Category Archives: Security

NATO civil-military response to COVID-19

NATO Policy Directors for Civil Preparedness met by secure video conference on 8 July, to exchange views and best practices in their response to the COVID-19 crisis and how to strengthen national resilience.

They welcomed the decision by NATO Defence Ministers at their meeting on 18 June 2020 to update NATO’s baseline requirements for resilience, covering critical sectors such as energy, telecommunications and the security of supply chains. The updated baseline requirements will help Allies prepare for possible further pandemic waves, and support a common approach to current and future challenges in the interests of the security of populations across the Alliance.

Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană opened the session and highlighted the contribution by the Alliance and Allies’ military forces to the COVID-19 response.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated the indispensable role of civil-military cooperation for resilience and preparedness. Between the months of March and May 2020, over half a million military personnel, supported by innumerable military assets, have worked side-by-side with our civilian authorities in managing the crisis and in serving our citizens”, he said.

Policy Directors also discussed NATO’s approach to learning lessons from COVID-19, including the importance of further cooperation with partners and the EU.

NATO welcomes Afghan Eid al-Fitr ceasefire

NATO has welcomed the announcement of a three-day cease-fire in Afghanistan during the Muslim celebration of the end of Ramadan – Eid al-Fitr.

“I welcome the statements by the government of Afghanistan & the Taliban on a 3-day ceasefire over Eid. All parties should seize this opportunity for peace, for the benefit of all Afghans,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on his Twitter micro blog on May 23.

NATO remains committed to Afghanistan’s long-term security,” he underlined.

In a message preceeding the celebrations, the insurgents made the surprise announcement amid escalating conflict and a fragile peace process, directing militants to stay out of areas under the government control, but adding government forces could visit Taliban-controlled areas.

In a similar holiday truce two years ago, there were unprecedented scenes of foes embracing each other and taking selfies.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the announcement, explaining that he instructed the military to comply.

“President Ghani today initiated a process to release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a good will gesture in response to the Taliban’s announcement of a ceasefire during Eid,” Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi announced on Twitter.

СOVID19: Conte security agent dies

A policeman who was part of Italian Prime Minister GiuseppeConte’s security team has died after contracting #COVID19. He was 52, and left behind a wife and two sons.

Giorgio Guastamacchia, 52, tested positive for the novel coronavirus late March. He had then been hospitalized in one of hospitals in Rome and taken to an intensive care unit, due to his serious condition.

The Italian government said at the time that he had not been in contact with Conte for at least two weeks. The premier, however, was tested negative in a precautionary test.

Head of the Italian police Franco Gabrielli expressed his condolences to Guastamacchia’s family.

The news broke out the moment Italian society expressed hope, that the peak of the epidemic is behind; the statistics started to improve, offering grounds for cautions optimism.

COVID19: NATO HQ access limited

NATO Headquaters in Brussels has also limited access to visitors. The book presentation planned for this week was cancelled by precaution of COVID19 outbreak.

We would like to thank you for registering to our event, however, we regret to communicate that, due to the NATO Headquarters’ strict restrictions on visitors’ access to its premises by reason of the recent coronavirus outbreak, we are obliged to indefinitely postpone the book discussion planned for the 12th March at 2.00pm” the message from organisers reads.
Nevertheless, we are looking forward to your participation at the rescheduled event to which we will send out the invitation as soon as we know the date and time”.

London jihadist released on licence

The assailant who strapped a fake bomb vest to his chest before stabbing two people in South London had been released from prison just days earlier, The Sun reports.

Sudesh Amman, 20, was being monitored by counter-terror police before the “knife obsessed” jihadi went on a rampage on Streatham High Road on Sunday afternoon.

Amman, from Harrow, North London, was sentenced to more than three years in jail for committing terror offenses but let-out on automatic release after serving half his sentence despite concerns he still held extremist views.

The ISIS-supporting jihadi, who was only a teenager when arrested, was jailed for possessing and distributing terrorist documents.

Gent: knife attack under investigation

A women has been shot by Belgium police after attacking two pedestrians with knife in busy street of #Gent, one of the top European destinations for cultural tourism.

The incident took place just minutes after a similar attack in #Streatham in London.

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The street name is “Bevrijdingslaan” which in translation from Dutch means “Liberation” lane. The incident took place in late afternoon, around 16:00 Local time.

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A woman was allegedly hit and injured in the hand by the police, reports Het Laatste Nieuws. She allegedly tried to stab two people with a knife. Also according to our colleagues from Het Laatste Nieuws, the victims with knife wounds were taken to hospital but their lives were not in danger. Local police and the East Flanders public prosecutor’s office are investigating the incident but are not yet able to provide further information.

An investigating judge has been summoned and the facts are under investigation. There is currently no indication that the incident at the Bevrijdingslaan in Ghent is an act of terrorism. This is reported by the Ghent service of the public prosecutor’s office of East Flanders, which does not give more details on the judicial investigation.

In the UK “a man has been shot by armed officers in #Streatham. At this stage it is believed a number of people have been stabbed. The circumstances are being assessed; the incident has been declared as terrorist-related. Please follow @metpoliceuk for updates” London police wrote on Twitter microblog.

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Stabbings occurring hours apart in #London and Belgian city of #Ghent are being treated as terrorism. Both instances bear telltale signs of #ISIS-inspired attacks: knives, random soft targets on busy streets, etc. No claim yet from any group, though” the director of SITE Intelligence group Rita Katz writes on her Twitter micro blog.

“#ISIS-linked groups have taken to celebrating #londonattack & #Belgium stabbings, posting old and new posters & statements across various platforms. It would not be surprising if #ISIS #Amaq news claims soon, calling perps “Soldiers of the Islamic State,” indicating IS-inspired” Katz concluded.

NATO Stoltenberg participates in EU Council

On Friday, 10 January 2020, the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg will attend the Extraordinary Meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, NATO announced via the site of the organisation.

They also informed a transcript of the Secretary General’s remarks, will be available on the NATO website following the event.

“Sharing strategic interests and facing the same challenges, NATO and the European Union cooperate on issues of common interest and are working side by side in crisis management, capability development and political consultations, as well as providing support to their common partners in the east and south. The EU is a unique and essential partner for NATO. The two organisations share a majority of members, have common values and face similar threats and challenges.

NATO and the EU currently have 22 member countries in common.

Both NATO and the EU are engaged in combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They have exchanged information on their activities in the field of protection of civilian populations against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.

Iraqi Parliament voted January 5 to obligate Iraq’s government “to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil,” according to the media office of the Iraqi Parliament.

NATO announced on that it had suspended its training mission, which fields 500 instructors.

The NATO official said other mission personnel were being moved to other parts of Iraq, and emphasised that “NATO maintains a presence”.

The alliance plans to resume its training there “when the situation permits”.

The US was “disappointed” in Iraq’s actions Sunday, a US State Department spokeswoman said.

Europol cyber offensive against IS

Between 21-24 November, law enforcement and judicial authorities in Europe launched a joint action against the so-called Islamic State (IS) to disrupt the online activities of this terrorist organisation.

The referral action coordinated by the European Union Internet Referral Unit of Europol, supported by Eurojust was joined by 12 Member States and 9 online service providers. It led to the referral of a total of over 26 000 items of IS-supporting content. This process is based on the referral by Europol of branded terrorist propaganda to online service providers who are responsible for evaluating it to establish any potential breach of their terms of service, to ensure that the rule of law is implemented and freedom of speech is safeguarded.

The operation was led by the Belgian Investigating Counter Terrorism Judge and the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office, together with the Belgian Federal Judicial Police of East-Flanders.

Within this operation the Guardia Civil carried out an arrest in Spain of an individual suspected of being part of the core disseminators of IS terrorist propaganda online. This arrest was carried out in coordination with the Central Magistrate’s Investigating Courts number 3 and 5, and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Audiencia Nacional.
 

Dutch ‘No’ to jihad mothers and children

The Netherlands is not obliged to help actively in repatriation of the young children and their mothers who left the country to join ranks of the Islamic State in Syria, an appeals court in The Hague said on November 22, overturning an earlier ruling.

Earlier this month the preceding court instance said the government must actively help to repatriate 56 children living in squalid conditions in camps in Syria.

All the children concerned have Dutch nationality and are under 12 years old. Most are younger than six.

The government appealed this ruling, citing national security and the risks it said Dutch officials would be exposed by entering the camps to find these women and children.

It said the ruling would negatively impact Dutch foreign policy and international cooperation. The mothers and children concerned are living in poor conditions which could rapidly deteriorate as winter arrives in the Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria, their lawyer Andre Seebregts told the court, defending the need of repatriation.

In total, around 68,000 defeated fighters of the Caliphate and their families are being held in the camp, according to the Red Cross. They are under the custody of Syrian Kurdish forces after they took the jihadist group’s last enclave.

Government figures revealed that, as of October, some 55 Islamic State militants still based in northern Syria had traveled there from the Netherlands. There were also at least 90 children with Dutch parents or parents who had lived for a considerable time in the Netherlands as residents.

EU calls Haiti to avoid violence

“The grave deterioration of the living conditions of the Haitian population and profound worsening of the security situation together with a slowdown of economic activity and challenges the Haitians face on a daily basis have provoked serious, long-lasting and violent social unrest.

https://youtu.be/6X-u1sDH9nI

“The right to demonstrate freely and peacefully needs to be ensured while violence by both sides must be avoided under all circumstances to prevent further instability and suffering of the population.

“The engagement of all actors in a frank, open and inclusive inter-Haitian dialogue should lead to an urgent consensus to better respond to the basic needs of the population and should identify realistic and lasting solutions to the current political, economic and humanitarian crisis.

“The European Union is committed to support the Haitian people on their path to stability, development and democracy, including the rule of law, and will cooperate closely with its international partners to this end.

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