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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Who could have not seen this a mile away. Weed is not all it's cracked up to be.

Multiple states have moved to "legalize" or decriminalize marijuana, seeing a pot of gold with taxation. I was in a discussion with a friend from Denver and they were very much in favor for this because it was dedicated to "roads, bridges and schools". We are both from Louisiana and I reminded them "Governor Edwards said the same thing of the lottery and gambling and where is the money? Remember this conversation because in five or ten years another politician will come up with another financial panacea that will be dedicated to 'roads, bridges and schools', then ask 'Where did the weed money go?'"

Now Washington and Colorado have started selling "legal" weed and guess what? They are not getting the money they were supposed to get.
Moody’s: Washington might not see the marijuana tax windfall previously projected

A slow start to sales, high taxes and easy-to-get medical marijuana may translate to lesser-than-expected revenues from Washington state’s newly legal recreational pot market, according to a new report from Moody’s, the credit rating agency.

Marijuana for recreational use went on sale in Washington earlier this month and is taxed three separate times—25 percent each at the production, wholesale and retail levels—in addition to state and local sales taxes. Combined, the trio of taxes translate to an effective rate of 44 percent, Moody’s finds.

“The tax structure in Washington State is likely to be a major deterrent for consumers who do not see the value in obtaining the product from a storefront as opposed to a medical dispensary,” writes Moody’s Analyst Andrea Unsworth, the report’s author. Why pay a higher tax when getting approval for medical marijuana is reportedly relatively easy? Washington’s forecasters last revisited their estimate in June, too, and anticipated $51.2 million in revenues from fees and taxes for the 2015 to 2017 budget and more than two times more for the following two years.

Wait, wait, hold it. High taxes inhibit economic activity. In the Washington Post!? This is heresy!
A similar situation appears to be playing out in Colorado, where recreational marijuana sales began on Jan. 1. Colorado economists in 2012 predicted $67 million in revenues from retail pot in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. They dropped that estimate to $54 million in March and $30.6 million again in June. State forecasters explained why in a June report:

“One reason that revenue has lagged behind earlier estimates is that medical marijuana users have not converted to the adult-use market,” they wrote.

Aside from its high tax rates on recreational pot, the state also has only opened up roughly 7 percent of the market. Of the 334 marijuana store licenses available, Washington has issued just 24, well below originally expected. The state has also licensed fewer growers than expected.

Yet Moody’s says it isn’t concerned about the state’s credit standing. The state never planned to lean heavily on the< revenues for funding and the shortfall will likely be short-lived. Supply will no doubt eventually meet demand, Unsworth writes.

I don't question you in that Moody's. The Laws of Economics are more certain than the laws of Physics.

However, one thing is not being put into this. The former distribution system for marijuana, know as drug dealers, haven't gone anywhere., They will continue to sell weed, they only have to undercut the "legal" price. If you want proof, look at smuggled cigarette sales in New York or New Jersey.

But don't cry for Colorado. The usual suspects have gone after fracking, something that would lead to a fortune in tax revenue and jobs.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

And this reminds me of a great quote from my academy

Some people just need killing!

The old assistance district attorney who taught my academy class penal code (and if memory serves, during his time in the Harris Country DA's Office personally put 18 men on death row) used to say this is needed for certain people out there. I think our Mr. Frolander qualifies.

FOX 13 News

Daytona dad beats man he found allegedly raping his son, report says

A Florida dad who told police he walked in on a man sexually abusing his child, left the suspect motionless and bleeding Friday morning on the living room floor, police said.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that the suspect was found at the Daytona Beach home at about 1 a.m. Friday. The paper, citing the arrest report, said Raymond Frolander was found with several knots on his face and bleeding from the mouth.

The 35-year-old father and his son were not identified, but the father reportedly walked in on Frolander sexually battering his son.

The paper obtained the 911 call and reported that the dad told the dispatcher, "I just walked in a grown man molesting...and I got him in a bloody puddle for you, officer."

He told police that he didn't use any weapons in the beating, nor did he ask the suspect any questions.

"He is nice and knocked out on the floor for you," the dad reportedly told police.

The boy told police that Frolander took him to a back room of the house and pulled down his pants, the report said.

The boy, 11, had been playing video games with friends before the alleged attack, the report said.

Frolander was treated at an area hospital and allegedly told police "I'm guilty," when questioned.

He is being held without bail. Frolander was charged with sexual battery by an 18-year-old on a victim under 12, the report said.

The father was not charged.
No real comment needed. Nice work dad.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reminds me of a great quote from Outlaw Josey Wales

Not a hard man to track. Leaves dead men wherever he goes.

Kirk is not a hard man to track. Leaves... :<)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Allen Bares, Jr.Vermilion Parish Louisiana Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Monday, June 23, 2014
Age: 51
Tour: 15 years
Badge # 32
Deputy Sheriff Allen Bares was shot and killed at approximately 4:00 pm while investigating two suspicious men while off duty. 
Deputy Bares was cutting grass when he observed the men crash their car into a ditch on South Hospital Drive. He called the sheriff's office to report the incident and suspicious activity, then approached them and identified himself as a sheriff's deputy. As he did so one of the men drew a weapon and fatally shot him. 
Responding deputies located Deputy Bares suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to Abbeville General Hosptial, where he succumbed to his wounds. 
After shooting Deputy Bares, the two subjects stole his truck and fled the area. The truck was later located in Abbeville, and both subjects were arrested several hours later. They were subsequently charged with first degree murder, unauthorized use of an automobile, and for a burglary they had just committed on the same street. 
Deputy Bares had served in law enforcement for 15 years. He had previously served with the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office. 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. 

Stupidity from the other side of the pond. The Thought Police are going after movies again.

I remember in the late 80s Paramount was starting the preproduction work on The Hunt for Red October and I saw a small article in the paper on an issue they had discovered. There were having a problem putting in a strong female part in a pretty much all male movie (As I recall the only women in the book where Captain Ramius's wife and Gates McFadden's one minute part as Carolyn Ryan.) Fortunately the lot got their head our of their asses and let the screen writers do a good script.

Since then Political Correctness has infected one movie (and television shows) after another, the movie industry has slowly been on a downward trajectory. Why? Because the movies suck. I'm not saying the PC infection is the only reason, but putting a Black African Muslim into the story of Robin Hood is really true to the story, right?

Now we have the latest symptoms of the infection from Great Britain. The BFI is saying you must "target ethnic minority, gay and female characters" to get money. Read, it's depressing. Often I've heard Europe gets the bad news 20 years before America. I can see this coming.
British Film Institute tells filmmakers to tick new diversity targets or miss funding

Movie companies have been told they must meet new targets for ethnic minority, gay and female characters on screen to be eligible for future funding from the British Film Institute.

The BFI, Britain’s largest public film fund, announced a “Three Ticks” scheme to ensure diversity in films and behind the scenes as it set out new rules for funding.

Under the system, to be implemented in September, films must “tick” at least two of three criteria: on-screen diversity; off-screen diversity and “creating opportunities and social mobility”.

The BFI, which allocates lottery funding and invests more than £27 million in film production, sales and distribution, supports about 30 new projects a year. It backed The King’s Speech and Philomena.

The new rules will compel filmmakers to place “diverse” actors and subjects at the forefront of their projects, as well as ensuring minority workers are represented on set and in the crew.

On screen, at least one lead character must be “positively reflecting diversity”, with the story more likely to receive funding if it “explicitly and predominantly explores issues of identity relating to ethnicity or national origins, a specific focus on women, people with disabilities, sexual identity, age and people from a socially disadvantaged background”.

Among the films the BFI has praised for content include Suffragette, the story of the battle for women to gain the vote, and Pride, about gay activists supporting the miners’ strike. It will ask filmmakers to ensure that at least 30 per cent of supporting and non-speaking characters are also “diverse”.

Off-screen, at least two heads of department must be from diverse backgrounds, as well as a range of “key creatives” including the director, screenwriter, composer and cinematographer.

The third category requires companies to offer paid internships and jobs to “new entrants from diverse backgrounds” and to help them progress.

“Three Ticks” is likely to raise fears about compromising scripts’ authenticity, with period dramas less likely to naturally represent “diverse backgrounds”.

A spokesman for the BFI insisted all films would have the opportunity to meet the criteria, with even those not fulfilling them onscreen able to “tick” the other two sections.

Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, praised the initiative as helping to “raise the bar”, adding that he would like to see all television, film and performing arts companies following the BFI’s example...

Ok Mr Spokesman, if every file will be reviewed and eligible for money in spite of this ethnic cleansing, why set up the scheme in the first place? Also, if you have something that had no women or minorities (The Sherlock Holmes series, most of Shakespeare, etc) are you going to insist they be rewritten?

Over ten years ago Mel Gibson went for funding, production etc for a movie on the Crucifixion of Jesus. No one wanted to touch it and Gibson went on to produce it himself. The Passion of the Christ made over 600 million worldwide. I wonder if the BFI would have turned the man down because the movie didn't reflect well on diversity? I'll bet yes. They probably would have a similar issue with a Braveheart, another classic with few women, no minorities and the only gay characters were not that strong.

To summarize, the Crown really doesn't need a film institute to decide what movies are made (and the US doesn't need a NIA or NIH). The free market can make better choices on what people want to see.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Officer Down

Chief of Police Lee Dixon
Little River-Academy Texas Police Department
End of Watch: Thursday, June 19, 2014
Age: 54

Chief of Police Lee Dixon was shot and killed after responding to reports of a man with a gun at a home near the intersection of Main Street and Allison Street shortly after 5:00 pm.

After arriving at the scene he requested backup from the Bell County Sheriff's Office. Prior to a second unit arriving the subject opened fire on him, fatally wounding him. Responding deputies arrested the subject.

Chief Dixon had rejoined the Little River-Academy Police Department one month prior after serving with the Milam County Sheriff's Office for nine years. He had previously served with the department for two years. He was survived by his wife.
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. 

OK, these are the guys some people want running health care....

You can't make this one up.

14,000 draft notices mistakenly sent to men born in 1800s

No, the United States isn’t trying to build a military force of centenarians.

It just seems that way after the Selective Service System mistakenly sent notices to more than 14,000 Pennsylvania men born between 1893 and 1897, ordering them to register for the nation’s military draft and warning that failure to do so is “punishable by a fine and imprisonment.”

The agency realized the error when it began receiving calls from bewildered relatives last week.

Chuck Huey, 73, of Kingston, Pa., said he got a notice addressed to his late grandfather Bert Huey, a World War I veteran who was born in 1894 and died in 1995 at age 100.

“I said, ‘Geez, what the hell is this about?’ It said he was subject to heavy fines and imprisonment if he didn’t sign up for the draft board,” he said. “We were just totally dumbfounded.”

Huey said he tried calling the Selective Service but couldn’t get a live person on the line. That frustrated him even more because he wanted to make sure the agency knew there had been a mistake.

“You just never know. You don’t want to mess around with the federal government,” he said...

Such a screw up, what can be said but Yes We can!

Officer Down

Police Officer Scott Hewell
Stockton California Police Department
End of Watch: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Bio & Incident Details
Age: 33
Tour: 1 year, 9 months
Badge # 2454
Incident Date: 5/28/2014

Police Officer Scott Hewell succumbed to injuries sustained in a vehicle crash two weeks earlier as he and his partner responded to backup another officer performing a felony traffic stop of a shooting suspect.

The patrol car Officer Hewell was riding in left the roadway and struck a tree on El Dorado Street, near Jamestown Street. The vehicle struck the tree on the passenger side, causing him to suffer severe injuries. He had been released from the hospital nine days after the crash, but suffered a complication on June 11th. He was transported to the hospital where he passed away.

Officer Hewell had served with the Stockton Police Department for almost two years.
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. 

Bike tossed from 5th floor injures officer

As a cop you have hazards of all types, but this is a new one.

Bike tossed from 5th floor injures officer

A New York City police officer suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a child's bike hurled from the fifth floor of an apartment building.

The officer was responding to a man firing a gun in Brooklyn around 2 a.m. Sunday when someone began tossing debris from a balcony at 959 Saint Mark's Avenue. Police say the bike was thrown from a window or balcony of the building.

The officer was taken to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition. Police arrested the individual firing the shots. A second person was taken into custody but it wasn't immediately clear if either was the person who tossed the bike.
Hopefully this turd gets severely arrested when caught. But some of the comments at the bottom are classic!

Mike Gilmer
What kind of moron throws a bicycle from the fifth floor of a building? Oh wait, I get it, the type who would vote for Comrade De blasio!

When bicycles are outlawed, only outlaws will have bicycles! Hope the thug is caught and the cop recovers quickly!

Officer Down

Police Officer Igor Soldo
Las Vegas Nevada Metropolitan Police Department
End of Watch: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Age: 31
Tour: 8 years, 2 months
Badge # 9153

Police Officer Alyn Beck
Las Vegas Nevada Metropolitan Police Department
End of Watch: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Bio & Incident Details
Age: 41
Tour: 13 years, 10 months

Police Officer Igor Soldo and Police Officer Alyn Beck were shot and killed from ambush while eating lunch at a pizza restaurant in the 300 block of North Nellis Boulevard.

Two subjects, a male and a female, approached them at their table and shot them execution style without warning. Despite being wounded, one of the officers returned fire before being incapacitated. The subjects then stole both officers' weapons and ammunition and ran to a nearby Walmart, where they shot and killed a civilian.

Responding officers followed the two into the Walmart and exchanged gunfire with the two. The male subject was killed by rifle fire from a responding officer and the female then committed suicide.

Officer Soldo had served with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for eight years. Officer Beck had served with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for 14 years.
Rest in Peace Gentlemen…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. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

News from the hold home town....Ray Nagin and deserving

Yesterday, like many a transplanted New Orleans resident, I got the news the former Mayor of Chocolate City, Ray Nagin, got ten years after his conviction on federal corruption charges. HIZONORDAMAER faced 20 years, got 10, seeing it's federal time, he will serve at least nine.

Now many a person asked "How he got off so easy". He funneled federal contracts to his family, using money set for recovery of a major disaster for his own enrichment. Can you think of anything lower? Well, yes you can, but point made.

Now the New Orleans Times Picayune, the three day a week paper of New Orleans has an article on why Nagin got off so easy. Just read.
5 reasons Ray Nagin got 10 years instead of 20

Ray Nagin faced a prison sentence twice as long as the 10 years handed down by a federal judge on Wednesday. In fact, the sentence was five years shorter than the 15 years U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan cited as the minimum called for under federal guidelines.

The deviation from the range marked a rare move that Berrigan justified with a fairly sympathetic take on the bribery conspiracy for which Nagin was convicted.

After taking the bench for a hearing that lasted just 30 minutes, Berrigan said she was working in a range of 15 to 20 years. Then she announced she planned to sentence the former mayor to a shorter term before launching into her colloquy -- a statement that explains the factors she was using to come up with the punishment for the 20-count conviction on federal bribery, tax evasion and wire fraud charges.

Five key factors that weighed in his favor:

1. Nagin didn't lead the conspiracy; he followed. Berrigan noted that Nagin was approached by the contractors who gave him and his sons cash and free granite for their business, and that the former mayor seemed not to be the ringleader of the bribery conspiracy.

2. He didn't pad his pockets as outrageously as some. The amounts of money Nagin made off with, she said, were far lower than in other recent political corruption cases.

3. Broussard and Jefferson set favorable precedents. Nagin's sentence is shorter than the 13-year term handed down for former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson and longer than the nearly four years given to former Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard, who took a plea deal he is currently fighting to get out from under.

4. He is unlikely to run for office again. Berrigan seemed to give some weight to Nagin's age, 58, and the ruin of his reputation, factors she said made it unlikely he would ever hold an office that would allow him to commit similar crimes again. "It is very unlikely (Nagin) would ever regain the public's trust," after his lengthy and public prosecution, Berrigan said.

5. He helped his family more than he enriched himself. Berrigan seemed to give credence to the notion that while Nagin accepted cash and free trips from city contractors, those benefits went mostly to his family....

Nagin did't lead the conspiracy? Get real. If a contractor offered him money, he could have done the right thing, refuse, call the cops to repot him, make sure this contractor didn't get any work because he wasn't to be trusted. He did it for his family? Please, I've heard that on the street, "I busted a cap in him and took his money because I needed money for my kids....oh, my BMW?...I need my BMW....and my EBT Card...well I needed to trade that for my crack...wait I didn't say that"

Not run for office again? Who cares. Also, a current member of the Washington DC City Counsel is a former federal convict, shown on video smoking crack. Can we have some standards for politicians. I guess not, according to the only daily paper in New Orleans. No wonder it's gone down to 3 days a week.

Officer Down

Sergeant Daryl Giles
Philadelphia Pennsylvania School Police Department
End of Watch: Monday, June 2, 2014
Age: 50
Tour: 19 years

Sergeant Daryl Giles suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after breaking up a large fight at George Washington High School, on Bustleton Avenue, in Northeast Philadelphia.

He struggled with two students as he broke up the fight. Following the fight he informed other officers that he was suffering chest pains, and a short time later he was found unresponsive in a bathroom. The school nurse initiated CPR until medics could transport him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Three students were charged with disorderly conduct as a result of the fight.

Sergeant Giles was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Philadelphia School Police Department for 19 years.
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. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Another example of cultural rot

Two Indianapolis cops were shot this weekend. One is in critical condition, one is dead.

This post is not to mourn the loss of these two brave men but to look at the reaction of the family of the accused murderer. One excuse after another. But look at 2.38 on the video, the statement of how the officer could have lived.

If Officer Had Stayed In His Car, He Wouldn’t Have Been Shot

Granted it's the reporter saying what she says was said, no one else was willing to come on the record, but this is believable. And sick.  If that human waste had not shot of the officers they would be at home with their families. 

I don't know the law of Indiana as well as Texas, but they do have capital punishment.  Hopefully the DA is proceeding for a death sentence here. 

Thanks Jason H for the link.

A great way to end the weekend.

As I sit in my cubicle, starting another week of my jail term, I was scanning my Facebook and found two great commercials. With a British connection, of course.

First, as Dinesh D'Souza is premiering his movie America: Imagine the World Without Her, we have this great look at what would have happened if we were still Great Britain’s western colony.

On a more solemn note, Guinness shows why we can celebrate our independence on this day.

Hope you had a great Independence Day weekend, and here is to another great week!

PS: NFL Pre-Season Football in just a month away! :<)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I have only one regret with this video....

The owner didn't ice them then. Now other officers will have to get them, we'll have to pay for them in prision, etc. But overall, great ending to the attempted robbery, the children are OK and Grandpa is doing fine.

Southeast Fresno jeweler with shotgun chases off armed robbers

A pair of armed but nervous young bandits tried to rob a southeast Fresno jewelry store, but quickly changed their minds when the store's owner emerged from a back room with a shotgun and ordered them out...

...Police and a store clerk said Tuesday that the suspects walked in posing as customers. One bandit then pulled out a handgun, racked the slide and pointed it at the clerk while demanding cash. The second bandit tried to jump the counter but fell down before walking behind it.

Noe Guzman is the clerk who let the two young men into the store. Tuesday at the store, Guzman said one bandit started asking him questions about bracelets when the other pulled out the gun.

"He cocked the gun," Guzman recalled. "I moved over so that my friend in the back could see."

Police identified Guzman's "friend" as his uncle, and said the man is the store owner and was in the back room with his daughter and newborn grandchild when the robbers came in. Neither police nor Guzman named the store owner.

Guzman said the robber with the gun looked nervous and more afraid he would hurt himself than shoot Guzman.

"I didn't want him to shoot me, he was shaking," Guzman said. "So I told him, 'Calm down, everything's OK.' "

That's when the owner came out of the back room with his gun -- a shotgun with a bullpup stock -- and told the robbers to back up. Guzman said the gunman shifted his attention from Guzman to the owner, and the other robber dropped on the floor and crawled "like the soldiers" toward the back door.

The crawling robber told the second to shoot. Instead, both robbers ran.

"My friend didn't shoot. You can't," Guzman said. "You just have to take care of your business. And they left running."...

Good work sir, there is one of the reasons we have guns.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Security Weekly: Mandela's 1990 U.S. Tour Highlights a Reality of Government Surveillance, June 5, 2014

By Scott Stewart

Al Jazeera ran an exclusive story May 28 reporting that the FBI had spied on former South African President Nelson Mandela during his first trip to the United States in June 1990. Mandela, who had been found guilty of terrorism-related charges in 1964 and sentenced to life in prison, had only just been released from a South African prison in February 1990.

During his 1963-1964 trial with nine other leaders of the African National Congress, Mandela admitted that the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, committed acts of sabotage as a form of political protest. But he denied wanting to overthrow the government by force. In June 1961, Mandela had sent an open letter to South African newspapers warning that a campaign of armed sabotage would be launched unless a constitutional convention was held.

Despite the ANC's ties to terrorism, Mandela became an iconic protest figure during his years in prison for his efforts to end South Africa's racist system of apartheid. Upon his release, he made an international tour to raise additional support for his cause, and that tour is what brought him to the United States in June 1990, where he visited several major cities.

Al Jazeera's story grabbed my attention for two reasons. First, at the time of the visit, I was assigned to work as the protective intelligence coordinator for the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service detail tasked with protecting Mandela during the U.S. portion of his world tour. I spent long hours before, during and after the trip coordinating with other agencies and governments to investigate the many potential and actual threats directed against Mandela. Second, I was amazed that anyone would be surprised that the FBI was collecting intelligence during such a visit, given its context.


First, it is important to remember that while the ANC is now the ruling political party in South Africa, it had engaged in a long struggle that was not only political but also included the use of civil disobedience and armed resistance. Politically motivated acts of violence meet the statutory definition of terrorism under U.S. and international law. Because of this, at the time of his June 1990 trip, Mandela and the ANC were on the U.S. terrorism watch list. (They were also listed on the terrorism watch lists of several other countries.) In fact, due to the difficulty of getting people removed from that list, it was not until 2008 that Mandela and other ANC leaders were removed from the U.S. terrorism list -- 15 years after they had entered the political mainstream.

There was also a great deal of international interest in the political changes underway in South Africa at the time of the trip. Negotiations to end apartheid began in 1990 but were not completed until 1993. All countries, even those that had imposed economic sanctions against the apartheid regime (such as the United States, which passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986), were unsure of what was going to happen in South Africa. They were frantically collecting intelligence on all the parties involved in the process to determine what the outcome of the negotiations, and the future of South Africa, would be. Indeed, even most South Africans were uncertain of their nation's future and did not know if democratization would proceed, or if someone or something would throw it off track.

There were numerous questions regarding the internal workings of the ANC, and Mandela's role in it, following his release from prison. During Mandela's confinement, a number of other ANC leaders had emerged, and in June 1990 it was unclear if Mandela would prove able to establish himself as the undisputed leader of the party. Some of the other ANC leaders had agendas that differed from Mandela's, and therefore these ANC politics could hold a great deal of significance for South Africa's future. Because of this, understanding the internal party dynamics was a priority for intelligence collection for many intelligence services at the time, including U.S. agencies.

There were also questions about Mandela's strained relationship with his then-wife, Winnie. The Mandelas were separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. By 1990, Winnie had become a high-profile and powerful activist in her own right and was one of the ANC leaders with their own political following and agenda. Her personal security group, the Mandela United Football Club, was known as a group of brutal criminals. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission later noted in its final report that Winnie was politically and morally accountable for the gross human rights violations the members of the "club" committed.

Winnie had charged the outfit with providing security for Mandela's 1990 world tour, but they were untrained and highly unprofessional. They also had no legal government status or experience coordinating with other security services, and they quickly ran into trouble. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had intercepted a trunk containing several AK-47s that the football club was attempting to smuggle into Canada in violation of strict Canadian gun laws. The football club was also a concern for us when Mandela and his entourage entered the United States from Canada.

As reflected in the internal government memos and teletypes Al Jazeera received under a Freedom of Information Act request and then published, the Mandela visit was assessed to be a high-threat protective detail by the Diplomatic Security Service. This was due to the large number of threats made against Mandela. These threats originated from a range of sources, including the South African Afrikaner Resistance Movement, American neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Klansmen along with mentally disturbed individuals. White supremacist figures such as Tom Metzger and William Pierce had made statements about the visit carefully calculated not to cross the legal line separating protected speech from criminal acts, but their menacing messages were still quite disturbing, and we were concerned they would incite one of their followers to violence.

The Diplomatic Security Service Protective Intelligence and Protective Liaison agents worked very closely with its counterparts at the FBI and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate these threats. (Due to the "wall" between the FBI's criminal and intelligence operations, the FBI agents we worked with while investigating the threats against Mandela were not the same agents who collected intelligence during the visit.) It was a great relief for all of us when the trip ended without incident.

Collecting on Mandela and the ANC

Given this context, it should be clear why the FBI was collecting intelligence during Mandela's 1990 trip. As a member of the U.S. intelligence community and an American domestic intelligence agency, I would have been shocked had they not assigned agents to gather intelligence regarding a trip to the United States by a person appearing on the U.S. terrorism watch list. Clearly, Mandela was no bomb-thrower, but the visit still would be akin to one by Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal or Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah today in that it involved a visit by a political leader of a group appearing on the U.S. terrorism list. There were also individuals traveling with Mandela who had closer ties to terrorist violence, such as the members of the football club.

Beyond the terrorism angle, all governments, including the U.S. government, collect information on foreign political parties to include ruling, opposition and dissident parties -- especially during a time of transition when the course of a nation's future is uncertain. Policymakers do not like to be surprised, so they demand that their intelligence services keep them apprised of the latest developments. Governments do this using their foreign intelligence services when the target is abroad, and they use their domestic intelligence service when the target visits their country. Again, all internal intelligence services conduct this type of collection on visiting foreigners of interest, whether the Russian FSB, the Chinese MSS, the British MI5 or the FBI.

During my government career, I was part of the U.S. secretary of state's security detail on many trips, both with and without the president. When the U.S. president or secretary of state travels, it is clearly understood that foreign intelligence services are collecting on the trips along with the domestic intelligence services in the countries they visit. The same thing goes for traveling members of the opposition political party or political dissidents.

This type of collection is simply what intelligence agencies do. It is one of their fundamental missions and the reason governments spend so much money to fund their activities. They gather information on political figures and parties to help decision-makers in their respective governments understand the political dynamics of the country the traveler hails from. Such collection involves intelligence reporting on overt meetings conducted with the target, interactions with his staff and electronic monitoring of his communications. It often also includes bugging meeting rooms and hotel suites to collect on private conversations the target has with his staff or with host or third-country nationals who will not report their meeting to the host government.

Intelligence services collect information on the target's policies and his feelings toward the incumbent administration and other figures in his party. They also are charged with collecting on his political aspirations; his health; his mental state; and any vices, such as extramarital affairs or drug addictions, which could be used for blackmail purposes or to help recruit the target as a spy -- the Holy Grail for any intelligence agency is successfully recruiting a high-level politician or member of his staff as an asset or an agent of influence. But even in cases where two governments have a gentlemen's agreement not to recruit each other's citizens, all sides still conduct overt and clandestine intelligence collection on each other. As Ronald Reagan famously said in a 1987 press conference with Mikhail Gorbachev to mark the signing of an arms control treaty, it is important to "trust but verify."

Because of all this, it would have been more of a story if the FBI had not been collecting on Mandela and his entourage during his June 1990 trip than the news that it had.

Mandela's 1990 U.S. Tour Highlights a Reality of Government Surveillance is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Officer Down

Police Officer Kevin Dorian Jordan
Griffin Georgia Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, May 31, 2014
Age: 43
Tour: 4 years
Badge # 3507

Police Officer Kevin Jordan was shot and killed when arresting a female subject while working an overtime assignment at approximately 2:30 am.

He was working the assignment at a Waffle House on U.S. 19 when three customers began creating a disturbance. He escorted the three outside but the female subject began fighting with him. After subduing the woman and was placing her in handcuffs on the ground, one of the male subjects shot him in the back three times. One round was stopped by his vest, but a second entered an area unprotected by his vest and struck his heart and lungs.

Officer Jordan's civilian brother, who had come to the location to speak with him, witnessed the shooting. The brother, who was armed, shot and wounded the subject, who was taken into custody.

Officer Jordan was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Griffin Police Department for four years. He is survived by his seven 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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

This is one you don't get every day.....

Hey, gotta give her credit for trying.....

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

 Now there is the fun part of this. Where does she work:
Handcuffed woman accused of eating pot, troopers say 
Tavish Smith might be the happiest and friendliest arrestee we've seen in a while -- that is until a trooper caught her trying to eat a bag full of evidence. 
Her last-ditch effort to get rid of evidence was all caught on a Florida Highway Patrol squad car camera after she was pulled over for suspicion of DUI along U.S. 1 in Cocoa. 
She crashed her truck, drove the wrong way on U.S. 1, then crashed again, said the arrest report. By this time, the woman's not laughing. At the moment she eats the evidence, her misdemeanor charges for minor hit-and-run, DUI and marijuana possession bump up to a felony. 
"Bags of weed just don't go missing inside a police car," said the trooper. "And I've got it all on video." 
Smith denied everything and tried to hide what she was doing, but troopers said she had pot on her hands and face, and left crumbs everywhere. Troopers said there was enough evidence left in the bag to test it and prove it was marijuana. 
Smith posted bond and was released from jail. She has been suspended from her job as an employee for a Brevard County judge....
 This will not look good on a resume! :<)

Officer Down

Sergeant Paul Buckles
Potter County Texas Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Friday, May 30, 2014
Age: 58
Tour: 26 years

Sergeant Paul Buckles collapsed while participating in an active shooter training exercise involving multiple agencies in the Canyon area.

He was treated on scene by other officers and EMTs before being transported to a local hospital, where he passed away.

Sergeant Buckles had served with the Potter County Sheriff's Office for 26 years and was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division.
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: Geopolitical Journey, Part 2: Borderlands, June 3, 2014

Editor's Note: Stratfor's George Friedman is continuing his trip this week across the region, including the countries of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Serbia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. This report on the same region was written in 2010, as he was returning from a similar journey that explored the geopolitical imperatives of those nations. The observations and forecasts then in many ways mirror the reality today, four years later.

By George Friedman
Founder and Chairman

A borderland is a region where history is constant: Everything is in flux. The countries we are visiting on this trip (Turkey, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Poland) occupy the borderland between Islam, Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity. Roman Catholic Hapsburg Austria struggled with the Islamic Ottoman Empire for centuries, with the Ottomans extending northwest until a climactic battle in Vienna in 1683. Beginning in the 18th century, Orthodox Russia expanded from the east, through Belarus and Ukraine. For more than two centuries, the belt of countries stretching from the Baltic to the Black seas was the borderland over which three empires fought.

There have been endless permutations here. The Cold War was the last clear-cut confrontation, pitting Russia against a Western Europe backed -- and to a great extent dominated -- by the United States. This belt of countries was firmly if informally within the Soviet empire. Now they are sovereign again. My interest in the region is to understand more clearly how the next iteration of regional geopolitics will play out. Russia is far more powerful than it was 10 years ago. The European Union is undergoing internal stress and Germany is recalculating its position. The United States is playing an uncertain and complex game. I want to understand how the semicircle of powers, from Turkey to Poland, are thinking about positioning themselves for the next iteration of the regional game.

I have been accused of thinking like an old Cold warrior. I don't think that's true. The Soviet Union has collapsed, and U.S. influence in Europe has declined. Whatever will come next will not be the Cold War. What I do not expect this to be is a region of perpetual peace. It has never been that before. It will not be that in the future. I want to understand the pattern of conflict that will occur in the future. But for that we need to begin in the past, not with the Cold War, but with World War I.

Regional Reshaping after World War I

World War I created a radically new architecture in this region. The Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires collapsed, the Russian empire was replaced by the Soviet Union, and the German empire was overthrown and replaced by a republic. No region in the world suffered more or was left more impoverished by the war than this region. Indeed, the war didn't end for them in 1918. It went on as the grip of empires reluctantly subsided and the new nations struggled within and among themselves.

The collapse of empires allowed a range of nations to emerge as independent nations. From the Baltic states to Bulgaria, nations became nation-states. Many of the borders and some of the nations were fixed by the victorious powers at Versailles and Trianon. They invented Yugoslavia, which means "land of the southern Slavs," out of a collection of hostile nations. They reshaped their borders. If France, Britain and the United States shaped the region, the Poles saved it.

The border between the Russian empire/Soviet Union and Europe is divided into two parts. The Carpathian Mountains form a rough boundary between the Russians and the rest of Europe from Slovakia to the south. These mountains are not particularly tall, but they are rugged, with scattered villages and few good roads. The Carpathians have belonged at various times to all of the countries in the region, but the Carpathians are not easily controlled. Even today, bandits rule parts of them. It is not impossible to move an army across it, but it is not easy, either.

The northern part of Europe is dominated by a vast plain stretching from France to Moscow. It is flat and marshy to the north but generally good terrain for armies to move on. Except for some river barriers, it is the route of Europe's conquerors. Napoleon moved along the plain to Moscow, as did Hitler (who moved across the Caucasus as well). Stalin returned the way Napoleon and Hitler came.

The Intermarium

Following World War I, Poland re-emerged as a sovereign nation. The Russians had capitulated to Germany in 1917 and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918, which ceded a great deal of territory, including Ukraine, to Germany. With Germany's defeat, Brest-Litovsk lost its force and the Russians tried to regain what they had given away in that treaty. Part of that was Poland. In 1920, a climactic battle took place in Warsaw, when an army led by Polish Gen. Jozef Pilsudski, who had struck an alliance with Ukraine that couldn't work, blocked a Soviet invasion.

Pilsudski is an interesting figure, a reactionary in some ways, a radical in others. But it was his geopolitical vision that interests me. He was, above all else, a Polish nationalist, and he understood that Russia's defeat by Germany was the first step to an independent Poland. He also believed that Polish domination of Ukraine -- an ancient ploy -- would guarantee Poland's freedom after Germany was defeated. His attempt to ally with Ukraine failed. The Russians defeated the Ukrainians and turned on Poland. Pilsudski defeated them.

It is interesting to speculate about history if Pilsudski had lost Warsaw. The North European Plain was wide open, and the Soviets could have moved into Germany. Undoubtedly, the French would have moved to block them, but there was a powerful Communist Party in France that had little stomach for war. It could have played out many different ways had Pilsudski not stopped the Russians. But he did.

Pilsudski had another idea. Germany was in shambles, as was Russia, but both would be back. An alliance in place before they revived would, in Pilsudski's mind, save the region. His vision was something called the Intermarium -- an alliance of the nations between the seas built around Poland and including Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Finland and the Baltic states. This never came to be, but if it had, World War II may never have happened or could have played out in a different way. It is an idea that has been in my mind of late, thinking about what comes after NATO and ambitious concepts of European federation. Pilsudski's Intermarium makes a kind of logical if not historical sense. It is not historical because this borderland has always been the battleground for others. It has never formed together to determine its fate.

The Russian-German Relationship

In many ways, this matter doesn't rest in these states' hands. It depends partly on what Russia wants and plans to do and it depends on what Europe wants and plans to do. As always, the Intermarium is caught between Russia and Europe. There is no southern European power at the moment (the Austro-Hungarian empire is a memory), but in the north there is Germany, a country struggling to find its place in Europe and in history.

In many ways, Germany is the mystery. The 2008 and Greek economic crises shocked the Germans. They had seen the European Union as the solution to European nationalism and an instrument of prosperity. When the crisis struck, the Germans found that nationalism had reared its head in Germany as much as it had in other countries. The Germans didn't want to bail out the Greeks, and the entire question of the price and value of the European Union became a central issue in Germany. Germany has not thought of itself as a freestanding power since 1945. It is beginning to think that way again, and that could change everything, depending on where it goes.

One of the things it could change is German-Russian relations. At various times since 1871 and German re-unification, the Germans and Russians have been allies as well as mortal enemies. Right now, there is logic in closer German-Russian ties. Economically they complement and need each other. Russia exports raw materials; Germany exports technology. Neither cares to be pressured by the United States. Together they might be able to resist that pressure. There is a quiet romance under way between them.

And that rivets my attention on the countries I am visiting. For Poland, the specter of a German-Russian entente is a historical nightmare. The last time this happened, in 1939, Poland was torn apart and lost its sovereignty for 50 years. There is hardly a family in Poland who can't name their dead from that time. Of course, it is said that this time it would be different, that the Germans are no longer what they were and neither are the Russians. But geopolitics teaches that subjective inclinations do not erase historical patterns. Whatever the Poles think and say, they must be nervous although they are not admitting it. Admitting fear of Germany and Russia would be to admit distrust, and distrust is not permitted in modern Europe. Still, the Poles know history, and it will be good to see what they have to say -- or at least how they say it. And it is of the greatest importance to hear what they say, and don't say, about the United States under these circumstances.

Romania's Role

The Romanians are in a different position. The Romanians are buffered against the Russians by Ukraine and Moldova, and their sense of unease should be lower. Unlike the Poles and the North European Plain, they at least have the Carpathians running through their country. But what are we to make of Ukraine? Their government is pro-Russian and trapped by economic realities into strong Russian ties. Certainly, the increasingly German-led European Union is not going to come to their rescue. The question in Ukraine is whether their attempt to achieve complete independence is over, to be replaced by some informal but iron bond to Russia, or whether the Ukrainians still have room to maneuver. It seems from a distance that there is little room for them to breathe, let alone maneuver, but this is a question to be put to Ukrainians. They will, of course, vigorously assert their independence, but it will be important to listen to what is not said and what is answered by small shrugs and resignation. There is no more important question in Europe at the moment than the future of Ukraine.

For Romania, this is vital because its buffer could turn into its boundary if the Russians return to the border. This is why Moldova matters as well. Moldova used to be called Bessarabia. When Stalin made his deal with Hitler in 1939, part of the deal was that Bessarabia, then part of Romania, an ally of Germany, would be seized by the Soviets. This moved Romania farther from the port of Odessa, the critical port on the Black Sea, and across the Dniester River. Bessarabia remained part of the Soviet Union after the war. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Moldova became independent, stretching from Romania to the eastern bank of the Dniester. The area east of the Dniester, Transdniestria, promptly seceded from Moldova, with Russian help. Moldova became a Romanian-speaking buffer on the Dniester River.

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Its primary export is wine, sent mostly to Russia. The Russians have taken to blocking the export of wine for "health reasons." I think the health issue is geopolitical and not biological. If Moldova is an independent, pro-European state, Ukraine is less isolated than the Russians would like it to be. Moldova could, in the distant future, be a base for operations against Russian interests. Every inch that potential enemies are from Odessa is beneficial. There was a reason why Stalin wanted to take Bessarabia from Hitler. That consideration has not dissolved, and the Russians are acting to isolate and pressure Moldova right now and, with it, Romania.

My visit to Romania and Moldova is to try to get a sense of how they view the situation in Ukraine, what they think Russian intentions are and what they plan to do -- if anything. Romania is always a hard country to read. Geopolitically, its capital is on the wrong side of the Carpathians if the Russians are the threat, on the right side if Austria or Germany is the threat. Romania is oriented toward the European Union but is one of the many countries in the union that may not really belong there. Unlike the Poles, for whom history and resistance is a tradition, the Romanians accommodate themselves to the prevailing winds. It will be good to find out where they feel the winds are blowing from right now. I doubt that they will do anything to save Moldova and anger Moscow, but it is not clear whether Moldova is in danger. Still, this much is clear: If the Russians are reclaiming Ukraine, then Moldova is an important piece of territory, not only to protect Ukraine but also to create options toward Romania and southwestern Europe. Sometimes small pieces of land that are not on anyone's mind represent the test case.

Turkey is a place I have gone to several times in the past few years and expect to revisit many times. In my book, "The Next 100 Years," I argued that Turkey will be a great power in the next 50 years or so. I'm comfortable with my long-term prediction, but the next decade will be a period of transition for Turkey, from being one of the countries confronting the Soviets under the U.S. alliance system to being a resurgent power in its own right. It will be no one's pawn, and it will be asserting its interests beyond its borders. Indeed, as its power increases in the Balkans, Turkey will be one of the forces that countries like Romania will have to face.

I will be interested in hearing from the Romanians and Moldovans what their view of Turkey is at this point. Its re-emergence will be a slow process, with inevitable setbacks and disappointments, but even now its commercial influence can be felt in the Black Sea basin. I will be interested in hearing from the Turks how they view the Russians (and, of course, Iran and the Arab countries as well as Central Asia). Russia as seen through the eyes of its neighbors is the purpose of this trip, and that's the conversation I will want to have. Poles, Ukrainians, Romanians and Moldovans will all want to talk about Russia. The Turks will want to discuss many issues, Russia perhaps least of all. I will have to work hard to draw them out on this.

A Geopolitical Theory

In the end, I am going to the region with an analytic framework, a theory that I will want to test. It is a theory that argues that the post-Cold War world is ending. Russia is re-emerging in a historically recognizable form. Germany is just beginning the process of redefining itself in Europe, and the EU's weaknesses have become manifest. Turkey has already taken the first steps toward becoming a regional power. We are at the beginning of a period in which these forces play themselves out.

For the United States, Turkey's emergence is beneficial. The United States is ending its wars in the region, and Turkey is motivated to fill the vacuum left and combat radical Islam. Those who argue that the Turkish government is radically Islamist are simply wrong, for two reasons. First, Turkey is deeply divided, with the powerful heirs of the secular traditions of Kemal Ataturk on one side. They are too strong to have radical Islam imposed on them. Second, the Islamism of the Turkish government cannot possibly be compared to that of Saudi Arabia, for example. Islam comes in many hues, as does Christianity, and the Turkish version derives from Ottoman history. It is subtle, flexible and above all pragmatic. It derives from a history in which Turkish Islam was allied with Catholic Venice to dominate the Mediterranean. So Turkish Islam is not strong enough to impose itself on the secularists and too urbane to succumb to simplistic radicalism. It will do what it has to do, but helping al Qaeda is not on its agenda. Still, it will be good to talk to the secularists, who regard the current government with fear and distrust, and see whether they remain as brittle as ever.

While the United States can welcome a powerful Turkey, the same can't be said for a powerful Russia, particularly not one allied with Germany. The single greatest American fear should not be China or al Qaeda. It is the amalgamation of the European Peninsula's technology with Russia's natural resources. That would create a power that could challenge American primacy. That was what the 20th century was all about. The German-Russian relationship, however early and subdued it might be, must affect the United States.

It is not clear to me that the American leadership understands this. Washington's mind is an amalgam of post-Cold War cliches about Russia and Europe and an obsession with terrorism. This is not a time of clear strategic thinking in Washington. I find it irritating to go there, since they regard my views as alarmist and extreme while I find their views outmoded and simplistic. It's why I like Austin. I know that the Poles, for example, are deeply concerned that Washington doesn't understand the issues. But in the United States, Washington makes position papers and only rarely history. The United States is a vast nation, and Washington thinks of itself as its center, but it really isn't. The United States doesn't have a center. The pressures of the world and the public shape its actions, albeit reluctantly.

I have no power to shape anything, but for Washington to support Poland they need to be shown a path. In this case, I am going to explore the theory that Pilsudski brought to the table, of the Intermarium. I regard NATO as a bureaucracy overseeing an alliance whose mission was accomplished 20 years ago. From an American point of view, moving France or Germany is both impossible and pointless. They have their own interests and the wrong geography. It is the Intermarium -- Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and perhaps Bulgaria -- that represents this generation's alliance. It blocks the Russians, splits them from the Germans and gently limits Turkey's encroachment in southeastern Europe.

The Intermarium countries remain infatuated with the European Union and NATO, but the infatuation is declining. The year 2008 and Germany's indifference to these countries was not pleasant, and they are learning that NATO is history. The Poles must be the leader of the bloc and the Romanians the southern anchor. I think the Poles are thinking in these terms but the Romanians are far from this idea. I'm not sure. I want to find out. For me, a U.S.-backed Poland guarding the North European Plain, with Slovakia, Hungary and Romania guarding the Carpathian approaches, would prevent what the United States should fear the most: an alliance between Russia and Germany plus Western Europe. The key is the changing perception of the European Union in the Intermarium. I want to see how far this has come.

Nothing, of course, could be further from Washington's mind. Washington still thinks of Russia as the failed state of the 1990s. It simply doesn't take it seriously. It thinks of the European Union as having gone over a speed bump from which it will recover. But mostly, Washington thinks about Afghanistan. For completely understandable reasons, Afghanistan sucks up the bandwidth of Washington, allowing the rest of the world to maneuver as it wishes.

As I said, I have no power to shape anything. But it is the charm of the United States that powerlessness and obscurity is no bar to looking at the world and thinking of what will come next. I am not making strategy but examining geopolitical forces. I am not planning what should be but thinking about what will likely happen. But in doing this I need a reality check, and for this reality check I will start in Romania.

Geopolitical Journey, Part 2: Borderlands is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Officer Down

Police Officer Brian Jones
Norfolk Virginia Police Department
End of Watch: Friday, May 30, 2014
Age: 35
Tour: 5 years

Police Officer Brian Jones was shot and killed from ambush in the 7400 block of Wellington Road while investigating an earlier shooting.

Shortly before 11:00 pm the subject had been randomly firing his gun at citizens as he drove down Chesapeake Boulevard, killing a 17-year-old boy. A short time later Officer Jones located the vehicle parked outside of the subject's home on Wellington Road. An off duty officer responded to back him up and, while they were assessing the situation, the subject opened fire on them with a high powered rifle from inside his home.

Both officers were wounded in the gunfire. They were both transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where Officer Jones succumbed to his wounds.

The subject fled the scene in his vehicle but was located by another officer. After the vehicle crashed the subject exited with a firearm and began struggling with the officer who pursued him. The subject was shot and killed during the ensuing struggle.

Officer Jones was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Norfolk Police Department for five years. He was assigned to the Third Patrol Division. He was survived by his wife and three young 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. 

Security Weekly: Assessing Recent Militant Attacks in China, May 29, 2014

By Scott Stewart

Police in Xinjiang arrested five suspects and seized 1.8 tons of explosive material on May 26, according to Chinese media. The arrests and seizure were made in the city of Hotan in southwestern Xinjiang. Police said the suspects intended to build bombs to attack crowded locations in the city.

The operation in Hotan was reportedly connected to a yearlong nationwide counterterrorism operation recently launched by the Chinese government that was prompted by a string of terrorist attacks. These attacks have been simple, using edged weapons, small explosive devices and vehicles driven into soft targets such as the crowds outside train stations and markets. If the media report of 1.8 tons of explosives being seized is true, it would signify that someone was planning a much more spectacular attack. This would be unprecedented inside China, where the hallmark of the long-simmering Uighur militancy has been smaller attacks.

Recent Attacks

The arrests in Hotan came on the heels of the May 22 attack in Urumqi, Xinjiang, where assailants drove two off-road vehicles into an outdoor market near People's Park, tossing explosives into the crowd of morning shoppers before one of the vehicles exploded. The attack, which has yet to be claimed, killed 31 and injured scores more.

On April 30, a suicide bombing against a train station in Urumqi killed three and injured dozens. That attack was claimed by the Turkistan Islamic Party, which posted a video of the purported suicide bomb used in the attack being constructed, followed by a lengthy statement threatening additional attacks.

On March 1, eight knife-wielding assailants attacked people in the Kunming railway station in Yunnan, China. They ultimately killed 29 people and wounded 130. No group has claimed responsibility, but police showed the media a hand-painted black East Turkistan flag allegedly found at the scene, indicating the involvement of Uighur militants. (The Turkistan Islamic Party released a video praising the attack but did not claim responsibility for it.) The Kunming incident was significant not only in that it occurred in the remote Yunnan province, but also in that it targeted civilians rather than security forces, which had been the most common target in past Uighur militant attacks. The incident highlighted the possibility that Uighur militancy was continuing to expand its geographic reach.

At this point, it is unknown if the Kunming attack can be linked to the Xinjiang attacks, or even if the same group conducted the two recent Urumqi attacks. However, if all four events were related and can be connected to the same organization, it would have different implications than if they were conducted by independent organizations acting on central guidance or merely general principles.

Uighur Separatism

Uighur separatism has deep roots. Nationalistic sentiment is ingrained in the Uighurs by their ties to the historical broader Turkistan, which stretched through much of what is today Xinjiang (so-called "East Turkistan") and into Central Asia. The Qing Dynasty conquered East Turkistan in the mid-1700s and, after decades of struggle, China annexed the territory, renaming it Xinjiang, or "New Territories." A polity calling itself East Turkistan arose in Xinjiang amid the chaotic transition from imperial China to Communist rule, lasting for two brief periods from 1933 to 1934 and from 1944 to 1949. Since that time, Xinjiang has been, more or less, an integral part of the People's Republic of China.

Historically, Chinese security forces have been fairly heavy-handed in their efforts to keep Uighur separatism in check -- in part out of the fear, often justified throughout the Cold War period, that local separatist movements enjoyed the backing and support of the Soviet Union (or the United States in the case of Tibet) and thus represented a strategic threat to Han Chinese rule, not just mere internal dissent.

The persecution experienced by the Uighurs has not been unlike that experienced by Tibetan nationalists, and many Uighur separatists have been imprisoned or have fled into exile. Some non-violent separatists have undertaken political action for their cause from the United States, Europe, Turkey and Central Asia. Many militant Uighur separatists have also migrated to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they have found refuge, training and support from groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Indeed, militant Uighurs have had a long history of collaboration with the international jihadist movement. For example, shortly after Hasan Mahsum founded the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in 1997, he moved it to Kabul, where he enjoyed the protection of the Taliban, and came into contact with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Mahsum was killed by the Pakistani military during a raid on an al Qaeda facility in South Waziristan in 2003.

Mahsum was not the only high-profile Uighur militant to have contact with al Qaeda and other jihadist groups. Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, the leader of the Turkistan Islamic Party, was also a member of al Qaeda's executive leadership council and was designated as an international terrorist by the U.S. government and the United Nations. Haq was killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan in February 2010. Another leader, Abdul Shakoor al-Turkistani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in August 2012 along with three of his deputies. Shakoor was also closely aligned with al Qaeda, and reportedly commanded al Qaeda's forces in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The alignment of the Turkistan Islamic Party and figures such as Mahsum, Haq, Shakoor and the party's current emir, Abdullah Mansour, with the global jihadist movement has been reflected in their Arabic-language magazine "Islamic Turkistan" and in videos released via the organization's media arm, Islam Awazi. In the video claiming responsibility for the April 30 attack in Urumqi, Mansour began speaking in Arabic before switching to Uighur. The video feels similar to those released by al Qaeda, with similar religious content.


With the Pakistani military currently conducting a military offensive in North Waziristan, it is quite possible that many of the transnational militants sheltered there will be forced to flee. Some of these foreign fighters could move across the border into Afghanistan, as the U.S. military presence there has been significantly reduced and may be eliminated entirely, though many in the region are concerned that these fighters will return home to wage a wider regional jihad once the Americans leave Afghanistan.

We are looking into whether the recent attacks in China resulted from a flow of militants returning to Xinjiang from places like Pakistan or whether they have somehow been coordinated by planners in Pakistan. The tactics involved in the recent attacks were not all that complex and would not require any sort of external planning if there were groups of local militants who had been radicalized and decided to conduct such attacks.

As noted above, the Uighurs have long conducted simple attacks inside China. In fact, many of their attacks resemble the types regularly featured in the Open Source Jihad section of al Qaeda's Inspire Magazine. For example, last week's attack in Urumqi using off-road vehicles and small explosive devices was similar to the tactics outlined in the Open Source Jihad sections of the first two editions of Inspire. However, due to the constraints of operating in an environment as hostile as China, the Uighurs were using these types of attacks well before Inspire Magazine was founded in 2010. For example, in August 2008, two Uighur militants in Kashgar drove a dump truck into a formation of police who were running on the road. The militants then reportedly stormed the police barracks, throwing two explosive devices and attacking officers with knives before being shot dead. That attack killed 16 police officers.

If isolated, simple attacks by Uighur militants will not pose a strategic threat to the Chinese government and its control over Xinjiang. Indeed, there has been a long history of isolated attacks involving Uighurs. However, if the recent attacks were coordinated and the beginning of an orchestrated campaign with a higher operational tempo than we've seen in the past, they could pose a much more acute threat by sowing fear in the population and eroding confidence in the government's ability to ensure stability. From time to time, Uighur militants have attempted to launch sustained campaigns, but crackdowns by the Chinese authorities have been able to end them.

A professional terrorist cadre returning to Xinjiang from Pakistan could perhaps make a bit of an impact if it conducted attacks itself, but its numbers would soon be exhausted -- especially if it was involved in suicide attacks. The Pakistani government estimates there are only around 400 Uighur militants in Pakistan's badlands. However, the same number of militants could up the ante considerably if they were able to establish bases (or even small cells) in Xinjiang for recruiting and training locals for additional terror attacks, thus multiplying their manpower and passing on knowledge and skills obtained in Pakistan and elsewhere. It will thus be important to watch reports from the region carefully to determine if the militants involved in recent attacks were local grassroots-type operatives, more professional operatives who had returned from Pakistan, or locals trained by professionals.

Of course, establishing cells to conduct sustained operations inside China will prove to be a challenge due to the Chinese government's intelligence and law enforcement operations. The terrain and security operations have also made it difficult for Uighur cadres in Pakistan to communicate with personnel in Xinjiang or to smuggle weapons into the region. The Chinese take this threat very seriously, as seen by their recently launched operation to round up hundreds of suspected militants.

The reports from the region that Chinese police seized 1.8 tons of explosives during the takedown in Hotan are likely very troubling for Beijing. There have been previous attacks in Hotan by militant Uighurs. For example, in July 2011, a group of 18 Uighur militants armed with knives and small improvised explosive devices seized a police station in the city after killing two security officers. The standoff ended when police stormed the building, but two of the eight hostages taken by the militants were killed. Fourteen attackers were killed in the assault, and four others were arrested. But such past attacks would be dwarfed by an attack using a very large truck bomb or several car bombs with nearly two tons of explosives, especially if the militants planned to use the devices against crowds.

China is not used to dealing with attacks of that magnitude, and as seen by large attacks elsewhere, very few countries are prepared for them. One of the ways the Chinese government has limited the size of Uighur attacks has been through its policy of aggressively targeting potential terrorist subjects. According to human rights groups, the Chinese are sometimes a little too aggressive, often arresting innocent people. As seen in places like Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, draconian crackdowns have limits, especially when underlying grievances are ignored. Such approaches can even create more radicals rather than defuse the situation, which is why countries such as Saudi Arabia have launched de-radicalization programs to help reintegrate militants back into society. As China launches this new counterterrorism program, it will be very important to see if it creates more problems than it solves.

There are many unanswered questions regarding this subject, and it will be difficult to forecast the trajectory of Uighur militancy in China until some of them are answered. Given the limits placed on media reporting from China, especially from Xinjiang, combined with the Chinese government's efforts to obfuscate this issue and label all Uighur separatists as terrorists, the picture will remain murky. Unfortunately, this means that we will likely have to wait until there are additional attacks to begin to look for clues that will help us answer some of these questions and help our readers and clients in China better understand what the implications of Uighur militancy are for them.

Assessing Recent Militant Attacks in China is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Officer Down

Special Deputy Marshal Frank McKnight
United States Marshals Service
End of Watch: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Age: 69
Tour: 38 years
Incident Date: 5/28/2014
Special Deputy Marshal Frank McKnight succumbed to injuries sustained the previous day when he was struck by a transit bus outside of the U.S. District Courthouse in Providence, Rhode Island.

He was on duty and using a crosswalk between the courthouse and the John O. Pastore Building when the bus attempted a left turn and struck him. He was transported Rhode Island Hospital where succumbed to his injuries.

Deputy Marshal was a Rhode Island National Guard veteran and had served with the United States Marshals Service as a court security officer for 13 years. He had previously retired from the North Kingstown Police Department as a lieutenant with 25 years of service.
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. 

This woman really needs her head out of her ass.....

I have a good friend and she's a vegan. Like pilots and Mac users, you know they are because they will tell you within 30 seconds of meeting you. And I have no issue with that. You want to only eat veggies, cool, that's more charred animal flesh for me.

But I also know babies need animal milk for initial growth. At some point later you can wean the child off of meat based protean (like mother's milk) but not before the kids out of diapers. And no matter what, if the child needs emergency medical treatment (and dehydration counts), get them to the doctor and worry about his diet later.

Just read:
Casselberry mom refused to take child to hospital over vegan beliefs

A Casselberry mother was arrested on allegations of refusing to take her newborn, diagnosed by a doctor as dehydrated, to a hospital because of her staunch vegan stance.

Sarah Anne Markham was arrested Tuesday on a charge of child neglect.

According to Casselberry police, a pediatrician told Markham that her baby needed to be admitted to Florida Hospital South for treatment because the child was dehydrated and was losing weight.

Markham, however, went home and would not answer when officers knocked at her door.

Police used a locksmith to enter the apartment and interviewed Markham, who said she wanted to get a second opinion about her child, according to a police report.

Police said Markham told them that she wanted to pursue a religious-based treatment and did not believe that her baby was dehydrated because the child was having bowel movements.

Markham said she had contacted a "natural" or "vegan" doctor but was unable to provide any information about him, other than a name.

Markham said she did not give the formula/medicine that the doctor provided because she did not agree with the ingredients, which she said came from animals, the police report stated.

Markham said she purchased organic soy formula, and when asked if she confirmed with a doctor if it was safe for a newborn, she said that if Whole Foods Market sells it then the formula doesn't contain any animal parts and, therefore, must be safe, according to police...
Ms Markham, you want to harm yourself, fine.  Remember, you have a kid to take care of.  

Officer Down

Trooper Christopher Skinner
New York State Police
End of Watch: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Age: 42
Tour: 13 years
Badge # 4682

Trooper Christopher Skinner was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on I-81 in Broome County.

He was conducting a traffic stop just north of Exit 6, between Chenango Bridge and Castle Creek, when he was intentionally struck by a vehicle that crossed two lanes of traffic.

The subject who struck him continued driving up the interstate until stopping and running into the woods. He was apprehended approximately one hour later following a search of the area.

Trooper Skinner had served with the New York State Police for 13 years and was assigned to the Traffic Incident Management. He was survived by three children, mother, brother, and fiance.
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.