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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Paranoia or alertness

I have been a long time supporter of concealed carry permits and the fact their issuance in over half the states in the Union has not led to massive carnage, liberals still don't like them. I found this column from a women who appears disturbed someone in line at a book store has a pistol, if not well concealed, not obvious. Some of her comments are interesting.
Why your gun makes me nervous

Lynda Waddington, Exact Change

There’s a mantra quickly repeating in my head: “Please have a badge. Please have a badge. Please have a badge.” It’s a steady heartbeat as I begin a conversation with a shop clerk and reposition myself so I can peer over her shoulder.

I’ve already seen the bulge in his jacket, and it’s clear from the size and shape that he has a holstered gun. Now my eyes are quickly scanning, hoping to find a law enforcement badge clipped to his belt.

Ms Waddington, as a rule if the weapon is concealed, so is the badge. If someone saw a badge without a pistol, they may get the impression we have a cop unarmed. That may lead to errors in judgement. We go on.
I’m in a local bookstore and there’s a sticker near the door asking patrons not to carry weapons on the premises. My two children scurried off the moment we entered, each in search of their own treasures.

And from what I read of Iowa concealed carry law, a book store is not a restricted location, such as a bar or courthouse. Remember, the sign says "asks", not "it is unlawful".
The man with the weapon is as interested with the bookstore patrons as he is with the books on display. I’ve watched him watch others. The way he tracks them is unnerving.

I do not know this man, have no knowledge of his profession, personality or character. I am unaware of his mental state, of why he feels the need to carry a weapon into a bookstore. Frankly, I’m not that interested in his reasons right now. My mind is too busy filtering through the various scenarios that could be taking place. They flick before me like movie trailers, and I watch, casting some aside and mentally marking others for further consideration.

There’s no badge — at least not one I can see. And my inspection of him has not gone unnoticed. I rotate my handbag so that more of it rests toward the front of my body and gently pat it. It’s a tell by women who are packing heat in their purse. Many do it without thinking, a subtle check of hard steel through the leather. My touch is greeted by the bristles on my hairbrush, but no one else knows that.

The man recognizes the gesture, his eyes briefly flicking to my own before he moves past us in the aisle.

I still don’t know him, and the movie trailers increase. He could be the stalker, searching for his mark. He could be contemplating a robbery, or seeking someone to abduct. He could be an off-duty police officer, or even one that is undercover. He could be paranoid, thinking the world is out to get him or knowing someone truly is. He could be a fugitive, a drug dealer, a rapist or the owner of a sporting goods store. He could be a million things.

Thanking the clerk, I walk toward the YA section and my children. We won’t be spending money in this store today. We will be leaving as quickly as I can get them through the door, away from the man.

OK, you have an armed man, got it. And you have no idea what he is, got it. But something you may have and not notice. You may have another person in the store armed and not wanting to be identified for rather bad reasons. You could have a felon, robber, fugitive, gang member in the store, casing it or preparing to rob it. You don't know. A discussion point of a few cops on POLICEONE.COM a few years centered on where you would never go unarmed. A man made the point, "The last place I would go not carrying was a church because that is the place most feel safest and where they are least likely to be armed. I need to be prepared if the wolves comes growing."

BTY, he may be a cop with his B&C (Badge and credentials, aka ID) in his wallet. Just something to add to your rambling list of possibilities.
Although he is unknown to me, I do know Iowa’s lackluster gun laws and that they offer no assurances. While law enforcement officers have been trained with their weapons, civilians handed licenses to carry weapons in Iowa need not have ever touched, much less fired a weapon.

Mandated classes do not teach those who carry to use, nor do they assess accuracy or respect.

I do not know the last time the weapon in the man’s holster was maintained, and state law provides no assurances he knows how to maintain it.

As we leave, I am angered by lawmakers and gun advocates who preach blind trust in the same breath as they extol the dangers of society as their reason for needing to carry a weapon in a bookstore.

Well, I've seen trained law enforcement handle weapons before, and sometimes it not so reassuring! :<) Again Ms. Waddington, see my point of what you have. You are assuming the worse on the man and the best on the situation. I've been a cop for 17 years and yes, when I go to a restaurant or bar off duty (or on for that matter) I generally sit with a wall to my back and a view of the entrance. I generally don't know who is the bad guy just by sight but I need to be ready. You are to be commented for your awareness of you surroundings. The fact is it's not as safe as it used to be and for that reason some law abiding people feel they should be armed. And I hate to share this with you, the criminals are already armed. They don't care about the law, that's why they are called criminals. It's a felony in Texas if a felon is in possession of a firearm. Guess what, they still carry guns. That's why they are called criminals, they don't obey the laws, like the ones saying you can't rob, rape or murder. And I know they are hostile and they don't care about you or me. So yes, I have no issue with the non-criminal element of Iowa, or Texas, having a concealed weapon if they feel they need to. Maybe you should spend some time at a concealed carry class, get some training on firearms and you will see the people in the class or just like you. You wouldn't like to be a Carl Rowan now would you?

While I was reading this post, I saw a link to another by a guest columnist, the owner of an outfitters. And a CHL holder.

I carry a gun every day

Ernie Traugh, guest columnist

Every day I get up and put on a gun. It’s part of my daily routine. No different from making coffee or feeding the dogs before I leave for work.

There is so much misinformation about who that makes me. I’m a “gun nut.” I’m one of “those right-wing Second Amendment people.” I’m the scourge of the earth to some.

Funny how that works.

They don’t even know me but they are worried that I’m what’s wrong with this country, this state and this city I call home. I walk among them and they don’t even know it. I’m the guy in the jeans and Under Armour shirt, the guy in the $200 sport coat and $125 shoes, the guy in Nike pants and a hoodie, and some days I’m the guy with dirty hands from working in the yard, but most of all I’m the guy they never see.

Oh, they acknowledge me sometimes. When I hold the door for them because my parents raised me that way. When I let them go ahead of me in line at the gas station because they seem to be in a hurry. When I pick up their baby’s pacifier in the aisle at the grocery store and hand it back to them because it fell out and they didn’t notice. But they don’t see me. I’m just another guy in the store with things in my hand. But only my left hand. I don’t carry things in my right hand. Not at the store. Not in public.

Good point on keeping your weapon hand free Mr. Traugh.
Why? Because I’m “that guy.” I know that bad things happen. Every day. Everywhere. So I try to be aware. I try to study my surroundings. I expect to not see it coming every time. I expect that evil may show up while I’m shopping or walking through the mall or eating at a restaurant. It doesn’t make me crazy. It doesn’t make me paranoid. It simply makes me aware. Unlike a lot of people that walk by me every day. Looking at their phones, their notes, their purses, or any of the other distractions that plague us. I get it.

I also get that there are wolves. Hungry. Lean. Skilled at their trade. Studying you. Studying me. They like you. They don’t like me. I see them at the mall. I see them at the gas station. I see them right here in this town. Do they know I’m armed? No, they don’t. They know that I’m aware. I look at them. Kill them with kindness. It’s a like a mutual agreement. I see you; you see me. Let’s not kid each other.

It’s weird in a way. The man and his friend in the store that looked all around and even glanced at the camera above us — those guys see me. I’m aware that the door is over there. I’m aware that the coffee pot is within reach and full. He urges me to go first to the counter. “Oh no, you go please. I have all day,” I reply. Now he has to make a purchase. Now he knows I’m polite …. I’m polite and I do not want them behind me in line...

You can finish Mr. Traugh's column at the link and it's a good review of why people have to more aware of their surroundings these days and yes, there are more bad guys out there. So they choose, in accordance with the law, to be armed. And guy what, the crooks are too. so it's only there to make sure you can be prepared in case of the worse situation possible.

I'm glad this went over better than this:

Officer Down

Detective John Scott Stevens
Ocean County New Jersey Prosecutor's Office
End of Watch: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Age: 44
Tour: 20 years
Badge # 3514
Incident Date: 1/8/2015

Detective John Stevens succumbed to injuries sustained two weeks earlier in a single vehicle on Dover Road in Lacey Township.

He was working on an undercover assignment and was driving an undercover vehicle when it crossed the center and struck a tree. He was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he remained until passing away on January 21st.

Detective Stevens had served with the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office for 15 years and had previously served with the New Jersey State Attorney's Office for five years. He is survived by his wife and 10-year-old son.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blow blows his own horn

I've read the columns of Mr. Charles Blow from time to time and with exception, he is convinced the entire country is nothing but a massive action to suppress black people. Now I did find this article eye-catching because he claims outrage when his son was detained by Yale Police at gunpoint during the search for a burglary or robber on campus. I saw "burglary or robbery" because I've read articles listing both crimes.

Library Visit, Then Held at Gunpoint

Charles Blow: At Yale, the Police Detained My Son

Saturday evening, I got a call that no parent wants to get. It was my son calling from college — he’s a third-year student at Yale. He had been accosted by a campus police officer, at gunpoint!

This is how my son remembers it:

He left for the library around 5:45 p.m. to check the status of a book he had requested. The book hadn’t arrived yet, but since he was there he put in a request for some multimedia equipment for a project he was working on.

Then he left to walk back to his dorm room. He says he saw an officer “jogging” toward the entrance of another building across the grounds from the building he’d just left.

Then this:

“I did not pay him any mind, and continued to walk back towards my room. I looked behind me, and noticed that the police officer was following me. He spoke into his shoulder-mounted radio and said, ‘I got him.’

“I faced forward again, presuming that the officer was not talking to me. I then heard him say, ‘Hey, turn around!’ — which I did.

“The officer raised his gun at me, and told me to get on the ground.

“At this point, I stopped looking directly at the officer, and looked down towards the pavement. I dropped to my knees first, with my hands raised, then laid down on my stomach.

“The officer asked me what my name was. I gave him my name.

“The officer asked me what school I went to. I told him Yale University.

“At this point, the officer told me to get up.”

The officer gave his name, then asked my son to “give him a call the next day.”

My son continued:

“I got up slowly, and continued to walk back to my room. I was scared. My legs were shaking slightly. After a few more paces, the officer said, ‘Hey, my man. Can you step off to the side?’ I did.”

The officer asked him to turn around so he could see the back of his jacket. He asked his name again, then, finally, asked to see my son’s ID. My son produced his school ID from his wallet.

The officer asked more questions, and my son answered. All the while the officer was relaying this information to someone over his radio.

My son heard someone on the radio say back to the officer “something to the effect of: ‘Keep him there until we get this sorted out.’ ” The officer told my son that an incident report would be filed, and then he walked away.

A female officer approached. My son recalled, “I told her that an officer had just stopped me and pointed his gun at me, and that I wanted to know what this was all about.” She explained students had called about a burglary suspect who fit my son’s description.

That suspect was apparently later arrested in the area.

When I spoke to my son, he was shaken up. I, however, was fuming.

Now, don’t get me wrong: If indeed my son matched the description of a suspect, I would have had no problem with him being questioned appropriately. School is his community, his home away from home, and he would have appreciated reasonable efforts to keep it safe. The stop is not the problem; the method of the stop is the problem.

Why was a gun drawn first? Why was he not immediately told why he was being detained? Why not ask for ID first?
Ok Mr. Blow, hate to tell you this, but it's not safe out there, with things like that campus rape epidemic going on. What seems to not be in dispute is your son matched the description of a felony suspect. Now what we don't know is your son's size vs the officer's. If your son is a linebacker, 6-4, 260 and the female officer is 5-4, 120 soaking wet is there a size/strength difference? Yes, in case you haven't figured it out. Now, the officer is taking a possibly felon into custody by herself, she has questions to ask. Is this him? Is he armed? Can he take get a swing on me before I can react? Very serious questions. If you want to know why, I'll show you an example of what an unarmed man can do to an armed police officer.

Oh, BTY, that example of the 260 lb male vs the 120 lb female is from my academy days. The DA teaching us use of force make the point the female officer has a legit higher lever of fear for her safety, and possibly life, by the size difference alone.

What if my son had panicked under the stress, having never had a gun pointed at him before, and made what the officer considered a “suspicious” movement? Had I come close to losing him? Triggers cannot be unpulled. Bullets cannot be called back.

My son was unarmed, possessed no plunder, obeyed all instructions, answered all questions, did not attempt to flee or resist in any way.

And he did what the cop told him to, his identity was confirmed, he was released.

...The dean of Yale College and the campus police chief have apologized and promised an internal investigation, and I appreciate that. But the scars cannot be unmade. My son will always carry the memory of the day he left his college library and an officer trained a gun on him.

And if they had let he actual suspect go Mr. Blow, who later assaulted, robbed or murdered your son would you be so understanding?

I love reading the comments section on articles like this because the stupidity and ignorance is astounding. The charge of "racial profiling" is all over the pages. Question, how is it "racial profiling" when the suspect was identified as a young black male? It's stupidity and hypersensitive like this that lead to wanted posters without a full description. Right now the Sheriff of Harris County Texas (basically Houston) is sending out wanted notices on robbers. They have a full description of the cloths (e.g. white t-shirt, blue jeans down to the hips), his getaway vehicle (blue Ford pickup), his approximate age (18-24 YOA) and his sex. What's missing is all that? Come on, you can tell me, can't you? Oh yes, the color of his skin?

A typical morinic comment:

Reform police training now before more innocent blood is shed.

Police in the U.S., campus or municipal, have powers they have not had in earlier generations: weapons are more powerful and varied and the public less concerned with police rules and civil liberties. Judges and governing officials too often permit police and citizens more leeway in firing and carrying weapons. Safety can be ensured without victimizing innocents...

Gee doc, what news powers do I have? Actually in previous generations I could shoot a warning shot, I didn't have to have fear for my "life or serious bodily injury" before using a firearm, I didn't have the fear in the back of my head I could loose my job, liberty and wealth to a street punk.

The most logical comment I saw (there were one 1100 so I can't see them all) was this:

...Charles's reaction of outrage as a dad is perfectly understandable. But readers are given way too little information to conclude that this was a racially characterized incident; or even that the campus cop WASN'T justified in drawing down on someone who matched the burglar's description.

But Charles suggests racism, and to do that legitimately he needs to defend the suggestion with facts.

Excuse me sir, but with all respect, Mr. Blow is a member of the racial industry. He makes his living complaining about any possible racist slight. You are very correct, an investigation should determine if the officer legitimacy used her weapon. From what I've read, yes, she did . But your last sentence is very correct. We need facts and the facts in evidence do not support what Mr. Blow is implying and stating. But that never got in his way before.


Seems more information is coming out and it's not fitting the race baiting template:

From an email the Yale President sent out:

The Yale Police Department’s response to a crime in progress on Saturday evening has generated substantial and critical conversations on campus and beyond. A Yale police officer detained an African American Yale College student who was in the vicinity of a reported crime, and who closely matched the physical description – including items of clothing – of the suspect. The actual suspect was found and arrested a short distance away. 
Many in our community felt personal pain upon reading accounts of this incident on social media and in the press as they saw national debates about race, policing, and the use of force become a very local and personal story. We share these feelings and recognize that the interest in and reaction to this incident underscore that the work of making our campus and our society more inclusive, just, and safe remains an imperative for all of us. 
Let us be clear: we have great faith in the Yale Police Department and admire the professionalism that its officers display on a daily basis to keep our campus safe. What happened on Cross Campus on Saturday is not a replay of what happened in Ferguson; Staten Island; Cleveland; or so many other places in our time and over time in the United States. The officer, who himself is African American, was responding to a specific description relayed by individuals who had reported a crime in progress

Strange Mr. Blow, why didn't you mention that the officer who stopped your son was black?  I'm assuming your son told you that in his frantic phone call.  I mean, leftist like you like to say a black person cannot be a racist beause "they don't have the power of a white person" or some other crap.  So again Mr. Blow, was this stereotyping?  And to you, and all the morons on the comment section who went off half cocked screaming racism, you will now apologize to the officer whom you have just defamed?

I think I know the answer to both questions.  But the facts won't stop Mr. Blow from sending out other "not fully accurate" writings in the future.  Hopefully it will make the flying off the handle commenters think before they speak.

Security Weekly: Jihadism in 2014: The Grassroots Threat, January 22, 2015

By Scott Stewart

When I was planning this series I had originally intended to cover jihadist franchise groups before grassroots jihadists, but the events of the past few weeks have compelled me to change the order and discuss grassroots jihadism first.

As noted in the second installment of last year's Gauging the Jihadist Movement series that dealt with terrorist theory, jihadist ideologues such as Abu Musab al-Suri have publicly endorsed the leaderless resistance model since 2004. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula repeated those calls in 2009, and the al Qaeda core followed suit in 2010. Most recently, the Islamic State made the call in 2014. While these high-profile groups have drawn attention to the threat of lone wolf terrorism, the reality is the grassroots jihadist threat that springs from the leaderless resistance operational model goes back much further.

I personally first encountered grassroots jihadism in December 1990, when the district attorney for Manhattan approached a colleague of mine in the Diplomatic Security Service's New York Field Office seeking assistance in his investigation of the Nov. 5, 1990, assassination of Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane. An Egyptian-born American citizen named El Sayyid Nosair killed Kahane, but the FBI declared that the assassination was not terrorism because he acted alone. Therefore, it would not assist the Manhattan district attorney and the New York Police Department with the international aspects of the case. My office was asked to step in to assist, and we investigated many leads in Egypt and throughout the region. Immediately, the Nosair case illustrated the complex nature of grassroots jihadists and the web of relationships they can have.

The FBI would eventually open an investigation into the odd assortment of characters who formed a network to support Nosair's defense efforts. Many of them were tied to the al-Khifa Refugee Center — also known as the Brooklyn Jihad Office.

The Spectrum

While the grassroots jihadist threat is not by any means new, recent events in the United States, France and other parts of Europe highlight the varying types of grassroots jihadists and the different threats they pose based on training and connections to professional terrorist cadres. The spectrum of grassroots jihadists ranges from rank amateurs to trained operatives who work independent of a core or franchise jihadist group.

A good example of an unskilled amateur is Christopher Cornell, who was arrested by the FBI on Jan. 14 in Cincinnati. Cornell was a self-radicalized Muslim with a history of problems who had no training in terrorist tradecraft or even in small-arms and small-unit tactics. While reaching out for contacts within the jihadist realm, Cornell unknowingly established contact with an FBI informant who was able to monitor his intent and efforts toward launching an attack against the U.S. Capitol.

While people frequently poke fun at individuals such as Cornell and liken them to the awkward television character Kramer from the television show Seinfeld, it must be recognized that when they become connected with genuine terrorist trainers or facilitators instead of government informants, they can pose far more danger than they would have on their own. A prime example of this is Richard Reid, who attempted to destroy a Miami-bound American Airlines flight over the Atlantic Ocean with a shoe bomb in December 2001. Many dismissed Reid as a bumbling amateur, but when provided with a professionally manufactured shoe bomb and instructions on how to bypass airport security, he came very close to destroying the aircraft and killing all 197 people aboard.

Another example of amateurs becoming extremely dangerous when directed by professionals is the case of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. A highly trained al Qaeda operational leader, Abdel Basit (also known as Ramzi Yousef), was able to take a ragtag band of amateurs associated with the Nosair case and work with them to construct and detonate a 1,200-pound truck bomb in the parking garage beneath the North Tower. Indeed, Basit made a career of working with grassroots jihadists in places as diverse as the United States, the Philippines and Pakistan. He was only captured after one of the grassroots jihadists he was training refused to become a suicide bomber and shared his location with Diplomatic Security Service special agents, who then worked with Pakistani authorities to capture him in Islamabad.

There are various degrees of coordination, capability and threat presented by jihadists. In some cases, individuals have contact with a jihadist group that helps in their radicalization process, but they receive little or no operational assistance. A good example of this is Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, who corresponded with Anwar al-Awlaki via email, but received no training from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Sometimes, amateurs can have limited or no contact with professional terrorist operatives but receive the training they need via the Internet. The Tsarnaev brothers learned to make the pressure cooker bombs they used in the Boston Marathon attack using instructions from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine.

The next step on the continuum is when a grassroots jihadist receives some training from a jihadist group, then returns home to conduct a self-motivated and self-planned attack. The 2009 Little Rock shooting, the Jan. 7 attack in Paris against Charlie Hebdo and the 2009 Najibullah Zazi case are all examples.

While more training often makes an operative more dangerous, this does not exclusively determine the threat level an individual poses. Personal capability and access to soft targets are also important factors. For example, Little Rock shooter Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad attended a training camp run by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen and received small-arms training there, but he only killed one soldier in his attack. Conversely, Maj. Nidal Hasan, who had received no jihadist training, succeeded in killing 13 and wounding 30 in an attack that became the most deadly on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Other plans where jihadist groups in Pakistan trained grassroots jihadists to carry out attacks in the West have also seen mixed results. For example, while Mohamed Sidique Khan and his confederates were able to kill 52 victims in their July 7, 2005, bombings in London, Faisal Shahzad was not able to build a viable improvised explosive device and instead left a large, conspicuous dud at Times Square in May 2010.


Al Qaeda has a history of sending operational commanders to organize and mentor grassroots jihadists in conducting major attacks. They used this model for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings and several other plots. However, counterterrorism measures taken following the 9/11 attacks have made this operational model more difficult to implement, and we have not seen such an attack in several years. Instead, jihadist organizations are increasingly turning to the leaderless resistance model because even using fighters returning from training or combat in the Middle East to carry out attacks has become more difficult.

Since the Islamic State called for jihadists to adopt the leaderless resistance model in September 2014, we have seen an uptick in grassroots activity. A month ago, it appeared as if this would be a short-lived trend, but the events of the past two weeks have shown that the trend is continuing. Interestingly, the Charlie Hebdo attackers were acting out of solidarity with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula while their co-conspirator, Amedy Coulibaly, pledged allegiance to the rival Islamic State. This case not only illustrates the increased frequency of grassroots attacks, but also the complexity of the web of contacts and influences that can motivate them.

Countries are trying to block travel to places such as Syria where grassroots jihadists can receive training and combat experience, but as our grassroots spectrum shows, this will not totally alleviate the problem. Rather, it will only help to limit the small-arms and terrorist tradecraft training provided to grassroots jihadists. If these individuals are not permitted to travel, they may just strike in their home countries ahead of schedule. Such was the case on Sept. 23, when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed a soldier at the Canadian War memorial in Ottawa and stormed the Canadian Parliament building after being denied a passport to travel to Syria — presumably to fight with the Islamic State.


As designed, the leaderless resistance model employed by grassroots jihadists poses problems for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Most counterterrorism intelligence efforts have been designed to identify and track people with travel, communication or financial links to known terrorist groups. Such methods have proven effective. Still, one of the many difficulties in identifying grassroots jihadists is that such links may not exist, and the relationship between grassroots operatives and terrorist groups may be ambiguous — and government agencies simply do not fare well in dealing with ambiguous things.

Beyond the lack of links or solid links, another significant problem for security agencies lies in the sheer volume of potential grassroots actors. There are simply too many actors for the authorities to effectively monitor all the time. Monitoring a single individual's actions and communications full time requires an incredible amount of resources, especially if translation is required. When monitoring hundreds or even thousands of individuals, the problem is magnified significantly.

Because of resource constraints, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are forced to conduct quick assessments and prioritize their surveillance efforts. This often means focusing on grassroots operatives who have contact with a terrorist entity and ignoring those who do not because of the severity in the potential threat they pose on the threat spectrum. This prioritization of scarce resources often allows other grassroots operatives assessed as posing a lesser threat to conduct their operational planning without police surveillance detection. Of course, even jihadists who pose a lesser threat can still kill people. Moreover, if they do launch a successful attack, security forces are inevitably criticized for failing to monitor the specific person(s) in the sea of potential attackers.

Furthermore, security agencies can only monitor the suspects they know about. Other people can fly beneath the radar until they strike. It is impossible to identify them all before they attack, and it is impossible to protect every potential target. Despite the best efforts of the security forces, some attacks will eventually slip through and succeed.

As long as jihadists urge radicalized followers to adopt their ideology and conduct attacks using the principles of the leaderless resistance model, grassroots jihadists will continue to pose a broad threat that is difficult to counter. As a result, these kinds of attacks will remain a part of modern life. However, this threat will also continue to be less severe than the one posed by highly trained professional terrorist operatives, meaning that while it is chronic, it is not acute.


Monday, January 26, 2015

The White Horse vs The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

While channel surfing YouTube I found this interviw with Clint Eastwood, comparing his characters to John Wayne's. How Wayne was a bit black and white while Clint had more than 50 Shades of Gray! :<) Less than two minutes but worth a quick view.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I have a real bad feeling about this woman......

President B Hussein Obama nominated Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder at his Just-Us Department last last year. I would have been shocked if President Pookie would nominate anyone other than a radical leftist and I was not disappointed. Now Bloomberg media has a review of this woman and I have no doubt she will be confirmed, she is that bad. Perfect to succeed the crook Eric Holder.

From the article, I found this interesting.

...In her June 1992 speech at the South Carolina church, she forcefully criticized the nation for the way it addressed poverty and the first Gulf War.

Helping Children

“A society that takes away hundreds of thousands of jobs, and then blames people for not working, is morally lost,” she said. “A society that drops everything to save Kuwait, but barely lifts a finger to help the 13 million American children living in poverty in this country is sending the moral message that those children are not important, that they don’t matter. And if our society tells people that they don’t matter, how can we expect people to act like anything matters?”...

"Barely lifts a finger" to help 13 million children, that is rich. We have spent trillions of dollars in anti-poverty programs, the Great Society, Medicaid, etc since 1964. The cost of the Gulf War, according to the Congressional Research Service, was around 291 billion. This is a fraction of the money just from the federal treasury. This is no way includes church groups, personal initiates, local and state programs. What planet is this woman from?

Then there is this from the same article:
"Though she was the second black U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Lynch saw her ascension as historic in a 2000 speech: “I took office last summer, and as I did I am sure that a long line of dead white men rolled over in their graves. But at the same time, I am sure that just a stone’s throw away from here, in the African burial ground, a long line of people for whom the law was an instrument of oppression, sat up and smiled.

Mentioning black people smiling at her accent to the US attorney's office is one thing, but she seems to have a chip on her shoulder about this country's founding. Damned, she will fit right in with B Hussein Obama and Eric Holder.

I would hope the Senate would stop her nomination but Holder has already said he's going nowhere until she is confirmed. So what radical do we get now? No matter which, they are anti-police, race baiters. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will both have a direct line to her office. I just hope the next president had enough in him to purge the DoJ of the Holder and Obama leftovers.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The most important 50th anniversary of 2015!

I thought it was my 50th birthday last Saturday, but I was very wrong.

I knew it was 1965, but I didn't remember the exact month or date. The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA, Defender of the Realm, past from us on this day 50 years ago.

Here are some of the greatest speeches he is remembered for, this was their finest hour!

or Never was so much owed by so many to so few...

or possibly his most famous, Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat!

RIP Sir Winston. A good cigar and scotch will commemorate you today. I know you sending out memo's in heaven to the Powers That Be explaining how to handle their operations!

Thank you Dr Jacobson for the notice at Legal Insurrection.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Geopolitical Weekly: The European Union, Nationalism and the Crisis of Europe, January 20, 2015

By George Friedman

Last week, I wrote about the crisis of Islamic radicalism and the problem of European nationalism. This week's events give me the opportunity to address the question of European nationalism again, this time from the standpoint of the European Union and the European Central Bank, using a term that only an economist could invent: "quantitative easing."

European media has been flooded for the past week with leaks about the European Central Bank's forthcoming plan to stimulate the faltering European economy by implementing quantitative easing. First carried by Der Spiegel and then picked up by other media, the story has not been denied by anyone at the bank nor any senior European official. We can therefore call this an official leak, because it lets everyone know what is coming before an official announcement is made later in the week.

The plan is an attempt to spur economic activity in Europe by increasing the amount of money available. It calls for governments to increase their borrowing for various projects designed to increase growth and decrease unemployment. Rather than selling the bonds on the open market, a move that would trigger a rise in interest rates, the bonds are sold to the central banks of eurozone member states, which have the ability to print new money. The money is then sent to the treasury. With more money flowing through the system, recessions driven by a lack of capital are relieved. This is why the measure is called quantitative easing.

The United States did this in 2008. In addition to government debt, the Federal Reserve also bought corporate debt. The hyperinflation that some had feared would result from the move never materialized, and the U.S. economy hit a 5 percent growth rate in the third quarter of last year. The Europeans chose not to pursue this route, and as a result, the European economy is, at best, languishing. Now the Europeans will begin such a program — several years after the Americans did — in the hopes of moving things forward again.

The European strategy is vitally different, however. The Federal Reserve printed the money and bought the cash. The European Central Bank will also print the money, but each eurozone country's individual national bank will do the purchasing, and each will be allowed only to buy the debt of its own government. The reason for this decision reveals much about Europe's real crisis, which is not so much economic (although it is certainly economic) as it is political and social — and ultimately cultural and moral.

The recent leaks have made it clear the European Central Bank is implementing quantitative easing in this way because many eurozone governments are unable to pay their sovereign debt. European countries do not want to cover each other's shortfalls, either directly or by exposing the central bank to losses, a move that would make all members liable. In particular, Berlin does not want to be in a position where a series of defaults could cripple Europe as a whole and therefore cripple Germany. This is why the country has resisted quantitative easing, even in the face of depressions in Southern Europe, recessions elsewhere and contractions in demand for German products that have driven German economic growth downward. Berlin preferred those outcomes to the risk of becoming liable for the defaults of other countries.

The major negotiation over this shift took place between European Central Bank head Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Draghi realized that if quantitative easing was not done, Europe's economy could crumble. While Merkel is responsible for the fate of Germany, not Europe, she also needs a viable free trade zone in Europe because Germany exports more than 50 percent of its gross domestic product. The country cannot stand to lose free access to Europe's markets because of plunging demand, but it will not underwrite Europe's debt. The two leaders compromised by agreeing to have the central bank print the money and give it to the national banks on a formula that has yet to be determined — and then it is every man for himself.

The European Central Bank is providing the mechanism for stimulating Europe's economy, while the eurozone member states will assume the responsibility for stimulating it — and living with the consequences of failure. It is as if the Federal Reserve were to print money and give some to each state so that New York could buy its own debt and not become exposed to California's casual ways. The strangeness of the plan rests in the strangeness of the European experiment. California and New York share a common fate as part of the United States. While Germany and Greece are both part of the European Union, they do not and will not share a common fate. If they do not share a common fate, then what exactly is the purpose of the European Union? It was never supposed to be about "the pursuit of happiness," but instead about "peace and prosperity." The promise is the not right to pursue, but the right to have. That is a huge difference.

The anthem of the European Union is from Beethoven's 9th Symphony, which contains these lines from the German poet Friedrich Schiller:

Joy, beautiful sparkle of the gods,

Daughter of Elysium,

We enter, fire-drunk,

Heavenly one, your shrine.

Your magic binds again

What custom has strictly parted.

All men become brothers

Where your tender wing lingers.
I wrote in my new book, Flashpoint: The Coming Crisis in Europe, that Europe is about:

"…the joy of joining men into a single brotherhood, overcoming the divisions of mere custom. Then there would be joy. Brotherhood means shared fate. If all that binds you is peace and prosperity, then that must never depart. If some become poor and others rich, if some go to war and others don't, then where is the shared fate?"

A Crisis of Brotherhood

Europe's crisis is not ultimately an economic one. Everyone — families and nations — has economic problems. The crisis is not war, which tragically is as common as poverty. Europe's problem is that it promised a joy beyond custom, a joy yielding brotherhood and abolishing war, and a promise based on prosperity, which is a promise so vast it is beyond anyone's hope to make perpetual. Neither perpetual peace nor perpetual prosperity can be guaranteed, therefore the joy that would overcome custom and bind men in brotherhood is a base of sand.

In the European Central Bank's compromise with Germany, we can see not only the base of sand dissolving but also the brotherhood of Europe falling apart. At the heart of this promise is the idea that Germany will not share the fate of Greece, nor France the fate of Italy. In the end, these are different nations. Their customs can be overcome by the joy uniting them in brotherhood, but absent that joy, absent peace and prosperity, there is nothing binding them together.

The test of the American Republic came when the idea that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights was juxtaposed with the brutishness of slavery. Prior to the revolution, these United States were divided into sovereignties so profound that many states saw themselves as individual nations not bound by the promises of the Declaration of Independence. They believed themselves free to withdraw from the federation if displeased by others' moral interpretations of the Declaration. What ensued was the Civil War, which was fought, as Abraham Lincoln put it, to test whether a nation so constituted could long endure.

That is precisely the question of the European Union. Can an entity, founded on nations of wildly different customs, expectations and economies long endure and share a common fate? In the dry technicalities of quantitative easing, Europe has defined its limits of brotherhood. One of those limits is prosperity. Each nation determines how it will plot its own course, its money distributed by the European Central Bank, but under the rules of the individual states and without any nation being compelled to share the fate of another. The euro is a common currency that has no one's picture on the front because the histories of eurozone countries are so divided that there are no common heroes. The United States knows that Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant and Franklin are our common heritage. There is no such commonality in Europe, and, therefore, no transcendence of the customs of nations.

The strategy proposed for quantitative easing is a great compromise, and it may solve the economic problem. But at its first test, hardly on the order of slavery and the American Civil War, Europe has failed a more profound test: brotherhood, which is men bound together by a joy-transcending culture.

Some will say that I am making too much over a useful political compromise — that the basic institutions of Europe remain, and we therefore have a useful solution to the problem. I think this argument misses the deeper point. Europe never expected to face this crisis because it thought peace and prosperity would endure. It has not because it could not. Quantitative easing is not merely the desire to avoid responsibility for prosperity. There is no unity in Europe over the fears of Romania or Russia about Ukraine. There is no real unity over how to face terrorism in the name of Islam. There is simply no unity.

If Europe can parse the common search for prosperity in this way and calmly consider the secession of one of the brotherhood, Greece, over malfeasance far from terrible on the order of human things, then what is to keep any of the Europe's institutions intact? If you can secede or be expelled from the eurozone, and if you might choose to close your border to Slovaks seeking jobs in Denmark, then perhaps you can choose to close your borders to German products. And if that is possible, then what is the fate of Germany, which relies on its ability to sell its goods anywhere in Europe? After all, it is not only the poor and weak in Europe whose fates are at risk.

In the end, Europe becomes not so much a moral project as it does a convenience, a treaty, which is something a country can leave at will if it is in its interest to do so. When the South seceded from the United States, Northern men were prepared to die to preserve the Union. Is there anyone who would give his life to preserve the European Union, block secession and demand a permanent, shared fate?

I predicted that a decisive moment would arrive in Europe, but the speed at which it did surprised me. I expect that its institutions will survive a while, and I expect that most people will think I am overreacting. That's possible, but I don't think so. Regardless of the technical and political purpose behind the decision to implement quantitative easing, and however defensible it is on its own grounds, the moral lesson is that Europe ultimately is a continent, not an idea.

Last week, the question was why Europe found it so difficult to assimilate immigrants and why it resorted to multiculturalism. The answer was that the customs of the nation-state made it impossible to imagine someone born outside the customs of the nation-state to truly become part of its brotherhood. This week, the question is why the European Central Bank cannot distribute the money it prints but will give it to national banks to manage. The answer is that no country wants to be responsible for the debts of anyone else in Europe. That is not a foolish position, but it makes a union impossible, certainly not one that can overcome custom.

In Flashpoints, I wrote the following:

"We are now living through Europe's test. As all human institutions do, the European Union is going through a time of intense problems, mostly economic for the moment. The European Union was founded for "peace and prosperity." If prosperity disappears, or disappears in some nations, what happens to peace?...That is what this book is about. It is partly about the sense of European exceptionalism, the idea that they have solved the problems of peace and prosperity that the rest of the world has not."

But if Europe is not exceptional and is in trouble, what comes next? The history of Europe should give us no comfort.

The European Union, Nationalism and the Crisis of Europe is republished with permission of Stratfor.

K9 Down

K9 Sultan
Riverside County California Sheriff's Department
End of Watch: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Breed: Belgian Malinois-German Shepherd mix
Origin: Slovakia
Age: 2
Gender: M
Incident Date: 1/21/2015 
K9 Sultan was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend an armed felon in the area of San Jacinto Street and Mayberry Avenue in Hemet.

Sultan had tracked the man underneath a house where he was shot. His handler immediately transported him to an animal hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The subject was shot and killed later in the night after he emerged from a house holding a gun.

K9 Sultan was a narcotics and tracking canine. He had served with the San Jacinto Police Department, which contracts police service from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, for two years.
Rest in Peace Sultan…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

Police Technology: Inside house RADAR

An interesting article from USA Pravda, err Today, on new technology for cops.

New police radars can 'see' inside homes

WASHINGTON — At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person's house without first obtaining a search warrant...
Do police agencies normally announce publicly how they will arrest someone? Sending out public information on police actions to prevent crime (e.g. announcing a zero tolerance weekend on DWIs or traffic enforcement) is one thing, but normally cops don't tell the gangs we will monitor your computer transmissions.
...The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

The RANGE-R handheld radar is used by dozens of U.S. law enforcement agencies to help detect movement inside buildings...

Sounds like an enhanced stud finders.
Current and former federal officials say the information is critical for keeping officers safe if they need to storm buildings or rescue hostages. But privacy advocates and judges have nonetheless expressed concern about the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies may be using the radars — and the fact that they have so far done so without public scrutiny....

...Agents' use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that "the government's warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions."

By then, however, the technology was hardly new. Federal contract records show the Marshals Service began buying the radars in 2012, and has so far spent at least $180,000 on them.

Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said officials are reviewing the court's decision. He said the Marshals Service "routinely pursues and arrests violent offenders based on pre-established probable cause in arrest warrants" for serious crimes.

The device the Marshals Service and others are using, known as the Range-R, looks like a sophisticated stud-finder. Its display shows whether it has detected movement on the other side of a wall and, if so, how far away it is — but it does not show a picture of what's happening inside. The Range-R's maker, L-3 Communications, estimates it has sold about 200 devices to 50 law enforcement agencies at a cost of about $6,000 each.

Other radar devices have far more advanced capabilities, including three-dimensional displays of where people are located inside a building, according to marketing materials from their manufacturers. One is capable of being mounted on a drone. And the Justice Department has funded research to develop systems that can map the interiors of buildings and locate the people within them.

The radars were first designed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. They represent the latest example of battlefield technology finding its way home to civilian policing and bringing complex legal questions with it.

So it's not like it's been a top secret program. Funny, I don't remember USA Today getting that upset when it was discovered the Department of Education has a SWAT team. If anyone can show me, I stand to be corrected.
Those concerns are especially thorny when it comes to technology that lets the police determine what's happening inside someone's home. The Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that the Constitution generally bars police from scanning the outside of a house with a thermal camera unless they have a warrant, and specifically noted that the rule would apply to radar-based systems that were then being developed.

In 2013, the court limited police's ability to have a drug dog sniff the outside of homes. The core of the Fourth Amendment, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, is "the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion."

Still, the radars appear to have drawn little scrutiny from state or federal courts. The federal appeals court's decision published last month was apparently the first by an appellate court to reference the technology or its implications.
Well, hate to tell you but they would not draw much scrutiny from the courts unless someone broth them to the attention of the courts.
This may shock you but the courts don't go out and rule without a case being brought to them, with exceptions (e.g. the Florida Supreme Court sticking its nose into the 2000 presidential election)...

Now legitimately there are issues of privacy and the question of guidelines being established. It is up to the executive agencies and legislative branches to set guidelines for the use of this device before a court "makes law". But pointed commentary not withstanding, this is a great review of a new technology available for police.

Officer Down

Deputy Chief Steven Bonano
New York City Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, January 17, 2015
Age: 53
Tour: 30 years
Incident Date: 9/11/2001

Deputy Chief Steven Bonano died from blood cancer he contracted after inhaling toxic materials as he participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.

Chief Bonano, who was assigned as the commander of the Emergency Service Unit at the time of the attack, responded to the World Trade Center following the attack and worked at the scene for several months.

Chief Bonano served with the New York City Police Department for 30 years and had previously served with the United States Navy. During his time with the New York City Police Department, Chief Bonano was awarded the Police Combat Cross, the department's second highest medal, earned his pilot's license and a Master's degree from Harvard University.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed two of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. After the impact of the first plane, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.

As the evacuation continued, the first tower unexpectedly collapsed due as a result of the intense fire caused by the impact. The second tower collapsed a short time later. 71 law enforcement officers, 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and over 2,800 civilians were killed at the World Trade Center site.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Security Weekly: Mexico's Drug War: A New Way to Think About Mexican Organized Crime, January 15, 2015

Editor's Note: This week's Security Weekly is a condensed version of our annual Mexico drug cartel report, in which we assess the most significant developments of 2014 and provide a forecast for 2015. The report is a product of the coverage we maintain through our Mexico Security Memo, quarterly updates and other analyses that we produce throughout the year as part of the Mexico Security Monitor service.

By Tristan Reed
Mexico Security Analyst

Since the emergence of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s as one of the country's largest drug trafficking organizations, Mexican organized crime has continued to expand its reach up and down the global supply chains of illicit drugs. Under the Guadalajara cartel and its contemporaries, such as the Gulf cartel, led by Juan Garcia Abrego, a relatively small number of crime bosses controlled Mexico's terrestrial illicit supply chains. Crime bosses such as Miguel Angel "El Padrino" Felix Gallardo, the leader of the Guadalajara cartel, oversaw the bulk of the trafficking operations necessary to push drugs into the United States and received large portions of the revenue generated. By the same token, this facilitated law enforcement's ability to disrupt entire supply chains with a single arrest. Such highly centralized structures ultimately proved unsustainable under consistent and aggressive law enforcement pressure. Thus, as Mexican organized crime has expanded its control over greater shares of the global drug trade, it has simultaneously become more decentralized, as exemplified by an increasing number of organizational splits.

Indeed, the arrest of Felix Gallardo in 1989 and of colleagues such as Rafael Caro Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo a few years prior led to the breakdown of the Guadalajara cartel by 1990. Thanks to geographic factors, however, Mexican organized crime was destined to increasingly dominate the global illicit drug trade, soon even eclipsing the role Colombian drug traffickers played in supplying cocaine to the huge and highly lucrative retail markets in the United States. As international law enforcement effectively dismantled the powerful Colombian cartels and stymied their maritime trafficking routes through the Caribbean in the 1980s and 1990s, Mexican crime groups became the cornerstone for any trafficking organization wishing to profit from the high U.S. demand for illicit drugs. Given that the United State's only land border to the south is shared with Mexico, Central and South American organizations had no choice but to cooperate with Mexican crime groups if they wished to transport drugs northward over land and across the nearly 3,200-kilometer (2,000-mile) U.S. border, an area with a centurieslong history of smuggling.

The remnants of the Guadalajara cartel took advantage of the regional geography to expand their own smuggling operations, leading to the creation of seemingly new criminal organizations such as the Juarez cartel (led by the Carrillo Fuentes family), the Tijuana cartel (led by the Arellano Felix family) and what would eventually become known popularly as the Sinaloa Federation (led by a number of traffickers, most famously Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera). Operating as autonomous crime syndicates, the fragments of the Guadalajara cartel expanded their respective supply chains and overall share of the illicit drug markets in the United States and overseas. But the continued Balkanization of Mexican organized crime that began with the collapse of the Guadalajara cartel would accompany the collective expansion of Mexican crime groups up and down the illicit drug supply chains across the globe.

By 2010, the criminal landscape in Mexico differed greatly from that in 1989. Numerous crime groups, some with small but critical niches, controlled drug trafficking operations in Mexico. Even so, a few cohesive crime groups still dominated the Mexican drug trade, particularly the Juarez cartel, the Tijuana cartel, the Gulf cartel and the Sinaloa Federation. Each group sought to expand its share over the drug trade, hoping to achieve the pre-eminence of their collective predecessor, leading to violent turf wars. Each group, however, faced internal divisions, leading to further Balkanization in parallel to the turf wars.

2010 marked a rapid acceleration in crime group decentralization, with each of the four dominant groups suffering a series of internal splits. This phenomenon also afflicted their eventual successors, giving rise to the present exceptionally complex map of crime groups. As Stratfor highlighted in its April 2013 cartel quarterly update, the trend of Balkanization will not likely end even if specific crime groups such as Los Zetas momentarily defy it by continuing to expand. Now in 2015, this trend has created an organized criminal landscape where it is no longer sufficient to monitor Mexican organized crime by focusing on individual groups. Instead, one must focus on the regional umbrellas that lead the vast majority of Mexican crime groups. We have therefore had to change the way we think and write about Mexican organized criminal networks, a change made visible in the radical alterations we have made to our popular cartel map.

The Regions

In 2014, as has been the norm each year since 2010, Mexican organized crime underwent substantial devolution because of continued turf wars and pressure by law enforcement and the Mexican military. The regional challenges and leadership losses the Sinaloa Federation experienced in 2013 continued, particularly with the arrest of top leader Guzman Loera. Along with leadership losses, the lower-tier structures of the Sinaloa Federation — such as the subgroups operating in Chihuahua, Sonora and Baja California states — exercised increasing autonomy from the cartel's remaining top-tier crime bosses. Meanwhile, at the beginning of 2014, the remaining Gulf cartel factions in Tamaulipas state devolved further into numerous gangs. Some cooperated in the same cities, while others waged particularly violent campaigns against one another. In Michoacan state, the Knights Templar were all but dismantled, with Servando "La Tuta" Gomez Martinez the sole remaining founding leader. Numerous crime groups, all based in the same Tierra Caliente region of southwestern Mexico from which the Knights Templar (and the La Familia Michoacana organization it once fell under) emerged, filled the void that opened in Michoacan as a result of the rapid decline of the Knights Templar.

Though continued Balkanization of Mexican organized crime creates an increasingly confusing map, three geographic centers of gravity of cartel activity exist at present: Tamaulipas state, Sinaloa state and the Tierra Caliente region.

With the Mexican organized crime landscape continuing to suffer new fractures, it is marked now by newly independent groups headed by leaders who previously had participated in the same criminal operations as their new rivals. Many of these new crime bosses were born and raised in the same communities — in many cases even sharing family ties — and thus leveraged similar geographic advantages in their rise in power.

The Guadalajara cartel exemplifies this trend. Despite its name, which it received because its leaders had hideouts in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco state, nearly all of its leaders hailed from Sinaloa state. The cartel also relied on the geography of Sinaloa state to expand its illicit profits, which largely came from the concentration of marijuana and opium poppy cultivation in the Sierra Madre Occidental and from coastal routes for drug trafficking. The city of Guadalajara provided cartel leaders a large cosmopolitan area in which to hide while they rapidly expanded their international operations. When the cartel split, successors such as the Tijuana and Juarez cartels were in fact managed by criminal leaders originating from Sinaloa who continued to leverage some aspect of the state's geography, if they were not in fact still tied to communities there.

Until the early 2000s, Sinaloa-based organized crime dominated the vast majority of organized crime activities in Mexico, particularly drug trafficking routes. Only the Tamaulipas-based Gulf cartel remained as a major independent group, using drug trafficking routes along Mexico's east coast to push drugs into the United States through Nuevo Laredo, one of the most lucrative trafficking points in Mexico. Tamaulipas-based organized crime soon expanded its geographic reach, first via the Gulf cartel and then through Los Zetas, which split from the Gulf cartel in 2010. This trend led to a seemingly polarized criminal landscape by 2011, with organized crime in Mexico breaking down along a Sinaloa-Tamaulipas divide. By 2012, the Sinaloa- and Tamaulipas-based criminal camps each faced internal divisions, with individual groups in each region beginning to form alliances with groups in the other. Nonetheless, the behavior and evolution of each group was still driven by geography more than any form of ties to groups in the opposing region.

Thus, when Los Zetas split from the Gulf cartel in 2010, despite becoming known as a new or independent crime group, the collective operations and trends of Tamaulipas-based organized crime did not change: The same players were in place managing the same criminal activities. Similarly, the ongoing expansion of Tamaulipas-based organized crime — countering the spread of Sinaloa-based organized crime — did not stop, but instead it continued under Los Zetas' banner. It should be noted that the Gulf cartel, which had been immediately weakened relative to Los Zetas, did in fact ally with the Sinaloa Federation. But even so, with Los Zetas the most powerful Tamaulipas-based crime group, the Sinaloa Federation continued facing immense competition for territory from the east.

Within a given regional criminal camp, alliances and rivalries can form overnight with immediate effects, while crime bosses can quickly switch sides without necessarily causing a shift in operations. For instance, the now-detained Tamaulipas-based crime boss, Ivan "El Taliban" Velazquez, first emerged within the Gulf cartel as a member of Los Zetas, then still a Gulf subgroup. When Los Zetas broke away, Velazquez sided with it. In 2012, however, Velazquez and his faction went to war with then-Los Zetas top leader Miguel "Z-40" Trevino Morales, allied with some Gulf cartel factions and publicly rebranded his network as a part of the Gulf cartel. In Cancun, Quintana Roo state, where the Velazquez network oversaw local criminal activities, Los Zetas members overnight became Gulf cartel members without any preceding conflict.

In 2012, the main Sinaloa- and Tamaulipas-based crime groups suffered from ongoing internal fights and leadership losses at the hands of government troops. After the Velazquez network split from Los Zetas, Mexican marines killed top Zetas leader Heriberto "El Lazca" Lazcano Lazcano during an operation. Meanwhile, the Sinaloa Federation faced growing challenges in its own northwest dominion from other Sinaloa-based groups such as Los Mazatlecos and a resurgent La Linea, and certain regional crime groups outside Sinaloa state that supported the Sinaloa Federation began fighting one another, including Los Cabrera and Los Dannys in Torreon, Coahuila state. The struggles in both regional crime camps in 2012 permitted the emergence of a third dominant regional camp based in Tierra Caliente, home to groups such as the Knights Templar, the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, La Familia Michoacana and Guerreros Unidos.

Tierra Caliente, which means "hot lands," is a rural lowland area surrounded by mountainous terrain that was initially heavily valued by drug traffickers for marijuana cultivation, though for several years now it has produced primarily methamphetamines and heroin. The value of the region for organized crime increased along with the growth of the port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan, making the state a key bridge between Mexico's coast and the interior — and a key port for smuggling narcotics and chemical precursors used in regional drug production.

Most groups in Tierra Caliente originated in the 1990s, when regional organized crime was but an extension of criminal groups based in Sinaloa and Tamaulipas states. In the early 2000s, Sinaloa- and Tamaulipas-based groups, most notably the Sinaloa Federation and the Gulf cartel, began a series of nationwide turf wars that included bids for control over the Tierra Caliente region. Two prominent groups emerged from the wreckage: the Milenio cartel, which operated under Sinaloa Federation crime boss Ignacio "El Nacho" Coronel Villarreal, and La Familia Michoacana, which was supported by the Los Zetas branch of the Gulf cartel. (La Familia Michoacana first referred to itself as La Empresa.) The conflict between these groups reverberated throughout the Tierra Caliente region, ushering in other turf wars that continue today.

But the relative weakening of Sinaloa and Tamaulipas organized crime in 2012 enabled Tierra Caliente-based groups to expand — both domestically and internationally — independently as they exploited the substantial geographic advantages of the Tierra Caliente for their criminal operations. Though numerous turf wars between regional groups continued after 2012, as a whole, Tierra Caliente-based organized crime expanded geographically thanks to the efforts of groups such as the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion and the Knights Templar. Turf wars that emerged or escalated within Tierra Caliente in 2012, most notably the Knights Templar against the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion and Guerreros Unidos against Los Rojos, have become some of the most violent disputes in Mexico, either directly or indirectly causing the Mexican government's greatest security concerns in 2015.

2015 Forecast

The Mexican government had notable success targeting the top leadership of various criminal groups in 2014. Several senior bosses from each of the principal regional organized crime camps in Mexico were captured or killed during targeted operations involving federal troops. These successes accelerated the Balkanization of each camp while greatly shifting the balance of power among individual crime groups. The results of the government's efforts in 2014 will lead to a reorganization of each regional camp in 2015, as well as maintaining, if not accelerating, the tempo of the decentralization of organized crime in Mexico. It is likely that Balkanization will lead to new regional camps in 2015 as crime groups in geographic areas formerly controlled by outside crime bosses become entirely independent, focusing on and leveraging their own respective areas.

It should be noted that while each regional camp may experience substantial fragmentation in 2015 and lose control over criminal activities in specific geographic areas — such as the production of illicit drugs, extortion, fuel theft and kidnapping — this will not equate to an overall decline in international drug trafficking. In fact, each regional camp in Mexico will likely continue to expand its respective international drug supply chains to overseas markets such as Europe and Asia, as well as control of operations in South America.

Organized Crime in Sinaloa State

Sinaloa-based organized crime bore the brunt of targeted government operations in 2014, with the February capture of top Sinaloa Federation leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera in Mazatlan, Sinaloa state, being the highest-profile incident. Each of the major Sinaloa crime groups suffered losses among its senior leadership. On June 23, authorities captured one of the top leaders of the Tijuana cartel, Luis Fernando Arellano Sanchez, in Tijuana. On Oct. 1, the Mexican army captured Hector Beltran Leyva, the leader of the Beltran Leyva Organization, at a restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato state. On Oct. 9, federal troops captured the top leader of the Juarez cartel, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, in Torreon, Coahuila state.

In addition to these arrests, numerous lieutenants for these leaders and for other high-ranking Sinaloa crime bosses fell at the hands of authorities as well. Interestingly, none of the stated arrests altered the broader trends surrounding each group or triggered internal rifts that would likely have led to substantial escalations in violence, though organizational challenges such as those experienced by the Sinaloa Federation since 2012 were likely magnified. This dynamic suggests that the continued decentralization of each group had lessened the criticality of each major crime boss within his respective organization.

Barring unexpected leadership losses or internal splits within the Tierra Caliente- or Tamaulipas-based crime groups, Sinaloa-based organized crime will likely experience the most fragmentation in 2015. Over the past two years, the Sinaloa Federation has seen its subgroups act increasingly independent from the top-tier leadership, leading to internal wars — independent of the top leadership — among subgroups in areas such as the Golden Triangle and the surrounding region, as well as the Baja California Peninsula. Similarly, the arrest of Carrillo Fuentes and his key lieutenants in 2014 could trigger leadership changes in 2015 where the remnants of his organization fall under the control of crime bosses based strictly in Chihuahua state. Such fragmentation would mean that new regional criminal camps, likely based in Sonora, Chihuahua or Baja California states, would emerge from the geographic areas currently controlled by the Sinaloa camp.

Tamaulipas Organized Crime

The Gulf cartel as it was prior to 2010 no longer exists. Instead, two crime groups — Los Zetas and the Velazquez network — now largely dominate Tamaulipas-based organized crime. The former is now the most widely operating cohesive crime group in Mexico. The crime groups calling themselves the Gulf cartel and operating in areas of Tamaulipas retained by the old Gulf cartel after the 2010 split with Los Zetas are (with the exception of the Velazquez network) in fact a collection of numerous independent groups, all of which operate more like powerful street gangs than the far-reaching transnational criminal organization that was their former parent organization.

Though the rapid expansion of Los Zetas slowed significantly in 2012 as a result of internal feuds, the growing independence of Tierra Caliente-based organized crime and government operations, the group has largely continued to defy the Balkanization experienced by every other crime group in Mexico. This has been largely thanks to a sudden shift in its overall expansion strategy that emerged at the end of 2012, when the cartel began relying more on alliances than violent seizures of territory. Crime groups from other regional camps, such as some of the Beltran Leyva Organization successor groups and the Juarez cartel (and its former enforcer arm, La Linea), have given Los Zetas access to the supply of illicit drugs and to drug trafficking routes in territories held by Sinaloa-based groups. Since the Gulf cartel gangs in Tamaulipas state likely rely on revenues gained from allowing drugs to be trafficked through their territory and are significantly less powerful than Los Zetas, it is likely that at least some of these groups are now cooperating with Los Zetas. Such cooperation could even include the gangs purchasing narcotics from Los Zetas.

Los Zetas' expansion will likely resume in Mexico in 2015, with the presence of Los Zetas operators and activities emerging in the western half of Mexico. Despite this expansion, Los Zetas will not be saved from the Balkanization trend, meaning another significant split could emerge in 2015 — though the exact timing is difficult, if not impossible, to forecast — with portions of Los Zetas competing with one another, either economically or militarily. Though organizational splits do not necessitate violent competition, Los Zetas' extensive network of alliances with other regionally based crime groups, as well as the immense territory directly under the cartel's control, increases the likelihood of any major split triggering violent turf wars. Where violence erupts depends entirely on where the organization splits internally.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Yes Europe, you need to be armed.

I have a good friend who is on London Metro Police Department and back around 2000, I took him shooting with my Sig 229. Did pretty well for a man who had not fired a weapon in over a decade. But we got on the subject of weapons with London PD and he told me their department has four armed response teams that can be anywhere in the city within ten minutes.

My answer, "Bill, that can be one long ass ten minutes."

We can see the issue with the Paris police officer who was murdered last week. He arrived on a bike armed with a baton and possibly a Tazer.

Now the powers that be are asking if the cops should be armed. One word, da!
Europe reconsiders police officers’ arms

PARIS — With the deaths of the three French officers during three days of terror in the Paris region and the suggestion of a plot in Belgium to kill police, European law enforcement agencies are rethinking how — and how many — police should be armed.

Scotland Yard said Sunday it was increasing the deployment of officers allowed to carry firearms in Britain, where many cling to the image of the unarmed “bobby.”

In Belgium, where officials say a terror network was plotting to attack police, officers are again permitted to take their service weapons home.

On Monday, French law enforcement officials demanding heavier weapons, protective gear and a bolstered intelligence apparatus met with top officials from the Interior Ministry. An official with the ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing talks, said automatic weapons and heavier bulletproof vests were on the table.

“We don’t want necessarily the arms that American police have. We need weapons that can respond,” said Philippe Capon of French police union UNSA.

Among those weapons, he added, are modernized criminal databases, because the current databases are out of date, and fire-walled between different law enforcement branches. “The databases are not interactive. They are not accessible to all. They are not up to date,” he said.

Unlike their British counterparts, French national police are armed, although their municipal counterparts tend to be weaponless.

But Michel Thooris of the France Police labor union said they are not permitted to have their service weapons while off duty, raising the possibility that they could be targeted when vulnerable or unable to help if they stumble across crime afterhours.

Because of increasing unease and last week’s anti-terror raids, police in Belgium are again allowed to carry weapons home rather than put their handguns and munition in specialized lockers.

“The conditions we have now are clearly exceptional,” said Fons Bastiaenssens, a police spokesman in Antwerp, where there are many potential targets.

In addition, firearms suddenly became far more visible, with some police carrying heavier weaponry as they guard sensitive buildings and police offices, and paratroopers in the streets of the major cities.

In Britain, the overall threat level is “severe” — meaning intelligence and police officials have evidence that a terrorist attack is highly likely.

The threat to police officers themselves is judged to be very high after the Paris attacks as well as the recent disruption of a reported Islamist extremist plot to attack individual police officers in west London.

In response, the Metropolitan Police said Sunday it is bolstering the deployment of specialist firearms officers who are authorized to carry weapons.

Hate to say it London and Paris, times have changed. Your gun control laws, as usual, disarm only the law abiding citizens. So your cops have to be ready to defend the public, themselves and defeat the new threat.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Officer Down

Corrections Officer V Eligio Garcia
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas
End of Watch: Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Age: 45
Tour: 22 years, 11 months
Incident Date: 1/14/2015

Corrections Officer V Christopher Davis
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
End of Watch: Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Age: 53
Tour: 17 years, 1 month

Corrections Officer Eligio Garcia and Corrections Officer Christopher Davis were killed in a prison bus crash on I-20 near Penwell, Texas, at approximately 7:30 am.

The bus was transporting 10 inmates from a transfer facility in Abilene to the Rogelio Sanchez State Jail in El Paso. The vehicle struck a patch of ice on an overpass, causing it to slide off the highway and down an embankment. The bus then struck a passing train and was dragged along the tracks, breaking apart.

Officer Garcia and Officer Davis, along with eight inmates, suffered fatal injuries at the scene. One other officer and four other inmates were transported to hospitals in critical condition.

Officer Garcia had served with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for just under 23 years.

Officer Davis had served with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for 17 years.
Rest in Peace Gentlemen…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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