Rising Cases of Sedition: Tides of Revolution Surge

Rising Cases of Sedition: Tides of Revolution Surge

Revolution and Sedition

More than 200 people are charged by federal prosecutors for violent crimes related to protests where acts of arson, assaults on federal officers, and other gun crimes are being listed. Attorney General William Barr recently advised federal prosecutors to be aggressive when charging violent demonstrators with crimes, according to a recent WSJ article. Violent protestors face prosecutions for crimes associated with plotting to overthrow the U.S. government through revolutionary means including members of organizations such as Antifa, a designated terrorist organization. Barr stated, “Anyone who has spent a moment at these things and heard their chants and what they’re calling for can see right away that they are, they say they are, revolutionaries, that this is a revolution.” Recent arrests have also showcased the National African Black Panther Party in the Ferguson bomb plot.

A recent report by Anthony H. Cordesman says, “the United States could easily be classed as a Category A to Category B failed state… for its failure to achieve lasting results from its long wars, for its lack of progress in dealing with racism, and for the scale of its failures to use its wealth to deal with inequities in income.” The report, The Greater Middle East: From the “Arab Spring” to the “Axis of Failed States” highlighted important factors concerning the redistribution of USAID in those regions as well as domestic challenges for the US homeland, Europe, Russia, and China. Issues of racism and economic disparity are certain drivers for political change and indeed peaceful protests protected by the constitutional right to assemble, but underneath the veneer of social justice stirs the rise of domestic terrorists in the US who seek an alternative agenda from those of their chosen comrades.

The lines between legitimate civil rights activists and domestic terrorist organizations continue to blur, and this is not an accidental cultural phenomenon but an organized cross-cultural dialogue intended to exploit disenfranchised communities for certain advantages. “While there has been concern about a rise in domestic terrorism in the United States, including before and after the November 2020 presidential election, there has been less public attention about domestic terrorist tactics and targets,” claimed a report by  Nicholas Harrington, Research Associate on the Transnational Threats Project at CSIS. “This is a war of ideas on virtual battlefields—just as much as on the streets of U.S. cities and towns,” stated Harrington. So what are some of the tactics we can talk about and who are the targets? To answer this, we need to unpack the ways in which the relative few who are radicalized can steer and manipulate targeted groups and what happens as to those individuals as that influence spreads.

The Landscape of Civil Rights Infiltrated

Americans have watched peaceful demonstrations suddenly turn into violent riots as radical elements within the crowd begin to use force. The right to assemble is protected by the law of the land. By recruiting masses to a legitimate civil rights cause such as issues of racial, gender, or economic disparity, aggressors gain the ability to set the stage. They desire a homefield advantage to plan attacks. By hiding in plain sight under the fog of peaceful protestors, violent terrorists provide themselves with Cover and Concealment in addition to Freedom of Movement. Using the crowd as both a civilian shield as well as camouflage, operations to carry out acts of aggression have a higher rate of return for the terrorist organization if they can remain indistinguishable from other protestors in the eyes of local law enforcement.

This rate of return can be measured directly by loss of life, injuries inflicted, and property damage. It can also be measured by the social influence gained through subsequent media coverage and social media engagement that can be used as tools to recruit additional human capital and collect financial rewards. Throughout the protests following the death of George Floyd, organizations affiliated with BLM collected over $1b. Of course, more deaths followed. The tactic of protesting at funerals, capitalizing on the the death of an individual as a staging area to launch yet another protest, is a borrowed tactic from Middle East culture that has been in the playbook of Islamic resistance for centuries.

The arena of of civil rights is another instance of hallowed ground exploited for political gain. By leaching onto civil rights figures and causes that have a real basis for legal dispute, radical elements hope to gain access to political measures where they can hijack reform processes largely through litigation. In 2010, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) got a license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in order “to pursue [their] litigation relating to the government’s asserted authority to engage in targeted killings of American civilians without due process… away from conflict zones” according to an ACLU press release. The ACLU press release fails to mention that the targeted American civilians had elected to join a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and engage in combat with US and allied forces. The ACLU has also been working the courts to bring American born Ex-Combatants (XCs) who survived recent wars including in Afghanistan and Syria back to the US. 
 

Targeted groups often have questions about their identity that can range from ethnic heritage to gender and religion and also question their placement and treatment within socio-economic and political structure. Individuals who become entangled with radicalized elements also expose themselves to entanglements with cartels, gangs, and mafia establishments that can become increasingly exploitive. Non radicalized individuals can become subjected to radicalization and recruiting processes into either type of criminal establishment. Being recruited does not necessarily mean the individual has undergone the psychological shift towards Violent Extremism but may be used to serve in roles that include everything from social media engagement to running errands and carrying messages and performing criminal acts such as theft, illicit trafficking, fraud and money laundering, or cyber crimes. Trends from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and transnational trends including the US and Europe indicate that women and children are especially vulnerable to various types of exploitation tactics. Victims can find themselves trapped in exploitive relationships for long periods of time trapped in prostitution, trafficking, and slave labor.

The Manipulation of Historiography

Terror recruiting always begins with a narrative blend of history, religion, and a good vs evil paradigm. Recruits generally see themselves as heroes or even saviors in a struggle against evil. The effort may involve addressing a list of wrongs that have been carefully woven into the narrative sometimes artificially and do not necessarily reflect the core objectives of the terrorist organization. The narrative that the history of the United States begins with the slave trade is an attractive and compelling story for sections of the black community and their sympathizers. By situating the founding of a nation to a date marking the trade of slaves opens up a number of other global jihadist avenues due to the fact that the African slave trade was a global enterprise that exported human slaves to every habitable continent on earth for financial gains.

By this rationale, sympathizers around the world may come to view each nation-state that has ever engaged in slave trades including those of the Middle East as grounds for the “tear it down and rebuild it” mantra. BLM protests following events in Minneapolis have stretched across Sub-Saharan Africa. “Nigeria’s government joined in the condemnation and called for those responsible to be held accountable,” stated Bloomberg from Nairobi. Nigeria is a strategic country for global illicit trafficking routes between Africa and Latin America that leads to the US Mexico border. In Nigeria, newborn babies are rented out to panhandlers to increase revenues from begging. The practice has led directly to increased drug overdoses among infants who are subdued by the drugs.

This points to another irony within the historiography concerning the old slave trade that ignores trafficking in humans making up the modern slave trade today. Largely perpetuated by state sponsors of terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime, drug cartels, and gangs all networked together with terrorist organizations, revenues from the modern slave trade have displaced illicit drug sales. These activities are raking in enough booty for establishments to launch their own satellite networks in space, invest in cutting edge drone technology and introduce the latest 2020 Ghost Glider submarine which has been designed according the Small Wars Journal to “avoid detection.” A recent Global Financial Integrity (GFI) report estimates “the value of narcotics-related illicit financial flows affecting the United States, Mexico and Colombia is between US$42.3 billion and US$121.6 billion a year.” Not every targeted individual finds the prepackaged stories of the radical left convincing. In response to one white woman’s rallying cry for the BLM movement, one twitter account user was quick to point out the manipulation of previous events.

Axis of Failed States

Global jihadist movements, state-level corruption, and the war economies of illicit trafficking have left behind an axis of failed states that no amount of USAID can restore. Cordesman’s report proposes to pull back USAID in a number of failed states that have neither shown improvement nor shown the desire to do so since the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring included a number of grassroots movements to bring about democratic processes in the Middle East. These efforts were ultimately quashed by state-level corruption, backward policies, and costly military campaigns with little strategic advantages. Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank are joined by Morocco, Algeria, Somalia, Tunisia, Egypt, and Sudan in ranging from categories D-F failed states. These make up an axis of failed states with little to no hope of recovery. USAID will likely be redistributed to other countries in the region that have shown progress and continue to show the desire to improve. The new AID distribution will likely be utilized to support recently signed agreements between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Bahrain. The lesson learned is that AID does not necessarily buy peace and stability in either a country or a region.

A new model is clearly needed. In the past, the United Nations and World Bank have not had effective measuring tools to decide how much credit should be extended to developing countries and AID was doled out without a clear development strategy. Moving forward, when a country is afflicted with a major crisis and provided AID benefits, the US should also demand clearly communicated expectations for how those resources should be utilized by the receiving nation. For example, if a natural disaster strike leaves a percentage of housing destroyed and that nation is able to utilize AID programming to build new houses, then those merits should be utilized to earn either additional AID, credit for development, or both. To continue the same example, the next round of AID or lending might provide utilities such as power and water, roads, or schools to accompany the new housing developments. This economic model sets up clear pathways for both developing countries and financial institutions to build needed credit and lending tools. These tools can be utilized to work from crises stage support to long-term development of local and regional economies and peace-building initiatives.

It is also clear that mending one’s fences at home is needed by working with civil rights communities that choose peaceful processes to address their grievances rather than the use of violence and other destabilizing tactics. Peaceful protestors should be careful not to become entangled with violent and criminal establishments lest they find themselves marginalized by revolutionary factions that seek a very different agenda than freedom for all. In other words, revolutions are famous for eating their own children. Unity and peace is a building process that takes time with security measures needed along the way. The Trump administration specified in its 2018 counter-terrorism policy that it would utilize “all available instruments of United States power to counter terrorism,” which is needed now to address the current crisis. Let us keep in mind that “all available instruments” includes a range of law enforcement and military capabilities but also economic, educational, community building, and family empowering tools. 

 

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This Land is Our Land: New Zones of Influence

This Land is Our Land: New Zones of Influence

America Divided

Today, the United States mourns the losses of 9/11 victims as efforts to defund the police, homeland security, and the military are being vigorously pursued by protestors in the streets and in the back-rooms of government. Key Democrat-run cities are fast becoming terror hot-spots for radicalized groups claiming territory, setting up new laws, and subjecting US citizens to violent unrest. This Line of Effort combined with a Biden presidential campaign promise to enforce a policy to buyback legally owned assault rifles clearly outlines a DDR campaign to disarm and demobilize both American citizens and the official government of the United States. As it stands now, the country is being divided into Zones of Influence throughout the internet space and the physical realm where the rule of law is being tested.

 

What is a DDR campaign?

DDR stands for Disarmament Demobilization Reintegration. The historic applications of DDR first originated as post-conflict efforts to build peace by allowing armed combatants to turn over their weapons and rejoin society upon such proceedings as the signing of cease-fire agreements and other conflict terminating settlements. It was also designed to reintegrate ex-combatants into the local economy through education, training, and employment efforts. In recent years DDR has undergone a third shift since the Cold War allowing for the surrender of weapons to begin while armed combatants are still active. Usually with funding provided by the United Nations and implementation by the host nation, DDR programs exist throughout the terror afflicted Middle East and African continents. 

A recent study from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich found that “monetization of DDR is creating a cottage industry for former fighters traveling across international borders rejoining armed groups as mercenaries.” The study also warned that “the dilemma of perceiving DDR and CVE [Countering Violent Extremism] through a narrow socio-economic lens… ignores the dynamics of well-educated and middle-income youth becoming radicalized and joining highly asymmetric and terrorist groups… which occurs in Europe and the United States.” Rand Corporation recently reported in a study that “America’s jihadists are made in the United States.” The study found that America’s jihadists do not reflect an immigration problem,” because “among foreign-born travelers, most arrived in the United States as children and spent roughly the same number of years there between their arrival and their attempt to join the jihad.”

 

From Ferguson to Palestine

A power player among the ACLU is American university professor, Marc Lamont Hill, a Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College who has also been employed at Columbia University and Temple University. Recently, the professor traveled abroad and stated that, “we came to Palestine to stand in love and revolutionary struggle… to a land that has been stolen by greed and destroyed by hate… and we resist the occupation… from Ferguson to Palestine, the struggle for freedom continues.” The ideologies of Marxism and radical Islam first fused in the Middle East during the 20th century. The BLM movement embodies that voice on American soil.

Heritage Foundation reported “watching all the usual progressive Big Money Boys pour resources into the Black Lives Matter network, the ACLU… wants to abolish the Department of Homeland Security.” Articles also confirm interests to Defund the Department of Defense. BLM and its affiliates recently raised over $1b that shows the potential for spending on armed conflict. Bloomberg reported that “Kamala Harris… supports a mandatory buyback of military-style assault weapons.” Upon receiving push-back, a propaganda piece from misbar.com attempted to perform damage control by re-stating that the vice presidential candidate said, “upon being elected, I will give the US Congress 100 days to… pass reasonable gun safety laws. And if they fail to do it, I will take executive action” to buyback weapons.

The ACLU’s mobilization campaign is shaping up to provide freedom of movement for armed radical revolutionaries on the streets of the United States alongside government efforts to purge US citizens of their right to bear arms. In most official DDR campaigns implemented abroad, ex-combatants disarm on a volunteer basis. Many DDR programs fail because the removal of arms from one group while other factions remain provisioned often triggers a return to hostilities. The campaign promise by Harris guarantees a mandatory action not a volunteer effort that risks leaving many law-abiding US citizens at risk of harm by radicals during this time of crisis. Wave upon wave of violent protests causing private property damage to restaurants, shops, small businesses, and public spaces carried out with assaults on civilians are pushing boundaries of both society and law enforcement.

Generally, DDR programs apply to insurgent forces, but here in the US the Defund Movement migrates these tactics and applies them to national law enforcement to delegitimize their authority and break down morale. Psychologically, the buyback campaign is not only an attack on the constitutional right to carry, but on citizenship that guarantees access to other constitutional rights. This is because participants in DDR programs overseas are usually detained voluntarily in camps or held as criminals.

 

This Land is Our Land

The struggle also continues online. A warning of cyberattacks was printed in 2018 in the book, The Nano Age of Digital Immunity Infrastructure Fundamentals and Applications: The Intelligent Cyber Shield for Smart Cities 1st Edition. The author, Rocky Termanini, warned that some technologies using the Internet of Things were speeding through commercialization ahead of the cyber security industry’s ability to mitigate threat. The pandemic created a perfect storm of on-boarding new users while cyberattacks were being carried out on everything from ships at sea heading for US coasts to hospitals confronting the challenges of COVID-19. Many cyberattacks have come in the form of DDoS attacks carried out by “the dragon ninjas of the Internet.” “When a high rise building implodes, it brings all the floors, one after another, to the ground. DDoS is a violent cyber implosion that brings any computing infrastructure down,” explains Termanini eerily describing a cyber 9/11 scenario.

New Lines of Effort are needed to strengthen homeland security, heal the wounded, and insulate the economy from conflict and degradation. New technologies and strategic partnerships can help streamline these efforts and maximize success while pooling resources. Established businesses and emerging companies working in line with security efforts can help stabilize the environment, targeting the tools and critical nodes currently being exploited.

 

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Interview with Fred Fleitz Former CIA and Deputy Assistant to President Trump

Interview with Fred Fleitz Former CIA and Deputy Assistant to President Trump

Fred Fleitz served in 2018 as a Deputy Assistant to President Trump and Chief of Staff to National Security Adviser John Bolton and is currently President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy. At the time of this interview, Fleitz was Director of the Langley Intelligence Group Network (LIGNET), a commercial intelligence analysis service owned by Newsmax.com. Fleitz covers part of the contemporary history of Iran concerning nuclear proliferation, North Korea, Africa, and relations with western countries including the Bush and Obama administrations.

 

I worked on national security issues for the US government for 25 years.  I was a CIA analyst for 19 years.  I worked for John Bolton as his Chief of Staff at the State Department when he was Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security for about 3 and a half years.  I was with the House Intelligence Committee for about 5 years and, that doesn’t add up to 25 because some of these jobs overlapped and in most of my jobs I covered proliferation, including the Iranian and North Korean WMD programs, especially the nuclear programs.  When I was with the House Intelligence Committee one of my jobs was looking at finished intelligence by the intelligence community and I had the task of reading and briefing to national intelligence estimates on the Iranian nuclear program to members of the House of Representatives on the Intelligence Committee so this gave me a pretty good background of both the open source and the classified information on Iran’s precision nuclear weapons. 

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US Mexico Border Crisis: Unintended Consequences of Porous Borders

US Mexico Border Crisis: Unintended Consequences of Porous Borders

Exploring Immigration Options

The US Mexico agreement to enable asylum seekers to stay in Mexico for the duration of their claims is moving forwards despite recent opposition from activists. Mexico will benefit from President Trump’s decision to allow 30,000 seasonal workers into the country. Senator Tom Cotton though critical of this decision that he says “forces Americans to compete for jobs against non-citizens who drag down wages,” recently laid out part of the new immigration system as a high-skilled merit based system designed to fill employment gaps in US labor markets. This is a smart plan that will bring urgently needed computer scientists, doctors, engineers, and other high-skilled professionals into the US and US based companies. This is an integral part of economic development that also requires the tightening of porous borders to minimize illicit trafficking threat. The senator said that triple the number of democrats from last month are now recognizing the crisis on the border.

Tightening porous borders and including immigration reform is trending globally. Upon Abu Bakr-Baghdadi’s interest in Southeast Asia, the new wing known as the Katibah Nusantara extension of ISIS recruited some 1,000 fighters in 2014 causing Asian countries to tighten border security from migrant fighters and illicit trafficking including weapons flows. “Weak border security allows for neighboring states to act as safe havens for terrorist organizations” and contributes to the “criminal industry in Southeast Asia [that] is worth upwards of US$100 billion.” In Nigeria where there are about 70% of West Africa’s illegal firearms according to a report from the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament. Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Lt Gen. (rtd) Abdulrahman Dambazau describes the crisis as a “relationship between the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, porous borders, and drug abuse on the one hand, and the escalation of terrorism, herders/farmers clashes, militancy and other violent crimes on the other hand.” The crisis in Venezuela has continued to dislodge people from their homes and jobs.

All of this chaos has been good for drug-trafficking cartels and other criminal organizations exploiting the US-Mexico border. CBP officials say caravan mixes of nationals from all regions including Asia, Africa, and Latin America are sent to some checkpoints as decoys for large trafficking operations elsewhere along miles and miles of undefended areas. Another 80 miles of wall construction is being funded with a transfer of $1.5 billion from the Pentagon approved by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.   

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Iran Raises Nuclear Tensions, US and UK Warn Against Threats from Tehran

Iran Raises Nuclear Tensions, US and UK Warn Against Threats from Tehran

Iran supported Recent Strikes on Israel

Iran is now threatening to pull out of some of its commitments under the nuclear deal with remaining participants in Europe and China and has increased nuclear weapons programming. Iran supported rocket attacks from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad came on Israel over the weekend causing the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to be deployed. The US European Command (US EUCOM) provided Israel its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system with a team of 250 soldiers in March. The Iranian leadership is hoping again that its nuclear weapons program will give them leverage for US sanctions relief. The US has responding with bold statements ready to defend the US and American interests in all areas where Iran is active and may attack US forces and allies.

The Iranian regime is risking scuttling any support they might maintain with Europe. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said, ““We are extremely concerned about this announcement and urge Iran to continue to meet its commitments under the deal.”  The JCPOA however does not specify adequate conflict resolution procedures leaving international disputes unlikely to be resolved using that agreement. Parties will likely have to negotiate a new deal, and Iran is not likely to be with rewarded such handsome trade terms after deliberately amplifying their belligerence in the region and against their own people. Iranians suffering under this regime continue to push for a change in leadership. The Islamic Republic could be entering into its final days. The would completely change the power distribution in the Middle East and stabilize a long tormented region in desperate need of calm to rebuild in Syria and conclude hostilities in Yemen where genocide and famine have taken claim to much of the population.

The history of Iran and particularly the Iranian clergy shows an over-dependence on terror. Most countries in the region throughout the 20th century have struggled to build modern armies. Iran’s military under the shah became a formidable force the legacy of which the Islamic regime has built upon. However, terror networks continue to perform the more successful operations having stronger ideology, better funding through transnational crime, borderless recruiting, and cooperation with other criminal organizations. As long as these operations continue intimidate others, Iran will continue to support them and utilize their asymmetric tactics in place of conventional warfare. With North Korea now denuclearizing with Russian President Putin’s assistance, Iran’s remaining friends are taking the country further away from their larger goals such as joining the World Trade Organization in China’s footsteps. These setbacks will continue cost the regime support at home, a crucial asset or liability in the escalation of military tensions.

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