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CRIME: 3D Report - Protests and Unrest

Team: Crime

Week of: March 29, 2021


SUMMATION or TREND / PATTERN ANALYSIS


Protest in Myanmar Against the Military Coup[1]


For the week of March 29th, the Crime Team has identified a global surge in protests and unrest. Governments are trying to limit domestic activism by manipulating the COVID-19 pandemic to stop people from continuing to protest, and by arresting them over public health concerns. This has increased human rights abuses towards protestors who are against lockdown restrictions and general abuse of power by the military/police. The COVID-19 pandemic has also been identified as a catalyst for new criminal opportunities. Myanmar continues to experience a surge in protests after more than 500 people have been killed, including Red Cross workers. The political crisis has resulted in a surge in illegal drug production which is likely to spread to other countries throughout Southeast Asia in the near future. Finally, the Crime Team has identified that ahead of Easter weekend, security at churches is being bolstered to prevent acts of terrorism in countries that experience high tensions between Christians and Muslims.


DETECT

  1. What threats has your Team detected this week? What level is the threat (Imminent, Critical, Ongoing, Developing, Concerning)? Finally, why is this entry significant (just write a sentence or two)?

Bombing

  • In the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, a car bomb killed at least five civilians. The main target was an official. This entry is significant because car bombs are becoming more frequent and could pose a great danger for the population and security personnel. (Ongoing)

  • A remotely detonated car bomb killed two people and wounded sixteen, in northern Balkh province in Afghanistan. The entry is significant because car bombs are becoming an everyday threat, and are even more dangerous if remotely controlled. (Ongoing)

  • Two country-made bombs exploded on the Sri Venkateswara University campus in Tirupati, India during the early hours of Thursday, killing a pig and a dog. The bombs were suspected to be planted by hunters expecting a rich haul of wild boars from the nearby Seshachalam forest.[2] This entry is significant because it indicates that bombs can be acquired and utilized by blue-collar workers, which either means that modern bombs are either extremely easy to use or that more and more civilians are becoming familiar with the structure and damage of a bomb. (Ongoing)

  • A man named Brian Carroll, 44 had previously threatened to hurt or kill officers when he was arrested with several guns and explosives last week at the University of Kentucky hospital, according to a detective. Bryan Carroll, 44, was arrested on March 25 — allegedly with eight guns and four active explosive devices — outside UK Chandler Hospital.[3] This entry is significant because it depicts a case in which violence is taken against law enforcement—a phenomenon that is less covered in the media in comparison to police brutality against civilians. (Ongoing)

  • Petrol bombs and masonry were thrown at police for the third night in a row in the Tullyalley area of Londonderry. One officer was struck by masonry, and fifteen petrol bombs were also seized during the disturbance.[4] This entry is significant because it falls in line with a trend of increasing riots and protests on a global scale, as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, news of police brutality, and interstate conflict continue to exacerbate mental health issues and feelings of dissent among people, especially the vulnerable youth population. (Ongoing)

Kidnapping

  • Many passengers traveling from Gwagwalada to Kuje in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) - Nigeria - have been abducted by gunmen. This entry is significant because the banditry-terrorism nexus is raising even more insecurity in Nigeria. (Critical)

  • Christian clergy are being kidnapped and killed in Nigeria by Muslim Fulani herders, bandits, Boko Haram insurgents, and the Islamic State’s West African Province, raising more tensions between Christians and Muslims.[5] This entry is significant because banditry is now a concerning problem in Nigeria and it needs to be monitored every day. (Developing)


Counterterrorism Operations

  • The Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) supported by Europol, have arrested three individuals in Madrid and Santa Cruz de Tenerife for their suspected involvement in the facilitation of terrorist financing. The suspects are believed to have used a non-governmental organization to finance the activities of Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants. The network diverted funds raised in good faith by religious associations, under the cover of using them as humanitarian aid for Syrian orphans.[6] This entry is significant because countering the financing of terrorism is a core point in fighting terrorism. Terrorists and their supporters constantly change the ways they use to collect and move funds and for this reason, it is important to monitor the situation. (Ongoing)

  • YouTube has removed a white supremacist channel, that was providing neo-Nazi tips on how to avoid homeland security, as well as how to promote extremists propaganda. This entry is significant because social media are used by extremists to spread their ideology and their propaganda, with the purpose to radicalize new members. It is important to take measures to stop this phenomenon. (Ongoing)

  • The US Department of Justice (DoJ) charged around 500 individuals for COVID-19 related scams and fraudulent activities. This entry is significant because the COVID-19 pandemic has opened new opportunities for criminals and countries need to stop this from happening. (Developing)

  • Indonesian police have publicly stated that they will be stepping up security at churches across the country ahead of the Easter weekend, after the recent suicide bombing terror attack that took place in a Catholic church in the city of Makassar. The National Police has instructed police in all regions to step up their vigilance towards acts of terrorism.[7] This entry is significant because it portrays the Indonesian police as practicing deterrence efforts to keep terrorism low during the Easter weekend, which may mean that the weekend may face a lower rate of crime or terrorism than usual. (Developing)

  • Britain sanctioned a Myanmar conglomerate on Apr 1 for its close links to the military leadership which Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said was wantonly killing innocent children. Britain imposed sanctions on the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) for involvement in serious human rights violations by making funds available to the Myanmar military, as well as its association with senior military figures.[8] This entry is significant because it shows a third person party to Myanmar keeping in-state organizations and national security forces in check, which means that future human rights violations in Myanmar may be able to be retrained through third-party interference. (Ongoing)

  • A Met Police officer has been convicted of being a member of a banned neo-Nazi terrorist organization. Benjamin Hannam, of Enfield, north London, was found to have lied on his police application form and remained in the National Action group after it was outlawed. He was also convicted of two counts of fraud following a trial.[9] This entry is significant because it reflects the increasing need to vet police trainees before they are allowed to become full-fledged officers. (Ongoing)

  • The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) arrested James Bradley (20) and Arwa Muthana (29) as they attempted to board a Yemen-bound ship from Newark, New Jersey to join the Islamic State. Bradley had reportedly expressed ‘violent extremist views’ since 2019 and had been on the FBI’s radar after his friend was arrested in 2019 for planning to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban.[10] This entry is significant because it illustrates the issue of home-grown terrorists, who have only been increasing in number in recent years. Home-grown terrorists will not only be able to appeal to and recruit individuals residing in the USA but will also pose a threat to law enforcement or public intervention, as most people looking to identify Taliban terrorists are looking for people of Middle Eastern descent. (Ongoing)

  • Singapore is joining an Interpol-led global financial crime task force looking into several areas, including COVID-19 vaccine scams. The task force, initially comprising Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, will look at illicit money flows in transnational financial crimes and how countries can combat these crimes more effectively.[11] This entry is significant because it is one of several recent efforts to combat illicit money laundering, which has risen in popularity among criminals since the invention of Bitcoin, Apple Pay, Venmo, and other commonly utilized services that allow for monetary transactions to take place online. (Ongoing)

Unrest/Political Disruptions

  • Algerians retook to the streets demanding the release of students who were arrested during Friday's anti-government Hirak movement protest.[12] This entry is significant because people have the right to demonstrate peacefully, even if this means a protest against the current government. The latter should not have the right to arrest people only because of their ideology. (Developing)

  • Thai police vowed to arrest more people participating in protests against the government after detaining nearly 100 at a demonstration a day earlier, citing a law restricting gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Another protest demanding the release of jailed activists is planned for late Monday afternoon, raising prospects for another confrontation with activists calling for an end to military dominance of politics and reform of the powerful monarchy.[13] The entry is significant because protests are increasing worldwide, with the risk of violent escalations and the spread of COVID-19. (Developing)

  • After the bloodiest day after the military coup in Myanmar, thousands of people keep protesting against the military rule after decades of democratic reform. This entry is significant because the situation in Myanmar is not getting any better, and the military is killing people. There is a high level of human rights violations. (Critical)

  • People started protesting outside the Chinese Consulate in Adelaide - Australia - against human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. This entry is significant because people keep fighting for human rights despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This is to show governments that nothing can stop a person from fighting for human rights. (Developing)

  • In the capital of Mexico City and Tulum - Mexico - women took to streets in protest demanding justice, after the death of a Salvadoran migrant, Victoria Esperanza Salazar, who died after a policewoman put her knee on her back for several minutes. This entry is significant because Mexico has been for years threatened by drug cartels, but also by the police abuse of power and brutality. (Ongoing)

  • Cars have been set alight, 20 police officers have been injured and masked people have pelted a police van with petrol bombs in further disorder in pro-British parts of Northern Ireland amid rising post-Brexit tensions in the region. Many pro-British unionists fiercely oppose the new trade barriers introduced between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom as part of Britain's departure from the EU and have warned that their unease could lead to violence.[14] This entry is significant because it reflects the increasing backlash against law enforcement in Northern Ireland. These protesters may be influenced by the ongoing dissent in the USA, which has been similarly been characterized by violence against law enforcement. (Developing)

Drug Trafficking

  • Mainland Southeast Asia is bracing for a surge of illegal methamphetamines from eastern Myanmar, as a result of pandemic-related supply gluts and a likely increase in production due to Myanmar’s growing political crisis.[15] This entry is significant because the current instability in Myanmar is creating opportunities for the organized crime to operate without any impediment. (Ongoing)

  • At the request of France, authorities in Germany and Luxembourg carried out a coordinated blow on the network which was set up to launder proceeds from drug trafficking, arresting four members of a criminal group suspected of laundering the proceeds from drug trafficking.[16] This entry is significant because Europe is now becoming a fertile ground for drug traffickers, as it is not well trained in fighting that phenomenon. (Ongoing)

  • South Florida federal prosecutors have charged the leader of a notorious Mexican drug cartel and five others for their alleged roles in importing into the United States over 500 kilograms (over 1100 pounds) of Mexican methamphetamine. In the largest methamphetamine seizure in Miami-Dade County history, law enforcement agents seized over 1100 pounds of crystal meth before it ever hit the streets. The defendants are charged in two separate complaints with drug conspiracy, drug trafficking, drug importation, and other crimes.[17] This entry is significant because it illustrates law enforcement’s increasing capabilities in identifying and prosecuting criminals involved in drug trafficking, despite the ever-expanding base of drug trafficking rings today. (Ongoing)

  • Hong Kong police announced a record-breaking 700-kilogram cocaine seizure on Sunday with officers suspecting the huge shipment was smuggled into the city on speedboats. The bust is the largest in the territory in nearly a decade and netted some HK$930 million ($119.6 million) worth of cocaine.[18] This entry is significant because it depicts one of the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the drug trafficking trade—in which smugglers are taking more risks by utilizing alternative and largely unfamiliar methods to make bulk shipments as opposed to their usual method of utilizing drug mules in airports. The unfamiliarity of such methods and routes may lead to more encounters with law enforcement, which in turn may increase the likelihood of bulk shipments getting discovered. (Ongoing)

Assaults

  • Cambodian journalists are being attacked, threatened with violence, or imprisoned. This entry is significant because journalists are always targeted for reporting stories, and sometimes they risk their lives. (Ongoing)

  • A couple with their 1-year-old baby was attacked by a knife-wielding man as they were leaving a Lower Manhattan park Wednesday evening. The man and woman, both in their 20s, were leaving Battery Park just before 1800 with their child when they were approached by the man, who took out a knife and used it on the three victims.[19] This entry is significant because it reflects the need to prioritize providing inexpensive mental health resources to individuals who may not have access to them and may resort to violence to express their mental health issues. (Ongoing)

Ceasefire

  • Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Houthi group are close to reaching a ceasefire agreement. This entry is significant because it would allow discussion about peace, and this could be a step towards stability. (Ongoing)


Human Rights Abuse

  • Lebanon’s military intelligence has “forcibly disappeared and allegedly tortured” people who protested against lockdown conditions and the deteriorating economy in the northern city of Tripoli, Human Rights Watch says in a report. According to the report released on Tuesday, people detained at protests were tortured and faced “unsubstantiated terrorism charges” at military courts which, under international law, should not have jurisdiction over civilians.[20] This entry is significant because the COVID-19 pandemic has increased human rights abuses by the police in many countries. (Developing)

  • More than 500 people have been killed in the Myanmar junta's brutal crackdown on protests against its coup. The grim toll was passed as world powers ramped up their condemnation of the military's ruthless campaign against the movement demanding the restoration of democracy and release of Suu Kyi.[21] This entry is significant because the increased violence in Myanmar needs an immediate international response. (Critical)

  • The US State Department’s 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which was published on Tuesday, warned that countries in the Balkans and southeast Europe have continuing problems with media freedom, censorship, and violence against journalists, while officials are not being sanctioned for rights violations. “Intimidation, harassment, and threats, including several death threats, against journalists and media outlets continued during the year without a systematic institutional response.”[22] This entry is important because human rights abuses and police abuse of power are increasing worldwide, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak. (Ongoing)

  • The Polish parliament is getting closer to withdrawing the country from the Istanbul Convention, which prosecutes domestic violence and other forms of abuse against women. This entry is significant because an EU Member State is going against European principles. If the country succeeds, women will not be protected anymore. (Critical)

  • Myanmar Red Cross workers have been arrested, intimidated, and injured on the front lines as they tried to treat mounting civilian casualties, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Thursday. The agency said it was deeply concerned at the growing humanitarian crisis two months after the army seized power.[23] This entry is significant because it indicates that states, especially undemocratized ones, may show hostility towards innocent civilians. Humanitarian workers in this region must be aware of such risks and must receive training that is centered around evading state violence. (Developing)

Sex Trafficking

  • In London, England, many women - in particular Romanian women - have been freed from sexual slavery. This entry is important because sex trafficking is a global problem and one of the most disgraceful crimes. After all, it deprives people of their dignity. (Ongoing)

Human Trafficking

  • A total of 21 people were arrested in a sting operation targeting human trafficking and forced prostitution at two hotels in Fayette County - Georgia, USA. Many of those arrested have been charged with prostitution.[24] This entry is significant because human trafficking is a global problem and it needs more attention, as well as more international cooperation. (Ongoing)

Robberies

  • Bandits have killed about six members of the Joint Security Task Force in Allawi town, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. The bandits abducted over 10 persons, stole seven motorcycles, and burnt down military vehicles during attacks on Wednesday and the early hours of Thursday, which left the villagers confused and scampering for safety.[25] This entry is significant because it brings to light the fact that despite hate crimes, protests, and bombing becoming more and more prevalent on an international scale, people are still at risk for robberies and must therefore practice hypervigilance—especially in less developed states such as Niger. (Ongoing)

Shootings

  • Attackers gunned down a policewoman on Thursday in eastern Afghanistan as she was headed to work, which marks the latest targeted killing in the war-torn country. The officer shot in the city of Jalalabad was wounded but later died at the hospital, and two suspects have consequently been arrested by the police.[26] This entry is significant because it depicts the high levels of crime and dissent within Afghanistan, which is currently led by President Ashraf Ghani, who has faced in-state controversy over his security policies in the war against the Taliban. (Developing)

  • Police locked down the US Capitol on Friday afternoon after a report of gunshots in the area. US Capitol Police say all Capitol buildings were being locked down “due to an external security threat” and staff members were told they could not enter or exit the buildings. A Capitol Police officer was killed and a second officer was injured after being rammed by a vehicle in the US Capitol on Friday.[27] This entry is significant because it reflects the increasing trend of violence within the US, which is most likely caused by a transition of presidential power, widely publicized protests, expanding extremist organizations, and social pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Critical)

  • Seven people have been shot in a mass shooting at 7th and Kidder Streets in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, according to Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams. The shooting took place in a house hosting a party. Three died and four were injured.[28] This entry is significant because it shows that shooters aren’t just attacking commonly targeted locations such as schools and churches—people are at risk of getting attacked in their own homes. It is vital that law enforcement thus not only increase security personnel and measures not just around well-known target locations, but also for all communities and organizations. (Ongoing)

2. What threats have been ongoing for your Team over the last 2-3 weeks?

  • Bombing

  • Counterterrorism Operations

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Assaults

  • Ceasefire

  • Unrest/Political Disruptions

  • Sex Trafficking

  • Human Trafficking

  • Human Rights Abuse



Definitions


Imminent: This threat is credible and an event or attack will occur or is occurring. All necessary teams and leadership are on high alert.


Critical: This threat is credible and an event or attack may occur. All necessary teams are on high alert.


Ongoing: This threat is not new, but it is important to keep watching. Report any new findings to the necessary teams.


Developing: This is a new threat. We need to check all sources to make sure they are credible. Report the credible sources to the necessary teams.


Concerning: This might become a new or reemerging threat. We need to check all sources to make sure they are credible. Report the credible sources to the necessary teams. ________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Protest in Myanmar Against Military Coup” by MgHla, licensed under Public Domain.

[2] “Country-made bombs go off on SVU campus”, The Hindu, April 2021, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/country-made-bombs-go-off-on-svu-campus/article34218955.ece

[3] “Detective: Man arrested with bombs in Lexington threatened earlier to kill officers”, Lexington Herald Leader, April 2021, https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/crime/article250360591.html

[4] “Londonderry: Petrol bomb attacks on police for third night”, BBC, April 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-56600391

[5] Christian clergy are being kidnapped and killed in Nigeria, The Christian Century, March 2021, https://www.christiancentury.org/article/features/christian-clergy-are-being-kidnapped-and-killed-nigeria

[6] Three Arrested in Spain for Financing Terrorism, Homeland Security Today, March 2021, https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/three-arrested-in-spain-for-financing-terrorism/

[7] “Indonesia police to step up security at churches ahead of Easter weekend following terror attacks”, Channel News Asia (CNA), April 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/indonesia-jakarta-police-headquarters-attack-easter-14537848

[8] “UK sanctions Myanmar conglomerate, says junta sinking to new lows with killings”, Channel News Asia (CNA), April 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/myanmar-protests-uk-sanctions-conglomerate-junta-new-lows-14539134

[9] “Met PC found guilty of neo-Nazi membership”, BBC, April 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-56604470

[10] “American couple arrested on their way to join ISIS in Yemen”, The Indian Express, April 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/world/american-couple-arrested-on-their-way-to-join-isis-in-yemen-7257149/

[11] “Singapore joining Interpol-led global financial crime task force looking into COVID-19 vaccine scams”, Channel News Asia, April 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/fake-vaccine-covid-interpol-singapore-financial-crime-14538914

[12] Hirak: Algerians protest against arrest of students, Africa News, March 2021, https://www.africanews.com/2021/03/29/hirak-algerians-protest-against-arrest-of-students/

[13] Thai police vow more arrests after nearly 100 protesters detained, Channel News Asia, March 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/thai-police-vow-more-arrests-100-protesters-detained-14517572

[14] “Brexit protesters in Northern Ireland set cars alight, attack police”, ABC News, April 2021, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-04/brexit-protesters-in-northern-ireland-set-cars-alight/100048036

[15] Chaos Is Opportunity for Myanmar’s Drug Trafficking Syndicates, The Diplomat, March 2021, https://thediplomat.com/2021/03/chaos-is-opportunity-for-myanmars-drug-trafficking-syndicates/

[16] “Follow the money: Members of drug trafficking network arrested for money laundering in Germany and Luxembourg”, Europol, March 2021, https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/follow-money-members-of-drug-trafficking-network-arrested-for-money-laundering-in-germany-and-luxembourg

[17] “Leader of Mexico’s United Cartels and Others Charged in South Florida Federal Court with Importing Over 1100 Pounds of Crystal Methamphetamine”, United States Department of Justice, April 2021, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/leader-mexico-s-united-cartels-and-others-charged-south-florida-federal-court-importing

[18] “Hong Kong Police Seize Record 700kg Cocaine Smuggled into City by Speedboats”, News 18, April 2021, https://www.news18.com/news/world/hong-kong-police-seize-record-700kg-cocaine-smuggled-via-illegal-speedboats-3606080.html

[19] “Man Arrested After Slashing 1-Year-Old and Parents in Manhattan Park”, NBC New York, April 2021, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/man-arrested-after-slashing-1-year-old-and-parents-in-manhattan-park/2976174/

[20] Lebanon: Protesters forcibly disappeared, tortured, says report, Aljazeera, March 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/30/lebanon-detainees-allege-torture-forced-disappearance-report

[21] Death toll from Myanmar junta's brutal crackdown on protesters surpasses 500, France24, March 2021, https://www.france24.com/en/asia-pacific/20210330-death-toll-from-myanmar-junta-s-crackdown-on-protests-passes-500

[22] US Concerned About Continuing Rights Violations in South-East Europe, Balkan Insight, March 2021, https://balkaninsight.com/2021/03/31/us-concerned-about-continuing-rights-violations-in-south-east-europe/

[23] “Myanmar aid workers arrested, intimidated, hurt, Red Cross says”, Reuters, April 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-politics-aid/myanmar-aid-workers-arrested-intimidated-hurt-red-cross-says-idUSKBN2BO45Q

[24] 21 arrested in human trafficking sting at 2 Fayette County hotels, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 2021, https://www.ajc.com/news/21-arrested-in-human-trafficking-sting-at-2-fayette-county-hotels/SHOU6QC7SFGTBPGODNOZB6KCH4/

[25] “Bandits Attack Niger Community, Kill Six Security Personnel, Burn Operational Vehicles”, Sahara Reporters, April 2021, http://saharareporters.com/2021/04/01/bandits-attack-niger-community-kill-six-security-personnel-burn-operational-vehicles

[26] “Afghan officials say gunmen kill policewoman on way to work”, ABC News, April 2021, https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/afghan-officials-gunmen-kill-policewoman-work-76806206

[27] “US Capitol on lockdown after report of gunfire nearby”, New York Times, April 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/02/us/us-capitol-lockdown-police-attack.html?referringSource=articleShare

[28] “Mass shooting in Wilmington, N.C., leaves seven people shot, three dead”, Wect News 6, April 2021, https://www.wect.com/2021/04/03/mass-shooting-wilmington-seven-people-shot-three-dead/


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