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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Our country's future....

Working in police work can make you cynical. But nothing could be as depressing as the working the jail. Granted, this is all the turds from all around Harris county and they are (for the most part) the dregs of society. An unschooled guesstimate of the jailers (who have handed this more than I) and I is 90% of our inmates are frequent flyers, to one degree or another. Jail and prison are just part of the their life. The remaining 10% are the store managers who got busted for DWI, the college students drunk and disorderly, etc. After seeing what jail is like, they don't need another taste.

Then we have the up and coming generation of career criminals. God help us all



Galveston Police Dismantle Organized Crime Gang

At a press conference today at Galveston Police Headquarters, Police Chief Henry Porretto announced the arrest of about 30 members of a gang made up mostly of juveniles who have been robbing and terrorizing people on Galveston Island and in neighboring communities since March...

..."This summer the City of Galveston has seen an alarming increase in Property Crimes and Crimes against Persons; specifically robberies, burglaries, stolen vehicles, and carjackings. Many of these crimes involved similarly described suspects and Modus Operandi (MO’s). In response this marked increase Galveston Police Chief Henry Porretto organized a task force of Galveston Police Officers comprised of a Sergeant and 5 officers to investigate and apprehend the suspects associated with these crimes.

"As a result of this investigative effort Galveston Police were able to identify and systematically dismantle an Organized Criminal Street Gang, closely affiliated with the nationally recognized street gang identified as the Crips. The investigation resulted in identifying a leadership hierarchy for this Organized Criminal Street Gang and was able to link them to the majority of the above crimes. The Crips street gang is one of the three largest, most widely recognized, and dangerous Organized Criminal Street Gangs in these United States.

"Officers assigned to the task force immediately began collecting intelligence regarding the known members and associates of the Omega Organized Criminal Street Gang. Within one week the task force identified and arrested 12 confirmed members or associates of the criminal organization for the following offenses; Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, Aggravated Robbery, Burglary of a Motor Vehicle, Narcotics Possession, outstanding warrants, and probation violations.

"It was quickly recognized by the task force the majority of the Omega Organized Criminal Street Gang members were juvenile offenders. These preliminary arrests led to the recovery of a large amount of stolen property, much of which has already been returned to the rightful owners. The evidence recovered during these arrests and the statements obtained from the arrestees allowed the task force to assist the Galveston Police Criminal Investigations Division in clearing several previously unsolved burglaries and stolen vehicle offenses.

"To date the task force has arrested 15 juveniles, all of which are members or associates of the Omega Organized Criminal Street Gang. The majority of these juvenile offenders has been charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity and includes many of the Omega Criminal Street Gangs leadership. The investigation is still ongoing and likely to yield further Felony charges. Due to the fact these arrestees are juveniles’ state law prohibits the release of their photographs and names.

"While the investigation into the Omega Organized Criminal Street Gang is still very active the bulk of the leadership, members, and associates have been identified, arrested, and charged.


"Concurrent to the task forces’ investigation of the Organized Criminal Street Gang they were able to arrest over 30 individuals that were ultimately not confirmed as associates of the gang but were suspected as being involved in multiple crimes unrelated to the gangs operation. The task force noted a rise in Methamphetamine and made 4 cases involving this particular narcotic with arrests made for both possessing and manufacture/delivery. The task force was also able to make numerous other narcotics related arrests for the possession of cocaine (both powder and crack cocaine), illegal prescription pills, and marijuana. The task force was ultimately able to recover numerous firearms from these offenders that were linked to a burglary in League City and multiple robberies within the City of Galveston.

The Galveston Police task force was able to identify and apprehend a suspect with an Aggravated Assault warrant in Texas City. This could not have been accomplished without the assistance of the US Marshals, Texas City Police Department, and Galveston Police SWAT team...

..."The task force was able to recover numerous narcotics, seize 5 firearms from felonious subjects, and seize over $17,000 in cash...

These are kids as young as ten years old. What a waste of life. I don't argue the chances are they were born into a rough life (single mothers who didn't raise them, fathers who abandoned them, etc) but this is beyond hope. As I've said, I'll always have a job. And that is sad.

K9 Down


K9 Simmie
East St. Louis Police Department
End of Watch: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 3
Gender: M

K9 Simmie was participating in a canine training exercise when he began to show signs of weakness. His handler transported him to a nearby animal hospital where he died as a result of heat exhaustion.

Simmie had served with the East St. Louis Police Department for 14 months.
Rest in Peace Simmie…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

Officer Down


Agent Geniel Amaro-Fantauzzi
Puerto Rico Police Department
End of Watch: Monday, August 25, 2014
Age: 35
Tour: 16 years
Badge # 27010
Incident Date: 8/19/2014

Agent Geniel Amaro-Fantauzzi succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained one week earlier when he and several other agents were conducting a narcotics investigation at the April Gardens 1 public housing complex, on Carretera 917, in Las Piedras.

A subject in the complex opened fire on the agents, wounding Agent Amaro-Fantauzzi and a second agent. The man who shot them was arrested and charged with five counts of attempted murder in addition to other charges.

Agent Amaro-Fantauzzi was transported to Rio Piedras Medical Center, where he remained on life support until succumbing to his wounds.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

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

Another example of the media's one being somewhat one sided.

Saw this in the Washington Post and found it interesting.
Cruz pushes to punish traitors

Effort to revoke citizenship of Americans who join Islamic State meets resistance

WASHINGTON — In light of intelligence reports that more than 100 Americans have signed on as fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and other Republicans in Congress have launched legislation to revoke their passports and strip them of their U.S. citizenship.

But while the idea has found some surface appeal in Congress, it has run into some resistance in the intelligence community, where there’s
debate about whether that is the best way to gather information and combat terrorism.

While Cruz said “we should not permit them to return to America,” some analysts say that in at least some cases that’s exactly what we should do — in order to detain, interrogate or follow those bent on doing harm inside the United States.

“It reflects a broader debate with the intelligence community about whether it’s preferable to take direct action against a threat immediately or monitor that threat to see if it leads to other associated threats,” said James Phillips, a national security analyst at the Heritage Foundation. “One terrorist may lead to other terrorists.”...

A legitimate question, I agree. However, remember when we raided the compound and killed Osama bin Laden at approximately 400pm (Eastern US time) on Saturday, September 1, 2011. Per the book and movie Zero Dark Thirty, his room and compound were filled with computers and other information. That was invaluable intelligence that could have been better exploited if we had waited a couple of days before confirming to the world UBL was dead, but B Hussein Obama confirmed his death within 24 hours. But for some reason the Washington Post has no issue with the possible loss of intelligence there. Just saying.

How the world changes...

I found these while on the web last night. Shows you how much the world has changed over the years.

1000 years of Europe:



And some facts about the world.




UPDATE:

In the days after Hurricane Katrina, STRATFOR.COM founder George Freeman authored a piece on how New Orleans was a geopolitical prize. How without New Orleans, America's wealth, generated by the vast farms of the midwest could not have found inexpensive routes to the world market. And without that money, the American Industrial Revolution would have not found it's genesis.
New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize

By George Friedman

The American political system was founded in Philadelphia, but the American nation was built on the vast farmlands that stretch from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. That farmland produced the wealth that funded American industrialization: It permitted the formation of a class of small landholders who, amazingly, could produce more than they could consume. They could sell their excess crops in the east and in Europe and save that money, which eventually became the founding capital of American industry.

But it was not the extraordinary land nor the farmers and ranchers who alone set the process in motion. Rather, it was geography — the extraordinary system of rivers that flowed through the Midwest and allowed them to ship their surplus to the rest of the world. All of the rivers flowed into one — the Mississippi — and the Mississippi flowed to the ports in and around one city: New Orleans. It was in New Orleans that the barges from upstream were unloaded and their cargos stored, sold and reloaded on ocean-going vessels. Until last Sunday, New Orleans was, in many ways, the pivot of the American economy.

For that reason, the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 was a key moment in American history. Even though the battle occurred after the War of 1812 was over, had the British taken New Orleans, we suspect they wouldn't have given it back. Without New Orleans, the entire Louisiana Purchase would have been valueless to the United States. Or, to state it more precisely, the British would control the region because, at the end of the day, the value of the Purchase was the land and the rivers — which all converged on the Mississippi and the ultimate port of New Orleans. The hero of the battle was Andrew Jackson, and when he became president, his obsession with Texas had much to do with keeping the Mexicans away from New Orleans.

This map from the video above shows how critical the Mighty Mississippi, and New Orleans, is to American industry and farming.  It shows the Mississippi River and it's tributaries, covering over half the land mass of this country.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Even Kermit can see through it.....

K9 Down


K9 Kye
Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma
End of Watch: Monday, August 25, 2014
Breed: German Shepherd
Origin: Belgium
Age: 3
Gender: M
Incident Date: 8/24/2014

K9 Kye succumbed to stab wounds sustained the previous day while attempting a take down on a subject who had led officers on two separate pursuits.

Officers and troopers had pursued the subject for over 30 minutes before he crashed on I-35, at the exit for Goldsby. He then fled on foot, at which point K9 Kye was released.

As Kye bit the subject, the man held onto him and stabbed him several times. Kye's handler was unable to separate them and fatally shot the subject when he refused to drop the knife.

Kye was transported to an animal hospital where he died the following day.
Rest in Peace Kye…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

Officer Down


Chief of Police Michael Pimentel
Elmendorf Texas Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Age: 64
Tour: 43 years
Badge # 9100

Chief of Police Michael Pimentel was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle in a residential area near the intersection of South 1st Avenue and East 9th Street at approximately 11:30 am.

A struggle ensued during the stop and Chief Pimentel was shot multiple times. He was flown to University Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

Bexar County deputies responded to the scene and took the suspect into custody.

Chief Pimentel was a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War. He served in law enforcement for 43 years and had previously served as the police chief of the San Antonio Independent School District Police Department.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

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

Security Weekly: The Biggest Threat Dirty Bombs Pose is Panic, September 11, 2014

By Scott Stewart

The government of Kazakhstan announced Sept. 2 that it was searching for a container of radioactive cesium-137 that fell off a truck in the western part of the country. Such radioactive sources are commonly used for medical, commercial and industrial purposes, and from time to time are reported lost or stolen. The material was recovered, but the incident highlighted the risks of radioactive material falling into the wrong hands.

Occasionally, the loss or theft of a radioactive source will result in an accidental dispersal of radioactive material. For example, in 1987, a small radiotherapy capsule of cesium chloride salt was accidentally broken open in Goiania, Brazil, after being salvaged from a radiation therapy machine at an abandoned health care facility. Over the course of 15 days, the capsule containing the radioisotope was handled by a number of people who were fascinated by the faint blue glow it emitted. Some victims reportedly smeared the substance on their bodies. These people then further spread the radiation to various parts of the surrounding neighborhood, and some of it was even taken to nearby towns. In all, more than 1,000 people were contaminated during the incident, and some 244 were found to have significant radioactive material in or on their bodies.

In another case, this time in a slum outside New Delhi, India, eight people were admitted to hospitals in 2010 for radiation exposure after a scrap dealer dismantled an object containing cobalt-60. The cleanup operation was easier in the Indian incident because, unlike the cesium in Goiania, the radioactive material was in metallic form and in larger pieces.

Stolen radioactive material is sometimes released accidently, but it could also be used to make dirty bombs or other radiological dispersal devices intended to cause harm. However, this threat is sometimes dramatically hyped, creating unnecessary fear and panic.

Even if the radioactive source lost in Kazakhstan had fallen into the wrong hands, it is highly unlikely that it could have been transported to the United States or Europe for an attack. Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to once again place the threats -- and very real limits -- of dirty bombs in perspective.

Radiological Dispersal Devices

A dirty bomb is a type of radiological dispersal device (RDD), and RDDs are, as the name implies, devices that disperse a radiological isotope. Depending on the motives of those planning the attack, an RDD could be a low-key weapon that surreptitiously releases aerosolized radioactive material, one that dumps out a finely powdered radioactive material or something that dissolves a radioactive material in water. Such methods are intended to slowly expose as many people as possible to the radiation for as long as possible without becoming detected. Unless large amounts of a very strong radioactive material are used, however, the effects of such exposure are limited. To cause adverse effects, radiation exposure must occur either in a very high dose over a short period of time or in smaller doses sustained over a longer period. This is not to say that radiation is not dangerous, but only that small amounts of radiation exposure do not necessarily cause measurable harm. In fact, people are commonly exposed to heightened levels of radiation during activities such as air travel and mountain climbing.

By their very nature, RDDs are prone to be ineffective. To maximize the harmful effects of radiation, victims must be exposed to the highest possible concentration of a radioisotope. But by definition and design, RDDs dilute the radiation source, spreading smaller amounts of the substance over a larger area. Additionally, the use of an explosion to spread the radioisotope alerts the intended victims, who can then evacuate the affected area and be decontaminated. These factors make it very difficult for an attacker to administer a deadly dose of radiation through a dirty bomb.

It is important to note that a dirty bomb is not a nuclear device, and no nuclear reaction occurs. A dirty bomb will not produce an effect like the nuclear devices dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. A dirty bomb is quite simply an RDD that uses explosives to disperse a radioactive isotope; the only blast effect or damage produced is from conventional explosives and not from the radioactive material itself. In a dirty bomb attack, radioactive material is spread in an obvious manner, causing mass panic. In other words, the RDD is a weapon intended to create fear and terror.

The radioisotopes that can be used to construct an RDD are fairly common. Those materials considered most likely to be used in an RDD, such as cobalt-60 and cesium-137, have legitimate medical, commercial and industrial uses. Organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency warn that such radioisotopes are readily available to virtually any country in the world, and they are almost certainly not beyond the reach of even moderately capable non-state actors. Indeed, given the ease of obtaining radiological isotopes and the simplicity of constructing a dirty bomb, it is surprising that we have not yet seen one successfully used in a terror attack, especially considering jihadist groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya have captured cities that likely contain radioactive sources. In light of this, let's examine what effectively employing a dirty bomb would entail.

Creating An Effective Dirty Bomb

Like nonexplosive RDDs, unless a dirty bomb contains a large amount of very strong radioactive material, the radiological effects of the device are not likely to be immediate or dramatic. In fact, the explosive effect of the RDD is likely to kill more people than the device's radiological effect. Moreover, the need for a large quantity of a radioisotope not only creates challenges for obtaining the material but also means the resulting device would be large and unwieldy -- and therefore difficult to smuggle into a target such as a subway or stadium.

In practical terms, a dirty bomb can produce a wide range of effects depending on the size of the improvised explosive device (IED) and the amount and type of radioactive material involved. (Powdered radioisotopes are easier to disperse than materials in solid form.) Environmental factors such as terrain, weather conditions and population density also play an important role in determining the effects of such a device.

Significantly, while the radiological effects of a dirty bomb may not be instantly lethal, the radiological impact of an RDD would likely affect an area larger than the kill radius of the IED itself and persist far longer. The explosion from a conventional IED is over in an instant, but radiation released by an RDD can remain for decades unless the area is decontaminated. While the radiation level may not be strong enough to affect people exposed briefly during the initial explosion, the cumulative effects of such radiation could prove very hazardous. Again, the area contaminated and the ease of decontamination depends on the type and quantity of the radioactive material used. Materials in a fine powdered form are easier to disperse and harder to clean up than solid blocks of material. In any case, it would be necessary to evacuate people from the contaminated area, and people would need to stay out of the area until it could be decontaminated, a process that could prove inconvenient and expensive.

Though dirty bombs are not truly weapons of mass destruction like nuclear devices are, they are frequently referred to as "weapons of mass disruption" or "weapons of mass dislocation" because they can temporarily render areas uninhabitable. The expense of decontaminating a large, densely populated area, such as a section of London or Washington, would be quite high. This cost also makes a dirty bomb a type of economic weapon.

Historical Precedents

The world has not yet witnessed a successful dirty bomb attack by a terrorist or militant group. This does not necessarily mean groups are not interested in using radiological weapons. Chechen militants have perhaps been the most active in the realm of radioactive materials. In November 1995, Chechen militants under the command of Shamil Basayev placed a small quantity of cesium-137 in Moscow's Izmaylovsky Park. Rather than disperse the material, however, the Chechens used the material as a psychological weapon by directing a TV news crew to the location, thus creating a media storm and fostering public fear. It is believed the material in this incident was obtained from a nuclear waste or isotope storage facility in the Chechen capital of Grozny.

In December 1998, the pro-Russian Chechen Security Service announced it had found a dirty bomb consisting of a land mine combined with radioactive materials next to a railway line frequently used to transport Russian troops. It is believed that Chechen militants planted the device. In September 1999, two Chechen militants who stole highly radioactive materials from a chemical plant in Grozny were incapacitated after carrying the container for only a few minutes each; one reportedly died later. This highlights another hurdle to producing an effective dirty bomb: The strongest radioactive material is dangerous to handle, and even a suicide operative might not be able to move and employ it without being disabled first.

Still, none of these Chechen incidents provide a clear example of what a dirty bomb detonation would actually look like. To do this, we need to look at incidents where radiological isotopes were dispersed by accident, such as the Goiania and New Delhi incidents mentioned above. Despite widespread contamination and sustained exposure to the radioactive material in the Goiania case, only four people died from the incident. However, in addition to the human toll, the cleanup operation in Goiania cost more than $100 million. Many houses had to be razed and substantial quantities of contaminated soil had to be removed from the area.

Perhaps the largest radiological dispersal incident in history was the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in northern Ukraine, in which a 1-gigawatt power reactor exploded. It is estimated that more than one hundred times the radiation of the Hiroshima bomb was released during the accident -- the equivalent of 50 million to 250 million grams of radium (55 to 275 tons). More than 40 different radioisotopes were released, and there was a measurable rise in cesium-137 levels across the entire European continent. No RDD could ever aspire to anything close to such an effect.

Chernobyl wrought untold suffering, and estimates suggest that it may ultimately contribute to the deaths of 9,000 people. But many of those affected by the radiation are still alive more than 20 years after the accident. While Stratfor by no means seeks to downplay the tragic human or environmental consequences of this disaster, the incident is helpful when contemplating the potential effects of a dirty bomb attack. Despite the incredible amounts of radioactive material released at Chernobyl, only 31 people died in the explosion and its immediate aftermath. Today, 5.5 million people live in the contaminated zone. Many are within or near the specified EU dosage limits for people living close to operational nuclear power plants.

It is this type of historic example that makes us so skeptical of claims that a small dirty bomb could cause hundreds or even thousands of deaths. Instead, the most strategic consequences of this sort of destruction are economic. By some estimates, the Chernobyl disaster will ultimately cost well in excess of $100 billion. Again, in our opinion, a dirty bomb should be considered a weapon of disruption -- one that could cause significant economic loss but that would not cause mass casualties or any real mass destruction.

Fighting Panic

Analytically, based on how easily dirty bombs can be manufactured and the historical interest militants have shown in them -- which ironically, may be partly caused by the hype around the RDD threat -- it is only a matter of time before militants successfully employ one. Because the contamination created by such a device can be long-lasting, more rational international actors would probably prefer to detonate such a device against a target outside their own country. In other words, they would lean toward attacking a target within the United States or Europe rather than against an American or European embassy in their home country.

Considering that it is not likely to produce mass casualties, a dirty bomb attack would likely be directed against a highly symbolic target, such as one representing the economy or government of a Western nation, and would be designed to cause the maximum amount of disruption at the target site. The device would not destroy these sites but would limit access to them for as long as it took to decontaminate them.

As noted above, we believe it is possible the panic created by a dirty bomb attack could well kill more people than the device itself. This analysis is necessary because people who understand the limitations of dirty bombs are less likely to panic than those who do not. An important way to avoid panic is to carefully think about such an incident before it happens and to craft a contingency plan for your family and business. Contingency plans are especially important for those who work in close proximity to a potential dirty bomb target, but they are useful in any disaster, whether natural or man-made, and are something that should be practiced by all families and businesses. Such knowledge and planning will enable individuals to conduct an orderly and methodical evacuation of an affected area, allowing them to minimize their exposure to radioactivity while also limiting their risk of injury or death due to mass hysteria. Although a dirty bomb attack could well be messy and disruptive, it does not have to be deadly.

COPYRIGHT: STRATFOR.COM

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Joseph James Dunn
Cascade County Montana Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Thursday, August 14, 2014
Age: 33
Tour: 2 years, 5 months

Deputy Sheriff Joe Dunn was struck and killed by a vehicle that was being pursued by other deputies near Belt, Montana.

The driver of the vehicle had been pursued from Great Falls, Montana, along Highway 87 at high speeds when he struck Deputy Dunn near mile marker 77, killing him. The man then turned around the continued back to Great Falls, where he was taken into custody.

Deputy Dunn was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Cascade County Sheriff's Office for 2-1/2 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

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

Geopolitical Weekly: The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State, September 9, 2014

By George Friedman

U.S. President Barack Obama said recently that he had no strategy as yet toward the Islamic State but that he would present a plan on Wednesday. It is important for a president to know when he has no strategy. It is not necessarily wise to announce it, as friends will be frightened and enemies delighted. A president must know what it is he does not know, and he should remain calm in pursuit of it, but there is no obligation to be honest about it.

This is particularly true because, in a certain sense, Obama has a strategy, though it is not necessarily one he likes. Strategy is something that emerges from reality, while tactics might be chosen. Given the situation, the United States has an unavoidable strategy. There are options and uncertainties for employing it. Let us consider some of the things that Obama does know.

The Formation of National Strategy

There are serious crises on the northern and southern edges of the Black Sea Basin. There is no crisis in the Black Sea itself, but it is surrounded by crises. The United States has been concerned about the status of Russia ever since U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt negotiated the end of the Russo-Japanese war in 1905. The United States has been concerned about the Middle East since U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower forced the British to retreat from Suez in 1956. As a result, the United States inherited -- or seized -- the British position.

A national strategy emerges over the decades and centuries. It becomes a set of national interests into which a great deal has been invested, upon which a great deal depends and upon which many are counting. Presidents inherit national strategies, and they can modify them to some extent. But the idea that a president has the power to craft a new national strategy both overstates his power and understates the power of realities crafted by all those who came before him. We are all trapped in circumstances into which we were born and choices that were made for us. The United States has an inherent interest in Ukraine and in Syria-Iraq. Whether we should have that interest is an interesting philosophical question for a late-night discussion, followed by a sunrise when we return to reality. These places reflexively matter to the United States.

The American strategy is fixed: Allow powers in the region to compete and balance against each other. When that fails, intervene with as little force and risk as possible. For example, the conflict between Iran and Iraq canceled out two rising powers until the war ended. Then Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened to overturn the balance of power in the region. The result was Desert Storm.

This strategy provides a model. In the Syria-Iraq region, the initial strategy is to allow the regional powers to balance each other, while providing as little support as possible to maintain the balance of power. It is crucial to understand the balance of power in detail, and to understand what might undermine it, so that any force can be applied effectively. This is the tactical part, and it is the tactical part that can go wrong. The strategy has a logic of its own. Understanding what that strategy demands is the hard part. Some nations have lost their sovereignty by not understanding what strategy demands. France in 1940 comes to mind. For the United States, there is no threat to sovereignty, but that makes the process harder: Great powers can tend to be casual because the situation is not existential. This increases the cost of doing what is necessary.

The ground where we are talking about applying this model is Syria and Iraq. Both of these central governments have lost control of the country as a whole, but each remains a force. Both countries are divided by religion, and the religions are divided internally as well. In a sense the nations have ceased to exist, and the fragments they consisted of are now smaller but more complex entities.

The issue is whether the United States can live with this situation or whether it must reshape it. The immediate question is whether the United States has the power to reshape it and to what extent. The American interest turns on its ability to balance local forces. If that exists, the question is whether there is any other shape that can be achieved through American power that would be superior. From my point of view, there are many different shapes that can be imagined, but few that can be achieved. The American experience in Iraq highlighted the problems with counterinsurgency or being caught in a local civil war. The idea of major intervention assumes that this time it will be different. This fits one famous definition of insanity.

The Islamic State's Role

There is then the special case of the Islamic State. It is special because its emergence triggered the current crisis. It is special because the brutal murder of two prisoners on video showed a particular cruelty. And it is different because its ideology is similar to that of al Qaeda, which attacked the United States. It has excited particular American passions.

To counter this, I would argue that the uprising by Iraq's Sunni community was inevitable, with its marginalization by Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite regime in Baghdad. That it took this particularly virulent form is because the more conservative elements of the Sunni community were unable or unwilling to challenge al-Maliki. But the fragmentation of Iraq into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish regions was well underway before the Islamic State, and jihadism was deeply embedded in the Sunni community a long time ago.

Moreover, although the Islamic State is brutal, its cruelty is not unique in the region. Syrian President Bashar al Assad and others may not have killed Americans or uploaded killings to YouTube, but their history of ghastly acts is comparable. Finally, the Islamic State -- engaged in war with everyone around it -- is much less dangerous to the United States than a small group with time on its hands, planning an attack. In any event, if the Islamic State did not exist, the threat to the United States from jihadist groups in Yemen or Libya or somewhere inside the United States would remain.

Because the Islamic State operates to some extent as a conventional military force, it is vulnerable to U.S. air power. The use of air power against conventional forces that lack anti-aircraft missiles is a useful gambit. It shows that the United States is doing something, while taking little risk, assuming that the Islamic State really does not have anti-aircraft missiles. But it accomplishes little. The Islamic State will disperse its forces, denying conventional aircraft a target. Attempting to defeat the Islamic State by distinguishing its supporters from other Sunni groups and killing them will founder at the first step. The problem of counterinsurgency is identifying the insurgent.

There is no reason not to bomb the Islamic State's forces and leaders. They certainly deserve it. But there should be no illusion that bombing them will force them to capitulate or mend their ways. They are now part of the fabric of the Sunni community, and only the Sunni community can root them out. Identifying Sunnis who are anti-Islamic State and supplying them with weapons is a much better idea. It is the balance-of-power strategy that the United States follows, but this approach doesn't have the dramatic satisfaction of blowing up the enemy. That satisfaction is not trivial, and the United States can certainly blow something up and call it the enemy, but it does not address the strategic problem.

In the first place, is it really a problem for the United States? The American interest is not stability but the existence of a dynamic balance of power in which all players are effectively paralyzed so that no one who would threaten the United States emerges. The Islamic State had real successes at first, but the balance of power with the Kurds and Shia has limited its expansion, and tensions within the Sunni community diverted its attention. Certainly there is the danger of intercontinental terrorism, and U.S. intelligence should be active in identifying and destroying these threats. But the re-occupation of Iraq, or Iraq plus Syria, makes no sense. The United States does not have the force needed to occupy Iraq and Syria at the same time. The demographic imbalance between available forces and the local population makes that impossible.

The danger is that other Islamic State franchises might emerge in other countries. But the United States would not be able to block these threats as well as the other countries in the region. Saudi Arabia must cope with any internal threat it faces not because the United States is indifferent, but because the Saudis are much better at dealing with such threats. In the end, the same can be said for the Iranians.

Most important, it can also be said for the Turks. The Turks are emerging as a regional power. Their economy has grown dramatically in the past decade, their military is the largest in the region, and they are part of the Islamic world. Their government is Islamist but in no way similar to the Islamic State, which concerns Ankara. This is partly because of Ankara's fear that the jihadist group might spread to Turkey, but more so because its impact on Iraqi Kurdistan could affect Turkey's long-term energy plans.

Forming a New Balance in the Region

The United States cannot win the game of small mosaic tiles that is emerging in Syria and Iraq. An American intervention at this microscopic level can only fail. But the principle of balance of power does not mean that balance must be maintained directly. Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia have far more at stake in this than the United States. So long as they believe that the United States will attempt to control the situation, it is perfectly rational for them to back off and watch, or act in the margins, or even hinder the Americans.

The United States must turn this from a balance of power between Syria and Iraq to a balance of power among this trio of regional powers. They have far more at stake and, absent the United States, they have no choice but to involve themselves. They cannot stand by and watch a chaos that could spread to them.

It is impossible to forecast how the game is played out. What is important is that the game begins. The Turks do not trust the Iranians, and neither is comfortable with the Saudis. They will cooperate, compete, manipulate and betray, just as the United States or any country might do in such a circumstance. The point is that there is a tactic that will fail: American re-involvement. There is a tactic that will succeed: the United States making it clear that while it might aid the pacification in some way, the responsibility is on regional powers. The inevitable outcome will be a regional competition that the United States can manage far better than the current chaos.

Obama has sought volunteers from NATO for a coalition to fight the Islamic State. It is not clear why he thinks those NATO countries -- with the exception of Turkey -- will spend their national treasures and lives to contain the Islamic State, or why the Islamic State alone is the issue. The coalition that must form is not a coalition of the symbolic, but a coalition of the urgently involved. That coalition does not have to be recruited. In a real coalition, its members have no choice but to join. And whether they act together or in competition, they will have to act. And not acting will simply increase the risk to them.

U.S. strategy is sound. It is to allow the balance of power to play out, to come in only when it absolutely must -- with overwhelming force, as in Kuwait -- and to avoid intervention where it cannot succeed. The tactical application of strategy is the problem. In this case the tactic is not direct intervention by the United States, save as a satisfying gesture to avenge murdered Americans. But the solution rests in doing as little as possible and forcing regional powers into the fray, then in maintaining the balance of power in this coalition.

Such an American strategy is not an avoidance of responsibility. It is the use of U.S. power to force a regional solution. Sometimes the best use of American power is to go to war. Far more often, the best use of U.S. power is to withhold it. The United States cannot evade responsibility in the region. But it is enormously unimaginative to assume that carrying out that responsibility is best achieved by direct intervention. Indirect intervention is frequently more efficient and more effective.
The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Security Weekly: Weaponized Plague Is Just Another Jihadist Pipe Dream, Spetember 4, 014

By Scott Stewart

On Aug. 28, Foreign Policy magazine released an exclusive story by Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa titled Found: The Islamic State's Terror Laptop of Doom. The story noted that among a cache of documents found on a computer captured from the Islamic State in Syria was a 19-page document purported to be instructions for creating a biological weapon by weaponizing plague extracted from infected animals. According to the article, the document noted: "The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge."

This document provides a good example of the terrorist tradecraft conundrum militant organizations often face, in which their intent outstrips their capability. While biological weapons do appear to be easy to manufacture and deploy in theory, history shows a successful biological weapons program is far harder to achieve than it may appear at first glance.

As we noted in 2009 in response to rumors that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was experimenting with the plague as well, the plague, sometimes referred to as the Black Death, is a naturally occurring disease that is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This pathogen is found in rodents and fleas that infest them and exists in many parts of the world, including the western United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are some 1,000 to 2,000 cases of plague diagnosed in humans every year, with between one and 17 of those cases occurring in the United States. It is notable, however, that according to the World Health Organization, plague does not occur naturally in Syria or Iraq, although it does in Libya and Algeria.

Y. pestis can infect humans in three ways. The bacteria cause pneumonic plague when inhaled, though pneumonic plague can also occur when plague bacteria from another form of transmission infect the lungs. Bubonic plague results when the bacteria enter through a break in the skin (such as a fleabite) and septicemic plague occurs when the bacteria multiply in the victim's blood, usually after being infected by one of the other types. In general, a fleabite is the primary form of infection, and if the infection is left untreated, it can evolve into a case of bubonic (the most common outcome) or septicemic plague.

Y. pestis is a fragile bacterium that does not last long in sunlight or after it is dried, and plague is treatable with antibiotics, which are especially effective if administered early. However, pneumonic plague can be contagious if a person inhales respiratory droplets containing the bacteria from an infected person. Such a transmission usually requires close contact with the infected individual. Merely wearing a simple surgical mask can protect a person from pneumonic plague infection.

Weaponized Plague

Before we assess the Islamic State's capability and intent to create a weapon using plague, let's first look briefly at the history of plague as a weapon.

Plague has long been of interest as a weapon in biological warfare, with reports from Tatars catapulting plague-infected bodies at Genoese sailors in the City of Caffa in the Crimea in the 14th century, to Japan's efforts to drop clay pots of plague-infected fleas over Manchuria, to the Soviet weapons programs during the Cold War and perhaps beyond. While the Tatars and Japanese used the bubonic form of the plague, according to former Soviet scientist Ken Alibek, the Soviet program focused on and perfected an aerosolized form of the bacterium designed to cause pneumonic plague.

Without question, the best example of a modern non-state actor developing a biological weapons program was the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo, which in the late 1980s assembled a team of trained scientists and spent millions of dollars to develop a series of state-of-the-art biological weapons research and production laboratories.

Aum experimented with botulinum toxin, anthrax, cholera and Q fever and even tried to acquire the Ebola virus. However, despite multiple attempts to produce mass casualty attacks using botulinum toxin and anthrax from 1990 to 1993, Aum was not able to produce a virulent agent -- indeed, nobody outside of the group was even aware that the attacks happened. It was only when the group switched to producing chemical weapons, such as the nerve agent sarin and sodium cyanide gas, that it was able to conduct fatal attacks in 1995. The investigation into the chemical attacks produced the evidence of the group's extensive biological weapons program. Frankly, they could have killed far more people, with far less expense and effort, using firearms or bombs, but such conventional weapons could never produce the global apocalypse the group's leadership aspired to.

Despite the difficulties inherent in developing a biological weapons program, radical groups have not given up. It has long been known that jihadist groups such as al Qaeda have sought to develop chemical and biological weapons, believing that using such weapons is not only permissible but even an obligation. In an interview aired on ABC News in December 1998, Osama bin Laden said, "If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then this is an obligation I carried out, and I thank God for enabling me to do so." While terrorist groups have experimented with crude biological toxins such as ricin and crude chemical compounds such as sodium cyanide gas, they have not been able to parlay those experiments into viable weapons capable of creating mass casualties.

Radical Intent

To properly understand the threat posed by the Islamic State's employing biological weapons, we must examine both the group's intent and capability. First, as noted above, the group has ample ideological justifications. Second, by design, terrorist attacks are intended to have a psychological impact far outweighing the physical damage they cause. As their name suggests, they are meant to cause terror that amplifies the actual attack. The Islamic State has a long history of conducting brutal actions intended to cause panic, and a successful biological terrorist attack would certainly create such a panic.

Clearly, if the Islamic State were able to develop effective biological weapons, it would employ them, if not against targets in the West, then against regime targets in Iraq and Syria. Indeed, in 2006 and 2007 the group's predecessor, al Qaeda in Iraq, included large quantities of chlorine in vehicle bombs in an effort to cause mass casualties against U.S. and Iraqi troops in Iraq. These weapons proved quite ineffective, and the explosives in the bombs killed more people than the chlorine. This caused the group to discontinue their use when they did not achieve the desired results.

The Islamic State would love to discover a cheap and easy way to create mass casualties, but in pursuing plague as a weapon, the group appears to have bought into some of the many common misconceptions involving biological weapons, namely, that they are easy to obtain, easy to deploy effectively, and, when used, always cause massive casualties. But as illustrated by the above-mentioned Aum Shinrikyo example, in the real world, creating an effective biological weapons program requires extensive investment, scientific know-how, and time and effort -- and they still don't always work as advertised.

Limited Capability

Like many biological agents, there are great challenges associated with producing and employing large quantities of a virulent biological agent. Certainly, plague can be obtained from the environment in a place where it occurs naturally, such as Algeria or Libya, but taking that bacteria and producing a large quantity of it in a virulent form and then disbursing it in an efficient manner is another matter entirely. While the huge Soviet biological weapons program was able to overcome these obstacles and successfully produce an effective aerosolized plague weapon, it would be difficult for a smaller organization like the Islamic State to do so, especially since it lacks access to a large and advanced biological weapons program and the associated and necessary facilities.

In addition to the difficulty of establishing a viable biological weapons program in the Islamic State-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria, there are also some additional problems with the plot as reportedly outlined in the purported Islamic State biological warfare document. According to Foreign Policy, the document advised the attackers to "use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers," and said that it is "best to do it next to the air-conditioning. It also can be used during suicide operations."

As noted above, Y. pestis is a fragile bacterium. The heat and shock of a grenade explosion would almost certainly kill most of the bacteria before it could be transmitted to a victim. Even if some of the bacteria were to survive the grenade's explosion, bubonic and septicemic plagues are not easily spread from person to person, and an attack with a small grenade device would therefore be unlikely to cause an epidemic; it would likely cause more panic than deaths.

If Islamic State attack planners could isolate a virulent strain of Y. pestis, infecting a few suicide operatives with pneumonic plague and then dispatching them to cough and sneeze on people, or attempting to release some infected fleas in a targeted area, might better serve them. But even if the group were somehow successful in infecting people, even these scenarios would not produce the type of mass casualties the Islamic State seeks since plague is readily treatable with antibiotics, making weaponized plague just another jihadist pipe dream.

COPYRIGHT: STRATFOR.COM

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The acorn don't fall far from the tree


Geopolitical Weekly: Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy, September 2, 2014

By George Friedman

The United States is, at the moment, off balance. It faces challenges in the Syria-Iraq theater as well as challenges in Ukraine. It does not have a clear response to either. It does not know what success in either theater would look like, what resources it is prepared to devote to either, nor whether the consequences of defeat would be manageable.

A dilemma of this sort is not unusual for a global power. Its very breadth of interests and the extent of power create opportunities for unexpected events, and these events, particularly simultaneous challenges in different areas, create uncertainty and confusion. U.S. geography and power permit a degree of uncertainty without leading to disaster, but generating a coherent and integrated strategy is necessary, even if that strategy is simply to walk away and let events run their course. I am not suggesting the latter strategy but arguing that at a certain point, confusion must run its course and clear intentions must emerge. When they do, the result will be the coherence of a new strategic map that encompasses both conflicts.

The most critical issue for the United States is to create a single integrated plan that takes into account the most pressing challenges. Such a plan must begin by defining a theater of operations sufficiently coherent geographically as to permit integrated political maneuvering and military planning. U.S. military doctrine has moved explicitly away from a two-war strategy. Operationally, it might not be possible to engage all adversaries simultaneously, but conceptually, it is essential to think in terms of a coherent center of gravity of operations. For me, it is increasingly clear that that center is the Black Sea.

Ukraine and Syria-Iraq

There are currently two active theaters of military action with broad potential significance. One is Ukraine, where the Russians have launched a counteroffensive toward Crimea. The other is in the Syria-Iraq region, where the forces of the Islamic State have launched an offensive designed at a minimum to control regions in both countries -- and at most dominate the area between the Levant and Iran.

In most senses, there is no connection between these two theaters. Yes, the Russians have an ongoing problem in the high Caucasus and there are reports of Chechen advisers working with the Islamic State. In this sense, the Russians are far from comfortable with what is happening in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, anything that diverts U.S. attention from Ukraine is beneficial to the Russians. For its part, the Islamic State must oppose Russia in the long run. Its immediate problem, however, is U.S. power, so anything that distracts the United States is beneficial to the Islamic State.

But the Ukrainian crisis has a very different political dynamic from the Iraq-Syria crisis. Russian and Islamic State military forces are not coordinated in any way, and in the end, victory for either would challenge the interests of the other. But for the United States, which must allocate its attention, political will and military power carefully, the two crises must be thought of together. The Russians and the Islamic State have the luxury of focusing on one crisis. The United States must concern itself with both and reconcile them.

The United States has been in the process of limiting its involvement in the Middle East while attempting to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. The Obama administration wants to create an integrated Iraq devoid of jihadists and have Russia accept a pro-Western Ukraine. It also does not want to devote substantial military forces to either theater. Its dilemma is how to achieve its goals without risk. If it can't do this, what risk will it accept or must it accept?

Strategies that minimize risk and create maximum influence are rational and should be a founding principle of any country. By this logic, the U.S. strategy ought to be to maintain the balance of power in a region using proxies and provide material support to those proxies but avoid direct military involvement until there is no other option. The most important thing is to provide the support that obviates the need for intervention.

In the Syria-Iraq theater, the United States moved from a strategy of seeking a unified state under secular pro-Western forces to one seeking a balance of power between the Alawites and jihadists. In Iraq, the United States pursued a unified government under Baghdad and is now trying to contain the Islamic State using minimal U.S. forces and Kurdish, Shiite and some Sunni proxies. If that fails, the U.S. strategy in Iraq will devolve into the strategy in Syria, namely, seeking a balance of power between factions. It is not clear that another strategy exists. The U.S. occupation of Iraq that began in 2003 did not result in a military solution, and it is not clear that a repeat of 2003 would succeed either. Any military action must be taken with a clear outcome in mind and a reasonable expectation that the allocation of forces will achieve that outcome; wishful thinking is not permitted. Realistically, air power and special operations forces on the ground are unlikely to force the Islamic State to capitulate or to result in its dissolution.

Ukraine, of course, has a different dynamic. The United States saw the events in Ukraine as either an opportunity for moral posturing or as a strategic blow to Russian national security. Either way, it had the same result: It created a challenge to fundamental Russian interests and placed Russian President Vladimir Putin in a dangerous position. His intelligence services completely failed to forecast or manage events in Kiev or to generate a broad rising in eastern Ukraine. Moreover, the Ukrainians were defeating their supporters (with the distinction between supporters and Russian troops becoming increasingly meaningless with each passing day). But it was obvious that the Russians were not simply going to let the Ukrainian reality become a fait accompli. They would counterattack. But even so, they would still have moved from once shaping Ukrainian policy to losing all but a small fragment of Ukraine. They will therefore maintain a permanently aggressive posture in a bid to recoup what has been lost.

U.S. strategy in Ukraine tracks its strategy in Syria-Iraq. First, Washington uses proxies; second, it provides material support; and third, it avoids direct military involvement. Both strategies assume that the main adversary -- the Islamic State in Syria-Iraq and Russia in Ukraine -- is incapable of mounting a decisive offensive, or that any offensive it mounts can be blunted with air power. But to be successful, U.S. strategy assumes there will be coherent Ukrainian and Iraqi resistance to Russia and the Islamic State, respectively. If that doesn't materialize or dissolves, so does the strategy.

The United States is betting on risky allies. And the outcome matters in the long run. U.S. strategy prior to World Wars I and II was to limit involvement until the situation could be handled only with a massive American deployment. During the Cold War, the United States changed its strategy to a pre-commitment of at least some forces; this had a better outcome. The United States is not invulnerable to foreign threats, although those foreign threats must evolve dramatically. The earlier intervention was less costly than intervention at the last possible minute. Neither the Islamic State nor Russia poses such a threat to the United States, and it is very likely that the respective regional balance of power can contain them. But if they can't, the crises could evolve into a more direct threat to the United States. And shaping the regional balance of power requires exertion and taking at least some risks.

Regional Balances of Power and the Black Sea

The rational move for countries like Romania, Hungary or Poland is to accommodate Russia unless they have significant guarantees from the outside. Whether fair or not, only the United States can deliver those guarantees. The same can be said about the Shia and the Kurds, both of whom the United States has abandoned in recent years, assuming that they could manage on their own.

The issue the United States faces is how to structure such support, physically and conceptually. There appear to be two distinct and unconnected theaters, and American power is limited. The situation would seem to preclude persuasive guarantees. But U.S. strategic conception must evolve away from seeing these as distinct theaters into seeing them as different aspects of the same theater: the Black Sea.

When we look at a map, we note that the Black Sea is the geographic organizing principle of these areas. The sea is the southern frontier of Ukraine and European Russia and the Caucasus, where Russian, jihadist and Iranian power converge on the Black Sea. Northern Syria and Iraq are fewer than 650 kilometers (400 miles) from the Black Sea.

The United States has had a North Atlantic strategy. It has had a Caribbean strategy, a Western Pacific strategy and so on. This did not simply mean a naval strategy. Rather, it was understood as a combined arms system of power projection that depended on naval power to provide strategic supply, delivery of troops and air power. It also placed its forces in such a configuration that the one force, or at least command structure, could provide support in multiple directions.

The United States has a strategic problem that can be addressed either as two or more unrelated problems requiring redundant resources or a single integrated solution. It is true that the Russians and the Islamic State do not see themselves as part of a single theater. But opponents don't define theaters of operation for the United States. The first step in crafting a strategy is to define the map in a way that allows the strategist to think in terms of unity of forces rather than separation, and unity of support rather than division. It also allows the strategist to think of his regional relationships as part of an integrated strategy.

Assume for the moment that the Russians chose to intervene in the Caucasus again, that jihadists moved out of Chechnya and Dagestan into Georgia and Azerbaijan, or that Iran chose to move north. The outcome of events in the Caucasus would matter greatly to the United States. Under the current strategic structure, where U.S. decision-makers seem incapable of conceptualizing the two present strategic problems, such a third crisis would overwhelm them. But thinking in terms of securing what I'll call the Greater Black Sea Basin would provide a framework for addressing the current thought exercise. A Black Sea strategy would define the significance of Georgia, the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Even more important, it would elevate Azerbaijan to the level of importance it should have in U.S. strategy. Without Azerbaijan, Georgia has little weight. With Azerbaijan, there is a counter to jihadists in the high Caucasus, or at least a buffer, since Azerbaijan is logically the eastern anchor of the Greater Black Sea strategy.

A Black Sea strategy would also force definition of two key relationships for the United States. The first is Turkey. Russia aside, Turkey is the major native Black Sea power. It has interests throughout the Greater Black Sea Basin, namely, in Syria, Iraq, the Caucasus, Russia and Ukraine. Thinking in terms of a Black Sea strategy, Turkey becomes one of the indispensible allies since its interests touch American interests. Aligning U.S. and Turkish strategy would be a precondition for such a strategy, meaning both nations would have to make serious policy shifts. An explicit Black Sea-centered strategy would put U.S.-Turkish relations at the forefront, and a failure to align would tell both countries that they need to re-examine their strategic relationship. At this point, U.S.-Turkish relations seem to be based on a systematic avoidance of confronting realities. With the Black Sea as a centerpiece, evasion, which is rarely useful in creating realistic strategies, would be difficult.

The Centrality of Romania

The second critical country is Romania. The Montreux Convention prohibits the unlimited transit of a naval force into the Black Sea through the Bosporus, controlled by Turkey. Romania, however, is a Black Sea nation, and no limitations apply to it, although its naval combat power is centered on a few aging frigates backed up by a half-dozen corvettes. Apart from being a potential base for aircraft for operations in the region, particularly in Ukraine, supporting Romania in building a significant naval force in the Black Sea -- potentially including amphibious ships -- would provide a deterrent force against the Russians and also shape affairs in the Black Sea that might motivate Turkey to cooperate with Romania and thereby work with the United States. The traditional NATO structure can survive this evolution, even though most of NATO is irrelevant to the problems facing the Black Sea Basin. Regardless of how the Syria-Iraq drama ends, it is secondary to the future of Russia's relationship with Ukraine and the European Peninsula. Poland anchors the North European Plain, but the action for now is in the Black Sea, and that makes Romania the critical partner in the European Peninsula. It will feel the first pressure if Russia regains its position in Ukraine.

I have written frequently on the emergence -- and the inevitability of the emergence -- of an alliance based on the notion of the Intermarium, the land between the seas. It would stretch between the Baltic and Black seas and would be an alliance designed to contain a newly assertive Russia. I have envisioned this alliance stretching east to the Caspian, taking in Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Poland-to-Romania line is already emerging. It seems obvious that given events on both sides of the Black Sea, the rest of this line will emerge.

The United States ought to adopt the policy of the Cold War. That consisted of four parts. First, allies were expected to provide the geographical foundation of defense and substantial forces to respond to threats. Second, the United States was to provide military and economic aid as necessary to support this structure. Third, the United States was to pre-position some forces as guarantors of U.S. commitment and as immediate support. And fourth, Washington was to guarantee the total commitment of all U.S. forces to defending allies, although the need to fulfill the last guarantee never arose.

The United States has an uncertain alliance structure in the Greater Black Sea Basin that is neither mutually supportive nor permits the United States a coherent power in the region given the conceptual division of the region into distinct theaters. The United States is providing aid, but again on an inconsistent basis. Some U.S. forces are involved, but their mission is unclear, it is unclear that they are in the right places, and it is unclear what the regional policy is.

Thus, U.S. policy for the moment is incoherent. A Black Sea strategy is merely a name, but sometimes a name is sufficient to focus strategic thinking. So long as the United States thinks in terms of Ukraine and Syria and Iraq as if they were on different planets, the economy of forces that coherent strategy requires will never be achieved. Thinking in terms of the Black Sea as a pivot of a single diverse and diffuse region can anchor U.S. thinking. Merely anchoring strategic concepts does not win wars, nor prevent them. But anything that provides coherence to American strategy has value.

The Greater Black Sea Basin, as broadly defined, is already the object of U.S. military and political involvement. It is just not perceived that way in military, political or even public and media calculations. It should be. For that will bring perception in line with fast-emerging reality.

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy is republished with permission of Stratfor.

K9 Down



K9 Major
Orange Connecticut Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, July 19, 2014
Age: 2
Gender: M

K9 Major was struck and killed by a commercial vehicle as his handler assisted a disabled motorist on Route 34, near Sodom Lane.

Major had graduated from the Connecticut State Police 166th Patrol Dog Class one month prior to being struck.
Rest in Peace Major…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

Security Weekly: The Islamic State's Growth Has Limits, August 28, 2014

By Scott Stewart

Since the Islamic State declared the establishment of the caliphate June 29, I have been asked frequently about the group's appeal outside of its immediate area of operations and its ability to attract other jihadists. When we see crises flare up such as the current one in Yemen, people ask: Is there an Islamic State affiliate that can take advantage of this?

Because of such concerns, it seemed appropriate to take some time to examine the Islamic State's ability to spread.

Factors in the Rise of the Islamic State

When considering the Islamic State's ability to metastasize beyond its core area, we must first look at its ideology, its methodology and the environment that produced it. The Islamic State (like its predecessor organizations) is rooted in the Iraq conflict and is a product of that conflict. Although Abu Musab al-Zarqawi founded the organization Jamaat al-Tawhid and Jihad in Afghanistan, the group never amounted to much there. It was only when he relocated to Iraq following the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that the group really found success in recruiting and on the battlefield.

Unlike the educated men from wealthy families who formed al Qaeda, al-Zarqawi is a former Jordanian street thug who was radicalized while in prison. His group's hubris, brutality and embrace of sectarianism all trace their roots back to his influence and guidance.

This brutal sectarianism was well suited for Iraq (and later for Syria) and took root in the de-Baathification programs following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. It was also fostered by the atrocities that Shiite militias committed against innocent Sunnis. De-Baathification helped Jamaat al-Tawhid and Jihad, and later al Qaeda in Iraq, attract many Sunni fighters who were former Iraqi officers and gain support from Iraq's powerful Sunni tribes.

While the tribal support was diminished during the Anbar Awakening, the Sunni sheikhs always maintained a healthy fear and skepticism of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki's sectarian bent. Because of this, the Sunni tribal sheikhs permitted a weakened Islamic State in Iraq to survive in case it was ever needed again as a tool with which to confront the al-Maliki government.

Even during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Shiite militias committed numerous atrocities against Sunnis, who were often abducted, tortured and murdered. But following the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, the Shiite militias' violence was joined by the sectarian policies of the al-Maliki government intended to marginalize Sunnis and undercut their power in Iraq. For example, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a very influential Sunni politician, was charged with murder and forced to flee Baghdad for Iraqi Kurdistan and eventually Turkey. The al-Maliki government also stopped its payments to the Sunni Awakening Forces and reneged on agreements to integrate thousands of its members into the Iraqi armed forces, leaving many of these men unemployed with no means of supporting their families. Such measures helped what was then the Islamic State in Iraq in its efforts to regain power and momentum.

The highly sectarian Syrian civil war also proved fortunate for the resurgent Islamic State in Iraq. A good number of Syrian Sunnis had been involved with the Islamic State in Iraq since the beginning, and the many years of experience they gained fighting coalition forces in Iraq permitted the group's Syrian surrogate, Jabhat al-Nusra, to emerge as an effective fighting force. Jabhat al-Nusra's professionalism, sectarian rhetoric and brutality allowed it to quickly attract not only Syrian rebels but also a substantial portion of the foreign fighters flocking to Syria. The Syrian-led Jabhat al-Nusra later split with the Islamic State of Iraq when the Iraqi leaders of the latter group attempted to directly integrate the Syrian fighters in their renamed group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. When al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri sided with Jabhat al Nusra in the dispute, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant ignored his admonishment and split with al Qaeda.

Frictions and Limited Cooperation

The spectacle of al-Zawahiri's criticism of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant was nothing new. The group's ideology was never all that closely aligned with al Qaeda's, and there is documentation from as far back as 2005 that al-Zawahiri criticized al-Zarqawi because his group was highly sectarian and exceedingly brutal. Al-Zawahiri noted that al-Zarqawi's policies were alienating many Muslims against the group. The degree of this alienation became readily apparent in the 2007 Anbar Awakening.

The group has gained some traction among Lebanese Sunnis, with many Sunnis in Tripoli openly supporting the Islamic State. However, outside of the highly sectarian environment in the Levant, the group's attempts to assume leadership of the global jihad since its declaration of the caliphate in June have failed. Not only have al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the Islamic State's leadership, but prominent jihadist ideologues like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi have publicly criticized the group.

One reason for this lack of support is that the leaders of jihadist groups in places like Yemen, Pakistan and Algeria view the Islamic State as a threat -- to their leadership of the global jihad and in the competition for limited resources such as men, funding and weapons. Many jihadist leaders are jealous of the way that geography has permitted their counterparts in Iraq and Syria to monopolize the financial largesse of wealthy Muslim donors in the Gulf and elsewhere. Iraq and Syria were the seats of previous Islamic caliphates and are seen as being at the heart of the Muslim world -- places like Pakistan and Yemen are not.

The Evolution of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

Even current al Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri, who is sheltering in the area along the Afghan-Pakistani border, recognized this when he laid out his vision for the global progression of the jihadist movement. In a 2005 letter to al-Zarqawi, he wrote: "It has always been my belief that the victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established in the manner of the Prophet in the heart of the Islamic world." He wrote that the first step in such a plan was to expel the Americans from Iraq. The second stage was to establish an emirate and expand it into a larger caliphate. The third stage was to attack the countries surrounding Iraq, mainly Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria and Jordan, bringing them into the caliphate. The fourth step was to use the combined power of the caliphate to attack Israel. Although the Islamic State has split with al-Zawahiri's al Qaeda core leadership, they are progressing along the trajectory he laid out.

A second factor keeping the leaders of other jihadist groups from joining the Islamic State is the group's sectarian focus and its propensity to attack other jihadist groups, such as Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front and other rebel groups in Syria. Multiple jihadist groups operate in places like Pakistan and the Sahel region of Africa, but they have been far less combative than the Islamic State.

Third, most other jihadist leaders are repulsed by the Islamic State's brutal imposition of Sharia and believe that they have a more sophisticated view of Islamic governance than the Islamic State. This difference was clear in al-Zawahiri's letter to al-Zarqawi and in more recent letters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Nasir al-Wahayshi to Abdelmalek Droukdel, the leader of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Other letters from Droukdel to his subordinates in Mali after they had taken control of a large portion of northern Mali also urged tolerance and warned against the type of strict and sudden enforcement of Sharia the Islamic State is known for.

The Islamic State's Appeal

Grassroots jihadists have been the Islamic State's main source of public support since before the declaration of the caliphate. Individual grassroots jihadists from around the world have flocked to Iraq and Syria to fight, and grassroots networks have been set up in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East to send men, funds and weapons to support the Islamic State. Jihadists in Libya and Tunisia have been especially active in these support networks in terms of sending men (and weapons from Libya), but they have not yet overtly declared loyalty to the Islamic State.

In Indonesia, Abu Bakar Bashir, the former leader of the now-defunct Jemaah Islamiyah, declared allegiance to the Islamic State, but Bashir is in prison and marginalized. Even his own sons have repudiated him (and by extension the Islamic State) and have broken off to form a new radical Islamist group in Indonesia. There have also been reports of a grassroots group in Malaysia that allegedly was discussing the launch of terrorist activity there, but this group appears to have been more aspirational than operational at the time of its members' arrests.

Given the well-publicized battlefield successes that the Islamic State achieved in July, it is quite remarkable that the group did not garner more support from other jihadist groups. We believe that with the United States and other outside countries taking action against the Islamic State in Iraq (perhaps to be followed by attacks against their infrastructure in Syria), the group is due to suffer setbacks on the battlefield. This will diminish the Islamic State's appeal to other jihadist groups whose interest might have been piqued by its successes.

Copyright: STRATFOR.COM

Officer Down



Sheriff Mark A. Hecker
Butler County Nebraska Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Age: 53
Tour: 33 years
Badge # 925
Incident Date: 8/8/2014

Sheriff Mark Hecker suffered a fatal heart attack after struggling with a mental subject he was attempting to take into emergency protective custody.

He began to feel ill several hours later and drove himself to a local hospital. His condition continued to worsen and he passed away four days later.

Sheriff Hecker had served with the Butler County Sheriff's Office for 26 years and had previously served with the Humphrey Police Department and David City Police Department for nine years. He is survived by his six children, five grandchildren, and two brothers.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

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