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Thursday, March 31, 2016

K9 Down

K9 Barney
Tacoma Police Department, Washington
End of Watch: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Age: 11
Gender: M
Tour: 9 years
Incident Date: 3/24/2015

K9 Barney died after inadvertently ingesting methamphetamine conducting a narcotics search as part of a search warrant at a storage unit in Puyallup.

Barney located unwrapped, powdered methamphetamine and ingested it after putting his nose on the substance. He was rushed to an emergency vet hospital where he remained until passing away the following night.

Three subjects were arrested and charged in connection with the narcotics trafficking case, which resulted in a seizure of 44 pounds of methamphetamine from the storage unit.

K9 Barney had served with the Tacoma Police Department for nine years.
Rest in Peace Barney …till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!

In Memory of all Police Dogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Quealy

Security Weekly: Awareness Can Short-Circuit a Bomb Attack, March 31. 2016

By Scott Stewart

Bombs used in the March 22 attacks in Brussels displayed a degree of tradecraft not before shown by the Islamic State outside its core areas of operation. The bombings at the Zaventem airport and at a metro station in Brussels killed 35 and wounded more than 300, making them the deadliest jihadist bombing attack in the West in more than a decade.

The Brussels attacks broke the recent trend of moving toward armed assaults from bombings. The Brussels cell was able to conduct such a large bombing operation because one of its key members, identified by Belgian authorities as Najim Laachraoui, possessed advanced bombmaking tradecraft acquired from Islamic State trainers while he was in Syria. Laachraoui is also thought to have constructed the bombs used in the November 2015 Paris attacks.

Strangely, Laachraoui has been identified as one of the suicide bombers who attacked the airport in Brussels. It is rare for an organization's bombmaker to participate in a suicide attack — they are simply too valuable to waste — but it appears as if Laachraoui, under heavy police pressure, chose to go out intentionally rather than to risk being captured like his fellow conspirator, Saleh Abdesalam, who was arrested March 18. No matter Laachraoui's motive, it is good news that a well-trained bombmaker is out of the picture. However, the threat of jihadist bomb attacks against targets in Europe and elsewhere in the West did not die with Laachraoui, and authorities and citizens alike are left to wonder: How many other trained Islamic State bombmakers remain at large?

I've recently seen a reputable company write that if a terrorist plot gets to the bombmaking stage, it is too late to avert an attack. However, I strongly disagree with this claim. Even in the weapons acquisition or bombmaking stage of the terrorist attack cycle, terrorist operatives remain vulnerable, and plots can be thwarted if bombmaking activity is noticed and reported to authorities.

Indeed, unusual activity was noticed in the Brussels case, according to a March 26 story in The New York Times. The story noted that an overpowering chemical odor coming from Laachraoui's sixth floor apartment made the building's owner gag — and odd happenings at the apartment prompted another neighbor to call the police, but those reports were not investigated. The taxi driver who drove three of the attackers to the airport also noticed that his passengers acted strangely and refused to let him touch their suitcases, which reeked strongly of chemicals, but he did not take action until after the attacks.

These were all indications that very well could have resulted in the attacks being disrupted, but unfortunately, they did not. However, that does not mean that the next bombing cannot be thwarted by the telltale signs of bombmaking activity. Let's examine some of those indicators in more detail.

Beyond a Bleach Blonde

As al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine so famously stated, you can indeed "make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom." It truly is not difficult for a knowledgeable individual to mix up improvised explosives using a wide range of common household chemicals, including peroxide, acetone, chlorine and brake fluid.

It is important to recognize that when we say an explosive mixture or an explosive device is "improvised," that does not automatically mean the end product is going to be ineffective or amateurish. Like an improvised John Coltrane saxophone solo, some improvised explosive devices can be highly crafted, albeit deadly, works of art. That said, certain activities necessary to make bombs leave even proficient bombmakers open to detection by outside observers — and amateur bombmakers are even easier to spot if one knows what to look for.

To obscure bombmaking activity, explosive mixtures and device components are often manufactured in rented houses, apartments or hotel rooms. We have seen this in past cases, such as the December 1999 "millennium bomb" plot in which Ahmed Ressam and an accomplice set up a crude bombmaking factory in a hotel room in Vancouver, British Columbia. More recently, Najibullah Zazi was arrested in September 2009 and charged with attempting to manufacture the improvised explosive mixture triacetone triperoxide (TATP) in a Denver hotel room. In September 2010, a suspected lone assailant in Copenhagen accidentally detonated an explosive device he was constructing in a hotel.

Similar to clandestine methamphetamine labs, which are also frequently set up in rental properties or hotel rooms, makeshift bombmaking operations frequently use everyday volatile substances. Chemicals such as acetone, a common nail-polish remover, and peroxide, commonly used to bleach hair, can easily be found in stores. Fertilizers, the main component of the bombs used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center attack, are present in large volumes on farms or in farm-supply stores in rural communities. Hardware and paint stores sell acids and powdered metals.

However, the quantities of chemicals required to manufacture explosives far exceeds those required for most legitimate purposes. Because of this, hotel staff, landlords and neighbors can fairly easily notice signs that someone in their midst is operating a makeshift bombmaking laboratory. Obvious suspicions should be raised if, for example, a new tenant moves several bags of fertilizer into an apartment in the middle of a city, or if a person brings in gallons of acetone, peroxide or sulfuric or nitric acid. Furthermore, bombmakers use laboratory implements, such as beakers, scales, protective gloves and masks, not normally found in a hotel room or residence.

Additionally, although electronic devices like cellphones or wristwatches may not seem unusual in the context of a hotel room or apartment, signs that such devices have been disassembled or modified to have wires protruding should raise a red flag, as these altered devices are commonly used as initiators for improvised explosive devices.

Certain items that are less commonly used in household applications but that are frequently used in bombmaking include nitric or sulfuric acid; metal powders such as aluminum, magnesium and ferric oxide; and large quantities of sodium carbonate, commonly sold in 25-pound bags. Large containers of methyl alcohol, which can be used to stabilize nitroglycerine, are another indicator that a bombmaker may be present.

Fumes from chemical reactions are another sign of bombmaking activity. Depending on the size of the batch being concocted, the noxious fumes from an improvised explosive mixture can bleach walls and curtains and, as was the case for the July 2005 London attackers, even the bombmakers' hair. The fumes can even waft outside of the lab and be detected by neighbors, as they were in the Brussels case. Spatters from the mixing of ingredients such as nitric acid leave distinctive marks, which are another way for hotel staff or landlords to recognize that something is amiss. Additionally, rented properties used for bombmaking activity rarely look occupied. They frequently lack furniture and have makeshift window coverings instead of drapes. Properties where bomb laboratories are found also usually have no mail delivery, sit vacant for long periods and are occupied by people who come and go at odd hours and who are often seen carrying strange things — such as containers of chemicals or large quantities of ice, which is used to keep chemical reactions such as those used to synthesize TATP under control.

The components for the truck bomb used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were manufactured in a rented apartment in Jersey City. The process of cooking the nitroglycerine used in the booster charges and the urea nitrate used in the main explosive charge created strong chemical fumes that changed the wall paint color and corroded metal doorknobs and hinges. The bombmakers also spilled chemicals on the floor, the walls, their clothing and other places, leaving plenty of trace evidence for investigators to find after the attack.

More Clues to Spot Bombmakers

Given the caustic nature of the ingredients used to make homemade explosive mixtures and the volatile chemical reactions required to make things like nitroglycerin and TATP, creating the explosive can be one of the most dangerous aspects of planning a bombing attack. Indeed, Hamas militants refer to TATP as "the mother of Satan" because of its volatility and propensity to severely burn or kill bombmakers if they lose control of the chemical reaction required to synthesize it.

Because of this, it is important for medical personnel to pay attention to emergency room walk-ins with thermal or chemical burns who smell of chemicals and to report them to authorities in much the same way they do patients who appear to have been injured in meth lab accidents.

In January 1995, an apartment in Manila, Philippines, caught fire when the bombmaker in the 1993 World Trade Center attack, Abdel Basit (aka Ramzi Yousef), lost control of the reaction in a batch of TATP he was brewing for his planned attack against a number of U.S. airliners flying over the Pacific Ocean — an operation he had nicknamed Bojinka. Because of the fire, authorities were able to arrest two of Basit's co-conspirators and to unravel Bojinka and other plots against targets including Pope John Paul II and U.S. President Bill Clinton. Basit fled to Pakistan, where he was apprehended a short time later. This case serves to highlight the dangers presented by these labs to people in the vicinity — especially in a hotel or apartment building.

Another behavior that provides an opportunity to spot a bombmaker is testing. A professional bombmaker will try out improvised mixtures and components, like improvised blasting caps, to ensure that they are functioning properly and that the completed device will therefore be viable. Such testing may involve burning or detonating small quantities of the explosive mixture, or actually exploding the blasting cap or booster charge. The testing of small components may happen in a backyard, but the testing of larger quantities will often be done at a more remote place. In his diary, Norway bomber Anders Breivik noted how he had taken his bomb components to a remote location a good distance from the rented farmhouse where he built his bomb to test them. Therefore, any signs of explosions in remote places like parks and national forests should be immediately reported to authorities.

Obviously, not every container of nitric acid spotted or small explosion heard will be absolute confirmation of bombmaking activity, but reporting such incidents to the authorities will give them an opportunity to investigate. In an era when the threat of attack comes from increasingly diffuse sources, a good defense requires more eyes and ears than the authorities possess.
Awareness Can Short-Circuit a Bomb Attack COPYRIGHT: STRATFOR.COM

Geopolitical Weekly: The Tech Revolution Comes of Age, March 29, 2016

By Matthew Bey

Technological revolutions frame historical eras. Each cycle thrusts new sectors into prominence, turning companies into strategic assets for their governments to exploit. Whether it is European trading companies in the colonial era or international oil companies in the 20th century, technological revolutions give corporations such power and importance that they become inherently geopolitical.

The information technology revolution is no different. Computer software and hardware technologies have become indispensable to the modern economy, underpinning the economies of the developed world. The companies that operate in this space, such as Samsung, Apple, Google, Facebook and Baidu, are among the most powerful in the world today. At the same time, they often find themselves at the center of geopolitical disputes.

Though 30 years in the making, the IT revolution remains in its infancy. The balance of power between tech companies and governments has not yet been fully defined. Likewise, the extent to which countries such as China — countries where, by Western standards, state institutions work too closely with the business elite — will benefit from this revolution, and whether they will be able to wrest control of it away from entrenched Western powers, remains to be seen.

From Trading to Transportation

Over the past 500 years, two revolutions have defined the way the world's powers interact. The first was the development of deep-water navigation in the 15th and 16th centuries, which marked the start of five centuries of European global domination. European trading companies such as the Dutch East India Co. and British East India Co. soon became de facto arms of their governments, implementing foreign policy goals throughout their colonies and even administering them politically at times.

The second, the Industrial Revolution, was equally transformative, redefining the roles of global empires. Though many raw materials were needed to fuel this economic revolution, energy — for both electricity and transportation — became the most politicized and technologically difficult to access. The electric and transportation industries quickly gained political power, and by the early 1900s, oil became the fuel source of choice for transportation.

Oil companies, in turn, quickly became instruments for accomplishing their governments' geopolitical objectives. For example, for more than 60 years, the United Kingdom's Anglo-Persian Oil Co., which developed the Iranian petroleum industry, influenced British policy toward Tehran. Not only did the company profit London financially, but it also sold oil to the Royal Navy below market value and helped to reinforce Iran's alliance with the West in the first half of the Cold War. When Iran nationalized its petroleum industry in 1951, London even helped orchestrate a coup d'etat to regain control.

Today, the relationship between governments and oil companies is far more nuanced. In the wake of the Cold War, the West is more reluctant or less able politically to back revolutions and coups d'etat to protect its energy interests. Modern Western international oil companies, even those whose governments hold sizable stakes in them, are largely independent actors that lack the kind of monopoly on government sales that, for example, the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. had. International oil companies retain their political sway in negotiating with countries, however, thanks to their formidable financial and technological resources. Even now, Iran — despite its backlash against Western oil companies and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's anti-Western rhetoric — is salivating at the prospect of U.S. and European oil companies returning to invest.

The digital revolution, beginning in the second half of the 20th century, is now having similar effects on the global system. The Internet has redefined the modern economy, enabling the growth of software, global supply chains and modernized manufacturing processes. And the revolution is far from finished. Emerging technologies such as smart grids, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence and intelligent industrial robots are all poised to make a significant impact in the coming decades.

A New Transformation, a Different World

But this transformation is occurring in a world fundamentally different from that of previous revolutions. Worldwide, the United States sits at the heart of financial institutions, controls the oceans and undisputedly leads in technology development. At the same time, Europe's economy has been surpassed by China's and India's for the first time since the Industrial Revolution began. Not since before it perfected deep-water navigation has Europe lacked the wealth and the political control of Asia.

With the possible exception of Germany, Europe's former industrial powers have all been noticeably absent from the latest revolution. Meanwhile, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and the United States have been the main contributors to software and hardware development. For that reason, these countries' companies dominate the technology landscape: Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook are all U.S. companies, Samsung is South Korean, and Foxconn and TSMC are Taiwanese. China has seen tremendous growth in these areas as companies such as Baidu, Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei follow in the footsteps of their Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese counterparts.

As the tech revolution continues, the relationship between tech companies and their governments is still being defined. Although governments retain considerable control over regulation, companies' mastery of technology gives them a great deal of negotiating power. Figuring out how to regulate, control and monitor the Internet and eventually leverage the sector to fulfill its geopolitical imperatives now tops the list of nearly every country's objectives.

In the West, individual privacy has become a key issue that will remain indefinitely. People often balk at the thought that Google, Facebook and other companies maintain databases of information culled from their search histories, communications, purchases and GPS locations. But these companies rely on such information to develop and perfect their services, whether by customizing online advertisements and searches or updating real-time traffic information.

Of course, regulations on Internet privacy are ambiguous, as Google has now found out with French officials. In March, France slapped a fine on the U.S. company for failing to enforce the European Union's "right to be forgotten" policy on all Google searches, not just those in France. For the United States and Europe, striking a balance between security and privacy — digitally and otherwise — has been an ongoing struggle. Privacy Shield, the new trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement between the United States and the Europe Union, will ensure that U.S. companies do not need to store private information locally in Europe, at least for now. Should the agreement fail, however — for example, through renewed disputes between the United States and the European Union or further fragmentation within the Continental bloc — the issue of control over private information would resurface.

Beyond just the United States and Europe, other countries are moving to gain control over the tech sector, the Internet and the information flowing through both. Because most of China's tech sector depends on foreign technology, its efforts to regulate the tech sector and the Internet are limited. When it drafted its terrorism and cyber-security laws, Beijing pushed for a backdoor to circumvent encryption. Foreign companies, most notably Apple, opposed a backdoor solution, and China ultimately had to drop the issue.

It was for this reason that the world was so concerned about how Apple's fight with the FBI would turn out. Had the U.S. government forced Apple to unlock Syed Farook's cellphone, it would have set a precedent other countries could cite as they sought to implement their own backdoor measures. But now the FBI claims to have unlocked the phone without Apple's help. If that is true, countries such as China will probably have to revisit their backdoor policies until they lower their dependence on foreign tech companies.

Future Competition

Although today the tech world revolves around the United States, China has the most Internet users — more than the next two countries combined — and its overall economy will soon overtake that of the United States. Should China successfully close the gap between its companies and their foreign competitors, it will be the one country that could dethrone the United States as the pre-eminent global tech power.

Beijing will not attain this goal easily, if at all. Despite China's rising importance in the tech sector, even Chinese powerhouses such as Xiaomi primarily use foreign-engineered components. But in the tech world, as in almost every facet of the current global economic system, Beijing is trying to bring the dominance of Western institutions to an end. Thus, the continued prominence of the United States and its allies in the tech sector poses just as much of a hindrance to China's ambitions as the strength of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the U.S. dollar does in the global financial system.

Though China might one day overcome its technological dependence on other countries, the developing world is unlikely to supplant U.S. or other Asian tech companies for decades, if ever. Mass media and connectivity will continue to spread the cultures that dominate the tech sphere throughout the world, much in the way trading companies did. And as Chinese companies expand their presence in regional markets over time, China will seize the opportunity for virtual colonization as well.

Becoming Supranational

Giant tech conglomerates are now finding that tech innovation and computer science applications can revolutionize industries beyond their own. As a result, many of today's tech companies are integrating themselves in almost every emerging technology. For example, Google, which already has business operations spanning web services, advertising, entertainment, media, operating systems and imagery, is moving into the automotive sector via autonomous vehicles, the leading edge of artificial intelligence, robotics, defense and advanced computing techniques. The breadth of sectors in which Google, Baidu and Samsung are getting involved is perhaps more varied than those that trading companies used, especially since these sectors provide the foundation for future revolutions in manufacturing.

Moreover, the sheer amount of data that these companies possess — not to mention their ability to process the data — is unmatched by Moscow, Beijing or Washington. This enables them to use their data in innovative and unique ways, perhaps the most powerful of which are still unimaginable today. Even now Baidu claims to be developing software to help predict crowd problems. If effective, this would prove an invaluable tool to Beijing, which could use it to predict and prevent mass protests on the scale of those in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

But the IT revolution is now just 30 years in the making. Its impact on the world's economy may not yet be fully realized, and its most profound developments may be yet to come. To put the revolution into perspective, 30 years after Vasco da Gama first visited India, the world's most dominant trading companies, such as the British East India Co., were 70 years from even forming. Standard Oil was not formed until nearly a century after the Industrial Revolution began.

The world is just beginning to adjust to the newfound realities that the tech revolution has introduced. Consequently, countries are just beginning to adapt them to their overall geopolitical imperatives. For now, most states remain in reactive mode, trying to adjust their policies on the fly to accommodate changing realities. They will likely struggle to exert the same amount of control over the tech industry that they had over oil and trading companies. If advances in technology continue to outpace regulatory measures, the United States, China and Europe may find themselves on equal footing with regard to their control over the tech world. And as the balance of power between governments and corporations shifts, companies such as Google or Facebook could evolve into independent supranational actors with little state control and huge geopolitical power nonetheless.


Officer Down

Police Officer Anthony E. Lossiah
Cherokee Indian Police Department, Tribal Police
End of Watch: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Age: 38
Tour: 17 years
Incident Date: 8/11/2015

Police Officer Tony Lossiah succumbed to complications of an injury he suffered during a foot pursuit in Cherokee two months prior.

He was suffered a torn muscle in his hip during the pursuit. The injury resulted in internal bleeding and additional complications. He was taken to Mission Hospital, in Asheville, where he developed complications from the original injury.

Officer Lossiah had served with the Cherokee Indian Police Department for 17 years. He is survived by his wife and five children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A great video to show why shootings happen so fast....and you are happy to live through it.

After many officer involved shootings, we hear "Why didn't they shoot him in the leg..." or "Why didn't they shoot it out of his hands..." This video from Blue Lives Matter shows how quickly this happens. Watch this.

WATCH: The recently released body camera footage from a Officer involved shooting in Fresno, CA has raised concerns. This video edited by Seth Burrow, breaks down the time in which these officers had to make a decision, 1.566 seconds. When considering the totality of circumstances and the short amount of time they had to decide if there was a gun involved or not, this leaves us to ask....what would you do?
Posted by Blue Lives Matter on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Remember this next time the family member who was never there says "They didn't have to shoot!..."

K9 Down

K9 Fritzie
Bath Police Department, West Virginia
End of Watch: Thursday, March 12, 2015
Breed: Belgian Malinois
Age: 1
Gender: F

K9 Fritzie drowned as the result of a crash in which the patrol car she was riding in left the roadway and submerged in Sleepy Creek Channel at approximately 10:00 pm.

Fritzie's handler was returning to Berkeley Springs after assisting the Morgan County Sheriff's Office serve a felony warrant. The patrol car struck a patch of gravel in the travel lane, left the roadway, and entered the channel. Her handler was able to escape the cruiser before it became totally submerged in the water.

Despite repeated efforts by her handler and other responding personnel, K9 Fritzie drowned.

Fritzie had served with the Town of Bath Police Department for one year.
Rest in Peace Fritzie …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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Officer Down

Police Officer Gregory Thomas Alia
Forest Acres Police Department, South Carolina
End of Watch: Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Age: 32
Tour: 7 years
Badge # 161

Police Officer Greg Alia was shot and killed when he and two other officers responded to a suspicious person call at the Richland Mall shortly before 8:00 am.

The officers located the subject inside a van in the mall's parking lot. As they spoke to him the man became uncooperative and then fled on foot into the mall. During the ensuing struggle the subject produced a stolen .40 caliber handgun and fatally shot Officer Alia.

The man was apprehended a short time later and charged with murder.

Officer Alia had served with the Forest Acres Police Department for seven years. He is survived by his wife, 6-month-old son, and parents.

Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Monday, March 28, 2016

Finally a double feature for the wife and I

I've complained in many blog posts (and Facebook postings, and other ways) why I don't go to movies much anymore. First, because they suck. And the experience is just not worth it anymore. When the wife and I have to spend $32.00 for a matinee for two (tickets, two drinks and one popcorn) that's ridiculous. And we other choices (Amazon Prime, HuLu, etc) I can find some decent entertainment (Amazon has just completed season two of Bosch, highly recommended). But over the last two days, we've both had two great films.

Bridge of Spies is an account (forgive me I don't call it "the story of") of the exchange of Soviet agent Rudolf Abel for American pilot Gary Powers. The script was excellent, I won't go as far as saying Hanks should have gotten another Oscar but it was superb, and the Hollywood's "moral relativism" that seems to creep into any movie wasn't overbearing.

Well I returned Bridge of Spies this morning and unfortunately Beth had to drive to Galveston tonight, I got to watch Steve Jobs by myself. I've often posted on the Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson and how Jobs is a complicated and difficult man, without question a force of nature. And Michael Fassbender did a superb job of showing the multiple issues of his life, his complicated relationship with his daughter, his fights with the company he founded and fired him. I saw that knowing someone like Jobs, to do him real justice, would need a miniseries to give him full credit. That being said, watch this movie.

I say I generally go to the movies 2-3 times a year. Both of these flicks I wished I had watched in the theater. Well worth the time and money.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

An updated version of Simon and Garfunkel's signature song

As a rule I'm not a fan of remakes (although I have to say I'm more a fan of the Bangles version of Hazy Shade of Winter than the S&G original), and I still prefer the original here, but this is a great cover.  A bit off the subject for this blog, but gotta lighten it up a bit. Enjoy.

As a rule I'm not a fan of remakes (although I have to say I'm more a fan of the Bangles version of Hazy Shade of Winter than the S&G original), and I still prefer the original here, but this is a great cover.  A bit of the subject for this blog, but gotta lighten it up a bit.  Enjoy.

Simon & Garfunkle's classic "The Sounds of Silence" performed by heavy metal band "Disturbed"
Posted by Mark Watson on Friday, December 18, 2015

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Geopolitical Weekly: A Picture of Russian Patriotism, March 22, 2016

A Picture of Russian Patriotism

When the first Russian pilots returned to Voronezh air base as part of the recently announced military drawdown from Syria, they were greeted with a hero's welcome. Russian women in folk costumes offered loaves of bread with salt. Robed Orthodox priests gave the pilots icons to kiss. Crowds carrying balloons, flowers and Russian flags hoisted the pilots onto their shoulders and tossed them into the air. It was a picture of patriotism, broadcast live across the nation.

But that picture has changed throughout the years. The sentiment the Kremlin used to shape its interventions in Syria and Ukraine evolved from a kind of nationalism that was often used in the early years of President Vladimir Putin's government. Rabid and inspired, it was based mostly on civic patriotism and duty. Today's nationalism, on the other hand, taps into the deeper identity of the Russian people — their sense of moral virtue, their survival instinct and their belief in Russia as a global power.

In Good Times ...

Nationalism has rallied in tandem with popular support for Putin and his administration. At the beginning of 2016, Putin's approval rating was 81 percent, just shy of the all-time high of 86 percent. Social sentiment in support of the country is also at 82 percent. This comes as Russia remains mired in its second recession in seven years, it is under continuing sanctions by many global powers, and it has failed to prevent former ally Ukraine from shifting toward the West.

Early in his presidency, Putin laid a foundation of national support for himself and his government. He was seen as the savior of Russia, stabilizing the country after the chaos that followed the Soviet Union's collapse. He promised a future of stability and wealth, along with a return to global power. In return, the Russian people offered loyalty and a willingness to disregard the administration's heavy hand.

As the Russian state consolidated most major aspects of the economy — including energy firms, media outlets and the telecommunications industry — the Kremlin vilified the oligarchs who had previously run these industries. The state promoted the idea that it was taking over businesses to make Russia strong again, while the oligarchs were only in it for personal gain. In security matters, Putin blamed the failure of the First Chechen War on his predecessor, and Moscow clamped down on Chechnya, launching a second war. Today Chechnya is fairly stable, and terrorism in Russia is at its lowest level in decades. Moreover, the Chechen leadership is fervently loyal to Moscow, something unimaginable a decade ago.

Over the past 10 years, the Kremlin harnessed religion as an important tool to foster nationalism. Russian Orthodox affiliation under Putin has skyrocketed: At the start of the 1990s, less than a third of Russians considered themselves Russian Orthodox, as opposed to roughly 72 percent today. The Orthodox revival gave Russians an identity after the years of uncertainty that followed the fall of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin has used this to its advantage, so effectively portraying support for Putin's government as a religious duty that the church is now seen as part of the state apparatus.

Realizing that people born after the fall of the Soviet Union were growing up, the Kremlin started pro-government youth organizations in 2005 to instill a sense of nationalism in the new generation. These groups appealed mainly to lower-class ethnic Russians, giving them a sense of community and structure. The most notable group, Nashi ("Ours"), was created by current presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, who also helped design the plan for a stable Chechnya. At its height, Nashi alone boasted some 150,000 members.

These strategies all hinged on the principles that the state was only as strong as its people's support and that, therefore, support for the state was a civic duty. And Putin's system used them to such success in part because Russia benefited from years of economic plenty at a time when a global challenger — the United States — was distracted with two wars. But nationalism can grow stale, particularly in the face of challenges.

... And in Bad

Things began to change in 2008, when Russia was hit hard by the global financial crisis. Going into the crisis, Putin's popularity was high, bolstered as it was by Russia's success in the war in Georgia. But as the government struggled to keep the country financially stable, the Russian people began to feel as though Putin was not holding up his end of the bargain. His support dropped accordingly.

Dissatisfaction culminated in 2011, when the Russian government, concerned over a decline in support, blatantly tampered with parliamentary elections. The Russian people had mostly ignored such interference in more prosperous years. But this time the flagrant manipulation — combined with a weak economy — sparked mass protests across the country. The protests swelled as Putin announced that he would return for a third term as president. Support for the government tumbled from 88 percent to 61 percent between 2011 and 2012, shaking the very ground on which the Kremlin stood.

Nationalism could no longer rely solely on civic patriotism. So in recent years, Moscow has incorporated traditional beliefs about Russia's position in the world and the deeply ingrained love of the motherland. To this end, the Kremlin has promoted the idea of Russia as a unique place misunderstood by the rest of the world. Or, as the 19th-century romantic poet Fyodor Tyutchev put it, Russia's "soul is of a special kind, By faith alone appreciated."

In 2012, Russia began the process to formalize its Eurasian Union. Although the concept had been around for decades, Putin put a new spin on the initiative. He promoted the project to the Russian people as a way to protect Russia from future economic crises and to put the country in its natural place as the land bridge between east and west.

The use of the terms "Eurasian" and "land bridge" evokes 19th- and 20th-century Russian philosophers and historians who believed that Russia was neither eastern nor western. Russia was unique. As the bridge between Europe and Asia, Russia and the Russian people are great unifiers. As a result, they are also naturally more enlightened than those who know only Eastern or Western culture, according to Soviet historian Lev Gumilyov, whom Putin frequently mentions in speeches. And while most outsiders would not catch these brief references, the Russian people understand the significance of this exceptionalist attitude.

Overcoming the Past

But the spark that truly revived Russian nationalism came from Ukraine. At first, the Russian government looked weak, having failed to predict the uprising in Kiev that led to the installation of a pro-Western government. Moscow's failure to galvanize large parts of Ukraine against the new government exacerbated this sentiment. In the end, Russia was left supporting just a sliver of breakaway territory in eastern Ukraine.

However, over the past two years, the Kremlin has turned the narrative on its head. Putin has advanced Russia's duty to protect the Ukrainian people from the lawlessness caused by the new government's unconstitutional takeover in Kiev. To emphasize Russia's obligation, Putin has invoked the two countries' historical connection. In a 2014 speech, he called Ukraine Russia's "heartland" and its capital "the mother of all Russian cities." Russia has also alluded to Western-backed color revolutions, claiming that the latest uprising in Kiev was "foreign sponsored." He even compared Russia's support for eastern Ukraine to the West's support for Kosovo. And the rhetoric seems to be working: Currently, more than two-thirds of Russians favor military support in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow's annexation of Crimea in March 2014 boosted pro-Kremlin sentiment in Russia. In a speech to the Duma in the weeks after annexation, Putin compared the action to the 1990 German reunification. With this reference, like the heartland reference before it, Russia framed the annexation as a fulfillment of its historic imperative to reunify the territories. Some 85 percent of Russians now believe Crimea should be part of Russia. Support for Putin rose 10 percent just after the annexation, reaching a three-year peak at 71 percent.

At the same time, the action invited sanctions by the United States and European Union against Russia, bringing a new decline in the Russian economy. Foreign direct investment fell by 67 percent in 2014 to $22 billion, and then 94 percent to only $1.3 billion in 2015. And when oil prices tumbled in 2014, Russia slid into its second recession in seven years. The Kremlin blamed the West for many of Russia's troubles, referring once again to history. In a speech following the sanctions' imposition, Putin concluded that "the notorious policy of confining Russia, pursued in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today." Most Russians feel that the West not only misunderstands them but is also attacking their leader.

Western pressure has fueled Russian nationalism. Russian culture has a generational legacy of survival. Russia's territory is a hostile habitat, with extreme winters and a history of devastating famines and invasions from all sides. And Russians have survived through the direst circumstances, including the Nazis' 900-day blockade of Leningrad during World War II. Russia's current climate of economic recession and isolation from the West has triggered its cultural survival instinct, which has fortified support for the Kremlin.

Russia's operations in Syria have filled the Russian people with even more pride. When Russia initially launched airstrikes in Syria, nearly 85 percent of Russians opposed the intervention. Now, the reverse is true, as Russia has not only made progress in its bombing campaign, but also showcased its modernizing military far away from home. In addition, by getting involved in Syria, Russia stood up against objections from NATO — particularly the United States and Turkey — winning even more approval from the Russian public.

The church's repeated references to Russia's intervention as a "holy war" have encouraged these positive feelings. The reference has rekindled the belief in Moscow as the Third Rome, a term first coined by a Russian monk in 1510. Throughout history, from the 18th century to Stalin's rule, the Kremlin has rallied behind the Third Rome concept, positing Russia as the world's moral and ideological leader, the heir to Constantinople and Rome.

Russia intervened in Syria despite Western and Turkish opposition. And however contentious its claim to a victory there, Russia announced its withdrawal with fanfare — a stark contrast to the quiet and defeated withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in the late 1980s. It is as if Russians feel they have overcome their past.

Nationalism can be misleading, however. The Kremlin first fostered nationalist feeling to rebuild its state from collapse and chaos. But now the Putin administration is using it to cover the cracks within Russia and to retain its grip on power. Russia has economic problems with no solutions in sight. It is also experiencing a demographic shift that will one day change the religious and cultural fabric of the state. The generation that remembers the heyday of the Soviet period is fading. In 2018, Putin may run for his fourth term as president. The only solution to unify in spite of all these pressures is to draw on a singular sense of Russian nationalism — one deeply rooted in the past.

Editor's note: Unless otherwise specified, all polling numbers are from independent Russian pollster Levada.
A Picture of Russian Patriotism COPYRIGHT: STRATFOR.COM

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Carrying a BUG...

Also known as a Back Up Gun. Timing is good, I've just picked up a Ruger LCR 357 as my BUG/Off Duty Weapon. Good look at what you need to do.

Carrying a backup gun: 6 things you need to know

Your duty weapon can malfunction and will run out of ammo, so train and prepare for that moment – your life depends on it

Unless you own a magical gun that never runs out of ammo and never malfunctions, you need to carry a backup gun (BUG). Here are some questions and considerations for these important tools.

1. Is the BUG faster than a reload?

A backup gun — sometimes known as a “New York Reload” — offers you the opportunity to draw a second weapon to continue a gunfight. Practice your draw from your method of concealment and compare it to your times during a standard reload in order decide whether to go this route.

Regardless of whether you’re faster reloading or drawing a second weapon, I can guarantee that one situation in which the second gun will be faster into action than a reload is when you are wounded and need to get back in action one handed.

2. Is the BUG faster than a malfunction drill?

Again, you need to put in the practice to know your capabilities. A ‘tap-rack-bang’ will probably be faster, but it will probably beat your time doing a double feed malfunction one handed.

3. Can you access the BUG for a deadly-force response to a gun takeaway?

A suspect attempting to take your duty weapon — either from your hand or holster — is a deadly threat. Can you reach your weapon with either hand? Consider the possibilities of the body positions you could find yourself in while in a fight for your life.

When one hand is out of commission due to trying to maintain control of your main weapon, can you access your BUG with your free hand?

4. Consider where you carry, what you carry, and how you train to carry your BUG.

The considerations above should help you determine the location you choose to carry your BUG. Here are the common locations.

Ankle: The ankle carry is convenient when you are seated and can be accessed when you find yourself on the ground with a suspect on top of you. Ankle carry means your gun will get dirtier than other locations. Clean and lube your weapon weekly to make sure it functions in that critical moment. Some officers replace the seam of their uniform pants with Velcro to allow faster easier access to that location.

Pant pocket: Access can be hindered by the equipment on your belt. If you can’t get your hand into your pocket you will find it hard to access the weapon. If you wear pants with cargo pockets consider carrying it there. Make sure the gun is in a holster that covers the trigger guard in an otherwise empty pocket. Several officers have shot themselves when objects came into contact with the exposed trigger of their BUG.

Back pocket carry is also an option, but sitting on a gun all shift may be an invitation to sciatica.

Vest: With concealed body armor, you have two options: on the vest strap or in a BUG holster that is attached to the front of your vest. Understand that your ability to unzip or unbutton your shirt quickly under stress in a fight may significantly slow the draw down. Some officers sew their buttons to the top part of the shirt and use Velcro below to keep their shirt “buttoned.” This will speed the draw and allow the use of only one hand versus two to get the shirt open.

On an external vest carrier you have the option of sewing a holster on the inside. Trainer Jeff Chudwin advises officers against it due to concerns of possible injury caused to them by their weapon if they were in an accident and their airbag deployed.

The ability to draw the weapon with either hand when it is under your armpit can be very difficult, this requires practice. Some officers have found that the gun and holster protrude just enough to cut off blood circulation to the arm when seated in a car during patrol.

5. What kind of BUG should you carry and how big should it be?

If possible stick with the same manufacture for consistency in design and function. A Glock 17, with a Glock 26, 42, or 43 backup fit that concept. Most gun makers are making sub compacts to fill that niche.

I don’t suggest anything smaller in caliber than a .380. Semi-autos are much easier to hit with than revolvers when the barrels are short. The size of the weapon will determined by how big you are and where you intend to carry it. Pockets and pant cuffs space limit weapon size.

6. Don’t forget to train with your BUG!

Buy a replica blue gun of your BUG and practice drawing with all your duty gear on to identify any problems.

Shoot the thing! If you can’t hit anything with it, it is just an expensive paper weight in a fight.

Your duty weapon can malfunction and will run out of ammo, so train and prepare for that moment – your life depends on it. A BUG is like a backup plan, always have one.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A remote control drone that can carry 1100 pounds...

The potential for this is great. They are mentioning how you can airlift men from the battlefield. There is also the potential for airlifting injured civilians in distant rural areas to trauma centers at a fraction of the cost of standard helicopters.

Military drone ambulance can carry loads of up to 500kg

The Israeli company Urban Aeronautics created AirMule, a drone capable of carrying loads of up to half a ton. The equipment was developed primarily for military use, to be used in missions in hard to reach places where conventional helicopters can’t access.

“[It could fly to] anyone out in the field who needs water, food, batteries, supplies, medical equipment and so forth,” Rafi Yoeli told the BBC. “Later, it could be used to fetch soldiers that you don’t want to leave behind or are wounded. There are plenty of situations where you cannot send a helicopter – for example, in the middle of fighting where you want to evacuate people from a street or from a narrow roof. Eventually, there could be civilian applications, such as rescue missions in the mountains or flying into disaster areas – for example, nuclear facilities where no person in a helicopter could get in.”

Still in testing phase, AirMule flies completely autonomously: take-off, maneuvers, landing, everything is done by the device’s navigation system and the Israeli aircraft can reach speeds of up to 180 km/h.

Despite the interesting proposal of carrying people in a drone that can be remote-controlled, one must keep in mind some obstacles that involve drones in general. Like the flight distance which is limited to 49 km, while helicopters have no distance limits as long as the fuel lasts. According to the creators, the drone has incredible flight capacity even in turbulent weather, resisting winds of up to 50 knots, a significant improvement over existing helicopters.

Thank you Mike K for the link.

Good news from Detroit

Detroit is a war zone right now and there is not much positive from a law enforcement perspective. However, this is good news, using technology to catch the bad guy, or bad girl, in this case.

At first I was a bit uneasy with the stations identifying the locations, but it makes sense. Generally criminals don't shoot where they know there are being video taped. And the results were excellent, captured in less than two hours and the officers get real time intelligence.

Great word Detroit.

The Russians in Syria....

Good read.
Even As Russians Withdraw, Their Legacy in Syria Remains


As the departure of Russian forces from Syria announced March 14 continues, evidence of construction at Russia's main air base in the country demonstrates Moscow’s intention to maintain a military presence there. Imagery dated March 17 acquired by Stratfor of the Bassel al Assad air base in Latakia province and the naval base at Tartus highlights the ongoing Russian drawdown of its forces in Syria that Moscow contends will be largely completed by March 20.

The imagery shows that as of noon local time March 17, more than a quarter of the Russian air group at Bassel al Assad air base had departed Syria. Three Su-34 combat aircraft and a Tu-154 transport plane were the first to leave March 15, followed a day later by all 12 Su-25 ground attack aircraft and a number of Il-76 transport planes. The transport planes carried the mechanics, aircrew and equipment that serviced the combat aircraft. The Russians have indicated that a number of Su-24 aircraft departed March 17, but the imagery indicates that the Su-24 group was still largely in place. It is possible that those Su-24s departed after the imagery was taken.

The imagery not only shows that the Russians are still expanding infrastructure and facilities at the air base, but also that they have deployed additional assets in the past few days there. These prominently include Mi-28 and Ka-52 helicopter gunships that have a variety of uses: In addition to protecting the facilities, they can conduct combat search and rescue operations and provide close air support to ground forces. The Russians have also emphasized that their air defenses will remain in place, as shown in the imagery of the active S-400 battery at Bassel al Assad air base. Furthermore, the Russians have not yet withdrawn their Su-30 and Su-35 air superiority fighters from Syria. Since the troop withdrawal announcement, Russia has continued to launch bombing sorties from that air base in support of Syrian government forces that are fighting the Islamic State near Palmyra.

As can be see from the imagery of the naval base at Tartus, there are currently no significant onloading operations taking place. While military vehicles are staged there and are seemingly ready to depart, heavy artillery and armored fighting vehicles — which the Russians have deployed in Syria — do not appear to be among them. This highlights the possibility that Russia is going to maintain its active ground support of the Syrian government forces as they continue to conduct operations against rebel and Islamic State targets. There is also the potential for the Russians to transfer some of that equipment to loyalist forces, as they have with tanks and artillery over past months. As recent battlefield casualties reveal, Russian special operations forces are continuing their active support of loyalist operations as well.

Even As Russians Withdraw, Their Legacy in Syria Remains is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Israel's offense as defense...

I don't often put a full STRATFOR article out like this, but this is interesting. Notice how an assertive country deals with terrorism.

Israel's Fear Tactics in Bulgaria


By Fred Burton

Editor's Note: The following piece is part of an occasional series in which Fred Burton, Stratfor's vice president of intelligence, reflects on his storied experience as a counterterrorism agent for the U.S. State Department.

Embassies are meant to be safe places. Swathed in the legal protections of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, they are entitled to security provided by the countries that host them. But last month, the niceties of diplomacy gave way to the uncomfortable realities of business as usual when Palestine's diplomatic mission in Sofia, Bulgaria, was the scene of a murder.

For about a month, Naif Hassan Omar Zayed had been hiding out in the embassy. The Palestinian national and member of a Palestinian revolutionary group had been convicted in 1986 of killing an Israeli in Jerusalem. He escaped prison and in 1988 relocated to Bulgaria, where he married and settled down to run a grocery store. In December, Israel formally requested his extradition, and Zayed became a wanted man again. He feared for his safety and sought the protection of the local diplomatic mission. On Feb. 26, he was found dead on the mission's back lawn.

The case should be straightforward. Entrances and exits to diplomatic missions are carefully monitored, not only by the embassy itself but also by the host country. Across the street from the front door, authorities invariably either station watchers or set up some kind of video recording equipment. If I were investigating this case, one of my first moves would be to take a look at that video. Mark the time of death, find out who entered just before and left just after then, and the case is closed. But when it comes to state-sanctioned assassinations, nothing is so simple. And if Israel was involved, it is unlikely anyone will ever be held accountable for Zayed's death.

Israel's Strategy: Offense as Defense

As a tiny nation surrounded by hostile neighbors, Israel learned early in its history that it needed to cultivate a tough reputation. After the assassinations of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, Israel's security service, Mossad, hunted down the perpetrators as a clear warning to its enemies: Kill Israelis, and you've signed your own death warrant.

More killings followed. Specifically, Zayed's death calls to mind the murder of a much higher-profile figure: Ashraf Marwan, codename "Angel." This now-infamous spy was the son-in-law of Egypt's towering president, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Sometime around the Yom Kippur War, he started spying for Israel — but to this day it is unclear whether he was actually a loyal Egyptian who infiltrated Israeli ranks or whether he truly did betray Egyptian secrets to the Israeli government. Either way, in 2007 someone leaked an official Israeli document with his name on it, and it showed up online. A little more than a week later, Israel's most important spy fell to his death from the balcony of his London flat. Witnesses said they saw two Middle Eastern men on the balcony behind Marwan; the men disappeared into the shadows after his fall.

In the investigation into his death, authorities were woefully short on answers. The coroner confirmed that he died of a ruptured aorta and that there were traces of antidepressants in his blood. But the details at the scene didn't point to suicide. There was no note, for instance. The shoes Marwan was wearing when he fell mysteriously went missing, along with all 600 pages of the memoir he was writing. The Israelis were almost certainly behind it all, but no one ever proved it, and no one ever answered for the crime.

Leads That Go Nowhere

The Marwan case shows how extraordinarily hard it is to get to the bottom of any assassination case, much less hold anyone accountable. In Zayed's death, there are a number of players involved. Although by all indications Israel played some part in the killing, whom exactly they colluded with to get the job done is a mystery. Last week, protesters in the Palestinian territories condemned the Bulgarian police for their suspected involvement, but the fact that the killing took place within the walls of the Palestinian Embassy itself may implicate the Palestinians.

Making things even more complicated are the stovepipes and divisions within security organizations. Take Zayed's case: The police officer assigned to investigate the murder may make a good-faith effort to solve the crime. But if the Bulgarian police had a hand in Zayed's death, the officer's superiors may have orders to put the brakes on the investigation. Not everyone is working with the same information or with the same motives. Part of what led to Marwan's death in 2007 was a public spat between two high-ranking Israeli generals over whether Marwan's loyalties truly lay with Egypt or Israel. The fight became so vicious that the government forced both to agree to arbitration, and it was documents from that mandated arbitration process that leaked and exposed the notorious spy.

At that point, the truth about Marwan's loyalties became immaterial. As soon as those documents went public, all that mattered was that there was suspicion that Marwan had betrayed Israel. For Israel, harsh punishments for even suspected treachery are a powerful deterrent.

Compared with Marwan, Zayed was a low-profile target. But both assassinations illustrate Israel's strategy of inculcating fear in its enemies. Zayed had lived in Bulgaria for two decades, seemingly free of his past and safe from Israeli justice. Then Israel came for him, first through formal channels with a request for extradition, and then with brute force. In all likelihood, the public will never know the true details of the operation — which insiders allowed the killers access to the embassy, whether the Bulgarian police were involved, and so forth. The case may be unsolvable, but the message is clear: Those who target Israeli citizens suffer the consequences.

Production Editor: Margaret Fox


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sovereign Citizens....

Haven't had to deal with these idiots yet, and some can be dangerous. Here is a good overview of their stupid "arguments." Be alert guys.
5 Responses to a Sovereign Citizen at a Traffic Stop

The sovereign citizen movement has become the bane of many police officers in the U.S.

These people feel that due to some contrived loopholes in the constitution they can declare themselves free and laws do not apply to them. However, people who get their legal advice from Wikipedia find out these loopholes don’t tend to actually exist.

For many officers, a traffic stop will be a likely way to encounter one of these people. Please do not take them lightly. Most sovereign citizens are basically law-abiding people, albeit highly misinformed about how the law works. However, some sovereigns have proved a willingness and ability to be violent. If you suspect you are dealing with a sovereign citizen as a LEO, please call for backup.

If you read any sovereign literature, they advocate trying to confuse and befuddle the police. Their mantra is to make a cop so confounded the officer just decides to end the contract before he/she becomes more perplexed.

1. “I am not driving, I am traveling.”

Often the sovereign citizens don’t bother to pay for their licenses. They feel the right to free movement means they do not need a license. Travel is a right, which in true.

What the sovereigns fail to grasp is they are free to travel, by foot, by bike, even by horse. A car is a complex machine. To operate a complex machine requires training and some licensure to operate said machine. Heck, here in Wisconsin all our driving laws are worded with “operate a motor vehicle”; none say “drive.”

responses to sovereign citizens, no taxes, no firefightersDon't need taxes? Then you don't need firefighters either. (Chris Dixon via flickr.com)
2. "As a free person, I do not recognize the jurisdiction you have blah blah blah blah…"

At some point, a sovereign citizen will say they are a free person. As a free person, they are not subject to any local laws and are “free of any legal constraints,” including taxes and fines.

What they fail to grasp is that they want all the protection of local government without paying the cost for it. Ask a sovereign what they would do if their child was hurt. Ask if their house was on fire how they plan to put it out? Their response is always to call 911. It is a funny, eye-opening experience to point out that 911 and the fire/EMS service is a local, tax-funded entity. So if they are a free person, well maybe 911 is something they are free to keep away from as well -- as in no ambulance and no fire trucks for them because they are not paying for the service.

3. “Speeding is not a crime; a crime requires an ‘injured party.’”

In their twisted view of the law they feel ordinance violations are not valid because there is no victim. Yet they forget we have different levels of legal violations in this country.

Here in Wisconsin most, traffic and other minor violations are ordinance violations. Not a crime, but a civil forfeiture. Thus, no “injured party” is needed. It is a civil matter, not a criminal matter.

responses to sovereign citizens, national license plateThere's something fishy about this license plate... (via reddit.com)
4. “As a free person, your license plate taxes do not apply to me.”

It seems some sovereign citizens will make their own license plates for their cars. These plates will display terms like “US Constitutional Plate,” “Exempt: Sovereign Neutral Non-Combatant,” “Sovereign Christian Citizen.” or any of some other non-legal terms. They feel they are exempt from the 'illegal' tax on car ownership.

These sovereigns love to use legal terms and talk about contracts. They forget the nice roads they “travel” on have to be paved and, in the winter, plowed. Point out to them that there is a social contract between the people using the roads and the people keeping the roads open for travel. Someone needs to pay for the cost of the roads, so license plate costs are not a tax, they are a user fee.

5. “Am I being detained?”

The sovereign citizens and the CopBlock movement both love this question. People who got their law degrees by reading Facebook comments feel that being detained is the same as an arrest. Yet real lawyers can explain the difference between the two.

Yes, a traffic stop is a short investigative detention. An officer with reasonable suspicion that a violation has taken place may stop someone for a short time to establish facts related to that violation. How brief that short time will be is decided solely by the citizen. If they want to play games, they are the one making the contact last longer.


Remember, sovereign citizens have the propensity for violence. Make sure you have backup. Keep your eyes open for threats. Just because they are dumb enough to get brainwashed into some crazy belief system does not mean they are too stupid to learn tactics to hurt us.

Their tactic is to cause confusion with the officer. Turn the tables on them and confuse them. Make them question what they have learned by watching videos on YouTube. Twice I have used the example of the fire department on a sovereign citizen. Both times they were so flummoxed they forgot all the other rhetoric.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Not exactly an Absolute Genius...

I've often said you don't know stupidity until you direct traffic. And here we go:


And he suffered the same fate as Wile E. Coyote did every time he tried to drive through those damn things.

According to Mirror, a man attempting to drive his Fiat through what he was thought was a tunnel instead crashed his car because it turned out to be a painting of a tunnel on a wall.

guy tries driving through painted roadrunner tunnel The accident happened a few months ago despite the fact that the graffiti artist also painted a large depiction of the Looney Tunes Road Runner next to the tunnel.

Even funnier than somebody thinking that was actually a real tunnel? You guessed it: The comments left on Imgur after one "rburn" posted the photos.

"Nice to see that Wile E. Coyote finally got his driver's license," said EvilGenomic.

"This is why we can't have nice things," added CoalCuts.

And of course our favorite: "He's lucky, a train could've come out of there," courtesy of Greub.

Is comment needed? :<)