Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The New American Strategy Should Be Disengagement In The World

In the never ending war against dictators, terrorism, it off-shoots and splinter groups, the United States is expected by every western government to lead the charge and carry the battle standards for conflicts against every dangerous ideologue in the world.

Since WWII the United States has been directly responsible for between 10 to 15 million war deaths in the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq Wars (2) as well as fatalities in Cambodia and Laos. The U.S. Government by proxy wars have been responsible for another 9-14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, The DRC, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan, which brings our countries total death by conflict since WWII to somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 – 30 million deaths from wars scattered around the world.



Now some of these conflicts have been fought for the greater good, and some not so much so, but at what point does war and death become a lost cause in itself?  Isn’t 20-30 millions deaths enough for us to say, let Europe and the rest of the world “lead from the front ” on wars, police actions, military engagements, short tactical operations and the fallout of both?

I for one don’t consider it a weakness for the U.S. to disengage from each and every conflict that modern man has become engaged in, only to have our best and brightest killed off for an uncertain peace time and time again.  The warrior culture is alive and well in America and we all would all be better served to place limits on how many generations of our youth we want engaged in perpetual war.



As a former member of the U.S. Military who entered service in 1987, I was on active duty for the overthrow of Panamanian dictator Noriega in 1989, the 1991 Gulf War, the 1993 Somalia incursion and the Bosnian conflict of 1994.  As a police officer in Los Angeles from 1994 to 2006, I was often on the other end of the tactics employed in war, used against me in the inner cities, by those who had gone to war and come home to become home grown terrorist’s as gang members. And most recently I have worked in the capacity of a security contractor in the middle east providing security for diplomats and other NGO’s throughout the region, so I understand all of the nuances that leave the Middle East a fertile ground for combat and strife, and I for one do not believe that modern man has the capacity to solve religious disputes that have evolved over thousands of years.



The world has been engaged in Middle East peace talks since 1949, with no concrete solutions in sight and until the people in those regions began to have dialogue on a human level, you can expect the bloodshed to continue on a daily basis, and the power brokers in the region need to install the peace NOT the United States, because we cannot, and yes even with all of our military might we cannot.

I have heard all the rhetoric for war from my enlistment in 1987 until today and it continues to be the same, it is usually the ” US vs THEM ” mantra, which works well on the highly uninformed and war hawks, yeah those war hawks in our government that will not send their own children off to fight for the latest war cause that they believe in so highly.



I absolutely believe in defense of our country, but only for the imminent, immediate protection of the American people on American soil, and I no longer believe we should have the protective buffer of American boots on the ground around the world, for the peace and security of Europe, The Middle East, Asia or the African Continent, even with overwhelming support from any government that wants our government to engage in combat operations.  If other countries believe that their peace and stability is threatened by a wolf at the door, then let those countries arm, outfit and send their young men and women off to war to defend it’s way of life.  We can and should honor our diplomatic agreement’s to aid our allies in a time of war, but we as Americans cannot continue to police the world, because the latest splinter group with the newest scary name pops up and says “boo”.

Yes we have to deal with the extremism that continues to plot attacks against our homeland, and we have the most capable special forces operators in the world to do that, on a surgical strike case by case basis. However the large scale company and division size combat operations should be a thing of the past for the U.S. unless we have a nation on our shores intent on immediate invasion of our homeland.

A little bit of isolationism at this point in human history is probably just what the doctor has ordered.

i·so·la·tion·ism (ˌīsəˈlāSHəˌnizəm/Submit ) (noun) : a policy of remaining apart from the affairs or interests of other groups, especially the political affairs of other countries.

So before the comments began, lets get a few things straight.

I am not a coward, I am a patriot.
I am not afraid of combat, I have served.
I am not an appeaser, I believe you kill before being killed.
I am not shortsighted, I understand nuance.
I am an American.

Written By:
Warren Pulley, CEO
RyPul Threat Assessments
An International Protection and Assessment Company

Monday, August 29, 2016

RyPul Threat Assessments Security Personnel Employment Positions

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http://business.times-online.com/times-online/news/read/32495331/Crisis_Hostage_Negotiators_Needed Tue, 19 Jul 2016 11:02:25 GMT

FBI MOST WANTED - JOANNE DEBORAH CHESIMARD




Aliases:
Assata Shakur, Joanne Byron, Barbara Odoms, Joanne Chesterman, Joan Davis, Justine Henderson, Mary Davis, Pat Chesimard, Jo-Ann Chesimard, Joanne Debra Chesimard, Joanne D. Byron, Joanne D. Chesimard, Joanne Davis, Chesimard Joanne, Ches Chesimard, Sister-Love Chesimard, Joann Debra Byron Chesimard, Joanne Deborah Byron Chesimard, Joan Chesimard, Josephine Henderson, Carolyn Johnson, Carol Brown, "Ches"

Date(s) of Birth Used July 16, 1947, August 19, 1952
Place of Birth New York City, New York
Hair Black/Gray
Eyes Brown
Height 5'7"
Weight 135 to 150 pounds
Sex Female
Race Black
Citizenship American
Scars and Marks Chesimard has scars on her chest, abdomen, left shoulder, and left knee.
Reward:

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1,000,000 for information directly leading to the apprehension of Joanne Chesimard.

Remarks:

Chesimard may wear her hair in a variety of styles and dress in African tribal clothing.

Caution:

Joanne Chesimard is wanted for escaping from prison in Clinton, New Jersey, while serving a life sentence for murder. On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, who was part of a revolutionary extremist organization known as the Black Liberation Army, and two accomplices were stopped for a motor vehicle violation on the New Jersey Turnpike by two troopers with the New Jersey State Police. At the time, Chesimard was wanted for her involvement in several felonies, including bank robbery. Chesimard and her accomplices opened fire on the troopers. One trooper was wounded and the other was shot and killed execution-style at point-blank range. Chesimard fled the scene, but was subsequently apprehended. One of her accomplices was killed in the shoot-out and the other was also apprehended and remains in jail. 

In 1977, Chesimard was found guilty of first degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon, and armed robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison. On November 2, 1979, Chesimard escaped from prison and lived underground before being located in Cuba in 1984. She is thought to currently still be living in Cuba.

SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS


Submit a Tip:

If you have any information concerning this person, please call the FBI Toll-Free tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). You may also contact your local FBI office , or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
Field Office: Newark

Submit an anonymous Tip online

RANGER LACY Distribution of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography - FBI MOST WANTED

WANTED BY THE FBI

Details:

Ranger Lacy is wanted for his involvement in pornography. In December 2009, Lacy allegedly engaged in child pornography and traded images as of 2011. More than 40,000 sexually explicit images of child pornography were reportedly found on Lacy's computer. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Lacy in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on July 9, 2015. Lacy was charged with distribution and possession of child pornography. Lacy's arraignment was set for July 14, 2015, but he failed to appear and his whereabouts are unknown.







Aliases:
Ranger S. Lacy, Ranger Sylvan Lacy

Date(s) of Birth Used February 28, 1977
Hair Brown
Eyes Blue
Height 5'10"
Weight Approximately 160 pounds
Sex Male
Race White
NCIC W893961431

Remarks:

There were possible sightings of Lacy in Morehead and Frenchburg, Kentucky. Lacy does not work and is reportedly living off of a family trust fund. He also owns property in Okeechobee, Florida.


Details:

Ranger Lacy is wanted for his involvement in pornography. In December 2009, Lacy allegedly engaged in child pornography and traded images as of 2011. More than 40,000 sexually explicit images of child pornography were reportedly found on Lacy's computer. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Lacy in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on July 9, 2015. Lacy was charged with distribution and possession of child pornography. Lacy's arraignment was set for July 14, 2015, but he failed to appear and his whereabouts are unknown.

Submit a Tip:

If you have any information concerning this person, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

Submit an anonymous Tip online

San Antonio Man Sentenced to 18 Years in Federal Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography

In San Antonio today, 29-year-old John Michael Rymers was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for receipt of child pornography announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Fred Biery ordered that Rymers pay $20,000 restitution to his victims and be placed under supervised release for the remainder of his life after completing his prison term. 
On October 23, 2015, FBI agents executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence and seized a laptop computer and related media.  A forensics examination on the seized items revealed the presence of approximately 150 videos and 1,150 images depicting child pornography.
According to court records, Rymers has engaged in the sexual exploitation of minors over the past six years including attempts to hack into the computer systems of minors as young as 14 in order to obtain nude and sexually explicit images and videos of these individuals; and, using false personas, mainly of young women, in order to persuade, coerce and entice minor females to create and send to him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves.

Rymers has remained in custody since being arrested in October 2015.  On May 12, 2016, Rymers pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography. 
This case was investigated by the FBI’s San Antonio Child Exploitation Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Thompson prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visithttp://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html.

Illegal Alien Sentenced For Possession Of Firearms And Ammunition

Orlando, Florida– U.S. District Judge John Antoon, II has sentenced Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif (25, Melbourne, and a citizen of the United Arab Emirates) to 18 months in federal prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition by an unlawful alien. Following his prison term, he will be deported back to the United Arab Emirates. Rehaif was found guilty by a federal jury in May 2016.

According to evidence presented at trial, Rehaif was admitted into the United States in 2013 under a student visa in order to attend the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). After completing three semesters at FIT, he was academically dismissed in December 2014. As a result, Rehaif became an unlawful alien when he failed to immediately depart the United States. During that time, Rehaif possessed firearms and ammunition at a local shooting range in Melbourne, Florida. In addition, he provided ammunition to two hotel employees as “gifts.” At the sentencing hearing, the Court found that Rehaif had illegally purchased three other firearms.



Law enforcement agents originally made contact with Rehaif in December 2015, at a hotel in Melbourne where he had been living for two months. According to court documents, Rehaif stayed at the hotel for 53 straight days and paid over $11,000 in room fees. Law enforcement found rounds of handgun and rifle ammunition in his hotel room and in a storage unit that Rehaif had rented, but did not locate any firearms.  

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Melbourne Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn P. Napier and Special Assistant United States Attorney Christina R. Downes.

Holliston Man Charged in Connection with Weapons Trove

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 29, 2016
Holliston Man Charged in Connection with Weapons Trove

BOSTON – A Holliston man was arrested early Saturday morning in connection with his possession of a trove of weapons, ammunition and incendiary material, and his threats to use them.

Joseph Garguilo, 40, was charged in a criminal complaint with being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition.  Garguilo is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal in Boston today at 2:30 p.m.                                                                      

According to the charging documents, on July 27, 2016, the FBI received information Garguilo had recently acquired parts to make an AR-15 rifle, and he was stockpiling other weapons including tasers, mace guns, hunting knives and thermite (an incendiary).  Around the same time Garguilo allegedly stated that “he will plant a bomb in police station…and kill as many homeland security officers as he can before they kill him.”  The FBI then initiated an investigation.  In recent days, the FBI learned that Garguilo had stated that he wanted to attack a mosque and/or kill President Obama.  Garguilo also allegedly said he wanted to, “chain a mosque closed and burn it down.”  Garguilo did not mention any specific mosque or time for this attack. The FBI also learned that Garguilo was stockpiling food and water as part of his plan, and that an acquaintance of Garguilo’s believed he was “about to snap.”



On Aug. 26, 2017, federal agents conducted a search of Garguilo’s residence and seized parts to assemble an AR-15 rifle, ammunition for the AR-15 rifle, nine millimeter ammunition, chemicals that could be combined to create incendiary or explosive compounds, and hand written notes threatening violent attacks against members of the Islamic faith.

As alleged in court documents, Garguilo is the subject of an active restraining order which prohibits him from possessing firearms and ammunition based upon a finding that “there is substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse…”

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Holliston Police Chief John J. Moore; and Medway Police Chief Allen M. Tingley, made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lori Holik and Mark Grady of Ortiz’s Criminal Division.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  

DoD Taps DEF CON Hacker Traits For Cybersecurity Training Program

Famed capture-the-packet contest technology will become part of DoD training as well.

The Defense Department for the second year in a row sent one of its top directors to DEF CON in Las Vegas this month, but it wasn’t for recruiting purposes.

So what was Frank DiGiovanni, director of force training in DoD’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, doing at DEF CON? “My purpose was to really learn from people who come to DEF CON … Who are they? How do I understand who they are? What motivates them? What sort of attributes” are valuable to the field, the former Air Force officer and pilot who heads overall training policy for the military, says.

DiGiovanni interviewed more than 20 different security industry experts and executives during DEF CON. His main question:  “If you’re going to hire someone to either replace you or eventually be your next cyber Jedi, what are you looking for?”



The DEF CON research is part of DiGiovanni’s mission to develop a state-of-the-art cyber training program that ultimately helps staff the military as well as private industry with the best possible cybersecurity experts and to fill the infamous cybersecurity skills gap today. The program likely will employ a sort of ROTC-style model where DoD trains the students and they then owe the military a certain number of years of employment.

With the help of DEF CON founder Jeff Moss, DiGiovanni over the the past year has met and then picked the brains of, seasoned hackers and the people who hire them about the types of skills, characteristics, and know-how needed for defending organizations from today’s attackers.

DiGiovanni, who is also responsible for helping shape retention and recruitment policy efforts in the DoD, has chatted with CEOs of firms that conduct penetration testing, as well as pen testers and other security experts themselves, to get a clearer picture of the types of skills DoD should be teaching, testing, and encouraging, for future cybersecurity warriors and civilians.

This is the second phase of the development of a prototype cyber training course he spearheads for DoD at Fort McNair: the intensive six-month prototype program currently consists of 30 students from all branches of the military as well as from the US Department of Homeland Security. It’s all about training a new generation of cybersecurity experts.

The big takeaway from DiGiovanni’s DEF CON research: STEM, aka science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, was not one of the top skills organizations look for in their cyber-Jedis. “Almost no one talked about technical capabilities or technical chops,” he says. “That was the biggest revelation for me.”

DiGiovanni compiled a list of attributes for the cyber-Jedi archetype based on his interviews. The ultimate hacker/security expert, he found, has skillsets such as creativity and curiosity, resourcefulness, persistence, and teamwork, for example.

A training exercise spinoff of DEF CON’s famed capture-the-packet (CTP) contest also will become part of the DoD training program. DiGiovanni recruited DEF CON CTP and Wall of Sheep mastermind Brian Markus to repurpose his capture-the-packet technology as a training exercise module. “In October, he will submit to the government a repackaged capture-the-packet training capability for DoD, which is huge,” DiGiovanni says. Also on tap is a capture-the-flag competition, DoD-style, he says.

One of the security experts DiGiovanni met with at DEF CON this year was Patrick Upatham, global director of advanced cybersecurity at Digital Guardian. “I was a little apprehensive at first,” Upatham says. “After learning what they are doing and the approach that they are taking, it totally made sense.”

“He [Frank] is looking for a completely different mindset and background, and [to] then train that person with the technical detail” to do the job, Upatham says. “They are looking for folks who are more resourceful and persistent, and creative in their mindset.”

DoD’s training program is about being more proactive in building out its cybersecurity workforce. That’s how it has to work now, given that more than 200,000 cybersecurity jobs were left unfilled last year overall. DoD’s Cyber Mission Force is calling for some 6,200 positions to be filled.

The goal is to train that workforce in both offensive and defensive security skills. That means drilling down on the appropriate problem-based learning, for example. The current prototype training program doesn’t require a four-year degree, and it’s more of a “journeyman apprentice” learning model, DiGiovanni says.

About 80% or so is hands-on keyboard training, he says, with the rest is lecture-based. “A lot of the lectures are by the students themselves, with a learn-by-teaching model,” he says.

DiGiovanni gave an example of one student in the DoD training program who came in knowing nothing about security. The young man was a self-professed  “cable dog” at Fort Meade, a reference to his job of pulling cable through pipes. But when he finished the six-month DoD course, he was reverse-engineering malware.

“When he came to the course, he didn’t know what a ‘right-click’” of a mouse was, nor did he have any software technology experience, DiGiovanni recalls. “To me, that’s a heck of a success story.”

The next step is determining how to scale the DoD training program so that it can attract and train enough cyber warriors for the future. The goal is to hand off the training program to a partner organization to run it and carry it forward, possibly as early as this fall, he says.

Meantime, DiGiovanni says the DEF CON hacker community is a key resource and potential partner. “The security of our nation is at stake. I think it’s imperative for DoD to embrace the DEF CON community because of the unique skill they bring to the table,” he says. “They want to serve and contribute, and the nation needs them.”

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Monday, August 22, 2016

"You call. We Meet. We Search. You Enter Safely!"

LOS ANGELES - Aug. 22, 2016 - PRLog -- RyPul Threat Assessments is now offering "ARRIVE SAFE" in the Southern California market. Arrive Safe are very professional and personalized security services to those who are a little uncomfortable about returning to an empty home, business, apartment or rental property after an extended time away, for fear of being accosted by some unwanted person who could be waiting inside.

"YOU CALL.  WE MEET. WE SEARCH. YOU ENTER SAFELY!"

Are you returning from vacation and want to ensure your home is secure?
Are you a college student living alone – need your place checked out?
Is your elderly parent safe when returning from a hospital visit?
Has your neighbor called to say someone is snooping around your home?

LET OUR SECURITY PROFESSIONALS MEET YOU AT YOUR DOOR.



RYPUL states that there is a growing need for affordable, on call personal protective services that the average American can use, especially since your local police officer won't respond simply just to "check out your home" because you feel uneasy.  Statics show that 1 out 3 residential assaults are a result of burglary, 85% of break-ins are from desperate and dangerous people, 4 of 10 sexual assaults take place at the victim's home and 1 burglary occurs in the U.S. every 15 seconds.  RYPUL states that it can provide the average person with an armed former law enforcement officer or government trained security professional to walk into and through your home, apartment, business or rental property before you enter and ensure that you're not walking into danger, affording you exceptional peace of mind.

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Company Description:

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Is Undead Smallpox Reemerging From Siberian Graves?

As if the news that resurrected anthrax from thawed-out reindeer wasn't bad enough, increasingly warming temperatures are prompting renewed fears that permafrost could thaw enough to unleash smallbox from remote Russian cemeteries.

As The Siberian Times reports, this year the permafrost melt has been three times more extreme than usual above the Arctic Circle, causing erosion near graveyards of a town where smallpox wiped out 40 percent of the population decades ago.

Yet, some scientists argue that it's not the graves we should be worried about.



Scientists from Russia's Virology and Biotechnology Center (or Vector) in Novosibirsk are investigating the bodies, some of which show bone sores associated with smallpox. Fortunately, only fragments of the strain’s DNA were found, rather than any evidence of surviving smallpox. However, the center plans to conduct more research on "deeper burials" in the future, just to make sure. So far, luckily, that's been the case for years, as another expedition in 2012 found only "fragments" as well.

The effects would be devastating if it ever got out. Around 300 million people died from smallpox within the last century alone. But it's also a rare example of a disease that's been "completely" eradicated, as the last wild case of it showed up in Somalia in 1977. Even most of the stocks from lab studies are gone, with the only known ones shelved away in Koltsovo (just a few miles outside of Novosibirsk, appropriately enough) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Scientists have been worried about its resurgence from graveyard thaws for a while. Back in 2002, Science magazine was telling much of the same tale, complete with gruesome details about digging up young, mummified smallpox victims, finding the pustules, and drenching the area with disinfectant so no one would be able to resurrect the disease.

In another piece from The Siberian Times, Sergey Netesov, a professor at Novosibirsk State University and the part-time chief scientist at the Vector, emphasized that he's less worried about exposure to the virus than infectious disease-carrying rodents infecting immunodeficient people, such as HIV patients.

Netesov, who was one of the first people to start checking the Siberian bodies for live smallpox in 1993, believes the worry about the thawing graveyards is overblown.

Netesov notes that the tombs in northern Siberia all lie very close to the surface, and the increasing extreme thaws paired with the usual extreme freezes "reduces the number of viable viruses from five to tenfold."

In a statement on Sunday, in the wake of the anthrax outbreak, Netesov reaffirmed that only "fragments" of smallpox DNA had been found. He added, however, that no one's supposed to be going near the sites with anthrax and smallpox victims anyway, but the region's harsh climate has often swept away the wooden fences originally erected to keep snoopers and livestock out. Even then, there's a danger of other diseases getting out.

If there is a danger of smallpox reemerging in Siberia, Netesov said in a statement to TRTWorld this week, it'll likely come from people who dig deeper, such as miners or oil drillers. And that's cause for alarm, as the warmer temperatures are facilitating such activities in the remote regions of the world.

"If it is true that these viruses survive in the same way those amoeba viruses survive, then smallpox is not eradicated from the planet — only the surface,” he said.

But in fact, the greatest danger from smallpox may not even come from the thaws, he says. Back in the '90s Netesov and some colleagues from the CDC discovered that smallpox genomes are very similar to those of cowpox, an ancestor of smallpox. Back then a Siberian milkmaid caught what seemed to be cowpox, but he regrets that they weren't able to determine its ultimate origins.

"'And since people are not vaccinated anymore, it is possible, as was once the case, that there will be a new transition of the virus from animals to humans," he said. "This probability is non-zero. Once it has been happened in history, it may happen again."

TOPICS: Smallpox Thaws, permafrost, siberia, climate change, plague, pathogens, anthrax, mass graves, infectious diseases, reindeer, Virology and Biotechnology Center

Inside Gaza's Underground Smuggler Tunnels

By VICE Staff
August 17, 2016

In VICELAND's new series Black Market: Dispatches, we expand our look into global underground economies to see how contraband moves across borders.
In the first episode, we explore the underground network of tunnels that connect the Gaza Strip to Israel and Egypt to see how goods and soldiers move in and out of the Palestinian territory. Gazans get around the economic blockade by using the rudimental tunnels to smuggle in items they need to survive, even as neighboring territories try to bomb and destroy them.
Watch the full first episode above and make sure to catch the show every Tuesday at 10 PM on VICELAND.

Residents of New York's 'Murder Ave' Explain How the City Got Safer

By Amdé Mengistu

August 17, 2016


The author's intersection in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. All photos and GIFs by Alex Thebez of GIFRIENDS
Fort Greene, Brooklyn, has been my home for a decade now, and for the last couple years, I've raised my two young boys on Myrtle and Carlton, across from the Walt Whitman Housing Projects. We're on a border between tony brownstone blocks and rundown public housing. Our hood features aging homeless people, pot dealers and panhandlers. Gone, however, are the stick-up boys, gang fights and gunshots.
It's just plain old Myrtle Avenue now, but back in the 1980s and 90s, they called it "Murder Ave." These days, it makes for a picturesque scene—if you're looking for broken people sprinkled amidst New Brooklyn money.
Bill Bratton, who will step down as NYPD commissioner next month, tends to get much of the credit for this change. During a two-year stint in the same job under Mayor Rudy Giuliani beginning in 1994, he emphasized "broken windows" policing that went hard after so-called quality of life offenses like panhandling and turnstile jumping. Bill de Blasio appointed Bratton to the same gig after winning the mayor's office in 2013, and often gushes about his top cop on Twitter and IRL. The mayor isn't alone, either—from New York to LA, from the Post to the Times, Bratton is described as a seminal figure in American life, one whose obsession with tracking crime statistics neighborhood by neighborhood and block by block changed the city forever.
eCig gif.
There are no broken windows on my block anymore. When I asked the NYPD about the change, they offered data showing violent crime in the 88th precinct had dropped nearly 80 percent since 1993—and that my neighborhood saw 68 percent fewer murders last year than at the beginning of Bratton's first stint as NYPD boss. But to get a sense of how folks in the neighborhood perceive the man credited with making America's largest city one of its safest, I hit the block.
Phillip Campbell was born in 1977 and grew up on Lafayette and South Oxford, just across the park from Myrtle Avenue. "Well, the architecture is the same," he joked when I asked how the hood has changed. These days, you can pay $2300 a month for a studio in The Griffin, the pre-war building where he grew up. But in the 80s and 90s, Campbell told me, "There were prostitutes in the penthouse and crack vials on the floor," and his grandmother would never let him "go down those 100 steps" from the top of Fort Greene Park to the projects on Myrtle Avenue.
Campbell understands now that she wanted him "to feel like we had the chance to be middle class, but down there was the reality," he said. He doesn't have a great sense of Bratton as a public figure, but does recall how "Adolf Giuliani had two terms and it was so brutal." Campbell added that police would go where they knew there was poverty and "call them 'Hot-Spots' and put 200 cops there. You could get beat up for riding a bike on the sidewalk."



Booj on Myrtle Ave.
Two blocks away from Myrtle, every August for the past 23 years, Cook Green has run a summer basketball tournament for local kids on the playground at Dekalb and Carlton. "This was the worst neighborhood in damn near Brooklyn," he told me of the old days, adding that there were "real gangs here, Crazy Bishops, Comanches, Warlords, just to name a few." When I asked how that changed and when, he responded simply, "They hired way more police." But around 1997 or 98, he said, "You could get locked up for stupid shit—jaywalking."
Cook thinks that when Giuliani came around, "That's when shit went south. That nigger ain't give a fuck."
On Myrtle Avenue in 2016, you can have a smoke or a sip of Hennessy with kids that used to ball in Cook's tournament. One of them, known on the block as Booj, is in his 30s now, with a slightly faded neck tattoo of Myrtle and Adelphi street signs. He remembers the transition well, and actually thinks the biggest change came in the 2000s, when he "couldn't walk through the park without having to get stopped." Booj told me cops would target "only blacks though, even if whites were doin' the same shit, like riding bikes on a sidewalk."

Booj at the Bodega
It's more peaceful on the sidewalk now, but according to Othman al-Muntaser, the Yemeni bodega owner who sells Booj cigarettes and snacks, it's only been that way since about 2004. In the 90s, he told me, you could be robbed on the street "right in the afternoon, no problem." Asked to explain the change, Al-Muntaser snapped, "White people and Jewish moved in, what do you think?"
That reminded me of Booj's disdain for the cops and the change they wrought. He thinks they only cared to make the neighborhood safe for new developments like the Barclays Center, home to Brooklyn Nets games and big concerts since opening in 2012. "Jay-Z fucked up the 'hood, I always said that—write that shit down," Booj said. "They didn't clean this shit up for us."
There's an old church around the corner on Adelphi, where I stopped on a recent Sunday to see what the Elders had to say—maybe they were less antagonistic toward the NYPD and even grateful for the new way. Bishop-Designate Austin Craig Williams gave the service, and when we spoke afterwards, he recalled his father being robbed at gunpoint coming out of a barbershop on Myrtle. But Williams was on day five of his church's 21 Day No-Negativity Challenge, and said the neighborhood's changes had been a net positive. Citing "a concerted effort against crime," though, he told me it wasn't just about cops but also a real grassroots effort that had transformed the community.
Tony cuts hair at a place called Myrtle Avenue His and Hers. He was born around the corner in the Cumberland Hospital, between Myrtle and the Navy Yard. When I asked how long he'd been in the 'hood, he told me, "My whole life—I remember when we had the elevated train line," and pointed out to the sidewalk where the Myrtle El ran until 1969. "We had people change, drug change, social change, economic change," he said. Tony admitted that "this block was horrible" way back, but like every person I spoke to, declined to give credit to Bratton—or his cops. He suspects crime around here stems from economic need, and that hasn't changed. Rather than stamping out the problem, Tony thinks cops have simply moved the violence around.

Tony the Barber at his shop in Fort Greene
"They used to knock me on my head and take 12 dollars," he said, nodding his head vaguely toward the street. "Now they go into Walgreens and steal five tubes of toothpaste."
It's been a sweltering August on Myrtle Ave. You can watch a millennial nurse an iced latte while his bike gets tuned-up at a place that doubles as a café. You can see a homeless man from the Greatest Generation sit all day long in the B54 bus shelter. Back inside the barbershop, Tony eventually took to laughing at the very premise of my question—whether Bratton deserves credit for how safe it is here. Then the barber pushed himself slowly out of a chair and reached for his clippers.
"If you paint a dirty wall," he asked me, "did you clean it up?"
Amdé Mengistu is a recovering attorney raising two boys in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.