George Stewart

 

A Quick Rundown Of Islamic State’s (IS) Operations In Afghanistan

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So-called Islamic State has wreaked havoc in eastern Afghanistan since 2015, mostly through its loose affiliates — attacking government installations and villages, killing and abducting hundreds of people, and keeping schools shuttered and replacing them with IS religious seminaries. It also claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in the country’s capital, Kabul. Here is a rundown… Read More


Turkey’s President Suggested That The U.S. And Turkey Combine Forces To Wipe Out ISIS

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday if Ankara and Washington were to join forces they could turn the Syrian city of Raqqa into a “graveyard” for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Erdogan also suggested he could launch cross-border operations against Kurdish rebels at any time, just days after the military carried… Read More


Will US Immigration Try To Deport 50,000 People Back To Haiti?

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Brooklyn, New York – When Jean, a 28-year-old Haitian living in Florida, first came to the US, he was afraid to live in a high-rise building. It was residual fear, he said, from the 2010 earthquake he survived in Port-au-Prince. “I had just finished rehearsal, singing and dancing, because I’m an opera singer, and then it… Read More


The Pentagon Says Two U.S. Special Forces Troops Killed In Afghanistan This Week May Have Been Struck By Friendly Fire

Village in Faryab province
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The Pentagon says two U.S. Special Forces troops killed in Afghanistan this week may have been struck by friendly fire. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters Friday that the military was investigating the possibility that the troops might have been killed either by American forces or Afghan commandos taking part in a raid against Islamic… Read More


Multinational Military Exercise In Germany Tests The U.S. Army’s ‘Iron Brigade’

Live-Fire Exercise In Germany Tests Army’s ‘Iron Brigade’

HOHENFELS, Germany, –  Multinational exercise Combined Resolve 8 brought trainers from the Joint Multinational Readiness Center here to support soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team during a combined-arms live-fire exercise in Grafenwoehr, Germany, April 18-24. The first day’s focus was a fire-support coordination exercise for brigade operations, said Army Maj. Christopher Blaha, operations observer-coach-trainer, or OCT, from JMRC’s Timberwolves maneuver team and lead planner for the live-fire exercise. The second day, he added, was a cumulative exercise and combined-arms live-fire for two battalions: cavalry and armored.

To facilitate this phase, a combination of OCTs from JMRC’s eight training teams, with overall command and control from the Timberwolves team, broke away from their traditional role at Hohenfels Training Area to develop the training force overseeing the brigade-level operation.

“Our responsibilities as OCTs is to ensure safety, provide training assistance and provide candid feedback on how to improve as a mechanized formation,” said Army Capt. Andre Aleong, also of the Timberwolves. Exposure to a training event of this magnitude improves the OCTs’ mentoring skills, he added.

On the Range

Army Sgt. 1st Class Ndifrek Aanam-Ndu, a Timberwolves OCT, maneuvered his Humvee behind four Bradley fighting vehicles bounding into position on range Battle Position 2. He coaches Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment as they exercise a passage of lines with Comanche Troop, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment.

“The first part of this exercise is clearing a minefield, then executing a breach to meet the 4-10 Cav for a relief in place,” Aanam-Ndu said, pointing downrange.

The range looked like a series of rain-soaked bowling alleys under siege. Overhead, Apache helicopter teams kept watch on the battle under direction from the platoons of fighting vehicles and troop carriers on the ground.

Aanam-Ndu touched a button on an artillery fire simulator and hears the delayed booming in the distance. He watched how the teams reacted, then wrote in his notebook.

The Bradley teams performed a series of back-and-forth movements in battle position — first shooting, then ducking behind position, then rapidly maneuvering to an alternative left or right stand. Their engines blared like jets when they leaned in.

“Not too many units get to exercise passing over the battle space,” Aanam-Ndu said. “The strategy is almost a lost art. It’s a lot of moving parts this unit is fortunate to have the opportunity [to experience].”

The four Bradley fighting vehicles moved forward into position again. Drivers and gunners peered out through the fog of battle and inclement weather, spotted the next position and made a plan.

“As OCTs, our attention is focused on the unit’s readiness,” Aanam-Ndu said. “Our focus is challenging soldiers.”

As he dismounted, Aanam-Ndu approached a vehicle commander and simulated a casualty in the battle scenario. The vehicle’s gunner slumped over and feigned unconsciousness. He observed the team’s every move in assessing the casualty, using their combat lifesaving, field care and casualty evacuation training. He documented everything, taking great care in delivering detailed advice.

“The after-action reviews we provide will help them through the next phases of CBR 8,” he said. “Ultimately, they will maneuver better and be ready for any real-world challenge or conflict.”

Combined Resolve 8 will continue at the Hohenfels Training Area until mid-June. It’s a multinational exercise designed to train Army’s regionally allocated forces to the U.S. European Command. It will include more than 3,400 participants from 10 nations, working to prepare forces in Europe to operate together to promote stability and security in the region.

[Source: By Army Sgt. Karen Sampson, Joint Multinational Readiness Center ~ US DoD -/- Media Relations]
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Hungary – Completes The Second ‘Double Fence System’ Along The Whole Hungarian-Serbian Border, Protection Against Masses Of Illegal Migrants Entering Country

Second Fence Completed Along The Hungarian-Serbian Border

Slovenska vojska pri reševanju migrantske situacije z več zmogljivostmi 01

The second fence of the double fence system along the whole, 155 kilometre stretch of the Hungarian-Serbian border has been completed. At a press conference on Friday in Röszke, the Ministry of Interior’s Parliamentary State Secretary Károly Kontrát said that Hungarian border protection was now stronger than every before. “The Government decided to construct the second fence because we must prepare for even greater migration pressure”, the politician stressed.

 “The mass migration affecting Europe has been continuous for the past two years and the Balkan migration route is still active”, the State Secretary said, adding that increasing numbers are setting out for the continent with the approach of summer.

“Italy has registered the arrival of 33 percent more migrants during the first four months of the year than during the similar period last year. Action against international people smuggling organisations seems to be having no effect”, Mr. Kontrát told the press.

The politician pointed out that despite the fact that it was decided at the EU summit in Malta that hot-spots must be established in Libya, this has not happened to this day, and boats setting out from Africa are not being turned back either.

 “The fate of the agreement between the EU and Turkey is also doubtful, and if the agreement were to fall through it would have profound implications”, he said.

“Thanks to the stricter regulations that came into force a month ago with relation to Hungary’s legal border barrier, migrants are avoiding the Hungarian border. This, and the completion of the second fence has now enabled a reduction in the number of police and military personnel on duty at the border, who have performed beyond the call of duty until now”, the State Secretary said.

According to Mr. Kontrát, “Brussels and the pro-migrant Soros organisations have placed the legal and physical border barriers under fire, they would like us to let in the migrants” and would like to see the fence demolished. But Hungary will continue to protect its border and the external Schengen border of the European Union, he declared.

The State Secretary told reporters that the construction of the second row of fences had cost 4.8 billion forints (EUR 15.4M). According to the information handed out at the press conference, the prison service completed the work within sixty days with the involvement of 150 professionals and 600 prisoners. The second fence has been reinforced with 2-metre high and 8 mm thick welded wire mesh, and has been fitted with the required NATO barbed wire.

 Speaking on Kossuth Radio’s “180 Minutes” program on Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the double fence system established along the southern border will assure the security of the Hungarian people for many years to come.

“The 155 kilometre fence system is capable of withstanding any number of people and is to all intents and purposes impenetrable”, he said, adding that we will have to continue to live with the threat of migration pressure from the Balkan migration route.

He indicated however, that the European Commission, George Soros and NGOs have placed Hungary’s migration regulations under attack and would like Hungary to demolish the fence, change its legal procedures and let the migrants in. “Brussels may well launch infringement proceedings with relation to the issue”, the Prime Minister added.

[Source: Government of Hungary/Ministry of Interior (MTI) -/- Media Relations]
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Red Cell Members Test Cyber Defense Capabilities

Red Cell Challenges Cyber Warriors In Multiforce Exercise

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah,  — Air Force Capt. Joshua Montgomery isn’t a criminal, but he plays one as part of his duties. He’s a member of an Air National Guard team that tests cyber defenses.“It’s the best job in the military,” he said. “We get to break things. We get to go and do all of the things that would send you to jail in the real world. It’s fantastic.”

As a member of the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, Montgomery tests cyber defense capabilities by attempting to hack into sensitive information systems.

“The idea of an information aggressor squadron is to understand the tactics that real-world adversaries like hackers and corporate espionage agents use,” he explained. He then uses that understanding to find network vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

Montgomery is putting his hacking skills to use as a member of the Red Cell during Cyber Shield 17, a cyber defense exercise that began here April 24 and continues until May 5.

Scenario-Based Role-Playing

Cyber Shield 17 is a National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve event that begins with a week of training and preparation and culminates in scenario-based cyber role-playing. It is the sixth iteration of the exercise, which began in 2012 and trains members of the Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Army Reserve, as well as civilians who work in law enforcement, intelligence and information technologies.

Participants each belong to one of several cells. Red Cell members, such as Montgomery, play the role of adversary hackers. Members of the Blue Cell attempt to defend against the Red Cell’s attacks. Members of the Gold Cell support the Blue Cell with coaching and mentorship, while White Cell members evaluate the Blue Cell’s performance.

As Red Cell members prepare to break into Blue Cell systems, their opposite numbers prepare for an experience that Blue Cell leader Army Maj. Kevin T. Mamula predicts will push them to their limits.

“The blue teams will be challenged to their breaking points by design,” said Mamula, who also works as the cyber network defense team lead for Ohio. “They will be stressed and frustrated and mad. But they will come out as a much more effective team.”

Crucial Training

Exercise participants emphasized that the threat that cyberattacks pose make this kind of challenging training crucial.

“Cyber threats are real,” said Army Capt. Joshua Hull from the Nebraska Joint Force Headquarters, who serves as assistant leader for the Nebraska Blue Team in Cyber Shield 17. “They are already all around us, and they affect every aspect of our daily interactions.”

Hull said he is confident his team will be able to succeed in warding off the Red Cell attacks, thanks to effective collaboration he has observed among his comrades.

“We have very good team cohesion,” Hull said. “We have a very good flow of information, and we’ve pulled our best and brightest. They have a good understanding of how network operations work.”

As Blue Cell fights an uphill battle in the cyber terrain, they will have the Gold Cell’s support. Army Lt. Col. Brad Rhodes, Gold Cell leader and commander of the Colorado Army National Guard’s Cyber Protection Team 174, said his team will provide struggling Blue Cell members with coaching and mentorship to help them learn and succeed.

“Our goal is that when the blue teams walk out of the door, they are feeling better about themselves and are more successful than when they first got here,” Rhodes said.

Red Cell leader Air Force Maj. Michael Erstein, who supervises the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron, said that Cyber Shield 17 fosters a learning environment by putting people of different backgrounds and levels of skill together.

Dedicated Interactions

“People who’ve never done this before get one-on-one dedicated interactions with individuals who’ve been doing this [for] 15-plus years,” Erstein said. “We are able to bring together experts from [the Defense Department], the government and the civilian world in one place and share that diverse perspective on cyberspace.”

“I’m very excited about being on a red team,” said Flo R. Bayer, a security analyst with the State of Wisconsin Department of Enterprise Technologies. “To see how hackers do things, their methodologies, will help me be better at defending the networks.”

“You don’t get an opportunity to learn from a group of people like this often, to apply this skill set often,” said Adam Hellmers, an electrical engineer with Radiance Technologies. “It’s a chance to develop higher skills and to further enhance your own self, your company’s self and the national interests.”

Cyber Shield 17 is far and away the best exercise he ever has encountered in his career, Montgomery said.

“It’s well organized,” he added. It’s well put together. And the teams, both red and blue, have made significant progress in securing DoD systems.”

[Source:By Army Sgt. Michael Giles/100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment ~ US DoD -/- Media Relations]
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U.S. Attorney General Addresses Violent Crime

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks on Violent Crime to Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement

Jeff Sessions (29090205550)

Central Islip, NY,United States ~ Friday, April 28, 2017

Good morning. I am honored to be here today with all of you – the brave men and women of law enforcement. Your dedication, your commitment to justice and your patriotism are inspiring. Thank you for all you do to keep us safe. I also want to thank Congressman Pete King for inviting me to visit his district. He has been a steadfast partner and leader in combating violent crime. Finally, let me thank our Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde of the Eastern District of New York. Bridget, thank you not only for your hospitality, but also for your leadership.

Today is the 99th day of President Trump’s administration. The President made a promise to make America safe again, and that is exactly what we are doing at the Department of Justice. The President has talked to me several times about this and his commitment to these issues is complete. He is very aware personally of the violence and murders here.

We’re seeing an increase in violent crime our cities – in Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis, Milwaukee, St. Louis and many others. But gang violence has also been in the headlines right here in the suburbs of Long Island, while the murder rate has surged 10 percent nationwide – the largest increase since 1968. Groups of murderers, rapists, traffickers and thugs are carrying out a frontal assault on the decent, law-abiding men and women of this community and others like it across our country.

This is not acceptable, and the American people will not tolerate it.

Are these gang and cartel members violent and formidable foes? They sure are. But they are also mortal, and that means they can be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for their crimes. And that’s what we are going to do.

MS-13’s motto is “kill, rape and control.” Let me tell you our motto: justice for victims and consequences for criminals. It is that simple. We will prosecute gang members who commit crimes, to the full extent of the law.

This community is no stranger to violence. You know the story: last September, two teenage girls here were beaten to death using baseball bats and a machete. Earlier this month, police in Central Islip found the bodies of four young men, ranging in age from 16 to 20. They had been murdered and their bodies were dumped in a park. One of these young men was an honor student.

I have a message for any gang that targets our young people: we are targeting you, and we are coming after you.

Transnational criminal organizations represent one of the gravest threats to American public safety today. These groups enrich themselves by pedaling poison in our communities, trafficking children for sexual exploitation and inflicting horrific violence in the neighborhoods where they operate and slipping their ill-gotten wealth back to their home countries.

For example, there are over 30,000 MS-13 members abroad, with their headquarters in the El Salvadoran prison system. According to the National Gang Intelligence Center, MS-13 now has more than 10,000 members in at least 40 states in this country – up significantly from just a few years ago.

The Justice Department has zero tolerance for gang violence. If you are a gang member, know this: We will find you. We will devastate your networks. We will starve your revenue sources, deplete your ranks and seize your profits. We will not concede a single block or street corner to your vicious tactics.

Long-term success against such transnational criminal organizations requires securing our borders and restoring a lawful system of immigration. We must also dismantle the human smuggling networks that operate along our nation’s southern border. If we don’t do this, their leadership will simply send new emissaries and recruiters back to the United States to replace the ones we take off the streets.

From past investigations, we know these transnational criminal organizations smuggle members into our country almost exclusively through our border with Mexico. They station these gang members in safe houses in Texas, before they travel to various points around the United States.

We will identify these smuggling networks, investigate and build cases against them, and dismantle them through targeted prosecutions. Then, these people will be deported. Securing our border and restoring a lawful system of immigration are an essential part of our strategy to combat criminal groups and ensure public safety in our country – and we will see this task through and end the lawlessness.

Finally, we must do more to send a clear message to our young people: for the sake of your lives and your futures, stay away from gangs, drugs and violent crime. Prevention is critical.

We know that gangs aren’t content to simply ruin the lives of adults – they recruit in our high schools, our middle schools and even our elementary schools. They recruit unaccompanied minors coming into this country. And every time they convert a young person to their depraved life of violence and crime, they steal their future and a part of our nation’s future.

To parents out there, know this: we will not surrender our schools to these gangs. We will not allow them to prey on our children in the hallways. This is a fight we must win.

If the threat of violence from these gangs wasn’t enough, our nation is also suffering from an unprecedented epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, the most ever. And a new report this week revealed that in 2015, “drugged driving” deaths surpassed drunk-driving deaths for the first time.

Our nation must do everything in its power to help young people who find themselves already trapped in the dark worlds of gang violence or drug abuse. But the best way to tackle these problems is to convince young people to stay away from gangs and drugs and violence in the first place.

The fight against violent transnational gangs, drugs and violent crime will not be easy. It is a huge task. But we know it can be done. Our nation has successfully taken on violent criminal organizations before, and we can do it again.

This fight will require strong leadership and cooperation at the federal, state, and local levels – and the Department of Justice is working hard to do our part. This is the Trump era – so you can be confident that this nation’s leadership has your back.

In many areas, we have already made dramatic progress in these first 100 days. To carry out the President’s commitment to combat violent crime and restore public safety, in February we established a Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. In March, I issued a memo to all federal prosecutors, making clear that prosecuting violent criminals is a high priority, and directing them to work closely with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to target the most violent offenders in each district.

Along with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, we are also carrying out the President’s promise to secure our borders and restore a lawful system of immigration. Last month, I announced new guidance to federal prosecutors regarding our commitment to criminal immigration enforcement. We are making such enforcement a priority.

Those who attempt to enter the country illegally are now detained – ending the dangerous “catch and release” policies of the previous administration. To reduce the backlog of cases at the border, we have surged immigration judges to detention facilities near the border, and streamlined the process for bringing on additional immigration judges, so we can adjudicate these cases more swiftly. And thanks to President Trump’s clear leadership on this issue, illegal border crossings are at their lowest monthly figure in at least 17 years.

We have also taken steps to end the lawless practices of so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions, which make our country less safe. I understand there are those who disagree. But the American people rightly demand a lawful system of immigration. Congress has established a lawful system of immigration.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics just released a report showing that 42 percent of defendants charged in U.S. district court were non-U.S. citizens. And according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, in 2013, 48 percent of all deported aliens who were convicted for coming back to the United States illegally were also convicted of a non-immigration related crime.

And yet, I regret to say that we’ve seen district attorneys openly brag about not charging cases appropriately – giving special treatment to illegal aliens to ensure these criminal aliens aren’t deported from their communities. They advertise that they will charge a criminal alien with a lesser offense than presumably they would charge a United States citizen. It baffles me.

Regardless, no jurisdiction has a right to violate federal law, especially when that violation leads to the death of innocent Americans, like Kate Steinle. As the President has made clear, our system is a system of laws, and we will be the Administration that ends the rampant immigration illegality.

At the direction of President Trump, our department is also working to make sure that all of you, the brave men and women of law enforcement, understand that our nation supports your noble work and has the back of all honest and honorable law enforcement officers.

I have directed our department to develop strategies to support the thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country that seek to prevent crime and protect the public. And I have made clear that this Department of Justice will not sign consent decrees that will cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of criminals and stopping lawful police procedures that have been proven to reduce crime.

This is just the beginning. In all that we do, the Department of Justice will be guided by a clear sense of purpose: we will maintain public safety; we will uphold the Constitution and enforce our nation’s laws; and we will ensure equal justice for all Americans. And I am confident that with the President’s support and with you leading the way, we will win this fight.

Thank you again for working so hard to ensure the safety and security of America.

[Source: US Department of Justice -/- Media Relations]
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Afghanistan – The Taliban Has Started Its Spring Offensive, Stepping Up Attacks On US Led Foreign Troops

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The Taliban has unleashed its annual so-called “spring offensive” in Afghanistan, saying it will mainly target U.S.-led foreign “occupation” troops to force them to quit the country. In a formal announcement released Friday, the Islamist insurgency claimed “Operation Mansouri” went into action early Friday morning across all 34 Afghan provinces. It explained the offensive has been… Read More


Iran – Iranian Business Women Finds Success In A Male Dominated Environment

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Tehran – Fatemeh Daneshvar moves easily around the room as she speaks of her accomplishments, pausing at one point to admire a photo of her children, and at another to flip through a glossy magazine packed with images of some of the thousands of women her charity has aided. Daneshvar, 43, now counts seven major businesses… Read More


Germany – Members Of Parliament Approve Merkel’s Muslim Burqa Ban

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German MPs in the lower house of parliament have approved a partial ban on the burqa. The draft law stipulates that public servants will be forbidden from wearing the full-face veil while performing their duties. The move comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on the burqa ‘wherever legally possible’. Integration also means that… Read More


Zimbabwe – Airport Immigration Officers Arrested For Visa Fraud, Kept Money Received From British, American, and Canadian Visitors

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POLICE have arrested seven immigration officers stationed at Victoria Falls International Airport over fraud involving visa fees for international visitors. The seven were identified as Kushinga Goremusandu, Promise Miti, 37, Enock MaborekeTakura, 29, Nonhlanhla Nyathi, 39, James Marowa (age not given), Aaron Mamvura, 40, and Patience Chivi, 31, who were all stationed at the airport immigration.… Read More