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.
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.
There are those who are in utter denial over the issue of increased (or indeed the very concept of) Islamophobia, and yet the statistics seem to challenge the belief some hold that we live in a tolerant, multicultural society. In the week following the Paris attacks, according to the government’s working group on anti-Muslim hatred, Islamophobic hate crime rose by 300 percent. Women having their headscarves ripped off, people being called terrorists, and facing aggressive behavior from strangers, being spat on and abused in front of their children. This is a reality for many British Muslims who have communicated with me on my phone-in show.
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.
It’s hard to argue against the ergonomics of the AR. Few rifles are as easy to handle or operate. The safety’s location with this design is excellent, making it easy to access from either side while maintaining control at all times. Collapsible stocks make it possible for a wide variety of people to shoot an AR comfortably. The triggers are simple, with dozens of choices ranging from super-fast competition triggers to those built for tactical applications. Upper receivers of various calibers, barrel lengths and configurations can be easily changed to meet any need. There are lots of things to like, and the design has been refined and improved over the decades.
For many, the weakest point of the AR system is the buffer and the spring located in the buffer tube. Changing barrel lengths or calibers often requires these to be changed. Having that spring “boinging” in your ear can be distracting, if not outright annoying.
It can create issues with carrier tilt and other factors that effect reliability. Maybe the most limiting factor is that it makes folding stocks all but impossible without significant expense and alteration. Operating systems have improved over the years, but most long for the reliability, simplicity and robust construction of the AR’s strongest competitor, the AK-47. This has resulted in several attempts to meld the two designs. In the last few years we’ve witnessed what looks to be the best solution—an upper assembly built with AK-type internals that drops on an AR lower receiver, providing the best of both worlds.
PONGARA, Gabon — U.S. Marines and Gabon’s Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux, or ANPN, worked together Sept. 14-25, at the Pongara National Forest to help the nation’s fight against wildlife trafficking.
At the request of the Gabonese government and through coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, the Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, trained with ANPN park rangers in infantry tactics to help build the nation’s capacity to counter trafficking of ivory and other animal-related products.
The training comes at a time when the elephant population has been dramatically decreasing across central Africa – faster than the elephants can reproduce, according to multiple news sources.
An Aug. 20 BBC news article reported the forest elephant population is down to 15,000 from 22,000 in Gabon’s Minkebe National Park, which is approximately the size of Delaware, due to high demand for the elephants’ ivory tusks.
Gabon contains almost half of all the elephant population in central Africa estimated to be nearly 100,000. This “presents an enticing target for traffickers, especially as wildlife populations fall elsewhere” according to a June 28 National Geographic article.
In February 2014, President Barack Obama outlined initiatives in the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking that calls for combined efforts to reduce the demand for these products while simultaneously curbing the illegal trade industry.
The strategy calls for “combined efforts from nonprofits, corporations, individuals, and foreign government partners, to make that happen.”
Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is determined to rid the country of this problem and recently requested outside assistance to counter the activities that are destroying elephant populations in the central African region.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Nikzad, the SPMAGTF-CR-AF Gabon team leader, and his team of five Marines and sailors were in Pongara’s National Forest training 14 park ranger supervisors using the “train the trainer” model.
“Before the training started, the ANPN leadership took all of us out to areas where elephants and other wildlife roam and the tour goes to show their dedication to preserve the wildlife here,” said Nikzad. “Most of these guys have taken part in this type of training in past rotations. They are fighting criminals who have military-type skills and the tactical training we teach them, coupled with the train-the-trainer approach, will ultimately assist them in their fight.”
SPMAGTF-CR-AF Det. A is based out of Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, where they stage and prepare for theater security cooperation missions into various countries in Africa. This specific iteration is manned by Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, permanently based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Coast Guardsmen from various stations across the United States.
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”
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.
- Written by Arron Daugherty and James Bargent
- Thursday, 24 September 2015
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.
- Written by Michael Lohmuller
- Tuesday, 14 July 2015
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.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of Arms Trafficking
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.
- Written by Arron Daugherty
- Sunday, 06 September 2015
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.
“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.
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.