3:37 PM 11/8/2017 – The Trump Campaign’s Spy-Ties to Moscow Have Been Exposed – by 20committee

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The Trump Campaign’s Spy-Ties to Moscow Have Been Exposed 

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Yesterday was filled with legal bombshells for President Donald Trump. As expected, after months of investigation into the White House’s ties to Moscow, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team announced three arrests and indictments. Together, these cases have fundamentally shifted the game in our nation’s capital—very much to the president’s detriment.

The arrest of Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager in the summer of 2016 who secured him the Republican Party’s nomination, was expected by many. For months, rumors had swirled around Manafort, given his longstanding and unsavory ties to Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, compounded by his barely concealed links to Kremlin intelligence, as I reported three months before the November 2016 election.

Manafort has surrendered to the FBI and faces a dozen federal charges relating to financial crimes including money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, plus neglecting to report foreign cash to the IRS. These charges are serious and will be difficult for Manafort to beat, leading to speculation that what Mueller really wants is Manafort’s cooperation against Team Trump—which may be the 68-year-old’s only alternative to dying in prison.

Rick Gates, a Manafort protégé and 2016 Trump campaign associate, has also surrendered to the Feds and is facing a raft of charges relating to money laundering. Gates also played a key role in President Trump’s inauguration and pushed the White House’s agenda as a lobbyist until April of this year, when questions about Gates’ ties to the Kremlin made his position untenable.

On cue, the White House protested that they barely know Manafort and Gates—a transparent falsehood—while stating that their alleged crimes have nothing directly to do with the president. The latter may be technically true, but difficult questions lurk regarding why Donald Trump wanted someone as unsavory and Moscow-connected as Paul Manafort to head his campaign, particularly since the longtime swamp denizen Manafort’s links to Eastern oligarchs were an open secret in Washington.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageUSG  

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Solving the Mystery of the Maltese Professor 

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This week began with the bombshell legal news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought charges against members of Team Trump relating to their illicit ties to Moscow. As I explained, this fundamentally changes the game in our nation’s capital, and the White House is struggling to cope with this new environment, which finds the president on the defensive, awaiting further indictments of his associates.

No aspect of this week’s news is more mysterious than the saga of “the Professor”—in reality, Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese national—who served as the hush-hush go-between for the Trump campaign and the Kremlin in the spring of 2016. Notably, he acted as Moscow’s cut-out for contacts with George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor hired by the Trump campaign in the late winter of 2016.

Mifsud’s role is crystal-clear to anyone versed in Russian espionage tradecraft, what the Kremlin calls konspiratsiya (yes, “conspiracy”). He is a secret operative of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR, as I elaborated:

Papadopoulos met “the Professor” in Italy in mid-March 2016, then again in London later that month; on the latter occasion “the Professor” brought along a Russian female, allegedly Putin’s niece, to help facilitate the engagement. Papadopoulos emailed the campaign about the success of this meeting, which responded enthusiastically about what had transpired and on March 31, he participated in a national security meeting in Washington that included campaign principals, with Trump himself present.

But Misfud’s role soon moved into even darker territory:

Read the rest at The Observer …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageUSG  

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Today’s Headlines and Commentary 

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In a speech to South Korean lawmakers, President Donald Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un not to underestimate the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported. In a portion of the address directed at Kim, Trump called for Pyongyang to end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Heavy fog forced Trump to cancel a surprise visit to the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, the New York Times reported.

Trump then headed to China, arriving on Wednesday. He plans to ask Chinese President Xi Jinping to increase economic pressure on Pyongyang, according to the Times. Xi opened Trump’s visit by offering a series of business deals and a private tour of the Forbidden City, but Trump and Xi may struggle to find common ground on both trade and measures against North Korea, the Journal reported.

The Senate banking committee approved a bill that would impose harsh new sanctions on Chinese financial institutions assisting North Korea, Foreign Policy reported. The bipartisan legislation targets companies that help North Korea evade sanctions. Sen. Chris Van Hollen said it would put “some real teeth” in sanctions.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief received assurances from U.S. lawmakers that they plan to comply with the Iran nuclear deal, Reuters reported. Federica Mogherini said congressional officials told her their intention is to keep the U.S. in the agreement.

Russia criticized a U.N. report that labeled the Syrian government as responsible for the April chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, the Times reported. Russia’s representative to the Security Council faulted U.N. investigators for not visiting the site of the attack. The U.S. and the United Kingdom supported the report’s findings. Russia and the U.S. have circulated conflicting resolutions to extend the investigators’ mandate.

Spain’s constitutional court officially struck down Catalonia’s declaration of independence, according toReuters. The move formally ended the autonomous region’s bid for separation from Spain.

Saudi Arabia expanded its crackdown on political corruption, targeting up to $800 billion of assets belonging to dozens of princes and businessmen, the Journal reported. The anti-corruption push has frozen the accounts of political opponents of the crown prince. Their seized assets may bring in billions to the Saudi government. Separately, Saudi airstrikes killed dozens of civilians in northern Yemen, including women and children, Al Jazeera reported. The strikes targeted Houthi rebel group villages.

Lebanon’s prime minister remained in Saudi Arabia, prolonging a political crisis in Beirut, the Journal reported. Saadi Hariri said he resigned his post on Sunday in Riyadh, but Lebanon’s president said he would not accept the resignation until Hariri returns freely to Beirut. Hariri visited the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday but then returned to Saudi Arabia. The leader of Hezbollah, one of Hariri’s political opponents, said he believed Saudi Arabia was holding Hariri against his will.

The Philippines halted construction on a small island in the South China Sea to avoid angering China,the Times reported. President Rodrigo Duterte ordered military construction on a sandbar in the Spratly Islands to cease after Chinese officials put pressure on the Philippines to stop its building efforts.

Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, met with a former intelligence official who advocates the unsupported idea that Russian intelligence services did not hack the Democratic National Convention (DNC), the Intercept reported. Pompeo met with William Binney, a former NSA official turned critic, to discuss Binney’s paper arguing that a DNC insider committed the hack, not Russian spies. According to Binney, Pompeo told him Trump urged Pompeo to take the meeting.

Politico’s Cory Bennett wrote about one international accord the Trump administration is keeping: the U.S.-China cyber espionage agreement.

The Times’ Paul Mozer detailed how China uses Facebook to spread propaganda abroad.

Politico’s Josh Gerstein covered the released audio of George Papadopoulos’ July arraignment.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Paul Rosenzweig flagged the American Bar Association’s newly released cybersecurity handbook for lawyers.

J. Dana Stuster updated the Middle East Ticker, covering the power play in Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aggressive foreign policy moves.

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman, Adam Twardowski and Benjamin Wittes analyzed survey data on public confidence in the president and the military on specific national security issues.

Sarah Grant summarized military commissions hearings from last Thursday and Friday, covering the habeas petition for Brig. Gen. John Baker.

Tamara Cofman Wittes and Brian Reeves analyzed policy options for reconstructing the newly captured city of Raqqa.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared the National Security Law Podcast, covering developments in the Mueller investigation, military commissions news, and the ‘hybrid model’ of detainee interrogation and prosecution.

Vanessa Sauter posted the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a discussion between Benjamin Wittes and Susan Landau on her new book “Listening In.”

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter 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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7:43 PM 11/7/2017 – “Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N. 

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“Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N.  Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable Tuesday November 7th, 2017 at 7:38 PM 1 Share Sound familiar? It does to American citizens who must regularly study these bloody rituals and be left by political … Continue reading “7:43 PM 11/7/2017 – “Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N. “

4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., in my opinion – M.N. | NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review 

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4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S.: In my opinion: If you admit as the hypothetical explanatory option the  hostile special intelligence operation nature of the mass killings, and it is impossible not to consider this scenario as an, if not the (in majority of cases) explanation, then all the sociological and … Continue reading “4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., in my opinion – M.N. | NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review”

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/11/06/20171106-070000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3

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3:39 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”… 

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Joan Sutherland “Casta diva” from “Norma” 2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”, such as “Papa-whom?”…November 7, 2017  2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update:  “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas“, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”, such … Continue reading “3:39 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”…”
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france24english’s YouTube Videos: Video: Trump’s Divided States of America, one year on 

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From: france24english
Duration: 12:51

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FRANCE 24 live news stream: all the latest news 24/7
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One year ago, Donald Trump won a surprise victory in the US presidential election, sending shockwaves around the world. Since then, the line has been drawn further in the sand with more and Americans pushed to extremes of either loving President Trump or loathing him. In this special edition of Inside The Amercias, we take a closer look at Trump’s Divided States of America.
Twelve months after his election as president of the United States, the billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump continues to cause controversy, through his tweets, his relations with the media and his divisive policies.
With Donald Trump as US president, many minority groups have gone from being protected under the Obama administration to feeling persecuted. Our reporters Philip Crowther and Sonia Dridi have been to the north-eastern city of Baltimore, where some live in very real fear of what Trump’s years in power could bring.
►► On France24.com: Civil rights in the Trump era: Has the White House abandoned American values?
Also, Genie Godula speaks to Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of independent non-profit publication, the Columbia Journalism Review. He explains why 2017 has been “The Year That Changed Journalism” following Trump’s election.
Meanwhile, in California, Trump voters are finding it increasingly difficult to live in a state that is a Democratic stronghold. They say they have been ostracized, to the point where some of them have actually decided to leave and move to a more conservative state. Our correspondents Valérie Defert, Romain Jany and Haydé FitzPatrick report from Los Angeles.
Finally, we discover a pop-up store with a difference, where two female activists are calling for resistance to Trump through art.
http://www.france24.com/en/taxonomy/emission/18023

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New York City Marathon features massive security effort after deadly truck attack – Fox News

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Fox News
New York City Marathon features massive security effort after deadly truck attack
Fox News
Despite widespread news reports and images of the trail of bodies left by the truck attack, the cancellation rate has remained about the same, he said. Boston Marathon organizers, working with local, state and federal law enforcement, also 
Over 2 Million Turn Out For 2017 TCS New York City Marathon Less Than One Week After Lower Manhattan Terror AttackCBS New York
New York City Marathon taking place in the wake of deadly truck attackABC News
New York marathoners undaunted by deadly truck attackReuters
The Week Magazine –WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale
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Why Trump Should Not End ‘Green Card Lottery’ After the Manhattan Attack – Newsweek

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Newsweek
Why Trump Should Not End ‘Green Card Lottery’ After the Manhattan Attack
Newsweek
… little chance of a gain in safety. 11_07_Manhattan_Truck Emergency personnel respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in lowerManhattan on October 31 in New York City. Kena Betancur/Getty …
Author: Manhattan truck jihadist part of a stealth invasionWND.com
Diversity-Visa Lottery Is a Jackpot for Immigrants from Terror StatesNational Review

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Trump’s YouTube Videos: Trump Travels to Asia as Russia Probe Escalates: A Closer Look 

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From: Trump
Duration: 11:39

Seth takes a closer look at how Trump can’t seem to escape the escalating Russia investigation, even when he is abroad in Asia.
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Trump Travels to Asia as Russia Probe Escalates: A Closer Look- Late Night with Seth Meyers
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Voice of America: Kremlin: Putin, Trump Likely to Meet in Vietnam 

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United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely meet later this week on the sidelines of an economic summit in Vietnam, The Kremlin said Wednesday. Yuri Ushakov, a Putin foreign affairs advisor, said “there are things to discuss and we are ready for it.” He said the two leaders will meet between sessions at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that begins Friday in Danang, Vietnam. He also said Trump and Putin may hold a more “extensive” one-on-one meeting at some point, but no specific date has been set. Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Russian news agency RIA if the two leaders do meet there is a “great probability” they would discuss the situation in North Korea. Peskov, though, said there is currently no cooperation between the U.S. and Russia on North Korea. Trump is currently in China, where he is making his first visit as U.S. president. Just prior to arriving in Beijing Wednesday, Trump gave a speech in front of South Korea’s National Assembly, in which he called on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up all his nuclear weapons for a chance to step on to “a better path.” Trump warned the North, “Do not underestimate us and do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity and our sacred liberty.”

 Voice of America

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The Early Edition: November 8, 2017 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

TRUMP ASIA TRIP

“Do not underestimate us, and do not try us,” President Trump said in a speech to the South Korean National Assembly today about the threat posed by North Korea, warning Pyongyang of the consequences of failing to halt its ballistic and nuclear weapons programs, but saying that “we will offer a path to a much better future.” Michael C. Bender reports at the Wall Street Journal.

“The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer; they are putting your regime in grave danger,” Trump also said about the Pyongyang regime, his speech taking a less belligerent line than his previous threats and taunts of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but still emphasizing that the U.S. would tackle the “rogue regime.” Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Mark Landler and Choe Sang-Hun report at the New York Times.

“To those nations that choose to ignore this threat or, worse still, to enable it, the weight of this crisis is on your conscience,” Trump said yesterday in an implicit warning to China and Russia about their approach to North Korea. Henry C. Jackson reports at POLITICO.

“We don’t care about what that mad dog may utter because we’ve already heard enough,” North Korean officials said about Trump today, responding to his speech to the South Korean Assembly. Will Ripley and Joshua Berlinger report at CNN.

Russia has never supported a complete embargo on North Korea and U.S. attempts to resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula through sanctions is extremely alarming, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said today according to the R.I.A. news agency, Ryabkov adding that the crisis would be raised during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump this week. Reuters reporting.

The Senate Banking Committee yesterday approved new legislation to aid the Treasury Department in enforcing sanctions against Chinese banks that knowingly deal with North Korea, taking the steps following a similar bill that was passed in the House. Ian Talley reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Heavy fog prevented Trump from making a surprise visit to the demilitarized zone (D.M.Z.) between North and South Korea this morning, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in had supported Trump in his decision to go to the D.M.Z. according to a spokesperson for South Korea’s presidential Blue House, and Trump had tried his best to make the trip. Michael C. Bender and Jonathan Cheng report at the Wall Street Journal.

The President and White House officials were frustrated by the fact that they could not visit the D.M.Z., Julie Hirschfield Davis provides an insight at the New York Times as a reporter meant to accompany the President on his trip.

Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping today and seek the help of Beijing to exert further pressure on North Korea, however there is concern that Trump would make trade concessions to China in order to achieve his aims. Mark Landler and Jane Perlez report at the New York Times.

Trump will dine in China’s Forbidden City tonight, an honor that has not been granted to any U.S. President since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, demonstrating the efforts Beijing has been going through to impress Trump and use flattery to their advantage. James Griffiths reports at CNN.

Live updates of Trump’s Asia trip, his attempts to pressure North Korea, and today’s meeting with Xi are provided by James Griffiths and Veronica Rocha at CNN.

Trump’s meeting with Xi comes at a time when Xi’s position has been strengthened and Trump has been undermined by a series of domestic troubles. The meetings will focus on North Korea and trade and investment, which will have broader implications for U.S. interests in Asia and regional dynamics, Michael C. Bender, Jeremy Page and Eva Dou explain at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump is expected to still tweet during his visit to China despite the strict rules over internet use and censorship of online platforms, David Nakamura explains at the Washington Post.

Trump’s repeated reference to the “Indo-Pacific” region during his Asia trip suggest a push toward a new dynamic that attempts to mitigate China’s influence and promote India as a key counterweight to Beijing. Louis Nelson explains at POLITICO.

North Korean officials have signaled that they would be open to the possibility of discussions and Pyongyang’s weapons program has been motivated by fears of regime-change; within this context, the potential for dialogue should be explored through “talks about talks” without preconditions instead of escalating rhetoric against North Korea. Suzanne DiMaggio and Joel S. Wit write at the New York Times.

President Moon’s recent actions “suggest he is an unreliable friend” to the U.S.: he has favored appeasing Kim Jong-un, has caved into pressure from Beijing in relation to the U.S.-made T.H.A.A.D. anti-missile defense system, and has agreed not to join the U.S.’s regional missile-defense system, showing that Moon’s so-called “balanced diplomacy” is to the detriment of South Korea and U.S. security interests. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

YEMEN

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman yesterday blamed Iran for providing Yemen’s Houthi rebels with a ballistic missile that was fired toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Saturday, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley also accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Houthis in violation of two U.N. resolutions, calling on the U.N. and international partners to “hold the Iranian regime accountable for these violations.” Al Jazeera reports.

The White House condemned the missile attack against Saudi Arabia by the Houthi rebels in a statement yesterday, saying that “these missile systems were not present in Yemen before the conflict” and calling on the U.N. to investigate Iran’s role in “perpetuating the war in Yemen to advance its regional ambitions.” Reuters reports.

Saudi-led coalition air strikes killed at least 30 Yemeni civilians yesterday in the Houthi rebel-controlled northern province of Hajjah, according to activists and local media, the claims have not been independently verified. Al Jazeera reports.

The Saudi-led coalition’s blockade of Yemen’s air, sea and land ports “is threatening millions of people and should be lifted immediately,” the U.N. said yesterday, referring to a reported decision by Saudi Arabia at the weekend and warning that the measures would have an impact on the already dire humanitarian situation in the country. The U.N. News Centre reports.

The Houthi rebels have offered sanctuary to “any member of the Al Saud family or any Saudi national that wants to flee oppression and persecution,” an anonymous source close to the Houthi leadership said yesterday, referring to Saudi Arabia’s recent anti-corruption purge. Faisal Edroos reports at Al Jazeera.

SAUDI-IRAN RIVALRY

“Why are you interfering with Lebanon’s internal affairs and governance?” the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said today on his website, criticizing Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Saturday from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, also pledging that Iran would support stability in Lebanon. Sarah El Deeb reports at the AP.

The E.U. and U.S. have expressed backing for the Lebanese government, taking a different line to Saudi Arabia which said that the Lebanese government now acts as a cover for the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah group. Tom Perry reports at Reuters.

The decision of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign suggests that Saudi Arabia and Iran are in a struggle for influence in Lebanon and engaged in regional power play. Hariri was a key ally of Saudi Arabia and accused Iran and Hezbollah of causing chaos in his resignation speech, while Iran has been supporting Hezbollah, who have gained significant influence within Lebanon. Linah Alsaafin and Farah Najjar explain at Al Jazeera.

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been taking bold steps to confront Iran’s expansionism, and his actions have consequences across the Middle East, possibly leading to more proxy battles, a struggle for influence over Lebanon and Syria, and changing dynamics as a consequence of the Saudi-led diplomatic isolation of Qatar. Aya Batrawy and Lee Keith explain at the AP.

An explanation of the recent escalation of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia is provided by Al Jazeera.

The recent events in Saudi Arabia amount to a “slow-motion coup” consolidating the power of bin Salman, who has opened a new front against Iran, has a “misguided foreign policy,” and has the potential to disrupt the internal politics of Lebanon. The Guardian editorial board writes.

Saudi Arabia has been taking an aggressive approach in the region, due to fears that Hezbollah and Iran have been gaining the advantage in light of the dwindling war in Syria and the impending post-Islamic State group era, the approach causing concern among diplomats that the changing dynamics in the region would lead to the Saudis pushing Israel to attack Lebanon as Hezbollah is deemed to hold the real power in the Beirut. Erika Solomon observes at the Financial Times.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel are united in their desire to halt Iran’s expansionism, it is possible that Bin Salman, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been planning to confront Iran in one shape or form. Dov Zakheim writes at Foreign Policy.

Saudi Arabia has been in need of a “shake-up,” but where will Bin Salman’s reforms and autocratic impulses lead to? Thomas L. Friedman provides an analysis at the New York Times, suggesting that a new basis for Saudi society would replace “Wahhabism as a source of solidarity with a more secular Saudi nationalism, one that has anti-Iran/Persian Shiite tenor” – a strategy that is fraught with risk.

Bin Salman’s reforms are making him a lot of enemies, including Saudi Arabia’s old guard, Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Frida Ghitis writes at CNN.

SYRIA

Russia yesterday denounced the report by the U.N. panel investigating chemical weapons attacks in Syria, including the investigation into attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun in April which was blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the Russian deputy ambassador to the U.N. saying that the report submitted by the panel in October was riddled with “systemic deficiencies.” Rick Gladstone reports at the New York Times.

The dispute over the report raises doubts about the possibility of the U.N. panel investigating the chemical weapons attacks having its mandate renewed, the mandate expires on Nov. 14 and the U.S. and Russia have circulated rival resolutions extending the panel’s work. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

“Turkey today is a colonizer country, its forces on our soil are illegal, just as the American forces are on our soil illegally,” a top adviser to Assad said yesterday, adding that Syria would “deal with this issue.” Reuters reports.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out four airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on November 3. Separately, partner forces conducted two strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Democratic lawmakers have been demanding that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appear before committees to clarify their testimonies on connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Andrew Desiderio reports at The Daily Beast.

The E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said yesterday that she had received “clear indications” that U.S. lawmakers plan to ensure the U.S. complies with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Arshad Mohammed reporting at Reuters.

A guide to the U.S.S. Cole trial being heard at Guantánamo Bay is provided by the Miami Herald.

The U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost $5.6tn since they began in 2001, according a study by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, marking a figure three times higher than the Pentagon’s own estimates. Gordon Lubold reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte intends to ask China about its plans in the disputed South China Sea during meetings in Vietnam, Duterte said today. Manuel Mogato reports at Reuters.

The F.B.I. has been unlock the phone of the gunman who fired on churchgoers in Texas on Sunday, with Special Agent Christopher Coombs telling reporters that their difficulty accessing information highlights the issues surrounding encryption. Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

Russia has warned that a reported plan by Ukraine to cut all diplomatic ties between the two countries would further deteriorate relations to the detriment of interests of Ukrainians and Russians. Reutersreports.

N.A.T.O. is planning a major new restricted to its command structures in light of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014, precipitating a shift toward collective defense in Europe. Michael Peel and David Bond report at the Financial Times.

The C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo has been meeting with a source who has pitched “what the intelligence community basically regards as a conspiracy theory,” pointing to the possible politicization of Pompeo’s job with a pro-Trump slant. Aaron Blake writes at the Washington Post.

The U.S. must devise a post-Islamic State strategy for the Middle East that includes a push for regionalism in Syria, long-term U.S. military presence and aid for Iraq, reining in Iran’s influence in Iraqi Kurdistan, compromise on the war in Yemen, encouragement of political and economic reform in other parts of the region, and investment in Jordan. Suzanne Maloney and Michael O’Hanlon write at the Wall Street Journal.

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Us vs them: the sinister techniques of ‘Othering’ – and how to avoid them – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Us vs them: the sinister techniques of ‘Othering’ – and how to avoid them
The Guardian
Ethno-nationalism is on the rise – from the Rohingya people forced out of Myanmar in what many are calling the world’s latest genocide, to neo-Nazis marching through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, in an action President Trump pointedly 

mike pompeo – Google Search

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Story image for mike pompeo from Washington Post

Trump’s CIA director keeps doing controversial — and suspiciously …

Washington Post14 hours ago
The Intercept just broke a pretty big story: CIA Director Mike Pompeo reportedly met with the purveyor of a disputed theory about the internal …
NSA Critic Bill Binney Says Trump Pushed Meeting With CIA’s …
Highly Cited<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>18 hours ago

FBI’s Christopher Combs: Active Shooters on Rise

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The country continues to reel from Sunday’s horrific mass shooting, in which a gunman killed 26 Texas parishioners and injured dozens more. The brutal attack, in which the shooter is reported to have shot multiple crying babies, has been politicized to hell and back, on both sides of the aisle. Common sense gun control. Ban bump stocks. Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. It’s just the price of freedom. The real cause is mental illness. We’ve heard it all.

There is one point that cannot be argued, however. These spree killings are on the rise. The number of “active shooter” incidents have skyrocketed in the past two decades. America in the year 2000 was plagued by just one shooter that deliberately sought out populated areas. 2015? 20 shooters. That’s one horrifying episode every 18 days. 2017 is set to be the deadliest year in our history, with 114 confirmed deaths so far. Las Vegas was just over a month ago.

So, yeah. This is who we are now. Every few weeks someone gets ahold of some guns and kills a bunch of people. That’s just the way of things.

You know who else agrees that active shooting incidents have become part of our national identity? The FBI.

Christopher Combs, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation, took part in a Texas press conference today and told reporters that the numbers of active shooters are “on the rise.”

Combs also acknowledged that this isn’t going to change anytime soon, and he suggested that every American needs to prepare themselves for the eventuality that they may become involved in one of these massacres.

“I think everybody, no matter where you are, needs to think about this,” he said. “If you’re in a school, if you go to college, if you’re at the movies, we should all be thinking about ‘what are we gonna do if a crisis breaks out right here?’”

The FBI special agent went on to sadly propose that all Americans should learn to protect themselves, to train to become one of those good guys with a gun.

“There are a lot of programs out there. The FBI supports programs. We teach law enforcement. There’s private community programs out there,” he said.

“I think we ought to think very hard about this and make sure that we are prepared.”

Additionally, ATF officials noted at the same press conference that the shooter’s rifle appears to be a semiautomatic but has yet to be test-fired.

Past as prologue, we’ll continue this discussion in approximately three weeks. See you guys then, if you make it.

[Image via screengrab]

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· ·

FBI Official: Active Shooter Numbers ‘On the Rise’ and Americans Need to ‘Prepare’ Themselves – Mediaite

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Mediaite
FBI Official: Active Shooter Numbers ‘On the Rise’ and Americans Need to ‘Prepare’ Themselves
Mediaite
The brutal attack, in which the shooter is reported to have shot multiple crying babies, has beenpoliticized to hell and back, on both sides of the aisle. Common sense gun control. Ban bump stocks. Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. It’s 

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The real question behind the Mueller indictments is unprecedented in US history – The Telegraph

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USA TODAY
The real question behind the Mueller indictments is unprecedented in US history
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Trump’s urging of a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton is meant to divert attention. But the accusations against Clinton, recklessness with regard to the handling of email, are far less serious crimes than what Mueller has charged and is 
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Trump’s CIA director keeps doing controversial — and suspiciously pro-Trump — things – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Trump’s CIA director keeps doing controversial — and suspiciously pro-Trump — things
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The implications here are pretty big: A U.S. president telling his own CIA director to meet with someone pitching what the intelligence community basically regards as a conspiracy theory. Theintelligence community’s report on Russian interference 
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How the KGB birthed the JFK assassination conspiracy industry – WND.com

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WND.com
How the KGB birthed the JFK assassination conspiracy industry
WND.com
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence official ever to defect to the West, who currently lives under deep cover in the U.S. as a proud American citizen. In 1988 Gen. Pacepa published “Red … the Kremlin’s “science 

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Exclusive: Russia Activated Twitter Sleeper Cells for Election Day Blitz – Daily Beast

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Daily Beast
Exclusive: Russia Activated Twitter Sleeper Cells for Election Day Blitz
Daily Beast
In its final, climactic push for Donald Trump, the Kremlin’s troll army enlisted new members: semi-dormant propaganda accounts created as far back as 2009. Kevin Poulsen. 11.07.17 7:30 PM ET. exclusive. Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast.
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Explosive FBI report on Martin Luther King Jr. among documents in JFK files – WDBJ7

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WDBJ7
Explosive FBI report on Martin Luther King Jr. among documents in JFK files
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WASHINGTON (CBS) — The FBI prepared a secret 20-page analysis of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. containing explosive allegations about King’s political ties and sexual activity, just a month before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
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The FBI has confirmed the motive behind the assault on Sen. Rand Paul – TheBlaze.com

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TheBlaze.com
The FBI has confirmed the motive behind the assault on Sen. Rand Paul
TheBlaze.com
According to local Kentucky news station WNKY-TV, the FBI launched an investigation into the attack shortly after it happened. They believe the attack, which occurred Friday afternoon, was politically motivated. The Daily Caller revealed Saturday 

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Sen. Rand Paul had trouble breathing after assault; FBI involved in probe – Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times
Sen. Rand Paul had trouble breathing after assault; FBI involved in probe
Los Angeles Times
In June, when Sen. Rand Paul was with congressional colleagues near Washington, practicing his baseball swing, he escaped injury when a gunman opened fire. On Friday, when Paul was mowing the lawn of his Bowling Green home, he wasn’t as lucky, …
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Why some attacks are labeled ‘terrorism’ while others are not – wreg.com

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wreg.com
Why some attacks are labeled ‘terrorism’ while others are not
wreg.com
“There is not a domestic terrorism crime as such,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a Senate hearing in September. “We in the FBI refer to domestic terrorism as a category but it’s more of a way in which we allocate which agents, which squad is 

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Texas gunman’s intent was “maximum lethality,” former FBI profiler says – CBS News

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CBS News
Texas gunman’s intent was “maximum lethality,” former FBI profiler says
CBS News
A new report based on FBI data shows 54 percent of mass shootings relate to domestic or family violence. Mary Ellen O’Toole, former FBI profiler and director of the forensic science program at George Mason University, joins “CBS This Morning” to 
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The Russia Investigations: DC Braces For More From Mueller; Ripple Effects Widen – NPR

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NPR
The Russia Investigations: DC Braces For More From Mueller; Ripple Effects Widen
NPR
Last week in the Russia investigations: Mueller removes all doubt, the imbroglio apparently costs a man a government job and lots of talk — but no silver bullet — on digital interference. Muellertime. How many more thunderbolts has Zeus in his quiver?
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Exclusive: FBI agents raid headquarters of major US body broker – Reuters

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Reuters
Exclusive: FBI agents raid headquarters of major US body broker
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The search warrant executed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at MedCure Inc headquarters here on November 1 is sealed, and the bureau and the company declined to comment on the nature of the FBI investigation. But people familiar with the matter …
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Informant Earned $7 Million for Role in Benghazi Prosecution

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American officials paid the informant after he helped build a case against Ahmed Abu Khattala, a suspect in the 2012 Benghazi attacks, and orchestrate his capture.

Donald Trump: More Trump Campaign Russia Ties

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In explosive testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisor Carter Page was forced to admit he did have contact with Russian government officials during two trips to Moscow.

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How Americans Became Vulnerable to Russian Disinformation – Project Syndicate

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Project Syndicate
How Americans Became Vulnerable to Russian Disinformation
Project Syndicate
Last week, Congress unveiled legislation that would force Facebook, Google, and other social media giants to disclose who buys online advertising, thereby closing a loophole that Russiaexploited during the election. But making amends through technical 
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Trump, Putin and organized crime – Google News: Putin-linked businessman who Trump claims he can’t recognize showed up at his invite-only election party: report – Raw Story

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Raw Story
Putin-linked businessman who Trump claims he can’t recognize showed up at his invite-only election party: report
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In a GQ exclusive, Olbermann noted that Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman with ties to both organized crime and Russian President Vladimir Putin, attended Trump’s November 8, 2016 party. According to GQ’s reporting, he also gave interviews to …
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Texas Shooter’s History Raises Questions About Mental Health and Mass Murder
NPR
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6:28 PM 11/7/2017 – NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data 

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“Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything else except the title and byline…” Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/453485/nyt-shows-how-not-analyze-mass-shooting-data – “We shouldn’t care about “gun … Continue reading “6:28 PM 11/7/2017 – NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data”

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/11/06/20171106-190000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3

6:37 PM 11/7/2017 – “My jaw just about hit the floor…” – NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data 

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NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data Tuesday November 7th, 2017 at 6:30 PM 1 Share Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything … Continue reading “6:37 PM 11/7/2017 – “My jaw just about hit the floor…” – NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data”
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Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable

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Sound familiar? It does to American citizens who must regularly study these bloody rituals and be left by political leaders to passively anticipate the carnage next time.

In the aftermath of the Texas horror, politicians led by President Trump are trying to steer away from the obvious issue of what to do about the gun industry’s wanton sale of military-style rifles and pistols on the domestic market.

Mr. Trump called the rampage a “mental health problem at the highest level” and not “a guns situation.” This is the cynical evasion devised by the National Rifle Association, which warmly endorsed candidate Trump, who now parrots the diversionary talking point that we must first control for mental illness.

In fact, President Trump signed a law in February revoking an Obama-era regulation that made it more difficult for the mentally ill to purchase guns.

Mr. Trump, who spoke favorably as a candidate of vigilante shootouts for self-defense, also suggested that if a civilian had not briefly exchanged shots with the Texas shooter after the massacre, the casualty toll “would have been much worse.” The implication was that the bloodshed in Texas, which also included more than 20 wounded, actually makes the case for more guns — that the disease of gun violence is also its cure.

This is a fantasy, not a rational argument; it doesn’t bear the slightest scrutiny. As our colleague Nicholas Kristof notes, the United States outstrips the world in both gun ownership per capita and gun deaths per capita. States with higher proportions of gun ownership also have rates of death by guns higher than the national average. Incidents in which victims kill attackers in self-defense are vanishingly few compared with gun homicides, and suicide is by far the leading cause of gun deaths.

From expanded background checks to assault weapons bans, proposals put forward by gun-safety proponents, unlike continually increasing private American arsenals, would do something to thwart mass shootings. The Texas killer was not motivated by racial hatred, as was the killer of the Charleston churchgoers, but by family grievance, underlining the lethal combination of domestic abuse and firearms. Abusers’ access to guns increases the risk of intimate partner homicide as much as fivefold, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. While federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence, as Mr. Kelley was, from buying or possessing firearms, the Air Force failed to add him to a federal database, allowing him to pass necessary background checks. The right law was on the books but enforcement was lax.

And yet so many politicians continue to promote the wares of the gun industry. Two years ago, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tweeted “I’m embarrassed: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind California. Let’s pick up the pace Texans. @NRA.” On Monday he said the problem was out of human hands.

“We have evil that occurs in this world,” Governor Abbott declared, as if from a pulpit, equating all manner of global terrorist attacks, including the murder of eight last week by a truck driver in Manhattan. When asked how the evil of gun violence can be overcome, he replied “you do that by working with God.” Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, even envisioned “arming some of the parishioners or the congregation so that they can respond” if another massacre occurs.

This is the level of pro-gun argument being offered by Republican leaders and some Democrats. It is made in service to the N.R.A. and the gun industry, not the American public.

Continue reading the main story

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New developments in the Sutherland Springs Texas church shooting – mySanAntonio.com

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mySanAntonio.com
New developments in the Sutherland Springs Texas church shooting
mySanAntonio.com
The gunman Devin Patrick Kelley who killed at least 26 people in a church south of San AntonioSunday died from what authorities believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he crashed his car. He had been chased by armed bystanders. Read more: …

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Devin Patrick Kelley – Google Search

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The Texas gunman escaped from a mental health facility after …

Business Insider4 hours ago
Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people on Sunday at a rural Texas church, escaped from a mental health hospital in 2012, …
What We Know About the Texas Baptist Church Gunman
BlogSlate Magazine (blog)Nov 6, 2017

Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly?

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Three of the worst five shootings in modern US history have happened in the last 16 months.

It began – more or less – with 13, the number killed in 1949 in Camden, New Jersey, one of the earliest mass shootings in the US. An army veteran, Howard Unruh, killed his neighbours.

Over the next several decades, the numbers went up: 16 in Austin, Texas, on a campus in 1966, and 21 slain at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California, in 1984.

The past month or so have been especially brutal, as two attacks unfolded – in Las Vegas (58 dead) and Sutherland Springs, Texas (26). They followed a June 2016 assault in an Orlando nightclub in which 49 people were killed.

The reasons for this disturbing trend are many and complex, and people across the US and around the world have struggled to understand the violence.

Here analysts discuss some of the factors that may lie behind the grim numbers:

Weapons are more powerful – and shoot faster

The shooters have increasingly been using guns with high-capacity magazines, allowing them to fire off dozens of rounds without having to reload.

“There are more people being shot in a shorter amount of time – with more bullets in them,” explained Harvard School of Public Health’s David Hemenway.

Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, and James Holmes, who killed 12 in Aurora, Colorado, that year, both used weapons with this feature. The data’s clear: the number of killings in individual attacks goes up when assault rifles are used.

Researchers have also examined the laws: a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines was passed in 1994. It was lifted in 2004.

Experts said lifting the ban helped to usher in a new era of mass shootings. With these weapons, individuals could shoot faster and for longer periods of time – and consequently were able to kill more people in their attacks.

In addition states have their own laws. After the Sandy Hook massacre, a Connecticut law was passed that banned semiautomatic rifles (or assault weapons, as they’re also known).

Other states loosened their gun laws, however. In Georgia, for example, a law was passed that allowed people to carry weapons in school classrooms, nightclubs and other places. Experts at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence wrote that people in states with stricter gun controls tended to see less gun violence.


Assailants choose their sites more carefully

Attacks are now carried out in places with a large number of people – such as a Las Vegas concert venue with 22,000 people. “With that type of crowd, the shooter didn’t even have to aim,” said University of Central Florida’s Jay Corzine.

Most of the people who carry out mass shootings plan the attacks carefully, according to Homicide Studies.

“They’re doing their homework,” Corzine explained. Preparing the groundwork, he said, means the shooters kill more.

The gunman who opened fire at a Batman screening in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012 “thought a movie theatre would lead to higher fatalities”, said the University of Alabama’s Adam Lankford.


The shooters are inspired by media accounts

Coverage of mass shootings – like the assaults themselves – have exploded in recent years. Shooters post on social media before the attacks and sometimes while the assaults are underway.

Media organisations create live pages and provide 24/7 coverage of an assault. In addition journalists often focus on the killers, providing details about their lives and unintentionally contributing to a glorification of these individuals.

Yet overall, say experts, the stories did not cause an increase in the number of deaths in the assaults. “I’ve seen media accounts of mass shootings for the past 25 years, and the uptick of high casualties has been pretty recent,” said Corzine. Still the coverage gives people ideas.

“Mass shootings are contagious,” said Gary Slutkin, founder of a Chicago-based organisation, Cure Violence. “People see what other people do, and they follow that.”


The shooters compete with each other

Dylan Klebold, one of the attackers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, described their goal: “the most deaths in US history…we’re hoping.”

As Lankford explained: “This really is a race for notoriety – to be bigger and better than the attackers who came before you.”

Becoming famous as a mass shooter may seem like a sick glory. Yet it holds an allure for some. “It’s, ‘Well, yeah…,'” Slutkin said, describing how these individuals consider the possibility of fame and spend little time contemplating the likelihood of their own grisly fate: “It isn’t all the way thought through.”

“We all want to be known after we’re dead,” he explained.

“It shows how strong that circuit is.”

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· · · ·

Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly? – BBC News

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BBC News
Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly?
BBC News
Most of the people who carry out mass shootings plan the attacks carefully, according to Homicide Studies. “They’re doing their homework,” Corzine explained. Preparing the groundwork, he said, means the shooters kill more. The gunman who opened fire at …
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AR-15 style rifles are common among mass shootings – WBIR-TV

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WBIR-TV
AR-15 style rifles are common among mass shootings
WBIR-TV
AR-15 style rifles have become the weapon of choice in recent mass shootings, including the Texas church shooting Sunday, the Orlando nightclub last year and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The manufacture of rifles more than doubled in the last …

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