Category Archives: Military

NICE, BUT STILL MUCH (RE)DESIGN WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE

Purdy. But I’ve been thinking for a very long time on suit and belt and vest design and on how to improve not only weight distribution but ease and speed of equipment retrieval. I’ve tried some promising designs of my own especially with stuff running the sides of the torso (really quick retrieval but interferes with compactness of body and stealth and causes friction as you move) and need to come up with far better still.

What would really be ideal would be to have at most 7 tools/pieces of gear but each one be light, and multi-functional. And all of those within quick and easy reach. Everything else you could port on your back because you don’t need to access it often.

The real trick I think will be high end-high tech/multi-functional gear redesign, not so much carry redesign.

THE TACTICAL ATHLETE AND THE ROMAN WAY

Although I like and regularly follow the Art of Manhood this fit in so well with the new training program I’ve developed, The Roman Way, that I decided that this should definitely be shared here as well. This is exactly how I perceive The Roman Way, as being a tactical, personal, mission-oriented, and fully-functional form of athleticism for the average man and woman (and child).

My wife, by the way, who aside from my youngest daughter and myself happen to be the guinea pig(s) for my program has lost nine pounds (so far), regularly hikes and rucks now and every day after her workout and run she chops down two ten to twenty foot tall trees with her hatchet to help clear our land.

Soon I will teach her how to build things out of the trees she cuts down. Anyway enjoy the podcast and conversation. Later on I will return to The Roman Way and discuss it in more detail as I am now writing a book and training manual on the program.

A lot of really good things are happening nowadays in the fields of personal health and athleticism.

 

Brett | January 17, 2017

Podcast, Tactical & Military

Podcast #270: Becoming a Tactical Athlete

We don’t normally think of soldiers and first responders as “professional athletes,” but that’s exactly how my guest today argues they should see themselves. His name is Rob Shaul, and he’s the founder and president of the Mountain Tactical Institute — a research organization dedicated to creating fitness programming that takes workouts outside the gym and gives them a mission-centered focus. Rob believes that soldiers, police officers, and firefighters, as well as folks who participate in strenuous mountain activities like rock climbing and backcountry skiing, should view themselves as tactical athletes and train not just to train, but for a purpose outside the gym.

Today on the show, Rob and I discuss what makes the Mountain Tactical Institute’s mission-focused approach to fitness different from other organizations, why it is that soldiers and first responders should think of themselves as professional athletes, why soldiers in Afghanistan started following his fitness programming for mountain climbers, why there are so many out-of-shape first responders on active duty, and how to train to become a “tactical athlete,” even if you’re a civilian.

Show Highlights

  • Rob’s background and how he got started in tactical training
  • Why do mountain/adventure athletes even need specific programming?
  • How MTI caught the eye and focus of active military members
  • Why different missions and events require specific fitness programming
  • The most important things listeners can know about fitness requirements for military service
  • The fitness culture (or lack thereof) of first responders
  • The safety issues that present themselves when first responders aren’t fit
  • What happens in our society when fitness standards are implemented in police and fire departments
  • How age impacts one’s role in the military, and in first responder departments
  • Why first responders and military members should see themselves as athletes
  • The philosophy behind becoming a tactical athlete
  • Specific fitness benchmarks and goals for police officers, military members, etc.
  • The importance of durability in any athlete
  • Should civilians strive to be become tactical athletes?
  • The next evolution of fitness, and how we’ll move on from gyms and obstacle races
  • What to do when your programming and workouts get stale
  • What Rob calls “the burden of constant fitness”

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re looking for a fitness routine that’s mission-specific and designed for a purpose, be sure to check out the programs available at MTI. I’m thinking of trying one of them out myself.

Connect With Rob Shaul and Mountain Tactical Institute

Mountain Tactical Institute website

MTI on Instagram

MTI on Facebook

MTI on Twitter

Tell Rob “Thanks” for being on the podcast via Twitter

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

FURCKAED UP – THE ROMAN WAY

FURCKAED UP

I am seriously considering inventing an improved and a modern version of this gear system for my adaptation of the Roman Way. Also I very much like the fact that if you have to go into combat you can immediately shed the weight as compared to a ruck or backpack. I will still use the weight vest to simulate armor but adapt this system for carrying additional weight and gear.

 

 

REMEMBER

Remember, this Christmas, while you are eating your dinners, and enjoying time with friends and family, that in another house there is an empty chair where a hero should be sitting. They gave their life so that you can enjoy yours. So light a candle and say a prayer this Christmas for our fallen heroes, for our law enforcement officers, first responders, and soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who died for us and for those still serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere.

They may be absent from this world but should not be forgotten by us.

AS I SUSPECTED…

Yeah, I had him pegged early on as either ex-military or former SWAT. So I was right on that part too. Guy knew exactly what he was doing. The attack was too well executed and planned and staged and possibly even coordinated. His defensive positioning and site preparation must have been impressive to employ the robot with an explosive. It probably wasn’t just to kill him but to trigger potential IEDS, prepared bombs, booby traps, and excess ammo as well.  Plus until the actually got into his nest they could not have known/verified he was actually alone.
Then the robot could also do a post explosion assessment/sweep for traps and additional suspects prior to human penetration.
Yeah, that makes a lot more sense now. The robot and the explosives. Bad all the way around, but I get the logic. Especially if they had prior Intel from the negotiations or profile/personnel/background research.

We’ll have to see about any other suspects.

There is one other possibility too, which might sound crazy but I’ve seen crazier.

 

Dallas shooting kills five police officers; suspected attacker was Army veteran

 

See link for maps and videos

By Tim Madigan, William Wan and Mark Berman July 8 at 2:53 PM
Here’s what we know so far about the Dallas shooting Play Video1:57
DALLAS — Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others wounded Thursday night when sniper fire turned a peaceful protest over recent police shootings into a scene of chaos and terror.

The gunfire was followed by a standoff that lasted for hours with a suspect who told authorities “he was upset about the recent police shootings” and “said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The gunman was killed when police detonated a bomb-equipped robot.

After the bloodshed — the deadliest single day for law enforcement officers since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — authorities said one attacker was dead, three potential suspects were in custody and police were still investigating who may have been involved in the attack.

Dallas shooting updates
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“We are heartbroken,” Brown said during a news conference Friday. “There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”

The eruption of violence at around 9 p.m. occurred during a calm protest over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, with similar demonstrations occurring in cities across the country. As a barrage of gunfire ripped through the air, demonstrators and police officers alike scrambled. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told CBS News that in addition to the police officers, two other people were wounded by gunfire, though their conditions were not immediately known.

[What we know about the attack on police in Dallas]

‘Somebody’s armed to the teeth’: Social videos show shooting in Dallas Play Video2:37
Police have not officially released the identity of the attacker who said he was upset by police shootings, but a senior U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the probe identified him as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who is believed to be from the Dallas area. Johnson did not appear to have any ties to international terrorism, the official said.

Johnson deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army from November 2013 through July 2014 and was in the Army Reserve from 2009 until last year. Army records show that Johnson, whose home was listed as Mesquite, Tex., had served with an engineering brigade before he was sent to Afghanistan. He did not have a combat job and was listed as a carpentry and masonry specialist.

There are no immediate indications that the attack was related to terrorism, international or domestic, according to a second federal law enforcement official, who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing probe.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said Friday that federal officials including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were working with local law enforcement to help investigate the attack.

“This has been a week of profound grief and heartbreak and loss,” Lynch said. Noting that the attack in Dallas happened during a protest sparked by police shootings, she added: “After the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, uncertainty and fear … but the answer must not be violence.”

[Man falsely connected to the shooting by Dallas police is now getting ‘thousands’ of death threats]

The slain police included four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer. While police said they were killed by “snipers” perched atop “elevated positions” and initially said there were two snipers, it was unclear Friday how many attackers were involved.

For hours after the assault, police were locked in a standoff with Johnson after he was cornered on the second floor of a building downtown. Police exchanged gunfire with him and negotiated with him, but those discussions broke down, Brown said.

In those conversations, Brown said the suspect told police that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter” and angered by the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota that dominated national news this week after officers in both places fatally shot black men. He also said he was not involved with any groups and acted alone, the police chief said.

Authorities currently believe that he was the lone shooter, although have not completely ruled out the involvement of others, said Philip Kingston, a Dallas City Councilman who represents the downtown district. “The shooter’s own statement apparently was that he had acted alone,” Kingston said around midday on Friday.

During the standoff, Johnson also told authorities that “the end is coming” and spoke about bombs being placed downtown, though no explosives had been found by Friday.

[Dallas police Chief David Brown lost his son, former partner and brother to violence]

Ultimately, Brown said police had no other option but to place an explosive device on their bomb robot and send it to the suspect, who was killed when the bomb detonated.

During remarks at a prayer vigil on Friday afternoon, Brown said that “this was a well-planned, well-thought-out evil tragedy by these suspects,” adding: “And we won’t rest until we bring everyone involved to justice.”

Names of the slain officers began to emerge Friday, beginning with Brent Thompson, a 43-year-old transit police officer and Patrick Zamarripa, a 32-year-old police officer who served three tours in Iraq with the U.S. military.

The Dallas transit agency identified three of its officers who were injured but are expected to survive.

“As you can imagine, our hearts are broken,” the agency said in a statement. “We are grateful to report the three other DART police officers shot during the protest are expected to recover from their injuries.”

These three officers were named as Omar Cannon, 44; Misty McBride, 32; and Jesus Retana, 39. Tela Strickland, McBride’s 14-year-old cousin, reacted with “shock” to news that her relative was shot in the stomach and shoulder.

“I am so tired of seeing shootings in the news,” she told The Post. “When you see your own family in the news, it’s heartbreaking.”

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dartmedia @dartmedia
DART grieving the loss of Ofc Brent Thompson, 43, killed during Thurs protest. First DART officer killed in line of duty. Joined DART 2009.
3:00 AM – 8 Jul 2016
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Even as people were still trying to hide or shelter in place after the gunfire, videos began to circulate on social media showing some of the bloodshed.

One video showed a person with an assault-style rifle shoot a police officer in the back at point-blank range. In the footage, a gunman is seen running up behind an officer moving behind a pillar and firing at his back. The officer is seen falling to the ground. It is unclear if the officer survived.

Eyewitness video: Dallas gunman shoots police officer Play Video1:47
Brown had said during one briefing that he was not sure if there were more suspects at large. On Friday, Brown said he would not go into any detail on other suspects until authorities get further into their investigation.

“We’re not expanding on who and how many,” he said. “We’re going to keep these suspects guessing.”

[Killings and racial tensions commingle with divided and divisive politics]

At one point, Brown had said he believed four suspects were “working together with rifles triangulated at elevated positions at different points in the downtown area” where the march was taking place.

“Suspects like this just have to be right once … to snipe at officers from elevated position and ambush them from secret positions,” Brown said Friday. He added that despite the danger, officers “with no chance to protect themselves … put themselves in harm’s way to make sure citizens can get to a safe place.”

Two possible suspects were seen climbing into a black Mercedes with a camouflage bag before speeding off, police said. They were apprehended in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. A third possible suspect, a woman, was taken into custody near a garage where the attacker who exchanged gunfire with police wound up.

Brown said it was unclear if any of the suspects were somehow connected to the protest. He added that detectives were investigating that possibility.

“All I know is this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” he said.

[Police nationwide order officers to ride in pairs after Dallas police ambush]

On Friday, Rawlings, the mayor, said that he believed the country had to honestly confront racial discrimination.

“We will not shy away from the very real fact that we as city, as a state, as a nation are struggling with racial issues,” he said during a prayer vigil.

After the shooting in Dallas, police officers and agencies across the country offered their condolences and took steps to protect their officers.

Police chiefs in Washington, Los Angeles County, Boston, Nassau County and St. Louis also had instructed their patrol officers to pair up, as did officials in Las Vegas, where two officers were gunned down in an ambush while eating lunch in 2014, and New York, where two officers were killed in another ambush that same year.

Terry Cunningham, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the chief of police in Wellesley, Mass., said Friday, that officers nationwide “really are going to have to have vigilance. Any traffic stop, at any time, can be deadly. I don’t know what this means. I don’t know if this means more violence perpetrated toward law enforcement as a result of this.”

Officials in Tennessee said Friday that they believed a man who opened fire on a parkway there before exchanging gunshots with police may have been prompted by concerns over encounters involving police and black Americans.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that Lakeem Keon Scott, 37, the suspected shooter in that case, had killed one woman driving in her car, wounded two other people and shot a Bristol, Tenn., police officer in the leg before officers shot and wounded him.

“Preliminarily, the investigation reveals Scott may have targeted individuals and officers after being troubled by recent incidents involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country,” the agency said in a statement. They added that there was no current safety threat to the area and that the investigation suggested that Scott had worked alone.

[Minn. governor says race played role in fatal police shooting during traffic stop]

The mass shooting in Dallas comes amid intense scrutiny of police officers and how they use deadly force, an issue that returned to prominence in the news this week after videos circulated of a fatal shooting in Baton Rouge, La., and the aftermath of another in Minnesota. On Tuesday morning, Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge; less than 48 hours later, Philando Castile was fatally shot by an officer in Minnesota.

President Obama, who after arriving in Warsaw discussed how troubling the events in Minnesota and Louisiana were, spoke about the Dallas attack and said there was “no possible justification” for the shooting in the city.

“I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events,” Obama said.

He called on Americans to “profess our profound gratitude to the men and women in blue” and to remember the victims in particular.

“Today, our focus is on the victims and their families,” Obama said. “They are heartbroken, and the entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core.”

Officials across the country expressed their grief for those killed in Dallas.

“I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families [and] all who serve with them,” Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, wrote in a message on Twitter. Her likely Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, called the shooting “a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe.”

Amidst protests, police heroics

Stories of heroism emerged along with tales of horror. Several people said officers helped save them, including one man who said an officer pushed him out of the way as shooting began. Bystanders captured footage of cops dragging fallen comrades out of the line of fire. Cameras also captured police officers choking back tears for their fallen colleagues. One officer appeared to brace himself against his SUV as grief overcame him.

“So many stories of great courage,” Brown said.

Dallas Police respond after shots were fired at a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Dallas on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Dallas protestors rallied in the aftermath of the killing of Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile, who was killed by police less than 48 hours later in Minnesota. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)
Rawlings said it was “a heartbreaking morning” and called for unity.

“We as a city, we as a country, must come together and lock arms and heal the wounds we all feel,” he said.

As in other cities across the country, protesters gathered in downtown Dallas just before 7 p.m. for a march from Belo Garden Park to the Old Red Courthouse.

For nearly two hours, hundreds of demonstrators had marched through Dallas, at one point passing near a memorial plaza marking the site of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination in the city.

[Dallas witness: ‘Everybody seemed happy. And then, all of a sudden — the shots rang out.’]

Stanley Brown, 19, was near El Centro, a community college in downtown, when the shooting began.

“You could hear the bullets whizzing by our car and hitting the buildings. A bullet missed our car by six feet,” he said. “We pulled into a garage and got out of our car, and the bullets started hitting the walls of the garage.”

Brown ran around the corner of a building to take cover, only to see a gunman running up the street.

“He was ducking and dodging, and when police approached, he ducked into El Centro,” he said.

He saw a SWAT team rush the college building, enabling five people to escape.

“An officer looked back at us and yelled that it was a terrorist attack,” he said.

Lynn Mays said he was standing on Lamar Street when the shooting began.

“All of a sudden we started hearing gunshots out of nowhere,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “At first we couldn’t identify it because we weren’t expecting it, then we started hearing more, rapid fire. One police officer who was standing there pushed me out the way because it was coming our direction…. Next thing you know we heard ‘officer down.’”

Undercover and uniformed police officers started running around the corner and “froze,” Mays said. “Police officers started shooting in one direction, and whoever was shooting started shooting back.

“And that’s where the war began.”

Wan and Berman reported from Washington. Greg Jaffe in Warsaw and Michael E. Miller, Travis M. Andrews, Adam Goldman, Katie Mettler, Ben Guarino, Mary Hui, Tom Jackman, Peter Hermann and Thomas Gibbons-Neff in Washington contributed to this report.

Dallas
Read more:

Two years after Ferguson, fatal shootings by police are up

The Post’s database of fatal police shootings

The Dallas sniper attack was the deadliest event for police since 9/11

MIGHT I MAKE A SUGGESTION?

MIGHT I MAKE A SUGGESTION?

First thing I noticed this morning upon waking… asked the wife if she understood what this meant? Not sure she did. Not sure many do. Or will. Not at first anyway.

The irony is that I’ve been following events surrounding the Dallas PD for a few weeks now including the supposed mass resignations. A couple of articles said over money, but a few hinted at other things, like failure to issue equipment because of an emphasis on community policing. (Which I’m not against, it’s just some beats are far more dangerous than others and trying to patrol all beats in the same way is ridiculous.)

Now assuming the reports I’ve read are true and some of the resignations are because of an insistence up top that all beats be equipped and patrolled as if they are all waterfront garden districts and certain equipment and tactics were discouraged, then you use a robot to explode a perp (which again I’m not against as a last ditch resort to save lives), then the precedent here could at least conceivably lead down some very dark corridors.

You discourage vest and body armor and possibly trigger mass resignations but then employ robots not to just shoot and overwhelm a suspect but to explode them?

If you can’t see the irony…

But I’d like to make a suggestion in this arena iffin I may. If you’re gonna go down this road then at least properly prepare. Develop police combat robots which can gas, stun, immobilize, track, overwhelm, immobilize, incapacitate, and apprehend suspects rather than just merely shoot and blow them up. Sure, I’m not a great fan of robots replacing people in such situations but at least be ready with real Policing Bots and not just shoot and kill bots.

Because in cases where ya got a guy dead to rights, and he’s already shooting or blowing up the joint, that’s one thing. But in cases involving other suspects who you don’t really know their real disposition just blowing em up will lead to very bad things.

Or worse lead to a third world, Robocop, mere liberal Utopian big-government, big-brother democracy of the best equipped rather than to a thriving Republic of Free Men.

Assuming we have a Republic anymore, which ain’t likely…

 

POLICE USED BOMB DISPOSAL ROBOT TO KILL A DALLAS SHOOTING SUSPECT
POTENTIALLY THE FIRST USE OF A ROBOT TO KILL IN AMERICAN POLICING

By Dave Gershgorn Posted 3 hours ago

Bomb Squad Robot Drives Up Ramp
J.p. Lawrence, via DVIDS
Bomb Squad Robot Drives Up Ramp

A bomb disposal robot drives up a ramp piloted  by New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Adam Russ of the New York Army National Guard's 501st Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Battalion, during training at the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany New York, May 18.  New York Army National Guardsmen trained for a week alongside domestic and international EOD military and law enforcement personnel during an exercise called Raven's Challenge , May 16-20, sponsored by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. J.p. Lawrence/Released).
A bomb disposal robot drives up a ramp piloted by New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Adam Russ of the New York Army National Guard’s 501st Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Battalion, during training at the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany New York, May 18. New York Army National Guardsmen trained for a week alongside domestic and international EOD military and law enforcement personnel during an exercise called Raven’s Challenge , May 16-20, sponsored by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. J.p. Lawrence/Released).

From New York National Guard: “A bomb disposal robot drives up a ramp piloted by New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Adam Russ of the New York Army National Guard’s 501st Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Battalion, during training at the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany New York, May 18”
In the wake of post-protest shootings that left five police officers dead and seven others wounded, along with two civilians, police traded gunfire last night with a suspect inside a downtown Dallas parking garage. Eventually, law enforcement sent a “bomb robot” (most likely shorthand for a remotely controlled bomb disposal robot) armed with an explosive, to the suspect’s location, then detonated the explosive, killing the suspect.

“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was…other options would have exposed our officers to great danger,” said Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown. “The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb.”

Repurposing a robot that was created to prevent death by explosion clearly contrasts with the way these machines are normally used. Bomb disposal robots are routinely used to minimize the potential of harm to officers and civilians when disarming or clearing potential explosives from an area. They are often equipped with their own explosive charges and other tools, not to kill, but detonate other potential bombs in the area.

Dallas police used a bomb disposal robot in another major news story last year, when the Dallas Police headquarters were attacked by a gunman who planted explosives. That assailant was shot by police, not killed by the bomb robot.

Records show that the Dallas County Sheriff Department and neighboring Duncanville Police Department each own a MARCbot, another commonly-used bomb disposal robot.

However, in previous images seen of the Dallas Police department using bomb disposal robots, they appear to actually use a Northrop Grumman Remotec Andros F6A or F6B, a standard model for police and military use. It’s highly customizable, and can look very different depending on which configuration of arm and sensors are configured. The closest known Andros resides in Comal County, Texas, 250 miles away.

The police’s use of this machine to kill raises questions about how robots will be used in the future. This may be the first example of a robot being used by American police to kill a suspect, notes University of California Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh:

Popular Science contributing editor Peter W. Singer tweets that similar tactics have been used before, although in a military situation, when a surveillance robot was used to kill an insurgent with a Claymore explosive.

It’s unclear how police controlled the robot, but wireless protocols can be easily intercepted or altered by skilled hackers. Security researcher Matt Blaze points out that the security of a machine like this becomes more important once it’s shown the capacity to be used as a weapon.

In other images found of Dallas a bomb disposal robot in action, the robot appears to be controlled wirelessly. The Andros robot can be operated wirelessly or with a wired tether, according to the Northrop Grumman website, but it’s unclear which mode Dallas Police used in this incident.
Updated: This post has been updated to reflect new information concerning the potential bomb disposal robot used.

THE DREAM AND THE FEARLESS

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”  So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley.  During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.  If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah  and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.  The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

iSIGHT – INTELLIGENT AIMS

Intelligence Start-Up Goes Behind Enemy Lines to Get Ahead of Hackers

By NICOLE PERLROTHSEPT. 13, 2015

One of scores of intelligence analysts working at his computer at the headquarters of the security firm iSight in Chantilly, Va. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

CHANTILLY, Va. — On a recent Wednesday morning, 100 intelligence analysts crammed into a nondescript conference room here and dialed into a group call with 100 counterparts in Argentina, Brazil, Cyprus, India, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Taiwan and Ukraine.

As they worked their way around the room, the analysts briefed one another on the latest developments in the “dark web.”

A security firm in Pakistan was doing a little moonlighting, selling its espionage tools for as little as $500. Several American utility companies were under attack. A group of criminals were up to old tricks, infecting victims with a new form of “ransomware,” which encrypts PCs until victims pay a ransom.

The analysts, employees of iSight Partners, a company that provides intelligence about threats to computer security in much the same way military scouts provide intelligence about enemy troops, were careful not to name names or clients, in case someone, somewhere, was listening on the open line.
John Watters, iSight’s chief, evokes military jargon to talk about his company’s focus. Credit Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

For the last eight years, iSight has been quietly assembling what may be the largest private team of experts in a nascent business called threat intelligence. Of the company’s 311 employees, 243 are so-called cyberintelligence professionals, a statistic that executives there say would rank iSight, if it were a government-run cyberintelligence agency, among the 10 largest in the world, though that statistic is impossible to verify given the secretive nature of these operations.

ISight analysts spend their days digging around the underground web, piecing together hackers’ intentions, targets and techniques to provide their clients with information like warnings of imminent attacks and the latest tools and techniques being used to break into computer networks.

The company’s focus is what John P. Watters, iSight’s chief executive, calls “left of boom,” which is military jargon for the moment before an explosive device detonates. Mr. Watters, a tall, 51-year-old Texan whose standard uniform consists of Hawaiian shirts and custom cowboy boots, frequently invokes war analogies when talking about online threats.

“When we went into Iraq, the biggest loss of life wasn’t from snipers,” he said. It was from concealed explosive devices. “We didn’t get ahead of the threat until we started asking ourselves, ‘Who’s making the bombs? How are they getting their materials? How are they detonating them? And how do we get into that cycle before the bombs are ever placed there?’”

“Our business,” Mr. Watters continued, “is tracking the arms merchants and bomb makers so we can be left of boom and avoid the impact altogether.”

ISight’s investors, who have put $60 million into the company so far, believe that its services fill a critical gap in the battle to get ahead of threats. Most security companies, like FireEye, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Intel’s security unit, focus on blocking or detecting intrusions as they occur or responding to attacks after the fact.

ISight goes straight to the enemy. Its analysts — many of them fluent in Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese or 21 other languages — infiltrate the underground, where they watch criminals putting their schemes together and selling their tools.

The analysts’ reports help clients — including 280 government agencies, as well as banks and credit-card, health care, retail and oil and gas companies — prioritize the most imminent and possibly destructive threats.

Security experts say the need for such intelligence has never been greater. For the last three years, businesses have been investing in “big data” analytic tools that sound alarms anytime someone does something unusual, like gain access to a server in China, set up a private connection or siphon unusually large amounts of data from a corporate network.

The result is near constant and confusing noise. “Except for the most mature organizations, most businesses are drowning in alerts,” said Jason Clark, the chief security officer at Optiv, a security firm.

The average organization receives 16,937 alerts a week. Only 19 percent of them are deemed “reliable,” and only 4 percent are investigated, according to a study released in January by the Ponemon Institute, which tracks data breaches. By the time criminals make enough noise to merit a full investigation, it can take financial services companies more than three months, on average, to discover them, and retailers more than six months.

“Just generating more alerts is wasting billions of dollars of venture capital,” said David Cowan, an iSight investor and a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. The last thing an executive in charge of network security needs is more alerts, he said: “They don’t have time. They need human, actionable threat intelligence.”

Mr. Cowan and others point to what happened to Target in 2013, when the retailer ignored an alert that ultimately could have stopped criminals from stealing 40 million customers’ payment details from its network.

A year earlier, iSight warned its clients that criminals were compiling and selling malware that was specifically designed to scrape payment data off cash registers. Had Target received that warning, the blip on its network might not have gone unnoticed.

“Target faced the same problem every retailer does every day,” Mr. Watters said. “They are awash in a sea of critical alerts every day. Without threat intelligence, they had roulette odds of picking the right one.”

Gartner, the research firm, estimates that the market for threat intelligence like iSight’s could grow to $1 billion in two years from $255 million in 2013. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 60 percent of businesses will incorporate threat intelligence into their defensive security strategy.

ISight, which plans to file for an initial public offering of stock next year, hopes to capitalize, as do the dozens of other cyberthreat intelligence outfits now flooding the market, each with a slightly different approach.

That proliferation of start-ups has led to a new complaint from computer security chiefs: overlapping information — sometimes as much as 40 percent — in the reports they receive, none of which is cheap. ISight charges customers based on size, and while it does not disclose pricing, some customers say they pay $500,000 or more annually for the company’s services, as much as five times what low-end services charge.

ISight makes 90 percent of its revenue from subscriptions to its six intelligence streams, each focused on a particular threat, including cyberespionage and cybercrime.

The company’s most recent competition comes from its oldest clients, particularly banks, which have been hiring former intelligence analysts to start internal operations. One former client, which declined to be named because of concerns that doing so could violate a nondisclosure agreement, said it had been able to build its own intelligence program at half the cost of its canceled iSight subscriptions.

But most businesses do not have the same resources as, say, a company like Bank of America, whose chief executive recently said there was no cap on the bank’s cybersecurity budget.

Many of those businesses remain paralyzed by the drumbeat of alarms that expensive security technologies are sounding on their networks.

At iSight’s threat center, the company’s approach is perhaps best summed up by a logo emblazoned on a T-shirt worn by one of its top analysts: “Someone should do something.”

WORLD WAR II AD – ACCULTURATION

In the Final Seconds of This World War II-Themed Ad, It Will Be Very Clear Why It Is Going Viral

A World War II-themed ad created by a mobile phone company in Thailand as part of a campaign called “The True Meaning of Giving” has taken the Internet by storm.

Produced by TrueMove, the three-minute spot uses a war story to show that “compassion is the true communication,” with the final moments of the ad tying everything together (we won’t spoil it for you).

As noted by AdWeek, one of the actors wrote in the YouTube comments that the story is in referee to a POW camp in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, where prisoners were forced by the Japanese to build a railway bridge.

TrueMove is no stranger to creating compelling advertisements. In September 2013, the company’s “Giving” ad amassed millions of views.

INDEPENDENCE

There is something somewhat ironic about this (how good a shape the carrier still appears to remain in despite repeated attempts to utterly destroy it), but if you ask me, not very…

Our ancestors built extremely well and with great purpose.

We could still learn much from them.

(For slideshow and video see original article link in title.)

Aircraft carrier that survived atomic blasts lies at bottom of Pacific

By Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 2:15 PM ET, Fri April 17, 2015
Story highlights

USS Independence was sunk in 1951 after weapons tests
Carrier was close-in guinea pig to two atomic bomb tests
Agency: Ship looks remarkably intact 2,600 feet below surface of the Pacific Ocean

(CNN)A former U.S. Navy aircraft carrier that survived a Japanese torpedo strike and was a massive guinea pig for two atomic bomb blasts looks remarkably intact at the bottom of the Pacific, according to federal researchers who surveyed the wreck last month with an underwater drone.

The USS Independence was scuttled in January 1951 during weapons testing near California’s Farallon Islands. Although its location was confirmed by a survey in 2009, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration went looking for it again in March as part of a project to map about 300 wrecks that lie in and around the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

“After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes,” mission leader James Delgado, the maritime heritage director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said in a statement.

Indeed, sonar images show what looks to be an airplane on one of the elevators that took planes from the Independence’s hangar deck to its flight deck. The ship sits upright with a slight list to starboard, according to NOAA.

NOAA’s survey of the 623-foot-long, 11,000-ton carrier was conducted by the Echo Ranger, an 18.5-foot-long autonomous underwater vehicle provided by the Boeing Co. The Echo Ranger traveled 30 miles from its base in Half Moon Bay, California, and hovered 150 above the carrier, which lies 2,600 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The drone used a three-dimensional sonar system provided by Coda Octopus to get images that showed how well the warship has weathered 64 years in the deep.

“This ship fought a long, hard war in the Pacific and after the war was subjected to two atomic blasts that ripped through the ship. It is a reminder of the industrial might and skill of the ‘greatest generation’ that sent not only this ship, but their loved ones to war,” Delgado said in the statement.

In its 20 years in the Navy, the ship played a role in some of the most important events of World War II, earning eight battle stars in the process, and the dawn of the nuclear age.

Independence was seriously damaged by Japanese torpedo planes during the Battle of Tarawa in late 1943. The ship returned to California for repairs and made it back across the Pacific by July 1944 to participate in the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea and the sinking of one of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s biggest warships, the battleship Musashi. Later, in the Battle of Cape Engano, planes from the Independence were involved in the sinking of four Japanese aircraft carriers.

After the war, Independence became part of a fleet used to measure the effects of atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific on July 1, 1946. It sat just 560 yards from ground zero in the first test, a 23-kiloton air blast of a fission bomb similar to the one used over Nagasaki, Japan, a year earlier, according to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. Twenty-four days later, Independence was 1,390 yards from the center of a second atomic blast — also a 23-kiloton device but an underwater detonation.

The ship was later brought back to California for nuclear decontamination before being sunk during the weapons training in 1951.

NOAA said no signs of radioactive contamination were noted during the survey of the sunken carrier last month.

The agency has no plans for further missions to the ship, according to the NOAA statement.

PRINTABLE BODY ARMOR

If possible always invent in imitation of Nature. God knows his designs.

By the way I have long considered and have experimented with the idea of a reactive liquid armor that both redirects projectile trajectories and disperses force in spread waves rather than attempts to meet it with direct resistance.

So I found this step forward to be doubly interesting. In construction method, in design, and as a pointer towards improved future capabilities.

MIT Researchers 3D-Print Body Armor Inspired By Fish Scales

New scale mail unveiled

29

Illustration of deformation mechanisms in laminates

Illustration of deformation mechanisms in laminates

Rudykh et al

Body armor suffers from a core tension: it must be light enough so the soldier wearing it can still fight effectively, but strong enough to actually stop bullets and shrapnel. Durable, shock-absorbing Kevlar is the current standard, but it can definitely be improved upon. What if, instead of making the armor itself a liquid, researchers borrow an armor design from creatures that move through it? A team at MIT, led by mechanical engineer Stephan Rudykh, designed a flexible armor inspired by fish scales.

Scale armor is almost as old as armor itself, with numerous examples found in ancient art from Rome to China. To improve on an ancient concept, the MIT team came up with a single metric for the armor’s value: protecto-flexibility (Ψ). This is “a new metric which captures the contrasting combination of protection and flexibility, taken as the ratio between the normalized indentation and normalized bending stiffness.” Working from a single metric, the researchers were able to greatly increase the strength of the armor while only modestly reducing its flexibility.

The practical implications of the study are hinted at by who funded it: the research “was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office through the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.” In the future, soldiers could have fish-scale suits of armor that are more flexible around joints and sturdier across the rest of the body, adding greater protection where none was before without diminishing any of the value of previous armor.

This armor is still in the early testing stages. “Flexibility and protection by design: imbricated hybrid microstructures of bio-inspired armor” only covers indentation tests, designed to see just how far the scales would bend when forced to. Next stages include trying the armor against bullets and shrapnel. If successful, the future of armor could look a heck of a lot like the past.

ATTACK ON FORT MEADE

One shot dead at Fort Meade after trying to ram NSA gate

Police investigating incident at NSA
Police investigating incident at NSA 02:53

Story highlights

  • Two people tried to ram the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade
  • One was shot dead, and another was wounded, an official tells CNN

(CNN)Two people tried to ram the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland on Monday, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. An NSA police officer shot one of the people dead dead and seriously injured the second.

A law enforcement official had previously reported that both of the people involved were men. Aerial shots show two vehicles at an intersection that appear to be damaged.

The FBI said Monday morning that it was conducting an investigation with NSA police and other law enforcement agencies, and interviewing witnesses on the scene. The incident took place near one of the gates to the complex, far from the main buildings. The FBI said they did not think terrorism was related to the incident.

“We are working with the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted,” the FBI said in a statement.

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the incident this morning.

This is the second security incident this month involving the NSA. At the beginning of March, a former state correctional officer was arrested, accused in a string of Maryland shootings, including one at Fort Meade. Gunshots struck a building near the NSA office, according to a police report.

Officers stopped Hong Young, 35, of Beltsville, Maryland, and recognized his vehicle as matching authorities’ description of a car seen in surveillance footage near some of the other shootings. A gun in the car matched evidence found at the shootings, and Young was arrested, authorities said.

Police said earlier this month that there were no links to terrorism in the case, and no motive has been determined. No one was killed in the five shooting incidents.

In addition to the headquarters of the NSA, Fort Meade is home to 95 units from all branches of the armed forces and offices that report to several Defense Department agencies, according to the U.S. Army, which operates the base.

About 11,000 military employees and 29,000 civilians work there, according to the Army.

Some 6,000 people also live on the base, which began operations in 1917 as a garrison for World War I draftees, the Army said.

DRONE DOWN?

Syria claims shooting down of US drone over Latakia

A wheel purportedly from a US drone shot down in Syria Syrian state media carried footage of what they said was debris from drone being taken away

The Syrian military says it has shot down a US drone near the city of Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad in north-west Syria.

US officials have said they lost contact with a drone but that it is unclear if it was shot down.

If confirmed it would be the first time Syrian forces have attacked a US aircraft since the start of coalition strikes against Islamic State (IS).

Syria has not been participating in the raids on IS.

The country’s state-run Sana news agency described the unmanned surveillance plane as “hostile”, without giving further details. The Pentagon said it was looking into the incident.

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft – it is not clear what model has been shot down The Pentagon said they lost contact with an MQ-1 Predator drone over north-west Syria
In a BBC interview last month, President Assad said “general messages” were provided to the Syrians about the coalition strikes via a third party.

A Jordanian jet involved in the coalition strikes crashed in northern Syria last year. IS captured the pilot and later burned him alive.

Chemical attacks

Meanwhile, Syrian activists have accused government forces of using chlorine in an attack in the north-western province of Idlib late on Monday.

Two groups reported that three children were among six people killed when aircraft dropped barrel bombs filled with the toxic chemical on Sarmin.

The Syrian military has denied the claim, describing it as propaganda.

A Syrian man stands next to the remains of a barrel bomb that activists say was dropped on the town of Sarmin on the night of 16 March 2015 A local activist said barrel bombs were dropped on two locations in Sarmin
Chlorine is a common industrial chemical, but its use as a weapon is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

Syria signed the treaty after the nerve agent sarin was used in an August 2013 attack on several suburbs of Damascus that killed hundreds of people. Western powers said only the government could have carried out the attack, but it blamed the rebels.

In January, international investigators concluded that chlorine gas had been used in air raids on three villages that were blamed on the government.

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that condemned the use of toxic chemicals such as chlorine in Syria, and threatened military action in case of further violations.

A map showing Latakia and Sarmin in Syria
More on This Story
Syria’s war
War in Syria

IWO JIMA

Here’s what it looked like when US Marines landed at Iwo Jima 70 years ago today

Joe Rosenthal Iwo JimaPhotographer: Joe Rosenthal

The Battle of Iwo Jima kicked off 70 years ago, on Feb. 19, 1945.

One of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific theatre of World War II, the 35-day fight for the desolate island yielded 27 recipients of the Medal of Honor, along with one of the most famous photographs ever taken.

According to the The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, American military planners thought the battle would only be a few days. Instead, it dragged on for five weeks, at a cost of more than 6,800 American lives. The Japanese lost more than 18,000.

Here’s what the Marine Corps Historical Company wrote about the first day:

This Day in Marine Corps History. 19 February 1945: At 08:59, one minute ahead of schedule, the first of an eventual 30,000 Marines of the 3rd Marine Division, the 4th Marine Division, and the new 5th Marine Division, making up the V Amphibious Corps, landed on Iwo Jima The initial wave did not come under Japanese fire for some time, as General Kuribayashi’s plan was to wait until the beach was full of the Marines and their equipment. By the evening, the mountain had been cut off from the rest of the island, and 30,000 Marines had landed. About 40,000 more would follow.

amphibious assault Iwo Jima 1945Wikimedia Commons

BOKO HORRENDOUS

Why we don’t put together a coalition force and go in and entirely liquidate these thugees I have no idea.

But I would liquidate them with extreme prejudice. Immediately.

The horrific aftermath of Boko Haram massacre on Nigerian villages: Before and after satellite images lay bare destruction caused by militants in attack that killed 2,500 people

  • Infra-red satellite images show destruction of ‘densely populated’ towns
  • One witness says terrorists shot and killed a woman who was in labour 
  • Estimated 2,500 people killed, and more than 3,700 structures were razed
  • Extremist group, Boko Haram, decimated towns of Baga and Doron Baga
  • One of the towns ‘nearly wiped off the map’, says Amnesty International 
  • Survivors describe fleeing over dead bodies of people ‘killed like insects’ 
  • WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT

The destruction wreaked by Islamist militants in Nigeria when they slaughtered an estimated 2,500 people including a woman while she was in labour has been revealed in shocking new satellite images.

Terror group Boko Haram outraged the world last week when they indiscriminately murdered innocent men, women and children as they attacked the towns of Baga and Doron Baga.

Now, new images obtained by Amnesty International show how the towns were devastated by the assault – with more than 3,700 structures including houses and schools completely destroyed.

Scroll down for video 

Before: Infra-red images show the densely populated village of Doron Baga on January 2 - before the attack

Before: Infra-red images show the densely populated village of Doron Baga on January 2 – before the attack

After: This image taken on January 7, following Boko Haram's assault, shows the village transformed by death and destruction

After: This image taken on January 7, following Boko Haram’s assault, shows the village transformed by death and destruction

Destruction: It's estimated that 2,500 people were killed and more than 3,000 buildings were razed to the ground

Destruction: It’s estimated that 2,500 people were killed and more than 3,000 buildings were razed to the ground

In the pictures taken beforehand, the areas in red show buildings and trees in the densely packed towns in the north of the country.

But in the pictures taken after the massacre, they have been decimated and the infra-red satellite images instead reveal grey areas where the militants savagely razed the towns.

The destruction shown in these images matches the horrific stories from eyewitnesses revealing how Boko Haram militants shot hundreds of civilians in cold blood.

One witness described how the ruthless terror group were shooting indiscriminately, killing even small children and a woman who was in labour.

He added: ‘Half of the baby boy is out and she died like this.’

Ibrahim Gambo, a 25-year-old truck driver, survived the relentless attack in Baga but he still doesn’t know if his wife and daughter are safe.

He said: ‘As we were running for our lives, we came across many corpses, both men and women, and even children.

‘Some had gunshot wounds in the head and some had their legs bound and hands tied behind their backs.’

Yahaya Takakumi, a 55-year-old farmer, revealed to Nigeria’s Premium Times how he managed to flee Baga with one of his wives – but does not know if his four children, his second wife or his elder brother managed to escape.

He said: ‘We saw dead bodies especially, on the islands of Lake Chad where fishermen had settled. Several persons were killed there like insects.’

Mr Takakumi said the Islamic extremists opened fire on vessels carrying fleeing residents across the lake.

Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International, said this was the ‘largest and most destructive’ Boko Haram assault his organisation has ever analysed.

He added: ‘These detailed images show devastation of catastrophic proportions in two towns, one of which was almost wiped off the map in the space of four days.

‘It represents a deliberate attack on civilians whose homes, clinics and schools are now burnt out ruins.

Turmoil: map showing Nigeria and the location of Baga which was devastated by brutal Boko Haram fanatics

Turmoil: map showing Nigeria and the location of Baga which was devastated by brutal Boko Haram fanatics

Wave of terror: The yellow dots in this satellite image, taken after Boko Haram's onslaught on Baga, show around 620 structures damaged in the attack

Wave of terror: The yellow dots in this satellite image, taken after Boko Haram’s onslaught on Baga, show around 620 structures damaged in the attack

Razed: A similar image shows the compete destruction of the neighbouring village of Doron Baga - also known as Doro Gowon

Razed: A similar image shows the compete destruction of the neighbouring village of Doron Baga – also known as Doro Gowon

‘Up until now, the isolation of the Baga, combined with the fact that Boko Haram remains in control of the area, has meant that it has been very difficult to verify what happened there.

‘Residents have not been able to return to bury the dead, let alone count their number. But through these satellite images combined with graphic testimonies a picture of what is likely to be Boko Haram’s deadliest attack ever is becoming clearer.’

BOKO HAREM’S TRAIL OF MURDER AND MAYHEM ACROSS NIGERIA 

February 2014: The Jihadist group raided the Nigerian village of Izghe in the north of the country and murdered dozens – before going door-to-door and killing anyone they came across.

April 2014: Nearly 300 schoolgirls are abducted from the town of Chibok, which Boko Haram burned to the ground.

August 2014: The terror group kidnapped at least 97 people during raids on villages in Borno State. They killed 28 boys and men.

November 2014: 120 people killed in a bomb attack on a central Mosque in Kano – the principal city of northern Nigeria.

January 4, 2015: Boko Haram kidnaps 40 boys and young men, believed to be aged ten to 23, from a village in the Nigerian state of Borno.

Experts have estimated the brutal assault killed more than 2,000 people with reports of locals running over dead bodies to escape the carnage.

Another survivor – a man in his fifties – told Amnesty: ‘They killed so many people. I saw maybe around 100 killed at that time in Baga. I ran to the bush. As we were running, they were shooting and killing.’

He hid in the bush and was later discovered by Boko Haram fighters, who detained him in Doron Baga for four days.

Those who fled describe seeing many more corpses in the surrounding bush area, and one woman said: ‘I don’t know how many, but there were bodies everywhere we looked.’

In Baga, a densely populated town less than two square kilometres in size, approximately 620 structures were damaged or completely destroyed by fire.

And in Doron Baga, more than 3,100 structures were damaged or destroyed by fire that ravaged most of the four square kilometre town.

Mr Eyre added: ‘This week, Nigeria’s Director of Defence Information stated that the number of people killed in Baga, including Boko Haram fighters, ‘has so far not exceeded about 150’.

‘These images, together with the stories of those who survived the attack, suggest that the final death toll could be much higher than this figure.’

Boko Haram fighters have repeatedly targeted communities for their perceived collaboration with the security forces.

Thousands of people have fled the violence across the border to Chad and to other parts of Nigeria.

Many of the wooden fishing boats along the shoreline, visible in the images taken on January 2, are no longer present in January 7 images – tallying with eye witnesses’ testimony that desperate residents fled by boat across Lake Chad.

Amnesty are calling on Boko Haram to stop killing civilians. They insist the deliberate slaughter of of civilians and destruction of their property by Boko Haram are war crimes and crimes against humanity and must be duly investigated.

They are calling for the Nigerian government should take all possible legal steps to restore security in the north-east and ensure protections of civilians.

Boko Haram drew international condemnation when its fighters kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a boarding school in north-east Chibok last year. Dozens escaped, but 219 remain missing.

THE ‘MAD’ BOKO HAREM JIHADI LEADER WHO’S OVERSEEN THE SLAUGHTER OF 16,000

The man orchestrating the deadly Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria is a boastful lunatic who revels in slaughter and chaos and is a ‘master of disguise’.

Bloodthirsty Abubakar Shekau is one of the world’s most wanted men, with American authorities putting a $7million bounty on his head.

Master of disguise: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau points at the camera as he delivers one of his regular fanatical rants to the world

Master of disguise: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau points at the camera as he delivers one of his regular fanatical rants to the world

Shekau – said to be to fluent in four languages – also operates under a variety of different names which has only increased the mystery surrounding his true identity.

The elusive Islamist fanatic has led his brutal Boko Haram militants since 2009 into war in Africa, killing more than an estimated 16,225 people in that time.

The latest outrage he has led was the massacre of an estimated 2,500 people in northern Nigeria when his thugs razed two towns.

Last week, the terror group shocked the world when they are believed to have used girls as young as 10 as suicide bombers in two deadly attacks in northern Nigeria that killed at least 19 people.

Experts claim psychotic Shekau rarely communicates directly with members of the terror group and instead deals only with a handful of confidantes – much like former Al Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden.

Files on the US State Department of Justice claim he variously operates under identities that include Darul Tawheed, Abu Bakr Skikwa, Imam Abu Bakr Shiku, Abu Muhammad Abu Bakr Bin Muhammad Al Shakwi Al Muslimi Bishku and Abubakar Shakkau. 

The four languages he speaks are listed as Arabic, Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri. Even his age remains unknown, with predictions between 38 and 49 believed to be most accurate.

Shekau is believed to have a wife and three children, although their whereabouts also remain unknown. 

The Nigerian military has claimed several times to have killed the fanatic – only for him to appear in new videos proving he is still alive.

After one recent claim, he appeared in video to taunt the military’s claims and laughed: ‘Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath.’ 

Boko Haram – which means ‘Western education is forbidden’ in Arabic – have shocked the world with their merciless slaughter of innocent men, woman and children across the north of Nigeria.

Shekau claimed leadership of the terror group in 2010, and was seen last week in a video praising the jihadists who murdered 17 people in the Paris attacks.

He has been variously described as ‘fearless’, a ‘gangster’ and a ‘loner’, which security sources believe give him an air of invincibility which makes him extremely dangerous.

The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium has described Shekau as a ‘religious intellectual, yet also a gangster and vigilante as well as a mad leader’. 

Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram has continually targeted young children. In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped close to 300 girls from their school in northern Nigeria.

Innocent victims: Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this image taken from a video released by Boko Haram. The girls went missing in April 2014.

Innocent victims: Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this image taken from a video released by Boko Haram. The girls went missing in April 2014.

Support: Michelle Obama supported the #bringbackourgirls campaign after the kidnap

Support: Michelle Obama supported the #bringbackourgirls campaign after the kidnap

In a video message released three weeks later, Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, calling the girls slaves and threatening to sell them. 

Their disappearance prompted a social media campaign with #bringbackourgirls, which was supported by Michelle Obama, First Lady of the USA.

Rumours also abound that Shekau escaped from the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri during the 1990s.

The fanatic regularly appears in videos to taunt the Nigerian military over their failings to prevent his group’s killings.

In one of Shekau’s first videos, believed to have appeared online in 2012, the insurgent leader boasted of his bloodlust and said: ‘I enjoy killing…the way I enjoy slaughtering chickens and rams.’

It is believed the terrorist was born in Shekau village that borders Niger to poor farmer parents. They are then thought to have migrated south into northeast Nigeria.

A religious young man, he studied basic Islamic theology, before focusing on more hardline Sunni ideology and becoming a preacher.

In a 2012 interview, Grema Kawudima said Shekau was remembered as ‘an easy-going fellow who would exchange banter with people in the neighbourhood. He was popular…a local theology student’.

After his religious studies, he is then understood to have attended Borno State College of Legal and Islamic Studies for higher studies on Islam.

He became increasingly radicalised and seized control of Boko Harem after founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed in a security crackdown on the terror group in 2009.

Since then, Shekau has pursued a relentless campaign of terror as the group has strengthened its deadly grip in Nigeria.

History of violence: In December 2014, two female suicide bombers - allegedly under the instruction of Boko Haram - killed at least four people in a busy market in Nigeria's busiest city, Kano (pictured)

History of violence: In December 2014, two female suicide bombers – allegedly under the instruction of Boko Haram – killed at least four people in a busy market in Nigeria’s busiest city, Kano (pictured)

MALAYSIAN MH370

It’s an interesting theory. Of course this guy is a novelist.

But where is your real evidence? Of course in a case like this little to no real evidence is yet available.

U.S. military shot down MH370 because they thought it had been hacked and was about to be used in terror attack’, claims former airline boss 

  • Marc Dugain says U.S. Navy in Indian Ocean attacked the plane 
  • He claims that islanders saw the plane fly close to a U.S. base
  • Also alleges that a spy told him to back away from his probe into MH370

A former airline boss and writer claims the U.S. downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 because the military feared it had been taken over by hackers and was about to be used in a 9/11-style attack.

Marc Dugain, the former chief executive of now-defunct Proteus Airlines, said the jumbo jet was shot down near a U.S. military base on the remote island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean after it was hacked.

He told Paris Match that islanders in the Maldives near Diego Garcia told him they saw the missing aircraft flying low.

Dugain spoke of a fisherman on a small island who spoke of a ‘huge plane’ in Malaysie Airline’s colours on March 8.

Scroll down for video 

Theory: Marc Dugain, the former chief executive of now-defunct Proteus Airlines, said Malaysia Airlines flight MH370  was shot down near a U.S. military base

Theory: Marc Dugain, the former chief executive of now-defunct Proteus Airlines, said Malaysia Airlines flight MH370  was shot down near a U.S. military base

The former airline exec told Paris Match that islanders in the Maldives near Diego Garcia told him they saw the missing aircraft flying low.

The former airline exec told Paris Match that islanders in the Maldives near Diego Garcia told him they saw the missing aircraft flying low.

Video released to explain the search efforts for flight MH370

He also said islanders had found an empty fire extinguisher from the plane in the water near Baarah island.

The Senegal-born Frenchman, who is now a successful novelist, also told a radio station he was warned not to investigate MH370 by an intelligence source, who spoke of ‘risks’ and counselled him to ‘let time do its work’.

Last week grieving family members of Chinese passengers from a missing Malaysia Airlines flight protested outside the foreign ministry in Beijing Friday accusing the government of failing to provide them with regular updates on the search for the aircraft.

About 30 people, many of them elderly, gathered at the gates of the ministry with temperatures approaching freezing and were confronted by a line of police.

The U.S. Navy Support Facility at Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. Dugain claims the U.S. feared the plane was about to be used in a terror outrage

The U.S. Navy Support Facility at Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. Dugain claims the U.S. feared the plane was about to be used in a terror outrage

Family of MH370 victim to sue airline and government

Leading Seaman, Boatswain's Mate, William Sharkey searches for debris on a rigid hull inflatable boat in the Southern Indian Ocean in April. In the background is HMAS Perth, which was involved in the search

Leading Seaman, Boatswain’s Mate, William Sharkey searches for debris on a rigid hull inflatable boat in the Southern Indian Ocean in April. In the background is HMAS Perth, which was involved in the search

They demanded to speak to government officials in a bid to get more information on the search for flight MH370. Police manhandled and pushed protesters that attempted to enter the gate and warned passersby to leave the area immediately.

‘My son is alive and I want to know what the government is doing to find him,’ said Liu Dianyun, the mother of one of the passengers.

Some drove for two hours to attend the demonstration, despite acknowledging that their efforts were unlikely to produce results.

Chinese passengers account for about two-thirds of the 239 people who were aboard the Boeing 777, which vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to China’s capital.

Dozens of their relatives were reportedly beaten and arrested earlier this year.

Australia has been spearheading the hunt for the plane, which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean off western Australia.

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