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Thursday, November 8, 2007

FBI Issues Warning That Al Qaeda May Be Planning Attacks On Shopping Malls

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a bulletin to local law enforcement agencies warning of possible attacks in shopping malls by Al Qaeda during the holiday season.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

NYPD Warns of Homegrown Terror Threat

New York Police Department intelligence analysts have concluded that homegrown terrorists are a mounting threat as grave as that from established terrorist groups like al-Qaida.

An NYPD report released Wednesday warns of a "radicalization" process in which young Muslim men here grow disillusioned with life in America and adopt a philosophy that puts them on the path to jihad. The typically have no previous records and are able to easily blend in, making them much harder to detect and neutralize.

Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Incidents at U.S. Airports May Suggest Possible Pre-Attack Probing

Airports around the nation have been warned by Federal officials to look out for terrorists practicing to carry explosive components onto aircraft, based on four seizures at airports since last September.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Al-Qaeda ‘planning big British attack’

A leaked report compiled by Britain's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) indicates that Al Qaeda in Iraq is planning a mass casualty attack against Britain and other Western countries that an operative claimed would be on “a par with Hiroshima and Nagasaki”. It also stated that these large-scale attacks would be carried out with support from elements in Iran. Meanwhile, Spain's security service is warning that Al Qaeda in North Africa is planning attacks against Spain and France, possibly to coincide with the runoff in the French presidential election.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Worldwide Caution

The U.S. Department of State has recently issued a Worldwide Caution Public Announcement. According to the announcement, the Department of State "remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics to include assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings. "

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Interpol Official Warns of Bioterror Threat

The Interpol secretary-general told a reporter that training materials recovered from Al Qaida investigations and information from captured operatives suggest that terrorist groups have had plans to launch bioterrorist attacks. Al Qaida has already launched several chemical attacks in Iraq involving chlorine. Britain's MI5 security service had warned British government officials recently that Al Qaida had apparently tried to recruit university students to gain access to labs that handled deadly biological agents.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

School Bus Terror Plot?

The FBI has sent an advisory to local law enforcement this Friday which notes "recent suspicious activity" by foreigners who either drive school buses or are licensed to drive them. Apparently, some of these foreigners under recent investigation have "ties to extremist groups" and have been able to "purchase buses and acquire licenses." School children have been targeted by Islamist extremists in the past, such as in the Beslan Massacre in 2004, so we should not be surprised if they try to use similar tactics in the U.S.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Et tu, Bird flu?

Looks like the bird flu is making a comeback these days. In recent months, it has flared up in China, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam. A few weeks ago, it re-emerged on the European continent in Hungary. Today, the U.K. confirmed that is has found the deadly strain of the bird flu on a turkey farm there while the World Heath Organization (WHO) confirmed Nigeria's and also Africa's first human death from the strain.

Any Questions?

Yesterday, the long awaited report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released. Named "Climate Change 2007", the report was produced by over 600 scientists from 40 different countries, and reviewed by 620 experts from around the world. The report, approved by 113 countries including the U.S., states that there is clear and "unequivocal" scientific evidence that global warming is real and is very likely caused by human activity. The impact of this climate change such as severe heat waves and storms, droughts, and floods could possibly last for centuries.

This is your world. This is your world on greenhouse gas emissions. Any questions?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) is moving the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock to 5 minutes to midnight, another 2 minutes closer than what it had been. The move reflects global failures to solve the problems posed by nuclear weapons and the global climate crisis. Nuclear proliferation continues to be a big concern, especially with rogue nation states such as North Korea and Iran being all chummy with international terrorists.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Bird Flu: Looking The Wrong Way?

According to a study to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we've been looking the wrong way for the bird flu. Most of the U.S. surveillance efforts for the virus are directed at sampling wild migratory birds along the northern border with Canada. But scientists actually think that bird flu will arrive to the U.S. via the poultry trade from our neighbors south of the border. Why? Because countries in Central and South America lack the adequate controls to prevent the import of live birds from other countries already affected by the bird flu. So besides all the illegal immigrants and illegal drugs and psychotic pseudo-socialist dribble (Hola Hugo!) from down there, now we've got to worry about the bird flu too.

Monday, December 4, 2006

China...Still Rising

More troubling reports about the military strength of China. According to assessments made by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) in its annual report, released Nov. 16, China’s cyberwarfare strategy has "switched from a defensive to an offensive posture, with the goal of attacking enemy networks and denying adversaries access to information". Hey, forget about the few hacking al-Qaeda wannabees mentioned in my previous post. We've got a whole nation-state aiming for us. On a similar note, DoD has been concerned about possible jamming of our reconnaissance satellites by China. According to this article, China may have already targeted U.S. spy satellites over its territory with ground-based lasers.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

U.S. Warns of Possible al Qaeda Cyber Attack

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) issued a warning today about a possible attempt by al Qaeda to attack U.S. online financial services such as stock trading and banking starting tomorrow. Although officials don't believe it's a credible threat, there's bound to be some al Qaeda wannabe willing to give it a shot. Any hacking or cyber-terrorism incidents should be reported to US-CERT.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Japan Claims Nuke Know-How, But No Now

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso claims they have the technological capability to build their own nuclear weapons but won't ... at least for now. And I have no doubt they can. I mean, heck, they built the PS3 for Pete's sake. What's worrisome is that Aso goes on to say that their pacifist constitution doesn't prohibit them from building their own nukes. Great. Just great. The last thing we need right now is a nuclear arms race in that volatile part of the world among Japan, China, and North Korea.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Health Threat From Exotic Pets

According to this Associated Press story, exotic animals captured in the wild "are streaming into the U.S. by the millions with little or no screening for disease, leaving Americans vulnerable to a virulent outbreak that could rival a terrorist act." Basically, you don't need some psycho-terrorist to carry out an act of bioterrorism. All you need is little Jack or Jill down the street with a pet jerboa or kinkajou to bring terror to the masses. It goes on to say that the illegal black market trade in exotic wildlife in the U.S. is only second to the illegal drug trade and that most animals that arrive here legally aren't even quarantined or inspected for disease. Talk about the bird poop waiting to hit the fan. A more in-depth review can be found in the November issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bird Flu Reappears in South Korea, Ivory Coast

H5N1, the virulent form of avian influenza or bird flu, is resurgent again in South Korea and the Ivory Coast. The last time bird flu appeared in South Korea was in 2003. The Ivory Coast had been clear of the bird flu since April of this year. Most likely H5N1 was brought to South Korea by migratory birds. To deal with the outbreak, South Korea plans to kill over 230,000 chickens within a 500-meter radius of the initial outbreak site. What's worrisome is the possibility of bird flu becoming endemic in North Korea where the infrastructure is not equipped to handle a large outbreak there.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bird Flu Updates

A couple of sobering reminders on the threat of pandemic flu. Although no longer in the media headlines, the current global bird flu crisis is still there, festering in the background, with the virus just waiting for a few genetic mutations to make it go human-to-human. The first analysis comes from the Council on Foreign Relations. The second one comes from Scribe Media and includes commentary on a recent symposium on the avian flu that was held last week near Philadelphia. Be sure to check out the videos.

Good Golly Miss Polly! Unsafe Toys and Safe Cars

As you're getting ready to give thanks this Thanksgiving, here are a few things to think about.

Mattel, Inc. is recalling 4.4 million Polly Pocket Magnetic Playsets. Why? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it's because the magnets inside the dolls and accessories can fall out and get swallowed by kids. When more than one of these magnets are swallowed, they can attract each other, causing "intestinal perforation, infection, or blockage which can be fatal." Nice. You'd think the toy manufacturers would think things through before making unsafe toys for children.

On a different note, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has picked the safest vehicles for 2007. Although winners include 4 cars, 7 SUVs, and 2 minivans, none of them were made by American car manufacturers. Go figure.

Wishing you and yours a safe, happy, and crisis-free Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

WHO: Global AIDS Epidemic Continues to Grow

UNAIDS/WHO has just issued their latest annual update on the global AIDS epidemic, and it's not looking good. Apparently, there were 4.3 million new infection this past year. In many countries, HIV infection rates have either stayed the same or risen after previous declines. Few countries have actually reduced infection rates. See full press release.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Support for Violence Against America in the Muslim World

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, has just released a research brief entitled "Perceptions of the United States and Support for Violence Against America" that surveyed 3,000 respondents from Indonesia, Pakistan, and a number of Arab countries on their perceptions and attitudes towards America. The major findings include:
  1. "Attitudes and perceptions rooted in religious, rather than political, conflict are among the strongest indicators of support for attacks on American military as well as civilian targets."

  2. "Negative views of the U.S. government and concerns about hegemonic domination by the U.S. correlate with support for anti-American actions, but not with support for attacks on American civilians."
This is not surprising in light of other surveys that show a significant minority of Muslims support the use of terrorist tactics against civilian targets:
It's a no brainer that most Muslims are not terrorists. The vast majority want to live in peace. But are most terrorists or supporters of terrorism Muslims?