FROM Rukmini Callimachi
Terrorism by remote control: Is there any protection? Should President Trump's travel ban on refugees and visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries be re-instated? The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear arguments today. The President's massively disruptive travel ban is aimed at refugees and travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries, but nearly all terrorist acts in the US since 911 have been committed by US citizens. Furthermore, there's new evidence that ISIS recruiters and handlers operate remotely — without anybody having to cross any borders at all. Rather than focusing on keeping potential terrorists out of the country, should we focus on those who are already here?
The Orlando Nightclub Massacre: America's Deadliest Mass Shooting Forty-nine people are dead, along with the shooter, and an additional five are in grave condition, as the White House, the FBI and all Americans try to understand Sunday's events in Orlando.
It's Detention and Interrogation All Over Again The US has been killing Islamic State fighters with airstrikes and drones, but now 300 Special Forces are on the ground in Iraq. They're conducting so-called "targeted raids," and taking prisoners. But they're not the only ones. Today, Kurdish Peshmerga reportedly captured a US citizen, Mohammed Jamal Amin from Virginia — who is said to have entered Syria from Turkey and then made his way to Iraq — complicating the issue of what to do with ISIS detainees. Questions about "enhanced interrogation" and Guantánamo Bay are already being raised in the presidential campaign.
ISIS Claims First Attack on US Soil The so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an incident in the United States — Sunday's attack in Garland, Texas , outside a contest to draw cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Two suspects killed by police were from Phoenix, Arizona — but ISIS radio is calling them "two soldiers from the soldiers of the caliphate." Rukmini Callimachi reports on ISIS for the New York Times .
New IS Video Shows Jordanian Pilot Burned to Death A video published online by the so-called Islamic State claims to show a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive. President Obama responded , "Should in fact this video be authentic, it's just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organization". Jordan has confirmed the pilot’s death, and a spokesman has promised “punishment and revenge.” Rukmini Callimachi covers Islamic extremism for the New York Times.
Are Hostages Paying the Cost of US Policy on Ransoms? Unlike many European countries, the United States refuses to negotiate with terrorists over ransoms to free hostages. The rationale: it encourages more kidnappings. Now new evidence is surfacing that this policy can potentially discourage investigations into terrorists whereabouts. With its "no concessions to terrorist policy" is the US losing rescue opportunities? New York Times foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi has been tracking this, her story on the cost of the US ban on paying for hostages ran in yesterday's paper. hostage.
America's Hostage Policy: Is It Time for a Change? The US and Britain refuse to negotiate with terrorists. Paying ransom will only encourage extremists to raise money by seizing hostages. The parents of American journalist James Foley learned that can have unintended consequences when the so-called Islamic State released video of his beheading. But Foley’s former cellmates from France and Spain are alive and well, and ISIS is still holding at least one other American. Now US policy is “under review.” Is that real or political posturing? What are the alternatives? We talk with James Foley’s mother and others.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.