Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Impact of social media

September 21, 2017

A colloquium on “The impact of social media on crime, terrorism, and national security” recently held at Rutgers University featured law enforcement, national security, and civil liberties experts. Here is a video link to the 90-minute event.

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Community policing to counter violent extremism

August 5, 2017

This report provides a thorough description and assessment of an LAPD initiative to counter violent extremism by using community policing. The process evaluation concluded that “adopting a community policing model is a necessary approach to better protect and serve communities at risk for violent radicalization.” The study identified numerous challenges to such an approach, including opposing narratives within communities over whether to cooperate with police, but also identified practical ways to overcome differences and build resilience.

Lessons for terrorism first responders

July 10, 2017

This brief article identifies three lessons for first responders to terror attacks, including emergency medical personnel, based on recent incidents: (1) co-training for police and medical personnel, (2) open communication lines across responder disciplines, and (3) realistic and challenging large-scale disaster drills.

Predicting terrorism

June 24, 2017

This blog post by terrorism expert Brian Jenkins discusses the difficult challenge of predicting attacks. He notes that, outside of conflict zones, terror incidents remain infrequent — in 2015, “74 percent of all fatalities occurred in five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan.” The post-9/11 prediction was for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks, but homemade bombs and automatic weapons are still most common — “Terrorism appears to have escalated horizontally rather than vertically. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, there has been a proliferation of low-level attacks.”

Why stopping terrorism is so challenging

May 31, 2017

This article by the director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism succinctly summarizes what has been learned from analysis of every terror attack in the world since 1970 — 156,000 attacks committed by 2,300 unique organizations. It identifies 6 issues that make counter-terrorism challenging and concludes that “Successful policy requires collecting the best information possible, honestly assessing it and avoiding over reaction.”

Lessons learned from mass shootings

May 4, 2017

This article reviews the 2015 San Bernardino and 2016 Orlando mass shootings and subsequent police responses, along with lessons learned. It notes that “In both instances, patrol and traffic officers, investigators, and command personnel—not tactical teams—were the first law enforcement personnel to arrive on scene” and considers whether current active shooter protocols need to be adapted to fit terrorist, IED, and suicide-bomber scenarios.

ISIS in Turkey

March 10, 2017

This article provides an in-depth analysis of the New Year’s Eve nightclub massacre in Istanbul that left 39 dead and 71 wounded. The attack was carried out by an ethnic Uzbek “sleeper operative,” born in Kyrgyzstan, on orders from his handler in Syria, with logistical support from an extensive ISIS network within Turkey. The country’s traditional focus on the Kurdish PKK may have deflected attention away from the ISIS threat, plus a purge of police and military officials has weakened its counter-terror capacity.

San Francisco suspends participation in JTTF

February 3, 2017

San Francisco PD has suspended participation in the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force while a mandatory review of the 10-year-old memorandum of understanding is conducted, according to this article. Activists have pressured the PD not to aid federal agencies in surveillance related to immigration and 1st amendment activities.

Terrorism & mental health

January 23, 2017

Following incidents as recent as the Fort Lauderdale airport shootings, this article provides a timely summary of studies examining the linkage between mental health and terrorism. Mental disorders do seem to be more prevalent among lone-wolf actors inspired by extremist ideologies than among terrorists following directions or acting as a group. The causal relationship between the individual’s mental illness and the commission of a terrorist act is not so clear, however.

The jihadi threat

December 14, 2016

The respected US Institute of Peace has released a report on terrorism, violent extremism, and the jihadi threat based on the views of 20 experts representing 17 think tanks and universities. The report describes the emergence of ISIS, traces the evolution of al-Qaeda, and offers a range of short- and long-term policy considerations.