American Thinker was good enough to post another post of mine. Please, let me know what you think.
What Mass Shootings Mean for Good Police Work
In the weeks after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre (please don't call it a tragedy), the concepts of service and leadership have been churning in my head. As the events have unfolded, we've discovered four school resource officers were ordered not to enter, but to hold outside and secure a perimeter.
I started my police career a couple of years before Columbine. One of the first things said to me in the academy is that police are not military, but paramilitary. We share some of the same characteristics (e.g. uniform, firearms, legal authority to use force), but we were civilian authority, not military. And one of the points put into us at an early part of training was that when you had someone shooting inside a building, secure the area and wait for supervision, instructions, SWAT, etc.
That all changed on April 20, 1999.
Anyone who's served knows that when the shooting starts, the tunnel vision begins, and you instantly go back to your training. The officers in Columbine did what they were trained to do: secure the scene and wait for specialized assistance. And in the months and years after that, police all over the country knew that the training, or doctrine, if you will, must adjust to a new threat. If you have someone actively shooting at civilians in an area, officers must immediately engage to stop him. And as we look into a brave new world, we know we are at a disadvantage.
1. They are knowledgable of the target area, while the responders may not be. Klebold and Harris attended Columbine High School for years and knew its layout. Omar Mateen scouted out the Pulse Nightclub in the weeks prior to his attack in 2016. Syed Rizwan Farook worked at the San Bernardino County health department for five years prior to the 2015 attack.
2. Active shooters are motivated not by money, but by hatred or rage against perceived offenses. The shooters in Columbine were the "outside" group. Elliot Rodger, sometimes known as the "Virgin Killer," attacked sorority women for their rejection of his advances. Micah Johnson's murder of five cops in Dallas was in response to perceived unjustified shootings of black men by police officers.
3. Escape may not be a goal. In Columbine, both boys apparently planned to end their lives, as did Johnson in Dallas. However, in Las Vegas, it appears that Stephen Paddock planned to escape, but killed himself when he knew he would be captured. This will make stopping and negotiating with the shooters unlikely to stop the killing, as was shown in Dallas and Orlando.
4. The aggressor selects his location to his advantage. We've had active shooter situations before Columbine. On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed the clock tower at the University of Texas and started shooting. He murdered 13 and wounded 30 (and no, it was not with an AR-15 on "full semi-automatic" mode, but with a bolt action rifle). In February 1997, Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr. and Emil Dechebal Matasareanu, equipped with body armor, attempted to rob a Bank of America in North Hollywood, initially overpowering the first responders.
As the threats have changed, so have our responses. Since the turn of the century, police agencies all over the country have adapted a military style of clearing a building, as well as closing and engaging a shooter. Some question if this training and guidance was countermanded in the Douglas High School shooting. According to recent reports, a Broward County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) captain ordered four school resource officers to set up a perimeter, instead of engaging, which is what the BCSO states it trains its deputies to do and is in accordance with agency policy.
In the aftermath of Parkland, we as police must look at the events that unfolded last month. It's incumbent to review the actions taken, improve on what was done well, and correct what has to be rectified. Initial reaction, tactics, etc. are all subject to scrutiny. One thing must also not be overlooked: as one friend and fellow sergeant said it, "if you're not willing to go in, turn in the badge."
I'll be the first to say a cop (or a soldier, for that matter) doesn't know how he will react until the bullets start flying. But one thing is certain: you must have your mindset right. I've read in unconfirmed internet sources that Deputy Peterson was not wearing body armor. If that is correct, he was not ready for the worst case scenario, which is what he is paid to be prepared for.
Another point I will bring out goes back to the men at Columbine. An academy classmate ran our agency's active shooter training a few years ago, and he made an insightful point about the officers responding to an active shooter: "I'm not going to second-guess them, but we all have a badge, and we entered this profession knowing what was expected of us. And people have to know we will do what has to be done." Four SROs followed the orders of a captain while there were kids being murdered. They will have to live with their consciences, wondering from this point forward, "Should I have just said, 'Screw you, I've got to look myself in the mirror and there are kids in there'?"
Last week, I listened to a podcast called The Art of Manliness. The host was interviewing Dale Dye, a retired Marine captain about his new book. Dye mentioned another thing I have been pondering since.
"On the day, at Quantico, Virginia, the day that I had been through Officer's Candidate School, and been though the basic school, and I was going to be commissioned, I remember that morning getting up and getting my dress uniform ready, to go down and fall into formation and be commissioned with the other candidates, and I was shaving and I looked myself in the mirror and said, "You know, when the day comes that you can't look your people in the eye and say, 'Follow me, it is necessary that we die'...when that day comes, it's the day you're not leading anymore, and you should quit."
It is a bit dramatic, but it is true. Fellow peace officers, if the day comes that you cannot look yourself in the mirror and say, "I will risk life and career for the people I serve," it is time to turn in the badge.
Michael A. Thiac is a police patrol sergeant and a retired Army intelligence officer. When not patrolling the streets, he can be found on A Cop's Watch.
I'm a long time listener of Mark Levin on his radio show, and I love his books. His expose of the courts, Men in Black, is required reading for anyone who has faith in the third branch of the federal government. Looking in detail at the men who have occupied the courts in the past (or the men and women who do now) will make you shudder.
Now Levin has recently started a one hour interview program on Fox News called Life, Liberty and Levin. He states this is based on the Firing Line series on PBS, hosted by the late great William F. Buckley. His second episode was an interview with Prime Minister Benjamin "Bebe" Netanyahu.
I've been a long time admirer of Prime Minister Netanyahu, as he has been the lone voice in the wilderness over the past decade, especially in the greatest threat in the Middle East, Iran. A very vocal opponent of the Iran nuke deal, he had the audacity to accept the invitation of the U. S. House of Representatives and actually explained this (then) proposed plan was an absolute disaster. A simple case of reality, if Iran is not working on nuclear weapons, why is it working on intcrcontenantial ballistic missiles? The is no reason to build them except to put a nuke on top. I wonder why the liberals were so upset, I mean he was only preforming a job the Americans were not preforming at the time. Leader of the free world.
Levin speaks to the Prime Minister for an hour and Real Clear Politics has a good transcript of the highlights here. You can, if you sign in, get the full interview here. One part not in the extract below is a question on how Netanyahu is a strong admirer of Sir Winston Churchill, and Levin asked why. Netanyahu has a great point to ponder, "Imagine how history would be different if Churchill was prime minister in 1935. We may have avoided, what he called, the unnecessary war...we may have avoided the unnecessary Holocaust...." Well said sir, I've often believed when times are bad, men come up to meet the challenge.
If you want a great interview, well worth the hour, watch the full hour. Here is an abstract.
Netanyahu discusses going to high school and college in the U.S. and his four terms as Israeli Prime Minister.
Transcript courtesy of Fox News Channel:
MARK LEVIN: Welcome to Life, Liberty and Levin. It’s an honor to see you, Mr. Prime Minister.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Is that it? Life, Liberty and Levin?
LEVIN: That’s it.
NETANYAHU: I’m glad to be here.
LEVIN: Emphasis on the Levin.
NETANYAHU: I got it.
LEVIN: Well, I’ve noticed, you’ve been here several days. Your relationship with the President of the United States seems to be very personal. (INAUDIBLE) it personal and how did it get that way?
NETANYAHU: It is. And it began that way, that’s the way it began. Can’t explain it. It’s just like that.
LEVIN: You have shared values and beliefs and that sort of thing?
NETANYAHU: Yeah, I think so. But there’s also a certain chemistry. I mean, the president likes to cut through --
NETANYAHU: I don’t want to call it noise. There are two initial, in English, you know. (LAUGHS) It just cuts right through it and it’s refreshing when we talk about (INAUDIBLE) it gets right to the point. And I appreciate it. Also I remember him, when I was an ambassador of Israel to the United Nations and he was a very prominent businessman in New York and we occasionally sort of bumped in the same circles, but we met years later and it’s been a direct and very positive relationship from the get go.
LEVIN: As a matter of fact, you served at the embassy here. And you’ve spent a little chunk of your life in America. In fact, you and I went to the same high school; not together, but the same high school, Chelvingham (ph) outside of Philadelphia.
LEVIN: Tell the American people, you know, your life in America. When did it start and where did it go?
NETANYAHU: Well, I came here for the first time I think when I was eight years old for about a year. Didn’t know a word of English. My father came here to edit the -- he was a great professor, a great historian, but the way he made his living was that he edited encyclopedias, so he edited, they wanted him to edit the Great Jewish Encyclopedia, which he did for a year and then he said, it’s not good enough; I don’t want my name on it.
But during that year we lived in Manhattan and I came here, God, I didn’t know a word of English. It was bizarre and difficult for me. There was a girl they put next to me; her name was Judy. And I remember Judy, because she taught me English. She took out a book; it was a book of pictures. They had a dog. His name was Spot. See Spot run. Run, Spot, run. And Judy, believe it or not, and my dearly, well, my dear mother, they’re the ones who taught me English. So that was my first year, eight to nine.
And then I came back here from the age of 13 till the end of high school, and (INAUDIBLE). And that’s it. And then I went back to the army and came back to study at MIT.
LEVIN: You studied at MIT. You studied, what did you study?
NETANYAHU: First I studied architecture, then I went to the business school and got a, basically an MBA.
LEVIN: And you took a job in America?
NETANYAHU: Yeah, I went to work for about a year, at the Boston Consulting Group.
LEVIN: Is that where you met Romney?
NETANYAHU: Yeah. He was ahead of me. He was Star Manager, actually. You know the horrible thing about Mitt? He looks exactly the same (LAUGHTER) -- he hasn’t changed.
LEVIN: His hair hasn’t moved.
NETANYAHU: Nothing has moved. (LAUGHS) He looked the same and it was a very good place where, to be honest, I mean I thought -- that year that I spent there, in the presence of the founder of the Boston Consulting Group, was a real genius, he was a very eccentric genius. His name was Bruce Henderson. And I remember that I came in on the first day -- never been to a business (INAUDIBLE) -- you know, I spent five years in the army. I was an officer, I was a soldier and a commander in a Special Forces unit.
Went to MIT, finished my undergraduate, finished my building studies. Get into this consulting firm and the first day Bruce Henderson, who was a very imposing figure, must have been in his early 70’s, of Virginia -- he told me, "Come inside; shut the door, sit down," and he says, "You know, you’re not going to be here very long, because you’ll go back to your country. So study everything you can here, because one day it will help the state of Israel," and I thought, this guy is bonkers. What is he talking about? Well, I’m 27 years old and he tells me to pick up what I can because it will help the state of Israel.
He was absolutely right. Because I learned something about how economies grow. They grow with the firms. The firms make the economy. You have to make it profitable for the firms to grow the economy.
LEVIN: Now what do we mean by "firms"?
NETANYAHU: Entrepreneurs. Business people. That’s what makes the economy grow -- the guys who produce the added value of the private centers. The guys who consume (INAUDIBLE) is the public center. In order to have the things that the public center needs (ph) is like an air force or roads or things like that. Or other things. Okay? You need to have a robust, private center. I learned that, more than anywhere else, at the Boston Consulting Group.
LEVIN: And part of your career, in the Israeli government, has been on the financial side.
LEVIN: When my family and I came to Israel, the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem, the unification of Jerusalem. I saw all these cranes. I saw all this building going on. I saw these skyscrapers with names of American technological companies on them and so forth. Have you applied those policies as prime minister and so forth in Israel?
NETANYAHU: I will eventually fight fair (ph) and I’m a great believer in free markets and one of my missions, my two missions was to free up the Israeli market, Israeli economy, so that it becomes a free market economy -- to unleash the genius that is embedded in our people. The sparks fly out the minute you open up the marketplace. You allow enterprise, innovation, risk to fail or succeed. And that’s (LAUGHS) a lot of reforms. I’ve been there. As prime minister and then subsequently a finance minister and then subsequently as prime minister again and again and again; still doing. So the Israeli economy has been growing under these reforms, consistently, at about, between four to five percent a year. And the GDP per capita will probably catch up with Japan in a couple of years, Israel.
LEVIN: Yeah, it’s a big deal.
NETANYAHU: Yeah, it’s a big deal.
LEVIN: Particularly in technology. There seems to be a huge growth in Israel. The amount of technology that is developing in your country, and yet it’s a tiny little country -- and you sell it to, you know, you work for countries, massive countries like India and so forth -- that’s obviously part of your plan. Right?
NETANYAHU: It’s very much my plan. It says (INAUDIBLE) technology by itself doesn’t do anything. You know, you want a country that has great scientists, great mathematicians, great physicists, great metallurgists -- the Soviet Union -- didn’t do anything. But if you took one of these guys, you know, smuggle them out, put them in Palo Alto, you know, within two weeks he was producing a lot of added value. He was producing wealth. So technology without free market doesn’t go anywhere.
Israel had the technology, but it didn’t have free markets. It had the technology because the military, especially military intelligence, produced a lot of capabilities that unless you opened it up, so people could start their businesses, these incredibly gifted young men and women who come out of the army or the Mossad, they want to start their startups. Well, they can’t. If you have to pay 70 percent tax, it’s not going to go anywhere. They’re going to go elsewhere.
So one of the things that I did the minute I became prime minister and then finance minister was to enact an enormous number of reforms, like several dozen reforms -- that opened up the economy, reduced the tax rates, reduce spending and cut the bureaucracy. I had to -- it was a big challenge, you know. How do you explain this to the people of Israel, you know? So I took about two weeks to format an economic plan and then I had to explain it to the public and I said this.
I described my first day in basic training in the paratroopers and the commander lines us up in a big field; the whole company and he says, "We’re now going to take, we’re going to do a special race. You," he points at me, "Netanyahu, you pick up the guy next to you, put him on your shoulders. And the next guy, you put the guy next to you on your shoulders," and so on. And I got a fairly big guy on my shoulders, about my size, and I could barely take two steps forward when he blew the whistle. The guy next to me was the smallest guy in the company and he got the biggest guy on his shoulders; he just collapsed on the spot.
And the third guy was the, was a big guy and he had a relatively small guy on his shoulders -- he took off like a rocket and won the race. And I said in the international world, all national economies are paired of a public sector, sitting on the shoulders of a private sector. In our case, the private sector was collapsing under a public sector that got too fat. So we have to put the fat man on a diet and we have to give a lot of oxygen to the thin man below. That’s called tax relief. And we have to cut all these barriers to the competition, all these regulations that prevent that guy from running forward. This became known as the Fat Man Fitting (ph) Taxi Cab Drivers couldn’t recite it; they still couldn’t recite it. And that’s essentially what we ended up doing.
What I ended up doing was to trim the public sector, help the private sector and remove the barriers to competition, which I still have to do. I fight regulation with machetes, all the time.
LEVIN: In addition to the economy, I watch these votes in the U.N. I see the president of Guatemala. I see these leaders of India. And what I notice, observing Israel over the last several decades, you obviously have a big push going on where you want to take Israel’s case all over the world, including in our hemisphere in America, in Asia, India and so forth -- is that born fruit? It appears to, at the U.N. and some other places.
NETANYAHU: Well, it’s certainly born fruit in international relations, because having, having reformed Israeli economy, we got the prowess of technological advance. Because technology with free market definitely works. And with the, you know, this amalgamation of Big Data, artificial intelligence and productivity, as well as creating industries out of thin air, literally out of thin air.
We have a car industry that’s autonomous vehicles. World leader. Between driving the (LAUGHS) world economy, cyber, you know, we’re a tiny fraction of one percent and we get 20 percent, 20 percent of the world investment in private cyber security -- huge.
On the other side we have security. We have superb intelligence. We’ve foiled dozens of terrorist attacks. Of ISIS; major terrorist attacks. Including the downing of an airliner. You can imagine what that would be.
LEVIN: And for all countries, you share that information.
NETANYAHU: We share it, we not only do it for us, we share it with dozens of countries. We’ve prevented dozens of terrorist attacks, major terrorists attacks. So when you take security interests and intelligence, the countries out to protect themselves against terrorism, and that’s pretty much all countries, and you take the needs for technological innovation that is driving the world right now, both of them are present in Israel and so everybody wants them and that gives me the third thing, which is this massive flourishing of Israel’s diplomatic relations with just about every country in the world. Not all.
We’re not big on North Korea. You know. Not too big on Iran. But just about everyone else. And so this is a triangle. It’s economic power, security power, gives you diplomatic power. That will take a few years to translate itself into the votes of this archaic body called the General Assembly of the United Nations. Or some of the other bodies. That will take a while, until they get the news.
The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups, based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance over the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and supports a Carrier Air Wing, or CVW. The CSG includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. An MEU is built around a heavily reinforced and mobile battalion of Marines.
Carrier Strike Groups
The USS Carl Vinson CSG is underway in the Pacific Ocean for a western Pacific deployment.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt CSG is underway in a deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.
The USS Abraham Lincoln is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting carrier qualifications.
The USS John C. Stennis is underway in the Pacific Ocean conducting routine training.
Amphibious Ready Groups/Marine Expeditionary Units
The USS Wasp is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR on a scheduled patrol.
The USS Bonhomme Richard is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR on a scheduled patrol.
The USS Iwo Jima is on a scheduled port visit to Limassol, Cyprus, while underway in the U.S. 6th Fleet AOR.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer listed the countries likely to be excluded from President Donald Trump's new steel and aluminum import tariffs as Canada, Mexico South Korea, the European Union, Argentina and Brazil, according to a CNBC reporter March 21. Notable exceptions include China, which Washington is targeting with trade measures, and Japan. (The Japanese trade minister recently said he expected Japan to be exempted from the tariffs.) A 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum will take effect March 23. The decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum was made following a U.S. Commerce Department report Feb. 16, which revealed that steel and aluminum imports threaten U.S. national security.
President Donald Trump was ridiculed on Twitter after pronouncing during a visit to Boeing’s St. Louis facility that the company’s new F/A-18 Super Hornet will be equipped with the “latest and the greatest stealth, and a lot of things on that plane that people don’t even know about.”
But it turns out Trump was on to something. Boeing is about to kick off an exhaustive effort to transition the U.S. Navy’s carrier air wing to the “Block III” Super Hornet, a next-generation version of the strike fighter complete with new sensors, extended range, a more powerful computer and, yes, enhanced stealth coating.
These changes will allow the Super Hornet to fly alongside the Lockheed Martin F-35C carrier variant as the backbone of the Navy’s carrier air wing into the 2040s and beyond, says Dan Gillian, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18 program manager.
Block III Super Hornet will get enhanced stealth coating
New aircraft will begin rolling off the production line in 2020
Trump previewed the new and improved fighter during a March 14 visit to the St. Louis facility, which has been building F/A-18s, first the A-D Hornet and later the E/F Super Hornet, since 1978.
Gillian confirms that an improved low-observable (LO) coating will be one of five key characteristics of the Block III Super Hornet. The fighter is already “a very stealth airplane today”—he says, declining to elaborate—but there are new coatings engineers can apply on different surfaces of the aircraft to make it even more survivable, he says.
The F/A-18 was not designed specifically to be stealthy and lacks many of the fundamental stealth characteristics baked into Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and F-22 airframes. But there are other ways to enhance stealth, such as adding LO coating and radar-absorbent material improvements in certain locations on the airframe. A few simple changes “can buy us just a little bit of performance that’s low-cost and easy to go do,” Gillian says.
The souped-up aircraft the Navy has agreed to buy looks very different from Boeing’s original 2013 proposal for an “Advanced Super Hornet,” which focused on stealth. Boeing engineers found they needed to make design compromises to significantly reduce the aircraft’s radar cross section—for instance, by restricting payload, Gillian told Aviation Week in 2017 (AW&ST Feb. 20-March 5, 2017, p. 17).
This drove Boeing to drop certain features of the 2013 proposal, such as an enclosed weapons pod and internal infrared search-and-track (IRST) sensor, from the newest package...
Three militia members plotted for months to blow up an apartment complex housing Somali immigrants in western Kansas, saying that they wanted to “exterminate cockroaches,” a federal prosecutor said Thursday at the start of their trial.... [They] are charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction to detonate truck bombs in the meatpacking town of Garden City, 220 miles (350 kilometers) west of Wichita....
India’s declaration – just ahead of a planned lunar mission – comes at a time when governments are looking at the moon for the first time in years
India, which sent an orbiter to Mars at about 1/10th the cost of Nasa’s Maven probe, is examining how to build habitations on the moon.
“ISRO, along with academic institutions, is doing experimentation on potential structures for lunar habitation,” Jitendra Singh, the junior minister for space, told lawmakers on Wednesday, referring to the Indian Space Research Organisation.
“Various options are being studied about the requirements and complexities of habitats.”
India’s declaration – just ahead of a planned lunar mission – comes at a time when governments are looking at the moon for the first time in years...
China has sold Pakistan a powerful tracking system in an unprecedented deal that could speed up the Pakistani military’s development of multi-warhead missiles.
News of the sale – and evidence that China is supporting Pakistan’s rapidly developing missile programme – comes two months after India tested its most advanced nuclear-ready intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range long enough to hit Beijing or Shanghai.
Chinese authorities declassified information about the deal on Wednesday.
A statement on the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) website said China was the first country to export such sensitive equipment to Pakistan.
Zheng Mengwei, a researcher with the CAS Institute of Optics and Electronics in Chengdu, Sichuan province, confirmed to the South China Morning Post that Pakistan had bought a highly sophisticated, large-scale optical tracking and measurement system from China.
The Pakistani military recently deployed the Chinese-made system “at a firing range” for use in testing and developing its new missiles, he said...
Police are asking the public for more help in thwarting terror attacks after more than a fifth of calls to them yielded useful intelligence last year. The Metropolitan Police's Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "If you feel nervous about it, you should report it".... The campaign - encouraging people to report suspicious behaviour - comes as figures reveal 30,984 reports were made to counter-terror officers in 2017.
America's top nuclear commander described a grim scenario for U.S. forces facing off against a new breed of high-speed weapons that Russia and China are developing.
"We don't have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us," Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. This means that, as of now, the U.S. has to rely on deterrence against these so-called hypersonic weapons, he said.
U.S. Air Force General John Hyten, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, testifies in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., then asked the general to explain what a hypersonic weapon is and what it does.
"A hypersonic threat is a system that starts out ballistic, so you'll see it like a ballistic missile, but then it depresses the trajectory and flies more like a cruise missile or airplane," Hyten said. "It goes up into the lower reaches of space and turns immediately back down and then levels out."
At that point, Hyten said, the weapon will fly at very high speed, which is where the term hypersonic comes from...
China's could respond to a law that encourages relations between the US and Taiwan with "military pressure", the country’s state-run media said on Sunday.... "China will and should take timely countermeasures against the US and all "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces through diplomatic and military means if US legislation that encourages high-level contact between the US and the island of Taiwan is implemented," ....
Iraq has detained or imprisoned at least 19,000 people accused of connections to the Islamic State group or other terror-related offenses, and sentenced more than 3,000 of them to death, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The mass incarceration and speed of guilty verdicts raise concerns over potential miscarriages of justice — and worries that jailed militants are recruiting within the general prison population to build new extremist networks. The AP count is based partially on an analysis of a spreadsheet listing all 27,849 people imprisoned in Iraq as of late January.... Thousands more also are believed to be held in detention by other bodies, including the Federal Police, military intelligence and Kurdish forces. Those exact figures could not be immediately obtained.
A French employee of France's Consulate in Jerusalem is under arrest for allegedly smuggling dozens of weapons from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, Israel's domestic security agency said Monday. The Shin Bet said the man... was part of a broader Palestinian smuggling ring. It said he used his consular vehicle, which is subjected to more lenient security checks, to transport the weapons through Israel's tightly secured border with the Gaza Strip. It said he took part in the ring for financial gain and that his employer was unaware of his actions. KOREAN PENNSULEA
A report issued this month echoes concerns voiced across the pond recently about the potential of Russia striking at the West by damaging a vast network of undersea cables that carry nearly all online international data.
“Contested Seas: Maritime Domain Awareness in Northern Europe,” released by the Center for Strategic & International Studies, notes that “while some constructive work has been done to address the evolving Russian threat, NATO and its partners must make changes to their current MDA capabilities to evolve alongside with it.”
The threat from Russia is broken down into maritime hybrid warfare, including “deception through different types of vessels including civilian ships, deniable forces like the amphibious and light infantry that easily navigate the complex Baltic and Norwegian Seas, and the country’s well-developed and diverse force for seabed warfare,” electronic and cyber warfare capabilities that “have the potential to hinder information gathering and dissemination methods,” and long-range strike systems “now being mounted on new and existing Russian naval vessels,” giving these vessels “the option to stay in the Barents or White Seas and strike targets across Northern Europe..”
The lack of dark-web presence or illicit sales of the bulk of data stolen in the Equifax breach is worrying cybersecurity experts who keep waiting to see if the hacked info on millions of Americans will be used in a nation-state attack, a congressional panel heard last week.
Last year’s hack exposed personal information including Social Security, credit card and driver’s license numbers of some 148 million Americans. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), ranking member of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, noted that was just one of 1,579 U.S. data breach incidents in 2017, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, and the 780,000 records hackers swipe each day.
“Last month, the Council of Economic Advisors released a report estimating that malicious cyber activity costs the U.S. economy between $57 and $109 billion in 2016. And this cost is expected to climb as more devices become Internet connected,” Chairman Steve Pearce (D-N.M.) said. “Unfortunately, this activity is only becoming more widespread as criminal organizations realize the low cost of entry, the ease of using hacking tools, and the difficulty law enforcement faces trying to apprehend the hackers.”
Lillian Ablon of RAND Corp. told lawmakers that cybercriminals, state-sponsored actors, cyberterrorists and hacktivists are prowling online, and “they tend to seek different types of data and use or monetize that data in different ways.”
“Essentially, all you need is an Internet connection and a device to become part of the cybercrime ecosystem,” she said of the first type. “Participants in these markets range across all skill levels. They are often hierarchies and specialized roles. Administrators at the top, followed by brokers, venders and middlemen. And finally, mules, the moneychangers who use multiple methods to turn the stolen data into money.”
The Slingshot cyber espionage campaign exposed recently by Kaspersky Lab is a U.S. government operation targeting members of terrorist organizations, according to a media report.
Earlier this month, Kaspersky published a report detailing the activities of a threat actor targeting entities in the Middle East and Africa — sometimes by hacking into their Mikrotik routers. The group is believed to have been active since at least 2012 and its members appear to speak English, the security firm said.
The main piece of malware used by the group has been dubbed Slingshot based on internal strings found by researchers. Kaspersky identified roughly 100 individuals and organizations targeted with the Slingshot malware, mainly in Kenya and Yemen, but also in Afghanistan, Libya, Congo, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Tanzania.
CyberScoop claims to have learned from unnamed current and former U.S. intelligence officials that Slingshot is actually an operation of the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a component of Special Operations Command (SOCOM), aimed at members of terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaeda. SOCOM is well known for its counterterrorism operations, which can sometimes include a cyber component.
CyberScoop’s sources expressed concern that the exposure of the campaign may result in the U.S. losing a valuable surveillance program and it could even put the lives of soldiers at risk. The Slingshot infrastructure was likely already abandoned and “burned” following the disclosure, one former intelligence official told the publication.
Credit cards stolen from Target in 2013, Ablon noted, “appeared on the black markets within days....”
Cybersecurity firm FireEye confirmed that Chinese hackers have launched cyberattacks on several US engineering and maritime companies involved in the South China Sea. The suspected hacker group behind the attacks, TEMP.Periscope, appeared to have staged the attacks in an attempt to steal information that would benefit the Chinese government, the firm said...
Nearly one-third of all cyberattacks worldwide are against operations technology (OT), or industrial networks, a new report by Siemens and The Ponemon Institute shows. Oil and gas sector networks in the Middle East have been the target of some of the most aggressive and significant cyberattacks known to the industrial sector to date. Now a new report from Siemens shows three-quarters of organizations there have been hit in the past 12 months by at least one attack that either disrupted operations technology (OT) or led to the theft of confidential data.
Soldiers training at Fort Sill, Okla., last month. The Army’s planned Futures Command will consult directly with troops there about how to update artillery pieces to improve speed and range. Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The platoon of Army Special Operations soldiers was on a routine night patrol in eastern Afghanistan when one of them suddenly opened fire on what looked to the others to be a bush.
The bush, it turned out, had been obscuring a militant fighter. He was detectable only to the one platoon member wearing prototype night vision goggles that could detect heat signatures — a happenstance that Army officials say probably saved many lives.
That incident took place in 2015. Three years later, soldiers in the field still do not have the new night vision goggles, and that is just one example of a process that can take a decade to get new weapons from the lab to the hands of troops. Worried about that lag, the Army is creating a new and decidedly unconventional department to address it: the Futures Command...
WASHINGTON — The first stab at building prototypes for what the U.S. Army intends to be an innovative, leap-ahead Next-Generation Combat Vehicle and its robotic wingman will be ready for soldier evaluations in fiscal 2020, according to the service’s new cross-functional team lead for NGCV.
Subsequently, the Army will rapidly produce follow-on prototypes in FY22 and again in FY24, each taking lessons learned from the previous prototypes and refining capabilities. Soldiers will have the chance to heavily evaluate the prototypes at every stage.
Brig. Gen. David Lesperance is in charge of mapping the Army’s plan to develop and field an NGCV, one of the top six modernization priorities laid out by the service. Cross-functional teams, or CFT, were recently formed for each of the priorities and will reside within the Army’s new Futures Command, expected to stand up in the summer.
The CFT has decided to focus on two lines of effort, Lesperance told a small group of reporters in a March 15 phone call. The first line is to build a robotic combat vehicle, “which is an optimally unmanned close combat platform;” the second is the NGCV, an optionally manned vehicle that will get soldiers to a point of lethal advantage in close combat, he said...
Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (Lrasm) has conducted its sixth consecutive successful test flight as the Darpa-developed weapon heads toward initial operational capability by year’s end.
In the end-to-end test, the production-configuration missile was loaded onto a U.S. Air Force Rockwell B-1B at Dyess AFB in Texas and launched over the sea range off Point Mugu, California, to find and hit its maritime target.
Transition of Lrasm from the Pentagon’s advanced research agency to the U.S. Navy to meet an urgent operational requirement is being viewed as a potential model for fielding hypersonic weapons now under development by Darpa and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
“The transition of Lrasm from Darpa to the Navy has worked well and is a model we could follow,” says Frank St. John, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (MFC), which developed the anti-ship missile.
MFC is already working with Lockheed’s Skunk Works, which is under contract to Darpa and AFRL to begin flight testing two different air-launched high-speed missiles in 2019; the unpowered Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) and scramjet-powered Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC). Lockheed is the sole contractor on TBG, while Raytheon is also working on HAWC.
MFC is providing boosters for the Skunk Works missiles and will perform aircraft integration, sensor and testing work once they transition from demonstrations to tactical missile programs. “We have also invited our production folks in, so they can build limited quantities and it will not be a do-over” when the missiles enter production, he says.
“Skunk Works is the lead in technology for Mach 5-plus. MFC is [a] partner with them, and the transition should go pretty smoothly over the next couple of years,” St. John says...
The new headquarters for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be built by China, the group confirmed in a press statement on Wednesday March 14, 2018.
The political bloc and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the project that is expected to cost $31.6 million.
“The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou and the Ambassador of China to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Zhou Pingjian signed for both parties in a bilateral meeting held at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters, Abuja,” the statement read.
The idea of a new headquarters was initiated in 2012 but action on the said project takes immediate effect from the date of the signing of the deal.
The project is expected to cater for a facility comprising offices and conference complex building, as well as road facilities, electrical equipment, parking lots and security posts within the proposed site of the project...
India is exploring a deepening defense partnership with the United State as it seeks to balance against an increasingly assertive China in the Indo-Pacific region. On March 20, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval arrived in the United States to meet with his American counterpart, H.R. McMaster, along with incoming U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and incoming CIA Director Gina Haspel. Doval's visit aims to lay the groundwork for a first-ever dialogue between Indian and U.S. foreign and defense ministers, which was originally scheduled for April 18 but which has since been delayed pending Pompeo's confirmation...
A general view during the opening ceremony of the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, Brazil March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
The canal serving Ceara and Rio Grande do Norte is the second such waterway in a government project to redirect water from the Sao Francisco river to the northeastern region to relieve a multi-year drought.
The first canal went into operation last year and 1 million people are already receiving water in Paraiba state, said Helder Barbalho, who heads the Ministry of National Integration in charge of the project.
In Paraiba, there is already a rebound in agriculture and other areas of the economy following the completion, Barbalho told reporters at the World Water Forum, which opened on Monday in Brasilia.
“We’re talking about an extraordinary recovery of the driest region in Brazil,” he said, without giving details on the economic recovery...
After nearly a year of rhetoric and planning, the European Union is preparing to take action on taxing technology companies. According to media reports, the European Commission is working on a plan to levy a 3 percent tax on advertising revenue, subscription fees and money generated from selling user data. The tax would apply to companies with a worldwide turnover of at least 750 million euros ($921.4 million) and 50 million euros in annual taxable revenues in the European Union. EU officials expect to raise about 5 billion euros a year through this tax, which is expected to affect around 100 companies. The proposal is set to be unveiled next week, and opposition to the proposal will likely follow soon after.
The European Union is still working on its response to U.S. President Donald Trump's promise to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal unless more is done to counter Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East. According to media reports, the EU3 powers — France, Germany and the United Kingdom — are working on a proposal to meet Trump's demands through new sanctions. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said March 19 that there was no formal EU proposal in place for such sanctions, but she stopped short of denying that discussions over such a proposal were occurring. In addition, Mogherini urged adherence to the bloc's consistent position that the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), must succeed before the bloc will agree to further action against Iran...
SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean military plans to buy more Apache heavy-attack helicopters to lead the deployment across enemy lines should conflict erupt on the Korean Peninsula, according to defense officials.
Ordered by Defense Minister Song Young-moo, the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to issue requirements for the procurement next week, an official at the Ministry of National Defense said.
It’s unknown exactly how many more Apaches the government wants, but informed sources tell Defense News the number could reach as much as 40.
“The South Korean military has been shifting the concept of its warfare strategy to an offensive one,” an official said. “To that end, the military leadership decided to put a priority more on helicopter assets than tanks.”
Because of that shift, the military may cancel plans to acquire some 300 more K2 Black Panther main battle tanks, according to the official.
The South Korean military has long established a counteroffensive strategy in which South Korean armed forces conduct a full-scale counterattack only after U.S. augmentation troops arrive on the peninsula.
Under the envisaged plan, the South Korean military aims to occupy North Korea’s capital Pyongyang two to three weeks after the outbreak of war...
South Korea has concluded a contract for 90 German-built Taurus KEPD 350 long-range precision-guided cruise missiles, the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) revealed on March 12. “The contract was signed in late February,” Kang Hwan-seok, a DAPA spokesperson, told reporters this Monday, according to Yonhap news agency.
The 90 additional Taurus KEPD 350 air-to-surface missiles will expand the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) existing stockpile of 170-180 missiles. The ROKAF began receiving its first Taurus KEPD 350s, intended for the service’s fleet of F-15K Slam Eagle multirole fighter jets, in October 2016.The cost per missile is estimated at around $1.2 million.
Powered by a turbofan engine, the Taurus cruise missile can reach a top speed of up to March 0.9 and has estimated operational range of around 500 kilometers (300 miles). It is armed with a 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) high explosive warhead and is primarily deployed as a bunker buster. It can target hardened North Korean command and control facilities as well as missile launch sites...
Quick Takes: Sohae Satellite Launching Station Remains Quiet
Commercial satellite imagery from March 14 of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea’s main space launch facility, indicates little activity around the facility as a whole and shows no indications of a recent or forthcoming engine test or preparations for a satellite launch. At the vertical engine test stand, the rail-mounted environmental shelter remains in the same position it has been since December 2017. At the launch pad, construction of a new building immediately to the south continues at a very slow pace, although its purpose is still unknown. At the former satellite control building, a monument has been constructed and is surrounded by a new orchard...
The Russian ex-spy who along with his daughter was poisoned by a nerve agent in the U.K. may have been exposed to it through his car's ventilation system, sources told ABC News.
Former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found slumped over, unconscious on a park bench earlier this month in the southern English town of Salisbury. The U.K. has accused Russia of bearing responsibility for the March 4 attack, which British officials say involved a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed secretly by Russia...
First “Kinzhal” Fired from MiG-31 in Southwest Russia Hits Target According to Russians. But it’s a modified Iskander SRBM.
The Russian Aerospace Forces have conducted the first successful test firing of the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missile according to state sponsored media outlets.
The missile, supposedly named Kh-47M2 and referred to as the “Kinzhal”, was fired from a modified MiG-31BM (NATO reporting name “Foxhound”) over Southwest Russia. A report published on Facebook by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the “unique” MiG-31 that fired the missile had been “modernized”. Rogozin did not specify what modifications or “modernized” meant...
...The official news release from the Russian Aerospace Forces read in part, “MiG-31 jet of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a test launch of hypersonic aviation and missile system Kinzhal in a set district. The launch was successful, the hypersonic missile hit the designated target at the field...”
Kinzhal is claimed to be a strategic air-to-surface strike missile. The missile is claimed to have maneuverable flight characteristics not typically seen in hypersonic, solid fuel missiles. Observers of Russian missile programs have voiced skepticism about Russia’ performance claims however. According to Russians and reference sources the Kinzhal missile has a top speed of Mach 10 and maintains some ability to maneuver throughout its performance envelope including at hypersonic speed. If accurate, these capabilities could make the Kinzhal difficult to intercept by anti-missile systems. The missile is reported to have a range of 1,200 miles (approximately 2,000 kilometers). This, added to the reported 1,860-mile unrefueled range of the MiG-31BM long range, supersonic interceptor, gives the Kinzhal potentially intercontinental strike capability. The missile is also reported to be nuclear-capable and able to hit ground as well as naval targets...
Lawmakers pressed President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the National Security Agency over the government’s failure to deter Russian cyber aggression Thursday at the same time the Treasury Department imposed the broadest sanctions to date against Russian government hackers.
The timing underscored two points made frequently by government cyber officials and by their critics outside government. First, the best response to a cyber strike often isn’t a cyber counterstrike. Second, those non-cyber responses, though they keep piling up, still aren’t doing the trick.
Thursday’s sanctions target five Russian entities, including intelligence services and social troll creator, the Internet Research Agency, as well as 19 individuals, many of whom were previously indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller...
WICHITA—Spirit AeroSystems, a provider of large aerostructures to Boeing and Airbus, has been in talks with Aerion and Boom about their supersonic aircraft projects and likes what it sees.
While volume building structures for the speedy supersonic aircraft wouldn’t be as large as its commercial airliner business, Spirit says it is interested in the work.
"We’ve talked to Aerion and Boom. I’m very interested in both, particularly Aerion, because they’re probably a little bit further ahead," Tom Gentile, Spirit AeroSystems CEO, said in a recent interview with Aviation Week Network editors. "They’re at the cutting edge of technology, so they require the most sophisticated structures. That’s a great challenge and a learning opportunity for us."
Spirit, Boeing’s largest supplier, is looking at small, developing projects to see how they could grow into bigger opportunities, Gentile said.
He is open to adding work on business aircraft projects, which are smaller in scale with lower rates and volumes.
"We talk a lot with Textron Aviation," Gentile said...
Police Officer Justin Taylor Billa
Mobile Police Department, Alabama
End of Watch Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tour 2 years, 1 month
Weapon Gun; Unknown type
Police Officer Justin Billa was shot and killed while assisting in the apprehension of a man who had just murdered his ex-wife.
Investigators at the scene of the original murder identified the subject as a person of interest. Officer Billa, along with other officers, went to the man's home on Avondale Court to make contact with him. As the officers arrived on scene the subject exited the home and opened fire on them, striking Officer Billa. Another officer returned fire as the subject retreated back into the home.
Officer Billa was transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center where he died a short time later.
The subject remained barricaded inside his home for the next three hours. His body was recovered from the home following the standoff.
Officer Billa had served with the Mobile Police Department for two years. He is survived by his wife and one 1-year-old son.
Adam-12 wasn't the only show. There were Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, Cagney & Lacey, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, Boston Blue, Homicide: Life on the Street, Bosch, and Cops. For a laugh or three, there were Police Squad, Reno 911, and Barney Miller. (Every station has a Harris, a Wojo, and especially a Fish!)
Now CBS, the provider of classic police dramas such as Brooklyn South, The Blue Knight, Flashpoint, and multiple CSI series, has an idea for a new police "themed" series.
Noah Wyle has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot "Red Line," Variety has learned.
In the pilot, after a white cop in Chicago mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor, the show follows three different families that all have connections to the case as the story is told from each perspective.
Wyle will play Daniel Calder, described as a dedicated high school teacher mourning the loss of his innocent African-American husband [sic] who was shot and killed by a white police officer. Daniel is now a single parent to his adopted daughter, Jira[.]
Well, give them credit: they didn't call it reality TV or say it was "ripped from the headlines!"
Hollywood has a habit of grabbing a headline, trying to make a movie or show with it, and having it collapse, again and again (Designated Survivor, Madam Secretary) – or taking a great series, injecting it with political correctness, and destroying it (Homeland).Pushing the theme that every black man out there is but one traffic stop from being murdered by an overzealous cop, CBS defines any semblance of realism (hell, sounds more and more as though it will be a perfect reality TV series) as "reality."
Unfortunately, the narrative that cops shoot only innocent black men is, to say the least, unhinged from the facts.
The United States has around 900,000 law enforcement officers working at this time. In an average year, police interact with the public approximately 60 million times (traffic stops, on-view investigations, service of a warrant, arrest, etc.). Of the people pulled over in a traffic stop, about 1% have some type of force used against them (physical, intermediate [e.g., baton, spray, Taser], or deadly force). Rough numbers: In 600,000 annual interactions with the public, (e.g., traffic stops, on-street interviews, etc.) nationwide, force is used. Now let's look at this a bit more closely.
Since Michael Brown and Ferguson, the Washington Post has been tracking police shootings all over the United States. In 2016, police shot and killed a total of 963 persons. In a country of 330 million, in 50 states, with almost a million cops, 963 persons were shot and killed by police – in self-initiated investigations, traffic stops, warrants, calls for service, etc. And the numbers, by race:
What is the point of the story, Hollywood? Your premise is as screwed up as a football bat. In the real world, the doctor was most likely shot by another black male for his wallet. But that doesn't make good TV to your "way of thinking."
I find it curious that a business that reportedly wants to sell a product, such as movies and television shows, will insult its customers as much as it can. The American public does not have a good opinion of the entrainment industry in general, but it does have a high regard for law enforcement officers (as well as EMT, firefighters, and other first responders). Seeing that the traditional networks are bleeding viewers to alternative sources of entertainment (e.g., Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu), they may want to be more concerned with providing a saleable product than with patting themselves on the back for evicting the sexual predators they coddled for generations.
Like most Americans, I did not watch the Academy Awards, nor will I watch the Emmy Awards. TV, movies, and Hollywood in general suck, to put it nicely. I'm recalling a cartoon from my college days, where Dr. Frankenstein is presenting his monster: "I have not only created life from unthinking matter; I have also gotten it a job in television programming." Things have only declined over the decades.
Michael A. Thiac is a police patrol sergeant and a retired Army intelligence officer. When not patrolling the streets, he can be found on A Cop's Watch.
Deputy Sheriff Kevin Stanton was killed when his patrol car was struck by a tractor-trailer on I-95, just north of Route 50, at approximately 5:10 am.
The tractor-trailer suffered a tire blow-out, causing the driver to lose control and swerve into the left lane where Deputy Stanton was driving. Deputy Stanton's patrol car then struck the rear of the semi.
Deputy Stanton had served with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office for 10-1/2 years.
After months of rumors and speculation, another member of the administration of U.S President Donald Trump is leaving his post. On March 13, Trump announced via Twitter that he would be replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. To replace Pompeo, Trump has chosen Gina Haspel, the CIA's current deputy director. Though Tillerson was known to disagree with Trump on a number of issues, the decision to dismiss him seemed to come with little direct warning. Speaking with reporters, Trump said the decision was motivated by differences of opinion with Tillerson on substantive issues such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. As talks with North Korea and a review of the JCPOA rapidly approach, Trump appears to be preparing through a Cabinet reshuffling...
FVL is the Army’s No. 3 acquisition priority after long-range precision fires and ground vehicle modernization, and therefore it is the Army Aviation community’s No. 1 priority.
FVL-Medium, the first of five planned FVL acquisition programs, would deliver a next-generation replacement for the troop-carrying Army Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk and Marine Corps Bell H-1 Huey utility/assault helicopters. But there are concerns about how long this first new rotorcraft will take to field, since production and deployment are not scheduled to begin until fiscal 2030.
On the tarmac of St. Louis’ historic Lambert Field, the future of aircraft carrier aviation may be taking shape. Phantom Works, Boeing’s shadowy advanced prototyping group, has painted part of the tarmac to resemble the flight deck of a carrier. Over the past few months, the company been using this space at all hours of the day and night to test its latest military UAV: a prototype for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 “Stingray” program.
A video viewed by Aviation Week and labeled “competition sensitive” shows the huge drone taxiing around the runway during daylight hours on its own power. It stops, starts, moves forward and hooks into position behind the catapult, prepared for launch. But the long-wing aircraft has not yet flown; it is instead being used for carrier suitability trials, including a series of maneuvers to ensure the UAV can easily, reliably and safely move around the deck like any manned aviation platform.
Exactly how the aircraft is directed around the deck is a company secret. We have agreed not to write about it, but one can guess that it will not involve traditional hand signals or wands. As part of the carrier suitability tests, Phantom Works also has been validating the UAV’s “spot factor” and ensuring that it can park anywhere a Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet can, including the tightest spot of all, a slither of deck aft of elevator No. 4 called “the finger...”
In a proposed aid overhaul, Nikki Haley embraces an “America first” foreign policy.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is proposing a sweeping reassessment of U.S. foreign assistance with a view to punishing dozens of poor countries that vote against U.S. policies at the U.N., according to a confidential internal memo drafted by her staff.
The move to make foreign aid conditional on political support follows a U.S. decision to cut tens of millions of dollars in assistance to Palestinian refugees, a cut made in retaliation for Palestine’s sponsorship of U.N. resolutions denouncing U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Haley now wants to apply a similar principle to decisions about aid to other needy countries...
The poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia has exacerbated the already tense relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia. As a result, British Prime Minister Theresa May said her government was reviewing a range of diplomatic, financial and economic responses to the likely Russia-backed poisoning, which took place in her country. And the United Kingdom requested that the Kremlin hand over materials and samples of its military grade nerve agent, Novichok, by the end of the day on March 13. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry has denied receiving the request and in turn has asked for full access to the investigation and samples of the nerve agent, since Yulia is still a Russian citizen..
A cyber-espionage group historically believed to be operating in the interests of the Chinese government is believed to have hacked a UK government contractor from where security researchers found evidence that attackers stole information related to UK government departments and military technology. Attackers used never-before-seen tools, old malware, but also employed legitimate apps found on the compromised systems in an attempt to remain undetected for as long as possible.
Britain will invest 48 million pounds ($67 million) in a new chemical warfare defense center at its Porton Down military research laboratory....“Today I can announce that we’re building on our world-class expertise of the defense science and technology laboratory at Porton Down. We’re investing 48 million pounds in a new chemical weapons defense center to maintain our cutting edge in chemical analysis and defense,” Williamson said in a speech...
For 17 years, three successive presidents have told the American public that above all else, Afghanistan must never again provide “safe haven” to terrorist groups seeking to harm the United States and its interests. But Defense Department and intelligence officials now say exactly that may be on the verge of happening...Afghan officials believe there are now an estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.... the Islamic State was planning attacks in the United States from safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The next few years will determine whether China's leaders have the commitment and ability to adapt to economic changes and follow through with necessary reforms.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will need to retain a firm grip on power while at the same time meeting the rising expectations that come with that level of authority.
Beijing aims to reshape local governments' behavior and lower its growth target, paving the way for more sustainable economic growth.
Trade pressure from the United States and a slowing economy will test Beijing's resolve as it strives to restructure its economy, challenging its deleveraging campaign and its attempts at enforcing environmental reforms..
Completing a demonstrator for a huge first-stage rocket engine, possibly this year, is among the technology acquisition projects being undertaken by China’s main space industry group in preparation for a go-ahead for manned Moon missions. Work on engines for second and third stages and on the structure for the giant launcher, informally called Long March 9 and due to go to the Moon around 2030, is also underway.
Long March 9’s targeted payload to low Earth orbit is 140 metric tons (310,000 lb.), of which 50 metric tons would be sent on a trajectory to the Moon. It would therefore have about six times the capability of China’s current largest rocket, Long March 5...
New York Times Bestselling Author Ronen Bergman sits down with Stratfor Chief Security Officer Fred Burton in this episode of the Stratfor Podcast to discuss his latest book, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.
Bergman’s book, described as the first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces’ targeted killing programs, is the result of seven years of research and over a thousand interviews with the people responsible for leading and carrying out those programs...
New satellite imagery examined by Western experts suggests North Korea has begun preliminary testing of one of its nuclear reactors at the Yongbyon research facility. The disclosure comes as preparations get underway for the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in next month -- and ahead of Kim's planned meeting with President Trump in May.
- Shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin assumed power, Moscow's intelligence services began exhibiting increasingly aggressive behavior.
- This included the targeted assassinations of enemies across Europe, the Middle East and in the United States.
-In response, Western intelligence agencies increased efforts to recruit Russian intelligence officers as spies.
-In this context, the attack on Sergei Skripal was not necessarily about his treason, but more of a warning to current Russian intelligence officers not to betray the government.
To pedestrians passing outside the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, England, on the afternoon of March 4, the pair slumped on a bench appeared to be another tragic case of opioid overdose. The younger woman was unconscious, having lost control of her bodily functions, and was propped against the older man, himself twitching and mumbling in an incoherent manner. But as police arrived at the scene and identified the victims, it soon became clear that this was not an accidental narcotics overdose.
The man, 66-year-old Sergei Skripal, was a former colonel in Russia's military intelligence service (known as the GRU) and had been recruited by Britain's foreign intelligence service (MI6) in the 1990s. He had come to the United Kingdom in 2010 as part of a high-profile spy swap. The woman next to him was his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, who had come to Salisbury from Russia to visit her father. Indeed, as police officers began to collapse after coming into contact with the pair, it quickly became evident that this was yet another case in which a former Russian intelligence officer was poisoned in the United Kingdom. And with this latest attack, Russia under President Vladimir Putin is letting the intelligence world know that it is changing the rules: Betrayal can make you and your family a target, even if you're no longer in the game...
President Vladimir Putin's extra-heavy emphasis on new strategic missile systems in his March 1 address to parliament was quite unexpected and rather out of character. My colleague Steven Pifer suspects that Putin has "something of a fixation on things nuclear" and compares this trumpeting of wonder-missiles with President Donald Trump's slogan "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" Putin is, after all, campaigning for re-election (the vote is March 18), though the outcome is pre-determined...
Russian security services appear to be increasingly targeting dissidents and renegade spies for death by poison.
With the announcement by British police on Wednesday that a former Russian spy was poisoned by a nerve agent, Sergei Skripal joins the long ranks of those who have run afoul of the Kremlin and subsequently fallen ill or died under what can only be described as suspicious circumstances.
Skripal was walking with his daughter on Monday when they fell ill, collapsed on a park bench, and were promptly rushed to the hospital, where they remain in critical condition. On Thursday, British police said that around 21 people had sought treatment as a result of exposure to the unidentified poison. A police officer who aided the two is in stable condition, and is conscious and talking.
“This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent,” Mark Rowley, Britain’s chief police official for counterterrorism and international security, said.
A Russian court convicted Skripal of spying on behalf of Britain in 2006, but he was returned to England as part of a spy swap in 2010....
Russia's Defense Ministry says it has successfully tested one of the "invincible" missiles that President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month could deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed and pierce US defenses. "A MiG-31 fighter crew of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a combat training launch of a hypersonic missile of the Kinzhal high-precision air missile system in the designated area," the ministry said in statement Saturday...
Construction is out and knowledge is in — at least when it comes to putting Qatar’s economy on a firm foundation for the future. On March 14, Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani unveiled a new five-year plan for the country that will focus on social development and economic diversification. The strategy will involve nurturing a robust private sector in areas such as science, logistics, financial services and tourism, as well as information and communication technology. At the same time, the small, arid, natural gas-rich country aims to develop sustainable water resources and produce 65 percent of its own seafood through local fish farms. And in a sign of greater belt-tightening, Qatari officials have noted that spending will need to fall by about one-third to around 21.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product...
On March 13, the Saudi Cabinet approved a new national nuclear policy in advance of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's visit to Washington on March 19-22, during which he is expected to push for a nuclear deal with the United States. Though Saudi Arabia’s policy clearly states that any nuclear activities will be purely peaceful and that the kingdom will follow all international laws in this regard, it also commits the country to best practices for handling nuclear waste and for developing a national capability in the nuclear industry. These guidelines suggest that Saudi Arabia could be planning activities that could lead to nuclear proliferation...
When the U.S. foreign service needs to send secrets to another country, it relies on diplomatic couriers. Those men and women ferry our nation’s most precious secrets from the State Department's Foggy Bottom headquarters to U.S. embassies around the globe. In 1985, when I went through basic agent training with the department's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), I was offered the option of serving as one of those couriers. The word around the academy was that the job came with lots of overtime and allowed the adventurous traveler to see the world on Uncle Sam’s dime...
...“March Madness is back and with it comes a great opportunity for cybercriminals who are intent on making some quick cash,” ...“Email infection, fake betting websites and traditional phishing attacks are all expected to have their day in the sun.”...“These online trends almost always play out before, during and after the events take place. Cybercriminals are completely prepared for the excitement and hype surrounding March Madness by infecting emails with malware, creating fake betting websites and growing the number of phishing attacks they carry out.”