The Center for Security and Counter-Terrorism Will Close in May

It’s my unfortunate honor to announce the closure for the Center for Security and Counter-Terrorism. The center and its online journal will be permanently shutting down at the end of May 2024. The editor Richard Allan passed away earlier this year and without him this ship has no captain.

I met Richard Allan in 2011 while I was working at the Brooklyn Law School managing their digital programs. Our mutual friend Bob Pitler introduced us and without really asking said “you’re going to help Richard get his website together, you can do that right?” And so began my friendship with Richard.

We launched the Center for Security and Counter-Terrorism in 2012 shortly before Richard retired from teaching. He wrote extensively over the years, covering a wide range of topics and events with measured thoughtful insight bolstered by his many years working in the counter-terrorism and security field. 

A lifelong learner with impressive experience, Richard tackled blogging like a pro. Focussing on current events he often added needed historical context from his sharp memory and informed expertise. While we may not always have agreed on all subjects I knew our conversations would give me something to ponder and he often changed my opinion.

I am grateful that I got to know Richard and to support his work. He was a good listener who gave valued advice and perspective. He will be missed.

More about Richard and his life:

It’s More Than a Balloon – It’s Fishing

As I write this Commentary, my world view has shifted toward greater anxiety. My personal mantra has always been “if it’s not going to kill me, I’ll deal with it”. But the world’s temperature is getting hotter with sizzling temperature in parts of the U.S. with deadly results, the Ukrainian war continues to threaten the use of nuclear weapons, and the insurrection that was aimed at Moscow is creating waves toward international political crisis. The U.N. Security Council warned that the threat of terrorism has increased and is becoming more diffuse in various regions of the world, aided by new technologies. The intensity of these attacks across the board only increases. My focus, though, is on China for several reasons that do not make sensational, front-page headlines.

Yigal Carmon noting in MEMRI that the Pacific Ocean is no longer the United States’ sole playground with Russia and China presently holding naval exercises off the cost of Alaska, as the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps held joint exercises in the South China Sea. All at a time of heightened tensions with Beijing over, initially, the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon. The 7th Fleet, based in Japan – USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit – have conducted “integrated expeditionary strike force operations” in the South China Sea, in a clear message to China about its aggression. And I have just learned that one of our largest aircraft carriers will soon be deployed to the Pacific Ocean.

China, as I have noted on previous occasions, claims virtually – the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territorial water. It has strongly objected to military activity by other nations in the contested portions of the waterway through which $5 trillion in goods are shipped every year. Not only is the South China Sea an important part of the world economy and stability but, domestically, the polls indicate that Americans are starting to think of China, as they once did about the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Is there a new Cold War on the horizon with China?

Although the U.S.  alleges that it has no “official” position on sovereignty claims of some of the island nations in the South China Sea, it maintains that freedom of navigation and overflight in that area must be protect. Several times a year, the U.S. will have its ships sailing past newly fortified Chinese outposts in the Spratly Islands, prompting the expected furious protests from Beijing.

The U.S. has also been strengthening its military alliances with the Philippines who, along with other parts of the world, have faced encroachment on their coastline and fisheries by the Chinese fishing fleets protected by the Chinese Coast Guard which acts more like an armed naval fleet than a coast guard. Japan, too, according to Japan’s Sankei press, has been deploying U.S. long-range hyper-sonic weapons and Tomahawks to the region, in a concerted effort to contain China’s forces in the area. As noted elsewhere in this commentary, China is also involved in disputes with Malaysia, Brunel and Vietnam, over territory and claimed fishing rights in the South China Sea and far beyond that part of the world, where it forcefully encroaches on the territorial fishing rights of other nations.

Although not the focus of this Commentary, its noteworthy in the context of Chinese hostility in multiple areas of international affairs that India, has announced that its troops foiled yet another attempt by Chinese soldiers to encroach into Indian territory along their disputed border in the eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The incident is the most serious face-off between the Asian giants since a skirmish in another part of their Himalayan mountains. Then just after we digested that news, it had been reported that Five North Korean drones crossed into South Korean airspace, prompting the South Korean military to deploy fighter jets and attack helicopters, this while the Chinese welcomed its New Year by sending 71 planes and seven ships toward Taiwan in a 24-hour display of force directed at the island population. This was not an isolated display of violating their airspace.

To understand the physical magnitude of China’s breath, I found it astonishing that the UK could house its entire population in China’s unused apartments, and there would be an abundance of leftover room. The reason for the wealth of living quarters is that China’s population is shrinking which compounds its economic growth concerns which, for decades, has been the engine of the global economy, as reported in Prospect a UK publication.  What I have been saying for years and has finally made the national news headlines: that China has blended its private industrial firms with its military infrastructure. A New York Times article did bring a smile – the Chinese have built a 26-story monolithic tower in central China, where agricultural land is scarce, that resembles a huge housing block for the sole purposes of raising pigs. Pork, as is fish, which I will discuss in greater length in this Commentary, is in high demand in China. As described, the pigs are segregated and maintained in strictly controlled environments.

What is clear, is the hostility between the U.S. and China, is only increasing by the day – just three months ago, China announced its plans to substantially increase its military buildup as tensions rise between the two governments. Tokyo, this week, hedged on confirming whether Chinese hackers had compromised the most classified military secrets of U.S. interests with its most important East Asian ally. Our intelligence agencies continually warn us that Chinese spy efforts within the U.S. is vast. And as we look to the future, China’s Mideast buildup stirs security worries for U.S. as Chinese state-owned companies are funding billions of dollars in investments near the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s prime conduits for oil shipments — a move that could lay the groundwork for a future military presence. In addition, the Chinese Communist Party’s first overseas training institute is teaching up-and-coming African leaders Beijing’s approach to governing. It’s part of China’s plan to create an authoritarian-friendly political bloc in Africa.

As China moves aggressively to dominate not only the western pacific, it enjoys having the world’s largest navy and is replacing Russia as the No. 2 in space power, as it moves aggressively in parts of the world’s oceans, far from its shores. But its population, along with its shrinking economic output, is pushing the Country into a demographic crisis. Deaths outnumbered births in China last year, for the first time in more than 60 years. At the same time, the country is experiencing its worst annual economic performance in nearly half a century, growing just 3% for the year — far below the government’s target of 5.5%. And as I write this commentary, there are fears among economics and investors that the country’s economy, with its mounting debt, is on the cusp of moving into deflation affecting the world’s economy. While the two leading superpowers are increasingly playing out their aggression in the technological sphere, China, as the world’s largest natural source of metals required in the manufacturing of the precious semiconductors, is restricting the world exports of these key natural elements. A clear warning to both Europe and the United States in their very open and escalating technological war – supposedly on the grounds of national security. Unspoken and under the public radar is an equally, if not more profound crisis that will affect the well being of individuals around the globe that depend upon the supply of fish for their real-life substance. With its own coastal water depleted by over fishing, China has built a massive global fishing industry unmatched by any other country.

A typical example of that impact is in July of 2020, Ian Urbina wrote a frightening article that sounded more like a horror novel than a true case of mass murder on the high seas.  Somewhere off the coast of South Korea – “battered wooden ‘ghost boats’ drifted through the Sea of Japan for months,” what was discovered: – the “only cargo (were) the corpses of starved North Korean fishermen whose bodies” had been “reduced to skeletons”. Mr. Urbina reported that in 2019 more than 150 “of these macabre vessels washed ashore in Japan. There have been more than 500 fishing vessels in the past five years. It appears from his account and based upon an NBC News investigation team, along with collected satellite data, that the most plausible explanation was: “China is sending a …armada of industrial boats to illegally fish in North Korean waters, violently displacing smaller Korean boats…” Almost 800 of these illegal Chinese fishing boats were in violation of internationally imposed sanction, that forbid their fishing in North Korean waters. “This is the largest known case of illegal fishing perpetrated by a single industrial fleet operating in another nation’s waters,” said Jaeyoon Park, a data scientist. The story doesn’t end there.

Ray Mabus, a former secretary of the navy, wrote a scathing article in the Seattle Times decrying the international communities’ lack of response to China’s openly aggressive threats to that ribbon of national security that plays out in contested maritime boundaries and, most important, global marine resources impacting the world-wide fishing industry. “The ‘invisible’ national security threat of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and China’s role in exacerbating the problem, is real, and must not be ignored.” “…fishing without authorization inside a country’s maritime boundary, ignoring catch limits, operating in closed areas, and fishing with prohibited gear or for prohibited fish or wildlife.”

Unknown to me until I started my research for this Commentary is that there is a Global Illegal Fishing Index, and China is ranked worst on this Index as “most likely” to engage in IUU fishing. It has deployed its massive size processing factory fishing ships (the mother ship) at the center of a fleet of smaller vessels that do the harvesting of fish around the world. These fishing fleets invade and lay claim not only in disputed territories but have laid claim to the territories of other nations and, as I have written before, the Chinese have constructed artificial islands to be able to lay claim to fishing rights in wide swaths of the surrounding seas. These “pseudo-navies”, as Mr. Mabus has dubbed them because of their size, aggressive and hostile action, maneuver far from the South China Sea, with, at times, positing 300 smaller fishing boats, plus a mammoth mother processing vessel at one time off the coast of Ecuador, Peru or Chile and Argentina and off the coast of Europe and Africa. The Chinese fishing fleets, since 2016, have operated off the coast of South America “virtually every day, all day, all year, moving with the fishing seasons” from the coasts of Ecuador, to eventually to Argentina. This is replicated around the globe.

As a pseudo navy, operating in large groups with at times protection/intimidation sources provided by the Chinese Coast Guard which acts more like a naval command and, to make matters worse, are illegal as they operate in a stealth mode – either by switching off their automatic tracking systems or operating

without them. They become an immense, invisible fleet of fishing vessels. China has become, by their illegal and hostile acts, the world’s largest fish processor, exporter and consumer of seafood products, with an impressive world-wide value in excessive of 21 billion dollars.

The Senkaku Islands are a group of uninhabited islands just southwest of Japan. The archipelago has been controlled by Japan since 1895. In September 2012, the Japanese government purchased three of the disputed islands from their private owner, prompting an immediate protest by the Chinese Government. Its importance is that these islands are not only close to key international shipping lanes, but there is the possibility of oil reserves and, most important, rich and vital fishing grounds. Since then, “China has been using this as an excuse to send their Coast Guard and other agencies’ ships into Japan’s contiguous zone almost every day except for stormy weather days, and these ships intrude into Japanese territorial waters several times a month,” said the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Chinese coast guard carried out similar patrols in early June this year. “China Coast Guard ships – mounted with artillery – persistently continue unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the waters around the Senkaku Islands,” said the ministry.

What is clear from all the collected data is that China has over fished and depleted its coastal waters of the fish necessary to feed its own population. Its response, the Chinese developed and built a fishing operation that spans thousands of miles from the homeland – unrivaled by any other nation.  For example, the Chinese, since 2016, have operated its massive fishing fleet off “South America, virtually all day, all year, moving with the seasons from coast to coast.” Over the last two decades, China has built the world’s largest deep-water fishing fleet, with nearly 3,000 (the precise number being unknown) ships plundering by any and all means the rich and environmentally diverse fishing waters across the globe. Rear Admiral Mike Studeman, a person with deep maritime intelligence experience has written that “these industrial-scale flotillas are able to drag massive nets, literally capturing everything in their wake, often without regard for fisheries law or consent of the coastal nations.” Having severely depleted stocks in its own coastal waters, China now fishes in any ocean or sea in the world, and on “a scale that dwarfs some countries’ entire fleets near their own waters”.

The impact financially and ecologically is by increments being felt from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific, from the coasts of Africa to those crucial fishing areas off South America – a display on the high seas of China’s global economic might staring straight at the U.S. In 2017, Ecuador seized a refrigerated cargo ship, the Fu Yuan Yu Leng, carrying an illicit cargo of 6,620 sharks, whose fins are a delicacy in China. The fins had been removed by the fleet’s crew, and the carcasses of the dead sharks were dumped back into the sea. Chinese ships like the Hai Feng are generally registered in Panama but managed by a company in Beijing and are state-owned and operated. They are known in the industry as “motherships” and are built to refrigerate and   preserve tons of fish caught by a fleet of smaller ships who do the actual fishing. They not only process the fish caught but carry supplies for the smaller fishing or harvesting ships so that they, in turn, can maintain long periods at sea chasing the fish without the necessity to return to a nearby port for fuel and marine parts. According to Global Fishing Watch, this particular mother ship met at sea, at one point in 2021, with more than six dozen smaller fishing boats all controlled by the Chinese Government. Their purpose was to transfer caught fish by the smaller boats to the mother sometimes referred to as a processing or floating factory. This process or procedure, I have learned, is called “transshipment” and is noted for its marking the transfer of tons of fish that normally would have had to be unloaded at a distant port possibly hundreds of miles away. Ultimately, the mother ship (for example, the Hai Feng has more than 500,000 cubic feet of cargo space, enough to carry thousands of tons of fish) with tons of processed fish, returns home to China, unloads its massive catch, and then heads out to sea again, seeking fish in some other distant ocean, pursuing a different season of fishing.    There are already worrisome signs of worldwide, diminishing fish reserves, which in all likely hood, is a precursor to an ecological collapse of fishing supply. “The concern is the sheer number of ships and the lack of accountability, to know how much is being fished out and where it’s going to,” said Marla Valentine, an oceanographer with Oceana, the conservation group. “And I’m worried that the impacts that are happening now are going to cascade into the future.” Within the last two weeks the United States Coast Guard, on two separate occasions, destroyed hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels illegally fishing in the South China Sea.

Early in this commentary, I asked whether the United States and China are headed toward a cold war. I believe it has already commenced. The United States and China are poised to move further apart. Each morning, I read both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and then scan a slew of new sites. Over a time, the print space and airtime covering Russia, the Ukraine and NATO has diminished, with greater emphasis placed on China’s threats and hostile activities around the globe, not merely in the Western Pacific. It is an immense nation, physically, with a large population controlled by an iron-fisted government. It has decided to challenge the rest of the world for supremacy and to, unabashedly, employ its growing military, scientific and economic power. And as I wrote the conclusion to this Commentary, I read in the New York Times “…elect officials critical of Beijing were targets of a Chinese state that has increasingly exerted its influence over Chinese diaspora communities worldwide, as part its aggressive campaign to extend its global reach…” To that end, and although internationally condemned, China continues to extend its Indo-China sphere of fishing dominance. Not thirty days ago, it openly flaunted the sovereignty of the Philippine Economic Exclusion zone, as it guarded a large fishing fleet not only by its Coast Guard (thousands of miles from home) but also by “The People’s Liberation Army Navy.” How many unintended mistakes will occur when the People’s Liberation Army Navy encroaches upon the territory of a nation unwilling to be intimidated, and the cold war turns hot? One prominent American general has already announced he is preparing his troops for that eventuality, and to that end, not one month ago, the U.S. kicked off a most important, both in scale and message, large scale military drills with its allies in the Western Pacific, described as “the most expansive in the exercise’s history”. Will the message be received?  

Richard Allan

The Editor

Rage – Violence and Espionage

Locally, everywhere I turn I see rage and the sorrow of domestic mass shootings. Violence is currently a prominent feature of a new America. And political violence is but just one element.

The head of Homeland Security Secretary commented, and echoed by the director of the FBI ”that domestic violent extremism is one of the greatest terrorism-related threats that we face in the homeland today.” The FBI director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the first week of August this year that political violence is becoming “almost a 365 day phenomenon.” “Many domestic terrorism cases now have an international component, as would-be killers are ‘egging each other on’ and drawing inspiration from racist or neo-Nazi attacks overseas,” the head of the FBI and his British counterpart M15 announced in a joint communique. “Travel and technology,” the FBI director said, “have really blurred the lines between foreign and domestic threats.” Their agencies have spent decades developing a concept called “tip-sharing systems” to handle international terrorism cases, and that “muscle memory” is now being applied to domestic terrorism investigations. The most currant attacks have taken on a new kind of definition along with an increased and new urgency, because attackers can mobilize quickly and more than often are not part of a known, identifiable well-established network. On the other hand, in many terrorism cases, Wray commented, the terrorist is a lone actor, with maybe one or two other people with a minimum of plotting and little financial resources. In the midst of this information, the top watchdog at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) dropped a small bomb when he said that the DHS “could do more to address the threats of domestic terrorism.” This admission, in a new 29-page report, followed an increase in mass shootings that have been jolting the country and prompting questions about how effective federal law enforcement responses are.

Which leads me to the conclusion that after many years analysis we can no longer be automatically compartmentalizing terrorism as either domestic or foreign. There must be a more nuanced approach in our analysis and clearly a more proactive stance by law enforcement.

Globally, constant hostiles and a profound lack humanity are being pushed to the breaking point. Today, although the headlines have become smaller, we remain frontpage focused on the Ukraine, as a war of attrition lingers on with civilians more often than not, being targeted by Russian missiles. What is not being presented to the general public, even in a slightest ripple, is China’s silent, some may say stealth, attack on the United States, and that is the focus of the remainder of this Commentary. I am not referring to its open aggression in the East China and South China Sea area, neither disguised nor denied by any of the parties — the United States included. This comes amid increasingly more aggressive military action by Chinese pilots, obviously on command from Beijing. Last month, in the East and South China Seas, a Chinese fighter jet had an “unsafe” and “unprofessional” interaction with a U.S. special operations C-130 aircraft in the South China Sea. There was no apology from the Chinese. There has been unmasked hostility by Chinese jet fighters in recent months involving Australian and Canadian aircraft. In February, personnel aboard a Chinese navy ship pointed a laser at an Australian P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft, and another Chinese jet cut off an Australian P-8 and released chaff that the Australian plane was forced to ingest into its engine.

After Pelosi’s visit to Twain, the Chinese fired 11 missiles that hit the seas surrounding the democratic island, and although the Chinese said they all hit their intended targets, some landed in Japanese waters. After protests by both the U.S. and Japanese Governments, the bombardment stopped and then restarted with a large armada of Chinese naval force on display. As it turned, out it was a good military exercise for the Chinese government in preparation for future hostilities against Taiwan. Equally important for the United States, it afforded us the opportunity to study the coordination of Chinese military services in a live military full scale exercise. In addition, our “education” in observing the reaction of the Chinese at home — the mood of the mainland population was not as expected: Chinese social media exploded in condemnation of its government’s weak response to Pelosi’s trip to Twain — “don’t put on a show of power if you don’t have power,” and “what a loss of face.” The Chinese government then announced, I assume to placate its population, that it would cease all conversations with the U.S. concerning significant issues of national security for each nation. The “silent” treatment.

It is China’s “silent war” against us, only slightly cover in the press, that has captured my attention because of its depth and the danger it poses to a wide swath of our national security. One is its espionage, and the second is China’s invasion into our economy. First is the FBI’s ongoing investigation to determine whether the Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt U.S. nuclear arsenal communications. Second, is a new Senate report that Beijing has targeted the ranks of our Federal Reserve system, this nation’s central bank and probably the most powerful economic institution in the world, to gain access to nonpublic information. China, over a period of more than a decade, sought to enlist Federal Reserve employees to provide sensitive and classified information in exchange for money and other enticements, according to the investigation led by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Pete Williams, in a very interesting article, alleges that Chinese intense spying in the U.S. has become so penetrating, concentrated and widespread that the FBI is opening two to three counterintelligence investigations daily. FBI Director Wray has said, on more than one occasion, that the “sheer scale” of the Chinese efforts to steal U.S. technology “shocked him” when he became FBI director in 2017. “This one blew me away,” with over 2,000 investigations presently in progress. “There is no country that presents a broader, more severe threat to our innovation, our ideas and our economic security than China does,” he said. “More brazen, more damaging, than ever before.” targeting a wide range of U.S. innovations — including Covid vaccines, computer chips, nuclear power plants, wind turbines and smartphones. More than mere worrisome, Wray said, China has no equal.

WSJ reported that China attempted to build a network of informants inside the Federal Reserve system. During their attempt to infiltrate the FED, they threatened to imprison a Fed economist during his trip to Mainland China unless he agreed to provide nonpublic economic data. This was not the first time the Chinese offered cash payment or the use of corrosion in detaining those with sensitive information concerning the nonpublic workings at the FED.

Last November, a Chinese intelligence office was convicted of trying to steal closely guarded technology developed by GE for making jet engines’ fan blades. At times a company’s technology is stolen by planting spies inside a targeted company. And this may, I add, is only the tip of the iceberg of their activity in and against the United States.

Wray has long accused China of using pressure tactics to block criticism from dissidents and members of the immigrant community in the United States, which he said amounts to Chinese officials exporting their well-known social oppressive tactics. “China may be the first country to combine that kind of authoritarian ambition with cutting-edge technical capability. It’s like the surveillance nightmare of East Germany combined with the tech of Silicon Valley,” Wray said. Wray cited the example of Zhihao Kong, who was a graduate student at Purdue University in Indiana in 2020 when he publicly praised student protesters who were killed in 1989 at Tiananmen Square. After doing so, Kong said China’s Ministry of State Security visited his parents in China to warn them about his activism.

Wray was quick to emphasized that the source of the trouble is China’s leaders, not its citizens, adding “I’m referring not to the Chinese people, not to people of Chinese descent or heritage,” he said. “What we’re talking about here is the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party.” I find this hard to accept considering the outcry on social media within China that criticized their government for their weak response to Pelosi’s visit to Twain.

Some Asian American groups have accused the Justice Department and the FBI of overreaching, especially with a Trump-era national security program called the China Initiative, created to address Chinese economic espionage in universities and research institutions. The groups have alleged that federal agents, much too often, go after academic researchers for paperwork offenses that have no effect on national security.

FBI officials, while acknowledging some missteps, said the bureau’s focus is on efforts to steal from American companies, not on academia. But both is true, and the scope of their intrusion into our economic well-being is immense, as discussed below.

While other nations, including North Korea, Russia and Iran, have carried out sustained attacks on American computer networks, Wray said China stands in a class by itself. “There’s just no other country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, innovation and economic security than China,” and here he has hit the center of the target. There has been a sustained invasion in our economy on more than one front. Aside from its intense espionage activities, China has “invaded” our economy on two fronts. Its purchase of immense tracks of farmland and its purchase of major food producing companies, among others, in a blatant attempt to control various aspects of our lives, including our domestic food supply. At the outset, it’s important to repeat that every Chinese company must take a loyalty oath to comply to any request by the Communist Party of China. That, in effect, makes all Chinese companies a potential extension of the Communist China government apparatus.

With headquarters in China controlling its policy, there are several iconic “American companies” that sound American and tout themselves as American but are not. Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producing company, along with its more than 500 farms and factories in the United States, is Beijing controlled and operated. AMC Cinemas, along with IBM-Personal Corp and Snapchat and a healthy chunk of Tesla, have their headquarters in China. So does General Electric. Along with these companies, there is a push by Chinese interests to buy immense tracks of farmland — its “One Belt One Road” aiming to control a greater and greater piece of China’s food suppl chain. By 2020, Chinese owners-controlled farmland was worth almost 2 billion dollars including land used for ranching and forestry. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, both Republican and Democratic, have advanced legislation, warning that China’s presence in the American food chain poses a national security risk. A powerful China-based company that specializes in flavor enhances recently obtained a 300-acre farmland near Grand Forks, North Dakota. What made this purchase so unique and important to our national security is that the land is located a mere 20 minutes from our Grand Forks Air Force base that is touted to be the home of our most sophisticated military drone technology. The Chair of the very powerful Senate Intelligence committee has rung the alarm bell that this purchase is a counterintelligence threat posed by the Chinese government.

My thought: after a fruitless 10-year siege, in 1184BC, the Greeks of ancient times constructed a huge wooden horse and hid a select group of soldiers inside…and then seemed to sail away from battle. The besieged Trojans, to what appeared to them as a victory prize, pulled the massive horse into their fortress and went to sleep. The rest, as they say, is history., A trojan horse or an “American” corporation set at the gates of Washington. A real question for today and tomorrow and our national security is who owns Corporate America? And by this, I mean who realistically controls corporate America? This is not an issue of who is “migrating” to our shores. We are a nation of immigrants and hopefully that is where our future has always been. The question, urgently being raised in Washington, is Who, in What corporate office, will determine what or when our food chain remains viable or the movies we see or newspapers we read, and the list goes on. There is a silent stealth enemy in the United States and today it is China.

Abortion: One Land/Two Nations

The woman I have been living with full-time for the last 62 plus years is very opinioned. By that, I mean she has no trouble expressing her feelings and, if so inclined, will disembowel you with a winning smile. In the same vein, I had as my supervisor, the chair of the litigation department in a major law firm who could fire you and you felt you had gotten an early Christmas present. For the last decade, I have written this commentary without restraint– my objectives being the revealing and dissection of issues facing our national security and combating counterterrorism. It may seem, therefore, like an untenable stretch to segue from national security issues to the headlines whipping across every local and national paper and every radio /television network: the Supreme Court rewriting decades of history and sending Roe v. Wade to the “has been” category. My wife has been unbridled in her assertion that we are heading into a very dangerous post Roe period. Many decades ago, attacking a writing assignment from my newly anointed professor in the English Department of NYU, I wrote a very long, tedious poem called: xyz My professor, John F. Morgan, called it a very long tedious “propaganda piece”.

The essence of that monologue was my attempt to describe a series of links in a chain that made up the evolution of the human race and our humanity as individuals. At the end of the day, we are each judged, as I attempted to convey, as being a portion of one of those links or a link unto itself. The rest of us get washed away with the dust. In discarding the decades of Roe, we put our very fragile nation in jeopardy. Black v. White, Slavery v. Freedom, rich v. poor, desires v. disappointments. Will we be sliding into a national security crisis with widespread violence if Roe is overturned? I predict yes.

On the day FDR died my mother miscarried for the second time. An elderly friend of my father became the father of triplets at the age of 70. A woman dies in childbirth and others die without being able to ever conceive. I was conceived because my parents wanted a child. “Our” children were conceived when my wife and I jointly decided we wanted children. It was our decision if-and- when we would have children. Unlike China, where guidelines are set as to when and if you are to have a child, to the number of children you are required to “produce;” it was thought in the United States that those decisions, along with the ability to obtain an abortion, were left to the individuals involved. An important parallel issue is found in South Dakota, where lawmakers are engaged in an unrelenting attack on the rights and safety of transgender young people. Last week, that state House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it a felony for medical professionals to provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth.

The political and legal landscape is changing at an unprecedent speed, and it portends a serious backlash on both sides of the argument: who decides when and if you are going to have a child, the health of our children and the issues of abortion. As that discussion escalates, I fear that as we intensify the conversation, a national security issue involving violence on a national scale will evolve. This has been confirmed in an unclassified May 13 memo by DHS’ intelligence arm, warning that threats that followed the leak of the draft opinion — targeting Supreme Court Justices, lawmakers and other public officials, as well as clergy and health care providers — “are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the Court’s official ruling.” The memo continues that ‘the violence will come from both the left and right.” In essence, are we becoming two nations with more than ideological differences? It appears we are heading in that direction.

What is clear is that abortion providers and their employees are facing increased harassment and outright threats to their wellbeing, and much too often there has been actual violence. The statistics reveal that the intensity of the hostility has been increasing over the years. On New Year’s Eve an arson attack destroyed an abortion clinic in Tennessee. Three months ago, an Ohio man plead guilty to threating to murder an abortion client and bomb the clinic where she sought treatment. And the list goes on. These types of events will only increase in intensity as Roe v Wade is destroyed by our ultraconservative Supreme Court, and the ultra-right states are waiting to immediately fill the void with legislation that equates abortion with felony murder. Within days of posting this Commentary, Oklahoma passed legislation that will ban abortion from the moment of fertilization, and the attempt to codify Roe v Wade died in the Senate, as I finished this Commentary.

The National Abortion Federation’s on violence has reported: “disruption against abortion clinics found that in 2020 reports of assault and battery increased 125% compared to 2019. Death threats against abortion providers more than doubled. In 2019, clinics reported suspicious packages or hoax packages, while in 2020 they reported a whopping 27. Reports of arson, attempted bombing, vandalism, stalking, hate mail and harassing calls, as well as hate email and internet harassment, also rose.” This is a damming report and is setting out a road map with the coming demise of Roe. The enactment of restrictive anti-abortion laws by state legislatures reached a new high in the last year. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 44% of the state abortion restrictions enacted since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 were passed in the last decade. In 2021, states passed a record number of laws—over 100. The number of new laws in states like Arkansas and Oklahoma reached double digits. With the Supreme Court poised to uphold Mississippi’s blatantly unconstitutional 15-week abortion ban, other states, similar to Florida have followed suit and passed nearly identical provisions. Louisiana was on the cusp of adopting a measure that could have allowed a woman and her doctor, after obtaining an abortion, to be charged with murder. In Louisiana it was claimed that a woman who miscarries would be “afraid to seek treatment for fear that she and her doctor would be accused of taking abortion inducing drugs “ utilized in the process to protect the mother during medical treatment,” reports the WSJ. There about 22 states poised to ban or heavily restrict abortions.

As the political and cultural landscape is increasingly hostile to abortion – one need only look at Florida and Texas – and it appears that it is becoming acceptable to act out your objection to abortion. With that as a new backdrop to the curtailing and dismembering of abortion rights, the security issue becomes apparent. It is no longer a question of each state protecting those who support abortion rights. In some states, the state legislature is authorizing and encouraging its citizens to “snitch and turn in” their neighbors who they believe have had or have aided an abortion and receive a bounty in return. It reminds me of Nazi Germany and turning in those who you “believe” to be a “Jew.” A crime to drive one out one’s home state for an abortion; a crime to order an abortion pill from out of state? There is a call on the right for a national anti-abortion legislation. In one state, if you wish to order an out-of-state abortion remedy you must leave your home state to place the call.

At the outset, there is clear constitutional law stating the right of the individual to travel anywhere within the United States without regard to state borders. I have the right to travel between New York and New Jersey, and neither one has the right to prohibit or impede travel. That was decided by the Supreme Court back in the 30s when those affected by the dust bowl attempted to travel from the deep South to California and were stopped at the California boarder by state troopers. A series of issues emerges around the rights for those who believe in the right of a woman to control their own reproductive rights. Can a state prevent a woman by an injunction from traveling to a clinic in a supportive abortion state or nation? Can a state charge one who has obtained an abortion and any “accomplices” with a local state crime upon their return to their home state? What will be the response of the state sponsored bounty hunters? Will states like Texas and Florida protect those persons who seek an out of state abortion?

At the outset, what is needed immediately, is a national security law that makes it a federal crime to harass, intimidate, physically attack or imped those who seek or assist a in obtaining an abortion in a crime free abortion state or nation. In today’s charged political and social climate, with the willingness to engage in harassment and violence, nothing less is essential on a national level.

Richard Allan
The Editor

Beware the Chinese App

When Whoppie blew it big on national television it, seemed sensational, and the Washington Red Skins sucked it in after two years to become the Commanders and was then accused of shady financial dealings which I couldn’t care less about, and then we, humble beings, had begun to celebrate the Chinese’s new year – “Tiger,” which to me and a lot of other people symbolizes courage and bravery. It then slowly crept into the headline news that” the number of anti-Semitic incidents in New York increased by 24 percent last year to the highest level in decades, including a surge in the number of assaults,” – both criminal and noncriminal incidents targeting Jews, according to an annual report released by the Anti-Defamation League. Then every inch of news reporting was aimed at and continues to be the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Ukraine has become a symbol of courage and bravery. All this activity took place while under the radar the director of the FBI Wray testified to Congress that the scale of Chinese spying here in the United States “blew me away.” His comment caught me left-footed.

With Putin in Moscow thumbing his nose, as emissaries from western nations pleading with him to cease and desist his invasion, more (3000) U.S. troops were sent east by Biden along with a series of ever-increasing sanctions and millions in military hardware. I was aware (see my prior commentaries) of the Chinese aggressively flexing their military muscle in every inch of the Far-East. And today China announced it has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands that has obviously raised growing concerns among Australia and the United States about the ever-expanding Chinese influence in the South Pacific. Among the alarming concerns is the agreement would enable China to build a military base – its first in he Pacific less than 1300 miles from Australia. The Solomon Islands, the scene of deadly right last year, sits on a key shipping lane between the U.S. and Asia. And lest we forget, China is the world’s largest producer of small, off-the-shelf drones. I was mostly in the dark as to the extent it was ramping up its spying and bulling activities, not merely on United States’ academic campuses but within the high tech industries here at home. There is an aggressive, full court Chinese spying in the United States as I write this Commentary. We should be very concerned.

Although the FBI has acknowledged “some misstep,” the bureau’s focus, it is presently claimed, is on the Chinese efforts to steal from American companies, not academia. It has however moved unsuccessfully against Chinese individuals in U.S. academic research.

As the FBI director was “blown away” during his presentation, one thing not mentioned was China’s National Intelligence Law. It is breathtaking in its simplicity and requires that all Chinese companies support the government’s national intelligence work by requiring them to not only share the data it collects during the use of their product – wherever sold, but, even more compelling, to create vulnerabilities in their product to aid the Chinese Communist Party in stealing information, data, trade secrets and anything else of economic value. So, when you utilize that Chinese created app for your business, you can be well assured that China knows all your trade secrets.

Obviously, those of us who reside within the continental United States need not worry about any Chinese aggressive use of armed forces striking our backyard vegetable gardens or the local Chrysler car plant, as north Korea boasts of that capacity. What should command our attention is an article written by Pete Williams, and what caught my eye in my follow-up research. We, in the United States, are by and large, an open and welcoming society, with what appears to be in a post pandemic world an unquenchable thirst and quest for labor at all levels of need. Nursing homes are closing their door to new patients for lack of staff, airlines are cancelling flights for lack of personal.

The Chinese forces that should draw our intense domestic scrutiny are those aimed at stealing our patents, scientific and economic knowledge at the “job” level or thru hacking. I recall many years ago, in the early years of teaching Entertainment Law, and discussing the Chinese theft of not yet released domestically, potentially bestselling novels. The Chinese would steal or hack from a U.S. publisher’s printing house copies of new novels before actual printing, flown overnight to China, mass printed in record time on cheap paper and binding and flown back before or at the very release of the authorized edition, as they hit the U.S. bookseller’s market. The legal publications where often overwhelmed before they were placed in the bookstore window for sale.

Pete William’s tells us that Chinese spying within the U.S. is so rampart and widespread that the FBI is launching at least two counterintelligence probes each day — with in excess of two thousand cases under investigation as I write this Commentary. This is a full court press by the FBI to meet what could be labeled a” tsunami of spying” by the Chinese each day in this Country. Although it has been well documented that other countries, including North Korea, Russia and Iran, have carried out sustained attacks on American computer networks, Wray said China stands in a class by itself — “(T)here’s just no other country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, innovation, and economic security than China.”

Three years ago, the NYPD announced the procurement of 14 drones that were manufactured by a China-based company called Da Jiang Innovations (known as DJI Systems). In July of last year. the US Department of Defense released a memo stating that the DJI poses “potential threats to national security — “the company’s devices were indeed dangerous to the country and its citizens.”

When asked about the vulnerability of those devices that are potentially still in use by the NYPD, a spokesperson said: “we do not conduct activities that would be of national security value.” Surreptitiously, mapping of this particular City with its worldwide commercial activities, revealing its vulnerabilities is a national security issue.

“We don’t investigate based on race, or ethnicity, or constitutionally protected activity,” Wray said. “In fact, in many cases, Chinese Americans are some of the people most victimized by the Chinese government’s tactics that we’re describing.” My thought: if, as I have noted — “There’s just no other country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, innovation and economic security than China” then it behooves us to aggressively press forward not merely in the intensive investigation of economic/industrial sealing but also in the academic research arena. It is there where ideas are born, nurtured and then placed into corporate development and delivery. Clearly, we are presently at ever rising risk from aggressive Chinese expansion on all levels of international relations. It may be too late, if we limit our assault merely aimed at Chinese corporate spying.

Richard Allan
The Editor

White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi Send a Telegram

Commentary—White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi Send a Telegram

When I was a child, the word “Telegram” had a chilling effect. Western Union was a company that delivered messages ( called the” telegram”) by hand. They were printed on strips of paper which were then pasted on small yellow paper and placed in a sealed envelope. Delivered, night and day, by a boy on a bicycle. During WWII, more often than not, it was to notify a parent that their child had died in combat. In the 40s it rarely brought good news—“Uncle Loui is dying. Come Quick.” Later, it was used to say: Happy Birthday or to get money sent to someone in immediate need. There were 24 hour Western Union “telegram” stores in almost every community. Today, the word “telegram” has a different meaning and use. It is an internet platform and the favorite tool of the neo-Nazi, the white-supremacist, ISIS, the anti-vaxes and the rest of the haters. Matthew G. Olsen, the head of Justice’s National Security Division, in his opening remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee this month, noted that the number of FBI investigations of suspected domestic violent extremists had more than doubled since spring 2020.

A Telegram internet platform is a cloud-based chat and group messaging app. A “Telegram Channel is quite similar to WhatsApp’s Broadcast feature to send one-way broadcast messages to the members, commonly known as subscribers. Only the admins can send messages in Telegram Channels. Other people cannot reply or send messages on the Channel. “The…Telegram Group is like any other chat group where people can send messages and interact. That said, the group admins get permissions to restrict messages from members, make the group public or private, make other members as Admins….”
The idea of a “telegram” platform was initially developed by two Russian brothers –pro democracy activists who were forced to operate beyond the borders of their mother country and its control of the usual social platforms and to permit them to aim their direct attacks and harassment at the authoritarian regime in Moscow. As the use of the Internet increased—social platforms in the United States were employed as an attack weapon. The language employed by its users became, to some, unacceptable in tone and content. In time, the rules regulating the use of inflammatory speech on the customary internet platforms became so lax as to be non-existent. Very slowly, as social and political pressures built, platforms, such as Facebook, were forced to reverse their non-interference in the matter of content and to purge the extremist content. It was almost the end of January of this new year, that YouTube finally deactivated channels linked to the Oath Keepers—that had 45,000 subscribers–a militia group whose members have been charged in relation to the January 6 Capitol riot. The usual mainstream social media platforms that had been utilized to plan or promote the January 6th attack have reacted with varying degrees of responsiveness and speed in cancelling the terrorist/rioters accounts that were involved. But these deactivations, it is alleged, had another effect—it created the opportunity for another and clearly more dangerous type of platform—the Telegram to be created. The new “concept” by necessity became the ideal location sought by the extreme right who had been purged from the mainstream platforms.
The new platforms also became the perfect vehicle to dox (or doxx or doxing) someone. When one “doxs” –the short form for “dropping dox,” there is an online attack in which one digs up personal or confidential information and documents — hence, the “dox” part of “dropping dox” —or to expose the real identities of those hoping to remain anonymous. But very often the goal is to harass and identify those persons whom you wish to harm. Simply by publishing private information or documents it is their intent to injure their targets standing or reputation, getting revenge or even inviting physical attack. For example–On November 16, a neo-Nazi Telegram channel posted what it claimed to be the home or work addresses of members of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA), the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and the alleged home address of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky and the alleged address of her synagogue. All with the very obvious intent they become targets of attack and harassment. Steve Bannon despite his purge from YouTube, Spotify and other mainstream platforms found a place in the alternative universe.

Telegram has been transformed into a central command center for far-right sympathizers and potential terrorists, where content is more often shared widely within this volatile and hostile environment. Their posts typically revel and celebrate Hitler, ISIS, anti LGBT, defaming Jews, Israel and people of color, spread far-right philosophy and violence; they have become a mecca for anti-vaxers and the “agents of terror attacks” motivated by racial hatred.
The ADL first sounded Telegram’s extremism issues in 2015, when a number of ISIS-related channels and groups were found on the platform. Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, which my wife and I just missed, the ADL subsequently uncovered that the attackers had used a “Telegram” channel to communicate their intent and plans.
The Counter Extremism Project has reported that Telegram currently hosts in excess of 200,000 channels and groups. Although many channels are freely accessible, there are channels and groups (within the channels) that require a “digital key” (a link) to gain access and admission. Some have alleged that the majority of Telegram’s 200 million-plus users have nothing to do with extremists of any types. I doubt that conclusion. What is clear is there is a large cadre of far-right Republican conspirators and white separatists that have found Telegram to be a welcoming and safe haven to meet and plan online. The Anti-Holocaust channel describes itself as “A sequel based on the original folk tale.” On a Telegram channel for the white supremacist group, the Vorherrschaft Division, it promotes the murder of Blacks, gay people, Jews and others. Multiple white supremacist and neo-Nazi Telegram channels have alleged that Covid vaccines kill the recipients, most especially children, and view the vaccines as part of an anti-white plot perpetrated by Jews. The RapeWaffen Division channel is a white supremacist channel that openly promotes rape and murder as part of their mission in any race war. The infamous Rittenhouse murder dismissal was celebrated on the supremacists channel Keithworth, with 23,500 followers. The Texas synagogue hostage event that occurred this month brought a slew of comments on Telegram: On Poast, a forum popular with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, a user wrote during the hostage situation: “Good luck to the hero under siege in a Texas synagogue.” On one Telegram site the following: “Closest live stream of the Jew hostage situation…cheer on the hostage taker.” In a Gab Group, a user wrote: “Looks like a Kike synagogue has been taken hostage!!! Apparently, this is still going on as I type. DEATH TO THE KIKES, AND LETS ALL HOPE THEY GET BLOWN TO FUCK!!” Again, as reported in MEMRI: “Neo-Nazis and white supremacists expressed their displeasure with the successful release of the four Jewish hostages. On January 15, a user of a Telegram channel chat group expressed their disappointment with the event’s conclusion and wrote: “All Kikes released. Camelfucker is dead. Waste.”’ All this is happening now in the United States: “How many dead kikes?”

Most agree that the tracking of extremist’s channels employing Telegram have just uncovered the tip of the iceberg. It is very clear that law enforcement and those who assist in tracking and exposing the ills of this platform have much to learn, not merely in exposing them and their members but to attempt to force the termination of those channels by Telegram.
There is a neo-Nazi, white-supremacist network that describes itself as an “international survivalist and self-defense network”, training its members for an oncoming race war. The presence of these types of network also reach outside of the United States, and in recent months, it has been claimed by some analysists, have sought to both energies and to swell their ranks while holding survivalist training camps throughout the United States.

While researching for this commentary, a thought from past years came to mind. When my second grandson, then in his very early teens was and is now a computer/internet designer and creator, told me: “Papa I don’t want you to try to gain entrance to the ‘Dark Web’.” When I tried to get him to tell me more–what the Dark Web was all about– all he would reveal to me, in very broad terms, was that it was a very dangerous place full of “criminal activity”. I would think he would tell me something very different now if I were to ask him about “The Telegram”. A place something much more dangerous and insidious and not merely for those who wish to wander on the internet. The Telegram channels and its participants, beyond those who are allegedly learning how to knit or build a model airplane, are a direct danger not merely to the culture of our society but its very fabric, the foundations upon which this nation survives.

The Dark Web looks inward; the terrorist channels of Telegram look outward to instigate and conduct race wars and the murder of those “they” find unacceptable. Telegram is not merely a platform for venting anger but a dangerous, proactive invitation to join in violence based, not merely upon a general violent philosophy, but aimed at the very essence of how you and I chose to live.
Richard Allan
The Editor

What Falls After Afghanistan?

The morning after a hurricane hit the East Coast and a flash flood killed 21 people in Tennessee, the headlines in the NYT, Washington Post and the WSJ described the upheaval in Afghanistan — the U.S.  pulled out, expanding the safe zones around the perimeter of Kabul airport, as the US Secretary of Defense announced that: “We cannot afford to either not defend that airfield, or not have an airfield that secure, where we have hundreds or thousands of civilians that can access the airfield at will and put our forces at risk.” And then, terrorists killed American soldiers and civilians, the airlift is over, and some Americans are still stranded, as that country faces a possible new civil war and financial disaster as the opium trade increases.

NATO’s foreign ministers had warned the Taliban that they would not tolerate Afghanistan to once again, as it did twenty years before to become a safe haven and breeding ground for terrorism. The foreign ministers noted that it had denied the terrorists a staging area for terrorists’ attacks, and it was prepared to once again invest in its vital role. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not rule out the use of military strikes to support their position. “We have the capabilities to strike terrorist groups…” within Afghanistan. Then the bombings and deaths come at the hands of ISIS. And the killing of civilians moved to a new high rate. Is a civil war brewing?  More than likely that and more, when the Taliban and the tribes that roam the Country come to the inevitable realization that the Taliban do not have the basic “tools” to govern the country, notwithstanding the influx of funds with the increase opium trade. That said, two days after Thanksgiving, the Washington Post affirmed what I had written one week before, that the Taliban attacks against the terrorist group have expanded its “shadowy war” against the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan. The Talban have deployed an additional thousands more fighters to its eastern province in an increasingly violent area. The operation becomes a critical test of the government’s ability to govern after what was a clearly botched U.S. troop withdrawal. And the answer is that it is not. Notwithstanding its perceived success in the ongoing action against ISIS, the government’s ability to feed its population and sustain a working economy is failing. Afghanistan’s economy and social services are further collapsing as I write this sentence, with Afghans throughout the country already suffering acute malnutrition. The fear is that children will die in the coming months as winter sets in, and a call has reached the international community for aid.

Then, as I paused waiting further developments, other areas have become increasingly volatile and a danger both directly and indirectly to our national security. In the midst of this, and not totally unrelated, the Iranian Ayatollah Alireza Ebadi announced that: The Jews Are the Biggest Problem for Islam and Humanity – They Control The World. How will that threat play out with their growing rush toward being an international nuclear weapon player? Turkey, a strategically located country, and as I have written in the past with its President Erdogan’s moving closer to military ties with the Kremlin, saw the country sliding into economic turmoil. The current crises have its population seeking bread and meat subsidies and fleeing for what would be a better life in Europe.

The claims of territorial rights have escalated in intensity and have become dangerous flashpoints: Hong Kong is lost. The small businesses I know there are holding onto their international trade with their fingertips and their voices are becoming dimmer.

Taiwan’s independence and those nation-states that depend upon and claim territorial and navigation rights to the South China Sea and adjacent seaways for international and local commercial transportation, mineral rights exploration and fishing hold our attention. Add India vs China and India vs Pakistan. On October 12th India and China announced that a high level military meeting between the two sides failed to ease the standoff to their boarder dispute that has left 20 Indian and Chinese troops dead.

The United States, notwithstanding strongly claiming that vast areas of the South China sea and adjacent significant maritime areas as international water has, in the past decades, made a series of tactical and strategic – military decisions that have placed us second to China who now possesses the world’s largest navy. And by any measurement – size does matter and raises significant questions of the nature of future hostilities.

Could China invade Taiwan now? As China bangs the drums of war, and although it sent in excess of 56 fighter jets over Taiwan’s beleaguered air defense systems, the answer is clear: at this moment their naval advantage is not sufficient to risk that aggressive move. In any invasion of that magnitude it would severely disrupt China’s present economic growth at home and its dependence on world opinion to support that growth. China and China watchers think in terms of 5-6 years for hostilities (however that word is defined) to commence, but were rattled when it was announced that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile 3 months ago that circled the earth and landed close to its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability. Parenthetically, Putin had already boasted of achieving hypersonic missile capability, but without the Beijing’s range.

Will there be a hostile “reunification” of the wayward province–Taiwan–or as some believe, a peaceful absorption by Beijing. Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen has confirmed that U.S. military personnel are currently on the island as part of a “military exchange,” as she announced that the country’s 23 million residents would never “bow to pressure” in the face of the growing military threat from China. All the while, China practices amphibious troop landings, and Russian and Chinese warships conducted their first joint naval operations in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. The armada consisted of ten warships that sailed thru the Tsugaru straits that separate Japan’s major islands, rattling that country’s sense of security.

History is important: more than 70 years ago, during a civil war in China between the Nationalists and Communists, the Nationalists, after defeat on the battle field, retreated to Taiwan. It is important to understand on the international diplomatic level, Taiwan is not a nation-state, it has no seat at the United Nations and is recognized by 15 very small nations. At times in the past, life did flourish between the mainland and the democratic island. Today, the relationship is at its lowest level. China’s president announced that before the end of his tenure, he will see the return of the wayward “province” to the embrace of Beijing’s authority. And America’s president announced that we have an obligation to defend a democratic Taiwan.

Pakistan and India have a long feud regarding claims to territory in the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent since the partition of that area in 1947. Until the mid-19th century,  “Kashmir” denoted only a valley between two mountain ranges. Today, the term encompasses a larger area that includes Indian-administered territories, Pakistani-administered territories, and, as I’ve just learned, Chinese-administered territories. Today, India and Pakistan both claim the region in full. The Indian side of the region has been the scene of constant clashes between government forces and armed groups seeking Kashmir’s independence or its merger with Pakistan. At the same time, India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the frontier, to launch attacks. Naturally, Pakistan rejects the accusation, as it is accused of providing a safety zone for those jihadists who stage attacks in India.

Indian authorities have moved to shut down the internet as a “precautionary measure”, and have placed restrictions in Kashmir Valley. Police had ordered the civilians to refrain from walking on the streets.

India and Pakistan have fought four wars since their partition in 1947, three of them over Kashmir. China has remained silent. What makes this hotspot more volatile is that the United States and India have taken a major step in signing an agreement to develop an air-launched unmanned aerial vehicle, thereby deepening the defense technology between the two nations. India playing both sides of the street will welcome Russia’s Putin for a summit as Moscow begins the delivery of air defense missile systems to India. That could spur U.S. sanctions.

While the tensions run high in the India and Pakistan, they are unlikely to produce any significant, imminent fighting, other than cross-border sniping. Pakistan has long been a sinking pit for the American infusion of tens of billions of dollars in aid, most of it unaccounted for by its corrupt government. Although it has long been thought, in a positive way, as our partner in our “war” against al Qaeda and the Taliban. Without our financial aid, its government must totally rely upon its drug trade, which will undoubtedly be encouraged by the new Taliban chiefs in Afghanistan. One of those Afghan Taliban leaders, it has been frequently been reported in the press, is a protégé of the Pakistan military. All this must be viewed against a background that a corrupt Pakistan government holds the keys to a nuclear arsenal.

It appears that India, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, along with other smaller nation states in the South China Sea are trying to downplay the anxiety each feels (and attempts to shroud) when scrutinizing their individual relationship with the U.S.  Our present standing in the international community, after four years of the Trump Administration and our botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, has put these countries on edge. Are they each safe from any and all types of China incursion?  “The world has witnessed how the US evacuated its diplomats by helicopter while Taliban soldiers crowded into the presidential palace in Kabul,” the official and hawkish Beijing Chinese-English language newspaper wrote shortly after the Afghan Governments collapse. “This has dealt a heavy blow to the credibility and reliability of the U.S.”, the Chinese-English paper’s editorial continued. True or false – is it China propaganda (which they appear to be very good at), or are we in a world racked by an uncontrollable virus, shifting world political alliances and domestic political upheaval, causing confusion as we attempt to refocus our international priorities?

Two very different American Presidents planned to carry out our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Two very different American Presidents view this nation’s already contentious and hostile future with China; where we have no hotline as with Russia. The increasing, dangerous threats and aggressive activities from China necessitate the United States to shift its national security focus from the Mid-East and focus on China and the Indo-Pacific arena. The Chinese will learn that they will have to refocus and consider a more robust, offensive United States to its East, and to the west the Uighurs, whose plight is more and more being examined by the international press. They are a predominantly Muslim group of Turkic ethnicity and who live in China’s North-Western Xinjiang Province. China appears to view them as a national security threat to Beijing’s hard rule, and has subjected them to internationally condemned severe treatment.

Then the day after Thanksgiving, what started as a sunless cold day, the Global financial market plunged on the opening bell following the discovery of a new viral variant in southern Africa that top advisors warned was the “most worrying we’ve seen.”  I thought: is there no place to hide?

The Editor

National Security Crises

On December 7th 1941, I was sitting in the balcony of a movie house in Brooklyn with my father, watching a film called “One Foot In Heaven”. I was 4 months shy of my 11th birthday. When they stopped the movie to announce, to a stunned audience, that Pearl Harbor had been attacked, I panicked that my father would be inducted into the army. He wasn’t, but my uncle was. It wasn’t too long before I saw small gold star banners appearing in windows on my street indicating someone had been lost in the fighting. Years later, on a street in Milan, I learned that Russia—our enemy– launched a man into orbit. Where were we? Today, at every turn, we are faced with an issue that could be easily identified as a “present and real” national security danger. It seems that every time I look there is some event occurring in the world that adversely affects our well-being here at home or our interests abroad. At times I feel overwhelmed, and my relatives and friends seem to be saying too often: “Enough. We don’t want to hear any more”.

There are two national issues, one staring right at us and the other buried overseas. Water and Covid-19 are affecting our national security interest. Coved -19 and Delta are rattling us at home, and lack of water availability in the Middle East and Africa might very well lead to war.

MEMRI, a research institute founded by a close friend and former advisor to several Israeli prime ministers, published an article that clearly sets out the festering water issues in Africa and the Mid-East. Those issues could easily lead to war. It is my opinion if the trajectory continues, it will. When I googled water scarce areas of the world, I was shocked to learn the extent of the dangers we are facing.

I learned terms: “water basins”, “water-sheds” and more. Our resources of fresh water on Earth are finite. Of all the water on the earth, only 3% is fresh water. The balance is found mostly in oceans and seas. Our fresh water collects in water basins which are defined as areas of land that collect fresh water—they could be lakes, streams, rivers that empty out eventually to an ocean, sea or gulf. In the U.S. we have 204 such basins with 96 of them in danger of disappearing. Today we have 40 out of 50 States expecting or experiencing water shortages. While it is obvious that states will not and could not dam their water basins to prevent water flowing to a neighboring sister state, the shortage will create a national security issue in allocating what is a finite supply of fresh water. The Atlantic Ocean is a huge source of water, but the conversion procedure into a useable supply of fresh water is expensive. Desalination plants are springing up across the U.S. in response to our looming water crisis. As a nation, I read that we use enough fresh water each day to sink one of our smaller states, such as Rode Island, under a foot of water.

On the other hand, the Middle East and North Africa are two of the most water-scarce regions in the world. With home to 6 percent of the world’s population they only have 1.4 percent of the world’s renewable fresh water. For a number of years, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel, have resorted to water desalination to ease their water shortage, as most other countries have resorted to their ground water resources, which are becoming depleted. In that part of the world these conditions could easily lead to the danger of regional wars. And where do we sit to protect our interests in those areas of the world? As MEMRI noted “Water shortages.…also generate domestic political violence or even the danger of regional wars. Recent violent demonstrations in the Arab-inhabited Ahwaz region of Iran, due to the shortage of water, is just one example.” MEMRI noted that “the construction of the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile by Ethiopia has triggered military threats by Egypt, as the dam could reduce the quantity of water reaching Egypt by as much as 20 percent, or even more in the event of extended drought.” A sharp reduction of water in the Nile could affect not only the livelihood but the very survival of millions of Egyptians. That is a recipe for war!

In Iraq, a severe water crisis is enhanced by the policy of Iraq’s neighbors, which has been exacerbated by a decrease in the flow of water in many of the countries’ rivers: the Tigris and the Euphrates. Iraq accuses Turkey, Iran and, to a lesser extent Syria, of sharply reducing the Euphrates’ water flow by constructing hydroelectric installations that are affecting their already stressed agricultural zones. It is predicted that Iraq could completely lose the waters of its two major rivers within the next decades. Although Iraq has sent a cease and desist notice to the offending nations, I don’t visualize a change in their attitude, notwithstanding Iraq’s threat to use force to ensure the free flow of water.

Just as technology was and is being developed to search for traces of nuclear material, we presently require the mechanism to scan for health and bio-threats. The spy: biological espionage has been with us for decades. During the Cold War, each side sought to learn the secret biological weapons the “enemy” was developing. In addition, the long-held fears that terrorism, such as the well documented saran attack in Japan, would impact us at home and abroad. As a national security, we need to have enhanced procedures and policies that are necessary for preserving U.S. armed forces’ readiness in the face of disease outbreaks; whether deliberately weaponized by a foreign entity or not.

“Where armies march, plague follows.” Disease outbreaks have long been associated with military campaigns and have often shaped their outcomes — from the plague that wasted Napoleon’s retreat from the Russian campaign to the jungle warfare of World War II. I have just read that during our Revolutionary War with the British, smallpox took a greater toll on Washington’s Army than did the British military forces. The British foot-solder had grown up in crowded, unsanitary slum-like environments, unlike the farmers of Washington’s army. A statistic: the Department of Defense has military deployments in 147 countries, and there are 21 countries where our deployments exceed more than 200 military personnel. Notwithstanding that we have an active program of monitoring the incidence of infectious disease outbreaks around the world, COVID-19 hit and sidelined the aircraft carrier the Theodore Roosevelt. According to the data collected by John McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the CIA, “We do know that 80 to 90 percent of U.S. antibiotics either come from or rely on components made in China; with China’s factories cut back severely and its domestic needs growing because of its own battle with COVID-19, we risk suffering from shortages of a range of medicines. Similarly, India, the world’s largest supplier of generic drugs and a major vaccine manufacturer, is cutting exports of 26 drug components to cope with domestic needs; moreover, the systemic nature of the problems is illustrated by India’s reliance on China for 70 percent of its drug components.” For spy agencies like the British MI6 and our CIA, that recruit human sources, it may mean ensuring you have agents—COVID free– in the right place who can report back on what is really happening on the ground. There may also be a need to shift our sights to what agencies that are charged with intercepting foreign communications search for; and in the area of technical intelligence, satellites may be tasked to look at medical waste deposits or even massive new burial sites.

Our military, unlike our civil population, live in a closer one-to-the- other environment, and they become a breeding ground for the spread of any pandemic disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has also greatly impacted the U.S. food supply and consumer behavior. Food production and processing are being disrupted as illnesses, state and local quarantines, and government-mandated movement restrictions cause labor shortages and by their very nature become a national security issue. Today, the NYTimes ran a story of how the pandemic has disrupted the entire restaurant business due to a lack of employees to the cost of food.

When I was a child, the famous Katz’s Delicatessen, a store that had come into existence in the early 1900s, had a sign in their window during WWII, flanked on all sides by American Flags that read: “Send a salami to your boy in the army.” Today it would be to “send” the vaccine. On August 9th the Pentagon announced that it will mandate coronavirus vaccination for all active-duty military personnel by mid-September—a bit late to act after the damage had been and is inflicting our military.
We are in two-pronged national security crises: first, from the effects of COVID-19 and Delta –not merely to the general public but to those who are charged with protecting us internationally and, second, the not public race to divert and hoard fresh water. If we ignore these threats now we do so at our very real peril.

Richard Allan

   The Editor  




War Over An Island

War Over An Island?

The experts are placing the odds where WWIII will explode and the consensus is that it is Taiwan. This unsettling prediction comes at a time when the world’s super powers are straining and, in some cases, failing to move politically toward some degree of bipartisanship in their own domestic governing. The United States is torn politically in half, and that affects not only the ability to govern both nationally and locally, but our health is at stake with our inability to confront a killing virus. Fact: Half the country won’t take the vaccine, and that places the rest of us in danger. In France, neither the French president nor his party have strong local support, nor does the right-wing National Rally party. We have cancelled a trip to England. Cruise ships are basically sitting in port. And as I write this, the United States and its allies condemn China for hacking the Microsoft Exchange email server that affected tens of thousands not merely in the United States but around the world. All this as it unveiled the world’s fastest train– a maglev train capable of a top speed of 372mph.

Although Taiwan is the focus of this Commentary, I feel it would be remiss not to pause to consider the state of Hong Kong. China, contrary to its agreement with the UK, has begun to squeeze the last vestiges of a democratic form of governance from the former UK colony. Four federal agencies have warned U.S. companies in mid-July that operating in Hong Kong puts both their employees and businesses at the mercy of an increasingly hostile Chinese government.  The potential impact is huge: U.S. direct investment in Hong Kong totaled $82 billion in just one year. On a personal level, I fear for an Indian Muslim whose family has lived for generations in Hong Kong and who I have known for years. He operates a small, international family custom clothing business in the former colony. He and his family’s business have a bleak future with no guarantee of survival both financially and privately.

In the past, I have written about China’s aggressive stance and its hostile advances in the South China Sea. At lightning speed, Beijing built military installations on artificial islands and small, coral reefs and now aggressively confronts their small neighboring nations in their own territorial waters. China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

More than once, our naval or air force has had dangerously close encounters with the Chinese that have placed the U.S. on high alert, causing serious concerns around the world. India and China keep sending fresh troops to their common border where sporadic, small arms firing have taken place. We are moving far past these types of unsettling, aggressive markers, in the escalation toward a much greater and dangerous conflict with a belligerent and powerful nation.

There is no question that “China poses the greatest long-term challenge to the United States’. Strengthening deterrence against China will require the Department of Defense to work in concert with other instruments of national power,” this by the Pentagon’s 2022 Defense Budget Overview. There has been a marked escalation in the tone and posture of the confrontation between China and United States. And it is palpable.

To emphasize the importance of the Pentagon statement: it requested in excess of 715 billion dollars for its military budget for the year 2022. With an additional 38 billion dollars sought for the design and production of a nuclear arsenal. As one commentator called the move: “The U.S. is preparing for a high-intensity” war to “out run” and overwhelm China. There is a small bipartisan group of lawmakers who seek additional sums in order to provide “billions” in aid to our “Asian allies” looking toward what will inevitably be an ever increasingly hostile technological race with China.

At dinner with my wife, I was discussing my thoughts regarding this Commentary. She was unaware of the history of Taiwan, an island along with some smaller islands, off the coast of mainland China. After the end of WWII, fighting continued to rage in China but now, after the defeat of Japan, a brutal Chinese revolution. The fighting between the Nationalist Party (headed by Chiang Kai-shek also known famously as Generalissimo, who served as head of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1949) and those who allegiance was to the Chinese Communists Party. The Generalissimo, after being defeated on the battle ground and forced from power, he (with his iron fisted wife who was as popular as he) were exiled by the Chinese Communists to Taiwan where 1.2 million Chinese followed, and where he serve as president of the Republic of China on Taiwan. There are over 23 million Chinese presently living in Taiwan. As the decades past, the tensions between China and Taiwan built, as the Taiwanese leaders slowly but steadily moved the “Island” from a dependent political status to claiming to be a fully independent nation. Labeled as a defector nation or, as Beijing considered the island — a renegade province.

The island’s political status posed a serious bone of contention in the United States’ relation with China, which has only continued to escalate over decades. In the late 70s, the two countries entered into an agreement that any move by Beijing to attempt to change Taiwan’s status by force, would be considered by the U.S. a “threat to the peace and security of…and of grave concern, to the United States.” As analyzed, the wording in the agreement neither guarantees our intervention in the event of armed attack against the island, nor does it rule it out. There are those in Congress today who believe, because of the level of increased tension between the two nations, that it is time to change the ambiguity in the U.S. commitment to ”strategic clarity”: that we will come to the defense of Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

In July of this year, the Global Times Editorial page published a striking opinion: The Chinese Ministry of National Defense issued a warning that the U.S. stop playing “with fire in its relationship with Taiwan”.  “The U.S. and the island of Taiwan have felt heavy pressure from the increasing strength of the mainland and its preparation for potential military struggle.” The Taiwan government not only continues to reject the idea of reunification, but holds on to the idea of being internationally accepted as an independent nation before the UN. Also, the Global Times editor notes that the “U.S. also has the intention of containing China’s rise” as an international power.  It is interesting to note that every year China celebrates a victory over the United States. We know it as the Korean War; the Chinese call it the “War to Resist American Aggression and Aid to Korea”. China does not let the world forget America’s loss.

When Mao Zedong’s “People’s Volunteer Army” turned back the U.S. Eighth Army in December 1950, it inflicted what is still known today as the longest retreat in American military history. Clearly, China has unquestioned strategic dominance in the Taiwan Straits. It also has the capacity to deploy overwhelming military forces in the South China Sea. It is building its navy at great-neck speed, but with less fire power than the U.S. navy. The reported that the Chinese threat—that the U.S. will be defeated in any military confrontation with China, was in response to the largest joint military drills that were being carried out by the U.S. The U.S. joint drills with Japan, Australia and France in “one of the most complex deployments (the U.S.) has ever organized” and was clearly intended as a show of force aimed at Beijing.

China’s leader had described the U.S. led military exercises in southern Japan, involving troops and hardware from the four nations, as” a waste of fuel”, adding that the drill had “no impact” on China and that there will be a reunification with the wayward province.

While China continues to claim authority over virtually the entire South China Sea and, as noted above, it has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. It also claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a functioning democracy of 24 million people, despite the fact that the two “nations” have been governed separately in excess of seven decades. It is almost certain that the China-U.S. confrontation will only escalate. The question is: will it plateau without a shot being fired and both sides claiming victory.

Something to think about—we all know what a spy is. We’ve seen enough movies and read enough John Le Carre books. You steal a top secret file, microfilm it, and hide in a hollowed out pen that you place behind a rock in Central Park and walk away. On the other hand, a mole is one who arrives in the United States and disappears and melds seamlessly into a nondescript community and waits, and waits and waits. Months, maybe years, waiting for the order from the mother country to do an act that will severely injure the host nation.
In reading the following, do not make any comparisons to our unconscionable actions toward the Japanese-American population on the West Coast at the beginning of WWII. Unlike with China today, there were not decades upon decades of open hostility between Japan and the United States prior to December 7th. How many “Chinatowns” are there in the United States? There are fifty– located mainly in major cities. New York City has 4 or 5 such major enclaves within its five boroughs. How many “Americantowns” are there in China? First, the Chinese do not allow an immigrant to remain too long within the country, and, two, there are too few Americans in China to form a town. So the answer is: none. If war were to erupt between the two nations think about this.

               Richard Allan

                       The Editor

A Clear and Present Danger—NOW and What’s Missing.

The UK mounted a multi-nation naval exercise to sail the Black Sea, as international tension rose a Russian destroyer shot across the bow of one of the UK’s warships; U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots after a close encounter with Iranian vessels; Hezbollah’s German presence grows despite terrorist designation; The Russians enlarge their Artic military presence; US-UK Warn of new worldwide Russian cyberespionage; Biden has leveled meaningful sanctions against Russia and is drafting and considering more; An attack by drones on Iran’s centrifuge production facility in Karaj caused major damage, and with all this upon us, American’s in huge numbers, clutching their vaccination passports, began the rush to airports. The nation, as of late June and early July, started to stare at a map of the world, trying to anticipate who would “hit” us next? As noted below, I have been writing about terrorism since 1990, and for almost the entire time I reached out to the international community to discern their secrets and understand their thinking’s. Today, this tact is the Wrong Direction to Look and More.

Just prior to 1990, I sought a sabbatical from my law school, as I became interested in what I then considered mundane questions concerning the act of terrorism. All to the dismay of Dean David Trager, the then Dean of Brooklyn Law School: “Who studies that craziness?” At that time those interested in terrorism were a handful of academics studying the history of political and religious violence. There was little if any writing, let alone analysis as to the then current state of terrorism, its structure and impact. For the next four decades my focus has been just that: terrorism/counterterrorism/national security as it has arrived at our door step all seemingly from abroad. In the 90s, I spent time at INTERPOL (did a study for them) in Lyon, France, then worked with the head of their Counter-terrorism division, a seconded FBI agent, and spent time in Jerusalem with the counter-terrorism advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel. Time has changed all that focus.

Our greatest danger of a terrorist attack, at this very moment comes from within our boarders by our “fellow-Americans”. Those people who live down the block. The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, by Timothy McVeigh, who detonated a truck bomb outside a federal building, killing 168 people with scores of children, remains the deadliest homegrown terrorist attack in American history. But it was an aberration at that time.

In early spring of this year, DHS reported that the US intelligence community has increased its “development, production, and sharing of intelligence and other actionable information central to countering domestic terrorism, which now poses the most significant and immediate terrorism-related threat to the United State.” Then in mid-May the DHS reported: “Today’s terrorism-related threat landscape is more complex, more dynamic, and more diversified than it was several years ago. “ Then it posted: “Violent extremists may seek to exploit the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions across the United States to conduct attacks against a broader range of targets after previous public capacity limits reduced opportunities for lethal attacks.” It then went on to state: “Historically, mass-casualty Domestic Violent Extremist (DVE) attacks linked to racially- or ethnically-motivated violent extremists have targeted houses of worship and crowded commercial facilities or gatherings” . Some terrorist advocates, via social media and online platforms, have outlined their plans for a race war with the premise that civil disorder would rip thru local communities, one after the other, to provide them the opportunities to engage in extended violence and to further their ideological and social objectives.

When combining these prior statements, the overall message can be no more clearly stated—or frightening—domestic terrorism, here, now. This is what our nation faces. At the outset let’s be clear; ransomware attacks, like Colonial Pipeline or a massive meat processor, are not terrorist’s attacks. Nor am I thinking about the overused term “Militias”—those created by some self-appointed civilian group, who like the sound of the word, whose definition is neither clear nor precise nor created by a legitimate act of a governmental agency. I am not referring to II Amendment of our Constitution which permits a well-regulated “Militias” that are governmentally created or those that are established and sanctioned by a state.

Not coincidental, almost simultaneously with the warnings from our own intelligence community, London’s Metropolitan Police have said that as the COVID risk dwindles in Europe, warnings should be issued across Europe of renewed terrorist threats as they witnessed an increase movement of extremism and of ISIS or as some refer to as “Daesh”. With all this, we appear to watching the rebirth and growing influence of the defeated Islamic State, as they fester in their refugee camps. They have, within the last few weeks, have attached LEDs to buses that pass thru crowded districts.

As the data reveals, terrorism events in the U.S. are now soring to new heights. The vast majority executed by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim groups and those few who label themselves as “just anti-government-grievance” driven. The number of all domestic terrorism attacks peaked last year, with most coming at the hands of those who overtly support the white supremacy ideology and those influenced by foreign terrorist and political groups of the far right. Their victims are, as my former colleague Dick Farrell would say, “non- discriminational” –Blacks, Jews, immigrants, LGBTQ, Asians and anybody else who “looks different” from the attacker or is a member of a different religious institution. Kenneth Robinson, pastor of Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte — one of several Black churches that has been attacked— said some his members remain apprehensive—“Trauma is a way of life…” The data reveals that over the past six years, 16 mosques and 13 synagogues were attacked or threatened by extremists on the far right .The bold headlines during late May underline the spike in antisemitism connected with hate speech and violence. Asian women are openly attacked on the street. The scope of today’s terrorism threat and the scope of the new battlefield is more complex, fluid, more diversified, more jarring in its tone then it was not too many years ago. It feels closer to home and more dangerous.

In general terms, the international terrorist threat to U.S. interests, as noted by some commentators can be divided into three categories: the radical international jihad movement, the formalized terrorist organizations, and state sponsors of international terrorism. Each of these categories represents a threat to U.S. interests abroad, but, more importantly, and today in the United States. The most serious international terrorist threat to U.S. interest’s today stems from Sunni Islamic extremists, such as Usama Bin Laden and individuals affiliated with his Al-Qaeda organization And we have statutes that address those issues. But today the focus must be on the domestic threat, whether it be the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers or Three Percenters or the hundreds, yes hundreds of other domestic violence groups. The domestic terrorist is our present day greatest threat. That fact that since Jan 6th, the far-right groups are beset by internal leadership turmoil and financial stress should not be relied upon to minimize either our understanding or appreciation of their potential for extreme violence.

The January 6 insurrection at the Capital could be viewed as a raucous national convention of terrorists groups and the wanna-be terrorist, each trying to outdo the other in the volume of insults they could hurdle and violence they could inflict. People died. Police were permanently injured. And incredibly, there are people who deny the reality of the event. Equally, or maybe more important was the clear failure of intelligence to warn the appropriate authorities prior to the Jan 6 insurrection. The FBI director has failed to answer for that failure. But the failure goes beyond the FBI.

Looking to see who are the most aggressive actors—one need only look to the CSIS database as one of the best public sources of information about domestic terrorism incidents. What is particularly troublesome is that more involvement in far-right attacks and plots are by military service members, veterans and current and former police officers, some of whom participated in the riot at the Capitol. FBI Director Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 2. “The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.” As far back in April 2009, Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment held–“Right-wing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda”. Biden’s homeland security adviser, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall , believes that most terrorists are lone actor: “there is no top-down “ leadership.” I do not believe that is totally accurate and misleading. There are groups of persons loosely connected with the same aim or target of their hatred and vitriol that coalesce for a terrorist strike without a formally appointed or agreed upon leader who would organize and put a plan into formal operation. They are as dangerous, and in some cases more dangerous, as the more formalized groups.

This month the President issued a 32 page memo that sought to coordinate efforts across the government in law enforcement. He called for new spending at the Justice Department and FBI to hire analysts, investigators and prosecutors; greater information-sharing between the federal government and state and local enforcement partners, as well as with tech companies. What it didn’t do is to suggest or propose what has been lacking for years: a national criminal terrorist statute. We have no federal terrorist statute, even as the FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told Congress that the bureau had made “close to 500 arrests” in connection with the Capitol insurrection attack. Wray has said that the total number of domestic terrorism investigations increased to 2,000 from 1,400 at the end of last year.

It is incomprehensible that at this stage in our history, with the dramatic rise of domestic terrorism we have no federal criminal statute to charge the domestic terrorist. Law enforcement is forced to fall back on other laws and statues not initially designed to address the violence of the domestic terrorist. Why?

Richard Allan,
The Editor

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