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Thread: Terrorism in the USA:threat & response

  1. #381
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Ah, a snag

    I am sure the source is genuine, the GAO, but the link is to the "left":
    Under current laws, if a background check reveals that your name is on the national terrorism watch list, you’re still free to walk out of a gun dealership with a firearm in your hands — as long as you don’t have a criminal or mental health record.

    Data from the Government Accountability Office show that between 2004 and 2010, people on terrorism watch lists tried to buy guns and explosives more than 1,400 times. They succeeded in more than 90 percent of those cases, or 1,321 times.
    Link:http://thinkprogress.org/justice/201...rist-guns-gap/
    davidbfpo

  2. #382
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Ken,
    Most of us that know don't talk about it.

    The pressure cooker has been around for at least 13 years in Greece, India and France. They are not expensive and by no means even remotely remarkable. What's inside besides all the fragmentation ? Fuel (sensitizers) and an oxygen source (oxidizers) and voila

    The great thing about a pressure cooker vs a pipe bomb, is you don't have to do anything other than close the lid
    Stan,

    It looks like more information about the construction and components of the devices are coming out now.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/nationa...33jEe63afQsseK

    It still doesn't change the fact that were I in their shoes, I'd want to test my design before kicking it off. It's a lot of trouble and risk to end up like the Times Square bomber. Then again, I'm an experienced manufacturing engineer, so some of that is probably fruit of my own experience at work. Never fails, anything we don't prototype/plan meticulously goes horribly wrong on the first try, doesn't matter how similar it is to something else we already make. I suppose smarter minds than mine are working on the test shot angle.

  3. #383
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenWats View Post
    Stan,

    It looks like more information about the construction and components of the devices are coming out now.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/nationa...33jEe63afQsseK

    It still doesn't change the fact that were I in their shoes, I'd want to test my design before kicking it off. It's a lot of trouble and risk to end up like the Times Square bomber. Then again, I'm an experienced manufacturing engineer, so some of that is probably fruit of my own experience at work. Never fails, anything we don't prototype/plan meticulously goes horribly wrong on the first try, doesn't matter how similar it is to something else we already make. I suppose smarter minds than mine are working on the test shot angle.
    Hey Ken,
    We generally build five identical devices. One we blow and the rest we let students render safe with the equipment available.

    Based on what we have (not the article) there is evidence that those two Delta Hotels did do some testing. Perhaps not for the very reasons you would though

    They would have needed around 10 pounds to do what they did and so the fireworks angle won't work for many obvious reasons. Carl earlier in this thread explained just how easy you can mail order 50 pounds.

    Most of the examples we have of dumb criminals would indicate that there were not smarter minds than yours at work
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  4. #384
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Stan (and anybody else):

    Do you think the penchant for making and using bombs is a weakness for these guys? The evil genius of 9-11 was the novel use of what was there. Most of the plots since then involve bombs though.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  5. #385
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    The next event could just as easily be the result of an arson approach. A Camelbak's-worth of acceleration in the right confined space, mixed in with the right number and age of victims, could outstrip the effect of Boston, or Newtown, or Aurora, so fast some would be gasping for breath.

    It's almost a bizarre twist that the fascination with things that go boom may have actually reduced the potential toll of lives over time.
    Last edited by jcustis; 04-26-2013 at 05:54 AM.

  6. #386
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    Default Hei Carl, Stan and Jon,

    from an "anybody else".

    9/11 used your (Carl's) airliners as cruise missiles. Diabolically clever.

    I (as a chemist once upon a time, but long out of the game) look on bombs as ranging from the simple to the complex. We'll eventually see what the Boston bomb-making program was; but, to my not especially qualified estimate, they were on the simple end of the scale. BTW: I've no expertise in bombs;my expertise (at a low level) was how to make mammals very, very sick.

    Anyhow, IEDs have been with us for a long time - in Vietnam, booby traps, etc. So, negat on them being a strategic weakness; they are part of the "new normal" (and the "old normal"). BTW: they can be traced, etc.; but that is Stan's expertise, not mine.

    My own fears (somewhat similar to Jon's) will be a "terr action platoon", well equipped, well trained and extremely motivated - intent on explosions, fires and well-executed shooting - as in Beslan.

    Regards,

    Mike

  7. #387
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    For a bit, I planned on retiring and moving into the campus security realm. I was also looking into a master's degree in security management, as work in that area fits very well into what I have done the past 20 years.

    The work of securing a college campus is a daunting feat, and in light of the tug and pull between resources, threats, and vulnerabilities, I cringe at how easy it would be for a determined team of just a few BGs to murder a whole lot of people.

    With my eldest headed to university soon, I find it very hard to not red team the campuses we've visited, and the one she will ultimately attend. Personal protection measures become paramount among the masses.

  8. #388
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    Default Jon,

    Think of Michigan Tech (a great basic sci and engineering school - nuts & bolts, etc. !); although it seems the choice is already made for the eldest. Maybe, the next one.

    Regards

    Mike

  9. #389
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    How am I going to put this? Forgive me if I am unclear but I think we need to get away from the idea of the gov securing the people perfectly and more toward an idea that we are going to secure each other and accept that that will be imperfect.

    It is impossible to for the authorities to protect a passive population at all times from everything. There just aren't the numbers available to do that. But if the people are made part of the equation, things will work much better. Let me give two examples of what I mean.

    In Boston they locked down the city and thousands of militarized police spent hours and hours marching around looking for one shot up guy and they couldn't find him. Then they let the people out of their cages and the guy got made in apparently minutes. The 'we'll take care of you' idea didn't work. The 'everybody take care of each other' idea did.

    The same thing with the 9-11 hijackings. The critical thing that allowed the first three to work was airline anti-hijacking training as it existed at that time. The crews were taught to cooperate with the hijackers and actively discourage the pax from doing anything. That worked brilliantly for the hijackers. When the pax figured out what was happening (blazing fast), the hijackers couldn't keep the airplane and now they can't take an airplane. The pax will jump them and kill them. The reinforced cockpit doors are there to give the pax time to realize what is happening and attack and now the cabin crews are to encourage the attack. Pilots with pistols make it even harder for the bad guys. The gov and the TSA will never admit it but the thing that keeps planes from being hijacked now are the pax, the people themselves assisted by the crews, not the gov.

    Mike mentioned a Mumbai type crew wreaking havoc. Maybe my idea will work with that too. Where I used to work if something happened and the people figured we needed help, they poured out to help us. It was just a matter of directing them. In that place too, there were a lot of cops in overlapping agencies and all were well armed. Nowadays many of those cops will have been vets of Iraq and Afghanistan. They would all turn out and converge on the problem in my view. If they needed help the people would be eager to assist, and many of them would have been deployed overseas. It might be as simple a matter as doubling your force by telling a citizen to stick with this officer and do what he does. They would.

    I hope I have explained this clearly but the main idea is we can secure ourselves, not perfectly, but adequately and do it better if we go more toward looking at the people as part of the force so to speak and not just a bunch of passives to be guarded.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  10. #390
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Think of Michigan Tech (a great basic sci and engineering school - nuts & bolts, etc. !); although it seems the choice is already made for the eldest. Maybe, the next one.

    Regards

    Mike
    The area in which Mich Tech is very pretty and very peaceful. Surprisingly, winters aren't that hard to take up there because they have so much practice handling it. And perhaps Mike is trying to help the Tech students by encouraging daughters to go there because when I was hanging around the area, many years ago, Tech had the rep of being short of women.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  11. #391
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    Default The Minuteman Security Concept

    Our founding Fathers new how to beat terrorist and anybody else for that matter and that is the citizen soldier...... the Minuteman. A basic draft should be reinstated for both men and women to be trained in basic ASSAULT WEAPONS and small unit tactics and the legal use of force. And then just like Switzerland they should be ISSUED Assault Weapons and REQUIRED to keep them in their home and vehicle and be able to respond at a minutes notice to eithr support LE or act in until they can arrive.

  12. #392
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    Default Carl,

    I'm told (by Tech's stats) that the male to female ratio in 1960 was 22:1 ; but has hovered at 3:1 since the 1980s . The latter would not be atypical for an engineering school. Tech does have a nice campus, which a 2011 Reader's Digest survey ranked third (behind John Hopkins and Northeastern) in campus safety.

    I'd have to include myself lining up with Slap's "Minuteman" concept. However, the "Powers That Are" are Weberians - violence (even when used for good ends) is the monopoly of the state. They would say we are throwbacks to Teddy Roosevelt and the "Gunfighter Nation" (good book, BTW).

    Regards

    Mike

  13. #393
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Our founding Fathers new how to beat terrorist and anybody else for that matter and that is the citizen soldier...... the Minuteman. A basic draft should be reinstated for both men and women to be trained in basic ASSAULT WEAPONS and small unit tactics and the legal use of force. And then just like Switzerland they should be ISSUED Assault Weapons and REQUIRED to keep them in their home and vehicle and be able to respond at a minutes notice to eithr support LE or act in until they can arrive.
    While I'm not that sure if such a concept is helpful in such instances of terrorism I never did understand the following laws. I just never could.

    I'm talking about the bundle of laws which ban civilians in France and Italy from the use of 'military' calibers like the 9x19 or 5.56x45. In Italy you can easily sidestep the rifle issue by buying a .308 or .556 but the French are a bit more strict about that.

    Both countries supported to some extent the liberation of their country with partisan groups which had to rely to a good deal on civilian weapons beside their service rifles as well as the captured and airdropped stuff. Common sense would dictate that at least 50-40 years ago you would set incentives for civilians to buy their legal guns in exactly those military calibers, by given them a tax break on those or/and putting a higher tax on other calibers*. In any case you want do pretty much everything but ban them.

    Of course this is all just the simple hardware side and I have ignored the organisational and strategic side. It is all the more surprising if we consider the Gladio stuff in Italy. Maybe the political powers did really fear the fifth commy column. That would be the only answer which would make some sense

    *A more general approach would extent that to certain specific weapon types and especially interfaces for magazines, optics, muzzle brakes/suppressors and so forth. Some of the 'bad stuff' like larger mags might get stored for the time being. The Swiss went of course down their own path with their service rifle & and the laws around it.
    Last edited by Firn; 04-26-2013 at 09:27 PM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

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  14. #394
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hei Mikka !

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    ... We'll eventually see what the Boston bomb-making program was; but, to my not especially qualified estimate, they were on the simple end of the scale.
    Being slightly more informed, the evidence suggests rank amatuer class Sierra with perhaps some help from an experienced local.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Anyhow, IEDs have been with us for a long time - in Vietnam, booby traps, etc. So, negat on them being a strategic weakness; they are part of the "new normal" (and the "old normal"). BTW: they can be traced, etc.; but that is Stan's expertise, not mine.
    People much smarter than I are indeed working on it. Yep, very little is new, and norm seems to be the way we deal with it. My own thoughts are they will be traced to a homegrown personality and not just one.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    My own fears (somewhat similar to Jon's) will be a "terr action platoon", well equipped, well trained and extremely motivated - intent on explosions, fires and well-executed shooting - as in Beslan.

    Regards,

    Mike
    The trial of McVeigh comes to mind herein. No shortage of fruit cakes with a serious beef with the government. How many people were really involved ? Some say more than 20 ! Not a platoon, but something to be concerned about.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  15. #395
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Being slightly more informed, the evidence suggests rank amatuer class Sierra with perhaps some help from an experienced local.
    Every time we've had one of these plots fail or be busted, somebody's pointed out that sooner or later one will come along who isn't completely inept. It happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    My own thoughts are they will be traced to a homegrown personality and not just one.
    My guess is about the same, but people who really want to see a foreign organization or a CIA false-flag operation in the picture will not be dissuaded. There seem to be a disturbing number of them out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    The trial of McVeigh comes to mind herein. No shortage of fruit cakes with a serious beef with the government. How many people were really involved ? Some say more than 20 ! Not a platoon, but something to be concerned about.
    The more people involved, the more likely they are to be caught before the plot gets off the ground. I suspect that the presence of a natural accomplice in the form of a brother was one reason why the Boston plot stayed secret... less need to reach out looking for others of like mind when there's someone right at hand.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  16. #396
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    There are so many boxes of Reynolds aluminum wrap coming out right now over this and Newtown that it's surprising those same loonies even know how to use a computer.

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    Default Hei rukkapojat, the members of this thread;

    in local Finglish, it goes as "ruggaboos" - roughly "tough guys" (may be "good, bad or in between"; but, uniformally of no bull$hit, with calluses on hands, and often feet).

    My only caveat is that, among all the chaff (alum hats, etc.), one may find a bad guy linked to a bad or badder group. The issue is "materiality", which I've recently discussed here.

    What is Material vs What is Relevant ? Millions of facts, people, places, etc., may affect the future to some extent - and, hence, are "relevant". Those that weigh heavily on the future are "material". What weighs heavily (substantially, etc.) tends to be subjective. We also must confront the "butterfly flapping its wings" argument - which raises Cain with judging materiality. A variant of the "butterfly flapping" is the "1% possible nuclear attack" - the risk is small, the consequences are huge.
    Regards

    Mike

    PS: I've been currently tied up with updating my computer network - finding out that I'm usually as smart as I thought - but, sometimes, very dumb. Actually, that is good; it reminds me that, at heart, I'm a Tech injunneer.
    Last edited by jmm99; 04-27-2013 at 07:26 AM.

  18. #398
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    My only caveat is that, among all the chaff (alum hats, etc.), one may find a bad guy linked to a bad or badder group.
    Entirely possible, of course, though as always "links" have to be looked at carefully to determine their nature and extent. Saw this today...

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...a8a_story.html

    Officials: FBI believes it knows ‘Misha’ but sees no link to Boston bombing

    WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say investigators have found no evidence that a conservative Muslim friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev had any connection to the Boston Marathon bombing.
    Of course this guy could have had a major impact on the development of the religious and ideological mess that drove the bombings without having any direct connection to the bombings themselves.

    I wonder what will come out of the investigation of the Dagestan trip... I'm sure the Russians will be unusually cooperative and in fact quite eager to advance the possibility that Chechen groups are attacking the US. The truth of that of course remains to be seen. I can certainly see how local exposure might increase radicalism and raise the idea of terror as a device, less sure that an organized Chechen or North Caucasus Islamist group would deliberately target the US. It would seem pretty pointless on a strategic level, though there are fringe groups out there not known for deep strategic thought.

    I know people who are desperately hoping an Iranian connection will emerge so they can accuse the US of having staged the attack as an excuse for war with Iran... there will never be enough foil to go around.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  19. #399
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Clarity and Smoke

    First, the clarity. An article on the FBI investigation by a ret'd FBI agent, written before the 'smoke' landed:http://allthingshls.com/2013/04/27/d...investigation/

    The Russian FSB's role was always going to be controversial, but this AP report does not help:
    Russian authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, officials said Saturday, days after the U.S. government finally received details about the call.
    Link:http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_289563/con...tguid=IBuuqOYn

    Just found some more clarity SWC's own CWOT (Clint Watts, ex-FBI plus) has a FPRI article:http://www.fpri.org/geopoliticus/201...boston-bombers

    Too late for once to read, so a comment another day.
    davidbfpo

  20. #400
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default Of all the former spooks...

    As if this all weren’t strange enough - Graham Fuller turns out to have once been Uncle Ruslan's father in-law.

    Former CIA officer: ‘Absurd’ to link uncle of Boston suspects, Agency, by Laura Rozen. The Back Channel, April 27, 2013.
    Graham Fuller’s daughter, Samantha A. Fuller, was married to Ruslan Tsarnaev (now Tsarni) in the mid-1990s, and divorced in 1999, according to North Carolina public records. The elder Fuller had retired from the agency almost a decade before the brief marriage.

    “Samantha was married to Ruslan Tsarnaev (Tsarni) for 3-4 years, and they lived in Bishkek for one year where Samantha was working for Price Waterhouse on privatization projects,” Fulller, a former CIA officer in Turkey and vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, told Al-Monitor by email Saturday. “They also lived in our house in [Maryland] for a year or so and they were divorced in 1999, I believe.”

    “I, of course, retired from CIA in 1987 and had moved on to working as a senior political scientist for RAND,” Fuller continued.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

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