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Mobster’s Son Got Everyone to Repeat His Line About the Mafia Declaring War on ISIS

Everybody is talking about how Giovanni Gambino—son of noted mobster Francesco Gambino—declared that the Sicilian mafia is ready to go to war with the Islamic State.

“Mafia heir warns ISIS to stay away from New York—but slams ‘Hollywood gangsters’ De Niro and Pacino for failing to ‘stand up’ to the terrorists” is how the ever-subtle Daily Mailput it. The Russian government–funded outlet RT, in an early version of the story that got more than 56,000 Facebook likes, quoted Gambino at length: “The world is dangerous today, but people living in New York neighborhoods with Sicilian connections should feel safe,” he said. “We make sure our friends and families are protected from extremists and terrorists, especially the brutal, psychopathic organization that calls itself the Islamic State.”

Strong words. Viral words, even. But where’d they come from? RT cites (but doesn’t link to) a Reuters piece that supposedly in turn quotes an NBC News interview. But that Reuters article is actually just a November 19 press release, and the video embedded in it is a 2012 interview Gambino did to promote his book Prince of Omerta. To make matters more muddled, he was actually speaking to the hosts of Good Company, a local Cleveland talk show, and the conversation in the YouTube clip never touches on the Islamic State. (The YouTube clip is apparently mislabeled.) If Gambino appeared on NBC News recently, we couldn’t find that video.

So where did those quotes in the press release that spread far and wide come from? To clear things up, VICE called Joseph Savoy, a friend of Gambino’s who was listed as the contact on the press release. He wasn’t sure how that old 2012 video clip got involved, but confirmed that the quotes “came from Giovanni directly” and “that’s how he feels.”

Attribution issues aside, Gambino seems to be enjoying the attention. Even if that NBC News interview referenced in the first line of the press release never happened, his quotes were picked up by media outlets all over the world, to the point where he’s now being invited to expound upon his views. On Monday, Gambino was a guest on Michael Savage’s right-wing radio show, Savage Nation, where he said, “We have to stand up together to fight this monster [ISIS],” and claimed the Islamic State is scared to take action in the US because “the Sicilians would take action right away.”

Gambino also spread a version of the story—suddenly popular again in Republican circles—that American Muslims cheered after 9/11.

“When the Twin Towers went down you had everybody from Bay Ridge in Brooklyn celebrating in the streets,” Gambino told Savage. “I live in Bay Ridge, I saw it with my own eyes. The cops were protecting them.”

The press release says that Gambino “has fostered relationships with major movie producers, and he is on his way to building a highly respected career in Hollywood.”

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Middle East Threat Assessment Specialist Assist In US Public School Security

RyPul Threat Assessments has partnered with national bullet proof companies, glass protection experts and weapons manufactures to help devise bullet resistant products that can assist in the protection of life on US school campuses, in residential properties and workplaces around the country.

Warren Pulley is the owner of RyPul Threat Assessments LLC, which specializes in assisting clients in learning how to defend and protect themselves on their campuses, workplaces or residences. Pulley believes this is much a needed service in Southern California, the United States and around the world.  As a Certified Worldwide Protection Specialist, trained by the U.S. State Department, Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Military, Pulley has worked in high threat environments around the world. Through RyPul Threat Assessments Pulley has now brought his skills home from the war zone and other high threat areas into our schools, residences and businesses near you. Pulley stated “as our country continues to experience the pains of school shootings, take-over robberies and work place violence involving guns, I decided that I needed to share my experience, training and expertise with anyone ready to take defense of themselves, their students, their homes, their businesses and employees to the next level”.

RyPul Threat Assessments motto is “Detect, Design, and Defend”

PromoRyPul Threat Assessments Promotion Video

RyPul Threat Assessments has taken on several clients in the United States since opening for business, RyPul has also partnered with bulletproof fabrication companies to help provide cost effective bulletproof products for clients at all levels and financial means.  As the owner of RyPul Threat and Site Assessments, Pulley has also appeared on network television, been interviewed by several regional media newspapers and visited local area schools to speak with students, teachers and administrators about the importance of being aware of security threats that may affect their environment. “

RyPul specializes in conducting School Threat Assessments, Residential Security Planning, Personal Protection Assessments, Site Security Planning, Asset Tagging and Tracking as well as providing physical Risk Mitigation Options.  RyPul Threat and Site Assessments can be found at http://www.rypulassessments.com.

– See more at: http://www.datsyn.com/article/2793/2014/07/22/MIDDLE-EAST-THREAT-ASSESSMENT-SPECIALIST-INTENDS-TO-SECURE-ALL-US-PUBLIC-SCHOOLS#sthash.cHbfTWkp.dpuf

Arrests Show Arrival of Barrio 18 Gang in Italy

Barrio 18 members arrested in Italy

Italian police arrested 15 suspected Barrio 18 members in Milan and other nearby cities in northern Italy, reported AFP.

The group — which was mostly comprised of Salvadorans but also reportedly included two Italians — is accused of crimes including extortion, drug trafficking, armed robbery and the attempted murder of a rival from the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang.

An Italian judge ordered the arrests following an investigation that began in January 2014 after a female Salvadoran accused one of the group’s members of sexually assaulting her, according to AFP.

SEE ALSO: Barrio 18 News and Profile

Central American gangs like Barrio 18 and MS13, which are known as “maras,” have been operating in Italy for years, particularly in northern immigrant communities, the report added.

InSight Crime Analysis

Over the last two years, security forces in both Italy and Spain have noted the expansion of the MS13 in Europe, and these latest report confirms they are not alone — their great rivals in Barrio 18 have also crossed the ocean.

The key question surrounding this development is whether the spread is a result of Central American migrants bringing mara street gang culture with them and setting up autonomous networks, or whether these new European based factions are running criminal operations with maras in Central America, suggesting the gangs have made the leap into transnational organizations.

Both gangs are also well established in parts of the United States and the US government has already designated the MS13 a transnational criminal organization, ranking them alongside criminal groups such as the Mexican cartels. However, despite evidence of cross-border collaboration in criminal activities, the decentralized nature and highly localized and territorial focus of the maras has always cast doubts on this classification.

There have also been reports of the Spanish maras coordinating with their counterparts in the Americas, but even if this level of cooperation were to expand, it is unlikely they would have the capacity to coordinate serious transatlantic criminal operations. If they were to seek to establish control over transnational activities such as drug trafficking in Europe, they also would likely encounter formidable opposition; in Spain drug trafficking and associated activities such as contract killing is largely controlled by offshoots of Colombian cartels, while Italy is the domain of powerful and well-connected mafias such as the ‘Ndrangheta.

Violence in Costa Rica Reaching ‘Pandemic’ Levels?

Costa Rica investigators at a murder scene

Authorities in Costa Rica are expecting “pandemic” levels of violence this year, even as battles between local criminal groups for control of the country’s drug trade intensify. 

According to Costa Rica‘s Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ by its Spanish initials), the country is on track to reach 533 homicides by December, reported Diario Extra. This would be a significant increase from the 471 homicides Costa Rican authorities registered in 2014 and more than a 30 percent jump from the 407 murders in 2012 and 2013.

Costa Rica’s 2015 homicide forecast pales in comparison to the skyrocketing violence facing Central America’s  Northern Triangle region (El Salvador, Guatemala,Honduras). But the uptick in violence has reportedly pushed Costa Rica‘s murder rate past 10 per 100,000 inhabitants, a level the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified as reaching a “pandemic.” 

Authorities estimate that 45 percent of the roughly 400 murders so far this year are related to drugs and organized crime. OIJ Deputy Director Luis Avila identified four neighborhoods within capital San Jose where some 77 murders have been registered this year as a result of score-settling between drug gangs, reported Diario Extra. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The possibility that Costa Rica — once considered the “Switzerland of Central America” — might reach “pandemic” levels of violence is a reflection of the country’s changing criminal dynamics.

There are indications that Costa Rica has become an increasingly important transshipment point for cocaine heading northward,  to such an extent that authorities say the country has been “colonized” by Mexican drug cartels. Officials also warn Mexican cartels have begun arming local drug gangs with high-powered weapons like AK-47s. This increased firepower and contact with transnational drug trafficking organizations has likely facilitated the rise of drug-related violence in Costa Rica.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Costa Rica

However, authorities in Costa Rica have so far opted against the militarized policing strategies that governments in the Northern Triangle have turned to in order to combat rising violence.  According to Diario Extra, former Costa Rica Security Minister Celso Gamboa prioritizes drug education and treatment over an increased police presence. Meanwhile current Security Minister Gustavo Mata has focused on improving the country’s judicial system by calling for a special unit to investigate drug and organized crime-related murders. 

Mexican Internal Security Policy Failures

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 Iguala, Sinaloa 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.

Terrorists Among Us

As they have been intermittently since 9/11, Americans are again terrified about terrorism. Those who think a domestic terrorist attack is “likely” in the next few months increased by 10 percentage points from March to September, while the percentage who think the country is “less safe” than before 9/11 rose by 19 points over the past year. This change in perception occurred precisely as the Islamic State intended with the dissemination of its horrific beheading videos of two U.S. citizens in late August and early September, which 94 percent of Americans saw or heard about — the highest percentage of any news event in the last five years. Despite this spike in fear, as several U.S. officials declared soon after: “We have no credible information that [the Islamic State] is planning to attack the homeland of the United States.”

But the consequences of the Islamic State’s graphic videos were swift, significant, and, apparently, unshakeable. And that new-old fear of terrorism appears to have shifted a “war-weary” country’s attitude on taking military action.

Polling conducted shortly before and after the videos were released demonstrated that support increased for U.S. airstrikes from 52 percent to 78 percent, for deploying U.S. ground troops from 19 percent to 44 percent, and for providing arms to Syrian rebels from 25 percent to 62 percent. This is unsurprising because people exposed to threatening television news coverage are far more likely to support hawkish foreign policies.
And, as it turns out, there’s untapped militarism in America’s strategic reserves. Since the Islamic State released its highly effective provocative videos, U.S. President Barack Obama has authorized the expansion of bombing into Syria, the Pentagon has deployed 475 more troops (“advisors”) to Iraq, and Congress has approved funding to train, equip, and sustain 5,000 “appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition.” Within two weeks, the White House, Congress, and the American people were overwhelmingly enthusiastic to start an open-ended military intervention against a 30,000-strong terrorist organization — an intervention that Pentagon officials acknowledge will last “in terms of years” and Obama warned will require “a generational change.”
Contrast this unprecedented heightened fear of terrorism originating from Iraq and Syria with three brutal and malicious terroristic activities that recently occurred in the United States. Contrast this unprecedented heightened fear of terrorism originating from Iraq and Syria with three brutal and malicious terroristic activities that recently occurred in the United States.
On Sept. 18, just after 3:30 p.m. at his mobile home in Bell, Florida, Donald Spirit shot and killed his daughter and all six of her children (ages 11, 9, 8, 5, 4, and 3 months) with a .45-caliber handgun that he had illegally obtained as a felon. Spirit then called 911, informing the dispatcher of the murders he had committed and telling her, “I’ll be sitting on my steps, and when you get here I’m going to shoot myself.” He then sat on his back steps, and when sheriff’s deputies arrived, Spirit kept his word.

In the prior eight years, the Florida Department of Children and Families had conducted 18 child protective investigations into the family for abandonment, abuse, and neglect. Spirit, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had been involved in six of the incidents and was an alleged perpetrator in an additional three of them, and a 2013 review recommended that he “have no unsupervised contact” with his grandchildren. Thirteen years earlier he had fatally shot his son in the head in what was determined to be a hunting accident, for which he received a three-year sentence for illegal possession of a firearm.
On Sept. 25, Alton Nolen was suspended from his job on a production line at a Vaughan Foods distribution center in Moore, Oklahoma. His co-worker, Traci Johnson, had filed a complaint with the human resources department concerning an altercation she had with Nolen “about him not liking white people.” After being suspended, Nolen drove to his apartment to retrieve a large-bladed knife. He returned to the distribution center at 4:15 p.m., entered the front offices, grabbed an employee, Colleen Hufford, from behind, and “immediately began cutting her across the throat with the large knife, with a back and forth sawing motion [and] severed the victim’s head from her body,” according to the criminal affidavit. (Moore later told police that Hufford was not among his three intended victims, but that she had gotten in his way.) Nolen then cut Johnson’s throat and face before an off-duty Oklahoma County reserve officer shot at Nolen three times with a rifle, hitting him once and wounding him.
In 2011, Nolen had apparently converted to Islam while serving two years in state prison for the assault and battery of an Oklahoma state police trooper, during which he shouted Arabic phrases. Moreover, though the Cleveland County district attorney said, “There was some sort of infatuation with beheadings,” he emphasized that the murder and attack “seemed to be related to his being suspended earlier in the day.” Nolen was charged with three felonies, and the district attorney announced he will seek the death penalty.
On Sept. 26 at 5:06 a.m., Brian Howard, a field technician for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contractor, entered an air route traffic control center in Aurora, Illinois, pulling a black suitcase containing several knives, four gallons of gasoline, towels, and a lighter. After a half-hour, he posted a warning on Facebook of what he was about to do at the center. Howard said that the “immoral and unethical acts” of the U.S. government were why “terrorists and 3rd world nations hate us, because our tax dollars go to more unrest than rest. So we deserve the retribution from people who do not have the same ability for education, work and way of life.” Minutes later, Howard selectively severed data and communications cables, destroyed computer equipment, and wrapped gasoline-soaked towels around additional cables and set them on fire. When paramedics arrived, they found Howard on the ground with his wrists slit and in the process of slicing his throat. His work colleagues theorized that Howard had possibly become despondent about an impending transfer to Hawaii.
Howard’s actions were devastating to hundreds of commercial airliners that had been relying on the severely damaged facility. Pilots and air-traffic controllers could not make radio contact, and the radar locations of the affected aircraft were suddenly frozen in place on air-traffic controllers’ screens. It was only after air-traffic controllers at nearby FAA facilities relocated the planes and provided the pilots with emergency flight routing instructions that all the flights landed safely. The FAA administrator described it as “an act of sabotage where someone willfully and knowingly damaged key infrastructure for our national airspace system.” In the four days following the attack, there were 3,900 flight cancellations, with an estimated loss in economic activity of $123 million, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
It is a certainty that if any of these incidents were directly tied to the Islamic State they would have resulted in an overwhelming national outcry to do something, including the still further expansion of military objectives abroad and constraints of civil liberties at home. However, we have become fairly inoculated to such horrors, even those identical to what terrorists groups aspire to accomplish, when the perpetrators are Americans with obvious mental health illnesses and criminal backgrounds. Bizarrely, we are less afraid of the devastation of terroristic acts than we are of the motivations of the people behind such acts. Bizarrely, we are less afraid of the devastation of terroristic acts than we are of the motivations of the people behind such acts.
These three terrible crimes will not be labeled “domestic terrorism,” apparently because they do not include the three mandatory characteristics listed in the U.S. government’s Code of Federal Regulations: intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government, or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping. Yet, in many ways, such extreme violence and sabotage are worse than acts labeled “terrorism” because while terrorism has some degree of logic and strategic purpose that can be countered by well-known and widely accepted counterterrorism policies, countering random sadism and sabotage would require true and deep examination of many domestic policies and of ourselves.

We treat “terrorism” in the common vernacular differently because it is ascribed to foreigners who are unlike us, whereas similarly savage behavior conducted by fellow Americans is a reflection of us. That terroristic acts conducted by Americans occur so frequently within the United States and receive such little public scrutiny or policymakers’ attention suggests that this sorely needed self-scrutiny will never occur.

Worldwide Travel Caution for Americans

The Department of State is updating the Worldwide Caution to provide information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated April 10, 2014.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. On September 22, 2014, the United States and regional partners commenced military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated  terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq. In response to the airstrikes, ISIL called on supporters to attack foreigners wherever they are. Authorities believe there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against U.S., Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Kidnappings and hostage events involving U.S. citizens have become increasingly prevalent as ISIL, al Qa`ida and its affiliates have increased attempts to finance their operations through kidnapping for ransom operations. ISIL, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are particularly effective with kidnapping for ransom and are using ransom money to fund the range of their activities. Kidnapping targets are usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of paying ransoms for the release of individuals in custody.

Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.

U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.

EUROPE: Current information suggests that ISIL, al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. Authorities believe the likelihood of a terror attack in Europe is increased as European members of ISIL return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  In the past several years, organized extremist attacks have been planned or carried out in various European countries. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.

MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests.

No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence. The security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable as a civil war between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country. There is an increased threat of terrorism from groups such as ISL, al-Nusrah, as well as other extremists whose tactics include use of suicide bombers, kindappings, use of small and heavy arms, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Since the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in March 2011, the United States has received reports of numerous foreigners kidnapped in Syria, many of whom are still in captivity.  The majority of the victims are journalists and aid workers. U.S. citizens and other Westerners have been murdered by ISIL in Syria. Violent extremists from various countries operate in Syria and may be planning attacks against the United States and other Western targets.

A number of extremist groups also operate in Lebanon and the potential for death or injury in Lebanon exists because of periodic terrorist bombing attacks throughout the country. As a result of spillover violence from the Syria crisis, Sunni groups are active and Hizballah, a group designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, has been present and active for many years.

U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Numerous insurgent groups, including ISIL, previously known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq, remain active and terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country. ISIL and its allies control Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and have captured significant territory across central Iraq and continue to engage with Iraqi security forces in that region.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and al-Murabitun remain active and operate primarily in southern Algeria, southwestern Libya and Tunisia in the wake of French and African intervention in northern Mali. In Algeria, terrorists sporadically attack Westerners and Algerian government targets, particularly in the Kabylie region, and near Algeria’s borders with Libya and Mali. In September, a French tourist was kidnapped and murdered by an Algerian-based terrorist group. Terrorists have targeted oil processing plants in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. In Libya, various groups have called for attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests. Terrorist organizations continue to be active in Yemen, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

AFRICA: Al-Qa’ida  continues to operate primarily in North Africa. Vestiges of extremist elements, including AQIM, MUJAO, and al-Murabitun continue small scale operations in northern Mali mostly related to planting land mines on lines of communication used by UN peacekeeping troops. The major parts of these groups were forced to move to southern Algeria, southwestern Libya and Tunisia in the wake of French and African intervention in northern Mali. Terrorist groups have stepped up their  rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on westerners and others, particularly those linked to support for international military intervention.

Additionally, the terrorist group AQIM has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (an area that stretches across the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea to include Senegal, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea). It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region, including southern Algeria.

Al-Shabaab assassinations, suicide bombings, hostage taking, and indiscriminate attacks in civilian-populated areas are frequent in Somalia. Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent to attack Somali authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and non-military targets such as international donor offices and humanitarian assistance providers. Al-Shabaab retains its demonstrated capability to carry out attacks in government-controlled territory in Somalia and in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Djibouti.

Boko Haram, an extremist group based in northeast Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for many attacks, mainly in northern Nigeria. The first months of 2014 have seen a continued increase in Boko Haram attacks and clashes with Nigerian government security forces in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram has also targeted women and children for kidnapping, reportedly kidnapping women in northern states for marriage as “slave brides,” and kidnapping more than 200 school girls from a private school in Borno state. Boko Haram is known to descend on whole towns, robbing banks and businesses, attacking police and military installations, and setting fire to private homes. U.S. citizen missionaries in northern Nigeria have received specific written threats to their safety and well-being, although none have yet been harmed.

U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there have been armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates. The threat of hijacking to merchant vessels continues to exist in Somali territorial waters and as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters. There has also been a recent rise in piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, including hijackings.

U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times. U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents. Commercial vessels should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.

SOUTH ASIA: The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests. The presence of al-Qa’ida, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations, many of which are on the U.S. government’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region. Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack locations where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit.

The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations and airports. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.

No province in Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence and crime, and the strong possibility exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other foreign nationals at any time. Elements of the former Taliban regime and members of other terrorist organizations hostile to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and foreign nationals remain active in every province of the country.  Furthermore, travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to ongoing military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, and the possibility of insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices. U.S. citizens are increasingly targeted for kidnapping. The threat situation in Afghanistan is still considered critical and is expected to remain so through the current political and military transition.

India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Anti-Western terrorist groups active in India include Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba. Past attacks have targeted public places, including some frequented by Westerners, such as luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas. Attacks have taken place during the busy evening hours in markets and other crowded places, but could occur at any time.

CENTRAL ASIA: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qa’ida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement remain active in Central Asia. These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. government interests.

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC: Information from credible sources suggests that there is a continued risk of armed terrorist and criminal groups operating and planning attacks against foreigners, including U.S. citizens, in the East Asian and Pacific region. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group, have cells operating throughout Southeast Asia and JI is linked to al-Qaida and other regional terrorist groups.

There is a risk of travel to the southern Philippines, specifically related to kidnapping threats in the Sulu Archipelago and the ongoing threat of violence on the island of Mindanao, particularly in Central Mindanao.

Over the past year there have been several kidnappings-for-ransom targeting foreigners in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and in the southern Sulu Sea area by terrorist or insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines. In addition to incursions on the coastal and island resorts themselves, criminal or terrorist bands may attempt to intercept boats ferrying tourists in the area.

Indonesian security forces have disrupted a number of terrorist cells, including JI, a terrorist organization that carried out several significant bombings in Jakarta and Bali over the past decade. Although Indonesian counterterrorism efforts have been successful in preventing terrorists from conducting large-scale attacks in recent years, extremists in Indonesia may demonstrate a willingness and ability to carry out small-scale violent attacks with little or no warning.

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Before You Go
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The Department of State urges U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  When you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  Enrolling will also make it easier for the Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency.  You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.  For additional information, please refer to Traveler’s Checklist.

U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert.  These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture.  In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

As the Department of State continues to develop information on potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country Specific Information, and Emergency and Security Messages, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov.  Stay up to date by bookmarking our website or downloading our free Smart Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).

Mitigate Your Personal Risks and Implement Personal Preventative Measures

Knowing what threats are a possibility to you and your surroundings is not a luxury—it’s a necessity. Not being prepared for threats of attack has the possibility of crippling you and your facilities, either temporarily or permanently. You can’t afford to not be aware of the risks.

RyPul Threat Assessments provides threat assessments that help monitor and evaluate the physical risks that face you, your residence, your school or campus, or commercial site. It’s not just an assessment; it’s risk management. Being aware of the risks and implementing preventative measures is one of the best ways for you to stay protected.

The main purpose of a threat assessment is to recognize possible targeted violence attacks and prevent them from happening. RyPul conducts in-depth threat assessments, then develops plans and processes that you can implement to improve your ability to survive should an attack on you or your facilities occur.

rypul threat assessments
rypul threat assessments

Contact us today, and we will evaluate your specific situation and the degree of risks you face.

Through many years of providing personal security contract work for the U.S. State Department, NGO’s and the U.S. Department of Defense around the world, RyPul Threat Assessments is well-equipped to tackle threat assessments of any scale. We are experts in risk management, personal security, loss mitigation, school campus assessments and law enforcement active shooter training. We have even developed some of our own threat assessment processes. Our clients include several governments, businesses, school systems and private individuals worldwide.

rypul threat assessments
rypul threat assessments

In an effort to provide the best equipment, bulletproof products, blast-resistant products, upgraded building materials, personal defense training and workplace security training, RyPul Threat Assessments collaborates with industry leaders in every security-related field. Our client and their safety is our top priority, so only the best equipment will do and we know the top providers in our field.

rypul threat assessments
rypul threat assessments

Founded in 2012, RyPul Threat Assessment Professionals’ purpose is to assess real world risk for our clients, providing them with the absolute best options to prepare for survival in the event of a complex attack, active shooter, home invasion robber or workplace violence. Our consultant’s experience uniquely qualifies us to provide personal security options for clients in high risk environments, such as war zones, natural disaster areas and more. RyPul Threat Assessment Professionals have experience in high threat areas carrying out site assessments, law enforcement training, protection services and site evaluations.

Contact us and evaluate your risk today.

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