L.A. still at risk of attack

first_img“We are not safe and we will not be safe for many years,” LAPD Deputy Chief Mark Leap said at the forum sponsored by the university’s School of Public Affairs. “There are many, many more people who consider themselves jihadists now. And criminal enterprises are being used to support terrorist activities.” Officials said the links between organized crime and terrorism are particularly troubling in light of a message posted on an al-Qaida Web site saying the group wants to kill 4 million Americans in retribution for the number of Muslims killed by the U.S. and its allies in recent years. “Al-Qaida recently announced on their Web site that they have two main targets – Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia,” said Michael Intriligator, a terrorism expert and UCLA professor who moderated the forum. “I don’t know why they picked Melbourne, but Los Angeles was specifically mentioned as a target for their next terrorist attack.” Intriligator said Los Angeles has a number of potential targets, including LAX, its downtown skyscrapers and the nation’s largest port complex. He is especially concerned about the potential for an attack using a black-market nuclear device. “I think we are not at all prepared for this and we are living in what psychologists call a state of denial,” Intriligator said. “It’s such a horrendous thing to think about. We think it happened way back in 2001 and that it can’t happen again.” Gang involvement Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Sullivan, who helped found the county’s Terrorism Early Warning Group that has since been emulated by 26 cities nationwide, said organized crime groups in Los Angeles County are supporting international terrorists. “Al-Qaida has stated their intent to obtain nuclear weapons,” he said. “Whether they can do so is unknown. They have often in the past made good on their threats. So it’s reasonable to believe that it’s viable. “As far as attacking Los Angeles, they have attempted to attack Los Angeles in the past. It’s reasonable to believe they will again.” Sullivan also said officials are concerned about the notorious MS-13 street gang and its involvement in human smuggling and other activities on behalf of organized crime syndicates. “MS-13 has a lot of the characteristics that could facilitate terrorist activities,” Sullivan said. Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp., said officials are especially concerned about growing organized criminal activity and lawlessness in parts of Mexico and South America, the erosion of government authority and whether terrorist groups can exploit the situation to attack the U.S. “When we have criminal organizations becoming more powerful than the government then we will end up with increasing militarization along the southern border,” Jenkins said. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Jenkins said, the U.S. government has made undeniable progress in degrading the capabilities of al-Qaida, destroying its training camps, disrupting its flow of funding and thwarting a number of terrorist plots around the globe. “But we’ve had failures as well,” Jenkins said. “What we have not been able to do is dent their determination one bit. We have not been able to stop them from turning angry young men around the world into self-destructing terrorists.” troy.anderson@dailynews.com (213) 974-8985 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Are we safer today from terrorists than we were on 9-11? No, according to a panel of experts at a forum Monday at University of California, Los Angeles. America is just as vulnerable to attack as it was on 9-11, with street gangs funding terrorist groups and also draining resources from law enforcement agencies working to head off future attacks. The experts said the war on terrorism has been replaced by the war on gangs – a huge concern in Los Angeles, which has an estimated 40,000 gang members and is an attractive target for terrorists. last_img read more

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Restaurant robbers feed fears, then vanish

first_imgThey boldly swept into Los Angeles restaurants, menacing patrons with pistols, their faces chillingly obscured. Called the Ski Mask Bandits by police, they killed the owner of Chao’s Thai Cafe in Northridge during a spree of violence that spanned two years. In all, they hit 52 restaurants, mostly in the San Fernando Valley, leaving a trail of violence and fear that received national attention. Despite a massive police effort and a $75,000 reward on their heads, they eluded capture. Then, in September 2006, they vanished after robbing a Japanese restaurant in Los Feliz. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre “They’ve been quiet for a year, knock on wood,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore, head of the Valley Bureau. “Don’t wake them up, OK?” The robbers operated in two- and three-man teams, moving with a tight precision that suggested professional training. Rumors circulated in the restaurant community – maybe they were ex-cops, or soldiers who had turned their training to nefarious pursuits. The manner in which they obscured their faces made the whole thing even creepier. With their heads encased in knit-wool like terrorists, their victims couldn’t tell them apart – and police couldn’t be sure whether it was the same guys. Similar robberies caused enough concern that Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton sought a change in the law to hit similarly disguised predators with stiffer prison sentences. The department lobbied legislators to criminalize masked crime with an additional two years or an extra 25percent of a sentence. Even after things quieted down following the last robbery on Sept.14, 2006, the fear lived on. The California Restaurant Association organized meetings with police, and Moore warned, “These predators are out there, and we know they will be back.” And, yet, they never materialized. “Either they moved on or got scared off,” said City Councilman Dennis Zine, who called for the $75,000 reward. “I don’t know how the criminal mind works – were they arrested, did they stop, did it get too hot? I don’t know, but I’m glad that it’s stopped occurring.” And so is Tom Monteleone, who runs Barone’s Famous Italian Restaurant in Valley Glen with his family. Monteleone was celebrating the grand reopening of the old-time pizza joint in July 2006 when the uninvited guests arrived. “The way they came in here, they obviously staked this place out real good before they hit us,” he said. “They probably had dinner in here a couple times to get things figured out.” When they burst in, guns in hand, the bandits knew exactly what to do. One demanded money from the bartender; the other headed right for Monteleone and pressed a pistol to his head. A terrified staff fled as the robbers made off with the cash and the owner’s wristwatch. Everyone was a wreck for days. Monteleone is a tough man who’s seen plenty of tense situations, but he saw no need to take a chance on another robbery. He erected a 6-foot fence around the back of the restaurant, now locks the back door after the last delivery of the night, and hired a security guard. “The first one’s a wake-up call,” he said. “You’d have to be pretty stupid not to do something, so we took precautions. But (the robbers have) just disappeared.” Police offer few clues as to where, however. “We’re working on some suspects – this thing is active,” Lt. Jim Grayson of the Robbery-Homicide Division said. “We’ve got some things we’re working on right now, but nothing I feel comfortable talking about at this time.” Fame plays an odd role for high-profile criminals. The Zodiac Killer stoked the public interest in his murders with cryptic communiques with newspapers. The BTK Killer laid low after taunting the police in Wichita throughout the 1970s and ’80s, then resurfaced by contacting a TV station in 2005, 14 years after his last murder. The Ski Mask Bandits, for all their notoriety, never left any publicly discovered clues as to their identities. Whether they modified their habits, took them elsewhere or slipped up on another crime and ended up in jail – unpunished for their robberies – the fear the bandits brought also evaporated. After a drop in diners last fall, business has bounced back and owners have regained their optimism. “Obviously, you feel better when the thieves are caught, but who knows what happened?” said Kearsten Shepherd, a California Restaurant Association spokeswoman. “Maybe they moved on, maybe something else happened. But the community feels better, so that’s good.” For news and observations about crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Job Vacancy: Donegal Insurance brokerage seeks staff

first_imgA North-West Donegal Insurance Broker are seeking to recruit a Commercial Lines Insurance Handler to join their expanding Office team. The ideal candidate will:Have a CIP qualification or be grandfatheredBe fully CPD compliantHave a working knowledge of applied would be an advantagePlease apply with a Cover Letter and CV to careers@boydhr.ie by Friday 25/05/2018. All applications will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. Job Vacancy: Donegal Insurance brokerage seeks staff was last modified: May 18th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BusinesscareersCommercial Lines Insurance HandlerInsurance BrokerjobsrecruitmentVacancylast_img read more

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