hour shifts, that would be exhausting in the course of ten days.

Cops Living In RV’s Outside San Jose Police Department

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — At least a dozen officers are living in RV’s in the parking lot right near the San Jose Police Department’s headquarters.

Mandatory overtime forces them to work up to 17-hour days. Combine those long hours with horrendous traffic, and commutes from as far away as Manteca, Stockton, Tracy and even Reno, these officers are staying in an RV during the week and then driving home on their days off.

It turns out the recreational vehicles are legally parked on city property.

“It’s embarrassing for any city,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

It was Measure B pension reform that voters approved back in 2012 that cut officer pay and benefits, and triggered a mass exodus of officers leaving the department.

Mayor Liccardo said the long term solution is for voters to pass Measure F, which would boost officer pay to hire and retain more cops.

“We need to get some support for Measure F so we can restore this police department so we don’t have officers working multiple overtime shifts in the same day in the same week,” Liccardo said...

Forgive me if I take the mayor’s statement of ignorance with a grain of salt. Mr. Mayor, if you didn’t know, you should have.

Now think, you’re running those officers to the breaking point. At some point they will say “Screw it, I’m just going to hold up and run as little as possible, I’m too tired and I don’t trust I can handle myself.” Not to mention being completely exhausted is not the condition you want in a man with a badge and gun. Who may have to make use of deadly force decisions.

Bringing some accountably to the prosecutors office....

Interesting read from Reason magazine. I have no issue with the concept of this, but I would like to see the standard to prove a prosecutor “intentionally” withheld evidence in a case. That being said, in Texas a few years ago we had a nightmare that put a shake into the faith of capital punishment supporters like me.

Michael Morton was a businessman, a man of means, a pillar of the community and a white male, and he got railroaded by the then district attorney. Mr. Morton lost a quarter century of this life. The DA who railroaded him. Ken Anderson, served 10 days in jail, resigned from the bench and lost his law license. Anderson got off easy.

I belive Texas also passed a law compensating people wrongfully convicted of a crime the sum of one-hundred thousand a year in compensation. I stand to be corrected on the amount, but I'm glad this possibility has been accounted for. Justice is not fully blind, and the sword she holds should not be swung in anger, but even with the best of intentions mistakes can me made. Mr. Morton was not a mistake.

From the article:
California Bill Would Make It a Felony for Prosecutors to Withhold Evidence

Responding to several highly publicized district attorney scandals that have tainted numerous murder cases, a California state legislator has introduced bill that would make it a felony crime for prosecutors to intentionally withhold or falsify evidence.

Democratic California Assemblywoman Patty Lopez introduced the bill, which would raise prosecutorial misconduct from a misdemeanor to a felony imprisonable by up to 16 months to three years. The bill moved through committee to the full state senate last week.

The justice system in Orange County, California has been under intense public scrutiny since 2014, when a public defender in the capital murder case of Scott Dekraai revealed that the district attorney's office and sheriff's department had been operating a secret jailhouse informant program for years, and hiding that fact from judges and defense attorneys.

Supporters of the legislation say the problems in Orange County are emblematic of problems in jurisdictions across the state and highlight the need for reform. The Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) has consistently denied any intentional wrongdoing and supports the bill as well, but a local attorney union says it will add costly and timely litigation to overburdened courts…

…the findings of a 2010 study on prosecutorial misconduct in California by the Santa Clara University School of Law and Northern California Innocence Project, which said it was a "critical" problem.

"Courts fail to report prosecutorial misconduct (despite having a statutory obligation to do so), prosecutors deny that it occurred, and the California State Bar almost never disciplines it," the report said.

In California's Kern County, for example, deputy district attorney Robert Murray Alan confessed in 2015 to falsifying a transcript to add a defendant's confession to sex with a minor. A state bar judge recommended a one-month suspension of Alan's law license.

Former Kern County District Attorney Ed Jagers was never fined or disciplined at all for putting 25 men in prison through the 1980s and '90s on felony child sex abuse charges that were later overturned. Jagers' misconduct ultimately cost Kern County $9 million in wrongful conviction settlements…

The full article is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

STRATFOR Geopolitical Weekly: Of Murder, Men and God, August 20, 2016

An interesting look at man in general and the justification for violence.
Of Murder, Men and God

Editor's Note: The Global Affairs column is curated by Stratfor's editorial board, a diverse group of thinkers whose expertise inspires rigorous and innovative thought. Their opinions are their own and serve to complement and even challenge our beliefs. We welcome that challenge, and we hope our readers do too.

By Anisa Mehdi

Human history is littered with killings in the name of God. Some target specific communities: the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the persecution of Yazidis. Some are political, including the assassinations of Umar, Uthman, and Ali, the second, third and fourth "rightly guided" caliphs of Islam after the death of the Prophet Mohammed. Religious wars are also not uncommon through the ages: the Crusades, the Battle of Jericho, and the Battle of Badr are just a few examples.

But into which category do we put the recent killings of Catholic clergy by Muslims?

The targeting of Catholic men of the cloth by Muslim men proclaiming "Allahu Akbar," meaning "God is greater" in Arabic, leaves people of faith and citizens of the world with a sense of helplessness. Targeting clergy is a different kind of terror.

Navigating a New Reality

Complex geopolitical eruptions have created the recipe for the attacks on clergy that have occurred in the past 20 years, along with confounding religious edicts and social upheaval that cannot yet be measured for lasting impact on personal and communal life.

When did the eruptions begin? The world wars of the 20th century, and the subsequent dissolution of old empires and creation of nation-states, were terminus for some social structures and launched new ones that have yet to find their balance – especially from North Africa to Central Asia. When my octogenarian professor of Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University, Dr. Father Lawrence Frizzell, traveled across Lebanon, Jordan and Syria in the 1960s he was met with welcome. The Canadian diocesan priest rode in buses filled with men inhaling the scent of national freedom. Their nations had new presidents (or in Jordan, a homegrown king) rather than colonial governors or imperial caliphs.

"Were you safe?" I asked him.

"Always," he answered.

Citizens of Damascus still extolled the example of Emir Abd el-Kader. A hero to the tribes of Algeria and a rebel to the French in their 1840s quest to colonize it, el-Kader was exiled to Damascus. When the French overlords of Syria imposed unfair taxes on Muslim homes and livelihoods, the enraged Muslim population of Damascus rose against its Christian neighbors. El-Kader, a devout Muslim, made his Damascene home a safe-house for Christians, protecting any seeking safety. His biography, Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader (1808-1883) by John W. Kiser, sheds light for our times.

On his journey, Father Frizzell enjoyed hospitality in homes and villages with Christians and Muslims. "It is my duty to help a stranger," said a teenager driving him from Damascus to Maloula. The world in which he safely sojourned was too new to know it had traded one form of dictatorship for another. Foreign authorities had been replaced with indigenous presidents-for-life.

The riotous joy of those days and fleeting stability that followed crumbled in the wake of Gamal Abdel Nasser's failed Pan-Arabism, Hafez al Assad's increasingly brutal dictatorship, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the allied attack on Iraq in 1991, the fall of the World Trade Center's twin towers 10 years later, and related catastrophes since. The vacuum of instability created space for terrible vengeance.

Twisting Holy Text to Suit an Unholy Cause

When political stability is scarce, religion might play a steadying role. But despite many good efforts within faith communities, and with the assistance of the media's megaphone, dogma seems to be trumping righteousness.

The targeted killing of Father Jacques Hamel, an 85-year-old auxiliary priest at Eglise St.-Etienne in northern France, is a case in point. The priest was murdered during worship. Two suspected assailants, both of Algerian origin, were shot dead by local police. France's Muslim population, on alert since the July 14 massacre in Nice and the November 2015 attacks in Paris, responded with grief and condemnation. They flocked to churches across France in solidarity with their Christian countrymen and women. These voices of concern and compassion, however, thud dully against the trumpets of the Islamic State that claim two of its "soldiers" attacked the church. Why would two Muslim boys, radicalized or not, attack a church?

Even with scholarly guidance, the lay reader of the Koran may endeavor to frame his or her understanding and yet remain perplexed. Chapter nine, "Repentance," verse 29, instructs,

"Fight those of the People of the Book who do not [truly] believe in God and the Last Day… "

But what determines true belief?

The same chapter, verse 31, cautions against equating Jesus Christ with God, which is considered idolatry in Islamic theology.

"They take their rabbis and their monks as lords, as well as Christ, the son of Mary. But they were commanded to serve only one God: there is no god but Him; He is far above whatever they set up as His partners!"

Yet verse 33 clarifies that it is God's job to deal with idolaters, not human beings':

"God insists on bringing His light to its fullness, even if the disbelievers hate it."

The Koran (9:34) also criticizes corrupt religious leaders.

"Believers, many rabbis and monks wrongfully consume people's possessions and turn people away from God's path. Prophet, tell those who hoard gold and silver instead of giving in God's cause that they will have a grievous punishment."

This verse identifies a common complaint about religious hierarchies. This is what irked 16th-century priest Martin Luther. Today, televangelists may be prosecuted and found guilty of fraud. Islamic law, like constitutional law, demands due process: accusation, trial, evidence, judgment and sentence. But all evidence points to Father Jacques' pious life. He truly believed and was not hoarding riches. What is the excuse for his execution?

Clarity regarding Muslims' relationship with Christians comes in a covenant between the Prophet Mohammed and the monks of St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai in the year 628. The document from which this is excerpted is archived at St. Catherine's.

"This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them…

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet…

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants."

Religious War, or War on Religion?

On July 29, 2013, Father Paolo Dall'Oglio was away from his monastery. Deir Mar Musa, built outside Damascus in the sixth century, was his home for decades. The Jesuit monk had lived in Syria since the 1980s, studying Arabic and Sharia at the University of Damascus and dedicating himself to interfaith dialogue and preserving the monastery. He was exiled in 2011 for criticizing President Bashar al Assad's handling of Syria's civil war and returned two years later at his own peril. They say he approached Islamic State leaders in Raqqa, intent on negotiating the release of prisoners.

"Paolo's vision was to create a monastic order dedicated to Abrahamic hospitality and Christian-Islamic dialogue," said Emma Loosley, a professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at England's Exeter University who spent time at the monastery. "Until the war, Deir Mar Musa was a meeting point for Syrians of all faiths from across the country." Father Paolo has not been seen in the three years since.

Twenty years ago, in March 1996, seven Trappist monks were abducted from their monastery in the mountains above Algiers. Algeria was in the midst of turmoil involving its military regime. An aborted election compounded things, as did mercenaries returning from Afghanistan who had adopted extreme cultural views of Islamic life. The monks had dedicated themselves to productive engagement with their Muslim neighbors. On the eve of Easter, armed men came through the priory gates and — saying wounded rebels needed medical attention — rounded up the doctor, Brother Luc; the abbot, Christian de Cherge; and Brothers Paul and Celestin. Djamel Zitouni of the Groupe Islamique Arme (GIA) took credit for the kidnapping. Two months later, the monks were found dead. Thousands attended the state funeral at the Cathedral of Algiers, including Christians and Muslims. The murders remain unsolved. This spring, DNA evidence was brought from Algeria to France for forensic examination, but no reports have been released yet. The French families of the murdered men carry on a campaign for interreligious appreciation.

Each of these tragedies occurs in a different country, in a different time and under different geopolitical circumstances. Sociopathic behavior is evident, as is meager political reasoning and aberrant religious rationale.

Rather than hailing any of these crimes as battles in a religious war between Muslims and Christians, as the Islamic State and the GIA appear to urge, analysis indicates that these Muslim attacks on Christians are acts of sedition, treason against Islamic precepts, values and covenant. The agreement that the prophet signed with the monks of Sinai concludes:

"No one of the nation (Islam) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world)."

Covenant and commentary notwithstanding, it is difficult for me to write dispassionately about these killings. Father Jacques Hamel and my professor, Lawrence Frizzell, are contemporaries. Father Paolo was a friend to the Abraham Path Initiative, on whose board I serve as vice chair. The monastery he preserved was to have been a stop along the cultural route of Abrahamic hospitality for which this NGO stands. I am close with family members of the monks of Tibhirine. In 2004, I filmed the abandoned monastery in Algeria's Atlas Mountains in preparation for a documentary on the lives and legacy of those monks. The walls of the priory whisper loss and hope. Plainsong and Quranic chant echo in the chapel, where the monks and their Muslim companions shared worship. Their family members continue reaching out to people of different faiths in honor of the monks' visionary work.

What can we expect in the future? More violence. More advantage taken of unmoored young people by culturally extreme Muslims. We can also count on men and women of faith and ethics to stay their ground. We can count on growing moral support among the Abrahamic traditions and beyond. And we can expect that without emphasis on religious and secular education within disenfranchised, displaced populations, another generation may be sucked into the vacuum of inexcusable vengeance.

Of Murder, Men and God is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What's Going On In The World Today 160824

HYPERLINKS MAY REQUIRE AN EMAIL:

USA
The NSA Has a New Disclosure Policy: Getting Hacked
On Monday, when tech executives arrived in their offices, just days after a mysterious group of hackers released what they claimed were a set of NSA hacking tools, a familiar and frustrating pattern was taking shape. America’s premier signals intelligence agency had once again discovered unknown flaws in products used to secure computer networks around the globe, but instead of telling the manufacturers, the NSA pocketed those flaws, like skeleton keys that would let them open doors to others’ networks whenever and wherever they wanted.

If the tools released by the group known as the “Shadow Brokers” are legitimately from the NSA — and security researchers and agency veterans say that they appear to be — the agency now faces a fresh round of questions about how the breach occurred and when the agency found out.

That’s because the data released by the Shadow Brokers contained what are known as “zero days,” software flaws that are unknown to the manufacturer of a piece of software or hardware, and thus flaws for which no patch is even in the works.

Stockpiling such vulnerabilities is part of an international arms race in cyberspace. Last weekend’s dump exposed what is likely a small part of the American arsenal of such high tech battering rams, and it has reignited a debate among security researchers about whether the government should be stockpiling them, or if it should be revealing those vulnerabilities to manufacturers to make American networks more robust…

AFRICA

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ASIA

Japan eyes fighter drone, seeks record defense budget amid China assertiveness

Japan aims to develop a prototype drone fighter jet in two decades with private sector help in a technology strategy that focuses on weapons communications and lasers, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The plan will be announced this month when the Defense Ministry also unveils its request for a record budget of 5.16 trillion yen ($51 billion) for fiscal 2017, as tension rises in the East China Sea and North Korea steps up its missile threat, government officials with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The military technology plan calls for first developing an unmanned surveillance aircraft in the next decade and then an unmanned fighter jet 10 years later, the document showed.

The rise of 2.3 percent over this year's budget of 5.05 trillion yen marks the fifth successive annual increase sought by the ministry, which is keen to stiffen Japan's defenses as North Korea upgrades its ballistic missile technology…

…The defense ministry's request covers the 100 billion yen cost to upgrade Japan's PAC-3 missile defense system, said one government source, who declined to be identified, as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Such an upgrade would roughly double the missile system's range to more than 30 km (19 miles), other sources have said.

The budget proposal also includes the cost of production of the Block IIA version of the Standard Missile-3 system being jointly developed with the United States to shoot down missiles at higher altitudes, the source added.

The ministry will also allocate budget funds to acquire an upgraded version of the F-35 stealth fighter, made by U.S. company Lockheed Martin Corp, the source said…

South Korea's 'Razor Reef' Deters Illegal Fishing

Summary

Since an international tribunal ruled in July on maritime control in the South China Sea, countries in the region have become more focused on protecting and managing the maritime resources that will continue to shape relations throughout the Asia-Pacific. Now, South Korea is placing some 80 new artificial reefs near the islands along the Northern Limit Line, the maritime extension of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula. The reefs offer a creative solution to a complex problem, enabling Seoul to manage dwindling fish stocks, curtail illegal Chinese fishing and address the potential for future confrontations with North Korea all at the same time...

North Korea: Missile Test-Launched From Submarine

North Korea launched a submarine-based ballistic missile off its east coast on Aug. 23, the South Korean military said, Reuters reported. The launch coincides with annual joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea that are currently underway. This was just the latest in a series of missile launch tests by North Korea, which has long pursued a strategy of nuclear deterrence.

EUROPE

European Banks' Struggles Will Continue

MEXICO/LATIN AMERICA

Cuba: Iranian Foreign Minister Promises Stronger Ties With Havana

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said his visit to Havana on Aug. 22 would begin a new chapter in Iran-Cuba relations, Reuters reported. The trip is the first stop on his six-day tour of Latin America, which will include meetings in Chile, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela. It follows Cuban Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas' visit last week to Tehran, where he met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Iran is trying to improve its foreign trade now that sanctions against it have been lifted. Zarif's Cuban counterpart congratulated Iran on reaching a deal on its nuclear program and reiterated Cuba's support for all countries seeking to develop nuclear energy. Cuba and Iran both have had conflict-ridden relationships with the United States and have been accused by the United States of sponsoring terrorism.

Central America: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala To Launch Anti-Gang Force

The leaders of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala signed an agreement Aug. 24 in San Salvador to establish a joint force that would combat organized crime and drug trafficking, Reuters reported. The new force would mount coordinated operations, enhanced by shared intelligence and expedited extradition procedures. No details were released about the composition of the force. The three Central American nations are beset by violence among its criminal groups, which have spurred migration north to the United States.

AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan: Truck Bomb Explodes Outside Hotel Compound

A truck bomb claimed by the Taliban detonated outside of a hotel used by foreign contractors in Kabul early Aug. 1, causing heavy structural damage to a nearby empty compound but failing to inflict damage on its target, police officials said, Reuters reported. The blast, which killed the driver, took place just outside the Northgate Hotel. Two other attackers were reportedly shot dead by police in an ensuing firefight, during which officials say one officer was killed and four others were wounded. The Taliban, which often exaggerates the damage caused by its attacks, said the bombing caused dozens of casualties. Even after recently replacing fallen leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, the Taliban has sustained its insurgency.

CHINA

China: World’s First Quantum Communication Satellite Launched

China launched the world’s first quantum communication satellite into space early on Aug. 16, Xinhua and the South China Morning Post reported. The government hopes the satellite will facilitate “hack-proof” communications between space and the ground, particularly Beijing and the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi. According to the report, quantum communication boasts ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated, making it impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it. China is following in its neighbors' footsteps, and its emergence as a global force in technology development is only a matter of time.




China's first indigenous aircraft carrier nearing completion

Airbus Defence and Space imagery showing the Type 001A hull in dry dock at Dalian. The hull is largely complete, with just one aircraft elevator, superstructure, and some deck sections left to be added. Source: CNES 2016, Distribution Airbus DS/© 2016 IHS
Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 11 August 2016 shows significant activity related to China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) projects at Dalian Shipyard, including the assembly of the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier (CV), the Type 001A, and the production of Type 052D guided-missile destroyers (DDGs).

The imagery shows that, with the addition of the bow section and other exterior components, the assembly of the Type 001A CV is nearly complete. Two of the component fabrication areas adjacent to the dry dock are largely clear of materials, indicating that work on the Type 001A hull is nearing an end. Few uninstalled components remain present, including the forward aircraft elevator.

Additional components awaiting installation relate to the superstructure. Two modules, consisting of portions of the forward and aft sections of the superstructure, can be seen in one of the component fabrication areas.

Apart from sections of deck plating, which remain uninstalled to facilitate access to internal areas, the superstructure is the final significant external feature awaiting installation. The presence of superstructure modules suggests installation could occur in the near term.

Across the harbour from the Type 001A's dry dock, work on Dalian's three Type 052D DDG hulls is progressing. One hull remains in dry dock, with two pier side. The first hull is visibly complete and is undergoing sea trials, while the second hull, launched on 3 August 2016, awaits the installation of various components.

Berthed at the northern end of the ship yard, the second hull lacks many sensor and weapon fittings. Notably absent are the forward 130 mm gun, the forward vertical launch system, and various sensor fittings, including the Type 366 radar mounted atop the bridge.

IRAN

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

IRAQ

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

ISRAEL

Obama to Israel: Our Tax Dollars Won’t Go to Your Defense Contractors

Washington and Jerusalem are about to ink a groundbreaking arms package, but it hinges on ending sweetheart deals for Israel’s defense firms.

Obama to Israel: Our Tax Dollars Won’t Go to Your Defense Contractors

The United States and Israel are close to clinching a massive 10-year arms deal, but Washington is pushing to scrap a coveted provision that has allowed Israel to pump hundreds of millions of dollars directly into its defense industry…


Israel: Hezbollah behind explosives found near Lebanon border

Defense official says 3 charges discovered by farmer in Metulla last month were to be used in attacks against IDF, civilians

Explosive devices discovered in a field by a farmer near the northern town of Metulla last month were smuggled into Israel from Lebanon by Hezbollah, Israel Radio reported Sunday.

An unnamed defense official told the radio station that the three makeshift charges uncovered in a field were likely meant to be used in attacks against Israelis.

It wasn’t clear who was meant to collect the devices, though the Lebanon-based terror group has recently ramped up efforts to recruit Palestinian operatives from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and within Israel using social media.

Last week, Israel’s Shin Bet security service revealed that in recent months it had broken up two Hezbollah terror cells and arrested nine local members of the organization.

Hezbollah operatives from the group’s Unit 133 — its foreign operations unit — working out of Lebanon and Gaza were recruiting operatives through Facebook to carry out suicide bombings and ambush Israel Defense Forces patrols in the West Bank. They received funding from Hezbollah, and some members had begun preparing explosive devices for use in attacks, the Shin Bet said in an August 16 statement.

The terror operatives were arrested earlier this summer, but information about the case was kept under a court-issued gag order. The Shin Bet has credited the operation with thwarting a number of terror attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank and Israel.

In response to Hezbollah’s recruitment efforts, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called on the international organization to formally recognize Hezbollah as a terror group.

“The international community must condemn Hezbollah’s attempts to harm innocent Israeli civilians, and the Security Council must finally designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization,” Danon said last week in a statement.’r

RUSSIA

Putin's Chance to Change History

Twenty-five years ago, an unsuccessful coup attempt, known as the August Coup, was launched by a group of hawkish Communist Party members and security elites against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in what was widely seen as one of the key moments that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The coup's ring leaders, known as the Gang of Eight, were dissatisfied with Gorbachev's liberalization plans and the balancing act between the Soviet republics and Moscow. Similar conversations are being had in Moscow today — and within the Kremlin are very familiar divides.
SYRIA

What Russia's Aircraft Are Doing in Iran



Satellite imagery from Aug. 17 shows the continued presence of Russian military aviation at Hamedan air base, west of Tehran. A number of Su-34 fighter-bombers are present, with four aircraft located close to each other at the eastern end of the airfield. Photographs posted online Aug. 15 showed at least three Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers (also known by their NATO reporting name, Backfire) at the air base. Moscow and Tehran have officially confirmed the presence of Russian military aviation assets in Iran. Having previously used the base as a refueling stop, the Russian aircraft now appear to be conducting operations from there, striking targets in Syria since Aug. 16...

MIDDLE EAST GENERAL

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

MISC

NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REPORT

Monday, August 22, 2016

Officer Down


Sergeant Jorge Ramos
Florida Department of Corrections, Florida
End of Watch: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Age: 39
Tour: 9 years
Cause: Heart attack
Incident Date: 4/29/2016

Sergeant Jorge Ramos died two days after collapsing during a statewide Correctional Emergency Response Team competition being hosted at the Sumter Correctional Institution, in Bushnell, Florida.

He was transported to Tampa General Hospital where he remained until passing away.

Sergeant Ramos had served with the Florida Department of Corrections for nine years and was assigned to the South Florida Reception Center. He is survived by his wife and young daughter.
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. 

Wake up people, this is what we call savagery...

If you've seen the movie or the trailer for American Sniper, Chris Kyle had to shoot a boy, who looked less than ten year of age, as he approached an American squad. The kid was handed the bomb by a woman, presumedly his mother. A mother would send her child to his death. And Kyle, completely justified, had to fire the shot to send him to his grave. Chris Kyle had a conscious, unlike that woman. This is what we are dealing with.

Another example of how the savagery of our enemy is not to be underestimated. And a great example of the courage of the police in Iraq. Holding the boy and stripping him of the bomb. This is unreal.
‘ISIS child suicide bomber aged between 12 and 13’ was thwarted in Iraq



The dramatic moment an ISIS child suicide bomber ‘aged 12 or 13’ is stripped of his explosive belt by Iraqi police as terrorists use child bombers in horrifying new tactic

The boy, who was wearing a Barcelona football shirt with FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi on the back, reportedly burst into tears as he was detained by Iraqi police in the city of Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, yesterday.


After being stripped of the explosive, he is still fighting. 
In a Barcelona football shirt from FIFA


His arrest came less than 24 hours after another child suicide bomber killed at least 51 people and injured 100 more at a wedding party in Turkey.
It has led to fears children are increasingly being used by ISIS to carry out deadly attacks. Two other suicide bombers blew themselves up in Kirkuk on Sunday.

The boy, who was wearing a Barcelona football shirt with FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi on the back, reportedly burst into tears as he was detained by Iraqi police

Three people were injured in one while in another there were no casualties...

...‘There is a dangerous campaign tonight against Kirkuk,’ a security official told the network.

It has been claimed the boy was planning to blow himself up outside a Shia mosque. The belt was later detonated safely away from members of the public.
Unbelievable.  From the article.

Earlier this year it was revealed that ISIS had released an app teaching the Arabic alphabet to its ‘cubs of the caliphate’ – using cartoon images of weaponry.
The terror group uses pictures of tanks, ammunition and swords to help children remember certain letters in its bizarre learning aid. 
It is the latest move by ISIS aimed at indoctrinating children in its Iraq and Syria stronghold. 
Videos have previously been released of boys – dubbed ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ – being put through rigorous training regimes and even being ordered to carry out brutal executions. 
Meanwhile, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said it was likely that ISIS was behind the attack which saw a bomber, thought to be aged between 12 and 14, blow up people dancing in the street at a party in the city of Gaziantep last night. 
The boy was detained in Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, less than 24 hours after a child suicide bomber killed at least 51 people and injured 100 at a wedding party in Turkey...
Give you an idea of what we are talking about, look at this explosion.  That is what this kid, who didn't even have a hair on his chest, was carrying and willing to kill himself with:

Sobering, to put it nicely.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Officer Down


Border Patrol Agent Jose Daniel Barraza
United States Department of Homeland Security - Customs and Border Protection - United States Border Patrol, U.S. Government
End of Watch: Monday, April 18, 2016
Age: 29
Tour: 7 years, 8 months

Border Patrol Agent Jose Barraza was killed in a vehicle crash on I-10, near Fort Hancock, Texas, at approximately 7:30 am.

He was nearing the end of his shift when his patrol truck collided with the rear of a semi near mile marker 78. Agent Barraza was killed at the scene. His canine partner suffered minor injuries.

Agent Barraza had served with the United States Border Patrol for almost eight years and was assigned to the Sierra Blanca Station. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and mother.
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. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Officer Down


Police Officer Steven Michael Smith
Columbus Division of Police, Ohio
End of Watch: Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Age: 54
Tour: 27 years
Badge # 1386
Incident Date: 4/10/2016

Police Officer Steven Smith succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained three days earlier as the SWAT team attempted to serve a felony arson warrant at an apartment at 14 West California Avenue.

Officer Smith was riding in the turret of an armored vehicle as it approached the apartment building when he was struck by one round. He was transported to a local hospital where he remained until succumbing to the wound.

The wanted subject was taken into custody following the shooting.

Officer Smith had served with the Columbus Division of Police for 27 years. He is survived by his wife and two adult children.
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. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Officer Down


Trooper Chad Phillip Dermyer
Virginia State Police, Virginia
End of Watch: Thursday, March 31, 2016
Age: 37
Tour: 1 year, 5 months
Badge # 756

Trooper Chad Dermyer was shot and killed while speaking to a suspicious person inside the Greyhound bus terminal in Richmond, Virginia, at approximately 2:45 pm.

He and other officers were participating in an interdiction training course and were conducting stops of suspects. He spoke to the man briefly before the man suddenly produced a handgun and opened fire, hitting him. Other officers who were on scene shot and killed the subject when the man opened fire on them following a short foot pursuit inside the bus terminal.

Trooper Dermyer was transported to VCU Medical Center where he succumbed to his wounds.

Trooper Dermyer was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He had served with the Virginia State Police for 17 months and had previously served with the Newport News Police Department, Jackson, Michigan, Police Department, and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Police. He is survived by his wife, two children, parents, brother, and sister.
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. 

K9 Down


K9 Duke
Richland Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana
End of Watch: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Gender: M

K9 Duke died after being found in his handler's patrol car.

His handler rushed him to a local veterinary hospital where he died a short time later.
Rest in Peace Duke…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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Officer Down


Trooper Jeffrey Nichols
Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol, Texas
End of Watch: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Age: 27
Tour: 5 years

Trooper Jeffrey Nichols was killed in a single vehicle crash while on patrol in Lamar County, Texas, at approximately 11:00 pm.
His patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree on FM 38, approximately one half mile north of County Road 35450, in Tigertown.

Trooper Nichols had served with the Texas Highway Patrol for five years. He is survived by his parents, sister, and brother.
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. 

K9 Down


K9 Ledger
La Salle County Sheriff's Office, Texas
End of Watch: Sunday, May 29, 2016
Gender: M
Cause: Heat exhaustion

K9 Ledger died of heat exhaustion inside of his handler's patrol car while it was parked outside of the La Salle County Courthouse.

His handler had left the vehicle running, in accordance with policy, while conducting business inside the courthouse. When he returned outside he noticed that the vehicle was no longer running and he found K9 ledger on the driver's floor board with his head on the gas pedal. It was later determined that the vehicle had run out of gas, causing it to turn off. The vehicle had been driven approximately 100 miles since it had been filled up previously. The vehicle's heat alarm system did not operate once the engine stopped running.

Ledger had served with the La Salle County Sheriff's Office for one year.
Rest in Peace Ledger…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, August 17, 2016

Officer Down

Police Officer Susan Louise Farrell
Des Moines Police Department, Iowa
End of Watch: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Age: 30
Tour: 11 years, 5 months
Badge # 5184

Police Officer Carlos Puente-Morales
Des Moines Police Department, Iowa
End of Watch: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Age: 34
Tour: 5 years, 5 months
Badge # 5172

Police Officer Susan Farrell and Police Officer Carlos Puente-Morales were killed when their patrol car was struck head-on by a wrong way, drunk driver on I-80, at mile marker 117.

They were transporting a prisoner from Council Bluffs back to Des Moines when the crash occurred. Both officers, the prisoner, and the driver of the wrong way vehicle were killed.

Officer Farrell had served with the Des Moines Police Department for only five months and had previously served with the Polk County Sheriff's Office for 11 years.

Officer Puente-Morales had served with the Des Moines Police Department for five months and had previously served with the Franklin County Sheriff's Department and the Ottumwa Police Department. He was a member of the Army National Guard.
Rest in Peace...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. 

K9 Down


K9 Bruno
Amarillo Police Department, Texas
End of Watch: Sunday, June 12, 2016
Breed: Dutch Shepherd
Age: 5
Gender: M

K9 Bruno died from an injury sustained during a training exercise with his handler.

His handler threw a training aid as an award and while Bruno was retrieving it he ran into a tree, which fractured a vertebrae in his neck.

Bruno had served with the Amarillo Police Department for two years.
Rest in Peace Bruno…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

Another oldie but goodie, Steve Martin

Besides being a great stand up comedian and a good actor, Steve Martin has musical talent. He is a very accomplished banjo player. Here he is with a satire song I hope you will enjoy

Tired officers hesitant to shoot black suspects....

Interesting look at the issue. Hey, there are a lot of tired cops out there on the street, and I'm about to take a nap before my shift starts!

New Washington State University study: Even tired cops are more hesitant to shoot black suspects

A new study concludes that officers tend not to be biased against black suspects in resorting to deadly force, even when fatigued and thus potentially more vulnerable to making angry, irrational, and impulsive decisions

The most explosive crisis law enforcement faces today is the allegation that rampant racial bias drives officers’ shooting decisions...

...Indeed, tired cops and rested officers alike are more hesitant to shoot black suspects than to shoot white ones in similar circumstances and to show better judgment in their shooting decisions when black suspects are involved.

“[T]oday’s police officers tend to be operating in a state of heightened awareness of the consequences of shooting a member of a historically oppressed minority group,” the study notes, and their extra caution regarding black suspects is not overridden even by the potentially debilitating effects of fatigue.

Lead author of the study is Dr. Lois James. She and her research associates, Dr. Stephen James and Dr. Bryan Vila, are connected with the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University in Spokane. A full report on the current study — titled “Does the ‘Reverse Racism Effect’ Withstand the Test of Police Officer Fatigue?” — has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management. At this writing, the date of publication is pending.

Questions of Fatigue and Race

In an earlier study led by Lois James, scientific testing of a sampling of white officers revealed that overall they “hesitated significantly longer before shooting armed suspects who were black, compared to armed subjects who were white or Hispanic.” Also they were 25 times less likely to erroneously shoot unarmed black subjects than they were unarmed white subjects.

In contrast to activists’ vociferous claims, James reported that the research found that officer participants “even when they had strong implicit biases against black suspects were more hesitant when faced with black suspects in a simulator.” This hesitancy has been referred to as “counter bias” or the “reverse racism effect.”

Still, in light of the well-documented negative effects of fatigue on LEOs’ performance in other realms, James wondered if the hesitancy to shoot black suspects would vanish if involved officers were tired when their shooting decisions were made.

In other words, if an encounter occurred when an officer was dragging from a long shift, a crushing workload, or chronic sleep deprivation — surely a realistic possibility — would he or she still be “more hesitant to shoot black suspects compared to white suspects” and still be less likely to draw a deadly “mistake-of-fact” conclusion where black suspects were involved?

James guessed not. “[T]he parts of the brain responsible for executive functions such as moral decision making and impulse control tend to be affected the quickest by fatigue,” she explains.

So specifically, she hypothesized that officers would be “significantly quicker to shoot armed suspects” and “significantly more likely to mistakenly shoot unarmed suspects” when fatigued than when rested. And she expected the racial difference favoring black suspects to disappear when officers were tired; in effect, heightening the danger to black individuals...

...Surprise!

To James’s surprise, she told Force Science News, “My hypotheses weren’t supported” by the results. Instead, “Officers’ counter bias remained strong, even under conditions of fatigue.”

• Officers were “marginally” (although “not significantly”) quicker to shoot when fatigued than when rested — but on average they still took fractions of a second longer before deciding to shoot armed black suspects than armed white suspects.
• As to mistake-of-fact shootings, “the officers were more likely to shoot unarmed white suspects than unarmed black suspects in both fatigued and rested conditions,” James writes. Rested, “officers collectively shot 31 unarmed white suspects (3.6 percent of the total) and 2 unarmed black suspects (0.3 percent).” In the fatigued condition, they inexplicably showed an improvement in judgment, collectively shooting “23 unarmed white suspects (2.8 percent) and 0 unarmed black suspects (0.0 percent)”
• “No significant differences [in results] were observed [as to] participant gender and race,” the researchers report. “The key indication of the findings,” James writes, “is that both officers’ decisions to shoot and their tendency to be more hesitant to shoot black suspects than white suspects appeared to be unaffected by officer fatigue...”

Interesting look and if anything, this shows a form of the Ferguson effect in action. And that is scary. But there are cops out there worried if they pull a gun they will be the next YouTube sensation and the US Department of "Just-Us" will make it their mission in life to destroy them. I had similar worried two weeks ago when we had three suspects in a car, refusing to come out, and we were being videotaped by the local population.

If accurate (he does call for "more research," aka "give me more money") this is scary as hell, to say the least. Be safe out there guys!

From the files of "Who didn't see this one...."

Granted, it's Politico, but if they say it's an issue, you know it's worse than it's posted here!

German intelligence warns of ISIL ‘hit squads’ among refugees

Official says country has to accept it is home to terror ‘sleeper cells.’

German intelligence services have evidence that “hit squads” from the Islamic State terror group have infiltrated the country disguised as refugees, the deputy head of Bavaria’s spy agency told the BBC Thursday.

“We have to accept that we have hit squads and sleeper cells in Germany,” Manfred Hauser, the vice president of the Bavaria region’s intelligence gathering agency, BayLfV, told the Today program.

“We have substantial reports that among the refugees there are hit squads. There are hundreds of these reports, some from refugees themselves. We are still following up on these, and we haven’t investigated all of them fully,” said Hauser.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière will present a set of new security measures in Berlin on Thursday, following recent attacks in the country inspired by ISIL.

...Hauser said intelligence services have “irrefutable evidence that there is an IS command structure in place,” making a coordinated attack, similar to those seen in Paris last November and Brussels in March, “likely.”

Bavaria has been the main gateway for asylum seekers fleeing conflict in the Middle East, over 1 million of whom arrived in Germany in 2015.

B Hussein Obama wants to bring in 10, 000 "refugees." Mrs. Bill Clinton will up it to 65, 000. On behalf of Americans everywhere.....

Thanks!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Carl A. Koontz
Howard County Sheriff's Office, Indiana
End of Watch: Sunday, March 20, 2016
Age: 27
Tour: 2 years
Badge # 34-76

Deputy Sheriff Carl Koontz was shot and killed as he and other deputies served arrest and search warrants in connection to a narcotics case.

The deputies received no response from inside the mobile home, on the 300 block of Chandler Street in Russiaville, when they knocked on the door and announced themselves at approximately 12:30 am. As they entered the home the subject opened fire on them, striking Deputy Koontz and a sheriff's sergeant.

A Russiaville police officer and other deputies were able to pull both wounded deputies from the home. They were both transported to a local hospital before being flown to IU Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Deputy Koontz succumbed to his wounds while in surgery.

The subject was found suffering from a fatal gunshot wound several hours later after a SWAT team made entry into the home.

Deputy Koontz had served with the Howard County Sheriff's Office for two years. He is survived by his wife, son, parents, sister and grandparents.
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. 

K9 Down


K9 Aldo
Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, Utah
End of Watch: Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Breed: Belgian Malinois
Age: 7
Gender: M
Tour: 5 years

K9 Aldo was shot and killed during a warrant service at a home near 4303 South and 730 East in Millcreek, Utah.

Officers were serving a warrant on a man wanted for aggravated assault of a police officer. It was determined the wanted man was hiding inside of the home after several of its occupants exited at the direction of officers. Aldo located the man hiding in a closet and commands were issued for him to surrender.

The subject opened fire with a handgun, striking Aldo. Other officers returned fire and critically wounded the subject.

K9 Aldo had served with the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake for five years.

Rest in Peace Also…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

Curley is still Da Man!

Found this by accident, but it's still great! Enjoy!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Officer Down















Police Officer III Allen Lee Jacobs
Greenville Police Department, South Carolina
End of Watch: Friday, March 18, 2016
Age: 28
Tour: 4 years, 6 months
Badge # 32

Police Officer Allen Lee Jacobs was shot multiple times as he and other Community Response Team officers attempted to interview a known gang member at a home near Rebecca Street and Ackley Road, in the Nicholtown neighborhood.

When the subject saw the officers he fled on foot onto a wooded path with officers in pursuit. He was chased into the backyard of a home where he fatally shot Officer Jacobs. He was able to continue fleeing but encountered other officers who had created a perimeter. He committed suicide before he could be taken into custody.

Other officers rendered aid to Officer Jacobs, who was transported to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Officer Jacobs was a decorated United States Army veteran and served with the Greenville Police Department for 4-1/2 years. He is survived by his expectant wife and two sons.

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. 

A look at the power grid threat....

I have a love-hate relationship with Foreign Policy Magazine. Much of it is leftist dribble, but often they hit it out the park. An interesting look at cyberterrorism against our power grid.
The Threat to America’s Electrical Grid Is Much Bigger Than You Can Possibly Imagine

Greetings from the front. The cyberwar continues. Our operatives continue to hit infrastructure targets around the globe. In June alone we conducted 44 ops, hitting targets in 26 U.S. states and six countries total. Each operation impacted as many 15,000 people and lasted for up to four and half hours. Of course that’s just our unclassified operations; the actual number of power outages our operatives have caused is 10 times that number.

As we continue to wreak havoc on your electric infrastructure, your policymakers and cyberwar hawks are rattling sabers, worried about online attacks from nation-states, completely ignoring the threats that successfully target your power grid every day. The Washington Post, Forbes, USA Today, and even the esteemed Ted Koppel talk about “cybergeddon,” trillion-dollar risks, and when — not if — a massive cyberattack on the U.S. electric power grid will occur. Even President Obama is worried. In the meantime, we quietly go about our work, disrupting power generation and transmission across the globe.

To date there has been exactly one, just one, power outage that can be attributed to some sort of cyberattack by a nation-state. Last December, someone (many people say directed by the Russian government, but there really isn’t enough evidence to support that accusation) hit up to six different power companies in Ukraine with a coordinated malware and DDoS attack. This definitely wasn’t a random lone hacker in a basement; this took months of planning and coordinated effort. It sounds scary but the outages only lasted a few hours and affected around 80,000 residences. We have caused far bigger and longer outages all by ourselves.

We are everywhere, and yet almost impossible to find. There are other events that have impacted critical infrastructure: a water pump failure in Illinois, power outages in Brazil, a pipeline explosion in Turkey, a cyberattack on a dam in New York; even a blast furnace in a German steel plant was supposedly put into an uncontrolled shutdown from a cyberattack. In each case, the initial cause for the failure was blamed on cyberattacks — but in each case, once the evidence was actually examined, hackers were nowhere to be found. Still, that lack of evidence hasn’t stopped the cyberwar hawks from pointing to these analog events as examples of the coming digital doom.

When that doesn’t work, the threatmongers and profiteers point to previous widespread blackouts, known as “black swan” events because of their rarity, such as the Northeast blackout of 2003 or the Southwest blackout of 2011. In both cases, a string of unlikely events occurred, including human error, before the lights went out. In both cases, most of the power was restored in just a few hours. There were no riots, no financial meltdowns, and democracy continued unabated.

Then there’s what we affectionately call the “nine substation problem.” After a bunch of armed assailants opened fire on a substation outside of Metcalf, California, in 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conducted a study of the national power grid and found that if just nine substations were attacked in a similar manner as the one in Metcalf, the entire United States would be without power for over 18 months. Are you freaked out yet?

Good. But the problem is: This scenario is extremely unlikely. First, that FERC study only looked at physical damage to the transformers, which are usually custom-built for each location, and are only manufactured by a few companies — meaning a substation could take months to replace. Second, the study only looked at physical damage, which in the event of a cyberattack is extremely unlikely. But still, the prophets of doom ask, what if hackers had guns? Didn’t you see Skyfall?!

No, we didn’t. We’re squirrels.

Look, even for our billion-strong army of small rodents — in the United States alone — the “attack surface” for the U.S. electric grid is absolutely huge. There are over 7,000 power plants in the United States run by over 3,000 companies. There are over 55,000 substations and over 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. We squirrels have a hard enough time trying to take out small sections of it, let alone nine substations at once. Anyone attempting to conduct a major coordinated effort to turn out power over a large region for a long period of time is going to find it a rather difficult task.

Not that we’re not trying. As of July of this year we squirrels (and our fellow animal operatives) have conducted over 1,400 unclassified operations that have resulted in aggregate of more than 67 days without power, affecting over 3.6 million people. That works out to the entire population of the state of Connecticut losing electricity for more than two months. And remember: Our unclassified ops are just a fraction of the total. On average, we cause dozens of outages every day impacting about 5,000 people each for around two hours. Compare that with the number of outages caused by cyberattack, which in the United States is exactly zero...

I will not dismiss this threat out of hand, like the author seems to here. In a paper I did in my masters program, it covered how many control programs for electrical generation, dam operation and other heavy industry systems were standardized to a Windows or Linux base in the early 1990s. While this makes the systems more functional and user friendly, they are now Internet connected and our enemies have more ways to infect them.

In one source, the Department of Energy used 30 lines of code uploaded to the control program of a industrial diesel generator. Within three minutes, the generator was destroyed. The programs cut off the lubrication of the engine and the rest is history.

An interesting read, all in all.