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Security Brief: NORTHCOM Week of April 3, 2022

Updated: Apr 11

April 3-6, 2022 | Issue 02

Savannah Fellows, Jan García, Zachary Itterman, Gabriel Mariotti, Maria Ruehl, Rhiannon Thomas, NORTHCOM Team

Maisie Beaven, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris, Senior Editor


A Russian Oligarch-owned yacht in Manoel Island, Malta.[1]


Date: April 3, 2022

Location: Sacramento, California, USA

Parties involved: Police Chief Kathy Lester; Sacramento Police Department; US President Joe Biden; US Citizens; Tourists; Multiple Unknown Shooters

The event: Around 0200 local time, multiple unknown shooters opened fire on a busy street in Sacramento. Sacramento Police Chief announced that six people died at the scene, and 12 were wounded. Multiple suspects have been arrested, but the number of shooters and their motives remain unknown.[2] The city recently lifted COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in more civilians present at the time of the shooting.[3] President Biden called on Congress to pass stricter gun legislation in response to increased gun violence.[4] Despite the number of recent shootings, opposition to stringent gun regulation in the US remains.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Reduced COVID-19 restrictions almost certainly led to more civilian casualties as the area was very likely more trafficked than when restrictions were in place. There is a roughly even chance that the attack was planned at a busy location to garner media attention and increase the impact of the attack. The attack and subsequent media coverage will almost certainly instill fear in individuals wanting to visit populated areas, likely resulting in locals and tourists avoiding popular city locations. This will very likely result in less income for local businesses, almost certainly negatively impacting the local economy.

  • US President Biden’s call for stricter gun legislation is unlikely to change significantly. If more stringent gun legislation is passed, it will very likely cause some US citizens to feel their rights and freedoms are being infringed, resulting in citizens likely attending demonstrations against the President’s notion. Opposition to increased gun control will very likely make it difficult for stricter gun legislation to pass.

Date: April 4, 2022

Location: Washington DC, USA; Port of Majorca, Spain

Parties involved: US Government; US President Joe Biden; US Department of Justice; US District of Columbia Court; US Law Enforcement Agencies; Spanish Law Enforcement Agencies; Department of Justice Task Force Kleptocapture; Russian Government; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg

The event: The US District of Columbia Court issued a seizure warrant for the mega-yacht “Tango,” owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, due to US bank fraud, money laundering, and sanction statutes.[6] This warrant targeted over 600,000 USD associated with sanctioned parties held in nine US financial institutions. Spanish and US law enforcement agencies seized “Tango” in the Port of Majorca, Spain, marking the first time the KleptoClapture Task Force has acted against a Russian oligarch since its creation.[7] In early March 2022, the Kleptocapture interagency Task Force was created to enforce US economic countermeasures imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.[8]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Conflict in Russia between the government and Russian oligarchs will likely increase due to the US seizure of Russian oligarchs’ assets. Social unrest in Russia is very likely to increase as the US targets individuals with close ties to President Putin. The feeling of unrest among Russian oligarchs will likely be transmitted to Russian citizens, likely developing into protests in Russia against the US and its sanctioning strategy. Animosity towards the US for sanctions will likely reaffirm Russian citizens’ support for President Putin’s actions.

  • European nations will almost certainly work with the US KleptoCapture Task Force in supporting sanctions, additional seizures to Russian oligarchs’ properties, and restrictions against Russian oligarchs in the future. The increased cooperation by European nations with the Task Force will almost certainly improve its effectiveness, almost certainly making it challenging for oligarchs to evade sanctions. Future seizures and sanctions on oligarchs will almost certainly negatively impact President Putin’s rule as Russian oligarchs hold significant economic value and power in the Russian government.

 

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)


[1]BIG YACHT, little yacht; Manoel Island, Malta” by John Haslam licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Police arrest second suspect in Sacramento mass shooting that left 6 dead, CNN, April 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/05/us/sacramento-california-shooting-tuesday/index.html

[3] Sacramento shooting: All six victims identified, BBC News, April 2022, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-60981651

[4] Sacramento police say there were 'multiple' shooters in violence that left six dead, Reuters, April 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/least-six-dead-downtown-sacramento-shooting-police-2022-04-03/

[5] GOA ON SACRAMENTO VIOLENCE: ANTI-GUN LEFT’S RESPONSE WRONGFULLY BLAMING GUN OWNERS INSTEAD OF CRIMINALS, Gun Owners of America, April 2022, https://www.gunowners.org/goa-on-sacramento-violence-anti-gun-lefts-response-wrongfully-blaming-gun-owners-instead-of-criminals/

[6] $90 Million Yacht of Sanctioned Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg Seized by Spain at Request of United States, US Department of Justice, April 2022, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/90-million-yacht-sanctioned-russian-oligarch-viktor-vekselberg-seized-spain-request-united

[7] The US Just Seized Its First Russian Oligarch Mega-Yacht, VICE, April 2022, https://www.vice.com/en/article/n7nyz7/us-seized-russian-oligarch-yacht

[8] Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Announces Launch of Task Force KleptoCapture, US Department of Justice, March 2022, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-merrick-b-garland-announces-launch-task-force-kleptocapture

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