Boston, San Bernardino, Chattanooga and Seattle.
When the Department of Homeland Security was created, part of its core mission was to notify the public “by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector” about terrorist threats. The original, color coded alerts were replaced in 2011, but in the wake of the San Bernardino attack, a new alert system has been ordered by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.
After 2011, not one alert was issued by DHS, in large part because the threshold for doing so was set so high, none of the plots being investigated reached the ceiling for triggering a public alert.
“We need a system that informs the public at large of what we are seeing,” DHSSecretary Jeh Johnson said during a recent national security forum. “Removing some of the mystery about the global terrorist threat, what we are doing about it and what we are asking the public to do.”
Today, DHS announced a modification to the National Terrorism Advisory System they’re calling bulletins. Bulletins will inform the public of more general threats, or trends, related to terrorist activity, versus an alert, which will trigger either an “elevated” or “imminent” notification to the public, informing of a specific threat and steps to take “to mitigate, prevent or respond to the threat.”
“This action is not in response to a specific, credible threat to the homeland, but is a prudent measure to ensure that Americans are better prepared and aware of the evolving terrorist threats,” the DHS press release read.
Immediately following the announcement of the changes to the NTAS, DHS released a bulletin, warning “we are concerned about the “self-radicalized” actor(s) who could strike with little or no notice.
Recent attacks and attempted attacks internationally and in the homeland warrant increased security, as well as increased public vigilance and awareness.”
The announcement was broadcast on the NTAS website, and Twitter, which was the first time the system has been used since it was created in 2011.
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Cover Photo Credit: MINEX GUATEMALA/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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About the AuthorTony Myhre is a physical security and emergency management consultant hailing from the Seattle area. An admitted news junkie, his interests are homeland security and the foster care system. When not writing for Rise News, you can find him opining on Twitter @trmyhre.
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By Staff Report
In an nondescript strip mall off of busy NW 27th in Miami Gardens is a project worthy of widespread attention.
Inside is a small restaurant with big dreams to save a culture before it dies out forever.
This is the story of the place that wants to save soul food in Miami.
At Miami Soul Cafe, soul food is serious business.
“I was raised up on soul food,” Carrollo Phillips said.
“Soul food kind of deals with the person who’s making it,” Willis Howard said. “Putting you heart into it. We were given a lot of scraps a long time ago and we had to make the best with those scraps.”
Well known Miami political operative Willis Howard has wanted to open a place like this for many years.
“it is the largest African-American city in the state. Almost 115,000 African-American residents. And there wasn’t really a black staple. We had a lot of other restaurants from Caribbean, Haitian, Bahamian, Jamaican. But not anything dealing with just African-American food.”
But Howard’s dream of a proudly black restaurant in a proudly black city wouldn’t be possible without this man.
Chef Carrollo Phillips.
“And when you taste that, you gonna taste that love. I don’t care what it is. You’re going to taste it.”
Phillips grew up in Miami and was a big time athlete at Miami Northwestern high school.
He was drafted into Vietnam where he got to hone his cooking skills while running mess halls near the front lines.
But he also saw action and was injured.
“It wasn’t no vacation over there brother. No sir. Still had to go out and survive. That’s what I called it. Survive.”
He came home from the war a damaged young man.
But Phillips took some of the love for soul food he had learned cooking with his mom and grandma and the organization skills developed by the army to start a long career as a successful caterer.
That’s how Howard and him would eventually meet.
Miami Soul Cafe has a large menu of southern soul food favorites.
Howard hopes that his place can help remind his community why soul food is so important.
He wants to save it from disappearing forever.
“Chef is amazing,” Howard said. “Just to have him and his presence. It’s his recipes. And I hope that we can foster something that these recipes don’t die out with us. That other folks come in here and see it. He has no problem showing you everything he does. ‘Let me shows you how to make a biscuit. Let me show how to make grits. Let me show you how to do the fish. Because hopefully, you’ll be able to go out and spinoff and make some more of these things. Because if not, our food will be gone. It will be gone.”Post Views: 4,452
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By John Massey
Francis Fukuyama infamously penned his 1989 essay “The End of History?”, and expanded it into a full book in 1992 “The End of History and the Last Man”.
Very broadly speaking, Fukuyama argued a Hegelian interpretation of history, in which the ending political order would be some variation of liberal democracy.
Western liberalism had just triumphed over the Soviet defense system in Eastern Europe, without firing a shot (though with the blessing of Mikhail Gorbachev).
On Christmas Day of 1991, the last bastion of Soviet political ideology receded into the “dustbin of history”.
The political and ideological victory was complete, and even a demonstration of military victory was completed on February 28th of 1991, with the tidy defeat of the Soviet style Iraqi Military.
While I don’t intend to add my voice to the two decades of dog piling on Mr. Fukuyama, as I at the very least respect the man and lack the requisite qualification to competently critique his early work, the last triumph is an example of both unjustified and dangerous Western triumphalism.
The relative ease of the Gulf War, and the false equivocation between Soviet Forces and Iraqi forces, has made western policy makers arrogant, and can lead to chasing “easy wars” that are anything but easy.
Operation Desert Storm was a flawless execution of the doctrine of AirLand Battle (ALB).
Put over simply, ALB relies on utilization of air forces on a tactical level, special forces in the deep battle space, and a counter blitz composed of armored and mechanized units, in order to both forestall reserve units, and deplete the momentum of the breeching force.
This would negate the overwhelming superiority of Warsaw Pact forces, and resulted in the Pentagon estimating for the first time that NATO might be able to win a land war in Europe against the Warsaw Pact.
The defeat of the Iraqi Military then, was heralded by many as a proof of concept, and that Warsaw Pact forces had been overestimated.
After all, Iraqi battalions equipped with BMPs, T-55s, and T-72s melted in the face of Abrams, Challengers, AMX-30s, TOWs, Hellfires, Mavericks, Paveways, and the rest of the menagerie designed to defend Europe against a Soviet fueled onslaught.
This was all accomplished with great speed, and few casualties.
Western military superiority should not be taken for granted however.
First, it should be noted that Coalition Forces were: more numerous, better trained, and had a much better developed doctrine in the way of ALB.
These are all qualities that would not have been shared by Warsaw Pact forces. What the Iraqis did share with the Warsaw Pact was equipment, to an extent.
Saddam intentionally kept the Iraqi Air Force weak, for fear of an Air Force sponsored coup. As a result, pilots of Iraqi’s most valuable air superiority fighters, their MiG-29s, proved ineffective against Coalition aircraft.
This is epitomized in one instance in “an early engagement in which a MiG-29 pilot shot down his wingman and then flew his own aircraft into the ground some 30 seconds later”.
Furthermore, despite having the 6th largest air force in the world at the time, less than half of Iraq’s aircraft were third or fourth generation aircraft, leaving the Iraqi Air Force both incompetent and technologically outpaced in comparison to Coalition forces.
The situation on the ground was much the same for the Iraqi Army. Top of the line Soviet armor, then and to this day, out range their NATO peers due to the utilization of Anti Tank Missiles fired from the gun barrel, like the 9M119 Svir.
The Soviet Union was also one of the first pioneers of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA), and used it extensively.
An often copy and pasted, but thus far elusive, article purportedly in “Jane’s International Defense Review” by Richard M. Ogorkiewicz and entitled “Impenetrable Russian Tank Armour Stands Up to Examinination”, claims that tests conducted on Soviet T-72s outfitted with Kontakt 5 ERA were able to defeat anti-tank munitions available to NATO in the 1980s when Kontakt 5 would be top of the line ERA.
I cannot find the original article, if it exists, and the results may be dubious even if it does. In any case, top of the line Soviet armor would have been highly impressive in combat against NATO units in both firepower and protection.
The Iraqi Army however, did not have top of the line Soviet armor. Much like the Iraqi Air Force, the Iraqi Army’s armor was a mishmash of old and new, and with terrible training. An infamous report of an engagement between a single American M1A1 and three Iraqi “Asad Babil” T-72s recounts the Iraqi tanks ambushing the Abrams.
The first two fired high explosive rounds, ill suited for fighting armor, and the final engaging with a sabot round.
All three were destroyed, including the last tank being killed through a sand dune. Iraqi’s tank force, in addition to being unaware of what types of rounds to use against modern main battle tanks, was partially composed of somewhere in the range of 3,000 T-54s and its derivatives, as well as 1,500 T-62s.
The Iraqis also had around 1,000 T-72Ms imported from Poland. T-72Ms were a variant of the Soviet main battle tank designed for export, and to be inferior to their Soviet counterparts.
Dubbed by Viktor Suvorov as “monkey models” in his 1982 book “Inside the Soviet Army”, the Soviet Union exported these simpler tanks to its allies, and would be mass produced for usage by the Soviet Union itself should a large scale war break out and last for more than a few weeks.
As a result of these simplifications, monkey models: do not have stabilized guns, cannot fire anti-tank missiles, lack composite armor, lack NBC protection systems, have inferior radio and optical equipment, and exclusively manual turret traversal, among other simplifications.
There is also some merit to the claim that domestically produced “Saddam” and “Asad Babil” T-72s were further downgrades of the T-72M, though this claim is contested.
As a result of all of these factors, we can conclude that the Iraqi Military was ill equipped and ill trained to engage Coalition forces who consistently outgunned and outclassed them.
But this is not representative of the quality of competent usage of technologically relevant Soviet equipment.
Why then does the myth of Western invincibility exist?
In particular the American M1A2 Abrams is susceptible to this myth. The hulking tank, weighing 70 tons, can only be airlifted one at a time by a handful of aircraft in the US arsenal, which makes rapid reaction near impossible.
This is all worth it though, because its impervious to incompetent Iraqi tank crews and insurgents with RPG-7s, thanks to depleted uranium armor, right?
The only variant of the M1 Abrams used by the Saudi Army is the M1A2, seen here cooked off by a Houthi ATGM:
The ATGM in question is likely a variant of the 9M133 Konkurs, based on the infrared bulb on the back of the warhead. Granted, it appears that this Saudi Abrams was not utilizing any kind of appliqué armor, but an $8 million vehicle was destroyed by a Soviet era ATGM all the same.
Perhaps then, Western policy makers should not give in to the attractive vision of an easy war? Perhaps planners should not presume full spectrum dominance when charting out plans for the defense of the Baltic states, Taiwan, or Seoul?
Perhaps being humble in our capabilities, and meticulously planning alongside friends, the hopefully infrequent and necessary wars we fight is a better use of our blood and treasure than chasing “easy wars”?
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Bryan Dourrough/Flickr (CC by 2.0)Post Views: 593
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The owners of Enchanting Creations, a small business located in the heart of Miami Shores, a suburb of 10,000 people situated just north of the city of Miami say they’ve been harassed over the past few months by anti-gay rights activists. The alleged harassment has included numerous phone calls from people asking to place orders for cakes with anti-gay sayings and messages on them as a way to “trap” the store into making a tough business and moral decision.
The tiny shop located on a side street of a quiet block of Miami Shores has finally had enough. Last week, in-between making wedding cakes and cupcakes, they posted the following message to their website. It’s pretty short, and you should probably read the whole thing: (Emphasis added to make reading easier)
“In recent weeks Enchanting Creations has received a series of inquiries seeming to have stemmed from recent events… all of which begging the same basic question:
Will you make us an Anti-gay Cake?
Unfortunately, we haven’t been the only targets; the idea of “setting a trap” for small bakeries to catch them in the act of discrimination has become increasingly more common, and we feel it’s time to clarify our stance on this issue.
The fact of the matter is that we are an American business. As such, it is our responsibility to uphold the law and to refrain from discriminating against our customers, no matter how hurtful or personally offensive we might find their particular beliefs.
We believe that no one should ever be refused service – opposing discrimination by practicing it is not the answer. The only way to uphold our integrity as a company, and to maintain any hope of an eventual triumph over bigotry and discrimination is to act in accordance with this belief. We will not discriminate against potential customers, not even against those whose beliefs directly contradict our own – if the request is protected by the First Amendment we will honor it. This issue isn’t about approval; it’s about respect.
That said, so far these inquiries have amounted to nothing more than trolling; we have yet to receive a serious order. However, should the day come when an actual order is placed and paid for, we will not profit from discrimination.
Today we pledge that any profits we generate from the sale of a cake intended to discriminate against same-sex couples will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign, an organization who continues to fight for LGBT Equality.
We are extremely honored to be featured as an LGBT-Friendly vendor on both EnGAYgedWeddings.com and GayWeddings.com, and we will continue to proudly serve South Florida’s gay community. We sincerely hope that others will join us in finding ways to derive something positive from this ongoing negativity, because in the end we truly do believe that love conquers hate.”
If you would like to learn more about Enchanting Creations, you can visit their website at www.enchantingcreations.net
This was originally published on RiseMiamiNews.com on April 15, 2015.
Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- firstname.lastname@example.org.Post Views: 454
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