Archive for January, 2011

5 men arrested over “Anonymous” web attacks

Five men were arrested on January 27 in relation to a string of recent web attacks by an online group that calls itself “Anonymous”. The FBI executed more than 40 search warrants in the United States as part of an investigation into the international group of computer hackers who attacked corporate Web sites last year in a show of support for Wikileaks. Wikileaks gained its publicity in 2010 after publicizing thousands of United States military documents and videos from Afghanistan and Iraq. Law enforcement agencies in France, Germany and the Netherlands have also sought to find members of the group. The “Anonymous” group used a technique known as “distributed denial of service”, which overwhelms the target site with requests until the visitors cannot reach the site. Targets of the hackers included Paypal, Mastercard, and Amazon, however the attacks have been aimed mostly at high-profile websites, including those belonging to the government and other political organizations. The five men remain in custody at local police stations and the FBI says that this crime is punishable by up to 10 years in a state prison.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/us/28wiki.html?_r=1&ref=us

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12299137

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Weekly Reflection, 1/27

What was the most interesting thing you learned from your studies this week?
The most interesting thing I learned from my studies this week was how the American colonies paved the road to their freedom and the events that made their independence from Great Britain one of the most significant events in American history.

How might you apply something you learned this week to your life today?
What I learned this week has made me  proud to be an American because of our dedication to our country.

What would you like to learn more about? Why might you research more on your own?

I’d like to learn more about the two different parties that exist today, Republicans and Democrats, and how their views of America differ.

Write one detailed question about something you have studied this week that you would like an answer to:
I’d like to know some of the things that the King of Britain did to the colonists to make them want independence from their mother country.


Weekly Reflection 1/19

What was the most interesting thing you learned from your studies this week?
The most interesting thing I learned from my studies this week was how  the interaction of Native American, West African, and European cultures helped create the present-day culture of the United States.

How might you apply something you learned this week to your life today?
What I learned this week has intrigued me to learn more about Native American tribes and their rituals. I think it’s amazing how some of those rituals and beliefs are still practiced to this day, and that many of these tribes kept their cultures well preserved despite the influence of the Europeans.

What would you like to learn more about? Why might you research more on your own?
I’d like to learn more about the effects that the Europeans had on the Native Americans and the West African inhabitants, as well as why Native American attitudes towards land ownership lead to conflict with the Europeans.

Write one detailed question about something you have studied this week that you would like an answer to:
What were the most important long-term effects of Columbus’s encounters in the Americas?

Philadelphia abortion doctor charged with murder of newborns

Officials say Karnamaya Mongar (left), died from an overdose of outdated sedatives under Dr. Gosnell's care.

On January 19th, abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, along with nine clinic workers, was charged on account of 8 murders, in his Philadelphia clinic, which served minority and immigrant women for cash, most of these women who could not get abortions elsewhere because they were too pregnant. Prosecutors say Gosnell had performed thousands of illegal late-term abortions and murdered newborns after inducing labour. Patient Karnamaya Mongar, 41, a refugee from Nepal, died  after overdosing on repeated injections of an outdated sedative for a late-term abortion. Gosnell is also responsible for the murder of seven born infants who’s spinal cords were cut with scissors, killed, and then disposed of in Dr. Gosnell’s well-known clinic, the Woman’s Medical Society. Authorities even found dead infants in shoe boxes throughout the facility. “At the Women’s Medical Society, a clinic described as a squalid “baby charnel house”, Dr Gosnell employed untrained, unlicensed workers who performed abortions, administered dangerous drugs and wrote prescriptions,” the grand jury wrote in a report obtained by the BBC. Gosnell and his workers are said to have performed abortions well over the state’s legal cut-off of 24-weeks, which leads prosecutors to believe that they killed hundreds of babies. A number of complaints were reported regarding the clinic but none of them produced a further investigation until law enforcement officers raided the clinic and found evidence of illegal prescription selling, along with blood-stained furniture and rusted equipment. Gosnell and his employees are however presumed innocent until proven guilty before a judge.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/us/20doctor.html?src=me

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12233616

Fighting Terrorism ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

 

What I already know…

Terrorism is considered an international problem that involves the use of violence against people or property to force changes in society of governments. Terrorist groups carry out increasingly destructive and high-profile attacks to call attention to their goals and to gain major media coverage, and many countries face domestic terrorists who do not agree with their government’s policies. Terrorists often target crowded places where people would normally feel safe, as well as something that symbolizes what they are against, for example, the World Trade Center in New York, where a group of Arab terrorists hijacked four airliners and crashed the jets into the twin towers, taking the lives of over 3,000 Americans and marking one of the most devastating days in American history. Modern terrorism has changed drastically since the late 1960s, motivating terrorists to gain independence, expel foreigners, or change societies, as well as other terrorists who are driven by radical religious and cultural motives, which began to emerge in the late 20th century. There are still many things that I would like to learn about terrorism, as well as what they value in gaining public attention from their attacks.

1) The International Terrorism and Security Research Center explains the history of terrorism, terrorist behavior, goals and motivation, as well as the evolution of terrorism. Terrorism has become increasingly common among those pursuing extreme goals throughout the world. For the past 20 years, terrorists have committed extremely violent acts for alleged political or religious reasons. This includes groups led by revolutionary elites as well as dictatorships that believe in merging state and business leadership. Religious extremists often reject the idea of secular governments and view legal systems that are not based on their religious beliefs as unlawful or wrong. They often view modernization efforts as corrupting influences on traditional culture too. People that fall into these categories strictly believe that violence is suitable to achieve their goals, also known as terrorism. This information was helpful in understanding more detailed reasons why terrorists are motivated to use such destructive violence.

http://www.terrorism-research.com/


2) In Ph.D. Brent Smith’s article, “A Look at Terrorist Behavior: How They Prepare, Where They Strike”, he explains the behavior of terrorists and wether or not they are much different from conventional criminals. Research has shown that traditional criminals are spontaneous, but terrorists seem to go to great lengths preparing for their attacks. Research also showed that “international terrorists lived relatively near their targets, whereas right-wing terrorists lived in rural areas but selected targets reflecting the “pollutants of urban life” in nearby cities”, as stated by Smith. Terrorists most commonly prepare for their attacks with surveillance and intelligence gathering, as well as robberies and thefts to raise funding for the group, weapons violations, and bomb manufacturing. Understanding how and where most terrorists plan their attacks has been extremely helpful to law enforcement agencies in preventing and preparing for terrorist attacks. This information was useful because it helped me to understand how terrorists plan their attacks and why they choose the places they do, based on statistics and thorough research.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/journals/260/terrorist-behavior.htm


3) Ph.D. James Walsh explains that media attention is an important aspect of terrorism by which terrorists communicate with their audiences and to influence the tone of media attention to their attacks. Terrorist attacks widely vary in the amount of media attention that they receive. For example, the September 11 attacks gained heavy coverage, whereas others receive none at all. James Walsh’s research explains how such coverage influences potential supporters of terrorists. “This coverage can provide terrorists with a vehicle for conveying their political messages to mass audiences, and it can also distract from public understanding of the difficulty of preventing terrorist attacks and the steps that the authorities take to achieve this objective”, explains Walsh. He also makes a point that there is a particular need to better understand how media attention influences the attitudes and behaviors of individuals, other terrorist groups, and government authorities. It has been claimed that terrorists benefit from high levels of media attention because it communicates their goals to a huge audience, which is what they want. It also increases fear and anxiety among their audience. I found James Walsh’s research very interesting, and it gave me better understanding and also the answer to my question of why terrorists value public attention after their attacks.

https://www.ihssnc.org/portals/0/Documents/VIMSDocuments/IHSS_Research%20Brief_Walsh.pdf

Research Reflection:

I really enjoyed expanding my knowledge about terrorism because it has given me a better understanding of an international issue that many countries face in today’s world. I learned many factors that motivate terrorists to use destructive violence, the most common being the rejection of the idea of secular governments and viewing legal systems that are not based on their religious beliefs as unlawful or wrong. These people strongly believe that violence is suitable in achieving their goals. I also learned about terrorist behavior, including how they prepare for their attacks and where they’re likely to strike. Knowing this greatly helps law enforcement agencies in preventing terrorism and preparing our country in case of future attacks. Last but not least, I learned why terrorist groups value gaining public attention from their attacks. I think that every high school student should learn about terrorism and how it can effect a country, considering it is one of the biggest threats to the safety of people all over the world. Futher avenues that I’d like to research on this topic might include specifics about the 9/11 attack and why exactly the Arabs chose America as their target.

Weekly Reflection 1/12

What was the most interesting thing you learned from your studies this week?
The most interesting thing I learned from my studies this week would have to be how terrorism threatens the safety of people all over the world and why people and nations must work together against the dangers posed by terrorism.

How might you apply something you learned this week to your life today?
What I learned this week has definitely changed the way I look at life in America today. Although I think our country has gotten a good handle on preventing terrorism situations by the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, its not to say that many Americans, including myself, still feel very vulnerable to terrorist attacks as a result of September 11th.

What would you like to learn more about? Why might you research more on your own?
I’d like to learn more about the attacks on September 11th, more specifically, why the targets of the attacks were selected by the terrorists as well as what are some main reasons for terrorism in various regions of the world. I feel like there is a ton more information that I could learn about this subject than just what was written in the text book.

Write one detailed question about something you have studied this week that you would like an answer to:
Of what value would gaining public attention within a country be to a terrorist group?

Arizona gunman targets Congresswoman, leaves 14 injured and 6 dead

A tribute to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to grow outside her office in Tucsan, Arizona.

On January 8th, an armed gunman opened fire outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, where Representative Gabrielle Giffords had been holding an open-invitation meeting with constituents. In addition to the 14 people that were left injured on the scene were 6 dead, including a 9 year-old and a federal judge. Authorities say that people at the scene wrestled the gunman to the ground in an effort to restrain him from reloading his weapon. President Obama praised the courage of the people at the scene who wrestled the gunman to the ground, saying they had showed “the best of America”. 22 year-old Jared Loughner is currently being charged with the attack that has left America devastated, and faces the possibility of conviction and sentence of the death penalty at his soon court appearance. The motivation for Jared’s attack is still unknown, however authorities have described him as severely mentally unstable. As Americans mourn the deaths of the victims at the shooting, Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head, remains in critical condition. Although she is improving and is expected to survive, her recovery could take a while. President Obama recognizes the attack as a “tragedy for the entire country”.

 

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20110108/NEWS/110109572?p=1&tc=pg

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12150161