• European securityEurope facing “generation-long struggle” with returning battle-hardened jihadists

    European security officials say that Europe faces a generation-long struggle to deal with thousands of battle-hardened Islamic jihadists returning as the ISIS caliphate starts to collapse. Experts say that he cumulative effects of the relentless military campaign by the U.S.-led coalition would finish off the so-called caliphate by the end of 2017 at the latest, if not sooner. The coalition’s military campaign has so far killed between 45,000 and 50,000 ISIS fighters, many of them foreigners, but an estimated 3,000 European fighters are still fighting in ISIS ranks. European security officials believe that the imminent fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, would signal the beginning of the end of the caliphate, resulting in many of the European ISIS fighters returning to their home countries.

  • TerminologyObama explains why he does not use the term “Islamic terrorism”

    Talking at a Wednesday CNN presidential town hall event moderated by Jake Tapper, President Barack Obama, in response to a question by a Gold Star mother, has defended his reluctance to use the term “Islamic” terrorism when referring to the atrocities committed by ISIS, al Qaeda, and other extremist groups. “If you had an organization that was going around killing and blowing people up and said, ‘We’re on the vanguard of Christianity.’ As a Christian, I’m not going to let them claim my religion and say, ‘you’re killing for Christ.’ I would say, that’s ridiculous,” Obama said.

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  • Chemical weaponsHHS sponsors inhaled chlorine antidote for chemical terrorism preparedness

    Chlorine gas is a widely available industrial chemical with catastrophic consequences in industrial accidents. chlorine gas has been used as a weapon, for the first time in the First World War  and repeatedly in the recent Syrian civil war. Currently, there is no specific antidote for lung injuries caused by chlorine exposure, and treatment has been limited supportive care. The first potential antidote to treat the life-threatening effects of chlorine inhalation, a potential terrorism threat, will advance in development under a contract between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Radikal Therapeutics, Inc. of Beverly, Massachusetts.

  • IEDsCountering enemy IEDs in culverts

    Culverts are creeks or streams that run under roads to prevent flooding, and that terrorists often use these areas to kill soldiers. The Joint Improvised-threat Defeat Agency (JIDA) challenge, held 13-21 September at Fort Benning, tested industry vendor equipment from around the United States in order to counter enemy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in culverts.

  • JASTACongress overrides Obama's veto of law allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia

    The Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a bill which would allow families of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia, seeking damages for the 9/11 attacks. The Senate voted 97 to 1 to override the president’s veto, and the House voted 348 to 77 to do so. This is the first time Congress has successfully overruled a veto during Obama’s tenure.

  • JASTAJASTA exposes British soldiers, intelligence operatives to prosecution: U.K.

    Britain has expressed concerns to the United States that the Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) legislation which President Barack Obama had vetoed but which has become law after Congress on Wednesday overrode his veto, could lead to the prosecution of British military and intelligence personnel in American courts – and by hostile regimes around the world. U.K. intelligence and security agencies, MI6 and MI5, have warned about the ramifications of JASTA, as it exposes British personnel to lawsuits by American lawyers attempting to prove that U.K.-based jihadists have been involved in terror plots against U.S. targets. Even more worrisome is the fact that the weakening of sovereign immunity could result in U.K. military and intelligence personnel facing legal action from hostile states.

  • TerrorismISIS's imminent defeat will create “terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years”: Comey

    FBI director James Comey on Tuesday warned that the increasing success of the military campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq carries an ominous downside: a wave of terrorist fighters who will spread across the globe as the group loses control of its territory on the ground. “They will not all die on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq. There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before.”

  • African securitySudan used chemical weapons against civilians in Darfur

    An Amnesty International investigation has gathered evidence of the repeated use of what are believed to be chemical weapons against civilians, including very young children, by Sudanese government forces in one of the most remote regions of Darfur over the past eight months. The investigators, using satellite imagery, more than 200 in-depth interviews with survivors, and expert analysis of dozens of images showing babies and young children with chemical weapons-related injuries, the investigation indicates that at least thirty likely chemical attacks have taken place in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur since January 2016. The most recent was on 9 September 2016.

  • Cultural terrorismA first: ICC sentences Islamist to nine years for cultural destruction in Timbuktu

    The International Criminal Court sentenced an Islamist militant to nine years in jail for ordering members of the Islamist Ansar Dine group in northern Mali to destroy historic shrines and mausoleums in Timbuktu, and burn hundreds of ancient books. The destruction took place in between April and December 2012, when the Islamists controlled the break-away northern Mali – which they called the Republic of Azawad – after chasing the Mali army away. A three-judge panel in The Hague sentenced Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdiin the first-ever case of an individual being charged with war crimes solely for cultural destruction.

  • Terrorism & social mediaJudge questions whether Facebook is doing enough to deter terrorists from using its platform

    A federal judge harshly criticized Facebook, admonishing the social media giant for not be doing enough to deter terrorists from using its platform. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, New York, also accused Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Facebook’s lawyers — who had sent a first-year associate to a hearing — of not taking seriously lawsuits which touch on important issues such as international terrorism and the murder of innocents. “I think it is outrageous, irresponsible, and insulting,” Garaufis told the attorney. The judge ordered the law firm to send a more senior lawyer to the next hearing on 28 September because he wanted to “talk to someone who talks to senior management at Facebook.”

  • TerrorismEuropean security services worry about a wave of female terrorists

    The security services in France have grown increasingly worried about a new wave of female terrorist recruits. The concern has grown over the last few weeks, as arrests were made of French women, some of them teen-agers, who had pledged  allegiance to ISIS. Earlier this month French police arrested two young women, 17 and 19, who were being groomed to carry out an attack on “specific targets” in France in retaliation for the recent death of the ISIS leader Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Since the beginning of September, the French security services have arrested six women for plotting terrorists attacks.

  • SurveillanceSwiss approve broader surveillance powers for the government

    A majority of 65.5 percent of Swiss voters have on Sunday approved a new surveillance law, agreeing with the government’s argument that that the country’s security services needed more powers in an increasingly dangerous world. Relative to other European countries, the Swiss police and intelligence agencies have had limited investigative powers. For example, the law which was updated on Sunday had banned phone tapping and e-mail surveillance under any circumstances.

  • TerroristsNumber of terrorists in U.K. jails peaks

    The number of terrorist held prisoner in British jails 152 — fifty higher than five years ago, according to the latest set of quarterly reports from the Home Office. The reported record number of terrorist prisoners come one month after the Acheson review, which said that past complacency had allowed Islamic extremism to flourish in British jails, and two weeks after the government has launched a new initiative to build specialized high-security units in jails to separate the most subversive inmates from the general jail population.

  • ColombiaChe Guevara era ends: FARC ratifies Colombia peace accord, ending 52-year war

    Colombia’s FARC rebel group on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a peace deal with the government, officially declaring an end to the 52-year war. The insurgent group now prepares to transform itself into a new political party. The title of one article offering an analysis of the momentous even captured it all: “Che Guevara era closes as Latin America’s oldest guerrilla army calls it a day.” “This is an agreement with the last of the great guerrilla movements that emerged in the context of the cold war,” says one expert. “There might be other episodes, but strategically the armed project, the armed utopia, is closing its cycle with FARC.”

  • ColombiaWill Colombia’s peace deal get the people’s vote?

    By Jennifer Lynn McCoy

    On 26 September 2016, the Colombian government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) will sign a formal agreement to end fifty years of conflict. The agreement is precedent-setting in several ways. It will be the first negotiated end to a civil conflict in the world under the new international standards of the 2002 Rome Statutes to hold accountable armed combatants who commit grave human rights abuses. It will also be the first peace process to have included victims at the negotiating table. In another innovation, it extends the special justice system to other sectors of the society beyond the FARC, such as civilian sponsors and financiers of paramilitary forces, as well as the government’s security forces. Finally, it will be the first end to a civil war that does not rely primarily on amnesty for all sides, but instead provides new forms of restorative justice. This is a compromise effort to reach peace while also holding perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable, and I believe could serve as a model for the world.