The week began with attempts by some outlets at can only be described as revisionism, as the name and religious association of the London terrorist was replaced with a pre-conversion name or removed when it became time to speak of terrorism. In Sweden it’s being alleged that serious crimes will not be investigated¹ so that more petty crimes can be solved and make the statistics look better. And in the U.S., a leader of the Women’s March who lied about terrorist activity on her immigration papers is being deported¹. This was the week. [Updated]
- In the wake of the London Islamic terror attacks, the UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd suggested that WhatsApp¹ is a place where terrorists hide¹. It was a call quickly echoed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May¹. The reasoning behind this idea of weakening encryption or simply building in a back door¹ is that terrorists can apparently use WhatsApp to plan terrorist attacks¹. The idea has been seen not only as one which lacks understanding¹ in how encryption works, but also as a push to widen spying¹ powers on citizens under the guise of fighting terrorism. Instead of aiming at the problem and asking certain questions, the UK government seems to believe that privacy is unacceptable¹ and should be forgone.
Additionally, this idea seems is stark contrast to the many claims made by police and security services that the terrorist¹ Masood acted alone¹. The fact that multiple arrests¹ and raids¹ have been made in connection with this ‘lone-wolf¹‘ terrorist attack also lead to the idea that there is not only a larger terror cell/s operating within (at least) the UK, but also that authorities may be hiding something due to the fact that reports and actions seem to contradict¹ each other. [British police have since release the 12 arrested¹ relating to this terrorism incident without charge. We can only hope it won’t be another case¹ of ‘was on the watch list¹‘] Still, a large focus seems to remain on encrypted messaging while the elephant in the room remains.
- Across Europe, voting began for the Turkish referendum¹ which would hand President Erdogan unprecedented powers and limited accountability. The referendum, which takes place in Turkey on April 16¹, has brought about many reactions throughout Europe and from Turkey who is quick to brand countries as fascist or Nazi¹ when they do not comply with Erdogan’s demands to aid or permit “yes” rallies. At the same time, campaigns against Erdogan’s reformed constitution have been reported to authorities¹ throughout Europe along with demands for “no” rallies to be canceled¹. In Turkey, as well as in Europe, spy rings¹ are being uncovered which often collect names¹ and publish lists¹ of “Gulen supporters” and potential “no” voters both to be used by intelligence services in Ankara and in Turkish communities abroad. Both being issues we have discussed previously in more than one context.
Turkish consulates have seen protests¹ from in Europe as well, including the Austrian Identitarian Movement¹* who raised a poster on the Turkish consulate in Vienna which read “Erdogan – Hol deine Türken ham¹” or “Erdogan – take your Turks home”. Areas of Syria are also concerned that Erdogan will use the referendum (and rhetoric building up to the referendum) to invade areas of Syria already liberated from ISIS because they are under Kurdish¹ control. The Greek military is also on alert, and are ‘prepared for any action¹‘ should there be any further provocation against Greece in the region. Greece has often reported¹ Turkish violations of Greek airspace¹, incidents which in 2014, numbered at 40 violations a day¹.
- In the EU¹, the topic of Brexit and jobs has been a stable one, as has the idea that Europe should welcome all migrants¹ to fill a job market which already has almost 10%¹ unemployment across the bloc. This is also despite issues of poor integration¹ and groups demanding the right to work¹ be given even despite local unemployment issues. But a new study has emerged which throws another spanner in the works concerning open movement and employment: Robots¹. Which countries like Turkey holding educated ‘refugees’ within its borders while sending the unqualified and unskilled¹ through to Europe, it’s hardly a surprise to see the sorts of jobs often being given to ‘refugees’. Unsurprisingly, these are often the jobs most at threat¹ from being ‘taken’ by an ever growing robotic workforce.
Despite a previous study¹** claiming that more automation would actually increase the number of jobs, it seems that over the next 15 years, automation is expected to take millions¹ of jobs in a vast array of fields. In the U.S. alone from 1990-2007, almost three quarters of a million¹ jobs have been lost to automation, with fears that number will climb rapidly. This alone may see a rise in unemployment by 2%¹, yet it seems some bureaucrats¹ have no issue inviting in more unskilled laborers to fill the jobs that don’t exist, not even for those already in places like the European Union¹.
- In Mosul, ISIS is facing large scale defeat from multiple fronts, largely at the hands of a Iraqi¹, Syrian¹ and Russian¹ onslaughts (with America¹ also fighting as ISIS uses civilians as human shields¹). With some members of the terrorist group refusing to leave out of ‘fear¹‘ of leaving Syria, others fleeing¹ the fight as resistance weakens before the city falls¹, there are still more taking a different approach. It’s not an entirely¹ new phenomena¹, but it’s still worth noting that ISIS fighters have been defecting because they ‘want their lives back¹‘ conveniently as ISIS is pushed back into ever smaller pockets of its former territory.
This week’s review may be incomplete due to external circumstances, but we will include any extras in week 14’s review.
On a last note, congratulations to the UK on initiating Brexit.
This has been week 13.
*Alternate language source
**Alternate archive source.