The Soufan Group Morning Brief

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The top military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay stipulated that the executive summary of the Senate “Torture Report” released in December 2014 is accurate. Brig. Gen. Mark Martins stated that he will “stipulate that the facts contained within the Executive Summary occurred.” Martins made the statement in a motion filed last Friday in the case against five suspects in the 9/11 attacks including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, according to a report in The Washington Post. Martins’ comments stand in contrast to those of CIA Director John Brennan who found that the committee’s findings “provided an incomplete and selective picture of what occurred.” Washington Post

Associated Press: Concern over health of Guantanamo prisoner in 9/11 case
Vox: Why Republicans are debating bringing back torture
Real Clear Politics: McCain rebukes Trump, Cruz on torture
Guardian: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz fail to understand that torture doesn’t work
Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), are considering a possible lawsuit against the Obama administration over the potential transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a facility in the United States. The Republican leadership signed a contract for $150,000 with attorneys from Jones Day to prepare a legal response if the decision is made to transfer Guantanamo detainees as part of the prison’s potential closure. Wall Street Journal, Politico

Countering Extremism: The Senate Homeland Security Committee approved three bills intended to counter ISIS online recruitment propaganda on Wednesday. One of the bills calls for the Obama administration to create a “comprehensive strategy to counter and prevent online radicalization,” according to the Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI). Another bill would fund Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programs to develop digital counternarratives targeting youths at risk of radicalization. The third measure would create a DHS Office of Partnerships Against Violent Extremism. The Hill

North Korea Sanctions: In a 96-0 vote the U.S. Senate approved new sanctions against North Korea in response to the country’s recent satellite launch and to signs that it is expanding its nuclear weapons program. The legislation includes the seizure of assets, visa bans, and denial of government contracts, as well as $50 million over five years for radio broadcasts into North Korea, communications equipment, and humanitarian assistance programs. Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, BBC News

Christian Science Monitor: Can Congress rein in North Korea with sanctions, à la Iran?
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan questioned the U.S. commitment to fighting terrorists in Syria and condemned U.S. support of Kurdish rebel groups on Wednesday. Erdogan said that America’s failure to understand the situation on the ground has turned the region into “a sea of blood.” Turkey considers the Kurdish groups, including the PYD and the PKK, to be terrorist organizations. The United States has provided continued support to Kurdish rebels in their fight against ISIS. New York Times, Reuters, CNN

The Atlantic: U.S. Syria policy is under fire from allies
Guardian: Turkey's rising tension with Russia over Kurds puts Erdoğan in a corner
Associated Press: Russia proposes March 1 ceasefire in Syria; US wants it now

Nigeria: An attack carried out by two female suicide bombers killed 58 people and wounded 78 others at a refugee camp for people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast town of Dikwa on Tuesday. A third female bomber decided not to detonate her device and gave herself up after recognizing her parents and siblings in the camp. No group claimed responsibility, but the attacks bear resemblance to previous female suicide bombings carried out by Boko Haram. New York Times, Reuters,
Europe: NATO officials from all 28 member countries agreed on a plan to expand the alliance’s military presence in Eastern Europe, in an effort to deter Russian aggression in the region. As part of the “deterrent” posture, additional troops will be rotated through Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and the Baltic States, conducting exercises and improving infrastructure. The size of the troop increase will be decided at a NATO summit in July.

Senegal: African forces began a U.S.-supported counterterrorism training program on Monday in Senegal in an effort to combat the spread of extremism in West Africa. Over 30 countries are participating in the annual “Flintlock” exercises, which are training approximately 1,700 African special operation forces. The training began only weeks after a terrorist attack in Burkina Faso’s capital killed 30 people. Reuters

United Kingdom: On Wednesday, three British men were found guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism. Kristen Brekke, Forhad Rahman, and Adeel Ulhaq encouraged and helped Aseel Muthana, a 17-year-old British teenager, to travel to Syria in order to join ISIS in March 2014. Ulhaq was also convicted of involvement in a terrorist funding arrangement.

How “Sham democracy” Is Fueling Africa's Terrorism: “In many Sub-Saharan African states where terror groups are present, democracy exists in name alone. Governments embellishing themselves with multiparty elections, liberal constitutions, and other facades of democratic governance, preside over regimes which are politically, socially and economically exclusive,” writes Ryan Cummings on CNN. “Equally, these states wield violence in a manner which is often indistinguishable from that of terror groups.”

End The Charade Of Syrian Peace Talks: “By allowing Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin to use diplomacy as a cover for bombing, the U.S. and its allies have legitimized and even aided the Russian campaign,” writes
Noah Feldman on Bloomberg View. “At a minimum, there should be no resumption of talks later this month, as currently planned, until government forces allow humanitarian assistance to the 1 million Syrians now trapped and starving in rebel-held areas."

The US-UK Data Deal: “Such an agreement, with the right safeguards, can be seen as critical for the preserving the internet as we know it, and over the long term a significant victory for privacy,” writes Andrew Keane Woods on Lawfare. “The absence of such an agreement will lead to any number of privacy-threatening outcomes -- data localization, anti-encryption mandates, etc.”
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For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Battle for Aleppo and Syria

The Center on National Security at Fordham Law will host “A Discussion with Peter Bergen, Author of United States of Jihad” on February 12, 2016. To RSVP, click here.

The Urban Consortium at Fordham Law will host a press conference with Mayor Jozias van Aartsen and Dr. Benjamin Barber to announce the Inaugural Event of the Global Parliament of Mayors on February 16, 2016. To RSVP, click here

The Center on National Security at Fordham Law will host “Iran in Context” with Laura Secor, Hooman Majd, and others on February 23, 2016. To RSVP, click here.
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