Thursday, October 27, 2011

Darpa Recruits Puzzle People for Ultimate Dumpster Dive | Danger Room | Wired.com

Darpa Recruits Puzzle People for Ultimate Dumpster Dive | Danger Room | Wired.com

Very good read, DARPA has used great minds in the past, for many challenges, that is what the US is great at. It is like the enigma code being broken in WWII, people thought up the solution and computers kept it going. DARPA is making use of both ends of the technology spectrum, the brains of people, and power of computers. A young lady figured out a way to track how a corporation's communications tree really functions. She used data available to any corporate IT person to determine how to fine tune the communications in a corporation. Some whiz kid at the CIA saw it and scooped her up, her methodology is a key part of tracking down terrorist cells, by their communications tree. It is now used for tracking white collar crime as well as the drug Cartels in Mexico.

Using the great brain of this young lady, and seeing where it could be used in other situations, has really made a dent in terrorism and crime. More and more Universities are looking at other ways to use this type of link analysis. Flash mob's will probably be a great use, tracking social communications is a breeze for this type of analysis. Once a trend is discovered, you just make a template and look for similar activity. It worked for terrorist cells, and even insider trading, now on to flash mobs.

DARPA finds ways to stay just outside the box enough to use great ideas, even foster them along. Just when I think they have gone too deep into, the we know it all mindset again, they supprise me with great ideas like this.

I was honored to be invited to a number of their conferences over the years. Each time you could see ideas from big firms, little firms and even unknown one person teams, bringing us closer to a safer world. Many of the technology advances the world sees in aviation security like explosive detection came out of the DARPA programs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nephew of Mexican cartel kingpin busted in Texas - Houston Chronicle

Nephew of Mexican cartel kingpin busted in Texas - Houston Chronicle

This is becoming more and more common. It is leading to more and more violence on the US side of the border, as rival's like the Zeta's come over here to settle scores. When this person was picked up, he admitted the Zeta's are looking for him.

As things heat up in Mexico for these Cartel leaders, they used to head for their hometowns to hide in plain sight, with the towns helping, Calderon has made this more and more difficult as his harder to corrupt Federal teams raid these towns more and more. For a while like former Colombian Cartel leaders they would head to prisons, where they had police protection, but could still operate their business.

Now they are buying up small developments in the US, and making virtual armed compounds, where they can run Cartel operations in relative safety. As some developers had a hard time selling homes in plots they had developed, Cartel's started buying some of them up. Compounds of as many as 15 houses, designed to be gated communities, are now becoming private sanctuary for Cartel operations.

They spend money, help with dwindling tax base's in many smaller cities, all which makes the community leaders to put their heads in the sand, and ignore the growing problem. Restaurants and Bars are seeing higher numbers, which also makes them push to keep any bad press down, to protect business.

What everyone needs to do, is look at Mexican border towns like Reynosa, where they also had a booming business up tic in the late 90's early 2000's, and are now ghost towns, as people hide from the violence.

The city fathers on the US border towns, are saying it can not happen here, yet, restaurant and bar owners are already getting partnership offers from people they do not want to do business with. Many are selling and moving further North, to cut their losses, that they see coming. A recent shooting in a Tx border town happen on a major roadway, the police knew the victim was associated with Cartel leaders on the Mexico side, something they offered up that same night to the reporters on the scene. They it turned out also knew that as recently as a few hours before a rival cartel leader on the Mexico side had been killed. Yet still refused to make the leap that this was the payback hit on the US side.

While teaching a course on security in Colorado this weekend, I found students, all veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, a couple that used to live on the border, saying they are not going home, their families are telling them it is getting to violent. Kid's in Jr High Schools are being recruited by Cartels associated with US street gangs, and yet folks are saying there is not a problem on the US side.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why Iran assassination plot doesn't add up for Iran experts - CSMonitor.com

Why Iran assassination plot doesn't add up for Iran experts - CSMonitor.com

There are a lot of problems with the story as it has been released so far. It does not seem to follow the security protocols normally used by Iran. On the other hand it has been reported in some circles that the little outspoken leader of Iran, came back from the UN with his wings clipped a bit. But even the time line does not track, for him to ok, this action.

It well could be that it is more of a lone wolf type of action by disgruntled used car salesman, but if so, telling a Zeta Cartel Killer, you are going to give him 1.5 million, and only have one hundred thousand is not the precursor to a long life.

Even the Zeta part of the plot does not track very well, they also like Iran, would have to know that the US would spank, if they did something like this. But one must remember that it was a DEA agent not a Zeta enforcer he was talking to.

It will be interesting to see how the story plays out, even if just a small player, it would still be kudos's to the FBI and DEA for taking the guy down. But DOJ and others may have to eat some crow, if it turns out Iran had no knowledge of the incident. I also think the GOP should be very wary of trying to make to much out of this as well.

Everyone needs to take a deep breath, before anymore action is taken. If it turns out Iran did have a hand in this, then there is time to send them a real message, like a drone down main street Tehran hitting the hotel now used as a terror central.

That would get some attention from the People of Iran, and show how vulnerable Iran really is to US weaponry.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Statesman.com : Cartel connection reveals why La Familia targeted Austin

Statesman.com : Cartel connection reveals why La Familia targeted Austin

As our Government leaders, mainly City Fathers of towns effected, keep down playing the drug violance, all over the US, but Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California. the violence keeps growing. The more Cartel Gunman arrive and at first keep the violence between the Cartels, then leak to our youth and businesses, the harder it will be to stop it later.

We need to stop this encroachment now, Mexico first said it was just between Cartels years ago, then it was not in the tourist areas a year ago. Now it is attacking school teachers in tourist areas. We need to stop saying it is just a bar fight in border towns and look into the fact that known Cartel members are the ones involved in the bar fights. There are places in Austin, Houston, and Dallas where locals are no longer welcome in bars and restaurants. Even Georgia has this problem, we used to say it was just New York and LA Gangs causing the drug violence problems. More and more when you look into it, the Cartels are slowing taking control, and the violence is more pronounced.

We need to put a concerted effort into getting a handle on the problem. The DEA needs to step up the their game, the FBI and Intel agencies need to support the DEA and local police. Our youth are the first one's targeted by the Cartels, giving them jobs, where they can not find any other work, we need to work against this now.

Rich

Anwar al-Awlaki dead: what it means for US, Yemen - CSMonitor.com

Anwar al-Awlaki dead: what it means for US, Yemen - CSMonitor.com

Many keep asking what the death of Anwar al-Awlaki did for the war of terror.  Call his followers what you like, they were AQ lite, they are and to some extent where perhaps the terrorist's of the little man.  While Bin Laden, and the AQ traditionalists would plan these elaborate long term attacks, using large amounts of funds, well established and trained operatives, many want a be terrorists had been left out.  Many tried to get to Afghanistan to train, and gain the approval of Bin Laden's planners.  Many where turned back, if for no other reason than operational security, Bin Laden's people could not be sure who was a plant, and who was a real follower. 

On the other hand Anwar al-Awlaki, would just tell people to go out and attack, he actually was a religious leader in his own right,  something Bin Laden, could only partially claim.  He issued very broad fatwa's, to his followers, many who would only hear of or from him  on web sites.  His game plan also was something every want a be jehad-est, could accomplish.  His main order or fatwa was classic.

Use anything you have to mount jehad against the oppressors.   if all you have is a tape recorder, then tape gun fire and bombs going off, and play it in a movie theater or some other place where it will cause panic.  If all you have is a bb gun then use it, use anything available to you. 

The main AQ had as a part of their fatwa an instruction, that a plan could only proceed if it had a 75% chance of success.  This required a lot of planning and pre surveillance to accomplish this level of success.  Which also gave security types a longer and better chance of discovering the plans.  Awliki's AQ lite had no such requirement.  Hence, anyone could attack with very little planning or surveillance, making them harder to catch during the time up to the attack.  On the other side, these AQ lite terrorists had very little if any training in operational security, or even how to make bombs, or fire guns.  This made it easier for security types to infiltrate AQ lite.

But the trade off was in the favor of the AQ lite, virtually anyone could be a one man cell, like the  Ft Hood attack, actually both of them, the one that happen and the one that was stopped.    Each attacker, could almost cause as much fear as a real attacker from AQ of Bin Laden, so it seemed that they would be as effective in many ways as a "real terrorist". 

On the security side, if keep the money flowing into the homeland security, so on we go.  It is still to be seen if someone will be able to pick up the mantel of AQ lite, but for now it seems to have dampened the lone wolf attackers a bit.

Rich