The Soufan Group Morning Brief


TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2016

The Periodic Review Board announced on Monday that it approved the transfer of the last Russian prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay. Ravil Mingazov, 48, has been held at Guantanamo since October 2002 after he was captured during a raid on a suspected Al Qaeda safehouse in Pakistan. Of the 76 detainees remaining at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, 32 have been approved for transfer. Miami Herald

Top Pentagon officials said on Monday that any potential military or intelligence cooperation between the United States and Russia in Syria would not be based on trust, but rather require the Kremlin’s support of U.S. goals in the country. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said “we’re not entering into a transaction that’s founded on trust. There will be specific procedures and processes in any transaction we might have with the Russians that would account for protecting our operational security.” Reuters, Washington Post

Gitmo: The judge in the 9/11 suspects’ case has deemed the prosecution’s initial proposed evidence to be inadequate. Army Col. James L. Pohl said that prosecutors had only presented him with about half of the evidence they believe defense lawyers should receive about the CIA’s former secret prison program. Chief prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins said his team would present all of the relevant evidence to the judge or defense team by September 30. Miami Herald

Fort Myers Florida shooting: An attack on a nightclub crowd in Fort Myers, Florida killed two teenagers and wounded at least 18 others early Monday morning. Officials said that the incident was not a terrorist attack. New York Times

The FBI has begun an investigation into suspected Russian involvement in the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee’s computer networks. Law enforcement officials said that so far, there is only evidence of attempts to hack into the DNC’s networks through “spear-phishing” attacks. New York Times, ABC

The United Nations said on Monday that the number of civilians killed or wounded in Afghanistan’s fight against the Taliban has reached a record high in the first half of 2016. At least 1,600 civilians were killed and more than 3,560 wounded in the first half of this year. The Taliban was responsible for at least 60 percent of all non-combatants killed or wounded. Reuters, NBC

Turkey: The Turkish government detained 42 journalists on Monday as part of a crackdown on a failed coup attempt that has targeted more than 60,000 people. Rights groups raised concerns that Turkish President Erdogan is capitalizing on the failed coup to tighten his grip on power. Reuters

NPR: Amnesty International: After Turkey’s Failed Coup, Some Detainees Are Tortured, Raped

Syria: Israel attacked a target in Syria on Monday after errant fire from warring groups in Syria struck Israeli territory, according to Israeli military officials. An Israeli Army spokeswoman said the air force had “successfully targeted the source of the fire in Syria.” Reuters

New York Times: As ISIS Loosens Grip, U.S. and Iraq Prepare for Grinding Insurgency

Germany: The rejected Syrian asylum seeker who blew himself up in southern Germany on Sunday, wounding 15 people, had pledged his allegiance to ISIS, according to German officials. During a search of the attacker’s home, police found a video recording of the attacker pledging his support to the extremist group as well as bomb-making materials. Reuters, ABC

Guardian: Germany boosts police presence and warns of further terrorism
Washington Post: Alarmed Germans wonder about the security risks posed by asylum seekers

France: Two knife-wielding attackers killed a priest and wounded another hostage in a church before being shot and killed by police in the northern French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray on Tuesday morning. The counterterrorism unit of the Paris prosecutor’s office announced that it is handling the case, indicating that the incident was being handled as a terrorist attack. New York Times, Reuters

Brazil: Police arrested a 12th suspect linked to a group that pledged support to ISIS and threatened an attack on next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. AP

Australia: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered an investigation into allegations that teenagers were abused and tortured at a juvenile detention facility in northern Australia. The move comes after graphic video emerged online of detainees being tear-gassed and stripped naked. AP

Japan: A knife attack killed 19 people and wounded 25 others in central Japan on Tuesday. Satoshi Uematsu, 26, allegedly turned himself in after carrying out that attack on the Tsukui Yamayuri-En facility for the disabled. Reuters
Turkey, Erdogan, and the Coup that Wasn’t: “After this incident, Turkey must clearly state its position in regards to the West, the United States, and NATO. The words of Turkey’s leaders have not been in sync with their actions, especially with regards to international terrorism,” writes Ahmet S. Yayla on World Policy Blog. “This coup attempt seems as though it was destined to fail, and perhaps was a staged attempt from the very beginning. It certainly leaves plenty of questions unanswered.”

Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy: “The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions,” writes the Washington Post in an editorial. “Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.”

Government’s Privacy Rights Don’t Exceed the Public’s: “When it comes to metadata, is turnabout fair play? The New Jersey Supreme Court will decide that question in a fiendishly clever case brought by a libertarian who is demanding the e-mail logs of town officials under the state’s Open Public Records Act,” writes Noah Feldman on Bloomberg View. “The New Jersey lawsuit in effect asks: if metadata isn’t that private, why not give the public access to the government’s records of who contacted whom, and when?”

For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Islamic State’s Favorite Target

Out Now: Karen Greenberg's newest book, Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, is the definitive account of how America's War on Terror sparked a decade-long assault on the rule of law, weakening our courts and our Constitution in the name of national security.

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