Our picksU.S. Suboptimal COVID-19 Response | Mystery Drones over Nuke Plants | Extremists & Climate Change, and more

Published 18 September 2020

· Suboptimal U.S. Response to COVID-19 Despite Robust Capabilities and Resources

· FBI Worried about Clashes Between Violent Groups Before U.S. Vote

· Dozens More Mystery Drone Incursions Over U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Revealed

·  U.S. Accuses Hezbollah of Stockpiling Weapons and Ammonium Nitrate Across Europe

·  FBI Director Says Antifa Is an Ideology, Not an Organization

·  Wray: Racially Motivated Violent Extremism Makes Up Most of FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Cases

·  Transnational White Supremacist Militancy Thriving in South Africa

·  Terrorist Prisoners Hit Record High in British Jails amid Warnings of Radicalization

·  How Far-Right Extremists Are Using the Climate Crisis to Go Mainstream

·  Quebec Extremists Radicalized by COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Could Turn to Violence, Experts Warn

·  Record Numbers of Far-Right Terrorists Held in U.K. Jails

·  The Kremlin’s Plot Against Democracy

·  Post-Mortem of a Triple Poisoning: New Details Emerge in GRU’s Failed Murder Attempts in Bulgaria

·  ‘Who’s Putting These Ideas in His Head?’

·  How to Know if the Election Is Actually ‘Rigged’

Suboptimal U.S. Response to COVID-19 Despite Robust Capabilities and Resources (Jennifer B. Nuzzo et al., JAMA)
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may have caught governments by surprise, but medical and public health communities have long warned of the potential for a high-consequence pandemic. Most recently, in September 2019, a report by the independent Global Preparedness Monitoring Board urged political leaders to take steps in their countries to improve preparedness for such events. One month later, the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, a framework for benchmarking health security in 195 countries, found that no country was fully prepared for a major health emergency. The Index identified serious weaknesses in many countries that could undermine their ability to respond to a pandemic, but it did not anticipate the poor response to the pandemic by high-scoring countries such as the U.S. where major gaps in federal leadership resulted in a failure to mobilize the country’s substantial capacity.

FBI Worried about Clashes Between Violent Groups Before U.S. Vote (AFP)
The FBI is increasingly worried about possible violent clashes between ideologically-motivated extremist groups before the November election, director Chris Wray said Thursday. Wray said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is keeping a close eye on groups who have faced off in protests in various cities such as Portland, Oregon, and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In those places, anti-racism and anti-police groups have squared off with right-wing and white nationalist activists who are often armed.Wray told a Congressional hearing that the FBI was deeply concerned about the growing tension on US streets, and groups that are “hijacking” protests to incite violence.
“Now you’ve got an additional level of combustible violence,” he said, citing “violent extremist groups or individuals committing violence.”

Dozens More Mystery Drone Incursions Over U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Revealed (David Hambling, Forbes)
I recently described how a swarm of drones flew in a restricted area at Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant on two successive nights last September. A new cache of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) reveals how 24 nuclear sites suffered at least 57 drone incursions from 2015 to 2019 – and Palo Verde itself was overflown again in December, despite new security measures.