Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 18, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on July 18, 2014

On this day in 1995 the Soufrière Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat erupted.  It has continued volcanic activity ever since leaving more than half of Montserrat uninhabitable, destroying the capital city, and causing about two thirds of the population to evacuate the Caribbean island.

On this day in 1945 the Bedford Magazine fire and explosions began causing widespread damage in the Nova Scotia communities of Bedford, Halifax, and Dartmouth.

On this day in 1994 the Argentine Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires was bombed killing 85 and injuring 300.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

 

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23 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 18, 2014 @ 7:28 am

On April 12, 2014 attacked by singles despite vaccination. Still lingering impacts and effects.

Away from Tidewater from June 15th to July 15th primarily in the Berkshires of western MA and Thousand Island region of NYS! Not representative of much of USA. But I can recommend!

My FFF thought! Congress is not just a joke but terrifyingly inept as is most of the MSM!

Proof? Congress does not just pretend to not know what it enacts, it does not know. I recommend several changes in THE DANCE OF LEGISLATION!

First a joint permanent Congressional Committee be established. It would be responsible for reporting on the federalism implications of each bill and resolution. Or a Federalism Office parallel to CBO!

Second, the lawsuit [yet to be filed?] Boehner v. Obama.
Neither Congress nor the MSM seems to know US history or past SCOTUS rulings. The New Deal legislation ruled UnConstitutional in the early and Middle New Deal based its decisions on UnConstitutional delegation in legislation to the President. SCOTUS reversed itself prompting some wit to state that “of course, SCOTUS follows national [federal?] election results.

Please please follow Yale Con Law prof Linda G. various periodic article in the NYTimes.

And still continuing to predict a Republican Senate in 2015!

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 18, 2014 @ 7:33 am

Note Bene! As predicted here and elsewhere Immigration has moved up as an election topic for this fall.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 18, 2014 @ 7:43 am

Well the second QHSR has arrived. Please not all discussion or absence of the following topics:
1. Immigration;
2. Climate Change;
3. Permanent subsidizing of the NFIP [flood insurance];
4. Use of technology in HS including drones;
5. Unity of effort in DHS [to do what?];
6. DHS role in preventing consequences of various hazards;
7. DHS and NSC relationships;
8. DHS and DoD relationships;
9. DHS and Congressional relationships;
10. Prioritization of DHS mission and goals!

Comment by Samantha Wilson

July 18, 2014 @ 11:29 am

The United States should be well aware of and continue to monitor the environments in Ukraine and Russia. Yesterday’s passenger airplane incident is extremely frightening, and intelligence communities are holding pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine responsible for the tragedy. The U.S. homeland security community should recognize the power that the separatists are boasting and that America can also be a target for attacks. In recent days, the U.S. imposed new sanctions on Russia, an act that can be seen as punishment; in response, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned, “We may go back to the 1980s in our relations with the states that are declaring these sanctions,” alluding to the Cold War. Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said this morning that “we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel,” and the pro-Russian separatists have now demonstrated they have the ability to kill hundreds of individuals thousands of miles in the air. Americans should be worried of similar attacks in the future. The Soviet Union was once a U.S. threat, and as days pass, Russia is transitioning from a potential future threat to a very real and current threat. The homeland security community should prepare for Russian threats from both Russia and pro-Russian Ukrainians in the very near future.

For more information:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10975614/MH17-plane-crash-who-are-the-pro-Russian-separatists-blamed-for-incident.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-warns-of-grave-consequences-from-new-us-sanctions/2014/07/17/86228f6b-0a88-4fda-ab42-ef775be82999_story.html

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/kyle-wingfield/2014/jul/18/downed-plane-makes-russian-threat-clear/

Comment by Frank Gorman

July 18, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

On this past Wednesday, the National Review Online reported that former national deputy chief of the US Border Patrol feels that all the progress made on the United States’ southern border since 9/11 has been undone by the Obama Administration. The crisis of the national border has become a true threat to Homeland Security, and it is extremely frustrating to see the Executive and Legislative branches of our federal government so polarized that they are unable to work together toward a compromise.
Here are the threats to the Homeland:
1. Reports of Muslim prayer rugs recovered near the border – I am not implying that all Muslims are evil, but given the government’s assertion that the influx of illegal immigrants are Mexican or Central American, it begs the obvious question – isn’t it an easy opportunity for Islamic extremists to exploit the situation and move across our southern border?
2. Diseases coming across the border – Given the recent concerns about the CDC and its mishandling of anthrax and smallpox vials, are they really ready to combat an epidemic if one comes across the border? Further, are we able to handle the costs associated with the medical needs of these immigrants?
3. Civil unrest in towns unhappy with illegal aliens being housed in their towns – People have had enough; Drudge reported today that the number one problem in the opinion of Americans polled by a Gallup Poll is illegal immigration.
4. Crime – Earlier this week, an illegal alien processed and released by immigration officials was arrested for murder. I could not help but reflect on the Mariel Boat Lift from Cuba, when Castro emptied his jails and many Cuban criminals snuck in to the US among the truly oppressed Cubans.

This is a true HLS crisis that is being mismanaged by our government. The consequences are too great for inaction. What are your thoughts?

Comment by Brian Lozada

July 18, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

On Wednesday, the NYPD’s Director of Intelligence Analysis announced that an al Qaeda-backed propaganda magazine, Inspire, is encouraging individuals to target the US Open Tennis Championship in a terrorist-related plot. The magazine has gone as far as instructing would-be terrorists on how to make bombs and in what locations to set them; however, despite the encouragements, police are not aware of any specific threats that have been made. According to the NYPD, the biggest concern at the moment is not terrorist groups per se but individual radicals who may not be on law enforcement’s radar (CBS, 2014).

The magazine, Inspire, is an English language magazine that is published solely online and frequently includes step-by-step bomb-making instructions, which have been used by radical extremists in past attempts to carry out attacks (Anti-Defamation League, 2013). This is another example of how terrorist groups use the Internet to reach a larger target audience and influence additional followers. Terrorist propaganda that is available online must be more closely monitored to ensure not only that radical extremists cannot use it as a resource to execute their terrorist plots, but also to ensure that it is not used as a vehicle to recruit additional radicals to their cause.

For more information, see the following links:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/07/16/police-terrorist-magazines-suggesting-attack-on-us-open/

http://blog.adl.org/extremism/inspire-magazine-a-staple-of-domestic-terror

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 18, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

….and to no surprise given the Rev Wright long standing assertion that as long as the “Zionists” had WMD in hand, why not Tehran and Barry Obama his pal for some 20 years and of course the following delay as You have allowed Barry Obama far too much latitude and again, I reiterate, place barry Obama and his illustrious AG under House arrest for suspicion in breach of faith, treason! You have numerous – scandals – to do so….and again, if necessary and only within your discretion of course, the US DoD/military should step in if Congress on both sides of the aisle cannot seem to take any leadership roles and just politicize as this “Chicago-Washington-Hollywood charade” continues to do so and fails to enforce present laws and fails to fulfill the oath as sworn to…..Com’on fellas as time is precious….Reach out to We the People and begin to ask us what We feel necessary to restore our beloved Republic before these terrorists come across the border, bused in by this administration…enough is enough….

WAR looms ahead….don’t kid yourselves! A Democracy to survive must be portray a strong arsenal and in pledge to Hussein Obama and his anti-Christian and anti-colinialist pals in Kenya, it is You who have allowed Barry Obama and his illustrious AG to dismiss our borders, our Constitution and fail to enforce present laws….

| BREAKING NEWS ALERT
NYTimes

BREAKING NEWS Friday, July 18, 2014 6:16 PM EDT

Iran Nuclear Talks Extended by Four Months, Diplomats Say
Iran, the United States and the five other countries negotiating over the future of the Iranian nuclear program have agreed to a four-month extension of the negotiations, giving them more time to try to bridge a major difference over whether the country will be forced to dismantle parts of its nuclear infrastructure, according to diplomats involved in the negotiations.

The original deadline for an accord was July 20, though a temporary agreement that has been in effect since November envisioned a possible extension.
The United States and its negotiating partners — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — have argued that Iran must dismantle major elements of its uranium enrichment program, and envision the restrictions going on for a decade or more. It is unclear whether, in four months, the two sides can bridge that gap.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 18, 2014 @ 8:54 pm

You know what is truly sad these days, how ignorant folks are of the lessons of history despite all this texting while driving and disrespect to family and friends when sitting down together and using gadgets w/head down instead of conversing and sharing with one another….in learning history and Biblical verse and teachings….

From 1979-1981, America was dishonored and disgraced by the “Brutes of Tehran” by holding hostages some 444 days, how humiliating for America and how short the memories….

Hamid Abutalebi shows up at the ever so corrupt UN who hates the Jews ever so and to date has never mentioned Hamas using women and children as shields…oh such hatred towards the Hebrew and how this world will again suffer so as it is certain WAR looms ahead….Abutalebi as Tehran’s new Ambassador, a thug who was personally involved in the hostage debacle….

The humiliation for America is quite clear for anyone of my more educated and enlightened fellow citizens who know history and the importance of lessons learned….

Interestingly there was a teenager long ago in the Bible who did not have a IPhone and whose lessons we can learn from him in dealing with the Iranian regime of thugs and who disgrace the richness and wonderful Persian people and all that their ancestors contributed to humanity long ago….

Much like today in America, devoid of any leadership, King Saul failed Israel in his shameful lack of faith and courage and it was not until King David saw the cowering of fear before the Philistine warrior (1Samuel 17:24) “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid” —

Standing up for the honor of this nation has been replaced by a Congress on both sides of the aisle who have allowed the “reproach” of so many nations, the disrespect and lack of fear of red lines said to be drawn in the sand, the failure to arrest those perpetrators of the “Benghazi Massacre” where We did leave our brave warriors behind just as this administration and We the People with billions pouring into Mexico leave a brave US soldier naked and tied to a bed in a Mexican jail for making a wrong turn while busloads and busloads of illegal immigrants – law breakers – no matter their age – pass his jail daily and this administration and the Mexican government look the other way…How dare you?

I bet King David would have other ideas as does the Israeli leadership today who will no longer tolerate hundreds and hundreds and thousands of missiles and projectiles tossed over into Israel with intent to kill Hebrew!

There is no David-like leadership from the top down as this executive WH made it quite clear that “apology” after “apology” and the bowing to terrorist sponsored governments would be the tenure of its theme and to weaken us internally, divisiveness and the pigment of skin would be the tools of the craftsman Obama seeking to do what You have enabled him to do with a nearly $18 trillion deficit and soaring by the minute….

The shameful cowardice of Congress and this self-serving politicking, well, You have allowed this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade” to continue….Yes, You who have not called for Barry Obama and his illustrious AG House arrest for suspicion in breach of faith, treason….

Dumbfounded by the lack of willingness among men and women who supposed feel so much love and respect for our beloved Republic and few words or actions to thwart this intentional dismantling of America just as Barry Obama has pledged to his Father, Hussein Obama and his Kenyan pals….

in fact it was David who understood that leadership must be established and in verse 29 states, “The Lord that delivered me out of the law of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine” –

David showed that there was a living God in Israel and in verses (45-46) w/David confronting Goliath, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the Armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and will I smite thee and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” –

While this executive WH fooled you so with its promise of transparency and other empty political promises to enable Barry Obama to serve another, my question when it comes to Homeland Security and these open borders and no one medically documented or processed via application and the law, is there truly a DAVID AMONG US TODAY WHO WILL STAND TALL AND FORTHRIGHT FOR OUR BELOVED REPUBLIC AND OUR CONSTITUTION AND LAWS, obviously Not and the dishonor Tehran subjected American long ago continues and continues and now with an obvious sympathizer towards these “Brutes of Tehran” – the weakness of our nation is seen globally and those seeking our demise are making great strides and again like 100 years ago with WWI and a number of decades ago, WWII, enemies see our weakness and unfortunately folks, unless our laws and borders are protected and enforced, the enemies grow bolder and bolder and there is no one to fight for the honor of God or our nation so be prepared for far much more anguish than food banks having difficulty keeping food on their shelves and take a page from Israel when watching Hamas dig its tunnels and toss its rockets overhead with intent yo kill for David still reigns as the Israeli citizen WILL fight for the honor of God and the State of Israel despite the apparent corruption which abounds from the WH to the UN!

During WWII we had 6,768 naval vessels and today, some 285 aging ships….and in 1900, 31% of world production derived from US and today, less than 17%! 72% of steel production came from the US in 1945, today less than 6% — and a projected budget deficit by 2015, $19.6 trillion!

As far as Putin, well folks, Central and Eastern Europe know the tragic history of Russian invasion and you can bet they tremble especially when they see the US turn its back so while these may be dark days, recall history and Central and Eastern Europe will continue to push Germany and the former German Defense Minister who will take the torch from Merkel and forge a real unification against Putin! While Putin has longed to reunited the ‘ol Soviet Union, he overstepped his bounds and understanding he knows Russian history w/some 14 million civilians dying on the Eastern front during WWII and some 11 million were Soviets! Remember that 75% of Moscow was destroyed with hundreds of thousands of soldiers killed in 1812 with Napoleon’s reach….and with this knowledge, Putin knows he must secure as much a buffer between other nations and little here understand that the Ukraine which was to join NATO, only some 300 miles from Moscow!

While we have opened our borders here in the US to everyone including criminals and quite possibly terrorists as our laws are tossed aside, Putin knows better and must keep the Europeans as far away from his country as possible and of course while Europeans so dependent on energy are in fact acting timid towards shirtless Putin, this, too will change and shortly. Germany and the Vatican will change all this….as Central and Eastern Europe saw the US fail to protect Georgia in ’08 and it is no place top be found during this Ukrainian scenario and America’s word under the failed leadership of Barry Obama and Hillary Clinton, never to be trusted or relied upon….Germany will eventually fill the void!

God help us!

“Main Street USA”

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 19, 2014 @ 4:48 am

Iran’s Nuclear Chess: Calculating America’s Moves
July 21, 2014 // 12:00pm — 1:15pm
RSVP

Coming Soon
There will be a live webcast of this event.

Event Speakers

The P5+1 and Iran have been negotiating since last January under a six-month deadline to convert an interim nuclear accord into a final agreement. Please join us for this meeting, scheduled one day after that deadline, to address the outcome of the negotiations—whether successful in yielding an agreement, extended to allow further negotiations, or at a point of breakdown.

What are the implications for U.S. policy toward Iran moving forward? The meeting will feature discussion of the new Middle East Program monograph by Robert Litwak, vice president for scholars and director of international security studies at the Wilson Center.

LOCATION:
6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Event Speakers List:

Robert S. Litwak // Vice President for Scholars and Academic Relations and Director, International Security Studies

Mitchell Reiss //
President, Washington College; and former Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 19, 2014 @ 4:53 am

Why Israel Launched a Ground War in Gaza

As published on Politico

Jul 18, 2014
By Aaron David Miller

After days of ominous buildup, it’s finally happening: Israel has launched a ground incursion into Gaza. But why, you say? War, what’s it good for? Israel’s Iron Dome has kept the home front safe; Hamas’ rejection of the Egyptian cease-fire offer has given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the political high ground; and there’s a big risk of losing it if Israel charges into Gaza and ends up killing many more Palestinian civilians. Which it inevitably will. And what’s more, why do the Israelis believe that a ground war will lead to a better outcome than the last one in 2008/9? Hamas still ended up with more lethal, precise and long-range high trajectory weapons.

All true. But despite the risks, the logic—political, psychological and strategic—favored a significant intervention. Here’s why Bibi did it.

1. The military clock

These conflicts have military clocks and diplomatic clocks. And the former was ticking down much faster than the latter. The longer this inconclusive war dragged on, the greater the odds that the stronger party—Israel—would act to change the balance. Hamas is unlikely to agree to a cease-fire without conditions that Israel can’t accept. Sure, Iron Dome has ensured that there were almost no Israeli casualties from Hamas’ rocket attacks. But Netanyahu can’t allow a new status quo in which Israel is subjected to the uncertainties, disruptions and potential casualties of what had become daily rocket attacks, however inaccurate. The responsibility of a government is to guarantee not just security but normalcy. And life isn’t normal today, however inured Israelis have become to it. Moreover, sooner or later Hamas was bound to get lucky. Its missiles, or some terrorists tunneling out of Gaza, would succeed in killing a significant number of Israelis. And if that happened, the clamor on Netanyahu’s right would become a deafening roar. So Bibi had to act now.

2. The rockets didn’t stop

Accurate or not, Hamas has plenty of high trajectory weapons still to be fired. And the fact that they can still launch with impunity after the pounding the Israeli air force has delivered tells you two things. One, Hamas has developed an underground infrastructure that allows launches seemingly impervious to degrading by air; and two, the only way to deal with the threat is to go in and destroy as much of this infrastructure as possible. Sure, two or four years from now, Hamas might restore its arsenal. That’s an important concern, but it doesn’t deal with the reality of now. You want the rockets stopped? Either you put boots on the ground or Hamas agrees to do it.

3. No cease-fire in time

Egypt tried and failed, however insincerely, to get Hamas to agree to a cease-fire. Qatar stuck its nose out, too. But this isn’t just about finding the right mediator. Yes, it’s true that Egypt’s relations have been bad with Hamas ever since the military threw out the Muslim Brotherhood president and elected one of its own. But it’s the substance of what is required for the deal that’s the real problem. Hamas needs to present an image of victory. And Israel is equally determined to deny that image. Hamas wants the border with Egypt opened, salaries for its government workers paid and the release of the 50-plus Hamas guys whom Israel picked up in their recent sweeps of the West Bank. Given enough time—and enough punishment in Gaza—maybe a deal might be worked out. But right now we have a big game of Middle East chicken: Israel will not start negotiating with Hamas and make the terrorist group a winner any more than Hamas will capitulate without a fundamental improvement in economic life for Gaza. Looking around, it’s hard to see who can put this deal together. Qatar’s too close to Hamas; the United States has influence with Israel but not Hamas. The Turks have a rocky relationship with Israel. Israel doesn’t trust the United Nations. And even Egypt would probably like to see Hamas weakened further. So from the Israeli perspective, war-war looked like a better bet than jaw-jaw.

4. Costly but not necessarily ineffective

Dealing with Hamas rockets have never been an either/or situation. An air and a ground campaign can work together in concert. And Israel’s ground incursion has the potential to severely—though not mortally—retard Hamas’ capacity. This need not involve a permanent reoccupation of Gaza and the toppling of the Hamas government. That would take months. If that’s where Israel is headed, good luck—Gaza’s an enclave of 1.7 million angry Palestinians twice the size of Washington, D.C. The smarter move would be to destroy as much of the rocket infrastructure as possible, as quickly as possible, and get the hell out.

This article was first published on Politico.

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