Monday, September 26, 2016

FBI Releases 2015 Crime Statistics


The FBI released the below information:

 After two years of decline, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased 3.9 percent in 2015 when compared with 2014 data, according to FBI figures released today. Property crimes dropped 2.6 percent, marking the 13th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.

The 2015 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 372.6 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,487.0 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate rose 3.1 percent compared with the 2014 rate, and the property crime rate declined 3.4 percent.

These and additional data are presented in the 2015 edition of the FBI’s annual report Crime in the United States. This publication, which is a statistical compilation of offense, arrest, and police employee data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, also includes limited federal crime reporting, human trafficking, and cargo theft data.

The UCR Program collects information on crimes reported by law enforcement agencies regarding the violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, as well as the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. (Although the FBI classifies arson as a property crime, it does not estimate arson data because of variations in the level of participation by the reporting agencies. Consequently, arson data are not included in the property crime estimate.) The program also collects arrest data for the offenses listed above plus 20 offenses that include all other crimes except traffic violations.

Prior to 2013, the FBI’s UCR Program collected rape data in the Summary Reporting System under the category “forcible rape.” In 2013, the program removed the term “forcible” from the title and revised the definition. The legacy UCR definition of rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” The revised UCR definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Of the 18,439 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal agencies eligible to participate in the UCR Program, 16,643 submitted data in 2015. A high-level summary of the statistics submitted, as well as estimates for those agencies that did not report, follows:

In 2015, there were an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased 10.8 percent when compared with estimates from 2014.

Rape and aggravated assault increased 6.3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, while robbery increased 1.4 percent.

Nationwide, there were an estimated 7,993,631 property crimes. The estimated numbers for two of the three property crimes show declines when compared with the previous year’s estimates. Burglaries dropped 7.8 percent, and larceny-thefts declined 1.8 percent, but motor vehicle thefts rose 3.1 percent.

Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses estimated at $14.3 billion in 2015.

The FBI estimated that law enforcement agencies nationwide made 10.8 million arrests, excluding traffic violations, in 2015.

The arrest rate for violent crime was 157.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, and the arrest rate for property crime was 458.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By violent crime offense, the arrest rate for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was 3.5 per 100,000 inhabitants; rape (aggregate total of revised and legacy), 7.1; robbery, 29.7; and aggravated assault, 117.0 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By property crime offense, the arrest rate for burglary was 67.5 per 100,000 inhabitants; larceny-theft, 364.5; and motor vehicle theft, 24.2. The arrest rate for arson was 2.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.
In 2015, there were 13,160 law enforcement agencies that reported their staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that, as of October 31, 2015, they collectively employed 635,781 sworn officers and 277,380 civilians, a rate of 3.3 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.
Caution Against Ranking

Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use the figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment. 

Four Chinese Nationals And China-Based Company Charged With Using Front Companies To Evade U.S. Sanctions Targeting North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons And Ballistic Missile Programs


The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

Four Chinese nationals and a trading company based in Dandong, China, were charged by criminal complaint unsealed today with conspiring to evade U.S. economic sanctions and violating the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations (WMDPSR) through front companies by facilitating prohibited U.S. dollar transactions through the United States on behalf of a sanctioned entity in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and to launder the proceeds of that criminal conduct through U.S. financial institutions. 
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey and Assistant Director E.W. Priestap of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division made the announcement.
On Aug. 3, 2016, a U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson of the District of New Jersey signed a criminal complaint charging Ma Xiaohong (Ma) and her company, Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co. Ltd. (DHID), and three of DHID’s top executives, general manager Zhou Jianshu (Zhou), deputy general manager Hong Jinhua (Hong) and financial manager Luo Chuanxu (Luo), with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and to defraud the United States; violating IEEPA; and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. 
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also imposed sanctions on DHID, Ma, Zhou, Hong and Luo for their ties to the government of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction proliferation efforts.
In addition, the department filed a civil forfeiture action for all funds contained in 25 Chinese bank accounts that allegedly belong to DHID and its front companies.  The department has also requested tha the federal court in the District of New Jersey issue a restraining order for all of the funds named in the civil forfeiture action, based upon the allegation that the funds represent property involved in money laundering, which makes them forfeitable to the United States.  There are no allegations of wrongdoing by the U.S. correspondent banks or foreign banks that maintain these accounts. 
“The charges and forfeiture action announced today allege that defendants in China established and used shell companies around the world, surreptitiously moved money through the United States and violated the sanctions imposed on North Korea in response to, among other things, its nuclear weapons program,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The actions reflect our efforts to protect the integrity of the U.S. banking system and hold accountable those who seek to evade U.S. sanctions laws.”
“The charges unsealed today reflect our nation’s commitment to using all tools to deter and disrupt weapons of mass destruction proliferators,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “One of the strengths of our sanctions programs is that they prevent sanctioned wrongdoers from engaging in U.S. dollar transactions.  Denying the use of the U.S. financial system can greatly curtail illegal activities and disrupt efforts to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists and rogue nations.  Those who seek to evade our financial sanctions will be fully prosecuted, and we will be unflagging in our efforts to bring them to justice.”
“The FBI takes violations of these laws extremely seriously and will not hesitate to use our full investigative resources to stop this type of illegal activity,” said Assistant Director Priestap.  “In this case agents, analysts and forensic accountants from field offices in Phoenix and Newark, as well as FBI Headquarters, all contributed to a successful investigation.”
According to criminal and civil complaints, DHID is primarily owned by Ma and is located near the North Korean border.  DHID allegedly openly worked with North Korea-based Korea Kwangson Banking Corporation (KKBC) prior to Aug. 11, 2009, when the OFAC designated KKBC as a Specially Designated National (SDN) for providing U.S. dollar financial services for two other North Korean entities, Tanchon Commercial Bank (Tanchon) and Korea Hyoksin Trading Corporation (Hyoksin).  President Bush identified Tanchon as a weapons of mass destruction proliferator in June 2005, and OFAC designated Hyoksin as an SDN under the WMDPSR in July 2009.  Tanchon and Hyoksin were so identified and designated because of their ties to Korea Mining Development Trading Company (KOMID), which OFAC has described as North Korea’s premier arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.  The United Nations (UN) placed KOMID, Tanchon and Hyoksin on the UN Sanctions List in 2006.  In March 2016, KKBC was added to the UN Sanctions List. 
In August 2009, Ma allegedly conspired with Zhou, Hong and Luo to create or acquire numerous front companies to conduct U.S. dollar transactions designed to evade U.S. sanctions.  The complaints allege that from August 2009 to September 2015, DHID used these front companies, established in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, the Seychelles and Hong Kong, and opened Chinese bank accounts to conduct U.S. dollar financial transactions through the U.S. banking system when completing sales to North Korea.  These sales transactions were allegedly financed or guaranteed by KKBC.  These front companies facilitated the financial transactions to hide KKBC’s presence from correspondent banks in the United States, according to the allegations in the complaints. 
As a result of the defendants’ alleged scheme, KKBC was able to cause financial transactions in U.S. dollars to transit through the U.S. correspondent banks without being detected by the banks and, thus, were not blocked under the WMDPSR program.
A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI is investigating the case.  Trial Attorneys Jennifer Wallis and Michael Parker of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Trial Attorney Christian Ford of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and Chief Barbara Ward and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joyce Malliet and Sarah Devlin of the District of New Jersey are prosecuting the case.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance in this matter.   

Real life James Bond Who Parachuted Into Lake Como Wearing His Clothes Under His Wetsuit During World War II And Twice Escaped The Firing Squad To Be Honored By The Italians


From Ian Fleming's older brother Peter to a good number of World War II secret agents and commandos, identifying the true-life person that Fleming based his iconic fictional character James Bond on has become a cottage industry in journalism and publishing.

Fleming said time and again that he didn't based the Bond character on a single person, but rather Bond was based on a general type of World War II secret agent and commando, many of whom Fleming met while serving as a naval intelligence officer during the war. And Fleming also noted that he gave Bond many of his own personal likes, dislikes and character traits.

But again we have a Daily Mail piece that speculates that Dick Mallaby (seen in the above photo), a WWII SOE commando, was the inspiration for James Bond.

Perhaps his actions and the fact that he wore his clothes under a scuba suit - like Bond in the Goldfinger film - conjures up the Bond image.

While I don't think Dick Mallaby was the sole inspiration for Bond, nor were the others mentioned over the years since Fleming's death in 1964, Mallaby's patriotism, bravery and resourcefulness were indeed the personal attributes that Ian Fleming infused into his James Bond character.  

You can read about Dick Mallaby via the below link:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3803649/Real-life-James-Bond-parachuted-enemy-lines-armed-secret-codes-toothpaste-crystals-radios-honoured-Italy.html

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Britain's MI6 Spy Chief Says Islamist Terrorist Threat Is Here To Stay


Reuters.com offers a piece on the British intelligence chief, Alex Younger (seen above in his official photo) stating that the Islamist terrorist threat will endure for some time in the future.

The Islamist terrorist threat to the West will endure for years to come because simply taking back territory from Islamic State will not solve the deeper global fractures which have fostered militants, Britain's foreign intelligence chief has said.
In his first public comments outside Britain, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service said globalization, the information revolution, a deepening sectarian divide in the Middle East and failed states would ensure that terrorism remained a threat.

When asked by the Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan at a panel discussion in Washington whether the apex of the Islamist terrorist trajectory had been reached, MI6 chief Alex Younger said: "Regrettably this is an enduring issue which will certainly be with us for our professional lifetime."
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-security-idUSKCN11R28L

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Warrior Cop Shot In Philadelphia: My Piece On The Inherent Danger Police Officers Face On The Front Lines In The War On Terrorism:


The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International published my piece on a warrior cop shot in Philadelphia and the inherent danger police officers face on the front lines in the war on terrorism.

You can read the piece below:







Note: You can click on the above article and the photos to enlarge.

A Surge Of Ideas: My Piece On General Petraeus' Five Take-Aways From The Middle East Conflicts


The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International published my piece on General David H. Petraeus (Ret) and his appearance at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia, where he offered his "five take-aways" on the conflicts in the Middle East.
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You can read the piece via below:





Note: You can click on the above article and photos to enlarge.

The above photos by Ryan Brandenberg Photography were provided by the Philadelphia World Affairs Council.

ISIL-Linked Kosovo Hacker Sentenced To 20 Years in Prison


The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

WASHINGTON – Ardit Ferizi, aka Th3Dir3ctorY, 20, a citizen of Kosovo, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and accessing a protected computer without authorization and obtaining information in order to provide material support to ISIL.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Charles P. Spencer of the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office made the announcement after the defendant was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
"This case represents the first time we have seen the very real and dangerous national security cyber threat that results from the combination of terrorism and hacking,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “This was a wake-up call not only to those of us in law enforcement, but also to those in private industry. This successful prosecution also sends a message to those around the world that, if you provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations and assist them with their deadly attack planning, you will have nowhere to hide.  As this case shows, we will reach half-way around the world if necessary to hold accountable those who engage in this type of activity. I want to thank the corporation that worked with law enforcement to solve this crime, and the agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked on this groundbreaking case."
Ferizi, who was detained by Malaysian authorities on a provisional arrest warrant on behalf of the U.S., was charged by criminal complaint on Oct. 6, 2015. The criminal complaint was unsealed on Oct. 15, 2015. Ferizi subsequently consented to extradition.
Ferizi pleaded guilty on June 15. According to court documents, Ferizi admitted that on or about June 13, 2015, he gained system administrator-level access to a server that hosted the website of a U.S. victim company. The website contained databases with personally identifiable information (PII) belonging to tens of thousands of the victim company’s customers, including members of the military and other government personnel. Ferizi subsequently culled the PII belonging to U.S. military members and other government personnel, which totaled approximately 1,300 individuals. That same day, on June 13, Ferizi provided the PII belonging to the 1,300 U.S. military members and government personnel to Junaid Hussain, a now-deceased ISIL recruiter and attack facilitator. Ferizi and Hussain discussed publishing the PII of those 1,300 victims in a hit list.
According to court documents, on Aug. 11, 2015, in the name of the Islamic State Hacking Division (ISHD), Hussain posted a tweet that contained a document with the PII of the approximately 1,300 U.S. military and other government personnel that Ferizi had taken from the victim company and provided to Hussain. The document stated, in part, that “we are in your emails and computer systems, watching and recording your every move, we have your names and addresses, we are in your emails and social media accounts, we are extracting confidential data and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands!” Ferizi admitted that he provided the PII to ISIL with the understanding that ISIL would use the PII to “hit them hard.”
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Van Grack of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Gregory Gonzalez of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The Malaysian authorities and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance.