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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A potentially revolutionary change in body armor....

Cops have a love-hate relationship with body armor. No question, it's saved countless lives over the years. It is also uncomfortable, especally for those of us in hot areas. There has been some possible changes in body armor, from some based on corn starch, and liquid. But if this works out, it's a real game changer.

Graphene Research Could Lead to Foil-Thin Body Armor

Some scientists believe the combination of two graphene layers could create a lightweight material that can stop bullets.

Researchers from the City University of New York’s Advanced Science Research Center discovered that by combining no more than two layers of graphene, they would be able to create an ultra-thin material that, when it is struck by a fast-moving projectile like a bullet, it suddenly hardens and protects the wearer, Morning Ticker reports.

Graphene is a sheet of a single layer of carbon atoms that is arranged in hexagonal fashion. Scientists have discovered that graphene has some extremely unusual properties, as it is the strongest material that has ever been tested and it very efficiently conducts heat and electricity. It was first observed by an electron microscope back in 1962, but it wasn’t until 2004 that scientists were able to isolate and characterize graphene.

Here is the full statement from the research center:
Imagine a material as flexible and lightweight as foil that becomes stiff and hard enough to stop a bullet on impact. In a newly published paper in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers across The City University of New York (CUNY) describe a process for creating diamene: flexible, layered sheets of graphene that temporarily become harder than diamond and impenetrable upon impact.

Scientists at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center, CUNY, worked to theorize and test how two layers of graphene — each one-atom thick — could be made to transform into a diamond-like material upon impact at room temperature. The team also found the moment of conversion resulted in a sudden reduction of electric current, suggesting diamene could have interesting electronic and spintronic properties. The new findings will likely have applications in developing wear-resistant protective coatings and ultra-light bullet-proof films.

“This is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created,” said Elisa Riedo, professor of physics at the ASRC and the project’s lead researcher. “Previously, when we tested graphite or a single atomic layer of graphene, we would apply pressure and feel a very soft film. But when the graphite film was exactly two-layers thick, all of a sudden we realized that the material under pressure was becoming extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond.”

Angelo Bongiorno, associate professor of chemistry at CUNY College of Staten Island and part of the research team, developed the theory for creating diamene. He and his colleagues used atomistic computer simulations to model potential outcomes when pressurizing two honeycomb layers of graphene aligned in different configurations. Riedo and other team members then used an atomic force microscope to apply localized pressure to two-layer graphene on silicon carbide substrates and found perfect agreement with the calculations. Experiments and theory both show that this graphite-diamond transition does not occur for more than two layers or for a single graphene layer.

“Graphite and diamonds are both made entirely of carbon, but the atoms are arranged differently in each material, giving them distinct properties such as hardness, flexibility and electrical conduction,” Bongiorno said. “Our new technique allows us to manipulate graphite so that it can take on the beneficial properties of a diamond under specific conditions.”

The research team’s successful work opens up possibilities for investigating graphite-to-diamond phase transition in two-dimensional materials, according to the paper. Future research could explore methods for stabilizing the transition and allow for further applications for the resulting materials...
...Scientists believe it could be used to create solar cells, light-emitting diodes (LED), touch panels, or even phones. Researchers think that it would be possible to create graphene supercapacitors that would be able to replace electrolytic batteries as an energy storage device. And the auto industry is even experimenting with making cars out of this material...

Cool on the other items, but if this is usable for body armor, it's nothing short of incredible. K9s, horses, and two legged cops will have no excuse for not wearing protection from firearms.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Officer Down

Trooper Damon Allen
Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol, Texas
End of Watch Thursday, November 23, 2017
Age 41
Tour 15 years
Badge 10525

Trooper Damon Allen was shot and killed while making a traffic stop on I-45 in Freestone County, just south of Fairfield, at approximately 4:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day.

He had contacted the driver and was returning to his patrol car when the man exited his car and opened fire with a rifle. Trooper Allen was killed at the scene.

The man was located in Waller County several hours later and taken into custody after exchanging shots with officers.

Trooper Allen had served with the Texas Highway Patrol for 15 years. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

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

Friday, December 29, 2017

Officer Down

Deputy Sheriff Eric Overall
Oakland County Sheriff's Office, Michigan
End of Watch Thursday, November 23, 2017
Age 50
Tour 22 years
Badge 664

Deputy Sheriff Eric Overall was struck and killed by a suspect vehicle as he attempted to deploy stop sticks at approximately 12:30 am.

Officers began pursuing the vehicle in the parking lot of the Lapeer County Jail after the man made threats against law enforcement. The pursuit traveled into Oakland County on I-69, where the vehicle exited on M-15. Deputy Overall had deployed stop sticks and had taken up a position well off the roadway.

The driver of the vehicle intentionally drove off of the roadway and struck Deputy Overall. The suspect's vehicle then overturned. Pursuing officers immediately took the man into custody.

Deputy Overall had served with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office for 22 years.
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. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Sometimes life gives you some schadenfreude...

Domestic terrorist groups like Black Lives Matter and Cop Block can be annoying or dangerous, depending on what they are doing. So I must say this gives me a smile.

Cop Block Group Founder Arrested For Impersonating Police Officer

Canton, GA – The founder of the anti-police group Georgia Cop Block was arrested for impersonating a police officer and interrupting law enforcement radio traffic on Thursday, police said.

Jonathan Beavers, 29, has been charged with four counts of harassing communications, two counts of obstruction of an officer, and one count of impersonating an officer, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office (CSO) Sergeant Marrianne Kelley told the Cherokee Tribune and Ledger-News.

“The Criminal Investigations Division identified the suspect as Beavers and executed a search warrant at his residence. Investigators located evidence to further their investigation,” Sgt. Kelley said....

The fact he would impersonate an officer, I can see that. Why drive all around looking for police actions when you can make them up. but this is definitely believable:
Beavers resides with his mother, Woylene Waldroup, who denied that her son would ever think to impersonate an officer.

“He would never do that. Never,” Waldroup told WSB-TV.

That old, living with his parents, no apparent job. Snowflake.
...Beavers is the founder of Georgia Cop Block, an affiliate of a national unorganized collective called Cop Block, the Cherokee Tribune and Ledger-News reported.

Beavers frequently listened to police communications on his scanner, and would respond to locations where officers were dispatched, WSB-TV reported.

He would then record law enforcement officers’ actions using his cell phone...

...His father, Milton Beavers, claimed that his son was arrested because he is trying to hold police accountable for their actions.

"That's the first thing they said when they came through the door, 'Cop Block," Milton told WSB-TV. "They have a vendetta against Jonathan."

"They busted through the door. I made them go get the search warrant. They were in there looking for some sort of CDs," Waldroup said.

Even after investigators allowed Beavers’ parents to listen to the radio call that led to his arrest, they said they still were not convinced it was the voice of their son.

"They may have some audio stating that is Jonathan, but you actually have to prove Jonathan actually mashed that button and that button wasn't mashed accidentally," Waldroup argued...

I think I see where the snowflake gets his inspiration. Please Mr Waldroup, when the wolves are the door, breaking in, and you're scared as hell...call Black Lives Matter or Cop Block (sarcasm off).
Not to be outdone, we have the national group:
...Cop Block founder Adam Mueller, also known as Ademo Freeman, was arrested in February for drug trafficking. He then sold the group's Facebook page with over one and a half million followers to a media company that works to make money off of anti-police fake news...

Just so people know what Mr. Mueller was carrying:
LEBANON, Ohio -- The founder of CopBlock.org -- a blog routinely critical of police -- was arrested in Warren County on drug trafficking charges.

Adam Mueller, 34, was traveling on I-71 in Warren County Feb. 9 when he was pulled over for a license plate violation, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Troopers said they could smell "raw marijuana" as they approached the vehicle. Twenty-four pounds of marijuana and 26 vials of hash oil were found in the car.

Highway patrol said the marijuana and oils seized in the stop was worth $56,040. Mueller was charged with possession and trafficking marijuana and possession of hash oil. He was also cited for a missing rear plate light...

The bad thing is he'll probably be fined more for the missing plate light than the narcotics.

Good to know law enforcement has such capable enemies....

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Officer Down

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez
United States Department of Homeland Security - Customs and Border Protection - United States Border Patrol
End of Watch Sunday, November 19, 2017
Age 36
Tour 4 years

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was killed in the line of duty while he and his partner were on patrol near mile marker 152 on I-10, in the area of Van Horn, Texas.

They were patrolling in rugged terrain when both agents suffered serious injuries. Agent Martinez's partner was able to notify dispatchers and requested assistance. Responding units and rescue personnel transported them to a hospital where Agent Martinez succumbed to his wounds.

Several federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are investigating the cause of Agent Martinez's death.

Agent Martinez had served with the United States Border Patrol for four years and was assigned to the Big Bend Sector. He is survived by his fiancee and 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. 

The Boeing 787

A few years ago I read how the Air Force is looking at a replacement for Air Force One, as the current two Boeing 747s have been in use since 1989. I know that because I was temporarily at Andrews Air Force Base and when I went for a run, I passed by the hangers. And there were the two 747s, brand news (at the time) and looking awesome.

Well, the Air Force has an issue because the replacement for the 747, the 787, has only two engines. And the USAF is concerned about transporting the president without four engines.

I don't know how the AF will handle this, but I've looked at the new Boeing 787 and it is incredible. And take a look at that take off:

Here are some more pics of Boeing's new top end bird. Enjoy.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas...

I think I will start a Christmas tradition on A Cop's Watch. The post from last Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Growing up in New Orleans, part of the daily routine was Phil Johnson's Editorials for WWL TV. He had two classics, one was for Mardi Gras.
"No one should be serious on Mardi Gras, and we will not be. But we reserve the right to be serious, tomorrow. Good evening."

Here is the second classic editorial, for Christmas Eve. He gave it for over 20 years until his retirement. And it's very good to enjoy. Merry Christmas all.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Officer Down

Police Officer Brian David Shaw
New Kensington Police Department, Pennsylvania
End of Watch Friday, November 17, 2017
Age 25
Tour 3 years
Badge 29

Police Officer Brian Shaw was shot and killed while making a traffic stop of a vehicle in the 1200 block of Leishman Avenue at approximately 8:00 pm.

The driver fled on foot during the stop, then opened fire on Officer Shaw as he pursued him. Although he was wearing his vest, Officer Shaw was fatally wounded in the chest during the foot pursuit. The subject fled the scene but was arrested on November 21st, 2017.

Officer Shaw had served with the New Kensington Police Department for only five months. He had previously served as a part-time officer for three years with the Cheswick Police Department, Frazer Police Department, and Springdale Township Police Department.

He is survived by his parents, brother and grandmother.
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. 

An excellent look at the recent tax bill...

I often describe my politics as conservative with some libertarian tendencies. I read National Review and The American Specator regularly. I also read Reason, a libertarian magazine. While I often disagree with them on some serious issues (Reason is very supportive of open borders), I find the writing insightful and well researched.

From this morning, a good look at how the leftist (i.e. "mainstream") media is distorting the recent tax cut.

Democrats Are Fooling Themselves About Tax Reform's Unpopularity
There will always be arguments about the efficacy of tax cuts for corporations and the rich, but at some point people find out that they get one, too.

According to political analysts, 2018 Democrats will use the just-passed tax reform as a way to argue that the Republican Party is the party of the plutocracy, which is another way of saying that Democrats are going to use the same argument they've been using for the past three decades with varying degrees of success. A number of liberals have claimed that the passage of "unpopular" tax reform is historically analogous to the passage of Obamacare, which triggered the loss of hundreds of Democrat seats and, perhaps, control of the presidency.

This is wishful thinking for a number of reasons.

Yes, the tax bill is unpopular. Then again, I'm not sure you've noticed that everything Washington, D.C., tries to do is unpopular. Nothing polls well. Not the president. Not Congress. Not Democrats. Not legislation. Not even erstwhile popular vote-winning candidates. Certainly, a bill being bombarded with hysterical end-of-the-world claims that are rarely debunked by the political media is not going to be popular. Republicans won't pass anything if they wait around for things to be popular...

I think a legitimate criticism of the Trump administration on this matter is they were not out making the case for it, as much as they could have. During the fight for the Reagan tax bills in 1981 and 1986, Rawhide and his crew was out daily, engaging the opposition. Granted, Trump knows how to work social media. Damned, if Reagan had Twitter or Facebook.

...Why do so many Americans believe that the middle class is getting a tax hike? Because outlets they trust are constantly lying to them. Both in framing and content, the coverage of the tax cuts has been impressively dishonest. "One-Third of Middle Class Families Could End up Paying More Under the GOP Tax Plan" writes Time Money (they won't). An Associated Press headline reads, "House Passes First Rewrite of Nation's Tax Laws in Three Decades, Providing Steep Tax Cuts for Businesses, the Wealthy." And so on...
You mean reporters lie...I am shocked.

...There will always be ideological arguments regarding the efficacy of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, but at some point people are going to find out that they've gotten one, too. The nonpartisan liberals at the Tax Policy Center concede that 80 percent of Americans will see a tax cut in 2018, and that the average cut will be $2,140—which might be something to scoff at in D.C., but I imagine a bunch of voters surprised by these savings will be less cynical. Only 4.8 percent of Americans will see a tax increase....
Not to mention the lies about not being able to deduct business expenses or teachers not being able to deduct their expenses. Discussing this with some friends, with the change of the standard deduction, I may not need to itemize. My mortgage only has a few years left and I spend less for interest on that than my car note. That would be a lot of paperwork I won't have to do. Should be able to figure that out in 2019.

Like Obamacare, people don't know what's in the bill. But unlike Obamacare, the repeal of the individual insurance mandate gives millions a choice...
And starts to rid us of a constitutional abomination. I've read that Speaker Paul Ryan wants to tackle entitlement reform next year. Hopefully that includes real healh insurance reform, such as allowing people to purchase accross state lines, something the congress can do, without question.

...The passage of Obamacare, after all, upended lives. The Affordable Care Act became synonymous with "health care insurance," and voters attributed everything that went wrong with that insurance to the bill. And since Democrats offered a litany of fantastical promises about the future of health care, the disapproval was well-deserved. Millions began seeing their insurance plans discontinued as soon as Obamacare was implemented, despite assurances from the president and pliant Democrats that no such thing would happen. For many, premiums in the individual markets doubled over four years of Obamacare. Voters dealt with these tangible, real-life consequences...

Well. that was the purpose, to destroy private health insurance, and leave us all with a "private option," not a public one. We're not out of the woods yet (hell, we haven't started walking to the light yet) but this at least slowing our march to single payer.
...As an ideological matter, every time a Democrat claims that keeping more of your own money is tantamount to "stealing"—which happens often—voters should remember this is fundamentally a debate between people who believe the state should have first dibs on your property and people who don't. The only way to frame the bill as a tax hike is by using the 2025 expiration of individual rate cuts. And the only way they won't be extended is if Democrats decide to raise taxes again. These are debates Republicans should embrace....

And an excellent way to attack the regressives move to control more of your life.

That's not to say tax reform is a panacea for Republicans. It's far from it. Historically speaking, the party in power will likely lose a bunch of seats in the 2018 midterms. But the claim, as Democrats are sure to make, that those losses are unique or tied to the toxicity of an agenda item—particularly a tax cut, which is generally popular among Americans (when they know it exists)—is far-fetched.

The party is power doesn't always loose. The GOP gained seats in 2002, likely do to the rally behind the troops sentiment after 9/11. And I think circumstances have a lot to do with the losses. In 1982, the country was going through the second half of the double dip recession (1980, 1982), and in 2010 the country revolted against Obamacare and the general poor condition of the nation.

Plus, one thing may be changing. As I told a friend recently (the man is a Republican, not what I would call a conservative, did not vote for Trump, and despises the man), one thing the GOP base is tried of? Good losers. We're tired of the Doles, McCain's and Romney's, men who get the nomination because "it's their time...they've served the party over the years..." And these men can't make a cognizant argument of what they want to do (normally is a form of "I suck slightly less than the Dem.") and why they should be president. Has Trump done everything he said he would, no. But he can show an effort to repeal Obamacare, his judges have been excellent, he's pulled back layers of regulation, and it looks like the bureaucracy is starting to fear for it's existence. So the SOP may be very motivated come next November to insure Nancy Pelosi is sitting on the sideline.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Do They Know It's Christmas?

In 1984, the Ethiopian famine was in full force, and an Irish musician, Bob Geldof, was very moved. He said he couldn't stay on the sidelines and took action. With several musician friends of his, he established a musical relief group, Band Aid. They wrote this one song which knocked it out of the park.
To his emennce credit, Mr Geldof has continued his efforts to bring attention to African hunger, but his methods have changed a bit. Trade, not aid, is the new catch phrase and using his influence to get more trade with African nations. Better we not have to feed the world, better they can do it themselves.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Officer Down

DetectiveSean Matthew Suiter
Baltimore City Police Department, Maryland
End of Watch: Thursday, November 16, 2017
Age: 43
Tour: 18 years
Badge # 694
Incident Date: 11/15/2017
Weapon: Officer's handgun

Detective Sean Suiter succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained the previous day while attempting to interview a person during a homicide investigation in the 900 block of Bennett Place.

He and his partner were canvassing the area when he observed a man attempting to hide in an alley. He notified of his partner and then approached the man to speak to him. A struggle ensued in which the subject was able to gain control of Detective Suiter's service weapon. The man then used the service weapon to shoot him in the head.

Detective Suiter was placed in a patrol car to be transported to University of Maryland Medical Center. During the transport the patrol car was struck by another vehicle. Detective Suiter was then transferred to another vehicle and transported to the hospital where he remained on life support until succumbing to the wound the following day.

The man who shot him fled the scene and remains at large.

Detective Suiter, a U.S. Army veteran, had served with the Baltimore Police Department for 18 years and was assigned to the Homicide Unit. 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. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

K9 Down

K9 Argo
Normandy Police Department, Missouri
End of Watch: Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 3
Gender: M
Cause: Fall
Incident Date: 11/5/2017

K9 Argo succumbed to injuries sustained two days earlier when he fell from the fourth level of a parking garage.

His handler had taken him to the garage to seek refuge during a hail storm. Argo became disoriented during the storm and inadvertently jumped over the garage's exterior wall. He was taken to a local veterinary hospital where he died two days later.
Rest in Peace Argo…till our next roll call at the Rainbow Bridge!

In Memory of all Police Dogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John Quealy

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Officer Down

Police Officer Jaimie Cox
Rockford Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Sunday, November 5, 2017
Age: 30
Tour: 1 year
Badge # 68
Cause: Vehicular assault

Police Officer Jaimie Cox was killed during a traffic stop near the intersection of East State Street and Dawn Avenue at approximately 1:00 am.

The vehicle attempted to flee during the incident and dragged Officer Cox before crashing two blocks North of the initial incident. Despite suffering critical injuries, Officer Cox was able to call for assistance. Responding officers found him on the ground near the crash scene. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The driver of the vehicle that fled was found deceased in the vehicle from a gunshot fired by Officer Cox.

Officer Cox had served with the Rockford Police Department for one year and had previously served with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Division of Law Enforcement. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard, serving from 2004 to 2010. He was part of an Army National Guard contingent deployed from 2008 to 2009 to Nangarhar province in Afghanistan and received honors including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He was also awarded the Illinois National Guard Abraham Lincoln Medal of Freedom Ribbon.
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. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

GPS and other crutches we've gotten too used to.

One of the best orders I was given when I was a lieutenant in Korea was to take a map and find out where I was. Took around fifteen minutes, resecting the mountains and other features, but I finally got it.

One of the frustrations I have with younger officers is they don't know how to use maps well. If at all. They have been raised on smart phones and GPS. Even the veterans have issues with paper maps, which is surprising. But I've also heard that the Navy has realized they have an issue with surface officers not knowing how to sextants and has reintroduced that training.

Last year I read an excellent book about a war with China, The Ghost Fleet. One of the first things they did was blind our GPS system. And that showed how vulnerable we are to over reliance on technology.

I found this article in the Wall Street Journal and it was interesting to see. It is one solution to a definite risk for America, but it's something to look at.
If GPS Failed, We’d Be More Than Lost
Congress should fund a land-based navigation system in case the other one goes down.

North Korea and Russia pose increasingly serious geopolitical threats to the U.S. and its allies. While these rogue nations possess nuclear weapons and formidable conventional forces, they have also used unconventional methods like hacking to attack government institutions and private companies. Add another target to the list of concerns: the Global Positioning System.

Built primarily for the U.S. military, GPS is now used by civilians across the globe. Smartphones, personal navigation units, and air-traffic control all rely on it. They’re part of modern life, constantly performing trivial and critical functions all over the country. Fifteen of the “18 Critical Infrastructure and Key Resource sectors” in the U.S. are GPS-reliant, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Temporary, local GPS failures have already proved chaotic. A truck driver in New Jersey used an illegal but easily acquired GPS jammer to prevent his boss from tracking him. As he drove past Newark Liberty International Airport, his jammer blocked air-traffic control signals. No one was injured, but someone setting out to do deliberate harm could pose a security risk in the future.

As troublesome as a minor threat is, what if GPS as a whole were attacked? The detonation of a nuclear device high in the atmosphere—and the creation of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, that would follow—present the most likely threat to the satellites that underpin the system. In September 1962, a nuclear test conducted by the U.S. accidentally destroyed a British satellite and streetlights in Hawaii, demonstrating the potential devastation of an EMP.

Anything that requires precise timing would be affected because GPS satellites serve as global timekeepers. The loss of clock synchronization across the world would cause the internet to stall and financial transactions to cease. Our ability to monitor and forecast the weather would be hobbled, too.

Even if America’s adversaries are not capable of pulling off such a feat, Mother Nature certainly is. In 1859, a ferocious solar storm known as the Carrington Event shot charged particles from the sun toward Earth. If it were to happen again today, experts believe that satellites all over the world could be destroyed. NASA warns that they can’t be protected. The U.S. would be wise to stockpile communications satellites to replace the ones the sun obliterates.

A better option is to build a land-based navigation system. The good news is that such a system, known as Loran, already exists and was used by the U.S. Coast Guard for years. But President Obama declared Loran obsolete in 2009, and Congress pulled funding for it. That was incredibly shortsighted. Loran is a great backup system because its signals would be difficult to jam and it would be less exposed to celestial events.

Congress is considering a bill, the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act, that would revive and enhance Loran into a highly reliable, ground-based backup system. This kind of system will not be completely impervious to EMPs or solar storms, but it would be less vulnerable than GPS satellites. In a world full of threats, it wouldn’t hurt to have a backup.

Mr. Everett is a systems engineer. Mr. Berezow is senior fellow at the American Council on Science and Health.

I don't know if bringing back LORAN is the solution, but it is a solution. At the very least it should be looked at. Sometimes old and slow work well.

K9 Down

K9 Jax
Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, California
End of Watch: Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 4
Gender: M
Tour: 2 years
Cause: Stabbed

K9 Jax was stabbed to death while attempting an apprehension at an apartment complex in the 500 block of East Weddell Avenue.

Officers had responded to a domestic violence incident in which a subject had stabbed his girlfriend. The man then barricaded himself inside of his home and refused commands to surrender. K9 Jax was stabbed when he was deployed to apprehend the subject.

The man was then shot and killed by an officer on scene when he attempted to attack the officers with the knife.

K9 Jax was transported to an emergency veterinary hospital where he died.

K9 Jax had served with the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety for two years.
Rest in Peace Jax…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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Officer Down

Senior Trooper Thomas Patrick Nipper
Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol, Texas
End of Watch: Saturday, November 4, 2017
Age: 63
Tour: 43 years, 10 months
Badge # 5595

Senior Trooper Tom Nipper was killed in a vehicle crash while conducting a traffic stop on southbound I-35, near Midway Drive, in Temple.

He was sitting in his patrol car during the stop when it was struck from behind by a pickup truck. The impact caused the patrol car to strike the stopped vehicle and Trooper Nipper. He was transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Trooper Nipper had served with the Texas Highway Patrol for almost 35 years and served in law enforcement for 43 years. He had previously served with the Nolanville Police Department, Hereford Police Department, Coryell County Sheriff's Office, Belton Police Department, and Gainseville Police Department.

Trooper Nipper won numerous awards during his tenure including the Field Major’s award for going beyond the call of duty to find and save the life of an abducted child.

He is survived by his wife and three 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. 

Again, listen to the Nice Doggie....

I've told suspects on the street, countless times, much better to surrender than face a four legged cop. Beautiful case in point.
Video shows Ore. K-9 taking down combative inmate

ST. HELENS, Ore. — Recently released body cam footage shows Oregon deputies directing a K-9 to take down a combative inmate in August.

KATU reports that Columbia County deputies were called about an inmate, 47-year-old Chris Bartlett, who refused to cooperate as other deputies attempted to move him into a new cell. When the officers opened the door to Bartlett’s old cell, the suspect “threw the tote at the opening door, which was in line with my head. The tote is approximately three pounds and it is a hard plastic material,” the K-9 handler wrote in his police report.

The K-9 took down Bartlett and bit him on his right arm. The deputies were able to handcuff the inmate and brought him to medical staff to check for injuries, which were minor and didn’t require treatment.

The way the deputies handled the inmate drew criticism from the suspect’s sister, who identified herself as Shawna. She said Bartlett is “mentally unstable” and that he was treated wrongly by the LEOs...

Kiss my ass. I has a jail supervisor for a year and if I could have dog available for an unruly prisoner, so be it. If that moron had simply come out, none of this would have been necessary. I just the K9 didn't get an infection from Bartlett.

These are the Voyages of Voyager I and Voyager 2

One of the few useful things from the Carter years, the launch of Voyager 1 on September 5, 1977. Ironically, Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977. They were initially planned to go into the Jupiter area, but they have made it to the outer edge of the our solar system. 60 Minutes did a great story on the Voyagers a couple of months ago, and it's worth a few minutes of your time.

NASA fired up Voyager 1’s backup thrusters for the first time in 37 years

NASA is getting really good at squeezing every last bit of life out of its hardware. It recently extended the Dawn spacecraft’s mission over Ceres for a second time, while New Horizons is on its way to check out a small icy body called 2014 MU69 in January 2019. Yesterday, NASA announced that it has successfully fired up four of Voyager 1’s backup thrusters, which haven’t been used since 1980, which should extend its life by a couple of years.

Voyager 1 is the only human-made object flying outside of our solar system, and it’s still communicating with Earth by way of the Deep Space Network, which allows engineers to send it instructions. The probe currently uses its attitude control thrusters to make tiny corrections — firing for only milliseconds at a time — to rotate it to point its antenna towards Earth. However, since 2014, engineers have found that those thrusters have been wearing down, and aren’t as effective.

The JPL’s engineers began to look into alternatives, and found a new way to steer the spacecraft: the probe’s trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) thrusters. These are located on the back of the spacecraft and are identical to the thrusters that they’ve used so far. The last time these thrusters were active was in November 1980, when the probe zipped by Saturn. They haven’t been used since then, and on Tuesday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory fired them up for the first time, and discovered that they worked. According to Voyager project manager Suzanne Dodd, the reactivated thrusters should help extend the life of the probe for another “two to three years.”

The team will switch over to the TCM thrusters in January, but there is a drawback: they require heaters to operate, which will draw on the probe’s limited power. The team will use the thrusters until they can no longer use the heaters, and will then switch back to the attitude control thrusters that they’ve been relying on. The JPL will also test out the TCM thrusters on Voyager 1’s twin, Voyager 2, although NASA says that that spacecraft’s attitude control thrusters are in better shape.

Well, we're not up to Voyager 6 yet, so we should not be worried about the VGER coming to attack us in the 23rd Century.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

What's going on in the World Today 171210

I don't know what to say really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. Either we heal as a teamor we are going to crumble.

Inch by inch, play by play, till we're finished.

We are in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me and we can stay here and get the s%^& kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old. I look around and I see these young facesand I think I mean I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make. I uh....I pissed away all my money believe it or not. I chased off anyone who has ever loved me. And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life things get taken from you. That's, that's part of life.
But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just a game of inches.

So is football. Because in either game life or football the margin for error is so small.
I mean one half step too late or to early you don't quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in ever break of the gameevery minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches that's going to make the f&*(ing difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what LIVING is. The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this teambecause he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys. That's all it is.

Now, whattaya gonna do?

Figured it was a good start to this post after a great Army-Navy game.



Arrests along Mexico border drop sharply under Trump, new statistics show

The number of people caught trying to sneak over the border from Mexico has fallen to the lowest level in 46 years, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics released Tuesday that offer the first comprehensive look at how immigration enforcement is changing under the Trump administration.

During the government’s 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, U.S. border agents made 310,531 arrests, a decline of 24 percent from the previous year and the fewest overall since 1971.

The figures show a sharp drop in apprehensions immediately after President Trump’s election win, possibly reflecting the deterrent effect of his rhetoric on would-be border crossers; starting in May, the number of people taken into custody began increasing again.

Arrests of foreigners living illegally in the United States have surged under Trump. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers made 110,568 such arrests between inauguration and the end of September, according to the figures published Tuesday, a 42 percent increase over the same period during the previous year.

Microwave weapon could fry North Korean missile controls, say experts

The U.S. has microwave weapons that proponents believe could stop North Korea from launching missiles by frying their electronics.

The weapons were discussed at an August White House meeting related to North Korea, according to two U.S. officials with direct knowledge.

The microwave weapons, known as CHAMPs, are fitted into an air-launched cruise missile and delivered from B-52 bombers. With a range of 700 miles, they can fly into enemy airspace at low altitude and emit sharp pulses of microwave energy to disable electronic systems.

"These high-powered microwave signals are very effective at disrupting and possibly disabling electronic circuits," said Mary Lou Robinson, who heads development of the weapons at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, in an exclusive interview with NBC News.

A CHAMP missile, short for Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project. The 700-mile range missiles are capable of flying into enemy airspace at low altitude, getting close to targets and emitting a series of sharp pulses of microwave energy to disable electronic systems. NBC News

Advocates say they could be used to stop North Korea from launching missiles by targeting the ground controls and the circuitry in the missiles themselves. The weapons are not currently operational.

How does a high-power microwave (HPM) weapon work?

"Think about when you put something in your microwave that has metal on it," said Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. "You know how badly that goes? Imagine directing those microwaves at someone's electronics."

Sen. Heinrich, a member of the Armed Services Committee, began his career as an engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque.

"Command and control centers are filled with electronic infrastructure which is highly vulnerable to high powered microwaves," said ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who ran the air wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and retired as the head of Air Force intelligence.

The Air Force and other government agencies have been working on the weaponization of microwaves for over two decades. Various emitters have been employed on the ground — in Afghanistan and Iraq, they have been used to disable improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and small drones.

But turning a high-power microwave into a strategic weapon was slowed by the need to reduce the size and weight of the emitter and then match it with an onboard power source sufficient to drive the microwave pulses.

The Air Force Research Laboratory began work on CHAMP, which stands for Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, in April 2009. The lab fitted the HPM emitter into a non-nuclear version of a Boeing-built air-launched cruise missile.

B-52s Fighting ISIS Soon Will Carry More Smart Bombs

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar—The U.S. Air Force B-52 squadron fighting Islamic State terrorists in the Middle East soon will be the first to field a key upgrade that will allow the venerable “BUFF” to carry eight additional smart weapons into battle.

The Vietnam-era bomber that flies close-air-support, air interdiction and deliberate targeting missions in U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility today is not your grandfather’s B-52, the airmen of the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS) told Aviation Week during a visit here Nov. 6. The B-52s here came off the line in 1960 and 1961, but various avionics and weapon systems upgrades in recent years have allowed the aircraft to remain a critical contributor to the modern battlefield.

“How we operate as a crew, the interfaces we have with the avionics system, and the weapons themselves—it’s almost completely different than it was just a few years ago,” said Lt. Col. Paul Goosen, 69th EBS commander.

Sometime in the next few months, the 69th EBS will become the first B-52 squadron to complete a key upgrade of the aircraft’s internal weapons bay, adding both precision and firepower to the fight against militants in the Middle East. The addition of the conventional rotary launcher (CRL) and Mil Std 1760 interface will allow the aircraft to carry smart weapons in the internal bay for the first time, enabling it to drop eight additional smart bombs, Goosen said.

The upgrade is a matter of simply changing out the existing three-fingered bomb rack for a yoke in the front and aft of the bay that will connect to the CRL, a process that only takes a few hours per aircraft, Goosen explained. Some of the B-52s here are currently going through the upgrade, and the entire squadron is expected to complete the modification in the next few months.

The change will also allow the B-52s at Al Udeid to drop Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (Jassm), an advanced long-range, radar-evading cruise missile, from the internal weapons bay.

Feds Quietly Reveal Chinese State-Backed Hacking Operation

Prosecutors say Chinese hackers from a mysterious cybersecurity firm stole corporate secrets from three big firms.

Prosecutors in the United States this week quietly outed what appears to be a Chinese state-linked hacking ring, an escalation in Washington’s campaign to pressure China over its trade practices and efforts to steal intellectual property from U.S. firms.

In an indictment unsealed on Monday, federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh allege that a trio of Chinese nationals and their cybersecurity firm Boyusec hacked three companies — industrial giant Siemens, the economic analysis firm Moody’s, and the GPS navigation company Trimble — and made off with sensitive company documents.

The indictment names Wu Yingzhuo, Dong Hao, and Xia Lei. The first two are co-founders of Boyusec, while Xia was an employee. With prosecutors scrutinizing the firm, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Boyusec disbanded earlier this month.

Prosecutors made no mention in court documents of any links between Boyusec and the Chinese state, a departure from a high-profile case in 2014 from the same office that publicly linked alleged hackers to Chinese government ministries. Then, the local FBI office drew up wanted posters of the Chinese army hackers and published photographs of the accused in their army uniforms.

But a trove of public evidence and research by private security firms strongly suggests that Boyusec is an affiliate of China’s powerful Ministry of State Security and appears to operate as a cover for cyber-espionage.

“There has been a lot of accumulated evidence that these guys are tied to the state,” said John Hultquist, the director of analysis for the computer security firm FireEye.

Despite the seemingly clear links between Boyusec and the Ministry of State Security, American officials have described the case as a routine criminal prosecution rather than one that implicates a Chinese intelligence agency…

The Navy is planning fresh challenges to China's claims in the South China Sea

U.S. Navy and Pacific Command leaders want to ratchet up potentially provocative operations in the South China Sea by sailing more warships near the increasingly militarized man-made islands that China claims as sovereign territory, according to several Navy officials.

The freedom of navigation operations, also known as FONOPS, could be carried out by ships with the San Diego-based Carl Vinson carrier strike group, which is in the Pacific Ocean heading toward the South China Sea, according to three defense officials who spoke to Navy Times on condition of anonymity to discuss operations in the planning phase.

The military's plans likely call for sailing within 12 nautical miles of China's newly built islands in the Spratly and/or Paracel islands, a move that would amount to a new challenge to Chinese maritime claims there that has raised tensions between Washington and Beijing in the recent past…

Where the North Korean Crisis Meets the Iran Nuclear Deal

By virtue of its military might, the United States has the unique ability to quickly — and credibly — place its most intractable adversaries under existential threat. Command over the world's most powerful military gives a country options, and the option of regime change can be a tempting one for Washington as it tries to work through some of its more maddening foreign policy dilemmas.

A government living under the constant, lurking threat of decapitation does not particularly enjoy stewing in its own paranoia over what social fissures its enemies can exploit, which allies they can turn and what chain of events could finally push the United States into action. That's why a nuclear deterrent is such an alluring prospect: What better way to kill your adversaries' fantasy of regime change than to stand with them as near-equals on a nuclear plane?

This is North Korea's rationale as the country closes in on demonstrating that it has a fully functional nuclear weapon and delivery arsenal. But Washington's nuclear dilemma doesn't end with Pyongyang. Whether Tehran attempts to return to its treacherous path toward nuclear armament rests in large part on just how seriously the White House entertains and attempts to execute a policy of regime change.FKOREAN




Is Chabahar port a game changer in India-Afghanistan-Central Asia trade?

NEW DELHI (TCA) — On December 3, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the first phase of the Chabahar port development project on the Gulf of Oman, with the participation of senior Afghan and Indian ministers, including the Indian Minister for External Affairs Mrs. Sushma Swaraj.

Iranian media quoted President Rouhani as saying that the port “will enhance trade in the region,” with a final aim to connect not just to Afghanistan via rail, but to the 7,200 km International North South Transport Corridor to Russia.

Chabahar is an open sea port in Iran’s Sistan Balochistan province next to the Gulf of Oman. The port has a great capacity of shipping goods and services especially for a land-locked country like Afghanistan.

India has committed $500 million to the port project and will develop a free trade area around the port. Its primary interest is developing trade with Afghanistan through the port, which will allow both countries to engage in trade bypassing Pakistan…

JAL Options Up to 20 Boom Supersonic Airliners

Japan Airlines (JAL) has entered into a strategic partnership with Boom Supersonic, the Mach 2-plus airliner developer, and has placed purchase options for up to 20 aircraft.

The Japanese flag carrier becomes the second airline after Virgin Atlantic to reveal its support of the Denver-based supersonic airliner project, which is targeting entry into service in the mid-2020s. Together with the 10 options announced by Virgin in mid-2017, the JAL commitment represents almost half of the 76 options received by Boom to date. Three additional operators for the remaining 46 aircraft remain unidentified.

The Boom concept is targeting supersonic travel at current business-class prices by bringing together a 55-seat design using structures, advanced aerodynamics and propulsion technology that was not available in the 1960s for the development of the Anglo-French Concorde, the world’s first operationally successful supersonic airliner. The delta-winged Boom trijet design is intended to rely on a 10% higher speed than Concorde to achieve high use and shorter sector times on 4,500-nm routes, most of which will be flown over water.


Germany Is Preparing to Send Refugees Back to Syria
Syria’s war isn’t over, but a growing number of German policymakers are trying to revoke asylum and send Syrians back home — against their will, if necessary.

Later this week, the interior ministers of the German states will be discussing, and voting on, a proposal to be begin forcibly repatriating Syrian refugees once their asylum status lapses — as early as next June. If they agree, it would then be up to the federal interior ministry to decide whether parts of Syria are safe for return. That is considered unlikely, at least for the moment.

But as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad mops up remaining opposition to his rule, and as the threat from the Islamic State melts away, Germany and other European states will have to judge — far sooner than they expected to — whether to send Syrians back to their devastated homeland, or to some portion of it. Given the political pressures, there is no reason to assume that the decision will be based on the best interests of the refugees themselves…

Parliament Joins the Battle Over Brexit


The EU Withdrawal Bill that will transfer EU rules and norms into British law, a crucial part of the Brexit process, has entered the lower House of Commons for debate and is scheduled for final approval in early 2018.

Lawmakers in both the governing Conservative party and the opposition Labour party are criticizing the bill and will need to address various controversial topics before the end of the year.

Political infighting could lead to the appointment of a new prime minister, though replacing British Prime Minister Theresa May with another Conservative politician won’t heal party divisions.

The British Parliament has begun answering important questions about the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union. On Nov. 14, the EU Withdrawal Bill, which will repeal the European Communities Act of 1973 and transfer EU rules and norms into British law, entered the committee stage in the lower House of Commons. The lower house will debate and vote on hundreds of amendment proposals until late December, when the bill will be sent to the upper House of Lords for discussion and approval in early 2018.

The bill has a simple goal: Ensure legal continuity after Britain leaves the bloc. Over time, British authorities will have the chance to decide what to keep, what to amend and what to scrap. But lawmakers in both the governing Conservative party and the opposition Labour party are criticizing this crucial step of the Brexit process. Although the government managed to agree on several proposed amendments during the first day of debate, the most controversial topics remain and will need to be addressed before the end of the year…


The Battle for Advantage in Afghanistan
Both the U.S.-backed Afghan National Security Forces and the Taliban will ramp up their operations in the years ahead to break the stalemate in Afghanistan. 
The Taliban will seek to elevate its rural insurgency by seizing critical urban terrain, while Afghan security forces will transition to major offensive operations to regain key territory in the countryside. 
Both sides, however, will face substantial obstacles, impeding their efforts toward breaking the stalemate. 
The war in Afghanistan, which has embroiled U.S. and NATO forces in battle with Taliban insurgents for the better part of two decades, remains locked in a stalemate that both sides are trying to figure out how to break. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the U.S. forces in the country,

acknowledged the impasse in a Nov. 23 interview, but added that he thinks a coming surge of U.S. troops into the country will help the Afghan National Security Forces conduct major offensives over the next two years that will turn the tide of the war in their favor. Meanwhile, on the other side of the conflict, the Taliban have been busy shoring up their positions and looking for ways to intensify their insurgency. For both sides, however, breaking the stalemate is much easier said than done, especially given the complexities inherent to the Afghan battlefield.


Japan to help finance China's Belt and Road projects

The Japanese government plans to cooperate with China on its Belt and Road initiative by financially supporting private-sector partnerships, as Tokyo seeks to improve bilateral ties with its Asian neighbour, the Nikkei reported on Wednesday.

Cooperation will centre on the environmental sector, industrial modernization and logistics, according to guidelines compiled by the government, the Japanese business daily said.

Assistance will include loans through government-backed financial institutions to promote cooperation among private Japanese and Chinese firms working on projects in third-party countries, it said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road initiative is an extensive infrastructure plan that will link Asia with the Middle East and Europe, although critics say it is more about spreading Chinese influence...


Iran: The Prime Suspect in a Dissident's Death

Fred Burton

When I see news of a political activist's slaying, the first thing I look for is how the crime was committed. Often, the modus operandi will have characteristics in common with those from other cases of politically motivated murder that I have investigated in the past. The path to finding answers in some of those cases can be crystal clear, but investigators in others must follow a very murky trail, especially in those carried out by state-sponsored actors.

On Nov. 9, the Reuters news service reported on the murder of Iranian political activist Ahmad Mola Nissi, who was shot to death on a street in Amsterdam. Dutch police arrested a suspect who had fled the scene after the attack, but he has since been released from custody. Curiously, Nissi had been part of a group seeking to establish an independent state inside Iran, an aspiration that points toward a state-sponsored suspect in the case. As our Threat Lens team wrote: "The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been implicated in carrying out surveillance on targets of interest in Europe, and could certainly carry out hits like this one. While nothing concrete so far links Iran to the killing, no motives more compelling than silencing a separatist have been put forward."






North Korea: The Limits of Chinese Pressure
Washington is becoming more and more concerned that North Korea will achieve its goal of creating a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States as early as next year. The United States is doing all it can economically, politically and militarily to stop it, but North Korea hasn't slowed the pace of its test launches, the latest of which it conducted Nov. 28. In response, U.S. President Donald Trump phoned Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov. 30 to discuss the launch and to urge Beijing to cut its economic ties to North Korea. Less conspicuously but perhaps more notably, the day before the call, U.S. and Chinese military leaders engaged in rare security talks in Washington.
China has recently increased its economic pressure on North Korea and its compliance with U.N. sanctions, investigating companies with trade ties to North Korea and those under U.N. sanctions. But the efforts have done little to deter North Korea, and the United States wants China to do more. According to the White House, during the phone call Trump urged Xi to use all the levers at his disposal to convince North Korea to halt its nuclear program, including cutting all oil exports to the country. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley later warned in an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council that if China did not take that critical step itself, the United States would "take the oil situation into [its] own hands." China, for its part, is sticking fast to its demand that the United States and South Korea stop military drills in the region in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons program...

Securing North Korean nuclear sites would require a ground invasion, Pentagon says
The only way to locate and secure all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites “with complete certainty” is through an invasion of ground forces, and in the event of conflict, Pyongyang could use biological and chemical weapons, the Pentagon told lawmakers in a new, blunt assessment of what war on the Korean Peninsula might look like.
The Pentagon, in a letter to lawmakers, said that a full discussion of U.S. capabilities to “counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities” is best suited for a classified briefing.
The letter also said that Pentagon leaders “assess that North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons” and that the country “has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents.”
The Pentagon repeated that a detailed discussion of how the United States would respond to the threat could not be discussed in public…
The History of North Korea's Arsenal
Editor's Note
The war of words between the United States and North Korea is escalating, and the world is watching intently to see what each country does next. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has even threatened to carry out an atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean. But such a display would simply be the latest in a lengthy series of missile and nuclear tests that spans over a decade. Each new step that Pyongyang has taken in its development of missile and nuclear technology has been critical to its goal of acquiring a viable nuclear deterrent to U.S. military action against it. And further strides are on the horizon.
A Look at the Islamic State's Infiltration of a Syrian Air BaseSatellite imagery shows the damage inflicted to a Syrian airbase

Imagery acquired by Stratfor working with its partners at AllSource Analysis illustrates the damage inflicted by an Islamic State infiltration attack on the Syrian loyalist air base at Deir el-Zour. A relief force recently reached the base and the Deir el-Zour garrison, which had endured more than three years of siege by the Islamic State. As can be seen from the attack, however, the Islamic State still maintains the capability to inflict damage and carry out attacks in the region even as it has technically ceased to control territory around Deir el-Zour and its airbase.
On Nov. 13, reports from loyalist sources indicated that the Islamic State had conducted a suicide infiltration attack on Deir el-Zour air base. Subsequent reports from loyalist sources in the days after the attack highlighted how a vehicle full of Islamic State fighters dressed as Russian troops and speaking Russian successfully talked their way onto the base before initiating their surprise attack. Satellite imagery from Nov. 18 depicts the aftermath of the attack, illustrating how the Islamic State fighters were able to penetrate about 600 meters through checkpoints, security fences and defensive fighting positions before reaching their key targets, the L-39 trainers used as light attack jets by the Syrian Arab air force. The attackers appear to have inflicted considerable damage, destroying up to four of the jets, which airbase personnel look to have subsequently pushed off the aircraft aprons. As of Nov. 18, satellite imagery points to six L-39 jets still being operational at Deir el-Zour air base, although one of these jets appears to have been lost in a crash on approach to the base on Nov. 21. All told, the Syrian Arab air force likely lost half of its L-39s at Deir el-Zour over the span of a couple of weeks, greatly reducing its capacity to provide air support for local counterinsurgency operations.
Trump could let the UAE buy F-35 jets: The Trump administration has agreed to consider a long-standing request by the UAE to enter into preliminary talks on future procurement of the F-35 joint strike fighter.
WASHINGTON ― As part of a larger U.S. strategy for enhanced strategic cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, the Trump administration has agreed to consider a long-standing request by Abu Dhabi to enter into preliminary talks on future procurement of the F-35 joint strike fighter.
While no decision has been made, the willingness to consider extending a classified briefing to the UAE as the first significant step toward acquisition of the fifth-generation stealth fighter signals a departure from policy enforced under former President Barack Obama. The Obama administration had consistently rebuffed Emirati requests for the briefing dating back to 2011, citing Washington’s commitment to preserve Israel’s so-called Qualitative Military Edge, or QME...
The Defeat and Survival of the Islamic State
Several people have asked me lately whether I thought the Islamic State will become a "virtual caliphate" now that it has lost most of the terrain it once held, including the strategic cities of Mosul and Raqqa. At the same time, I've talked with people who claim that the Islamic State has been destroyed. Both viewpoints have some truth to them, but neither is the whole truth. Both miss where the Islamic State is really headed.
Charting the Islamic State
When attempting to chart the trajectory of the Islamic State pole of the jihadist movement, it is important to recognize that the group is more of a movement than an organization. As we see it, the Islamic State has three main components: the Islamic State core in Iraq and Syria; the Islamic State franchises in Libya and other parts of the world; and grassroots jihadists who are not connected to the core or to the franchise groups. While each element swears allegiance to Caliph Ibrahim, also known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, they are all distinct and will respond differently to the Islamic State's losses on the battlefield.
The core organization, of course, has taken the biggest hit from the coalition efforts against it in Iraq and Syria. In addition to losing huge stretches of terrain, the group has lost vast numbers of troops and heavy weapons systems, along with significant sources of funding. In this sense, it's true that the physical caliphate as it existed in 2014 has been destroyed. That doesn't mean, however, that the Islamic State core organization has been destroyed. The group has weathered defeats before…
The Rapid Rise of Mohammed bin Salman
Something extraordinary is happening in Saudi Arabia. The new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS, as many call him, has embarked on changes that could alter the world.
Breaking Taboos
His ambitious plan for the kingdom's future, Saudi Vision 2030 — worked out with help from the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. — envisages a whole panoply of reforms. The measures range from health care and education initiatives to a $500 billion project to build a new city to proposals for treating the Saudi economy's "addiction to oil." Along with reform, MbS is taking on his country's cultural and political taboos. He wants to break the taboo against selling off any part of the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., better known as Saudi Aramco, by floating an initial public offering for less than 5 percent of the huge company. Proceeds from the sale would go toward creating the world's largest sovereign investment fund, which, as MbS described in his first interview on Al-Arabiya television, would "take control over more than (10) percent of the investment capacity of the globe" and "own more than (3) percent of the assets on Earth." MbS is also breaking the long-standing taboo that forbids women from driving.
And perhaps most significant, he wants to break the hold of the hard-line Wahhabi clerics who came to power in 1979, when militants occupied Mecca's Grand Mosque at the time of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Public entertainment has been banned since then, but MbS will bring it back. As he said to a gathering of some 3,500 visitors he hosted at an economic development conference Oct. 24, Saudis "are returning to what we were before — a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world ... We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today." He then vowed to "eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon…"
Exclusive: Yemen rebel missiles fired at Saudi Arabia appear Iranian - U.N.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Remnants of four ballistic missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi rebels this year appear to have been designed and manufactured by Riyadh’s regional rival Iran, a confidential report by United Nations sanctions monitors said, bolstering a push by the United States to punish the Tehran government.
The independent panel of U.N. monitors, in a Nov. 24 report to the Security Council seen by Reuters on Thursday, said it “as yet has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier” of the missiles, which were likely shipped to the Houthis in violation of a targeted U.N. arms embargo imposed in April 2015.
Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Iran of supplying Houthi rebels with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the United Nations to hold Tehran accountable for violating two U.N. Security Council resolutions…
MISCA Key Intelligence Advisory Board Has No MembersPresident Trump’s antipathy toward the intel community extends to the Intelligence Advisory Board.
After more than a year, U.S. President Donald Trump has failed to nominate a single member to work on an advisory board that reviews the intelligence community, and which has played a low-profile, but sometimes critical role in previous administrations.
The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, established in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to track Soviet development of nuclear weapons and bombers, is a part-time independent committee typically made up of experts from outside government in law, industry, technology, and the military — and sometimes the president’s personal friends and political donors. The board tends to operate in the shadows, and many of its decades-old recommendations and meetings have only recently been declassified.
One diplomat's stinging resignation letter offers a glimpse into the weakening State Department under Trump.
While National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton told Foreign Policy Trump “will definitely be nominating members” in August, no names publicly surfaced as possible appointees, apart from September news reports suggesting that tech magnate and Trump confidante Peter Thiel might be in the running to be the chair.
While advisory board’s Wikipedia page was edited two months ago to include Thiel as an advisor, Anton insists the information is incorrect. “We haven’t named anyone,” Anton said. The Atlantic reported Thiel dropped out of consideration earlier this month.
Three senior White House sources told Vanity Fair in September that Thiel was a favored choice to hold the intelligence advisor post because Trump wanted a “fresh set of eyes” when it comes to overseeing the intelligence community. It’s unclear who else would be considered in Thiel’s place if he has, in fact, withdrawn his name from consideration.
The White House webpage where details about the board are meant to reside is currently blank, other than a note to “Check back soon for more information…”