• Germany on edge

    Germany is bracing for possible terrorist attacks amid growing signs that Islamic extremists are preparing at least one assault somewhere in the country in the coming weeks, possibly in the capital, Berlin; authorities in Berlin are racing to track two suspected suicide bombers believed to be planning to strike a prominent location; police are combing through travel and visa records and scrutinizing arrivals from the Mideast and South Asia as they hunt the pair; meanwhile, German officials say that a second group of terrorists is reported to be planning to travel to Germany in the coming weeks to launch a small-arms attack on one or more urban centers in the next three months

  • Hostile divers may be deterred from approaching U.S. Navy ships, sea ports, off-shore oil rigs, and other infrastructure facilities with an acoustic device that overwhelms them with the amplified sound of their own breath; the device generates low frequency underwater sound that interferes with breathing, induces disorientation, panic, uncontrolled ascent to surface, and decompression sickness

  • Oil-rig security

    After the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden boasted that he used an operation which cost al Qaeda $500,000 to finance to inflict a $500 billion damage on the U.S. economy; this was not a mere boast: experts say it was an indication that econo-jihad was an integral part of al Qaeda’s strategy to weaken and defeat the West; the recent BP disaster offered an example of one tactics terrorists may pursue in order to inflict serious economic and environmental damage on the United States and other countries: attack off-shore oil rigs: these rigs are utterly vulnerable to attack, and the damage such an attack can do is considerable; in Nigeria, a militant organization is already attacking oil rigs — if, for now, only to kidnap rig workers in order to blackmail their employers for money and political concessions; the ease with which such attacks are carried out should give all of us a pause

  • General Sir David Richards, a former NATO commander in Afghanistan, said Islamist militancy would pose a threat for at least thirty years, and that a clear-cut victory over militants was not achievable; Richards also said that that extremist Islamism could not be eradicated as an idea; “The trick is the balance of things that you’re doing and I say that the military are just about, you know, there. The biggest problem’s been ensuring that the governance and all the development side can keep up with it within a time frame and these things take generations sometimes within a time frame that is acceptable to domestic, public and political opinion”

  • Air cargo security

    British police investigators say that forensic evidence showed the explosive device hidden inside an ink cartridge, originally sent from Yemen by way of Cologne, Germany, was timed to be detonated about six to seven hours after the cargo aircraft carrying it left the United Kingdom for the United States — meaning that it could have exploded over the East Coast of the United States; the UPS cargo plane intercepted in England left the country without the package at 11:20 p.m. ET on 28 October, two hours after landing, police said; the device was timed to be activated at 5:30 a.m. ET, said British police

  • The U.S. is intensifying the drone war over Yemen; yesterday the Yemeni foreign minister admitted for the first time that the U.S. was helping out in the Yemeni fight with unmanned drones; the foreign minister said that while the U.S. was providing intelligence, “The (drone) attacks are undertaken by the Yemeni air force” (officials in Yemen have habitually claimed those sorties were the work of the Yemeni air force, although Yemen has neither the aircraft nor the air crews able to conduct these precision attacks); a tug-of-war is going on in Washington on whether the drone war should be conducted by the U.S. military or the CIA; unconfirmed news reports claim that in early November the U.S. moved a squadron of Predator drones to a secret base at the Yemeni Red Sea port of Al Hodaydah

  • With President Barack Obama set to begin a visit Tuesday to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country — and where he lived from age 6 to 10 — there is renewed attention on terrorists in Indonesia — terrorists who, in the past year, appeared to be banding together into a new al Qaeda-influenced insurgency; since 2006 the Pentagon has sent about $60 million in military aid to Indonesia for a new regional maritime warning system; as much as $20 million more is in the pipeline; the military steer arrested terrorists into a rehabilitation program; the policy is rooted in a fundamental belief that militants are fellow Muslims who have gone astray and that they are inherently reformable

  • Aviation security

    Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq tried to bring a plane down by deploying a pair of kamikaze canines on a U.S.-bound airplane; terrorists placed the bombs inside the dogs’ bodies, then took the dogs to the Baghdad airport in kennel carriers, destined for a flight to the United States; the plot failed because the bombs were so poorly stitched inside the dogs, that the dogs died

  • The likely incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) has been one of the administration’s loudest critics on issues of counterterrorism and homeland security in the past year; he had repeatedly criticized White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, and has called for his firing; King has a softer tone toward the administration now, a week after the federal government prevented a series of possible attacks against cargo jets — and two month before assuming the chairmanship of the House Homeland Security Committee

  • The Home Secretary’s priorities are to: enhance protective security measures, invest in conflict prevention and stopping overseas terrorist plots, refocus the U.K. strategy for preventing radicalization, and strike a better balance between liberty and security

  • Aviation security

    The plotters behind last week’s unsuccessful mail bombings could not have known exactly where their Chicago-bound packages were when they were set to explode; the communication cards had been removed from the cell phones attached to the bombs, meaning the phones could not receive calls, making it likely the terrorists intended the alarm or timer functions to detonate the bombs; each bomb was attached to a syringe containing lead azide, a chemical initiator that would have detonated PETN explosives packed into each computer printer toner cartridge; both PETN and a syringe were used in the failed Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner linked to an al Qaida branch in Yemen

  • Law-enforcement technology

    Tarrytown police cruisers are now rolling with the latest technology and software; two of the software systems at the fingertips of the police are the Mobile Plate Hunter 900 and the TraCS (Traffic and Criminal Software) system; used in conjunction with dual, rear-mounted license plate readers, an officer can catch an offending driver, check a driver’s background, and print up a ticket and a court summons in a matter of minutes

  • New study of eighty-six terrorist plots since 1999 found that 80 percent were discovered through old-fashioned police work or tips from the public, not technology-driven counter-terrorism operations; the authors said the authorities should cultivate good relations with “communities with persons in or near radical movements, an ability that is jeopardized by indiscriminately targeting individuals and groups due to their race, ethnicity, religion or ideology”

  • Friday’s emergency activity concerned with finding explosive devices initially reported as a false alarm — early reports indicated no explosives were found; this proved to be wrong in subsequent reports, live devices containing PETN were found in the U.K. and Dubai; in the instance of the Dubai device, the bomb package had been flown on two passenger flights; U.S. intelligence analysis identify bombmaker; Yemeni authorities arrest and later release female student on suspicion of complicity

  • Breaking News

    Several United Parcel Service flights arriving at U.S and U.K. were moved to areas isolated from other aircraft, and searched for explosive devices; to this point no explosives have been found

  • Commandos of Britain’s elite Special Air Squadron(SAS) are reportedly conducting a series of counter-terrorism exercises to train the country’s police to foil 2008 Mumbai-style attacks on England; police armed response units are being given more powerful weapons; the job of the police would be to contain the situation while the job of the SAS (Special Air Service), if called upon, would be to resolve it

  • Pakistan spy agency deeply involved in Mumbai attack

    Pakistan’s intelligence agency was deeply involved in planning the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai, going so far as to fund reconnaissance missions to the Indian city; the Pakistani spy agency provided handlers for all the top members of the group, gave them direction, and provided their funding; the attack killed 166 people, paralyzed India’s business capital, and froze peace efforts between Pakistan and India; David Headley, who pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to laying the groundwork for the attack, told Indian interrogators that officers from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency were deeply intertwined with Lashkar-e-Taiba

  • France says that Saudi Arabia has warned French authorities of a terror plot, hatched by al Qaeda elements in the Arabian peninsula, directed specifically at France; France is already on heightened terror alerts following terror threats last month; speculation on the source of those terror threats centered on al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, another al Qaeda offshoot, which took five French citizens hostage in Niger in September

  • Senior U.S. officials are concerned over recent intelligence indicating that the Pakistani Taliban, which orchestrated the failed Times Square bombing, may have successfully placed another operative inside the United States to launch a second attack; based on the intelligence, authorities believe the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, would have directed the individual to attempt another Times Square-style operation, but not necessarily in New York City

  • Iran's bomb

    The Iranian Revolutionary Guard was created in 1979 as an ideological bulwark to defend the clerical rule; in time, the Guard has become a vast military-based conglomerate, amassing a network of economic and political power that extends to virtually every aspect of life in Iran; as the West’s covert action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program intensifies, we note more and more “accidents” in Revolutionary Guards bases; in the most recent such accident, 18 Guardsmen were killed and fourteen wounded