Government

  • Domestic terrorismMembers of right-wing militia go to jail for plotting attacks on U.S. infrastructure

    Three members of a right-wing militia have been sentenced to twelve years in prison for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in attacks against federal government agencies. The defendants planned to attack critical infrastructure in Georgia while motivating militia groups in other states to rise up and join them in removing government officials who they believed had exceeded their Constitutional power. The militia members planned on starting a revolution against the federal government by conducting an attack aimed at the infrastructure supporting the TSA, DHS, and FEMA.

  • African securityChad executes 10 Boko Haram members

    Chad said it has executed ten members of Boko Haram by firing squad, marking the first use of the death penalty since 2003. The ten men were sentenced to death on Friday after a court convicted them of crimes which included murder and the use of explosives. Chad officials said that  one of those executed was Bahna Fanaye, alias Mahamat Moustapha, described by the Chadian officials as a leader of the Nigeria-based group.

  • IrelandQuestions raised about Provisional IRA’s possible return to its violent ways

    It has been assumed that Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) has “gone away,” in the words of Sinn Féin’s leader Gerry Adams. In the wake of the 13 August killing in Belfast of a former IRA operative, police north of south of the border have launched an investigation into whether PIRA is still engaged in violence. Separately, a former member of PIRA, who is now a historian working in theBoston College Belfast Project, has charged that hackers affiliated with Sinn Féin have hacked his and his wife’s communication and leaked some of it to the press. U.S. courts allowed the Northern Ireland police access to portions of the archive, leading to arrests of several prominent Belfast Republicans.

  • ClimateSubjecting countries to “targeted punishments” could tackle climate change

    Targeted punishments could provide a path to international climate change cooperation, new research in game theory has found. The research suggests that in situations such as climate change, in which everyone would be better off if everyone cooperated but it may not be individually advantageous to do so, the use of a strategy called “targeted punishment” could help shift society toward global cooperation.

  • TerrorismPalestinians to pay $10M to terror victims while appealing $218.5M verdict

    The Palestinian Authority and the PLO, found liable in a lawsuit over Americans killed in terrorist attacks, must pay $10 million in cash and an additional $1 million monthly payment while the case is on appeal, a U.S. judge ruled on Monday. A jury awarded $218.5 million in damages earlier this year in a lawsuit brought by victims and survivors of bombings and shootings by Palestinian terrorists in Israel from 2002 to 2004. The damages were automatically tripled, to $655.50 million, by the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act.

  • Rail securityThwarted train attack in France highlights U.S. rail vulnerability

    Airports are protected by several layers of security, but railroad stations have minimal, if any, protective measures, and there are no security checks through which those who take the train must pass. The attempted attack on the high-speed train from Brussels to Paris, an attack foiled by the quick courageous action of three Americans and Briton, only highlights the vulnerability to attack of U.S. rail. Security experts say, however, that trains remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks. A recent study, which analyzed terrorist attacks over a 30-year period from 1982 to 2011, found that terrorists have shifted their focus in recent years away from attacking airlines to attacking subway and rail systems. The deadliest attacks in the decade 2002-2011 were against subway and commuter rail systems.

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  • Iran dealObama: Military option still on the table

    In a letter to a Democratic lawmaker, President Barack Obama said the United States will continue to exert economic pressure on Iran, and keep military options available, even if a nuclear deal with Tehran goes ahead. Obama, in a letter to Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) said that if Iran rushes to build a nuclear weapon, “all of the options available to the United States – including the military option – will remain available.”

  • AgroterrorismAgroterrorism a serious risk to Americans, U.S. economy: Experts

    The word “terrorism” is typically associated with bomb and bullets, but security experts say that there are other types of terrorism which may bring death and disruption, chief among them is agroterrorism. Agroterrorism is the use of animal or plant pathogens to disrupt a nation’s food supply, or use the food supply to spread deadly disease.In 2004, Tommy Thompson, then secretary of Health and Human Services, said that, “For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do.”

  • ImmigrationCalifornia offers driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants

    This year California has begun to offer y undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses, and tens of thousands of immigrants have been standing long hours in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles offices around the state to avail themselves of the new document. DMV officials say that of the 883,000 licenses issued so far this year, 443,000 were issued to undocumented immigrants. The officials estimate that by the end of 2017, the DMV will issue more than 1.5 million driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in the state.

  • Iran dealFormer senior U.S. military officers: Iran deal bolsters U.S. national security

    Three dozen retired senior U.S. military officers from all services on Tuesday released an open letter in support of the nuclear deal between the P5+1 power and Iran. The former military leaders describe the agreement as “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” and say that the agreement would secure international support for military action against Iran, should one be deemed necessary. Such military action “would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance,” the former senior officers say.

  • Iran dealIran’s frozen funds: how much is really there and how will they be used?

    By Nader Habibi

    The value and planned release of Iran’s frozen foreign assets have become hot political topics in both Tehran and Western capitals. Authoritative studies of the issue have concluded that as of July 2015, Iran’s frozen assets totaled $89.6 billion — excluding the $12 billion in the United States froze in 1979 (and which now, with interest, may be worth more than $30 billion), the status of which will not change as a result of the agreement. Of the $89.6 billion, only $29 billion would become available to Iran in the short run as a result of the nuclear deal. The rest may remain blocked for much longer because of legal disputes and ongoing tensions between Iran and the United States over other issues. The most important question for U.S. policymakers and the public is how Iran plans to spend the cash it gets back. How much if any will be spent on arms and economic resources for Iran’s allies in the region, such as the ruling regime in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon? Ever since the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, Saudi Arabia has demonstrated a willingness to confront Iran in every proxy conflict with tens of billions of dollars of financial and military support. As a result, it is unlikely that Iran’s additional resources will be able to generate a decisive victory for any of its proxies. What these resources can achieve at best is to prevent the defeat of Iran’s allies and help them endure longer in the ongoing conflicts.

  • CybersecurityEinstein 3 Accelerated (E3A) deployment gets a push forward

    The two recent network breaches at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which allowed the pilfering of sensitive personal information of millions of federal employees, their families, clearance applicants, and contractors, has drawn attention to the Department of Homeland Security’s $3 billion network monitoring program called Einstein. The question now is whether that program is the capable of preventing another intrusion in the future.

  • SurveillanceBill requiring Internet companies to report “terrorist activity” opposed by digital rights groups

    A coalition of digital rights groups and trade associations last week released a joint letter opposing a proposal in the Senate to require U.S. tech firms to police the speech of their users and to report any signs of apparent “terrorist activity” to law enforcement. The letter says that this sweeping mandate covers an undefined category of activities and communications and would likely lead to significant over-reporting by communication service providers. The letter urged senators to remove the “terrorist activity” reporting requirements from the Intelligence Authorization Act (S. 1705).

  • TerrorismIsrael places Jewish extremists in administrative detention for six months without charge

    Israel has expanded its crackdown on Jewish terrorists and their supporters, placing two high-profile extremists in administrative detention for six months – that is, jailing them for six months without charge — and arrested more than a dozen other extremists in West Bank settlement. About two dozen extremists from different West Bank settlements were taken into police stations and their finger prints, DNA, and other identifying markers collected before they were released. They are suspected of being part of the extremist movement, and if they take part in violent actions against Palestinians it would easier for forensic experts to determine whether or not they were on the scene. Following the 31 July arson attack by extremist settlers on a Palestinian family in the village of Duma – the extremists blocked the doors to the house from the outside to make sure the family of four would burn alive – the Israeli government voted to designate Jewish settlers’ violence as terrorism, allowing the security services and police to take steps to combat the extremists which would otherwise not be permitted.

  • Iran dealLeading U.S. scientists support Iran deal

    Twenty-nine of leading U.S. scientists – among them Nobel laureates, nuclear weapons designers, and former White House and congressional science advisers – on Saturday sent a letter to President Barack Obama to express their support of the nuclear deal reached between the P5+1 powers and Iran, and to stress that in their professional assessment the deal “technically sound, stringent and innovative.” Most of the twenty-nine who signed the letter have held Q clearances, a top security clearance which grants its holders access to a special category of secret information related to the design of nuclear weapons. The scientists’ letter as describe as “without precedent” the deal’s explicit ban on Iran’s research on nuclear weapons “rather than only their manufacture,” as prescribed in the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).