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Archive → February 7th, 2016

Gang Invasion? This Group May Be Coming to Your State

riot in Fergunson

  • Feb 5, 2016
  • Source: AAN
  • by: AAN Staff

What has President Obama’s commitment to a lawless border wrought? For one, the expedited import of dangerous gang members to middle America. As the Washington Examiner reports:

Criminal networks with Latin American roots, such as MS-13 and the 18th Street gang, are using the administration’s open-door policy at the border to slip in recruits that are causing a huge spike in murder and violence throughout the nation, according to an immigration expert.

Testifying Thursday at a House hearing on the border surge of young Latinos, the expert said, “Established gangs have been able to transfer an unknown number of experienced foot soldiers from Central America to help colonize new criminal territory in the United States.”

Jessica M. Vaughan, the policy director for the Center for Immigration Studies, told the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and Border Security subcommittee that “the tide of new young people, many of whom have already been exposed or involved in street gangs at home, has provided a huge pool of new recruits for the gangs here. Gangs such as MS-13 and 18th Street are enjoying a brutal revival in certain parts of the country and are establishing themselves in new places.”

The House and Senate can fight all they want against President Obama’s lawless actions on immigration, but at the end of the day, the mere mention of amnesty, when combined with our inability to track when and where illegal immigrants have entered this country, incentivizes mass immigration. While some come here seeking economic opportunity, a more insidious strain of person lurks among them, seeking to poison our communities with drugs and gang violence. That’s why it’s so important that a conservative with a true commitment to enforcing our nation’s laws gets elected.

Source: Will County News

What’s Important About Underwater Internet Cables

What’s Important About Underwater Internet Cables
Hint: It has nothing to do with Vladimir Putin or terrorism.
Mike Segar / Reuters


“So Ingrid,” Sam asked, “how exactly will you convince your editor that submarine cables are relevant to The Cloud?”

Beneath the Cloud
Exploring what the Internet is made of


We were maybe still in New Mexico or somewhere in Kansas. It was a night drive. Time moves weirdly during night drives. All roads basically become the closing moments of Terminator 2. Whenever it was and wherever it was, it was apparently a good time for my driving partner to pose questions about some of the stories I had lined up for this series, including one exceptionally long piece about a submarine cable (which, dear reader, will run later this week).

“Well,” I replied, “clouds are just evaporated molecules of water that emerge from larger bodies of water. Oceans are bodies of water. It’s…it’s relevant.”

Look, I was pretty tired. But if there is a case to be made for placing submarine cables within the landscape of The Cloud, it’s more a case for historical continuity and resonance. Cloud infrastructure is a landscape of interdependent systems, submarine cables among them.
Submarine cables don’t come up in the news that often, but if they do it seems to be in two forms: short articles reminding everyone that the Telegeography Submarine Cable Map exists, and short articles of hand-wavey reminders that submarine cables are vulnerable to harm (from tectonic plates, ship anchors, sharks, and terrorists, among others).

While these are totally valid topics to explore, I often find these stories lacking in context about the various systems, geographies, and politics that shape submarine networks. While there are lots of other super compelling aspects of submarine-cable law and policy (says the person who owns a copy of Submarine Cables: The Handbook of Law and Policy), here are two questions that might help readers take in Telegeography takes with a little less gee-whiz and a little more clarity.

Who Owns Submarine Cables?

For the most part, Internet submarine cables are built by consortia of international companies. The consortium method has the advantage of distributing risk on submarine-cable projects, which can range in cost from the hundreds of millions to the low billions. When they first emerged, during the postcolonial Cold War era, these consortia were made up of telecoms from different countries forming agreements with each other. Ownership and maintenance of the cables was aligned along these landing sites—the parts of the cable that ran through the U.S. might belong to AT&T; the parts running through the U.K., maybe to BT.





In the late 1990s as the Internet became increasingly privately held, venture capital began participating in these consortia as well. Perhaps the most famous early example of this shift was the FLAG network, the subject of Neal Stephenson’s essay “Mother Earth Mother Board” (arguably the Book of Genesis in the Internet-infrastructure nerd bible). Today, many kinds of non-telecoms invest in submarine cables, including companies like Google and Facebook, who both own stakes in Pacific submarine cables.

Military agencies also build submarine cables, which do not appear on public maps. While these cables have recently been the subject of much kerfuffle over whether they are vulnerable to Russian sabotage (which, while probably a possibility, featured such so much over-the-top panic in its speculations that it basically was only missing trained Russian spy sharks), military telecommunications networks have played a crucial but not extensively reported role in legal challenges to U.S. and U.K. drone-strike operations in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.
In 2014, the U.K.-based organization Reprieve filed a complaint with the British government against BT for its role in facilitating drone strikes based on a submarine cable. In 2012, BT accepted a contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to connect a military base in the U.K. to a military base in Djibouti. The court threw out the complaint, ruling that Repreive presented insufficient evidence that the cable was explicitly used in drone strikes.

More recently, a Somali man brought a legal complaint to the German government over the role that the Ramstein Air Force base played in a drone strike that killed his father. Ramstein isn’t a landing point for a submarine cable, but for a satellite uplink that connects directly to drones in Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere. A combination of submarine and terrestrial cables connects the uplink to Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. While the Ramstein complaint is more about the uplink than the fiber, it and the Reprieve complaint are reminders of the scale of military network infrastructure, and the significance of that infrastructure in contemporary warfare.

Who Builds Submarine Cables?

For much of the history of submarine cables, many telecommunications companies were responsible for their own cable design and manufacturing, as well as fleets of cable ships (as seen in this AT&T video about their submarine-cable operations). After the first tech bubble collapsed in the late 1990s, many of the large telecoms divested themselves of their submarine-cable operations, spinning them off into separate companies. A number of these formerly telecom-owned companies act as “turn-key” suppliers—they manufacture the cable, survey routes and obtain relevant permits, maintain fleets of cable ships, and perform maintenance and repairs. TE SubCom, the current incarnation of what used to be AT&T Submarine Systems, explains what they do in this thrilling corporate video (from that video, I strongly encourage you to go down the rabbit hole that is corporate submarine-cable videos, it will probably transform your life forever).

How Do Submarine Cables End Up Where They End Up?

The design of submarine-cable routes and the decision of where to place them is a lengthy, complex calculation of bathymetry, geography, local land-use laws, international law, and the law of the sea. For a long time it was also a calculation heavily shaped by legacy—a lot of Internet cables run along similar routes and to similar sites as their telegraph predecessors, to major coastal cities throughout the world. There is an assumption that these routes are reliable and secure, as they’ve been tried and maintained in the past.
The history of modern telecommunications development traces the expansion of empire. The British telegraph submarine-cable system the All-Red Line, for example, is kind of just a cool map of Places Britain Used To Own. Today, a number of the landing sites on the All-Red Line remain landing sites for submarine cables.

As Nicole Starosielski documents in her book The Undersea Network (if we’re being cute, the Book of Jonah in the Internet-infrastructure nerd bible), this pattern of submarine cables following empire came to reflect the new mode of empire: globalization. During the Cold War, landing sites began to shift away from central port cities to more rural areas, recognizing that decentralizing communication networks was a far more viable security strategy in the face of nuclear war. These more remote sites were sometimes chosen purely for logistical reasons—such as the Manchester cable station, which was chosen as the site for the first continental U.S.-Hawaii cable because it’s literally the shortest distance away from Hawaii.

As ownership models moved away from strictly telecom consortia, new landing sites were built and selected because the incumbent telecom companies didn’t want the new consortia to build in their territory, as it were. Today’s submarine-cable networks are increasingly governed by logistics, bottom lines, and latency, rather than colonial control or Cold War paranoia. But they remain useful objects for understanding some of the public and private power dynamics that play across the network at the infrastructural level, literally across oceans.

Source: Will County News

Don’t fall for the Zika virus hoax

Dengue mosquito biting skinThe scare du jour from the medical men and women in the higher echelons of the government/medical cartel is the Zika virus.

Already there are calls to speed the development of a vaccine (naturally) for Zika and for greater use of pesticides to control mosquitoes (more on that later).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us the Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. From the CDC,  “The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.”

In other words, it’s not a serious disease. It’s been around since the 1940s.

Also from the CDC, “No locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States…” Yet CNN.com  felt it necessary to let CDC  head Tom Frieden scaremonger about how, “Zika is our newest threat, particularly to pregnant women” even while acknowledging in the same screed that “people in the contiguous United States are unlikely to ever come into contact with the Zika virus.”

The biggest scaremongering around Zika involves reports that it is responsible for an increase in microcephaly (shrunken head and impaired brains) cases in newborns in Brazil. Women in some Central American countries are even being encouraged by their governments to forgo pregnancy for at least two years because of the danger of giving birth to infants with microcephaly.

However, Brazil’s Health Ministry admits  the Zika virus was found in only six of the 270 confirmed microcephaly cases reported since October. Both these numbers are significant in their own way.

First is the number of confirmed microcephaly cases. There were only about 150 cases of microcephaly reported in Brazil in 2014, out of about 3 million births, so 270 in three months would seem to be a significant increase. But Brazilian medical authorities had never asked doctors to report microcephaly cases to government before late in 2015. In other words, no one knows how many cases there have actually been in Brazil in any given year.

Yet we are expected to believe that there is a sudden uptick in microcephaly cases caused by a virus that’s been around for at least 75 years… based on six confirmed cases of Zika in 270 confirmed microcephaly afflicted babies.

In the U.S., microcephaly affects about 2,50025,000 (The AP — either deliberately to deceive or out of incompetence — reported the number incorrectly — BL) newborns out of each 4 million births a year. Yet there is no Zika in the U.S.

Again from the CDC:

The causes of microcephaly in most babies are unknown. Some babies have microcephaly because of changes in their genes. Other causes of microcephaly can include the following exposures during pregnancy:

  • Certain infections, such asrubella, toxoplasmosis, or cytomegalovirus
  • Severe malnutrition, meaning a lack of nutrients or not getting enough food
  • Exposure to harmful substances, such as alcohol, certain drugs, or toxic chemicals

What we do know is Brazil is essentially ground zero for pesticide and herbicide use. A study conducted in France from 2002 to 2006 and published in PubMed “found The presence versus absence of quantifiable levels of atrazine or a specific atrazine metabolite was associated with fetal growth restriction… and small head circumference… Head circumference was inversely associated with the presence of quantifiable urinary metolachlor… Evidence of associations with adverse birth outcomes raises particular concerns for countries where atrazine is still in use.”

Both atrazine and metolachlor are widely used in Brazil.

There is also the introduction of genetically engineered mosquitoes. Who knows what toxins they are transmitting?

In 2014 the big scare was Ebola. The World Health Organization predicted an Ebola pandemic could affect 1.4 million people worldwide by 2015. It never happened, nor was it ever contracted outside several African countries – countries noted for malnutrition and little to no sanitation, the widespread use of pesticides and with ongoing wars involving chemical weapons.

Now WHO is predicting 3 million to 4 million cases  of Zika in the Americas over the next year. But don’t worry; Freidan assures us the medical men are on it. After all, the CDC identifies, “on average, one new health threat each year,” Friedan writes.

So if Ebola didn’t get you, and Zika doesn’t get you, there will be something new or recycled next year. And doubtless a vaccine to follow.

And meantime, the call has gone out for more pesticides in Brazil to kill the responsible mosquitoes.

What could go wrong?

Source: Will County News

Fourth Circuit Gets It Right on Maryland’s Assault Weapon Ban

Fourth Circuit Gets It Right
on Maryland’s Assault Weapon Ban
David A. Lombardo
My profound thanks to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Finally someone gets that the modern sporting rifle is arguably the poster child for the Second Amendment.
Today’s AR-15-and whatever new firearm is invented tomorrow that catches the military’s eye-is precisely what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they penned the Second Amendment. It’s not about hunting, recreational shooting or even personal protection. The Second Amendment is about the right of John Q to live in peace, free from the tyranny of an out-of-control, over-reaching government. It has been my observation that the more corrupt and tyrannical the government, the louder the cries for gun control and confiscation to “improve public safety.” Well, the only safety that improves is that of the despot who seeks to control John Q.
According to the Firearm Safety Act (FSA), after October 1, 2013, it became illegal to “possess, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, or receive” or to transport into Maryland any firearm designated as an “assault weapon” including “assault long guns, assault pistols,” and copycat weapons.” It further defined an “assault long gun” as any one of the more than 60 semi-automatic rifle or shotgun models specifically listed in the act. Effectively, the FSA banned almost all semi-automatic firearms, making possession a misdemeanor with a jail sentence of up to three years.
This week a panel of three Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judges issued a major decision in the lawsuit challenging Maryland’s FSA-great shades of Friedman v. Highland Park and Wilson v. Cook County.
What the Fourth decided in Kolbe v. Hogan is that the FSA “implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment” and that “strict scrutiny is the applicable standard of review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim.” Here’s where it gets interesting.
Strict Scrutiny, the most stringent form of judicial review, requires the legislature must have passed the law to further a “compelling governmental interest” and must have narrowly tailored the law to achieve that interest. By example, the court’s finding in Friedman v. Highland Park would not pass strict scrutiny. It said, “If a ban on semiautomatic guns and large-capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit.” Great, touchy feely outweighs a Constitutional right.
In a way the FSA was passed to further a compelling governmental interest, but I don’t think “To be able to better control the population so we can be dictators” is going to play well in court. Historically the government has had a difficult time justifying laws that must meet strict scrutiny.
In the Kolbe decision, the Court determined that the FSA did indeed violate an individual’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The Court stated: “We therefore struggle to see how Maryland’s law would not substantially burden the core Second Amendment right to defend oneself and one’s family in the home with a firearm that is commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for such lawful purposes. Moreover, the FSA also reaches every instance where an AR-15 or similar semi-automatic rifle might be preferable to a handgun or bolt-action rifle – for example hunting, recreational shooting, or competitive marksmanship events, all of which are lawful purposes protected by the Constitution.”
The Court continued in their argument that a regular, law-abiding person would have many legitimate reasons for wanting to purchase and possess guns banned under the Act: “There are legitimate reasons for citizens to favor a semiautomatic rifle over handguns in defending themselves and their families at home. The record contains evidence suggesting that ‘handguns are inherently less accurate than long guns’ as they ‘are more difficult to steady’ and ‘absorb less of the recoil….reducing accuracy.”
In issuing the decision, the Court vacated “the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims and remanded the case for the district court to apply strict scrutiny.” At least for the moment, reason and logic prevail.

Source: Will County News

DHS Official: I Was Ordered to Purge Records of Islamic Terror Ties

Image: DHS Official: I Was Ordered to Purge Records of Islamic Terror Ties
Image: DHS Official: I Was Ordered to Purge Records of Islamic Terror Ties
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 06 Feb 2016 03:39 PM
A veteran official with the Department of Homeland Security claims he and other staff were ordered to destroy records on a federal database that showed links between possible jihadists and Islamic terrorist groups.

“After leaving my 15-year career at DHS, I can no longer be silent about the dangerous state of America’s counter-terror strategy, our leaders’ willingness to compromise the security of citizens for the ideological rigidity of political correctness—and, consequently, our vulnerability to devastating, mass-casualty attack,” the former employee, Patrick Haney, wrote in an explosive column that was published late Friday on The Hill website.

Haney alleges that the Obama administration has been “engaged in a bureaucratic effort” to destroy the raw material and intelligence the Department of Homeland Security has been collecting for years, leaving the United States open to mass-casualty attacks.

His story starts in 2009, when during the holiday travel season, a 23-year-old Nigerian Muslim, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253, with explosives packed in his underwear and the hopes of slaughtering 290 travelers flying on Christmas Day from the Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan. Passengers subdued the jihadist and he was arrested, thwarting the plot.

After the attempt, Haney writes, President Barack Obama “threw the intelligence community under the bus for its failure to ‘connect the dots,’ saying that it was not a failure to collect the intelligence that could have stopped the attack, but rather “‘a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.’”

But most Americans were not aware that the Department of Homeland Security’s employees suffered enormous damage to their morale from Obama’s words, Haney said.

Further, many were infuriated “because we knew his administration had been engaged in a bureaucratic effort to destroy the raw material — the actual intelligence we had collected for years, and erase those dots. The dots constitute the intelligence needed to keep Americans safe, and the Obama administration was ordering they be wiped away.”

Just one month before the attempted attack, Haney said, his DHS supervisors ordered him to either delete or modify the records for several hundred people tied to Islamist terror organizations, including Hamas, from the Treasury Enforcement Communications System, the federal database.

Those records give DHS the ability to “connect dots,” explained Haney, and every day, the agency’s Custom and Border Protection officials use the database while watching people who are associated with known terrorist affiliations seeking patterns that could indicate a pending attack.

“Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that,” said Haney.

“Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database,” he wrote.

And even weeks after the attempted Christmas Day attack, Haney said, he was still being ordered to delete and scrub terrorists’ records, making it more difficult to connect dots in the future.

The number of attempted and successful Islamic terrorist attacks kept increasing, notes Haney, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, conducted by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev; Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez’ shooting of two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee last year; the attack conducted by Faisal Shahzad in May 2010; Detroit “honor” killer Rahim Alfatlawi in 2011; Amine El Khalifi, who plotted to blow up the U.S. Capitol in 2012; and Oklahoma beheading suspect Alton Nolen in 2014.

He believes it is “very plausible” that one or more of those homeland incidents could have been prevented, if DHS subject matter experts had been allowed to keep doing their jobs.

“It is demoralizing — and infuriating — that today, those elusive dots are even harder to find, and harder to connect, than they were during the winter of 2009,” Haney concluded.
Breaking News at Newsmax.com

Source: Will County News