Showing posts with label yahoo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yahoo. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

NYC mayor says slashing spike due to gun control, as critics blame passive policing

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says the explosion in random slashings this year shows the city is getting guns off the streets, but critics say it’s another NYPD policy that is driving the blade attacks: The end of stop-and-frisk.

De Blasio’s claim earlier this month that violent criminals are using knives, razor blades and boxcutters to maim strangers because they can’t get their hands on firearms prompted skepticism from law enforcement experts. Slashings have jumped about 20 percent this year compared to the first three months of 2015, with attacks occurring on the subway, at tourist attractions and in outer borough neighborhoods long plagued by crime.

“I’m not quite sure why violent people would switch to knife carrying over gun carrying when their chances of being stopped and frisked or arrested are already so low.”

- Heather McDonald, Manhattan Institute
"I’m not a criminologist,” de Blasio told reporters in response to a question about the knife attacks. “But I can safely say that guns are being taken off the street in an unprecedented way. Some people, unfortunately, are turning to a different weapon.”

Some law enforcement experts aren’t buying the mayor’s explanation for the rise in knife crime.

“These criminals didn’t just start carrying knives out of the blue or because of the guns getting taken — I don’t believe that for a second,” former NYPD Detective Scott Prendergast, who runs the private investigation service Cornelius Investigations, told FoxNews.com.

Instead, Prendergast blames the rise in knife attacks on de Blasio for ending “stop-and-frisk,” a policy in which police officers stop people based on suspicion and frisk them for weapons or other illegal items.

“The increase in knives is more connected to ending stop and frisk . . . so the criminals know they can carry knives like they did back in the 1980s,” Prendergast said.

Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute who studies crime, agreed.

“I’m not quite sure why violent people would switch to knife carrying over gun carrying when their chances of being stopped and frisked or arrested are already so low,” she told FoxNews.com.

Asked for evidence backing up the mayor’s claim about guns, the NYPD sent FoxNews.com data showing that gun-related arrests in 2016 have risen to 559 from 476 during the same period last year. And that at the same time as they arrested more people for having guns, shooting incidents fell to 130 from 161 and murders fell to 44 from 63.



Those statistics are consistent with the mayor’s argument, but Prendergast noted that crimes in general are up.

There were 402 more felonious assaults so far this year compared to the same time period last year – a 14 percent increase. Through the first two months of the year, there were 567 slashing attacks, some 20 percent above the pace set in early 2015.

Police data also show that shootings, while down in 2016 so far, are still higher than they were two years ago when de Blasio took office.

“I have lived and worked in New York City my whole life and it is definitely starting to remind me of the 1980s as far as unsavory characters being a lot more visible,” Prendergast said.

De Blasio said the city’s next project is to crack down on illegal knives and that the best way to do so is with “broken windows” policing – meaning enforcing laws against relatively minor crimes and shaking the perps down for weapons.

“I believe in quality-of-life policing, or ‘Broken Windows Policing,’” de Blasio said.  “I get the reports every day. Someone’s jumping a turnstile [or] someone had some other kind of infraction and… it turns out they have a weapon,” he said.

But critics say de Blasio doesn’t fully allow police to practice what he preaches, because this year New York City decriminalized a host of minor crimes including public urination, drinking in public and littering.

“So obviously they’re not doing ‘broken windows’ policing,” Prendergast said.

ICE: 124 illegal immigrants released from jail later charged in 138 murder cases

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has revealed that 124 illegal immigrant criminals released from jail by the Obama administration since 2010 have been subsequently charged with murder.

A Center for Immigration Studies report on the data from ICE to the Senate Judiciary Committee added that the committee is not releasing the names of the murder suspects.

"The criminal aliens released by ICE in these years — who had already been convicted of thousands of crimes — are responsible for a significant crime spree in American communities, including 124 new homicides. Inexplicably, ICE is choosing to release some criminal aliens multiple times," said the report written by CIS's respected director of policy studies, Jessica M. Vaughan.



She added that 75 percent were released due to court orders or because their countries wouldn't take them back.

What's more, her report said that in 2014, ICE released 30,558 criminal aliens who had been convicted of 92,347 crimes. Only 3 percent have been deported.

Her analysis is the latest shocking review of Obama's open-border immigration policy. And despite the high number of illegal immigrants charged with murder, the list doesn't include those released by over 300 so-called "sanctuary cities" and those ICE declined to take into custody.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

When should terror force a city to shut down?


By Juliette Kayyem, CNN National Security Analyst
The attacks in Paris were purposefully targeted to impact a city where people go to eat, drink, watch sports and listen to music. These were no military targets, embassies, mass transit systems, hotels holding foreign officials or government buildings.

Instead, restaurants, a sporting arena and a concert hall were chosen because they represent the very benefits of urban life and the vulnerabilities of a crowded space. The Paris tragedy is of such consequence because it was an attack focused on the young, the social, the future: the very heart of every city.

If this is the wave of the future, then every city is inherently vulnerable. What makes them vital -- their very openness -- also puts residents at risk. For public safety officials, what to do about threats in a city is a constant balance between the risk and the reward. And it is in this context that the decision for an indeterminate lockdown must be considered.

Soldiers stand guard in front of the Brussels Central Train Station on Sunday as the Belgian capital remained on the highest security alert level over fears of a Paris-style attack.     
Soldiers stand guard in front of the Brussels Central Train Station on Sunday as the Belgian capital remained on the highest security alert level over fears of a Paris-style attack.
This weekend in Belgium, in response to specific and presumably credible intelligence in the hunt for the Paris terrorists, Brussels went into lockdown. The decision has now been made by the Prime Minister to extend the lockdown through Monday, a work and school day, at the very least. The economic and psychological impact are immeasurable.

Belgium is in the midst of a counterterrorism mission, and we must rely on its good-faith efforts to protect the population and thwart the next attack. But Belgian leaders' decisions expose a major challenge in security efforts and one that needs to be prioritized for a future when most cities are likely to have to respond to threats of terror: How do you close down an entire city?

Terror alert raised to maximum in Brussels

Terror alert raised to maximum in Brussels 01:25
Given mobility of people and mass transit systems, cities can find it impossible to try to limit the impact -- or what we in disaster management call the cascading consequences -- of a shutdown.

Mass transit systems are a perfect example.

During the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent chase of the Tsarnaev brothers, city and state public safety officials believed it was important to shut down areas of Boston as they pursued Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. What they found, however, was that the system of mass transit was so intertwined -- buses leading to trains, and vice versa -- that to close down a single part of it was impossible. It was all or nothing. And they chose all, closing Boston and surrounding suburbs for a day.

Why planes remain a terrorist target
Why planes remain a terrorist target (Opinion)
This will be true for most cities.

Therefore, emergency response planners should begin to make plans for the potential of closures that are the least disruptive. Most training around city closures, especially in the context of snow storms or hurricanes, assumes that systems are either running or not. It may be in the context of the threat environment that leaders -- not just public safety leaders, but those in transit and design -- need to develop more limited responses.

But, assuming that isn't possible, the next step must be to ensure that criteria are well established for when a lockdown occurs and as importantly, when it will be lifted.

It cannot simply be that a terrorist has gone missing; that would mean every major city would be in constant shutdown. Such criteria could include the specificity and veracity of the intelligence and the likelihood that the attack would be thwarted by a shutdown.

Cities and nations must have very clear criteria for when and how they will reopen. In Boston during the marathon bombing in 2013, the governor reopened the city before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. The city struggled to explain how it could convince people that things were safe while there was a terrorist still on the loose.

As it turned out, it was because the lockdown was lifted that a suburban resident saw traces of blood and alerted the police to where Dzhokhar was hiding, suggesting that the "crowds" can often be used to help in counterterrorism efforts.

How GOP 'outrage' helps ISIS deliver its message
How GOP 'outrage' over refugees helps ISIS
I don't know, in the absence of a major arrest, how Brussels moves forward after Monday. The country is rightfully on edge, made more so by being told to stay put. The economic impact of a lost business day alone will be felt throughout the country and much of the EU.

The psychological impacts only aid the sense that that terrorists have changed how we live. Thus, shutting down a city is a tactic that should only be used in the rarest of circumstances, based on criteria that are known to the public and that are understood by those who implement them.

From public accounts, Belgium chose to close the city because of an imminent threat and the hunt for the terrorist, Salah Abdeslam, responsible for the French bombings.


Only they can make that judgment call, and there is no "right" answer about what they should have done. But, at some stage soon, there has to be a return to normal, and to do so, leaders need to publicly set the stage for how the city's engines of activity will start churning again, especially if the elusive Abdeslam is not found.

Elite FBI teams hunting 48 ISIS suspects in America


With as many as 1,000 active cases, Fox News has learned at least 48 ISIS suspects are considered so high-risk that the FBI is using its elite tracking squads, known as the mobile surveillance teams or MSTs, to track them domestically.

“There is a very significant number of people that are on suspicious watch lists, under surveillance,” said Sen. Dan Coats (R-Indiana).

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Coats, who sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence, would not comment on specifics, but said the around-the-clock surveillance is a major commitment for the bureau. “The FBI together with law enforcement agencies across the country are engaged in this. It takes enormous amount of manpower to do this on a 24/7 basis. It takes enormous amount of money to do this,” Coats explained.

These elite FBI teams are reserved for espionage, mob violence and high-priority terrorism cases, like a joint terrorism task force case last June, where a 26-year-old suspect, Usaama Rahim, was killed outside a Massachusetts CVS. When a police officer and FBI agent tried to question him, the Boston police commissioner said, Rahim threatened them with a knife, and was shot dead.


On June 2, law enforcement officials lift the knife Usaama Rahim brandished toward a police officer and an FBI agent.Photo: AP
With at least a dozen agents assigned to each case, providing 24/7 coverage, this high level of surveillance reflects the severe risk associated with suspects most likely to attempt copycat attacks after Paris.

“It is a big resource drain. Yes it is. Almost overwhelming,” Coats said when asked about the demand placed on the FBI. “There will be a lot of people over the Thanksgiving weekend that will not be enjoying turkey with their family. They’ll be out there providing security for the American people and the threat is particularly high during this holiday period.”

One of the lessons of Paris is that the radicalization process can be swift. According to published reports, friends of the female suspect who was killed in the siege of Saint-Denis, Hasna Ait Boulahcen, abandoned her party life only a month before joining her cousin, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the commander of the plot on the ground. He was also killed in the siege.

Modal Trigger
On June 30, 2014, ISIS fighters parade through Raqqa, Syria, the nominal capital of the Islamic State’s caliphate.Photo: Reuters
FBI Director James Comey has consistently drawn attention to this phenomenon, calling it the “flash to bang,” that the time between radicalization and crossing the threshold to violent action can be very short. Last week, in a rare public appearance with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Comey would only say that “dozens” of suspected radicals have been under “tight surveillance.”

“Together we are watching people of concern using all of our lawful tools. We will keep watching them and if we see something, we will work to disrupt it,” Comey said.

Contacted by Fox News, an FBI spokesman had no comment on the high-risk cases, nor the use of elite surveillance teams.

Worldwide Travel Alert For U.S. Citizens

SF Sniper Prepares for Operation
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.
Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. 
0827-Venezuela-Amuay-refinery-explosion_full_600
U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places.  Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.  U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots.  We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism.  Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.
For further information:

U.S. bioterrorism detection program unreliable: GAO

DHS’s BioWatch program aims to provide early indication of an aerosolized biological weapon attack. Until April 2014, DHSpursued a next-generation autonomous detection technology (Gen-3), which aimed to enable collection and analysis of air samples in less than six hours, unlike the current system (Gen-2), which requires manual intervention and can take up to thirty-six hours to detect the presence of biological pathogens. A GAOreport found that DHS lacks reliable information about BioWatch Gen-2’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack, and therefore lacks the basis for informed cost-benefit decisions about upgrades to the system.
DHS’s BioWatch program aims to provide early indication of an aerosolized biological weapon attack. Until April 2014, DHS pursued a next-generation autonomous detection technology (Gen-3), which aimed to enable collection and analysis of air samples in less than six hours, unlike the current system (Gen-2), which requires manual intervention and can take up to thirty-six hours to detect the presence of biological pathogens.
DHS is taking steps to address the capability gap which resulted from the April 2014 cancellation of Gen-3 by exploring other technology upgrades and improvements to the Gen-2 system.

A Government Accountability office (GAO) was asked to review the technical capabilities of the currently deployed BioWatch system (Gen-2); the Gen-3 testing effort; and the characteristics of autonomous detection as a possible option to replace the current BioWatch system.
GAO says it analyzed key program documents, including test plans, test results, and modeling studies. GAO assessed Gen-3 testing against best practices, reviewed relevant literature, and discussed the BioWatch program and testing efforts with key agency officials and national laboratories staff.
BioWatch Gen-2: Unreliable information
A Government Accountability office (GAOreport found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks reliable information about BioWatch Gen-2’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack, and therefore lacks the basis for informed cost-benefit decisions about upgrades to the system.
DHS commissioned several tests of the technical performance characteristics of the current BioWatch Gen-2 system, but the department has not developed performance requirements which would enable it to interpret the test results and draw conclusions about the system’s ability to detect attacks. GAO notes that although DHS officials said that the system can detect catastrophic attacks, which they define as attacks large enough to cause 10,000 casualties, they have not specified the performance requirements necessary to reliably meet this operational objective.
In the absence of performance requirements, DHS officials said computer modeling and simulation studies support their assertion, but none of these studies were designed to incorporate test results from the Gen-2 system and comprehensively assess the system against the stated operational objective. Additionally, the GAO report says, DHS has not prepared an analysis that combines the modeling and simulation studies with the specific Gen-2 test results to assess the system’s capabilities to detect attacks.
Finally, GAO found limitations and uncertainties in the four key tests of the Gen-2 system’s performance. Because it is not possible to test the BioWatch system directly by releasing live biothreat agents into the air in operational environments, DHS relied on chamber testing and the use of simulated biothreat agents, which limit the applicability of the results.
“These limitations underscore the need for a full accounting of statistical and other uncertainties, without which decision makers lack a full understanding of the Gen-2 system’s capability to detect attacks of defined types and sizes and cannot make informed decisions about the value of proposed upgrades,” the report says.
GAO notes that the actions and decisions DHS made regarding the acquisition and testing of a proposed next generation of BioWatch (Gen-3) partially aligned with best practices GAO previously identified for developmental testing of threat detection systems. For example, best practices indicate that resilience testing, or testing for vulnerabilities, can help uncover problems early. DHS took steps to help build resilience into the Gen-3 testing, but the report says that future testing could be improved by using more rigorous methods to help predict performance in different operational environments.
DHS canceled the Gen-3 acquisition in April 2014, but GAO identified lessonsDHS could learn by applying these best practices to the proposed Gen-2 upgrades.
According to experts and practitioners, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which detects genetic signatures of biothreat agents, is the most mature technology to use for an autonomous detection system. DHS is considering autonomous detection as an upgrade to Gen-2, because according to DHS, it may provide benefits such as reduction in casualties or clean-up costs. But the extent of these benefits, GAO says, is uncertain because of several assumptions, such as the speed of response after a detection, whih are largely outside of DHS’s control. As a result, the effectiveness of the response and the number of lives that could be saved is uncertain. Further, an autonomous detection system must address several likely challenges, including minimizing possible false positive readings, meeting sensitivity requirements, and securing information technology networks.
GAO recommends that DHS not pursue upgrades or enhancements for Gen-2 until DHS reliably establishes the system’s current capabilities. GAO also recommends DHS incorporate best practices for testing in conducting any system upgrades.
DHS has generally concurred with GAO’s recommendations.

Israel to build sophisticated fencing system along border with Jordan

venezuela-protests-march-13
Israel’s cabinet has approved the construction of a new high-tech fencing along Israel’s border with Jordan, with the aim of making it more difficult for Islamist terrorists such as members of ISIS from entering the country. Israel has built sophisticated fencing – indeed, complex defensive systems — along its borders with Lebanon, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Sinai. A similar system has been built along parts of Israel’s border with Syria. The Israeli security services are worried that a route through Jordan, the border with which is not as tightly secured as Israel’s borders with its other neighbors, may be an entryway for its enemies.
Israel’s cabinet has approved the construction of a new high-tech fencing along Israel’s border with Jordan, with the aim of making it more difficult for Islamist terrorists such as members of ISIS from entering the country.
The barrier is set to span nineteen miles in the south of the country, near the Red Sea. In addition to keeping out Islamist terrorists, the barrier is also aimed at preventing African migrants from entering Israel through Jordan, after travelling across the Red Sea.
Israel has completed a high-tech fence along the Israel-Egypt border in 2013, and the Independent reports that The Israeli security services are worried that a route through Jordan, which is not as tightly secured as Israel’s borders with its other neighbors, may be an entryway for its enemies.
During a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the extension of the Jordanian border fence “important,” and said it is a “very important step” in Israel’s national security.
He added that it will join the fence built along the Sinai and Golan Heights borders, which he said have been important in keeping out illegal migrants and “the various terrorist movements.”
Netanyahu said the fence was not an act of aggression or intimidation toward Jordan, stressing that the fence will be constructed “without in any way harming the sovereignty or national interests of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”
Netanyahu noted that the fence would also protect the Timna airport which is scheduled to open next year, and which is billed as an alternative “second airport” which could be used in case the Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv comes under attack.
Israel has built sophisticated fencing – indeed, complex defensive systems — along its borders with Lebanon, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Sinai. A similar system has been built along parts of Israel’s border with Syria.

Islamophobia Works in the Islamic State's Favor

Islamic State fighters in Iraq. Photo:Medyan Dairieh / VICE News
Four days after the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, my team and I asked the audience of my BBC Asian Network phone-in show a question, as we do every day. This time, it was: "Will the Paris attacks make life more difficult for British Muslims?"
It had been less than a week since the terrorists of Daesh, or the so-called Islamic State, had gone on their murderous rampage. So, to some, it may have seemed insensitive to be asking so soon how British Muslims were feeling when French hearts from all backgrounds were broken and a manhunt to catch the surviving perpetrators was still ongoing.
Our reasoning was that what IS wanted was for discord to fester—for Islamophobia in the West to become deeply embedded, with the subsequent hatred and mistrust leading to more eager recruits being seduced into their death cult. So it was important for us to gauge whether or not they were succeeding in their aim. We also wanted to discover what it felt like on the ground for the average law-abiding, tax-paying, house-tending, car-driving, life-living British Muslim—or indeed British Asian, being that the average Islamophobe isn't going to ask a potential victim to fill in a questionnaire clarifying their religious viewpoint before attacking them.
The calls, emails, and texts largely portrayed a depressing picture. I remember a British Muslim caller talking about how his sister had told their mother to not go to the bank that morning because "white people may attack you." And this was not an isolated case of fear.
It is against this backdrop that The Sun newspaper printed its recent front page headline, "1 in 5 Brit Muslims have sympathy for Jihadis"—a conclusion the journalist responsible made after seeing the results of a poll that never mentioned the word jihadis. The survey's 1,003 respondents were asked if they had any sympathy for young British Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria. Did that include members of the British Kurdish community going to Syria to fight IS, or joining the Free Syrian Army who are battling Assad and IS?
On the Sunday night before the print copy of the paper hit the newsstands, some had already seen the front page online and tweeted about how irresponsible and inflammatory they felt it was. A British Muslim member of the public, who also happens to follows me on Twitter, tweeted "All 5 Muslims in our household despise extremists. Either me or @TheSun is lying. Only one of us lies habitually."
On Monday morning as people awoke to this headline, my debate show team knew that our listeners would want to discuss the impact it would have. We asked "Is today's Sunheadline a wake up call to British Muslims or irresponsible journalism?" Many sided with the latter part of the question, as did others in the media. That same day there were articles in other newspapers questioning the methodology and the very basic journalistic shortcomings of the piece, and it was beginning to look like a blatant piece of hate-mongering to some of my listeners.
The Sun replied to the criticism by stating that they had "published the poll's findings clearly and accurately, including the questions in full." A non-Muslim emailer called Karamjeet wrote, "The reporting in The Sun certainly doesn't surprise me, but the way it is reported is totally irresponsible and inflammatory." Another listener texted, "The Sun is very conniving... they were asking very leading questions, the answers of which could be easily manipulated." With more than a hint of frustration in her tone, another listener said, "Like those three monkeys, the media by and large chooses to stay blind, deaf, and dumb to those voices who speak out against extremists and terrorists. What do they want? That I renounce my faith? That I take up non-Islamic practices? Will that then assuage them?"
The fact that British Muslim callers have described how their work colleagues no longer treat them with the courtesy they once experienced, or that they are fearful for the futures of their kids, should act as a wake-up call to politicians and journalists that ill-conceived headlines have repercussions for people who just wish to practice their faith and go about their business. We all have a responsibility to confront hatred and bigotry wherever it exists, and at the very least do nothing to unnecessarily exacerbate the situation.
You only have to see the ridicule and backlash that The Sun has faced this week to realize that we are a tolerant nation. But for some of my British Muslim listeners, the fear is that those headlines will be read by some as gospel, tainting the way some of their fellow Brits view them. Instead, we must all unite and show solidarity, for that will only infuriate IS and help to quell the number of Europeans making the journey to Syria to join the terrorists.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Uruguay an Important Weapons Source for LatAm Criminals?

The Santa Bernardina Air Base
The Santa Bernardina Air Base
An ammunition heist from an Air Force base in Uruguay points to corruption in the country’s security forces, and further indicates that the generally peaceful country serves as a prominent source of weapons for South America criminal groups.
Investigations by Uruguayan authorities found that roughly 18,000 pieces of ammunition stolen from the Santa Bernardina Air Base ended up in the hands of criminal groups in Brazil; including Rio de Janeiro’s notorious Red Command (Comando Vermelho), reported El Pais.
The munitions theft -- believed to have occurred sometime between November 2014 and February 2015 -- was made public on June 21 by Congressional delegate Jaime Trobo.
According to investigations, the stolen ammunition weighed between 650 and 750 kilograms, and was removed from the base through its main gate using a truck. During the months the robbery is believed to have taken place, security cameras, motion sensors, and electric fences guarding the base’s weapons depot were not functioning.  
Around 20 soldiers are under investigation. Mid-ranking soldiers and officers are also expected be implicated as investigations progress, reported El Pais. It is also possiblemore ammo was stolen than initially believed.
In 2007, the Uruguayan Air Force experienced a similar weapons theft, which resulted in four soldiers, three civilians, and one prison inmate being charged for stealing and organizing the weapons’ sales to Brazilian criminal groups.

InSight Crime Analysis

The theft of such a large amount of ammunition from an active Air Force base could not have occurred without complicity on the part of corrupt soldiers and officers.
While such instances of corruption are less common among Uruguay’s security forces, they are not without precedent. In 2012, around 20 police officers came under investigation for removing over 200 firearms from police stockpiles and selling them to Brazilian criminal groups. More recently, in April, three policemen and a businessman were arrested on suspicions they were trafficking guns to Brazil’s Red Command.
According to a 2009 report by the Small Arms Survey, while having the highest per capita civilian gun ownership in South America (one firearm for every three people), Uruguay has a relatively small collection of modern small arms (61,000). However, much of this inventory was found to be useless, owing to reductions in military personnel. The report also documented a surplus of around 80,000 outdated rifles, sub-machine guns, and light machine guns, which serve no function in Uruguay’s national strategy and whose status was unknown.
The existence of such surplus weapons stocks may prove too tempting an opportunity for some corrupt military officials. Neighboring Brazil offers a prime market, where evidence suggests groups like the Red Command have been seeking to obtain ever more powerful weapons. In 2013, 40 percent of weapons seized in Rio de Janeiro were listed as “category A” -- including rifles, machine guns, and submachine guns -- representing a 33 percent increase since 2009.

Mexico's Security Wins: Fact Vs Fiction

Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto
Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto touted security accomplishments in his State of Union speech. Some of his claims need some serious scrutiny.
Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto's state-of-the-union address
In his third State of the Union address the President acknowledged the last 12 months have been a "difficult year" for Mexico. He spoke of the 43 students disappeared in IgualaSinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman's escape from prison and accusations of corruption at many levels of government, including the Executive Branch
"These situations are all very different from each other, but they all hurt the spirit of the Mexican people and their trust in public institutions," Peña Nieto said. 
Defending his leadership through all this, the President presented a series of figures as proof of crime and security accomplishments. They included falling homicide andkidnapping rates and some of the lowest crime statistics in 17 years. 
Additionally Peña Nieto highlighted the capture of 92 figures on Mexico's 122 most dangerous people list along with improved coordination and intelligence sharing to combat organized crime. 
"We're not just capturing them, we're undermining their organizations and financial capacities," he said.
Looking to the next three years of his term, the President put forth a 10-point plan centered around improving security and the rule of law while also jump starting the economy.

InSight Crime Analysis

According to Animal Politico, Peña Nieto's claim of the second lowest crime rates in 17 years hinges on comparing two distinct categories of crime: "high impact crime" (mostly consisting of violent crime) vs total crime. 
Aside from statistical shenanigans, official crime figures may not reflect the facts on the ground, as evidenced by a recent Mexico victimization survey, known as Envipe, which pointed to large differences in the amount of crimes occurring and the number reported to authorities. 
If crimes do reach authorities there's no guarantee they'll be handled properly, according to a separate report by Animal Politico. Two out of three Mexican states reportedly had to revise their crime statistics this year. Some of the more egregious cases coincided with Mexico's major crime hotspots. For example, in May Sinaloa state announced it would add more than 10,000 preliminary investigations which had somehow not been registered over the last three years. Meanwhile in Atlantic-facing Veracruz state authorities admitted to failing to register nearly 300 homicides in 2013.
Further complicating the matter are Mexico's issues with forced disappearances. In February the Mexican government took issue with a United Nations report which statedforced disappearances (often involving security forces) are widespread and met with near total impunity. Many of these victims ended up in mass graves in which identifying the victim, and thus recording a crime, becomes difficult. 
Looking at the President's boast of capturing 92 of Mexico's 122 most dangerous people, it's worth noting that a number of those arrested were reportedly caught during the previous administration. 
The list itself has also been called into question after Mexico's Attorney General's Officeremoved 10 names from it. Those removed included Sinaloa cartel underboss Juan Jose Esparragoza, alias “El Azul,” and Juarez cartel leader Juan Pablo Ledezma. 
With Mexico's economy stagnating and Peña Nieto's approval rating at an all time low, it's to be expected the President would try and spin crime and security statistics in his favor. What is of real concern is his plans for the next half of his presidency.
The President's recent appointment of Renato Sales as Mexico's new national security commissioner raises doubts. Outlining his agenda Sales put forth prison reform and increasing trust in Mexico's Federal Police as top priorities. This leaves open questions on how Peña Nieto's administration plans to make gains against Mexico's fragmenting and evolving organized crime groups which may not be as susceptible to Mexico's previous strategy of targeting criminal leaders.  

Migrants Seeking 'German Life' Are Not Refugees, Says Hungary PM


The large numbers of people now seeking sanctuary in Europe should be seen as immigrants, not as refugees, because they are seeking a "German life" and refuse to stay in the first safe country they reach, Hungary's prime minister said on Monday, as he also rejected planned migrant quotas. 
Viktor Orban, a right-wing populist whose robust handling of the migrant crisis has drawn both condemnation and praise, said the European Union (EU) should consider providing financial support to countries such as Turkey which are near to the conflict zones so that migrants stay there and do not move on.
Syrians, Iraqis and others entering Greece, Macedonia, Serbia or Hungary are safe in those countries and, in line with EU rules, should have their asylum applications processed there, Orban told a gathering of Hungarian diplomats in Budapest.
"If they want to continue on from Hungary, it's not because they are in danger, it's because they want something else," he said, adding that the migrants' target was Germany and "a German life," not physical safety.
The vast majority of migrants reaching Hungary aim to travel on to Germany and other wealthier western European countries. A Bavarian official said Germany expected about 2,500 refugees to arrive by early afternoon on Monday after some 20,000 came in over the weekend.
Left unchecked, this inflow will place an impossible financial burden on the EU, Orban said, endangering what he called Europe's "Christian welfare states." He has previously said the arrival of large numbers of mostly Muslim migrants posed a threat to Europe's Christian culture and values.
"It's absurd... when the Germans say they will spend billions on providing for the new arrivals instead of giving the money to the countries around the crisis zone, where the (migrants) should be stopped in the first place," he said.
"It would be better for everyone. They wouldn't come here. It would cost less. And our approach couldn't be called into question morally either."
Watch Libya's Migrant Trade: Europe or Die (Trailer):

Europe's worst migration crisis since the Balkan wars of the 1990s has led many of the continent's leaders to call for a quota system to distribute refugees among the EU's 28 member states — an idea that Orban opposes.
While Hungary would remain part of the EU's passport-free "Schengen zone," Orban said discussion of a quota system was premature.
"As long as Europe cannot protect its external borders it makes no sense to discuss the fate of those flowing in," he said, adding that he did not rule out a "fair" discussion of quotas at a later stage.
He defended a planned package of laws that would allow the army to be deployed to defend Hungary's southern border, which he added was being threatened "perhaps not by war, but by being overwhelmed."
Orban said he hoped the measures would succeed in "hermetically sealing" the border, with people crossing at official crossing points only. Legislation to use the army in helping to protect borders would not be possible before September 20, he added. 
Oscar Velasco, of the Red Cross, captured this video near the Greek town of Idomeni, near the border with Hungary, on September 7.
The EU executive has drawn up a new set of national quotas under which Germany will take in more than 40,000 and France 30,000 of a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers it says should be relocated from Italy, Greece and Hungary, an EU source said on Monday.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is due to unveil new proposals on Wednesday. EU officials have said he will propose adding 120,000 people to be relocated on top of a group of 40,000 the Commission previously proposed relocating.
Leading the quotas among the 120,000, of which 54,000 would come from Hungary, Germany would, if EU leaders agree to the scheme, be asked to take in 31,443 and France 24,031. Earlier on Monday, French President Francois Hollande said France would take 24,000 of the additional 120,000 people seeking refuge.
Confirming figures published by Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, the source said the Commission also planned to put Turkey and all the non-EU states of the Western Balkans on a new list of "safe" countries, whose citizens would face accelerated reviews of asylum claims to speed deportation for most of them. 
Meanwhile, Austria said on Sunday it planned to end emergency measures that have allowed thousands of refugees stranded in Hungary into Austria and Germany since Saturday and move step by step "towards normality".
Austria had suspended its random border checks after photographs of a Syrian toddler lying dead on a Turkish beach showed Europeans the horror faced by those desperate enough to travel illegally into the heart of Europe, which is deeply divided over how to cope.
After 71 people suffocated in the back of a truck abandoned on an Austrian highway en route from Hungary, and as thousands headed from Budapest towards Austria on foot, Vienna had agreed with Germany to waive rules requiring refugees to register an asylum claim in the first EU country they reach.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said that decision was being revised following "intensive talks" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a telephone call with Hungarian Prime Minister Orban, bitterly opposed to the waiver.
"We have always said this is an emergency situation in which we must act quickly and humanely. We have helped more than 12,000 people in an acute situation," Faymann said.
"Now we have to move step by step away from emergency measures towards normality, in conformity with the law and dignity."
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The Islamic State Claims to Have Hostages From China and Norway 'For Sale'

ISLAMIC STATE

The Islamic State Claims to Have Hostages From China and Norway 'For Sale'
By Reuters and VICE News

September 9, 2015 | 2:40 pm
The so-called Islamic State (IS) claims to have captured two hostages from Norway and China, and the militant group is soliciting ransom payments for the men in the latest issue of its English-language propaganda magazine.

IS identified the men as Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, 48-year-old from Oslo, and Fan Jinghui, a 50-year-old from Beijing.

Full-page, advertisement-style listings in the group's Dabiq magazine show pictures of both men and say they are "for sale." The images list a "telegram number" for "whoever would like to pay the ransom for his release and transfer."

Related: Islamic State Claims to Mint Gold Coins in Effort to Drive US to Financial Ruin

This image has been edited to remove some identifying details and other information.

Telegram may refer to the secure messaging app that lets users instantly message friends or strangers without necessarily knowing their number.

The militants provided no details about when or where the hostages were captured.

Fan's listing in Dabiq describes him as a "freelance consultant."

On January 18, Grimsgaard-Ofstad posted a photo on his Facebook account that appeared to show him in Turkey near the Syrian border. Six days later, the Norwegian posted another update saying he had reached the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. "I finally made it," he wrote.

Related: Has One Year of Bombing the Islamic State Made a Difference?

This image has been edited to remove some identifying details and other information.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg confirmed on Wednesday that one of the country's citizens had been taken hostage in Syria.

"Our goal is to get our citizen home," she said at a news conference. "Let me be very clear — this is a very demanding case."

She did not identify the hostage by name, but said he was in his 40s and had been held by several groups since he was first captured.

"The government is taking this very seriously," she said. "We cannot and will not give in to pressure from terrorists and criminals. Norway does not pay ransoms. That is a principle we cannot give up in meetings with cynical terrorists."

A ransom payment would increase the risk of other Norwegian citizens being kidnapped, she said.

Solberg declined to take questions from the media at the news conference, and withdrew from a televised party debate in the run-up to local elections that are scheduled for Monday.

A Norwegian government crisis group is working on the hostage case, the prime minister said.

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TOPICS: islamic state, hostages, norway, china, norwegian, chinese, middle east, syria, war & conflict, isis, isil, is, ransom, ole johan grimsgaard-ofstad, telegram messenger, fan jinghui, dabiq, islamic state propaganda