WEEKLY THREAT ROUNDUP 3-4-18

From AlertsUSA

 

Formation of U.S. warships in the Western Pacific Ocean. Photo Credit: DoD - ALLOW IMAGES

U.S. Preparing High-Seas Crackdown on N. Korea

 

March 3, 2018

 

On Feb 25th the following related Flash SMS message was sent to AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

2/25 – Overnight: In response to new sanctions, N. Korea warns that any maritime blockade by the U.S. will be considered an act of war. See email for more.

 

What You Need To Know

On ten occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. Starting in the Western Pacific, last Sunday (the first day of our reporting week), subscribers were informed of a threat by N. Korea warning that any maritime blockade by the U.S. will be considered an act of war.

Readers are reminded that last Friday, the Trump administration imposed a new set of sanctions on North Korea that President Trump billed as the United States’s “heaviest sanctions ever.” The new sanctions target 27 shipping companies, 28 vessels and one individual in an effort to clamp down on illicit trade with North Korea.

View the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury sanctions press statement

View the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury Sanctions Advisory (PDF)

View the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury North Korea Vessel Advisory

The entities targeted in this latest sanctions round are located, registered or flagged in North Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Panama, Tanzania and the Comoros Islands located off East Africa. While previous sanction tranches have tightened trade in and out of North Korea, this latest round is a U.S. effort to make sure the Hermit Kingdom does not end run those restrictions, particularly by ship-to-ship transfer of coal and fuel. In the case of coal, this is an export from N. Korea used to generate cash. In the case of fuel, this would be an import desperately needed by the country as well.

Along with the new sanctions, the U.S. Treasury, State Department and U.S. Coast Guard also issued a global shipping advisory alerting the public to significant sanctions risks for those continuing to enable shipments of goods to and from North Korea, as well as to shine a spotlight on the kind of illicit behavior — including turning off transponders, changing ship identities, and conducting ship-to-ship transfers — in which North Korea has been engaging.

Peeling away the diplo-speak, the net result of the new round of sanctions could soon result in U.S., S. Korean, Japanese and other allied nations targeting ships in international waters or in territorial waters of cooperating countries.

During a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, President Trump warned that if the sanctions don’t work, we’ll have to go to phase two, which may be a very rough thing and “very unfortunate for the world.”

Olympic Calm Drawing to an End

Readers are also reminded that while the Winter Olympics in S. Korea provided a brief respite from tensions on the Peninsula, the games are now halfway complete, with the PyeongChang Paralympic Games slated to begin next week and run until the March 19th.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has already announced that following the conclusion of the games, the U.S. and South Korea will go ahead with two joint military drills; Key Resolve, a command post drill, and the Foal Eagle theater-level field exercise. The combination typically involve tens of thousands of U.S. troops and hundreds of thousands of their Korean counterparts.

N. Korea has reacted harshly to the decision. In early February, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) carried the following warning:

“If the U.S. and South Korea resume the large-scale joint military exercises, the situation on the Korean peninsula will again be pushed back to the grim phase of catastrophe and the provokers will have to bear all responsibilities.”

 


 

In September, 2017 AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of a Security Message issued by the U.S. Embassy is Seoul advising U.S. citizens in S. Korea of the need to be proactive in reviewing their personal security and emergency preparedness plans. Those currently in or planning travel to the Peninsula are strongly urged to take advantage of this calm period and follow this advice.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.

 


 

AlertsUSA.com

OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE

3/3 – Pro-Islamic State media group circulating new propaganda poster on social media calling for attacks in Spain. See email for more.

3/2 – AlertsUSA monitoring reports of shots fired, Central Michigan University (Campbell Hall). Shelter in place order issued. Add’l alerts as warranted.

3/2 – US Embassy Burkina Faso (W. Africa) warning Americans to avoid downtown Ouagadougou (the capital) & to seek shelter flwg attack on French embassy. Monitoring..

3/1 – Houston FD rpts cause of incident as gas leak near campus. Numerous students currently being transported to local hospitals. Add’l alerts as warranted.

3/1 – Houston Fire Dept. declares mass casualty incident after 22 students fall ill from ‘unknown substance’ at The Young Women’s Prep Academy. Monitoring…

2/27 – All Woodland Park, CO School District schools closed on Wed due to an unspecified credible security threat. AlertsUSA monitoring…

2/27 – Arlington, VA Fire Dept. rpts 11 started became ill after letter was opened in consolidated admin bldg. 3 transported. Condition unknown.

2/27 – AlertsUSA monitoring Ft Myer, VA Hazmat incident where several US mil personnel being are treated after exposure to a “suspicious letter.” Developing…

2/25 – Strong shallow M7.6 EQ strikes Papua New Guinea. No tsunami threat expected. Add’l alerts as warranted.

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Scene of ferry bombing, Playa del Carmen, Mexco - ALLOW IMAGES

U.S. Embassy Mexico Warns of Ferry Bombing Threat Drug Cartel Claims Responsibility for Blast

 

March 3, 2018

 

On March 2nd, the following related Flash SMS message
was sent to AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

3/2 – US Embassy Mexico issues security alert following discovery of explosive device on ferry operating between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

What You Need To Know

On February 21, AlertsUSA warned subscribers of an explosion on a tourist ferry in Playa del Carmen, Mexico that injured at least 25 people, including seven Americans and three Canadians. The ferry had just tied up along the pier following a run from Cozumel when the explosion occurred. At the time, media reports suggested explosion was result of a fuel leak.

This week the U.S. Embassy Mexico City issued a security alert for U.S. citizens following the discovery of two undetonated explosive devices on a passenger ferry that also provides service between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. The security message prohibits U.S. government employees from taking ferries operating along the route until further notice.

As a followup, it has been revealed that the Cartel de “El Pumba” y “Tata” and Los Zetas have claimed responsibility for the original blast.

Are you or your children planning Spring holidays in Mexico (or anywhere else for that matter)? Don’t take your safety for granted. AlertsUSA strongly recommends checking out the U.S. State Department’s travel website for the latest safety and security information about your destination. Ideally you should do this BEFORE booking a trip, as well as prior to departure, in order to prevent rationalizing away what would normally be considered an overly-risky threat environment.

Links to a variety of State Department travel resources can be found further down in this newsletter issue,

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.

 


 

For the next several weeks Threat Journal will be featuring short videos by Dr. Bill Warner, a highly respected expert on political Islam. In 2006, he founded the Center for the Study of Political Islam (CSPI) to further the study of the politics of the ideology of Islam and its ramifications for Western Civilization.

Warner is the author of fifteen books, including the Amazon bestseller, Sharia Law for Non-Muslims, which is published in 20 languages. His Simple Koran is the first Koran that can be easily understood by integrating Mohammed’s life into the Koran verses. This method gives a context to the book which makes the meaning transparent. All of his books are concise and easy to understand.

Warner has published numerous articles on the topic of Political Islam and is a prolific video blogger with over 150 videos dedicated to commentary and education on this subject. His video, “Why We Are Afraid, A 1400 Year Secret”, has over four million views.

His work is eye opening to say the least.

Islamic Reform Is Impossible (Length – 5:00)

Islamic Reform Is Impossible by Dr. Bill Warner - ALLOW IMAGES

 


 

Marines fast-rope from a V-22 Osprey aircraft during vertical insertion during Exercise Forest Light at Camp Sendai, Sendai, Japan, Feb. 19, 2018. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Damion Hatch Jr. - ALLOW IMAGES

World News Roundup

 

March 3, 2018

 

Other Developments We Are Following

AMERICAS

Pentagon receives orders to plan military parade for Veterans Day
ICE announces more than 150 people arrested in San Francisco area
Is it time? Ending the Military’s Reliance on GPS
Special Operations Command asks for more troops, biggest budget yet
Pentagon to adjust missile defense policy to include threats from Russia, China
NSA Nominee: Russia, China, Others Don’t Fear Retaliation for Cyberattacks
U.S. ambassador to Mexico to resign amid tense bilateral relations
U.S. considering broad oil sanctions on Venezuela
Brazil declares emergency over Venezuelan migrant influx
Mexico police charged with using death squad tactics on drug suspects
The Army Is Betting on Aviation for the the Future of War
Pentagon requests $21.2 billion in classified intelligence funding
Trump, Boeing finalize cheaper deal for new Air Force One
Challenger to Venezuelan President Maduro steps forward

EUROPE

Putin denies ‘new Cold War’ but says new nukes are on ‘combat duty’
Russia accuses Trump of getting Europe ready for nuclear war
President Putin Reveals Two Cases When Russia Can Use Nuclear Weapons
Russia Claims It Now Has Lasers To Shoot Satellites
Russia Says New Nuclear Missile Technology Renders defenses ‘Useless’
Merkel admits to German ‘no-go’ areas that ‘nobody dares’ to enter
The Brexit Talks Are Going in Circles
Theresa May rejects EU’s draft option for Northern Ireland
U.S. approves possible sale of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine
Hack of German government network caused considerable damage
Polish lawmaker: Reparations from Germany could stand at $850 billion
Polish law criminalizing some Holocaust speech takes effect

MIDDLE EAST

Mideast braces for war: Israel vs. Iran-backed Hezbollah
Israeli Satellite Images Reveal: Iran Builds Military Base Near Damascus
Top U.S. General: Iranian Regional Meddling Increasing Since Nuclear Deal
UN says Syrian actions in E. Ghouta may amount to crimes against humanity
Nigeria orders ‘all schools’ defended in Boko Haram region
Cameroon deploys special forces in separatist regions
White House: Trump already put Assad ‘on notice’
Now that ISIS has fallen in Iraq and Syria, where are all its fighters going?
South Africa’s parliament endorses land expropriation without compensation

ASIA

UN: N Korea ‘providing materials for Syria chemical weapons’
China warns Taiwan playing with fire over U.S. bill
Dictator for life’: Xi Jinping’s power grab condemned as step towards tyranny
China has plan to build nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
China Presses Internet Censorship Across The Globe
Japan Mulls Deployment of Anti-Ship Missiles on Okinawa
Turkey Is Turning Into the Next Pakistan
Taliban pours cold water on Afghanistan President’s peace talk invitation
Beijing says Maldives marine observatory is non-military
Indian military scrambles to keep up after China moves to put forces in Africa
Xi confidant set to become China’s new spy master


 

Homeland Security

Since 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has used the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin to highlight the continuing terror threat to the U.S. Homeland. The United States is engaged in a generational fight against terrorists who seek to attack the American people, our country, and our way of life. An informed, vigilant and engaged public remains one of our greatest assets to identify potential terrorists and prevent attacks.

 

CURRENTLY ACTIVE NTAS BULLETIN

PDF (1 pg, 186 KB)
Web Version

 


 

Travel Security

The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation at your destination well prior to departure.

Active USGOV Travel Notices

Worldwide Caution

 


 

Active USGOV Travel Advisories

Alphabetical Country List

Dynamic Map

 


 

Other USGOV Travel Resources

Traveler’s Checklist

Smart Traveler Enrollment Prog (STEP)

Travelers with Special Considerations

Travel to High-Risk Areas

Faith-Based Travel Information

Information for Women Travelers

Cruise Ship Passengers

Students Abroad

Your Health Abroad

Driving and Road Safety Abroad

The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides a variety of resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector businesses and organizations operating abroad.

Mariners and U.S. citizens considering maritime travel should also review information at the websites of the National Geospatial Agency, the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Portal, and the U.S. Coast Guard for information related to maritime and port security globally.

Foreign Sources of Travel Guidance

Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs

 


 

Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs

 


 

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

 


 

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