Terrorism and counterterrorism | Homeland Security Newswire

  • European anti-Semitism: Trends to watch in 9 countries in 2018

    Anti-Semitism is once again a serious concern in Europe. Incidents are rising in several countries. Violent attacks, assaults and vandalism against the French Jewish community are making headlines nearly every day. Earlier this week, Jews in the United Kingdom took to the streets to protest deep-seated anti-Semitism in the Labor Party and the failure of political leaders on the left, including Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, to adequately address their concerns. ADL offers an assessment of the current situation in nine European countries.

  • #EnoughIsEnough: It is time to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labor Party

    Since Jeremy Corbyn was first named Labor party leader, in September 2015, there has been a growing focus on the problem of anti-Semitism in the party. Repeated cases of antisemitism from Labor Party members have not been dealt with quickly or effectively under Corbyn’s leadership and the Jewish community is now demanding action. On Monday last week, more than 1,000 members of the British Jewish community and its supporters protested in Parliament Square to tell the leader of the Labor party, Jeremy Corbyn, that Enough is Enough.

  • Restoring subways in the event of a bioterrorist attack

    Only a week after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, envelopes containing anthrax spores were sent to several media companies and two senators. As a result, twenty-two people were infected and five died. Since these incidents, the U.S. has increased its efforts on measures countering bioterrorism. That incident stemmed from spores sent to individuals and offices where the reach was somewhat contained. Imagine if the spores had been taken onto a mass transit platform — like the subway. A subway incident can bring a whole city to a halt, and the effects can last much longer in the form of lingering fear and mistrust.

  • Saudi Arabia will face 9/11-related lawsuits in U.S.

    A federal judge in New York has denied Saudi Arabia’s request to dismiss lawsuits claiming that Saudi Arabia materially assisted the 9/11 attackers. Saudi Arabia had enjoyed broad immunity from 9/11-related lawsuits in the United States, but that changed in 2016 when the U.S. Congress overrode a veto by President Barack Obama to allow such cases to proceed.

  • Active shooter drills may reshape how a generation of students views school

    Increasingly, schools are turning to active shooter drills and videos to prepare students and staff to face a gunman. As a sociologist who studies the social impacts of security strategies, I am concerned about the unintended ethical and political consequences of these exercises.

  • Deny and distort: A timeline of Russia's changing story on Skripal poisoning

    Since the poisoning of the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter on 4 March in England, Russian officials have been consistent about one thing: Moscow didn’t do it. Otherwise, they have offered a hodgepodge of theories, evasions, and refutations to parry British accusations that a Soviet-era nerve agent was likely used to poison Skripal and his daughter. British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said on 19 March that Moscow was “not fooling anyone” with its “increasingly absurd” denials of culpability for use of the nerve agent on British soil. Vladimir Putin was trying to “conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation,” Johnson said.

  • Expelled Russian diplomats head home as U.K. mulls further poisoning response

    Twenty-three Russian diplomats who were ordered out of Britain in response to the poisoning of a former spy with a deadly nerve agent are leaving the Britain. In addition to expelling the Russian diplomats, Britain has suspended high-level bilateral contacts with Moscow and announced that British ministers and the royal family will not attend the soccer World Cup in Russia this summer.

  • French consulate worker in Israel arrested for Gaza gun-running

    Israel says it has detained a French consulate official suspected of smuggling weapons from the West Bank to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, using an embassy vehicle with diplomatic license plates. The Israeli police says the individual was motivated by money, not ideology. The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, said Monday it had arrested a diplomatic official who was accused of smuggling weapons into Gaza.

  • Seeking clarity: Making gray-zone activity more black and white

    An emergent type of conflict in recent years has been coined “gray zone,” because it sits in a nebulous area between peace and conventional warfare. Gray-zone action is not openly declared or defined, it’s slower, and is prosecuted more subtly—using social, psychological, religious, information, cyber and other means to achieve physical or cognitive objectives with or without violence. The lack of clarity of intent—the grayness—makes it challenging to detect, characterize, and counter an enemy fighting this way. DARPA launches a new program called COMPASS, to develop software that would help clarify enemy intent by gauging an adversary’s responses to various stimuli.

  • Iran has at least 10 military bases in Syria

    Iran has a network of 10-13 military bases in Syria according to a new study. The study includes a map of Iranian bases, details of each base and an analysis of the strength of the main Shia militias operating in Syria. The bases have tens of thousands of troops from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), as well as missiles and transfer facilities to support Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia.

  • Former Argentine president to stand trial for covering up terror attack on Jewish center

    Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will go to trial on charges that she participated in the cover-up of Iranian officials involved in the 1994 terror attack in a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. In a 26-page ruling by Judge Claudio Bonadio, the former president and eleven former government officials were ordered to stand trial and were accused of the cover-up and abuse of power. One of those officials is ex-foreign minister Hector Timerman.

  • Britain deploys specialist troops in city where ex-Russian spy collapsed

    Britain has deployed specialist troops to remove potentially contaminated objects from the site where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious after a suspected nerve-agent attack. Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, have been in hospital since they were found on a bench outside a shopping center in the southern English city of Salisbury on 4 March.

  • Toxicologist: Lab with “military capability” likely made poison used on Russian ex-spy

    British investigators have announced that a “nerve agent” was used in an attempt to murder Russian former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury on 4 March. But they have not specified what nerve agent was used in the attack. Alastair Hay, a professor of environmental toxicology and a member of the British government’s advisory group on chemical warfare agents, said about the likely source of the toxic substance: “I think it’s more a case in which we are talking about a military capability. If you are a diligent chemist, you will find procedures for making sarin and tabun and various other chemical agents. But there’s the complexity in making it and how efficient the reaction is. And, of course, there is the risk of exposure in making something, too. So containment to make sure that the laboratory person is not exposed is absolutely crucial. So I think, really, what one is looking at here is probably more a military-type manufacture. But again, we just have to wait and see.”

  • Nerve agents: what are they and how do they work?

    The first nerve agents were invented by accident in the 1930s when researchers were trying to make cheaper and better alternatives to nicotine as insecticides. In their search, German scientists made two organic compounds containing phosphorus that were very effective at killing insect pests. However, they soon discovered that, even in minuscule amounts, the substances caused distressing symptoms in humans exposed to them. The two substances – too toxic to be used as commercial insecticides in agriculture – became known as tabun and sarin. Since then, other nerve agents have been developed, but much less is known about them, although they are thought to work in broadly the same way. Unlike street drugs, nerve agents cannot be made in your kitchen or garden shed, on account of their toxicity, even in tiny amounts. Synthesis of nerve agents requires a specialist laboratory, with fume cupboards. As more details emerge from the case of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, we’ll know more about the precise substance used and how it should be tackled. Either way, nerve agents are horrendously lethal and chemical warfare is an obscene use of chemicals.

  • Record expansion of U.S. hate groups slows during Trump’s first year

    A new analysis explains why, as President Donald Trump goes past his first year in office, the pronounced, decades-long expansion of U.S.-based hate groups has slowed to a crawl during the first year of his administration. “[H]ate groups tend to grow in response to threats emerging from environments where social groups perceive their standing to be uncertain or at risk,” says an expert on hate-based social movements. “Hate incidents, in contrast, are most likely to rise primarily in response to expanding opportunities to act. Whether perpetrated through established extremist organizations or by free-standing adherents, such actions are most likely when those who desire to commit them perceive lower costs or risks.”