7:43 PM 11/7/2017 – “Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N. 

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“Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N. 

Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable

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Sound familiar? It does to American citizens who must regularly study these bloody rituals and be left by political leaders to passively anticipate the carnage next time.

In the aftermath of the Texas horror, politicians led by President Trump are trying to steer away from the obvious issue of what to do about the gun industry’s wanton sale of military-style rifles and pistols on the domestic market.

Mr. Trump called the rampage a “mental health problem at the highest level” and not “a guns situation.” This is the cynical evasion devised by the National Rifle Association, which warmly endorsed candidate Trump, who now parrots the diversionary talking point that we must first control for mental illness.

In fact, President Trump signed a law in February revoking an Obama-era regulation that made it more difficult for the mentally ill to purchase guns.

Mr. Trump, who spoke favorably as a candidate of vigilante shootouts for self-defense, also suggested that if a civilian had not briefly exchanged shots with the Texas shooter after the massacre, the casualty toll “would have been much worse.” The implication was that the bloodshed in Texas, which also included more than 20 wounded, actually makes the case for more guns — that the disease of gun violence is also its cure.

This is a fantasy, not a rational argument; it doesn’t bear the slightest scrutiny. As our colleague Nicholas Kristof notes, the United States outstrips the world in both gun ownership per capita and gun deaths per capita. States with higher proportions of gun ownership also have rates of death by guns higher than the national average. Incidents in which victims kill attackers in self-defense are vanishingly few compared with gun homicides, and suicide is by far the leading cause of gun deaths.

From expanded background checks to assault weapons bans, proposals put forward by gun-safety proponents, unlike continually increasing private American arsenals, would do something to thwart mass shootings. The Texas killer was not motivated by racial hatred, as was the killer of the Charleston churchgoers, but by family grievance, underlining the lethal combination of domestic abuse and firearms. Abusers’ access to guns increases the risk of intimate partner homicide as much as fivefold, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. While federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence, as Mr. Kelley was, from buying or possessing firearms, the Air Force failed to add him to a federal database, allowing him to pass necessary background checks. The right law was on the books but enforcement was lax.

And yet so many politicians continue to promote the wares of the gun industry. Two years ago, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tweeted “I’m embarrassed: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind California. Let’s pick up the pace Texans. @NRA.” On Monday he said the problem was out of human hands.

“We have evil that occurs in this world,” Governor Abbott declared, as if from a pulpit, equating all manner of global terrorist attacks, including the murder of eight last week by a truck driver in Manhattan. When asked how the evil of gun violence can be overcome, he replied “you do that by working with God.” Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, even envisioned “arming some of the parishioners or the congregation so that they can respond” if another massacre occurs.

This is the level of pro-gun argument being offered by Republican leaders and some Democrats. It is made in service to the N.R.A. and the gun industry, not the American public.

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New developments in the Sutherland Springs Texas church shooting – mySanAntonio.com

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mySanAntonio.com
New developments in the Sutherland Springs Texas church shooting
mySanAntonio.com
The gunman Devin Patrick Kelley who killed at least 26 people in a church south of San AntonioSunday died from what authorities believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he crashed his car. He had been chased by armed bystanders. Read more: …

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Devin Patrick Kelley – Google Search

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The Texas gunman escaped from a mental health facility after …

Business Insider4 hours ago
Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people on Sunday at a rural Texas church, escaped from a mental health hospital in 2012, …
What We Know About the Texas Baptist Church Gunman
BlogSlate Magazine (blog)Nov 6, 2017

Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly?

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Three of the worst five shootings in modern US history have happened in the last 16 months.

It began – more or less – with 13, the number killed in 1949 in Camden, New Jersey, one of the earliest mass shootings in the US. An army veteran, Howard Unruh, killed his neighbours.

Over the next several decades, the numbers went up: 16 in Austin, Texas, on a campus in 1966, and 21 slain at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California, in 1984.

The past month or so have been especially brutal, as two attacks unfolded – in Las Vegas (58 dead) and Sutherland Springs, Texas (26). They followed a June 2016 assault in an Orlando nightclub in which 49 people were killed.

The reasons for this disturbing trend are many and complex, and people across the US and around the world have struggled to understand the violence.

Here analysts discuss some of the factors that may lie behind the grim numbers:

Weapons are more powerful – and shoot faster

The shooters have increasingly been using guns with high-capacity magazines, allowing them to fire off dozens of rounds without having to reload.

“There are more people being shot in a shorter amount of time – with more bullets in them,” explained Harvard School of Public Health’s David Hemenway.

Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, and James Holmes, who killed 12 in Aurora, Colorado, that year, both used weapons with this feature. The data’s clear: the number of killings in individual attacks goes up when assault rifles are used.

Researchers have also examined the laws: a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines was passed in 1994. It was lifted in 2004.

Experts said lifting the ban helped to usher in a new era of mass shootings. With these weapons, individuals could shoot faster and for longer periods of time – and consequently were able to kill more people in their attacks.

In addition states have their own laws. After the Sandy Hook massacre, a Connecticut law was passed that banned semiautomatic rifles (or assault weapons, as they’re also known).

Other states loosened their gun laws, however. In Georgia, for example, a law was passed that allowed people to carry weapons in school classrooms, nightclubs and other places. Experts at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence wrote that people in states with stricter gun controls tended to see less gun violence.


Assailants choose their sites more carefully

Attacks are now carried out in places with a large number of people – such as a Las Vegas concert venue with 22,000 people. “With that type of crowd, the shooter didn’t even have to aim,” said University of Central Florida’s Jay Corzine.

Most of the people who carry out mass shootings plan the attacks carefully, according to Homicide Studies.

“They’re doing their homework,” Corzine explained. Preparing the groundwork, he said, means the shooters kill more.

The gunman who opened fire at a Batman screening in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012 “thought a movie theatre would lead to higher fatalities”, said the University of Alabama’s Adam Lankford.


The shooters are inspired by media accounts

Coverage of mass shootings – like the assaults themselves – have exploded in recent years. Shooters post on social media before the attacks and sometimes while the assaults are underway.

Media organisations create live pages and provide 24/7 coverage of an assault. In addition journalists often focus on the killers, providing details about their lives and unintentionally contributing to a glorification of these individuals.

Yet overall, say experts, the stories did not cause an increase in the number of deaths in the assaults. “I’ve seen media accounts of mass shootings for the past 25 years, and the uptick of high casualties has been pretty recent,” said Corzine. Still the coverage gives people ideas.

“Mass shootings are contagious,” said Gary Slutkin, founder of a Chicago-based organisation, Cure Violence. “People see what other people do, and they follow that.”


The shooters compete with each other

Dylan Klebold, one of the attackers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, described their goal: “the most deaths in US history…we’re hoping.”

As Lankford explained: “This really is a race for notoriety – to be bigger and better than the attackers who came before you.”

Becoming famous as a mass shooter may seem like a sick glory. Yet it holds an allure for some. “It’s, ‘Well, yeah…,'” Slutkin said, describing how these individuals consider the possibility of fame and spend little time contemplating the likelihood of their own grisly fate: “It isn’t all the way thought through.”

“We all want to be known after we’re dead,” he explained.

“It shows how strong that circuit is.”

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Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly? – BBC News

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BBC News
Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly?
BBC News
Most of the people who carry out mass shootings plan the attacks carefully, according to Homicide Studies. “They’re doing their homework,” Corzine explained. Preparing the groundwork, he said, means the shooters kill more. The gunman who opened fire at …
Another opportunity to do nothing about gun violence in AmericaLos Angeles Times
Many Mass Shooters Have A History Of Domestic ViolenceBuzzFeed News
FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD: It’s time to stop doing nothing about gunsUtahstatesman
ChristianityToday.com –Department of Justice –EverytownResearch.org
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AR-15 style rifles are common among mass shootings – WBIR-TV

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WBIR-TV
AR-15 style rifles are common among mass shootings
WBIR-TV
AR-15 style rifles have become the weapon of choice in recent mass shootings, including the Texas church shooting Sunday, the Orlando nightclub last year and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The manufacture of rifles more than doubled in the last …

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Mass shootings in America: 4 essential reads – WTOP

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Mass shootings in America: 4 essential reads
WTOP
For injury prevention, it is far more effective and long-lasting to change the environment by changing modifiable policies and norms than to try to change the way children behave.” A mass shooting often brings out partisan politics. Those who want to 

Texas authorities: We won’t mention shooter’s name again – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Texas authorities: We won’t mention shooter’s name again
Washington Post
The shooter’s name went unspoken at a news conference on the killings at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and authorities there said they intend to keep refraining from saying it. “We do not want to glorify him and what he has done,” Texas 

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Texas authorities: We won’t mention shooter’s name again – Boston Herald

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Boston Herald
Texas authorities: We won’t mention shooter’s name again
Boston Herald
Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina who studies the social effects of technology, said evidence shows that future mass shooters were carefully watching coverage of the most recent attacks. She has repeatedly urged — both 

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What Explains US Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer – New York Times

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New York Times
What Explains US Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer
New York Times
If mental health made the difference, then data would show that Americans have more mental health problems than do people in other countries with fewer mass shootings. But the mental health care spending rate in the United States, the number of mental …
Link seen between domestic violence and mass killingsCBS News
Mass Shooting in Texas and False Arguments Against Gun ControlThe New Yorker
Trump wrong to blame mass killings on mental illness rather than guns, experts saySan Francisco Chronicle
Axios –Xinhua –Washington Post
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After the Texas church shooting, will the military fix how it reports crime? – PBS NewsHour

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PBS NewsHour
After the Texas church shooting, will the military fix how it reports crime?
PBS NewsHour
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had an urgent question Monday about Devin Patrick Kelley, the former U.S. Air Force airman who is accused of killing 26 people worshipping at a church service yesterday: How was it that Kelley, convicted of domestic violence and …

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NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data

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Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything else except the title and byline:

Uh, notice a problem there, guys? You can’t compare across countries without adjusting for population. A country with more people, all else equal, will have both more guns and more mass shootings, driving a false correlation between the two.

They get to the adjusted data about halfway through the piece. It’s true that the U.S. and Yemen are the countries with the most guns and the most shooters — and that is something that could, plausibly, suggest that easy access to guns increases mass shootings. But also worth noting is that there’s no pattern visible for the entire rest of the data set. Gun ownership varies from basically nonexistent to above 30 guns per 100 people, yet these variations don’t obviously correspond to variations in mass shootings.

There are a few other issues with the piece worth pointing out, in no particular order:

 Their mass-shooting numbers and much of their analysis — including a claim that gun ownership correlates with mass shootings even after the U.S. is excluded and overall homicide rates are taken into account — come from the researcher Adam Lankford, who has refused to share information about his analysis with media outlets likely to criticize him.

 In one paragraph, they claim that more gun ownership means more “gun murders,” but two of the four sources they link document gun deaths including suicide.

 We shouldn’t care about “gun murders” or “mass shootings”; we should care about murders in general and mass killings in general, regardless of how they’re accomplished. (Up to a point it’s essentially tautological to claim that more guns translates to more problems with guns, because a society with no guns by definition cannot have any problems with them.) As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no simple, consistent correlation between gun ownership and murder or homicide rates in general, either among developed countries or among U.S. states. More sophisticated studies face a variety of serious methodological obstacles — I don’t find any of them that compelling — and have reached varying conclusions. The research on mass shootings in particular is in an even more primitive state.

 They claim that the U.S. has more lethal crime than other developed countries but not more crime in general, and argue that guns are the difference. Even if we take the initial claim at face value, in blaming guns we encounter the problem that, as Steven Pinker once put it, “If you subtract out all the gun homicides in the United States and you just look at the homicides committed with, say ropes, candlesticks, and daggers, we still kill people at a higher rate.” I went through various reasons for our high rate of lethal violence here.

I wouldn’t purport to know for a fact that gun ownership doesn’t lead to higher homicide or mass-shooting rates, but the effects are far more complicated and subtle than gun controllers want us to believe.

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4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., in my opinion – M.N. | NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review | The Web World Times – News and Opinions Review

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4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S.: In my opinion:

If you admit as the hypothetical explanatory option the  hostile special intelligence operation nature of the mass killings, and it is impossible not to consider this scenario as an, if not the (in majority of cases) explanation, then all the sociological and the statistical studies become irrelevant, just as the gun ownership explanatory theory, which is indeed false, in my opinion. This latter factor might be contributing but not the root cause, and not the main causal factor in the modern-day U.S. culture. 

Michael Novakhov 

11.7.17 

P.S.: But the good thing is that we started to ask these questions and started to look for the answers. We should not let the conceptual stereotypes to cloud our judgment. One of such stereotypes, regarding “Al Qaeda”, started to crumble before our eyes: “21 Years of War with Al  Qaeda?” “ISIS”, probably is next. 

It looks like the beginning of the end of the historical denial. So much for the powers of the very plausible self-deception: “I do not see it, because I do not want to see it”, just like the good old three monkeys. 

Links: 

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What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

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Worldwide, Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some other factor particular to his home country. And it held when he controlled for homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.

Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas

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There is nothing particularly Lone Star State-ish about a mass killing these days. Ask New York, or Las Vegas.

 ___________________________________

 

Mass Shootings News Review

Current News, Selected Articles, Reviews, Analysis, Investigations, Opinions

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NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review

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National Review
NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data
National Review
Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything else …
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A mass shooter’s name is part of the story; concealing it is silly and self-important – Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times
A mass shooter’s name is part of the story; concealing it is silly and self-important
Los Angeles Times
As anyone who has taken a high school journalism class knows, one of the 5 Ws that reporters should be careful to include in the first paragraph of a news story is “who.” Usually that means providing the name of the newsmaker, whether his actions are …

three monkeys see no evil – Google Search

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The Next Phase in the War on Terror 

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Last week, in the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11, Sayfullo Saipov turned a nearly mile-long stretch of bike path along Manhattan’s West Side Highway into a killing ground. The attack reflects a terrorism threat that is morphing from the complex, externally directed attack carried out by a network that we saw on 9/11 to violent individuals, inspired online by ISIS and other radical jihadist groups. We built an architecture to prevent another 9/11, but we have a long way to go when it comes to tackling this latest phase of terrorism.

The good news is that communities have proven resilient when attacked. The bad news is that this week—with calls for “extreme vetting” and denigration of our criminal justice system as a tool against terror—we saw dangerous backsliding instead of a renewed focus on the work needed for the next phase in the war on terror.

How should we respond to this latest terror act on our soil? Rather than demagoguing on immigration, launching divisive political attacks, or disparaging our criminal justice system, we should focus on what works. Effectiveness should be our lodestar. Russia is not the only one who wants to weaken the United States by sowing division in our country—the terrorists want to do so as well. We shouldn’t let them.

When tragedy and terror strike we must deliver swift and certain justice consistent with the rule of law. While it appears cooler heads have prevailed to reverse the President’s initial impulse to send the New York attacker to Guantanamo (an unprecedented and legally dubious move), the fact that we found ourselves having the debate yet again about “war” vs. “law enforcement” in the terror fight prompted disturbing déjà vu. Dedicated professionals across two administrations worked hard to ensure that this country can apply all tools—military, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy, financial sanctions—to disrupt threats and hold terrorists accountable. For terrorists caught on U.S. soil, we have relied on a criminal justice system that is the envy of the world not only because it is the hallmark of our rule of law society but also because it gets results.

The record is clear when it comes to generating intelligence, securing convictions and safely holding terrorists. The more than one million federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who work in that system put their lives on the line to keep us safe are anything but a “laughing stock.” To the contrary, they include more than 30,000 FBI agents, intelligence analysts and other professionals who I was proud to call colleagues when I served as Chief of Staff to then FBI-Director Robert S. Mueller. This nation is also served everyday by dedicated federal prosecutors who are no “joke.” That includes those in the Southern District of New York who, true to their tradition of independence, tuned out the political talk and moved swiftly to charge the New York attacker. It was precisely the need for intelligence-driven criminal prosecutions of terrorists and spies that led to the creation of the Justice Department’s National Security Division which I was privileged to lead during the Obama Administration. These elements of our post 9/11 architecture—solidified over both Republican and Democratic Administrations—have brought justice in hundreds of terrorist-related cases since 9/11.

Contrast that approach with the (hopefully short-lived) impulse to send Saipov to Guantanamo on the theory that we’re at war (we are) and he’s an enemy (he is) and enemies don’t get lawyers (not quite). The Supreme Court has determined that Guantanamo Bay, where a detainee has the right to challenge his detention, is not lawyer-free zone. And while a bipartisan effort reformed military commissions in 2009 to maintain a prosecution tool for terrorists caught on a hot battlefield, they have proven anything but swift and certain. In 15 years, the military commissions have delivered just eight convictions or guilty pleas and several of those have been overturned or invalidated. The 9/11 and U.S.S. Cole bombing victims and their families are still waiting for justice today.

Justice would not be served by sending Saipov to Guantanamo. Nor would it serve the goal of generating intelligence and understanding how Saipov came to plow down pedestrians on Halloween afternoon. Saipov reportedly has talked to FBI agents and told them that he consumed ISIS propaganda prior to his attack. Understanding more about how and when he became radicalized is critical to stopping future attacks. But the surest way to keep that from happening would be to interrupt the FBI interrogation and ship Saipov to Guantanamo.

It is dangerous pre-9/11 thinking to suggest that the FBI can’t act in this case—as it has in so many others since 9/11—to obtain intelligence from a terrorist in custody. In fact, the FBI can immediately question terrorists—without giving Miranda warnings—to identify other threats and plots. In 2011 when Congress was considering a mandatory military custody law for terrorist captures here or abroad, the FBI was right to argue that such a mandate would interrupt their intelligence gathering process by turning a terrorist over to the military where he could challenge his military detention with the benefit of a lawyer. Sure enough, in case after case where the FBI has moved quickly to gather intelligence and then bring a prosecution in our courts, terrorists have pled guilty or received lengthy sentences in the highest security Federal prisons. And importantly the FBI has been able to generate intelligence that led to the capture of other terrorists (Just ask Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab). We need this intelligence now more than ever in order to understand how Saipov was radicalized and how someone might have intervened in time to stop him.

It appears that Saipov did not slip through the vetting system, but instead may fall into the more-common category that DHS described in March of this year when it concluded that most foreign born, US-based terrorists are radicalized after they arrive. At the moment, we have a rare opportunity, having taken Saipov into custody alive. As NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said, Saipov followed the ISIS playbook “to a tee” by weaponizing a vehicle and leaving a note to brag about it. This breed of terrorist poses a significant challenge to law enforcement and we should strive to learn as much as we can about Saipov’s path to radicalization.

In response to this challenge, we should reject impulsive responses in favor of what works. Recycling campaign chants of “extreme vetting” and pulling the plug on the Diversity Visa Program which reportedly allowed Saipov entry in 2010 is a distraction; he reportedly was radicalized years after he entered the United States. To be clear, we should support strong and thorough vetting for anyone who wants to enjoy the rights and benefits of this country. Such vetting, regardless of specific program, should be refined based on threat intelligence. This is why following the Paris attacks in 2015, the DHS strengthened the visa waiver program to respond to the threat from foreign fighter returnees who may have traveled to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq but held European passports eligible for visa-free travel to the United States. The future of the Diversity Visa Program might be a reasonable topic for debate, but based on what we know now is in no way related to the tragedy on the Westside Highway.

Rather than creating distractions and issuing blanket travel bans, our vetting process should respond to the actual threats we face. We should be building trust in communities we need to identify future threats, not alienating and marginalizing them. Let’s focus on working with social media companies to stop abuse of their platforms. Let’s work to strengthen relationships with our international security partners.

Sixteen years after 9/11 we face a different type of threat. In response, we should emulate the best we’ve seen from this country. We should model resilience and support, and we should reject politics in favor of pragmatism. We must summon the best in our communities, in our government and politics, and rely on that which makes us different from every other country in the world: the rule of law and our justice system. Anything less allows terrorists to divide us.

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21 Years of War with Al Qaeda? 

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Has the United States been at war with al-Qaeda for 21 years? During the most recent 9/11 military commission hearing at Guantanamo Bay, the prosecution finally articulated its view of when the U.S. and al-Qaeda entered into an armed conflict. According to the prosecution, that putative armed conflict began more than 21 years ago, on August 23, 1996, the day Osama bin Laden, the founder of the terrorist group, published a fatwa calling for attacks on Americans. The government characterized this fatwa as a declaration of war:

We do believe that the ’96 document written by [Osama] bin Laden, who was the head of al-Qaeda at the time he wrote it, is a declaration of war.

The prosecution apparently staked out this astonishing position, at odds with history, law, and the U.S. government’s interests outside of the 9/11 military commission, to satisfy its short-term litigation goal of preserving the military commission’s personal jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants.

The Military Commission Act grants military commissions personal jurisdiction over “alien unprivileged belligerents.” The Act defines those as individuals who are not U.S. citizens, who are not privileged belligerents, and who either (1) engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; (2) purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or (3) were a part of al-Qaeda at the time of the alleged offense.  All three categories of individual over whom a military commission may have personal jurisdiction must have some connection to hostilities—which the MCA defines as “any conflict subject to the laws of war.”  (The timing element of the third category implicates hostilities through §950p(c), which limits offenses triable by military commission to those “committed in the context of or associated with hostilities.”)  Hostilities, in turn, are defined as any conflict subject to the laws of war.  Thus, the military commission has personal jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants only if they were connected to an armed conflict between the U.S. and al-Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001.

Since May 2017, the 9/11 military commission is working its way towards a pre-trial, evidentiary hearing on personal jurisdiction.  It was in the context of a preliminary hearing addressing what if any witnesses should provide testimony as to personal jurisdiction that Judge Pohl pressed the prosecution for a specific date on which the armed conflict with al-Qaeda began.  The government’s response—August 23, 1996—was intended to ensure that the 9/11 military commission could proceed.  Unfortunately, that position carries with it significant ramifications implicating state sovereignty—the oldest rule in international law—and fundamental applications and consequences of the law of armed conflict.

It is axiomatic that only states may bring about the legal state of war or, in modern terms, armed conflict, through an act of speech. Historically, the law of war applied to situations of declared war between states.  When the 1949 Geneva Conventions established the modern framework for armed conflict that rests primarily on objective indicators of conflict rather than political declarations or determinations, the drafters retained the notion of declared war between states—but only for conflicts between states.  Thus, international armed conflicts—armed conflicts between two or more states—may arise upon a declaration of war alone or through the use of armed force between two states.  In contrast, non-international armed conflicts——armed conflicts between states and non-state actors (or among non-state actors)—only exist when non-state actors are sufficiently organized and violence between the parties is sufficiently intense. Whereas Common Article 2, which invokes the full panoply of the Geneva Conventions, applies only to interstate war and may be triggered merely by a declaration of war, Common Article 3 applies alone in the event of “an armed conflict not of an international character.” The drafters of the Geneva Conventions simply made no provision for a  non-international armed conflict to be triggered by means of a declaration of war.

In fact, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions intentionally excluded a declared-war trigger for non-international armed conflict. Common Article 3 reflects a careful balance: recognizing that conflicts between states and non-state actors may rise to a level of violence comparable to that of interstate armed conflict, while also accommodating states’ desire to minimize international legal regulation intruding on their internal affairs. This bargain reflects states’ aversion to conferring the sort of legitimacy or legal status on non-state actors that could challenge states’ sovereignty, including by implicitly recognizing their belligerent or insurgent status.

Thus, the final clause of Common Article 3 includes a disclaimer: “The application of the preceding provisions [Common Article 3] shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.” Jean Pictet’s authoritative Commentary on the Geneva Conventions specifically attributes the provision’s origin to a desire to “prevent the [non-state] party from basing a claim for recognition as a regular Government on the respect it had shown for the Convention,” as required in the original Convention draft. His explanation of Common Article 3 attributes much of its evolution from its initial proposal to its final form to states’ concerns about legitimizing criminal entities.

“There was also a risk of common or ordinary criminals being encouraged to give themselves a semblance of organization as a pretext for claiming the benefit of the Conventions, representing their crimes as ‘acts of war’ in order to escape punishment for them. A party of rebels, however small, would be entitled under the Conventions to ask for the assistance and intervention of a Protecting Power. Moreover, it was asked, would not the de jure Government be compelled to release the captured rebels as soon as the troubles were over, since the application of the Convention would place them on the same footing as prisoners of war?”

Pictet concluded that without the disclaimer, Common Article 3 would not have been adopted. “It meets the fear—always the same one—that the application of the Convention, even to a very limited extent . . . may confer belligerent status, and consequently increased authority, upon the adverse party.”

The same concerns over extending legitimacy to non-state actors persists today.  Indeed, the United States has never ratified Additional Protocol I precisely because it had the potential to “give recognition and protection to terrorist groups” by extending the law pertaining to international armed conflicts to certain non-international armed conflicts. In transmitting his decision not to seek ratification of Additional Protocol I, President Ronald Reagan explained to the U.S. Senate that the application of the full panoply of international humanitarian law to armed non-state actors who do not otherwise comply with the law of armed conflict could legitimate the aims and the practices of terrorist organizations.

Nevertheless, solely in order to extend the military commissions’ jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants, the government has chosen to legitimize bin Laden and al-Qaeda by placing them on the same legal plane as states, stating last week that:

. . . [O]ur position has always been under international law, when you have international armed conflicts, a declaration of war is sufficient alone [to trigger the law of armed conflict].

. . . .

If we were to declare war on another country today, the law of war would apply from the second we declared war. And that’s really what we are talking about. We are talking about when did the hostilities begin so we know when the law of war took over. And clearly our position has always been that we believe it began in 1996 with [Osama] bin Laden’s declaration . . . .

The military commission prosecution evidently believes that, as a matter of law, an individual or a non-state actor may, through its speech alone, unilaterally bring about a legal state of armed conflict. If the military commission were to credit the prosecution’s position, it would preserve the military commission’s jurisdiction and save the prosecution the trouble and difficulty of demonstrating the existence of a non-international armed conflict prior to 9/11. Unfortunately, the consequences of that inexplicable position are not limited to whether the 9/11 military commission may go forward.

According bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa the legal effect of a declaration of war implies that in 1996 al-Qaeda had the characteristics of a state actor. International law normally limits statehood only to those entities that are able to exert effective control over a definite territory and population, engage in international relations, and garner recognition. But none of this was true of al-Qaeda in 1996. Three months before issuing his fatwa, bin Laden and al-Qaeda were evicted from Sudan and dispossessed of their enterprises there. At the time, al-Qaeda boasted as few as several dozen members. And, seven months later, the Taliban—who by then exerted actual effective control over the territory where bin Laden resided—forced bin Laden to relocate to Kandahar from Nangarhar, where he originally established himself in Afghanistan after fleeing Sudan.

The prosecution’s position imbuing al-Qaeda with state-like powers undermine U.S. interests outside of this military commission in at least five ways.  First, it undermines the lawfulness and legitimacy of the U.S. war of self-defense against Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11.  If al-Qaeda were a state or something akin to a state in 1996, then by implication Afghanistan and the Taliban did not so much host al-Qaeda as surround it, as if it were an enclaved state. Under the prosecution’s view, therefore, the Taliban could not be responsible for surrendering bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks, and the United States’ ultimatum to hand him over would have been unreasonable: how could a de facto government with only partial control of its own territory be responsible for curtailing the actions of an enclaved sovereign? Consequently, if the prosecution were right that al-Qaeda was the equivalent of a state actor, the invasion of Afghanistan could be viewed as a misdirected and illegal aggressive war.

Second, the prosecution’s position necessarily suggests that the armed conflict between al-Qaeda and the United States is an international armed conflict—as opposed to a non-international armed conflict—invoking the full panoply of the laws of war.  This position also means that al-Qaeda members were the regular armed forces of a state, meaning that members of al-Qaeda could make a colorable claim to combatant immunity and prisoner-of-war (POW) status. At the very least, all of those currently detained and accused of prior membership in al-Qaeda should have been treated as POWs until they received an Article 5 hearing. (Ammar al Baluchi, for example, has requested, but never received, an Article 5 hearing.) The prosecution’s position in the 9/11 case legitimizes attacks by members of al-Qaeda on U.S. soldiers and military infrastructure, narrowing the scope of criminality associated with al-Qaeda attacks.  For example, according to the prosecution’s view, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole would remain perfidious but the sailors killed and the vessel targeted would be lawful military targets—and the charge of terrorism would be a mere restatement of the object of war: violence intended to coerce a political result.

Third, if the prosecution position prevailed, al-Qaeda would have enjoyed belligerent rights and the benefit of the laws of neutrality. Neutrality of non-belligerents is automatically triggered by the existence of a state of war between belligerents. Neutrals must remain neutral—that is they must not assist one belligerent party against the other. But belligerents must also refrain from conducting hostilities on the territory of neutral states, a fundamental protection for neutrals and against the spread of war. For example, the application of neutrality as a result of the prosecution’s position would mean that the U.S. violated Sudan’s neutrality along with its sovereignty by bombing the al-Shifa pharmaceutical facility in Khartoum in 1998.

Moreover, and outside of the immediate concerns relating to al-Qaeda, the government’s position suggests that declarations of war by non-state actors are a fast-track to sovereignty. The consequences of this implication may be far reaching. There are numerous entities that have substantially stronger claims to statehood than did al-Qaeda in 1996, but that remain outsiders in the international system. Would entities like Somaliland, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, and others finally gain admittance to the international system by declaring war on a neighbor or a far-off foe unlikely to take notice?

Finally, the government’s position leaves unsettled how to differentiate non-state declarations of war that have legal effect from those that do not. The U.S. has been the target of numerous supposed declarations of war by violent non-state actors to which it accorded no legal effect. For example, the United States treated neither the Symbionese National Liberation Army nor the Weathermen as enemy belligerents. Similarly, why give bin Laden’s August 1996 fatwa the legal weight of a declaration of war but not al Qaeda’s earlier 1992 fatwa that likewise called for attacks on U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia?

The only conclusion that can be drawn from the prosecution’s astounding position that bin Laden’s fatwa actually caused a legal state of war with the U.S. is that the government is willing to contort the law of armed conflict to suit its short-term litigation goals. Unfortunately, its single-minded and short-sighted effort to patch up the broken 9/11 military commission is simply making wreckage of law and history—and proving the old adage that hard cases make bad law.

The opinions and views expressed are those of the author alone. They do not represent the views of the US Department of Defense or the US Government. 

Image: Getty Read on Just Security »

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Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas 

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There is nothing particularly Lone Star State-ish about a mass killing these days. Ask New York, or Las Vegas.

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

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Worldwide, Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some other factor particular to his home country. And it held when he controlled for homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.

What Doesn’t: Crime, Race or Mental Health

If mental health made the difference, then data would show that Americans have more mental health problems than do people in other countries with fewer mass shootings. But the mental health care spending rate in the United States, the number of mental health professionals per capita and the rate of severe mental disorders are all in line with those of other wealthy countries.

A 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of American gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues. And Mr. Lankford, in an email, said countries with high suicide rates tended to have low rates of mass shootings — the opposite of what you would expect if mental health problems correlated with mass shootings.

Whether a population plays more or fewer video games also appears to have no impact. Americans are no more likely to play video games than people in any other developed country.

Racial diversity or other factors associated with social cohesion also show little correlation with gun deaths. Among European countries, there is little association between immigration or other diversity metrics and the rates of gun murders or mass shootings.

A Violent Country

America’s gun homicide rate was 33 per million people in 2009, far exceeding the average among developed countries. In Canada and Britain, it was 5 per million and 0.7 per million, respectively, which also corresponds with differences in gun ownership.

Americans sometimes see this as an expression of deeper problems with crime, a notion ingrained, in part, by a series of films portraying urban gang violence in the early 1990s. But the United States is not actually more prone to crime than other developed countries, according to a landmark 1999 study by Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins of the University of California, Berkeley.

Rather, they found, in data that has since been repeatedly confirmed, that American crime is simply more lethal. A New Yorker is just as likely to be robbed as a Londoner, for instance, but the New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the process.

They concluded that the discrepancy, like so many other anomalies of American violence, came down to guns.

More gun ownership corresponds with more gun murders across virtually every axis: among developed countries, among American states, among American towns and cities and when controlling for crime rates. And gun control legislation tends to reduce gun murders, according to a recent analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries.

This suggests that the guns themselves cause the violence.

Mass Shootings Happen Everywhere

Skeptics of gun control sometimes point to a 2016 study. From 2000 and 2014, it found, the United States death rate by mass shooting was 1.5 per one million people. The rate was 1.7 in Switzerland and 3.4 in Finland, suggesting American mass shootings were not actually so common.

But the same study found that the United States had 133 mass shootings. Finland had only two, which killed 18 people, and Switzerland had one, which killed 14. In short, isolated incidents. So while mass shootings can happen anywhere, they are only a matter of routine in the United States.

As with any crime, the underlying risk is impossible to fully erase. Any individual can snap or become entranced by a violent ideology. What is different is the likelihood that this will lead to mass murder.

In China, about a dozen seemingly random attacks on schoolchildren killed 25 people between 2010 and 2012. Most used knives; none used a gun.

By contrast, in this same window, the United States experienced five of its deadliest mass shootings, which killed 78 people. Scaled by population, the American attacks were 12 times as deadly.

Beyond the Statistics

In 2013, American gun-related deaths included 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides and 505 deaths caused by an accidental discharge. That same year in Japan, a country with one-third America’s population, guns were involved in only 13 deaths.

This means an American is about 300 times more likely to die by gun homicide or accident than a Japanese person. America’s gun ownership rate is 150 times as high as Japan’s. That gap between 150 and 300 shows that gun ownership statistics alone do not explain what makes America different.

The United States also has some of the world’s weakest controls over who may buy a gun and what sorts of guns may be owned.

Switzerland has the second-highest gun ownership rate of any developed country, about half that of the United States. Its gun homicide rate in 2004 was 7.7 per million people — unusually high, in keeping with the relationship between gun ownership and murders, but still a fraction of the rate in the United States.

Swiss gun laws are more stringent, setting a higher bar for securing and keeping a license, for selling guns and for the types of guns that can be owned. Such laws reflect more than just tighter restrictions. They imply a different way of thinking about guns, as something that citizens must affirmatively earn the right to own.

The Difference Is Culture

The United States is one of only three countries, along with Mexico and Guatemala, that begin with the opposite assumption: that people have an inherent right to own guns.

The main reason American regulation of gun ownership is so weak may be the fact that the trade-offs are simply given a different weight in the United States than they are anywhere else.

After Britain had a mass shooting in 1987, the country instituted strict gun control laws. So did Australia after a 1996 incident. But the United States has repeatedly faced the same calculus and determined that relatively unregulated gun ownership is worth the cost to society.

That choice, more than any statistic or regulation, is what most sets the United States apart.

“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate,” Dan Hodges, a British journalist, wrote in a post on Twitter two years ago, referring to the 2012 attack that killed 20 young students at an elementary school in Connecticut. “Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

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Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – Google Search

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Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from Pacific Standard

The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings

Pacific Standard3 hours ago
The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings … 59 people in Las Vegas in what was the worst mass shooting in modern American history, … Is toxic masculinity really the root cause of our mass shooting epidemic?
In Texas, Two Very American Heroes
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Trump wrong to blame mass killings on mental illness rather than …
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CatholicPhilly.com

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Church Times

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National Review

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Malaysian Christian News
Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from New York Times

No, Mr. President, It Is ‘a Guns Situation’

New York TimesNov 6, 2017
In little more than a month, we have had two cases of mass murder … The money could be raised by a modest tax on all guns owned in the United States. … Once more we are told that the root cause is a mentally ill person.
Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from The Independent (blog)

It’s not Muslims, Mexicans or immigrants making the US unsafe – it’s …

The Independent (blog)Nov 6, 2017
Not only are most adult mass shooters in the US men, but most school shooters are boys too. … But it’s also not the root of the cause. … So what makes some people commit mass shootings – what is the common factor that …
Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from Mic

Domestic violence is a link among most mass shooters — but …

MicNov 6, 2017
Many recent mass killings have been committed by men with histories of … Acts of domestic violence are at the root of a majority of mass shootings: Everytown … The shooter in the attack had a history of domestic violence. …. really addressing what the root causes are, whether that be studies, whether that …

Thoughts About Mass Murder

Power Line (blog)17 hours ago
Moreover, the root cause of murder isn’t firearms or cars. It is evil. Countries where there are vastly fewer firearms than in the U.S. still have …
Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from FiveThirtyEight

Why High-Profile Events Like Mass Shootings Often Don’t Lead To …

FiveThirtyEightOct 18, 2017
But in the U.S., gun control policy has often appeared impossible to pass at the … This idea describes the debate after mass shootings pretty well; … health problems or declining public morals, as the root cause of the problem.
Solving Our Gun Violence Problem at the Polls
<a href=”http://TAPinto.net” rel=”nofollow”>TAPinto.net</a>Oct 18, 2017

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Mass Shootings in the U.S. – Google Search

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What Explains US Mass Shootings? International Comparisons …

New York Times7 hours ago
From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American, according to a 2015 study by Adam Lankford, …
Columbine massacre no longer among 10 deadliest mass shootings …
<a href=”http://Chron.com” rel=”nofollow”>Chron.com</a>18 hours ago
Mass Shootings in America Are Spreading Like a Disease
In-DepthThe AtlanticNov 6, 2017

George Papadopoulos – Google Search

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Week after bombshell, George Papadopoulos largely remains a …

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This image posted on his Linkedin profile shows George Papadopoulos posing on a street of London. A week after the Trump campaign …
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Joan Sutherland – Google Search

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Story image for Joan Sutherland from The Guardian

Prima Donna from Point Piper: Joan Sutherland interview – archive …

The GuardianOct 9, 2017
Dame Joan Sutherland during rehearsals for a production of Bellini’s I Puritani, conducted by her husband Richard Bonynge, March 1964.
Story image for Joan Sutherland from OperaWire

Royal Opera House 2017-18 Preview: How Joan Sutherland …

OperaWireOct 26, 2017
When one thinks of “Lucia” at the Royal Opera House, it is impossible to disassociate the opera from one major name – Joan Sutherland.
Story image for Joan Sutherland from Washington City Paper (blog)

The Washington National Opera Tries Valiantly to Make Alcina An …

Washington City Paper (blog)52 minutes ago
If not for a particularly notable Venice run starring Joan Sutherland in the 1960s, it might have mercifully faded into obscurity. To be fair, George …
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sutherland opera – Google Search

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Joan Sutherland “Casta diva” from “Norma” – YouTube

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Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas

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Lessons from a century of communism

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What Russian Revolution? – The New York Times

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Most countries have an unpredictable future; Russia has an unpredictable past. That old chestnut has cropped up often this year as the Kremlin has struggled to find an appropriate official way to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Manipulating history for political ends is not unusual — see the Trump administration and the Civil War. But in Russia, invoking history has long been a way of proclaiming political or ideological affiliation. The “Great October Socialist Revolution” was the founding myth of the Soviet Union; Nov. 7 (Oct. 25 on the old Russian calendar), the date of the uprising that brought the Bolsheviks to power, was the national holiday, on which tanks, missiles and high-stepping soldiers swept through Red Square.

The history of the revolution — and of the czarist past, and for that matter of the entire world — was written to fit the myth of Soviet Russia as the vanguard of civilization, and woe to those who tampered with the official version. Unless they were the guardians of the official version, to whom it fell now and again to rewrite and update that history — like when Stalin went abruptly from demigod to footnote.

The end of the Soviet Union in 1990 set history adrift. The collapse of a totalitarian dictatorship that had overthrown an absolute monarchy forced Russians to confront a painful task of choosing what to glorify, what to condemn, and what to gloss over. Impassioned debates over what role of “liberalism,” “democracy” or “elections” might have had a century ago are really about today.

Those who pine for a powerful state, President Vladimir Putin among them, have come to blame Lenin for the territorial costs he incurred for quitting the war with Germany and to credit Stalin with putting it together again (until it was dismantled anew by Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin). The last czar, Nicholas II, is alternately seen as a weak master who either foolishly allowed the autocracy to founder or who failed to ride with a democratizing tide. The Russian Orthodox Church has canonized him as martyr of an idealized, God-fearing past.

The fall of Communism is the onset of freedom for some, the collapse of empire for others, and simply irrelevant to many Russians under 35, who, according to public opinion polls, simply don’t know much about 1917.

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President Trump’s associates have been indicted. Can Trump himself emerge unscathed? 

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President Trump's associates have been indicted. Can Trump himself emerge unscathed?

Early Monday, the very first charges were issued in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Three former Trump campaign officials were indicted in the probe: Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and two lesser-known Trump associates Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos. So what are the details […]

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After first saying ‘send him to Gitmo,’ Trump changes his mind about N.Y. terrorism suspect 

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After first saying 'send him to Gitmo,' Trump changes his mind about N.Y. terrorism suspect

President Trump on Thursday appeared to rule out sending the New York terrorism suspect to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after threatening a day earlier to send the alleged attacker to the detention center. Backing off his initial statement that he was considering detaining the suspect at America’s most notorious prison, Trump said Thursday […]

How much power does a president have to prevent terrorist attacks? 

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How much power does a president have to prevent terrorist attacks?

On Tuesday afternoon, a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant, Sayfullo Saipov, allegedly drove a rental truck down a bicycle path in Lower Manhattan. Saipov said he was inspired to carry out the attack by the Islamic State. Eight people — pedestrians and cyclists who were on the path — were killed and at least a dozen were injured […]

Arriving in Japan, Trump projects confidence, says he’ll probably meet Putin during Asia trip 

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Arriving in Japan, Trump projects confidence, says he’ll probably meet Putin during Asia trip

TOKYO — President Trump offered a brief overview of his five-country, 12-day trip to Asia as he flew from Honolulu to Tokyo on Saturday, telling reporters that he expects to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin while abroad, plans to pressure other leaders to take a tougher stance on North Korea, and thinks he is […]

Trump arrives in Seoul, tours Camp Humphreys military base on eve of North Korea speech

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Trump arrives in Seoul, tours Camp Humphreys military base on eve of North Korea speech

SEOUL — President Trump arrived in South Korea on Tuesday and toured Camp Humphreys, the third military base he has visited since leaving Washington on a 12-day trip to the Asia Pacific as he prepares to deliver a major speech on North Korea. The president landed at the $11 billion base, 40 miles south of […]

To the Citizens of Russia!

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On the hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution we are publishing the proclamation issued on November 7 (October 25, O.S.), 1917 by the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet.The proclamation was titled “K Grazhdanam Rossii (To the Citizens of Russia!)” and was distributed widely throughout Petrograd.

From the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies

To the citizens of Russia.

The Provisional Government has been overthrown. State power has passed into the hands of the organ of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, the Revolutionary Military Committee, which stands at the head of the Petrograd proletariat and garrison.

The cause for which the people have struggled—the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landlord ownership of land, workers’ control over industry, the creation of a soviet government—this cause has been assured!

Long live the revolution of workers, soldiers and peasants!

The Military Revolutionary Committee
of the Petrograd Soviet
of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies
October 25, 1917, at 10:00 a.m.

Column: Russian meddling not surprising

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Those who claim to have been shocked the Russians might have meddled in the 2016 election are either playing for the cameras or not paying attention. They, and the Soviets before them have employed “active measures”— a technical term that applies to all kinds of espionage — in the United States and the West practically from the moment the Czar was overthrown.

For those who came in late, this kind of stuff is not new. And the U.S. does it, too. We’ve spent money on everything from propaganda to keep the Communists from coming to power in Italy after World War II to trying to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from the top job in the Israeli government.

Earlier this week, a congressional committee took a deep dive into the alleged Russian interference. The matter of foreign manipulation of the U.S. electorate is one on which Congress should tread carefully. It’s a lot more complex than the Washington politicians and the media stars who travel the Acela between New York and the nation’s capital want you to believe.

The idea was first pushed by people looking for a reason Hillary Clinton lost an election she seemed destined by fate to win. It’s true the Russians put ads on the web. It’s true the Trump campaign met with some Russians and may, as charged, have sought a few of them out to see if they had dirt on Clinton not available through normal channels.

Yet, it’s also true the Democrats were up to much the same thing. The so-called dossier on Trump prepared by Christopher Steele, variously described as a former British intelligence operative, was produced through a private opposition research effort secretly financed by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.

That aside, some members of Congress think social media companies are to blame. As the conduits through which information about both Clinton and Trump spread through the electorate, they are supposed to shoulder much of the responsibility for what occurred.

But look at the numbers. Facebook, one of several social media companies called this past week to testify at one point volunteered that ads with content attributable to the Russians in some way went into the newsfeeds of 29 million Americans over a two-year period.

When they finally got all the way downstream they’d been seen, the company estimates, by close to 126 million people, maybe more. That’s at least a third of the country but, over the same period, Americans had more than 30 trillion items flow through their news feed.

Even if you believe every single allegedly Russian spot was read and sent along to at least one other person it constitutes less than one half of one percent of everything people saw. More importantly, no one has shown through any kind of study these ads affected the way people voted.

That’s the key. It’s not a question of whether the Russians were trying to manipulate things; they almost certainly were. The question is whether it worked. In all likelihood it didn’t, though truth is probably unknowable.

Some in Congress don’t care. Needing to look like they’re on the alert and with little consideration of the implication of what they’ve proposed, legislation to regulate Net-based ads and other political communications has already been introduced. These are regulations social media platforms will have to enforce. As blame-shifting goes, that’s like Congress telling computer manufacturers it’s their job to put a stop to hacking and identity theft.

If Congress wants to go any further down this road it should keep the focus where it belongs. Suggesting Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies are somehow complicit in espionage because their platforms were used and abused by techies working for the Russians to spread disinformation misses the point. Facebook is already working on its own to prevent a replay of what happened in 2016. So, one suspects, are the other social media companies.

The government, particularly the U.S. intelligence community should be its willing, helpful partner. Cooperation between the public and private sector will maximize both the efforts and the opportunities to keep disinformation from Russia or anywhere else from spreading while protecting our right to free speech. It’s a win-win. With the government mandates included in the legislative proposals already introduced in Congress, everyone loses.

Roff is a former senior political writer for UPI and a well-known commentator based in Washington, D.C. Email him at peter.Roff@Verizon.net.

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The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., and the shattering of illusions – by Michael Novakhov

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Image result for three monkeys see no evil

4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., in my opinion – M.N. | NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review

4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S.: In my opinion:

If you admit as the hypothetical explanatory option the  hostile special intelligence operations nature of the mass killings, and it is impossible not to consider this scenario as “an”, if not “the” (in majority of cases) explanation, then all the sociological and the statistical studies become irrelevant, just as the gun ownership explanatory theory, which is indeed false, in my opinion. This latter factor might be contributing but not the root cause, and not the main causal factor in the modern-day U.S. culture. 

But the good thing is that we started to ask these questions and started to look for the answers. We should not let the conceptual stereotypes to cloud our judgment. One of such stereotypes, regarding “Al Qaeda”, started to crumble before our eyes: “21 Years of War with Al  Qaeda?” 

The so-called “ISIS” probably is the next in line of the abandoned illusions in waiting. 

“I did also call him” “Ishmael”, but we did not want to see this phenomenon, and we still do not want to face it, as most logically it is, which is the current state of de facto hybrid or intelligence war of deep and multi-dimensional deception with Russia and her overt and covert allies. Not an easy situation but not the reason for despair. Now, when the picture becomes clearer, all sorts of the proper questions will be asked, and all sorts of the proper answers will be sought. I think, one of the concerns might be the effects of the excessive liberal or conservative slants or biases, which apparently can be equally harmful and can enhance the security vulnerabilities by rocking the boat too much in either direction. The skillful political balance appears to be the key. 

It looks like the beginning of the end of the current wave of the pre-and-post-9/11  historical denial. So much for the powers of the very plausible self-deception: “I do not see it, because I do not want to see it”, just like the good old three monkeys

“Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly?” – BBC News

I did notice this trend also and mentioned it in one of my previous posts

The answer: because the planners and the organizers of these attacks do everything to approach the military efficiency in these operations. They do view them as the para-military types of operations. The preferred use of the AR-15 (Kalashnikovs or their modifications) also points in this direction, besides serving the (deadly) commercial advertising purposes. 

Michael Novakhov 

11.7.17 

Links: 

“I did also call him” “Ishmael”.

"I will call him" "Ishmael"
The Global and The US Domestic Terrorism Incidents, The Mass Shooting Incidents, and The Incidents of Shooting at the U.S. Police Officers: Comparisons and The Illustrations for The Statistical Analysis – The Brinsley’s Jacket – Last and Current Update: 11.23.16 
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“Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything else except the title and byline…”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/453485/nyt-shows-how-not-analyze-mass-shooting-data

“We shouldn’t care about “gun murders” or “mass shootings”; we should care about murders in general and mass killings in general, regardless of how they’re accomplished. (Up to a point it’s essentially tautological to claim that more guns translates to more problems with guns, because a society with no guns by definition cannot have any problems with them.) As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no simple, consistent correlation between gun ownership and murder or homicide rates in general, either among developed countries or among U.S. states. More sophisticated studies face a variety of serious methodological obstacles — I don’t find any of them that compelling — and have reached varying conclusions. The research on mass shootings in particular is in an even more primitive state.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/453485/nyt-shows-how-not-analyze-mass-shooting-data

________________________________

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

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Worldwide, Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some other factor particular to his home country. And it held when he controlled for homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.

Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas

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There is nothing particularly Lone Star State-ish about a mass killing these days. Ask New York, or Las Vegas.

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The Next Phase in the War on Terror 

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Last week, in the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11, Sayfullo Saipov turned a nearly mile-long stretch of bike path along Manhattan’s West Side Highway into a killing ground. The attack reflects a terrorism threat that is morphing from the complex, externally directed attack carried out by a network that we saw on 9/11 to violent individuals, inspired online by ISIS and other radical jihadist groups. We built an architecture to prevent another 9/11, but we have a long way to go when it comes to tackling this latest phase of terrorism.

The good news is that communities have proven resilient when attacked. The bad news is that this week—with calls for “extreme vetting” and denigration of our criminal justice system as a tool against terror—we saw dangerous backsliding instead of a renewed focus on the work needed for the next phase in the war on terror.

How should we respond to this latest terror act on our soil? Rather than demagoguing on immigration, launching divisive political attacks, or disparaging our criminal justice system, we should focus on what works. Effectiveness should be our lodestar. Russia is not the only one who wants to weaken the United States by sowing division in our country—the terrorists want to do so as well. We shouldn’t let them.

When tragedy and terror strike we must deliver swift and certain justice consistent with the rule of law. While it appears cooler heads have prevailed to reverse the President’s initial impulse to send the New York attacker to Guantanamo (an unprecedented and legally dubious move), the fact that we found ourselves having the debate yet again about “war” vs. “law enforcement” in the terror fight prompted disturbing déjà vu. Dedicated professionals across two administrations worked hard to ensure that this country can apply all tools—military, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy, financial sanctions—to disrupt threats and hold terrorists accountable. For terrorists caught on U.S. soil, we have relied on a criminal justice system that is the envy of the world not only because it is the hallmark of our rule of law society but also because it gets results.

The record is clear when it comes to generating intelligence, securing convictions and safely holding terrorists. The more than one million federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who work in that system put their lives on the line to keep us safe are anything but a “laughing stock.” To the contrary, they include more than 30,000 FBI agents, intelligence analysts and other professionals who I was proud to call colleagues when I served as Chief of Staff to then FBI-Director Robert S. Mueller. This nation is also served everyday by dedicated federal prosecutors who are no “joke.” That includes those in the Southern District of New York who, true to their tradition of independence, tuned out the political talk and moved swiftly to charge the New York attacker. It was precisely the need for intelligence-driven criminal prosecutions of terrorists and spies that led to the creation of the Justice Department’s National Security Division which I was privileged to lead during the Obama Administration. These elements of our post 9/11 architecture—solidified over both Republican and Democratic Administrations—have brought justice in hundreds of terrorist-related cases since 9/11.

Contrast that approach with the (hopefully short-lived) impulse to send Saipov to Guantanamo on the theory that we’re at war (we are) and he’s an enemy (he is) and enemies don’t get lawyers (not quite). The Supreme Court has determined that Guantanamo Bay, where a detainee has the right to challenge his detention, is not lawyer-free zone. And while a bipartisan effort reformed military commissions in 2009 to maintain a prosecution tool for terrorists caught on a hot battlefield, they have proven anything but swift and certain. In 15 years, the military commissions have delivered just eight convictions or guilty pleas and several of those have been overturned or invalidated. The 9/11 and U.S.S. Cole bombing victims and their families are still waiting for justice today.

Justice would not be served by sending Saipov to Guantanamo. Nor would it serve the goal of generating intelligence and understanding how Saipov came to plow down pedestrians on Halloween afternoon. Saipov reportedly has talked to FBI agents and told them that he consumed ISIS propaganda prior to his attack. Understanding more about how and when he became radicalized is critical to stopping future attacks. But the surest way to keep that from happening would be to interrupt the FBI interrogation and ship Saipov to Guantanamo.

It is dangerous pre-9/11 thinking to suggest that the FBI can’t act in this case—as it has in so many others since 9/11—to obtain intelligence from a terrorist in custody. In fact, the FBI can immediately question terrorists—without giving Miranda warnings—to identify other threats and plots. In 2011 when Congress was considering a mandatory military custody law for terrorist captures here or abroad, the FBI was right to argue that such a mandate would interrupt their intelligence gathering process by turning a terrorist over to the military where he could challenge his military detention with the benefit of a lawyer. Sure enough, in case after case where the FBI has moved quickly to gather intelligence and then bring a prosecution in our courts, terrorists have pled guilty or received lengthy sentences in the highest security Federal prisons. And importantly the FBI has been able to generate intelligence that led to the capture of other terrorists (Just ask Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab). We need this intelligence now more than ever in order to understand how Saipov was radicalized and how someone might have intervened in time to stop him.

It appears that Saipov did not slip through the vetting system, but instead may fall into the more-common category that DHS described in March of this year when it concluded that most foreign born, US-based terrorists are radicalized after they arrive. At the moment, we have a rare opportunity, having taken Saipov into custody alive. As NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said, Saipov followed the ISIS playbook “to a tee” by weaponizing a vehicle and leaving a note to brag about it. This breed of terrorist poses a significant challenge to law enforcement and we should strive to learn as much as we can about Saipov’s path to radicalization.

In response to this challenge, we should reject impulsive responses in favor of what works. Recycling campaign chants of “extreme vetting” and pulling the plug on the Diversity Visa Program which reportedly allowed Saipov entry in 2010 is a distraction; he reportedly was radicalized years after he entered the United States. To be clear, we should support strong and thorough vetting for anyone who wants to enjoy the rights and benefits of this country. Such vetting, regardless of specific program, should be refined based on threat intelligence. This is why following the Paris attacks in 2015, the DHS strengthened the visa waiver program to respond to the threat from foreign fighter returnees who may have traveled to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq but held European passports eligible for visa-free travel to the United States. The future of the Diversity Visa Program might be a reasonable topic for debate, but based on what we know now is in no way related to the tragedy on the Westside Highway.

Rather than creating distractions and issuing blanket travel bans, our vetting process should respond to the actual threats we face. We should be building trust in communities we need to identify future threats, not alienating and marginalizing them. Let’s focus on working with social media companies to stop abuse of their platforms. Let’s work to strengthen relationships with our international security partners.

Sixteen years after 9/11 we face a different type of threat. In response, we should emulate the best we’ve seen from this country. We should model resilience and support, and we should reject politics in favor of pragmatism. We must summon the best in our communities, in our government and politics, and rely on that which makes us different from every other country in the world: the rule of law and our justice system. Anything less allows terrorists to divide us.

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21 Years of War with Al Qaeda? 

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Has the United States been at war with al-Qaeda for 21 years? During the most recent 9/11 military commission hearing at Guantanamo Bay, the prosecution finally articulated its view of when the U.S. and al-Qaeda entered into an armed conflict. According to the prosecution, that putative armed conflict began more than 21 years ago, on August 23, 1996, the day Osama bin Laden, the founder of the terrorist group, published a fatwa calling for attacks on Americans. The government characterized this fatwa as a declaration of war:

We do believe that the ’96 document written by [Osama] bin Laden, who was the head of al-Qaeda at the time he wrote it, is a declaration of war.

The prosecution apparently staked out this astonishing position, at odds with history, law, and the U.S. government’s interests outside of the 9/11 military commission, to satisfy its short-term litigation goal of preserving the military commission’s personal jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants.

The Military Commission Act grants military commissions personal jurisdiction over “alien unprivileged belligerents.” The Act defines those as individuals who are not U.S. citizens, who are not privileged belligerents, and who either (1) engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; (2) purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or (3) were a part of al-Qaeda at the time of the alleged offense.  All three categories of individual over whom a military commission may have personal jurisdiction must have some connection to hostilities—which the MCA defines as “any conflict subject to the laws of war.”  (The timing element of the third category implicates hostilities through §950p(c), which limits offenses triable by military commission to those “committed in the context of or associated with hostilities.”)  Hostilities, in turn, are defined as any conflict subject to the laws of war.  Thus, the military commission has personal jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants only if they were connected to an armed conflict between the U.S. and al-Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001.

Since May 2017, the 9/11 military commission is working its way towards a pre-trial, evidentiary hearing on personal jurisdiction.  It was in the context of a preliminary hearing addressing what if any witnesses should provide testimony as to personal jurisdiction that Judge Pohl pressed the prosecution for a specific date on which the armed conflict with al-Qaeda began.  The government’s response—August 23, 1996—was intended to ensure that the 9/11 military commission could proceed.  Unfortunately, that position carries with it significant ramifications implicating state sovereignty—the oldest rule in international law—and fundamental applications and consequences of the law of armed conflict.

It is axiomatic that only states may bring about the legal state of war or, in modern terms, armed conflict, through an act of speech. Historically, the law of war applied to situations of declared war between states.  When the 1949 Geneva Conventions established the modern framework for armed conflict that rests primarily on objective indicators of conflict rather than political declarations or determinations, the drafters retained the notion of declared war between states—but only for conflicts between states.  Thus, international armed conflicts—armed conflicts between two or more states—may arise upon a declaration of war alone or through the use of armed force between two states.  In contrast, non-international armed conflicts——armed conflicts between states and non-state actors (or among non-state actors)—only exist when non-state actors are sufficiently organized and violence between the parties is sufficiently intense. Whereas Common Article 2, which invokes the full panoply of the Geneva Conventions, applies only to interstate war and may be triggered merely by a declaration of war, Common Article 3 applies alone in the event of “an armed conflict not of an international character.” The drafters of the Geneva Conventions simply made no provision for a  non-international armed conflict to be triggered by means of a declaration of war.

In fact, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions intentionally excluded a declared-war trigger for non-international armed conflict. Common Article 3 reflects a careful balance: recognizing that conflicts between states and non-state actors may rise to a level of violence comparable to that of interstate armed conflict, while also accommodating states’ desire to minimize international legal regulation intruding on their internal affairs. This bargain reflects states’ aversion to conferring the sort of legitimacy or legal status on non-state actors that could challenge states’ sovereignty, including by implicitly recognizing their belligerent or insurgent status.

Thus, the final clause of Common Article 3 includes a disclaimer: “The application of the preceding provisions [Common Article 3] shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.” Jean Pictet’s authoritative Commentary on the Geneva Conventions specifically attributes the provision’s origin to a desire to “prevent the [non-state] party from basing a claim for recognition as a regular Government on the respect it had shown for the Convention,” as required in the original Convention draft. His explanation of Common Article 3 attributes much of its evolution from its initial proposal to its final form to states’ concerns about legitimizing criminal entities.

“There was also a risk of common or ordinary criminals being encouraged to give themselves a semblance of organization as a pretext for claiming the benefit of the Conventions, representing their crimes as ‘acts of war’ in order to escape punishment for them. A party of rebels, however small, would be entitled under the Conventions to ask for the assistance and intervention of a Protecting Power. Moreover, it was asked, would not the de jure Government be compelled to release the captured rebels as soon as the troubles were over, since the application of the Convention would place them on the same footing as prisoners of war?”

Pictet concluded that without the disclaimer, Common Article 3 would not have been adopted. “It meets the fear—always the same one—that the application of the Convention, even to a very limited extent . . . may confer belligerent status, and consequently increased authority, upon the adverse party.”

The same concerns over extending legitimacy to non-state actors persists today.  Indeed, the United States has never ratified Additional Protocol I precisely because it had the potential to “give recognition and protection to terrorist groups” by extending the law pertaining to international armed conflicts to certain non-international armed conflicts. In transmitting his decision not to seek ratification of Additional Protocol I, President Ronald Reagan explained to the U.S. Senate that the application of the full panoply of international humanitarian law to armed non-state actors who do not otherwise comply with the law of armed conflict could legitimate the aims and the practices of terrorist organizations.

Nevertheless, solely in order to extend the military commissions’ jurisdiction over the 9/11 defendants, the government has chosen to legitimize bin Laden and al-Qaeda by placing them on the same legal plane as states, stating last week that:

. . . [O]ur position has always been under international law, when you have international armed conflicts, a declaration of war is sufficient alone [to trigger the law of armed conflict].

. . . .

If we were to declare war on another country today, the law of war would apply from the second we declared war. And that’s really what we are talking about. We are talking about when did the hostilities begin so we know when the law of war took over. And clearly our position has always been that we believe it began in 1996 with [Osama] bin Laden’s declaration . . . .

The military commission prosecution evidently believes that, as a matter of law, an individual or a non-state actor may, through its speech alone, unilaterally bring about a legal state of armed conflict. If the military commission were to credit the prosecution’s position, it would preserve the military commission’s jurisdiction and save the prosecution the trouble and difficulty of demonstrating the existence of a non-international armed conflict prior to 9/11. Unfortunately, the consequences of that inexplicable position are not limited to whether the 9/11 military commission may go forward.

According bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa the legal effect of a declaration of war implies that in 1996 al-Qaeda had the characteristics of a state actor. International law normally limits statehood only to those entities that are able to exert effective control over a definite territory and population, engage in international relations, and garner recognition. But none of this was true of al-Qaeda in 1996. Three months before issuing his fatwa, bin Laden and al-Qaeda were evicted from Sudan and dispossessed of their enterprises there. At the time, al-Qaeda boasted as few as several dozen members. And, seven months later, the Taliban—who by then exerted actual effective control over the territory where bin Laden resided—forced bin Laden to relocate to Kandahar from Nangarhar, where he originally established himself in Afghanistan after fleeing Sudan.

The prosecution’s position imbuing al-Qaeda with state-like powers undermine U.S. interests outside of this military commission in at least five ways.  First, it undermines the lawfulness and legitimacy of the U.S. war of self-defense against Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11.  If al-Qaeda were a state or something akin to a state in 1996, then by implication Afghanistan and the Taliban did not so much host al-Qaeda as surround it, as if it were an enclaved state. Under the prosecution’s view, therefore, the Taliban could not be responsible for surrendering bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks, and the United States’ ultimatum to hand him over would have been unreasonable: how could a de facto government with only partial control of its own territory be responsible for curtailing the actions of an enclaved sovereign? Consequently, if the prosecution were right that al-Qaeda was the equivalent of a state actor, the invasion of Afghanistan could be viewed as a misdirected and illegal aggressive war.

Second, the prosecution’s position necessarily suggests that the armed conflict between al-Qaeda and the United States is an international armed conflict—as opposed to a non-international armed conflict—invoking the full panoply of the laws of war.  This position also means that al-Qaeda members were the regular armed forces of a state, meaning that members of al-Qaeda could make a colorable claim to combatant immunity and prisoner-of-war (POW) status. At the very least, all of those currently detained and accused of prior membership in al-Qaeda should have been treated as POWs until they received an Article 5 hearing. (Ammar al Baluchi, for example, has requested, but never received, an Article 5 hearing.) The prosecution’s position in the 9/11 case legitimizes attacks by members of al-Qaeda on U.S. soldiers and military infrastructure, narrowing the scope of criminality associated with al-Qaeda attacks.  For example, according to the prosecution’s view, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole would remain perfidious but the sailors killed and the vessel targeted would be lawful military targets—and the charge of terrorism would be a mere restatement of the object of war: violence intended to coerce a political result.

Third, if the prosecution position prevailed, al-Qaeda would have enjoyed belligerent rights and the benefit of the laws of neutrality. Neutrality of non-belligerents is automatically triggered by the existence of a state of war between belligerents. Neutrals must remain neutral—that is they must not assist one belligerent party against the other. But belligerents must also refrain from conducting hostilities on the territory of neutral states, a fundamental protection for neutrals and against the spread of war. For example, the application of neutrality as a result of the prosecution’s position would mean that the U.S. violated Sudan’s neutrality along with its sovereignty by bombing the al-Shifa pharmaceutical facility in Khartoum in 1998.

Moreover, and outside of the immediate concerns relating to al-Qaeda, the government’s position suggests that declarations of war by non-state actors are a fast-track to sovereignty. The consequences of this implication may be far reaching. There are numerous entities that have substantially stronger claims to statehood than did al-Qaeda in 1996, but that remain outsiders in the international system. Would entities like Somaliland, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, and others finally gain admittance to the international system by declaring war on a neighbor or a far-off foe unlikely to take notice?

Finally, the government’s position leaves unsettled how to differentiate non-state declarations of war that have legal effect from those that do not. The U.S. has been the target of numerous supposed declarations of war by violent non-state actors to which it accorded no legal effect. For example, the United States treated neither the Symbionese National Liberation Army nor the Weathermen as enemy belligerents. Similarly, why give bin Laden’s August 1996 fatwa the legal weight of a declaration of war but not al Qaeda’s earlier 1992 fatwa that likewise called for attacks on U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia?

The only conclusion that can be drawn from the prosecution’s astounding position that bin Laden’s fatwa actually caused a legal state of war with the U.S. is that the government is willing to contort the law of armed conflict to suit its short-term litigation goals. Unfortunately, its single-minded and short-sighted effort to patch up the broken 9/11 military commission is simply making wreckage of law and history—and proving the old adage that hard cases make bad law.

The opinions and views expressed are those of the author alone. They do not represent the views of the US Department of Defense or the US Government. 

Image: Getty Read on Just Security »

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Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas 

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There is nothing particularly Lone Star State-ish about a mass killing these days. Ask New York, or Las Vegas.

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

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Worldwide, Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some other factor particular to his home country. And it held when he controlled for homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.

What Doesn’t: Crime, Race or Mental Health

If mental health made the difference, then data would show that Americans have more mental health problems than do people in other countries with fewer mass shootings. But the mental health care spending rate in the United States, the number of mental health professionals per capita and the rate of severe mental disorders are all in line with those of other wealthy countries.

A 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of American gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues. And Mr. Lankford, in an email, said countries with high suicide rates tended to have low rates of mass shootings — the opposite of what you would expect if mental health problems correlated with mass shootings.

Whether a population plays more or fewer video games also appears to have no impact. Americans are no more likely to play video games than people in any other developed country.

Racial diversity or other factors associated with social cohesion also show little correlation with gun deaths. Among European countries, there is little association between immigration or other diversity metrics and the rates of gun murders or mass shootings.

A Violent Country

America’s gun homicide rate was 33 per million people in 2009, far exceeding the average among developed countries. In Canada and Britain, it was 5 per million and 0.7 per million, respectively, which also corresponds with differences in gun ownership.

Americans sometimes see this as an expression of deeper problems with crime, a notion ingrained, in part, by a series of films portraying urban gang violence in the early 1990s. But the United States is not actually more prone to crime than other developed countries, according to a landmark 1999 study by Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins of the University of California, Berkeley.

Rather, they found, in data that has since been repeatedly confirmed, that American crime is simply more lethal. A New Yorker is just as likely to be robbed as a Londoner, for instance, but the New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the process.

They concluded that the discrepancy, like so many other anomalies of American violence, came down to guns.

More gun ownership corresponds with more gun murders across virtually every axis: among developed countries, among American states, among American towns and cities and when controlling for crime rates. And gun control legislation tends to reduce gun murders, according to a recent analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries.

This suggests that the guns themselves cause the violence.

Mass Shootings Happen Everywhere

Skeptics of gun control sometimes point to a 2016 study. From 2000 and 2014, it found, the United States death rate by mass shooting was 1.5 per one million people. The rate was 1.7 in Switzerland and 3.4 in Finland, suggesting American mass shootings were not actually so common.

But the same study found that the United States had 133 mass shootings. Finland had only two, which killed 18 people, and Switzerland had one, which killed 14. In short, isolated incidents. So while mass shootings can happen anywhere, they are only a matter of routine in the United States.

As with any crime, the underlying risk is impossible to fully erase. Any individual can snap or become entranced by a violent ideology. What is different is the likelihood that this will lead to mass murder.

In China, about a dozen seemingly random attacks on schoolchildren killed 25 people between 2010 and 2012. Most used knives; none used a gun.

By contrast, in this same window, the United States experienced five of its deadliest mass shootings, which killed 78 people. Scaled by population, the American attacks were 12 times as deadly.

Beyond the Statistics

In 2013, American gun-related deaths included 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides and 505 deaths caused by an accidental discharge. That same year in Japan, a country with one-third America’s population, guns were involved in only 13 deaths.

This means an American is about 300 times more likely to die by gun homicide or accident than a Japanese person. America’s gun ownership rate is 150 times as high as Japan’s. That gap between 150 and 300 shows that gun ownership statistics alone do not explain what makes America different.

The United States also has some of the world’s weakest controls over who may buy a gun and what sorts of guns may be owned.

Switzerland has the second-highest gun ownership rate of any developed country, about half that of the United States. Its gun homicide rate in 2004 was 7.7 per million people — unusually high, in keeping with the relationship between gun ownership and murders, but still a fraction of the rate in the United States.

Swiss gun laws are more stringent, setting a higher bar for securing and keeping a license, for selling guns and for the types of guns that can be owned. Such laws reflect more than just tighter restrictions. They imply a different way of thinking about guns, as something that citizens must affirmatively earn the right to own.

The Difference Is Culture

The United States is one of only three countries, along with Mexico and Guatemala, that begin with the opposite assumption: that people have an inherent right to own guns.

The main reason American regulation of gun ownership is so weak may be the fact that the trade-offs are simply given a different weight in the United States than they are anywhere else.

After Britain had a mass shooting in 1987, the country instituted strict gun control laws. So did Australia after a 1996 incident. But the United States has repeatedly faced the same calculus and determined that relatively unregulated gun ownership is worth the cost to society.

That choice, more than any statistic or regulation, is what most sets the United States apart.

“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate,” Dan Hodges, a British journalist, wrote in a post on Twitter two years ago, referring to the 2012 attack that killed 20 young students at an elementary school in Connecticut. “Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

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Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – Google Search

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Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from Pacific Standard

The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings

Pacific Standard3 hours ago
The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings … 59 people in Las Vegas in what was the worst mass shooting in modern American history, … Is toxic masculinity really the root cause of our mass shooting epidemic?
In Texas, Two Very American Heroes
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Trump wrong to blame mass killings on mental illness rather than …
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CatholicPhilly.com

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Church Times

Media image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from National Review

National Review

Media image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from Malaysian Christian News

Malaysian Christian News

Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from New York Times

No, Mr. President, It Is ‘a Guns Situation’

New York TimesNov 6, 2017
In little more than a month, we have had two cases of mass murder … The money could be raised by a modest tax on all guns owned in the United States. … Once more we are told that the root cause is a mentally ill person.

Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from The Independent (blog)

It’s not Muslims, Mexicans or immigrants making the US unsafe – it’s …

The Independent (blog)Nov 6, 2017
Not only are most adult mass shooters in the US men, but most school shooters are boys too. … But it’s also not the root of the cause. … So what makes some people commit mass shootings – what is the common factor that …

Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from Mic

Domestic violence is a link among most mass shooters — but …

MicNov 6, 2017
Many recent mass killings have been committed by men with histories of … Acts of domestic violence are at the root of a majority of mass shootings: Everytown … The shooter in the attack had a history of domestic violence. …. really addressing what the root causes are, whether that be studies, whether that …

Thoughts About Mass Murder

Power Line (blog)17 hours ago
Moreover, the root cause of murder isn’t firearms or cars. It is evil. Countries where there are vastly fewer firearms than in the U.S. still have …

Story image for Root causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. from FiveThirtyEight

Why High-Profile Events Like Mass Shootings Often Don’t Lead To …

FiveThirtyEightOct 18, 2017
But in the U.S., gun control policy has often appeared impossible to pass at the … This idea describes the debate after mass shootings pretty well; … health problems or declining public morals, as the root cause of the problem.
Solving Our Gun Violence Problem at the Polls
<a href=”http://TAPinto.net” rel=”nofollow”>TAPinto.net</a>Oct 18, 2017

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Mass Shootings in the U.S. – Google Search

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What Explains US Mass Shootings? International Comparisons …

New York Times7 hours ago
From 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American, according to a 2015 study by Adam Lankford, …
Columbine massacre no longer among 10 deadliest mass shootings …
<a href=”http://Chron.com” rel=”nofollow”>Chron.com</a>18 hours ago
Mass Shootings in America Are Spreading Like a Disease
In-DepthThe AtlanticNov 6, 2017
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6:17 PM 11/7/2017 – NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review

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Analysis: US mass shootings: A crisis among America’s white males? – Xinhua
Amid church shooting fallout, data shows DOD reported only 1 domestic violence conviction in 2016 – mySanAntonio.com
A mass shooter’s name is part of the story; concealing it is silly and self-important – Los Angeles Times

 

Saved Stories – None
NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review
 


National Review
NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data
National Review
Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything else … 
Where the guns used in Chicago actually came fromWashington Postall 58 news articles » 

 and more » 

Omar Mateen – Google News: The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings – Pacific Standard
 


Pacific Standard
The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings
Pacific Standard
Unlike Stephen Paddock, who killed 59 people in Las Vegas in what was the worst mass shooting in modern American history, Kelley acquired his firearms illegally; unlike Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and …
Mass shooters exploit lapses, limited laws to get gunsWashington Post
Texas church shooting: How Trump’s reaction to mass attacks differs for US-born suspects like Devin KelleyWBAL Radio
Texas church attack the latest US mass shootingWTOP
Daily Commercial –The Denver Post –WXIA-TV
all 6,105 news articles »

 Omar Mateen – Google News

The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings – Pacific Standard
 


Pacific Standard
The Sad, Lonely Men Behind America’s Mass Shootings
Pacific Standard
Unlike Stephen Paddock, who killed 59 people in Las Vegas in what was the worst mass shooting in modern American history, Kelley acquired his firearms illegally; unlike Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and …
Fact Check: No, More Guns Won’t Prevent Mass ShootingsNBCNews.com
Trump says extreme vetting on guns wouldn’t stop mass shootingsCNBC 
Timeline: How Congress has responded to mass shootingsUSA TODAY
 
Police Say ‘Domestic Situation’ Led to Texas Mass Shooting

New York Magazine Texas TribuneWTSP 10 News
all 6,619 

HuffPostUSA TODAY
all 5,828
 news articles »
fbi orlando – Google News: Schiff to AP: Trump, Russia, GOP leaders threaten democracy – News965
 


News965
Schiff to AP: Trump, Russia, GOP leaders threaten democracy
News965
And he said Trump is trying to “disparage” the credibility of the FBI and congressional probes into Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and whether his own 2016 campaign was involved. “So no matter what is produced, he can say it’s a fake,” Schiff and more »

 fbi orlando – Google News

State trooper shot during Route 33 traffic stop in Slate Belt – lehighvalleylive.com
 


lehighvalleylive.com
State trooper shot during Route 33 traffic stop in Slate Belt
lehighvalleylive.com
A call from Nazareth Area School District Superintendent Dennis Riker to all parents around 11:15 a.m. said all schools were locked down due to an active shooter in the area. A follow up call about five minutes later said the lockdown had been lifted.and more »
Las Vegas shooting – Google News: Insane Las Vegas conspiracy theory claims Antifa, ISIS and ‘deep state’ worked together – Metro US
 


Metro US
Insane Las Vegas conspiracy theory claims Antifa, ISIS and ‘deep state’ worked together
Metro US
Perhaps the most implausible conspiracy theory about the Las Vegas shooting, in which Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more, claims that Antifa, ISIS and the deep state all worked together to bring about the tragic massacre.

 Las Vegas shooting – Google News

Remembering victims of the Sutherland Springs church shooting – mySanAntonio.com
 


mySanAntonio.com
Remembering victims of the Sutherland Springs church shooting
mySanAntonio.com
It was a first-time visit for one couple who died in First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Others were well-known, long-time members of the community. Their deaths have left the town and the world outside it reeling. Numerous tributes and …and more »
Church security: preparing for The Worst – 41 NBC News
 


41 NBC News
Church security: preparing for The Worst
41 NBC News
(WGRZ) A pastor in Buffalo, New York is responding to the violence in Texas by pledging to bring active shooter training to his congregation. Reverend Darius Pridgen, of True Bethel Baptist Church, invited police to come into the three Western New York …
Texas church gunman, able to buy guns due to Air Force mistake, was having ‘domestic dispute’ with familyWashington Post
After Texas massacre, Upstate New York church plans active shooter trainingNewYorkUpstate.com
Texas shooting prompts questions of security, vigilance in Brevard churchesFlorida Today
TMZ.com –Fox News
all 5,849 news articles »
‘US Media Needs to Change How They Cover Mass Shootings’ Professor – Sputnik International
 

‘US Media Needs to Change How They Cover Mass Shootings’ Professor
Sputnik International
But unfortunately I have studied a number of mass shootings and it fits within a pattern so if we think back to the Orlando shooting, the FBI interviewed that suspect in advance and didn’t realize what a serious threat he was. There have been a number and more »
Dem lawmaker calls for study to examine link between domestic violence, mass shootings – The Hill
 


The Hill
Dem lawmaker calls for study to examine link between domestic violence, mass shootings
The Hill
“If we look at the recent mass shootings in Sutherland Springs, Orlando, and the Congressional Baseball Game practice, we see a noticeable trend: all these shooters acted alone and had prior history of domestic violence,” Quigley said in a statement.and more »
Texas police won’t use the mass shooter’s name. Why media outlets are still doing it – Globalnews.ca
 


Globalnews.ca
Texas police won’t use the mass shooter’s name. Why media outlets are still doing it
Globalnews.ca
While the American Behavorial Studies paper urges media to also avoid naming shooters, journalists say it’s their duty to report the facts. Most media outlets in the U.S. have continued to name Kelley, and regularly name others who carry out acts ofand more »
FBI agents can’t crack Texas church shooter’s cell phone, officials say – mySanAntonio.com
 


mySanAntonio.com
FBI agents can’t crack Texas church shooter’s cell phone, officials say
mySanAntonio.com
FBI agents can’t crack Texas church shooter’s cell phone, officials say. By Caleb Downs, mySA.com / San Antonio Express-News. Updated 12:31 pm, Tuesday, November 7, 2017. 3. Here’s what we know so far about the Sutherland Springs church shooting …and more »
Studies Reveal A Terrifying Connection Between Mass Shootings And Domestic Violence – BET
 


BET
A fake shooter and ‘false flag’ rumors at the hospital: How dark online hoaxes came to Texas – Chicago Tribune
 


Chicago Tribune
A fake shooter and ‘false flag’ rumors at the hospital: How dark online hoaxes came to Texas
Chicago Tribune
In Sunday’s version of the rumor, Sam Hyde was said to have killed 26 people inside a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas – just as he had been blamed a month earlier for the mass shooting in Las Vegas, and in San Bernardino, California; Minneapolis and more »
Omar Mateen – Google News: The role of assault rifles in US mass shootings – KSRO
 


KSRO
The role of assault rifles in US mass shootings
KSRO
In the early morning of June 12, 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen crashed a night of partying at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. Mateen took clubgoers hostage before slaying them. He died after 

 Omar Mateen – Google News

Orlando shooting investigation – Google News: Mass Shooting Here? Authorities Have Plans – Government Technology
 


Government Technology
Mass Shooting Here? Authorities Have Plans
Government Technology
Moore noted his department in recent years has emphasized preventing violence through training officers to deal with people with mental-health problems and in handling domestic-violence investigations–two factors that might have played roles in the

 Orlando shooting investigation – Google News

Texas church gunman escaped from mental health facility in 2012 after threatening military superiors – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
Texas church gunman escaped from mental health facility in 2012 after threatening military superiors
Washington Post
The gunman who opened fire in a church outside San Antonio, killing at least 26 people, escaped from a mental health facility in 2012 after he was caught sneaking guns onto an Air Force base and attempting to carry out death threats made against 
Remembering victims of the Sutherland Springs church shootingmySanAntonio.com
Texas church shooter ‘was there to kill everybody,’ source saysABC News
Texas church shooter Devin Patrick Kelley’s troubled past emergesCNN once escaped from mental health centerChicago Tribune
CNN
KSAT San Antonio Patch.com –New York Times
all 6,252 6,460 news articles »
2:13 PM 11/7/2017 Interpretation update: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas, and it produces a lot of Joan Sutherlands, such as Papa-whom?

Joan Sutherland “Casta diva” from “Norma” Joan Sutherland “Casta diva” from “Norma” – YouTube Tuesday November 7th, 2017 at 2:02 PM 1 Share Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas 2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update:  “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas“, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”, such as “Papa-whom?”, etc., … Continue reading“2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”, such as “Papa-whom?”…”Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/11/06/20171106-070000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/11/06/20171106-190000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3
FBI Official: Active Shooter Numbers ‘On the Rise’ and Americans Need to ‘Prepare’ Themselves – Mediaite
 


Mediaite
FBI Official: Active Shooter Numbers ‘On the Rise’ and Americans Need to ‘Prepare’ Themselves
Mediaite
The number of active shooter incidents have skyrocketed in the past two decades. America in the year 2000 was plagued by just one shooter that deliberately sought out populated areas. 2015? 20 shooters. That’s one horrifying episode every 18 days.and more »
Texas church shooter once escaped from mental health center – Chicago Tribune
 


Chicago Tribune
Texas church shooter once escaped from mental health center
Chicago Tribune
The gunman’s phone was flown to an FBI lab for analysis, but agents have yet to access it, said Christopher Combs, who is in charge of the agency’s San Antonio division. The inability to access the shooter’s phone highlights a longstanding frustrationand more »
Texas mass shooting reignites US debate about gun control – Irish Times
 

Texas mass shooting reignites US debate about gun control
Irish Times
In the small town of Floresville, 16km southwest of Sutherland Springs where Devin Kelley opened fire on Sunday, people are still coming to terms with the attack that claimed the lives of 26 people and left many more injured. On Sunday the Connally …and more »
Church officials train to respond to active shooter – WAPT Jackson
 


WAPT Jackson
Church officials train to respond to active shooter
WAPT Jackson
An active shooter training program, called Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Event, was held Tuesday at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. The class was not for those who carry guns but for people who work inside a church building.
Analysis: US mass shootings: A crisis among America’s white males? – Xinhua
 


Xinhua
Analysis: US mass shootings: A crisis among America’s white males?
Xinhua
6 (Xinhua) — With so many U.S. mass shootings, it begs the question of whether there’s a crisis among white males — the demographic that has carried out the vast majority of mass murders in recent decades. This weekend saw a mass shooting in a church and more »
Amid church shooting fallout, data shows DOD reported only 1 domestic violence conviction in 2016 – mySanAntonio.com
 


mySanAntonio.com
Amid church shooting fallout, data shows DOD reported only 1 domestic violence conviction in 2016
mySanAntonio.com
Kelley slaughtered 26 worshipers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs southeast of San Antonio Sunday in the midst of what investigators said was a domestic dispute with his mother-in-law. RELATED: Killer celebrated with Sutherland  
TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTING: Hospitals have a dozen wounded from shootingWKYT
Pope sends condolences to Texas shooting victimsKWTXall 25 news articles » 

 and more » 

A mass shooter’s name is part of the story; concealing it is silly and self-important – Los Angeles Times
 


Los Angeles Times
A mass shooter’s name is part of the story; concealing it is silly and self-important
Los Angeles Times
As anyone who has taken a high school journalism class knows, one of the 5 Ws that reporters should be careful to include in the first paragraph of a news story is who. Usually that means providing the name of the newsmaker, whether his actions are …

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3:39 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”…

Spread the Knowledge

Joan Sutherland “Casta diva” from “Norma”

2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”, such as “Papa-whom?”…

2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: 

Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas“, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”, such as “Papa-whom?”, etc., who are ready to sing their arias in Mr. Mueller’s opera. Remember, what happens to these singers. “Son, how un-tony-o!”

And by the way, the happy 100-th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution! 

P.S. And you better check your address book. It still is the same old address, like in your old postings:  “Tempra, o Diva: Anti-Americanism in Putin Doctrine as Stalinist Xenophobia Redux by Mike Nova”. Do not hang it on me, khekhe… 

M.N.: Interpretation: “Son, Un-tony-o”. – 11.6.17

2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – San Antonio church shooting – News Review Update

See also:

Tempra, o Diva: Anti-Americanism in Putin Doctrine as Stalinist Xenophobia Redux by Mike Nova


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11:42 AM 11/7/2017 – Opinions: Lessons from a century of communism

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The Web World TimesNews | Photos | Audio and Video | Politics | Trump | Security | Reviews | Analysis | Current Topics | Opinions | Links | PostsLocal | Guides | Classifieds

News reading lists, review of media reports, digests, reviews, summaries, editors selected important articles

Michael Novakhov – Opinions, thoughts, reflections, hypotheses – The Web World Times – webworldtimes.com: News, Reviews, Analysis, Opinions – The Web – News and Information Service: We do not sell the opinions, we share them.

1. Opinions from mikenova (37 sites)
Opinions: Lessons from a century of communism
FOX News: Donna Brazile, you were absolutely right to tell Democrats to ‘go to hell’
NYT > Opinion: Editorial Observer: What Russian Revolution?
Opinions: Trump’s latest claim about the Texas shooting is disingenuous nonsense
Opinions: The Russia issue does matter to voters
Opinions: Is the GOP tax plan political suicide, or just a murder set up to look like one?
FOX News: Ditch political correctness and wise up. Empower cops to fight radical Islamic terrorists here at home
Opinions: We need answers from Wilbur Ross
NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Columnist: What to Watch on Election Day
Opinion: Why the Paradise Papers matter
Opinions: Have Democrats learned their lesson? Theres reason for hope.
Opinions: Morning Bits
FOX News: Judith Miller: Who worries Korea’s leader the most — Trump or Kim?
Opinions: The GOP tax plan is an anti-adoption recipe for abortion
Opinions: In Argentina, we usually feel safe from terrorism. Not after New York.
NYT > Opinion: Vietnam ’67: Why Thailand Takes Pride in the Vietnam War
NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Contributor: The Paradise Papers Hacking and the Consequences of Privacy
NYT > Opinion: On Campus: The Catch-22 of Applying for Private Scholarships
NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Contributors: The Bipartisan Opportunity of Energy Efficiency
NYT > Opinion: Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas
Opinion: Greeces membership of the euro is still tenuous

 

Saved Stories – 1. Opinions
German economy minister threatens counter-measures in response to US sanctions on Russia
Op-Ed Contributor: The Past Week Proves That Trump Is Destroying Our Democracy
Op-Ed Columnist: The Americans Who Saved Health Insurance
Before Manliness Lost Its Virtue
Goodbye to the Scaramouch
State Department considers scrubbing democracy promotion from its mission
Why Jeff Sessions is going to lose his war against cannabis
Is the American republic built to withstand a malevolent president? | Michael Goldfarb
Opinion: The Specialists Stranglehold on Medicine
What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Fairness
Reactions to Sessions’s call for tougher sentencing
Trump: Hazardous to Our Health
Putin’s leaky strategy

 

1. Opinions from mikenova (37 sites)
Opinions: Lessons from a century of communism

Opinions

FOX News: Donna Brazile, you were absolutely right to tell Democrats to ‘go to hell’

The reason why so many Democrats wish Donna Brazile would shut up is actually quite clear. Democrats traditionally paper over any conflicts in their party.

FOX News

NYT > Opinion: Editorial Observer: What Russian Revolution?

Demonstrators with images of Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin at a rally marking the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

NYT > Opinion

Opinions: Trump’s latest claim about the Texas shooting is disingenuous nonsense

Opinions

Opinions: The Russia issue does matter to voters

Opinions

Opinions: Is the GOP tax plan political suicide, or just a murder set up to look like one?

Opinions

FOX News: Ditch political correctness and wise up. Empower cops to fight radical Islamic terrorists here at home

We have to let the police be the police and investigate terrorists and other criminals regardless of religion, ethnicity or race based on tried and true procedures.

FOX News

Opinions: We need answers from Wilbur Ross

Opinions

NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Columnist: What to Watch on Election Day

A wall display of names of campaign volunteers for Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for Virginia governor.

NYT > Opinion

Opinion: Why the Paradise Papers matter

Offshore finance makes it easier to hide wealth in plain sight

Opinion

Opinions: Have Democrats learned their lesson? Theres reason for hope.

Candidates and even the party establishment may be realizing its not enough just to run against Trump.

Opinions

Opinions: Morning Bits

Opinions

FOX News: Judith Miller: Who worries Korea’s leader the most — Trump or Kim?

Who most worries South Koreas President Moon Jae In?

FOX News

Opinions: The GOP tax plan is an anti-adoption recipe for abortion

Republicans are trying to take away a benefit that helps parents adopt.

Opinions

Opinions: In Argentina, we usually feel safe from terrorism. Not after New York.

The terrorist attack on Halloween shocked people in the victims’ native country.

Opinions

NYT > Opinion: Vietnam ’67: Why Thailand Takes Pride in the Vietnam War

While the conflict is remembered rightly as a tragedy in both the United States and Vietnam, Thai soldiers are remembered as heroes.

NYT > Opinion

NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Contributor: The Paradise Papers Hacking and the Consequences of Privacy

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Rosss holdings in a company connected to Vladimir Putins family was among the information disclosed in documents from the international law firm Appleby.

NYT > Opinion

NYT > Opinion: On Campus: The Catch-22 of Applying for Private Scholarships

College students can lose out on financial aid if they supplement tuition with private donations.

NYT > Opinion

NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Contributors: The Bipartisan Opportunity of Energy Efficiency

A lot of the energy produced in America is wasted. Reducing this inefficiency means big economic and environmental benefits.

NYT > Opinion

NYT > Opinion: Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas

There is nothing particularly Lone Star State-ish about a mass killing these days. Ask New York, or Las Vegas.

NYT > Opinion

Opinion: Greeces membership of the euro is still tenuous

Opinion

 

Saved Stories – 1. Opinions
German economy minister threatens counter-measures in response to US sanctions on Russia

Following the adoption of new sanctions against Russia by both chambers of the US congress, Brigitte Zypries threatened that Europe may take counter-measures.
Op-Ed Contributor: The Past Week Proves That Trump Is Destroying Our Democracy

Do Americans have what it takes to stop him?

Op-Ed Columnist: The Americans Who Saved Health Insurance

The fight isnt over, but savor last weeks victory and recognize its heroes.

Before Manliness Lost Its Virtue

The ancient Greeks wouldnt recognize the Trump administrations concept of manliness.
Goodbye to the Scaramouch

A president with a codpiece and a former Marine Corps general trying to rein him in.
State Department considers scrubbing democracy promotion from its mission

There were signs Rex Tillerson wanted to get rid of democracy promotion at the State Department, and now he might make it official.
Why Jeff Sessions is going to lose his war against cannabis

The attorney general is outmatched.

Is the American republic built to withstand a malevolent president? | Michael Goldfarb

The principle of common good underpins the constitution. Donald Trump is gleefully shredding that idealThe Trump administration, having passed the six-month milestone in office, kicked off the next phase of his presidency with an explosion of crazy, spread over the past seven days. Like sweeps week on The Apprentice, every day saw some headline-grabbing event to garner ratings. It started with leaks against his former bosom buddy, attorney general, Jeff Sessions. President Trump, sources said, was planning to fire him. It moved on to a speech to the Boy Scouts of America jamboree, where Trump told the story of a property developer who lost a fortune and was lurking at a New York party with the hottest people. Later, there was a tweet announcement banning transgender people from the military.

This explosion of crazy concluded with his new White House chief of communications, Anthony Scaramucci, calling the New Yorkers political correspondent Ryan Lizza to trash virtually everyone in the White House. He compared himself positively to the presidents dark lord and special adviser, Stephen Bannon: Im not Steve Bannon, Im not trying to suck my own cock. Im not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the president.

Continue reading…

Opinion: The Specialists Stranglehold on Medicine

Neither political Neither party is addressing the real reason health care costs so much. 

What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Fairness

Whether the reward is a grape or a dollar, studies show that inequality is offensive.
Reactions to Sessions’s call for tougher sentencing
Trump: Hazardous to Our Health

Our salesman in chief celebrates hawking a shoddy product.
Putin’s leaky strategy

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9:41 AM 11/7/2017 – Opinions: We need answers from Wilbur Ross

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Opinions: We need answers from Wilbur Ross
NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Columnist: What to Watch on Election Day
Opinion: Why the Paradise Papers matter
Opinions: Have Democrats learned their lesson? Theres reason for hope.
Opinions: Morning Bits
FOX News: Judith Miller: Who worries Korea’s leader the most — Trump or Kim?
Opinions: The GOP tax plan is an anti-adoption recipe for abortion
Opinions: In Argentina, we usually feel safe from terrorism. Not after New York.
NYT > Opinion: Vietnam ’67: Why Thailand Takes Pride in the Vietnam War
NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Contributor: The Paradise Papers Hacking and the Consequences of Privacy
NYT > Opinion: On Campus: The Catch-22 of Applying for Private Scholarships
NYT > Opinion: Op-Ed Contributors: The Bipartisan Opportunity of Energy Efficiency
NYT > Opinion: Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas
Opinion: Greeces membership of the euro is still tenuous
FOX News: I’m a conservative and I hate the Republican tax plan
FOX News: Democrat and ex-CIA: Trump needs to focus on Making America Feel Good Again or he’s out in 2020
FOX News: Veterans and their service dogs: Keep your paws off, please
Opinion: Rupert Murdoch entertains a retreat to the news business
Opinion: Sri Lanka counts high cost of war and peace
World Socialist Web Site (en): New Zealand: Labour-led government promotes nationalism and militarism
World Socialist Web Site (en): Complaints soar against Australian governments welfare agency

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5:16 AM 11/7/2017 Selected Articles

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Saved Stories – None
The Paradise Papers: Revelations Spring From Leaked Records Of World’s Wealthy – NPR
Putin and the Mob – Google News: Jennifer Rubin: Trump administration is up to its neck in Russians – Salt Lake Tribune
Palmer Report: Donald Trump Jr could be facing bribery charges
Palmer Report: Multiple resignations from Donald Trump administration said to be imminent after latest Russia leaks
Donald Trump | The Guardian: My travels in white America a land of anxiety, division and pockets of pain
2016 elections anxiety – Google News: My travels in white America a land of anxiety, division and pockets of pain – The Guardian
putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Trump Aides On Edge Over The President’s Upcoming Meeting With Putin In Vietnam – BuzzFeed News
VOA Newscasts – November 06, 2017
Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed – BBC News
At least nine people in Trump’s orbit had contact with Russians … – Washington Post
US commerce secretary invests in firm linked to Putin family and allies, reports say – Washington Post
Russia launched social media support for Trump almost immediately after he announced his campaign – Raw Story
Texas gunman killed his grandmother-in-law and 25 others at church – CNN
Названо имя «техасского стрелка»
Saudi Warns Iran against Supplying Missiles to Houthi Rebels
fbi – Google News: Former FBI director James Comey ditches Reinhold Niebuhr Twitter alias – USA TODAY
fbi – Google News: FBI offering reward to find the ‘Faceless Bandit,’ a suspect in three Massachusetts bank robberies – MassLive.com
Russia probe: Mueller’s evidence
Paradise Papers sends shockwaves around the world
With Manafort, It Really Is About Russia, Not Ukraine – New York Times
November 5, 2017
October 27, 2017
October 31, 2017
November 2, 2017
Merkel wants progress in coalition talks in 10 days

 

Saved Stories – None
The Paradise Papers: Revelations Spring From Leaked Records Of World’s Wealthy – NPR
 


NPR
The Paradise Papers: Revelations Spring From Leaked Records Of World’s Wealthy
NPR
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and a key ally to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among the 120 rich and powerful people who are mentioned in the Paradise Papers, a new release of data about offshore tax …
The Energy 202: What you need to know about Wilbur Ross and the Paradise PapersWashington Post
Paradise Papers: Wilbur Ross says ‘nothing improper’ about Russia linksBBC News
5 Secrets of the World’s Wealthiest People Revealed by the Paradise PapersMoney Magazine
Washington Times –Politico –NBCNews.com –New York Times
all 194 news articles »
Putin and the Mob – Google News: Jennifer Rubin: Trump administration is up to its neck in Russians – Salt Lake Tribune
 


Salt Lake Tribune
Jennifer Rubin: Trump administration is up to its neck in Russians
Salt Lake Tribune
Newly leaked documents show that Ross has a stake in a shipping company that does business with a gas producer partly owned by the son-in-law of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the International Consortium of Journalists. (AP Photo/J.and more »

 Putin and the Mob – Google News

Palmer Report: Donald Trump Jr could be facing bribery charges

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has long been looking into Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Russian government representatives during the election, as Donald Trump appears to have committed obstruction of justice by trying to cover up the true nature of his son’s meeting. However, based on new details from one of the people who attended the meeting, Junior could be facing criminal charges relating to bribery.Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Kremlin-connected attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr, is now offering damning new details about the meeting. Last week she confirmed that she ran her talking points past Russian President Vladimir Putin in advance, thus confirming that she was indeed acting on behalf of the Russian government. Now she claims that Trump Jr hinted that he and his father might change U.S. law in order to accommodate her.Here’s what Veselnitskaya now claims Donald Trump Jr said to her regarding the Magnitsky Act, which Russia has long sought to get repealed: “Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it.” (source: Bloomberg). This was during the same conversation in which Trump Jr asked her for secret information on Hillary Clinton which could have helped his father’s campaign. When you put these two things together, the argument can be made that one was being offered in exchange for the other, which one legal expert says could meet the legal definition of bribery.

Former federal Prosector Renato Mariotti explains that “offering to exchange an official act for something of value is like soliciting a bribe.” (link). He goes on to cite a past case law against a politician which helps to frame how this could result in bribery charges against Donald Trump Jr. This is in addition to the obstruction of justice charges that Donald Trump could face for making misleading statements about his son’s meeting.

The post Donald Trump Jr could be facing bribery charges appeared first on Palmer Report.

 Palmer Report

Palmer Report: Multiple resignations from Donald Trump administration said to be imminent after latest Russia leaks

Last night an international consortium of journalists published the Paradise Papers, which included evidence that a number of members of the Donald Trump administration have secret financial ties to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. Now multiple sources are suddenly pointing to anywhere from one to six resignations forthcoming and some of the names are very high profile in nature.The Paradise Papers exposed evidence that Donald Trump’s Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, his Ambassador to Russia Jon Hunstman, and others in the administration have secret financial ties to Russia, which they’ve tried to disguise along the way. Now today there are reports that both of them could resign, along with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.Here’s how political insider and MSNBC guest commentator Scott Dworkin has framed the matter today: “Ive received reports today saying DeVos, Huntsman, Ross, Sessions, Tillerson & Zinke are resigning for ties to Russia &/or for corruption.” (link). But he’s not the only source talking resignations today. The news outlet Salon is reporting today that Betsy DeVos is expected to resign due to what her allies categorize as frustration with the Secretary of Education bureaucracy (link), in what could simply be an excuse to bail on the job before things get scandalous.

Jeff Sessions has been caught telling several lies about the campaign’s involvement with Russia. Ryan Zinke is caught up in the chartered flight scandal which has already led to the resignation of HHS Secretary Tom Price. Rex Tillerson has long been rumored to be on his way out, both due to his frustration on the job, and his “moron” debacle with Donald Trump. If any one of these six resignations takes place, in the context of how weak and scandalized Trump already is, it could be a bodyblow to him. If several resignations do indeed take place, it could be the ballgame.

The post Multiple resignations from Donald Trump administration said to be imminent after latest Russia leaks appeared first on Palmer Report.

 Palmer Report

Donald Trump | The Guardian: My travels in white America a land of anxiety, division and pockets of pain

This summer, Gary Younge took a trip from Maine to Mississippi to find out what has brought the US to this point. From the forgotten poor to desperate addicts, their whiteness is all some of them have left and that makes fertile ground for the far rightJeff Baxters enduring memory, from childhood, is the glow. Coming down over the hill overlooking the coke plant in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the molten iron would make itself known both as a vision and an aspiration. Its like the sun landed there, says Baxter, a burly, bearded retiree, who achieved his boyhood dream of becoming a steelworker.Today, the plant, like the one Baxter worked in for 30 years, stands derelict a shell that represents a hollowing out not just of the local economy but of culture and hope as though someone extinguished Baxters sun and left the place in darkness. Buildings in the centre of town that were once testament to the industrial wealth produced here stand abandoned. More than 40% of the population now live below the poverty line; 9.1% are unemployed.

There is systemic racism, but black people have advocates. Poor white people dont

Continue reading…

 Donald Trump | The Guardian

2016 elections anxiety – Google News: My travels in white America a land of anxiety, division and pockets of pain – The Guardian
 


The Guardian
My travels in white America a land of anxiety, division and pockets of pain
The Guardian
Just seven months after the US had bid farewell to its first black president, his successor said there were some very fine people marching with the neo-Nazis who chanted: Jews will not replace us. … Out-traded by China (in 2016 the trade deficit 

 2016 elections anxiety – Google News

putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Trump Aides On Edge Over The President’s Upcoming Meeting With Putin In Vietnam – BuzzFeed News
 


BuzzFeed News
Trump Aides On Edge Over The President’s Upcoming Meeting With Putin In Vietnam
BuzzFeed News
Trump and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson both view the meeting as worth the cost of the awkward optics, US officials told BuzzFeed News, but career diplomats inside the administration have come down on different sides. Some White House officials and more »

 putin won US 2016 election – Google News

VOA Newscasts – November 06, 2017

Give us 5 minutes, and we’ll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/11/06/20171106-190000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3
Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed – BBC News
 

From: Russia News Videos
Duration: 13:27

A huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how the powerful and ultra-wealthy, including the Queen’s private estate, secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens.
Donald Trump’s commerce secretary is shown to have a stake in a firm dealing with Russians sanctioned by the US.
The leak, dubbed the Paradise Papers, contains 13.4m documents, mostly from one leading firm in offshore finance.
BBC Panorama is part of nearly 100 media groups investigating the papers.

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At least nine people in Trump’s orbit had contact with Russians … – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
US commerce secretary invests in firm linked to Putin family and allies, reports say – Washington Post
 


Washington Post
US commerce secretary invests in firm linked to Putin family and allies, reports say
Washington Post
The documents leaked as the administration faces several investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaignand Russia, including a probe by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that brought its first indictments last week. The millionsand more »
Russia launched social media support for Trump almost immediately after he announced his campaign – Raw Story
 


Raw Story
Russia launched social media support for Trump almost immediately after he announced his campaign
Raw Story
Russian social media support for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign started just weeks after he announced his candidacy in June 2015 far earlier than had been previously known. The Wall Street Journal reports that Russian Twitter accounts posing …
Russian Twitter Support for Trump Began Right After He Started CampaignWall Street Journal 
Russian support for Trump on Twitter started shortly after he announced bid: reportThe Hill
all 4 all 3 news articles »

Texas gunman killed his grandmother-in-law and 25 others at church – CNN
 


CNN
Texas gunman killed his grandmother-in-law and 25 others at church
CNN
(CNN) [Breaking news update, 2:25 p.m. ET]. Texas church gunman Devin Kelley killed his grandmother-in-law, Lula White, in the massacre Sunday, multiple friends told CNN. White was the grandmother of Kelley’s wife and volunteered frequently at the …
Texas Gunman Had Assaulted Wife and Stepson Before Church ShootingNew York Times
‘Evil has invaded sanctuary’: Texas massacre likely the worst church shooting in US historyWashington Post
Texas shooting: Gunman Devin Kelley ‘had row with mother-in-law’BBC News
NPR –NBCNews.com –ABC News –Slate Magazine
all 605 news articles »
Названо имя «техасского стрелка»
 

From: euronewsru
Duration: 01:31

Власти Техаса назвали имя преступника, расстрелявшего прихожан в церкви: 26-летний Девин Патрик Келли. В своё время он служил в ВВС. Пять лет назад его осудили за нападение на собственных жену и ребёнка, а позже с позором уволили из рядов. В последнее время он преподавал в церковной школе.

По данным следствия, он тщательно готовился к нападению. Дома у него нашли целый арсенал. В церковь Сазерленд-спрингс он явился в бронежилете и с винтовкой.

Местные жители тут же открыли ответный огонь, рани
ЧИТАТЬ ДАЛЕЕ: http://ru.euronews.com/2017/11/06/us-church-shooting-update

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Saudi Warns Iran against Supplying Missiles to Houthi Rebels

Saudi Arabia accused Iran on Monday of supplying ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen and called it a blatant act of military aggression.
fbi – Google News: Former FBI director James Comey ditches Reinhold Niebuhr Twitter alias – USA TODAY
 


USA TODAY
Former FBI director James Comey ditches Reinhold Niebuhr Twitter alias
USA TODAY
Welcome to the Twitterverse, Mr. Comey. James Comey, who abruptly fired as FBI director in May, used to lie low on social media under the alias Reinhold Niebuhr with the handle @FormerBu. On Monday morning, that handle switched to @Comey …
Ex-FBI Director Comey Tweets As Himself After Revealing Secret AccountCBS San Francisco Bay Area
Meet @comey: The former FBI director is no longer undercover on TwitterThe Boston Globe
Investigating the FBI’s Clinton InvestigationPatriot Postall 20 news articles »

 fbi – Google News

fbi – Google News: FBI offering reward to find the ‘Faceless Bandit,’ a suspect in three Massachusetts bank robberies – MassLive.com
 


MassLive.com
FBI offering reward to find the ‘Faceless Bandit,’ a suspect in three Massachusetts bank robberies
MassLive.com
The FBI may not have a name or even a face, but investigators are hoping a $5,000 reward will change that. Authorities are searching for the “Faceless Bandit,” who is a suspect in three bank robberies in Fall River. The bandit earned the nickname 
FBI VIOLENT TASK FORCE SEEKS PUBLIC’S HELP IDENTIFYING THE FACELESS BANDIT ~ ARMED AND …The Valley Patriot
FBI Offering $5000 Reward In Fall River ‘Faceless Bandit’ CaseCBS Boston / WBZ
FBI searching for ‘Faceless Bandit’ in three recent bank robberiesThe Boston Globeall 6 news articles »

 fbi – Google News

Russia probe: Mueller’s evidence
 

From: Euronews
Duration: 01:29

US Federal investigators have enough evidence in the investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn and his son as part of the Russian election probe, “according to NBC News”:https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mueller-has-enough-evidence-bring-charges-flynn-investigation-n817666?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma which cites multiple sources.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly applying pressure on General Flynn after the indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“In
READ MORE : http://www.euronews.com/2017/11/06/mueller-has-enough-evidence-to-bring-charges-in-flynn-russia-investigation

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Paradise Papers sends shockwaves around the world

With high-ranking politicians appearing in the Paradise Papers, officials around the globe were quick to react to the leak. The EU and India have started investigations while Russian and US officials were on the defense.
With Manafort, It Really Is About Russia, Not Ukraine – New York Times
 

mikenova shared this story from Manafort – Google News.


New York Times
With Manafort, It Really Is About Russia, Not Ukraine
New York Times
Administration officials dismiss the alleged criminal activity by Mr. Manafort, formerly President Trump’s campaign chairman, as being merely about money-laundering and Ukraine but not Russia, the focus of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III and more »
November 5, 2017

A look at the best news photos from around the world.
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A look at the best news photos from around the world.
October 31, 2017

A look at the best news photos from around the world.
November 2, 2017

A look at the best news photos from around the world.
Merkel wants progress in coalition talks in 10 days

BERLIN (Reuters) – Immigration and climate policy are the most contentious issues in exploratory negotiations between three parties seeking to form Germany’s next government, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, adding that she wants proper talks to start in 10 days.

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