Showing posts from October 22, 2017

Narcos all over again: Colombia faces another crisis

This past August, Vice President Mike Pence had a successful visit to Colombia, our closest ally in the South America. The Vice President's visit to this Andean nation (whose capital, Bogota, is only a three-hour flight from Miami) demonstrates the Trump administration's commitment to Colombia as a strategic partner. Colombia recently ended its multi-decade internal conflict fueled and funded mostly by deadly narcotics, but the nation once again faces a turning point with consequences for America's neighborhoods and communities already battling the opioid crisis. In the 1990s and through recent years, the U.S.' Plan Colombia assistance package of approximately $10 billion helped Colombia (in particular, the Colombian police and military) beat back the mighty drug-funded narco-terrorists like the FARC and the big drug cartels. The hard dollars and military equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers helped to bring some version of peace to Colombia by directly tackling th

Exercise Highcrest: Maritime, land-based agencies keep 'terrorists' from reaching shore

SINGAPORE: For the first time, land-based operations featured in a large-scale maritime defence exercise demonstrating Singapore's capability not only to counter terror threats at sea, but prevent the threats from spilling over to shore.  The biennial Exercise Highcrest, which ended on Thursday (Oct 26), involved approximately 300 personnel from 14 agencies, including Singapore Customs, the Maritime Port Authority, and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. As part of the exercise at Changi, the Singapore Police Force’s Coastal Hardening Strike Force (CHSF) demonstrated a scenario in which personnel prevented "terrorists" at sea from infiltrating to land. Following an interception at sea by the Police Coast Guard and the Republic of Singapore Navy, "terrorists" managed to escape and make their way to shore but were later apprehended by the CHSF. The exercise also demonstrated the interception of “terrorist” speedboats. "WE MUST MAKE SURE THO

Post-ISIS, our allies are turning guns on each other: America

One might expect President Trump to take a victory lap after  last week’s liberation of Raqqa from the Islamic State . Thanks to American air power, Maoist Kurds, Syrian patriots and US special operators, this caliphate ended as the shortest-lived in Islamic history. Yet the president chose not to exploit this win. The White House  issued a five-paragraph statement . Much of last week was consumed with the president’s  feud over his phone  call to the mother of one of the soldiers killed in Niger. How to explain the subdued reaction? (After all, this White House is desperate for policy wins.) It’s the geopolitical equivalent of “Mo Money, Mo Problems.” Success brings new challenges. In this case, the eclipse of the Islamic State reopens old rifts in the Middle East that were paused to defeat a universally loathed enemy. Even the United States and Iran could cooperate (tacitly) against an outfit that operated sex-slave markets and attempted genocide. Now all of this fair-weath

Maoist child soldiers reclaim their lives lost in the jungles of Jharkhand

In Lohardaga district of Jharkhand, police have rescued 22 child soldiers of red outfit over the past three years. Trained to use sophisticated weapons at a young age, nine of them now study in a residential school B Vijay Murty Hindustan Times, Lohardaga (Jharkhand) When children of her age ought to have been solving simple arithmetical problems, Sara (name changed) was learning guerrilla warfare in the dense jungles of western Jharkhand with men and women more than twice her age. Taken away forcibly from her parents in Lohardaga by then dreaded Maoist zonal head, Nakul Yadav’s guerrilla squad when she was only 11, Sara, youngest of three siblings, didn’t realize when and how she transformed into a Left insurgent ready to spill blood for the elusive proletariat’s rule in society. Indoctrination turned her into a hardcore rebel within a year. She was ready to take on the mighty state ‘because it stifled voices of the down trodden and the oppressed’. By the time she was 13,

Three ‘dreaded’ Maoists killed in Chhattisgarh

Three members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) were killed in an anti-Maoist operation of the security forces in Rajnandgoan district of  Chhattisgarh  on Wednesday night. “Three dreaded Maoists were killed in the forest of Kopenkadka area under Khadgoan police station limits of Manpur subdivision [of Rajnandgoan] at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday [during an operation] by the District forces and the Indo Tibetan Border Force. Three automatic weapons were also recovered [during the operation],” Rajandangoan district Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said in a statement. The three Maoists, gunned down by the security forces, were identified as the CPI (Maoist) area committee member Mahesh, area committee member and Palleamadi local operating squad commander Rakesh and Palleamadi LOS deputy commander Ranjit. “All three were residents of Bastar region [of South Chhattisgarh]. All three carried a combined reward of ₹13 lakhs. The operation was led by the Sub-di

Philippines' Duterte orders army to recruit 10 new battalions to crush militants

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered the new army commander to recruit and organize 10 new infantry battalions to crush remnants of pro-Islamic State militants, days after they were defeated in a southern city.  Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte reviews military cadets during change of command ceremonies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, metro Manila, Philippines October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao The military on Monday declared victory over the Maute group, which seized control in Marawi City on May 23, after killing the last 40 remaining militants, including a few foreign fighters.  More than 1,100 people, including 165 soldiers, died in the five-month conflict.  “We were instructed to organize ten additional battalions,” new military chief Lieutenant-General Rey Leonardo Guerrero told reporters after Duterte installed him to head the 130,000-strong armed forces. One battalion com

'The worst violence imaginable': 'Cocaine king' Pablo Escobar's son opens up about his father

Thousands lost their lives on Escobar's route to the top of the Colombian criminal underworld. Euronews asks the infamous narcoterrorist's son what it was like to grow up with the world's richest drug He was the drug lord whose murderous campaign of narcoterrorism helped transform his native Colombia into the murder capital of the world.  Point of view "I knew that the violence he was generating would always turn against us." Sebastián Marroquín  Son of Pablo Escobar Thousands lost their lives during Pablo Escobar’s reign at the top of the infamous Medellín cartel – a powerful drug trafficking ring which, during the height of its operations, brought in more than $60 million per day and supplied an estimated 80 percent of all cocaine smuggled into the US. Beginning his criminal career stealing cars and selling contraband cigarettes and fake lottery tickets, Escobar rose quickly through the ranks of the Colombian criminal un

Missing Kashmir cop suspected of joining LeT after his photo holding an AK-47 surfaces

Isfaq Ahmad Dar announced last week on social media that he has joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba. He is the third security to join militant ranks this year. Toufiq Rashid Hindustan Times, Srinagar A Jammu and Kashmir police constable is suspected to have joined the militant Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)  in what could be the third such switch by a security personnel in the Valley this year. Police ordered a probe after the constable, Isfaq Ahmad Dar, last week announced on social media that he has joined the LeT, a Pakistan-based militant outfit blamed for several terror attacks in India. A photograph of Dar holding an AK-47 assault rifle was also widely circulated on social media and messaging apps in the Valley over the past few days. “There are reports we are trying to confirm. The matter is being investigated,” state police chief SP Vaid told Hindustan Times on Saturday. He added that police are yet trying to “know the facts”. Many in Dar’s family, including his brother, are pol

Germany's far-right AfD wants data on journalists' political views

The  newest member of Germany's parliament , the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, is asking journalists to allow information about their religious beliefs and political views to be collected in exchange for access to a party conference. German newspaper the  Stuttgarter Zeitung  first reported on the curious registration requirement on Friday.   Watch video 03:09 How is the AfD shaping political debate in Germany? Journalists registering online to cover the AfD's national congress in December are being asked to check a "declaration of consent" box where they agree to the "collection, storage and use" of personal information. Read more :  The far-right AfD in the Bundestag — What you need to know In addition to the basic requirements like name and press pass number, journalists must also agree to the collection of "special data." In the text, the AfD points to Paragraph 9 of Germany'

Catalonia crisis: Spain dissolves Catalan parliament, calls December 21 elections after region declares independence

Madrid has dissolved the Catalan assembly and called elections for December 21, sacking the regional president, Carles Puigdemont Public prosecutors have said they will file a complaint for rebellion against Puigdemont next week The Catalan assembly earlier voted to declare independence from Spain Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Madrid  sacked the Catalan parliament  on Friday evening and announced elections in the region for December 21.  "The regional leader had the opportunity to do this and did not," Rajoy told a press conference in Madrid, adding that the head of the Catalan police was sacked and the regional cabinet suspended. View image on Twitter  Follow CharlotteChelsomPill   @charlottejourno # Barcelona  now.  # Catalonia   # Catalanindependence 1:25 AM - Oct 28, 2017 "We Spaniards are living through a sad day in which a lack of reason prevailed upon the law and demolished democracy in Catalonia," he said. The Sp