The Philippines – Forces intensify anti-kidnap drive


June 2, 2013

Source: krmagazine.com

Dismantling the network and neutralizing key leaders of kidnap-for-ransom groups are key to ending abductions in Western Mindanao, security officials said

Forces intensify anti-kidnap drive

Anti-kidnapping

Sr. Supt. Edwin S. de Ocampo, chief of the city police, said his office has intensified its intelligence gathering drive in tracking down key leaders of kidnapping groups.

“There is a fusion of information from the police and military intelligence units to track down leaders of this KFR (kidnap-for-ransom) groups,” he told BusinessWorld yesterday.

On Sunday, four members of a kidnap-for-ransom group based in nearby Zamboanga Sibugay province were nabbed in a shopping mall in this city.

Mr. de Ocampo said the police are monitoring the movements of the group for weeks with the suspects having standing warrants of arrest.

On Wednesday, another suspect was also apprehended in the town of Naga in Zamboanga Sibugay.

“These people are plain bandits. They are not members of any known kidnap groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group. Some are rogue members of insurgency groups,” said Mr. de Ocampo.

MILITARY OPTION
On a parallel effort, officials of the military’s Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) said continuing operations have been ordered to capture Abu Sayyaf leaders in the island-provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

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“There will be no letup in our efforts to neutralize these lawless groups,” Rodrigo T. Gregorio, spokesman of the command, said in a separate interview.

Military operations have been intensified following the intense battle between soldiers and the Sawadjaan faction of the Abu Sayyaf last Saturday. At least seven soldiers, including an officer, were killed in the encounter.

Mr. Gregorio said bandit casualties have reached 13 based on intelligence as of Thursday.

He said “continuing” military operations will deter kidnapping.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani, European birdwatchers Ewold Horn and Lorenzo Vinciguerra, Filipino-Chinese Carlos Ty Tiam, Japanese Toshio Ito and an unnamed child.

For his part, WesMinCom chief Maj. Gen. Rey C. Ardo said the military is putting pressure on the bandits while making sure the kidnap victims are safe.

“The safety of the victim is our utmost priority,” he said.

On Wednesday, the US and the British embassies have issued separate travel advisories to their citizens to avoid Western Mindanao, including Zamboanga Peninsula, due to threats of kidnapping.

“We will not take it [advisories] for granted,” Mr. de Ocampo said, adding that authorities have laid out a new security plan.

Col. Andrelino G. Colina, commander of Task Force Zamboanga, said “proactive” measures are needed to stall kidnapping activities, including gathering of information from within the criminal groups.

Although most of the current victims are foreigners, kidnappers are no longer selective in the target victims to include teachers, aid workers and small-time businessmen.

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Revealed: Hundreds of words to avoid using online if you don’t want the government spying on you


June 1, 2013

Source: Daily Mail

Dept. of Homeland Security Forced to Release List of Keywords Used to Monitor Social Networking Sites.

  • Department of Homeland Security forced to release list following freedom of information request
  • Agency insists it only looks for evidence of genuine threats to the U.S. and not for signs of general dissent

Homeland_Security

The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as ‘attack’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘dirty bomb’ alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like ‘pork’, ‘cloud’, ‘team’ and ‘Mexico’.

Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats.

The words are included in the department’s 2011 ‘Analyst’s Desktop Binder‘ used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify ‘media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities’.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organisations for comments that ‘reflect adversely’ on the government.

However they insisted the practice was aimed not at policing the internet for disparaging remarks about the government and signs of general dissent, but to provide awareness of any potential threats.

As well as terrorism, analysts are instructed to search for evidence of unfolding natural disasters, public health threats and serious crimes such as mall/school shootings, major drug busts, illegal immigrant busts.

The list has been posted online by the Electronic Privacy Information Center – a privacy watchdog group who filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act before suing to obtain the release of the documents.

In a letter to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence, the centre described the choice of words as ‘broad, vague and ambiguous’.

Scroll down for full list

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Threat detection: Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats

They point out that it includes ‘vast amounts of First Amendment protected speech that is entirely unrelated to the Department of Homeland Security mission to protect the public against terrorism and disasters.’

A senior Homeland Security official told the Huffington Post that the manual ‘is a starting point, not the endgame’ in maintaining situational awareness of natural and man-made threats and denied that the government was monitoring signs of dissent.

However the agency admitted that the language used was vague and in need of updating.

Spokesman Matthew Chandler told website: ‘To ensure clarity, as part of … routine compliance review, DHS will review the language contained in all materials to clearly and accurately convey the parameters and intention of the program.’

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE: THE LIST OF KEYWORDS IN FULL

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NOTE: We are always available 24/7

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01 442 9322 Ireland

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