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Murder in Paris, revolution in Egypt

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By Herbert London, contributor

The former headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo w...
The former headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo weekly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The blood on the streets of Paris caused by Islamist gunmen is shocking and disturbing, but not surprising. Jihadists engaged in several prior attempts to shut down the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a newspaper that lampoons Islam, among others. In fact, Charlie Hebdo was an equal opportunity satirist.

Most significant is the fact that this murderous act is consistent with Islamic law and the tenets of sharia, notwithstanding public commentary that denies this reality. What Charlie Hebdo printed, which led to the bloodshed, is the savage truth.

Curiously, the week before this incident, the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, speaking before Al-Azhar University officials on the occasion of the prophet Mohammed’s upcoming birthday, offered a renewed vision of Islam, one that he insisted is necessary for Islam to coexist with the West and different traditions. In a sense, his words take on a certain poignancy because of the violence perpetrated against the Paris paper. Read the rest of this entry »

Mercyhurst University’s Tom Ridge School Hosts Fourth Global Intelligence Forum

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English: Seal of the United States Department ...
English: Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

GlobeNewswire

 

ERIE, Pa., Dec. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — From public health challenges like Ebola to the effect of climate change on food safety in the coming decades, international experts in public health, higher education, business and traditional intelligence will gather in Dungarvan, Ireland, for the fourth biennial Global Intelligence Forum — The Dungarvan Conference July 12-15, 2015.

 

Sponsored by the Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, the conference comes on the heels of highly successful summits that welcomed prominent intelligence leaders like Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden; former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh; and Europol Director Rob Wainwright.

 

Panelists for this year’s expanded forum — “Intelligence-Informed Decision-Making to Build a More Secure Future” — will address how leaders can effectively establish intelligence practices to enhance decision-making as they address pressing global concerns.

 

Keynote speakers include one of the world’s leading experts on cybersecurity, Howard Schmidt, who served as cyber advisor to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. He also held positions as vice president and chief information security officer for eBay Inc., and operated as chief security officer for Microsoft Corp. Currently, he is a partner with Tom Ridge in Ridge-Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cybersecurity. Read the rest of this entry »

New jihad appeal makes policing even harder

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Soldiers patrol at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Frenchman Herve Gourdel, 55,  was abducted in Algeria on Monday by a splinter group from al-Qaida's North African branch. The Jund al-Khilafah, or Soldiers of the Caliphate, said it would kill him unless France halts it airstrikes in Iraq within 24 hours. French forces on Friday joined the U.S. in carrying out airstrikes against extremists who have overrun large areas of Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — The Islamic State group’s call on Muslims to go after the “filthy French” and other Westerners multiplies already deep security concerns in nations targeting the militant organization.

The appeal made public Monday makes intelligence tracking of potential suspects virtually impossible and opens up Muslims in the West to the possibility of being unfairly put under suspicion or stigmatized.

Nations are honing mechanisms to monitor Westerners who head to Syria and Iraq to fight in the jihad, the better to catch them when they return home with deadly skills. But how do you track someone who reads the Islamic State group’s call in a newspaper or on a mainstream website, and then carries out a spontaneous attack? Read the rest of this entry »

Obama Ramps Up Spying on ISIS, Paving the Way for Possible Airstrikes

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In ordering hundreds of military advisors to Iraq and dramatically ramping up intelligence-gathering on jihadist fighters threatening Baghdad, President Barack Obama sent his strongest signal yet that U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) may be likely.

Since ISIS fighters took control of two key Iraqi cities last week, the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have blanketed portions of the country with spy satellites and drones, giving them what one senior administration official called “round-the-clock coverage” of locations where ISIS is active. The military personnel headed to Iraq — as many as 300, Obama said — will work alongside Iraqi military forces in special intelligence centers, using drone video feeds and spy satellite photographs to track and attack ISIS fighters. They’ll also be in a prime position to help carry out U.S. airstrikes the moment Obama orders them.

In remarks from the White House Thursday, Obama didn’t say that airstrikes are imminent. He stressed that the only long-term solution to Iraq’s stabilization will come from political reconciliation between the Shiite-led government and the marginalized Sunni minority. But he left no doubt that he’s putting all the pieces in place to launch the first significant military action in Iraq since U.S. forces left there in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

The Blue Screen of Death at 30,000 Feet

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The government has new plan to ensure that your seat belts are fastened, seats are in the upright position — and no one is hacking your plane.

BY Shane Harris APRIL 24, 2014

America’s security and intelligence agencies are teaming up with airline manufacturers to defend against a catastrophic cyberattack that could cripple the air traffic control system, interfere with the computer systems used by modern aircraft, and potentially even bring down a plane.

As part of a new program, which will be run from a federal facility outside Washington, U.S. government personnel will work alongside private-sector aviation employees to share information about computer security threats, government and corporate officials said. Their goal is to spot malicious hacker activity on computer networks and to improve the security of airline manufacturing, during which complex software programs that could create entry points for hackers are installed on passenger aircraft. Read the rest of this entry »

Khartoum: Really out of the terrorism business?

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Eric Reeves   2014-03-19, Issue 670 


cc Wiki
The US leads the world in the global war against terror. It has ranked Sudan among nations that support terrorism. Yet despite ample evidence of Khartoum’s terrorist activities within and outside the country, the US treats the Sudanese regime as a cherished ally

Given the U.S. intelligence community’s eager relationship with Khartoum, it would be convenient if the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime were no longer in the business of supporting international terrorism and no longer on the State Department list of state sponsors of international terrorism. Of course, the domestic terrorism wrought in Darfur, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, Abyei, and among those who would resist the regime’s brutal tyranny seems of little concern to the Central Intelligence Agency and other of the myriad intelligence-gathering agencies dealing with the very real and ongoing threat of international terrorism. Indeed, there seems to have been a general loss of moral balance in how the intelligence community thinks and operates, even as its influence in domestic and foreign policy continues to grow rapidly.

For example, so eager was the CIA to improve relations with the Khartoum regime that in 2005 the agency decided to fly to Langley, Virginia (CIA headquarters)—on executive jet—Major-General Saleh Gosh, then head of Khartoum’s intelligence services and, critically, minder of Osama bin Laden during his time in Khartoum: 1992 – 1996, formative years for al-Qaeda. It mattered little that Gosh’s hands were covered with the blood of political detainees and any perceived opponents of the regime. And it mattered little that Gosh was instrumental in carrying out the genocidal counter-insurgency campaign in Darfur, then at its height. He had information the CIA wanted, and the price to be paid was a trip to Washington. Read the rest of this entry »

DOD targets ‘insider threat’ after Navy Yard shooting investigations

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Police respond to the scene of a shooting rampage at Washington Navy Yard that left 12 victims dead on Sept. 16, 2013.

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department issued new directives Tuesday to try to mitigate the “insider threat” to DOD personnel and facilities, based on the findings of three reviews of last year’s Navy Yard shooting.

The reviews were initiated after Aaron Alexis, a former sailor and contractor The Experts, Inc., shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in D.C. on Sept. 16. Four others were wounded in the attack, which lasted over an hour as Alexis roamed the halls of Building 197 with a shotgun. He was eventually shot and killed by emergency responders. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. reservist arrested after allegedly trying to enter Canada on his way to Syria to join Al-Qaeda-linked group

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In this file photo, cars line up to pass through the U.S. Customs station at Blaine, Washington to Canada on Dec. 20, 1999.

A U.S. National Guard reservist has been arrested on a Greyhound bus as he was trying to cross into Canada with the alleged intention of travelling to Syria to join an armed faction linked to Al-Qaeda.Nicholas Teausant, 20, was taken into custody at about 11:40 p.m. Sunday by U.S. Customs agents in Blaine, Wash. The California resident was allegedly on his way to Vancouver International airport.According to the FBI, he had repeatedly expressed his desire to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, or ISIS, an extremist group fighting to overthrown Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Read the rest of this entry »

Why U.S. Spies Get Putin Wrong

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By Eli Lake March 2, 2014 4:40 PM The Daily Beast
The last time Russian troops invaded one of its neighbors, the U.S. intelligence community was also caught off guard.

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The year was 2008 and the country was Georgia instead of the Ukraine. And just as in 2014, back then there were early signs that Moscow was serious—it was issuing visas  to ethnic Russian speakers inGeorgia, like it’s doing now in Ukraine.  U.S. analysts just didn’t believe Russia would go as far as it did.

Today, as in 2008, American policy makers have found themselves burned after trying to make Vladimir Putin a partner when Putin himself sees America as a rival. This has often led Republican and Democratic led administrations to find themselves flat footed in the face of Russian aggression and U.S. intelligence analysts racing to explain how they misread Putin’s motivations.

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New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

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Geopolitical Weekly

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – 04:13

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Stratfor  By George Friedman

The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world — a shift that followed intense German interest in Ukraine. This week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, in a now-famous cellphone conversation, declared her strong contempt for the European Union and its weakness and counseled the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to proceed quickly and without the Europeans to piece together a specific opposition coalition before the Russians saw what was happening and took action.

This is a new twist not because it makes clear that the United States is not the only country intercepting phone calls, but because it puts U.S. policy in Ukraine in a new light and forces us to reconsider U.S. strategy toward Russia and Germany. Nuland’s cellphone conversation is hardly definitive, but it is an additional indicator of American strategic thinking.

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