Posts Tagged ‘police’

Protests erupt in Pakistan over rape and murder of 7-year-old girl

January 12, 2018
© Asif Hassan, AFP | Women protest against sex crimes in Pakistan on January 11, 2018.

Video by Ellen GAINSFORD


Latest update : 2018-01-12

Protests broke out across Pakistan on Thursday after the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl in a district south of Lahore, due to public anger at what is seen as the authorities’ failure to investigate such cases.

It is the 12th such murder in the town of Kasur in a year, and has raised concern that a serial killer may be on the loose.

Two people were killed on Wednesday when police fired at angry protesters in Kasur, and a local resident said schools, offices, and markets remained shut in the town on Thursday.

Demonstrations were held in all cities between Faisalabad in the northeast down to Pakistan‘s southern metropolis of Karachi.

In Lahore, the provincial capital of the state where Kasur is located, protesters blocked a major road connecting the two, causing traffic between them to be suspended.

Police recovered the body of Zainab Ansari from a garbage dumpster in Kasur on Tuesday, four days after she was reported missing.

The chief minister of Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif visited Ansari’s parents to assure them that the perpetrators would be apprehended soon, a provincial government spokesman said.

“(Sharif) has announced Rs 10 million ($90,000) for anyone giving information about the kidnapper,” Punjab government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan told Reuters. He said it could not be ruled out that the murders involved a serial killer.

A police official speaking on condition of anonymity said two of Ansari’s relatives had been interrogated and 26 locals are currently in custody and being questioned. He added that police are waiting for forensic evidence to be collected and analysed.

Ansari’s family doubts justice will be done.

“We don’t have any expectations from police, as we gave proof to police including the CCTV footage, but they could do nothing,” her uncle Hafiz Muhammad Adnan told Reuters.

Adnan said the kidnapper waited to dump the body after search parties took a break after four days of looking.

“It appears as if the kidnapper is a local who developed familiarity with Zainab to take her along, probably telling her that he would take her to her parents,” he said.

A number of police officials have been transferred out of the region for failing to investigate complaints of missing children since 2015, when authorities uncovered what they said was a paedophile ring linked to a prominent local family.

At least two people have been convicted in connection with that case, in which authorities say hundreds of children in the district were abused.




Pakistani father of slain girl blames police for slow action

January 11, 2018

People attend a funeral of a Pakistani girl who was raped and killed, in Kasur, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Pakistani police said a mob angered over the recent rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl has attacked a police station in eastern Punjab province, triggering clashes that left at least two people dead and several injured. (AP/Qazi Mehmood)
LAHORE, Pakistan: The father of an 8-year-old Pakistani girl whose rape and killing shocked the nation accused the police on Thursday of being slow to respond when his daughter went missing in eastern Punjab province.
The father, Anees Ansari, who was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia with his wife at the time of his daughter’s disappearance, spoke after meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Sharif traveled to the city of Kasur to visit the family hours after Ansari returned home from Saudi Arabia to attend his daughter’s funeral Wednesday.
The girl, Zainab Ansari, disappeared last week while going to a nearby home for Qur’anic studies and her body was found in a Kasur waste-yard on Tuesday.
Her murder sparked clashes Wednesday between angry Kasur residents and police after protesters enraged over her death attacked a police station in the city. Two people were killed and three others were wounded in the clashes.
Sharif, who had assured Zainab’s father that justice would be done, also fired Kasur’s police chief over negligence in the case, according to a Punjab government statement Thursday. Three police officers were arrested for opening fire at the mob instead of into the air during Wednesday’s clashes.
Zainab’s killing, which has drawn wide public outcry, prompted dozens of civil society activists to rally on Thursday in the city of Lahore. A similar rally took place Wednesday in the port city of Karachi.
Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and champion for female education, tweeted Wednesday she was “heartbroken” about Zainab’s tragic fate and demanded action against the killer.

The Regime (Almost) Always Wins — Why Iran style uprisings don’t work.

January 7, 2018

The Jerusalem Post

 JANUARY 6, 2018 01:49
Amin Neda

Amin Neda at a “free Iran” rally in Jerusalem on January 2, 2018.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

They mostly begin the same way, with some spark or even spontaneous protests and rioting. They also tend to end the same way. Media blackouts. Police, army and security services flooding the streets.

And then they are put down, sometimes after battles and killing, and sometimes with beatings and arrests. Then they fizzle out as the people await their next chance.

The protests that began in Iran in late December swept across a dozen major cities and into towns and villages. They included minority groups, such as Kurds and Arabs, as well as the majority Persian population. They included Sunnis and Shi’ites. It was not a narrow sectarian or political uprising, but one underpinned by a variety of grievances from living under decades of authoritarian theocratic rule.

Many protests were angry about economic problems, accusing the regime of sending men to die in foreign wars while neglecting people at home.

In early January the government moved towards a harsh crackdown both online and using the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. They accused the protesters of being supported by foreign agents, pointing fingers at the US and Israel, and they accused the people of sedition, even while regime mouthpieces such as foreign minister Javad Zarif claimed the people had a right to protest.

THIS HAS happened before. A survey of similar types of protests against authoritarian regimes illustrates that they almost always fail. Until 1989 there were a series of unsuccessful mass protests against Soviet-style rule in Eastern Europe.

On June 16, 1953, East German construction workers began a protest over a pay cut.

Within a day it had spread to an estimated 700 places throughout the country. The Soviet Union and local police responded with violence, crushing the protests, and killed at least 55 people.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 began among students and intellectuals supporting democracy. The uprising spread after 20,000 protested on October 23. The Soviets vacillated on what to do, but eventually sent tanks and the army to crush the Hungarian revolt a week and a half after it had begun. Thousands were killed and more than 20,000 put on trial.

As in Hungary, although with a much smaller death toll, attempts at liberalizing Czechoslovakia were crushed by a military invasion in 1968. In Poland the shipyard strikes in 1980 led by Lech Walesa led to a massive warning strike in 1981 that involved around 12 million people. Protests and resistance continued through 1982. Yet it would take another seven years to replace the government.

Similarly in South Africa under apartheid, numerous mass protests were met with violence that resulted in their dispersion. The Sharpeville pass law protests in 1960 ended when police killed 69 of the thousands who turned out. In June 1976 more than 20,000 joined protests in Soweto. Police responded by killing 176.

In the Middle East not only Iran has seen mass protests over the years. In Algeria in 2010 protests erupted spontaneously around the country over the cost of living. Facebook and Twitter access was suspended by the government to stop information from spreading, and police were sent in to quell the disturbances, arresting 1,000.

Several were killed.

In Bahrain in February 2011, thousands came out to protest hoping to emulate the Arab spring protests in Tunisia. Eventually more than 100,000 participated. To stop their spread the government instituted a curfew and invited neighboring allies to intervene. Eventually around 100 people were killed and 1,000 arrested. Bahrain hasn’t seen a major protest since. Similarly in 1982 in Hama, Syria, and in 1991 in Iraq the Ba’athist governments crushed uprisings, killing thousands.

Protests can topple governments, but they rarely do. In China in 1989 protesters took to Tiananmen Square, calling for democracy. After a month and a half the army went in and cleared the square. Two hundred people were killed. In Thailand during the massive protests by the “red shirts” between March and May 2010 resulted in a massive crackdown that led to the deaths of 91 people. At the “Mother of all Marches” in Venezuela last April, several million turned out to protest a shattered economy and authoritarian government. Several protesters were killed and 500 arrested. The government is still in power.

WHEN DO protests succeed? They tend to succeed when power structures within the government decide that it is worthwhile to side with the protesters for their own reasons. Sometimes this is due to fear, often it is due to a pragmatic decision to remove one head of state and replace him with another.

In 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt the military helped to usher the dictators from office. In 2017 Robert Mugabe, one of the longest-reigning dictators in Africa, was removed by his own army. In contrast, Zimbabwe’s Morgan Tsvangirai, who came from the trade unions, was never able to unseat the government using democratic means.

There are exceptions. Ukraine’s pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych fled office in 2014 after months facing a massive uprising.

However, his leaving office precipitated civil conflict that still rages. In many cases mass protests that are successful have led to civil unrest. This was the case in the 1990s conflict in Algeria as well as for the Syrian civil war.

There is rarely a path to power for protesters when a regime is willing to use violence to suppress them. If the protesters are not willing to use violence in return, if they do not have a centralized structure with a leader and are not armed, they have no way to seize power. If they can continue the unrest, especially if they can do so by striking at industry by mobilizing workers, they may encourage the army or other politicians to replace the government. But that only results in a change of the faces in power, and not a change in the nature of the state.

History has shown that although states can change and revolutions do take place, their chances at success are rare. Nevertheless, most regimes of the type that Iran embodies fall eventually.


French PM calls for ‘great judicial severity’ after New Year’s attack on police

January 3, 2018


© Thomas Samson, AFP | Members of the Alliance Police Nationale union gather for a protest outside the police station of Champigny-sur-Marne on January 2, 2018, two days after a policewoman was beaten after clashes erupted on New Year’s Eve.

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2018-01-03

France’s prime minister is pushing for the perpetrators of a New Year’s Eve attack on two police officers – captured in a video that went viral on social media – to be punished with “great judicial severity”.

Édouard Philippe made the comments Wednesday on TV station France 2 after the assault in Champigny-sur-Marne brought nationwide attention.

The attackers have not yet been identified and authorities have launched an inquiry.

Dozens of angry police officers have taken part in demonstrations in several cities across France since the attack, demanding justice for the targeted officers and greater protection from the government.

French right-wing on warpath after New Year’s Eve attack on police -sur-Marne  via @RFI_English

New Year’s Eve attack on police sparks outcry in France

The French government has promised tough action after a violent attack on police officers outside a party on the outskirts of Paris on New Year’s Eve.

Police officers had been called to clear a crowd of 300 or 400 people attempting to see in 2018 at a warehouse party in Champigny-sur-Marne.

They fired tear gas after “a group of particularly violent individuals laid into the police,” local security chief Jean-Yves Oses said, with revellers beating and kicking two officers.

Videos of the policewoman writhing on the floor as she is kicked by the crowd, as well as revellers flipping over a car, have gone viral on social media.

Two people were detained on suspicion of vandalism, but no one has been arrested for attacking the police. Macron vowed that the culprits would be “found and punished”.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)


Houston Police Arrest Armed Man In High-Rise Hotel New Year’s Eve Venue In What Could Have Been Las Vegas-Style Shooting

December 31, 2017
© AFP | Houston police were called to deal with a “drunk, belligerent suspect” 


Police in Houston, Texas said Sunday they had arrested a belligerent man in possession of a number of guns at a high-rise hotel where a major New Year’s celebration is planned.

The arrest, coming as cities across the country and around the world were preparing New Year’s Eve celebrations, sparked fears of a repeat of the Oct. 31 mass shooting from a hotel room in Las Vegas, Nevada, that left 58 killed and hundreds wounded.

Houston police said they had yet to determine whether the man had any ill intent. They have yet to release his identity.

Police Lieutenant Gordon Macintosh said police were called to the Hyatt Regency Hotel shortly after midnight to deal with a “drunk, belligerent suspect.”

The first officers to respond had to call for backup when the man refused to comply with their orders, Macintosh said in a video interview carried on the Houston Chronicle website.

When police escorted the man back to his room, they found “several guns,” Macintosh said. Other news media described these as including an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a handgun, as well as a large quantity of ammunition.

The suspect was arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon as well as for trespassing, Macintosh said. But he said the man was so intoxicated that police were not immediately able to interview him.

The Hyatt says its New Year’s Eve party spans four floors, featuring live performances and the dropping of 50,000 balloons at midnight. A hotel employee said the party was still on despite the “disturbance.”

The Oct. 31 shooting from a high-rise hotel in Las Vegas by a heavily armed 64-year-old man, who killed himself as police closed in, was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Police in other cities have said they are taking extraordinary security measures around the year-end celebrations, most prominently at Times Square in New York, where police said they would deploy rooftop observers and counter-snipers in more buildings than usual, as well as patrolling hotels.


Intoxicated man found with small arsenal on top floor of Hyatt Regency downtown, police say

By Megan Kennedy – Content Editor

HOUSTON – A man has been arrested on multiple charges after police located a small arsenal of guns on the top floor of the Hyatt Regency on Louisiana Street downtown, Houston police said.

Police at the hotel called for backup around 1:30 a.m. Sunday after they attempted to arrest the man for being intoxicated and trespassing. When help arrived, police noticed ammunition laying around the man’s hotel room, Lt. Gordon Macintosh with Houston police said.


The man was arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon and trespassing. When investigators looked into his room further, they located an AR-15, a shotgun, a handgun and lots of ammunition, Macintosh said.

The Hyatt is preparing its own New Years Eve celebration at the hotel with a 50,000 balloon drop at the stroke of midnight, its website said.

The man’s white Chevrolet Silverado was located and towed to be searched and examined, Macintosh said.

Police are waiting to interview the man until he has sobered up, Macintosh said.

Situation from this morning at downtown hotel is contained. No specific threats to @HoustonTX@houstonpolice will be heavily deployed throughout the city to include SWAT react teams. Proud of officers & Hyatt. As always be vigilant & report suspicious a activity to authorities.

Investigators are working to learn more about this incident.

The Hyatt Regency Houston has released the following statement:

The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is our top priority, and consistent with the hotel’s prepared security plans, heightened measures are in place on New Year’s Eve. We are fully cooperating with authorities on an investigation, and further questions should be directed to the Houston Police Department.

New York City Murder Rate on Pace to Drop to 1950s Levels — Baltimore has now had 343 homicides in 2017, sets record for killings per capita

December 28, 2017

Officials credit overall decline in crime to the police department’s data-driven approach of targeting the worst offenders

Members of the New York Police Department's Counterterrorism Bureau stand guard in Manhattan’s Times Square.
Members of the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau stand guard in Manhattan’s Times Square. PHOTO: REUTERS

New York City is on track to close the year with the fewest murders since Elvis Presley appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

The New York Police Department has recorded 286 murders as of Wednesday, putting the city on pace to finish the year with fewer than 300 murders for the first time since the 1950s. Murders in 2017 are down from 329 at the same point last year and 2,262 in 1990—the highest recorded amount of murders by the NYPD.

Officials have credited the decline to the department’s data-driven approach of targeting the worst offenders in the city, centered on the crime-tracking system known as CompStat, as well as improved community relations and better utilization of technology. The NYPD also has the most officers of any department in the U.S., with 36,000 members.

“I’ve been going to CompStat since 1996 and to have a year like we had last year in 2016 was pretty amazing,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said at a crime-statistics briefing earlier this month. “What we’re doing this year—continuing that trend and making those decreases go even deeper—is really nothing short of amazing.”

Overall major crime, which includes murders, rape, robbery, felony assaults, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny of vehicles, so far this year is on pace to finish under 100,000—also the lowest since the 1950s, according to crime data updated on Sunday. Police have recorded 94,806 major felonies so far this year—a little more than half of the roughly 184,000 in 2000.

While rape is down 1% for the year, misdemeanor sex crimes are up by 9.3% to 3,585 compared with last year.

New York City Murder Rate on Pace to Drop to 1950s Levels

Last month, New York City had its worst terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001, when Sayfullo Saipov, who investigators say professed his loyalty to ISIS, drove a truck down a lower Manhattan bike path killing eight people.

The neighborhoods that tend to have higher crime continued to have higher murder rates. The two police precincts with the most murders this year—the 67th Precinct covering East Flatbush and the 75th Precinct covering East New York and Cypress Hills, all in Brooklyn—each were listed in the top five precincts with the most murders last year. East Flatbush increased to 17 murders this year from 12 murders in 2016.

“It’s dealing with not only what we think of as crime but also the quality of life conditions that make life both unpleasant and unstable,” said Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, an organization focusing on criminal justice that has consulted with the NYPD. He said the city needs to ensure those neighborhoods have better housing, lighted streets and safe parks. “There’s a direct correlation between the government making neighborhoods feel stable and lower crime rates.”

Those neighborhoods would have been flooded with rookie police officers on foot patrol 10 years ago. An anticrime initiative, called Operation Impact, assigned officers fresh out of the academy to some of the city’s highest crime areas. Police officials say they have now changed their tactics to a “precision policing” method of targeting the worst criminals who are the source of crime patterns.

These patterns are analyzed at weekly CompStat meetings, where local commanders are questioned about how they are handling repeat offenders.

“We could arrest 150 people in one takedown. I’d rather arrest two people and it’s the people that are breaking into the buildings, the people robbing the banks, the people always pulling the gun out and pulling the trigger,” Chief Dermot Shea, the NYPD’s head of crime control strategies, said in an interview earlier this year.

The drop in crime coincides with dips in arrests and the number of people incarcerated in the city jails. The city on Wednesday announced that it is on track for a monthly jail population below 9,000 for the first time in three decades. There were 73,855 adult arrests in Manhattan in 2016, the fewest since 2007.

The NYPD also has expanded technology that helps officers respond quickly to shootings they otherwise might not know about. The city announced this summer that 60 square miles would be covered by ShotSpotter, which uses audio sensors deployed on rooftops and street poles to alert officers of shootings. The city has recorded 774 shootings so far this year compared with 979 at the same time last year. Shootings normally account for about half of the murders in the city, police officials said.

The NYPD has thousands of both city-owned and privately owned surveillance cameras at its disposal. The police also are using DNA testing to find gun suspects. The Office of the Medical Examiner tested more than 1,270 guns for DNA through November of 2017 and 1,682 in 2016, up from 981 in 2015, according to the office’s spokeswoman.

Mr. Aborn, who worked in the Manhattan district attorney’s office in the 1980s, said the crime decline has affected daily life in the city.

“People thought about where they would walk, where they would go at night, they planned their transit home,” Mr. Aborn said. “It was an unstable environment. And now the renaissance that’s taken place in this city has removed many of those fears from those people.”

Write to Zolan Kanno-Youngs at

Appeared in the December 28, 2017, print edition as ‘New York on Pace for Fewest Murders Since 1950s.’


Baltimore has now had 343 homicides in 2017, sets record for killings per capita

Image result for baltimore police, photos

Protesters demonstrate outside the State Attorney’s office calling for the continued investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. David Goldman/AP Photo

By Kevin Rector
The Baltimore Sun

With two fatal shootings Tuesday night, the recent reclassification of a decades-old shooting as a killing and another homicide Wednesday evening, Baltimore has hit 343 homicides in 2017, and a new record for killings per capita.

The homicide rate for 2017 is now 55.8 killings per 100,000 people. The previous record was 55.35 per 100,000 in 2015. The city suffered 344 homicides that year, but had thousands more residents.

The most homicides to occur in a year was 353 in 1993, but the city had some 100,000 more residents then.

Officers called to the 3700 block of Arcadia Ave. in the Langston Hughes neighborhood of Northwest Baltimore at about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday found 18-year-old Quincy Hammonds with gunshot wounds to his body, police said.

Hammonds, of the 1900 block of Middleview Court, was taken to a local hospital, where he died, police said.

Officers responding to a report of a shooting near the intersection of 38th Street and Old York Road in the Waverly neighborhood of North Baltimore at about 10:04 p.m. found an unresponsive male victim with gunshot wounds in a crashed vehicle in the 3700 block of Ellerslie Ave., police said.

He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Police on Wednesday also announced the death of William Wallace, 38. Wallace was shot in the head on June 15, 1995, in the 800 block of Durham St. in East Baltimore. He suffered a seizure in Heritage Crossing on Sept. 4 and was found unresponsive.

The medical examiner has ruled Wallace’s death a homicide as a result of the injuries he suffered in the 1995 shooting, police said.

Later Wednesday, officers responded to the 200 block of N. Hilton Street and found a man suffering from a gunshot wound to his back. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries. Police believe the man was in the 200 block of Monastery Avenue when he was shot. Homicide detectives are investigating.

Kara, 33, and Sheree, 27, who did not want to give their last names out of concern about violence in the area, said they were waiting to turn off of North Hilton Street when a vehicle came up behind, hitting an oncoming vehicle and then their own.

A man jumped out of the car and said, “I’m shot! I’m shot!” then jumped into the backseat of their car, where young children were sitting, they said.

“I just don’t want to be out here,” Kara said. “You’re in the car minding your own business, and look what happens.”

Sheree said there’s a group of young men who hang out on the corner where police say the shooting broke out.

“You’ve got the young generation growing up, trying to be in gangs. It ain’t safe out here,” Sheree said.

Also Wednesday, police identified a man killed in the 900 block of Poplar Grove on Dec. 14 as Ali Ouedraogo.

Police asked anyone with information about the fatal shootings to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100, text a tip to 443-902-4824, or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP.

Baltimore Sun reporters Justin Fenton and Talia Richman contributed to this report.

Philippine Government Under-Reported Police Deaths in War on Drugs — Group Says 242 policemen died in drug-related raids

December 9, 2017
Police inspect firearms, ammunition, shabu and communication equipment seized in June from members of a big drug ring arrested in Pandag, Maguindanao. Unson, file
MANILA, Philippines — The most recent #RealNumberPH data release contradicts a new claim by President Rodrigo Duterte made on Thursday that 242 police officers have died in drug operations.

Duterte, a guest at the Kapampangan Food Festival in Clark, Pampanga on December 7, stressed that shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) makes drug suspects violent and aggressive, forcing law enforcers to shoot back and kill them.
“Pero why is it, if it is not that dangerous and violent, why is it that to date, I have lost 242 policemen in drug-related raids and arrest?” he said according to an official transcript released by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
He later said that, including police officers killed in the Marawi siege that lasted from May 23 to October 23, the number of police killed is close to 300.
“That is why in the — the Mindanao campaign against drugs, I have lost something like almost 300 policemen. That is including those who died in the actual fight when there was the siege already. ‘Yung noon ‘yun, those were arrest… and the deaths of — until today,” he said.
“And you can be very sure of this. I’m losing on the average six to eight soldier or policemen in Mindanao in drug-related cases,” he also said.
But the latest #RealNumbersPH infographic released by the PCOO tallies 86 security personnel killed in drug operations between July 1, 2016 and Nov. 27, 2017.
That number includes personnel from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Bureau of Investigation, logos on the infographic suggest.
Of the 312 casualties, 226 were wounded.
The #RealNumbersPH campaign was launched to give the public what the government says is accurate data on the war on drugs.


Marawi casualties


According to the PNP in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, six police officers had been killed in fighting in Marawi as of October 6.
Another 61 cops had been wounded in operations to liberate the capital of Lanao del Sur from Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists at the time.
A press release on the PNP website on a heroes’ welcome for Special Action Force troopers on October 25 said that of 500 police commandos deployed to Marawi, four had been killed in action.
SAF said 60 of its personnel had also been wounded during operations there.
According to reports, security forces lost 165 personnel in the battle for Marawi, which was declared liberated after five months of fighting. Clearing operations continue in the city’s main battle area.
Security officials have shrugged off differing figures on drug war casualties in the past, saying the president has intelligence sources that heads of the police and military may not have access to.

Are Trump’s August Controversies Careless—Or Calculated?

August 28, 2017

Did the president mindlessly pick fights, or did he deliberately choose his targets to speak to middle America?

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix last week lashed out at the news media and attacked fellow Republicans for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix last week lashed out at the news media and attacked fellow Republicans for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act. PHOTO: JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

Aug. 28, 2017 11:07 a.m. ET

Here are two ways of looking at how President Donald Trump has spent his August:

He has ruined the month—perhaps even his presidency—by mindlessly picking fights with Republican congressional leaders and the media, and by wallowing in divisive cultural issues rather than pushing his economic agenda.

But here is another:

Rather than stumble and fumble into these controversies, Mr. Trump has quite deliberately chosen his issues and his enemies.

He has drawn attention to cultural issues—immigration, his border wall, defending Confederate symbols, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio—precisely because they speak clearly to middle America. There, they resonate with both his core supporters and a wider universe of people who don’t love the president but think the nation’s elites have walked away from them on social issues.

Donald Trump, Joe Arpaio

Similarly, he has picked his targets for wrath—the media and the Republican establishment—carefully rather than cavalierly.

Targeting the news media is a winner with his base as well as a much broader segment of GOP votes. And by attacking Republican Senators, he is trying to be sure they are blamed rather than him for failures on health care—while also creating grass-roots pressure on them to atone for that failure by delivering on tax reform this fall.

“He’s framing the fall,” says Jason Miller, who was communications director of the Trump campaign and maintains close ties to the White House. “I think the president masterfully knows how to work the synergy of this counterculture, anti-Washington-elite sentiment to help him push forward on his agenda.”

In short, perhaps Mr. Trump is simply doing exactly what he did during last year’s presidential campaign, which is to use controversy and even seeming chaos to show that he stands apart from establishment forces that many Americans think have failed them. He won by running essentially as a political independent and, after seven rocky months in office, he appears to be gambling on that course again.

That doesn’t mean this is the wisest approach, or that it won’t blow up in the president’s face. It’s certainly risky to think that angering rather than wooing congressional leaders of his own party is going to produce a productive working relationship this fall. It’s equally hard to grasp why Mr. Trump is pursing this approach after having eased out of the White House its main proponent, Steve Bannon.

Still, it isn’t mindless. It is controversy generated for a purpose.

Trump aides believe—and there is ample evidence to support them—that cultural anxiety among working-class voters was as big a factor as economic anxiety in his campaign victory. Look at the list of issues Mr. Trump has touched upon in recent weeks—transgender Americans in the military, sanctuary cities, the racially charged march in Charlottesville—and you can see him returning to that path.

In doing so, he has stoked deep divisions in the country, particularly with his language that appeared to equate white supremacist marchers with those who protest them. Yet while many in Washington hear defense of neo-Nazi groups when Mr. Trump talks, his supporters make clear that what THEY hear is defense of historic Confederate statues—and, by implication, a traditional version of American culture.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has responded by calling for removing every Confederate statue from the U.S. Capitol—something Mr. Miller calls “a very dangerous spot of overreaching.”

Similarly, when Mr. Trump revives tough immigration talk, he is embracing an issue that helped him steal white working-class voters away from the Democrats.

Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg calls immigration a “critical element of the Democrats’ working-class challenge.” His survey work has found that, among 2016 voters, white working-class men—a traditional Democratic group who became a core Trump constituency—were twice as likely to call immigrants an economic burden on the country as were college-educated white women, a core Democratic constituency.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is in Mr. Trump’s crosshairs over his city’s policies toward immigrants, thinks he see another motive: an attempt to distract attention from the administration’s failure to produce economic policies that help the working class. “Each of these announcements is of a single piece: to grab voters they have lost on economic issues with cultural red meat,” he says.

Heading into the fall, the paramount economic issue for the Republican Party and the White House is the quest for tax reform and a broad tax cut. Across the GOP there is no more important priority, and party leaders know they can ill afford to fail.

Mr. Trump’s criticisms of party leaders are designed, Mr. Miller says, to add to the pressure. The president is saying: The party establishment failed me—and you—on health care. It’s not my fault. Don’t let them fail us on taxes.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at

French Security Forces Now Top Targets of Islamic Radicals

August 10, 2017

PARIS — French soldiers taking part in Operation Sentinelle are the highest profile symbols of the fight against Islamic extremism — but along with other security forces patrolling French streets are increasingly the main targets of attacks.

Operation Sentinelle was created to guard prominent French sites after a string of deadly attacks in 2015. The soldiers’ status as representatives, and defenders, of the state, has put security forces in the line of fire. But experts offer other reasons, too, for why attacks in France have recently focused on heavily armed protectors.

No civilians have been attacked this year — although intelligence services have foiled seven planned attacks, France’s interior minister said recently. More than 230 people, many of them out for a night of fun, were killed in 2015 and 2016.

Islamic radicals may seek extra media visibility presumably afforded by going after emblematic targets or be tempted by the wish to die as a “martyr,” several experts said. Or they may want to up assurance of redemption with an especially “heroic” act in the ultimate stage of a life spent mainly in delinquency in which security forces were the top enemy, the experts added.

Knives, machetes, hammers and vehicles have been used in the seven attacks this year — in each case against security forces — despite France’s state of emergency. In the latest, on Wednesday, a BMW slammed into six soldiers as they left their barracks outside Paris for duty in what authorities said was a “deliberate” attack. The suspect, an Algerian living legally in France, was arrested after a highway manhunt and hospitalized with bullet wounds.

“We need to finally suppress the idea that there is a common profile for terrorists,” said Alain Bauer, a leading criminologist and security expert. But, he added, attacking security forces is “a la mode” now in France.

In 2015 and 2016, soft targets were more common, after a Syrian who served the Islamic State group as its high-profile spokesman and strategist before being killed urged sympathizers in Europe and the U.S. to launch attacks against civilians — “especially the spiteful and filthy French.” High-level attacks, from the November 2015 massacres in Paris to last year’s Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, followed, with 216 dead.

This year, one person, a police officer on the crowded Champs-Elysees Avenue, has been killed. One attacker died in a second incident on the avenue after his car laden with weapons caught fire after he rammed it into a convoy of gendarmes.

Not all the attacks were claimed by IS, and like the attacker who plowed his car into the soldiers, not all were French. Except for Wednesday’s car attack, the attackers chose tourist haunts — going after security forces, not the crowds.

A study released in March by the Center for Terrorism Analysis, or CAT, showed that France isn’t alone. Attacks on security forces have been a constant in the West. Between 2013 and 2016, a majority — 53 percent — of 72 targeted attacks, either carried out, attempted or planned, were aimed at society’s protectors. The study also showed that France, with the highest number of Western jihadis in Syria and Iraq, and largest Muslim population in Western Europe, was the most targeted Western country.

IS cites France’s participation in the U.S.-led coalition when claiming attacks in the country.

“They want to die as martyrs,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, president of the CAT center.

In November 2015, when teams of extremists stormed into Paris from Brussels and killed 130 people enjoying a weekend on the town, they “waited for intervention forces to arrive to die with weapons in their hands facing apostate forces,” Brisard claimed.

For another expert, Alain Rodier, a former intelligence officer, many French Islamic extremists who go after symbols of the state had spent much of their lives doing just that as small-time delinquents. In France, police and youth in tough neighborhoods have notoriously bad relations with authorities in uniform and some delinquents who radicalize repeat old habits, he said.

“In reality, they’ve transferred what they did before,” Rodier said. They are people who haven’t traveled to combat zones and take action “on their own initiative,” he said, adding that the notion of redemption also can also motivate the choice of targets. They are often fed by extremist preachers whose message is “the more heroic the action the more their sins are pardoned.”

Wednesday’s attack threw the spotlight on the Sentinelle force, currently 7,000-strong with half of its members posted in the Paris region. Some have questioned why soldiers are patrolling sensitive sights from train stations and airports to places of worship — when they have never stopped an assault since their deployment after attacks in January 2015 on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Kosher grocery.

The soldiers are “a presence that reassures, protects,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Wednesday, but also symbols “and therefore direct targets.”

They are also magnets for attacks, Bauer said.

The force’s real purpose, Bauer said, is “just trying to convince your population that you’re safe … (and) let everybody go to work every day.”

Be they soldiers, police or gendarmes — all of whom have been attacked this year — the crucial determinant is media attention, according to Bauer.

“Terrorism is about communication and violence,” he said.

Human Rights Watch Hammers The Philippines on Police Reinstatements After Murders — HRW says the president’s statement encouraging the killing of drug suspects could be considered “criminal incitement,” police action could be  crimes against humanity.

July 14, 2017

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PNP-Crime Investigation and Detection Group of Region 8 headed by Superintendent Marvin Marcos faces Senate investigation in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa. STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File

MANILA, Philippines — A human rights watchdog on Friday blasted the reinstatement of police officers accused of involvement in the killing of a former Leyte mayor, saying that such move demonstrated a “kids-gloves” treatment of the cops as it reiterated its call for a United Nations-led probe into mounting killings in relation to the government’s drug war.

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based watchdog, said the “kid-gloves” handling of the officers was emblematic of the impunity given to those accused of killing more than 7,000 people, mostly from urban poor communities, in the government’s conduct of its war on drugs.

The government, however, contradicted this and released data last May showing a lower figure of nearly 4,600 drug-related killings. It added that many of the deaths cited by government critics were classified as still under investigation although up to now no update has been made on their status.

HRW has been critical of the President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against narcotics and in March released a report accusing the Philippine leader of inciting the killings of Filipinos accused of involvement in illegal drugs.

The group recently described Duterte’s first year in offices as a “human rights calamity” for the mounting drug war killings and the intimidation of his government’s critics.

On Wednesday, Duterte told the personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology that he had already ordered the return to service of Superintendent Marvin Marcos and his 18 men who were found to have been involved in the killing of former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and his cell mate Raul Yap last year by the Senate and National Bureau of Investigation.

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The president said that Marcos should be reactivated as he was not part of the raiding team and was far from the scene of the operations.

This generated a slew of strong reactions especially from senators who investigated the deaths last year.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, head of the one of the two Senate committees that probed into the incident, could not hide his disgust and spewed an invective to show his frustration with the president’s move.

“In sum, there is a phrase to describe this whole damn thing: Put*ng I*a!” Lacson said.

The return to service of the police personnel followed the downgrade of cases of these cops from murder to homicide.

HRW said that the return to service of the cops was not surprising considering that Duterte vowed in the past that he would even pardon, reinstate and promote them.

“They can call me and say they have been convicted, and I’ll tell the judge to pardon them all,” Duterte was quoted by HRW as saying.

He repeated this promise on Wednesday when he again offered a vigorous defense of security officials involved in the killings. He said that they should not be prosecuted for following his orders.

“Sabi ko, ‘Wala akong pakialam dyan. File na ninyo lahat ng gusto ninyong file.’ Pero sabi ko and in front of Cabinet, ‘I will never allow a military man, a government man or a policeman na makukulong for doing his duty and obeying my order,” the president said, to the applause of most of the members of the audience.

The group debunked the usual police refrain that suspects killed either resisted arrest or were targeted by “unknown gunmen.”

These drug war deaths demand accountability through an investigation of a UN-led panel, the group said.

“Until that occurs, police and their agents implicated in those killings will continue to get away with murder,” the watchdog said.

READ: UN official seeks protection for Callamard amid threats

Based on HRW research, the deaths of suspected drug users and dealers, which Duterte had used to brand his campaign a success, were due to unlawful police conduct which was designed to lend legality to extrajudicial killings which “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

HRW said that the president’s past statement encouraging the killing of drug suspects could be considered “criminal incitement,” warning him and senior government figures that they could be charged with crimes against humanity.


Photo taken in November last year shows Supt. Marvin Marcos attending a hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights. GEREMY PINTOLO


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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer


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Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.


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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file

President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP