Archive for the ‘security’ Category

Global Unemployment Threat to Stability Worldwide

February 14, 2009

From lawyers in Paris to factory workers in China and bodyguards in Colombia, the ranks of the jobless are swelling rapidly across the globe.

Worldwide job losses from the recession that started in the United States in December 2007 could hit a staggering 50 million by the end of 2009, according to the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency. The slowdown has already claimed 3.6 million American jobs.

The New York Times

High unemployment rates, especially among young workers, have led to protests in countries as varied as Latvia, Chile, Greece, Bulgaria and Iceland and contributed to strikes in Britain and France.

Last month, the government of Iceland, whose economy is expected to contract 10 percent this year, collapsed and the prime minister moved up national elections after weeks of protests by Icelanders angered by soaring unemployment and rising prices.

Just last week, the new United States director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told Congress that instability caused by the global economic crisis had become the biggest security threat facing the United States, outpacing terrorism.

“Nearly everybody has been caught by surprise at the speed in which unemployment is increasing, and are groping for a response,” said Nicolas Véron, a fellow at Bruegel, a research center in Brussels that focuses on Europe’s role in the global economy.

In emerging economies like those in Eastern Europe, there are fears that growing joblessness might encourage a move away from free-market, pro-Western policies, while in developed countries unemployment could bolster efforts to protect local industries at the expense of global trade.

Indeed, some European stimulus packages, as well one passed Friday in the United States, include protections for domestic companies, increasing the likelihood of protectionist trade battles.

Protectionist measures were an intense matter of discussion as finance ministers from the Group of 7 economies met this weekend in Rome. [Page A16.]

While the number of jobs in the United States has been falling since the end of 2007, the pace of layoffs in Europe, Asia and the developing world has caught up only recently as companies that resisted deep cuts in the past follow the lead of their American counterparts.

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Pakistan Sacks Security Official That Said Government Tied to Mumbai

January 7, 2009

Pakistan’s government has sacked its top security adviser after he publicly acknowledged a connection between Pakistan and the Mumbai terror attacks in late November.


The office of Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani confirmed Wednesday that National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani had been fired, but gave no reason for his dismissal.

Pakistan's national security advisor Mehmood Ali Durrani ... 
Pakistan’s national security advisor Mehmood Ali Durrani attends a meeting in Islamabad in this picture taken December 2, 2008. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani dismissed his national security adviser Durrani on January 7, 2009, following weeks of tension with India in the aftermath of an attack by militants on Mumbai. Picture taken December 2, 2008.REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN)

Earlier in the day, Durrani said the sole surviving suspect in the Mumbai attacks — in which more than 160 people were killed — had ties to Pakistan.

“I think it probably would be true now that for example [Mohammed Ajmal Kasab] had Pakistani connections,” said Durrani. “So one cannot deny there was zero link with Pakistan. How much, who all was involved, that we have to investigate.”

Statements from Kasab, the sole surviving suspect, were among evidence that India submitted to Pakistan on Monday regarding the attacks.

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By NAHAL TOOSI, Associated Press Writer

Pakistan fired its national security adviser amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, a possible sign of divisions in the weak civilian government over how to react to Indian and international demands it crack down on the alleged masterminds.

Mahmood Ali Durrani, a former ambassador to the U.S. and seen by critics as too friendly with Washington, was fired late Wednesday because “he gave media interviews on national security issues without consulting the prime minister,” said Imran Gardaizi, spokesman for Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The decision came hours after Indian media quoted Durrani as saying the surviving Mumbai attacker was Pakistani. Other top Pakistani officials separately confirmed Mohammed Ajmal Kasab’s nationality to media outlets the same day.

The government’s acknowledgment that Kasab is Pakistani — something India has long alleged — followed weeks of its saying there was no proof and he is not in its national identification databases.

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Obama Inaugural Turning Into 4 Day Fest Needing Massive Security

January 4, 2009

Authorities are organizing what appears to be the largest security operation ever for an inauguration, bringing in thousands of extra police, agents and troops to handle crowds as President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in.

Security officials are bracing not just for the ceremony and parade Jan. 20 but also for at least 70 concerts, balls and other events surrounding the inauguration. Those include the welcome celebration featuring Obama on Jan. 18 at the Lincoln Memorial, which could draw 500,000 people, according to the D.C. mayor’s office.

By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer


“You’ve gone from a one-day event to a four-day event,” said Joseph Persichini Jr., head of the FBI‘s Washington Field Office, which will bring in about 20 percent more employees than usual for the activities.

The expected record throngs pose daunting challenges to police. The U.S. Park Police, for example, typically check the bags of the half-million or so people at the annual Fourth of July celebration on the Mall. But with potentially 2 million people wrapped in bulky coats and blankets pouring onto the Mall for Obama’s swearing-in, stretching to the Lincoln Memorial, police decided that it would take too long to funnel them through checkpoints.

Instead, Park Police are relying on a massive security force, including 1,300 unarmed National Guard soldiers, to detect problems. It is the first time in recent history that Park Police have sought military help at an inauguration, according to Chief Sal Lauro.

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Obama Bristles at media, Security “Bubble”

December 28, 2008

The media glare, the constant security appendage and the sheer production that has become a morning jog or a hankering for an ice cream cone – it’s been closing in on Barack Obama for some time.

Now the president-elect appears increasingly conscious of the confines of his new position, bristling at the routine demands of press coverage and beginning to chafe at boundaries that are only going to get smaller.

By Carol E. Lee

Obama even took the unusual step Friday morning of leaving behind the pool of reporters assigned to follow him, taking his daughters to a nearby water park without them. It was a breach of longstanding protocol between presidents (or presidents-elect) and the media, that a gaggle of reporters representing television, print and wire services is with his motorcade at all times.

Then when reporters finally caught up with Obama at Koko Marina Paradise Deli and he acknowledged them for one of few times since arriving in Hawaii last Saturday, he sounded resigned.

After ordering a tuna melt on 12-grain bread, Obama approached reporters and placed his hand on the shoulder of pool reporter Philip Rucker of The Washington Post, who was scribbling away in his notebook.

“You don’t really need to write all that down,” Obama said.

All presidents and would-be presidents struggle with “the bubble” – the security detail and the always-there reporters ….

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Military to be on high alert for inauguration

December 19, 2008

About 11,500 troops, including chemical attack experts, will join the security detail as Obama takes the oath of office.

By Julian Barnes
Chicago Tribune

Reporting from Washington – The U.S. military will be on high alert during Barack Obama’s inauguration, increasing air defenses and deploying chemical attack experts and medical units, a general said Wednesday.

Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., who heads the military command that oversees security for North America, said the Defense Department had not been told of specific Inauguration Day threats. Nonetheless, he said, the armed services must be ready.

General Victor Eugene “Gene” Renuart, Jr.

“It would make news for a terrorist element or rogue element to interrupt that event,” Renuart said. “So it is prudent to plan for the possibility of that event and to deter it or to respond to it.”

The preparations come amid heightened security concerns during the presidential transition. The Bush administration is planning to provide the president-elect with a series of contingency plans for potential international emergencies, including terrorist strikes and electronic attacks, that could occur after Obama takes the oath of office.

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Pirates: U.S. Navy Commander Suggests Armed Security For Every Cargo Ship Near Somalia

December 18, 2008

Shipping firms should use armed security guards much more to protect their vessels against pirates off Somalia, the top U.S. Navy commander charged with tackling the problem said on Friday.

Vice Admiral Bill Gortney said more cooperation between navies, a legal basis for detaining and trying pirates and stabilizing Somalia would also help to crackdown on the piracy, which has surged in the region in recent months.

But Gortney expressed skepticism about going after pirates on land or targeting them with air strikes, even though a draft U.N. Security Council resolution drawn up by Washington seeks authority for such actions.


U.S. Vice Adm. William Gortney
U.S. Vice Adm. William Gortney commands the Navy’s 5th Fleet. AP Hasan Jamali

“I see people trying to look for an easy military solution to a problem that demands a non-kinetic solution,” Gortney told reporters traveling with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at his headquarters in Bahrain.

“If you’re going to do kinetic strikes into the pirate camps, the positive ID and the collateral damage concerns cannot be overestimated.

“They’re irregulars — they don’t wear uniforms,” said Gortney, who commands the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and oversees a coalition of navies fighting piracy off Somalia.

Somali pirates stand in the dock inside a court of law in Kenya's ... 
Somali pirates stand in the dock inside a court of law in Kenya’s coastal town of Mombasa December 11, 2008. Somalia’s government has welcomed a call by the United States for countries to have U.N. authority to hunt down Somali pirates on land as well as pursue them off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation.(Joseph Okanga – KENYA/Reuters)

Gortney said the solution lay in bringing stability to the African state but that would not happen soon. Governments and shipping companies had to look for other answers.

“I’m a firm believer … (in) armed security guards, because that’s what we’d do ashore,” he said. “You’re working against criminal activity. That’s what I’m pushing.”

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London 2012 Olympics ‘Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack’

December 15, 2008

John Patten, a former Home Office minister and an advisor to the British Olympic Association, has warned that inadequate security procedures have left London 2012 venues vulnerable to terrorist attack.

By Paul Kelso
The Telegraph (UK)
Patten, who was a Cabinet minister in the last Conservative government and served as Northern Ireland secretary said that the Olympic Park site in east London is already vulnerable to terrorists who could plant smart bombs in the foundations of venues currently under construction.

Writing in the latest edition of The Spectator, Patten, who is a member of the BOA’s advisory board, claims that well-placed sources have told him the Olympic project is suffering from a lack of security planning.

Patten claims that the acrimonious departure of Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who was overseeing Olympic security before he sued the force claiming racial equality, has hindered the project.

London 2012 'vulnerable to terrorist attack'

Centre of attraction: an artist’s impression of the London 2012 stadium now under construction and which could be vulnerable to attack

He also suggests that the key agencies involved in organising security are bickering over who takes the lead role, undermining confidence in the entire project.

“In an age of determined and technologically sophisticated incremental terrorism, the Met and the Security Services must overcome everything from highly unfortunate public rows over employment discrimination affecting key officers involved to more private inter-agency rivalries,” Patten writes.

“Forget about policing crowds in 2012, pipework and brickwork is being laid now which is vulnerable to smart devices that can lurk latent until 2012. At least one person from that world tells me that there is no real integrated concept of operations yet. Someone or somebody must provide that focus and work with a semi-detached Home Secretary.”

Patten’s observations, part of a wide-ranging critique of the project, will fuel concerns already expressed that security planning is behind schedule.

Earlier this year, the Public Accounts Committee warned that security master-planning for the project was behind schedule.

The Home Office is working on a strategy document and had planned to put it to the Olympic board before the end of the year. It is expected to unveil its plans in the new year.

When questioned on the issue by The Daily Telegraph last month, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was satisfied that the total security budget of £838 million would be sufficient to cover the final bill, but declined to comment on details of the plan.

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Joint Chiefs Chairman: Adapting to a New Boss

December 15, 2008

As President-elect Barack Obama convened the first meeting of his national security advisers on Monday, there was just one person at the table that the new president did not choose to have there: Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Admiral Mullen, who was selected by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for a two-year term, has been on the job for a year. Come January, he will face perhaps the biggest challenge of his career — pivoting from one commander-in-chief to another, in the middle of two wars. Friends describe him as an even-tempered, intellectually curious and politically astute presence who sees the world beyond the immediate battles of the Pentagon and White House — all skills they say will serve him well in the new administration.

“He’s not a jumper or a screamer, he looks at things to make them better for the long term,” said Adm. Dennis C. Blair, a retired Pacific Fleet commander who is expected to be named by Mr. Obama as director of national intelligence. “He’s an incredible networker, too.”

By Elisabeth Mumiller    
The New York Times

Above: Admiral Mike Mullen.  Photo: Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the last year, Admiral Mullen has sought advice from the retired generals who revolted against former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, reached out to the former Army chief who was vilified for saying more troops were needed in Iraq and invited to dinner prominent Democrats like Gregory B. Craig, Mr. Obama’s choice for White House counsel. His efforts may have been an attempt to soothe the military after the cataclysmic Mr. Rumsfeld, or an anticipation of a change of administration — or both.

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India Unveils Security Overhaul After Mumbai Siege

December 11, 2008

NEW DELHI  —  India announced a massive overhaul of its security and intelligence agencies Thursday in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks that left 171 dead and provoked a public outcry over the government’s response.

Among the new measures, the government will seek to create an FBI-style national investigative agency, beef up coastal security, better train local police, strengthen anti-terror laws and increase intelligence sharing, said Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, the country’s top law enforcement official.

“Given the nature of the threat, we can’t go back to business as usual,” Chidambaram said in a speech to India’s Parliament, adding he would “take certain hard decisions to prepare the country and people to face the challenge of terrorism.”

The revamp represents the government’s first detailed response to widespread public anger over security and intelligence failures in the attacks. Chidambaram has previously apologized for government “lapses” in the assault.

Also Thursday, India formally responded to recent raids and arrests in Pakistan as the foreign minister urged Islamabad to go further by dismantling terrorist operations and camps believed rooted in the country.

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In India, ‘Right To Life’ Means Protection from Constant Threat of Terror

December 7, 2008

Last Wednesday, an extraordinary public interest lawsuit was filed in this city’s highest court. It charged that the government had lagged in its constitutional duty to protect its citizens’ right to life, and it pressed the state to modernize and upgrade its security forces.
By Somini Sengupta 
The New York Times
The lawsuit was striking mainly for the people behind it: investment bankers, corporate lawyers and representatives of some of India’s largest companies, which have their headquarters here in the country’s financial capital, also known as Bombay. The Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the city’s largest business association, joined as a petitioner. It was the first time it had lent its name to litigation in the public interest.

Activists denounce terrorism at a protest rally in New Delhi ... 
Activists denounce terrorism at a protest rally in New Delhi on December 6. Indian police resumed interrogations on Sunday of two men arrested on suspicion of helping militants carry out the Mumbai attacks, which have stoked tensions with neighbouring Pakistan.(AFP/Manpreet Romana)

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