Thursday, March 10, 2016

Former Russian press minister died in U.S. of blunt force injuries

Former Russian press minister died in U.S. of blunt force injuries

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Russian Press Minister Mikhail Lesin, who was found dead in a Washington hotel room last year, died of blunt force injuries to the head, authorities said on Thursday.


Former Putin Aide Died of Blunt Force in Washington

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A former top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin died of “blunt force injuries of the head” in a Washington D.C. hotel four months ago, according to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Ex-aide to Putin died of blunt force trauma at D.C. hotel, medical examiner says 

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Police are still investigating the circumstances of Mikhail Lesin’s death in November.

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CDC Chief: Puerto Rico Facing 'Hundreds of Thousands' of Zika Cases 

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The top U.S. disease prevention official said Thursday that there could be "hundreds of thousands" of Zika cases in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in the coming months if precautions are not taken. Dr. Tom Frieden, chief of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters he was making Puerto Rico his top priority in the fight against the virus. "Nothing about Zika is going to be quick, and nothing about Zika is going to be easy," Frieden said....

FBI infiltrated Russian spy ring with hidden recorders, prosecutors say - The Guardian

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The Guardian

FBI infiltrated Russian spy ring with hidden recorders, prosecutors say
The Guardian
The FBI eavesdropped on meetings involving Russian intelligence personnel in New York City, including a suspected spy posing as a trade representative, by hiding recorders in binders containing supposedly confidential information about the energy ...
FBI penetrated New York-based Russian spy ring using hidden recordersAOL News
Voice recorders in binders and secret meetings with undercover agents: How FBI penetrated Cold War-style Russian ...Daily Mail
FBI penetrated New York-based Russian spy ring using hidden ...Reuters

all 19 news articles »

Savage echoes Enquirer: Scalia killed by CIA prostitute - TRUNEWS

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Savage echoes Enquirer: Scalia killed by CIA prostitute
(TRUNEWS) Michael Savage, the talk radio host of The Savage Nation said Monday that there may be validity behind The National Enquirer's story “Supreme Court Justice Scalia — Murdered By A Hooker”. On March 7th Savage said on his popular Premier ...

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FBI Says Threat From 'Ransomware' Is Expected to Grow - Wall Street Journal

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FBI Says Threat From 'Ransomware' Is Expected to Grow
Wall Street Journal
Chris Stangl, a section chief at the FBI's Cyber Division, described the increasing urgency and scope of the challenge posed by ransomware as “a prevalent, increasing threat” in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Soon-to-be-released data from ...

Viola Beach: Indie band's driver 'plunged off bridge intentionally', say Swedish police 

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'We can't find any secondary explanation,' officer says

Взрыв газа в Москве 

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From: SvobodaRadio
Duration: 00:56

Как передает "Интерфакс", жильцы дома на 2-й Кабельной улице в Москве, в котором произошел пожар, расселяются по близлежащим гостиницам. В четверг вечером в жилом доме по адресу: 2-я Кабельная, дом 6 произошел взрыв, предположительно, бытового газа в квартире на восьмом этаже.

Antibiotics May Get New Life Against Lethal Bacteria

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Antibiotics that have become ineffective against a lethal bacterial infection may get new life, thanks to the discovery of compounds that weaken the pathogen. Staphylococcus aureus has become a leading cause of death worldwide. The drugs penicillin and methicillin, developed in the last century, are cheap and available but have become ineffective against the bacterial menace. Newer, more effective antibiotics like vancomycin have been developed, but they are more expensive and have to be given intravenously. So the race is on to develop even more potent antibiotics that are easier to use. But penicillin and methicillin may not be out of the picture. Researchers at pharmaceutical company Merck discovered two compounds that weaken the biological structure of drug-resistant Staph aureus, also known as MRSA, clearing the way for the older antibiotics to kill the pathogen. They describe their work in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Merck's Terry Roemer said that on their own, the compounds are not effective in killing MRSA. But taken with penicillin, they cleared the drug-resistant infection in mice. “What is different and exciting about this is it is magic dust," Roemer said. "It’s not an antibiotic, but it helps. It’s an adjuvant. It assists.” When the bacterial-weakening compounds become available, possibly in a few years, Roemer said they would be given along with traditional antibiotics to treat drug-resistant bacteria. More important, Roemer said, the discovery opens up an entirely new avenue of thinking about fighting antibiotic-resistant infections like MRSA. Researchers could employ "more types of chemistry that have never been considered before because those compounds are nonbioactive. I mean, this is something that we need.” Roemer thinks finding ways to boost the effectiveness of existing antibiotics could put scientists ahead in the race to develop new, improved drugs to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections.

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Obama, Seen as Reluctant Warrior, Addresses Limits of US Power 

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With less than a year left in his White House tenure, U.S. President Barack Obama says he has reached an overriding conclusion that the United States can be a force for good in world affairs, but by no means can it or should it try to control every uprising that does not threaten its national security. In a wide-ranging discourse about his foreign policies during his seven-plus years in office, Obama acknowledged to The Atlantic magazine that he is "controversial" when it comes to the use of American military power, even though he has launched thousands of airstrikes and drone attacks in the Middle East against Islamic State jihadists and provided military support leading to the overthrow of Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi. "There's a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow," he told the magazine's correspondent, Jeffrey Goldberg. "It's a playbook that comes out of the foreign policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses. Where America is directly threatened, the playbook works. But the playbook can also be a trap that can lead to bad decisions." Reluctance on Assad In one defining foreign affairs moment of his presidency, Obama backed off from an imminent 2013 attack against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when Western experts discovered he had amassed chemical weapons and believed he was ordering their use against rebel groups fighting government forces. But Obama said he concluded "that while we could inflict some damage on Assad, we could not, through a missile strike, eliminate the chemical weapons themselves, and what I would then face was the prospect of Assad having survived the strike and claiming he had successfully defied the United States, that the United States had acted unlawfully in the absence of a U.N. mandate." Realistic on Russia Similarly, Obama said he adopted a realistic stance to Russia's 2014 takeover and annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. "This is an example of where we have to be very clear about what our core interests are and what we are willing to go to war for," he said. "And at the end of the day, there's going to be some ambiguity." Obama said Russian President Vladimir Putin "acted in Ukraine in response to a client state that was about to slip out of his grasp. And he improvised in a way to hang on to his control there. He's done the exact same thing in Syria (in launching airstrikes to support Assad's forces), at enormous cost to the well-being of his own country. "And the notion that somehow Russia is in a stronger position now, in Syria or in Ukraine," Obama said, "than they were before they invaded Ukraine or before he had to deploy military forces to Syria is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of power in foreign affairs or in the world generally." Political surveys in the United States have generally shown Obama's views on the limited use of American force overseas are aligned with those of a U.S. public that is wary of more military intervention after years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. But Republican presidential candidates looking to succeed him when he leaves office next January have denounced his views, saying he has left the United States a weakened power. Putting stock in China Obama said that in the coming decades the U.S. relationship with China "is going to be the most critical." He said that "if we get that right and China continues on a peaceful rise, then we have a partner that is growing in capability and sharing with us the burdens and responsibilities of maintaining an international order." But Obama added, "If China fails; if it is not able to maintain a trajectory that satisfies its population and has to resort to nationalism as an organizing principle; if it feels so overwhelmed that it never takes on the responsibilities of a country its size in maintaining the international order; if it views the world only in terms of regional spheres of influence - then not only do we see the potential for conflict with China, but we will find ourselves having more difficulty dealing with these other challenges that are going to come."

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Medical Examiner Says Ex-Kremlin Press Minister Died Of 'Blunt Force' To Head 

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City officials in Washington D.C. say they have determined that Russia's former Press Minister Mikhail Lesin, a longtime close ally of Vladimir Putin who was found dead in the U.S. capital in November, died as a result of "blunt force injuries of the head."

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Free Range Data Reveals All

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March 10, 2016: National intelligence services (like the CIA and MI6) continue to find themselves relying more and more on civilian sources for the best data and analysis. A recent example was revealed because of all the anxiety over the huge numbers of illegal migrants trying to get into Europe and other Western countries, many of them by boat. Turns out that the best tool for reducing the use of ships for smuggling was an Israeli firm that built a business on creating a database of normal, and abnormal (and usually illegal) behavior by ships at sea for shipping and maritime insurance companies.
This data was easier to collect since the 1990s when all larger ships were required to use the AIS (Automated Identification System) which is essentially an automatic radio beacon (transponder) that, when it receives a signal from a nearby AIS equipped ship, responds with the ship's identity, course, and speed. This is meant to enable AIS ships to avoid collisions with each other. An AIS activity database makes it possible to identify patterns of normal and abnormal behavior. The abnormal behavior, like arriving outside a port and waiting for several days to enter, is what smugglers are often forced to do to avoid arrest. Same thing with travelling outside the most efficient (in terms of fuel used and weather encountered) routes. With enough of this data and a thorough analysis it is very difficult for seagoing criminals to escape detection. Now that navies and coast guards are increasing using this “maritime BI (Business Intelligence)” tool to more quickly shut down the criminal gangs making over a billion dollars a year from all this people smuggling.
AIS is also used to send ships important traffic and weather information. AIS is one of two ship tracking systems required, by law, for most ocean going ships. INMARSAT (International Maritime Satellite) is a more elaborate and longer range system. It enables shipping companies to keep track of their vessels no matter where they are on the planet. INMARSAT uses a system of satellites, which transmit AIS-like signals to anywhere on the oceans. It only costs a few cents to send an INMARSAT signal to one of your ships and a few cents more to receive a reply. Shipping companies have found the INMARSAT a useful business tool as well as a safety feature.
These two systems are now required by law (international agreements) for all sea going vessels greater than 300-tons. The technology has worked, and the U.S. Navy has found them particularly useful in counter-terror operations. Coast Guards the world over have also found the systems a big help. But apparently pirates in some areas have gained access to the systems (via bribes or theft) and a large number of pirate attacks appear to have been helped by technology meant just to safeguard ships at sea. Iran, and other nations involved in smuggling, learned how to have INMARSAT send a false signal, concealing where the ship actually is. This can work for a while but a nation with lots of recon satellites, warships, and cooperation from most of the world’s shipping can get around this.
The use of AIS data is part of a trend in dual-use intelligence tools that depend on OSINT (Open Source Intelligence). While the U.S. intelligence community long resisted recognizing the importance of OSINT, especially after the Cold War ended in 1991, the enthusiastic acceptance of Internet-based OSINT by so many individual military personnel and commercial information gatherers has led to enthusiastic official government acceptance of what many intelligence professionals now considera crucial tool and one that can only grow in usefulness.
The Internet has made OSINT a really, really huge source of useful intelligence. It's not just the millions of gigabytes of information that is placed on the net but the even more voluminous masses of message board postings, blogs, emails, and IMs (instant messaging) that reveal what the culture is currently thinking. It was corporate intelligence practitioners who alerted the government intel people to the growing usefulness of Internet based data. Even before the Internet became a major factor in the late 1990s corporations had developed a keen interest in gathering intel on competitors, newmarkets, and all manner of things that might affect them. The Internet has made this a much more useful and affordable exercise, especially since corporations are less likely to break the law when gathering intel, or have access to the powerful legal tools available to government investigators and analysts.
For years corporate intel specialists were concerned that government agencies, especially the CIA, were not taking sufficient advantage of OSINT. Part of the problem was cultural. The intelligence agencies have always been proud of their special intel tools, like spy satellites, electronic listening stations, and spy networks. Most of these things are unique to government intelligence operations. People who use this stuff tend to look down on a bunch of geeks who simply troll the web. Even when the geeks keep coming up with valuable stuff, they don't get any respect. That began to change after September 11, 2001, when many intelligence specialists, who were reservists, were called to active duty. Many of these men and women worked in BI (Business Intelligence, sometimes called corporate spying) and brought with them a respectful attitude towards OSINT and spectacular (to the government intel people) ability to use it.
Before long many junior members of the intel agencies were using OSINT more frequently. Then it was pointed out that there was growing evidence that some foreign countries were exploiting OSINT (especially the Internet) more effectively than the United States. No foreign intel agency will admit to this, but there are indications that some nations are mining the Internet quite intensively and effectively. Data mining is a heavily used commercial tool that the U.S. intel agencies have used, but now they have adopted the corporate techniques of plowing through vast quantities of unclassified data and often finding gold.
An example of this official acceptance occurred in 2012, when the U.S. Army issued a manual, Army Techniques Publication 2-22.9, which detailed how to use open source (mainly searching the Internet) intelligence most effectively. This was the kind of OSINT troops had been using for over a decade. The publication of ATP 22.9 was a way for the senior army leadership to say, "message received and understood." ATP 22.9, despite all the useful tips it contains, won't go far in helping the many soldiers already using the Internet, but it will be useful in convincing their bosses that a lot of useful stuff can be obtained from the Internet.
The government and military intel community has the money and software chops to screen and analyze huge quantities of data on the Internet, both text and pictures. Despite all these resources the intel behemoths continue to get overtaken by civilian amateurs. A large factor in this was the appearance of Google Earth and other commercial satellite photo sources. This revolutionized military intelligence and the way news on military affairs is developed and spread. Case in point was details on the transformation of the Chinese armed forces and the activities of the North Korean military. Both China and North Korea have long been very secretive about military affairs. But the appearance of Google Earth (originally as Earth View) a decade ago changed everything. By putting so much satellite photography at the disposal of so many people, in such an easy- to- use fashion, unexpected discoveries were made.
People soon discovered that if they had a high-speed Internet connection, they could use Google Earth to find satellite photos of all sorts of interesting stuff. This was especially true of the "Forbidden Kingdoms" (China, Russia, North Korea, and a few others). While the CIA and the military has had access to satellite photos of these countries since the 1960s, little of it was shown to the public. Now that so many people can examine these lower resolution civilian satellite images amazing new discoveries are being made. Many of these commercial satellite photos cover vast stretches of the Forbidden Kingdoms that previously were only scrutinized by a few intel agencies. But the greater number of civilians found things that were newsworthy and never reported before. Things like new military bases, test sites for new weapons, and the new weapons themselves. The open discussion of these findings, most of them already known to the large national intel agencies, brought forth insights and analysis that was often superior to what the much smaller number of professional analysts were capable of. Another example of “the wisdom of the crowd.”
Technically, the countries in question can request that Google not show these classified military facilities. But in making that request, they point out where the classified operation is. So far, a lot of this stuff is just there to find. And users find it. This is called "crowdsourcing" (where large numbers of people accomplish impressive feats of research or analysis because they can quickly mobilize and get to the task via the Internet). The U.S. military will not say that they appreciate the work done via crowdsourcing, but individual analysts and intelligence officials have made it known, unofficially, that crowdsourcing is another useful tool that unexpectedly came their way via the Internet.
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Today's Headlines and Commentary

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Defense officials confirmed today that an Islamic State detainee, who is a specialist in chemical weapons, is currently being questioned by American forces about the pseudo-state’s plans to use the banned substances in Iraq and Syria. The New York Times tells us that the military described the detainee as a “significant” Islamic State operative. The operative was captured last month by an elite American Special Operations detachment and has provided his captors with information regarding how the Islamic State weaponizes mustard gas.
U.S. military officials believe that Abu Omar al Shishani, the Islamic State’s “Secretary of Defense,” was likley killed in a series of airstrikes in Syria yesterday. The Washington Post reports that U.S. military officials are still “assessing the results” of the operation, but that they are confident al Shishani, otherwise known as Omar the Chechen, was among twelve Islamic State fighters killed by the strikes. If confirmed, al Shishani’s death would signify a significant blow to terrorist group’s operational leadership. Read up on al Shishani’s history here.
Stars and Stripes reports that the Pentagon does not have a plan for long-term detention of captured Islamic State fighters. During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, U.S. Special Operations Commander General Joseph Votel told members of Congress that he did not know where long-term prisoners would be held and that the issue was a “policy decision that I think is being debated.”
The United Nations envoy for Syria is set to hold “substantive” peace talks with Syrian government officials and opposition members no later than next Monday. Preparations for the continuation of the Syrian peace talks began earlier this week in Geneva. The talks come after a cessation of hostilities in Syria that took effect last week. However, even though there has been at least a temporary halt in fighting, the BBC wonders if the Syrian conflict is a new kind of world war.
Following Turkey’s decision to strike a deal with the European Union on refugees, the United Nations and human rights groups have warned that the potential deal between the E.U. and Turkey might beillegal. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told the European Parliament, “I am deeply concerned about any arrangement that would involve the blanket return of anyone from one country to another without spelling out the refugee protection safeguards under international law.” Reuters tells us that the potential deal between the E.U and Turkey would provide Ankara with more money to keep refugees in Turkey, faster visa-free travel for Turks, and an acceleration of Turkey’s long-stalled E.U. membership talks.
An American citizen was killed yesterday when a Palestinian attacker went on a stabbing rampage in a town near Tel Aviv. The New York Times tells us that the American was identified as 28-year-old Taylor Force. Force was an MBA candidate at Vanderbilt University and a U.S. Army veteran.
Vice President Biden arrived in Israel yesterday aiming to mend relations between the Obama administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after what the Washington Post calls “a very public and deeply partisan spat over the Iran nuclear deal.” The Post also writes that the Vice President’s mission is, in part, an attempt to “advance long-running talks between the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office over a new multibillion-dollar, 10-year military aid package.”
President Obama is also seeking to pave the way for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians even after he leaves office. The New York Times reports that the White House is contemplating whether the president should lay down outlines of an agreement through either a U.N. Security Council resolution or in a presidential speech. However, the potential peace deal would likely become an issue that President Obama’s successor would pursue. The whisperings of the potential resolution have already set off alaram bells in Mr. Netanyahu's cabinet, according to the Times.
For the first time since Yemen’s civil war began last year, Yemen’s Houthi rebels are conducting peace talks directly with Saudi Arabia. According to the New York Times, the United Nations has previously sponsored several attempts at peace to halt the fighting that has killed more than 3,000 people, but all resulted in failure. Houthi representatives traveled to Saudi Arabia this week to discuss prisoner exchanges and a de-escalation of the fighting.
Yesterday, Iran conducted several ballistic missile tests aimed to show Iran’s “deterrent power” and “all-out readiness to counter any threat,” according to Iran’s official news agency. The Wall Street Journal reports that an Obama administration official said that the missile launches were “inconsistent” with a United Nations Security Council Resolution restricting Iran’s missile activity but that they were not a violation of last year’s nuclear agreement. The Journal has more here.
Following Iran’s missile tests, the Obama administration is facing pressure from Republicans andDemocrats on Capitol Hill. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) called for the United States and the United Nations to show that the missile tests will have “swift and immediate consequences.” Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, also called for a forceful response adding, “The Administration should act swiftly to raise these concerns at the United Nations and take action to hold all parties involved responsible for their actions, including, if necessary, unilateral action.”
Following the Taliban’s announcement that it would not participate in peace talks aimed at ending the fifteen year insurgency in Afghanistan, Pakistan has assured the international community that it would still support the planned peace process. However, the anticipated peace talks have not tempered the Taliban’s attacks. Today, the insurgent group assaulted a police headquarters and intelligence agency office in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. According to the Associated Press, at least three police officers were killed along with seven of the attackers.
Defense News reports that the latest Pak-US Strategic Dialogue held this week delivered little substance. Although the relationship is improving slightly, key differences remain, most notably regarding the growth of Pakistan’s nuclear program. Read the latest on the Pak-US Strategic Dialogue here.
The annual U.S.-South Korean joint military exercise Key Resolve-Foal Eagle began this week, but with a new wrinkle: this year’s exercises include a hypothetical decapitation strike against senior North Korean leaders, including Kim Jong Un. While neither the South Korean Defense Ministry nor the Pentagon have confirmed the rumors that the decapitation strike has been included as part of training, the AP shares that the news has already caused Pyongyang to ratchet up the rhetoric another notch.
Today, the Hermit Kingdom’s Korean Central News Agency once again boasted that the country’s scientists have succeeded in making a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto a ballistic missile.According to state media, Kim Jong Un visited nuclear scientists today in order to announce the “tremendous” achievement. North Korean news outlets also released photos of Kim posing with the miniaturized warheads, but experts noted that curiously, neither the North Korean leader nor the scientists with him were wearing radiation suits for protection—suggesting that the warheads were actually only models. 
Just days after a devastating series of U.S. airstrikes killed 150 al Shabaab militants operating in Somalia, U.S. special forces descended into the country last night in an attemptaccording to the AP— to “capture a high-profile target.” The nighttime raid ended in a fierce firefight that reportedly killed more than 10 militants. Somali intelligence sources reported that the primary target of the operation was killed during the gun battle. In its report, the AP notes that recent U.S. operations “are some of the most aggressive military actions in Somalia since a U.S. military intervention in the early 1990s.” Elsewhere, the AP carries more background on the strikes, while the Wall Street Journal notes that the intensity and “scope of U.S. attacks reflect fears of al Shabaab resilience.”
According to the Associated Press“France’s lower house of Parliament has approved a measure aiming to give prison sentences to technology company executives who refuse to give data to investigators in terrorism-related cases.” The bill, which would dole out a fine of up to 350,000 Euros and a five-year prison sentence, passed the lower chamber by a vote of 474 to 32. It will now be debated in the Senate. The AP notes that during debate, French lawmakers referred to Apple’s refusal to provide access to an iPhone in the San Bernardino case. In Lawfare, Daniel Seversonprovided an overview of the bill and how the debate unfolded.
Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times brings us another vignette into the future of violence, reporting that Cheng Le was sentenced to 16 years in prison yesterday on charges “including that he tried to obtain the highly toxic poison ricin to be resold for use as a weapon.” Le was arrested in December 2014 during an FBI sting operation after attempting to purchase ricin from an undercover agent. Le allegedly asked the operative to disguise the ricin as medicine and noted that he would be “trying out new methods in the future” in order to make dispersal “more efficient.”  
No surprises here: yesterday, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced a resolution rejecting the Obama administration’s recently released plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The Hill tells us that the resolution was cosponsored by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Roy Blunt (R-MO).
Republicans are not the only ones wary of the president’s plan, however. The Associated Pressreports that Indonesian security officials have said they would find a way to “ensure” that Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, does not return to Indonesia. Hambali is accused of heading Jemaah Islamiyah, an al Qaeda-affiliate that operated out of Southeast Asia.
At the detention facility itself, Saifullah Paracha, the oldest detainee at Guantanamo Bay, had his first Periodic Review Board hearing. Paracha is a 68-year-old former businessman from Pakistan who, while never officially charged, is suspected of providing financial and other assistance to senior al Qaeda leaders. His son, Uzair Paracha is currently serving a 30-year sentence in the United States for trying to help an al Qaeda operative travel to the United States. The Associated Press has more.
Parting ShotMicro-drones capable of being launched from flare dispensers of moving F-16s and F/A-18 fighter jets? That's the latest from the Strategic Capabilities Office, the Pentagon’s shop tasked with figuring out how to best counter growing strategic threats from Russia and China. Check out a video obtained by the Washington Post on the mini drones here.
ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare
Stewart Baker released the latest Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, which features an interview with Jim Lewis and Alan Cohn.
Nancy Okail and Mai El-Sadany described the crackdown against civil society occurring in Egypt.
Dan Byman commented on the shifting U.S. interests in the Middle East.
Cody flagged the new GTMO recidivism report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
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Russian Activists, Western Journalists Attacked Trying To Enter Chechnya 

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A Russian rights group says two Western journalists and two rights activists were hospitalized after masked men with knives and clubs attacked them as the group tried to enter Russia's Chechnya region from neighboring Ingushetia.