Eye on Extremism: August 14

The New York Times: The U.S. And The Taliban Are Near A Deal. Here’s What It Could Look Like.

“After months of negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, both sides have signaled that they are nearing an initial peace deal for Afghanistan, perhaps in the coming weeks or even sooner, even though the recent talks have seemed bogged down in the final details. Even a provisional agreement would be momentous, marking the beginning of the end to the United States’ longest war. The conflict has stretched for nearly 18 years, taking the lives of tens of thousands of Afghans and more than 3,500 American and coalition forces, and costing hundreds of billions of dollars. President Trump’s desire to end what he has described as an endless war has been abundantly clear, and it is likely that if there is a breakthrough to announce, in an election season, he will be the person to do it. Whether the withdrawal of foreign troops will actually bring peace and stability to a devastated Afghanistan depends largely on whether it is contingent on the Taliban and Afghan officials making progress toward a separate political agreement. Otherwise, critics fear, the United States and the Taliban will merely be signing an agreement on withdrawal, not peace. The eighth round of talks finished early Monday after days of discussion that often went past midnight.”

Reuters: FBI Seeking To Question Alleged Al Qaeda Operative In Brazil

“The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to question an alleged Egyptian Al Qaeda operative believed to be living in Brazil, and the South American country has pledged to cooperate with the United States in any way it can.  The FBI added Mohamed Ahmed Elsayed Ahmed Ibrahim to its Most Wanted list on Monday, saying he was being sought “for questioning in connection with his alleged role as an Al Qaeda operative and facilitator who has allegedly been involved in plotting attacks against the United States and its interests.”  The FBI said he had been “providing material support” since about 2013 for Al Qaeda, the group behind the Sept. 11 attacks in New York in 2001. It said he was born in Egypt in 1977 and is currently living in Brazil.  In a joint statement on Monday, Brazil’s ministries of justice and foreign affairs said the Egyptian had entered Brazil in 2018 and was a legal resident in the country.  “The Brazilian government is open to cooperating with U.S. authorities on its request, in accordance with our law, and is following the case,” the statement said. Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is working to forge closer ties with U.S. President Donald Trump, an ideological ally who has proposed a bilateral trade pact between the two largest economies in the Americas.”

Newsweek: Homeland Security Chief Says Domestic Terrorism And White Supremacy 'Not Only End Lives, They Degrade Our Society'

“Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenen condemned the rise of domestic terrorism and white supremacy as “abhorrent” during a forum on faith-based violence on Tuesday morning. “Domestic terrorism has a broad and expansive impact on American citizens and our national climate,” McAleenan said. “These attacks not only end lives, they degrade our society and diminish the integrity of our national values.” McAleenan remarks came during the first public meeting of Homeland Security's subcommittee on the prevention of targeted violence against the faith-based community, which was created earlier this year. The forum took place in Jackson, Mississippi and included comment from local law enforcement and religious leaders. “I am concerned about the white supremacist extremist increases and the growing attacks, especially those we've seen on houses of worship. I absolutely agree it's a problem and we need to work to address it,” he said. McAleenan's comments follow two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio that killed at least 31 people within 24 hours. The Homeland Security chief stated that the attack in El Paso, which left 22 people dead, was “motivated by a poisonous and destructive white supremacist extremist ideology.”

The Washington Post: Top Of The Polls, German Politician Downplays Far-Right Past

“A quarter-century since his first foray into Germany’s far-right movement, Andreas Kalbitz is poised to lead it to one of its biggest triumphs. Kalbitz, 46, could be the big winner in next month’s state elections in Brandenburg, where he heads the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party. Yet he also is under scrutiny for his ties with far-right groups dating back to the early 1990s, when Germany saw a resurgence of nationalist sentiment amid post-unification turmoil. “One could accuse me of right-wing extremist connections, but certainly not of having (a) far-right extremist biography,” Kalbitz told reporters Tuesday in Berlin. Critics allege the disavowal is patently false. They point to Kalbitz having joined the Republikaner, a fringe far-right party that was under surveillance by Germany’s domestic security agency, when he was 21. Around the same time, he also became a member of the Witikobund, an association founded after World War II that German authorities say has downplayed the Holocaust and pushed a revisionist interpretation of the war. Gideon Botsch, a political scientist at the University of Potsdam, said Kalbitz “very clearly over long periods of his life, basically since he was a youth, was rooted in the right-wing extremist scene.”

Sahara Reporters: Over 80 Percent Of Nigerian Soldiers Killed By Boko Haram Were Youths, CSO Tells Buhari

“A civil society organization, Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative, says more than 80 percent of soldiers killed in the line of duty fighting the Boko Haram insurgency are young Nigerians. It, therefore, urged the President Muhammadu Buhari regime to establish “education fund” to carter for children of Nigeria’s fallen heroes. National Coordinator of the group, Solomon Adodo, stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday to mark 2019 International Youth Day. “Nigerian youths have proven over time to be brave and patriotic and the least the nation can do in appreciation is not to allow their dreams perish with them. More than 80 percent of soldiers who have lost their lives fighting insurgents and other criminal elements were youths and these youths have wives and children. “One of the ways the federal government can show appreciation for the ultimate price paid by these heroes is to float a fund that will see to the education and welfare of the deceased families. We acknowledge that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has taken initiative to ensure that troops are properly cared for,” Adodo said.”

United States

The New York Times: The Religious Hunger Of The Radical Right

“Domestic right-wing terrorists, like the man accused of the shooting last weekend in El Paso, are not so different from their radical Islamist counterparts across the globe — and not only in their tactics for spreading terror or in their internet-based recruiting. Indeed, it is impossible to understand America’s resurgence of reactionary extremism without understanding it as a fundamentally religious phenomenon. Unlike Islamist jihadists, the online communities of incels, white supremacists and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists make no metaphysical truth claims, do not focus on God and offer no promise of an afterlife or reward. But they fulfill the functions that sociologists generally attribute to a religion: They give their members a meaningful account of why the world is the way it is. They provide them with a sense of purpose and the possibility of sainthood. They offer a sense of community. And they establish clear roles and rituals that allow adherents to feel and act as part of a whole. These aren’t just subcultures; they are churchesAnd until we recognize the religious hunger alongside the destructive hatred, we have little chance of stopping these terrorists.”

CNN: We Need A 9/11 Commission To Fight Domestic Terror

“Americans across the country are saddened and outraged at the domestic terrorist attacks in Gilroy, California, and El Paso, Texas -- as well as other incidents motivated by similar extremist beliefs in white supremacy and white nationalism, like the attack that occurred last October in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the aftermath of these traumatic events, a broader public conversation is taking place about what policy measures we need to implement in response. Policymakers and citizens alike are debating whether new laws and authorities are required, what capabilities and resources are needed, and perhaps most importantly, whether enough political will exists to tackle this clear and present security threat. Recently, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that 90 individuals had been arrested over the previous several months on domestic terrorism-related matters, and last May the FBI's chief counterterrorism agent also stated that there were at least 850 ongoing domestic terrorism investigations. These figures suggest that domestic terrorism presents a significant homeland security challenge, but up until now the FBI has been the lead federal agency to analyze, assess, investigate and disrupt this threat.”

CNN: Schumer To Request Trump Redirect Wall Funding To Address Gun Violence And White Supremacy Extremism

“Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is planning to ask the Trump administration to withdraw its request for $5 billion in border wall funding and redirect the funding to counter gun violence and white supremacy extremism, a person familiar with Schumer's thinking told CNN. The Trump administration is unlikely to be receptive to the request, especially given that the border wall is a key priority for the President. But the request will nevertheless serve as a way for Democrats to keep the issue of gun control in the news as Congress remains on recess. In the wake of recent mass shootings, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back into session to pass background checks legislation that previously passed out of the Democratic-controlled House, but McConnell has resisted those calls. The House and Senate are both out of session for August recess. In an interview earlier this month, McConnell told a Kentucky radio station that the Senate will put the issues of background check legislation in addition to ”red flag” laws ”front and center” when the body reconvenes after its summer recess, but indicated that the Senate will not return early from recess, despite demands from Democratic lawmakers. The request from Schumer was first reported in Politico's Playbook newsletter on Tuesday morning.”

ABC Montana: FBI Agent Ordered To Wear Disguise In Trial For Accused ISIS Sympathizer

“A judge has ordered an FBI agent to wear a disguise while testifying against an accused ISIS sympathizer. Federal prosecutors had asked the courtroom be sealed to the public for the witness' testimony in Fabjan Alameti's upcoming trial for the safety of the informant.  U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled that a disguise consisting of a wig or hat, fake glasses, and fake facial hair, is a reasonable way to protect the FBI informant's identity while still allowing a public trail. Federal agents say Alameti talked about joining ISIS, and attacking random American civilians in revenge for shootings at two mosques earlier this year in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 50 people dead. Back in April, the 21-year-old Albanian National was arrested at a gun range in Bozeman, where investigators say he went to rent and practice using a semi-automatic rifle. Federal court documents say Alameti was communicating with an undercover federal informant about traveling to join ISIS, and plan an attack on the U.S. Investigators say he moved to Bozeman from New York City two weeks prior to his arrest, telling an informant, “I'm going to Montana and buy a gun, since all they need is a Background check and ID.”

The Hill: To Combat Domestic Terrorism, Congress Must Equip Law Enforcement To Fight Rise In White Supremacist Attacks

“I recently visited El Paso, Texas, as part of a congressional delegation investigating conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border. I was moved by the warm hospitality of all the people we met. Tragically, less than 24 hours after our departure, the community that had so graciously welcomed us was victimized in a horrific domestic terror attack. Learning of the news, I was filled with an all too familiar mix of heartbreak for the victims and outrage that so many of our political leaders are unwilling to take even modest action to reduce gun violence in our nation. My dread grew with reports of shooter’s vile manifesto filled with anti-immigrant screeds against Latinos. El Paso is not unique. The shooting is emblematic of the growing threat posed by domestic extremists espousing white supremacist beliefs. Our national conscious has been seared time and again by acts of violence perpetrated by vile ideologies of hate. Members of Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston welcomed a stranger into their midst only to be murdered in the pews. Jews gathered for Sabbath morning services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were murdered, gunned down because of their faith.”


The Wall Street Journal: Iran, U.K. Inch Closer To Tanker Crisis Resolution

“Iran and the U.K. are making progress toward the release of an Iranian tanker impounded in Gibraltar, according to people familiar with the talks, a move that could prompt Tehran to free a British-flagged vessel it subsequently seized and defuse tensions between the two countries. Iran has lifted several stumbling blocks by reflagging the vessel and setting a new destination after Gibraltar sought assurance that the ship wouldn’t sail to Syria, according to people familiar with the matter. Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, seized an Iranian tanker called Grace 1 in early July with the assistance of British Royal Marines. U.K. authorities said the tanker was headed to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions, which Iran has denied. Iran threatened retaliation and two weeks later captured the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Persian Gulf, accusing the ship of breaking international maritime rules. Iran’s threat to commercial shipping in the Strait of Hormuz—through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil is transported—added to already high tensions between the West and Iran after the Trump administration imposed crippling sanctions on Tehran. Shipping premiums rose and some vessel owners started to avoid the region.”

The Washington Post: Iran Supreme Leader Urges Support For Yemen’s Houthi Rebels

“Iran’s state TV reports that the country’s supreme leader is urging support for Yemen’s Houthis against a Saudi-led coalition that he says is trying to “disintegrate” the country. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with Mohammad Abdul Salam, the spokesman for Yemen’s Ansarallah Movement, in Tehran on Tuesday. The group is commonly referred to as the Houthis. Khamenei says Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their supporters seek to break up Yemen, “which must stand firm against this conspiracy.” A Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE has been battling the Iran-aligned Houthis in northern Yemen since March 2015 on behalf of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government. The conflict in the Arab world’s poorest country is largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.”


Iraqi News: Iraq Anti-Terrorism Troops Kill 10 IS Militants, Capture 5 Others In Anbar

“Iraqi security forces killed on Wednesday 10 Islamic State militants and arrested five others during a counter-terrorism operation in Anbar province. In a statement carried by Al Ahd News website, the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service said that its troops have carried out a military operation based on intelligence information to arrest IS militants in Ar Rutbah and Wadi Hauran districts in Anbar. The operation, according to the statement, “resulted in the killing of 10 Islamic State militants, beside five arrests.” Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq. In November, Iraqi forces recaptured Anbar’s western town of Rawa, the last Islamic State entrenchment in Iraq.”

Kurdistan 24: Iraqi Security Arrest Three ISIS Members Who Transferred Explosives, Money To Kirkuk

“Iraqi intelligence and security forces arrested three Islamic State terrorists who confessed to committing various crimes and carrying out executions for the jihadist group, Iraq’s Defense Ministry announced on Monday. Among them was a senior leader responsible for Islamic State-controlled mills in Hawija, western Kirkuk province, according to the statement. “They confessed to transporting food, explosive devices, and transferring money to the families of the killed Da’esh [ISIS] fighters in Kirkuk,” the statement added. Remnants of the jihadist group continue to carry out insurgency attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings in Iraq despite the Iraqi government declaring military victory against the Islamic State in late 2017. Iraqi forces recently carried out a campaign against the group dubbed “Will of Victory” targeting sleeper cells in the country. On Friday, Iraqi security forces announced the conclusion of an operation that was part of the latest effort to engage members of the extremist group after the military claimed success in clearing areas north and west of Baghdad in two previous military operations.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Houthis Threaten To Use New Defense System

“Iran-backed Houthi militias have threatened to use a new air defense system, enhancing their military capabilities to counter the legitimate government. The newly obtained system is most likely Iranian-made. The threats came after Houthis’ so-called spokesman Yahya al-Saree and foreign minister Mohammad Abdel Salam Felita met in Tehran with commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Sources believe Felita's visit to Tehran may be linked to efforts to acquire new weapons which Iran smuggles into Yemen using its terrorist arms to reach Hodeidah port. The group still refuses to withdraw from Hodeidah according to the Swedish agreement. The militias admitted to Felita’s meeting with FM Zarif, however, they did not disclose his meeting with IRGC commanders. Houthi media claimed that during the meeting, they discussed means to strengthen bilateral and diplomatic relations with Tehran and joint cooperation to support the political solution in Yemen, as well as regional developments. Observers believe the Iranian regime has summoned Felita to assign the group new terrorist missions in the Red Sea in order to ease international pressure in Hormuz Strait.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Netanyahu Visits Family Of Murdered Student, Vows To Fight Terrorism

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on Tuesday paid a condolence visit to the family of Dvir Sorek, the 18-year-old killed in a terror attack in the West Bank last week. In comments outside the family’s home in the Ofra settlement, Netanyahu told reporters Israel would continue to fight terrorism. “I told the family the individual murder of Dvir attests to the murder they would carry out against all of us if they only could,” Netanyahu said. “The reason they don’t do this… is because they can’t,” the premier added, referring to Palestinian assailants. “I defined them as animals and I think I did an injustice to the animals.” Sorek was stabbed to death outside the West Bank yeshiva where he studied, in a suspected terror attack. His body was discovered in the predawn hours of Thursday morning, prompting a massive manhunt for the killers. Though formally a soldier while enrolled in a study program at the yeshiva, he was unarmed and not in uniform at the time of the attack. “We are determined to defend the country — these are not mere words, these are real words — until our enemies understand that they can’t uproot us from anywhere in the Land of Israel, including from this place,” Netanyahu said in the West Bank settlement.”

The Times Of Israel: Hamas Leader Vows To Shower Israel With Missiles If IDF Invades Gaza

“Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar vowed on Tuesday that the terror group would prevail over the IDF should Israel send troops into the coastal enclave in any future conflict. “We will defeat the occupation army, if it crosses into Gaza, if God, the ruler of the universe, wills,” Sinwar said in a short speech delivered to Palestinian families in his hometown Khan Younis in southern Gaza. “We will beat that defeated army,” he vowed, adding that if there is another conflict with Israel, “we will shower their cities with hundreds of missiles in a single barrage.” Sinwar, second only to Hamas politburo head Ismail Haniyeh in the terror group’s hierarchy, is known to use bellicose rhetoric when referring to the possibility of conflict with Israel. In the past 12 years, Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza have fought three major conflicts with Israel. But following recent short-lived flareups with Israel, Hamas has agreed to a number of informal ceasefires with the Jewish state and its officials have stated that they prefer to avoid another full-fledged war with it. He also heaped praise on Hani Abu Salah, a Palestinian man who the IDF said crossed the border fence between Gaza and Israel in early August and opened fire on soldiers, wounding three of them, calling the attack ”a sacrificial and heroic operation.”


The National Interest: America's Little-Known Mission To Support Al Qaeda's Role In Libya

“The 2011 intervention in Libya, authorized by the United Nations and led by the United States and some NATO allies, has been criticized for two main reasons. First, it was justified on phony grounds—that Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi was slaughtering civilians, when in fact he was carefully targeting rebels who had attacked first. Second, the interveners aimed at regime change and thus failed in their ostensible humanitarian mission, instead magnifying the death toll at least ten-fold while fostering anarchy that persists until the present day. Yet perhaps the most profound drawback has remained hidden: the intervention rescued a rebellion that was actually led by Al Qaeda militants, not by pro-Western liberals as reported at the time. This starkly contradicts the press narrative of 2011, which claimed that Libya’s unrest had started with peaceful protests over the arrest of a human rights lawyer. Allegedly, the regime used lethal force against these nonviolent demonstrators, compelling them to reluctantly take up arms in self-defense. These amateur rebels then supposedly seized control of eastern Libya within days, prompting Qaddafi to deploy forces to commit genocide, which was stopped only by intervention.”


All Africa: Nigeria: Brave Nigerian Soldiers Fall As Boko Haram Sacks Key Brigade

“Four Nigerian soldiers who joined their colleagues to wage a brave combat against Boko Haram thugs have fallen in Borno State, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt. The insurgents descended on the Nigerian Army 5 Brigade in Gubio at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday as the country prepared for the Eid festivities. The soldiers tried to defend their fort, suffering personnel and equipment losses in the process. The terrorists stole four gun trucks, one mortar gun and one artillery gun during the attack. A tank that was stolen was later recovered in the nearby bush. The assault forced military commanders to relocate troops and the 5 Brigade from Gubio, about 100 kilometres from Maiduguri, to Damasak, where the military operates a larger camp. “Therefore, we now have no troops in Gubio, Magumeri and Kareto,” a senior military source told PREMIUM TIMES. The military chief expressed fears that the entire stretch between Maiduguri to Damasak, spanning over 160 kilometres, is now without military presence and may be vulnerable to attacks. A group of oil explorers from the state oil giant, NNPC, were killed along that route in 2017. The latest attack comes weeks after Boko Haram elements ambushed a military convoy in Borno, leaving a colonel, a captain and five soldiers killed.”

Punch Nigeria: Boko Haram: Army Inducts Four Anti-Bomb Vehicles

“The Nigerian Army has inducted and operationalised four newly acquired Mine Resistant Anti-Ambush Protected vehicles in the North-East theatre of operation for troops fighting the Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorists. The army said on Tuesday that the vehicles were produced by the military in partnership with Proforce Nigeria Limited, – an indigenous Armour Vehicle Manufacturing Company based in Ode-Remo in Ogun State. The acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, said the vehicles were inducted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Maj Gen Enobong Udoh. Musa said, “The Chief of the Army Staff noted that the induction of the vehicles would boost the operational capability and protection of the troops to decisively prosecute the ongoing counter-insurgency operations. “He reminded the troops that equipment alone without strong will and determination by men cannot win wars, he, therefore, charged them to remain resolute in the discharge of their duties and strengthen their commitment to end the war against terrorism soon.”


Reuters: French Troops In Mali Anti-Jihadist Campaign Mired In Mud And Mistrust

“The French soldiers seeking out jihadists in central Mali’s savannahs were prepared for the sandstorms, the thunderstorms, the lack of anything resembling a road and the need to tow vehicles whose wheels kept getting stuck in floodplains.  They knew getting information out of terrified villagers would be difficult. But as the multi-week operation wore on in Gourma district, where 400 French troops and 100 allied Malians searched for 50-odd jihadists they estimated were hiding in the shadows, the obstacles kept piling up. First, there were the storms, forcing them to abandon supper, pack up their mosquito nets and sleep contorted in their vehicles. Then up at 3 a.m. for a mission that couldn’t start because the weather had grounded their helicopters at base. Then, flash floods turned sandy ground to sludge and burst the wadis so only their newly deployed tracked fighting vehicles could cross. When they reached the thatch-and-wood villages where they suspected jihadists were hiding. Men tended cows. Women pounded millet. Everyone smiled. And nobody told them anything. ”We’re not going to resolve this in a day,” said David, the commander of the French forward base near the town of Gossi. French military rules permit publication only of his first name. “This is going to take some time.”

Voice Of America: Tunisia's First Gay Presidential Candidate Faces Threats From Extremists

“A longtime human rights lawyer who is running for Tunisia’s presidency as the country's first gay candidate says he is receiving threats from radical Islamist groups. Mounir Baatour, founder of the Tunisian Liberal Party, recently announced his candidacy for president, vowing to bring about justice and equality in the Muslim-majority, North African nation.  “I have received a number of threats after my announcement, especially through social media,” Baatour told VOA in an interview. “Many of these threats are from extremist individuals. But no political parties have responded negatively to my announcement.” Baatour, 48, said his campaign focuses on employment, equal rights for women and the country’s criminal code. Law 230 of the Tunisian criminal justice system defines homosexuality as a crime and penalizes people convicted of being homosexual with up to three years in prison.  Baatour founded the Tunisian Liberal Party in 2011 with a clear objective to promote human rights and to create a constitutional court that would protect the country’s constitution and its democratic tenets. Tunisia’s presidential election will take place in November, following a parliamentary election that will be held in October.” 


The Washington Post: Pint Glasses, Skateboards And Milk Crates: How People Worldwide Have Thwarted Mass Attacks

“When a blood-spattered man went on a stabbing rampage Tuesday in Sydney, killing one person and wounding another, witnesses chased him through the streets, uniting in a desperate effort to prevent him from hurting anyone else. Dramatic footage from the scene showed civilians wielding chairs, an ax and even a milk crate as their defense, then successfully pinning the perpetrator to the ground as they waited for police to arrive. Authorities called the quick-moving witnesses “heroes” and described them as “significantly brave people.” On social media, they were celebrated as model citizens. Those who helped put a stop to the attack in Sydney now join the ranks of a number of ordinary people from around the world who have demonstrated extraordinary courage to thwart mass attacks in recent years. From Australia and Britain to France and New Zealand, witnesses have time and time again faced excruciating choices in the face of imminent danger, risking — and at times losing — their lives to try to save others. Here are some of their stories.”

Newsday: UN Ambassadors: New Era Of Extremism Threatens Geneva Conventions

“Ambassadors and experts on Tuesday praised the international laws of war that for 70 years have banned attacks on civilians, schools and hospitals while acknowledging an uptick in egregious violations of the measures in high-tech modern warfare. “We are failing the most vulnerable,” said Heiko Maas, Germany’s minister for foreign affairs, at a meeting of the Security Council in Manhattan to mark the birth of the Geneva Conventions in 1949. “We are not living up to our legal and ethical obligations.” The meeting, convened by Poland’s foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, celebrated the four conventions that have been adopted over the last seven decades to form the body of international humanitarian law but noted that the spirit and letter of the laws are trampled on in modern times by both states and nonstate armed extremist groups. Gross violations of human rights in conflicts across the globe where noncombatants and civilian infrastructure have come under attack by extremist groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaida — as well as the armed forces of countries where they operate — are evidence of wide-scale flouting of the Geneva Conventions, ambassadors said.”


USA Today: Bystanders Leap Into Action And Subdue A Man Suspected Of Killing A Woman, Stabbing Others In Australia

“A man with a history of mental illness is suspected of killing a woman in a Sydney apartment, wounding another woman and trying to stab other people Tuesday afternoon, according to police and witnesses. Authorities commended the bystanders who physically subdued him before he was arrested. “A number of members of the public physically restrained the offender,” Police Superintendent Gavin Wood said. “I want to acknowledge those members of the public who got involved. They were significantly brave people.” The 21-year-old was wielding a 12-inch knife and attempted to stab a number of people near a busy intersection around 2 p.m., witnesses said. He was possibly yelling “Allahu akbar” or “God is great,” authorities said. Paul O'Shaughnessy said he and his brother Luke were working in the office of their recruitment company when they heard yelling from outside. O'Shaughnessy said he heard “extremist” language and the brothers feared it might be a terrorist attack. The two, with their friends Lee Cuthbert and Alex Roberts, began chasing the man, ABC News reported. “Because obviously, he's wielding a knife,” O'Shaughnessy told ABC. “I don't know whether it's an instinct thing or what, but we was like, 'Right, we've just got to try and restrain this guy from doing any more."

Southeast Asia

Al Jazeera: Eid Al-Adha Attack Kills Filipino Soldiers, Child In Sulu

“Two soldiers and a two-year-old girl were killed in an attack by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf armed group in the southern Philippines, as the country marked the festival of Eid al-Adha, the military said on Tuesday. The soldiers were travelling on a motorcycle along a busy road in Talipao town in Sulu province, 1,000km south of the capital, Manila, on Monday when the attack took place. The troopers were killed in the ambush, while two girls - a two-year-old and an 11-year-old - were wounded, said Major General Corleto Vinluan Jr, commander of a provincial anti-terrorism task force. The two-year-old died while being treated in a hospital, while the 11-year-old was still in critical condition, he added. “We deeply condemn this very deceitful act of the Abu Sayyaf, who do not in any way represent the Islamic way of living,” said Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, a regional military commander. “We would like to extend our sympathy to the bereaved families of the victims by Sayyaf's inhumane act,” he added. “Rest assured all sorts of assistance will be provided as our simple way of commiseration.” Abu Sayyaf is the most violent Muslim group in the Philippines.”

The Washington Post: Thai Court Acquits Red Shirts Of Terrorism For 2010 Protests

“A court in Thailand on Wednesday dismissed terrorism and other charges against 24 leaders of an extended street protest in 2010 that saw key areas of central Bangkok closed off and random violence that was ended by military force. The Bangkok Criminal Court ruled that the two-month protest by the “Red Shirt” supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, during which 91 people were killed and thousands hurt, was “a political fight, not terrorism.” Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption and abuse of power. His allies won a 2007 election, but parliamentary maneuvering installed the rival Democrat Party in power in 2008, inspiring the 2010 protest that called for Democrat Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down. Thaksin’s ouster set off years of sometimes violent conflict between his supporters and opponents, both of which engaged in aggressive street protests against governments led by the other’s faction. During three months of street protests in 2008, Thaksin’s foes — known as the Yellow Shirts — occupied the prime minister’s offices, as well as Bangkok’s international airport for about a week. The casualties in 2010 included soldiers as well as protesters.”

Reuters: China's Hong Kong Office Condemns 'Near-Terrorist Acts' At Hong Kong Airport

“China’s Hong Kong affairs office condemned what it called “near-terrorist acts” at Hong Kong’s airport and reiterated support for local authorities to severely punish those responsible amid an escalating crisis in the Chinese-controlled city.  The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, in a statement issued on Wednesday, also strongly condemned attacks against a reporter from China’s Global Times newspaper and a traveler at the airport by what it said were violent protesters.  Hong Kong’s airport resumed operations on Wednesday, rescheduling hundreds of flights that had been disrupted over the past two days as protesters clashed with riot police.”


Vox: After The El Paso And Gilroy Shootings, Tech Leaders Are Saying Platforms Must Stop Amplifying Hate Speech

“A collective of prominent tech leaders that calls itself Build Tech We Trust signed a letter Tuesday demanding that the tech industry stop the spread of hate and terrorism on digital platforms.  “We are a collective of tech CEOs, activists, changemakers, and workers who believe the time to act to counter the hate and terrorism is now,” stated the letter, which was signed by over 20 notable figures in the tech industry, including Ellen Pao, ReadySet CEO Y-Vonne Hutchinson, and Code2040 CEO Karla Monterroso.  The letter, published in full below, blames tech companies for amplifying violent ideologies on their platforms, specifically white supremacist beliefs. “Technology platforms promised us connection, access, and democracy but instead are radicalizing and fragmenting communities by providing an unprecedented ability to coordinate attacks and amplify hate,” the letter’s authors wrote. The letter goes on to cite recent shootings such as El Paso and Gilroy, stating, “[W]e are watching the entire country pay the price of unchecked white supremacy, hate, and violence that spread as a result of multiple tech platforms.” Mass shootings, unfortunately, happened before social media platforms existed.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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