- Politics and Social Issues
iWATCH LA (Los Angeles)
If You Live In LA, You Should Care:
If you were born in or before the 1970s you would probably be familiar with the Iran hostage crisis. If you aren’t, here’s my one sentence summation of it.
1979, Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, resulting in over two months of hostage drama, high tension, negotiations, a failed rescue mission, and ending in a number of casualties.
Since then, many people became aware and later found out, that many similar militant groups all over the world have a similar vengeful attitude and hatred towards the United States and its allies many of them have acted violently on these strong emotions and motivations and are still are.
So going back at least 30 years, several of these groups have waged their own war against the United States and its allies, looking for vulnerabilities, opportunities and targets to attack and to attack hard.
Many of these planned attacks, ranging from simple single person to elaborate multi person, highly sophisticated and well thought of acts of violence.
The good news is a huge number of these have been thwarted because of pure luck, inadequacy on the part of the planners and/or good anti-terror and counter-terror intelligence in the part of United States Government Agencies.
But this is not to say that there weren’t any similar attacks which were successful, in the sense of killing innocent lives, destroying property, disrupting the peace and above all terrorizing regular people like you and me.
Among the more notable attacks were:
July of 1996, a pipe bomb exploded during the Olympic Games in Atlanta, killing one person and wounding hundreds.
October 200, a terrorist bomb damages the destroyer U.S.S. Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39.
Terrorist bombings in and around or near multiple U.S. Embassies and U.S. Military Installations all over the world beginning in the 1980s up to today.
And we are not even talking about bombers such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber who in April of 1995, killed 168 people, 19 of whom were kids under the age of 6. At that time, it was the worst act of domestic terrorism in the United States. McVeigh was a security guard and was a United States Army veteran, one of their own.
But then, even with sufficient intelligence and several warnings about a pending terrorist attack perpetuated by foreign militant groups within the United States borders, this almost impossible scenario happened.
Among them the discovery of at least two of the would-be 9/11 (September 11, 2001) bombers were already in the U.S. and the knowledge that at least one of them have took flying lessons and he only wanted to learn how to navigate or steer a 747. And yes he didn’t want to know how to take off, how to keep on flying and how to land. Sounds suspicious enough even to me, don’t you think?
Anyway, if only we knew then, what we now know.
Yes, just like what all the losing opponents of Manny Pacquiao, the current boxer of the year and also the boxer of the decade would probably be telling themselves before they agreed to climb up the ring with this Super Typhoon Knock Out Artist From The Far East. (Bam-lights out)
The Impossible Being Possible?
Yes much like the 2010 Boston Celtics, beating the League’s Best and Number One Seed Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. And then defeating the defending 2009 Eastern Conference Finals Champion Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. And they came to one win away (even from four points away) from dethroning the reigning 2009 NBA Champion Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Talk about the impossibility of that happening, and it almost did.
Going back to the 9/11 bombers though, what we should all be aware of not that it is not possible back then. It was. And it still is.
Also add the fact that many of these bombers are already in the United States since the start of the New Millenium and even long before that—living amongst us, lying in wait until the right time, to attack. Sleeper Cells as they are called. And a few home grown ones such as McVeigh and others who may have been pushed into being one, through one reason or another. And this singular knowledge is what should make each and every peace loving resident of LA, and the United States to action and to be vigilant.
The Good News though, so much more attempts, plots and attacks have been avoided and thwarted but then again one, just one, or just one more, is more than enough.
No More, No Mas:
Among the most notable thwarted attempts were:
Jose Padilla, arrested in 2002 at O'Hare Airport in Chicago as he returned to the U.S. from Pakistan, initially charging him with being an enemy combatant, planning to use a "dirty bomb" or a bomb carrying or laced with radioactive material in the U.S. In 2007, Padilla was found guilty after a three-month trial.
Just recently, the would-be Christmas Day Bomber of 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who strapped a bomb to his body and attempted to blow himself up while onboard a commercial plane flying from Amsterdam to the U.S.
And among the latest ones is the botched plot to bomb New York Times Square in broad daylight by Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad in May 2010.
So who’s saying it is not possible now?
Whether you love the U.S. Government, your local Police Agency, or the U.S. Intelligence, violent acts against the U.S. and its people are real and possible, the question is what are you going to do about it?
iWATCH iREPORT iKEEP us SAFE
So what we, as residents and citizens of the United States and of Los Angeles can do in the face of all these real threats is what should have been done a long time ago. And one, which many of us are familiar with and have probably done as a child growing up and even as a young adult, an adult or even in our old age—an honest to goodness neighborhood watch, wherein everyone of us is aware, on our guard, careful, mindful and watchful of potentially suspicious behavior and activities within our streets, within our neighborhood, inside our workplaces, or wherever we may be.
And if and when we see something suspicious but one that does not really warrant calling the police or 911, then in comes the 21st Century Version of our old neighborhood watch, iWATCH—where we all are watchers and we all are reporters.
And reporting is easy, at http://report/iwatchla.net/ or aside from dialing 911, we can call 1-877-A THREAT (1-877-284-7328).
Spreading The Word:
Although launched by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in October of 2009, just this Thursday, June 3rd 2010, was it launched and announced by no less that the current LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, the current LA City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the current LA Airport Police Chief George Centero at the LA International Airport.
Among the Suspicious Activities which may warrant anyone one of us to report are the following:
- People drawing or measuring important buildings.
- Strangers asking questions about security or building security procedures.
- Briefcase, suitcase, backpack, or package left behind.
- Cars or trucks left in No Parking zones in front of important buildings.
- Intruders in secure areas where they are not supposed to be.
- Chemical smells or fumes that worry you.
- People asking questions about sensitive information such as building blueprints, security plans, or VIP travel schedules without a right or need to know.
- Purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons or purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials.
- And many more
As seen in Asian Television Shows at LA 18 KSCI-TV, reported in the LA DOWNTOWN NEWS www.ladowntownnews.com , ABC 7 and Radio Talk Shows in 640 KFI-AM and Spanish News in LA OPINION www.laopinion.com.
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