GRID ATTACK: How America Could Go Dark – By Rebecca Smith July 2016


Dozens of break-ins examined by The Wall Street Journal show how orders to secure the power grid have still left tens of thousands of utility substations vulnerable to terrorist saboteurs

An early morning passerby phoned in a report of two people with flashlights prowling inside the fence of an electrical substation in Bakersfield, Calif. Utility workers from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. later found cut transformer wires.

The following night, someone slashed wires to alarms and critical equipment at the substation, which serves 16,700 customers. A guard surprised one intruder, who fled. Police never learned the identities or motive of the burglars.

The Bakersfield attacks last year were among dozens of break-ins examined by The Wall Street Journal that show how, despite federal orders to secure the power grid, tens of thousands of substations are still vulnerable to saboteurs.

The U.S. electric system is in danger of widespread blackouts lasting days, weeks or longer through the destruction of sensitive, hard-to-replace equipment. Yet records are so spotty that no government agency can offer an accurate tally of substation attacks, whether for vandalism, theft or more nefarious purposes.

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American citizens have committed 80 percent of terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11 – Updated by Sarah Frostenson on June 14, 2016, 4:25 p.m. ET


Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at Jun 15, 2016 4.04

Omar Siddiqui Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people in Sunday’s horrificmassacre, was an American-born citizen. He was raised in the US and he legally obtained his assault rifle.

Mateen did reportedly claim allegiance to ISIS during his attack, but the FBI hasn’t found evidence that he received direction from abroad. All evidence available suggests that the shooter acted independently of any specific group.

That didn’t, however, stop Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from making renewed calls to bar Muslims from entering the US.

In a speech on Monday, Trump said: “The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here. That is a fact and it’s a fact we need to talk about. We have a dysfunctional immigration system which does not permit us to know who we let into our country and it does not permit us to protect our citizens properly.”

Data from the New America Foundation suggests this type of security plan would be misguided. When you look at the history of terrorism in America, the perpetrators are rarely foreign nationals. The story of terrorism in America is one of homegrown radicalism.

“There is a conventional wisdom that terrorism in the US is the province of foreigners and is seen as a problem of infiltration,” says David Sterman, a senior program associate with the international security program at the New America Foundation. “And while there is certainly a reason for that perception, as the September 11 attacks were conducted by people who came in from abroad, in the 330 cases we’ve examined since September 11, we found 80 percent are US citizens.”

US citizens have committed 80 percent of terrorist attacks since 9/11

September 11, 2001, marked the worst international terrorist attack on American soil, killing more than 3,000 people and wounding countless others. But 9/11 is an outlier. In the 14 years since, not one domestic terrorist attack has been committed by a foreign terrorist organization, including the latest mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen was an American citizen.

In the same time frame, however, there have been 26 deadly domestic terrorist attacks perpetrated by homegrown terrorists. Homegrown terrorism commonly refers to terrorist acts committed by a government’s own citizens. While sometimes used to describe an Islamic extremist threat, homegrown terrorism isn’t tied to any one ideological background.

“In the 330 cases we’ve examined since September 11, we found 80 percent are US citizens”

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Terrorist Attacks Around the World Declined Last Year – Simon Lewis 4:08 AM ET


74% of all deaths due to terrorism took place in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan or Syria

An Afghan man weeps as he runs at the site of a car bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan August 22, 2015. A car bomb outside a Kabul hospital killed at least 10 people and caused widespread casualties among Afghan civilians, although it appeared to have targeted a vehicle carrying foreign citizens, witnesses and security sources said.   REUTERS/Ahmad Masood - RTX1P7E5

An Afghan man weeps as he runs at the site of a car bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan August 22, 2015. A car bomb outside a Kabul hospital killed at least 10 people and caused widespread casualties among Afghan civilians, although it appeared to have targeted a vehicle carrying foreign citizens, witnesses and security sources said. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood – RTX1P7E5

The number of terrorist attacks and the number of people killed by acts of terrorism worldwide declined last year for the first time since 2012, according to the U.S. government.

Figures compiled for the State Department show there were almost 11,800 terrorist attacks around the world in 2015 — 13% less than the previous year. And while those attacks killed more than 28,300 people, including suicide attackers, that represents a 14% drop in the number of terrorist-related deaths compared with 2014.

“The international community made important progress in degrading terrorist safe havens — in particular, a sizeable reduction in the amount of territory held by the Islamic State [of Iraq and Greater Syria], or ISIL, in Iraq and Syria, as well as the finances and foreign terrorist fighters available to it,” acting coordinator for counterterrorism Justin Siberell told a briefing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

“At the same time, however, instability in key regions of the world, along with weak or nonexistent governance, sectarian conflict, and porous borders continue to provide terrorist groups like [ISIS] the opportunity to extend their reach, terrorize civilians, and attract and mobilize new recruits.”

The majority of terrorist attacks were concentrated in just five countries — Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan. And 74% of all deaths due to terrorism took place in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan or Syria, according to the research, which was conducted by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.

ISIS was responsible for a total of 931 attacks, excluding those perpetrated by the group’s branches in Egypt, Libya and West Africa, the report says. (The Taliban launched 1,093 attacks, but killed fewer than ISIS.)

The Total Number of Terrorist Attacks Around the World Declined Last Year

9/11 Ceremony in New York City Marks 14th Anniversary of Attacks – By SOPHIA HOLLANDER And JOSEPH DE AVILA Updated Sept. 11, 2015 11:26 a.m. ET


Victims’ families observe moments of silence, read names of lives lost People read the names of victims of the 2001 attacks at the 9/11 Empty Sky memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., at sunrise Friday as the One World Trade Center tower stands in the background. Mitch Ellicott, center, with sons Zachary, left, and Benjamin, remember a family member lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Ellicotts were among those who gathered at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site in New York City on Friday to mark the 14th anniversary of the attacks. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House on the anniversary of the attacks. Gerard Chipura, a captain with the Fire Department of New York, takes a moment to remember his brother who was killed in the 2001 attacks. A family member of a victim attends the ceremony at the 9/11 memorial on Friday. A flag is placed along the South Pool of the World Trade Center site before the anniversary ceremony. A moment of silence was observed at 8:46 a.m. EDT, the time the first plane struck the North Tower. Gary Mascitis, 14, remembers his uncle during the ceremony. Family members of the victims read the names of 2,983 people killed in the 2001 attacks and the 1993 bombing. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, right, lays a wreath at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in Washington on Friday. The Pentagon memorial has 184 individual benches to commemorate the 59 passengers and crew members who died on American Airlines Flight 77 and the 125 people killed in the Pentagon during the attack. A visitor pauses on the observation deck of the Flight 93 National Memorial visitor center in Pennsylvania on Friday. The memorial, honoring the 40 passengers and crew who died when their hijacked airliner crashed in a field, officially opened Thursday. Former New York City mayors Rudy Giuliani, left, and Michael Bloomberg, center, stand with current Mayor Bill de Blasio during the ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush takes part in ceremonies to remember the victims of the 2001 attacks in Londonderry, N.H., on Friday. Elena Lazar, second from left, who lost her son Eugene Gabriel Lazar in the 2001 attacks, is comforted by Siu Chong, her son’s girlfriend at the time of his death, at the World Trade Center memorial. A member of the New York Fire Department salutes at the Wall of Remembrance, a bronze memorial for firefighters killed in the 9/11 attacks on the side of the Engine Co. 10 and Ladder Co. 10 firehouse near the World Trade Center site. People read the names of victims of the 2001 attacks at the 9/11 Empty Sky memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., at sunrise Friday as the One World Trade Center tower stands in the background. Mitch Ellicott, center, with sons Zachary, left, and Benjamin, remember a family member lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Ellicotts were among those who gathered at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site in New York City on Friday to mark the 14th anniversary of the attacks.

People read the names of victims of the 2001 attacks at the 9/11 Empty Sky memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., at sunrise Friday as the One World Trade Center tower stands in the background. Mitch Ellicott, center, with sons Zachary, left, and Benjamin, remember a family member lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Ellicotts were among those who gathered at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site in New York City on Friday to mark the 14th anniversary of the attacks.

People read the names of victims of the 2001 attacks at the 9/11 Empty Sky memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., at sunrise Friday as the One World Trade Center tower stands in the background. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Mitch Ellicott, center, with sons Zachary, left, and Benjamin, remember a family member lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Ellicotts were among those who gathered at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at …

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House on the anniversary of the attacks. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Gerard Chipura, a captain with the Fire Department of New York, takes a moment to remember his brother who was killed in the 2001 attacks. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A family member of a victim attends the ceremony at the 9/11 memorial on Friday. Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

A flag is placed along the South Pool of the World Trade Center site before the anniversary ceremony. A moment of silence was observed at 8:46 a.m. EDT, the time the first plane struck the North Tower. Bryan R. Smith/Associated Press

Gary Mascitis, 14, remembers his uncle during the ceremony. Family members of the victims read the names of 2,983 people killed in the 2001 attacks and the 1993 bombing. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, right, lays a wreath at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in Washington on Friday. The Pentagon memorial has 184 individual benches to commemorate the 59 passengers and crew members who died on American Airlines Flight 77 and the 125 people killed in the Pentagon during the attack. Gary Cameron/Reuters

A visitor pauses on the observation deck of the Flight 93 National Memorial visitor center in Pennsylvania on Friday. The memorial, honoring the 40 passengers and crew who died when their hijacked airliner crashed in a field, officially opened Thursday. Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

 

Article continues:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/9-11-ceremony-in-new-york-city-marks-14th-anniversary-of-attacks-1441965600

Eight Lessons From the Charlie Hebdo Attack – By Brian Michael Jenkins JAN. 23 2015 12:28 PM


What we’ve learned from the worst terrorist attack in France in more than 50 years.

Police stand guard outside the offices of French daily newspaper Libération in Paris as the remaining members of the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff arrive for a meeting on Jan. 9, 2015. Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Police stand guard outside the offices of French daily newspaper Libération in Paris as the remaining members of the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff arrive for a meeting on Jan. 9, 2015.
Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

What can we learn from the recent terrorist attacks in Paris? Here are eight lessons.

1. Terrorism has many audiences. The terrorist attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris caused worldwide revulsion, provoked denunciations by Muslim leaders, and prompted millions to march for the right of free expression, which, according to French authorities, was the largest demonstration in French history. In other words, from the terrorists’ perspective, the bloody attack was a great success.

The attack attracted worldwide attention, caused fear and alarm, and allowed the killers to burnish their reputation as warriors. Dressed in black and armed with automatic weapons, they carried out their cold-blooded mission and escaped, at least for a short while. Observers described the terrorist operation as well planned, its execution competent—the attackers “seemed comfortable with their weapons,” said one former U.S. official. Of course, no one was shooting back, which makes things more comfortable. The attackers made a few mistakes—initially going to the wrong address, killing a policeman who turned out to be Muslim, and leaving behind an identity card in the getaway car—but the attack does stand in contrast to the recent spate of shootings, stabbings, and car-ramming attacks by jihadist loons.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility. Its strategists see communicating their message as 50 percent of the struggle. Almost all wartime propaganda is aimed at the homefront. The attack will hearten jihadists everywhere and gives al-Qaida a propaganda victory over its rival, ISIS, which had no choice but to also praise the attackers. Beyond the jihadist universe, revenge against those who would insult the prophet is applauded even among those who reject its violent delivery.

2. We participate in the creation of terror. Competitive news coverage, sober assessments alongside fear-mongering, and the perceived necessity for political leadership to respond combine to inflate the threat. The assault on Charlie Hebdo was the worst terrorist attack in France since the Algerian War more than 50 years ago. Anxiety demands visible action. France deployed 10,000 troops and 5,000 more cops. The United States issued a worldwide travel advisory, warning Americans to beware of the potential for new “terrorist actions and violence” everywhere. These steps are necessary, but they also elevate the terrorists and the threat they appear to pose.

Network news and 24-hour news channels mobilized countless talking heads to condemn the violence. Many seemed determined to frighten the audience—the doomsayers get the most attention. Good form requires expressions of sympathy for the victims followed by tough talk—bowed heads and clenched fists. Anything else risks accusations of ignoring the peril, weakness, aiding the enemy.

For government officials, it is an opportunity to share their concerns about the challenges they face and the resources they require. Others take the opportunity to advance political agendas, criticizing feckless governments for not doing more to stop the terrorists before they strike.

3. Al-Qaida remains a threat. While America’s attention has recently focused on defeating ISIS, the Paris attack underscores al-Qaida’s continuing commitment to terrorist attacks against the “far enemy.” The United States remains at the top of the list. Despite the American-led bombing campaign, ISIS has yet to launch terrorist attacks outside of the region, although that could come. Meanwhile, al-Qaida’s central command, and especially its Yemen-based affiliate, remain dedicated to attacks on the United States.

This threat is multidimensional. Relentless pursuit has made it extremely difficult for al-Qaida to launch terrorist attacks on the scale of 9/11, but this has hardly rendered the group powerless. Al-Qaida reportedly sent veteran fighters and planners from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Syria to seek Western recruits among jihadist volunteers for terrorist missions in the West. Both AQAP and ISIS urge their supporters abroad to carry out terrorist actions at home. Experienced fighters returning from Syria and Iraq add another layer to the threat as demonstrated by the shootouts and arrests in Belgium following the Paris attack.

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http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2015/01/_8_lessons_from_charlie_hebdo_attack_what_we_have_learned_about_the_terrorists.html