If you’ve been listening to various police agencies and their supporters, then you know what the future holds: anarchy is coming — and it’s all the fault of activists.
In May, a Wall Street Journal op-ed warned of a “new nationwide crime wave” thanks to “intense agitation against American police departments” over the previous year. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went further. Talking recently with the host of CBS’s Face the Nation, the Republican presidential hopeful asserted that the Black Lives Matter movement wasn’t about reform but something far more sinister. “They’ve been chanting in the streets for the murder of police officers,” he insisted. Even the nation’s top cop, FBI Director James Comey, weighed in at the University of Chicago Law School, speaking of “a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year.”
According to these figures and others like them, lawlessness has been sweeping the nation as the so-called Ferguson effect spreads. Criminals have been emboldened as police officers are forced to think twice about doing their jobs for fear of the infamy of starring in the next viral video. The police have supposedly become the targets of assassins intoxicated by “anti-cop rhetoric,” just as departments are being stripped of the kind of high-powered equipment they need to protect officers and communities. Even their funding streams have, it’s claimed, come under attack as anti-cop bias has infected Washington, D.C. Senator Ted Cruz caught the spirit of that critique by convening a Senate subcommittee hearing to which he gave the title, “The War on Police: How the Federal Government Undermines State and Local Law Enforcement.” According to him, the federal government, including the president and attorney general, has been vilifying the police, who are now being treated as if they, not the criminals, were the enemy.
Beyond the storm of commentary and criticism, however, quite a different reality presents itself. In the simplest terms, there is no war on the police. Violent attacks against police officers remain at historic lows, even though approximately 1,000 people havebeenkilled by the police this year nationwide. In just the past few weeks, videos have been released of problematic fatal police shootings in San Francisco and Chicago.
While it’s too soon to tell whether there has been an uptick in violent crime in the post-Ferguson period, no evidence connects any possible increase to the phenomenon of police violence being exposed to the nation. What is taking place and what the police and their supporters are largely reacting to is a modest push for sensible law enforcement reforms from groups as diverse as Campaign Zero, Koch Industries, the Cato Institute, The Leadership Conference, and the ACLU (my employer). Unfortunately, as the rhetoric ratchets up, many police agencies and organizations are increasingly resistant to any reforms, forgetting whom they serve and ignoring constitutional limits on what they can do.
President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Sunday night, Dec. 6, 2016. In a rare Oval Office address, Obama vowed the United States would overcome a terror threat that has entered a “new phase” as he sought to reassure Americans shaken by recent attacks in Paris and California. (Photo: Saul Loeb, AP)
In the many strategies proposed to defeat the Islamic State (IS) by presidential candidates, policymakers, and media pundits alike across the American political spectrum, one common element stands out: someone else should really do it. The United States will send in planes, advisers, and special ops guys, but it would be best — and this varies depending on which pseudo-strategist you cite — if the Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Sunnis, and/or Shias would please step in soon and get America off the hook.
The idea of seeing other-than-American boots on the ground, like Washington’s recently deep-sixed scheme to create some “moderate” Syrian rebels out of whole cloth, is attractive on paper. Let someone else fight America’s wars for American goals. Put an Arab face on the conflict, or if not that at least a Kurdish one (since, though they may not be Arabs, they’re close enough in an American calculus). Let the U.S. focus on its “bloodless” use of air power and covert ops. Somebody else, Washington’s top brains repeatedly suggest, should put their feet on the embattled, contested ground of Syria and Iraq. Why, the U.S. might even gift them with nice, new boots as a thank-you.
Is this, however, a realistic strategy for winning America’s war(s) in the Middle East?
The Great Champions of the Grand Strategy
Recently, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton openly called for the U.S. to round up some Arab allies, Kurds, and Iraqi Sunnis to drive the Islamic State’s fighters out of Iraq and Syria. On the same day that Clinton made her proposal, Bernie Sanders called for “destroying” the Islamic State, but suggested that it “must be done primarily by Muslim nations.” It’s doubtful he meant Indonesia or Malaysia.
Among the Republican contenders, Marco Rubio proposed that the U.S. “provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces.” Ted Cruz threw his support behind arming the Kurds, while Donald Trump appeared to favor more violence in the region by whoever might be willing to jump in.
The Pentagon has long been in favor of arming both the Kurds and whatever Sunni tribal groups it could round up in Iraq or Syria. Variouspundits across the political spectrum say much the same.
They may all mean well, but their plans are guaranteed to fail. Here’s why, group by group.
The hacking collective vowed to “unite humanity,” warning the terrorist group to “expect massive cyber-attacks.”
“Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down,” the masked Anon spokesman in the video said. “You should know that we will find you and we will not let you go.”
ISIS responded to Anonymous’ video on Monday, calling the hacktivist group “idiots” and offering technical guidance to ISIS supporters in an effort to protect against Anonymous cyber-attacks.
In spite of the ISIS insults aimed at Anonymous, judging by the initial results, it seems the Islamic State is impotent to stop the hacktivist group from decimating the terror group’s social media outreach and recruitment efforts.
French President Francois Hollande has called the Paris attacks an ‘act of war’ by the Islamic State and called on the global community to step up its fight against the terrorist regime by bombing Syria. Simone Del Rosario reports from Paris.
France Cries ISIS — Obama Cries Uncle — A Field Guide to a Better Battle Against ISIS
Posted: 11/18/2015 10:10 am EST Updated: 1 hour ago
Based on President Obama’s defiant (“I know better than everyone”) defensive crouch at his post-Paris attacks G-20 Turkey press conference don’t expect a sea change in White House policy against ISIS. Just think of more sloppy spit across the ISIS swamp. Better yet, designate it “Leading From As Far Behind as Possible, Version 2.0.”
It was Obama at his most unappealing – setting up the red herrings and imaginary (if not imaginative) policy alibis that is his want in a vain attempt to silence his growing chorus of ISIS critics. The president’s stubborn insistence that anyone daring to challenge his failing, slap-dash anti-ISIS strategy that has squandered so much and produced so little is merely playing politics: “W” wannabees bent on repeating the historical error of the Iraq invasion.
If only, as Obama whined in Anatalya, his ISIS critics would cease engaging in petty “political games or offering shallow solutions…” by challenging him on ISIS, life would be well and good for all. It’s akin to him asserting that between birth and death there is nothing in between, case closed!
Smearing anyone who smells the malodorous odor of a failing Syria/Iraq/ISIS policy a mile away is a self-serving falsehood Obama frequently resorts to when cornered. By persisting in this un-presidential conduct Mr. Obama camouflages his own failures no longer able to be hidden – sinking to the low level of Politician-in-Chief rather than rising to a respected Commander-in-Chief as ISIS pounds at our doorstep.
French prosecutor: 9th suspect in Paris terror attacks being sought
France made an unprecedented demand Tuesday that its European Union allies support its military action against the Islamic State group after the attacks in Paris.
by Tiffany Wilson
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 03:33PM
GERMANY (KGO) —
Authorities are seeking a ninth suspect in Friday’s attacks in Paris, a French prosecutor’s spokeswoman told ABC News. The spokeswoman did not reveal any details about the suspect’s identity.
France took unprecedented action Tuesday when it invoked the Mutual-Defense article of the EU Treaty. Now all 28 member nations must help France in its war against ISIS.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 27 of France’s EU partners responded positively, and they could help “either by taking part in France’s operations in Syria or Iraq, or by easing the load or providing support for France in other operations.”
“Every country said: I am going to assist, I am going to help,” Drian said.
Arriving for talks in Brussels with his EU counterparts, Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos told reporters that the Paris attacks were a game-changer for the bloc.
“This is Sept. 11 for Europe,” he said.
French President Francois Hollande has vowed to forge a united coalition capable of defeating the jihadists at home and abroad. NATO allies were sharing intelligence and working closely with France, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
Noting that victims of the Paris attacks came from at least 19 nations, Hollande says the international community, led by the U.S. and Russia, must overcome their deep-seated divisions over Syria to destroy IS on its home turf.
French warplanes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria on Sunday as police in Europe widened their investigations into coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Friday’s suicide bombings and shootings, which have re-ignited a row over Europe’s refugee crisis and drawn calls to block a huge influx of Muslim asylum-seekers.
French police have launched an international hunt for a Belgian-born man they believe helped organize the assaults with two of his brothers. One of the brothers died in the attacks, while the second one is under arrest in Belgium, a judicial source said.
A further two French suicide attackers have been identified, police said, while the identity of four other assailants, who all died in the violence, was still under review.
France has been bombing Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria for months as part of a U.S.-led operation. Following Friday’s mayhem, Paris vowed to destroy the group. Underlining its resolve, French jets on Sunday launched their biggest raids in Syria to date, hitting its stronghold in Raqqa.
“The raid … including 10 fighter jets, was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped,” the Defence Ministry said. Among the targets were a munitions depot and training camp, it said.
PARIS — French warplanes struck Islamic State militants in Syria on Sunday, a French government official said, two days after attackers linked to the terrorist group carried out a coordinated assault on Paris that killed 129 people.
Prior to the attack on Paris, France had been sparing in its strikes against targets in Syria.
News reports in France said the airstrikes were focused on Raqqa, the city in northern Syria that is the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State.
The attackers in Friday’s terrorist assault in Paris communicated at some point beforehand with known members of the Islamic State in Syria, officials on both sides of the Atlantic say, adding evidence to the assertions that the radical group coordinated or helped carry out the attacks rather than simply inspired them.
President François Hollande of France has characterized the attacks as “an act of war” carried out by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. He provided no specific information, but the Islamic State released statements on Saturday claiming responsibility for the attacks, part of increasing indications that the group is becoming more capable of extending its reach far beyond its base in Syria and Iraq.
If investigators determine that the Islamic State is responsible for the catastrophic attacks in Paris, as the group claims and France alleges, the assaults represent a major leap in the group’s abilities.
Until now, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has relied mainly on “lone wolf” followers to attack the West, with relatively low-tech assaults — shootings, the taking of hostages, hit-and-runs — that draw wide attention but do not cause mass casualties.
“This is much different than a normal lone wolf inspired attack,” said Patrick M. Skinner, a former C.I.A. operations officer now with the Soufan Group, a security consultancy. “This was choreographed.”
“The fact that they could do this, especially in Paris, where the intelligence service is really good, clearly there’s a hole somewhere,” Mr. Skinner said.
The Islamic State has been expanding beyond its base in Iraq and Syria since it declared a caliphate, or Islamic state, in June 2014. The group is focused on three parallel tracks, according to Harleen Gambhir, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War:
inciting regional conflict with attacks in Iraq and Syria;
building relationships with jihadist groups that can carry out military operations across the Middle East and North Africa;
and inspiring, and sometimes helping, ISIS sympathizers to conduct attacks in the West.
“The goal,” Ms. Gambhir said, “is that through these regional affiliates and through efforts to create chaos in the wider world, the organization will be able to expand, and perhaps incite a global apocalyptic war.”
The terror group warned in a Saturday statement that France “will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State” and claimed that eight of its fighters stormed carefully chosen targets in the “capital of adultery and vice.”
One of the fighters, who was killed in a suicide bomb, had a Syrian passport on him, officials said.
Officials in Greece said that passport belonged to a migrant who had entered Europe in October through Leros, one of the islands that tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in Syria and elsewhere have been using as a gateway to the European Union in recent months.
It’s not clear if the passport belonged to the fighter or if it was stolen from a refugee.
Another one of the terrorists was a 30-year-old French national who had been on authorities’ radar since 2010 for his ties to Islamic extremism, officials said.
Devastation in France: What We Know About The Paris Attacks
By EMILY KNAPP
Nov 14, 2015, 5:30 PM ET
A wave of devastating attacks on civilians across Paris Friday night has left at least 129 dead, including an American, and many more injured.
As France initiates a state of emergency and begins several days of mourning, here is a breakdown of what we know so far:
Six separate attacks were carried out across Paris, beginning after 10 p.m. local time Friday night.
One of the targets was the Stade de France soccer stadium, where Germany was playing France in a game that French President Francois Hollande was attending. Hollande was evacuated from the stadium.
At least 80 were killed inside the Bataclan concert hall, where American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was playing. A witness in the theater told ABC News she heard gunmen shout “Syria!”
The four other attacks were at other locations in the 10th and 11th districts of Paris, where gunmen targeted bars and restaurants. Police said some attackers first sprayed cafes outside the venue with machine gunfire before continuing the assault inside the concert hall.
The world is mourning with France, the victims of Friday’s terror assaults in Paris that claimed the lives of at least 129 people. Security has been tightened up globally as Islamic State, who claimed responsibility for the massacre, threatened more violence.
14 November 2015
A second person who was reportedly involved in the Paris massacre is “very likely” to have entered European Union via Greece, sources in the Greek government told Reuters. Earlier Greece’s deputy minister in charge of police said a Syrian man whose passport was found at one of the suicide bombing sites made it to the EU through Greece in October.
A spokesman for the Accor hotel chain, which operates the Pullman Hotel, also confirmed that the earlier incident was a false bomb alert.
A spokesman for the French Interior Ministry has told Reuters that the incident at the hotel in the center of Paris was a false alarm.
Heavily armed police have been deployed at the Pullman Hotel in Paris’ 15th district, according to witnesses, who said the officers were searching through rooms. An evacuation has also been reported to have taken place near the Eiffel Tower.
Police in Paris have evacuated an area around the Eiffel tower, Reuters reports, citing witnesses.
French President Hollande has declared a state of emergency across the country as Paris comes to grip with a series of terrorist attacks that led to the death of 127 people in the capital, which was placed under curfew for the first time since World War II.
RT interviewed several analysts for their opinions on what these deadly coordinated attacks in the French capital mean not only for the freedom of movement across Europe, but for the ongoing Syrian military operation, which has brought together various state actors – including the US and Russia – in an increasingly shrinking and volatile military theater.
Alain Corvez, Former Advisor to French Interior Ministry, provided insight into the question as to how it is possible that Islamic State has such a long reach – right into the very heart of Europe.
Corvez believes these attacks are “linked to the geopolitical system, and what we are doing in Iraq and in Syria is directly linked to attacks.”
I think all of the specialists and experts on terrorism knew that such an attack was possible,” he continued. “This is a world war against terrorists that we have to wage. And for the first time, President Hollande said we have to fight terrorism on a larger scale.”
‘France has been intervening in the Middle East since 1917’
Washington-based defense analyst Ivan Eland, asked whether this was the right time for nations to put aside their differences and join together in the fight against terrorism, he explained that it is important to consider the problem long-term it is important to ask “what are the root causes of this terrorism – we call them “blanket terrorism” – but there’s many different groups in the world with many different causes and most of them tend to be local causes, which become international causes when Western countries, or other countries, intervene where they shouldn’t.”
“France has been intervening in the Middle East since after World War I, when Britain and France divided it; it was the colonial master in Syria and now it’s taking a fairly assertive policy by bombing in Syria.
It’s no secret – this is not random – that France is the target.”
‘Terrorists chose Paris as iconic target like twin towers’ – ex-CIA officer
Published time: 14 Nov, 2015 08:41
The Paris attacks are reminiscent to the terrorist gun spree in Mumbai in 2008, when separate groups of gunmen went on a shooting spree at different locations across the city. This tactic is a brutally efficient form of terrorism, Rice said.
The series of apparent Islamic State attacks in Paris can be compared to the 2001 destruction of the WTC towers in the US, says Jack Rice, a former CIA officer. The French capital is an iconic European city, and terrorists target icons.
France has suffered one of the worst tragedies in its modern history with more than 150 people reported killed in seven separate gun and bomb attacks throughout the capital. The terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“Part of the strength that a terrorist group has is to take down an icon,” Rice told RT. “If we go back to 9/11 in the United States, they took down the World Trade Center and parts of New York. And we’ve seen efforts around the world to do similar things.
The search and recovery operation continues in Egypt’s Sinai after a Russian passenger plane crashed there, killing all 224 people on board Saturday. Russian and Egyptian investigators are looking into the causes of the tragedy.
08 November 2015
Investigators of the jet crash are “90 percent sure” that the noise heard in the final moments of the cockpit recording was a bomb exploding, a member of the investigation team told Reuters.
Emirates Airlines expects the plane tragedy will result in demands for stringent aviation security across the globe, the airline’s president, Tim Clark said, as cited by Reuters.
The luggage of Russian tourists who arrive from Egypt is undergoing stricter than usual checks, said Igor Pedan, an official from UTG aviation services, which maintains Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport.
“The procedure was non-standard, I can say,” he said. “All luggage was sent to a special zone, [it] was checked by cynologists [dog-handlers] with [sniffer] dogs, the luggage was checked by special equipment and only then was transferred to a clear zone, for passengers to pick it up, ” he added.
The Russian A321’s black box recorded an unclear noise before crashing in Sinai, the head of Egypt’s investigation committee has confirmed. However, spectral analysis is required to determine its nature.
The head of the Investigations Committee, Captain Ayman Mokadem, said the nature of debris scatter suggests an in-flight break up, but it is still too early to draw conclusions on the causes of the crash. While both flight data recorders have been found, the investigators are still studying them.
Mokadem confirmed that some “noise” can be heard on the recording right before the crash. He still said its nature is unclear and a spectral analysis will be carried out to identify it.
An international team of investigators are at the scene still “collecting information,” he said.
According to the flight data recorders, the incident occurred 23 minutes and 14 seconds after takeoff at an altitude of 30,888 feet in climbing mode, at a speed of 281 knots-autopilot engaged, he said.
The investigators have listened to the audio from the cockpit voice recorder and are currently in the phase of writing the transcript, he added.
Access to the crash site has been impeded by bad weather since Tuesday, he said. An investigation team consisting of 58 experts plan to return to the site as soon as weather conditions improve in the next few days.
Friday 6 November 2015 15.42 EST Last modified on Friday 6 November 2015 20.10 EST
The sound of an apparent explosion can be heard on the flight recorder of the Russian-operated plane that came down over the Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, adding to mounting evidence that a bomb was smuggled aboard, French media sources said on Friday. Giving further credence to the idea that the plane crash was a terrorist act rather than because of structural failure, Russia, which for a week has been resistant to speculation about a bomb, suspended flights to all Egyptian airports.
An Egyptian-led international team of aviation experts, including some from France, successfully recovered the black box, the flight recorder, from the crash site. Several French media outlets, including the television station France 2, reported that the investigators had listened to it and concluded that a bomb had detonated, which would seem to rule out structural failure or pilot error. The pilots can be heard chatting normally, including contact with airport controllers, up until the apparent explosion.
The reports about the black box contents came as British attempts to bring passengers home from Sharm el-Sheikh descended into chaos on Friday.
While Russia had earlier suggested that the UK was acting prematurely in halting flights to the Red Sea resort over terrorism fears, Vladimir Putin ordered even wider restrictions on Friday, including halting all flights from Cairo. The head of his federal security services said it would be “expedient” to suspend flights until they had discovered why the Airbus 321 had crashed last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the US announced new security measures – including tighter screening – for flights from some airports in the Middle East. Jeh Johnson, the homeland security secretary, said that the move was motivated by “an abundance of caution”. Russia initially dismissed claims by Islamic State (Isis) of responsibility for downing the Metrojet flight, which came weeks after threats of retaliation for Russian planes bombing Syria, and Moscow reacted angrily after David Cameron said it was “more likely than not” a bomb.
Friday 6 November 2015 14.00 EST Last modified on Friday 6 November 2015 20.05 EST
Clues about the fate of Airbus A321 have mounted quickly over the last few days, pointing to the conclusion that the Russian plane was brought down by a bomb.
The balance tipped towards terrorist action when Russia, which had urged the UK against jumping to premature judgments, finally bowed and suspended all Russian flights to and from Egypt.
The move was in response to a series of developments since Tuesday, when it was revealed that US satellite imagery had picked up a heat flash before the plane went down.
British government sources reported “chatter” picked up by surveillance agencies, hinting that a bomb may have been involved. There was alarm over the extent of lax security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport and on Friday, French media reported that sources close to the investigation were saying evidence on the black boxes pointed towards an attack.
The “chatter” was picked up by one of the most important of the overseas listening stations run by Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ at Mount Troodos, in Cyprus. From that listening post, the British can pick up communications as far away as Beijing but the interest this time was nearer at hand, information heard linking the crash to Islamic State and a bomb.
Friday 6 November 2015 13.08 EST Last modified on Friday 6 November 2015 20.05 EST
The UK government’s attempt to evacuate thousands of stranded British holidaymakers from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh descended into angry scenes as tourists berated the UK ambassador to Cairo over further delays, with only eight out of 29 planned flights cleared to fly.
The first two repatriation flights from Sharm to the UK touched down on Friday afternoon after a day of conflicting information from airlines, embassy staff and Egyptian officials over the timetable for flights, during which the ambassador, John Casson, was heckled by furious tourists.
Sharm el-Sheikh airport is at the centre of security fearsafter a Russian airliner crashed last weekend in Sinai, killing all 224 people on board. British officials fear the plane was brought down by a bomb.
In a crowded terminal of the resort’s airport hundreds of Britons were hoping to return home after they were ferried to the airport in buses, only for easyJet to tell them that Egypt was blocking the arrival of extra flights.
Many people are scared of spiders. Anxious around arachnids. Awfully, terribly afraid of eight-legged creepy-crawlies.
And then there’s Chris White.
Here’s the tangled web of a story:
White, an apparently arachnophobic assistant prosecutor in West Virginia, is suspended indefinitely after he pulled a gun and threatened to shoot fake spiders that decorated his office for Halloween.
Like they often do during holidays, Logan County prosecuting attorney John Bennett told the Charleston Gazette-Mail, secretaries decorated the prosecutor’s office at the beginning of October to mark Halloween.
Tarantulas roam the roads in this town
“Some black, some brown — but some pretty good sized” spider decorations were hung, Bennett said.
White “told the secretaries that he was deathly afraid of spiders, got out a gun and walked down the hall into an office,” Bennett told the paper. “He pulled out a chair, put a fake spider down and threatened to shoot all of the spiders in the place,” adding that he was out of the office at the time but was told about the incident by shaken employees.
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