• Mexico deploys Israeli UAVs in war on drug cartels

    Since December 2006, nearly 30,000 Mexicans have been killed in that country’s increasingly vicious drug war; the relentless flow of guns from the United States into Mexico has significantly strengthened the drug cartels, allowing them not only to withstand the efforts by the Mexican authorities to impose law and order, but in many cases to take the operational initiative, making large swaths of the country ungovernable; the Mexican government, for its part, is bolstering its own capabilities: last year it has secretly purchased surveillance UAVs from Israel to perform monitoring tasks in border areas and near strategic installations in the country

  • Skeletal scans could be newest screening technique

    The adult skeleton has 206 bones; size, shape, density, and joint structure make each skeleton slightly different; throw in an extra lumbar vertebrae or extra rib — which some people have — as well as previously broken bones, implants, screws, and other identifying characteristics, and the signatures become even more individual

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  • Biggest mass graves linked to drug-related violence uncovered in Mexico

    Seventy-two bodies found in a mass grave on a ranch in northern Mexico; in recent months an increasing number of mass graves have been discovered; in June, police recovered fifty-five bodies from an abandoned mine near Taxco, in Guerrerro state

  • Hagerstown PD disappears from analog scanners

    Those wishing to listen in on Hagerstown Police Department calls will have to update their technology: the “patch” to the old 800 MHz frequency, which allowed simulcasting of calls on the old analog frequencies, was taken down last week

  • Mexican city is no longer safe for visitors, city's economic secretary says

    The secretary of economic development of the Mexican city of Reynosa says the city can no longer guarantee the safety of its visitors amid recent fighting between the military and drug smuggling groups; the city’s burgeoning medical industry is only working at 25 percent of its capacity; “With this impact (the violence) everything went down to half,” the official said

  • Drug cartels employ women assassins (sicarias) in broad killing campaign

    As the drug war in Mexico escalates, drug cartels have began to employ sicaria, or hit women; the women assassins, ranging in age from 18 to 30, work alongside men in cells of La Linea, as the Juárez drug cartel is known; cells are assigned to different jobs — such as halcones (lookouts), hit squads, and extortionists — and operate independently; the hit women are trained to use rifles and handguns and sometimes accompany their male counterparts; women in Juárez have been previously accused of being part of kidnapping rings, often assigned to keep watch on captives; women have also held roles as recruiters, transporters and leaders of drug-smuggling cells

  • Drug war fought with American weapons for the American market

    Mexico’s drug war is fought with American weapons for the American market; of the 75,000 guns seized, 80 percent came from the United States; they are used to fight over an estimated $40 billion drug business — virtually all for the United States; last Year, at least 2,600 were killed in Mexico’s drug war, and the country is on track to top 3,000 this year

  • Resurgence of violence in Ireland leads to questions about MI5 intelligence gathering

    The Police Federation of Northern Ireland has attributed 49 bomb incidents and 32 shooting incidents to dissident republicans since the beginning of the year; so far this year, on both sides of the border, there have been 155 arrests and 46 charges related to militant republican activities compared with 108 arrests and 17 charges in the whole of 2009; law enforcement authorities in Northern Ireland complain about an alleged lack of information from MI5 about increasingly active republican groups

  • Northern Ireland gets upgraded license plate readers

    The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is planning to spend some of £12.9 million in additional government security funding on automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras; U.K. police use of ANPR cameras is set to change following a Home Office ruling: the police ANPR database that currently holds 7.6 billion records of the movement of motorists in England and Wales will be operated with tougher accountability and safeguards

  • FBI grants more top secret clearances for terrorism cases

    Security clearances granted to members of the FBI’s network of regional terrorism task forces jumped to 878 in 2009, up from 125 in 2007, signaling intensified attention to domestic terror threats; part of the increase is because of the rapid expansion of the terrorism task forces created after the 2001 assaults to disrupt future terror plots; since 2001 the number of terror units, which draw on federal, state, and local investigators, have grown from 35 to 104 nationwide

  • Autogyro airborne surveillance vehicle for law enforcement, military unveiled

    The two-seater Scorpion S3 autogyro has been designed for the law enforcement and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) markets; the Scorpion S3 uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and a gas turbine Alison B17 engine-powered propeller to provide thrust; the design will reduce costs for fleet operators by 75 percent while also reducing their carbon footprint by up to 80 percent compared to a conventional medium-sized gas turbine helicopter

  • All U.S. counties on Mexican border now share inmate fingerprints with feds

    All 25 U.S. counties along the Mexican border are now enrolled in the Secure Communities project; federal immigration officials now have access to the prints of every inmate booked into jail in these counties; Secure Communities makes the notification automatic; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which plans to implement the program nationwide by 2013, says the program has identified more than 262,900 illegal immigrants in jails and prisons who have been charged with or convicted of criminal offenses, including more than 39,000 charged with or convicted of violent offenses or major drug crimes; ICE expects to remove 400,000 illegal immigrants this year; of the 200,000 illegal immigrants deported in the first ten months of fiscal year 2010, 142,000 illegal immigrants were with criminal records and about 50,000 were noncriminals; immigrant advocates say that some counties use Secure Communities to deport noncriminals: the national average of noncriminals flagged by Secure Communities is about 28 percent, but in Travis County, Texas, 82 percent of those removed through Secure Communities were noncriminals

  • The promise, and risks, of battlefield biometrics

    Using biometric devices in Afghanistan offers many benefits to coalition forces and to the Afghani themselves in making it easier to separate the good guys from the bad; some worry, however, that this can backfire — as was the case in Rwanda in 1994: identification cards which included photos and tribal affiliations of either Tutsis and Hutus made it easier for Hutu militias to identify the Tutsi and murder them

  • India equipped to protect the October Commonwealth Games against WMD attacks

    India will have a big security challenge when the Commonwealth Games begin in October; Indian security agencies say they are equipped to face chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorist threats during the games; intelligence agencies have been working on the possibility of attacks from Kashmiri groups like the Hizbul Mujahidden, the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Taliban from Pakistan or Afghanistan, and even Al Qaeda; militant outfits of various other ideological hues are also on the police radar

  • NY Naval Militia in WMD detection homeland security exercise on Hudson River

    Several New York States government agencies take part in an exercise on the Hudson River aimed to examine radiation detection capabilities; the exercise was part of Trojan Horse 2010 an annual maritime security training exercise sponsored by State University of New York Maritime College