Under the Radar World News…aka Jihadist School Shooters, Russian Movie Villains and Chasing Hamza

Folks,

Biggest under-reported story of the week has to be the compound discovered in New Mexico where five adults were starving and abusing 11 underage children with the intent of developing them into school shooters. Hm. Abused children, remote compound, school shooter training…shouldn’t this be clickbait for every eyeball-starved news organization? Well the adults were, ahem, Muslim. In fact the children of a Brooklyn-based imam. Not just any imam. An unindicted co-conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Look, reasonable people can agree that Trump is a goon. But can reasonable people also not agree that when the media buries or obfuscates stories like this to fit their own narratives, they don’t do themselves any favors?

Speaking of whacked-out terrorists, what happens when a pair of romantic, idealistic American cyclists are confronted by ISIS adherents in Tajikistan? They get run over and then stabbed to death. Why, what did you think was going to happen?

Continue reading at Medium

Under The Radar…aka What China’s Surveillance State, ISIS Recruitment, and Oxfam’s Orgies have to do with System of A Down, Ricardo Montalban, and the Fourth Planet Hollywood Investor

Folks,

I remember when System of A Down released, “B.Y.OB.” I remember driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, tanned from a day at the beach and a belly full of surf and turf while Serge Tankian screamed, “And we all live in a fascist nation!” This was 2006. I remember thinking I liked SOAD more for their music than for their astute grasp of political philosophy. On that note, let’s jump ahead to present-day China, where 850,000 informants work the streets in Beijing alone. Biometric enrollment required for admission to scenic parks or mountains. Facial recognition done by CCTV, drones and police sunglasses. Corporatism. Gait recognition. A “social credit system” where each citizen accrues a score based on past behavior — and reaps rewards or discrimination based on it. The subjugation of an entire Muslim province. Surveillance on schoolchildren to catch cheaters, those that don’t pay attention in class, and make note of food eaten or not eaten on a daily basis. And thanks to China’s One Belt One Road initiative, it is coming to China’s de facto colonies. Expect to see this technology and this behavior increasing in Uganda, DRC, South Sudan, and even Somalia. It is already making an appearance in Zimbabwe. Now, that’s what I call fascism. What word would Serge Tankian use?

Continue reading at Medium

Under the Radar News…aka Things that Happened While You Talked about Potential Supreme Court Picks at a BBQ

Folks,

Here’s hoping you enjoyed the 4th of July, even if you think that whole American Revolution thing was a mistake.

Imagine you have two harmless ingredients which, when combined, become more powerful than VX gas. Imagine it is undetectable in most chemical security testings. Imagine it is deadly to the touch. Imagine it can absorb into any soft surface, from park benches to leather. Imagine it can remain lethal for years. The bad news is that you don’t need to imagine it — it is Novichok(or “newcomer”). The worse news is that the Russians have deployed it once in an attempt to kill double agent and UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter. This week’s news is that two innocent people in the same area have died from Novichok, leading to speculation that they came in contact with the substance. The ramifications are endless: the Russians have a fear-inducing weapon; Novichok’s benign ingredients make it ideal for travel; the Russians have a network of interested buyers, or the Russians could simply keep it for themselves — they have plenty of their own enemies, after all. All in all, this is a bad-news cocktail. Good thing that whole chemical weapon “redline” thing has gone the way of the 1980s, huh? Maybe it makes sense that the the Syrian rebels have decided the better part of valor is to meet with the Russians in attempts to appease them.

Continue reading at Medium

Can We Trust Turkey?

[Note: This article was originally written on 1 NOV 2015.  The author is finally getting around to publishing it, hoping that he’ll look really smart if it all comes true.]

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“Can we really trust Turkey?”

After you’ve bored friends and family with your talk about ISIS, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea and Al-Qaeda, why would you even venture a question about Turkey? (As my wife asks me.) It’s a good question which has, unfortunately, a good answer.

Right now, Turkey is the most feasible trigger for us to go to war.

Turkey is an ally. It’s a member of NATO, it has agreed to support the US effort against ISIS and it has taken in more than 2 million Syrian refugees, which is far more than any other country. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has modernized its economy, bolstered the rights of minorities and even advanced reconciliation with the Kurds.

That’s the good news.

But there is some bad news.

Continue reading at Havok Journal…

This Week in Links: Russia, Spooks and Trouble

It’s not your imagination, It’s been almost two weeks since my “weekly” list of links.  Which means I’m still more serious about doing a weekly email than the Russians are about doing a cease-fire.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the Russians aren’t serious about a lot of other things.  Like flying spy planes over the USError! Hyperlink reference not valid. and helping our SF teams, or so John Kerry would have us believe. As Putin’s proxies in the Russian Orthodox Church co-opt the Pope, we are entering Cold War 2.0 with a vengeance. It’s not the worst time to read a first-hand account about the KGB background of Vladimir Putin.

Of course, Russia isn’t our only problem.  It turns out that ISIS had roots even under Error! Hyperlink reference not valid., so it’s not surprising it’s using his same tactics.  ISIS is using mustard gas, and, no biggie, but radioactive material has gone missing in Iraq.  At least we can take them out quickly by air — oh, wait, ISIS has air defense now.  Leaving Iraq aside, at least we’re doing great in Yemen.  (Hint: we’re not doing great in Yemen.)  So here’s the $64,000 question: how many of these problems could be solved with Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.? (You can click the link, it’s totally not-NSFW.)

In what may be the least shocking news of the past two weeks, South Korean spies are really scared about what the Norks are doing, and another ex-Gitmo detainee has shown up in an Al-Qaeda video.

In less sarcasm-inducing news, there’s a great interview with former NSA CI agent John Schindler, a famous playwright talks about tradecraft he learned from his CIA ops officer dad…and how much did you know about George Washington and spies?  Oh, and there’s a secret army still fighting the Vietnam war.  Which shows that success is 10% inspiration and 90% determination.

Closer to home, we’ve had another case of domestic terrorism which most media outlets have been quick to shrug off. Between that and the ongoing and shifting threats to our critical infrastructure, it’s probably not a bad time to restock your bug-out bag.