I attended a talk by Dr. Haroon Ullah author of the book “Digital World War: Islamists, Extremists, and the Fight for Cyber Supremacy”. At this talk, Dr. Haroon discussed what he wrote in his book which as the title suggests is about ISIS and their presence in the digital world. His focus was on how ISIS uses the digital world to spread their message and what methods we can use to fight back the ideas they are spreading. Before discussing these ideas he gave a little insight on the relationship between ISIS and the digital world. An idea he presented was about how the propaganda ISIS makes creates feelings of identity, belonging, and trust especially amongst the youth who are vulnerable and at risk. This was very interesting to hear because I never thought to interpret the propaganda this way. Dr. Haroon explains that in the native tongue this propaganda is made with many positive messages like governance and uprooting corruption which is lost when it is translated to other languages like English.
For the second half of his talk Dr. Haroon discussed the methods he thinks we should use to combat ISIS’ presence in the digital world. Before he did so, he mentioned that if we are working towards a solution to this problem we must recognize there is a collective action problem. He emphasized that there is a tragedy of the commons when it comes to combating ISIS and that because of this getting to a solution has become harder. This was another interesting point to me because of how we have discussed this term in class and how it was easy to see the connection he was making.
Once we realize this, he stated we must use the voices of certain people who will get the intended message across. The counter narratives of victims, mothers, and defectors are of high value according to him. Next, “social media incubators” which are groups who combat ISIS through well produced videos are of value as well. Lastly, he believed we should consider tackling a specific city or regions, then thinking of interventions and campaign to be more productive. Overall, he insisted on the urgency of this problem and keeping up with the methods ISIS does to spread their propaganda. He also insisted that by taking this type of content down we are not done but there is much more to do. They are continuously evolving therefore we cannot fall behind. His talk was very informative and I enjoyed learning more about this issue.
Andrew McCarthy is a Editor; National Review; senior fellow at National Review Institute and Mackubin Owens a moderator; Dean of Academics; at The Institute of World Politics.
He discussed terrorism and national security law in America. According to the speaker, there is nothing we have learned from time but today we are prepared to face terrorism after the destruction of world trade center. There is an international systematic terrorism prevailing in world and there are marginal dissatisfied people in our community. They are of the view that they can’t deny the existence of Islam, followed by 1.6 billion people. Dr. Umar Abdul Rahman was overly incapable to do anything for terrorism, but he was the master of the ideology of terrorism, which is inspiring the young generation. The speaker have met with the terrorists, in order to find out their strategies. There is violet extremism and terrorist attack in America and formation of Al-Qaeda. They required evidences to prosecute the culprit in the court. A commission was formulated as a result of destruction of world trade center with all lawyers as analyzers and no investigator was there in the team. In 1990, there were some terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda, killing 19 men. In 1998, simultaneous attacks were made on U.S. embassies. In 2011, the major icon of International terrorist (Osama bin Laden) system was killed in Pakistan. There must be a military system and a national security plan made with combination of best justice system of military and civilian systems. The courts should be strict toward the guilty. One of the biggest problem is that, terrorist don’t present themselves as terrorist, so it is difficult to recognize them.
ISIS and Sex Slavery
Moving from Condemnation to Action
I visited The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on Wednesday October 5th 2016 from 2:00p.m to 4:30p.m. The Event started by welcoming remarks by Ambassador William B. Taylor The executive President of the USIP and Mrs. Cindy Hensley McCain Chair of the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. After That Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura The US special Representative of the secretary-General on sexual Violence In Conflict gave her speech on Sexual Violence and the way it is seen through some cultures and societies. Some of the remarkable things she states in her speech that when we think of terrorism we don’t think of sexual violence and that it has become an ideologist activity. She also talks about the survivors of Isis and the treatment they get after the trauma they experience such as, psychosocial and medical support because those women face problems within their societies and families, they are seen as a shame rather than victims when they are in the most need of being welcomed and accepted which she mention is the leaders job to change that mind set. After the speech there was a discussion lead by Ms. Elise Labott (moderator) Global Affairs Correspondent at CNN, Mr. Sarhang Hamasaeed Senior Program Officer for Middle East Programs at USIP, Ambassador Mark P. Lagon Distinguished Senior Scholar and Centennial Fellow at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, and Ms. Zainab. They discuss Sex trafficking and Violence against women by Isis is one of the things we don’t hear about as we hear about other things. Mr. Hamasaeed talks about sexual Violence in Middle East and Yazidi women (women who escaped ISIS) the issue is not about sex or money but power, control, and destruction. He explains the Religion and how it’s used by ISIS but its not an actual reason, he states that one way to deal with that issue is to take this mindset and deal with it. They discuss those women and how they are treated as slaves/property not even seen as women, owners buy and sell them in market places sometimes a women is sold for 21 times trying not to get them pregnant or else they would lose their value in the market and mentioning the excessive drinking to the point they start loosing some of their memory. Yazidi women are not only the victims of ISIS sex violence, there are others however we don’t hear about them more frequently because their community accepts them. Yet Yazidi’s is a very small and traditional community and sometimes-high level of shame would result in those women committing suicide. Finally, They mention that ISIS is very systematic and fighting force from all aspects. At the end of the discussion they give the audience the opportunity to ask questions answered by the guests who were mentioned earlier.
On September 17, 2015 The Brookings Insitutue hosted New York Times reporter Scott Shane who discussed the life and path that lead Anwar Al-Awlaki to become the most important english speaking recruiter and leader of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Scott discussed the history of Anwar’s life in the United States from his time as a college student at Colorado State University to his life as an Imam at a San Diego mosque which later produce two of the 9/11 hijackers. The narrative was not only about Anwar’s path to radicalization but also about the door that was opened by the United States when we decided to use a drone strike to kill him on September 30, 2011. Evidence was provided that he was the mastermind behind many terrorism plots aimed mainly against the United States. To help Scott along this journey down the at path of Anwar’s life here in the states and in Yemen was Brooking Institute Senior Fellow and Director of The Intelligence Project Bruce Riedel. While Scott had done extensive research on Anwar from the civilian side, even going as far as visiting his native village in Yemen to interview Anwar’s brothers, Bruce has been working in the counter terrorism field his whole career and provided a larger context to the story, as well as a more modern understanding of how Anwar’s extensive on-line recruitment campaign is, still today, allowing him to reach beyond the grave and radicalize fragile young minds all over the globe.
When preparing for the Dept. of State “Foreign Policy Classroom” with Marc Norman, Director of Africa, Europe and The Americas, I was not at all expecting what I got. I figured there would be a lot of talk about those specific countries. How we research terrorism and defend attacks from terror cells in those areas. However, this lecture was the most detailed comprehensive lesson on taking down terrorism in general. Marc Norman, while hilarious spoke on broad terms on how US effectively has taken down terrorist attacks.
Norman stated a line that really has stayed with me and I never thought about. When defending the United States, we have to be luck 100% of the time to keep our people safe. However, any terrorist unit, only has to be lucky once. When thinking about it, I’m sure we have been lucky most of the time considering the rareness of a large scale terrorist attacks.
Norman spoke about taking down down terrorists in a very systematic way. For instance you make money harder to wire and transfer. There goes their funding. You make it hard to talk on any normal way of communication. You take away their communication. When you spread out their leaders in different prisons across the world, or even take care of the leaders in a more permanent manner. There are so many thinks that the US government does to make life so much more difficult for terrorists. These are probably the things that do the most damage, that the average American citizens don’t even realize.
A factor I never thought about with work the state dept. does is how much red tape they have to cut through. Norman made a joke that the best way for a terrorist cell to evade punishment is to change their name. Thats the easiest thing for them to do, something so easy and simple. I know the government has to follow the same rules as everyone else, but working for a bureaucracy such as the Government must get very frustrating. The work the State dept. never has seemed more rewarding and with Norman’s insight, the audience really felt like they were the good guys.
The New America Foundation is an organization in Washington DC, clearly doing big things; I attended an event there this afternoon, at what seemed like a conversation between old friends (later revealing they ARE old friends). Peter Bergen, a British-American journalist, interviewed Phillip Mudd, who worked in the CIA, and then a liaison for the White House during 9/11.
The event began with Mudd simply introducing himself and how he began his career. Mudd is a graduate from UVA, in English surprisingly enough. He had been turned down several times for a teaching career, and drove up to the CIA gates when he was aware they were hiring. Mudd worked his way up quickly and specialized in South East Asia in intelligence. He began working on Iraq in 1999 and was still involved and a leader during the September 11th attacks. Mudd says he didn’t know how, but as soon as he became aware of the attacks, he knew the world in that moment, changed forever. Throughout his deep involved testimonial of the time, Mudd repeats the phrase “let me blunt” very often. He was honest and even though he has no regrets, he says the time was very emotionally trying. He talks about how the CIA perfected in those years, the art of taking down individual leaders before more could develop. An interesting comment he made revolved around that “art” he mentions. Mudd believes that drug and human traffickers could also be taken down in this manor, claiming the Government isn’t doing enough. Mudd went on to talk about how much the hunt for Bin Ladan weighed on him. He speaks openly about how even though we were killing of these awful men, they still had families, and children whom would never see them again. Mudd also brought up a claim that really weighed with me my metro ride home. He says he believes the CIA has gone into a business of man hunting, and has left its espionage roots. (Mudd is no longer working for the CIA- and is an investment banker in DC). He spoke candidly saying this needs to change, and this is a root problem in not only America, but a lot of Intelligence Agencies across the world.
“Al Qaeda is a movement… not a group” Mudd said. This was something I had not just not been aware of, but didn’t even understand. (even after countless views of Zero Dark Thirty) During this presentation, my knowledge of Al Qaeda grew exponentially. He explained Al Qaeda “cells” and other brief knowledge of the movement in a language not only I could understand, but really enjoyed and found fascinating. That quote really stuck with me as well, changing a lot of my preconceived notions about Al Qaeda.
The talk ended with a question and answer session. There were questions from why isn’t he married, to other organizations America should be worried about. A man praised him on being one of the few CIA officers to acknowledge the pain and suffering children of Al Qaeda leaders have faced. Mudd was no longer part of the CIA during the final capture of Bin Laden, he remarks that he was upset with America and the praise his death recieved. While necessary he says, it was still a death. I really respected this outlook and thought about how much morality this must take….especially for a man so much on the inside.