An alleged international weapons trafficker, searched for by Interpol and placed under an international travel ban by the UN, will soon be running free?
What is that about?
On 11 August, a Thai court ruled against extraditing Viktor Bout to the US. The US is accusing Bout of trying to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC, a group that is deliberately targeting Americans assisting the Colombian government in the drug war. (A year ago, ISN Security Watch featured an in-depth analysis on Victor Bout’s unsavory career: see part I and part II).
Yet unlike the US and the EU, Thailand does not consider the FARC a terrorist group – hence, in the eyes of the Thai judge, Bout cannot be extradited for ‘political’ reasons. This is a big slap in the face for US counterterrorism efforts. To capture international terrorists and those supplying them with weapons, the US relies on a strong network of allies – and Thailand has historically been a strong ally of the US.
When it comes to ETA, the notorious Basque nationalist and separatist organization, which violently “celebrated” its 50th anniversary some days ago, George Orwell’s words are compelling. Indeed, at fifty, ETA has the face it deserves, a despicable and malicious face. If mind is over matter, then I wonder what rotten mind lies behind the scars of matter. But let’s not get lost in physiognomy here, and let us rather recall ETA’s inglorious history with a death toll of some 800 victims and not one single political goal (if you can reasonably call Marxism-Leninism politics at all) achieved.
The Guardian‘s timeline gives us a concise graphic overview.
Screenshot of The Guardian's timeline of ETA's history
From ComputerWeekly via Open Society Fellow Rebecca McKinnon’s Twitter feed :
“The US Department of Defense (DoD) is preparing strategy and policy documents on federated identity management systems that may lead to a national identity system for the United States.”
According to the article, the DoD wants to lay out guidelines for businesses and the government to “set up a system that would allow individuals and organisations to assert their identity and associated privileges, and have them accepted at all levels.”
During the Black Hat Briefings conference last week, the DoD’s Chief Information Assurance Officer Robert Lentz said that with the exchange of information and activity online, the “amount of anonymity” had to be reduced.
ComputerWeek says that Lentz did reiterate that the DoD did not want to control the internet. The DoD will release the strategy and related documents 1 October.
The “amount of anonymity” comment made me shudder a bit, but here’s a quick question: Could the strategy possibly lay the groundwork for internet voting?
This January, Gareth Jenkins shared his observations on the Turkish “Deep State” in a prolific ISN Security Watch article. Not only did he shed light on the history of “Ergenokon,” a clandestine ultra-Kemalist guerilla organization with obscure links to NATO’s covert stay-behind network “Gladio,” but also raised a momentous question: Is the Turkish military, hitherto the staunch and “ultimate guardian of the traditional interpretation of secularism in Turkey,” discrediting itself with its more than likely involvement in planning a coup d’état, thus losing ground to Erdoğan’s Islamist AKP in the struggle over the future of Turkish secularism?
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s mausoleum / Photo: carolinebeatriz/flickr
If you have ever asked yourself one of the following questions, August 1st will bring you answers:
- 1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change?
- 2. How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict?
- 3. How can population growth and resources be brought into balance?
- 4. How can genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes?
- 5. How can policymaking be made more sensitive to global long-term perspectives?
Futurism, photo: Adam Kang/flickr