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35 minutes | Aug 18, 2022
Death Weapons: Inside a Teenage Terrorist Network
In today’s podcast, we will focus on the year long investigation of Death Weapons by a consortium of international reporters from Germany's Die Welt, Politico, and Insider. The investigation reveals internal details of how this network of young neo-Nazis is setting up terrorist cells across Europe and the US to carry out armed attacks.In this episode Lucinda talks to Nick Robins-Early, New-York-based journalist and Senior Editor for Digital Culture News at Insider, where he covers disinformation, extremism and the future of the internet. Together with colleagues at Politico and Germany's Die Welt, Nick investigated Death Weapons, an international network of young neo-Nazis setting up terrorist cells across Europe and the US to carry out armed attacks.For the full investigation read: https://www.politico.eu/article/inside-teenage-terrorist-network-europe-death-weapons/
14 minutes | Aug 4, 2022
Breaking News: Responding to the drone strike on Al-Zawahiri
On Saturday, US President Joe Biden announced that the United States had killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, current emir of al-Qaeda and longtime deputy to Osama bin Laden, in Kabul (Afghanistan). Zawahiri’s death raises questions about the succession and the relevance of al-Qaeda in the current terrorist threat landscape, as well as Afghanistan's role following last year's rushed exit by Western forces. In this episode, Lucinda speaks with Hans-Jakob Schindler, the Senior Director at the Counter Terrorism Project. From 2001 until 2005, Hans headed the federal government of Germany's team investigating al-Qaida in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. Between 2005 and 2011, Hans held the position of First Secretary Political Affairs and Liaison to the Security Forces at the German Embassy in Tehran. Acting as a special advisor to the ambassador, he led the embassy's crisis management team during the 2006 and 2009/10 disturbances in Iran.
34 minutes | Jul 15, 2022
The link between domestic violence and terrorism
Studies have shown that there appears to be a strong link between those committing domestic violence, and those ready to commit acts of terrorism - especially among young men. Yet, while terrorism and domestic abuse share profound parallels, they couldn’t be further apart in how they are treated in today’s society and by law enforcement. In this episode Lucinda talks to Joan Smith, a novelist, essayist, columnist and campaigner for human rights. She was Co-Chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board from 2013-2021, and her latest book is Home Grown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists (Riverrun, 2019).
12 minutes | Jul 14, 2022
Breaking News: Responding to the Iran-Belgium prisoner swap treaty
On Tuesday, Belgium’s parliament debated whether to ratify a Treaty with Iran that could allow an Iranian convicted of terrorism in Belgium to be sent back to Iran. The Treaty, however, is highly controversial among Western critics of the Iranian regime, as well as members of the Iranian opposition living in exile. In this episode, Lucinda speaks with Jason Brodsky, the policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). Before joining UANI, Jason was a senior Middle East analyst and editor at Iran International TV and served in a variety of capacities at the Wilson Center. Earlier in his career, Jason also served as a fellow at the White House in the Executive Office of the President. His research specialties include leadership dynamics in Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Shiite militias, and U.S. Middle East policy.
45 minutes | May 26, 2022
Global Terrorism Index 2022
The Global Terrorism Index recently released its ninth edition, clearly indicating two key developments - deaths from terrorism have continued to fall since their peak in 2015, and terrorism has become more concentrated, with 119 countries recording no deaths, the best result since 2007.In this episode Lucinda speaks to Steve Killelea, an entrepreneur in high technology business development and philanthropist focused on sustainable development and peace. Steve founded the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in 2007 as an independent non-profit global research institute analysing the intertwined relationships between business, peace, and economic development. As one of the world’s most impactful think tanks, IEP’s research is extensively used by multi-laterals, including the United Nations, World Bank, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
35 minutes | May 12, 2022
The changing landscape of the online terrorist threat
Digital advancement and new technologies have transformed the dynamics of propaganda dissemination, recruitment and radicalisation. This is resulting in easier accessibility of violent extremist and terrorist material, increasing the risk of radicalising online and helping violent extremists to establish international links. Throughout the two last years, new forms of extremist ideologies and polarising ideas have spread online, in particular as a reaction to the measures taken by governments to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the online response to the war in Ukraine. In this episode Lucinda talks to Ilkka Salmi, the EU Counter-Terrorism coordinator. As EU Counter-Terrorism coordinator, Ilkka Salmi is responsible for coordinating the EU Council's work in combating terrorism, maintaining an overview of all EU counter-terrorism instruments, and strengthening cooperation and dialogue on counter-terrorism initiatives between the Council, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the High Representative. He represents the European Union in matters relating to the fight against terrorism.
48 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
Foreign Fighters and the War in Ukraine
History has proven that foreign fighters, including mercenaries and volunteers, get easily drawn to civil war and insurgencies between states where they seek to support several different ideologies and causes. The case is no different with the Russia-Ukraine war; both in 2014 and now in 2022. The only slight difference in the 2022 situation would be the scale of foreigners who have mobilised in record numbers and governments encouraging their citizens to travel to Ukraine.In this episode Lucinda talks to Alexander Ritzmann, who has been working on the promotion of liberal democracy and the prevention of violent extremism for 20 years. Alexander is an Associate Fellow at the German Council of Foreign Relations (DGAP), where he co-develops and facilitates the "International Forum for Expert Exchange on Countering Islamist Extremism“. In addition, he advises the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Berlin on internet regulation (e.g., NetzDG, AI/Transparency, and EU Digital Services Act) and on the effective countering of extremist/terrorist actors and content online.Shownotes:CEP Policy Brief on Foreign Fighters in the 2022 Russia-Ukraine War (UPDATE 1)
50 minutes | Apr 13, 2022
The Ukraine war, France's EU Council Presidency and Europe’s security relationship
Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine has brought an unexpected twist to France's Presidential election and its coordinating role as the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. Although President Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the election, the unexpected strength shown by his far-right opponent Marine LePen also highlights the domestic and international political, security and defence challenges with which France continues to wrestle with. In this episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Tara Varma to discuss how Russia's invasion of Ukraine has influenced the recent first round of the French Presidential election and the French Council of the EU Presidency. Tara Varma is a senior policy fellow and head of the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, where she follows French foreign policy and European and Asian security developments. She looks particularly at current French defence and security proposals in the European framework. She is also interested in Asian security, and the role Europeans could play in it, notably in the Indo-Pacific region. Varma joined ECFR in January 2015 as a coordinator and then deputy head of the Paris office.
40 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
Preventing extremism through integrating young displaced people
Why are displaced young people at such high risk of radicalisation? What can we do to work with them, and other institutions, to ensure their full integration into society? And what are the impacts if all efforts fail?In this episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Kayte Cable, Co-founder & Programme Manager of the UK-based Big Leaf Foundation. Big Leaf Foundation is a small charity working with displaced young people aged 16-25 living in Surrey, UK, aimed at providing a nurturing programme of activities, projects and events focused on combating social isolation and improving wellbeing for displaced young people.
52 minutes | Feb 3, 2022
Preventing radicalization in the UK
Recent years have seen a considerable increase in people radicalizing online. This is both true for extreme right-wing extremist and religious extremist groups. In response to this proliferation, social, community, police and intelligence services have increasingly begun setting up early detection schemes to prevent people from radicalization or supporting terrorist activities. In this episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Nik Adam, National Coordinator for the UK's Prevent Program. Nik Adams is a chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police London and is the national coordinator for UK’s Prevent program. Before being appointed as the national coordinator for Prevent, Nik has spent 18 years working in front-line neighborhood policing roles, and over 10 years volunteering as a school governor of a large inner-city school in London. The Prevent program seeks to stop people from becoming radicalized or supporting terrorist activities, including those of extreme right wing and Islamist ideologies.
34 minutes | Nov 18, 2021
Afghanistan from an EU perspective
At the end of August, amidst the US military’s withdrawal from the country, the Taliban swept to victory in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of foreigners and Afghans have been flown out of the country, but many remain, including American and EU citizens as well as Afghan allies. As the Taliban swept through and took Kabul the Afghan military disintegrated within the space of two weeks. The result has been a wide-scale humanitarian crisis which the United Nations Refugee Agency has warned will result in the displacement of half a million more Afghans by years end. The threat of terrorism and Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terror groups such as Al Qaeda is a prominent security concern. Concerns of a large-scale migration crisis. Concerns even for the Transatlantic relationship between Europe and the US due to the US’ lack of consideration or consulting of its European allies in the build-up to its withdrawal. In this episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Polish MEP Radek Sikorski to discuss Afghanistan from an EU perspective. He is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE). Sikorski also served as Poland’s Minister of Defence between 2005 and 2007, Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2007 and 2014, and Speaker of Parliament in Poland between 2014 and 2015.
45 minutes | Nov 9, 2021
Disguised compliance by terrorist offenders
After the fall of ISIS in the Levant, hundreds of foreign terrorist fighters have been incarcerated in Syria, Iraq or their home countries in the West. In addition, radicalised potential terrorists have already been released or will be released soon. Many of these individuals minimised their role in the atrocities committed by ISIS or claim that they have left their past behind them or. As the focus more and more shifts on their rehabilitation, many fear that some of these terrorist offenders might hide their true intentions.In this episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by CEP adviser Ian Acheson to discuss the phenomenon of false compliance by terrorist offenders. Ian Acheson is the co-author of a discussion paper entitled "Hiding in plain sight? Disguised compliance by terrorist offenders" published this week as part of a collaboration between the Counter Extremism Project and the European Policy Centre. The paper raises awareness of the danger posed by terrorist deception and provides recommendations on how this risk can be tackled.
47 minutes | Oct 21, 2021
Hezbollah from a US/Israel Perspective
Who is Hezbollah and how should be define the militant group's role in Lebanon and the wider Middle East. In this episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by David Daoud to discuss the role of Hezbollah from a US and Israeli perspective. David Daoud is a research analyst on Hezbollah and Lebanon at United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). Prior to that, he held a similar position at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. David has previously worked as a staff member on Capitol Hill, advising on matters related to the Middle East, Israel, and Iran.
48 minutes | Sep 23, 2021
How will the return to power of the Taliban affect international jihadism?
The seizure of power by the Taliban has left the whole world in a state of shock. Due to the withdrawal of international troops, chaos now reigns throughout the country. Tens of thousands of foreigners and Afghans have been flown out of the country. At the same time, the Taliban have taken command, and their strict interpretation of Islam rules over most of the country. The Taliban’s swift and summary takeover of Afghanistan's territory and political leadership has also left many wondering what their return to power means for international jihadism. When they last they ruled Afghanistan, they harbored al-Qaida. This transnational jihadist movement was behind the 9/11 attacks, which prompted the US invasion in 2001 and two decades of military involvement, which now came to a rather disastrous end.In this episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, a nonresident senior fellow with the Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative and Middle East Programs and former Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism to discuss how the Taliban's resurgence may affect international jihadism.
43 minutes | Sep 9, 2021
Where are we standing 20 years after September 11?
September 11th 2001, will always be remembered as an infamous date in US and global history. Twenty years ago, the world held its breath as the events in New York and Washington unfolded. The terrorist attacks perpetrated by Al-Qaeda that day were the bloodiest ever seen on American soil, launching the US Government's global "war on terror". The country increased the pressure and started military operations against terrorist groups, and states that were sheltering them, and significantly changed its policymaking with regards to national security.As part of this, the US intervened in Afghanistan and launched what became the longest sustained military campaign in US history, ending only with the withdrawal of US troops and an almost instant return to power of the Taliban in August 2021. In this episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Martha Crenshaw, a senior fellow at CISAC and FSI and a professor of political science by courtesy at Stanford to discuss the legacy of 9/11 and the war on terrorism 20 years later.
48 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
EU efforts to regulate Big Tech and counter extremism online
In December 2020, the European Commission presented the Digital Services Act (DSA) proposal, a major update to internet regulation in the EU. The ambitious legislation aims to create a safer digital space by introducing various new rules and obligations for the Big Tech companies, such as measures to counter the algorithmic amplification, notice and takedown mechanisms or higher transparency. The text is currently in the negotiation phase between the Parliament, the EU Council and the Commission. The DSA is only the latest of several initiatives to regulate Big Tech companies and counter harmful content online, such as the German NetzDG, which came into force in 2018, or the EU Terrorist Content Regulation adopted in April 2021. Policymakers in Europe and elsewhere increasingly understand the great responsibility of Big Tech in spreading hate online and address it. In today’s podcast, Lucinda Creighton was joined by CEP Senior Adviser Alexander Ritzmann to discuss internet regulation and extremist content online while particularly focussing on the DSA. Alexander Ritzmann advises the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Berlin on internet regulation, including the NetzDG, Artificial Intelligence/Transparency, and the EU Digital Services Act as well as on the effective countering of extremist/terrorist actors and content online. In this context, he authored several policy papers on various internet regulations, most recently the DSA. He has also testified before the German Bundestag, the European Parliament and the US House of Representatives on these matters.
51 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
The current state of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is known for its violent sectarian conflict that opposed the protestants unionists and the catholic nationalists. The conflict reached its climax between the 1960s and the 90s, during a period known as the troubles, which resulted in the death of over 3600 people. The Good Friday agreement in 1998 established a political equilibrium between both sides and ended most of the hostilities. However, the consequences of this period are still felt throughout Northern Ireland to this day as many fear a return of sectarian violence in the context of Brexit that has further strained the relations between the communities. In today's episode, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Professor Richard English to discuss the current state of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. Mr English is a Professor of Politics at Queen's University Belfast. His research and publications focus on the politics and history of nationalism, political violence, and terrorism, with a particular emphasis on Ireland and Great Britain.
56 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
Islamist Terrorism and the current situation in the Middle East
The rise and fall of ISIS in the Levant has been the most significant development with regard to Islamist terrorism in recent years. The terrorist group put Iraq and Syria to fire and sword and orchestrated several attacks in Europe and elsewhere. Despite serious setbacks suffered by ISIS, Islamist terrorism continues to thrive and remains one of today's most significant security threats in the West and the Middle East. In today's podcast, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Dr Emile Nakhleh, a former CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and a Research Professor at the University of New Mexico, to shed light on Islamist terrorism. Nakhleh is an expert on political Islam, radicalisation and terrorism in the Middle East and was a founding Director of the CIA Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. After taking us through his rich career in the US government, Emile Nakhleh provided us with some insights on the origins and current state of Islamist terrorism, the challenges the Islamic world faces in relation to extremism, and the role of the United States in the Middle East.
42 minutes | May 26, 2021
Islamist Extremism & Antisemitic Violence
In today's episode Lucinda Creighton is joined by Mitch Silber, a global political risk and intelligence analyst and terrorism expert, to discuss the current state of Islamist extremism as well as the resurgence of antisemitism and hate crimes against the Jewish community. Mitch Silber is the executive director of the Community Security Initiative, a position created in February 2020 as part of a $4 million plan to help secure local Jewish institutions in the New York region. He also served as Director of Intelligence Analysis at the New York City Police Department (NYPD), where he was the principal counter-terrorism advisor to the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and was responsible for building out and managing the Analytic and Cyber Unit.
52 minutes | May 12, 2021
Extreme Right Foreign Fighters in Ukraine
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine in 2014, about 17.000 predominantly far-right foreign fighters joined the frontline to fight on both the Ukrainian and the separatist pro-Russian side. The majority of these fighters come from Russia and former Soviet republics, while around 1.000 also joined from the West.In today's podcast, Lucinda Creighton is joined by Kacper Rekawek, a researcher at CEP and a GLOBSEC associate fellow, to discuss this phenomenon. Kacper Rekawek has been working on Western foreign terrorist fighters engaged in the war in Donbas for the last five years. He is also the author of a CEP report entitled "Career Break or New Career? Extremist Foreign Fighters in Ukraine". Together they explore different aspects of the topic, such as the motivations of western foreign fighters, the context on the ground, transnational extreme right networks and the potential danger these fighters represent for their home countries.
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