New Additions to the U.S. Terror Lists for ISIS, JaN

Yesterday, the U.S. added additional suspected terrorists and groups on its designated terror list. More than one are connected to kidnappings and beheadings.

Among the new names I recognize: Amru al-Absi

As of mid-July 2014, Amru al-Absi was selected as ISIL’s provincial leader for Homs, Syria, in the Aleppo region. As a principal leader of ISIL in Syria, he has been in charge of kidnappings.

I wrote about him here, but check the source articles I relied on, here and here. Continue Reading →

Mission Creep to Mission Leap

The U.S. continued air strikes against ISIS today in its effort to help the Kurds retake the Mosul Dam. According to CENTCOM, on August 15th the U.S. was just using “remotely piloted aircraft.” Yesterday, when the strikes began near Irbil and the Mosul dam, CENTCOM said the strikes consisted of “a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft.”

Today, according to CENTCOM, the U.S. has now added bombers and attack aircraft:

U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq Sunday, using a mix of fighter, bomber, attack and remotely piloted aircraft to successfully conduct airstrikes near the Mosul Dam.

Obama today sent a new letter to Congress authorizing the enhanced attacks. Continue Reading →

Government Releases Tsarnaev’s Scrawled Boat Note

boatnote400

The Government responded to several of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s motions today. In its response to his motion to suppress statements, it reprinted what Jahar has scrawled while hiding inside the boat:

I’m jealous of my brother who ha[s] [re]ceived the reward of jannutul Firdaus (inshallah) before me. I do not mourn because his soul is very much alive. God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in this boat and shed some light on our actions. I ask Allah to make me a shahied (iA) to allow me to return to him and be among all the righteous people in the highest levels of heaven. He who Allah guides no one can misguide. A[llah Ak]bar!

Continue Reading →

Mexico AG: Unhappy with Zambada-Niebla Deal, No Plan to Extradite El Chapo

Murillo Karam, Attorney General for Mexico, gave an interview today to Radio Fórmula during which he expressed displeasure with DOJ‘s recent plea deal with Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa co-leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia. (The details of Zambada-Niebla’s plea agreement are here.)

He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S. (“no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.”) He added that Mexico still hasn’t received a formal extradition request for Chapo’s extradition. [More…]

He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S. (“no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.”) He added that Mexico still hasn’t received a formal extradition request for Chapo’s extradition. Continue Reading →

House Hearing on Cartels and Extraditing El Chapo

The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on “Taking Down the Cartels” this week. Predictably, several committee members called for the quick extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

There were four witnesses at the hearing: James Dinkins, a director of Homeland Security Investigations for ICE; John Feeley, a deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Dept; Alan Bersin, an assistant secretary of international affairs and diplomatic officer at Homeland Security; and Christopher Wilson, from the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

I just read the transcript of the hearing (available on Lexis.com). A Republican from Georgia named Paul Broun really stood out — and not in a positive way — repeatedly referring to El Chapo as “an animal.” Here are some of his remarks: Continue Reading →

Feds Approve $54 Million for New High Security Prison

The Bureau of Prisons has announced renovations will commence on the Thomson maximum security prison in Illinois. The funding was approved in January in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014.

The “state of the art” unoccupied state prison was built in 2001 and purchased by the U.S. from Illinois as a possible place to house Guantanamo inmates when Gitmo closed. Then Congress killed the transfer of Guantanamo inmates to the U.S.

Check out the gleeful response of Illinois senator Richard Durbin:

This is the news we’ve been waiting for. The funding that the Bureau of Prisons reported to Congress today is a significant investment in the economic future of Northern Illinois,” said Durbin.

Continue Reading →

Obama and Deportation Relief

Republican intransigence over immigration reform may result in President Obama easing Homeland Security’s removal (previously called deportation) policies. Two measures are under consideration.

Obama met with various Latino groups yesterday. After the meeting:

Obama announced late on Thursday that he had decided to review deportation practices to seek a more “humane” way to enforce immigration laws.

Immigration law experts have said Obama could use his executive authority to also stop deporting parents of those children to keep families together.

Continue Reading →

Wednesday Morning Open Thread

larger version here.

It sure is cold outside, but the view from my living room was very pretty yesterday.

I’ve been mostly reading news from Mexico today. The papers there have been filled the past few days with revelations that the DEA made deals with top Sinaloa cartel members to provide information about rival cartels in exchange for immunity and the freedom to continue their illegal activities. This is about the case of Jesus Vincent Zambada-Niebla, awaiting trial in Chicago. I’m not sure why the Mexican papers are just picking it up now — it was news in the U.S. in 2011. The reporter does a good job though, and includes references to some of the pleadings. Here’s a long post I wrote about the case and the DEA’s “snitch and carry on” policy. It’s an interesting question whether Humberto Loya-Castro, the Sinaloa lawyer who became a DEA informant and provided information about rival cartels for years to the DEA, and who set up a meeting in Mexico City between the DEA and Zambada-Niebla, at which Zambada-Niebla claimed the DEA offered him the same deal as Loya — become a snitch against rivals and continue on without fear of busts — was not so much an informant as an agent of the Cartel doing business with the U.S. Government.

Snitch and receive a get out of jail free card pales in comparison to snitch, stay in business and be free from arrest. The  DEA used the same strategy in Colombia when targeting Pablo Escobar. It’s called “Divide and Conquer.” [More…] Continue Reading →

Bugs and Requested Features

If you run across any bugs, or want to suggest a change or feature, here’s a place to do it.

I’m still tinkering with the site, both in terms of design and features.