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Why El Chapo Owns Chicago

Why El Chapo Owns Chicago

Chicago is the murder capital of America. Why? Because in Chicago, drugs rule. Which is the same thing as saying Joachim “El Chapo” Guzman rules. Is this news? NPR seems to think so — in a …

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Morsi Ouster: Is There a Backstory?

Morsi Ouster: Is There a Backstory?

 

There usually is. The Egyptian military, mirroring, it says, the will of the Egyptian people, has thrown Morsi’s band of Islamists out of office and set in motion the kind of parliamentary and electoral process that millions of neighboring Syrians want to see materialize in their own country. Instead, the …

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U.S. Senate Approves Guns to Syria: ‘Designated Terrorists’ Still on OFAC List

U.S. Senate Approves Guns to Syria: ‘Designated Terrorists’ Still on OFAC List

The fact that the end users, the Free Syrian Army, to whom the US government has decided to send ‘lethal aid,’ is closely affiliated with individuals and organizations still listed on the Department of Treasury’s ‘SDN’ List, people and groups the Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) has banned as importers or recipients of US goods (especially weapons), doesn’t seem to bother the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Perhaps the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is confused? Unaware that a transfer of weapons from the US, directly or through an intermediate buyer, to any organization or individual listed on OFAC’s list would constitute an illegal arms sale?

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The Lives of Others: Does Patriot Act Give NSA Authority to Tap Your Phone?

The Lives of Others: Does Patriot Act Give NSA Authority to Tap Your Phone?

 

The Lives of Others,” a film documenting the workings of a surveillance state run by the Stasi, the secret domestic spymasters who kept the Soviet lid on in East Germany from the end of World War II until the wall came …

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Governments Race to Delink Rigby Murder from Support for Free Syrian Army & al Nusra

Governments Race to Delink Rigby Murder from Support for Free Syrian Army & al Nusra

Am I lucky or what? Made it through Heathrow, UK airport security, and onto the plane headed back for the US a measly 48 hours before a British-born Islamic extremist of Nigerian extraction drove his car over a British soldier outside the Woolwich Artillery Barracks and then tried to hack the victim’s head off with a rusty meat cleaver. Across the pond, before the UK went into shock, and Cameron’s government into an emergency meeting designed to address what common-sense suggests might be the response of the British people: rage and retaliation. . .

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“Self-Radicalization,” the Boston Bombings, and Why Nobody is to Blame

“Self-Radicalization,” the Boston Bombings, and Why Nobody is to Blame

I like to write my own blogs, and too often have too much to say to readers who want it short and sweet. But the push to attribute past and future attacks on U.S. citizens on U.S. to “self-radicalization” is the kind of linguistic legerdemain too sweet not to invite …

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Saudi Student Linked to Marathon Bombings under Deportation Order: ‘Suspicious Terrorist Ties’

Saudi Student Linked to Marathon Bombings under Deportation Order: ‘Suspicious Terrorist Ties’

But the obfuscation, or confusion–it’s your call–in the Boston Bomber case is masterful. Now we hear reports that Ali Alharbi the young Saudi national in Boston on a student visa, the same young man authorities released after questioning him so he could ‘get back to classes'(and who issued the order to release him is still unknown)is under a DHS-issued deportation order based on an investigation that determined he has ‘suspicious terrorist ties’ and has been determined by the US government to be ‘a security risk.’ (Please see my blog of February 26–“ICE Agents Claim Napolitano Forcing Them to Violate U.S. Law–New Immigration Directives Invitation to Terrorists and Cartels.”

QED: let’s assume enforcement officials used the fact that Ali Alharbi had been investigated and was scheduled for deportation, and that it was this information, that the young man had already been tagged as a ‘national security risk,’ that helped authorities convince a judge that a search warrant was in order.

So what’s happening now? Will the Saudi student with the black backpack be retained in the US while enforcement officials continue to work with him to obtain more information? Keep him around, look for connections, leads, associations? Makes sense, don’t you think?

Not to the FBI, apparently, nor to Janet Napolitano, who heads the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS, it is rumored, is said to be following through with Alharbi’s deportation and getting ready to send him back home to Saudi Arabia.

The administration wants that boy gone.

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U.S. Scrambles to Control Boston Marathon Investigation and Control Media Coverage. Why?

U.S. Scrambles to Control Boston Marathon Investigation and Control Media Coverage.  Why?

Bostonians are stunned by the marathon “pressure cooker bombings” that killed three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and injured hundreds of others — spectators and participants — with the kinds of battlefield injuries we’ve only read about until now in reports about Afghanistan and Iraq — shrapnel injuries, amputations, burns …

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U.S. Supports Sunni Extremists in Syria–Can Saudis Keep Them on the Reservation?

U.S. Supports Sunni Extremists in Syria–Can Saudis Keep Them on the Reservation?

Not so long ago, after twelve hours in the air, I found myself stranded at an international airport at 2 in the morning. The flight had been delayed—my pre-arranged pickup had abandoned his mission or just not shown up, and there was one taxi about to pull out and head home for the night. I was still 90 miles from my room for the night, and offered him twice the normal rate to take on one last fare, which he pointed out, wasn’t even close, direction-wise, to his own waiting bed. But for twice the money, and for Allah, he would do it.

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U.S. Employs Straw Purchaser to Transfer Lethal Weapons to Syrian Rebels: Another Violation of the Arms Export Act?

U.S. Employs Straw Purchaser to Transfer Lethal Weapons to Syrian Rebels: Another Violation of the Arms Export Act?

The irony, of course, is that the FSA is just an umbrella term for a loose aggregation of Sunni militias whose best units–and consequently the fighters awarded the most money and the most lethal weapons– are, according to its own reports, puritanical Islamic jihadists, shouting ‘death to the United States and the West’ even as these targets scramble to comply with strategies the Saudis clearly believe are in their own best and immediate interests.

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ICE Agents Claim Napolitano Forcing Them to Violate U.S. Law–New Immigration Directives Invitation to Terrorists and Cartels

ICE Agents Claim Napolitano Forcing Them to Violate U.S. Law–New Immigration Directives Invitation to Terrorists and Cartels

Staying alive at DHS is a full-time occupation. One slip-up, the chain quivers, the blame starts its downward flow, and if you’re an agent, you’re pulling duty in Pembina, ND, or spending the rest of your working life doodling on a yellow legal pad in an empty room at HQ/DC. So believe me when I tell you that it takes more than a fit of pique to file a legal complaint against DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, as the National Ice Council has done on behalf of eleven agents who believe that recent policy directives on prosecutorial discretion and the Dream directive on deferred action—are forcing them to choose between enforcing immigration and deportation laws passed by the US Congress in 1996 and their professional careers. Christopher Crane, head of the Council, reports that agents who continue to enforce laws currently on the books—ignoring policy directives from the top instructing them neither to apprehend, arrest, or depart aliens who’ve entered the US illegally or who’ve overstayed their visas (even illegals serving time in US prisons for felonies and misdemeanors)—are targets for disciplinary action….

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U.S. Interests in the Mideast–Forget Human Rights says Aaron David Miller, and Think Guns, Oil, and More Guns

U.S. Interests in the Mideast–Forget Human Rights says Aaron David Miller, and Think Guns, Oil, and More Guns

The Syrian rebels, or opposition, or the Syrian National Coalition (the name this motley assembly of Sunnis, Salafists, jihadists, and foreign insurgents) agreed to take on in Doha as a prerequisite for U.S. support (money PLUS guns), successfully launched a surface to air missile

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Will Fast and Furious survive the election? DOJ seeks to limit authority of future congressional investigations

Will Fast and Furious survive the election? DOJ seeks to limit authority of future congressional investigations

When you’re right, you’re right. I’m talking about Fast and Furious, the gun-walking operation the US Department of Justice used (illegally if the Export Control Act still carries any weight) to funnel more than 2000 fully operational combat-ready guns and other serious weaponry across the US-Mexico border and into the hands of cartel gang members.

The ‘covert op’ nobody in Washington knew anything about but which, nevertheless, allowed cartel assassins to use these weapons to gun down hundreds of innocent people, including US law enforcement agents like Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Almost ten months ago, in this very blog (Brian Terry, Jesus Diaz, Dakota Meyer: Justice in 2012?), this writer suggested that, the nearer we came to the election, the less would be said, and done, in regard to the plight of the Terry Family and their hope that, in the case of Fast and Furious, ‘justice would be done.’

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CDC, U.S. Health System Bungles WNV: Biosecurity Belongs to the Military

CDC, U.S. Health System Bungles WNV: Biosecurity Belongs to the Military

Bite me. You might as well go outside and shout it loud, because there isn’t enough DEET in your medicine chest to fend off the bloodlust of Culex pipiens, Anopheles, Aedes vexans, and dozens of other species of infected mosquitoes blanketing the United States. And West Nile virus season has just begun—consider August 2012 a preview.

Don’t get me wrong. Health organizations, federal, state and local, have spent buckets of money on nice-looking, easy-to-understand websites that calmly advise citizens to douse ourselves with bug spray, wear light, long-sleeved clothing (think Out of Africa), eliminate standing pools of water, and, of course, just stay inside the damn house until the Center for Disease Control (CDC) sounds the all-clear.

All good. But hardly sufficient.

West Nile virus—how it got here, how it travels, how it kills, and how health officials could, but often fail to mount the most effective responses—is a complicated story, a cautionary tale, some would say, about power, ego, bureaucracy, preparedness, ignorance, incompetence, and disparate champions whose voices routinely go unheard and whose counsel is too often ignored.

Right now, the highbeams are on Dallas, Texas, ‘Ground Zero’ for West Nile—and Mayor Mike Rawlings has indeed declared a state of emergency in the municipality. As the number of victims escalates, however, so does the anxiety of state and local officials, as well as the complaints of constituents, who’ve begun to question and criticize the city’s response to the health crisis….

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Another Bank “Pays to Play”– AML Policies Built to Fail?

Another Bank “Pays to Play”– AML Policies Built to Fail?

Given the criminal billions available to ambitious ‘private wealth handlers’ inside the world’s biggest banks, the historic willingness of financial institutions to ‘look the other way,’ and the paltry repercussions, fines and deferred prosecution, for AML (anti-money laundering) non-compliance—it’s clear that powerful incentives continue to drive (and reassure) high-wire account executives ISO under-the-table commissions from traffickers (1-2 percent), and big bonuses from appreciative employers…

For years, the US government, along with FATF (the talking head for the AML community), has told banks the key is to ‘know your customer.’

Wrong.

The message should be “Know your banker.”

Listen.

The easiest way for criminals to launder dirty dollars is simply to pay a banker to do it, someone who manages millions a year for a financial institution that will never look him in the eye and announce, no-punches-pulled, that money laundering is a criminal offense, the kind that can land you in jail.

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About the Author

Kathleen Millar
Kathleen Millar

Kathleen Millar began her career in public affairs working for Lyn Nofziger, White House Communications Director. She has gone on to write about a wide range of enforcement and security issues for DHS, for the US Department of the Treasury (Customs & Border Patrol), for Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), then a Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and for top law enforcement officials in the United States and abroad.

A Founding Member of the Department of Homeland Security, Millar was also the deputy spokesperson-senior writer for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria. She has authored numerous speeches, articles and opeds under her own and client bylines, and her work, focusing on trafficking, terrorism, border and national security, has appeared in both national and international outlets, including The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Financial Times, and Vital Speeches of the Day.

Kathleen Millar holds an MA from Georgetown University and was the recipient of a United Nations Fellowship, International Affairs, Oxford. She is a member of the Georgetown University Alumni Association, Women in International Security (GU), the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and the American News Women’s Club in Washington, DC. Kathleen Millar is currently teaching and writing about efforts to combat transnational organized crime.

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