Corri Zoli to Attend UNSC Counterterrorism Special Meeting on the “Madrid Principles”

INSCT Director of Research Corri Zoli has been invited to attend a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee on Dec. 13, 2018, in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York City. The meeting will discuss “Security Council Resolution 2396 (2017): A Review of the Madrid Principles,” a document that provides guidance to member states on stemming the flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) across national borders, while staying compliant with human rights laws and norms.  

In particular, explains UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Chair Gustavo Meza-Cuadra in his letter of invitation, the special meeting will tackle the issue of FTFs “in light of the evolving threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, particularly FTF returnees and relocators and their family members.” The review of the Madrid Principles also will examine gaps that may hinder states’ abilities to detect, interdict, prosecute, rehabilitate, and reintegrate FTF returnees and their families, as well as identify good practices.

Among the working sessions will be those on “border security and information-sharing”; “global research perspectives on cross-cutting trends”; “countering incitement, recruitment, and violent extremism”; and “judicial measures, international cooperation, and prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration strategies.” Invited discussants include Edmund Fitton-Brown of the Analytical and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; Elisabeth Neugebauer, Deputy Special Representative, International Criminal Police Organization; and Tanya Mehra, International Centre for Counterterrorism, The Hague.

The Madrid Principles were developed from a July 2015 special meeting hosted by the Government of Spain and co-organized by the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), with which INSCT collaborates on counterterrorism prevention. This Madrid meeting was attended by member states from every region of the world, as well as representatives of international and regional organizations, universities, and civil society groups. Discussions and technical sessions identified 35 guiding principles that were subsequently adopted by the Security Council and offered as a practical tool for use by member states in their efforts to combat terrorism.

William C. Banks Discusses Posse Comitatus & the US Military’s Southern Border Deployment

The controversial deployment in late October 2018 of 5,800 US servicemembers to the US-Mexico border in response to a perceived migration and asylum crisis has caused a media stir. Not unsurprisingly, questions about the legality of the deployment have arisen, especially in the wake of a November 20 White House “Cabinet Order” allowing troops to perform law enforcement roles and to use lethal force, potentially in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Professor Emeritus William C. Banks, author of Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military, has answered some of these questions for Military Times, Vox, and PRI, as well as on the Just Security blog.

What’s a Posse Comitatus, Anyway? The Military Role at the Southern Border

(ACSBlog | Dec. 3, 2018) … What about the “crowd control, temporary detention” and “cursory search” permitted by the order? Secretary Mattis responded to a question about involvement in law enforcement this way: “We do not have arrest authority. Detention, I would put it in terms of minutes. . . . [We would stop an assault on a CBP agent] and deliver them to a Border Patrol man, who would then arrest them” …

What’s a Posse Comitatus, Anyway? The Military Role at the Southern Border

What Trump’s “lethal force” authorization means at the border

(Vox | Nov. 27, 2018) “On one hand, it is kind of ridiculous because there is nothing approaching an invasion there,” William Banks, a national security expert with Syracuse University, said. “There is no indication that there is a force lining the border that [Customs and Border Protection] couldn’t take care of. But on the other hand, if you take the Cabinet order’s language at face value, and take what the president is saying as credible threats, then it becomes grayer.”

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/27/18112610/trump-lethal-force-caravan-migrant-border-military

Military at the southern border and the Posse Comitatus Act

(PRI The World | Nov. 23, 2018) The White House has signed a memo allowing troops stationed at the border to take on some law enforcement roles including using lethal force, if necessary. Some experts say the directive is at odds with the Posse Comitatus Act. The federal law, which dates back to the 19th century, forbids active military members from engaging in civilian law enforcement roles. The World’s Carol Hills interviews William C. Banks, a professor of law at Syracuse University, and co-author of “Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military.”

https://www.pri.org/file/2018-11-23/military-southern-border-and-posse-comitatus-act

White House approves use of force, some law enforcement roles for border troops

(Military Times | Nov. 21, 2018) Posse Comitatus is “always looming in the background. You never invoke it as such because it is such a background principle,” said William Banks, author of “Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military” and the former director of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University’s College of Law.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/11/21/white-house-approves-use-of-force-some-law-enforcement-roles-for-border-troops/#.W_a8R03c8js.twitter

Legal Analysis of “Cabinet Memo” on the Military’s Role at Southern Border

(Just Security | Nov. 26, 2018) More important is what the Constitution, Posse Comitatus Act, and other federal laws represent – a longstanding legal norm disfavoring military involvement in domestic affairs except in dire circumstances. It is no exaggeration to say that avoidance of military involvement in civil society is part of our cultural heritage. Let’s hope that Secretary Mattis’ cool head prevails in the days ahead.

Legal Analysis of “Cabinet Memo” on the Military’s Role at Southern Border

Troops at the Southern Border: William C. Banks Speaks to Vox

The Pentagon is resisting Trump’s most controversial military requests for the border

(Vox | Nov. 5, 2018) Resistance to President Donald Trump’s strong-handed military proposals to counter a caravan of immigrants headed toward the US-Mexico border is coming from a surprising place: the Pentagon.

That, in part, led Banks to say the use of active-duty troops to defend against the caravan was unlawful on its own. “If we were attacked by Mexico, we’d be there lawfully,” he told me, “but there’s no justification for it here.”

When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested troops at the border, it asked the military to perform emergency law enforcement functions like crowd control. But the Pentagon rejected that request in late October in part because it felt active-duty troops don’t have the legal authority to arrest individuals on US soil.

That’s not all: DHS also asked the Defense Department if troops could build detention facilities for migrants trying to enter the United States. The military didn’t like that proposal, however, and DHS didn’t include it in its final request to the Pentagon about what it hoped troops would do.

It’s not unusual for different government agencies to discuss how, exactly, they will work together. In this case, DHS and the Pentagon negotiated what kind of support the military will provide at the border and came to an agreement.

That’s why it’s so striking that Trump continues to say the military will take actions it likely won’t …

… US troops can’t detain, arrest, or search anyone at the border. That’s a law enforcement function, and the military can’t perform those duties on US soil unless there’s no other way to enforce the law, William Banks, an expert on the military’s domestic authorities at Syracuse University, told me.

However, the military has been used for law enforcement needs in dire situations, such as during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Then-President George H.W. Bush invoked the Insurrection Act to enforce the law because he deemed it impossible for other law enforcement to do so.

But the roughly 7,000 troops at the border now can only improve walls and infrastructure, work in offices, transport border officials in aircraft, and offer medical help — little more. They shouldn’t have any interactions with individuals at the border unless absolutely necessary.

That, in part, led Banks to say the use of active-duty troops to defend against the caravan was unlawful on its own. “If we were attacked by Mexico, we’d be there lawfully,” he told me, “but there’s no justification for it here” …

Read the whole article.

Motherboard Speaks to William C. Banks About Social Media Surveillance

Pentagon Wants to Predict Anti-Trump Protests Using Social Media Surveillance

(Motherboard | Oct. 30, 2018) The United States government is accelerating efforts to monitor social media to preempt major anti-government protests in the US, according to scientific research, official government documents, and patent filings reviewed by Motherboard.

“One reason that doctrines are updated is due to changes in technology—military intelligence capabilities will adapt to new technologies, the power of social media, new cybersecurity capabilities.”

The social media posts of American citizens who don’t like President Donald Trump are the focus of the latest US military-funded research. The research, funded by the US Army and co-authored by a researcher based at the West Point Military Academy, is part of a wider effort by the Trump administration to consolidate the US military’s role and influence on domestic intelligence.

The vast scale of this effort is reflected in a number of government social media surveillance patents granted this year, which relate to a spy program that the Trump administration outsourced to a private company last year. Experts interviewed by Motherboard say that the Pentagon’s new technology research may have played a role in amendments this April to the Joint Chiefs of Staff homeland defense doctrine, which widen the Pentagon’s role in providing intelligence for domestic “emergencies,” including an “insurrection” …

… How far that caution applies in the context of a DOD led by a Trump appointee is an open question. But Aftergood also described the amendments as a potential danger to American democracy: “The whole subject bears careful monitoring, since it potentially poses a challenge to civilian control of government and to the integrity of democratic institutions,” he said.

I also spoke to William C. Banks, distinguished professor and founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University’s College of Law, who largely agreed with Aftergood’s assessment. “There is cause for concern due to the ambiguities embedded in the law and the federal guidance supplied through civilian and military agencies on homeland defense,“ Banks warned. “It is not unusual for doctrines like this to be quietly updated and they do this almost every year. But these changes are always worth monitoring due to the risk to democracy.”

I asked Banks, co-author of Soldiers on the Homefront: The Domestic Role of the American Military, about the doctrine’s description of an “insurrection” as a “homeland defense“ issue.

“The US military role in the homeland is not new, but in this case there’s a tension between DSCA [Defense Support for Civil Authorities] and homeland defense, because in one setting civilians are in charge, and in another setting the military are in charge,” he said. “The changes to doctrine are not dramatic, but they could make it more likely, maybe inevitable, that those jurisdictional issues might come together or clash in some way.”

The outcome of such a clash could end up putting Trump’s Defense Secretary in charge of a response to a domestic emergency categorized by Trump as an “insurrection.“ Taken in tandem with the US military’s sudden interest in predicting anti-Trump protests after the 2016 elections, the Pentagon’s upgraded homeland defense doctrine seems to be part of a wider effort by the Trump administration to prepare for domestic civil unrest in coming months and years.

Indeed, according to Banks, the changes to the doctrine in April could well have occurred as an effort to adapt to the technological developments in social media surveillance under the Trump administration described earlier in this story.

“One reason that doctrines are updated is due to changes in technology—military intelligence capabilities will adapt to new technologies, the power of social media, new cybersecurity capabilities,” he said. “The more we learn about those, the more we can envisage new threats and new opportunities to address them. So this new research on social media surveillance is exactly the kind of thing that could prompt changes in doctrine. The Pentagon’s support for this kind of research is concerning and should be closely monitored” …

Read the full article.

 

Three Men and a Body: Media in the Age of the Strongman

By David M. Crane 

(Jurist | Oct. 31, 2018)  The blaming of attempted bombings of prominent democratic leaders and opponents of President Trump on a vindictive press by him at a public rally casts a dark shadow over a bleak landscape where once the freedom of the press was a corner stone of our democracy.  Declaring the press in the United States an “enemy of the people” rings reminiscent of attacks on the press in Germany of the 1930’s.

“Though dictators throughout history attack and then silence a critical press, the 21st century has seen the rise of the strongman, particularly in the past few years and with it more direct and violent attempts to muzzle the media.”

Around the world, strongmen have been attacking the concept of freedom of the press, as well as members of the press themselves. Putin has blatantly singled out members of the Russian press critical of his policies and shot them, poisoned them, run them over, and even thrown them off buildings.

Recently the direction by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), to kill Washington Post reporter and commentator Jamal Khashoggi is a further attack on members of the media who criticize a strongman. The crisis that followed quickly drew in three men, all arrogant and disdainful of the law, hypocritically mouthing words they did not believe in order to quell the outrage, to support each other, or to gain political advantage. Those men are MBS, Erdogan, and Trump.

Though dictators throughout history attack and then silence a critical press, the 21st century has seen the rise of the strongman, particularly in the past few years and with it more direct and violent attempts to muzzle the media. With a surprising rapidity, the stepping forward of nationalistic politicians onto the world stage where they used to dwell on the fringes of society, mainly in the political shadows, has caught liberal democracies off guard. Such thinking seemed to be behind us, not any longer.

The brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi is indicative of this new inward thinking nationalism and it’s hatred of the press not seen since the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. Using terms such as fake news as a shield; the likes of Trump, Putin, Li, Erdogan, Duterte, MBS, among other strongmen, have begun to move societies against the media. With chants led by the President of the United States, “CNN Sucks!” augers poorly for American society and the world as a whole.

The loss of moral leadership by the United States under Donald Trump has enabled the increased pressure and attacks on a critical press. These various strongmen feel that being held accountable is no longer a viable threat to their political position at home or abroad. Essentially the rule of law, so essential to the maintenance of international peace and security, is no longer a deterrent.

The American President is pushing away legal, diplomatic, and political norms that have been cornerstones to that peace and security since 1945. The threat of pulling out of key geopolitical organizations and treaties such as the World BankWorld Trade Organization, the INF treaty, even NATO, have turned the early 21st century into a kaleidoscopic world where nothing matters and old friendships and allies are declared threats. We tend to forget Trump calling Canada, Canada, a national security threat.

Declaring oneself a nationalist in a global economy and international community sounds like a certain German chancellor in the 1930’s who founded and came to power with a nationalist political party. That chancellor did two things very quickly on seizing power, go after a vulnerable minority blaming them for the nation’s problems and attacking and muzzling the German press. Dictators do this as a matter of course. Stalin, Mussolini and Mao Tse Tung used the same tactics …

Read the complete article.

Now retired from teaching at Syracuse University College of Law, David M. Crane is an INSCT Research & Practice Associate.

Military Times Interviews William C. Banks About Troops at the US Border

The 5,239 Troops Headed to the Border is Just the Beginning

(Military Times | Oct. 30, 2018) The number of troops who will deploy to the U.S.-Mexico border will rise beyond the 5,239 personnel already on orders and expected to be in place within days, U.S. Northern Command chief Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said Tuesday.

O’Shaughnessy did not have a cost estimate for the rapidly-growing — and without recent precedent — mission of dispatching thousands of active-duty forces to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California to counter a caravan of an estimated 3,500 migrants traveling from Central America.

“There will be an additional force, over and above the 5,239,” O’Shaughnessy said. “The magnitude of that difference, I don’t have an answer to right now” …

Even though smaller numbers of active-duty forces have supported drug interdiction efforts on the border, they have not been the go-to to address immigration influxes, and certainly not in an order of this magnitude, border security experts said.

Responding to immigration influxes has typically been the purview of the National Guard, such as Operation Jump Start from 2006-2008 under former President George W. Bush, said William Banks, author of “Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military” and Founding Director of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University’s College of Law …

Read the full article.

 

Corri Zoli Discusses Mail Bomb Attacks & Domestic Terrorism on Spectrum News

Are Recent Suspicious Packages an Act of Political Terrorism?

(Spectrum News | Oct. 25, 2018) One after the other, suspicious packages were delivered to the media and liberal leaders, many in New York City.

“This is a very painful time in our nation. It’s a time when people are feeling a lot of hate in the air,” said Bill de Blasio, (D) New York City Mayor.

Some are calling it domestic terrorism and others call it political terrorism.

“Someone one who might be trying to use scare tactics or trying to enhance political passions, make partisan divisions worse,” said Corri Zoli, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism Research Director.

It is a scary thought for a country largely functioning on a two-party system.

Zoli said, “It’s not accurate to characterize opposition groups as enemies in a two-party system that structures the United States.”

But, is that what we’re seeing?

In 2017, the target appeared to be on the other side of the aisle, members of Republican Congressional baseball team.

“Is this a retaliatory attack for those attacks? This is the problem with polarization. You get these kind of escalating dynamics…clearly this is an expression of partisanship gone awry,” said Zoli …

Watch the whole segment.

 

“A Worrisome Case”: William C. Banks Examines Election Season Attempted Mail Bombs with Bloomberg Law

Law Enforcement Probes Attempted Mail Bombs

(Bloomberg Law | 10.25.18) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse Law School, discusses law enforcement efforts after several high-profile democrats, public figures, and the CNN newsroom in New York received apparent explosive devices over the course of several days …

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2018-10-25/law-enforcement-probes-attempted-mail-bombs-radio

“Going About His Business:” Bloomberg Discusses the Mueller Probe’s Effect on the Midterms with William C. Banks

William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses the latest progress in the Mueller Probe, and how the probe, which began in the spring of 2017, could impact the midterm elections.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2018-10-16/affirmative-action-not-on-trial-in-harvard-case-podcast

Banks’ segment begins at 8m 25s.